Chapter 29: The Throne Room.
Tommy, Chino, Hayden, and Aryan briskly jogged through the razing of the Kingdom, spectators to the countless monstrosities that were beyond their control. With heavy hearts, they ran through the confusion. As much as they felt morally obligated to help the endangered innocents, they had a mission to accomplish.
Near the towering castle they believed Jacob to be residing in, their squad suddenly bumped into a ragtag group of familiar faces resulting in both parties immediately drawing their weapons on one another.
“You with Jacob?”, Daniyal asked his hatchet inches from Tommy’s throat.
“We’re here to kill him, but about you lot?” Aryan said, staring down the barrel of Dylan Hill’s pistol.
Drew stepped in between the two parties in a calming fashion, “Then looks like we all want the same thing,” he said, extending a hand to Tommy.
Tommy stared at him for a second before shaking it, and the two parties greeted one another. Together, Tommy and his squad entered Jacob’s castle for the first time, alongside the likes of Drew, Daniyal, Dylan Hill, and several beanie-wearing men armed with spears.
Somehow, this building managed to appear bigger on the inside than the out, which was saying a lot. Tommy had no idea how these people managed to accomplish such an architectural feat.
Luckily for them, the vast majority of the troops stationed here had already gone to reinforce the city, so they faced next to no resistance as they passed through the pillared halls and towards Jacob.
At last, they pushed past the large doors separating the throne room from the rest of the castle, and there stood the Fat King himself, accompanied by around a dozen soldiers, many of whom Tommy recognized.
“I was expecting Brendan, this a welcome surprise-“Jacob began before Tommy cut him short.
“Enough talk. This ends now.”
“Hold it, let’s not be so hasty. I offered you a deal once before Mr. Ngo”, Jacob began, the side of his face extremely scarred and stitched up, “we need not be adversaries; Brendan and Tristan hold a much greater threat to you at this point than I do. But together, we have what it takes to rule this land. And look at who you’ve allied with, do you seriously think they can be trusted? Look at the chaos they’ve caused in my kingdom! The murder! The rape! The pillaging!”
“Don’t listen to him! He sent his soldiers to murder his people in hopes of turning the people’s support against Brendan. He’s a fucking monster”, Drew whispered in Tommy’s ear.
Tommy spent a long moment gathering his thoughts and processing it all before responding, “As I said, this ends now.”
“Very well,” Jacob said, now turning his attention to Daniyal, “I should have killed you when I had the chance.”
“You should have,” Daniyal said, rushing towards the front lines of Jacob’s defense, as the two sides followed in-suite and crossed blades in the middle as Jacob hung near the back. Tommy and Daniyal made a direct run towards Jacob but were cut short by Garrett and B.
“Y’all don’t want to do this, trust me,” Tommy warned as Daniyal began to make his way over to them.
The pair of loyal soldiers exchanged concerned looks to one another before readying themselves for battle. Before they could engage, however, Aryan and Hayden cut in front of Daniyal.
“Y’all have bigger shit to worry about; get to Jacob. We’ll handle these assholes”, Hayden said as Tommy nodded in agreement as he and Daniyal made their way around the standoff.
Angel hung near the back as the bloodshed began, and in a swift movement, cut down the two guards standing closest to Jacob before pointing his blood-soaked blade at the fat bastard standing a dozen feet away.
Jacob stared at him, taken aback? “After all, I’ve done for you! Taking you in when nobody else would!”, Jacob said unsheathing his mighty longsword. For this rare occasion, he had ditched his kingly robe for something more fit for this situation, iron-clad battle armor.
“You told me you would save Rowlett, not claim it for yourself! Everything that’s happened you’ve brought upon yourself!” he called out before a fist connecting to his face knocked him down.
“What the fuck!” Angel called out as a towering figure ran over to him, spear in hand, “I’m on your side, bro; relax!”
Dylan stuck his spear towards his opponent’s chest, who barely managed to deflect the blow as he rose to his feet, “You killed my homeboy Caleb, you have no idea how long I’ve waited for this. You think I care about politics or this fat ass over there!”, he shouted pointing to Jacob, “this is about revenge. This about you and me.” Jacob awkwardly shimmied away from this confrontation as the battle continued to rage.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the battle, Aryan and Hayden continued going toe to toe with Garrett and Bradyn when a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window sparked a fire large enough to separate the two parties and send them in opposite directions.
Aryan and Hayden were, however, quickly met by several more unfriendly faces. “You shouldn’t have come back,” Carly said solemnly as she, Brooklyn, and Ivan faced them down.
