The Light Wand and the Ice Blade Chapter 11


By Silveran

“Get up you sea slugs!” Captain Bart hollered as he walked along the deck of the Sweet Candy. There were a few moans and groans as the sailors stirred from their slumber.

The sun peaked over the horizon in the east showering the pristine blue waves with its orangey glow, rising steadily to its domain in the sky. Captain Bart stared at that orb from the railing of his ship, his sleek black hair swaying in the ocean breeze. “Another day approaches and I would see myself gone from this place. We have cargo to deliver.” He turned from his sun gazing and instructed someone to tell Jane and McDullen that he shall leave them here if they don’t hurry back.

The sailor nodded and disembarked the vessel, running towards Adlehyde. The other sailors had begun to stock up on their voyage, placing barrels full of fresh water to the side, securing cargo, and fixing the rigging. Bartholomew nodded in approval to his crew’s works then retired to his cabin.

As Bartholomew entered his cabin, he didn’t notice a small figure emerging from behind a couple of crates. The figure, who was a small scrawny boy, gazed around his surroundings, making sure that no one could see him. He was pleased to find that the sailors were busy taking care of whatever business they had. The gangplank was ahead of him so he made his way towards it cautiously. He was past the main mast when a couple of sailors approached. The boy looked around desperately for a place to hide. He found an empty barrel and quickly ducked inside, closing the lid silently.

There was a hole in the barrel where he could observe everything while remaining hidden. The two sailors approached his barrel. He held his breath, hoping that they won’t find him in there. “Where should we put this empty barrel?” he heard one of the sailors asked.

“Well, I guess we can trash it,” the other sailor replied. “It can’t hold water since there’s a hole in it. Can’t hold food since it will spoil faster than the barrels without holes.”

“So just dump it out on the beach?” the first sailor questioned.

“No, no,” the second sailor responded. “I don’t want this beach turning into another Ship Graveyard. Just put it near the gangplank where the other trash is. We’ll probably sell it as firewood. Here. Help me carry it.”

The boy felt the barrel move as the two sailors carried it. “This seems heavy for an empty barrel,” he heard one sailor grunt as he felt the barrel lowered to the ground. “One mess out of the way,” the other sailor said, “and many more to go.”

The scrawny boy looked out the hole as he heard the two sailors walk away. Seeing that the coast was clear, he lifted the lid carefully and jumped out of the barrel. The short transport from the main mast to the side of the gangplank had made his job to disembark the craft much easier. He jumped out of the barrel and ran across the gangplank, eager to explore the great city of Adlehyde, his lifelong dream.


Adlehyde, the Kingdom of Light.

That’s all the curious boy knew about the great city as he wandered its streets. His head turned from side to side as he gazed at the numerous buildings and the bustling people around him, almost bumping into them as they rushed to their work.

The houses were more splendid than the backwater houses of Court Seim, taller than most houses he’d seen, seeming to reach the sky itself. “Bigger than the Boss’ house,” he whispered in awe, his eyes big and round and his mouth opened wide. He also noticed how green the city was, trees seemed to sprout everywhere and flowers bloomed at the sides of some houses in all different colors. He went over to one of the flowerbeds and plucked a red flower from the bed, bringing it to his nose, breathing in the sweet scent that it radiated.

Afterwards, he continued up the main street, holding the flower in his hand, gazing at the sights and sounds that surrounded him. A boy from the country, he was overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Soon that enormity reached a whole level of magnitude as he reached the main street’s end.

His head was bent back as far as it could as he gawked at the castle that loomed before him in all its splendor. He didn’t notice the flower that he once held drift down slowly to the ground, his hand slightly opened in surprise to the scene.

The castle the Boss described was nothing compared to the real thing. He looked up at the fortified walls that seemed to glow softly under the sun’s rays, hence, giving meaning to the kingdom’s name. Blue banners trimmed in gold, embroidered with the golden horsehead of Zeldukes hung limp from the parapets, wavering slightly when a breeze picked up. His gaze went past those banners to the knights that were posted at intervals along the battlements to watch for impending danger; their armor gleaming somewhat as they stood rigid, attentive of their duties.

