Meanwhile, a guard grabbed Broden from behind and then wrapped an arm around his neck in a vise-like grip while holding, in his other hand, a knife at his throat. Its blade glittered in the lamplight.
His eyes wide, Broden struggled to release his captor’s hold.
The knife came closer, grazing his skin. A trickle of blood dribbled down his neck.
“That’s enough,” someone ordered.
Broden’s eyes flashed up to find Zarek sitting, a grin on his face.
“Ha ha ha!” The gold and silver chains that the emperor wore jingled as he guffawed. “Oh, but I do appreciate your spirit!”
When the man in black loosened his grip, Broden pushed him off. Then he shook himself. Grabbing the sides of his vest and straightening up, he turned to the guard with the grut and glared at him.
“Take the beast away,” Zarek ordered the man.
Grinding his teeth, Broden turned to face his father. “Why the grut?” he asked.
“Just extra precautions that I’ve put into place here at the palace.”
“Precautions? Against what?”
He grinned, but said nothing.
“Huh. Well, you’ve been hard to connect with since our return from Darth. I decided I’d wait no longer.”
“Oh?” Zarek chuckled.
“There’s a matter of importance I’d like to discuss with you.”
The emperor sat back and slouched, nonchalantly. “And what matter is that?” His melodious baritone voice seemed to reverberate off the walls.
Once again, Broden glared at the man who’d attacked him before his eyes flickered back toward his father.
“I’d prefer to discuss it with you in private,” he said.
With a grin and a shake of his head, Zarek waved his hand toward those in attendance, four regular guards, and two succedunt soldiers. One by one, they turned away and exited through a back door.
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