Disclaimer: I don't own it. Well, at least I'm honest.

This chapter introduces Dmitri, one of the main characters. Yes, he's based on Tom Riddle from pop-pop-bananas Rewind trilogy. Sigh.

Well, read and enjoy!

Kiki glared out the plane's window. Even with her iPod's earplugs in her ears, she could still hear Luz and Oona's pointless chatter. Was it so much to ask for some peace and quiet?


Betty had fallen asleep behind her, next to a DeeDee who was working intently on her PDA. Oona sat across the aisle from Kiki and Luz with Ananka.

They were currently on a plane to Russia, from where they'd meet up with the mysterious Dmitri Molotov. She idly wondered how long this whole thing would take. The Irregulars first encounter with dear Princess Sidonia had taken over two full years.

At least this time they had a lot more time on their hands. College students got much more freedom and trust than twelve-year-olds, even in Luz's mother's case. Of course, Kiki had to reschedule on that dweeb's date...

Dmitri glared at the guy standing guard over him.

"You know, I'm not going to randomly explode any moment now, or in the near future." He said irritably, for what had to be at least the fourth time.

The bodyguard looked at him incomprehensibly, and Dmitri sighed. They accepted just anyone into the NPR nowadays, didn't they?

Well, he amended, anyone who knew how to work a huge gun, it seemed, looking at the size of the piece of work in the guy's equally large arms.

The Irregulars seem to be taking forever getting here.

His whole life, Dmitri had had to wait. He had to wait for his dad to pay him attention, he had to wait to be told about his mother, he had to wait to be included in his dad's terribly evil plots.

When he had found out what had made his father a horrid man and an even worse father, he'd taken a vow. He refused to go down the same broken road his father was going down.

That man had once been an innocent child as well, but then he grew twisted as he got older. He forced a wonderful woman to marry him and bear his child and he'd neglected his son for a long time until Dmitri finally understood to become his own person.

For years, he'd secretly operated the National Pokrovian Revolution along with Mr. K. The man had sought him out and bluntly asked his help when Dmitri had only been fifteen.

Dmitri had jumped at the chance. It wasn't because he loved his country like Mr. K did. It wasn't even because he wanted revenge on Sergei. No, Dmitri'd joined the NPR in order to give his life some semblance of purpose.

He had to have something to do; he'd already refused to work with Sidonia, Livia, and Sergei. He might as well work against them, and maybe keep Pokrovia from becoming a total disaster.

Well, he'd see how it turned out.

He'd found, over the years, that he was rather morbid and uncaring sometimes. Oh, well.

He was pulled from his reflections by the sound of a whirring plane.


Six girls came down the plane's stairs.

First was a rather mousy-looking one. She was on the dark side and sported a short black bob. The second wore extremely casual clothes. Her hair appeared to be lopsided, but, nevertheless, it didn't look unfashionable at all for some reason. The third had a fierce look in her eye that even Dmitri could see from fifty feet away, leaning against a black car. She was going to be trouble, he could already tell. The fourth held her head high. Much too high. Her appearance was obviously Asian. Her demeanor was obviously stuck-up, he thought cynically. Were these the ridiculously famed Irregulars that were so destined to save Pokrovia? And work with him, for that matter?

The next one seemed better. She wasn't very pretty, but she had an aura about her that seemed reassuring. Her hair was a plain brown and she wore glasses. The last one, though, made the greatest impression of them all.

Her hair was a platinum blond, nearly a golden white. Even from here, he could tell it was silky the way it shone in the sunlight. Her lips were a striking cherry red that stood out from the rest of her incredibly pale face. She was dressed in all black, which made her look even more mysterious and striking. Without a doubt, Dmitri knew. This was none other than Katarina Galatzina, or the famed Kiki Strike.

Wasn't she supposed to be amazingly short? Yes, she was petite, but not that short.

The dumb guard (yes, that one was dumb, too) next to the plane spoke to the first girl and pointed to him.

What he found interesting was how every Irregular hadn't noticed him until then. All except one. The long-lost princess's seemingly sharp gaze had narrowed in on him since she'd stepped off the plane. And now he noticed that her eyes were ridiculously sky blue.

They were irritating, distracting. So much so that he hadn't even noticed the Irregulars come up to the car.

The third, ferocious one started. "Hi, I'm Luz. They say you're, um, let's get something straight. If this is a trap, tell us right now so we won't kick your snobby butt later on."

He ignored her, his eyes focused on Katarina. She'd rolled her eyes at Luz's words, but she seemed to be the only one. Did she already trust him? Stupid girl.

And yet he couldn't help a warm, undescribable feeling from spreading in his stomach. Oh, God.

He wondered subconsciously why he hadn't spoken yet. Maybe it was because of that lump in his throat. Or maybe it was that she was absolutely captivating.

Her face, which he had thought completely and flawlessly pale before, was lightly dusted with freckles. Her eyes were trained solely on his. And he could see a slight smirk playing on her lips. He tore his eyes away from her.

With the air of someone who found himself amongst his inferiors, he wordlessly passed the copy of the riddle to the outspoken Luz. She read the words he'd memorised a while ago:

At a time that will now seem dead to you,

A covered secret, the absolute truth

Was unkown to most

Was not seen for a while

But will one day become the treasure

Of a nation worthwhile.

Without the dark will lead

Forces full of greed,

They will ruin the wonder

And the pleas of the peoples.

That day there will be few who must race to find

What will keep the empire

From falling once and for all...

xxx He's cute. -squeals-. Okay, I don't mean to say the rest of the Irregulars are ugly or anything, but keep in mind he hates pretty much everything, with the exception of good old Mr. K. He has a grudging respect for Mr. K. He's just saying it as he sees it, and he never really likes people. He doesn't even like Kiki at first. He just finds her intriguing because one, she's nothing like he's ever seen before, two, she's the lost princess, and three, he thinks she's hot. He's just so in denial.

Thanks to ofirhendel. You reviewed, alerted, and favorited the story. And me! I'm flattered.

Anyway. Review! I adore you.