Things had gone awry.
To put it nicely.
When the guards had disappeared, soldiers checked on the safety of the guests. Of course, Samuel was not in his room, and the guards quickly put two and two together. At 10 o'clock in the morning, soldiers entered his room and arrested him. He was quickly brought before the Duke.
The Duke sat on his silver chair. His hand made a fist when he saw Samuel. "I offer you my hospitality and give you a king's dinner and you reward me by murdering my guards at their posts? Outrageous! You shall pay for your disrespect!" He got up on his feet, put his hand around Samuel's throat, and lifted him off the ground. "You vermin! You shall be hanged at 12 noon in the dungeon and your men shall be shot! Guards, take him away!"
The periwig-sporting soldiers grabbed him by the arms and dragged him out. They went down halls and floors until they reached the dungeon. "In you go, murderer!" They shoved him down the stairs. He stumbled and fell face-first onto the hard, cold, slimy floor. He picked himself up and looked around. It was huge. Cell upon cell, person upon person.
"What the..." Samuel raced by the cells looking inside each one. "What are you all doing in here?"
One ancient fellow wearing rags and sporting a long, gray beard answered. "Dissidents. Some of us didn't like the Duke, and this is what we got. Others... are to be sacrificed."
"Sacrificed? What are you talking about?"
"'Tis true!" The old man's eyes widened as he told his story. "This here island is the home of the Beast. The Minotaur. Every month, five of the youngest and plumpest of us are tossed into the Labyrinth. To be eaten. To be sure, I won't be going there in my condition, but I pity the fools who will."
"Wait, wait, wait. The Minotaur. Half-and-half bull and man?"
"Son of Satan himself, he is."
"And that's why people are abducted?"
"Aye. Indeed. Now, I'm no Philosophe, but something tells me you're going to be executed."
"Yes. Two hours."
"Well, my boy, how would you like to get out of here?"
"You know a way?"
"Aye. In a couple of seconds, a new group of guards will come down here and lock you in your own cell. Overtake them. They have the keys. Get them and free us prisoners! We could overrun the guards at the armory and rebel. I'm almost certain at least half the soldiers will join us. Do it, son. Do it."
"It shall be done!" Samuel saluted. Already, he heard the sound of soldiers rounding the corner.
"All right, pig! Into your cell!"
Samuel held his hands outward as if to allow them to drag him, but as the reached for them, he swiveled around, planted his hands on the ground, and did a backwards kick into the faces of two of the guards. The last guard aimed his musket, but couldn't get a clear shot. When one of the kicked guards tried to get up, Samuel kicked him in the forehead. Grabbing the man's rifle, he put a bullet in the chest of the third one. The first one whipped out a dagger, but Samuel did a spin to avoid the attack, put his hands on the man's back, and shoved him violently against the cell door of the old prisoner. The gray-bearded dissident grabbed the dagger and shoved it into the soldier's chest. Samuel felt the pockets of the dead troops and found the keys. He unlocked the old man's cell door. "Hurry, I'm sure they heard that shot!" Samuel said nervously as he opened the door of another cell. Samuel tossed the old man a key. "Unlock them, hurry! Can't do them all by myself!"
Within thirty seconds, ten prisoners were free. They searched around for makeshift weapons and watched the halls while Samuel and his friend unlocked the others. Within the next ten seconds, soldiers could be heard coming down the halls. The prisoners knew they would be mowed down if they faced them head-on, so they waited at the corner to pounce. When the soldiers reached the corner, they slammed into them with a loud battle cry. Fighting for revenge, they beat the Duke's men to death with chair legs, fists, and boards. Soon, more of the prisoners were free and their number reached thirty. More guards showed up and were swiftly overtaken. Now, with some equipped with bayoneted muskets, the prisoners continued their cell block riot and advanced closer to the largest set of dungeon doors. The guards knew they were now outnumbered, so they called for backup. Dozens of troops raced along the castle halls, all heading for the dungeon.
