Chapter 41 (Protecting crocobear shit)
Kkaj leaped out of the cart and bolted up the steps of the palace’s main entrance. I have to hurry and warn that —
Ikiffar zipped past him and burst through the palace’s front doors. The two guards on duty squealed then fell to their butts. The stink of piss and shit littered the air around the two guards. Were they children?
After reaching the top of the stairs, he broke onto the palace.
Servants scrambled about in a mess of tangled bodies. The few guards in sight and the two on the ground — none of which Kkaj recognized — all wore strange armbands that looked like a blooming vine. Were they part of the wine nobility?
Kkaj pushed his way through the crowd and moved towards the throne room. If he were lucky, Ikiffar wouldn’t know the layout of the palace. Would beating her up really do the trick? No. His best option would be to get the monarchs out of the palace and into hiding. Though, if me and her start to fight, will five liquors really be enough to combat Lucidity? Should I —
One of the guards grabbed him by the wrist. “What are you doing?”
“We have to get to the throne room.” Kkaj shrugged free. “No time.”
The guard slipped around Kkaj and held his hands out to the side, blocking the way. “I can’t let you do that.”
“Out of my way.”
“I don’t know who you are, but the king is too busy to see you now.”
“Out of my way.”
“I’m sorry, but —”
Kkaj gritted his teeth. “The king’s life is in danger!”
The guard blinked then waved at the other guards. “He knows!”
The guard reached around his back and pulled out a pistol. Click. Click-click-click. The other guards around the room drew guns.
Kkaj held his hands up. “What are you doing?”
“You know too much,” the guard in front of him said.
“So lost. Someone fill me in.”
“We are Seed.”
Kkaj arched an eyebrow. “Seed?” He dropped his left hand and scratched his head with his right. “What’s that?”
“You just said the king was in danger.”
“I’m not the one threatening him. The woman who just flew through her is high on Lucidity and revenge. She plans on killing every monarch.”
“Aren’t you a guard?”
“Of the people.”
“Then … ?”
The guard captain placed his gun against Kkaj’s forehead. “Then we are going to save the world from the rule of these foolish members of the monarchy and the nobility. All but a select few will perish.”
“That sounds like a terrible plan.” His left hand rose to his stomach.
“Not like you will —”
Someone gasped from behind. “Morkij! Do you know who that is?”
The guard captain, Morkij, tilted his head to the left. “Should I?”
“That’s Kkaj the —”
Revolutionaries. Kkaj slapped the pistol away from his face and pulled out his whiskey flask. A shot later, he replaced the flask and rolled into the crowd of people.
“Get out of my way!” Morkij threw two of the servants against the wall and aimed at Kkaj.
After releasing the metal energy into the air, Kkaj crafted a magnetic field on the ceiling.
The guards’ guns ripped free of their grasps and flew to the ceiling. Their bullet bags flew from their coats, and their belts snapped in two as the buckles ripped free. The guards screamed as their pants fell to the floor.
Kkaj stood in River form and wrapped his arms around Morkij’s shoulders.
Morkij’s eyes bulged.
With a twist of his hips, Kkaj turned Morkij to the side and kneed him in the temple.
Morkij crumpled to the ground.
I need to hurry. Kkaj spun on his heels and bolted towards the throne room, moving deeper and deeper into the palace. Ten minutes of running later, he took another sip of whiskey as he turned the final corner.
A small group of Seed guards stood in front of a large set of double doors. They drew guns and fired. Bang!
The cracking sound rattled his nerves, but Kkaj stayed the memory. He crafted a magnetic shield around his body, deflecting the bullets just in time. “For the last time, out of my way!” He crafted a pair of metal walls between the group then crushed the Seed guards against the walls. Were they dead? He shook his head then burst through the doors.
“Kkaj!” King Koi-Jankorest’s voice cracked. “Save us!”
The five Seed guards who stood over the five monarchs started, spinning to face Kkaj.
“Moonshine!” Kkaj tumbled to the left as a massive fireball ripped the doors from their hinges. On the way to his feet, he took a large swig of gin. I can’t use too much of this in case Ikiffar shows up before I can get the monarchs out of here. “Wait!”
The Seed guard who threw the fireball — the personal guard of Kkaj’s father, Jokan — crafted a long blade. “What are you doing here, Kkaj?”
“You know why.” Sparks danced between Kkaj’s fingers, and he nodded towards King Koi-Jankorest. “No right.”
The other four Drunkzards crafted shields from the other four elements — weather, earth, water and metal.
“You have no right to kill that bastard.”
“Yes, yes.” King Koi-Jankorest shook his head. “Kkaj is right. He —”
“If anyone gets to kill this low-life piece of crocobear shit, it’s me.” Kkaj gritted his teeth, and a rumbling growl climbed up from this throat.
The other four Drunkzards glanced at Jokan. Jokan nodded.
“You know what he did to Roffor. You know how it made me fill. You know what he made me do to … .”
Jokan nodded again. “You’re right. I’m sorry that we kept our plans from you. You. The one who wants this bastard who calls himself king dead more that most.”
“Most?” I only have once chance. “No one wants him dead more than me.”
