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The Lone Ruler

Chapter Text

The bitter winter winds shoved through the leaves on the trees and whistled between the cracks of every window in nation. The citizens stood outside in a large mass, their dark green and white cloaks wrapped tightly around them to protect themselves from the harsh wind. Women and children wept silently while the men stood tall, tears pricking their own eyes.

 

Emperor Charles of Sina, the great leader, had passed in his sleep the night before. His time as a ruler was now complete, and the people came together to honor him at his funeral. His body laid inside a coffin made from oakwood, wrapped in dark green silk robe with Sina's insignia — Wings of Freedom — embedded with white flowers of different kinds. His servants bowed before him whispering thanks of leadership and love before standing.

 

Once every servants, maid, knights, housekeeper, and every other member in the Royal Palace gave their blessings and thanks, they made way for the final member of the palace.

 

Prince Erwin Smith.

 

The young man, wrapped in his deceased father's robe walked to the front of the stage where his father laid. He looked towards the people of his nation, the protectors and the servants. Erwin swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to calm the shiver in his hands. His lips tried not to tremble as he readied to speak.

 

"People of Sina," he spoke "I thank you all for coming here to give our last goodbyes to our Emperor, my father, Charles." Erwin tried not to look at the eyes of the people. He's afraid he might back down. The passing of his father was too early. . . too early. "As heir to the throne, I promise to serve you all as great as my Father was. I will face every trouble our nation will go through. I shall follow my father's footsteps or so help me God."

 

The people did not cheer nor did their faced gleemed in hope. Their hatred for him too much to bear. They whispered among themselves of how Sina will crumble in the hands of his son and should have been in another's hands. Prince Erwin was a bad candidate, as they say. However, there is no else in the Smith bloodline that could take over.

 

"Silence!" The Military Captain Mike Zacharius, bellowed.

 

The crowd fell silent as two servants came back up to the coffin and closed the lid gently. They lathered the coffin in oil and flowers, before a servant came to Erwin to give him the torch. The prince slowly brought the flame to the coffin, setting it ablaze, then bent onto his knees and bowing his head gently. Everyone watched the coffin burned as the King's soul ascended into heaven.

 

The nation gave a loud cheer and applause, their beloved ruler now being set to rest eternally with the previous leaders in the heavens.

 

As the coffin was set to blaze, Erwin hasn't still got up from his position, still bent to his knees, bowing his head. The looks of disgust and uncertainty returned as Mike remove Prince Erwin's crown from his head. He then replaced it with the Emperor's crown resting from the hands of another soldier.

 

"Behold, citizens of Sina," Mike yelled. "Your new ruler, protector of our nation, Emperor Erwin."

 

The crown was placed on top of Erwin's head, and he stood to face his people. Not a single cheer was made, nor any sound at all.

 

Erwin did not utter a word, neither did anyone else for a few minutes until he finally turned and walked away back to the palace. The sounds of his footsteps echoed as the new Emperor listens to the discouragement of his people.

 

Just when he was out from the people's view, erupted into yells of anger. The hundreds of inhabitants of Sina disrupted the Kingdom but Erwin let it right passed through his other ear. He has no time for that. One last sight of his father's burning coffin, he walked away.

 

Emperor Erwin went home.

Chapter Text

Months had passed since the newly crowned Emperor became Sina's ruler. Nothing had changed, everyone lived well but the dispassion still buried fresh in their minds. The palace gates opened for the first time since the passing of the late Emperor, and the new Emperor Erwin walked out with five guards, including Mike. He wanted to see the town himself.

 

With three guards on his right and two on the left, His Majesty walked down the streets of Sina, the citizens watching him with hatred in his eyes. He did not utter a word, nor did anyone else. Erwin had gained a cold heart since the start of his reign. From his promise to gain everyone's trust to not even bothering whether he should anymore. All he needs to do is protect the Kingdom, produce an heir then die. That is all he needed to do.

 

No one would dare talk badly about the Emperor directly on his face even if they wanted to. For they were scared of the consequences if they happen to do so. "Are you sure you want to stroll around, My Lord?" Mike asked beside him. "There are many prying eyes around, I want to know if you are well."

 

Erwin did not say a word but Mike knows he is fine.

 

They had not passed a word from each other since the funeral and the coronation in months. It was as if his lips were sealed close, hiding all his desires and thoughts to himself and only speaking when he was needed to. Mike stared at his Emperor as they walk. They were the closest friends back when they were young and slanky. Mike taught Erwin how to wield a sword, to fight, everything he knows about fighting to protect himself if danger ever comes to him when he is not there to beside him. Nothing horrible had become between them, Mike just knows what happened to the sudden change. And it wasn't because of the people — well, actually partly that. It was because of the war that killed lots of men. The people had blamed Erwin for that as he was the reason to fight instead of his father's decision.

