I spun around to the sound of the doors in the back banging open.
“STOP!” Ash cried out and I sagged down with relief. Her hands were dripping in blood, her white hair a knotted muddy mess and her clothes torn.
“Get her!” Savnor shouted from next to me, and I moved my gaze to Raylon standing at the foot of the stairs with a weapon at his back.
He gave me a small nod as his mask moved to cover his face, and with lightning speed, he spun around, grabbed the weapon from the guard, flipped it around in his hands and fired, leaving a perfectly round hole in the guard's midsection.
I turned back to the Judge, still holding the knife in his hand, and shot up to my feet. I grabbed it out of his hand and spun around to face Savnor. His old body struggled to get him off the ground, and before he could stand, I kicked him with all the force of the anger in me and sent him rolling down the steps.
I looked up at Ash again, and as four guards moved towards her with their guns raised to her, I heard loud shouts coming from outside the throne room. A second later, a crowd of people burst through, surrounding her with weapons raised to the guards.
I caught Savnor’s son out of the corner of my eye as he inched closer to me with a long dagger in his hand. I spun to defend myself, but before I could stop him, Rein leaped up onto the throne beside me and came flying down on top of him with a black bat in his hands.
That’s the same bat that broke my ribs, I thought as I watched Rein beat the man until he stopped moving.
The crowd in the hall panicked and tried to run out of the doors, but when I saw my guards marching in with Laylar in the lead, I smiled wide. They are all alive and well. Thank you, Universe.
I let out a breath as the relief washed over me. But when I looked down the steps, I saw Savnor laying on the floor, moaning in pain. My anger returned in a flash, and I marched down the steps to him.
I grabbed him by his greying hair and dragged him up the stairs to the foot of the thrones.
The Judge called out, “QUIET!” and the hall calmed as everyone turned to look at me.
I ran my gaze over all the scared faces.
“I AM THE KING!” I shouted out.
I bent down and grabbed Savnor by the hair, pulling him to his knees, “As the rightful king of the five kingdoms, I charge you with the crime of treason, plotting against the crown and deadly intentions towards my daughter and the woman I love. Lord Judge, how do you see these crimes?”
The old man stepped forward and cleared his throat, “GUILTY!” He called out and the people in the back of the hall with Laylar and Ash cheered.
“Lord Judge, what is the punishment for these crimes, as set out in the laws charter of this kingdom?”
“For the crime of treason . . . Death! For the crime of plotting against the crown. . . Death! For the crime of endangering the life of the beloved princess. . . Death!”
I bent down to whisper in Savnor’s ear, “I told you I would cut your throat for what you did,” I said and ran the knife deep into his skin and cut him from one side of his neck to the other.
As the red blood poured out over the white stones, dripping down the steps, I threw his lifeless body forward and let it roll down to stop at the feet of his crying wives.
“I am the true king of this kingdom, and if anyone here wishes to dispute my claim to the throne, speak now.”
I watched the crowd, but everyone turned their eyes away from me.
“What you all witnessed here today is the result of an outdated charter. That man,” I said and pointed to Savnor, “Tried to force me to give up my throne, by kidnapping the princess and the woman I love. Let it be known to all here today, that from now on this kingdom will be ruled by one family! One king, and one bloodline! Mine! If anyone does not agree, speak now.”
Again no one spoke.
“The House Charter will be demolished, and from this day forth, any house, no matter the wealth or standing will have equal opportunity in this kingdom.”
I looked up at Ash again. She stood with her arms crossed but a smile on her face. I moved my eyes to Laylar, who stood with the guards dressed in black, and she gave me a wide smile.
I looked over at my brother, who dropped the gun and came up the stairs to me. He stood at my side, and with a nod, he turned to the crowd, “I recognize this decree!” he shouted.
The judge stepped forward, “I recognize this decree!”
One by one, all the nobles, and the other families shouted out their agreement.
I turned to Raylon, “Have I made a mistake brother?”
He called for his mask to move off his face and gave me a proud smile, “No. You have done what kings before you only wished they could.”