Max blinked nervously as he helped Todd wheel the device through the room. This had seemed such a good idea before. Take up the Emperor’s chess challenge then, when they won, walk away with enough wealth to be comfortable for the rest of their lives.
Now they were here, things looked very different. All the guards watching them certainly didn’t help, especially as more than half actually had guns. Two even had machine-guns, and those were almost unheard of since the Fall.
Waiting at the end of the room, seated on a simple looking chair but dressed in the finest robes Max had ever seen, was the Emperor. Max gulped and lowered his eyes. This was definitely a bad idea. But there was no backing out now.
Todd didn’t seem to be having any of the same worries, but that didn’t put Max’s mind at rest. Todd was a tinkerer, a collector of bits, but not always someone who understood how the world around him actually worked.
Max’s hands were slippery as they pushed the device forward, and with every step his legs felt heavier. He half expected one of the guards to shoot them down for daring to come before the Emperor, but he kept his head down and kept pushing.
“Max,” hissed Todd. “Stop pushing! We’re there!”
Max looked up in shock. He’d been so certain they’d be shot that he hadn’t noticed they’d reached the Emperor. The Emperor and a chessboard, already set up to play.