Stone Warriors

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Chapter 28

Sleep was evading me, but it was just as well because I couldn’t afford for this plan to have any hiccups. The first rays of dawn came through my living room window as I heard a muffled scream coming from the bedroom. My exhaustion vanished in seconds as I jumped from my seat to open the bedroom door. A huge smile plastered itself on my face when I seen a bound and gagged Zytriana struggling against her bindings.

“Good morning, child. You have a very important job to do today. First and foremost, I have to get you looking presentable.”

Wetting a washcloth, I tried to wipe the dried blood off of her arms, but she rooted around trying to roll off the bed. “Now, now,” I chided, “You must be still. If Zakyrik sees you in a mess he will misunderstand my intentions for obtaining you.”

Upon hearing his name, she froze and glanced at me with wide, untrusting eyes. “That’s a good girl. Let me get you cleaned up and I will take you right to him.” I didn’t have a bit of trouble out of her after that.

What was that Drusaren on about? Apparently I should have hired someone else to kidnap her. She’s just a scared little child that is easily persuaded by fear. There is nothing special or unusual about her at all.

By the time I finished, the sun was fully over the horizon. “It’s time to go child,” I threw a cloak over her to hide the fact that she’s tied up, “Do what I say and you’ll see your beloved cousin in about ten minutes.”

My plan is going perfect. The guards should be waiting on me to get there and done with Zakyrik by now. When he sees her in the far cage as he awakens, everything will fall into place. He will not let anything happen to her on his account.

My eyes shifted to the girl. She was quietly lying in the floor on her side. She hadn’t tried to run or get away ever since I mentioned her cousin. She must love him very much.

How pleasantly nauseating it is. Love for your family is a crutch. I personally hated my weak father and when he died in front of me I didn’t even flinch. If Vyron didn’t do it, I would have done it myself.

The stadium came into view from my window and I felt an exhilarating sense of self-satisfaction. I’m very pleased with myself right now. I had to fight hard to keep a smile from appearing on my face.

After helping Zytriana down from the coach, I led her down to the lower level of the stadium. A few of the guards were standing there laughing and talking amongst themselves when we reached the bottom stairs. They immediately straightened up when we drew near, “Mr. Ranswits, would you like an escort to Ruequal?”

Instantly I nodded and gestured for the girl to walk ahead of me. There was more laughter echoing off the narrow, stone walls. Apparently something amusing was happening up ahead and I couldn’t wait to see what it was.

The sun had risen directly over the small window in the holding area so everyone, including Zakyrik crumpled onto the floor, could be seen easily. I inwardly grinned at the sight of the four guards sitting on the floor with various injuries. Zakyrik has improved and that’s wonderful news for me.

Zytriana hobbled over to Zakyrik, who was apparently unconscious, and a muffled cry came from her as she laid her head on his chest. “So, how did he do this time?” A formidable looking man nodded to the four hurt guards, “He managed to wound a few of my strongest fighters, and I’m glad Lord Vyron has agreed to give them healing vials or else they would be useless as security personnel during the competition here in a few hours. Who is the girl?”

Waving my hand, I shrugged her off, “No one of importance. That will be all then. I expect you here in the morning as well, as Zakyrik will sleep here until his final battle. You may go after you deposit him in his cage.”

Hurriedly I pulled Zytriana off Zakyrik while he was being hauled into his prison. She struggled and tried to scream, but before she did too much I drug her across the floor, put her into the farthest cage then slammed the door shut. The guards bowed and exited without another word.

I’m sure they will report back to Vyron, but they won’t be able to tell him who she is, and so he’s not going to care. If they learned her name then we’d have a problem because kidnapping her is considered interfering with the competition. No worries, though. If Vyron asks I’ll tell him she is a random whore who attempted to steal from me when she thought I was asleep.

Pouring the healing vile into Zakyrik’s mouth, I whispered, “When you wake, you will see the extent of how far I’m willing to go to win, boy. Fight like I command you, and she will stay here unharmed. Fight half-assed like you have been, and she will stay here dead.”

A feeling of invincibility flowed through me as I exited the stadium cellar. I made myself comfortable as I decided to wait in my coach until the stadium started filling with people. It was better I wasn’t spotted here too early. I waited about an hour before a crowd entered in the front gate. A little more and I’ll head off to my VIP box while I wait for Zakyrik to awaken.

About the time I opened my door to get out, a blue coach pulled by two spotted horses pulled up beside me. Ah, Xori Tamminalin. She’s a sight for sore eyes. The epitome of beauty and grace. Everyone wants her, but no one has gotten her. Yet.

Stepping out, I ran a hand over my hair to make sure it was lying flat before I reached her. I still remember the last time I seen Xori, and I promised her I would take her when she became of age. Well her maturity date has come and gone, so it’s time for me to claim what’s mine, but not here. Later I will come for her though.

