Not Your Puppet Soldier

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” General Teller roared across the wooden strategy table, spraying his spit out over the maps and markers, “That was not what I had commanded you to do, you stupid piece of -!” In deep rage, he pounded both heavy fists against the table, where the vibration knocked over several items, and then slapped his goblet full of ale across the tent, splashing an innocent member of the meeting. The men surrounding the table stayed motionless and silent, except for their eyes shifting between the general and the young captain who stood with his head high at the other end of the long table.

“I did what was right. And that was to stop the enemy in their tracks.” Captain Hartfield responded, not phased by the general’s rage.

“How dare you disobey my orders! What were you thinking wasting precious resources on a hunch?!” The middle-aged veteran growled through his teeth, clenching his fists as he stood tall. “Explain yourself! I will have you sentenced for treason!” He shouted, his face was as red as his beard. Hartfield did everything he could to keep calm, clenching his fists but let his mental discipline release them. No amount of anger was worth ruining this prime opportunity to take the floor.

“There were long-forgotten, tunnels built by ogres connecting the northern side of the mountain to the southern side. Something you, General Teller, failed to disclose when you gave orders to move the army to the East.” The captain continued in a firm tone, “When I questioned you about the tunnels, you claimed no one in their right mind would cross through them, not even the enemy, because of how deserted and dangerous they were-”

“Because they are dangerous and useless!” The general barked, “My intel had evidence the Arutal forces were heading east, not through those tunnels. What proof do you have that the enemy were utilizing them?”

As if waiting for him to ask that particular question, the captain pulled something out of his pouch and tossed something thick and heavy on top of the table: a golden Arutal medallion.

“A medallion?” Teller scoffed and shook his head, “Let’s see some real proof, not a collectible token easily forged by street merchants.”

“I assumed you would say that.” Captain Hartfield snapped his fingers and two men from the table walked out of the tent. The environment grew silent as no one made a movement. It was a stare-down between the general and captain until the two men returned shortly. They brought with them several guards and two detained Arutal soldiers.

“Here are my evidences. These two are officers my company had captured after they detonated the bombs.” The young man pointed to the two beaten soldiers, who were making low snarls at him. The general’s face paled at the sight of the two.

“For those of you who don’t know, I had my suspicions of the general’s order and took it upon myself to send a secret investigation group to the tunnels. To my shock and horror, they reported the tunnels were large and wide enough to let a few battalions cross through. Worst, the tunnels were well-kept and open. Thanks to the honest, loyal allies who retrieved this information and some of my own internal investigation, I took matters into my own hands.

“With the help of the Dwarven demolition crew and many loyal soldiers, explosives were hidden along the inside of the southern tunnel, and then they waited until a small portion of the army were out before denoting. The small bunch that had managed to escape the collapsing tunnel have been either eliminated or captured for questioning. As you all can see before you.” The captain pointed at the two prisoners. And he still wasn’t finished.

“General Teller didn’t want to consider the idea the enemy would take the tunnels not because they were dangerous. No, to the contrary, he knew about their fair conditions and wanted the right army to utilize them. His army. The Arutal army.” Captain Hartfield removed letters from his pouch and placed them in front of him on the table, “These letters were found on the prisoner on the left, who happens to be a leading officer of the battalion crushed inside the tunnels. The very one who had been taking orders from our so-called general. Men, we have been betrayed.”

Some of the men at the table burst into an uproar as they turned their focus to General Teller, who stood there outraged that his secret had been disclosed. A secret he must not let any further out and he will take down anyone who threatened to foil his plans of taking over the Ryaden Kingdom. Even if that meant murdering everyone in the tent.

General Teller reached for his sword but the men at the table who already knew about their traitorous general jumped him before he would take the blade out of its sheath. More guards entered the tent and they secured the traitorous general’s arms behind his back.

Teller scowled at Hartfield, “You must be so proud of yourself.”

“Not proud to have disobeyed an order of a general.” Captain Hartfield crossed his arms, “But I will proudly disobey knowing it will save my beloved country. Guards, take him out here!”

Daily Prompt: Disobey

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