Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 25


I placed my drink on the table and with a smile and a wink for Ash, I stood up. The men moved closer to us with bats, long sticks and a pipe of some sort.

I cannot fight. Not in front of Ash. I do not wish to bring back any unpleasant memories for her.

I stuck up my hand, “Stop!” I shouted at them. They all paused to look at me with confused faces.

“I will allow you one chance to leave with no consequences.”

The men looked at each other with frowns before they moved their angry gaze back to me.

The vendor stepped forward, “I will give you one chance to pay for my stock before we beat you in front of your whore.”

Whore!? No more pleasantries.

I turned back to Ash and when I saw the anger in her eyes, I raised a brow at her.

She nodded, “Kick their asses,” she whispered.

I grinned, “As you wish, my lady.”

I turned back to the men, “Have it your way.”

I pulled off the hood and took the coat off. I tossed it to Ash behind me and she smiled as she caught it.

When I turned back, the men were coming my way with weapons extended.

The man with the pipe came at me first. He swung the pipe with force at my head, but I ducked down. It flew over my head and at that moment, I slid out my leg and swiped him off his feet. He landed on the table behind him, shattering it into pieces.

The man with the bat came at me from the side, swinging the bat at my side. I let the blow hit my ribs but caught the bat with my arm. With my other fist, I punched him in the face, knocking a tooth out. I grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt and threw him over another table before I dropped the bat to the floor.

The vendor came to me next. He swung the long stick wildly in front of him, hoping to land a hit. I ducked and moved out of the way of the stick, and waited for the chance to grab him. When the door to the bar crashed open, my concentration was broken for a moment, the stick landed its hit on my face, sending a sharp stinging pain threw my jaw.

I cried out as Rein shouted, “STOP!”

I held my face as the sting spread over my cheek and my skin grew hot in my hand. I straighten to look at the vendor and felt Ash’s hands holding me, “Oh no! Are you okay?”

I met the vendor's eyes and when I released my face, the fuzzy beard fell to the ground.

I saw the man’s eyes grow so wide, I thought they may fall out. He threw the stick to the ground before he dropped to his knees, “My king, please forgive me. I didn’t know it was you.”

Looks like the fun is over.

Rein ran over to the man, pushing tables and chairs out of his way, and threw the man to the floor.

“Rein, don’t. Do not hurt this man,” I said and met the boy's confused eyes.

“He did not know. I cannot blame him,”

“But my king, he struck you.”

“Yes, he did. But only because you came in and distracted me. Let him up.” I said and waited for the vendor to stand. He kept his eyes down and his hands folded in front of him and he cowered away from me.

I went to him, “I will spare your life today. But let it be known among all the vendors. No more Rali birds are to be used at the fair.”

“Yes, my king. Thank you! Thank you!” He said and he backed out of the bar with his head down.

I looked at everyone in the room, and they all held their gaze to the floor.

I turned to Ash with a smile, “I think it is best we leave.”

She nodded and grabbed my coat off the table. We left the bar, my four guards around me again and my smile fell when everyone outside returned to the respectful behavior for me again.

“I am so sorry,” Ash said as she came to me, “It was such a stupid idea. It’s all my fault.”

“No, Ash, please, do not be sorry. For the first time in my life, I got to experience life as a normal man. Even if it was only for a moment. You gave me that, so thank you.”

“You got whacked in the face with a stick!”

“Yes, I did. And it felt so good.”

She frowned at me.

I leaned in closer to her, “I feel alive.”

“Doesn’t it hurt?” she asked, examining my cheek.

“Yes, it does. Terribly. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

“We better get back and get some ice on that. You’re going to have a hell of a shiner.”

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