"Unbroken".

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Prologue.

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The sun had almost set below the horizon, there were only a few minutes left before the long and deep night. The villagers were in a hurry to get to their families, they wanted to return home as soon as possible, just so as not to remain on the street at a very late time. As the sun finally set, soldiers serving the mighty fiend Emperor Riserward II emerged from the great mountain. People who remained on the street and could not get home had to give the fighters everything they had, and those who resisted them faced a fate determined by the emperor: prison, slavery, execution. Every day people live differently, during the day they are calm, cheerful, joyful, going about different things, and at night they sit locked up in their houses, praying to God that nothing bad happens to them. They are afraid to say anything against the cruel ruler, they are afraid to start a war with him. For him they are a whole empire, and if there is no empire, then there is no power. Riserward’s army is rich in its weapons. And this is not surprising if you study the history of the emperor’s rise: his father was the same in his younger years, and Riserward watched him as a child. When the future monster reached adulthood, having gained experience in military activities, he was ready to sit on the throne and become the new emperor, but his father said that he had to wait. By this time, the rage and aggression of the old emperor had disappeared somewhere, and he himself had aged, which also affected the character of the young Riserward. This motivated the son to kill his father, his closest and last relative. He entered into an agreement with those close to the emperor, after which he dealt with him. From that moment until the present day, Riserward II captured all villages, cities and states. He obtained all the necessary resources, which helped to provide well for the army and his own fortress, as well as control over other countries. All the events that occurred during these 40 years of rule helped Riserward achieve the status of, albeit evil, the greatest ruler in history. The family of Riserward II was not at all prosperous: the emperor married an ordinary commoner and she gave birth to a son for him, calling him Reef. The son often spent time with his father, and he, in turn, filled his head with how important the empire was. He no longer remembered his mother’s fairy tales or bedtime songs; he was already interested in power. He forgot about his mother, so it is still not clear where she disappeared from those young years that Rif spent. But he had different views on government. For example, anyone who does not agree with the laws and rules should be killed, and not sent to prison or to extract resources as slavery. Riserward did not know about this, since he never asked his son what he thought about the enslavement of people. And if he gives the throne and the empire to Reef, and does not find out about his violent inclinations, then he will sow chaos and chaos in the world, and no one will be able to stop him. Riserward watched what was happening in the village through the large monitor screen in his fortress, and every day it was the same. With every village, with every city, state, the same thing, every day, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. This whole system turned from pleasure into boredom, and it was already tedious to watch. Everything was much better before: wars, the takeover of the whole world, but now everything is gradually sliding downhill. Every day the emperor worries about his power over all countries, worries about resources, that sooner or later they will run out, because they are mined at incredible speed, worries about people, especially worries about his son Reef, about what he will not be able to pass on to him his reign if something happens to him: be it his death or bitter betrayal. He is afraid that sooner or later, the end of the world will come for him, and he will not be able to do anything about it. This fear gradually turns into a nightmare, which he sees not only at night, but also during the day. He feels the earth disappear from under his feet, how he falls down, and from above, everyone watches with a terrible smile as monsters from the underworld take his body, eating his soul. No. It should not be. Riserward II is never afraid of anything, and he will not fill his head with all sorts of scary thoughts. He will always find a way out of the situation, that’s why he is the emperor. Suddenly the nightmare was suddenly interrupted by the cleaning lady, who, while cleaning, decided to revive him by pouring ice water from a bucket on him. - Calm down! — said the woman, one hand held his shoulder, and the other — his face covered with a lush gray beard. — Can you hear me? Calm down please! The old man opened his eyes, for a second it seemed to him that his wife was bending down before him, because the maids had the same