Love and Legacy

    I jumped behind the ancient stone pillar and heard the gunshot penetrate the
spot where I stood only a second before. Debris slowly floated onto my
shoulders. I ran behind the next one as the machine gun fired and followed me. I
looked around the pillar and saw two muscular men in all black dropping their
empty guns and pulling out the knives they had stashed behind their backs. I
looked up and surveyed my surroundings. Ancient rock pillars stretched up
fifteen stories, and small nooks holding golden braziers were all along the walls.
I started to get worried that maybe it wasn’t here anymore. Then, I saw the
telltale glint of polished bronze and I knew exactly what to do. I grinned and ran
out into the center of the Colosseum, which was marked with a bright red X.  
 
They advanced around me, sure that I was cornered, but I knew something they
didn’t. My two attackers steadied their arms and hurled the glinting knives at me.
Right as the two knives were about to hit me, I executed a perfect roundoff back
handspring back tuck right onto the flagpole, springboarded up and swung onto
the golden cup using the old rope connected to a ladder. I pulled the rope, and
the ladder fell onto one of the men, and he crashed to the floor, unconscious. I
pushed my hand into the wall and pulled out a chunk of rock, which I hurled at
the second. The man collapsed. I quickly pulled my dart gun out of my pocket
and shot them both in the stomach. That would make them forget the last year,
and being Señor Diablo’s henchmen. I panted and doubled over in pain. A chunk
of rock had hit my stomach and it was bleeding. I started to feel dizzy. I looked
up at the night sky, gripped my hand onto the smooth surface and pulled the
lever. Everything went black, and I faded into memories.
                                                            ***
   Two years ago, I knew nothing. I mean, I knew the basics, math, reading, and
writing.  I had already graduated from high school, and I was only fifteen. I was
very smart in an academic setting, a genius. Still am. But I was happily oblivious
to the life that my parents were living around me. I didn’t find out until they were
killed in a bomb accident in Peru on a mission. A woman wearing a pantsuit and
a large diamond necklace had come into my living room.
   “Come with us,” she said. “We are your only family.” I followed her into a
black limo with tinted windows and guns in the cupholders. She held my hand
and brought me into a giant castle, which she informed me was my new school,
Frauenetikette Internat. I walked right up into my new dorm room and passed out
on my bed.
   The sun blurred my tears, and I barely felt it when a girl dragged me out of my
bed and yelled at me in German.
   She was tall and so pale you could almost see her veins. Her blonde hair was
so light she almost looked like a snow-capped mountain.
    “Come on, you lazy little girl! We’re going to be late!” She pulled my arms up.
I stood, grabbed the uniform she gave me and rushed into the bathroom. I
started changing, but then I noticed what the uniform was. Black athletic
leggings, a black tank top, a black athletic jacket, and black sneakers. I walked
out with it on and looked at my roommate.
“What is this school? Why do we have to wear this ridiculous stuff?” I asked her
in German, panicking. She looked at me like I was the dumbest person in the
whole world.
    “Its spy school, idiot!” She finally responded, and grabbed my arm. Her
fingers pinched at my skin, and she dragged me down the stairs, and into a
gigantic classroom that looked like a karate dojo. On the back of the wall, about
twenty girls my age stood stick straight, looking at an old man in the center of
the room. He looked at my roommate and smiled.
    “Ariana, Annika, kind of you to join us. Please come to stand at the back of
the room with your classmates as I begin the demonstration.” Annika dragged
me to the wall and we both stood up as straight as we could. The man asked his
assistant, a muscular man, to fight him, and I knew it was going to be an unfair
fight. The assistant was at least thirty years younger, one foot taller, and one
hundred pounds heavier. I was astonished when the teacher flipped the
assistant over his shoulder and pinned him onto the floor.
    “This is a demonstration of what to do when someone attacks you from
behind.” He walked to the front of the class. “You must make sure you jab your
knee right into the center of the stomach, so the wind is knocked out of your
attacker.” Before class was over, the teacher, Mr. Manchuso, gave us five more
demonstrations using lots of karate and jujitsu techniques. We headed down two
flights of stairs, through seven different hallways, and around a large theater
before we got to another classroom. Stepping foot inside was like being
transported to another century. The walls were covered in shelves, filled with
ancient books and sculptures. There were red velvet cushions, and the whole
room was painted a pleasing sort of gold. The most amazing part though, was
the ceiling. It was like an old Michelangelo portrait, but instead of angels, there
were women beating up enemies, reading books, and jumping out of helicopters.
There were also pictures of women all around the room. An old woman wearing
an ugly flower print dress walked in.
    “Hello, new students. I am Professor Hughes,” she quipped in a posh British
accent. She paced around us and picked up a stack of thin books. She quickly
passed out one to each student and took a seat.
    “I am in charge of teaching the cryptography and math class.” She stood up
again. “Please open up your booklet I expect you to have decoded five problems
by tomorrow.” I opened up the booklet and found a sentence made up of random
letters. I looked around in confusion. Why did they keep giving me classes on
things I already know? I quickly decoded the sentence and sped through the
next few. It looked like all of the other girls were asking each other questions,
and didn’t know what to do.
