Welcome to a new chapter of Imperial Struggle, the story of the young Emperor Marco, and the struggles he has with his new imperial position. Imperial Struggle is my first web novel, so any feedback is welcomed. This is chapter 21, so if you want to read from the beginning please click here
Marco was laying down the bed. Because of the swordplay from earlier in the evening, he was tired. But he couldn’t get himself to sleep. An usual occurrence since he became Emperor. Too many things were pressing on his shoulders. The burdens of an Emperor are immense. He now understood why his father made some decisions at the time.
Thoughts about Grand Council was crossing his mind. Was Marquis de Sar his only enemy? If not, who were the others? Who poisoned his father and why?
While Marco was thinking about all these things, he heard a noise in the dark. Suddenly, he felt the presence of people in his chambers.
“Assassins” was his first thought.
Slowly, he brought his sword closer to him. Marco had a habit to sleep with his sword near right hand and a dagger under his pillow. Even as the Emperor, he didn’t leave this habit aside. It seems that it might come in handy.
Marco adjusted his breath to seem like he was sleeping. He tried to guess how many people entered his room.
“Five… six” Marco said to himself. “The Swords should be patrolling around the area. I didn’t hear any sword noise until now, but that might change. One by the door, one at the window, the other four are approaching the bed. Let’s get the dagger as well”.
He moved in a way that looked natural in sleep and quickly drew the dagger from under the pillow. With the dagger in hand, he was waiting for their move.
But while Marco was waiting for the swords to come down, a yell was heard from the outside courtyard.
“Assassins! Imperial Guard to go to the Emperor’s chambers right now, I will hold these bastards down. Argento, Escarte go with them. Qat, let’s send these lowlifes to their makers. Make their mothers cry.”
It was Scilla’s voice that was heard. It seems that this attack was more complex that a few assassins.
The assassins in the room, hurried to strike as well. They knew they were discovered, and they couldn’t delay too much. But the strangest thing happened. When the four assassins near the bed were about to strike down, the assassin from the window released a small arrow from a crossbow, killing one of his companions.
Surprised, Marco didn’t waste any time and implanted the dagger in the neck of the nearest assassin and cut down with the sword another.
“Betrayal” the assassin from the door and escaped through the door.
The last one assassin wanted to follow, but another arrow from the unexpected helper struck him down as well.
“Who are you?” Marco asked while pointing the sword to him. Blood was slowly dripping from the tip of the sword. The assassins were wearing masks, so he couldn’t recognize him.
“I knew you would still have that still sleep with the sword beside you” the assassin laughed and took off his mask. “It’s good to see you Marco. Or should I address you with Your Highness from now on?”
“Enmanuel?!! What are you doing here? How did you get involved with this mess?” Marco eye lightened up when he saw his friend. He immediately put down the sword and went to give him a hug.
The helper was Enmanuel, The Zealot, forth Sword of the Seven Sword. After he finished the nest of Chaos God followers, he rushed to the capital because the note he found on the High Priest's body. The note was a call for all assassins of the Chaos to come to the capital with the mission of killing the Emperor. Enmanuel hasn’t had time send a message to Marco or Arthur so he rushed to the capital and joined the assassination mission as a regular assassin.
“It’s a long story, we don’t have the time for it now” Enmanuel said hugging Marco with great love.
“Assassin, protect the Emperor” the voice of young captain Abruzzo was heard.
“Easy lad” Escarte placed a hand on his shoulder. “He’s a stupid bastard, but he’s on our side. Enmanuel, you loony bastard where the hell have you been?” he yelled as he went and gave him a big hug.
“Enough Escarte, we don’t have time for this” Marco said.”Jun, how is the situation outside?”
“I don’t really know, Your Highness, ” Jun answered, secretly pleased that the Emperor remembered his name. “We rushed directly here, while Captain Scilla and Captain Qat remained in the courtyard to hold the assassins there. Beside this I don’t anything yet.”
“Captains? When they became captains? Marco asked, amused.
“We don’t know what rank they should have and it would be odd to call them on their names, when they are your personal protectors, so we decided to call them captains” Jun asked, somehow embarrassed.
“Good man” Enmanuel laughed. “I guess I’ll be captain as well. Since I see Escarte and Argento here, Scilla and Qat are outside. Where are the other two?
“The other two? There are seven of them?” Jun thought as he felt a shiver down the spine. Seven monsters.
“The other two are in the wind just like you” Marco said. “Now it’s not the time for stories. Let’s go outside and help Scilla and Qat. Enmanuel, tell us on the way there what you know.”
As he finished, he went down the hall, heading towards the courtyard. Everyone followed him in a hurry.
“I was in your assassination team. There were two more teams. I don’t know who the targets were.” Enmanuel started to share what he knew about this whole mess. “The heads of the group told us that once the deed is done, we will have to go to the south gate to leave the capital. I don’t know more details than this”.
While Enmanuel was talking, the group reached the courtyard.
“What the hell took you so long?” Scilla said, while cutting down the last assassin. His clothes were full with blood and he was panting excessively. “Who were these bastards, they were tough as rocks.”
Horses were heard near the corner. A cavalry detachment lead by Commander Abruzzo arrived in the courtyard.
“Protect the Emperor.” he yelled, while the Imperial Guards made a big circle around Marco.
“Your Highness, I’m so glad that you are well” the commander kneeled down in front of Marco.
“It’s good that you are here Commander. How is the situation in the city?” Marco asked.
“The north gate is under attack by some brigands, somehow there are some that cause chaos in the city as well.” the commander answered.
“Commander, you head towards the south gate. Take command of the gate personally and don’t capture everyone that get close to the gate. This is Emmanuel, he will go with you. He knows more about this than me. The rest of you come. Jun take your men, you are coming with me as well” Marco gave his orders. “Move, we don’t have time to wait”.
While he said this, he took a horse and started to move, followed by the rest of the men.
“If I don’t might ask” Jun asked “Where we are going?”
“To the north gate” Marco answered, “We are under attack men. It’s time to pay them back. Tooth for tooth, eye for an eye. Make them Goddam mothers cry!” Marco yelled a battle cry and rushed toward the north gate.
Do you feel the smell of the blood in the air? What happened? Who dared to attack right in the heart of the Empire, in the capital. Who dared to attempt on the Emperor's life? The answers to this questions will be answered in the next chapters.
Imperial Struggle is an original story written directly on Steemit. Follow @sstefan for the next chapter.