Chapter 52- Her Long-Awaited Freedom
“I’m already in a bad mood you see... and you’ve just worsened it. So unless you want me to make your life a living hell, I suggest you tell me what I want to know or I really will shoot you through the head. Killing people like you doesn’t make me feel guilty at all,”
“I’m an assassin. It’s my job to kill,” He growled.
“I could tell,” I rolled my eyes.
“I want useful information... like, who hired you to kill the woman I love?” He bit his lip, glaring up at my standing form from his kneeling figure.
“Tell. Me,” I clicked the safety of the gun off.
“Alpheus,” He bit out.
“Alpheus is dead. I killed him. He’s berried 6 ft under right now, probably rolling in his grave,” I pushed the gun against his forehead, causing him to move back.
“I know he’s dead. I saw for myself... but a few days before he died, before he kidnapped your woman, he paid and instructed me to kill her. He said the best way to get revenge on you would be to kill the people you love above taking your Kingdom away,”
“You’re not wrong... But you failed. You’re not a very good assassin,”
“Alpheus didn’t have the money to hire a pro. It was either me or him but that man’s too old to even kill a fly,”
“You got that right,” I scoffed in agreement.
“So... What are we going to do with him?” Don asked me.
“What should we do with him?” I pretended to think.
“Let him bleed to death in the dungeons? Put him out of his misery here? Get him some medical attention then keep him in the dungeons for life?” Don suggested.
“Who’s going to clean up the blood?” I asked.
“Does that matter?”
“If it’s in my palace, everything matters,”
“Of course it does,” He sighed.
“We’ll go with the last option. He did tell me everything I needed to know and Nora is still alive but... Wait... Are you the same assassin that killed my men a few weeks ago? When I sent them to keep an eye on Alpheus?”
His silence was answer enough.
“I changed my mind. We’ll go with the first option,” I waved them off.
“No! Wait! If I tell you more will you let me live!?” He screamed and Don paused in dragging him out the door.
“There’s more?” I groaned, itching the side of my head with the gun.
“Yes... but you have to promise to let me live,”
“Ha, you really are quite pathetic, aren’t you? Begging for your life after living such a horrible one so far,” I fake-laughed at him.
“Please, have mercy?”
“Mercy? Where was your mercy when you killed my men?”
“I needed the money!”
“And killing was the only way to earn money?” He shut his mouth. “What kind of place would this world be if everyone turned to murder in hopes of surviving!?” He jumped. “We live in a civilised society, but I guess not everyone can be civilised,” I sighed.
“So... tell me what more information there is and hurry up,” I changed the subject.
“I had an accomplice. Someone stronger than me, She killed more of your men than I did,”
“And where is that accomplice?” I raised a brow.
“Somewhere here, in the city. She lives in the main town and is afflicted in the black market, that’s the place people go through if they want to hire an assassin, she’s one of the best,”
“If she’s one of the best. Where would Alpheus get the money to hire her?”
“The bandits that broke him out of the dungeons robbed the money for him, that was before you killed them off in the desert,”
“The desert? Then where is the lion leading my men right now? The men that broke Alpheus out of the dungeons?” I asked, confused.
“I don’t know what lion you talk of but the bandit group split into two after the bomb went off in the dungeons and Alpheus escaped. One half stayed with him and the other half attempted to kill you in the desert,”
“This isn’t adding up. The bandit group we’ve been imagining up till now have been a mere bandit group, rogues... but they seem organised as if they’re from some sort of bigger organisation,” Don said and I nodded along.
“That would be thanks to the black market. When Alpheus was still the King, he was closely afflicted with the black market. He sold a lot of people, hired a lot-”
“I know that,”
“Well, after he was put in the dungeons, people loyal to him from the black market began scheming to break him out. The group of bandits must have been hired by another noble to break him out,”
“That makes sense but can we trust this guy? How do we know he’s not just shitting this information out through his but?” Don glared and I opened my mouth to reply but stopped and turned to look at him.
“Did I just hear you correctly? That sentence doesn’t sound like something you would say, I think there was a swear word in there too,”
“Now is not the time for that, my King,” Don glared at me and I coughed out a laugh.
“Right... Well, whatever. My head hurts right now... Right, when I began to think that things were finally clearing up, I’m proven wrong,” I massaged my temples with a grumble.
“Yes. I’ll start investigating tomorrow,”
“No. You rest,” I turned to glare at him but he wasn’t looking. He picked the assassin up and began dragging him back out the door.
“Wait. How do you know all this? I don’t think anyone would just tell a mere, weak assassin, like you, something so important,” I pointed out.
“In the black market, nothings kept a secret forever. Words are spoken through each other’s ears so it’s only natural that I would learn of this,” I hummed, putting my gun in its holster on my waist and nodded for Don to take him away which he immediately did.
“Do something about his wounds for now then lock him up in the dungeons,” I instructed before closing the door behind both of them and sighing, turning my head to finally go to Nora.
I almost fell back on my butt when I saw her though.
“Is it finally over?” She coughed out.
I ran to the side beside her, leaning down to stroke her face and stare down at her eyes, pinching myself to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating.
“How long have you been awake?” I croaked out, gulping back the tears of joy.
She woke up. She actually woke up.
“I began regaining consciousness when I felt him above me but I opened my eyes when he screamed for mercy... or something like that- Ugh,”
“What? Are you in pain?” I urgently asked.
“No, I just... feel weak. Is this how all humans feel? My energy is less than half, my stomach is grumbling and I feel like I haven’t slept in years,” She yawned.
I coughed out a laugh. “Even though you’ve been asleep for two weeks,” I whispered.
“Two weeks? What happened? I don’t-” She cut herself off.
“You don’t remember?... You’re free now, Nora,” Seeing her eyes glaze up with tears and her lips tremble in joy, I wanted to beat myself up for taking so long to set her free. I was a fool.
“I’m... Free. I’m actually, really free? Are you sure?”
“I’m the one that stabbed the sword through you,” I rolled my eyes.
“Oh yes, what happened to Achilles?”
“It’s gone. It broke away into dust,” I replied.
“Oh,” She calmed down and turned her head away from me, looking up at the ceiling with a calm exterior but her eyes gave her away. They were shining with blinding brightness, making it obvious that she was in a surprising trance, not knowing if she should believe it or not- the fact that she was free.
It’s been 400 years after all.
I couldn’t begin to understand what she was feeling right now.
But either way...
I leaned down and kissed her, leaning away a bit to smile at her.
“Congratulations on your freedom, Eleanora,”
My eyes widened in shock when I was suddenly pushed back due to her arms wrapping around my neck tightly as she hugged me and for a short second, I was frozen but I quickly jumped out of it and hugged her back, equally as tight.
I stroked the back of her head as she cried into my shoulder, a small smile creeping onto my face as I thanked the gods for letting her be alive and safe with me.