“They’re pretty impressive, aren’t they?” a voice asked from behind.

The boy jumped at the sound of the voice, his heart pounding in his chest as he turned around to see who had spoken to him.

A boy slightly older than he stood behind him grinning. “I’ve noticed how you stood there like a fool gawking at the castle,” the older boy explained. “I assume that you are new around here.”

The scrawny boy nodded. “I’m from the countryside. Visiting a town like this has always been my dream.”

“So that’s why you stood gaping at the knights.” The older boy went up to him and stood by his side. “By the way, my name is Calan.” He offered his hand to the scrawny boy.

“Galen,” the scrawny boy answered as he took Calan’s hand and shook it. When the introductions were done, Galen asked, “Can ordinary people visit the castle or do they have to be important?”

“You really want to go in, don’t you?” Calan asked, sensing Galen’s excitement as he nodded enthusiastically. “Anyone can go in,” Calan replied. “It’s open to the public. The only place that is off limits is the royal chambers on the upper floors of the castle. Other than that, you’re free to roam around. Just behave yourself. You may never know if you’ll see any members of the royal family.”

“Have you seen them?” Galen inquired and got his answer when Calan nodded his head.

“Of course!” Calan returned. “There was a festival not too long ago that celebrated the royal twins’ seventeenth birthday and Princess Jill’s homecoming from Curan Abbey.”

Galen tried to recall the things that the Boss had told him and the other orphans about the royal family. There was a king and queen, that’s for certain--what were their names?--Jack and Cecilia. Then he remembered the Boss saying something about the royal couple having twins, the perfect images of their parents. “The royal twins,” Galen began, “they are the children of King Jack and Queen Cecilia?”

“Hey! You know their names!” Calan exclaimed. “And I thought you were new around here.”

“Well actually, someone told me of them,” Galen explained. “Of Jack’s swordsmanship, of Cecilia’s magic, and someone else, I can’t remember who it was, who uses ARMs just like my Boss!”

“You speak of Rudy Roughnight,” the older boy informed Galen. “The Knight Captain of Adlehyde Guard. This Boss of yours seem to know the royal family well.”

“It seems so,” Galen agreed, “but of how she knows them, I don’t know. I hope I get to meet them though.”

Calan could only nod. He didn’t want to tell this newcomer of what had happened during the festival, knowingly dashing this visitor’s dream. “Hope you do get to meet them,” he said instead, grinning for added effect. “They are very friendly and understanding of their people’s needs.” He turned to leave. “Nice meeting you, Galen. I hope you enjoy your stay here in Adlehyde.”

“Nice meeting you as well, Calan,” Galen returned. They both shook hands and Calan went his separate way as Galen gazed back at the castle. He took a deep breath and muttered, “Here goes,” as he walked towards the steps leading to the castle’s gates.


Rudy and Jill waited patiently by the Gullwing as Zed and his family made preparations for their journey. Cecil stood a little ways to the side of them, emerged in his own thoughts. Both Rudy and Jill knew that he hadn’t slept at all last night, his bed untouched. For some unknown reason, the prospect of returning home troubled him. Troubled minds need some time. Rudy’s remedy for Cecil’s predicament. Jill sighed as she looked towards her brother.

Rudy turned at the sound and saw her dour face. “What’s wrong Jill?” he asked and when he saw her staring at Cecil, he replied, “Oh, I see. As I have said, troubled minds. . .”

“. . .need some time,” Jill finished. “I know Rudy but it will sour the mood on our return home. Why is Cecil acting so? Ever since his dream in Milama Village a few nights back, he’s been acting strange.”

“Maybe that dream foretold him something that we do not understand,” Rudy explained. “He told us the dream, did he not?” The princess nodded. “Mayhap he did not tell us his dream fully,” he continued, “and wishes to know the meaning of that untold part.”

