The joker and the queen

CHAPTER FOUR: THE PALACE BULLET

”It is done my lord ” a knight said bowing down before a huge shadowy human stature. The shadow figure nodded and the knight left his sight.

*********************

King Micheal had regained consciousness and he was startled at the scene around him. He saw dead horses and the Coachmen with bad wounds lifeless. He turned around searching for his cousin but couldn see him. Then he sighted a hand under the dead horses body. He was afraid, he dared not to think of the inevitable. He quickly rushed to the body of the horse and tried to move it aside. With his frail body, he tried all he could and finally he was successful. Unfortunately, it was what he thought. Under the horses dead body, was the body of his cousin; Henry the Duke of Miliem. He wailed. He couldn believe his eyes. The worse part of it all was they were in the middle of nowhere.

****************

”Sir, we have not heard from the king and his companions, the nobles at Nottingham say left hours ago ” Marshal; Everest said to the Tobias

”Ill assemble the knights and soldiers, the hunt for our king shall begin. This kingdom shall not witness the fall of another royalty ” Tobias assured then he left to do as he said. He assembled the knights and soldiers and ordered them to search for the king. They all scattered around the kingdom in groups of four looking for King Micheal. One group came across the cliff where the royal carriage had fallen off. One of the knights noticed some fall marks on the cliff and ordered the rest to a halt. He informed them about the fall marks and they all came down from their horses to investigate the area. One of them found a bullet on the floor and examined it. He showed the other knights while suggesting that a palace gun was shot. But they knew the guards that escorted the King had no guns with them, plus the peasants couldn be able to afford such weaponry so was this royal ambush accompanied by a person of royalty or more so a person who worked for royalty?

After so many suggestions, the bullet fell from the hands of one of the knights. He hurried to pick it up but it fell over the cliff. He watched it fall over the cliff and that was when he saw the aftermath of the bullet shot. They quickly got down the cliff safely and went to the bodies they saw lying lifeless on the ground. They took a quick body count and noticed a body was missing. They began identifying the faces and then concluded that the missing body was that of the king.

”The Constable must hear of this, theres still hope for our kingdom ” one knight said as the other agreed with him. As they carried the bodies the other two knights brought out their swords and stabbed their fellow knights. They left them for dead and dragged their bodies into the ocean. They did the same for the bodies of those who died in the ambush and for the horses as well.

Soon as they had finished clearing up the evidence, they reported back to the Constable; Tobias, who was accompanied by the Marshal; Everest.

”Sir, bad news has befallen the kingdom…the king is dead, so are those who accompanied him to Nottingham ” one knight said bowing down to the Constable.

”This can be true. My ears must be deceiving me ” Tobias proclaimed in shock.

”The fall of a great young king….. Why must this happen to us again? ” Everest asked in dismay hypothetically

”Where are the bodies? ” The marshal asked

”Bottom of the ocean, they must have drowned to death ” One knight suggested.

”Don be ridiculous, they travelled on land. What are the possibilities that they could have drowned? ” Tobias asked annoyed

”Landslide sir ” the knight proclaimed. There was a bit of silence afterwards, and then Tobias continued.

”We shall alert the kingdom of this tragedy after the seventh day. No one must know the cause of his death. All they shall know is that the king has laid to rest ” Tobias instructed, as the knights around and Everest nodded in confirmation.

”But sir ” Everest started

”With the King and the Duke of Miliem dead…..who will take over the kingdom? ” He concluded and Tobias bowed his head down in frustration.

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Eight days later, King Micheal awoke with a cloth made of wool on his head, on his body tunic and his feet, some stockings. In the far end of the room where he was, was a man, preparing pottage made from the peas, beans and onions that he had grown in his garden. The King was in shock and tried to escape what he viewed as a hell hole. On his way out the man spoke.

”A storm is about coming…..youll die in the cold ”

Micheal was shocked at the statement he made.

”Where am I? What is this godforsaken place and most importantly, why am I here? Where are the guards and the maids, the stag, meat, beer, my clothes….. ” King Micheal retorted as the man cut him short as he burst into mocking laughter.

”Why are you laughing? I do not find anything that amuses me ” Micheal asked.

”Guards, maids, stags? Next, youll tell me that you
e the… ”

”King ” both chorused.

”Whatever gave you that wound must have hit you very hard in the head ” the man suggested.

”No no no. I kid you not. I am the king ” Micheal insisted but the man wasn convinced.

”Why won you believe me peasant! ”

”Because the king is dead. It was announced at the sixth hour. The nobles called for a procession but no one attended. Every person of royalty is despised here, including the King ” the man said sternly.

”So its best you stop with this charade, you could get killed ” the man suggested. Micheal was astonished by his statements. He became scared. He knew that he was the king and that he was not dead, but if he had told anyone there that he was the king, he could get killed.

”So stranger, would you like some pottage? ” The man asked.

”Whats that? ” Micheal asked

”You have to be joking, you do not know what a pottage is? ”

”No, am I supposed to know? ” The man was shocked at Micheals replies. He then grabbed a bowl of pottage, scooped a little and shoved it down Micheals throat. Micheals smiled as the taste tingled in his taste bud.

”My word! Where has this been all my life?! ” Micheal asked sarcastically as he took the bowl from the man and continued eating the pottage until the bowl was empty. After eating, he laid back on a mattress stuffed with straw, wool., hair, rags and feathers, and then the man sat on a chair.

”What is your name young man? ” The man asked

”Micheal ” king Micheal replied

”Oh I can see why you claim to be the king, youve got the same name as he does. So tell me, what were you doing in the woods? ”

”The woods? ” Micheal asked surprised.

”Oh I see, you do not remember. I was hunting for the people. You see, with the taxes, the Marshal forces us to pay, our income reduces immensely, and whatever we have left will never be enough for us especially those with families ” the man said

”We either pay with cash or in kind, so I was looking forward to catching a big game in order to clear up the taxes of some of the poorest families in our community…that was when I saw you, with your wounds and your clothes that had patches. It looks like you had on the attire of a king but I just realized maybe you were one of those jesters. So I took you back to my home, got you changed and dressed your wounds ” the man continued.

”I never got to say thank you for that ” Micheal added

”Theres no need, its only God that can reward the good that people do ” the man insisted.

”If I may ask sir, why do you burden yourself in the name of these people? ”

”My name is Ole, Ole the preacher, even though the people don pay me to look after them, I do it out of love…I help people, just like I did you ” the man said and this left Micheal in shock. The man he wanted dead was the man that saved his life.

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