"Now they know what آپ are."

Not long after, a knock came at the young man's door. Marcus Antoni Rurik set down the jackets he had been trying to decide between to go to the door. He froze at the sight before him. The redhead had been forced to clean up nicely. Her red locks were straightened to a sheen, make-up smoothed over her features, and a well-fitted dress hugged her well-toned body. Aside from the chains around her wrists, Anastasia Romanov looked like she actually belonged in his family's castle.
"Miss Romanov, how can I help you?" Marcus asked, crossing his strong arms over his chest. The girl ducked her head in what the male knew was only feigned respect. "Can we talk in private?"
The Rurik boy looked at her guards and motioned for them to stay where they were, then stepped back to let the young girl into his room. She moved with a gracefulness that surprised him.
"I want your help, please. Not for me, but for my brother."
The warlock snorted. "You must know that I'm a seer with the ability to see many futures. And they all lead to your brother's execution. They have for a long time. I know آپ are kitsune, and your death will be more...complicated, but my sister's poisoning your brother last سال solved that problem on his part. Now he's just a mere puppy." He expected the teenager to rise to the bait, but she remained meek. Marcus suddenly doubted the rumors of this girl's supposedly unmatched defiance.
"I just want him to spend his last hours in comfort," she whispered, her large مرکت, ایمرلڈ eyes pleading. "Please, take away his pain. آپ win, just give him a little medicine so that he doesn't have to suffer."
Marcus actually gaped at the request. He laughed with a suddenness that startled the broken girl. "And what," he asked quietly, stepping closer, "can آپ do for me?"
"Anything آپ want," she کہا quietly. She shrank beneath his gaze and averted her eyes. "I know that with Callaghan recently married, your the oldest to be without a wife یا children..."
Marcus raised his brows at Ana's directness. "Wow. And just like that, she finds a way to save her self...if even just for a night." He looked her over, no promise of protection in his gaze, only triumph.
"Let's see how آپ do tonight," he remarked, waving a hand to unlock the cuffs. "Then we'll talk about the future..." He waved his hand again, and the young woman's dress fell to pool around the floor. She kept her eyes averted and made no objections as his lips graced her skin.
It was midmorning when her bedroom door was thrown open. Ana looked up calmly as the furious warlock barged inside. For that, he grabbed her hair and threw her to the ground. Ana clench her jaw to keep from making a sound and glared up at him.
"You really thought that I wouldn't notice?!" Marcus demanded. "Give it to me. NOW."
The young woman slowly sat up and reached into the folds of her dress. "You're a heavy sleeper," she remarked as she held up the glittering family ring. Its sapphire thrummed with power like a beating heart. The warlock slipped the ring onto his finger and curled his fingers into a fist.
"How did آپ do it?" he asked lowly, tempered with the return of his greatest possession. "I'm the most skilled seer of Supernatural Russia, but I never saw آپ stealing from me. What were آپ going to do? Use it to teleport out of here and get help?" When Ana remained silent, he screamed, "HOW?"
She only barred her canines from her place on the floor. Ana had been in this place, with a person with this rage, enough times to know to stay down and deny him the pleasure of pushing her down again.
Suddenly, Marcus Antoni Rurik's eyes widened to saucers. "No," he whispered with a horror that twisted Ana's gut. "No, you're not...I had heard of being capable to tricking seers so effortlessly. But...I thought آپ were just a kitsune..."
His sky blue eyes hardened with anger. "That's what آپ wanted us to believe. This whole time. That آپ were just some freak, the last of your kind. The ability to resurrect a few times, but that's all...But you're something more, something dark and twisted. The demons created as a last ditch effort to protect kitsune from the witches hunting them to extinction. Monsters twisting minds, twisting fate in unholy ways. Nogitsune."
Ana dropped her eyes to the carpet, his words burning into her. She knew what he was imagining. The worst of her kind. Unnatural being without faces, without souls, twisted سے طرف کی their demon blood into things that defied natural magic.
Ana had killed like nogitsune, left walls splattered with blood, held a still beating دل in her hand. The sounds of fear, the smell of death, the taste of blood. Every moment of her adult life she had fought those urges, but they were there. Ana mustered the courage to look up at the warlock just in time for his hand to sting her cheek. Her head jerked. Reeling from the whiplashed, she heard him start to leave, then pause. "No one will know about this incident," he growled. "You will accompany my tonight to the party, where I can keep and eye on you, little monster."
Ana closed her eyes as he slammed the door shut. She felt a gash open where his ring had تقسیم, الگ کریں open her cheekbone. The pain calmed her rolling nerves. Tonight, she would play his game. But even as he made her bleed, Marcus Antoni must have known he had already lost.

"Why did آپ do it? Why did آپ interfere?!" he demanded. He wanted her to believe him to be enraged, but Anastasia knew frustration, fear, and, مزید than anything else in his voice, grief when she heard them. "You could have escaped with his ring, and not come back. Marcus would have never known for sure what آپ were. But آپ just had to come back and make me a part of your scheme."
"You would have died if I left you."
"Yes," he agreed. Anastasia looked up at her brother, at the tears reddening his eyes and cheeks.
"I couldn't just watch آپ die again!"
"Yes, آپ could have," he growled. "Hailey's baby and Noëlle's twin are dead because of me. Two dead baby boys are ENOUGH for me, Ana." He stepped back from her and turned his back, roughly running his hand through his hair. He left his hands there, tangled in his silvery locks. Every freshly-healed muscle tensed beneath his scarred skin. "I've had enough," he breathed, his voice falling to a low, desperate pitch. "Anyone I hope to marry will only suffer as Whisper and Hailey did. I was ready to die, to have peace. The Rurik's would have been satisfied with my death; آپ and Noëlle could have lived on, gotten married one دن to permanently shed the Romanov name. Peace for our family, Annie. That's what آپ sacrificed for him."
The girl's eyes fell to her snow covered boots. Her eyes felt too dry of tears after a night of weeping over what she had done to escape the Rurik's long enough to get a message to their allies.
"Maybe if I turn myself in..." he contemplated quietly, "maybe they'll still be satisfied."
"You know they won't."
"I HAVE TO TRY." He whirled on her, but his strength was gone. The scar that cut a ragged line down his face made him a version of her brother that she didn't recognize. Invincible and broken all at once. "This family has no future as long as the Ruriks continue after us. My daughter will not suffer for this."
"You're right," she agreed. Aleksander's expressions turned suspicious at her succession. "But the Ruriks will want مزید than just آپ now...they'll want me too for what I am. So I'll make آپ a deal. You'll stay here until you're no longer needed. Then, once the people we love are safe, I'll go with you."
He scoffed, and she didn't blame him. She drew the باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ چھری she had grabbed on her way out and sliced it across her right palm. Bright red splashed onto the white snow between them. Ana held out the knife, and after a moment of hesitation, Aleksander took it. He slashed his own palm, and his blood joined hers in the snow.
"I swear," she began. "That I'll make everything right. As soon as the love of my life is safe, I'll end this family's suffering سے طرف کی trading my life for peace. As long as آپ behave. No drinking, no fighting, no arguing, no getting into anyone's head, and no telling anyone about our plan. For Clovis, Noëlle, Alexie, and Soairse...For our family, I swear I'll hand myself over to Magnus without a fight."
Their hand clasped together like a clap of thunder, blood mixing between bother and sister.
"For our family," Aleksander agreed solemnly. "I swear."