Chapter 51: The Fall Of The King
With a thud Emily’s body came crashing to the ground. Bouncing slightly off the ground once, her petite frame stilled. Her breath came in tortured fragments, and her mouth jumped into a continuous cycle of opening and closing partially to let out soft moans. Blood oozed from the brutally torn skin and deeply cut flesh of her stomach, soaking speedily her dress making it cling further to her skin. My feet all of sudden weighed tons, I stood rooted to the spot eyes glued to the suffering princess.
“Enough with the childish act of yours, Ozera. It is time to finish this game. It has been going on for too long, already.” spoke Lord Adrian. The hood of the cloak had fallen back leaving a mass of tousled dark curls hanging over the blazing orbs of Adrian, adding to the darkness already prevailing within. A sinister smile forced its way onto his face, as his eyes locked with Vincent’s.
Initially, Vincent was in a state of shock; his body was still as a rock carved statue, but he was quick to get over it. Extracting his gaze from the man’s, who once was his closest and most trusted friend but now seemed nothing of the sort, Vincent made a run towards Emily. In a blur of a moment, Andre had his fingers curled in the darkness of Vincent’s hair, and pushed him face forward onto the ground, with immense force. Digging his knee into his cousin’s spine, Andre pulled off the ground Vincent’s face; blood was crawling down the side of Vincent’s face with a steady flow causing my heart to constrict with pain. Adrian, simultaneously, pushed his boot onto the wounded flesh of the young princess.
Agony laced screams filled the air as the princess lay writhing in pain beneath the pressure of the monster’s shoe. A tremor ran through my body as the pain dripping from the screams was registered by my shock ridden brain. Tears streamed down my cheeks. With shaking legs, I ran towards Emily, and fell to my knees beside her. With shear hatred I pushed Adrian away, and pulled Emily’s head onto my lap; she was all blood, gore and screams. Getting over the horror, I proceeded on to tearing off the hem of the bloodied dress Emily had donned on, balled the torn cloth, and used it to pressure the wound in hopes of stopping or at least slowing down the bleeding.
Utterly unfazed by the pain and suffering around him, all caused by his doings, Adrian laughed. His curls ruffled due to the slight wind finding entry in the room through the windows. His head was thrown back, and a certain amount of satisfaction danced in his eyes.
“She will die, no matter what, but will it be a death by ease or excessive pain will only be determined by your actions, Vincent,” spoke Adrian.
“Why, Adrian, why?” Vincent let out a tortured whisper. His pain doused eyes searched the face of his friend for answers to the questions that lingered in the minds of many.
I ran my fingers slowly through the mud coated and thoroughly knotted dark locks of the princess. I longed to take away all the pain she was bearing as I felt her body beset with pain at every breath she sucked in.
“Oh well… it is a rather long story, and you may have noticed me mentioning it earlier that I am running a bit short on time, but considering it your last wish, I am just going to show you my generosity and provide you with the answers you ask of me.”
The mocking tone of addressing did not go unnoticed by Vincent, but he stayed irresponsive, only staring at the curly haired man.
“I have been waiting for this day for long years.” A satisfied sigh found its way out of Adrian’s lips, whereas Andre released a groan, but was shut up quickly by a stare from the other man. “For more than two decades now, all I have wanted was to snatch from the Kozlovskys every ounce of happiness and power they had, just like they did to me.”
He stared at Vincent with such intense hatred that fear crawled over my skin.
“I did nothing to you, other than treating you as a part of my family; my brother.”
“Oh! Don’t you start with that ridiculous shit, Vincent. No matter what you say, I was only a slave to you, nothing else.”
“No, you were a brother to me, you were the greatest of my friends; my confidant.”
“Lies, lies, and lies, but it is not your fault; lying is what runs in your blood.”
“What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Your father, killed, maimed, and lied to get the throne you now call yours; give or take four and a half decade back when the Bubonic plague was terrorizing the streets of Estercrest Empire, your father instead of helping his subjects out was occupying himself with the task of conjuring plans to snag the throne.“
“There is nothing new to that, Adrian. You and I, both, know that father was self-centered, sadistic kind of a person, and I had always hated him for those attributes of his.”
“Your father ruined my family, and I am going to return the favor to his family, nothing personal.”
“I trusted you, Adrian,” whispered in a defeated tone, Vincent.
“Just like my father trusted yours. It must be becoming very hard to comprehend for you as to what I am saying, let me tell you a story,” Adrian stepped closer to Vincent, his gazing boring into his king’s. “Cedric Kozlovsky was not the only son, like you. He was rather a middle child; he had an older brother, Icarus, and a younger brother, Carlisle; Carlisle and Icarus both were bastards of the king. The three princes were raised together, and prepared for the throne with similar trainings, and when the three had left adolescence behind an announcement was made publicly on the part of the king; the next one to sit on the throne was to be the most deserving prince, may it be any of the three. The announcement came as a blow to Cedric, all his life he had never considered either of his brothers a competition, for they were bastards, and bastards do not sit on the throne; that was the rule of the world. The wrath brewing inside Cedric had no bounds, but he kept its limitless quantity caged and provided it no expression, and schemed in his head only to seize the throne. However, when the plague hit the empire, Cedric found his opening to let out his wrath and put his plans to action. He dispatched letters to his brothers, inviting them to live off the plagued days in his castle, telling it as the safest of all places. Being the ever trusting brothers they were Icarus and Carlisle undertook the risky journey alongside their families to get to the residence of their brother. They were shown immense hospitality, but they did not get to enjoy it for long. A week into their stay at Antonia, one by one, all the members of Icarus’ or Carlisle’s family began to fall prey to the disease spread empire wide; their women, their children, all found themselves in their graves in a matter of days. Icarus died first, while Carlisle was restrained to the bed due to his sickened state. One night when Cedric thought no one was there to stand witness against him, he entered the chambers he had allotted to Carlisle, and proceeded carefully to change his bandages with the ones obtained from the dead victims of the plague, halfway into the deed he felt presence of someone, and at searching he discovered a young boy of age no more than twelve years, hiding behind a chair fearfully. Thinking of the kid as nothing more than a slave boy, Cedric called the guards and had the boy arrested, calling him a thief. The young boy was sentenced to a hundred lashes, less than twenty lashes in to the punishment the child passed out, his condition was such that he was considered dead and his body thrown out of the castle, but he was a strong one he lived; after being found by a tender hearted man and being cared for by him. He grew up to be my father, Larson Vergara, and his rescuer was none other Tristan Ozera. My father lived a life full of scars and hardships all because of your father; it is high time for the tables to be turned, and that is what exactly will happen.”
Adrian’s eyes had turned several shades darker, and the hatred he nursed in himself radiated outwards with a great intensity. A crazed look had come over his face; his state scaring me. Fear clawed onto my body making me shiver violently.
Without any resistance or mercy, Adrian plunged the dagger into Vincent’s abdomen. Vincent groaned, his eyes bulged out with shock and utmost disbelief. Adrian twisted the dagger before extracting it from Vincent’s flesh and stabbing him again. Blood spurted out of Vincent’s torn abdomen. Grunts escaped his lips, as his body fell to the side.