The Destruction of Beautiful Things

"They give our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?" - Martin Luther

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13. Chapter Ten

A few days had passed, and Millicent hadn’t heard for Silas or Nathaniel. She was on her way to the Ring and the Raven, hoping to see whether Benjamin knew anything about what they’d found. When she arrived, he poured her a mug of chocolate orange milk and placed it on the counter in front of her.

“What can I do for you today?” He asked. Benjamin always seemed to know when Millicent would visit. She never visited during the pubs opening hours, simply to avoid social interaction. This meant that the only times she could visit were early in the morning or very late at night. In this case, it was former.

“I need your help with something,” she said, taking a sip from the mug and smiling in delight at the flavor that danced around on her taste buds.

Benjamin gathered a cloth and began to wipe down the counter, where there were many beer spills and crumbs from visitors throughout the day, “What do you need?”

Millicent then went on to tell him about what they had found in the sewers, and about Nathaniel and his Uncle and the book. Benjamin listened intently throughout her story, all the while cleaning and tidying behind the counter. Finally, when she had finished, he turned to her and leant down on his elbows. Millicent was worried that he might tell her to report it to the council whilst she still had the chance, or that she would only end up like Kane if she continued this path.

“Sounds like you’ve had a long week,” he said, “what are you going to do about it?”

She thought about this for a moment, and then finally shrugged her shoulders when she couldn’t think of an answer.

Benjamin sighed, “Maybe this is just an opportunity for you, lovely.”

“What do you mean?” Millicent questioned.

“Well,” he started, “you want to find your brother. The last time you were here you said you’d give it a few months, and if no trouble stirred up in the prisons then you would go looking for him. Maybe this is your opportunity to find him, just not in the way that you imagined.”

“I don’t understand...” said Millicent.

“If you wanted to, I could lead some of the council men down to the sewers when you’re there. They’d arrest you, Millicent, and throw you Beyond Shalom. That’s where you want to go, right?”

Millicent sat in silence and rolled the question around in her head. Is that where she really wanted to be? For the past five years she’d been determined to find Kane and get him out of prison so that they could start their life again. But now that there was this temple, and Nathaniel….

She hadn’t even thought about what she’d done with him the other night. It hadn’t even crossed her mind until now, and a part of her shuddered at the thought. The last time she had kissed someone was five years ago, and it was her husband. They’d been stood in his kitchen, Millicent in nothing but a sheer gown and him in fighting attire. He was ready to go out with Kane, and he’d kissed her goodbye.

“We’re doing the right thing here,” he’d told Millicent, “and soon all of this will be over.”

Millicent had stared up at her husband with nothing but pride in her eyes and love in her heart. She’d placed her hand over where his heart was and kissed him on the cheek.

“I’ll see you later, Cyrus,” she’d told him, and he’d left without another word.

“Millicent?”

She snapped out of her daze and looked at Benjamin, who was looking at her with concern.

“Sorry,” she said, throwing the memory to the back of her mind.

“Well let me know what you think,” said Benjamin, “not that I’m encouraging you to be arrested. But there’s been no news from the prisons in five years. Maybe it’s time to step up your game.”

Millicent nodded, “I’ll see. I need to find out about the sewers first.”

Not long after that, Millicent said her goodbyes to Benjamin and headed towards the Mayors private offices. And just as she was heading towards his office, Flint stepped in front of her.

“A man came looking for you the other day,” was his way of greeting her.

“Who?”

“How should I know? He had tattoos on his face though.”

Silas, she thought. That’s probably how he found out where she lived then.

She continued walking with Flint at her side, “Why would you give some random man my address?”

He flashed a grin, “He said he knew you.”

Millicent scoffed in disbelief, “So if anyone came up to you claiming to know me, you’d give them my address?”

Flint winked at her before turning a corner, “You’re a big girl, you can look after yourself.”

She shook her head at him and knocked on the door. When she opened it, she found the Mayor sat behind his desk in his usual spot, riffling through a stack of paperwork.

“Good morning,” he said to her, and stood up, “we have some errands to run.”

“Such as?” She asked.

“We need to visit the paper house, and the post office,” Mayor Holland rambled on a bit about the various jobs that needed doing before noon, as he had lunch with somebody important. Millicent half listened, but her mind was plagued by other things. She thought back to her husband again, and how she’d felt that night. She was felt with that giddy feeling of new love, and looking back at it now she was disgusted with herself. Of course, Millicent didn’t ever think that she was in love with Cyrus. She always liked how he treated her, how her brother approved of him, and the sex was good. But that was all. Whereas the other day, with Nathaniel…

Millicent shook her head and followed the Mayor out onto the street. It was a bright day, which made a change from the previous days which had left the city covered in gray clouds and a permanent drizzle of rain. It wasn’t a particularly busy day, but a few crowds of people milled around the streets.

And then suddenly, there was a gunshot.

Millicent pulled her gun out of her holster before she even registered what had happened. She looked around, her ears deafened by the shot. People were screaming, running away, and then she turned to the Mayor. A deep red patch was oozing through his white shirt, and his knees buckled as he fell to the ground.

“Shit,” Millicent said, and fell to the floor with him.

“Flint!” Millicent screamed at the top of her lungs, but he was already there after hearing the shot. He knelt down beside the Mayor and pressed his hands over the wound on his stomach.

“What the fuck happened?” He exclaimed, and then looked up behind Millicent.

She turned around and found three men stood behind them. They were all dressed in black, and held guns at their sides. The man in the center held his gun up and aimed it at Millicent.

“King of Kings,” he said, “Emperor of the worlds, we offer this sacrifice to you.”

Millicent dodged the bullet like she’d done this a thousand times. She kicked the gun out of his hand and twisted his arm behind his back, and he screamed. Millicent kicked him to the floor and as the other two tried to shoot her, she rolled onto the floor and kicked their legs out underneath them. King of Kings, she repeated in her head. What the fuck was happening?

From there, Millicent used the heel of her foot to kick one of the men in the back of the head as he attempted to rise. The other one seemed to already be knocked out. Then, she turned to the man she’d left. The one that had spoken. Millicent wrapped her arm around his neck and pressed her patchwork gun to his head.

“Who is the King of Kings?” She seethed through her teeth. People were watching her now, some of them screaming, some of them too afraid to move.

“He’s already here,” the man said through gritted teeth.

“WHO?” Millicent shouted in his ear.

“Eidolon,” said the man. That was when Millicent blew his brains out. The man’s blood splatted all over her white blouse and up her neck and face. She kicked the body away from her as it fell and turned towards Flint and the Mayor, where there were now medics who were loading him onto a stretcher and carrying him away.

“Millicent,” Flint said as he walked over to her.

“I need to go,” said Millicent, and turned away from him. She could faintly hear him over the ringing in her ears. As she walked away, she tried to rub some of the blood off her face but only got it over her hands instead. People stared at her as she walked down the streets, and all of them were gravitating to where they heard the gunshot. She’d let someone else deal with the bodies she’d left in her wake.

Millicent headed towards the town square, and not caring what anyone thought, removed the drain to the sewers and climbed down, pulling the cover back over her head and engulfing her in darkness.

This was all getting too much, and Millicent was about to find out exactly who this King of Kings was. Eidolon.

Millicent walked through the sewers drenched in blood as she carried her gun in her hand, and readied herself as she stepped into the temple.  

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