She leapt down from the driver’s seat, her lavender dress twirling around her ankles. “Well what a pleasant surprise! How are you today, Miss Xori?”

She gasped, looking at me with wary eyes, “Trevalo. I see you are back in town. You are here early.”

She was wide eyed and I could see her breathing fast. Good. She hasn’t forgotten my promise.

Chuckling, I responded, “Yes I am. Today is a very important day for my warrior so I went ahead and came. Are you here alone? One could wonder why you are here so early and by yourself, lady?”

She has never been by herself since I’ve known the Tamminalins. What’s she up to? If it wasn’t for her coach as evidence she was here, I would take her to my suite right now.

It’s like she could read my mind. She took a few steps away from me, putting adequate space between us. Oh, little Xori, you cannot run forever.

She huffed, “Not that it’s any concern of yours, but I stayed with Jyrixi last night. In a few days she’s leaving and I won’t see her for another five years. Good day, Trevalo and good luck.” She sauntered off, leaving me happily watching her backside as she walked away.

As I neared the VIP box, I spotted Maesoli, a member of the sponsorship betting league. He was having a discussion with, to my delight, Xori. His face looked pale and ashen while Xori had her hand on his shoulder, obviously trying to cheer him up. I strolled up to the pair and Xori looked at me with an unreadable facial expression.

Did I detect annoyance in her features? No, surely not. Xori, once you are in my bed, if you only knew what that look will earn you, I’m positive that look will never cross your face ever again.

“Good day Maesoli, how are you on this fine morning?” He sighed and spoke in his thick accent, “No good, miser Treva, no good.” He put his head in his hands. That moron could never say my name right.

Glancing at Xori, she elaborated, “It seems, Mr. Maesoli’s warrior died from severe injuries last night and so the only warriors to compete today are yours and Illyo’s. Poor Maesoli has lost almost all his money on his warrior.” At this another sad sigh escaped his lips. Xori put an arm around him, “Come on, Maesoli, I’ll walk you to your seat.”

Hmm... So only Zakyrik will be fighting today? This day just gets better and better! That means when he defeats Illyo’s warrior, he’ll automatically advance to the final round! I must go and see if Zakyrik is awake.

On my way down I was stopped by a movement on the platform. Guards were bringing up barrels of weapons and sitting them randomly along the edge, which made my elation soar even higher. Vyron said he was going to allow weapons, but I thought it was going to be for the finale. Zakyrik should have no trouble doing what I say now.

A smile crept upon my face as I heard hushed voices when I neared the cages. Zakyrik spotted me and instantly stood to full height, “What the hell have you done? Untie her and let her go right now!”

This is just too good to be true. “And if I don’t? You seem to have forgotten you have no authority or power here. I warned you, stupid boy, not to defy me and so little Zytriana will be joining you in here until the final battle to remind you that I’m in control and you will do as I say or I’ll kill her in front of you then leave her body there as a reminder that her death was on your hands!”

Zakyrik took a step back and scowled at the ground, “Fine! Just don’t hurt her! What do you want from me?”

Played right into my hands. I smirked, “Today should be quite exciting because Vyron is going to allow you to fight with weapons. I want you to slowly let your opponent bleed to death. This can be accomplished by cutting off limbs, opening arteries or stabbing him. You are not, however, to decapitate or end him quickly so whatever you do, make sure he suffers.”

Gesturing to the girl, “After that, I give my word to untie Zytriana, but she will stay in that cage until your battle with Cicatrix. Mark my words boy, I’ll kill her right in front of you if you disobey me again. I’m covering her cage before the nosey guard come down here and asks questions.”

Grabbing the tarp that was laid carelessly over some scattered boxes on the floor, I then draped it over her cage making sure to not even leave an inkling of a gap to her tiny form. “Not a word about who she is to the guard or I’ll make her suffer dearly.” I threatened as I headed back to my box. I’m going to finally have the fame I wanted and deserved!

There are no words to describe the spirit I am in. Sitting beside Maesoli’s crestfallen form, I decided to extend my glorious mood further. “Hey, how about a little wager? Just between us of course, who will be victorious, my warrior or Illyo’s?”

Maesoli looked at first like he wanted to do anything, but lose more of his money, but then he said, “I no bet on Illyo’s. Your warrior is better, miser Treva. It no good to bet against your fighter.”

Good point, he would be just giving his money away. Time to finagle this a bit, “Okay, let’s make a wager on how Illyo’s warrior will die then. I bet ten thousand gold pieces on a long battle where he bleeds out slowly.”

Maesoli looked thoughtful for a second, “Your warrior not fight for too long. Okay I bet you ten thousand gold pieces the fighter cuts head off of Illyo’s warrior or he stab him heart.” I smiled as we shook on it because he didn’t know the threat I made down in the holding area a few minutes ago.

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