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: We are now more than halfway through, I think! If you think you've been surprised with how things have gone so far, you're in for a real shock ;) I'm grateful for all the comments I've been getting over this story, and I'm so into writing it that I'm so behind on all my other pieces. It's kinda worth it though c: If you want to email me, my address is jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
After Gabrielle left, I sat down heavily on the bed, emotionally exhausted. I couldn't believe that the slave had decieved me and had never shown any sign of it. I was almost completely convinced that she wasn't in it alone. I assumed that Cleopatra had been a part of this, because while Gabrielle was intelligent, she didn't have the devious mind to go through with a plan such as this. But the Egyptian definetely did.
I was relieved as I glanced around my room, remembering that I had kept my bags packed since my fight with Gabrielle several days ago. I would be ready to leave as soon as possible, which is exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to stay in Egypt for any longer than I already had, but there were a few things that I needed to deal with before I boarded a ship back to Greece. I quickly stood up and walked over to the desk in the corner of my room, where I grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and jotted down a note for Niko, the general of my Royal Guard, ordering him to have the rest of the soldiers ready to leave in the next candlemark.
It would be nearly impossible to get back to Corinth before the Romans, but I was determined to at least get there before my Empire was completely in ruins. I would cut down every Roman pig in my path to get to Antony and make him pay for what he had put me through.
But first, I thought with a cruel smile, I had the Queen of the Nile to deal with.
"I thought you would be eating dinner with your second," Cleopatra said to me as I strode into her private courtyard where she was taking her evening meal, alone for once. I noticed with a bitter smile that Gabrielle was no where to be seen as I sat down in a chair across from the Egyptian.
"There was some important business that got in the way of my plans," I replied coldly, smirking as the Egyptian raised an eyebrow at the tone of my voice. I wondered absently how long it would take her to tell me every detail of Antony's plans if I started cutting off her manicured fingers, one by one.
"Have you received bad news from Greece?" Cleo asked with concern. It sounded sincere but she had proved to be an excellent actress so far, so I wasn't about to underestimate her.
"Not exactly," I said slowly, leaning back in my seat as I held her gaze. "I received the bad news from the lips of your slave, actually."
"Gabrielle?" The Egypian seemed genuinely surprised now and my brow furrowed in confusion.
"Don't play games with me, Cleo. I want answers and I want them now. If you tell me every detail about Antony's plans, I might spare your life," I growled menacingly. I had planned on taking things slowly with the Egyptian, but she was beginning to frustrate me.
"Excuse me?" Cleopatra exclaimed shrilly as she sat up straight in her seat, her fingers gripping the edge of the table. "What the fuck are you accusing me of, Conqueror?"
"Breaking the terms of the alliance we discussed less than a moon ago," I replied angrilly. "I told you if you sided with Rome in a plot against me that I would destroy your god forsaken country."
"What are you talking about?" Cleopatra seemed defeated now and thoroughly confused as she slumped in her seat. "I haven't been in contact with anyone from Rome in almost six moons, Conqueror."
"Don't lie," I growled fiercly, my eyes burning with rage as I glared at the dark skinned woman. "You can't tell me that you have owned a slave for two years and have not known the reason that she was here. She cares about you. She would have told you of her mission, even if you weren't a part of it, which I'm sure you were."
"Who are you talking about?"
"Gabrielle, of course!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands up in the air in frustration. I was quickly losing my temper and I became more and more confused with every passing second.
"Gabrielle was only sent to me six moons ago, Conqueror," Cleopatra said slowly, as if talking to a child. "I admit that we are close, yes, but she has told me of no mission in her time here, and she was sent to me as a gift from Marc Antony. That was the last time I have spoken to the Roman."
I sat back in my seat, my mind reeling from this new information. Gabrielle had only been here for six moons and not two years? What else had the slave lied to me about? How was I supposed to know if anything she told me was the truth, even her the details of her mission?
"That still doesn't explain why you asked me here, if not to keep me occupied," I voiced the question that had been eating at me.
"For the exact reason I told you: an alliance," Cleopatra replied calmly before her brow suddenly furrowed. "Though, come to think of it, that was Gabrielle's idea."
It was another painful blow to my heart and my ego. I had been dooped by a slave of Rome, what could be worse? I was saved from thinking too much by a someone clearing their throat in the doorway.
"What is it, Niko?" I asked the general of my royal guard without bothering to turn around.
"I have a letter for you, my Lord," Niko said from behind me. "It is from General Alexandria."
"Give it to me," I said quickly, holding my hand out for the parchment. My mind was racing, wondering why Alexandria would be writing me anything. I hadn't seen her since our arguement when she resigned and I had assumed she had already departed for Greece. I quickly unrolled the parchment and scanned the words written within.
I captured your slave in the port of Alexandria as she tried to get on a ship headed towards Corinth. I know everything and I'm waiting here with a ship that will be ready to set sail as soon as you arrive.
I look forward to a long and heartfelt apology.
Your second in command,
I tried to ignore the warmth blooming in my chest, but could not stop the corner of my mouth turning up in a small smile. Alexandria hadn't abadoned me, instead she was waiting for me. It felt unbelievably good to know that even though my world was falling apart, there was still one person I could trust.
But that smile disappeared when I reread the letter and realised who my second was in company with.
"It seems that my stay in Egypt has come to an end," I said to Cleopatra as I tucked the parchment into one of my gauntlets.
The Egyptian was still looking at me in confusion, as if waiting for an explaination but I didn't have the time. Greece was going to be swarming with Romans soon and I had to be there before my empire was completely destroyed. I decided to leave Cleopatra alone, at least for now. If she had indeed been in the dark about the plot against me, then she was still an ally and I might have need for her in the future.
I gave the woman a nod and a small smile, which she seemed to take as an apology for my earlier words and then left her to her meal. Alexandria was waiting for me and even more importantly, Greece was waiting for me.
And the beast inside of me was screaming for Roman blood.
To Be Continued
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