 

Mike fought with him in that war. He witnessed how Erwin tried to protect, to save everyone from spilling any more blood - but Erwin was still human neither if he was a knight or a royal, he fought for this nation. The people just forget - blinded - by their hatred. He was sad to see the Erwin he once knew now caged inside a shell.

 

"Sire, if you don't mind me asking, why are we outside? Is there anything you need?" a soldier named Bertholdt asked. He is among the soldiers Erwin brought.

 

"Nothing special." Mike answered instead. Erwin silently appreciated that since he do not want to speak. As they were walking, two pair of eyes followed the Emperor and his men through the streets.

 

He looked at Erwin's face intently, for he had never seen His Highness upclose. Sure he had seen one from the books and portraits but never had seen someone walked down the streets. The Emperor had nice features; his blonde hair that is known by the Smith bloodline, his chiseled face, pointy nose. If he wasn't hated, surely every woman in this empire will drool for their ruler. But he was not here to ogle about the Emperor - he was here to do his job. The Emperor and his men turned to an alley where kinds of herbs were sold. This was his chance. Nodding to his partner beside him, they proceeded to continue with their plan.

 

There was no one standing directly at the emperor. If he were to get close and run through the guards, he could strike Emperor Erwin in the back before his guard could even catch him. It was as almost as if the order of the soldiers were planned like this, so the ruler could die any day.

 

Erwin stopped in his tracks, his eyes facing forward. Mike looked at him in alarm and worry, his hand at the base of his sword.

 

"Is there a problem, Sire?" He asked, looking at Erwin's face looking for some any changes of expression.

 

His heart began to thud hard inside his chest as he drew his blade to prepare his task. This was obvious something would bring misery and chaos in the nation once more but he had to do this. It was a job he was hired for. The assassin began to run stealthily, the dagger light between his fingers. The assassin did not make any noise as he brought the dagger down in the air targeting the first soldier.

 

But a certain scream alarmed the men to turn, the assassin pierced the blade into Mike's hand. Streams of blood flowed through his palm. The assassin pulled the blade out from his palm and started to swing it back and forth. Mike withdraw his sword lunching forward to fight with the assassin.

 

One of the guards fought with Mike while the others left to fight with the other one. Berthtoldt immediately escorted His Highness to a safe corner. The people who had left to work had suddenly resurfaced, their eyes on the fight between the chief and the assassin. Mike fought with his hands since his sword was kicked away by the man. He punched him in the stomach with force that the man fell on the dirt, he straddled the man with his weight and shoved his face on the dirt as Mike finally cuffed him. The other assassin was captured as well but unfortunately, he was dead.

 

"My Lord, are you alright? Did they try to hurt you?" Mike asked as soon as he saw Erwin. Again, he did not say a word but his face showed concern on the bleeding hand of his friend.

 

"He did not gain any injuries, Sir." Bertholdt answered. Mike was satisfied and ordered his men to bring the assassin back to the palace then straight to the dungeon. The assassin was forced to walk straight up but with he was hit with Mike's sword and blood soaked through his shirt. His head felt heavy as he began to feel dizzy and ill, before he slumped forward then passed out.

Chapter Text

When Levi had woken up, he found himself laying on a wooden bench in a dark cold cell, the torch from the entrance only giving him little light to see everything. His head pounded harshly, and his body hurt. When he touched his torso, there were bandages all over him. Each wound was taped close, telling him the wounds had been cleaned and taken care of.

 

He looked around once more, vision much clearer. There was no doubt this was some sort of dungeon, Levi thought. The walls were made of thick bricks, and the smell of urine and rust filled the air. The floors, which are cold cement that were once smooth but now rough with carvings from past prisoners counting how long they've been here. Levi sat up straight only to grimace in pain. The large iron doors eventually opened, and in appeared the military chief that he fought before. The hand Levi stabbed bandaged the same as his.

 

"His Majesty demands to see you," he said.

 

 

Levi stood from where he sat, careful not to trip as it was dark. Once he had walked out of the threshold, Mike shackled him with cuffs then grabbed onto his arm, dragging him forcefully towards the throne room where the Emperor is waiting. "Get your hands off me! I can walk!" Levi hissed.

