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Chapter 514 Hostage
Buzzing noises disturbed the nightmare and awakened Khan. He opened his eyes, but his vision was hazy. A cozy feeling also invaded his senses, tempting him to go back to sleep.
Still, the phone never stopped buzzing, and a cute groan joined that sound, bringing new energy to Khan's mind. He snapped up, sitting on the mattress while some mental exhaustion showed its presence. He felt drained, and an explanation arrived when the haziness dispersed.
Khan rubbed his eyes before the messiest bed he had ever seen unfolded in his vision. The blankets had disappeared, and a big part of the mattress was uncovered. He also spotted a pillow in the corner of the room while the heavy scent of s.e.x invaded his nostrils.
The scene made Khan a bit proud and looking at the naked figure on his right intensified that feeling. Monica was sleeping belly down, without anything covering her beauty, and pieces of her beautiful face peeked past her curls.
The relentless buzzing forced Khan to lean past the mattress and grab his phone. Countless calls and messages had reached his device, with many coming from the Headmistress. That reaction wasn't surprising considering the previous night's events, but Khan had no intention of dealing with that just yet.
Khan silenced the phone and left it in the corner of the mattress before lying over Monica. He grabbed her waist to pull her closer while immersing his head in her curls. When Khan found her cheek, he kissed it and smiled at the loving moan it caused.
"I can't feel my legs," Monica whined.
"That's because you have been a good girl," Khan whispered to Monica's ear.
"Was I?" Monica innocently asked.
"Yes," Khan confirmed. "So, rest a little longer."
"I want to be with you," Monica complained, but a soft slap landed on her b.u.t.t and made her gasp.
"Stay," Khan said in a firmer tone. "I have things to handle."
"Yes, Captain," Monica giggled and slightly lifted her head to let Khan kiss her. She returned to the mattress afterward, and Khan straightened his back while running a hand through her hair.
Khan couldn't hold back from prolonging that caress when he touched Monica's neck. He ran his fingers across her back, and another proud smile appeared when he noticed the faint bite mark on her b.u.t.t.
'Maybe I exaggerated,' Khan wondered before dismissing that thought. The night had been too great to regret it. Besides, he had done worse with Liiza, and Monica had clearly been into it.
Khan shook his head and crawled out of bed to escape that tempting sight. He had silenced his phone, but those calls were still there, and he needed to address them before giving in to his desires again.
Finding underwear or pants in the messy room was impossible, so Khan retrieved his phone and went into another area to get a clean uniform. The main hall was his next destination, and entering it showed some missing clothes.
Khan rubbed his eyes again before limping toward the array of couches. He found Monica's underwear on the floor, and her socks were on the table. Monica's bra had ended under a seat, and her tracksuit had reached the other side of the room for some reason.
Tapping on the floor a few times activated the cleaning functions. Three rectangular drawers opened in different areas of the hall and released robots. Those machines dealt with the dirt, spots, and dust while Khan retrieved all the clothes he could find.
The process took a few minutes, and Khan merely threw the retrieved clothes into another bedroom before moving on with his next task. He unlocked Francis' corridor, and the metal wall slid open to reveal a familiar figure.
"I should have been more specific," Khan admitted seeing Andrew standing firmly before Francis' bedroom. It was clear that the guard didn't go to sleep at all, which was theoretically in line with Khan's orders.
"Mister Alstair didn't leave his room all night, sir," Andrew reported.
"Good job," Khan stated. "Follow me."
Khan led Andrew into the main hall and pointed at a couch before sitting down. Andrew decided to remain on his feet and perform a military salute, and Khan only nodded at him before making a call.
"Captain, you finally called!" Jenny's voice came out of the phone. "The situation needs your immediate-."
"Jenny, not now," Khan interrupted. "I have another pressing task."
"What is it, Captain?" Jenny asked, even if her tone carried the anxiety caused by the previous night's events.
"Can you handle contracts?" Khan questioned. "I need to hire someone."
"Is he by any chance Mister Alstair's guard?" Jenny questioned.
'Rumors spread fast,' Khan thought before speaking. "Indeed. His name is Andrew Durarel. I'd rather complete this now."
"I can send a universal form with your data," Jenny revealed, "But the Alstair's contracts require-."
"Mister Alstair will rescind his contract to his family," Khan interrupted again.
A few silent seconds had to pa.s.s before Jenny spoke again. "As you wish, Captain. I'll send the form to your phone."
The call ended, and a new message arrived right away. Khan sent its contents to the flat before summoning some holograms. A standard contract appeared between Khan and Andrew, and the two immediately began to fill it.
Khan didn't have much to write. He only had to insert the previously agreed remuneration. As for the contract's length, he set it to one year to be safe.
Once the two were done, Khan sent the contract to Francis' room and waited. He didn't know whether Francis was asleep or hesitant about the matter, but a signed version of the form returned in a mere minute. Everything was in order now, and Khan forwarded the doc.u.ment before checking his profile.
Those official procedures were public, and the network updated quickly, so Khan could immediately confirm Andrew's employment. He now had a guard who made his monthly expenses way heavier.
