XVII. Mapping Out

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Monica was startled to find her father inside her condominium unit. He was sitting on the couch, a glass of drink in hand with his leg crossed over the other—a perfect look of a man entirely comfortable with his own power.

"Kane's death is causing quiet some noise underground," Monica said, walking toward her father.

"She's a big loss, but it has to be done."

Monica nodded before she sat across her father. She crossed her leg over the other, wondering whether Richard was in the other room listening.

"Your job on the cartels was worthy of praise, Monica," Victor said with a smile. "You make me proud."

She smiled. "It was easier than I had anticipated. I am getting the hang of this job."

"Spoken like my daughter." Victor chuckled. "But I cannot say that the entire underground is comfortable with you around. You have to give them more proof that you are not working for the other side."

Monica frowned. "The other side?"

Hong's face darkened. "I have information that someone close to me is working with the authorities."

"Do you know who?"

Her father shook his head. "But I am close. No one gets through me alive."

"Including Kane, of course."

"Of course."

"Of course, you even had your own son kill his brother."

Hong scoffed. "Theo and Richard? They're not my sons. You should have realized that sooner."

Monica frowned. "You mean you don't see them as your sons."

Hong shook his head. "No, I mean we don't share the same blood."

"But—"

"People do more things for you if they think you share some sort of blood, Monica. Why do you think I had led them to believe that I am their father? Well, maybe I am in some sense of the word. I did raise them. They owe their lives to me."

"Is their mother—"

"That bitch was a former Walker for the underground. Got herself pregnant twice by a longtime client lover and left without a trace. Would not have gone after her if she did not steal from me. Well, maybe still would have. She did know quite a few things."

Monica smiled. "So you took her children and raised them as your own. I have always wondered if I have other siblings, you know. You just shattered that dream."

"Theo is not your brother, Monica. And I suggest that you keep your guard around him. He is too wise and know too much." There was something in her father's voice that told her she should dig further, but she had to tread this carefully. "His wife is something as well. Do not trust them at all."

"And what of Richard? I never got to meet him before he died. Why did you have him killed?"

"Dirty bastard, that one was," Victor said, his face crumpling with disgust. "Let us not talk about them. Why don't we celebrate your work on the cartels? I am sure that you've been quite stressed." His demeanor changed in an instant. He was now smiling and walking to the tiny bar at the corner to pour her a glass.

He took the drink to her and said, "For more work," he toasted.

Monica smiled. "More work."

*****

Her father left an hour later, leaving a drive for her to study for her next assignment. They never discussed Kane or Theo and his wife. As a matter of fact, he never talked about anything about the underground. He was more interested in the shop across the building, her guards and even her choice of wine.

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