2 Prologue II

Back at his headquarters outside Moscow, he rolls in and steps out of his car. Striding into the Dimitry Mansion, he's welcomed by the boss himself, who's picked him up like a stray kitten back then. The mansion is deserted, with everyone except the butler, 'banished' by Dimitry to keep his identity covert. Only a few individuals know his true face and identity as 001, as he's perpetually concealed behind a mask and wig. In the underworld, they dub him "Baba Yaga", or "The Ghost".

"Good to see you back. Have a seat," rasps an old man sporting a snazzy suit, speaking in Russian.

"I've got the documents," 001 reports, settling into a chair before Dimitry's commanding presence.

"Just as I knew you would, 001," Dimitry smirks, nodding in approval.

"You've got that poker face... again, even when facing your father," Dimitry chuckles, rising and grabbing a bottle.


He snags two glasses and fills them with a drink. "Heard you wrapped up your Ph.D. last year. How 'bout stepping up to lead the outfit?" He slides a glass toward him and another for himself. "Honestly, there's no one better suited for the job. What's your take?" He takes a swig of whiskey as he speaks.

"I'm just a stray kitten you've taken in while you've got a flesh-and-blood son fit for that throne," 001 retorts, his indifference to the organization plain.

"No one, damn it!" Dimitry sighs, frustrated. "Not even my good-for-nothing son, Iosif... He's my flesh, but I won't let incompetence ruin this place." He slams his glass down, finishing his drink. "So, what's your—"

"I'm out."

001 cuts him off, feeling he's repaid the debt from the past when he saved him. Dimitry, cool as ever, holds his composure as if he knows.

"That's why I'm handing you my chair. Don't worry, your place is solid in Ruska Bratva as the heir."

"I don't need that. I've given all I could to this place, as one of The Numbers."

The Numbers, the elite group within the organization named Ruska Bratva, are answerable solely to Dimitry.

Going by the code name 001, he's the top dog in this wolf pack.


Dimitry's unexpected agreement momentarily throws him, but he maintains his poker face. What's the old man up to?

"If you want outta here... complete this mission and you're free."

Dimitry tosses a dossier his way, and he begins to read.

"Shinomiya Kaguya..." he mutters the name, scanning the target's details.

Shinomiya Kaguya, the youngest daughter of Shinomiya Gan'an, chairman of the Shinomiya Group. Given the mission's objectives, it's likely about a family inheritance, as the current chairman is old and nearing the end. The document claims the client believes Shinomiya Gan'an's will is in her possession, but the proof is elusive.

A mission, that messes with his principles.

See, he'll refuse missions where kids and helpless women are in the line of fire.

Plus, the Shinomiya powerhouse is no joke, a global titan.

This mission won't be a cakewalk.

Then there's the personal stake—his kids and their mommy could get dragged into harm's way.

'If I didn't have kids, this wouldn't be this damn complicated...' he silently curses his dic—himself, not his innocent kids or Hoshino Ai.

"Your job? Take Shinomiya Gan'an's will and eliminate her. Say no, and you're my successor."

Dimitry waits in silence, but he's not pondering the answer.

'This old bastard won't hand me an easy way out. Sneaky son of a bitch,' he thinks to himself, but he's in.

It's his ticket out of this inferno, and he'll figure out a way to wrap up this mission without violating his principles.

"I'm in. Mission accepted."


Cruising high above the clouds, 001 was en route to Japan, nine hours deep into the journey.

He was going by Yanagi Minoru, gearing up to meet Hoshino Ai, his heart brimming with anticipation.

As for his kids and her, he kept it all under wraps, far away from Dimitry. These hidden cards were destined to be his soft spot.

The mission had a floating deadline, a twist of fate waiting around any corner, which meant he couldn't simply coast along and neglect his purpose.

He knew the deal - an open contract not exclusive to him; to take down Shinomiya Kaguya, and he wasn't alone in this crossfire; There are numerous eyes fixed on her head.

'Pushing aside the mission... who would've thought I'd end up a dad?' he mused, a wry grin playing on his lips.

For someone who thrived on flawless executions, life's glitches stung. Turns out, he was just as human as the rest, vulnerable to mistakes. Blunderings, like a missing condom or one that decided to bail midway.

'But then again, Aqua and Ruby... their names, man, Aqua's a bit...' he reflected.

The guilt gnawed at him, realizing he'd brushed them aside for four whole years, a complete scumbag.

Thoughts wandered to their faces and personalities, but names were all he knew. It was their essence he craved, not mere phone pixels.

'Maybe they'll take after their old man, huh? Can't blame 'em,' a smile tugged at his lips, quickly tucked away.

"Oh, you're in high spirits, sir," the flight attendant chimes in, her smile practically painted on.

She's over here, offering snacks with the politest smiles, "Nah, I'm good," he tosses back, a sly smile painting his lips that's got her blushing.

She's got blonde hair, a uniform that's showing off more than it hides, and the man himself is thinking, 'Should I give this a shot?' But then the reality check lands.

'Whoa there, pal! Remember those kiddos of yours? Yeah, priorities.' He's nodding to his dic—himself, thinking it's a no-go! he's got a new life, and it's not the type that fits a romance narrative.

