They were staring at me through the rain their expressions a mix of fear and hatred. I stared down at the blood on my hands, my entire body felt like it was ready to give way. One of them stepped forward. They had once been one of the people who I had considered a friend. When he spoke his voice was hoarse. I could tell he was trying to keep it from shaking.
"H-He....loved you," he finally managed to choke, the words came out breathless and I could see the tears welling in his eyes. "He loved you and you did this to him...to us...how could you? You were our friend Nicky. " I wanted to tell them it's not what is seemed....that I really had loved him, never for a moment had I faked that. I wanted to tell them why-
....I couldn't....I would end up dead that way too.
"Well he's not our friend anymore."
Another figure, another person I once held dear came at me now and through the sheet of rain I could see he held a knife. I shut my eyes. I deserved this. My mind went back now...back to the first day of many that had changed my life. What had led up to this moment? What had caused this?
I stood in the large empty banquet hall, one of fifty men. We were each dressed in the pure white linens that we had been given before entering. An older woman stood before us, dressed in blacks and dark greens. Her graying brown hair was braided around her head in the custom of virgin maidens before they were married (which I couldn't help but find odd). The woman stepped forward, her mouth drawn into a thin line. She simply stood there for a moment before she finally spoke.
"Congratulations gentlemen. You all clearly know what being here means." She smiled thinly now, though it did appear vaguely forced. "It is quite the challenge to get here. You all had to face numerous tasks, tests of strength, agility and intelligence. There were thousands of other men like yourselves all desperately attempting to make it here...to this place where you now stand. There are fifty of you now but at the end there can be only five. Those five will become the new Kingsmen when prince Mikhos finally takes the throne. As Kingsmen you will be required to be both his advisors and his guards, you will accompany him to his events and duties and keep him safe. You will make sure his every desire is met. You will be both his protectors and his hands, his shield and his sword."
Her hawklike gaze brushed over us and I couldn't help but shudder as it passed over me.
"You must serve him until either he or you departs this world as a bride would her husband. You are the best in the kingdom, the best in your countries, the tournaments proved that. These next four months will allow us to pick the best among you. Over the following weeks some may be asked to leave, others may give up and some may even lose their lives in the enduring training ahead. Of the final trainees who make it to the end...the final five at the top of the class will be selected." I took a deep breath, attempting to bite back my nerves as she held up a thin piece of paper.
"You are about to be given your rooming assignments now. You were each given a number upon entering. Go when your number is called." Without skipping a beat she began to list them off. "The Red room will consist of numbers 21, 32, 11, 4..."
Her voice drowned out to me. The thing was, I wasn't like the other men here. I wasn't here to serve the prince, I hadn't gotten here by my pure cunning and strength. I was a cheat, I was a liar, I had been planted here. The plan was simple, some strings would be pulled, I would work hard, then I would become a Kingsman. In that position I would be closer to the prince than anyone, I would have his absolute trust.
That's when I would kill him.
The prince would die and the true king would finally be able to take the throne.
Ah yes, the true king...Edgar. He was the king's older brother and he was the one meant to inherit the throne. I knew the story well. The current King, Thomados, had framed Edgar for treason against their father (the king at the time) and had tried to have him killed. Edgar had just barely escaped with his life. Ever since then he's been building up his army from the shadows, building up his power. Now it's finally at it's height. That's where I come in. When I assassinate the crown prince the entire kingdom will be thrown into chaos. The King's health is declining and though no official statements have been made everyone knows he only has a few months to live. When he dies we will take out his only heir. The kingdom will be thrown into chaos and Edgar will have the perfect opportunity to come forward and take back the crown-
"The Purple Room...49, 28, 25, 3, 13. Please go now, you will find your things there." I was snapped out of my day dream by my number being called, 28. I saw the other boys making their way to the door where everyone else had exited. I could feel the tension in the room, the air thick with it. It almost made me nervous about not making it to the end of all this, though I knew I had nothing to worry about. Edgar would find a way to rig the training to make sure his assassin got a place among the Kingsmen. I would of course still need to prove myself. I couldn't let it be suspicious when I got picked. I needed to make friends with the other boys, learn their strengths and their weaknesses and make them trust me...just as I would make the false prince trust me before I delivered the fatal blow. I had trained for this for the last five years, there was no way I would screw it up now. Call me arrogant if you like, I'm confident in my abilities...shit!
I snapped out of my train of thought yet again just in time to scurry over to the group of boys leaving the premises to the rooms. So these were my roommates and my training partners? I could catch everyone looking slightly uneasily at one another, each trying to gage what the others were like. I wondered if these room arrangements were supposed to be for us to make friends with one another or to force us to become rivals.
We were led down a hall with ten different doors. Each was a different color. The doors themselves were covered in gems of the same tone. The red was adorned with rubies while the blue dripped with sapphire. When we finally came to ours it was clear that parts of the purple door seemed to have been carved from pure amethyst. I could see one of the smaller boys in our group's eyes widen in amazement when he saw it. A taller boy now pushed through and unlocked the door with a thin silver key that must have been given to him earlier by the woman. There was a click and the door opened. The room appeared to be the kind one would prepare for a noble, not for simple trainees of the crown. There were five beds, one at each corner and then one slightly large bed in the middle. Long silken drapes were hung across the room, cascading onto the floor. They each held the prince's symbol, a white serpent wrapped around the crown. I stared at it an extra moment. A serpent wrapped around a crown...it was fitting.