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“Hmm,” Olivier leaned back into his throne. He placed his staff along the arm rests, then laid his arms along the staff.
“I think I do,” Claudia said. The group looked at her. Her face was a mix of surprise realization and horror and what she figured out.
“What is it then, Claudia?”
“I mean, I think I got it,” she clarified. “It just makes sense. I mean why would someone want a knife that allows you to control people and an egg that will birth the strongest creature we know about. The answer: to become king himself!”
Olivier nodded again. “That’s actually quite clever of you.”
“She’s right?” Goblet asked
“She is.” Olivier placed the staff back on the ground and used it to stand up. His arms visibly shook while using the staff to pull himself up. “I mean why shouldn’t I be the next king of this land? What makes the current king and his useless offspring allowed to rule the land? How are they better than the previous rulers? Or the rulers before them? Why are they more fit to rule over me? None of them have magic or any sort of connection to the runes no matter what nonsense about magical lineage they claim to have.
“On top of that, nothing ever changes. Again, no matter how much they try to claim they are better than the last kings. They are not. The only changes made are to the new royal color, the insignia on the stamp, and how much I have to pay in taxes!” He bashed the bottom of his staff on the cobbleston. “So when I got the letter requesting I help with this dragon problem I knew I had my chance.” He looked at the rotting dragon carcass. He snapped his fingers and the runes around his staff glowed. A bolt of fire flew out of the staff, landed onto the dragon sending it up in flame. “All I had to do was help slay the dragon, find the egg of its child, and get an army on my side. And I have all of those things. This has been an absolute win.”
“We are still here, you know,” Claudia said.
“Yes. I know.” Olivier took a step off his raised platform. “I would ask you all if you want to join me and my military as we take the land. However I cannot trust you.” He looked directly at Claudia. “I’m sorry.” He took another step off the raised platform, inching closer to Claudia. He seemed to mean it. “I can see so much potential in you. You could have been a great mage some day.”
“What are you going to do to us?” Hugh asked.
Olivier turned his head. “I don’t want to spell it out.” He took a final step off the platform then went toward Hugh. “But I cannot have loose ends. So once my army arrives I will have them attack. Once they do so I can send word that the savage Blues have harmed the king’s own personal team. This will send him into a rage. He will send his full force to the battle line. This would give me the chance to take over once the dragon has matured.”
“You’re no better than the men you criticize!” Claudia said.
“You’re wrong.” Olivier was not angry. His voice didn’t jump or bellow. He was calm. Composed. Right, almost. “I am better. I actually have magical powers. More than can be said for those despots.”
Evelyn tried to speak, but was stopped by the stone around her mouth. Her stifled mumbling grew louder. Her face morphed from white, to pink, to a heated red.