“Did you kill him?” Queen Nuke asks me in a deathly calm manner.
I don’t know what to say, if I tell the truth… my father might be damned but if I admit to it, I might be dead before I can even blink. I stare at her blankly.
Her hair is loose, it is the one of the few moments she comes out without her crown or any jewelry.
She laughs out loud in scorn.
“You can keep quiet all you want… I know you didn’t do it; this has my husband’s hands written all over it. Don’t you think so? Why would you save his life only to kill him? Rale has this bad habit of underestimating me.” She combs her hair.
“I don’t understand your loyalty to him, he would sacrifice you if it would mean he would gain something. He is trying to turn you into him… He is an idiot.” Queen Nuke smiles sadly.
“I…” She hushes me with a finger to her lips.
“I heard that Salem is in quite the bind at battle, shouldn’t you be running to help her?” She tilts her head to the side.
“You are more like your mother than you know. She was once my favorite until Rale corrupted her, he could never really stand to see me happy. I don’t know why it took me this long to recognize his pattern. I guess Love really blinds us all.” She gestures for me to sit beside her.
“Samael is Rale’s son, while I might have had some residual feelings for ini… I was always honest in my dealings with your father. Ini loves to lie and manipulate others, if you think he led the rebellion because of me… don’t be mistaken, it was because he wanted power… He used that lie to get Samael to do whatever he wanted. Learn from our mistakes, it is unimaginable that you are the only child remaining… the one everyone thought was useless.” She stands and brings a box.
“In here are the list of every spy I have in the Rale and Roelum. Sanda will help you with whatever you need, she knows what I know.” She gestures at the maid I recognize from the attack on the house of Ini, she bows before me.
“Why are you doing this?” I ask confused, this was not the way I thought the conversation will go.
“What do you mean?” She raises her brow.
“You hate me… I know this for a fact and so it doesn’t make sense that you’d help me.” I explain cautiously.
“Maybe I am just tired.” She replies.
She looks exhausted and resigned.
“You are not about to do something really bad, are you?” I ask with my alarm bells ringing.
“Like what? Kill myself… don’t you know anything about me?” She glares at me and I relax a bit.
She stands up, I stand with her… she takes my face in her hands.
“You’ll do…” She whispers.
She walks out of her chambers alone and in the direction of the main palace. I follow her, we get to the main room… My father is busy with members of the court.
He freezes and grins when he sees both of us.
“You told her the truth… Good for you boy. I almost gave up, I thought you didn’t have it in you.” My father looks at me with pride.
The members of the court look on confused, they have been mostly afraid of the family since the defeat and rooting out of rebels in the court. They are docile and none of them even dare to ask what my father was talking about.
Queen Nuke laughs without humor.
“He is not like us; he was willing to take the fall for you.” She explains and walks to a guard and removes his sword.
I walk in a rush to take away the sword.
“Don’t son… She won’t kill herself or me” He comes down from his throat.
“How could you kill your own son?” She screams at him.
“He wasn’t mine…” My father responds.
“Oh… he was yours, every bit of him.” Queen Nuke smirks.
“No…No… I am sure that…” My father’s confidence falters.
“Oh… the little whispers I made sure you heard. I just wanted you to suffer, I knew your pride wouldn’t let you confront me… I let it fester until every time you saw him, it was my personal brand of punishment for your callousness. I don’t care about Ini… I loved you once but you stabbed me in the back one too many times and on kept twisting the knife until I got used to the pain and gave back just as good as I got.”
Tears fall seamlessly, the palace was so quiet that you could hear a needle drop.
“W..what?” My father stumbles.
“Oh… You thought killing him was a way to punish me and control your dear heir at the same time?” She laughs through the tears.
“What have you done?” My father screams at her.
“Noooo, what have you done? You did this to me! To our family! You worthless excuse of a man. Look at us, wrapped up in our mistakes that all is left is our shadows.” Queen Nuke screams back.
“Did you ever love me? Even if it was for a second?” Queen Nuke asks in barely a whisper.
“I did once…” My father smiles softly.
“I don’t think you even understand what that means; to be honest Rale, I don’t think you are capable of love.” Queen Nuke tells him.
“You don’t know me as well as you think Nuke. What do you plan to do here? Kill me? I thought you would have had your girls kill me. That would have been a more effective tactic than whatever this is. It is quite anti-climactic.” My father shakes his head.
“I couldn’t let anyone have the pleasure of killing you especially when I have dreamt of it so many times.”
My father takes her hair in his hands and pat softly.
“It is not too late for you… Beg me and I might decide to let you live in peace.” My father grins softly.
“None of us will ever get to achieve that.” Queen Nuke retorts.
I signal for the court to be dismissed.
“No… everyone needs to be here. I challenge you King Rale to a twark.” She raises her sword at my father.
My father scoffs at her amidst the murmurs and turns his back on her.
She ignores me and focuses on my father.
“Are you not tired? I am exhausted … I refuse to leave with the knowledge that you are alive and living well.”
My father removes his sword and glares at her.
“This is foolishness!” I scream at them.
“Hold him until this over.” The guards hold me down as he accepts Queen Nuke’s challenge.
“I accept you challenge… I’ll make it short.” He moves closer to her.
“It’s okay… I won’t give you that pleasure.” She stabs herself with the sword which makes the entire court goes into disarray, I struggle to move but fail as there are about three or four men on me.
My father stares in shock. He moves closer to her and holds her up.
“W.. why?” My father asks so quietly.
Queen Nuke coughs out blood as she talks to him.
“So, I can do this.” She brings out a small knife and stabs him on his throat.
I eventually release myself and rush to them.
“Call the royal healers now!!!” I scream at everyone as I try to stop my father from bleeding, Victor rushes to us and removes the sword.
“D..don’t bother, this is the end. Be the man your father never was.” Queen Nuke stops breathing.
My father struggles with his breath, he gives us and holds my hand tight as he breathes his last.