“You shouldn’t have left,” Aryan responded.
“Quit acting as if you know me! I knew you for barely a day!” Carly shouted back, her sword shaking in her hand.
“I know you better than you know yourself,” Aryan responded as he and Hayden readied themselves.
Brooklyn was the first to tire of this exchange as she slashed at Hayden initiating the fight. The two parties seemed decently matched, and Carly was surprised by the Mexican one's skill set. He fought reminiscent of Chino and Ronnie.
Angel continued attempting to plead his case to his much stronger opponent, but he knew it was folly deep down. The few times he attempted to gain traction on the aggressive side of things, Dylan nearly finished him right then and there. He soon, however, had an idea. To use his opponent's aggressiveness against him.
Angel continued to deflect the blows coming his way as he backed up deeper into the fight. With his back to the slowly spreading fire, he planted his feet and allowed Dylan to charge him. In a swift moment, Angel dove under Dylan’s stab and took out his knees, causing the vengeful man to fly headfirst into the fire. Angel watched sadly as he slowly burned to death, attempting to make a run to the door. Before he could sneak his way back to Jacob, he found himself cut off by several men of the Kingdom. As much as he wanted to be the one to slay the king, Obama had assigned him a mission, and he knew he had to accomplish it before it was too late, so he took off in a sprint to the staircase of the castle.
After easily tiring out Aryan, Brooklyn sent a swift move that effectively disarmed him, cut deep into his left leg, and kicked him to the ground. Unrelentingly, she quickly brought her blade down upon Aryan. Much to her surprise, however, a blade had blocked hers, saving his life. That blade belonged to Carly.
“What the fuck are you doing?”, Brooklyn asked awestruck as her closest friend had saved their enemy.
“Something I should’ve done a long time ago,” she responded, delivering a punch to Brooklyn’s nose sending her staggering back.
Brooklyn sprinted back to her, and the two close friends began to duel with such emotion that Ivan didn’t know what to do as he, Hayden, and Aryan just watched in silence.
Hayden felt a tug on his leg as Aryan was gathering his attention, “Go help Chino,” he said, pointing to their ally, who was crossing blades with both Garrett and Bradyn.
“You sure you’ll be fine?”, he replied concerned.
“I’ll be fine, just go,” Aryan said, dapping up his friend, who sprinted over to assist Chino.
Erick noticed the fiasco between the two female warriors and snuck up behind Carly in a bitch like fashion, preparing to strike her down from behind. Before he could do so, however, a figure stepped in between them.
“Fuck are you doing, man? Get out of the way”, Erick demanded.
“No... I don’t think I will”, Ivan replied.
“You realize if you help her, you’re committing treason against everything we stand for! You’ll betray Jacob just to simp for some bitch?”
Ivan shrugged, “I guess you could say that.”
Erick furiously lunged at Ivan, but Ivan's sidestepped before plunging his sword into Erick’s throat.
“You could’ve survived this if you would’ve just paid Bram back, you broke bitch”, Ivan said softly to his old friend.
Erick attempted to respond but gargled on his blood. Ivan placed a delicate finger over his lips, “No, don’t speak. We know it to be true. If you piss off the author, you don’t get to survive. I’m sorry”, he said, closing Erick’s eyes before rushing to reinforce Carly.
By the time Hayden reached his only other member of their old crew, two more kingdom soldiers had engaged Chino turning it into a four v one. Hayden came flying in, and shoulder rushed a plump white man, knocking him into a nearby pillar headfirst, rendering him temporarily incapacitated. Bradyn quickly ran to reinforce his close friend, and the two of them began to engage one another.
Brooklyn and Carly viciously fought throughout the chamber, slaying several beanie gang members who got in their way. Suddenly, Brooklyn fell over limp as Ivan stood over her, having just knocked her upside the head with the hilt of his sword. Before he could finish her off, though, Carly stood in between the two as she calmed Ivan.
“We can’t kill her, Jacob has poisoned her mind for too long that she doesn’t know how to leave him, but she doesn’t deserve to die. Especially not by our hand”, she pleaded.
“Whatever you say,” he said, slowly lowering his guard in a simp-like fashion.
Carly kissed a dazed Brooklyn on the forehead before making her way back over the injured Aryan and helped him onto his feet. He, in turn, put his arms around Ivan and Carly’s shoulders as they escorted him outside of the battle and to the entrance of the hall.
“Thank you. You saved my life”, Aryan said, wincing in pain.
“No, you saved mine,” Carly replied with a smile, “I never thought I’d be able to leave all of this shit behind.”
“You can come back with us, you know. We’ll take you in.”
