PART THREE: KEYS TO A CRUMBLING KINGDOM
Moon Faerie slaves began to serve the Emperor and his invited guests and then he dismissed them so that their conversation was not overheard by the slaves. Only the Emperor’s guards remained to ensure his safety as Ryna and Berla looked at each other before Berla silently indicated to her superior that she would take one for the team and try appealing to the Emperor.
“Your Imperial Majesty, as you may very well be aware of, we hail from Timeline Alpha 20 where witch-folk and were-cats are enslaved by the despicable fair-folk led by their leader, the Monarch. We have fought a losing battle with them from the very first day and as grateful as we are for our allies’ help, we are nowhere close to defeating them and turning the tide of war in our favor…”
“Your Imperial Highness, we appeal for your help knowing that you are renowned for your invincible army and righteous disdain for fair-folk. We have heard tales of your successful conquest and have witnessed your subjugation of the treacherous Moon Faerie race that now serve you as your slaves…”
“We wish only for your aid to ensure our people are freed from the tyranny of the Monarch and pledge to give all fair-folk territories to you as a reward for helping us accomplish our mission,” Berla stated and then observed Ryna who smiled and nodded, indicating Berla had done well.
The Generals turned to the Emperor who was smirking all through Berla’s speech appraising her words carefully.
“You flatter me, ladies, really and so I shall be as honest as I can be with you both. Timeline Alpha 20 has always piqued my interest because its sheer energy potential is very appealing. You were right to come to me because I know several other renowned rulers itching for a slice of the proverbial pie but they are wise rulers and know better than to face off against me…”
“It was in my plans to acquire the Timeline especially since my sources revealed to me that the Monarch is no longer the ruler of that Timeline. She has apparently disappeared without a trace,”
“What?” both Berla and Ryna asked in shock.
The Emperor chuckled and nodded. “Indeed. One day, she just went poof, off the face of the Earth. I am certain that there is a reason behind the sudden disappearance although no one really knows how or why it happened. I have my sources working on determining the answer of that occurrence as we speak…”
“Without the Monarch and with my forces, taking the Timeline over shall be a cinch, for sure. Her Empire is obviously crumbling without their ruler to guide her lost children. I am more than happy to aid you in liberating witch-folk and were-cats alike and to of course allow you to serve up the dish best served cold to all fair-folk in your Timeline…”
“Of course I accept your generous offer to take over the fair-folk Provinces and countries but I must be given complete autonomy of them without your interference. Give me your word, ladies,”
“Yes, of course, my lord. We would not dare come in your way. We will gladly surrender all Provinces and Countries belonging to fair-folk provided all witches and were-cats are freed,”
The Emperor smirked and clasped his hands in celebratory fashion.
“Then it shall be done. Allow me to see to your every comfort as we await the Contract to be drawn binding us to its terms and conditions. Of course I should mention we shall use Blood to bind this particular contract,”
Ryna and Berla nodded. “That is in order, my liege,”
“Very well. Enjoy the feast and the rest of your days in Mystai’s Solace. You two are welcome here anytime you please,”
“Thank you for your kind consideration, your majesty,” Berla stated and then both she and Ryna bowed in reverence.
The rest of the feast and their stay in Mystai’s Solace was nothing short of euphoric for the two women who had known nothing but blood and violence nearly all their lives.
By the third day, the Contract was signed after carefully reading through all sections and then Ryna bound herself to it by her own blood, preventing Berla from also binding herself to it just in case there were any hidden agendas the two women could not foresee from the Contract.
The woman witnessing the Contract had been cloaked so the two women could not make out who she was but for some reason, her presence alone unnerved them so they avoided her gaze at all costs. She then took the newly signed contract and went on her merry way.
A few weeks later, the Emperor and his troops invaded Timeline Alpha 20 and easily subdued it, freeing witch-folk and were-cats alike from the tyranny of the Monarch. The Emperor’s troops were easily able to enslave the fair-folk living there who were subject to the judgement of the witches and were-cats they had once enslaved.
“We did it, Ryna. We finally won,” Berla stated.
“It looks like it, Berla. I couldn’t have done this without your support,”
“I was happy to do it for you and for our kind, Ryna,”
Several days passed before reports began streaming in to the Generals that the Emperor had erected a structure similar to the one back in his home Timeline in the center of Felicia, the Moon Faerie haven of the Magical Realm and it had been taller than the one in the Emperor’s home grounds.
The Generals backed off honoring the agreements of the Contract but they had no choice than to demand an audience with the Emperor when they heard that he had began to enslave witch-folk as well.
“The Contract clearly stated that witches and were-cats were to be exempted from slavery. Why do you go against the contract terms?” Ryna angrily asked Brodus.
He smirked at her amused at her anger and paused for a long time before responding, “Do not delude yourself into thinking you can bind me to any kind of agreement. I am an Emperor and as such, I make my own rules. I do not have to explain my actions to you. I granted your request and this is surely a small price to pay for the greater freedom your people now enjoy…”
“The deal was to let all witches be free, not to enslave them selectively at your discretion. This is completely unacceptable!” Ryna snapped at him.
He smirked at her. “Didn’t you hear what I just said? I am the only one who decides what is and isn’t acceptable. Don’t you dare raise your voice against me. Leave now before you really piss me off,”
“Are you threatening her?” Berla asked practically snarling at him.
“So what if I am? What will two little witches like you do about it?”
The two generals lunged forward but Ryna was suddenly halted from moving further by a seemingly invisible force.
“Oh, I forgot to mention one little thing, dearest Ryna. The signing of the contract was just a rouge to get a sample of your blood. I now own you. Now, for your first act, I want you to end the Butcher‘s reign of terror,”
“What?” the generals both asked in shock.
“Kill her,” Brodus stated impersonally.
“I could never-” Ryna began but before she knew it, the Emperor began to control her like a Puppet Master and she came at Berla with everything she got. Berla did not put up a good fight despite Ryna yelling at her to fight against her and kill her if need be and as a result, Ryna easily subdued her.
“Berla, please-” Ryna begged Berla as she held the latter in an unbreakable choke hold.
“Ryna, live long and avenge me- avenge all our people,” Berla stated before submitting herself to Ryna’s death grip and succumbing to it.
Ryna wailed as she observed the cadaver of what had been her second in command and most devout disciple. The Emperor simply observed her impersonally before coming to stand over her and stating, “Berla didn’t have to die today, Ryna. Remember that the next time you dare speak out against me…”
Brodus then walked away, leaving Ryna there in her despair.
TO BE CONTINUED…
A tragic end indeed. What shall become of Ryna now that she has become nothing more than a tool for the Emperor’s manipulation? What shall become of the Dark World now that the Emperor has taken over? Stay tuned to find out! Links to the previous parts are listed below;