Hurting, from down on his knees Maciste pulled himself up tall. He had been yanked back up from the dirt. Hands forced back against his struggling keeping him kneeling. A grip in his hair kept him in place. He was angry, he was panting for breath. That attack had caught him unawares. Unwarranted. Not needed, not the way things should be done. He hurt. He was pissed. But he wasn’t to be intimidated. Just had to think fast .. think on his feet.
His chest poked up proud. Again he made to rise but the soldiers pressed down on his shoulders, they were having none of it.
“Listen, general. I have an offer.”
He knew how other men saw him. How his unmatched physique could impress. Deter other males. Tiradates had dared attack only when Maciste couldn’t help himself.
Undaunted but showing his anger, chin up, Maciste glared the enemy general back. Pissed-off but not to be diverted from his task.
“I am Prince Menander. I have come to offer you my surrender.”
There was every reason for this general to welcome Menander’s surrender .. self-interest above all. It would earn him favours.
“My freedom. For these women.”
In a nutshell. Nothing more to say.
The pair of enemies eyed each other. The general loomed dominant over his captive. His enemy was forced to stare up at him, obvious prisoner. But Maciste’s posture allowed nothing for that imbalance. “Prince Menander’s” surrender stopped the war, he knew. The country had been pacified, under the empire’s command. A great victory.
At least …. until Maciste revealed the truth.
The silence lasted. The robust looks persisted. Both giving off resolute postures. Each general’s body movements pitched strongly against each other. A tussle of looks. Nothing said. Much considered. Long. Tense. Waiting.
Eventually the general nodded.
Maciste allowed himself a slight sigh of relief inside. His offer accepted. The deed was done.
A thwack took Maciste across the shoulders. Out of the blue. Knocking him forward. In almost the same moment, a fist hammered at the back of his skull. Startling him. Tiradates’ nod had been a signal. Not an agreement.
Unprepared for attack, Maciste was being pitched forward. The hand gripped in his hair stopped his fall, yanked him back up. Straight into a punch to his jaw, it whipped his head over to one side, unbalancing him. Someone jabbed a metal-clad boot hard at his back. And another stabbed a hard kick into his side. Maciste was falling.
He was pitched from hope of a settlement into a savage beating .. in the blink of an eye. Getting a good kicking .. down in the dirt. Hands trapped, no defence, head reeling at the ferocity of attack.
“Good enough answer, motherfucker?”
Tiradates snorted. Then he stood back and let his soldiers take care of this prick.