"You can rest now," Khan announced once the matter ended. "If you need food, just order it from the room. As for the drinks, almost any drawer in this flat has some."
"Sir, I can keep guarding Mister Alstair," Andrew stated.
"There is no need," Khan firmly rea.s.sured. "I'll be here anyway. Now, go."
Andrew didn't argue anymore. He relaxed and reperformed his military salute before entering Francis' corridor and picking a random bedroom. Khan isolated that area again afterward but didn't forget to give Andrew special authorizations inside the flat.
'Now,' Khan thought while skimming through the many messages to get an idea of the situation.
The streets had cameras, so Francis' arrival didn't go completely unnoticed. The Headmistress and families had prevented videos from reaching the network, but it was only a matter of time before the public learnt about those events.
Of course, Lucian and the other wealthy descendants had special channels, and their parents didn't like to remain in the dark. That political incident was relevant for many reasons, and the messages on Khan's phone conveyed that general interest.
'It's not completely out yet,' Khan thought. 'I can use that.'
It was still morning. The lessons had begun, but attending them wasn't an option during the current crisis. Still, Khan didn't know how long his leverage would last or if he even had any, so his next call began to address the issue.
"How dare you answer just now?!" Headmistress Holwen's loud voice came out of Khan's phone. "This is insubordination on multiple levels! Release Mister Alstair at once!"
"Mister Alstair stays here until I meet the interested parties," Khan responded.
"I'm not playing around, Captain," Headmistress Holwen exclaimed. "This is a direct order. Release him immediately!"
"Ma'am, I'm afraid he might fall from the stairs so early in the morning," Khan joked.
"It's midday," Headmistress Holwen stated, "And your building doesn't have stairs."
"Then," Khan said as his tone lost any trace of emotions, "I'm afraid he might fall headfirst on my knife."
Silence unfolded. The Headmistress had seen the footage but didn't expect Khan to answer like that. She was his superior inside the Harbor, but he was explicitly disobeying her orders.
"You are playing a dangerous game, Captain," The Headmistress eventually uttered.
"I'm not playing," Khan responded. "They came after my girlfriend while I wasn't there, and you gave them that window."
"I warned you," Headmistress Holwen reminded. "I told you many families have their eyes on Monica Solodrey. The Alstair family is only the first to make a move."
"And I will use it as a statement," Khan answered, "So that no one else gets any strange idea about my girlfriend or me."
"Your achievements must have made you delusional," Headmistress Holwen uttered. "The families have access to high-level warriors that I can't stop, let alone you."
"If they come," Khan announced, "I can still take the entire district with me."
"You are joking," Headmistress Holwen said, even if her voice lost part of its power.
"Am I?" Khan questioned. "Ma'am, take a good look at my profile. You know I can and will if cornered."
"This is terrorism," The Headmistress commented.
"I don't care what you call it," Khan declared. "I only care about protecting what I have."
Silence unfolded again. The statement sounded like a bluff, but the Headmistress wasn't ready to call it. Khan wasn't exactly predictable, and the recent events were bound to add fuel to the resolve she had seen in a past meeting.
"Ma'am, I know you can't take sides," Khan eventually continued, opting for a calmer tone. "I'm not asking you to. Still, I have Monica's parents on my side, at least publicly, and multiple descendants' support. You can stay out of this without labeling me as a traitor."
The Headmistress' obligations began and ended with the Harbor. She only had to maintain stability, and forcing Khan to free Francis was the simplest and most immediate solution.
However, that wasn't the Headmistress' only option. She could easily play both sides and let Khan do his game. That approach wouldn't make her look too good, but the alternative also had problems since the Alstair family could ask for reparations.
"A hostage and my silence can't buy you much time," Headmistress Holwen explained. "You need real pressure to make this go how you want to."
"I'll deal with that this very night," Khan promised. "I only need you to keep my profile clean."
Khan added a respectful "ma'am" after a few seconds. He was angry at the Headmistress but also understood her position. He was even asking another favor, and threatening to blow up the entire district wasn't the way to do it.
"You are a magnet for trouble, Captain," Headmistress Holwen declared. "I'm starting to wonder why I'm even helping you."
"I might have a lead on Mister Chares' organization," Khan decided to reveal.
"You do?" The Headmistress didn't hide her interest. "Tell me."
"I refuse," Khan replied. He wouldn't know how to explain Raymond's call, and that information was leverage. Luckily for Khan, the Headmistress was savvy enough to understand the second part.
"Very well," Headmistress Holwen exclaimed. "I'll stay out of this as long as possible, but you should hurry. I'll personally open your flat's doors if they corner me."
"Thank you, Headmistress," Khan uttered. "I'll repay this favor one day."
"You shouldn't worry about what you owe me," Headmistress Holwen warned. "You should mind what you are about to promise."
Khan nodded, even if the Headmistress couldn't see him. Still, that didn't matter since Headmistress Holwen closed the call, leaving Khan with his thoughts.
'An interview might buy me more time,' Khan considered revealing the previous night's events to the public, 'But it might also antagonize potential allies.'