Jokan waved, and the other four guard stepped aside. “Go ahead.”
“Though … despite what I that bastard has put me through —” Kkaj created a vacuum in the room, replacing the air with jolts of electricity.
All five Seed Drunkzards gasped, sucking in the electrified air. Amateurs. Their eyes twitched, and their muscles convulsed. A haze hung around their bodies, and their elemental energy dissipated.
“— if we remove the monarchs, the resulting war would rip the world apart.” Kkaj threw five supercharged bolts of lightning into each of the Seed Drunkzards’ chests.
Thud! All five Seed Drunkzards hit the floor.
Kkaj ran across the throne room, and with the last of his weather energy, he crafted a dagger. “We need to get out of here.” He slashed through the monarchs’ bonds.
While rubbing at his wrists, King Koi-Jankorest rose to his feet. He spat on Jokan’s — probably — unconscious body then kicked him in the ribs.
Jokan grunted. Luckily, still alive.
“Bottom-feeding traitor!” King Koi-Jankorest lifted his foot again.
Kkaj grabbed King Koi-Jankorest by the shoulder and jerked him backwards. “What part of ‘we need to get out of here’ do you not understand?”
King Koi-Jankorest shrugged free then spun on Kkaj, teeth bared. “I should have you executed!”
“For saving you?”
The other monarchs laughed. The weak sound came across as forced, each of their faces drooping. What had the Seed Drunkzards done to them?
King Koi-Jankorest took several deep, huffing breaths. “For damaging my palace, killing my guards and stealing my map before you fled from the city!”
Kkaj swallowed. When he finds out what happened to the Lucidity distillery … . “That was —”
Ba-boom! A massive explosion shook the entire palace.
“Moonshine!” Kkaj turned away from the king. “I don’t have time to deal with your pettiness.” He moved over to queen Foi-Refejung and grasped her hand. “I need you to be strong.” He glanced at the other four monarchs. “All of you.”
They nodded, but their glum expressions didn’t change.
“We need to get out of the palace and make our way to —” Where would no one suspect to find spoiled members of the upper-class? “— the library. There, we can hide till this all cools down.”
They nodded again.
I hope my queen and crown prince made it out of this alive. He slightly bowed his head to the king. “You can stay if you want.” He pulled Queen Foi-Refejung towards the back exit of the throne room, and the other monarchs — including that bastard, King Koi-Jankorest — followed.
Ba-boom! Ba-boom! Ba-boom! More explosions shook dust from the ceiling and knocked several royal paintings from the wall.
“We’re going to make a run for it.” Using his free hand, Kkaj flung the door open.
Twenty Seed guards held pistols towards him. As a group. They moved forward and blocked the door open.
This is bad. Kkaj swallowed.
The monarchs trembled in their ruined silks.
Kkaj edged backwards, pushing the monarchs behind him.
The Seed guards cocked their pistols and took aim.
White energy poured through the hallway and ripped every Seed guard in half.
This is much worse! Kkaj pointed to the main entrance. “Get out of here! Now. I’ll stall the Lucidity-powered woman as long as I can.” I hope.
“Lucidity?” King Koi-Jankorest’s voice echoed through the throne room. “This woman dares to drink our royal liquor? She must die!”
The last thong I want to do is kill her. “Shut your mouth and run!” Kkaj pulled out two flasks as Ikiffar strode into the throne room. Could I do this with only four? “Try to avoid notice.”
Ikiffar’s glowing white, near translucent armor radiated the room like the sun did to the wastes. “Kkaj … after all I’ve been through to get here —” Her voice rasped as if she were older than his mother. “— do you really think I’d let my prey escape?”
Kkaj drained the flask of whiskey then the flask of rum, forcing the metal and fire energy into his muscles. “I’m going to stop you.” He dropped the flasks and pulled out two more. After finishing the gin and tequila, he added their energy to his muscles. “Run!”
All five monarchs turned and bolted for the door.
“I don’t think so.” Ikiffar vanished in a blur of speed, cutting the monarchs off.
Kkaj’s body adjusted to the intense power, and he charged across the room in Plains form, punching Ikiffar in the face.
Her body flipped through the air and slammed into the wall.
The monarchs turned and ran out the back exit of the throne room. King Koi-Jankorest lingered in the doorway before slamming it shut.
Something smashed into Kkaj’s chest and sent him flying into the golden throne atop the raised dais.
He grunted when he crashed into the wall. So fast. He stood.
Ikiffar hovered over him and kicked him in the mouth.
His head bounced off the ground, and his body flipped across the room.
Ikiffar followed him with impossible speed and stomped on his gut, knocking the air from his lungs.
He gasped, attempting to suck in a breath.
She glowered down at him before turning away. “I don’t want to kill you.” She took a step towards the back exit.
Kkaj pulled out his flask of vodka. “Not a problem since I’m only a walking corpse anyway.” He gulped the vodka down and forced the earth energy into his muscles.
The pain of a thousand hangovers stabbed at every inch of his body.
Ikiffar spun to face him. Had she always been so slow? And why did the falling dust take so long to reach the floor?
Everything went numb, and he rose to his feet, body surging with power.
Next: Chapter 42