Samuel handed his key to a young boy and gave him instructions to free the others. Then, he grabbed the sword he had taken from one of the dead guards and went to rejoin the fray. He led them to the doors, where they started ripping them down. Thud. Down the wooden doors went. Surging into the palace, the now fifty prisoners clashed with and overwhelmed the guards taking shots at them. They had to hurry. Soon, the reinforcements would arrive. Quickly, Samuel and the escapees battled their way through the halls, trying to reach the armory. The bodies of soldiers littered the floors and blood was smeared on the walls. Samuel pulled out his map that the Duke's daughter had given him; he had hidden it in a slit in his jacket. He saw they were very close to the armory. Waving his sword as if leading his Austrians into battle against the Turks, he plowed through and cut up several officers and unlocked the armory. The rioters poured in and grabbed what they needed, namely swords and muskets. Now outfitted properly, they were ready for anything. The members of Samuel's crew especially took the lead. Together, they confronted the Duke's reinforcements in the halls outside the ball room. Musket smoke filled the air, and the moans of the dying and wounded filled the ears. It was an intense and bloody, but swift, showdown. Within five minutes, thirty soldiers lay dead.
Samuel waved his bloody sword again. "Advance!"
"Hurrah!" The escapees raced to the ball room, where there was more intense fighting. Men sword fought on the tables, hit each other with chairs, and blasted each other with muskets. Samuel used his sword to collapse a table that supported three officers, and they went tumbling to the floor to be finished off by the fury of the rebels.
Finally, the soldiers were fed up. They wheeled a cannon into the entrance of the ball room and readied it to obliterate the rioters. Life passed in slow motion. Samuel dashed as fast as he could toward the artillery men. Splat. Off went the head of one. Aagh! Down went another. In just 15 seconds, 10 artillery men, the whole crew, were dead. Samuel waved his sword victoriously, "Quick, turn it around! Turn it around! Turn it around!" Using brute strength, the prisoners wheeled the clumsy war machine around. The advancing soldiers watched in horror as the cannon was aimed at them and lit. With a huge explosion, the cannonball crashed clean through them, in a gruesome display of blood and carnage. It hit a wall and exploded. The storm of fire and shrapnel took out any who survived the initial shot. The prisoners wheeled the cannon out of the way and trampled over their corpses. They raced up the spiral staircase up to the floor where Samuel and his men had spent the night. After wiping out the soldiers on that floor, they advanced to the Duke's daughter's floor. They crashed the chandeliers, broke the windows, and destroyed the more than abundant paintings of the mad Duke. Soldiers formed a barricade outside the entrance of her room and fired into the crowd. Some were killed, but still they overtook the guards. Samuel instructed the rebels to go to the next floor, another armory, and that he would take care of Isabella. They cheered and rushed up to the next floor.
Samuel used a stray musket to smash the knob off the door. He looked around the room. "It's me, Captain Kleinheinz! Where are you?"
Isabella peaked around the corner and sighed, "Oh, thank the Holy Mother, it's you! I was afraid it was the rebels coming in to kill me. How did this start?"
"I overtook a few guards, grabbed their keys, and me and some old fellow freed the others. I also found out what causes the vanishings, but I'll tell you later. All's I'll say is that your Dad is a cult-following nut. For now, put on something else. If the rebels see you in that royal-style clothing, they'll probably kill you. I've got to sneak you out of here without anybody knowing who you are after I make sure the Duke is finished. I'll be out in the hall, guarding the doors. Let me know when you're ready." He closed the door. He loaded his musket and pistol and stood on watch. I also have to get the Sword. Earlier, the Duke had confiscated all of his belongings. That just gave him one more incentive to finish Eduardo off. A minute later, Isabella appeared wearing a pair of calf-length trousers, boots, and a corseted blouse. Samuel gave her a sword and pistol and pointed up the stairs, "Come on! Do you know where your father likely is?"
She bit her lip in concentration. "Um, probably in the south tower. He goes there a lot. He has a big library there. Plus, the barracks are over there."
