A/N: Holy crap you guys! Last time I checked this story it had over 100 reviews? That's awesome! I know it's been awhile since I've updated this story but no more worries, I'm returning back to weekly updates : )
I would of posted this chapter earlier but my computer got a virus and that mixed in with last minute college planning took up a lot of my time... Anyway so moving on to a lighter note, some of you have asked a few questions for the last few chapters, so I thought I'd address two of them now, that way everyone else gets an answer too.
1. All anonymous POVs will stay a mystery until the end of the story. At the last chapter I'll reveal them all. But I love your theories. Someone was very close to guessing the "woman in the shadows".
2. Certain Events that happen in the last two books will also happen in my story so Sonya Karp unfortunately is not Eric's mistress. Although that'd be one hell of a plot twist! I am however, planning something more dramatic involving her, but you'll just have to read and find out. *evil laugh*
I hope that clears up a few things. And as for this new update... WARNING THIS CHAPTER ALONG WITH THE NEXT TWO CONTAIN DRAMATIC VIOLENCE. Enjoy?
I stepped through the front door of the parlor and my senses were immediately attacked with the strong scent of blood. I heaved in a long, deep breath and silently moaned in arousal. I was told this place dealt with a lot of blood exchange, but I never realized it would smell so pleasant as well.
I walked over to the concierge desk and smirked at what I saw. A young strigoi most likely around the age of eighteen when he was awakened, sat reclined on a cushioned chair in front of a large computer screen, one hand clutching the mouse hooked up to the computer clicking away, while the other hand held a medium sized soft drink container. As he sipped on the straw I noticed the liquid he was drinking was a wine colored red. My nose scrunched up in disgust, he was feeding on stale blood.
"How can you stand to drink that vile stuff." I hissed as he rocked the chair forward and snapped his attention to me. He gave me a once over before he quipped back, "It's 'AB' negative and it's only a day old. If you want some, it'll cost you."
I rolled my eyes. I could find my own food. "No thanks. I prefer live blood." I sniffed the air and frowned, "Especially not human blood either."
He shrugged his shoulders, "Hey it's actually pretty good. I mix it with a few shots of Moroi type 'O' positive and it's divine..." he trailed off as he sucked on a few more sips before he muttered, "But whatever, suit yourself. Now what do you want?" All easygoingness left his face as he stood up, placed his drink down and gave me an impatient stare.
I crept closer to him, "I'm here to see Donovan. I have a message to deliver to him."
The young man chucked at me, "He doesn't visit this place anymore. Sorry." He crossed his arms over his chest and straightened his back in a way that meant he was warning me to leave. I briefly glanced down at my feet and let out a small sigh. Then I tilted my head back up and met his pathetic attempt at trying to intimidate me. In a low growl, I muttered, "I know he's here."
The man looked at me in mock surprise, acting completely unfazed by my statement. "Oh really?" He leaned his head forward in a manner to taunt me, "Because the last time I checked he wasn't."
I shook my head, no wonder he had this idiot stationed at the front of the store. Always let the pawns go first. My new boss would tell me. I suddenly lunged forward and wrapped my hands around his neck. For a small second I saw a look of shock flash across his face before I snapped his neck and ripped his head off.
The body dropped to the floor as I tossed the head aside and stalked down the hallway that was behind him and busted down the second door on the right.
As I entered the small room I quickly spotted a tall man seated behind a dark stained-wood desk. He didn't seem startled by my sudden intrusion and simply continued sorting through a stack of papers as he cooly said, "I thought she'd at least send a human, not one of her lowly henchmen to send a message."
I let out a deep warning growl before replying, "She was pressed for time. And besides, her normal errand boy became lunch."
Donovan smirked at that and placed whatever he was looking at down on the desk. "I see and what are you to her anyway? Last time I checked you were the Moroi queen's personal bloodwhore. Now you've been promoted to a messenger for one of the best connections I have. That's truly pathetic. At least when she started out and was involved with Nathan, she was doing more active duties."
"Nathan is gone and I'm here now. So cut the bullshit. She wants to offer you a deal."
"And what would that be?" he mocked.
I balled my fists and looked away from his powerful gaze, "Hathaway's searching for you."
"Oh yes, Charlotte told me this last night. She's the one who took out Tatiana for us right?" I involuntarily flinched at the name of the deceased Moroi queen. She haunted my mind too much. I was a fool to ever be involved with her. Once I was awakened, I found my real mate. A woman with more power than any spoiled Moroi could ever have.
"That's what the Moroi believe. But the more important fact is that she's on the hunt for you. Apparently you have information she needs."
