Great wooden doors finally face me, guarded by four who aren’t nearly fast enough to fight us off – and then the rest of my team disbands, knowing their orders. I’m doing this alone. Amirah and Shehab flee out of the building, but Fadel stays for a moment longer.
His eyes are pleading, saying a hundred things that he doesn’t have to voice. Survive this. Come back to me. Finally, he tears his eyes away and runs off.
I push open the doors to the meeting room, and satisfaction floods me. Most twelve of them are limp in their chairs, unable to move or speak. The first thing I do is stare at the thirteenth, at the head of the table. The King.
“Nour Enawi,” he growls and moves forward as though to stand, but finds himself indisposed.
That man, the one I’ve lived most of my life loathing. The man who had ripped me of my right to life. The man who ruined, tortured, and murdered innocents.
I almost can’t stand the sight of him, because beneath all that bravado, beneath all that terror, he’s nothing but a man. How does one, so weak, do such horrible things?
“What have you done?” he sneers, and his men turn their eyes from him to me, fidgeting in their seats and trying to move.
I ignore his question and take in a deep breath, smiling. “What is that radiant smell, I wonder,” I remark. “Ah yes, gasoline.” At that, eyes jump out of their sockets in alarm, suddenly all sniffing and coming to the same conclusion I have. “You really shouldn’t so easily trust the men and women who abhor you and your oppression. I mean, one girl, two champagne bottles, and look at you.” I allow myself to laugh at how easy it was. Aya spilled a bottle of gasoline instead of champagne, which was the source of the shattered glass. The other bottle, the one that had been poured into their glasses and downed, was the cause of their paralysis.
The advisors and ministers start protesting, trying for the life of them to move a limb, but alas, they were doused with too strong of a drug.
“You’re a dead woman walking, Enawi,” the King says and then gives me a wicked smile. The same smile he gave after slaughtering thousands of blameless men and women. At the sound of his voice, every single one of his men goes still. Even, they, fear him. “You fool, you gave them the vial yourself – I’m immortal! Soon the drug’s effects will wear off and I’ll have my hands around your pretty little throat.”
It takes an effort not to show my revulsion at his words, but I grin. “Really, Your Damned Majesty?” I say and fake a frightful expression. “Well, it seems all of this was for naught.” I sigh deeply, looking out the window. For a brief moment, I can almost see Badr out there; a dreamer and a fighter.
I feel shadows form around me as I begin to speak again, “You stood here, all those years ago, and then you listened to them – their requests and their pleas. All of you,” I say, turning, eyeing down every single person in the room. All of them were guilty of this. “Then you burned them alive. You chose that. That was the day you deemed yourself to hell.”
I take out a lighter, and at that, everyone seems to want to jump out of their seats.
“But first,” I say, my voice cutting the tension in the air as though it was solid, “Some of you are causing too much noise. I’m afraid the King and I need a moment alone.”
The sound of my gun leaving its sheath relaxes me. This is my arena. Here, I can feel nothing but electricity thrumming through me. The ministers’ and advisors’ horror-filled faces are the last thing the bullets see before driving themselves deep into their rotten heads.
A sigh escapes me. This part, at least, is done with. When I turn to the King, I take a moment to enjoy the stunned, mortified look on his face. “The almighty King, afraid? I didn’t know you were capable of such feelings,” I say, wiping a spot of blood on my gun before sheathing it again.
His lip curls. “You’re more trouble than you let on. Perhaps I shouldn’t have underestimated you. You see, your brother was far less aggressive. Far more… composed. I shouldn’t have compared you two.”
His words start slowing down when he mentions my brother, or am I imagining it? He knew… He knows. That bastard remembers who my brother is, knows who I am.
This passes through my mind within seconds, and I find myself flying across the room, pouncing on him.
Right before I’m there, his arms shoot up, his hands circling my throat.
While I choke, he starts to speak. “Perhaps you shouldn’t have underestimated me either, you fool.” I quickly realize that, blinded by glee to see them all helpless, I did not realize that the King’s glass sat in front of him, untouched. “It was worth it, to hear you rambling on like you own the world, like you’ve won, when all along this was going to be your end.”
I hear quick, distressed messages through my earpiece before it falls as the King slams me to the table.
I kick at him, claw at his hands, but it’s worthless, for blow after blow of his fists land on my face – and I can taste my own coppery blood, almost feel my face becoming disfigured.
No. No. I’m not about to die at the hands of my brother’s murderer.
I allow myself to stop moving, only to collect a moment’s worth of energy before using more momentum to push him off me by kicking his chest, and I succeed – just as Fadel comes crashing through the door.
The earpiece – Seif had told them what was going on. Fadel must have not gone far, as I had told him, and stayed close enough to run if I needed him.
He had promised. That lying fool had promised he would run.
Fadel is on the King without a moment’s hesitation while I still struggle to gain back my balance. The King was caught off guard, and Fadel is fast, but because Fadel is wounded, the other has the upper hand. With a single kick to Fadel’s weak leg, Fadel howls in pain as he falls to the ground. Seeing the blood flow out of his wound makes a scream erupt through me.