Wow! I'm actually alive? I know, I know, long time no see, huh? In fact, I'm not even going to bother explaining my absence, except to say, as always, I'll keep trying to get better at updating. And with that, I shall part from your amazing presences! Enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 3: A Terrifying Helicopter Ride

"You're probably wondering why I called you here," Isabel said. "Well, I have some information for you to pass on to dear old Nataliya back at headquarters." I bit my tongue to avoid snorting. For all I knew, Isabel was seventy years of age behind that plastic make up covered face of hers.

"Why wouldn't you just tell her then?" I asked.

"Oh, I suppose I could have, but I thought it would have more meaning if you were the one to pass on the message." I was utterly confused as Isabel leaned over and placed her hand on my arm. I wanted desperately to pull away, but the look in Irina's eyes told me to stay very, very still. Perhaps Irina is not the only one with poisoned nails, I thought.

Finally, to my immense relief, Isabel withdrew her outstretched hand and I relaxed slightly.

"Now dear, I would like you to tell Nataliya the following message," Isabel continued. "Are you ready?"

"What if I don't tell her?" I asked curiously.

"Well, then, let's just say you can't say I didn't warn her, can you?"

I forced myself not to shudder, although inside I was full of hateful fantasies.

Isabel ignored my reaction and continued, "Now, this is the message. 'Nataliya, stop what you're doing. If you continue your actions, the hunt for the last swan will begin.'"

The last swan? Why was she talking about a swan? I thought fretfully.

"Have you memorised it?" Isabel asked. I nodded silently.

"Good. Now, Hayden, this has been a lovely visit, however I'm afraid it's time for us to part ways, so to speak." With that, she pulled a small remote and pushed the bright red button in the middle. Immediately the seat Irina and I had been sitting on retracted into the wall of the helicopter and we fell through a small trapdoor at the base of the helicopter.

Why is it always the red buttons? I found myself wondering as Irina and I hurtled toward the streets of Moscow. Suddenly, Irina grabbed my wrist and I felt myself being jerked upwards. I looked up to see a large parachute above me, and Irina at my side.

"How did you – " I began.

"I always come prepared, especially with the Kabras," Irina said in Russian.

We floated for a few more minutes before landing gently just outside the Kremlin. Irina quickly brushed herself off and snapped her fingers. Immediately, a black SUV drove up.

"Get in," Irina ordered.

I obeyed her and we drove in silence. I got out, said goodbye to Irina, and walked home slowly. My mind was throbbing with the rush of thoughts. What had Isabel been talking about? What did she mean, 'the last swan'? Since when did Nataliya like swans? I stopped walking suddenly. What if Isabel was trying to trick Nataliya? What if she didn't really have this 'swan'? And what about Amy and Dan? They needed help.

I stood and thought for a long time before making a decision. I wouldn't tell her. It was probably just a trick, a lie. I would tell Nataliya that Isabel knew, but not about this 'swan' issue. I nodded to myself and walked inside. Little did I know that in a few weeks, I would loathe myself for this decision.

Ha! Loathe is a funny word! Ahem, sorry about that, anyways I hope you enjoyed it, and please review!