brown hair, shiny diamond eyes and a birthmark on the left side of the neck. After Riserward kicked his wife out, he didn’t think about her until that moment. He didn’t care about her fate, just as she thought in every possible way that a son should not be evil and cruel like his father. That’s why he didn’t remember her. - Who are you? — The emperor sighed heavily. - I’m Olivia, your maid, cleaning lady. — the girl answered. — You felt bad, and I poured water on you so that you would come to your place. Now I’ll get you a towel. - Stop. — Riserward stopped her. — How did it happen? Why did I appear on the floor? - I don’t know my emperor. — Olivia answered in a trembling voice. — I saw you at that moment when you were already lying around and trembling. I don’t know anything else, I swear! - Okay, okay, just don’t be nervous and don’t panic. — getting to his feet, he reassured the emperor’s girlfriend, “I won’t hurt you.” Bring a towel and new clothes into the bedroom while I take a shower. - Are you sure? Can you get to your bedroom? - Yes, everything is fine, don’t worry. - Okay, I’ll do everything now, but first I’ll take the bucket with the mop to the restroom. I quickly. The maid immediately took a bucket and a mop and ran to the restroom. The emperor, meanwhile, ordered his army to return back to the fortress, and then went to his bedchamber. For the old man, security was of no use, because he could take care of himself. He could walk absolutely everywhere, all entrances and exits were open to him, and no one even dared to make an attempt on his life. He needs security only at the main gate of the fortress, at his bedroom and the bedroom of his son Reef. Having reached the bedroom, the emperor looked around at it and everything was as usual: everything was tidy and the bed was well folded. The only mess was on Riserward’s desk, on which lay his book and other notes. To the left of the table there was a glass door with access to the terrace, from which one could admire the view, and from a great height. To the right of the bed there was a door leading directly to the bathroom. Opposite the bed stood a huge TV, a gift from Reef, which the emperor very rarely uses, but he couldn’t put it away anywhere, as it might upset his son. The room itself was never untidy, but the maid still managed to find some dirt, stain or dust. The old man had a feeling that the maid specially cleaned the same room several times so that she would not be punished for idleness. This infuriated Riserward a little, so he asked the maid to go to her room to rest. He often wanted to be alone, but there are rules for everyone, and they can no longer be changed, and then he has to live in this mess. The Emperor headed to the shower, took off all his wet clothes, and threw them into the basket for dirty clothes. He closed the shower, turned on the hot water, and stood there for ten minutes. He didn’t intend to wash himself, but just wanted to think a little. A good shower helps you get rid of unnecessary thoughts and collect all the necessary thoughts. The old man thought about his reign, and how to move forward: - I have nothing else to do. The only thing I do is be guided by people and improve my empire. I’m tired. What should I do? There’s nothing left to conquer, there’s no one to fight with, because everyone is afraid of me. But there are those who don’t know about my existence. Just who? The whole world knows and fears me, and if someone says that others exist, I will take him for a madman. Only a fool would believe that other universes exist. Other universes… Others… As soon as he repeated these words again, he was immediately stunned by the thought. Riserward never thought of this or tested this possibility in the existence of other worlds. The old man immediately got out of the shower, put on a robe, and contacted Captain Covert: - The Emperor calls Captain Covert! — using the hologram, says Riserward. - Captain Covert is in touch! Covert replied. — What happened, Emperor? - You need to bring the witch to me, — Riserward answered the captain. — I have one theory, and if it is proven, then I know how to move forward. - I willingly believe it. — says Covert, a satisfied smile appeared on his face. Apparently he understood what the emperor was telling him. — Wait today. We’ll be with you in thirty minutes. - Excellent, captain. I knew I could rely on you. — said the old man and turned off the hologram. While the captain was doing this work, the emperor wrote about his thought in his book. The Emperor has clearly grabbed hold of a large straw, and is not going to let it go until the cow starts eating it, proving at the same time that the other universes do exist, and if this happens, then Riserward will again have a chance to show himself in conquering others worlds, show your action to other people (or non-humans, depending on which universe the emperor will capture), show your military potential and true face. A couple of minutes later, a maid comes into the room with clean, washed clothes. - I brought