6 Who’s boss?
Tiradates had got where he was by bloody-minded tough hard work. Emperor Vologases had him promoted to general because no other soldier could swoop in, conquer and suppress so ruthlessly. He hung on to his job .. against opposition from stuck-up courtiers .. because he delivered. And like hell, was he going to deliver this piece of pig-shit.
Maciste persisted. “Take me to Vologases. I would have words with him.”
His eyes bored into this ignorant foul-mouthed general. Maciste gave him his most commanding look. One prince demanding to meet with another. Something no lesser rank should refuse. He was going to deal with his own equal, Vologases, not with some foul-mouthed soldier who had no idea of how to behave.
He growled at the general.
“Do I have to repeat myself?”
Tiradates recoiled. Amazed at the stupidity of a royal spoiled bat. A slave dared snarl? Astonishing. In command of himself. This fucker just did not learn. Throwing his weight about. Muscled or not, he WAS like those podgy jumped-up pricks back at court. Giving Tiradates orders. Well, fuck that!
“Oh, you’ll get to see the emperor alright.”
Tiradates snorted. A grin on his face.
“But I would not be in such a hurry, if I were you.”
This turd was indeed an invaluable opportunity. Career-making. Bringing him back to court was going to turn heads. And this arsehole had just wandered in and given himself up! Nothing would win Tiradates the emperor’s favours like bringing in this one.
But not like this. Tiradates wasn’t returning with this fucker behaving like he had rights.
This pig-shit thought he was something special. Maybe he WAS some tough bird. But by the time Tiradates got this stuck-up princely hide back to court, he was going to be a pliant subjugated slave. THAT was what would win him favours. Not some jumped-up pig-shit that threw its weight around.
Tiradates smiled. He looked about the compound. As if directing the prisoner’s attention to the guards. To the soldiers with arms. Out-numbered, nowhere to run.
“Last thing I heard …..” Tiradates laughed back, “ … the emperor did not deal with slaves. Generals he listens to. Dogs he kicks if they get in his way. But slaves .. scum such as you .. don’t exist.”
Angrily Maciste snapped back. He wasn’t giving up. Made a disastrous mistake. But there were still the women …… He was still negotiating their freedom. And it was going to be from a position of strength.
“I am no slave.”
Maciste’s solid chest rose high. Proudly his chin jutted out.
“I am the lawful king in this land. I came here – in good faith .. offering my freedom. As the rightful ruler of my people, their king.”
Quickly he felt himself losing his temper. Raising his voice. Maciste got a grip, unclenched the anger out of his fists. Pulling himself up tall, his strong chest jutted with power as he spoke. Calm. Showing authority not temper.
“I surrender my freedom. In exchange for the women’s lives.”
Maciste’s eyes had slitted in anger, now they looked firm and strong.
“Free the women. Take me to Vologases.”
Still asserting his rights to speak as one noble with another.
Didn’t this prick hear? What had the arsehole got for eyes? Tiradates ignored the stupidity. He snorted. His eyes sparkled with sadistic pride.
“Came to surrender? Then …. DICKHEAD …. You came under the false pretences. ARSEHOLE. SLAVE.”
Maciste felt his frustration rising again. A massive mis-calculation. A dreadful mistake. With this general he wasn’t making headway. But he couldn’t just walk away. The women! Whatever consequences he faced for his stupidity, there were still the women ……
He changed approach. He modified his tone, more conciliatory. Pointing out the rewards. After all, Menander’s surrender was ending the war, he was giving this general a great prize. His surrender would make this general’s name. The emperor would shower him with riches.
“I offer this chance. You give the emperor my freedom. And the women go free.”