”This kingdom will burn down in flames and it will be because of you, you devil king! ” Commander of the earth fleet yelled at me as I did my best to tune him out.

”You know nothing about leading a strong and proud kingdom. You are taking away my freedom as a man. How will you compensate for this? ” He continued

”Compensate? ” I asked him, not raising my head from the letter Im writing.

”Thats what I said. ” He replied

”Hmm… ” I looked up at his whisker-filled face. He wasn very old but his bad habits aged him about thirty years more than he is.

I finished my letter in silence (thankfully), adding the last few words, and placed my glass pen back in its place.

”Leon. How do you suppose my choices in womens right, going to affect you? How will giving them a stronger voice going to stop you from being a man? I am only listening to the many woman who have spoken out and given me a reason to take action on behalf of them. You have given me zero reasoning as to why my choices are wrong. ” I said as I leaned back in my chair.

”You force women to divorce their husbands. Leaving them no voice but to find other ways to satisfy themselves. ” He stood straight and looked down at my lounging self.

”What your wives do is not by my hand. I am not forcing your wives to leave you. I am simply giving women who are in danger a chance to leave their abusive husbands. Allowing them a chance to become more independent. Whether they want to stay with you or leave you in the dust, is all up to them. What you do to satisfy yourself is none of my business as long as both parties have each others full consent. ” I raise my eyebrow, ”Right? ”

He scoffed before saying, ”Of course. I have too much pride to force anyone under me. ”

”Alright then, if you are done with your temper tantrum. I am still waiting for that report I requested. ” I held my hand out.

He rolled his eyes before handing me a paper and marched out the door.

Before I could read the first sentence, Leon came back in.

”Another thing! This whole, ”no guns in households ” law that you passed last week. Thats not going to last for very long. ” He said

”Why is that ” I rubbed my forehead as I felt my migraine getting worse.

”How else will people feel safe in their own house? What if a robber enters the house and all weve got to save our families is a knife and a sword? Not many commoners even have swords ” He looked proud that he found a flaw in a law that I passed.

”Leon. You have three daughters and four sons. Correct? ” I asked

”Yes. ” He proudly said

”What if your eldest child left for the night. Perhaps they felt rebellious one day and wanted to have a fun nights out behind your back. Only to come home to a couple bullets in their head by their deranged father. You have now not only killed your son, you have committed first degree murder, and the rest of your kids are without their father who is now a murderer in prison. What would you do then? ”

”But a sword- ”

”Would not be considered an instant kill. Theres a possibility that the wound is treatable. ”

”Whatever ” the commander said and finally left my study room.

I laughed at the child my father appointed to lead an army. It is only because of his skills and experience that I have tolerated his tantrums. Even I, a nineteen-year-old boy, have more manners than a thirty-something-year-old man.

I suppose I should be rougher with the commanders if I want to avoid one of them trying to kill me. It wouldn matter either way. The next one in line to take my place as king would be my older sister.

I looked over the report from Leon.

Leon is in charge of keeping watch over the earth kingdom, Big Pebble Kingdom. He sends soldiers to the kingdom for a variety of reasons. From messengers to trading.

For each kingdom, I assign a commander to watch over and keep me updated

Theres Felix who keeps an eye on the wind kingdom, or the Falling Sky Kingdom.

Lucas looks out for the water kingdom or the Soft Shore Kingdom.

Then, theres Brair who looks out for the fire kingdom or the BlazIng Leaf Kingdom. My kingdom that I am sworn to protect until my last breath.

The Soft Shore Kingdom and the Blazing Leaf Kingdom have always had a rocky relationship. We have fought over land and competed over trade from the other region.

The other region consists of land with much more technological advances. They do not have a protector like the four kingdoms so they trade their resources for protection from one of the guardians.

I set the report from Leon on my desk and went to find Lucas. I found him tending to the horses.

”Are the preparations for our journey ready? ” I asked him

”Yes, your majesty. We are ready when you are. ” He said. I nodded.

One of my soldiers brought me my abraxas horse and we set off for our two-day trip to the village.

The water king had sent a small army to rampage one of the small villages on the outer edge of the Blazing Leaf Kingdom. It was always the same song and dance. He sends people to my kingdom and I always send them back in a box.

When we arrived at the town where the terrorist was, I sent out soldiers to search the village and went with the group to look in the forest nearby.

We found a dozen water soldiers who had camped out in the forest almost instantly. I quickly drew a fire circle to trap them in place and forced them to tell us about the ones in the village. They were reluctant but after being scalded to near death, a few of the soldiers told us of the locations of where their comrades. It took about three days to find the soldiers hidden in the village but the party who went into the village came back with about half a dozen water soldiers. I killed all but one water soldier with a sword through the heart. The living soldier I had tied up on a tree.

”Please, just kill me along with my comrades. I do not deserve to live. ” The soldiers begged.

I looked down at the soldier whose face had melted half off. His entire suit of armor was melted onto his skin. It was an unsightly scene. I felt disgusting for doing this to someone who was only taking orders from his king.

