Vers looked at the disheveled figure in front of him. The man had been arrested for causing a disturbance for the third time that month. This was far beneath his pay grade but he’d seen Legus Avuru many times in the marketplace shouting about rightful heirs and what not. His position as police chief was boring but he preferred it ten times over to the battlefields where he’d learned what burnt human flesh smells like and the sound of a skull being clubbed into submission. He read the man’s charges.

He followed protocol. “What’s your name?”

“Legus Avuru,” the man said as he shivered. He had clearly missed several drinking sessions.

“It says here Legus that you started a fight. Third time this week. You mind telling me how it started?”

“Well, I was drinking with some of my friends and telling them how I would end the drinking curfew when my coronation is done.”

“Your coronation?” the guard asked.

“Yes, you see I’m the true prince of this region that person up there is just a pretender.”

“Is that so?”

“It is.”

Vers swept the man from head to toe. He reeked of alcohol, his teeth were worn out and some missing, the result of years in bar brawls. However, the officer had an afternoon to spare.

“Dangerous words you’re speaking there but let me humour you for a minute. Let’s say that you’re the true prince or even remotely royal, that would mean that when you come into contact with blessed blue iron it glows, right?”

“Damn right it glows like a firefly in mating season.”

“Well then let’s see,” Vers said ignoring the man’s snide remark. He went to the back of his office and came back with the ceremonial sword which he handed to the man.

“This is blue iron from hilt to tip. Let’s see you strike a spark from it.”

The man unsheathed the sword rising majestically as he held it in the air. Light streaks started to stream in, a spark flew from its edge and then a blue flame lit engulfing his arm but he never flinched because it didn’t burn him. In awe, the guard took off his helmet.

“Your Majesty,”

Legus slashed through the air, “Yes, that’s more like it Vers. Now step aside as my rule begins. God, I can’t wait for the women to start fighting over me.”

Vers shot him a look of disbelief.

“What? it’s just how the game plays. How’s that daughter of yours doing? You think she fancy a  night with the king.” He chuckled.

“Hey now wait just a minute that’s my daughter you’re talking about,” Vers said rising.

“On your knees peasant!” Legus yelled out, then softly he added, “You wouldn’t want to be beheaded now would you. I mean, you do know you’re talking to your master and…” A spear through the throat interrupted his soliloquy. Vers was on his feet pushing him to a wall. Experience had taught him to stay at least four feet back lest the victim’s blood sprayed on himself.   Legus thrashed about but Vers held his grip until Legus sunk to his feet. When the spear was pulled out, Legus managed to let out a soft, “why?”

“The current pretender’s better than the pompous original,”  Vers said. Guards were making their way into the room. Vers wiped the spear on Legus’s rags. “Thought he was the king then attacked me when I asked him to prove it. Had to defend myself.”

The guards took the body out as he rearranged some things. These pretenders had to learn to talk like royalty. That was the third one they’d lost this year.





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