He stood up and started toying with some small glass paperweight. "I don't really see what a guardian like her needs my help for. Unless she's still tracking Belikov, but I thought he would of taken care of her by now."
I stared at him wide eyed, "You don't know?"
"What!" he growled, but there was a hint of curiosity behind his harsh tone.
"Belikov was turned back. He's a dhampir again." I dryly stated.
He tossed the weight aside and stared at me in disbelief, "That's impossible..." he whispered.
I grinned, fully satisfied that I'd caught him off guard. "It is. And apparently he's leaked information about you to the guardian council."
"WHAT! THAT BASTARD WILL PAY!" he fumed. I restrained the urge to laugh at him. He acts like a true fool at times. He turned his eyes to slits and took a step towards me. "How do I know you're not lying. And what does your boss and Hathaway have to do with all of this?"
I took a step closer to him, "She wants Hathaway. And since Hathaway wants you, the offer is really quite simple. Give us Hathaway and we'll bring Belikov to you."
He took a moment to ponder this before he made his decision, "Fine. But first tell me where Belikov is then I'll trap Hathaway in one of my houses." I grinned wider, this was going to be an interesting next few days...
"TELL ME WHERE HE IS!" I threatened again as a few stray locks of tangled wet hair dangled over my forehead. Water droplets formed at the tips and then trickled down to the left cheek of the strigoi I now had trapped in my arms.
"I'm not telling you anything!" he hissed as he tried to wiggle out of my embrace. I growled in annoyance. This bastard was really starting to piss me off. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and quickly felt the fiery-icy sensation as I opened myself up to my inner strength. I opened my eyes to be met with a red blur but soon everything focused and I felt the surge of hatred fill my entire body up as my muscled tensed with new power.
I looked back down at the strigoi and he visibly gulped in fear. I grinned in response, that was always their reaction after I 'shifted' into my darker self. I felt goose bumps start to form on my skin as a gust of wind suddenly crashed against my already cold body. Even though I'd been fighting for twenty minutes, and the fact that my body was fully pumped with adrenaline, I was freezing. My clothes were drenched as I stood outside behind a strip club in the pouring rain.
At the moment I was wearing a very short black dress with thin lacy straps. I wasn't really expecting it to rain tonight because otherwise, I would have worn something that covered me up better. But the more skin I showed, the better chances I had of luring a strigoi out of the clubs and into one of my interrogations.
It's been two days since I've seen Sydney. After the shock of realizing Sonya Karp was somehow a connection to Eric, Sydney and I started researching everything about her...
I felt like my head was spinning a million times a minute as Sydney's finger tips stroked and tapped across the keyboard of her laptop. We were now sitting on the far side of a long benched table inside of a pavilion in the park. Her car was parked right beside it on the pavement slab that was laid out for a few parking spaces. My life felt like one giant, terrifying rollercoaster-riding on a rocky chain of unexpected events.
Knowing Sonya was somehow connected to Eric completely shook me up down to my core. It wasn't really the shock of hearing my former teacher was linked to Lissa's lost sibling, it really rather the fear that whatever information she knew or still has will never be found because she became a strigoi. She's now a lost cause, off the radar, impossible to track, and if already found by a guardian, most likely dead.
I prayed to god I understood what Eric was trying to tell me. I'm taking a risk by using what he said as the honest truth. After all, ghosts don't lie. Right? I started to feel sick to my stomach as I blurted out, "You don't think she's the one who had an affair with Lissa's Dad, do you?" It literally hurt me to say that, but I had to know. I had to know my odds of ever finding this kid.
Sydney smirked at that before replying, "Maybe but I don't think so..." she trailed off as she leaned closer into the computer screen and scrutinized something that had caught her eye. And then suddenly she pulled back and shouted, "Ah-ha!"
I jumped not expecting her sudden reaction. As she ignored my bewilderment, she turned the laptop over for me to see. "Look at this. This is where I'd heard the name before, it was on one of the accounts Eric set up for this Jane Doe."
"He had more than one account?" I asked.
"Well just one other one. I searched all of Eric's bank records/transactions and found that a few years after the old account was set up, he moved a large amount of money over to another bank. And again setting the account up for Jane Doe, but get this, the account wasn't opened until five years later and then that's when Sonya's name showed up. She was listed as the beneficiary for the account if something happened to the holder."
"What?" My head started to clear up at this new fact.
"She had just turned eighteen at that time, meaning the timeline doesn't add up. She must have been a relative, not the baby's mother."
"Okay, but why her? She must of known Eric. How big is her family?"
