Orb's Year 933
"Aw, aren't you a lovely little girl! Time for bed!"
"Your majesty," Crystal said as she greeted the Princess. "It is a pleasure to meet you!"
Princess Kea smiled and offered her cheek to Crystal for a kiss. "It is lovely to meet you, as well. Your beauty has been widely discussed!"
Kea loved it when she was able to have ladies over for tea. It was so nice to get to know everyone!
Prince Benedict shook his head in wonder. "It's the damnedest story, Camelot..."
I grabbed him and brought him before the King."
I almost didn't believe him, but then he produced a trinket crusted with sapphires and said he'd always had an eye for lovely things."
The fool just shrugged and said he'd had nothing better to do.
At that point, King Barron suggested a stay in the tower cell might make the thief more humble."
He just tested out the mattress and said that the accommodations were quite pleasant."
Camelot shook his head. "You have to wonder what a man like that was thinking."
Kea beamed at Camelot. "Be sure to tell your new wife hello. Bring her by some time. It would be lovely to get to know her."
Danica Hyun slowly rose, as well. "I should probably return home, as well. Hyun will wonder where I've been all day!"
Camelot looped his arm around his sister's shoulder. "I'll walk you home," he said.
As Kea began to gather the dirty dishes, Prince Benedict called out to his son, Earnest. "Almost time for bed, son!"
Orb's Year 934
"Not another word, Earnest!" Kea argued. "You'll never learn how to meet new people if you don't try. Please," she added, "Try for me!"
"That's Prince Earl, to you," Berjes Province joked.
"Sod off," Earnest said his cousin's outspoken friend. Berjes always had some smart aleck remark to everything.
As Prince Earl and Berjes begun to laugh about something silly, Earnest turned to Suzanne.
Berjes laughed and elbowed Earl. "He's trying to flirt with your intended!"
Earl glanced over and Earnest felt ill. "No! I don't think she's pretty!" he said to his cousin. Then, realizing how that sounded, he turned back to Suzanne, "I mean..."
"Oh, do be quiet!" Suzanne said, scowling at Earnest. Glaring at Berjes, she stormed away.
Earl tapped his cousin's shoulder. "No worries, cousin. She's actually mad at me because she found out I told Berjes she let me kiss her."
Berjes laughed and clapped his hand on his knee. "The look on her face was priceless!"
Earl scowled at Berjes, as well. "Why I stay friends with you, I'll never know," he said darkly.
Orb's Year 935
Kea hurried Francine to the waiting carriage. "Look after her, Earnest!" she called out as the carriage pulled away.
She waved until the carriage was far down the road and then she turned to wipe a tear from her eye. Her babies were growing up.
Benedict mulled it over. "So what do we do? Should we arrest him and put him in a cell as well?"
Barron scowled. "No. He's our brother by marriage. We need firm evidence."
Benedict nodded thoughtfully. "Until then, I'll have Camelot shadow him. Perhaps he'll lead us somewhere useful."
"Excellent idea," King Barron said, standing up wearily. "I swear, this has aged me considerably! When I think of what could have happened to Earl when he chased after the intruder, I shudder. What if it had been a mercenary? He's lucky to have escaped with a bloody nose!"
Benedict put his hand on his young son's shoulder and felt a wave of sadness. "The best thing you can do for me right now is watch out for your sister and exercise your mind."
Earnest scowled, "But I can help, Father!"
Benedict nodded, "I know, Earnest. But, first we learn to think... then we learn to fight..."
Orb's Year 936
Earl rolled his eyes. "I know. Since I chased that girl and got elbowed in the nose, Father keeps me far from the action!"
Earnest glanced at his cousin, "How did you know it was a girl, anyways?"
Earl blushed again. "When I grabbed her shirt, I grabbed a handful of... well... you know..."
Earnest gasped, "You didn't!"
Earl nodded miserably. Berjes had made a big deal about how he'd grabbed the girl's breast and had suggested he grab Suzanne in the same manner to compare. Earl had stupidly agreed and Suzanne had slapped him and hadn't spoken to him in weeks.
"Berjes is such an idiot," Earl said miserably.
"Yeah," Earnest agreed whole-heartedly.
It was Barron and he was irate.
"What is it, Barron?" he asked, concerned.
"It seems we have a snake in our family," Barron said with thinly veiled rage.
King Barron told his brother about his conversation with Celeste and then the subsequent conversation with the prisoner, Diebin.
Benedict's eyes narrowed as his brother brought him up to speed. "So it's time to arrest him?"
King Barron nodded tersely. "Gather your men."
"This might turn ugly," Benedict said. "Our best hope is to surprise him. Celeste and the girls are at the king's castle, being protected. It's up to us to bring this slime in!"