Summary: The Conqueror leaves Greece to visit Cleopatra and meets a slave/gladiator named Gabrielle but all is not what it seems.
Disclaimer: See Part 1
Authors Note: : : I wasn't going to upload this until my other story was completely finished, but with only one chapter left, I figured it would be okay. I have this whole story thought through, but I've only written up to chapter four, and those chapters aren't completed fully yet either, so updates are going to be a few days a part, sorry. I hope you guys enjoy this and if you want to email me, my address jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
"Brutus," I tilted my head slightly, acknowledging the man as the large wooden double doors were pushed open and the Roman entered the room. I was sitting casually on my throne in my court room; my muscles tensed despite my relaxed posture, looking down at the short, dark haired Roman disdainfully as he stopped before me and gave me a respectful bow. Alexandria stood on my right side, seemingly calm though I could see her hand resting on the hilt of the ceremonial sword sheathed at her hip.
"Lord Conqueror," he said as he looked up into my eyes with a genuine smile. I had done this man a huge favor, and we both knew it. When I had killed Antony, Brutus gained all the power that Rome had to offer. Though, it would be taken from him before he could use it, I thought to myself with a cruel smile.
"What brings you to Greece, Brutus?" I asked as I leaned back in my seat, narrowing my pale eyes at the dark haired man and studying him, finding his strengths and weaknesses in less time than it took him to blink his dark beady eyes. "I hope it isn't the same reason that Marc Antony came for."
"N-no, Lord Conqueror," Brutus stuttered and I grinned darkly as a light sheen of sweet beaded on his forehead. "I actually came personally to apologize on behalf of Rome for Antony's actions."
"Apologize?" I repeated the word in amusement, tilting my head at the Roman. "That's good, Brutus. I didn't want you to meet the same end as Antony. Did you see him when you entered Corinth? He looks good, doesn't he?"
I watched with delight as Brutus nodded shakily, his face pale at the thought of his once partner's demise. I had cut off the Roman pigs head and stuck it on a spear at the docks outside of Corinth, so that anyone that entered my city would be able to see what I did to anyone who dared to stand against me. The battle had been just over four moons ago, and all that was left of Antony's head was his skull. Sea gulls and scavengers had picked at his flesh, savoring the scraps through the cold winter until that was all that remained.
"I had hoped you were smarter than him," I said slowly to Brutus, my voice becoming lower and more menacing with each word I spoke. "But at least you have as much balls as Antony did to show up here yourself."
"E-excuse me, C-Co-"
I cut off the man's stuttering with a wave of my hand as I stood up from my throne, slowly advancing towards him and watching as he scrambled away from me. Well, maybe not as much balls as Antony.
"Do you think that I'm stupid, Brutus?" I asked the man with a smile that was less than warm. "Do you really think that I'm naive enough to believe that you are truly sorry for what Antony did?"
"Conqueror," Brutus pleaded as he continued to back away from me, only stopping when he had cornered himself against the wall. His eyes darted around the room nervously and he paled further when he saw Alexandria shift behind me.
"Shut up!" I growled. "I know everything, Brutus. There is no way that you didn't know that Antony was planning to take charge of my Empire in my absence. He took half of Rome's fucking army for Ares sake! You knew and you didn't try to stop him. You thought that maybe I had grown weak and you let him come here in hopes that he would either beat me or die trying. Isn't that right, Brutus?"
The man didn't say anything, not that I expected him to. He just continued to stare at me with wide, fear filled eyes. Pathetic. To think that Rome's future was in this man's hands made me cringe internally.
"That's what I thought," I said, looking at him with disgust. "I bet you hoped that he died in his attempt, didn't you? It would be perfect for you. With Antony gone, you could crown yourself Emperor of Rome and no one would be able to stop you. Well, you were wrong, Brutus."
I stepped so close to him that he had to look up to look into my eyes. I smiled cruelly as I stared down at him, barely whispering as I spoke.
"I have not grown weak, Brutus, and the Conqueror has not been tamed. The beast inside me is still very much alive and it wants blood for the crimes against my Empire. But, unlike you, I am not a coward. I will not kill you here, Brutus." I stepped away from the man, watching as he breathed a sigh of relief before continuing. "Instead, I will kill you in your precious Rome, in front of your people. Go back home, Brutus and prepare yourself. Greece wants blood and I plan on satisfying her thirst."