    “How did you do that?” Annika looked at me with her eyes wide open. “Only
fifth years know how to do this. We’re the first years!”
    “My parents taught me how to do these when I was younger,” I replied. They
weren’t hard at all. I heard footsteps behind me and saw Professor Hughes
standing above me.
    “You already know how to do this?” she asked, squinting through her
rhinestone-encrusted cat eyeglasses. She walked back to her desk and picked
up an ancient book from the cluttered pieces of paper.  She came to me and
placed it on my desk. She patted it.
    “This is your assignment for the rest of the year. It took many years for even
the greatest of cryptographers to crack it.” She smiled, looking at my hopeless
expression. Then, her face hardened. “Do not lose this. It is a very special
book.” I heard her words through my mind as the rest of the day continued,
through gym, shooting class, the obstacle all the way until after the school day
was over. I finally fell asleep and dreamed of my parents. I thought of their
rushed “Business trips” they went on a few times every month. I remembered
that one time I walked into their room while they were packing, and saw my
mother place a gun in her suitcase.
    “Don’t worry sweetie,” she said, leading me out of their room. “We need to
protect ourselves sometimes, that's all.” I also thought about all the cryptography
classes, karate lessons, and all the different languages I learned! I know French,
German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English, of course. I thought of the
men in black suits that came to my house one day.
    “Your parents are dead. They were killed in a terrorist attack at the airport. It
was an accident.” They assured me in unison. They didn’t bother to tell me why
my parents were the only people killed in that “terrorist attack”. Now I knew that
it wasn’t an accident. Someone killed them on purpose. I decided to bide my
time, until the opportunity to learn more came. Every day, I went to my classes,
learning more, until I was the best in my class. I was the girl the teachers always
used as an example. Straight A student, cryptography master, and the girl who
always won the Obstacle course we had every month. I only excelled at the
physical activity because of all the gymnastics and parkour training I had gone to
all my life. But I hid my real self, who laughed at everything and loved The
Simpsons. I missed my old friends from school and my cat. I missed my
boyfriend. I was proud of myself for my hard work and keeping myself together
this long. Some nights I felt like I would burst out bawling, but I knew that would
just make my stay longer. I became a cold mask, devoid of all emotion and
feeling. I knew my only purpose was clear. To find who killed my parents and kill
them. I would sneak out at night and scope out the surroundings, and learn more
for the day when my plan was put into action. After eight months, what I was
waiting for finally happened. I was walking past the dean’s office and heard
talking. Talking about me.
    “Poor girl,” I heard a feminine voice say. “Her parents were both murdered by
him.” I heard a sigh.
    “We can’t tell her.” another voice responded.
    “Why not?” the first voice said. I had had enough. I barged in the door and
looked at the two women sitting in chairs across from each other.
    “Yeah, why not?” I said, glaring at the Dean. She looked around nervously.
“We weren’t going to tell you until you were ready.” she sighed, “But I suppose
we can tell you the basics.” She pulled out a chair and I sat on it. She began.
    “Your mother and father were both the last descendants of four very
influential and successful families. Your mother, Alessia Sousa was born from a
master spy from Britain's M16, and the head of the SNI. Your father, Erik
Anderson, his parents were the head officer of Sweden's intelligence agency
and the top spy for the CIA. Then, both your parents became the co-heads of
the CIA, after thirty years of continuous service. Then, they were sent on a
mission and assassinated. Their mission was to capture and bring in Señor
Diablo, an evil mastermind criminal plotting to destroy the world with a bomb. He
needs a special book, that has the instructions to build a bomb that could
destroy a whole country. This happened many centuries ago to a place called
Atlantis. Señor Diablo decided that killing your parents, two very influential
people, would show everyone how evil he was. He also thought that they had
this book. We are working now to find him, and to arrest him for all the crimes he
has committed.”
    She stood up and came over to me, and led me out the door. I walked up to
my dorm in silence, but a plan was forming in my mind. I was going to find Señor
Diablo. And kill him.
    That night, I packed my bag, adding all the necessities, and weapons I would
need. I also snuck tons of snacks and money to keep me safe along my journey.
I picked up the book Mrs. Hughes gave to me and shoved it in my backpack.
Who said I couldn’t finish a little homework on the way? Unless they expelled
me, of course. I went to classes as normal and snuck into the Dean's office while
she was gone. I quickly disabled the cameras and opened her cabinet. There! A
red folder marked “Señor Diablo” was in the center. I grabbed it, and dashed
into the hallway and back upstairs. Time for the big escape. Right at 10:00, I hid
my bag behind me and walked into the hall.
    “Bye, Annika,” I called. “I'm going to the nurse to get some medicine.”
“See you soon,” she answered, and waved at me as I walked through the door. I
walked quickly out of the castle, carefully avoiding the cameras swiping around
the hall. I jumped when I passed the statue of two people sitting together,
making sure I didn’t trip on the electrical wire. I looked at the helipad and saw the
helicopter with its back door about to close. I dashed to the back and got
through just in time. I was glad for my all-black outfit, it hid me in the shadows.
