Dark Stag Ch. 13

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RICHARD:

Sir Ruben sat on the throne, acting as King’s hand. He wore the gold Borgion seal around his neck, staring down at his subjects. A number of King’s Guards stood by in the throne room, being an intimidating wall of manpower that no one wanted to defy. Sir Leerwood approached the throne, bowing as he handed Sir Ruben a thick portfolio.

“These are the best people to oversee the Ministry of Defense, my hand. With Sir Gavin the head of the Ministry of defense, this shift should go smoothly.” Sir Leerwood said.

“I’m not your King… Don’t bow…” Sir Ruben said, flipping through the portfolio. It was dense with information, “Thank you…” Sir Ruben handed the portfolio over to Sir Rafale, an undercover Free Agent.

Sir Rafale took the portfolio down the hall, through the lounge and out the terrace. He made his way through the courtyard to the plains down by the stables. He continued forth seeing Sir Yale and I standing with staves out in the grass.

“Your Grace,” Sir Rafale bowed, “Sir Leerwood has readied a portfolio for you to review of candidates for the Ministry of Defense…” He handed it to me.

“Wow this is thick.” I said, flipping through the booklet. There were a number of noblemen and Guards worthy of the task with detailed manuscripts of their accomplishments written, “I don’t know half of these people…”

“I’d say trust Sir Ruben and his men with this… They’d know who to elect.” Sir Yole said in that thick Slavic accent, “With that being said, I’d like to see it…”

I handed the portfolio to him. He began flipping through the book, taking in all the details.

“All of these men will be under heavy observation. We’ll report any activities to you that we don’t like…” Sir Yole said, handing the portfolio back.

“Maybe I should continue to do paperwork…” I said unsure, “I just can’t rest easy having you and Sir Ruben do all my work…”

“Or maybe you should continue to practice hand to hand combat with the staff and trust in both Sir Ruben and I to make sure your plans are going through…” He responded.

“Okay…” I sighed.

“What’s the first thing the staff has taught you?” Sir Yole asked.

“Balance and stature…” I said taking, a firm stance. The middle of the staff was tucked into my elbow as I held my arm out to the side. The very tip of the staff was mere inches of the ground.

“What does balance do?” Sir Yole asked, swatting at me forcefully with the staff.

“…Keeps you agile and light on your toes so you flow with the energy…” I said, dodging his strikes.

“And what does,” He said, twirling the staff over his head, “Stature do!” The staff came down from over his head with great power.

“…Keeps you firm and planted so energy flows through you, like lightning through the ground!” He said.

“But remember, where there’s lightning…” He said, his staff spinning over his head then under my foot, “There’s thunder!”

His staff knocked my foot from under me before I could react. I fell hard on the ground, the wind knocked from my chest. It took me a few seconds to gather myself.

“Shit…” I said, slowly getting up.

“For this to only have been three days, you are learning fast…” Sir Yole said, reaching down to help me up.

“Maybe because I feel like it’s a race against time.” I responded with a grin.

“Don’t feel as such. You worry a lot, don’t you?” Sir Yole asked, smiling.

“Yeah…” I chuckled.

The training session came to an end as I returned to my room. Knight Dior was standing guard at my door. I nodded at him as I entered my room. He eyed me up and down, seeing I was a sweaty mess before returning to proper post bearing. I couldn’t help but laugh.

It was nice to be back in my room. The past week had been incredibly difficult with all the attempts to make my plans come to fruition. Every article of clothing I wore was coming off! I ran a scalding bath, filling it with the finest bubbly salts, preparing towels and robes for when I got out. Lastly, I pinned up my hair, it getting quite long these days.

Maybe it was time to start having faith in the Lutna men as well as the Free Agents. This week I had been impressive. I scratched my butt before climbing up the steps into the tub. The water was almost unbearably hot, steam rising through the dense layer of bubbles. I eased into it, the heat being somewhat refreshing.

“Yes…” I moaned, closing my eyes as I slid down. The water eventually crept into my ears as I lay there, relaxing. I zoned out of the world, nothing else mattering.

Suddenly two firm hands pushed me under the water! I gasped, taking in a massive amount of water as I struggled against this attacker. Those hands kept pushing me further and further down as I flailed. I tried to see who this attacker was but the salty water burned my eyes. Screaming didn’t work, muffled by the water filling my lungs.

