A great military monarch has vanquished the kingdom’s enemies and during the following peace the throne has been abdicated to a more compassionate and thoughtful leader. Now crisis has struck the kingdom and it is time for the hero to return and save the land. But, the current ruler disagrees.

Emperor Conidus looked down at the wolf before him. The last time they had both been together in the great chamber, their places had been very much reversed. Age had taken it’s toll on Conidus, but Leviticus stood as proud today as he had when he abdicated the throne. Leviticus’ fur had a few streaks of silver, but from paws to snout, he still looked as strong and fearless as ever.

“They send more ships every day. Our defences shoot them out of the sky, but we lose more pups with each attack.”

The adviser looked between the two emperors. On the one hand, a leader who had brought great prosperity to the planet. But then the wolf who had saved it. And now the people howled for the old emperor to return.

“We can negotiate.”

Leviticus snarled quietly at the Emperor’s suggestion.

“Attempts to communicate with the Ursine have not gone well,” the aide cut in. “The brutes have killed all our envoys. And eaten them.”

“We need to go to war. A rifle in the paws of every pup,” Leviticus said.

“Nonsense! We have survived two decades of peace under my reign. I will not have it broken by some hairy oafs or an erstwhile murderer.”

“Then you will become the murderer of your own people.”

“How dare you!”

“The Lupine Empire has stood proud against threats like this before. But you’ve become weak. Complacent. You took from the armies and gave to the schools.”

“And every wolf has prospered because of it.”

“The Ursine do not care for literature, or medicine, or knowledge. They bay for blood for what we did to their fore-bearers.”

The aide had slunk back into the corner of the room, unnoticed by either wolf. The Emperor, the reigning emperor, shook his head at the words. His paunch became visible beneath his robes as he sat heavily on the throne.

Leviticus drew an ornate blade from the scabbard that rested above his tail. It was the very one he had been gifted when he gave up the seat of power. His time as emperor had been short, but more wolves had tied in those few years than the century before. He had gladly gone into exile.

“Lev, what are you doing?” Conidus asked.

The aide watched, dumbfounded.

“When this war is done, you have my word old friend, I will pay for what I am about to do.”

“Stop him! Guards! He’s gone mad!”

The aide moved forwards, a paw shuffling across the marble, but stopped when Leviticus looked into his eyes. The small wolf looked down at the casualty reports in his forepaws. This was for the Empire and the Empire was bigger than any one Emperor.

Conidus mewled like a pup as Leviticus drove the dagger deep into his chest.

“For the Empire,” he growled.

Prompt originally posted by greenmist1 on reddit and received 1 upvotes.

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