Outside New York, at the Carl Family estate.
“Don’t let go, keep him suppressed!”
In the corridor on the second floor, children shivered with fear as they watched the chaotic and noisy scene unfolding in the spacious first-floor hall. A fierce struggle was taking place, resembling a battle with a cornered beast.
Four or five elite bodyguards in suits and sunglasses held broken military-grade ropes, looking disheveled as they were sent flying out of the center of the struggle, landing on the ground with cries of agony.
“The regular ropes can’t hold him, send someone to get iron chains!”
Amid the battle, Logan’s face turned red. He firmly grasped Bucky’s strong arm with his bone claws extended from behind. Bucky, with wild, disheveled hair, struggled frantically like a beast, roaring and growling.
Under the standoff between the two, the luxurious floor they stood on almost cracked beneath their feet.
“I can’t hold on much longer!” Logan warned, and Bucky swung his mechanically-enhanced left arm downward, slamming it onto the floor. With brute force, he flung Logan forward.
“I got this!” Natasha, her vibrant red hair flowing, leaped forward in time. Prepared, she dragged a ten-meter-long iron chain and quickly looped it around Bucky’s neck.
Bucky appeared ready to attack, but Natasha skillfully evaded his movements. She circled around, binding the iron chain around Bucky’s waist and neck.
Finally, Natasha, wearing a long dress, knelt on Bucky’s broad back and tugged hard on both ends of the iron chain. The chain tightened with a sharp click.
Natasha said in a deep voice, “Bucky, remember your own identity. Don’t let false memories corrupt your mind!”
Bucky seemed unaffected, his gaze hollow and indifferent. With a full-strength effort, he pulled on the chain, gradually easing it out of Natasha’s hands.
“Get back!” Just as the chain seemed about to break free, Logan growled and suddenly charged toward Bucky. Natasha reacted swiftly, leaping away.
In the next instant, Bucky, entangled by the chain, was forcefully knocked back by Logan, flying several meters and crashing out of the main entrance of the building. He tumbled down the stone steps onto the mansion lawn.
Bucky, in mechanical silence, got up. He unraveled the chain from his body as he moved, attempting to leave the estate on his own.
“We can’t let him leave in this state.” Logan and Natasha exchanged a glance, about to get up and pursue when they suddenly saw the chain on Bucky’s body floating quickly into the air.
The chain transformed into what seemed like a living snake, autonomously entwining Bucky’s limbs, with both ends of the chain tightly embedding themselves into the nearby grass.
Natasha, who had come out from the hall, looked up in astonishment. She saw a lengthened car that had gone out for supplies and had returned to the yard. Lucy, the mansion’s mistress, and Raina, the Second-in-Command, had just stepped out of the car.
Raina raised her delicate pale hand, silver eyes fixed on the uncontrollable Bucky. Clearly, she had activated her telekinetic control over the chain just in time.
“Well done.” Logan let out a relieved breath. Finally, he understood why Kyle had told Raina to keep an eye on Bucky— under circumstances that wouldn’t harm the other party, only a telekinetic control with a bias towards restraint could effectively limit his movements.
“What do we do now, should we just leave him like this?”
As the estate’s inhabitants grappled with what to do about the out-of-control Bucky, at that very moment, sparks suddenly lit up at the mansion’s front gate. The dazzling, rotating lights formed a circular portal that people could pass through and Kyle, dressed in black combat gear, walked out of it.
“Kyle?” “Boss.” “Master…” “Boss!”
Different calls and titles immediately resounded from the estate. The returning youth was the foundation and backbone of the Carl Family, and that was beyond doubt!
“Boss, how did you come back?” Logan spoke on behalf of everyone present. The magical portal behind Kyle was gradually fading away, and through it, one could faintly glimpse the rooftops of New York’s skyscrapers, along with the distant, indistinct sounds of bustling crowds.
“It’s magic. I’ll tell you all about it later.” Kyle looked around, his eyes falling on Bucky, who was bound by the iron chain in front of the main gate. He furrowed his brow slightly and asked, “He’s lost control?”
Logan nodded. The first floor of the mansion bore severe traces of Winter Soldier’s loss of control. There was no need to say anything; it was obvious just how intense the struggle had been.
Kyle looked at the bound Bucky, raised his hand with the ring, and as he kept rotating it, the fiery revolving teleportation circle expanded and formed on the lawn beneath Bucky’s feet.
“Raina, release him.”
“Okay.” Raina loosened the ends of the iron chain with her mind. Bucky hadn’t even struggled to move half a step before he suddenly plunged into the portal with a ‘plop’, and the fiery circle vanished with it.
The people present blinked, uncertain of what Kyle had done.
“Let him get some fresh air, to clear his mind.” Kyle finished speaking and turned to Natasha, contemplating how to handle her.
Natasha instinctively took a few steps back. Even if she was a top agent, she felt like a lamb in front of the young man. However, she quickly stopped herself. After all, no one had coerced her into this; she had chosen to join voluntarily.
“Thirty minutes from now, convene a family meeting in the second-floor hall. There’s something I need to discuss with you all.”
Kyle spoke before opening another portal. On the other side was the conference room on the second floor of the mansion.
“Natasha, come with me.” Kyle stepped into the portal, and Natasha followed suit, leaving behind the impressed and admiring members of the Carl Family.
It had to be said, with magical portals, not only did they save a lot of travel time, but the level of style was also elevated by more than a notch.
Sorcerers had their own exclusive means of movement. Other than the fact that the distance was slightly shorter and the entrance smaller, it was no less impressive than the appearance of the Bifrost.
Inside the second-floor conference hall:
Kyle, sitting in an office chair, tapped his fingers lightly on the desk. Getting straight to the point, he said, “I don’t fully trust you. You betrayed the Red Room, and one day, under the oppression of a more powerful force, you might betray me.”
“Why did you save me, then?” Natasha bit her lip lightly and sat down calmly on the sofa. Having been used and discarded so many times, she had long grown accustomed to the feeling of not being trusted.
She was far from the weak and helpless girl she appeared to be; she was the true Black Widow.
Her character, her memories, and even her dark past that had been kept hidden— all of these, once tainted, were hard to regain in their purity.
“Because you still have value to me. Also, the consequences of your betrayal won’t let you escape the pursuit of the Carl Family as long as you’re on Earth.”
Kyle said confidently, and Natasha had no doubt about that.
Kyle continued, “For the next two months, you must stay at the mansion and not leave a step. Come to see me every three days for half an hour.”
“Why?” Natasha blinked with a hint of curiosity in her beautiful eyes. A sense of anticipation welled up within her inexplicably.
If Kyle had taken an interest in her, she wouldn’t mind…
“After two months, I will recommend you to Fury at SHIELD. You’ll serve there as it’s being established. Whether you can earn the recognition of my family’s influence and cleanse yourself of the stains on your record will depend entirely on your performance.”
Kyle interrupted Natasha’s speculation and daydreams, delivering his plan in a calm tone.
(End of this chapter)
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