She stumbled and landed on the gravel, scraping her chin. Got to get up, she thought. But she was feeling worn out and wanted to go to sleep. But they would not let her.
Then she heard a low growl. Then another. They’re following my scent, she thought as fear gripped her. She scrambled silently to her feet and began running through the dense forest. She fought back a scream as she was suddenly plunged into darkness. A piece of advice floated through her thoughts that she had been given before she was thrown into the strange place. “Don’t move in the dark. They can’t see you in the darkness and will leave.”
Petrus, you better be right. Eight-year-old Ivanka stood stock still and crouched down low. She heard the soft padding of feet as the creatures came in her direction. Her heart beat faster and faster and she broke out in a cold sweat. They’ll move on if they can’t see me, she reminded herself. She heard the strange creatures sniffing. She had only caught fleeting glimpses of them while she had been running to avoid being eaten. They had fur, fangs, but also appeared to be part machine. She heard them sniffing out her scent. Sniffing? Oh no. They don’t have to see me. They’ll smell me. Then she realized something else. They won’t move on if they can’t see me. They will just smell me out. And if I’m not moving…I’ll die. Petrus lied to me.
She began walking slowly away from the sound of the creatures. She wanted to run, but could not see anything, and the creatures would hear her and grab her. Her heart was racing – and not just from the all the running she had been doing.
Just a few feet in front of her were two glowing red eyes. Panic seized her and she impulsively begun running away from it. She heard a loud growl and she ran blindly faster. She tripped and hit the ground, rolling onto her back. She saw the pair of red eyes again a few feet away from her. She looked around.
They were all around her.
With a roar, they leapt into the air towards her.
Anastasia sat up screaming. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she was drenched in sweat. Where are they? She looked around, but could not see anything as she was surrounded by complete darkness. Mum, where are you? What’s happening? She began trembling violently and hugged herself. I want you, Mum, and Alexei. Where are you? I need help!
She then heard something breathing nearby. Panic and terror seized her and she curled up tighter in a corner, trying to hide from whatever was there. She thought of the creatures and closed her eyes tight. Go away! Just go away! she silently begged as tears squeezed out and down her cheeks. Then, she realized that it was her own breathing that she was hearing. She began sobbing. Where am I? What’s happening?
“The Freeze Serum works every time.”
Anastasia shuddered as she thought of how she was unable to move when injected with the Freeze Serum. She then remembered when she first met Shadow and Doc, a.k.a. Kyen and Andrew, she had a dream/memory of something involving the Freeze Serum and she went over the memory.
“Her heartbeat is normal. Her breathing is calm and even. She is responding remarkably well,” a female voice, one she had not recognized, had said.
“The Freeze Serum and being in the close confines of the tube has not disturbed her?” a man had asked. He had sounded like Charles.
“She did panic at first,” someone had answered. It had been Petrus. “But then she calmed down very soon afterwards.”
“Ivanka is responding to all our tests remarkably well. The refining has worked,” Charles had then commented. “Just one more and I think she’ll be fine.”
So, the Freeze Serum temporarily paralyses the victim, she thought carefully, calming down slightly. They were testing me. But why? And for what? Then another thought struck her. Was that nightmare I just had part of the tests that they were conducting on me? And I was eight. Hang on! Eight! That’s what must have happened during that month when I was eight. That’s why I hardly showed up to school – they were conducting tests on me. She then felt a sense of peace now that she had worked that out.
So, how come I am only now remembering it? Then she remembered another thing from her dreams/memories:
“I’m just about to initiate the Memory Sweep. We’ve come along way since Einstein’s method.”
“We certainly have,” Petrus agreed. “What percentage chance does Ivanka have of regaining the memories?” he then whispered.
Dr. Gillard was silent for a minute. “29%,” she said.
So, the Freeze Serum is used by the League of Nations. Have I been kidnapped by Charles or Petrus?
“So,” Tractatori finished, “you understand everything, Anastasia?”
Anastasia’s clone nodded as she shifted in her seat. “Impeccably, Tractatori,” she replied, flashing him a smile.
He handed her a vial filled with yellow liquid and a syringe and Anastasia’s teleporter and holo-projector. “Then get started.”
Anastasia slowly stood up and felt around. She needed to see if there was any weak spots to try and escape. If she had been kidnapped by the League again, she did not want to stick around to find out what they would do to her. The walls were hard and felt like concrete. She felt around everywhere that she could.
She was in a small concrete room – four feet by four feet. But she could not find any weak spots. Despair seized her and she slowly sat back down. I’m never getting out.
Tractatori exited the room. Anastasia’s clone had teleported herself to Moscow with a tiny, skin-coloured camera taped to her forehead so that Tractatori could see and hear what was going on in Moscow. He walked down the aisle and entered another room. A holo-screen immediately popped up infront of him. It was a video camera. He watched as the female he was watching sat on the floor in a corner, her head resting on her knees. He could see her as the camera’s night-vision was on. “Activate comms in Cell 621,” he ordered.
Obeying his voice command, the cell’s comms were activated. Now he could speak to his female prisoner and she could speak to him. “Salve, Anastasia.”
Anastasia raised her head and looked around. It was still pitch black and she could not see anything. The voice was masculine and spoke in Latin. It’s definitely not Charles or Petrus, she thought. How can he see me in here? “Who are you?” she asked.
“Let’s just say that I control everything,” he replied.
“My family will realize sooner or later that I am missing and they will start looking,” Anastasia said. She thought of her mother, who had lost her once before. Anastasia felt a pang in her heart as she thought of how Anne must feel losing her again.