“I appreciate the offer, but this whole experience has been too eye-opening. There’s so much more out there, but I’ve just been too blind to see; who knows, maybe I’ll see Greece again or some shit. With the world out there, I know have a place in it somewhere. I just need to find it.”
“I’m sure you will,” Aryan said, extending a hand to her, which she firmly shook.
“Take care of yourself, Carly,” Aryan said as she walked with Ivan to the exit.
“Same to you, who knows, maybe you’ll see me again.”
“I’d like that,” Aryan said more to himself than to anyone else as he continued applying pressure to the blood emerging from his wound.
As Chino witnessed B began to take the upper hand in his fight vs. Hayden, he knew he had to save him. He couldn’t lose Hayden like everyone else in his squad, from Ronnie to Noe and everyone in between. He swiftly handled the two soldiers and began to run towards Hayden, but he was too late.
Just as he made it to the duel, Bradyn had stabbed Hayden in the chest, killing him instantly. In a bloodthirsty rage, Chino engaged Bradyn immediately. The poor mullet-wearing man was only able to deflect so many strikes before Chino’s sword was buried in his side.
Chino caught Bradyn as he fell, who attempted to apologize before giving up on trying to talk.
“I’m sorry, bro... I am, just relax. It’ll all be over soon”, he said, leaving a frantically breathing Bradyn lying on the floor as he rushed towards Hayden’s body, with a slim glimmer of hope that he may still be alive. Much to his heartbreak, he wasn’t.
“It won’t be for nothing... I swear”, he said to his late friend before wiping a tear from his eye before rushing back into the fight.
Tommy and Daniyal continued their bloody push through the skirmish when they came across a familiar figure. The Executioner.
The towering murder machine was the only thing separating them from the Fat King himself aside from two more guards. With an ax glistening with the blood of their allies, the Executioner silently approached them.
However, before they could engage him, Chino stepped in front between the two parties, “He’s mine. Go after fat”, he said coldly. Tommy nodded in agreement and walked the long way around to confront Jacob.
The Executioner tilted his head, looking Daniyal and Chino up and down as if deciding who he wanted to cross blades with again more before pointing his ax towards Chino.
“Go,” Chino said to Daniyal, who obliged and walked past his enemy, staring him down the entire time. Before he could rejoin Tommy, though, he was cut off by three of the Kingdom’s guards.
“Going somewhere?” Kaitlyn said as she and two other guards circled their prey. Daniyal remained silent as his ax and sword in either hand shook in anger and frustration.
“The king demands an audience with Tommy. I’m sure you understand.”
Tommy paced onward towards the fat man himself when a soldier came flying from behind him with such speed he had no time to react. Much to his surprise, however, this man dropped dead suddenly with a knife buried in his skull. The Asian man looked over and saw Drew nodding to him. He then nodded back, appreciative of the act as they both returned to their conflicts at hand.
At long last, he finally came face to face with Jacob properly, with nobody else to interfere. “It’s about time we were properly reunited, old friend; your people have caused quite a bit of trouble for mine, but alas, I’m certain we can put that all behind us!”, Jacob said chuckling nervously.
“Naydelin and Trang. Where are they?” Tommy demanded while unsheathing his blade.
“About that, they’ll be executed before you could rescue them unless if I or someone from my council personally make it to the cell block and demand their release. It’s policy, I don’t want them harmed anymore than you do, but it’s for the security of my wives. Spare me until we can secure their freedom. That’s all I ask. I mean, look around you. I’m no threat to you anymore”, Jacob pleaded.
“Enough of your games, you fat fuck! You can either die before or after you tell me where they are!” he shouted.
“If I die here, you’ll never know,” Jacob cautioned as a shrill screech from nearby became audible.
The two of them looked over, and too much of Jacob’s horror, his sister was captive on her knees as Daniyal held his sword to her throat, “Jacob!”
“Daniyal! She had nothing to do with anything bro, let’s settle this! Just you and I! It’s me you want!” the king pleaded, “release her!”
“Poor choice of words,” Daniyal said as he plunged his sword into her throat with a crazed smile on his face, “there are many ways of releasing someone; death, for example, is nothing more than the release of the soul from the body.”
Jacob stared in horror as Daniyal proceeded to cut off Kaitlyn’s head and toss it across the hall towards his feet. He stared down at his sister's dismembered head before charging past Tommy in anger towards her murderer.
Chino knew better than to underestimate his opponent this time around as he danced throughout the hall, deflecting the powerful strikes coming his way. It is impossible, however, to prepare to face such a formidable opponent, no matter how many restless nights Chino had spent thinking about this rematch.