Revealing private information about Francis and his plan would show that Khan wouldn't hesitate to ignore the families' privileges. Involving the public in the matter might improve his image but ruin potential relations.h.i.+ps with the forces that could genuinely help him.
'It's not big enough anyway,' Khan sighed. 'I need the other descendants and that.'
Khan put his phone aside to play with the flat's menus. New holograms soon appeared before him to depict Honides. Raymond had basically told him to fly there, but the eleventh quadrant didn't feature anything special.
'Can I justify a trip there?' Khan wondered.
Khan stared at the holograms for a few minutes while various thoughts occupied his mind, and his eyes didn't move even when Monica entered the main hall. Still, a plaid pattern eventually appeared in the corner of his vision and distracted him from that topic.
"How do I look, dear?" Monica asked, slightly lifting the corners of her plaided red skirt to perform a bow. She had worn black tights and a jersey too, creating a simple but elegant look ruined only by her messy hair.
"Dear?" Khan couldn't help but repeat.
"I might have called you my fiancé yesterday," Monica revealed, br.i.m.m.i.n.g with excitement as she sat at Khan's side. "If I'm going to be your wife, I need practice."
Khan smiled, pulling Monica on his shoulder and placing a hand on her chin to tease her properly. "Are you letting your imagination run wild again?"
"Always," Monica whispered, "Until it's not my imagination anymore."
"What's next on your vision then?" Khan asked.
"Being a woman worthy of you," Monica responded. "Both in appearance and behavior."
The statement explained the elegant attire, but Monica wasn't done. "I still have to fix my hair, but I'm waiting for our bath. Did I make the right decision, Captain?"
"You did," Khan nodded. "I must watch you closely. Otherwise, I'd worry your legs would give up at the wrong time."
"You must hold me very tightly," Monica giggled, and the two fell into a long kiss.
The current crisis and the previous night's outburst allowed the couple to hold back their pa.s.sion. When the kiss ended, the two focused on the holograms, but Monica spoke words that had nothing to do with them.
"I can't see my parents being in the dark about yesterday," Monica declared. "They didn't warn us on purpose."
"Did they hope Francis took you away?" Khan asked.
"I'm not sure," Monica admitted. "It might have been a test."
"The test isn't over," Khan rea.s.sured, kissing Monica's head before leaving the couch. "We can't stop them from coming at us, but I can give them a taste of the consequences."
Monica stood up and followed Khan as he limped around the table with the holograms. She recognized Honides but seeing Khan highlighting and zooming in on the eleventh quadrant confused her.
"Why Honides?" Monica eventually asked.
"Raymond called," Khan revealed. "He basically told me to go there."
"Raymond?!" Monica gasped. "What did he want?"
"I can't possibly imagine what he wants," Khan sighed. "That's what he said."
"Do you think it's Nak-related again?" Monica questioned.
"I would have sensed it," Khan guessed, "Probably. Still, I think it's related to Mister Chares. That's what Raymond tried to hint at."
Monica's confusion deepened, but only on specific topics. She didn't question how Raymond knew about Khan's missions or the criminal organization. The man had access to a Nak's hand. Illegal activities were nothing in comparison.
"Why is he trying to help you so badly?" Monica wondered. "There is only so much he can do before it becomes suspicious."
"I become suspicious," Khan corrected. According to the network, he was terrific, and the reality was really close to that evaluation. However, a major feat accomplished randomly would solidify the hypothesis that Khan had something to do with those criminals.
"You can't take this bait so openly," Monica warned, continuing to trail behind Khan.
"I can get a few additional tasks the next time they send me on Honides," Khan suggested, "With one casually close to the eleventh quadrant. At worst, I'll say I was using the storms to condition my skin."
"That," Monica exclaimed before hesitating a few seconds, "Can work, but take someone with you. Mister Durarel is perfect for the job."
"I'll consider that," Khan promised, even if Andrew had no place in those tasks. After all, they were cla.s.sified missions set directly by the Harbor's specialists, and only Khan could fly relatively freely among Honides' storms.
"Do you want me to send invitations for tonight?" Monica changed the topic.
"I need you for Anita and Lucy," Khan nodded. "Maybe I should leave all the women to you."
"It's for the best," Monica agreed.
"Another study session where no one will study," Khan joked. "I also need to check on George."
"We need," Monica corrected. "He might have had his reasons, but his actions still helped me."
"The doctor probably told him to stop drinking until he healed," Khan chuckled. "He'll need us."
Monica laughed at that comment, and the two continued to walk around the table a bit longer. Yet, Khan eventually stopped in his tracks.
"Monica," Khan called while his eyes remained on the holograms.
"Yes?" Monica replied.
"Why are you following me?" Khan asked, peeking past his shoulder and noticing the intensity of the icy-blue eyes fixed on him.
"I can't stop if I see you," Monica responded, taking her cheeks in her hands. "I'm burning already."
Khan couldn't find the strength to scold Monica. She looked too excited and happy about her feelings to stop them. In a way, that extreme mood was the perfect match for Khan's love, and he wouldn't dare to suppress it.