"Words of Truth,
Heart of Lies"
|Written date||27th August, 2012|
|Fan-fiction created by Valkasha.|
From Zhalia’s diary
13th July 2009, Saturday, 1:54
The Organization Central
Prague, The Czech Republic
Soon I’ll become a princess…
Just kidding. I’m not some five-year-old to start my diary like that; it’s not even pink and it's neither fluffy nor scented.
There’s a grain of truth in this sentence, though. I just should have added that before I put the diadem on, I’ll have to get one prince eliminated. Or one annoying frog, if you prefer.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse. I have to sort this out myself because I still can’t believe that after three years of inconclusive work I’m finally heading towards something.
It all started when I was sitting in Klaus’ Prague office and observing how a huge, yellow slug crawled across his wiry hand. The researcher scratched the mollusk’s bare, slimy skin with his long, wrinkled fingers, just like most people would scratch their favorite pet. But Klaus didn’t look as if he had enjoyed it, at all. Just the opposite, he seemed discontent, and it was not because of the slime left on the sleeve of his claret shirt. The man finally got impatient and, with just one flip, he shook the slug down to the open jar, which, despite all the obvious signs, didn’t contain water.
‘A failure, again. It does not even sting’, he murmured, screwing the lid and observing the slug, which now did not look like a big boil on his hand, but resembled a gigantic jelly instead, levitating in the mysterious liquid up and down, and around, and again, and so on, hypnotizing… It was hard to take one’s eyes off it. However, Klaus managed to do so and then noticed that the files which he had given me a moment ago had been lying on my lap safely for few minutes.
‘Aren't you reading?’, he growled, piercing me with his greenish-brown right eye, enlarged monstrously by the monocle thrusting his lower eyelid.
‘What for?’, I answered with another question, throwing the papers back onto his desk lightly. ‘I already know everything I should. Don’t forget that it was me who collected the information from the Huntik records.’
‘Except where he has been hiding for last three years’, he said. ‘That DeFoe paranoid had to guide you.’
I shook my head with all the loftiness I could have gathered – despite the pretense, this comment hurt.
‘He got lucky, that’s all. If I had bumped into those kids…’
‘Exactly’, Klaus interrupted me roughly. ‘If you had. But it was DeFoe who caught all three handsome birds at once…’
‘He hasn't yet’, I corrected dismissively, laying back on my chair. ‘I’ll preempt him, you’ve got my word. That freak who smells conspiracy everywhere doesn’t stand a chance against me.’
‘I hope so’, Klaus mumbled with dissatisfaction; he’d like to see the results of my actions instead of just me talking about them.
‘You said yourself I’m better than he is’, I stated just to pacify him a bit. Guys love when you invoke their wisdom and shrewdness.
‘Indeed’, Klaus’ furrowed mug, an ideal inspiration for all the Frankenstein’s monster films, lightened a bit (which is hard to notice if one doesn’t know him well, because his face always looks as if it was twisted in a grimace). ‘We do not have to lie to ourselves, Dante Vale is not a superhero without Achilles’ heel’, he speculated snootily while I was playing with the edge of my bandanna, pretending that it’s madly interesting. As if I didn't had a clue what he was talking about, even if I delivered him most of the currently analyzed information myself. ‘He is only human, of course, highly intelligent, clever and dangerous in battle, but still a mere mortal. And a man, and those, as we both know, have their flaws… They like women very much, for example.’
‘Or other men, alternatively’, I barged in. I was getting bored with this speech, I wished we could just get to the point. ‘Young boys, children, dogs, ducks, sheep…’, I enumerated casually.
‘He is a standard case, no aberrations’, Klaus summed up dryly. ‘And we can therefore lure him with a very suitable bait.’
‘I love your compliments, Klaus’, I repaid him rattily. ‘A bait. Sweet, really.’
‘Zhalia, no one would deny that you are already a young woman, beautiful and alluring, aware of your advantages’, he tried to placate me with his flattery. ‘Dante Vale would be handicapped if he ignored it.’
‘Well, that’s better’, I smiled archly.
‘However, it is your knowledge and commitment to this matter that are your main assets’, he added unnecessarily.
Well, finally it became clear why they chose me – I wasn’t appointed the Organization Beauty Queen, just an android perfectly programmed for this job.