“Perhaps,” Jill allowed. She stood in thoughtful silence and Rudy went back to staring at the entrance of Saint Centour, waiting for his friends to arrive.


Galen gazed in awesome wonder at the castle’s beautiful surroundings as he passed through the courtyard, the design of two white horses standing on hind legs facing each other as in battle painted on its tiles, worn away by weather and dulled by passing feet.

The knight that was posted in front of the entrance to the throne room sensed the boy’s elation merely by observing him. “First time to the castle, son?” he asked the boy.

Galen quickly turned towards the knight that had spoken to him and meekly nodded, remembering to mind his manners.

The knight smiled. “Come here, son,” and when Galen hesitated, the knight added comfortingly, “I won’t bite.” He smiled wider for the boy’s benefit.

Galen reluctantly went to the knight, thinking of excuses he could make if the knight did find fault with him. “That’s a lad,” the knight further assured the boy as he knelt down to his size. “What’s your name, boy?”

“Galen, sir,” the boy replied softly. His head was lowered as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

The knight, sensing Galen’s nervousness, placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Don’t be afraid, son. Strange. Most boys in your predicament would gladly talk to a fellow knight like myself. I guess you’re not as curious as others.”

Galen quickly looked up, curiosity and nervousness shown in his eyes. There was also puzzlement as he stared at the knight. It was true that he would gladly talk to him about what it’s like being a knight, to defend the kingdom from enemies, swinging sword around to cut down foes. But he also thought that they were too busy watching for impending danger to talk to ordinary folk.

He saw the knight staring at him expectantly awaiting an answer. “I am like other boys admiring you knights. It’s just that I’ve been told to behave myself in the castle in case I run into any member of the royal family.” Galen noticed the knight’s head lowered as if ashamed of himself when he mentioned royal family.

“And it’s true that you might run into them,” the knight said a bit slowly. He then stood up and went back to his post. “You’re free to explore the castle. I hope you don’t get lost since there has been some incidents where wandering strangers get lost,” he smiled.

Galen noticed that the conversation was ended but that wouldn’t stop him from being curious. He wouldn’t let the sour mood get to him. He approached the knight as he had approached the stranger back at Court Seim and asked him if he could at least take a glance at his sword.

The knight turned to him and smiled as he nodded. “Sure Galen,” he said as he drew his sword. The knight knew that it wasn’t as impressive as the king’s or the prince’s sword but beamed when Galen looked at it reverently. He asked if he could hold it and the knight gave permission forewarning him of the weight first.

The knight handed the sword, hilt first, to Galen who wrapped his hands around the hilt and lifted it carefully. He gazed up at the blade in admiration of its craftsmanship. It was a simple straight sword, the pommel a simple knob of metal, the hilt wrapped around with leather, the quillons wide and slightly forward at their outer extremities. The blade was not as wide, about a half a handspan across tapering to a round point.

Galen observed that it was used for speed, likely to stun the opponent instead of killing them. He handed the sword back to the knight ever so carefully. The knight took it gently and placed it back into its scabbard. Then another question popped into the boy’s mind. “Do you get hot in all that armor?” he asked.

“You are just like other boys after all!” the knight exclaimed. He then explained everything about being a knight, answering questions that Galen every so often asked. “I hope I had sated your curiosity Galen,” the knight said as he finished his explanations.

“You sure did!” Galen exclaimed as he nodded his head excitedly. “It must be great to learn swordsmanship!” He moved his arm side to side, wielding an imaginary sword. “To fight monsters and other bad guys. . .!” He moved about as if he was in a real battle.

The knight was about to say, “What’s use of swordsmanship when you can’t even use it to defend those you have sworn to defend?,” but instead said, “Sure son. If there is any danger. I haven’t fought in a real battle yet. Adlehyde is a peaceful kingdom but recently---” He stopped himself before he blurted out about the details of the attack a couple of weeks back. Like the boy that Galen met at the gates, he too didn’t want to dash Galen’s dream. “---but recently, the royal family hasn’t been themselves as of late. I guess things change. But don’t let that get to you, kid. Just explore to your heart’s content!”

