Rise of a Queen

By: Rina Kent



Aurora is back in her old house.

Not her flat, but the fucking place she escaped from as a teen to have her rebirth.


It takes us an hour to fly with my private jet from London Heathrow to Leeds Bradford Airport. An hour I don’t fucking have to spare. And currently, Moses is driving us straight to that house, which is taking another thirty minutes I don’t have.

Why would she come here, of all places? If this is a ploy to escape me, then she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with. She must’ve felt like she had some leeway just because she’s spent a couple of months with me.

The fact that I claimed her as mine means something simple — she’s not allowed to disappear.

Not even if it’s to face her ghosts.

That part still doesn’t make sense. Considering the way she completely cut herself out of Maxim’s life, she shouldn’t have returned here willingly.

It’s like she’s gutting herself by her own hands.

I know for a fact that she gave up ownership of her house in Leeds, so why the fuck would she come back?

Loosening my tie, I pull my phone, then dial Harris. “What else do you have on her from the time she dropped out of the Witness Protection Program?”

That period of her life is still a blur and I need to find out everything there is to learn about it. If she’s keeping it under wraps, something important happened. Something she likes to keep between her and herself.

But here’s the thing, she’s not allowed to hide anything from me, including her demons.

Harris’s unaffected tone comes over the line, “I told you, she forged an identity and her age and then flew to Scotland.”

“What happened exactly between the end of the trials and Scotland? There’s time that’s unaccounted for. A week to be exact.”

“It’s…” He seems to check something. “Unknown.”

“So make it known, Harris. I need a report of her every movement from back then.” The fact that she even managed to forge an identity and make herself eighteen is already impressive for a girl that age. And not just any girl — a sheltered one. She didn’t live in the streets or have a hard life prior to Maxim’s arrest, so that survival instinct wouldn’t have come easily for someone with her background.

But something tells me that’s not all she’s been through.

And I need to know everything about her — the nitty-gritty, the good, the bad.

Every. Fucking. Thing.

“Hold on.” There’s a flipping of papers from his side. “She was caught on a pharmacy’s security camera near Bradford a few days before her trip to Scotland.”

“Send me the footage.”

I hang up, and almost immediately, my screen lights up with a video from Harris.

The black and white footage shows a girl dressed in a dark hoodie, her hair sticking out from a baseball cap that’s covering half her face. However, I recognise her, even though she’s hiding.

She’s holding her side and slightly leaning over so that the counter will carry her weight. When a female employee addresses her, Aurora tells her something.

Since there’s no audio, I wait to see what she ordered. The employee returns and places some items on the counter. Pausing the video, I zoom in. Bandages, a bottle of antiseptic, and what looks like antibiotics.

I hit Play again, and my suspicions are confirmed when Aurora shoves a note across the counter with shaky hands and practically jogs out of there, still holding her side. Then, at the entrance, she stops and clutches the door for balance.

She remains there for a few seconds, her back bowing and her hand wrapping around her middle, before she raises her head and leaves the pharmacy. The video stops with her holding the door for an elderly woman. Part of Aurora’s face is caught on camera and her lips are…bloodied.

She was hurt, and if my calculations are correct, she’s clutching the same part of her right side where there’s the knife scar and the closed eye tattoo.

The injury was from back then, from when she was fucking sixteen. Aurora was stabbed and she had to self-medicate and probably suture herself. That’s why the scar is a bit messy.

The sense of pride I feel for her strength is doused by the need to ruin the fucker who dared put his hands on her.

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