Domination: Part Two
I heaved a sigh, slowly rising to my feet and shuffling over to the door of the cell, peering out. No one was in sight, and I quickly slipped out into the corridor lined with cells, my pace rapid. I needed to find a way out; unfortunately, the guard of the dungeon was going to provide quite a large problem for me, as he was blocking the only way in, and out.
Slinking silently toward the exit, my mind whirled with plans and schemes, none of which was good enough to stand a chance at getting me out. A smile slunk across my face slowly as a simple idea formed in my mind. Trekking down the many rows of cells, I let my gaze dart back and forth before I poked my head around the corner, my eyes locking on the back of the silver Blumaroo who stood guard.
I slithered back around the corner, grabbing the bars of the nearest cell door, dragging it silently open, slipping into the cell, and closing it behind myself. “Hey, guard! Guardy-koos! Over here, I need your help! Please!” I called, my tone frantic.
“Oi! Quiet down!” a loud, gruff voice snapped in response.
I smirked slightly to myself. “Guardy-koos! Help me! I’m dying! It’s the plague! Please! I’m dying down here! Help!” I wailed, my voice shrill as it echoed through the stone hallways, making me sound desperate.
An annoyed huff followed my cries, and a moment later the sound of footsteps draw near, accompanied by a large amount of muttering and grumbling, “Rotten snivelling prisoner . . . ”
I braced my shoulder against the door, holding my breath as the sound of the guard’s footsteps became louder and louder as he drew closer. “One . . . ” I hissed, counting under my breath. “Two . . . ” The muscles in my legs tensed. “Three!” I lunged forward, ramming my entire weight hard against the cell door, flinging it open just as the guard came around the corner. The door caught him square in the jaw, knocking him to the ground in an unconscious heap.
Stepping out of the cell, I side-stepped around the guard before stooping down and beginning to remove his armour. “Sorry, but I have a feeling I’ll need this a little more than you will,” I mused aloud to the guard, sliding into the armour slowly and placing his helmet over my own head. “This thing’s pretty much useless,” I commented before picking up the guard’s fallen spear and shield, and starting toward the exit.
Despite my disguise, I couldn’t help feeling slightly unnerved as I crept slowly up the stairs, clutching the spear and shield tightly. My heart thundered loudly within my chest as the top of the stairs came into view. The moment I reached the top of the stairs, two soldiers waltzed past, causing me to instinctively flatten my body out against the wall. They paid no attention to me as they continued by.
“Y’know, mate, Xuukku ain’t that big . . . It don’t make much sense for us to bow down to him . . . ” mused one of the soldiers, a camouflage Wocky.
His companion, a burly purple Yurble, snorted contemptuously. “I know you don’t mind yappin’ bout it behind his back, but you ain’t brave enough to stroll up to Lord Xuukku and say that to his face, now are you?” he responded, shifting his spear to rest against his left shoulder.
I held my breath, waiting until the two had passed before sliding away from the wall. “So, Xuukku has a few mutinous soldiers in the lot, eh?” I murmured aloud to myself, sneering inwardly. “This could prove useful . . . ”
I smirked, turning and bolting for the exit to the fortress. Unfortunately, before I could reach the door, the red Aisha who had escorted me to the dungeon came blundering up the stairs. “He’s escaped! The prisoner has escaped!” he hollered, gasping down mouthfuls of air hungrily. Soldiers stopped what they were doing immediately, turning to stare at the Aisha. “Raise the alarm! We must find the prisoner before Lord Xuukku discovers he’s missing!”
The corridor roared to life in a moment, soldiers rushing back and forth in search of the escapee, that is, me. I pivoted on my heel, making a dash past numerous opening and closing doors as soldiers blundered by. I slewed around a corner and into one of the rooms. It led down yet another long corridor and I sprinted forward, making for the door that stood at the very end of the hallway. My breath came out in short, ragged bursts, panic causing my heart to drum painfully as I forced my legs to move faster, urging my body to work harder.
Stumbling forward, I reached the door, my paw clasping around the knob as I turned it and jarred the door open. Bright sunlight flared from the sky, assailing my eyes as I staggered out into the bright light and peered about. I was standing upon what appeared to be a large parade ground as soldiers marched to and fro adorned in heavy armour with bulky packs strapped to their backs.