I watched as the blood drained from the Roman's face and for a moment I thought he might pass out. He surprised me though when he gave me a respectful nod and managed to stop himself from running from the room. He strode out with his head held high and I had to respect him a little bit for that. Most men in his position would have wet themselves and fallen to their knees before me, begging for their life.
I grinned as I turned to Alexandria, who was standing silently besides my throne. She returned my smile, though it was halfhearted to say at best.
After speaking with Brutus, I returned to my rooms to spend the rest of the morning alone. I sat at the large ornate desk in the outer chamber, leaning back in my chair as I read a report from Draco, the Captain of my First army. He was situated in Thrace and wrote, telling me that everything was going well, as always. How boring, I sighed to myself. What I wouldn't give for a little bit of trouble, so I could go down there and deal with it myself.
I smiled, knowing that soon enough I would have Rome to play with. Alexandria and I had discussed it and decided that after the recent attack of Antony, it was time to take our forces to Rome, as I had promised Brutus I would. I already had several spies over there, reporting to me almost daily. After Antony's death, everyone had turned to Brutus to restore Rome to its former glory. I knew that it would have been easier to just kill Brutus in my court room, but it was a lot less fun. I wanted a battle, one that would go down in history as I took my forces to Rome and conquered Greece's biggest enemy.
Thinking of the Romans made me think of Gabrielle and I was glad for the distraction when I heard the knock at my door.
"Come," I called, turning my attention to Palaemon as he entered, his eyes averted from mine as he raised his fist over his chest in salute. "Yes?"
"You asked me to meet with you this morning, my Lord," Palaemon said as he crossed the room to stand before me. "About the Spring Festival."
I sighed dramatically, having completely forgotten about our meeting and the gods be damned festival that was held every year after winter ended. In just over half a moon, Corinth would be overrun by merchants, stalls, decorations and the smell of delicious food as the city got ready for Greece's largest celebration of the year that would take place when the month was over. I usually looked forward to the five day party, but I found that the celebration this year was a hurdle for my plans. I wanted to take Rome, and I wanted to do it now! The beast growled in my chest as I looked up at my captain, but I forcefully pushed it away and nodded with a sigh.
"Have you sent out messages to all the captains?" I asked as I gestured for Palaemon to take a seat.
"I sent out the letters yesterday, my Lord," the blonde haired man assured me with a nod. "Alexandria spoke with me and told me of your plans for Rome and insisted that I also tell Captain Petracles to return from Macedonia with the Third Army and Theodorus is returning from Thessaly with the Fifth Army. The rest of the captains will return but are leaving their second in commands with the armies at their stations, as Alexandria requested."
"Excellent," I said with a genuine smile, happy that Alexandria and I obviously thought alike. I was glad that when I was caught up in court that I could trust my General to deal with the military side of ruling. "So, Palaemon, what else do I need to know?"
"It's just the usual," Palaemon shrugged as he leant back in his chair, running his fingers through his unruly blonde hair. "Salmoneus has sent out invitations and we've had many replies. I'm glad that we'll have more than half the army here in Corinth with all the people that are coming, though it will make things a little more crowded. But still, I'm happy for the extra protection, especially with Sappho and Cleopatra making their appearances for the festival. And then those Amazon's are coming, and you know how they are, my Lord."
"The Amazon's are coming?" I replied with surprise, raising a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. I had a large amount of respect for the women warriors, despite the fact that I had slaughtered the Northern tribe in my younger years. And though they admired me in return, mainly because I was a woman ruling Greece rather than a man, they hardly ever visited the city. They preferred their villages deep in the forests surrounding Thessaly. The last time I had seen any was over a summer ago, when the regent came with some warriors to renegotiate the treaty between us."Yes, the Amazon's are coming, and with their Queen this time," said Palaemon before he started to talk about security for the city, though I hardly heard him. The Queen of the Amazon's was finally going to grace me with her presence. In the past three and a half years that I've ruled over Greece, I've never once met the Queen and have always been given excuses as to her whereabouts. I smiled at the thought of finally meeting the leader of such a strong nation, deciding it would be a very interesting festival indeed.
To Be Continued
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