Sydney grimaced after I said that, "That's what I'm looking at now. She comes from a huge family. So if any of the relatives fit the timeline of Eric's affair, it's going to be extremely difficult to pin point it on someone."
I let out a shaky sigh. I just knew it wasn't going to as simple as I originally thought. In my head, I thought finding information on Eric's mistress would become easier on us now with a lead. And as always with everything in my life, things were just going to get more complicated. But one thing I now knew definitely stood out crystal clear. Sonya Karp wasn't the mother of Eric's illegitimate child, but she sure as hell was involved.
I didn't have time to waste around and chase in circles until we found small scraps of new evidence. I need answers now. And the only way to do that was if I talked directly to the source myself. Sonya. Karp.
I felt my stomach start to involuntarily quiver as the realization hit me. I had to go hunt Sonya down. A task that not ever her former lover, Mikhail Tanner, was capable of doing. I knew without a doubt I was heading into very dangerous territory the closer I got to solving the mystery of Lissa's lost sibling.
I briefly glanced at Sydney as she had turned her laptop back to her and started typing away again. It was dark out and the moonlight of the night peeked through the uncovered walls of the pavilion and cast down on her cheek. It illuminated her golden lily tattoo. She had bags under she eyes and her platinum blonde hair was pulled back in a loose chignon. Her whole appearance radiated with stress and fatigue. I knew in this instant, no matter how much help she could provide me with, I couldn't risk her health and job anymore. I needed her to stay safe.
"You need to go to the royal court." I blurted out. She fingers froze at my words.
"You heard me Sydney. It's dangerous being with me now. You need to go to the court where you're safe."
"Listen to me," I sharply said cutting her off, "You can't cause any suspicion to yourself or otherwise, someone's bound to notice and they'll find you with me. Go to court, you did mention you had to meet my father there. So go. Follow through. If you don't show up, my father will notice something's not right. Not to mention I'm sure his veins are about to burst from his forehead over my 'sudden vacation' and royal warrant. And that means he'll want to get involved with me. I can't risk that, not yet at least."
"Rose you're not alone in this. He actually has a lot of connections. He could really help-"
"No. Not yet. I need to gather more information first."
"Isn't that what we're doing now?"
"Yes, and I thank you for that. But there's another source I have yet to try in getting new information."
"And what's that?"
"You're out of your mind!"
"How do suppose we're going to get anything from them!"
"No not 'we', just me. I'm going to investigate this on my own. And strigoi are the perfect source to interrogate in getting a location on Sonya. If she's even still alive, er- undead... whatever, then they'll know where she is. And if I can find her, then I can question her about Eric."
"That's insane! Not to mention suicidal."
"Oh I know, that's why you're not coming with me."
"Huh? Rose I'm not going to abandon you!"
"Sydney I'm going to hunt her down and I need you somewhere safe until I can get a new lead."
"No. Absolutely not. Rose you could get killed!"
"And so could you! Are you willing to risk your life for me?" She paused slightly but soon answered, "Y-yes." I could hear the uncertainty in her voice as if she we truly trying to consider it. And that's all I needed out of her.
"You're not. I can tell Sydney. So if you consider me a friend as you claim that I am, you'll do this for me. You'll go back to court. Once I find a new lead, I'll contact you. But until then, you can't continue to stay with me."
"It's too late. I've made my decision." I stood up and snatch her laptop and tucked into her tote bag. I gripped her arm while I swung the bag over my opposite shoulder. I then tugged Sydney over to the CR-V where I proceeded to drag her to the royal court.
Realizing I was serious, she did in fact eventually cave in to my demand and safely traveled to the royal court where she made plans to meet up with zmey. When we parted ways, I quickly stole a car and drove to Chicago...
There was a large strigoi count in big cities. So over the last two days, at night, I would hunt strigoi in various night clubs where they liked to prey.
At first I didn't get much out of them, but I then started to experiment with the anger I had bottled up. And once I tapped into it, I noticed a change in the way the strigoi treated me. They were afraid. Something I thought they'd never be capable of. But I guess strigoi have emotions after all, you just have to know how to find them.
I was distantly aware that my new found 'anger' wasn't natural. I knew the fact that I was shadow kissed and consumed by Lissa's darkness had something to do with all my weird hallucinations and super strength but I soon realized that I could use it to my advantage.
So I began trying to control it. I still hadn't mastered it yet and I sometimes ended up killing the strigoi in a murderous daze before I could even start to question them.
But eventually I found some control, and that's when they'd start to talk after a few minutes of my 'persuasion' methods. I found out that almost no one knew Sonya. But a few claimed that a man named 'Donovan' knew her. And of course he was a strigoi, but they weren't too sure how to find him.