The chink could only hold out for so long; however, he was disarmed after blocking countless hits as his blade went flying in the opposite direction. Another blow came full swing at him as he narrowly dived out of the way. The Executioner’s huge ax collided with the nearby pillar and blew straight through it, causing the pillar to collapse.
This gave Chino an idea, as he intentionally led the Executioner down the hall from pillar to pillar, narrowly dodging out of the way each time as more and more support beams fell to his strength. After the third collapsing, the roof above them fell in upon itself, crushing the Executioner beneath.
Chino quickly dug through the rubble until he uncovered a barely breathing masked man struggling to rise. Grabbing a nearby piece shard of rock, he brought it down upon his rival’s skull, causing him to go limp. He then pulled off his mask, exposing a scarred and barely human face.
Chino continued to bash in the Executioner’s face until blood-drenched the nearby wreckage. He then proceeded to toss the stone aside as he plunged his thumbs into the barely open eyes of the trapped man, “This is for Ronnie, for Noe, and for Hayden,” he said as he pushed his opponent's eyeballs into the back of his head before leaving him to die from his injuries.
Jacob fought with such hatred and malice that he somehow managed to hold his own against both Tommy and Daniyal. Everyone he knew was gone: Kaitlyn's headless body lay nearby, Brooklyn’s limp body lay across the hall, Brendan and Dylan had abandoned him, his kingdom was burning. He was truly a man with nothing to live for.
His final stand could only go on for so long, however, as Daniyal’s swordsmanship was second to none, and in under two minutes, a powerful ax to his breastplate sent him sliding down the hall. Daniyal silently made his way towards the slayer of his family quite to exact his revenge when Tommy grabbed hold of his arm.
“No, I need him alive. He’s the key to saving Trang and Naydelin! Look at him. He’s nowhere near a threat!” Tommy pleaded.
“I was too weak... I was too weak...” Jacob muttered to himself, holding his bloodied hand over his aching chest.
“He doesn’t deserve to be kept alive. I’m going to end this”, Daniyal said, shoving Tommy back and approaching his injured nemesis.
“I need him!” Tommy pleaded as he rushed to catch up to his diabetic ally.
Ignoring him, Daniyal finally reached the defeated man and pried his fingers into his poorly stitched wound on his face, pulling his cheek wide open. Jacob hollered in pain as after several painful moments, Daniyal finally brought his sword down upon him. However, to his shock, the clash of iron was heard, as Tommy had saved the corrupt king.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“This isn’t how we’re doing this; he’s coming with me,” Tommy demanded, standing between the two of them.
“Then you’ll die with him,” Daniyal shouted as he lunged at Tommy, and the two began to engage in a duel over the fate of Jacob. Chino quickly saw the chaos ensuing and moved to help Tommy but was quickly stopped by two beanie gang members who warned him not to get involved, or else he’d have to deal with them. Chino was in no shape to fight, especially not two men at the same time, so he hung back in defeat and watched the fight continue.
Brooklyn slowly stirred and snuck through the chaos towards an injured Jacob, who grimly smiled at the sight of her, “My queen... I feared the worst; I thought I had lost you.”
“I’ve been out of the fight, but I’ll be fine-“Brooklyn began to say before Jacob cut her off.
“Now that you’re here, we can die together! As we should! Hand in hand, we’ll walk through the gates of Heaven together, my love”, Jacob said, pulling out a short knife, clearly serious about the prospect of them taking their lives together.
“Die with you?” she said in surprise, backing up, “I’m not going to die with you Jacob, what are you talking about?”
“But... but... the author said you would die with me! He promised! You can’t just turn your back on me now of all times!”
“I’m sorry, Jacob, but look around us! This is a shit show, and I’m not going to die here. Your fate is sealed, but mine isn’t”, she said, turning her back on him.
“But... but I love you”, he called out after her.
She paused for several lingering moments as the chaos of the nearby duel continued, “I know,” she said as she made her way to check on Garrett.
Jacob began to cry and again sang sad songs to himself as he attempted to crawl towards the exit. Much to his disappointment, a man equipped with a beanie cut off his crawling path and kicked him across the face sending him spiraling back, “You’re not going anywhere.”
“Drew... I hired you! Fuck are you doing? You were supposed to work for me!” Jacob cried in confusion.
“I work for myself, now sit back and watch the show,” he said, gesturing to Tommy and Daniyal’s duel.