you new things. — says the maid, putting things on the bed. — If you need anything else, I’ll be at my place. The Emperor continued to ignore the woman’s presence. It was clear from his face that he was very busy, and if you disturb him, it would mean making things worse for yourself. The girl left the room, closing the door behind her, causing the old man to jerk sharply and look up from his notes, looking around, trying to understand what had frightened him so suddenly. He received his answer when he saw his clothes on the perfectly made bed. - Now everything is clear. — Riserward exhaled, taking new clean underwear in his hands. — Apparently I was too busy with my notes, it’s time to change clothes. The Emperor put on new clothes, with the feeling that they had never sat on him, but now he was not worried about clothes, but about where Captain Covert and the fortune teller were now walking, because a whole twenty-five minutes had passed. However, knowing the captain well, there would be no need to worry so much, because Covert has a habit of arriving at the very last moment. The soldier himself explains this by saying that in addition to his main task, he still has a lot of things to do, and he tries to be on time everywhere so that there are no problems later. The captain is not like Riserward in his character, because he is a family man. When he had a wife, and two years later a daughter, life was no longer calm. There were more responsibilities then than now, and besides, the emperor gave strict instructions that if something went wrong because of him, he and his family would have to pay severely. However, this was the case before. Now Covert has earned Riserward’s trust, and can now calmly conduct his service and spend time with his family. The captain also leads the emperor’s army, weapons and other amenities that help in the fight against any enemies: from local bandits to people who believe that they are better than everyone and everything and want to take a high place. And Covert was one of them. He only miraculously escaped execution, betraying his relatives and his brothers, and even though he found his family, he still has not atoned for his guilt. Out of habit, the old man was already about to call the captain, but as soon as there was only one movement left to press the bell, Covert immediately entered the room, dressed in a strict military uniform. Straightening up and slightly raising his head up, he greeted his emperor. - Good evening, Your Majesty. - Hello Covert. — Riserward said, putting the phone back on the nightstand. “I thought you’d be late, so I decided to call.” Did you do what I asked? - Everything has already been done as it should be, the Emperor, — answered Covert. — The soothsayer is already waiting for you in her office. Follow me, please. - Wait Covert. — said the old man, and the captain remained standing in place. — How do you like my outfit? - It suits you. — the captain answered smiling. — How do you like it? - I have a feeling that these are not my clothes. — answered the emperor, examining his clothes. — It seems the maid has mixed up her clothes, what do you think? - This is a gift from your son. Forgot? - Exactly! Why didn’t I understand right away? — said the old man, putting his hand on his head. — Fucking old age is making itself felt. - You can always rely on me. — Covert said, placing his hand on the emperor’s shoulder. — If you forget something, I will definitely remind you and let you know. - Thank you Covert, now let’s go to our witch. Riserward and Covert left the bedroom and walked towards the side of the corridor where there was an office for studying materials and files. The emperor rarely gave gifts to his son, due to the fact that he was constantly busy. But Reef himself gave many generous gifts, clothes were one of the last, but Riserward put it aside and did not remember about it until that moment. At that moment, the old man felt that he was ashamed of this small, but yet another and significant gift, and that he would have to come up with something, but not now, because now the emperor’s plans were to find out from the sorceress about the other universes. - How are things with your family? — the emperor suddenly asked Covert in order to temporarily put aside thoughts about the gift of his son. — How’s Katherine, little Olivia? - Everything is great! — Covert answered with a wide-open smile. — Katherine is now preparing one project for a sought-after company, if it is successful, she will be promoted at work. And Olivia is doing better and better at her school, she even recently won the Geography Olympiad, she simply loves this subject. - I’m glad you’re doing well. Now is a completely different time, not like before. — said Riserward, and after a second the smile disappeared from the emperor’s face. - Is something wrong, Emperor? — Covert asked his master. - I’m worried about my future. I don’t know if I can live a few more years and spend time with my son. They had already reached the office, where the sorceress was