Chapter 26: drama unfolds (1)

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“Aleks, what do you think about this?”

Lenia clutched an amber brooch in her hands which she had noticed in a stall along the main road passing through the ‘Red Light’ district where even merchants didn’t sleep. Many people were crowded around the area browsing the market stalls which also served a variety of food and beverages. The atmosphere was quite festive with the occasional brawl or scuffle between rowdy passerbys.

“It is simple yet has a certain profound beauty. It is quite fitting for someone like you.”

Lenia was pleased by Aleks’s compliment and held the brooch as if it were a treasure although Aleks hadn’t given it much thought. He was presently distracted while observing the surroundings carefully. His eyes finally settled on a dark alleyway which most would miss because there was no light to be had within.

It was a dark and dreary passageway filled with a freakishly abnormal air. As if by some prior agreement, no one dared go near the alley and it was completely devoid of people. This was clearly unnatural because every other open space appeared crowded with people.

As Aleks stared into the alleyway only half listening to Lenia as she chattered away while browsing the accessories being sold at the market stall, it almost seemed as if the dark within the alley had come alive. Shadows within danced and swayed awkwardly without any rhyme or reason completely unnoticed by the crowd of people. Only Aleks was aware of the strange darkness within.

Aleks neared the alley, distancing himself from Lenia without her knowledge. She was engrossed in what she was doing and failed to notice Aleks leaving her side. He walked to the mouth of the alley, standing just outside and whispered.

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“The night grows weary, ever constant and estranged.”

Across Aleks’s retina, numbers and symbols appeared as he gazed into the shadows. His ability to analyse, scanning the darkness and sending a variety of information into his sight. 

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Strangely enough in response to his words, a voice answered back, “Do you have the list?”

“I do.”

Aleks raised his arm and extended it into the shadowy darkness. Gripped within his hand was a piece of parchment.

A lazy smirk slowly made its way up Aleks’s face, “Do you doubt me? Even if I can’t kill him at this time, I will make sure he can’t disrupt your mission. That should be enough.”

“It will be enough, we will wait in the shadows until then.”

“Before you go, there is a small matter I need you to take care of.”

The shadows began to disperse as if they were being sucked into a vacuum slowly but Aleks’s sudden words halted their disappearance.

“Do you think we are your personal servants? We have only one mission. Your concerns have nothing to do with it.”

Despite the impatience and condescension in the voice, Aleks paid it no mind. His thoughts were completely unreadable to the outside but within his mind he was sneering. He had no fear of the being hiding in the dark alleyway but he kept his thoughts to himself. It was necessary to work alongside this man until his objectives were accomplished.

“This is necessary to complete the mission.”

There was no immediate response as the owner of the voice seemed to be considering Aleks’s words.

“As long as it doesn’t compromise my work here.”

“Relax, it is a simple matter. I need you to bring me 3 corpses, they must be fresh. Only just killed. There must be a man and a woman, the third doesn’t matter. I have written my specifications on this parchment.”

Aleks once again raised his hand into the alley while gripping another piece of parchment. This disappeared just as the first did and the shadows once again began to disperse. The voice didn’t say anything more and Aleks felt the presence completely disappear into the shadows. The meeting had been quick, lasting mere moments, and before anyone was aware Aleks returned to Lenia’s side.

Lenia was holding a hair clip in her hands and without turning whispered, “Master.. You should really inform me before you walk off..”

Aleks was pleasantly surprised. Lenia hadn’t even turned when Aleks had walked off and he thought she was engrossed in what she was doing. She had continued her actions seemingly without noticing Aleks movements but to his surprise, she had in fact been aware.

“So you saw.”

“I can’t protect you master if you do things without telling me.”

Aleks watched Lenia silently from the side while she continued to pretend to be browsing the merchandise and occasionally commenting. It was loud and crowded so no one could hear their whispered conversation over the noise. Their actions seemed natural and not out of place.

It seems she’s becoming more mature and developing quickly. This is beyond my expectations.

“Let’s return.”

Lenia nodded and once again became cheerful while holding onto Aleks’s arm.