So that's what I'm doing now. Trying to snag any details about his whereabouts.
I heard the thundering boom from the dark sky as a lightening bolt struck out above us and illuminated the shadowed area we were fighting in.
I dug my stake deeper into his shoulder and he howled in pain as he tried to shake me off of him. But I wasn't having that. I struck out a hand and grabbed ahold of his left index finger and pinned it down on his chest.
"Don't lie to me Boris!" I hissed. I learned from one of my other strigoi encounters that a man by the name of 'Boris' was a well know contact among the undead. He knew everything and everyone. So I figured he could lead me to Donovan or Sonya. It was easy tracking him down. He owned a small strip club here in Chicago and when I found him I easily posed as an aspiring employee. He fell for the trick and I 'seduced' him into coming with me to my 'car' for an 'audition'. The moment we stepped outside, I pulled out my stake and struck out at him... I adverted my attention back to the present and shouted at him once more, "They told me you know where he is! So I'll ask you this one more time, WHERE IS DONOVAN!" I hadn't gotten a response out of him about Sonya so I had switched over to questioning him about Donovan.
The strigoi sneered at me but held his ground underneath my vice grip as he flatly spat, "I will never leak such information to a filthy bloodwhore like you!" his accent thickly laced everyone of his words and I fought the urge to flinch. He was Russian.
Just thinking about Russia brought back a whole avalanche of unpleasant memories about Dimitri that I kept buried. I bit my bottom lip and swallowed my pain as latched onto Boris's exposed finger and lifted it up. I swiftly ran the stake through the flesh and with a sickening twist, the finger was no longer attached to his hand.
The sound of his tortured scream made everyone of my nerve endings sting. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to make someone suffer. Even if they were the evil undead. But I had to and that fact alone made the dark anger inside me that much more alive.
I ignored the now missing digit and brought his bleeding hand up to his face for him to see. He tried balling his fist but I pried it open and stretched out his thumb. Before I could say anything he suddenly cried out, "I d-don't know if he's still th-there but he used to have a business out in Kentucky."
That sparked my interest. "Where?"
"Lexington. It's a-a ta-tattoo parlor he owns..." Boris proceeded to tell me the address and once I got what I wanted, I staked him in the heart and put him out of his misery.
I then dragged the body over to a dumpster and tossed him in. I didn't really have any other choice than the dumpster. It was filled up half-way so no one would see from any distance the contents inside unless they were standing directly hovered over it. I left the latch open so that light could get though in the morning and the body would disintegrate in the sunlight.
I briskly sprinted over a two and a half block walk to where I had parked my new stolen car. It was an BMW M6 coated in a sapphire black. As I walked, I felt my anger dissolve away as my normal eyesight returned. When I reached the car, I hopped in and drove my way over to the motel I had booked for the night.
It wasn't very nice yet not too bad, but I knew I had to keep a low profile even if I was still wearing Lissa's charm bracelet. I couldn't take a risk if I took it off and it just so happened that a guardian was around.
I took a hot shower and warmed my body back up from being drenched by the cold rain. As my mind cleared from the soothing temperature of the water, I couldn't contain my urgency to find this 'Donovan' person. So I dressed quickly and shrugged on the leather jacket I had kept when I stole the motorcycle back at the academy and checked out of the motel...
Almost a day later, I was an hour outside of Lexington. I stopped to get a bite to eat at a local diner in a small town, but as I watched time slowly tick by on my watch, I realized I had only two hours until sundown.
That didn't leave me much time to find the address to Donovan's business. Plus I wanted the protection of the sunlight just in case things ended badly. So I quickly gulped down my drink and paid for my meal.
As I walked out of the diner I noticed a human police officer slowly approaching my new stolen car. Crap. I needed to get back on the road and I now didn't have a vehicle. On top of that, my duffle bag along with all my clothes were still in the car. I had my two stakes, wallet and cellphone on me, but still, I didn't want to part with my stuff.
My mood faltered as I reluctantly walked away from the car. Without seeming like I was in a hurry, I casually strolled around to the back of the diner and walked through to the next connecting street.
I walked down a dark alleyway in the hopes of using a shortcut to the main road. I was halfway through the narrow walkway when I sensed someone was watching me. I quickened my pace but it was no use. I felt the nausea roll through me right before cold hands encased my neck and slammed my head into the brick wall. Oh shit, was my last thought before I blacked out...
A/N: Sorry if this chapter feels a bit choppy, I had to rewrite it from memory after I lost the original file due to a virus on my laptop. I'll go in and tweak it later when I can remember any other details I may have left out. Link for the BMW is on my profile and don't forget to Review!