Part XV – The Naked Truth
Momotaru Hakizimana awoke in a huff. He looked around franticly with a menacing scowl on his face. He was inside a master suite. The bed that he laid upon was large enough for three people. Throwing the silk covers from his body he rose to his bare feet. His soles seeming to sink into the plush navy blue carpet. For the first time he noticed that he was wearing a scarlet silk robe. He ripped it away and tossed it to the floor.
A knock at the door drew his attention. Whoever it was did not wait for him to answer. The door opened, several women, their eyes wide in shock, stood staring at Momotaru who was stark naked as the day that he was born.
“Who are you and what do you want?” asked Momotaru. “If my father sent you then you can go back from where you came and tell him that I don’t want or need anything from him.”
“I apologize, my liege,” said one of the females. “But we were given strict orders to attend to your every need. We cannot go back… there’s no place for us to go back to.”
The group of young woman looked at the floor in unison yet their eyes did not see the carpet under their feet. Instead, Momotaru could tell that they were each remembering some tragic event which had landed them in their current situation.
“Well then, the least you can do is tell me where my clothes are that I came here wearing,” asked Momotaru.
“They were filthy my liege,” said the same female. “We were instructed to wash them. They’re in the closet.” She pointed to two large double doors that were painted white and had gold trimming and golden door knobs.
Opening the double doors, Momotaru stared with mouth agape. Never before had he seen so many clothes. The walk-in closet was larger than most apartments.
“Who would ever need so many outfits?” asked Momotaru stunned.
“You will, my liege,” said the lead woman. “Lord Hakizimana has stated that you are to attend a congressional dinner within the next two hours… he also said that we must tell you that your attendance is mandatory.”
Momotaru turned around to glare at the woman. His features quickly softened as the woman abashedly looked away, once again staring at the floor. He walked over to her and gently lifted her face up with a calloused hand under her chin. As their eyes briefly met, the woman looked away and blushed.
“It’s okay to look at me,” said Momotaru. “I’m not going to bite.”
The woman looked into his dark eyes and wore a small smile.
“What is your name?”
“I’m called Kya… my liege.”
“And what did you and your friends do to end up working for my father?”
“We are forbidden to speak of it my liege,” replied Kya.
“It’s okay,” said Momotaru as he dressed. “Tell my father that I forced you to answer… now please tell me… what happened to all of you?”
Kya turned around to look at her companions. They nodded in unison.
“We were caught stealing from my lord’s vineyard,” said Kya not meeting his eyes.
Momotaru shook his head and let out a small laugh. “Okay,” he said. “Well it’s good to know what the official lie is just in case someone asks me… but now I want to hear the real reason that my father has forced you into servitude.”
Their eyes connected and the look that Kya received forced her to swallow her suddenly bone-dry throat. She nodded. When she met his eyes again, Momotaru could see a steely resolve that spoke volumes.
“The other three women with me are not my friends,” said Kya. “They’re my sisters. I’m the oldest. Monel is after me, and the youngest two, Chyntel and Cynia are twins. From the time that we could walk our father trained us to be assassins. My father was the head of the assassin’s guild in High Garden Clearing. We helped to protect the commoners who were under constant attack from the demonic Ura. They inhabit the forest next to the city. But when our father received a contract to assassinate your father, we were… betrayed by another in our order. Our father was killed and we were found guilty of conspiracy. So instead of sending us to the work camps for the rest of our lives, we had to swear an oath to serve your father with our lives. Only death can release us from this oath.”
“Well guess what…” said Momotaru with a devilish grin. “You no longer serve my father… you serve me now. I could use a team of assassins as my bodyguards for what I plan to do next… gather my weapons… I have a surprise in store for my father.”
~ Andre Alan