The helicopter jerked and we were off. I almost nodded off, but the helicopter
slowed. I looked down and saw the colosseum. I snuck to the wall grabbed a
parachute, and jumped out of the doorframe. I pulled the tab, and I slowly floated
down. I looked down and saw two men wearing all black standing at the bottom
of the arena.  The sun shone on my legs, and I smiled for the first time in
months. That day, I would avenge my parents.
                                                           ***
    My eyes blurred as I took in the surroundings. I tried to move my body, but I
was tied to a chair with thick rope.
    “I am Señor Diablo,” a rough voice chuckled. “I killed your parents, and I will
kill you.”
     I blinked, and everything came into focus. I gasped aloud.
    “Mr. Martinez?” I whispered, shocked.
    “Yes, that was my alias,” he purred, pacing around me and my rope prison. “I
must admit, I was surprised that you were so reckless to come here alone. You
fell right into my lair! Bad for you, good for me.” he cackled. “ It is very
convenient, that I didn’t have to go find you. You also brought me the book!” He
drew back and shook his head.
    “I don’t have time for this.” He looked at one of his henchmen. “Bring in the
syringe.” A tall boy, my age walked in.
    He took one look at my face and rushed over.
“Ariana! What happened to you? Why did you leave me?” His voice sounded
angry and accusing.
    “Your dad killed my parents. My only choice was to go to boarding school. No
one else cared enough about me.” Tears started to trickle down my cheeks. “I
trained to keep myself safe.” I looked at him straight in the eyes. “I loved you. I
can’t believe you did this to me.” Tears dripped down my face and onto my chin.
We had dated for three golden years, which all ended the day my parents died
and I was off to school.
    “What?” Marcos turned around and glared at his father. “Is this true?” Señor
Diablo sighed.
    “Yes, I swore I would destroy their pedigreed bloodline. First I killed her
grandparents, her parents, and now I will kill her.” I struggled against my bonds.
“How many other innocent people have you killed?” Marcos yelled at his father.
I slowly breathed in and out. If I didn’t act now, who knows what would happen to
Marcos. Or to me. I carefully maneuvered the slim knife tucked into my shirt and
passed it to my right hand. I placed it to the rope and slowly began sawing it
back and forth. The rope quietly unlatched, just in time. Señor Diablo pulled a
gun from his pocket and pointed it out to me. His finger pulled and I dove for the
table. The bullet screeched as it hit the metal floor. I grabbed my cold metal dart
gun from my sleeve, stood up, and aimed it right at Señor Diablo’s heart.
    “Your crimes stop now. I have the strength of my parents and every other
person you have killed!” I screamed at him. I narrowed my eyes and tightened
my index finger on the trigger. The dart flew right towards its mark. It hit his neck,
and a loud thud sounded as he hit the floor. Marcos looked at me in horror.
    “It’s a stunning dart,” I reassured Marcos as I handed him a gun “He’ll be
fine.” We jumped around the room, carefully dodging bullets. I used my dart gun
and knocked out as many people as I could. I rolled on the floor, stood up, and
did a back handspring right into one of the henchmen's faces. He was out cold. I
knew Marcos didn’t have as much training as me, so I made sure he was
protected. I couldn’t bear to lose him too. Then, I saw movement in the corner,
and I heard the chink of a trigger being pulled. The bullet shot right to my heart. I
gasped and couldn’t move. I closed my eyes, braced myself for certain death,
and thought of my parents. I missed them. Even though they had been gone for
a year, I still felt it like it was yesterday. I hoped they would be proud of me when
I met them in the sky. The impact didn’t come. I opened my eyes and looked
down. Marcos was on the floor, covered in blood. He saved me. I shot my stun
dart at the man and pulled out my phone. I dialed 112.
    “Please help! My friend has been shot!” I cried in Italian.
“Please calm down, miss. We will arrive soon.” Ten minutes later, the
ambulance came and found me cradling Marcos’s weak body in my arms,
collapsed on the floor.
    “Please save him!” I yelled. We were both loaded onto stretchers and I
closed my eyes. I was haunted by dreams of a red giant man with horns about to
stab Marcos with his long sword. As it was about to cut into his heart, I opened
my eyes and sat up with a start. The starchy white hospital sheets bunched
around my legs. I remembered what had happened last night.
    “Where is he?” I urgently asked the nurse next to me.
    “Your friend is safe,” she replied, smiling. I sighed in relief. I looked at the TV.
“Terrorist found unconscious in lair under the Colosseum,” flashed across the
screen on the news channel, with a video of Señor Diablo being led away in
handcuffs, yelling curses at the camera. I sighed again. Everything was alright. I
slowly stood up and the nurse brought me to his room. The hallway was full of IV
machines connected to elderly people being pushed around in wheelchairs. He
was awake, sitting on his cot and eating some very dry eggs. I walked up and
sat next to him.
    “Thank you for saving me,” I said feebly. He smiled, and his dimples came
into view. I didn’t realize how much I had missed him.
    “Of course, Ari!” he replied. “You would have done it for me.” He’s right. I
would have. He grasped my hand and I looked into his brown eyes. I finally have
someone to care about, I thought as I lay next to him.

~end~
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