already sitting and waiting for the emperor to come. Before entering, the emperor again addressed Covert: - Captain, can you do me one favor? - Of course, the Emperor, whatever. - If suddenly I’m gone at some point, look after your son. You never know what he can do at his age. Will you do it? - Necessarily. I give you my word. - Thank you Covert. Now stay here, it’s time to talk to this witch. Covert stood to the left of the door, and the old man took a deep breath, and as he exhaled, he went into the archive where the woman was waiting for him, hoping that all the thoughts about other worlds were true. The archive was half a mess: some things were folded, some were scattered, and some were in the wrong places. There was a long tabletop in the middle against the wall, and on the sides there were glass doors to a large balcony, but what really caught the eye was that the sorceress was nowhere to be found. Did she really not wait and go home unaccompanied? The emperor received the answer to this question in a few seconds. - And I thought I couldn’t wait. — said the sorceress, but never showed up. — Why so long? Have you examined the clothes your son gave you? - I hear you, but I don’t see you. — said the old man, waving away the question. — Come out into the light, and I will answer you my question. - There’s no light here anyway. And besides, I’m standing near your table. Suddenly the lights in the office turn on, and the sorceress stands in front of the emperor near the tabletop and reads some kind of textbook. The sorceress herself was of Latin origin, wore only dark outlines with a red tint, and had tattooed designs on her arms from which the sorceress drew magic. Nothing is known about her past. Some say that she was born into a dysfunctional family, others say that she is the daughter of the “Mother Bird” or, as the Greeks also called “Harpies” — a winged creature based on stories from ancient Mexican mythology, but the sorceress refutes this theory, but not denies she can turn into a bird. - You know how to arrange surprises for Hell. — said the old man, moving towards the tabletop. — You guessed it, I really was examining the clothes that my son gave me. - You started paying less attention to Reef, — Ada said, sitting down on a chair. — you should think about it. - It’s not for you to decide what I should do, — said the emperor, sitting down opposite her. — but you’re right, I have to think about it. - Glad to hear. So what did you want Riserward? - I have such a question. Don’t take me for a madman, this thought just came to me suddenly. Let me ask you directly — do you believe in the existence of other worlds? Ada raised her eyebrows a little, and then moved her head to the side so that the old man would not see her quiet grin. Looking at this, the emperor asked in a very serious tone: - I don’t understand, did I ask some ridiculous question? - No. He’s not ridiculous. - Then why are you laughing? - Because I don’t believe it, — Ada answered and leaned towards the emperor. — I know this very well. It’s just that you thought about it too late, that’s why it’s funny to me. - Do you think I won’t be able to lead an army at my age? - No I do not think so. It seems to me that you will not live to see the moment when you capture absolutely all the universes. Do you know the age? - I understand that, and it doesn’t scare or worry me. - Is it true? Have you already figured out what you will do when you die? From old age or in battle, it doesn’t matter. - Reef will take my place. Ada’s smile faded and was replaced by an alarmed look. - I understand you, Riserward, he is your son, but you must listen to me. He won’t be able to run the empire normally, especially considering that your child has murderous tendencies. - Watch your language when you talk about my son! — The emperor threatened, hitting the table and getting up from his chair. - Forgive me, but that’s how it is. Sit down and listen to me to the end. The old man sat down, still tense, after Ada’s words about the Reef. - I know what people think about all day long, especially when they are alone. I’m not blaming Reef for what he thinks, I’m just stating the obvious. Believe me, as soon as he sits on the throne, he can commit genocide against people, so think about whether to put him on the throne. - Here I will decide for myself, besides, Covert gave me a promise that he would look after him if something goes wrong. - I don’t think he’ll succeed, because Reef will have him on a leash. - Let’s see. Riserward really should have listened to Ada’s words, because she is a witch, which means she won’t lie. The fact that Reef was indeed prone to violence and cruelty could be understood from his own opinion. He believes that people allow themselves too much, and that they must live and serve the emperor in constant fear and horror, otherwise disobedience will be punishable by death. So far, only Ada, and now Rizerward, knows about this, but he is in no hurry to confirm the sorceress’s words, because there is only one last question