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Fiction Fantasy

I inhale the fresh scent of grass and soddy earth, gazing at the painting in front of me. No, it’s not a real painting but – it looks just like so.

Puffy clouds that swirl in the distance, encasing the sky and moving at the command of the gentle breeze. A slow, golden ball is appearing in the distance – at first it is a small dot, but gradually, it gets bigger. Like curtains in a theatre, the clouds part to make way for the main character of today’s spectacular show – the golden ball of light that glows in the day.

The sky gradually gets brighter, tinted with the warm red hue and orange shade that blends together in perfect harmony. Birds start chirping and the blinking night stars have disappeared, leaving only a blushing sky in its wake.

Beautiful.

I guess that’s the only word I can find to describe the breathtaking event unfolding in front of me right now. I got up early to catch a glimpse of the sunrise, but who would’ve thought that I could see such a lovely sight! My eyes feel cleansed and my head is clear. It’s a great way to start my day.

A new beginning. A new day. A fresh start for our empire.

***

“Captain Robin, I’ve gathered all our troops and we’ve done as you have instructed,” my second in command whispers to me as we walk through the marketplace. The fresh smell of bread and green vegetables draw the attention of the crowd. People push and shove to reach stalls and haggle with the sellers for a fair price. These people have no idea…

“Good job, Jerry. Just wait for my command. Our plans will commence as discussed in prior,” I murmur, my voice muffled by the shouts of people and bargaining merchants. It’s okay, though; the less people who know about this, the better.

“Make way! Scram, idiots!” A loud roar disrupts the ongoing trade. People scramble away and sellers grab as many of their wares as they can – knowing full well that whatever items they did not carry will probably be trampled upon; insurance and refunds are just fleeting dreams.

Jerry and I steal away to the side of the road, when a young boy bump into me. He gazes up into my face, wide eyed. “I-I’m so sorry, sir,” he stammers. He probably thinks I’m another of those stuck-up nobles who kicks up a fuss when their pinky hurts a bit.

“I’m fine. Hurry and get out of here,” I whisper. He nods, almost too excitedly, and scurries with a bag of carrots and peas. I turn my head, lifting my gloved hand to block the sun’s cruel rays from my eyes.

It’s one of them.

Most people are gone by now, leaving a clear way for the carriage that had been so noisy. In front of the carriage is an entourage of guards – and leading them is Alastor. “Get out of the way, insects!” He’s sneering, his spit flying to the moon.

The common folk aren’t afraid of his slobber, oh no way, we can just wash that away – they’re really scared of that thing he’s holding. Yes, that long, thin leather cord that he uses to flog almost anyone. Alastor is waving it around like it’s his most prized possession, and I’m not disgusted anymore.

Soon. This will end soon.

“Let’s go, Jerry. We can’t waste any more time.” Jerry nods and glances one last time on the emblem that is displayed on the carriage. The Royal Family of the Moukruthen Empire – the ones I and my men will kill today.

***

Several hours later…

“Y-you! Ungrateful vermin! S-stop this right now, and I’ll s-spare your life!” the willowy figure in front of me is in a sorry state, and yet he still has time to curse at me. How funny.

He holds his golden crown close to his chest, backing away from me with shaking eyes. I look around the room, the bodies of his loyal dogs are scattered all around him, and yet he doesn’t care about them. Blood has splattered all around the walls, staining the gold walls with scarlet.

I point my sword at his neck, my heart burning with fury. Right now, I’m sure the rest of my knights have killed the rest of the imperial family. All his children, and the corrupt nobles who have aided him and his disastrous cause – all of them will be dead, and their blood will dye the entire palace.

“You can’t kill me! I’m the king! What do you want, gold? I can give you anything – anything you desire!” The most powerful man in the world is begging me – begging for his life.

I squat down so that I can see him better. His hands are trembling and drops of sweat cover his brow.

“Don’t you know why this is happening to you, Tyler?” I whisper mockingly. His eyes widen and he clenches his fists – obviously appalled by the fact that I didn’t address him by his title. Well, he’s not a king anymore – at least, starting from today.