I reached up, grabbing whoever was attempting to drown me. The palm of my hand slammed poker oyna into their face. There was fabric, no discernible facial features to make out! Panic began to set in, a level of panic I had never experienced before. The fear that I was going to die hit me hard! I swung again, striking the attacker’s neck.

The attacker took a hand off my chest to restrain my arms. I grabbed the attacker’s head, pulling them down towards the water. The assailant resisted. With some unknown of strength, I hoisted myself out of the tub by the attacker’s head! Whoever this was, was strong. My strength was fading though. As my grip failed, I kneed the attacker in the jaw with all my might. He fell to the bathroom floor as I fell back in the tub.

My chest hurt so much from the water invading my lungs. I crawled out of the tub, collapsing to the floor. There was no way I could hoist myself up, my strength gone. I coughed up the salty bath water, steadily trying to get to my feet. My attacker did so first though. He got up, covered in black cloaks, some type of assassin. He reached down to his thigh, pulling out a knife. The man began to make his way towards me!

“Your Grace…?” Someone said coming down the hall.

“Help…” I managed to cry out, trying to crawl.

I was heard! The expedient footsteps of a King’s Guardsman was the most relieving thing I could have heard all day. Knight Dior rushed in with his sword drawn. He glanced at me as the assassin stood his ground. Dior whistled, as he approached the assassin.

The standoff between Knight Dior and the assassin was intense, Knight Dior edging his way between the assassin and me. Dior was upset, very much so. He twirled his blade, before lurching forward to go toe to toe with the assassin. The skilled assassin managed to counter Dior’s broadsword with his knife. The fight was going nowhere and I feared for Knight Dior life. He wore heavy armor which slowed him down compared to the assassin who wore black form fitting cloaks!

A number of King’s Guardsman rushed into the bathroom.

“Your Grace!” Sir Ruben said, helping me to my feet. A younger knight got robes from the platter sitting on the counter, wrapping me in them. He kept me on my feet as Sir Ruben assisted Knight Dior in going after the assassin. Sir Yole and his Free Agents too joined in! The assassin began to flee, running into Roi’s room.

The Guardsman followed, the assassin escaping off the balcony. Sir Ruben was incredibly upset, standing there on the balcony wondering where the assassin escaped to in the darkness. Dior turned, rushing back through Roi’s room to the bathroom.

“Your Grace, are you harmed?” He asked.

“I’m fine…” I sighed, my lungs still on fire. Dior had so much worry written deep in his eyes. He wanted to inspect me from head to toe but, out of respect, he couldn’t.

“How did this happen?” Sir Yole asked, not very pleased.

“I don’t know…” I shrugged, “I decided to take a bath, and next thing you know… I was being drowned by someone…”

“I was standing post all day… No one got into the room!” Dior said.

“What about, Roi’s room?” Sir Ruben asked, having reutrned.

“No… no one entered that room except for the housemaids…” Dior responded.

“And the housemaids have these giant, carts that could conceal a person, need be.” Another Knight added.

It was a revelation to us all.

“I’m starting to see my stay here is wearing thin…” I said, leaning against the sink counter.

“I’m going to get to the bottom of this!” Sir Ruben said, marching towards the exit, “Dior, don’t leave the King’s side for any reasons… This was a bold attempt!”

“Yes sir!” Dior said.

“I need aspirin…” I said, slowly making my way back into my room. This was such a shock. Never had anyone tried to kill me before! It was so strange being so close to dying, so terrifying! Someone literally wanted me dead, this badly!

I sat down in my study, rethinking the ordeal. Yole and Dior made their way over to me, to be sure I was alright.

“You know… If people don’t want to kill you, that means you’re not doing something right…” Yole teased. Dior got the humor, chuckling a bit but it was dry for me.

“This is… new.” I said.

“What? Having someone trying to kill you or nearly dying?” Dior asked with a thin smile.

“Both…” I chuffed.

“Well, my King, that comes with the occupation. And you’re a rather controversial leader.” Yole said, “But still though, this is rather soon, if you ask me. It’s only been a week since things started changing…”

“I think whoever did this, is trying to make sure I die before the King’s Guard gets more man power.” I suggested.

“That is plausible. I’m reporting this to commander Gou. He’d want to know this for sure…” Yole responded.

“Make sure my brother and sister don’t know though. I don’t need them worrying.” I said, clenching my head.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Dior asked, deeply concerned.

