Maciste was dumbfounded. Tiradates’ arrested. As soon as a soldier obeyed Vologases’ order, Tiradates angrily shrugged him off. Another hand grabbed him by the shoulder. Tiradates twisted and landed a punch .. getting in hard .. catching the guard in the throat. Throwing him back into other soldiers rushing forward. Then the fight for Tiradates really took off.
Maciste was dumbfounded by the news. Menander had broken free? After Maciste had been hauled off, the Parthians relaxing, thinking they had got their hands on the rebel prince in Hellgate .. Menander had managed to escape? He’d returned home, gathered his forces and freed his people? A triumph. Despite all the torments Maciste had suffered, at least his sacrifices had been worth it.
The guards had wrestled Tiradates’ struggling to the floor. They had him on his knees before the emperor.
“It can’t be true. A lie!”
Tiradates was still struggling against the soldiers pinning him down. His lord emperor ignored his outburst and snarled.
“Loss of that conquest .. is loss of the trade. The richest trade route. Taxes. Tributes. The choicest materials. Silks. Gems. And you .. incompetent fool .. you threw the lot away?”
One guard had his hand twisted in Tiradates’ hair, another threatened his club right in his face. And two more had their spears poised.
“Seeking your fame and fortune. Leaving a conquered territory undefended.”
From his throne Vologases screamed.
A manly voice broke into the stunned tension.
The court gasped when Maciste dared to call out.
“His crime is worse.”
With his old foe subjected to the emperor’s tirade, Maciste grasped his chance for revenge.
The court was stunned.
The prisoner had dared call their lord emperor by name.
A club slammed into Maciste’s back.
“The emperor will want to hear what I have to say …..”
But Maciste was slammed forward by a blow to the back of his head.
A fist rounded and thudded into his ribs. The force knocked Maciste sideways. The leg chains tripped him up. He was down on all fours. A kick from a Parthian knee hammered into his side.
Maciste managed to get out his jewel of information before a
club to his back knocked the wind out of him.
“Tiradates let Menander go ….”
Maciste stumbled at the force of the blow. It knocked him to the floor. The kicking began to silence the dog’s outrageous outburst. Military boots stomped on his back. Thudded into his side.
Vologases chose to let the prisoner speak. Maciste was hauled up to his knees. Threatening guards hovered around .. ready to start on him again. It only took a nod from the lord emperor and they’d silence him. Maciste sucked in air. His chest heaving from the brutal kicking. On his knees .. almost a mirror image of his adversary Tiradates .. forced to kneel in disgrace before his emperor.
Vologases glared thunder at Maciste.
“This traitor let Menander go? What do you mean? How? When?”
The emperor’s astonishment echoed around the stunned court. He didn’t sound convinced. Tiradates yelled out.
“A lie! The dog lies!”
The emperor looked irate at Tiradates’ outburst.
“One more word from the treacherous swine .. silence him!”
Vologases addressed Maciste.
“THIS .. THIS TRAITOR .. He let the rebel go? Explain yourself, dog.”
Vologases’ eyes did not leave Tiradates’ confused face. Shaking his head in denial.
Maciste explained. Burying Tiradates in his own shit.