The Trials Of The King Chapter 2
Falling Into Place
June 1, 1018 A.D.
The tall spires of Guardia Castle broke through the morning fog, sunlight illuminating the high towers, and filtering down to the throne room, where it fell on the faces of a young king and queen. They appeared the picture of health, and quite content. Suddenly, the queen looked around, then slumped down in the throne. "Are you as bored as I am?" Queen Guardia, a.k.a. Nadia, a.k.a. Marle, complained.
King Triggara, a.k.a. Crono, looked up in surprise. "If something doesn't happen here soon, I'm gonna wack out." He agreed, drumming his fingers on the arm of his throne.
"You're just anxious to see all the special agents home aren't you?" She knew what was on his mind.
"Of course. My dad was a special agent, but you knew that. When he was killed, the top brass told us that it was a once in a lifetime thing, but last year, 53 agents were killed."
"I know. I finally got around to reading the papers last night. Isn't that most of them?"
"The majority, anyway. I wanted to be sure all the remaining agents got home safely."
"It almost seems as if something is starting up in Porre..." Nadia whispered.
"Do you know something I don't?" Crono asked her. It wouldn't be the first time. Crono had just taken the throne the previous week, and remembered his final conversation with the ailing King Guardia well...
"Crono, you're the best soldier in the kingdom, easily. Probably the world. The armies will always be under your direct control, that's straight."
"Yes sir." Crono had smiled, listening attentively.
"Now, I know that traditionally, the King has all the final say in everything, but, you really don't know that much about running a kingdom! Now, you can give all the orders if your ego is that big, but Nadia has the final say in all political matters. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir!" Crono didn't complain. But the king had already fallen asleep again.
He had passed away the next day, simply from extreme old age. In truth, Crono had been a little relieved to have the responsibility taken off his shoulders. He knew how to fight, and he could do a great job at leading the army. But spending three hours chatting with officials from Choras was not his strong point.
"No. I don't know what's going on down there." Nadia shook her head.
Their pondering were interrupted as the throne room doors burst open, and their daughter Sira walked into the chamber. She stretched out, as if taking in the large space. "Isn't it great to have all the kids gone?" She smiled up at the thrones.
"Sira, you are one of the kids." Nadia said dryly.
"Mother, I'm almost 18!" She protested. "I mean the little ones. Maro's already off doing who knows what, Nora and Zane are starting their break from school in Choras, and Aliza's staying with Tam over at Lucca's for two weeks."
"If we could just get rid of you too, things would actually be peaceful." Crono teased her.
"Actually, that's why I'm here. I need to get away from the castle for a while too."
"Where are you thinking of going?" Nadia asked, not really paying attention.
"Well, I haven't been to Porre since I was real little, so-"
"I don't know if now is exactly the best time to go." Crono frowned.
"Why? Because you called back the special agents? Please." She dismissed the concern. "Besides, you're letting Maro jaunt all through time in some places that have to be more dangerous than that."
"I think she'll be all right Crono." Nadia tried to encourage him. "You just can't keep a princess locked up in this castle."
Crono smiled. "I suppose you'll be all right. Just keep a low profile, and try to keep from being recognized. Don't even let it slip that you're from Guardia, if possible."
"All right, all right! I think you're being a little paranoid, but okay. I'll start riding out this morning. It shouldn't take too long to get there."
"Good luck." Crono nodded.
"And have a good time!" Nadia added.
"Okay people." Zeik whispered in the corner of the main marketplace of Porre. "This is the last of the original money, and thus, our last trip for weapons and supplies. After this, we get ready to move, so get some good stuff."
"Yes sir." The men responded, then drifted off. Kaneta hated this part. Shopping wasn't so bad, but the act he had to put on when shopping was something else. He walked slowly to the weapon shop, and began inspecting the katanas.
"What's a lowly servant like you need with one of those?" The blacksmith walked up to the front.
Kaneta pretended not to understand at first. That was the routine. "Wakarimasen ka."
"Oh, um..." Both he and the blacksmith knew what was coming, and they both had the same thought: 'I hate pidgin!' But the blacksmith launched into it anyway. "What for youah wantshee sword?"
"Ah... Mass'er say buyee quick quick." Kaneta responded with mock eagerness.
"Need know whatfor mass'er want. Doah can?"
"Can. Wantshee for... ah... chase intruders! Savvy mass'er?"
"That's good enough for me." The blacksmith shrugged. "Savvy." Kaneta handed over the money and took the weapon before he had to speak any more of that idiotic talk. He headed back toward the corner they had started from, seeing Zeik had obtained a wicked looking spear.
"You know how to use that?" He grinned.
"Not really, but Omi was asking about one, and he does."
"So... You say this is it. So when are we planning the attack?"
"We're not planning an attack." Zeik held up his hand before Kaneta could protest. "Tonight, we ride to raid Guardia Castle. After that, I will demand that we be allowed to secede from the Truce. If that is refused, then we will go to an all out war."
"They'll never let us out of the Truce." Kaneta kicked a pebble. "That old Guardia is too set in his ways."
"Didn't you hear?" Zeik was surprised. "The old king finally passed away last week. That hero of time is on the throne now. He might actually see reason."
"He probably would. But he's not the Guardian, is he?"
"No." Zeik frowned. "It still may work."
"You're such a peace lover, even now." Kaneta shook his head. "Get that Murasama ready, and remember what Mariko told you. You have to lead us, whether you personally want to or not. It's your duty."
"Ah yes. Duty. I believe there is far too much emphasis on that word."
"Be careful that the ways of the northern devils don't cloud your thinking." Kaneta warned. "You're one of us, and that's final. I don't want to see any sympathizing here."
"Don't worry, you won't." Zeik made a fist. "What those special agents did to Mariko is still fresh in my mind. Guardia will pay for that, I can assure you."
"Good. But, would you kill the Queen if you had the chance?"
"What? No. I mean, she still has some fairly young kids..."
"See. You're too soft. It's a good thing I'll be there to help you out."
Zeik frowned at the dirt for a minute, then smiled. "Yes. That, I agree with."
"It was nothing. I was only doing my duty..." - John Blackthorne, a.k.a. Anjin-san
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