Chess City - A New Novel By Ayaan Chettiar

Chess City – Chapter 17

Martin wandered around in the topmost floor of the great tower, trying to locate the Emperor’s prison room. There was no sound whatsoever; he simply moved around mindlessly.

Slowly, his hands brushed against something rough, which he identified to be some sort of gateway. Martin grabbed the door with both hands and began to pull with all his might.

The door creaked and rumbled, and slowly opened. Martin’s eyes widened as he saw the Emperor, upside down, and bound tightly by ropes.

His mouth had been clamped shut by the feared ropes, and he gestured for Martin to help him. Martin pulled the ropes with all his might, and loosened it slightly.

“My hands.” mumbled the Emperor, weakly. “Free my hands.”

Martin did as he was told, as the Emperor conjured a fiery dazzle, and pierced through the ropes. The ropes broke, as his body fell to the ground.

He moaned weakly, as if in a tired daze, and got to his feet. He had had a sleepless night and it had taken his toll on him. He was starved, thirsty, and overcome with exhaustion.

“Listen to me, Martin.” said the Emperor. When Martin appeared shocked that the great Emperor himself knew his name, Stockfish read his mind and replied, “I make it a habit to know my subjects.”

Martin nodded, enthusiastically. He was sure the Emperor would propose some heroic plan to take down Mittens. “Martin, the city is in grave danger. You need to evacuate all the bots, away from the mainland. LC Zero was right. You need to run and hide. Don’t look back. Mittens is coming for everything. She is too powerful.”

“You’re the Emperor.” argued Martin. “You’re supposed to help us. But you’re ready to just step aside and let Mittens take the throne.”

“Believe me, Martin, if there was anything I can do, I would have done it. But I failed. I let down my city. I made wrong decisions. I let Mittens eradicate my friends. I’m useless. So you might think I’m some god-like being, but I’m not. So, run while you still can. I’ll distract Mittens.”

“Emperor.” said Martin. “M3GAN told me something very important. You don’t have to be good to be good. We all make mistakes. We all may feel we’re useless, we’re dead weight, we have no use at all in life. But that’s a lie. Whether you believe it or not, our city needs you right now. To be the hero you always were. On your feet, Stockfish!”

Martin had no idea what possessed him to give a direct order to the Emperor, but Stockfish was deeply moved by Martin’s words, and realized his mistakes. His face was the display of real determination, and Martin knew then and there it had worked.

“Great.” said Martin. “So, let’s get out of h…!”

There was a huge jerk, as Martin was thrown backwards. The tower began to collapse, as parts of the ceiling fell onto the floor, trapping the Emperor. The tower fell apart, revealing Mittens in her most furious form.

“Go!” shouted the Emperor, from behind the rubble. “I’ll catch up.”

Mittens grabbed Martin by levitation and threw him away from the tower. Martin let out a shriek of pure fear, as he fell from the massive tower, and onto the ground below.

Martin rolled to a stop, feeling as if the world had just come to an end, every bit of his body aching. He let out a groan, and opened his eyelids.

The first thing he saw was Mittens glaring at him. Mittens fired a fireball at him, with hit him on the chest, and essentially knocked the wind out of him. She followed with a gash across Martin’s face, and another blow to his chest.

As Martin got up, he suddenly felt faint, as his neural link connected to Mittens through her cords. Mittens had a diabolical plan: to defeat Martin over and over until he had no strength or rating whatsoever, too weak to continue, thus automatically eradicating him.

What followed was a brutal string of victories in Mittens’ favor, as she subsequently reduced Martin’s rating to a single point in a matter of minutes. Martin felt broken and tired, as he fell onto the grass.

“Any last words, Martin?” questioned Mittens, before beating him for the final time.

From the corner of his eye, Martin spotted a dazzling white light fast approaching. His lips curved into a smile, as he mumbled, “Boom.”

Mittens was hit by the full force of the Emperor, and thrown aside. Emperor Stockfish hovered in the skies with his full might, as Mittens glared at him.

The Emperor was back in business…

Ayaan Chettiar

Read Chapter 18

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