Tommy had faced several skilled opponents, but none could match the skillset this one brought to the table. The fire inside the building had continued to spread, but he noticed an opening in flames behind him. He knew he needed separation from Daniyal to get Jacob out of here while he’s distracted from the fire, so with a leap of faith, he dove through the small opening of the flames as they closed up behind him.
With a sigh of relief, he limped his way towards a crying Jacob when much to his surprise, Daniyal had leaped through the fire unscathed, and with a quick jab, Tommy was impaled through the stomach.
Tommy looked down in horror to where Daniyal’s blade had pierced him before falling to his knees. Chino screamed in frustration s the audience of him, Drew, Brooklyn, Garrett, and the two beanie gang members gasped in synchronization.
“Don’t be so dramatic. It’s a flesh wound. You’ll live, probably. It’ll hurt like Hell though”, Daniyal said as he walked past the defeated man and towards his true target, Jacob.
He delivered a satisfying punch to the king's face, “that one was for John.” Daniyal shook his hand a bit before delivering his next blow, “that one was for Ali!”
Much to his surprise, his younger brother Nathan strode his way through the maze of bodies and towards the scene of the action, “You don’t have to do this,” the young boy said, panting.
“You don’t understand! He deserves to pay for what he’s done! Just get out, wait for me outside.”
“Killing him won’t bring them back,” Nathan said.
Daniyal’s eyes filled with tears as the sword above his head began to quiver, “I have to do this.”
“No... you don’t. You still have a choice. It won’t change anything. You’ll just be continuing this cycle of murder and revenge until somebody kills you because you killed Jacob. You can break the wheel; you just need to let go!” Nathan pleaded, fearing to lose any more of his brother's humanity. With a shout, Daniyal brought the sword down with all his might.
Much to Jacob’s surprise, the sword blade had landed right beside him as Daniyal turned and walked away. Before he made it to his brother, however, he was greeted by Drew.
“You fulfilled your end of the agreement, and now it’s time I do mine,” Daniyal said, taking a knee before the leader of the beanie gang, “my services are yours.”
“Thank you, I won’t forget everything you’ve done for me,” Daniyal said, shaking his hand.
“Neither will I,” Drew said, accidentally smiling for the first time in what felt like forever before straightening his face again.
Ignoring the others, all clearly emotionally drained from everything that had taken place, he embraced Nathan in a hug, and the two exited the building.
The beanie gang members now made their way as Chino ran to Tommy’s side, “Holy shit, bro are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine-“Tommy began to say when he noticed Angel coming down the stairs with both Naydelin and Trang. Chino ran to their side and embraced both of them in a hug (with Naydelin’s hug lingering quite a bit longer, sorry Chino, it’s part of the canon), as an injured Tommy and an injured Jacob locked eyes on the sword in between them across the room. Tommy no longer had any reason for keeping Jacob alive.
In an adrenaline-filled burst of speed, the two of them dove for the sword, with Jacob getting a hold of it, but a punch to the gaping hole in his face sent the sword back to the ground.
Jacob retaliated, fueled by the anger of his sister’s death and recent heartbreak, by delivering several punches to the bleeding abdomen of Tommy. Tommy sent his opponent off of him with a swift kick to his injured chest before mounting on top of him and beating the ever-living shit out of him.
After a lengthy beat down, Tommy stood up in triumph as he equipped his sword and stared down at his long-term enemy. Before he could bring the sword down to finish the job, however, a hand gently grabbed his shoulder, “Allow me.”
“Chink?”, Jacob questioned spitting blood out.
“You sure?” Tommy asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. He was like a brother to me once. I should be the one to do it.”
“Very well, man,” Tommy said, handing the sword to Chino and patting him on the shoulder before walking towards the rest of the group.
After reuniting with Trang and Naydelin, he met with them alongside Drew, Aryan, Angel, and the two other beanie gang members before they left the hall, “What are we to do with the two?”, he asked referencing the injured Brooklyn and Garrett who had surrendered earlier on in the fight.
“Easy. We execute them. They’re part of this godforsaken kingdom. They have no place among the rest of us”, one of the beanie gang members said aggressively.
“No, that’s not true. I wouldn’t be alive right now if it weren’t for one of them”, Aryan said, glancing over at the two of them, “Jacob’s manipulated them to believing there’s no other way. We can show them otherwise. Nobody’s too far gone.”
“Your call, man,” Drew said to Tommy directly.
“Then they’re your responsibility, but if they cause any problems, you’re accountable,” Tommy said, wincing in pain due to the open wound in his stomach he was applying pressure to.
Aryan called out to Brooklyn and Garrett, and together the survivors of the battle of the Throne room limped out of the building... leaving Chino alone with Jacob.