Samuel nodded. "All right. Let's go help the prisoners upstairs, then we'll deal with your father." They ran up the stairs. When they reached the next floor, they saw the bodies of dozens of soldiers and rioters. It had gotten really bloody. Above, on the very top of the tower, were the sounds of more fighting. When they climbed more stairs, they saw severely outnumbered soldiers being pushed over the side of the tower to their deaths. Civilians in the town had now received word of what was going on and they grabbed their farming implements and torches and headed for the barracks. Apparently, Eduardo was universally loathed. When the last of the soldiers were finished off on top of the tower, ropes were thrown over the side and the prisoners repelled down to the bottom to aid the villagers. Now a couple hundred strong, the rebels advanced toward the south tower. Some of the soldiers, like the old man had predicted, had thrown off their coats and joined in the assault. Musket volleys came from the barracks, but the thirty or so guards were soon overtaken. Cheering once again, they stormed the south tower. The Duke's cavalry force tried to defend, but, even though they inflicted a good number of casualties upon the rebels, were pulled off and gutted.
With only a few men left, the Duke ran from room to room, trying to find a way to escape. At last, he saw a free window leading to the outside of the castle. From there, he would only have to get in a carriage, drive to the docks, and sail away. He bowed to the statue of the Minotaur he kept hidden behind a bookcase, grabbed the Sword he had confiscated from Samuel, and had two of his knights help him repel to the ground below. When the knights tried to follow, the Duke realized the rebels would be on his case far too quickly. He held up his pistol and shot the rope midway to the bottom. Helpless, the knights had no choice but to fight to the death. Rapiers in hand, they awaited their deaths at the hands of the rebels.
The Duke climbed onto the driver's seat of one of his carriages and whipped the horses into going at top speed. Just a few minutes later, he was at the docks. Rushing onto one of his private sloops, he told the crew a story about how the villagers had ruthlessly murdered his army and daughter. Furious and becoming more dedicated to their glorious leader than they thought they ever would, they sent men to sabotage the other boats, hoisted the anchor, and set sail, heading deep into the Mediterranean Sea. The rebels were till trying to overwhelm his knights, and were far too late to prevent his escape. "Now, what's this sword thing?"
Back at the castle...
Samuel drove his sword through the last knight. A muffled curse came from the man's mouth before his eyes rolled up into his skull. After realizing the Duke had escaped, it was his turn to curse. "I swear, I'm going to kill that man!" He organized the victorious rebels into cleanup squads and questioned a few prisoners, including one knight who had surrendered. "What's this Minotaur cult stuff?"
The knight laughed. "Oh, that. Superstition. The Duke is extremely entrenched in mysticism. He thought that the local seaside caves were the legendary labyrinths and that our numerous earthquakes were caused by the beast. He tossed people in. They just died of starvation or suicide, I assure you. He thought the Minotaur did it. What a joke. I also assure you I felt no strong loyalty to him. I'll join the new government, actually. I'll tell you anything and everything. For instance, there's a large gold stash behind that bookcase over there. And behind that other one, a carved statue of the Minotaur. Once again, what a joke. I think I know where he went, too."
"Where?!" Samuel fingered his pistol anxiously.
"Though he did not tell his Catholic company, he was close friends with Sultan Abdallah of Morocco. My guess is he's heading there."
Isabella spoke up: "Wait, Abdallah? The Abdallah that's been dethroned multiple times?"
The knight grinned. "What can I say? The Duke has a great choice in friends."
Samuel scowled. "We're going to Morocco."
After the ships in the dock were repaired, including the Holy Roman frigate, which the villagers insisted on calling Justice Bringer, after what it caused, Samuel, a few of the ex-soldiers, all of the Austrians, and Isabella set sail for the Muslim kingdom of Morocco. Little did they know what had happened in Rome. Samuel was now a wanted man, and he did not even know it. Johannes had problems of his own. The Justice Bringer was on its own.
LEGO Builder, Writer, Video-Gamer, Greaser, History Professor, Swordsman, and Military Collector. I am the Most Interesting Man in the World. :p