“That will not be a problem,” he replied smugly. “I have created a clone of you to replace you. See for yourself.”
Suddenly, a shimmering rectangle began to form infront of her. Images began appearing in the rectangle. She realized that is was a view of inside the bedroom she had been staying in. Hands appeared in the camera’s view, typing something in her holo-projector. Anastasia then realized what the person was typing – a plan to enter the Peak and how to bring it down.
Anastasia watched as the door in her bedroom opened and Zipporah stuck her head in. “Hey, Anastasia. Alexei wants you,” Zipporah said.
“Okay. Coming.” But Anastasia had not spoken. The voice had come from behind the camera. What? The person sounded exactly like her. The person turned off the holo-projector and stood up and walked towards the door. Then her connection was severed and she was sat there in shock. They have replaced me! She sounds exactly like me and must look just like me. They’ll never realize that I am missing. I’ll be stuck here.
“Why have you kidnapped me? What do you want my clone to do?” she questioned angrily.
“You misunderstand my intentions. I have not kidnapped you. I brought you here as I simply have a job for you to do,” the man replied in a patronizing tone.
“Then why keep me in this cell?” Anastasia argued. “What do you want my clone to do?”
“Not your concern,” the man answered. “Now, about the job I want you to do-”
“I want some questions answered first,” Anastasia interrupted.
The man sighed and was silent for a few minutes. Anastasia suddenly became worried that he had left, refusing to even hear her questions. Then, to her relief, he spoke. “Alright. We have a little time to spare. What are your questions?”
BAY OF BENGAL, BANGLADESH
Kyen watched as Saul opened the hatch. Kyen climbed out of the Silver Dragon and dropped down onto solid ground. It was night time and he was dressed in a black top, trousers, and boots. He also wore a black balaclava and carried no weapons. He had told the Collins that he was going on his own to check on the tunnel that led from the bay to the Peak to disable any cameras and security measures at the entrance. He would, but he needed to do something else first, something he deliberately did not mention to the Collins. He crept silently towards Chittagong, a city in Bangladesh.
UNDERNEATH ROME, ITALY
“When I was eight, how did I survive being attacked by those creatures?”
She’s remembering, Tractatori inwardly groaned. “They were holographic creatures. They weren’t really there,” he replied.
There was a pause. “What did Petrus mean when he said wanted an operation done on me while I was in a white tube? It was to protect them should I ever remember anything, and he said something about it being the same thing Charles was doing to someone else he referred to as Patient 12. What was he talking about?”
She figured she should not have asked, but she desperately wanted answers. This man seemed to know a lot of things, so he probably knew what she was talking about. Then again, why would he tell me? But she could tell he was telling the truth about the creatures. “Do you know who Patient 12 is?” the man suddenly asked, avoiding her questions.
Is? He is still alive? And, why is he telling me this? “No. Who?” she asked, not expecting an answer.
“The same one who sent you the e-mail about Anne’s trial,” was the response. Then it definitely wasn’t Petrus. Who hacked into his e-mail? There was another pause. “You haven’t worked it out yet? The man would have been Emperor if it wasn’t for Charles.”
Anastasia felt sick. Kyen…
CHITTAGONG, BENGAL, BANGLADESH
Kyen kept to the shadows as he crept stealthily through the streets. It was a moonless night. He slipped past the Law Enforcers easily. He stopped in an alleyway and peered up at the building he stood next to. It was a corner fresh fruit store. He tested the back entrance. It was unlocked. As agreed. He slipped inside and shut the door. He looked around the back store room, dark as the windows were shut.
He took a step forward. Something cold – a gun – was pressed against the back of his head and a bright light was shone in his face. He squinted and brought his hands up to block some of the light. “Robbers are not welcome here, buster,” a threatening and angry voice told him from behind.
“Take off your balaclava,” a voice from infront of him ordered. Kyen complied and pulled off his balaclava. The light was lowered and the gun was pulled away. Kyen blinked as his eyes adjusted. “So now you are here, Shadow.”
“You make a guy feel so welcome, Jim,” Kyen said sarcastically.
“What do you want?” said the voice from behind. Chris.
“I’ve got a plan to destroy the Peak. I need your help. In fact, the whole group.”
UNDERNEATH ROME, ITALY
Tractatori exited the room. After he had hinted at who had sent the e-mail, and he was sure Anastasia had worked it out, he quietly left. His phone rang. He checked the caller ID and then answered the phone call. “Took you long enough,” he greeted.
“I suppose you hacked into the Silver Dragon and so know about Kyen’s operation?” the person whispered. He realized that the person was whispering so as not to be overheard.
“Yes, Amelia. So, the device has been taken out?”
“Yes, Great Tractatori. But, I’ve implanted another in there, one you will be able to hack into,” and Amelia proceeded to tell him what to do. “You will be able to gain control of Kyen.”
So, I won’t need to operate on him. “Thank you.” He hung up and dialed another number. He put the phone to his ear. It rang once before the call was answered. “Vacarius. Anything on Petrus and the Owens?”
“Yes. They have just landed in the Tibet Mountains, in China. I’ll send you the co-ordinates,” and there was a beep! as the co-ordinates arrived in his phone.
“Thank you,” and he hung up. He went to his messages and opened the latest message. He studied the co-ordinates. He looked it up on Google Maps on his phone. He began making a mental list of all that Anastasia would need for her trip.
He wondered why exactly Petrus helped her out before? Despite the fact that he had a soft spot for her, he had never done anything before for anyone just because of a soft spot – he always had some sort of plan.
Anyway, soon he would be able to send Anastasia off. Things could not be better.
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