Chapter 43 (A dying request)
Roffor slipped into the palace’s west entrance — the servants’ entrance. If any way into the palace would be overlooked by this Seed organization, it would be this one. She needed to reach Kkaj before it was too late. She couldn’t let him die.
Jekor followed behind her, and the door slammed shut behind behind him. Crack! The jarring sound echoed down the empty hallway.
She turned and slapped him in the side of the head. “Are you stupid?” The throbbing headache scratched at her nerves. “We’re trying to sneak in, not alert every Seed member to our presence.”
He glared at his feet. “Sorry.”
A grunt tightened her jaw, and she drew the Surefire Kkaj had bought her after the incident. This pistol was the finest gun on the market, even after so long. “Get ready in case anyone heard you.”
Jekor nodded before pulling two pistols from his Drunkzard vest. “Which way?”
“Knowing that pompous piece of crocobear shit that calls himself a king, they’ll probably be in the throne room.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then … .”
Jekor licked his dry lips. He needed som water. “Then shouldn’t we search the entire palace?”
“It’ll take too long.”
“I … guess you’re right.”
“Of course, I’m —”
Heavy footsteps clicked across the hard tile floor.
“Moo—” Roffor gritted her teeth and cut off the foul word. “Sounds like a lot of them.”
“Yeah.” An audible gulp sounded in his throat. “But where?”
She pointed to a door just before the intersection ahead. “Hurry.” She took off in a run, his soft footfalls padding the tiles behind her.
Seven guards skidded to a stop in the intersection and gaped at Roffor. Their hands shot towards the pistols at their waists.
Roffor leveled her gun towards the man in the lead. The spikes of pain from the headache made her aim unsteady. “You Seed bastards have gotten in our way for the last time!”
Jekor’s pistols raised into the air.
Her finger brushed across the trigger. The muscles in her arm twitched.
The lead guard’s eyes lit up, and his hands zipped into the air above his head. “Wait!”
The other guards froze half way to their guns.
Too late. Despite her best effort to stop herself, she pulled the trigger. Her shaking grip jerked the handle down, and the bullet slammed into the roof. Why didn’t I just shoot him? She gritted her teeth. “Get out of our way.”
“Wait.” The lead guard’s voice trembled. He licked his lips. “We’re loyal to the king.”
A growl climbed up Roffor’s throat. “That’s not much better.”
“Listen, we’re trying to get to the throne room.” He swallowed. “Seed has taken over all the main corridors.”
Jekor tapped her on the shoulder. “If we had their help, we could probably move through these hallways quicker. Plus … .” Using the barrel of one of his pistols, he pointed to his forehead.
“You’re … right.” She pulled out a powder charge, and a bullet then reloaded her Surefire. “Fine.” Roffor nodded to the left pathway. “Let’s go.”
“Do you know which way to go?” the lead guard asked.
“Do you know how to shut your mouth?” She fell into a run with Jekor behind her.
“Who is she?” the lead guard asked.
“No idea,” one of the other guards said.
“Roffor.” Jekor continued laughing.
She peered over her shoulder before turning the corner.
The lead guard’s jaw gaped open. “Is Kkaj here?”
“That’s who we’re going to find.” Each of her steps pounded against the stone in time with the hangover.
Several voices shouted ahead.
She held up a hand and lowered her voice. “Slow down.”
Her group slid to a stop. Jekor stepped up beside her. “What is it?”
“Someone’s just ahead.” She glanced to the left.
A large stairwell to the second floor sat between two broken sets of armor. Paintings lined the floor like carpet along with a sticky, near-black substance. Was it blood? The metallic stink in the air suggested it was, but the faint smell carried little substance.
“The throne room is just around that corner, but it may be better to just go around the group ahead of us.” She moved towards the stairwell, feet crunching across the crusty substance. “I think —”
“Just kill them and get it over with,” one of the voices ahead said.
She froze in place. What?
“Why don’t you kill them!” another voice said with a high-pitch. Was it a woman?
Roffor swallowed. I have a bad feeling about this. She turned around and edged to the corner, group in tow. Slowly, she peeked into the stretch of hallway outside the throne room’s back entrance.
