Stone Warriors

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Chapter 24

Drinking wine that was made by the blood, sweat and tears of those inferiors in the fields somehow makes this taste much sweeter than the bottles I’ve drank elsewhere, I mused to myself as I poured more strawberry wine in my goblet, I’m not even angry anymore over that Ruequal idiot’s blunder today. He’s paying for it right now, of course, but fuming over it will do no good. He’s really going to find out come morning just how convincing I can be. I’m sure I’ll no longer have a problem out of him afterwards.

The semi-finals are tomorrow and I have to make sure he’s ready for Cicatrix. I’ve waited for that scarred-up moron’s fall for too long. Ruequal will not make a fool out of me like he did my worthless father, not if he values that girl’s life.

A body was stirring from under the covers in my bed, which stopped me from my internal monologue. “Ah, you’re awake. I am curious to see what you think of my plan, not that it matters for I’m going to do it anyways.”

A blonde head of hair poked out from under the covers, “I tell you what, you come back to bed, then you can tell me your plan.” She purred. Shaking my head, I smirked, “No Xera, that’s not how this works. Plan first, then I’ll think about getting up from this chair.”

She pouted as I positioned my legs to be propped up on the table, showing her I wasn’t budging till she listened. She knows she won’t get what she wants until I talk. She doesn’t ever get her way with me and she knows that. I don’t spoil her like the other idiots in this town who she sleeps with when I’m not around.

“You see, I’m fixing the mistakes my sorry excuse of a father made. He could have upgraded our land by giving the workers a pay cut and paid your father off to get that fat, greasy invalid’s orchard. Jessuvi is a pest and needs exterminated.”

Upon taking another sip, I growled, “Instead, father was happy with what we had. He even scolded me for wanting to put more money in our pockets! The old fool!”

Taking a few deep breaths, I composed myself and continued, “When I came back to visit I contacted an old friend of mine, Drusaren, for an update on how things have been while I was away. He told me about the horrible job father had been doing with Ruequal and how your father was getting upset with the way he was so lax in the warrior’s training. I was furious that my father’s kindness had pushed him to be a pitiful sponsor. He was dragging our name in the mud. Something had to be done!”

Pausing, I took another sip of wine, but ended up chugging the whole goblet before I continued, “Knowing he would be trying to appease your father, I went to the estate only to run into Vyron himself as he was storming to his study. I made a deal for father to go away on a long journey, permanently, and take over sponsorship as well as the fields. Everything he had is now mine which is the way it should have been in the first place.”

A smile crept onto my face as I explained the rest, “I warned the warrior when I met him that I was nothing like father. I was hoping this morning he would get the picture, but after his quick and shameful battle I’m afraid the seriousness of the situation didn’t sink in like it should have. He gave me the opportunity to call on my old friend again. Sometime tonight, Drusaren will be bringing me my leverage to make Zakyrik do what I tell him to whether he wants to or not.”

Maniacal laughter escaped my lips as I stood up from my seat. Xera thought this meant I was coming to bed so she pulled the covers back and instantly sat up. Stupid girl, I’ve already had my fill of her for the night.

“Didn’t you hear me, girl? Get up and get dressed! Drusaren will be here anytime now.”

Xera jumped up, flaunting her nakedness in the moonlight from the window. She would have been enticing enough to make me delay my plan a few hours, if I had not have seen her body so many times before. Huffing, she pulled her dress over her head. She then turns to me, “So I guess you want me to go, too?”

Rolling my eyes, I roughly grabbed her face, “I’m bringing a criminal for hire into my suite to bring me an object that is precious to my warrior. What will it look like when the daughter of the sponsor I’m competing against is undressed and in my bed? I would have to offer you as a prize to Drusaren for him successfully kidnapping her. Now, seeing how he has no money, class or expensive housing would you like that?”

She pulled away, rubbing her cheeks, and pursed her lips, “Of course not! I would rather die than be with a man who is beneath my standards! Fine I’ll leave, but at least tell me the rest of your plan.”

What the hell? What will it hurt? I have an urge to brag to someone anyways.

“I’ve assigned the task of retrieving Zakyrik’s cousin, Zytriana, from her house tonight to bring her here to me bound and gagged. I will take her to the warrior in the morning and tell him if he does not fight like I command, the only family he has left will die. Do NOT​ tell that walking wastebasket, Cicatrix about this! I’ll know if you had.”

