“On your knees, fuckhead!”
The sergeant jabbed his club in the direction of Maciste’s chest. He’d already felt it enough times. He was pissed off with the fool.
Tiradates’s word came out like a man who had lost patience. Sharp, harsh. So had Maciste. No patience with this cheating prick left.
Without thinking, Maciste snarled back.
“Not a chance.”
Thinking like Menander, still playing the part. Princely. In control. His best chance of demanding the women’s release .. Maciste pulled himself up to his full height. His fist balled at the insult.
“I am the lawful king here …. Remember.”
His voice firm, his stance strong. Kingly.
“Every right to be treated as such.”
In a last ditch attempt at getting some sense out of this, Maciste snapped.
“Take me to your emperor.”
Rather than look offended at his disobedience, Maciste saw the general smile. But the pair of them kept their eyes locked.
“Oh, you’ll get to see the emperor alright.”
But Tiradates was convinced, the pair of them had different ideas how this was going to turn out.
“In slave collar and chains.”
The general repeated himself.
Spoken slowly. Hissed. Spoken like a man who was not going to say it again. A man who was used to being obeyed. Instantly.
For Maciste it wasn’t the kneeling. It was the insult of that collar. And what it represented. To a prince. To a man standing-in for a prince.