“Why are you asking me, scoundrel? It’s my right to rule! I have royal blood in my veins! I’m a king!” He starts rambling incoherently, still lost in the fantasy that he is a noble king who deserves the entire world to be served to him in a silver platter.

“What you’re doing is treason – yes, treason! It’s punishable by death, so you better – “

“Shut. Up.” I cut him off. He is simply revolting.

“How many lives have you killed on a whim? The people you killed, murdered, slaughtered, massacred for your personal enjoyment and filthy hobbies are screaming in my ear, begging for me to kill you!” My voice rises in a crescendo, ending with an angry scream.

“No, they were just some useless trash, so I naturally disposed of them. Shouldn’t they be honored to die for their king?!” This man must be mad. “And you! I took you in when nobody wanted you,” he’s hissing through his teeth now. “I made you a knight! I granted you your dreams!”

I grasp his neck, watching in satisfaction as his face turns red. How dare he utter such nonsense? He took me in? Granted me my dreams?! Does he even know what I dreamed of?! Did he forget that the sole reason nobody wanted me was because they thought I had killed my mother?

Sweet, poor mother. Her gentle smile and warmth were reserved only for me. In front of tyranny, though, her eyes were cold and sharp like a knife – ready to pierce break apart vile practices. The nobles didn’t like such a person – a person who could rally the crowds and shout out against injustice was, after all, the bane of all corruptness.

So he killed her. Tyler, this fatuous ruler, killed my mother.

And yet everyone thought I did it! When mother died, I couldn’t even grieve! This cunning snake took me in – pretending to be a saint, and made me a knight with the hopes that I would be indebted to him and worship him.

Contrary to his expectations, here I am now. I hate him. My heart is burning, and my hands are twitching, begging me to hurry and end his worthless life. I found out about all his misdeeds. I grew so strong that no one could stop me.

And today, I will kill him. To avenge my mother. To avenge the lives of the innocent people he killed! To make my heart at peace!

My hands let go of Tyler’s neck. He’s gasping for breath, but his face is smug. “See…” he groans. “I knew you couldn’t bear to kill me…”

Stab.

His face contorts – his eyes bulging out in shock and hands trembling. He drops his golden diadem and I kick it away, a sneer playing across my face. He looks down at the sword that has gone through his chest. A red dot appears, and then it blooms like a flower unfurling its petals. Vermillion liquid drops down and splatters on the golden floor.

Tyler’s eyes roll back and he collapses on the floor with a gentle thud. My hands are shaking, but I still reach out and put a finger under his nose. Nothing. He’s gone – at long last.

I walk out of the chamber, running into Jerry. “Sir, everything is done. The imperial family has been wiped out, except the babies and toddlers who have yet to be stained with the filthy ways of nobility. The corrupt nobles that our spies have told us about are to be executed in public tomorrow. As for the nobles who have supported our cause, we will reward them accordingly. We also found evidence of all the imperial family’s crimes, and we will release them to the public by the end of this week.”

I nod my head, satisfaction welling up in my heart. Everything proceeded smoothly – well, we did prepare this rebellion for a whole year. I’m tired; I need some fresh air. The metallic scent of blood is unpleasant, and I just want to run away from this dreadful palace.

“Take care of the dead bodies, Jerry. I’ll go out for a while,” I say solemnly. Maybe because he sees the frown on my face, or perhaps he sensed the weariness in me, but Jerry just nods and waves goodbye as I walk away.

I reach my secret place – a small hill located slightly farther from the bustling town. I sit on the grass and gaze at the sky. Just this morning, as I gazed at the sunrise, the empire had been in the hands of an oppressor. Now, as the sun starts leaving and the sky turns vivid cerise mixed with tints of peach, I am left wondering.

Did I do the right thing? Now that the throne is in my hands, what next? I have a long road ahead of me. As I traverse the narrow paths of life, will I be overcome by greed and turn into the very thing I despise, or will I be a good leader?

I don’t know. I can’t see the future.

I just hope that… when I sit on the throne, the people of this empire can wake up every day and enjoy the glorious entrance and exit of the sun without worrying about poverty, schemes, or injustice.

Let it be so.

June 22, 2021 04:58

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