Standing before the marchers was Xuukku. He paced back and forth slowly, a scowl pasted upon his face, his frock coat flowing after. About a metre behind Xuukku, a small Angelpuss fluttered, paws on its hips and an attempted scowl on its face, obviously attempting to imitate the Xweetok’s displeasure. I recognized the Angelpuss instantly from my prior encounter with him in the dungeon. “So he belongs to Xuukku . . . ” I mumbled to myself absently.
A small, cowering blue Xweetok stood a few paces away from Xuukku, a nervous expression scrawled across his face as he watched the warlord’s disgruntled pacing. He was only about as tall as Xuukku’s shoulder, and fidgeted constantly, never removing his gaze from the continuous pacing of the larger Xweetok.
Xuukku suddenly whirled to face the smaller blue Xweetok. “Secribe! Why must I deal with such incompetent fools?” he demanded, scowling bitterly.
The smaller Xweetok, Secribe, flinched. “Uh . . . W-what do you mean, s-sir?” he stammered, swallowing nervously and fidgeting noticeably.
“Did I stutter, Secribe? Who brought me such an idiotic, useless, pathetic group of fools?” Xuukku snarled, motioning to the soldiers marching on the parade ground, leaning closer to Secribe, seemingly trying to intimidate him. “Who was it that found me such a pathetic lot of soldiers?”
Secribe quickly glanced down, his gaze resting upon the grass between his paws. “Y-you did, sir . . . ” he responded meekly. Xuukku’s face took on a furious expression, looking ready to explode.
I took a few steps closer to the pair, and Xuukku’s gaze turned to lock upon me. “You there! Why aren’t you out on the field running with the rest?” he inquired curiously, obviously extremely annoyed by my presence and the fact that I wasn’t marching as well. I blinked owlishly, surprised that I hadn’t been recognized, before sauntering onto the field to join the others.
I exhaled deeply, swiping sweat from my brow with the back of my right hand before it could drip down into my eye. Inwardly groaning, I continued along with the soldiers, marching quickly back and forth. The armour I wore was tiring me out quicker, due to its added weight, than normal running would. Ahead of me marched a silver Kyrii, who muttered away angrily to his companions, a skunk Lupe and a white Grarrl. “The nerve of that rotten little shrimp, makin’ us march whilst he stands around watchin’! Look at him over there! The useless lump!”
“Aye, if I was the ruler, you can bet I wouldn’t treat my loyal soldiers like this,” agreed the skunk Lupe. “We’d all eat well, none of that disgusting plain omelette Xuukku feeds to us.”
“Rotten, useless shrimp! We should just march on up to him, give him a wedgie, and take over this place. Xweetok are useless; they can’t run anything right!” stated the Grarrl, his voice surprisingly loud.
I glanced nervously over at Xuukku, noting his twitching ears and the fearful look on Secribe’s face. “Halt!” commanded Xuukku, the order ringing out loudly. “Now, pivot and face me!”
One hundred forms turned simultaneously, each set of eyes focussing on the minute warlord. The yellow Xweetok strode forward, his Angelpuss fluttering after. “You know,” he muttered coldly, striding slowly through the assembled ranks, “I’m far from a cruel leader . . . ” Xuukku proceeded through the gathered soldiers. The Angelpuss, who was attempting to look menacing, flitted in my direction, halting in front of the white Grarrl, who was now stood next to me.
I swallowed, my mouth unusually dry as my gaze, along with that of all those collected on the parade ground, followed Xuukku’s every motion. “I provide you with food, with water, and with shelter . . . So why is it, my dear soldiers, that you still feel the need to talk mutinously?” he demanded, coming to a stop before the white Grarrl. His left hand slithered slowly into his coat.
Nobody risked speaking, holding their breath, not daring to move for fear of bringing Xuukku’s wrath down upon themselves instead. In one swift motion, Xuukku withdrew his hand from inside his coat, slaying the Grarrl with his short, curved scimitar, allowing the mutinous soldier to drop to the ground as he wiped the blade clean upon the grass between his paws.
“Does anyone else have a problem with the way I rule things?” called out Xuukku, gazing about slowly. No one spoke up. “Good! Now . . . Disband and get out of my sight!” he snarled, whirling and waltzing back into the fortress with his Angelpuss and Secribe on his heel.
To be continued...