Ruthless Empire (Royal Elite #6) - Rina Kent

Part I


Age eight

There’s freedom in chaos.

When my father used to say that, I didn’t understand it much. Ironically, that piece of information remained in my head, floating around like a fact.

My father is a businessman. There shouldn’t have been any room for chaos in his life, and yet, he thrived on it.

He knew that humans are chaotic by nature and that nature comes before nurture.

That’s what the books say. I didn’t understand them at first, but after the kidnapping, I returned a new person.

One day, I was coming home with my two friends, Aiden and Xander, and suddenly, everything turned black.

Masks were shoved over our heads, and then we were separated. I remember the darkness so well. It’s not only about seeing the colour black. It’s about breathing your own air and thinking you’ll suffocate on it. It’s about freezing until you can’t feel your toes or your face.

The darkness isn’t just a sensation. It’s a phase of being.

That’s what the therapist Mum took me to has been saying.

Were you afraid, son?

Did they hurt you in any way?

Touch you?

I answered no to all. It’s the truth. The kidnappers didn’t do any of that.

They didn’t scare me, hurt me, or touch me. They just left me…alone.

It was a silent type of chaos. You can hear it in your head, but you can’t see it with your eyes or feel it with your skin.

It’s a deep suffocation that slowly but surely takes hold of you.

I didn’t tell the therapist that. He wouldn’t understand.

No one does.

Because no one knows what happened once the kidnappers released me on a deserted road. I didn’t think about removing the bag that was strapped over my head — even though my hands were free.

I didn’t think about my parents or home or my friends.

I didn’t think about asking for help, even though that’s the most normal thing anyone would do.

I did none of that.

Instead, I stood there, pulled my hands apart and drowned in the silent chaos all alone.

It was liberating, black, and so still. Nothing ruined it or interrupted it or ended it.

Constant silent chaos.

It was maybe hours or days — I don’t remember.

Unlike Xander, I didn’t fight to find my way home. He walked for hours and days until he finally returned.

In my case, some passersby stumbled upon me and called the police, who eventually sent me home.

I remember the tears in my mother’s eyes, one of which had a purple bruise on the lid. I remember her embrace and how she held on to me sobbing, her voice echoing around me like a vice.

She was glad I’d returned and that I was safe.

I didn’t hug her back.

I couldn’t hug her back.

I just stood there, and while she cried, I thought about the chaos I’d left behind and if there was a way to bring it back.

Chaos is the only thing that makes me stop and stare. It’s a pause button to my brain.

Not everyone likes chaos, though. I figured that out when my father took me to the therapist doctor because I didn’t cry.

I couldn’t cry.

All of a sudden, crying became something redundant. When I was younger, I cried while I curled in a ball in my bed.

I slammed my hands against my ears and pretended the shouting voices from outside weren’t real. They were like the bogeyman.

What young me didn’t know was that the bogeyman would never show up.

Our own house monster did, and he didn’t stay still. He didn’t keep his hands to himself.

Whenever Mum’s screams echoed in the house, I made it my mission not to go out there. If I did, I’d only worsen the situation. She’d try to protect me and that would get us both hit and with bruises.

If I had bruises, Mum would hide me and not let me play with my friends until they were gone.

I don’t know why I cried back then. It was useless anyway. None of our tears stopped him or made him pause.

We were just his things that he treated as he saw fit.

Being a successful businessman with an empire under his belt gave William Nash the name and the status. No one saw the monster behind his smiles. No one suspected his drinking habits or his firm hand that he didn’t hesitate to use.

In public, he held me in his arms and doted on us. In private, he snapped the moment we said a word.

I learnt silence before I learnt talking. Silence gives you room to think, to plot. Talking only gets