Minoru kept himself engaged during the flight by immersing himself in reading.

His attention was fixed on a newspaper headline that read, [Luxemburg's Civil War is Ending].

He wasn't just skimming through; he was absorbing every piece of information, diving into the turmoil that had gripped the nation.

It was a power struggle between the First Prince and First Princess, a throne conflict that had finally reached its conclusion.

But what intrigued Minoru most was the plot twist that had rocked the monarchy six months earlier: the shocking murder of the First Prince during a meeting with the USA embassy. The geopolitical aftermath had been messy, but with the ascension of the First Princess, the new Queen had managed to regain control and stabilize the situation. Yet, there was one enigma that continued to puzzle the world: the identity of the First Prince's killer.

A wry grin formed on Minoru's face as he pondered the scene he had just read.

'Well... it was me,' he thought, recalling the moment he aimed for the Prince's head with a sniper scope.

You see, the mastermind behind this regal assassination was none other than Yanagi Minoru, going by the code name "001."


With a casual flip of the page, the newspaper unveiled another gripping narrative, [USA Monetary Crisis].

The ink on the pages detailed a financial upheaval that had recently settled in the early months of 2014.

The historical backdrop of this world was familiar to Minoru, mirroring the one he had lived through before, yet certain crises had unfolded differently – like this very monetary cataclysm. Ever the opportunist, Minoru hadn't let this diversion from the past go to waste. While he was already raking in a substantial income under his alias, he still found time to dabble in stock market gains and other avenues of wealth accumulation, subtly augmenting his financial status.

The rhythmic rustling of paper caught a girl's attention, and a voice remarking, "You look like an old man if you're reading a newspaper."

Glancing at the source, he discovered a young girl seated next to him.

In his business class seat, conveniently by the window, Minoru found himself internally amused at her audacity. It seemed she was more concerned about her view than striking up a conversation, but he simply shook off her judgment.

"Why the newspaper?" she inquired further, her tone curious. "You could just read it on your phone."

Minoru responded, his voice laced with self-assured nonchalance, "There's a comfort in reading it this way. Can I help you, ma'am?"

The girl scoffed playfully, rejecting the title. "Ma'am? Do I look like an aunty to you? I'm only 16! And as for your question, I'm just bored, sorry."

His lips curled into a subtle nod as he accepted her explanation. "I see."

"Wow, so cold," she sighed, her attention returning to the article. "It's Luxemburg again."

Minoru's patience was tested by the girl's chattiness.

He had hoped to delve back into the news in solitude. Nevertheless, he couldn't shake the feeling that he had seen her somewhere before – a fleeting recognition in her features. Her short brown hair, arranged in quirky pigtails, and her seemingly out-of-place hairstyle sparked a hint of past life memory.

Resuming his reading, "What's your take on the situation?" he inquired, all while keeping an eye on the newsprint.

She shrugged, unfazed. "Well, it's a power struggle, sure. But it's made things worse after the assassination..."

His smirk was audible in his voice as he teased, "Quite the knowledgeable 16-year-old, aren't you?"

"I catch things on TV. Nothing special," she replied nonchalantly, her pride intact.

Minoru was tempted to dismiss her as a mere news-watcher, but he pushed that thought aside. Instead, he reached for his bag, pulling out a book that caught his interest.

The girl's gaze flickered to the book's title: [A Hundred Ways to Become a Good Daddy].

An eyebrow arched in amusement at his unexpected choice.

She let out an indignant "Hmmph!" turning her head away like a tsundere.

His retreat to the book seemed to wound her pride – the serious expression on his face hinting at a genuine curiosity for the topic.

"Hey, how 'bout we become friends? My name's Shijo Ma—" Just before Shijo could spill more beans, the guy's eyes turned laser-focused, and he pressed a finger to his lips with a shush that could rival a librarian's.

You see, it's not that he's turning down the girl —It's more like his instincts are going berserk, red-alert style, like a bloodhound on steroids. His radar was picking up something wicked from the economy class row. And yeah, he's got these next-level senses that let him pull off that smooth silent gesture.

A quick scan of the scene told him what was up. Every other passenger? Knocked out. And Minoru's not buying the whole "they're just napping" spiel.

'Huh?' There's suspicion written all over her face.

Meanwhile, she's trying to enjoy some snack time, but guess what? Mr. Stealth mode snatches the goods right from her grip. Cue the frown of disapproval.

Now, don't get me wrong.

No matter how good-looking this guy is, his attitude seriously needs a tune-up, as per Shijo. So she's got her arms crossed, mentally giving this dude a "seriously?" look.

But, Minoru isn't raining on the parade just to mess with her.

He's got a sixth sense for segs and a fifth sense for trouble, s whiff of those snacks and he's on full alert mode!

Those innocent-looking munchies? Well, they've got a hidden secret—pumped-up doses of knockout juice. Sniffed it out like a drug dealer's nose, and he damn knew that the situation was dead serious!

And then, out of nowhere, the curtain behind him rustles. Yeah, that curtain separates the fancy section from the rest of the plane.

Minoru's probably thinking, 'Oh come on! here we go again.'

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