Galen, who haven’t been paying attention to a word the knight was saying, stopped and replied enthusiastically, “I sure will, mister!” He then ran off into the heart of the castle, the throne room. The knight smirked to himself seeing that he had made the child feel a bit more welcomed in Adlehyde.


“What an eventful night, right McDullen?” Jane asked as she tidied up her bed. She placed the pillows neatly at the head of the bed and pulled the blanket over at the foot of the pile of pillows, folding the top neatly.

“Indeed Milady,” McDullen agreed blandly as he dusted a table at the corner of the room. A vase of flowers sat in the middle, filling the room with its sweet aroma. Soon there was a knock on the door and Jane bid the knocker entry.

Jack hobbled into the room, his regal robes billowing about his thin frame. Jane hadn’t noticed how lean he had become. His face was gaunt, the noble look of his former profession gone, and his hair seemed to be growing more gray by the day. Despite those facts, his smile was still the same with a hint of mischief glinting from his brown eyes. “Good morning,” he greeted as he entered.

“Good morning to you too Jack,” Jane returned. “What brings you here?”

“I just wanted to see how my guests are doing,” Jack replied as he took a seat by the table. “Will you be leaving anytime soon?”

Jane went over to the table and sat across from Jack as McDullen went to the corner of the room where a jug of wine and some cups were placed. He brought those over to the table and filled the cups with the red viscous liquid in the jug. He then handed them each a cup while he took his seat next to Jane.

Jane took a sip of the wine, feeling it go down her throat, and smacked her lips in satisfaction. “I guess I’ll be staying here for a while,” she answered before taking another sip. “I’m wanting to meet your children.”

“But especially you want to see Rudy,” Jack added mischievously. He brought his cup up to his mouth and sipped, his eyes gleaming playfully from the cup’s rim.

Jane blushed furiously at the sound of Rudy’s name. “Well. . .” She quickly lifted her cup to her lips and drank, trying to hide her embarrassment behind the vessel.

“Madam often speaks of the blue-haired hero to the children of the orphanage,” McDullen said, “more often than you or Cecilia.”

Jack feigned offense. “How insulting!” he exclaimed playfully. “If you’re in love with the man, why not marry him?”

“You know why!” Jane snapped, irritated by the subject. “McDullen, pass me that jug.” McDullen, as usual, obeyed Jane, passing the jug over to her. Jane took it and refilled her cup, drinking it afterwards. “He’s a nice kid but different as you all know.” She gulped down the rest of the liquid in her cup as the others nodded in admittance.

“But seriously,” Jack said, “you’re staying here until my children return?”

Jane nodded. “Of course. Besides, it’s been a while since I’ve visited the castle. I heard by one of your guards that there is a beautiful garden around here. I plan on seeing it.”

“But what about Bartholomew?” Jack questioned.

Before Jane could answer, there was a knock on the door. “I seem to be attracting visitors this fine morning,” the former bounty hunter muttered before bidding the knocker entry.

The sailor that Bartholomew had sent entered the chamber. Recognizing the king upon entry, the sailor bowed before speaking. “Sorry to disturb your conversation but the skipper wants to know if you shall be returning to Court Seim. He has a lot of cargo to deliver and plans on leaving today with or without you.”

“Already?” Jane blurted and the sailor nodded. Jane then cursed as she fought with indecision.

Jack, seeing her indecisiveness, said, “You may stay here as long as you like. If Cecilia has the strength, she’ll teleport you home though she must rest awhile before she could teleport back home, lest she exhaust herself. Maybe if you wait for the others to return, then you may go home though I don’t know how long the wait is.”

Jane sat silent for a moment then turned to McDullen. “What do you think McDullen? Shall we stay or go?”

“The decision is yours Madam,” McDullen answered blandly.

“It’s always my decision!” Jane shouted, taking the others aback. “Well, it’s your decision now McDullen. Should we stay or go?”

McDullen lowered his head in thought. “I prefer to stay Madam,” he answered meekly. “I do not wish to return to Court Seim anytime soon.”