“I’m canlı poker oyna fine…” I said back.

“What exactly happened?” Dior continued, seemingly feeling guilty. This did, after all happen under his watch.

“I didn’t hear a damn thing… I just felt two hands holding me down and I panicked for a little too long. Then, I started fighting back… I don’t remember exactly but somehow I got him off me…” I explained.

“I should have been more careful…” Dior said, his eyes falling to the floor.

“Don’t beat yourself up over this… It’s impossible to watch everything that goes on here! We still don’t know for sure what happened to lead up to this event” I said, grabbing his hand.

“I just don’t want you to think I’d let anything happen to you! Your life is precious to me…” Dior said, bearing his heart.

Yole gave him a peculiar look, unsure of this type of affection from a subject. I wasn’t used to it as well. It was a strange feeling having someone this devoted to me, one that was completely new. I didn’t even think Kijus had this level of devotion.

“Your life is yours. Don’t devote it to anyone except yourself…” I responded.

“My King, how can you say this? All of us are devoted to you in this exact same way. Our life is yours…” He disputed.

“That’s nice to hear…” I said back, clenching my head, “Get Sir Ruben back in here. We need to actually sort out what all we’ve gotten accomplished… I’m actually behind on information.”

“Is it of more importance to find who’s responsible?” Dior asked, somewhat vexed.

“Not at this hour… At the crack of dawn, maybe so. I don’t even want word getting out that this happened to me.” I responded.

“Understandable…” Yole said.

I got to my feet, heading to the common space. Everyone followed as I waited for Sir Ruben to come. After several minutes he did. He still was very upset. He came over to me, checking to see if I was harmed.

“Are you okay, your Grace…” He asked.

“I’m fine…” I shrugged, “I got a few questions though…”

“So do I.” Sir Ruben said, turning to Dior, “How did this happen…?”

“I’m not sure, Sir but… we saved him!” Dior said in his own defense.

“This was too close… and too soon! It’s only been a week since we started making plans yet people have already begun plotting to kill you…” He said, turning back to me.

“I was thinking the same thing, which is why I need to know what all has been accomplished so far. I’ve been keeping my hands out of the dealings and I’m guessing that things must be going well if they want me dead so soon…” I chuckled.

“I have all the updated information in your study…” Sir Ruben said, going to fetch it, “Okay, Sir Gavin has been doing a great job with reassigning the newer Official Guardsman on his own. He’s been preparing for a massive turnover in a few days. He’s expediting things so the new Guardsman won’t have the proper uniform or armors. Orders have been placed for everything, including a handbook for the new Guardsmen to study since things are moving at a pace that would mean they wouldn’t be able to go through King’s Guardsman schooling. However, Official Guardsman school more than halfway qualifies the reassignments for the change, so everything is looking up.”

“That’s good to hear.” I nodded.

“As for the agricultural aspect of the talks, it is a much larger undertaking. So far, we’ve been getting land plotted for what will be grown where, where the plantations will be and how feudalistic we actually want this to be. Next will be to get people who know crops and livestock to agree to the terms of the feudal systems and to get them growing…” Sir Ruben said, reviewing his notes.

“Ah, okay. How long will this take…” I asked, tapping my chin.

“A few months at the minimum.” Sir Ruben said.

“I don’t think I’ll be here for a few months…” I sighed, worried about these plans.

“The taxes are also another thing that might take a while. I mean, we could impose them right away and get money coming straight to you but the current issue is that the current taxes are being undermined by Sir Socoshian’s drug pin and brothel which has money flowing directly to him. The empire has been bleeding money to him for over a decade and he now has more than we do. If we do impose the change in taxes, it would be double what the current rate is due to Sir Socoshian’s supply and demand scheme and conflict would arise… Again, people are indebted to him! It could literally start a revolt…” Sir Ruben warmed.

“I don’t like that but our funds… They’re slim and taxation is the easiest way to to get us out of the red…” I said, trying to think this through, “What about slaver taxes? We tax the slaves sold out of here for a high premium, even the prostituted ones that return. Tax them! It would prompt the brothels to raise their prices to compensate and considering how the sex slave industry is booming, the slight price change wouldn’t be noticed…” internet casino

“That’s risking it. That’s dangerously close to Sir Socoshian’s operations.” Sir Ruben, said. I sighed, this becoming frustrating.

“What do we export that Sir Socoshian doesn’t have his hands on?” I asked, clenching my overworked head.