Three guards stood in front of the four foreign monarchs, including Roffor’s Foi-Refejung. The bastard King Koi-Jankorest was nowhere to be seen. The female guard lifted a pistol and placed it against Queen Foi-Refejung’s forehead. She cocked her gun.
“Move!” Roffor burst around the corner.
The three Seed guards started.
Roffor aimed and pulled the trigger.
Her bullet ripped through the female guard’s head, covering Queen Foi-Refejung in blood and brain matter.
The other two Seed guards turned their guns towards Roffor. Their fingers inched towards the triggers.
Jekor rolled into the long hallway and fired both his pistols. Bang-bang! His bullets caught the two Seed guards in the gut and Dropped them to the ground. The loyal guards raced into the hallway and helped the monarchs to their feet.
Roffor gasped, sucking in air. Had she been holding her breath? She stumbled through the hallway and bowed her head before her queen. “Where is Kkaj?”
Queen Foi-Refejung pointed towards the throne room. “He’s fighting with some woman in the throne room. King Koi-Jankorest said he went to help.”
For a long moment, Roffor’s heart stopped beating. “What did you just said?” Without hearing Queen Foi-Refejung’s words, Roffor shambled forward.
“Are you alright?” Jekor placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Here.” He handed her the Surefire Kkaj had given her. Had she dropped it? He pointed down the hallway. “Look. Is that the king?”
King Koi-Jankorest stood in the doorway of the throne room, holding a pistol in both hands. Bang! He pulled the trigger, and a laugh squeaked from his mouth before a bullet ripped through his head, splattering his brain across the carpeted hallway.
“Kkaj!” She fell into an all-out run, leaping over the bastard king’s corpse. She should have spat on it. Her head jerked left then right.
Ikiffar held Kkaj in her arms as he lay out across the floor. Her nose was broken, and blood matted her face. “Jekor … .” She sat Kkaj down and stood.
Roffor bolted around her and fell to her knees beside Kkaj. “Please … wake up.” Tears blurred her vision and pelted Kkaj on the cheeks.
He coughed, and a grin split his perfect face. “Not. Dead. Yet.” He coughed again, and his bloody spittle pelted Roffor in the face.
She sniffled. “Why?”
“To save. The world.”
Jekor raced across the room and wrapped Ikiffar in a hug. “I’m so glad you’re safe.”
Ikiffar swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
He kissed her. “Don’t be. You’re safe now. We’re together.”
“But — “
He kissed her again then glanced around the room. “You wouldn’t happen to have any Lucidity left, would you?”
She shook her head.
Kkaj coughed again. “Jekor.”
Roffor brushed her finger’s through Kkaj’s hair. “Save your —”
Kkaj shook his head. “My time is short.” He reached into his Drunkzard vest and pulled out a small shot. He held it towards Jekor. “This is a shot of Lucidity. Take it.”
Jekor’s eyes lit up. “Really?” He trudged forward as if his broken dreams had risen from the dead. “Are you sure?”
“You.” A spasm rippled through Kkaj’s muscles. “Saved the world by sacrificing. Your dreams. Of course. Take it.”
“Kkaj … .” Roffor buried her face in his chest.
“Thank you,” Jekor said, moving closer.
“Just promise to take care of Roffor and help Ikiffar protect the crown prince.” Kkaj’s voice began to fade.
Roffor’s lips quivered. “Kkaj!”
Kkaj reached up placed a hand on the back of her head. “I love you. I’m sorry that. It took. Me so long to. Open up. To you.”
“I love you so much. Please don’t leave me.”
“Not my choice anymore.” He lifted her chin from his chest and pressed his lips against hers.
Fire raced from the connection down between her legs. Why was this happening? Why did he have to die?
After brushing his tongue across hers, he pulled away. His eyes stared at nothing. “Protect the world from the seventh spirit, Sloth.”
Jekor gasped. “Seventh spirit?”
“Eternal Sleep is produced in the mountains of … . Invasion. Makes. Stronger.” Kkaj’s body went limp.
Roffor sprawled atop Kkaj’s lifeless body. “No. No! NO!” Her entire body convulsed as she cried over the loss of the man she loved more than life.
Next: Post-Lucidity discussion