“Did you see anything you liked?”

“Just the brooch… because you said it suited me..”

Lenia was slightly embarrassed and her words almost became a whisper by the end. The two returned to the hotel without any unexpected events taking place. The only thing of note to Aleks was the strange way the female receptionist avoided looking at Aleks despite him asking her to bring up breakfast to their room in the morning. She even seemed deathly afraid to even respond to him and she kept furtively eyeing Lenia without lifting her head.

Strange, I’m not releasing any of my aura currently.

Aleks found her actions to be out of the ordinary but didn’t pay it any further attention and the two made their way to their room. They slept comfortably that night although it took a while for Lenia to fall asleep. Aleks fell asleep almost immediately and since they were sharing the same bed, Lenia nervously lay beside Aleks for a good portion of the night. She finally settled on staring at him until she fell asleep unbeknownst to Aleks.

The next day was spent mostly in preparation. The two didn’t leave the hotel and instead had food brought to their room throughout the day. Aleks wasn’t in the mood to leave the room and spent most of the day in silent contemplation while perusing information that only he could see. He browsed the various menus in his mind in order to plan a proper advancement route for Lenia. It wouldn’t be long before he could advance her rank and strengthen her further.

Just a bit more SP. After tonight I should have enough.

As for Lenia, she spent most of her time staring at Aleks. She was afraid to disturb him and instead entertained herself with a variety of fantasies that only she was aware of. Aleks was too focused on his own concerns to pay her any mind.

Night came quickly for Aleks but for Lenia, the wait was almost unbearable. However once it did come, she was once again excited because they would finally leave the hotel. She had never been to a theatre before and was anticipating the experience. All of their belongings were being held within Aleks’s ‘Soul Realm’ and so it was a simple matter for them to gather whatever they needed and leave. They had no intention of returning to this particular hotel.

Their destination was the large theatre within the ‘Red Light’ district which was the domain of Don Gregorio, one of the leaders of the underworld within the city. While Don Jesef until recently had run the remainder of the Commercial District, Don Gregorio had control over the ‘Red Light’ district. The two made their money in different ways and so on the surface it seemed that they were not truly in competition with each other. However, in reality they were bitter rivals and they barely could tolerate one another.

A long line stretched out of the theatre, those were mostly the rabble that could only hope they would gain entrance to the theatre, but Aleks was not one of the rabble. He strolled straight up to the entrance and addressed the guards who were standing outside. They were there to ensure no riff raff gained entrance and only those who could pay the proper fees would be allowed entry.

“Oy, look at these ‘ere two celebrities!”

One of the guards hit another man standing next to him and the two of them eyed Aleks up and down. Their eyes went wide once they noticed Lenia and they chuckled to each other as they ogled her chest.

“Well, well, don’t we hav’a fine looking piece of ass right ‘ere” The two men approached Lenia, their eyes blinded by lust.

“Oy mate, twould be in your best interest to let us fine gents hav’a go at this ‘ere beauty. I reckon you wouldn’t want ta hav’a issue.”

One of the men his arm on Lenia’s shoulder and smiled wickedly at her. She had strapped a dagger to her leg at the Hotel and was about to reach for it when she was stopped by Aleks.

“We are here by invitation, it would not be wise for you to keep Don Gregorio waiting.”

At the mention of their boss’s name, they hesitated.

“You say yer ‘ere by invitation eh? If yer lying, we’ll have yer head. What’s ya name?”

They didn’t look pleased but the man that had put his hand on Lenia removed it.

“Tell him that Aleksandros is here.”

The two men looked at each other and one went into the theatre and after a few minutes returned with another man.

“Forgive the holdup Sir Aleksandros, Don Gregorio is waiting for you within, I hope our men weren’t disrespectful?”

A portly man with a sly grin on his face addressed Aleks in a friendly tone.

“No matter. Let’s not waste any more time on pleasantries.”

Aleks showed no emotion which baffled the man, but he nodded his head and continued to grin.

“Of course! Of course! Come, follow me!”

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