The Smell of Burning – The Broken Tournament – Chapter 30

Our story so far: Rick has been executed, with nobody being able to win the tournament anymore, they must do everything they can to prevent the tournament from continuing, as the alternative is the destruction of the kingdom.


Rob had never told us what his plan was, however, collectively I could guess that we had all reached the same conclusions. Everyone was out of the tournament, which would mean if we did nothing the whole kingdom would go to Kovan rule. There was only one solution to prevent this from happening now, and that was to prevent the tournament instead of winning it.

“Rick was executed what’s your plan?” I asked sharply when we returned to meet him. He immediately looked sad and frustrated. He didn’t know Rick in the same way we did. He had never gone through the experience of slavery or those woods, or that painful encounter on the road. Yet, he was still very much on his side.

“Revenge.” He said “Now that we can’t win the tournament, we’re going to destroy it. I don’t remember if I told you when we first met but there were two possible ways to avoid a future where Kova invades us. The first is to win the tournament, the second is to destroy it.”

“How… can… we… destroy it?” Maron said through sobs. She was in a pitiful state.

“We go to that same place where we went yesterday, instead of bribery we murder. We go through office to office killing everyone. Then we set it on fire and escape together. This will end the tournament, and make the kings son king instead, as that is what is written to happen in the event that the tournament cannot finish”

The plan was not perfect, but it was our only option. That was all we had to do. One night, one bloody night, and it would all end. We had no other choice. Though nobody themselves would realise, we would be heroes.

We spent the rest of the day frantically preparing, as we had learned yesterday, they already knew where we lived, and we had likely been seen already, we needed to act quickly. We had a flint and steel each, easily flammable material and we had walked to the shop to buy some sharper knives, I guess you would call them daggers. Eventually we were ready, sitting with each other in the main room of our house. One minute passed and then another and five more. We were all looking from one person to the other, ready to go and fight. Eventually Rob spoke “Common, let’s go.” And he walked out.

We slowly followed him with anticipation.

“When you stab the person, don’t alert anyone to it. Hold your hand over their mouth and slice their throat as hard as possible. Make sure it’s not weak or you will not murder. This will block their windpipe so they’re unable to scream.” Rob said, and I felt a strange concern that this was something he had definitely done before.

More time passed as we walked.

“We’ll set up a safe room for all the dead bodies. We’ll keep them all in one place, so nobody gets suspicious.”

More time passed.

“There are lots of lords there, but if we kill about five or six then that should be enough. It’s not a lot. Then it’s just the fire and it will be over”

More time passed.

More time passed.

“How are we feeling?”

More time passed.

“Fine” I said

More time passed.

“Be ready with the money Kil”

More time passed.

More time passed.

More time passed.

“Ok”

More time passed, and then we were there, with the guard. We bribed him once more.

“You do know it’s not going to be enough?” The guard said. We were all silent. The one leading us along was going to have to be our first victim. He was the same guy as last time but even so… he was contributing to this evil scheme. He had to die. We would risk too much by letting him live.

“Which lords are opposed to the tournament?” Rob asked the guard.

“From what I can tell most of them. Except for two.” The guard responded. These two must be the ones from Greba and Clennor who were openly rigging it. It was reassuring though since we didn’t have to be too selective with who we killed, we just needed to get the message across that this level of corruptness wouldn’t be tolerated by the people.

We were a small rebel alliance, but we could still be powerful.

The endless corridor continued, and I started to become worried that we were going the wrong way and we wouldn’t end up in the same place as last time.

We walked through the tunnel.

I looked around at the backs of the people. Rob, Maron, and the guard we had to kill.

We walked through the tunnel.

I thought that if we were going to kill the guard, we should at least know his name.

“What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Rob” He responded.

We walked through the tunnel in silence.

“My name’s Rob too.” Rob said.

“Yeah I noticed” he responded.

We continued.

“Here we are” the guard said.