Xera smiles maliciously, “Ooh, Trevalo I didn’t know you could be so devious! That’s a most excellent plan and I cannot wait to see tomorrow’s match! By the way, I never tell Cicatrix anything because he already acts as if he knows everything on the planet.”

This is why I chose her to warm my bed tonight. She has psychopathic tendencies within just like me. A woman after my own heart, if I had one.

“I knew you’d like it,” I called to her as she was leaving, “If only you were not such a whore I would make you mine permanently.” She stops in the doorway and glares at me, “I’m NOT a whore! I just have particular tastes in men is all!”

She walks all the way out and slams the door. I laugh to myself as I pour more wine, yes particular tastes in men that change for every day of the week! Stupid slut.

Halfway down my wine bottle, there were two quick taps on my door. I almost jumped up with glee, but instead calmly replied, “It’s open.” I grabbed another goblet and poured my visitor a glass.

Drusaren rushed in and shut the door behind him. He was carrying a large knapsack, which he dumped onto the bed. “I see you were successful, like I knew you’d be.”

Snorting, he snatched the cup off the table, “Be glad you are going to pay me well because she was nothing as simple to kidnap as you figured! The Ruequal bloodline runs strong in that one, mate.” I frowned, “Surely a little, bitty girl didn’t give you too much of a challenge.” What was this lump going on about?

Drusaren gave a “hmph” and walked over to the knapsack. He yanked it open and poured out an unconscious girl in a blue, patched up nightdress.

She was bound and gagged like I ordered, but when I seen the condition she was in I threw my goblet across the room where it hit the wall with a metallic clang. “I told you not to damage her! What’s all that?” I gestured to the bruise that was forming around her right eye and the numerous scratch marks on her arms, neck and legs.

Drusaren ran a hand down his face, “Look, I told you she wasn’t as easy to take as you thought. Getting into that hovel she stayed in with those old women was a cinch, however, because they didn’t even have locks on the doors or windows. I snuck into her room and put my hand over her mouth, threatening that if she screamed I’d kill her, and what does she do? She bites my damn hand!”

He shows me his right hand, which I hadn’t noticed until now, but it was covered with a bandage and there were blood stains soaking through. “Anyways, I let go out of shock and she knees me in my family jewels,” he needlessly points to his groin area as if I didn’t understand what he meant, “then she picks up a crochet needle and tries to stab me with it! A bloody crochet needle! Do you know how long those bastards are?”

Sighing heavily and attempting to reign in my anger, I spoke through gritted teeth, “So you’ve killed grown ass men, stole hundreds of women, even supposedly slayed a giant from the next land over, but a child was too much for you? Pathetic! So how the hell did she get the bruises?”

He looked insulted, “Oi! I did kill a giant! Ask anyone at the pub around the corner!”

In a rage I slammed my fist down on the table and growled, “That’s not the point! How did she get the bruises dammit?” He flinched at the outburst, then slumped against the wall, crossing his arms.

“Well the scuffle woke the old hags up and they came running in. They weren’t much trouble, of course, because it’s easy to break an old lady’s bones. By this time the girl made it to the front door and was about to scream for help, but I got to her just in time. I did the only thing I could do, I knocked her out then drug her back in the house. After all that commotion I didn’t think it was wise to walk on the road so I traveled through the woods for a little bit, and I guess the tree branches were able to reach her in the knapsack from my back.”

By this time I was clenching my fists. I told this imbecile​ to not make any marks on her whatsoever! If I ask Vyron for another healing vile so I can use it on her instead of Zakyrik then he will get suspicious when the warrior is still bloody and bruised during tomorrow’s match, for after all he still has a training session with the guards in a few hours. I didn’t want to show her to Zakyrik in this condition and I needed her to also be conscious.

“No matter, what’s done is done.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out the small bag of gold coins, “Here. It’s all there, now get going before the early risers of this city see you leave my suite.”

Unenthusiastically I tossed it to him and Drusaren caught the bag with one hand. “This,” I pointed to Zytriana, “I can still work with, but if any of the nosey townsfolk see you here then all this will be for nothing. It will get back to Vyron because this town is so loyal to him it’s maddening. If​ I didn’t know any better I would swear Vyron was a wizard and cast a spell over Evanyl. I’m not sure how he won them all over like he did, but the point is I need you to not be here when the sun comes up.”

After pocketing his money, Drusaren trudged to the door, “Just watch out for her teeth, Trevalo. I’m serious. She’s not a normal girl.”

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