Betrayed

“The way, kill the way,” the old man croaked with his last breath. Ryan kicked the corpse in disgust. What is “the way” supposed to mean anyways? Whenever somebody dies who knows what you need to know, they only give you a stupid little piece of cryptic advise. This advice was usually useless until you were actually where it mattered, and then it would all come clear only as your about to die. The man could have said something more useful, like, “The road to the castle has an angry rhino on it,” or “There’s a demon gate on top of the mountain.” But “the way’” was so vague, it could be a road, an alley off of a road, a secret tunnel from the end of an alley to the king’s bedroom, or even a religious group that the guy had a grudge against. Ryan pulled the knife out, wiped off the blood and examined it. The knife was a rainbow of colors and very shiny. Ryan thought the knife was vaguely familiar but couldn’t remember where he’d seen it before. “Well,” Ryan thought, “time to tell the king he needs a new chief tax collector.”
Ryan left the throne room in a dark mood, marching down the hall throwing dirty looks at all the servants he passed. As he came to the top of the grand staircase Ryan stared into the mirror on the wall. The mirror stretched all the way to the top of the third floor and was framed in solid gold. People said it was the greatest work of art in the whole kingdom. Ryan looked at his reflection and saw a Royal figure, much better than the current king. The king was a greedy fool. Four of the king’s advisors had been killed this month, and all the he said was, “Go find a new one.” Then he would have Ryan escorted out of the room as he turned back to his constant feasting. The king’s actions were precisely why Ryan wanted the throne, even if he had to kill off the king and all of his advisors. He would care for his people.

Ryan returned to his favorite thinking spot in front of the huge mirror. He looked at his reflection thoughtfully. Ryan still looked exactly the same but two months had passed since the day the tax collector died. During those two months, the king’s advisors had slowly been disappearing. Somebody must be quietly helping him out or just acting out against the king. Either way, it allowed him to put all of his followers into positions of power. He now had the support he’d need to take the throne. He smiled at his reflection and swept an imaginary cape out behind him. He turned around and walked down the stairs as majestically as he could manage. In two weeks, the king would be dead and Ryan would be king.
The night of the assassination, Ryan walked up the tower to the king’s chambers. He had no need for caution since the schedules of the guards had all been arranged to leave the tower unguarded. Ryan pulled out his crossbow, loading it as he approached the door to the king’s room. He knocked loudly and called out, “Urgent business for the king!” and burst into the room, his crossbow pointing at the bed where the king should have been. Instead of seeing the king’s peacefully sleeping body on the bed the body was sprawled across the floor with a knife sticking out of the king’s back. It was just like the knife that was in the tax collector’s back. Ryan studied the scene and decided it was better this way. He had never had to kill one of the advisors or the king and hadn’t even had to let anybody know about his plan. It all just happened. Tomorrow, he would take over the throne. The king had no family, so the throne would go to Ryan, the senior advisor.

The day after the coronation, Ryan sat smugly on the throne. He was finally pleased with his life. He had all the power, wealth, and influence he could dream of. Nobody was better than him. One of his servants entered the room and announced his mother requested an audience with him. Ryan happily granted this request. His mom was the nicest person on earth. All the kids loved her; she was always giving out cookies, pies, and candy. His mom walked into the room and came over to Ryan with a smile on her face. “How does it feel to be king?” she asked as she opened her arms to give him a hug.
“It feels great mom.” he replied with a smile, as he wrapped her in his arms. Then he felt a burning in his stomach and jumped back. Looking down, he saw a very shiny knife, with a rainbow of colors, sticking out of him. He looked up at his mom in astonishment.
She looked back with an apologetic smile on her face. “Sorry, but your brother is a much better puppet.” Suddenly, Ryan realized something. His brother’s name was Leway. The old tax collector had been saying his brother’s name, not “the way.” Ryan swore, cursed all stupid old men, and died.





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