 

Mike didn't utter a word, he continued dragging Levi through a flight of stairs, where two guards stood waiting for him at another large door. Once Mike nodded at them, they opened the door and allowed them to pass through. He was thrown inside and was forced to kneel. When Levi looked up, he was indeed in the throne room. His eyes squinted as the brightness of the room hurted his eyes, blinking many times before his vision turned clear. The walls were white, covered in fine marble with golden linings, and there were shelves of vases made from finest silver and gold.

 

On the wall before him, portraits of past rulers of Sina were displayed, all of the Smith bloodline. From the greatest Emperor Leonard to Emperor Charles and there was a frame without a portrait. Levi supposed it was for the current ruler, if he ever perish. The thought would surely make the people happy. Underneath the portraits was where the throne chair sat, and it was where His Majesty sat as well. On each side of him was a guard, two of them Levi recognized from the fight before. A smirk played his lips as he locked eyes with the Emperor.

Mike had seen how the culprit stares at the Majesty. It was disgusting.

"You dare look at the Majesty like that?!" Mike forcefully grabbed his hair, forcing him to bow down to the Emperor. Levi almost turned his head and grabbed this bastard's neck for being reckless but the shackles kept him from doing so. "Why did you try to assassinate the Emperor!? Who had hired you?"

 

Levi refused to speak.

 

"Speak, you worthless peasant!" Mike bellowed again. He pressed his foot against his back, shoving him forward. Levi tried to swallow the winces of pain but it only came out as weak whimpers. The Captain continued to step into Levi's back; he swore he can hear cracks coming from his back. Levi looked at Emperor Erwin who sat in his chair silently. "I said, speak-"

 

"Mike, that is enough."

 

"He-"

 

"Stop." Erwin ordered firmly.

 

Mike removed his foot from Levi's back, allowing him to breathe properly. Levi painfully forced his body to sat up straight, his body in too much pain. He realized that was the first time he had ever heard Emperor Erwin speak since the past few months, as well as the guards inside the room. It was cold, neutral. Telling Levi he was indeed a heartless man. "I can tell you are not someone from the village, you are a trained assassin, am I correct?" Erwin asked. Levi only nodded with a glare.

 

"And who hired you to execute me?"

 

"Forgive me, your Majesty." Levi spat the addressed name. "But I must not disclose a customer's information."

 

"As you wish." Emperor Erwin nodded at his captain. Levi was once again grabbed by the hair and punched in the stomach numerous times till he spat out blood. The blonde ruler gestured to a halt, leaning forward resting his arms on his knees. "Now will you talk? We don't mind have you getting tortured right here right now."

 

"F-Fine, I will talk. . ." Levi coughed more blood, staining the rug beneath him.

 

The Emperor smirked. "Good choice."

 

"Lo-. . . Lobov. His name is Nikolas Lobov. He's a rich bastard living in Trost Village. Villagers there also wanted to kill you — prayed even. Not surprised really. A ruler hated by his people, truly a wonderful event for him to be annihilated, don't you think?"

"What is your name? Where have you come from?"

"I am Levi Ackerman, from the north of Maria."

"Judging from your last name, you are part of the Ackerman clan, am I correct?" Levi only grunted in response. He doesn't know where this bastard is going. "I did not know the Ackermans are pets now. Barking and killing for money."

"How dare you-"

The captain once again threw punches and kicks on to Levi until he was a bloody mess. The Emperor stood up from his seat approaching Levi, kneeled down on one knee staring at him pitifully. "I may be hated and I do not care. However my death will not be in the hands of a low merchant like you. Just this once, I will be merciful. You shall live once more but try to hurt any more of my men or attempt to escape, and you will be decapitated."

"Such a fine man you are, Levi. It would be truly a pity for a skilled assassin like you to be dead. As for your punishment," The Emperor mulls, blue eyes coldly looking down on Levi's battered form, "... you shall be made as my concubine."

The sovereign's words bore down on the assassin's mind, akin to the hammer of the judge booming on it's gavel. Shock and white hot anger surged through Levi as he violently struggled against the chains on his wrist. This man was a monster! He was going to humiliate him!

Before Levi could attempt to deck the man in front of him, Mike had already landed the final blow. The pain was too much, his eyes sting from glaring but he can feel himself losing consciousness. As his eyes fluttered to close, the last thing he saw was the Emperor's eyes of blue.

 

"Are you certain we should not execute him?" Mike asked. Emperor Erwin stood up walked out from the throne room, only stopped midway to look at his trusted friend.

 

"Executing him would be a waste of resources. I need an heir, and it seems he has the right for body for that." Erwin glanced at the Levi's unconscious body then smirked. "Besides, making him my concubine would benefit us for the future."

 

"As you wish, Your Majesty."