“I’m so sorry, Derek.”

“For what? The intimidation act back there? I had to defend you.”

“It’s not that. My father killed yours.”

“The shame is his, not yours.”

            I pulled away and went to the balcony, where it was still raining. I put my knuckles on the rail and tried to hold back the tears that were coming. Annika came next to me and rubbed my shoulders.

“I know how you feel, Derek. The first time I heard my mother was dead, I wept for days. Even though I barely knew her. I can’t imagine the pain you are feeling right now.”

            I then let the tears come. I hugged Annika and quietly sobbed into her shoulder. She let out her own sobs as we both cried in the rain.

            The next few days were hard not only for me, but to the whole kingdom. The church called a conclave to elect a new pope. Annika and I put the wedding off until James was dead. I mostly stayed in my bedroom in solace. I wanted revenge, but I didn’t know where to start. Going after James was mad, if I wanted to get myself killed. I needed to work my way up to him. But one thing still tugged at my mind. He threw me into the stone alter at the church. I expected that I might be pushed away, but not thrown into a stone alter and break it. It was odd that he had that much strength.

            Annika was asleep in my bed and I was still wide awake plotting revenge for my father’s death. It had been two weeks since Father died, but it still pained me. Not waiting for an opportunity to strike, I got out of bed and changed into my assassin’s outfit. Dominic had made new weapons for me and I selected his carrying cannonball as he called it. Valerio was awake as well so I had a way to get to James’s kingdom. I took the small cannonball with me and a crossbow. My target this time was the meeting room. I knew they were planning an attack on our kingdom and that they were awake. I wanted them to suffer when they died. The little ball had a fuse that I could light for it to explode. Before I left I wrote a letter to James.

Tyrant King,

You have caused a great deal of pain to your neighboring kingdom. Know that you have three days left to live. This was my first attack. The next will be someone close to you. On the third day it will be your own death. Do not think this is an empty threat.

The Prince of Assassins

I got on the saddle and Valerio took off. When we reached James’s castle, Valerio landed on a small roof that barely held his weight and cracked under him. From my vantage point, I could see the meeting room. I was disappointed that James wasn’t there to I could kill him there. I then lit the small cannonball’s fuse and threw it. The ball broke the window and a few seconds later exploded with James’s leaders inside. I then used the crossbow and fired the letter for James.

            I then got back on Valerio’s saddle and he flew back to the kingdom. I changed back into my night clothes, put my assassin outfit away and got back in bed with Annika. I must have woken her because she tensed up.

“Derek?” she asked, still half-asleep.

“It’s okay, I heard noises at the door, I’m sorry if I woke you.”

            She rolled over came closer to me and I wrapped my arm protectively around her. We then fell back asleep. I awoke later then her and changed my clothes. I went to get some breakfast when I heard my mother talking with Richard and Indigo.

“We should gather more men to look for the assassin.”

“Indigo, the assassin could be anyone. He is a silent killer in a crowd.”

“Who’s to say when he’s done with James, he won’t come here and kill all of us?”

“I don’t think he’ll kill Helen because she’s pregnant.”

“An assassin with morals. How ironic.”

“Richard has the right state of mind, Indigo. The Assassin killed people who threatened children. One slave girl told me that the assassin gave them gold coins for food and water. He must have a good source of wealth.” My mother said.

“Robbing. Assassins steal and murder. Perhaps even make a little money from a job.”

“Then why is he attacking James’s kingdom? To avenge Henry’s death?”

“Perhaps, but the assassin uses a blade not a cannon. James’s meeting room was as if Valerio blew fire at it. He killed all of James’s generals.”

“Is he helping us then?” Richard asked.

“I believe so and when he is done he will strike here.” My uncle stated.

“That is not your decision Indigo. Derek is now king of this kingdom. It is his and his alone.”

“I do not disagree with you, Helen, but I have to think what Henry would do.”

“Henry would agree with me. This is Derek’s kingdom. It is his decision about this assassin.”

            I then went back to my bedroom, not feeling hungry any longer. Once inside, I heard Annika moaning and groaning in pain. I ran over and touched her shoulder.

“Annika? Are you alright?” I asked.

“My stomach…it hurts.”

“It must have been something you ate at dinner.”

She continued to groan in pain and started to get out of the bed, but her stomach caused her another surge of pain.

“No, can you move without causing yourself pain?”

“No.”

“Then stay in bed. I’ll bring you some broth shortly. Right now, I want you to get some rest.”

“If you think that’s best.”

“It is.”

            I then left as she got back in bed. I then went to the dining hall for breakfast. I sat down at my usual seat at the table. It was odd not having my father with us sitting with us.

“Derek, where’s Annika?” Mother asked.

“She’s not feeling well today. Can you ask the chefs to make her a broth of some kind?”

“Of course.”

            I noticed that everyone was looking worried and almost frightened. Katherine looked at me like she knew that I had been eavesdropping earlier.

“Is something wrong? Everyone seems uneasy this morning.”

“The assassin struck again. He destroyed James’s meeting room.” Mackenzie said.

“Destroyed?”

“It was destroyed as if he had a dragon, but only you have Valerio.”

“There can’t be other dragons can there?”

“I’m not sure.”

            We were then served our breakfast. I tried to eat quickly but not too quickly. After the meal I tried to leave, but Katherine stopped me.

“Derek, this has to stop.” She told me.

“I can’t stop. I have to win this war.”

“By killing men in cold blood? I heard about your letter. Who is the next to die?”

“Margret.”

“Derek, you can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Killing her will only anger James’s to provoke another attack.”

That is what I am hoping for.”

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