Chapter 10: The Final Piece
I wasn’t able to find out how Atlantrice would choose the King and because of the missing final piece, I hoped that both of us could see the light of day. A thousand enemies could have stood against us and yet together, Heroj and I, would have succeeded. Despite everything unpleasant going on between us, I trusted my brother to have my back when the time came. According to the plan I had in mind, we would fight like a team and destroy all the hurdles in our path. It seemed flawless; for both of us had always somehow depended upon each other. I didn’t see how it could be any different. Not until once again, reality made itself known.
“Heroj! Thank goodness, you are all right. This forest is pure madness! Out for my blood, these plants!”
He stared at me, unmoving. The sword raised above his waist.
“What are you doing? Let’s get out of here. The sooner the better. Come on.”
I had just turned halfway when, in the blink of an eye, my hand shot upwards in defence. Swords clashed. There was fire in his eyes and thunder. There was maliciousness and hunger. It was no doubt that I saw right there, the bloodthirsty stranger from years ago. This time, I was to be the chosen ‘favourite’.
“Of all the things I expected of you, Heroj, I did not expect this.”
He stepped backwards, only to pounce for another attack. “Don’t blame me for your lack of brains. I never promised anything.”
“I hope you don’t mind me offering congratulations. You had me completely fooled.”
“No offence, brother, but I thought you were cleverer than that. Had it all figured out, huh?”
“We can still work it out together, you know.” I met his gaze as we forced the blades like warriors; fighting for dominance. “I don’t want the throne, Heroj. I have made it clear from the very beginning. All I ask is freedom from this land.”
“Freedom, I shall allow you, of course.” He lowered the weapon and smiled.
I believed my words to have reached him. Almost. Which was, in fact, another grave mistake.
In an instant pain split through the veins. A fountain of warmth exploded down the waist. I stumbled onto one knee, less from struggling to keep balance, and more in disbelief.
The short, amused sound of a chuckle held neither regret nor mercy.
“Oh, yes, I will certainly give you freedom. An eternal one at that.”
(To be continued)