Chapter 1: Fritz
The shadow of the Palace left Fritz with a bad taste in his mouth. The plan was flawless, they had enacted it exactly as Daniel had laid it out to them, now came the hard part.
A fool’s errand, Fritz recalled the Old Man warning him. You cannot defeat the Monarch. The Essence… The words slipped from Fritz’s mind as they entered the Palace doors.
“Don’t try anything,” Fritz warned the hostage, a Promethean guard he held a blade’s edge to his neck to. “Or the first blood spilled today will be coming from you.”
Fritz comrades circled him: Dez, Alix and James. The Palace was cold and vast, with multiple corridors leading to numerous chambers. Daniel’s schematics of the Palace were correct, how was he able to get them though? Fritz wasn’t worried about that right now, this plan had to work. Or they were doomed.
The throne room was empty, except the lone chair that was swathed in royal robes and the carpet that led from the foot of the throne to the beginning of the room.
Where is he? Fritz thought frantically.
The situation turned grim awfully fast for the humans. They came in from all corridors of the throne room. Swarming in like bees in a hive, all of their blades and rifles trained on the three men and their hostage.
“Nobody move,” Fritz warned. “Or he gets it.”
An abrupt clap echoed throughout the Throne Room. “Very bold move Frank, very bold move.” He was here, the Monarch, in spectacular and terrifying fashion. His crimson and black armor shone through the light that lit through the room. His dirty blonde hair covered half his cruel face, which adorned a scar above his right eye, a piercing blue that saw right through Fritz.
“You miscalculated my friend.” The Monarch talked with a soothing calm in his tone, almost as if he was in complete control. “But you truly don’t realize how outmatched you are.”
Fritz’s hand shook violently in terror as he pressed the dagger closer to his hostage’s neck. “I will kill him monster.”
“No you won’t.”
On cue, Fritz let the Promethean go as he fled from the circle and into the crowd of guards surrounding them.
“Fritz what have you done?” Dez spoke with a tone of terror in his voice. This broke Fritz out of his trance as he toppled to the ground terrified.
Oh no. What have we done? Fritz’s thoughts frantically beat inside his head. Daniel…It’s worse than we thought. No man can beat him…not with this much power at his disposal.
The Monarch frowned. “I didn’t think you were so weak of mind Frank.” He nodded as a guard shot his rifle, hitting James square in the chest, killing him.
“James…” Alix backed closer towards his friends as he drew his sword. “You won’t take me….you won’t take me again!”
“Alix” Fritz called to his friend as he charged at the Monarch, who casually smirked at the boy as he neared closer.
Alix suddenly froze in place as the Monarch held his hand out in front of the boy, Alix was paralyzed in place.
“What have you done to me?” Alix asked. “Let me go!”
The Monarch chuckled. “What have I done? Anything the Essence deems me worthy to do. You don’t get it boy; you don’t realize how doomed your little cause really is do you?”
Don’t listen to him Alix, do not let him break you.
“Like I broke you for those seconds Frank?” The Monarch said on cue with Fritz’s thoughts. With a tilt of his finger Alix rotated around in place until he was staring directly at Fritz.
“Tell him Frank,” the Monarch said. “Tell the boy it’s going to be okay.”
Fritz paused, unsure of his next move. The throne room was dead quiet, and Alix’s heartbeat could be heard through the silence.
“TELL HIM!!!” The Monarch’s voice cracked the floor beneath him slightly. A single tear flowed down Alix’s cheek as he closed his eyes.
“It’s going to be okay my friend…”
The Monarch winked at Fritz as Alix dropped to the floor, a lifeless corpse.
“No,” Dez whispered faintly. “What did he do?”
“His heart,” the Monarch neared closer. “I stopped his heart.”
“Now Desmond.” The Monarch tilted his fingers down, on cue Dez sat down like a child obeying a parent. “You shouldn’t be the one to call anyone a monster.” The next step the Monarch took cracked the floor, stretching the web of cracks to Fritz’s foot.
“You enslaved us,” Fritz said hopelessly. “You killed my friend without even batting an eye, why?”
The Monarch neared closer. “Did you know Frank and Desmond; my parents were killed in front of me when I was nine years old? I was but a BOY when I lost everything. Did you know, I was content with being a slave to the Capital, to you pathetic, cruel and monstrous Humans? But when you took my parents away, I had nothing else to live for. But vengeance.”
“A slave?” Fritz was confused.
The Monarch laughed. “That’s the problem with you Humans, even now as slaves you never stop to ask, why? Until now Frank right? You don’t look at your enslavement as some sign of punishment from God? You never realize it until death is staring you right in the face.”
“And you justify ruling over your people like this for something their parents did years ago?” Fritz held back tears, tears of fear or sorrow, he couldn’t really decide which.
“You are not my people,” The Monarch said. “I am Promethean, not human. You are merely tools to be used as an example to my rule. Anyone who challenges the Prometheans will fall. As the Greyskins to the East will learn.”
“Your enemies,” Fritz presumed. “So when are you going to get it over with and kill us?”
“Fritz..” Dez said. “At least give us a chance, don’t give up…”
Dez suddenly levitated off the ground as the Monarch neared closer, standing feet away from Fritz. “You humans do have your uses,” he said. “In my ranks there are a few who have been trained to the standards of a Promethean, they prove adequate enough. One even proved a match for Drakeford, a good soldier.”
“What happened to him?” Dez asked, cautiously picking and choosing how to word his question.
“I killed him.” Dez slumped forward as he crashed back down to the ground, dead. “He grew too strong, perhaps I had done too well of a job training the fool. He trusted me too much.”
“And you repaid him with betrayal,” Fritz guessed. “How typical of the Monarch. I wouldn’t think any less of you.”
The end is close, I can feel it. If I go down, it’ll be fighting, even if he stops my heart, I’ll still try.
“No, you won’t.” The Monarch turned around and leisurely walked back to his throne. “I have another task for you, then you may die accordingly.”
Fritz couldn’t resist, he had to follow his Monarch’s orders, it was everything he lived for, everything he wanted. There was nothing he could do.
“Kill Daniel,” the Monarch said. “Then report back to me. Succeed or let him kill you. I would much rather do it myself, but I prefer the theatrics of friend killing friend, a good old heart aching fight, that should keep the boy on his toes about trying anything. I swear I just keep him around for entertainment at this point.”
Laughs paraded the throne room as Fritz leisurely walked on, eager to follow his Monarch’s demands.