”Don think of this as mercy. Leaving you alive is the worst punishment I can give. ” I said to him.

He didn say anything. He simply watched as his friends were dragged into a pile with a concerned look on his face.

I reluctantly waited on the side as I instructed my soldiers on what to do with the dead bodies.

I looked down at the dark splotches on my dark clothes.

I never realized how fast blood cools after being outside the body for so long. Nor did I realize how easy it was to cut through skin and bone with my sword. Almost like warm butter.

Did the bladesmith sharpen it? I didn ask him this time though…

”Your majesty, what would you like us to do with the living soldier? ” Lucas asked

I looked over at the bodies being piled after having ripped their intestines out. I glanced over at the last remaining enemy soldier being forced to watch his friends ripped to pieces and gutted. He screamed and cried for us to stop but to no avail. He fainted a couple of times from the stress and exhaustion of crying out but with a couple of burns here and there, he wakes back up and is forced to watch another friend gutted from the beginning again. This will go on until we finish with all the soldiers and bury their remains in battleground soil. We will then pour the collected intestines into a box with the royal fire seal and send it away with the remaining soldier back to his king who will be tied onto a horse and dragged away.

I looked forward, away from the horror scene playing out next to me.

*Only one of my soldiers backed out this time. Its better than last time.* I thought to myself. It hasn been long since Ive found the right soldiers who could keep their food down when ripping the intestines from another human. It was only a couple of years ago since I had done this dirty work myself but the army commanders demanded that their soldiers be prepared for this. It took two years for them to build their tolerance this far. Although no one is perfect, Im kinda proud of them right now.

”Prepare the burial ground and get a horse ready for the last soldier. Tie him up tight and make sure he doesn run off. ” I commanded

Lucas nodded and looked back at the bloody scene with a cringy look.

”Excuse me if Im out of line for saying this, your majesty, but is all this necessary? We could have just taken their hearts out. That would have been less foul. ” Lucas said

I shook my head and smirked at him ”That would be boring. Don you think so, squad leader Lucas? ”

He shivered and tensed up. He kept his eyes forward and managed to mumble in agreement. He didn say anything after that.

I felt bad for scaring him but if I let my guard down for just a second, everything I worked for would burn down in flames.

It would be easier (and less stinky) to send out hearts instead of intestines but my image as the psychopath king would surely waver.

*Next time I should send their brains. Then, their dominant hands. Have I done eyeballs yet?* I sighed *Perhaps Ive turned psycho. What regular person makes a checklist of body parts?*

Lucas misunderstood my sigh of impatience and ordered his group to go faster.

When the bodies had been buried and the soldier sent to his home kingdom, I waved my hand along a tree and set it ablaze. With that, we left the burning woods and made our way home.

”The cold-blooded king has returned. ”

”What? Hes back?! ”

”Hush! Yes, hes back! Has been for a while now. ”

*Groaning* ”I feel so tense when hes around. Thank goodness hes always gone. ”

”I know right? What would we do if hes always here? ”

”Ive heard the Soft Shore King is willing to take care of wanderers. He gives them food and a place to live. His kingdom is flourishing with his kindness. Not to mention, hes not bad on the eyes either. ”

*They always say they want to leave but they never do.* I thought as I walked through the city with my loose clothes flowing around me. I always dressed in red or black to hide the blood stains from my subjects. I already scare them enough.

”Our king isn bad looking either. He looks very elegant and if I dare say, pretty. ” Even though that last part was whispered, I heard it loud and clear.

I lowered my straw hat enough to cover my blushing face. I placed a hand on my sword on my hip. A habit that happens when Im in an uncomfortable situation.

The people around me misunderstood and scattered away or kneeled to the ground.

I ignored them, knowing that if I did anything to comfort them they would misunderstand again.

I made it to the castle gates where the front gate guards were already doing security checks on the soldiers. When they felt sure that we didn have any stowaways from other kingdoms, they let us pass through.

The fire castle was surrounded by giant trees filled with leaves of all colors. *Fall is coming upon us* I thought as I looked up at the trees. My hair flowed around me as I held my hat down to my head to keep it from blowing away.

”Sir? Are you getting tired? Do you want to ride your Abraxas horse? ” Lucas asked

I nodded and pulled myself on top of my steed, an elegant all-black Abraxas horse that frightens many. It is a dear horse given to me by my father who took the life of its mother and had me take care of its mare…not such a kind story once I say it aloud, anyhoo…

Once we arrived, I headed to my room where I would wait for the king of the Soft Shore Kingdoms reply. As said before, the Fire and Water kingdoms never had the best relationship. We have even gotten close to being thrown to war. Luckily, the coward fears me too much to go as far as to stand head-to-head against me.

I took off the loose silky outerwear covered in blood and hung it over the cover doors of the changing area.

I pulled a clean white silky robe over my shoulders, not bothering to close it properly, and plopped myself onto the bed.

With a loud groan, I fell deep asleep.

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