left to ask. - I understand now you want to ask how to get into them, right? — Ada asked crossing her arms and leaning her elbows on the back of the chair. - “Damn! How does she manage to do this?” — the old man thought, frowning a little. - I just don’t stress, that’s all. — Ada answered with a smile. — So what? - Yes, that’s what interests me. Ada took a small thing out of her pocket, and this thing looked like a round bouncy ball, only this one was glass, and light smoke was visible inside it. The emperor looked at this object and there were only two things in his head: either the sorceress wants to fool the old man, or she provided him with an item that could help in his conquest. - What is this? — Riserward asked puzzled. - This is the so-called “Pearl of Dimensions”. It allows anyone to move to the right place. - Can you demonstrate? - Can. Wherever you want? - Now, let me think… Move to my bedroom and call from my home phone. - I obey the emperor. Ada stood up and pushed her chair aside, taking a few steps back, holding the ball in sight so that Riserward could see what she was going to do with it. The old man frowned and thought that she had decided to run away, but decided to take his time and wait a little. - Look… She drops the ball on the floor and breaks it by stepping on it with her foot. Smoke began to seep out from under the sole, and if there was little of it in the ball, now there was so much of it that it would be enough for a whole gas cylinder. The smoke rose higher and higher, covering the sorceress’s body, and when it reached the ceiling, it began to disappear from below, and with it, Ada herself. After the smoke disappeared, the old man opened his mouth in surprise and opened his eyes wider. - “She… just… disappeared?!” — thought the emperor, and jerked sharply when the phone began to ring. He cautiously approached him and picked up the phone. — Who is calling? - Not expected? — asked Ada. “Now you won’t doubt that this little thing can do such magical things?” - Looks like no. Okay, go back. There was a short silence. - You are sure? I think no. - What do you mean no? I am your emperor and you… - Not anymore. Out of your own stupidity, you gave me the opportunity to move to the right place, and from now on I am no longer your slave. - In what sense do you need… Oh, you fucking bitch! Where are you? Answer! - You’ll die soon. Not by my hand, not by Covert, others will kill you. - What are you up to, witch?! - I was waiting for you to say this. A moment later, Reatherward heard an explosion, and then ran out onto the balcony and saw Ada in the dark night sky, taking the form of a bird. The emperor’s anger knew no bounds. He was ready to tear and throw everything, but then the alarming Covert arrived and, after catching his breath a little, said: - Emperor… We have an emergency. A quarter of the weapons warehouse is on fire. Now they are extinguishing it, we think someone got into the warehouse and left explosives. - This… was done by Ada. — the emperor said in an angry voice. - But… she was with you. Or not? Now the old man wanted to think carefully, think about what to do next, what to do with Ada, and what to do with the plan to conquer the universes. Huddling in the office, hiding from everyone, and thinking about everything — this is the option Reatherward has always preferred, but now there is no hiding, because the sorceress can rebel against the emperor, and there is no time to think. It was necessary to decide right now, otherwise there would be a civil war and an unnecessary loss of labor. The Emperor turned to the captain and gave him the following instructions: - Gather an army and head to the lair of this witch. She has all the materials we need for our plan. - What then? - Invasion of foreign lands, and then — absolute power over all worlds. - The emperor understands you, I’m doing it. — Covert said, and turning around, went to carry out the order. Covert’s presence softened the old man’s anger, but it did not last long. Riserward, remembering how Ada fooled him, and how she put a spoke in the emperor’s wheels by blowing up almost half of the weapons warehouse, shouted loudly and hit the stone railing with his palm. He tried to stop his outburst of emotions, but he rarely succeeded. Before going to his room, he glanced in the direction where Ada had flown away. “Soon you will die. Not by my hand, not by Covert’s hand, others will kill you.” This phrase spun in his head like a gear, like a steel hoop, and knowing that Ada hears a person’s every thought, Riserward, curling his lips in an evil smile, said: - Others you say? Let’s see how they can kill me when they are swallowing their own blood at my feet! I guarantee that to you, you stupid bitch! First I’ll deal with them, then you, and then we’ll see which of us dies first! After delivering the message to his enemy, Riserward headed home, preparing for a massive plan to take over and conquer all the worlds, and this is just the beginning…
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