Chapter 9: Law and Supremacy
A/N: Thank u izbel for being the best beta evur it was really helpful and u r da bestest ;)
The letter was read aloud to Hanth by Sangara, who stood formally by the king’s bed. Frustration boiled within him by the time it was finished. Sangara solemnly sat by his frail sickly king. As Hanth struggled for breath, his servant watched him conjure thoughts one by one. Rage burned within the king’s dark eyes recalling every word of Princess Anhura’s letter.
"So?" Sangara dared to disturb the monarch’s deep thought.
“‘So’ what?" Everything King Hanth said to him since he fell sick was sharp.
"Are we going to respond?"
"We have to respond, if we don’t we’ll get destroyed.”
"It doesn’t matter if we don’t respond or not, they’ve got more resources and a larger army. This ends in failure for us." Sangara was blunt with his king.
Everyone of Hanth’s subjects loved to believe that theirs was the supreme side of the mountain. The truth was that the Dark had a crippling economy that affected each and everyone of its citizens. Hanth had lied to himself about the kingdom’s state for almost his entire reign. Now that he was terminally ill he finally faced the truth.
The Light was destined to prosper from when Ahrima was banished, so if the Dark so happened to fight against the Light there would be no chance for the Dark to succeed. It was a bitter truth that Hanth lived with everyday as he heard of the hardships citizens faced.
"Any word from Pallis?" Hanth averted the subject of the conversation to his living son.
"Not since he last visited you."
"No one has seen him around? If I know one thing it’s that that boy wouldn’t take a step into the Light if you held a knife to his throat. So if he’s not there then where could he be?"
"I could check the marketplace again and interrogate a few more citizens but that hasn’t provided any results."
"Sangara, I can’t have you telling everyone that the prince is missing. There have to be rumors circling already causing everyone to think poorly of me. Mind you, even from this bed I still know what’s going on throughout this side of the mountain. Would you believe that the other day I heard a guard whisper ‘he needs to croak already. If he can’t manage his two sons from that bed how is he supposed to take care of the rest of us?’ The audacity that people are questioning my parenting skills, let alone my political skills, is beyond unacceptable. Yes, I am sick, but I am still in full control. Why is that so damn hard for them to understand? Better yet, why won’t my damn son come home so everyone can shut up?”
Sangara remained calm while Hanth lashed out. In the king’s defense he had gone through a lot recently. He had lost control of his kingdom and both of his sons - one to the edge of a knife - and there was an impending war. It was this pressure that kept Hanth going, while also crippling him. If he could live through the war and somehow find Pallis in the process he could die in peace.
Death would have to wait for now.
The two men sat solemnly. The silence between them was broken when Hanth began to cough. By his looks alone you could tell he was ill, but the bloodcurdling cough made him hard to look at. Sangara made him sit up and pounded the king’s back until he stopped hacking.
Although the butler and the king didn’t have the typical servant/master relationship, they always maintained their roles. As a caretaker, Sangara knew when to jump into action and attend to the needs of the royals. From when the children were young and he read them the narrative of Holy the Sea and the Divided Terrene, to now as he watches Hanth slowly decay.
"I’m sure he’ll come home soon, your highness. I shall go to the marketplace and fetch meat for dinner, hopefully he’ll be there or someone will know of his whereabouts. Please get some rest, your majesty"
Hanth nodded and drifted into deep sleep Sangara exited the king’s chamber. Before he walked down the hallway, Sangara turned around and backed the guard on duty and pinned him to the door by the throat. The butler murderously whispered, “So you’re the one who likes to talk shit about the King, huh?” The guard shook his head no, struggling for breath. “Don’t play that with me I know it’s you. You wanna know how I know you’re the one? He told me.” The guard looked alarmed but also understood Sangara’s violence towards him. “That’s right. So how about you stop the damn blasphemy and gossip when you know good and well that he’s in earshot. Better yet, how about you don’t open up your disgusting mouth around here?”
The guard looked a dangerous shade of blue. The butler let go of his neck and let him fall to the floor. He was wheezing and ready to cry.
"Get up." Sangara commanded, "Check on him once every ten minutes to make sure he’s breathing and I swear to O if you wake him up or bother him in any way I will find out and I will have your damn head chopped off, got it? You’re lucky he didn’t slit your throat himself, you piece of scum. Because he hasn’t done anything to you doesn’t mean I won’t. You’ve one more shot and if you mess up again I will beat you to death, you son of a bitch."
Sangara was violent by reputation, but because of his status no one expected him to give orders in such a manner, or even carry out justice. Also, his violent outburst didn’t justify if the citizens had to actually obey him. However, due to his stature and relationship with the king, the folk of the Dark made sure to listen to him.
The guard feverishly nodded and corrected his posture as he got up. His breathing was shallow as he tried to stay still in front of the servant. Sangara walked away, eyeing the guard with disgust before he left.
At the market, Sangara decided to get lamb for the king tonight. The merchant prepared the animal for a cruel death as the butler grew impatient.
"Could you pick up the pace? I’ve gotta get this back to the palace and cooked in under two hours. How am I supposed to do that if you’re moving at such a glacial pace?"
Thankfully, out of the corner of his eye, Sangara saw two figures running in the distance. One of which he recognized too well.
Well, it could have been the prince and it could not have been. Sangara had been on so much edge looking for the prince everyone and everything seemed to remind him of Pallis.
He examined the two people, who can now be identified as men. He analyzed a few of the features of one of them men. There was no mistaking it. It was definitely Pallis.
"Is something wrong, Sangara?"
"Give me the lamb." He absent-mindedly grabbed the meat before the merchant finished wrapping it. He growled, "I think the Prince is back."
Sangara gnashed his teeth, spreading his arms, he bellowed, “Citizens of the Dark! It is my absolute pleasure to inform you that our beloved prince is rumored to be back home! And I think he has brought a companion with him. LONG LIVE THE DARK!”
"LONG LIVE THE DARK!" The citizens cheered.
This had only been the start of problems for Sangara.
"Now to go beat the shit outta him." With the parcel in hand Sangara sauntered in Pallis’ direction where their encounter would light the fuse of a bomb of tragic events.