‘Klaus, remember that: If he’s some kind of a scabby old fogey, I’ll kill you’, I warned him, underlining this threat with a bloodthirsty eye flare.
‘DeFoe states he looks pretty well’, he murmured – not because he was moved by my warning, but for peace and quiet.
‘In men’s dictionary, ‘pretty well’ may mean protruding ears or smallpox stains’, I snarled, crossing my arms. ‘Besides, that’s a bit general, and in DeFoe’s mouth it sounds even less trustworthy. What?’, I gave back his incredulous, irritated stare. ‘Do you think it’s so pleasant to plan bouncy-bouncy with someone I haven’t even seen?!’
‘You found his photograph in the database’, he stated with annoyance.
‘Yeah and it was taken three years ago’, I reminded him. ‘Many things could have changed since then. For example, his center of gravity.’
Klaus furrowed his brow, not getting the allusion.
‘He may have put on weight’, I explained mercifully. ‘Get a beer belly, a double chin. Or go gray. He’s not the youngest.’
‘He is not even thirty years old’, Klaus jawed me; oh well, that’s a sensitive matter for the old geezer. ‘Dark-haired’, he tried to save the day, digging into his memory and drawing out details which were insignificant for men. ‘He wears a brown duster. Quite tall. Has a beard.’
‘Oh great’, I sighed excessively. ‘I hate bearded ones.’
‘What's the difference?’, the old man snorted, annoyed with my female whining about the topic considered unimportant by him.
‘Fundamental’, I responded trenchantly. ‘You won’t be scratched by those bristles like a wire scourer. I don’t use pumice for my face… and other sensitive body parts’, I added euphemistically, earning another disgusted glare from Klaus. ‘Your description doesn’t put me in an optimistic mood. I’d rather check him myself. However, if I had an actual photo, it’d be much easier to negotiate the price…’
‘Zhalia’, Klaus said it solemnly and way more pleasantly than before, perhaps because he sensed my attitude towards this whole mission, demanding a big sacrifice from me. ‘It is a chance for both of us. The Professor…’
‘Alright, alright’, I turned him away; I know his arguments too well. ‘What am I supposed to pull out from Vale, apart from the equipment from his pants?’
‘Everything’, Klaus said greedily and his eyes burned fanatically. Maybe I’d have got scared if I wasn’t used to it. ‘Everything you will be able to. He is Metz’s protégé, his favorite hound. The Foundation’s leading agent, the pride and joy of Huntik. He has got thousand pieces of information in one finger.
‘Couldn’t we just have a rummage around his nut?’, I proposed with dislike. ‘Can’t we get along without bag of tricks and putting out? I’m not a fireplace that needs to be cleaned from ash and dust’, I added caustically.
‘Few squadrons tried to capture him already, with no result’, he shook his head. ‘He is a real beast, a machine. There has to be a weakness, a loose screw. The statistics lead to the conclusion that a man gets destroyed the most easily by a woman. You got chosen, we decided that you would suit his tastes the best, appreciate it’, it didn’t sound like a request, rather like an order.
‘I’d appreciate it more if I didn’t have to screw with him’, I said with unwillingness, wincing in disgust.
‘You will do everything he wants in order to squeeze the information out of him’, Klaus reserved providently, leaning forward to me and piercing me with his gaze like a butterfly in the showcase. I turned my head aside, but I couldn’t run away from his persuading voice. ‘You will be at his beck and call, even if he has got a huge appetite. Be sexy, seductive, unforgettable. He has to adore you and to desire to give you his soul, let alone few Huntik secrets…’, he carried on with a dreaming expression, tapping his fingers, as if he looked forward to the moment when the Foundation mysteries would get into his hands. ‘Crush him like a lemon. Take advantage of him. Make him do anything you tell him. But do not forget he is only a prey. Treat him like a customer who has to be pleased to pay lavishly. With his own skin’, he laughed so nastily that I heard the phlegm bubbling in his throat. I ignored it bravely.
‘You say it as if I had ever taken liberties with them’, I threw in just to drown this sound and shrugged. ‘It’s just some kind of a… mating dance of a praying mantis, using your favorite biological way of speaking.’
‘Do not soft-soap me’, Klaus snapped tartly. ‘Ryder… danced with you, however, you did not bite his head off.’