We reached the end of the tunnel. It had to be done now.

 

Rob grabbed the other Rob’s mouth and sliced his neck open with a knife. He was quiet. Rob laid him down to rest, we would now follow his example, though we were disgusted, we didn’t question it. We each split up to enter our own individual rooms. There was five of them on this level so that meant five rooms. I would take the first one, Lord Bostleys room and check on progress later. The room I had to take out would become the safe room, so it would be the most essential.

I walked in without knocking. Lord Bostley was there. He looked surprised.

“Didn’t I tell you to knock last time?” I wasn’t in the mood for this. I took his mouth in my hands and sliced his fat neck off while he was still struggling, he didn’t make a sound. He slumped downwards and I felt relieved, and I felt better. Now that I had made it this far there was no turning back, it would make every murder following easier. I dragged Rob’s corpse to the room and put him there. As I was leaving, I walked past both Maron and Rob who were dragging their own victims. None of us had backed out; we were saving the world one kill as a time.

There were two rooms left and I took the one nearest to me. The man was a stranger, I didn’t have time to look at the names on the doors, he was leaning over a stack of books and writing. He didn’t even look up when I walked in. It was easy to kill a man who wasn’t looking you in the eyes. I did the exact same repeated process and dragged him away. It felt better this time, with each kill I was stronger and a step closer to my end goal.

The final room was empty, so we walked up the stairs and looked to our left and right. It was a big corridor with even more rooms. There were two guards one at each end of the corridor. But it was a long corridor and there was nothing we could do to avoid being seen.

“Maron, you go in and kill the guy in that room, both guards will then come to the room if you’re silent about everything to check what you’re doing. When they get near me and Kil will Kill them.” Rob said. Maron clearly had the least blood on her, so she would be the least suspicious.

“Ok.” Maron replied and she entered the room. There was no noise, so we assumed the plan had been successful. We could also hear the footsteps of the guards which we needed to take out. Both of them turned to the door at once and we pounced. Rob used the same hand over mouth trick, yet it was less effective with armour while I went for the back of the neck, this created a fairly loud sound. Without thinking we immediately ran into the room with our corpses and left them there, this was the new safe room. The place where we were was empty so all Maron had to do was wait.

“You idiot” Rob whispered to me.

“Sorry.” I replied.

“You will be.” He said.

We continued to go through our motions from room to room, when we got through one side, we did the exact same to the other, and brought with us an army of slit throats. Once the whole corridor was cleared, we thought about heading downstairs.

“Is this enough?” I asked everyone.

“Not nearly enough.” Maron responded.

“I agree.” Said Rob

I guess I would have to save the world even more, there wasn’t a lot to complain about.

“Start the fire then.” I said.

“Good idea.” Replied Rob “Now might be our only chance if we’re seen”

We hastily made fires over the sections which we had concurred. They were small but eventually they would build up to achieve the effect we wanted.

On the floor below us to the other side of the way we had entered I heard a man say, “Do you smell that?”

“Yeah what is it?” Another stranger responded, calmly.

“Like rotten flesh or something, and… smoke”

The two came up the stairs and we hid, me and Rob ambushed and killed them in the same way as the two guards earlier. Maron stayed back to watch.

“Same plan but downstairs Maron?” She nodded. Though we had started on the bottom floor, and gone up the stairs, there was another staircase on the oppose side which lead to more rooms on the bottom floor opposite. It was more heavily guarded than the top since the main entrance was in that direction.

Then I heard a haunting voice as soon as she went down the stairs.

“What do you think you’re doing missy.” And then the shriek, the terrible shriek.

“Let me go!” Maron shouted in a cry as she flailed around trying to get out of the guard’s grasp.

Sensing my urge to go and help Rob put out a hand to stop me.

“There are too many, it’s not worth it.” It went against everything I wanted to do but sure enough the footsteps were loud and terrifying. They didn’t sound like they were going to kill her which meant that she had made a necessary sacrifice. She had taken many guards away, which would make our job easier.