“Not a damn thing…” Sir Ruben sighed, equally as frustrated.

“I’ll figure something out…” I said back, “What about the um… the council?”

“Well,” Yole began, “I’ve been having them under heavy surveillance. I haven’t seen anything to suggest they haven’t been playing by the rules. I’ve also been having eyes on sources close to Sir Socoshian. The higher up Official Guardsmen are all under his regime, whether it be debt or actual loyalty. This literally means that the vast majority of the Official Guard answers to him! It was a good call getting the newer Guardsmen because they don’t have debt to him and aren’t complacent with the way the empire is. They’d be less willing to oppose change and more willing to fight for you! So when they come, it is important to leave a good long lasting impression on these young men…”

“I’ll do so…” I smiled, ready to go to bed.

“You look tired, your Grace…” Dior chuckled.

“You have no idea…” I said, “I’m just gratified to hear that my outlandish plans actually are getting somewhere… It’s almost crazy…”

“Be proud… You’ll be a fine king one day.” Sir Ruben praised.

I nodded, getting up and heading to my bed.

“Good night guys…” I said, forgetting all about the seal hanging from my neck, this tiresome Kingship. The stresses definitely were getting to me. I walked into the sleeping quarters where that big black bed was. It was so amazing seeing it! Knight Dior was right behind me. He watched as I climbed in the bed, wearing that thin robe.

“You think that assassin will come back?” I asked, looking at him. He looked at me, seemingly mesmerized.

“I hope not but I’m staying her to make sure of that…” He said back.

“Don’t you supposed to be turning over your watch with Knight Lius?” I asked.

“He’s on post! I’m just… I fucked up today, your Grace… And being here to make sure nothing else happens to you tonight… That’s the least I can do tonight…” He said, the guilt written across his face. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

“This isn’t your fault…” I sighed, it being hard to stay awake.

“I just want you to know I’d never let harm come to you! You’re my Lord and I’ll always protect and serve you! Always!” He said.

“Mmhmm, that’s nice…” I said, shutting my eyes, wanting him to stop with his brown-nosing banter.

It wasn’t long before I was sleeping. The next day rolled in. As soon as the sun’s rays peaked through my glass, I was up. I leaned up, stretching, ready to begin this Saturday. A shimmering reflection in the glass made me turn. Knight Dior was standing there, startling me.

“I forgot you were in there…” I sighed. He didn’t even look at me, looking straight on.

“Um, your Grace…” He said wearily, making a pulling gesture around his groin.

I looked down, seeing the bottom of my robe splayed open. My cock just laid across my folded leg, it caring as little as I did. I sighed, closing my robes.

“You’ve seen it before… There’s nothing to hide…” I sighed, getting to my feet, “Did you stand there all night?”

“Yes, your Grace…” He said.

“Who’s supposed to relieve Knight Lius?” I asked, not liking this.

“I am…” He said back.

“Fuck, you’re impossible…” I responded, heading to the bathroom.

“Do you not want me protecting you, your Grace?” Dior asked, sounding as though my words stung.

“It’s just that everyone needs rest. You’re lugging around seventy plus pounds of armor and you’ve been up for over twenty four hours… Get some rest, I’ll be alright!” I said back. Dior’s eyes slumpt to the side as he went deep into thought.

“It’s not that easy. This is my second chance at redemption after fucking up back in France. Sir Ruben said he won’t give me any more chances after this so I’m trying hard to prove to him that I can conform, that I’m better than what I was… Don’t take that away from me! Please, your Grace…” Dior begged.

It took me by surprise.

“Well, what…” The boy tensed up as he could see curiosity getting to me, “Nevermind, I’ll grant you your wish…” This would bother me all day. I’d ask Sir Ruben what happened when Dior wasn’t around. The boy obviously had his few demons.

I began my usual morning freshening routine, washing and revitalizing my face, brushing my teeth, selecting an outfit to wear, styling my hair and getting ready for the unexpected turns this long day would throw at me. The whole time, Dior watched me, seemingly fascinated. He squinted, detailing me up and down as I moved back and forth across the bathroom.

“I really miss my brother…” I sighed, looking at Roi’s side of the bathroom.

“He misses you too, your Grace…” Dior said. I turned to him, giving him a chuckle.

“One day soon, I’ll see him and my sister again…” I said, wishing for that day. They were all the family I had left.

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