I turned away, trying to look as if it didn’t affect me at all.
‘We’re just partners with benefits. Nothing personal’, I waved my hand nonchalantly.
‘I would rather you avoided giving such privileges away to anybody’, Klaus stated wryly, pursing his lips into a thin line, as if he had just swallowed a lemon.
‘Anybody, anybody’, I mocked him. ‘At least I had an opportunity to meet Ryder earlier and I knew what to expect, and this guy is only a whole folder of documents about what, where and when he was doing. Strange that no one wrote when he had shits. They treat him like some guru…’, I yawned from boredom.
‘You must treat him in the same way’, Klaus ordered. ‘He has to lose his head for you… literally’, he smirked at his little joke.
‘If I fawn over him too much, he won’t for sure’, I corrected firmly. ‘Can you just leave it to me? I have more experience in wrapping men around my finger, after all…’
Klaus rolled his eyes, but right away he also nodded. I beamed – in my own way, of course, raising both corners of my mouth lightly and squinting my eyes.
‘Splendid’, I commented shortly, standing up. ‘May I go away now?’
‘Why? To devise a plan?’, he investigated like a child asking about Christmas presents.
‘You could say so’, I responded evasively.
‘You can do it here’, he noticed.
‘Not quite’, I corrected. ‘I need my wardrobe. I must think over in which clothes I’ll amaze this Vale guy.’
‘Does it really matter so much?’, Klaus smiled with sympathy.
Oh well, it’s only Klaus who prefers his experiments over women and probably only new discovers excite him. I gave him a condescending look, which was enough for an answer.
‘I also need some funds’, I added lightly.
‘What for?’, he bristled. Every reference to outgoings make him angry.
‘For a beautician, hairdresser, new underwear’, I enumerated tirelessly. ‘How am I supposed to be effective without it?’
‘You look well already’, he insisted.
‘Does he have to fall into our clutches immediately?’, I asked. Klaus nodded. ‘So I don’t need to look good. I must be astonishing. Stop whining. It’ll pay off soon, promise.’
‘I have a feeling that it is only an excuse to let you have some pleasure from this’, the old geezer growled with anger, handing me a credit card.
‘That’s right’, I laughed disrespectfully, hiding it in the pocket. ‘I guess I deserve it in return for blood, tears… and lots, lots of sweat, don’t I?’, I added suggestively, stretching my back just to expose my smooth moves.
‘If Vale equals to Ryder, you will get your payment in kind’, he responded as suggestively and, in addition, meanly.
‘This spite was unnecessary’, I raised my brows haughtily, sending him my infamous cold glare. ‘I’m not approaching it emotionally and I don’t expect to have much fun. Especially because this buck will probably come out to be a typical male overfilled with testosterone and convinced of his own deadly masculinity… Like every pro.’ I shook my head, somehow I didn’t really want to think about it. ‘Besides… It’s really HARD to come up to Ryder’s’, I added naughtily with a gremlin-like smirk. ‘I’m going, I’ll prepare for the hunt.’
‘Just do not overdo it’, he warned me. ‘If you look too perfect, he will not believe you are on a mission, more likely in the spa.’
‘That’s better for me’, I assured him with self-confidence which could have been taken as pride. ‘He won’t expect what awaits for him… and then…’
‘And then?’, Klaus repeated urgently, but his face indicated that he knew exactly what I wanted to say.
I returned this mean grimace. In fact, he couldn’t have predicted the end. I pointed at the top of his desk.
‘You should name this slug Vale’, I encouraged him.
‘Why?’, he got surprised, throwing me a suspicious stare.
The jar exploded, splashing the transparent liquid all around and sending pieces of glass flying. Klaus quickly raised a guard around himself; it stopped the glass splinters, which fell onto the floor, and the drops of sticky gung, flowing down like an exceptionally glutinous rain. Right in front of the old man’s eyes landed also a shredded, yellowish slice with a reddish edge, which slid down the spherical barrier lazily.
‘Because he will end up the same’, I dispelled the doubts, lowering my raised hand.
When I was leaving, I slammed the door so heavily that the remains of the slug peeled away from the cover with a smack and landed on the floor with a sloppy sound. I couldn’t hold back a smile. Bravo, Zhalia. Nice performance. Quite nice.