“I’ll go and check on David and Mike!” Another soldier said as he walked up the stairs quickly. The two of us exchanged a quick, knowing look. I would be the one to kill him. It was easy now I was used to it. The loss of life was exiting. I would have no problems joining a mercenary group once this was all over. Fighting would also be justified then because I’d be paid.

Sure enough he dropped to the ground and we waited for a few minutes and the fire started to spread, it was up to the ceiling now and for some reason nobody had noticed. To stop the time from being wasted we lit fires with each other so that there was no way this building would be saved.

I admired my handiwork, but something was wrong which made my time a lot more difficult than it should have been. The smell of the fire and corpses were building up and somebody was bound to notice eventually. We rushed downstairs to the nearest room and entered. There were two guys this time and they looked at me in shock. For the first time I noticed I was covered entirely in blood.

I killed one and the other man screamed with terror as I abruptly ended his life.

This was terrible, it was the scream to cause Sevren’s crown to fall into the wrong hands.

When I was about to leave the room, Rob poked his head in to talk to me, he said one word: “Run”. He then ran himself.

When I quickly left the room, a guard was already quite close, regardless I was able to run up the stairs. I saw Rob throw his knife into the glass window, smashing it so that he could jump out. I would have done the same, but the guard from behind was holding me back.

Before I knew it the guard had stabbed me in my back. The most pain I had ever felt in my life entered me and I screamed. The blood was rushing out from the wound and it was the most unbearable pain that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried to react. Nothing was going to work at all.

In my adrenaline rush, I somehow escaped from the sword and shoved the guard away. I kept retreating.

The blood leaked out more and more.

I kept retreating, slowly.

The guard looked at me as if I was a monster as three more came to join him.

They looked at me as I stumbled and fell, trying to escape. I was too slow they were going to catch me. I was so slow as I crawled that they just watched me, in confidence that I would drop and die. I didn’t want them to have that satisfaction. I was strong, and they were weak. I didn’t want to lose to them.

I decided to mutter the spell. We knew already just how dangerous it was, yet I was out of options.

“Sore wa hontōni kūrudesu, ē, anata wa sentōkidesu, anata ga katsu.”and time slowed down. Somehow it had worked.

With the first guard I took advantage of the surprise, turned and rammed my dagger from bellow into his guts and quickly, and pulled them downward spilling them onto me. I pushed him into the guard behind him with all the strength I had left and somehow struggled to stand up.

I walked to the other two guards and slashed their face. For the first one my dagger went through their first eye and made a gash that left at the second. For the next I jammed the dagger into his throat and left him there with the blood pouring out into his neck. He would surely choke and die.

Then I collapsed. I tried saying the ending words “Anata wa katta. Anata wa okiro hitsuyō wa arimasen.”

But it didn’t work. I kept on trying to say it but couldn’t.

I had to live out the final moments of my life perceiving one second as one hundred, it only intensified the pain hugely. I was collapsed on the stair with three other dead bodies I had killed surrounding me.

It was the smell of burning which did it. I felt the fire wrap around me with an intoxicating smell. I didn’t want to be there anymore. The spell had made me want violence. I put my hands around my throat and tried to rip it out. It wasn’t unpleasant, but not as bad as the stab wound.

I continued, digging in with my fingers as hard as possible. Skin fell open, but so much blood had been lost already that very little came out.

Why wasn’t I dead yet? I thought. But then I saw the dagger.

I picked it up and admired it fondly. The murder this dagger had brought would surely prevent the tournament from being cancelled. It must have been the right thing to do.

I brought it down into the centre of my throat, but it had gotten stuck, I started choking slightly.

I pulled it up again and fully immersed it.

I tried to choke, scream and cry, but I couldn’t. I breathed my last, steely smoky breath. It was only a matter of time now.


 

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