“There you have it, sailor!” Jane exclaimed to the crewmember. “I guess we’ll be returning in our own time.”

“Very well,” the sailor nodded then bowed again. “I shall report it to the skipper. Good day to you all.” He bowed again and left the room, shutting the door silently behind.

“Well, I guess that answers your question Jack,” Jane said turning back towards the king. “So tell me, how is Cecilia doing?”

McDullen refilled their cups as they engaged in idle talk, passing the time away.


Galen’s eyes were wide and his mouth opened in awe as he gazed around the huge chamber that is the throne room. He’d never seen so much blue in his life. Blue carpeting ran down the middle of the vast room to two thrones that were situated at the end of the room.

He walked towards those thrones, glancing to the left and right at the many knights that guarded the chamber. The redheaded boy approached the thrones reverently. The regal chairs were covered in blue velvet, the legs and arms plated in gold. He thought about sitting on one of them to feel how it was to be a king but thought better of it, remembering the knights that seemed to surround the chamber.

He remained there, transfixed by the empty seats. He saw that two banners, the same as those that hung along the castle’s walls, draped the wall behind the two thrones. “So this is how the throne room looks like,” he whispered in awe.

His awe soon turned to hunger as he caught the scent of roasted venison. He moved away from the thrones, towards the western doorway where the scent seems to originate from. The scrawny boy walked in a hurry, ignoring the knight that guarded that doorway. He passed the entryway into another hallway. Another knight guarded a door ahead but Galen did not sense the odor coming from that doorway. He walked west towards the doorway at the end of the short corridor.

And emerged in a room filled with aromatic food. There were three long tables loaded with food. Bright fires burned in the ovens and chefs in white uniforms, their white long hats topping their heads, bustled about the kitchen. Galen carefully made his way to one of the tables, licking his lips at the sight of the gourmet. He felt his stomach rumble. “It’s been awhile since my last decent meal,” Galen whispered agreeing with his tummy.

During the voyage, he had eaten what little he could without being found out. At night, he would sneak out and go to the ship’s kitchen and steal some of the crew’s food. Usually, rats would be his only companions in the ship’s hold during his meals, scrounging up the crumbs that fell from his mouth.

Galen shuddered at the thought. He thanked Lucadia, the Guardian of the Ocean, silently for the safe voyage and his endurance to withstand staying in the ship’s hold before he approached the table.

His eyes gleamed hungrily as he licked his lips. There was a full cooked turkey, golden brown, fresh from the oven. Leaves of lettuce surrounded the morsel giving the dish a nice touch. Next to the turkey was a bowl full of fruits and besides that was a bowl full of cheeses. Galen smirked, thinking to take some to give to his rat friends.

There was also a loaf of bread, sliced in small pieces with a plate of butter and knife next to it. A whole assortment of cakes stood at the very end of the table, some with white icing and others with cherries on top.

Galen rubbed his hands together planning to take a little of each of the dishes on the table. He reached for the turkey, planning to tear off a drumstick.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, boy.”

Galen snatched his hand back and turned to see a chef glowering at him, holding a spatula in one hand. “You plan on stealing?” the chef asked gruffly.

Galen looked at his hand then hid it behind his back and smiled hugely. “No sir,” he replied. “I was. . . planning on tasting it first to see if it was poisoned. Yes that’s it! To see if it was poisoned!” He laughed nervously hoping that the chef would buy his lie.

The chef continued to glower at him as he said, “Well, don’t taste test these foods. This meal is for the king and his guests. Now be gone boy!” He turned around and went back to his duties as he muttered, “Taste it to see if it was poisoned indeed!”

Galen let out a huge sigh. The chef didn’t buy it but at least I get to go free, he thought. Now for that drumstick. He once again reached for the drumstick, refusing to listen to the chef’s warning. He tore it off and ran away.

“Hey!” the chef shouted as he saw Galen run off with a drumstick in his hand. “Stop that boy!”

The knights nearby heard the cry and went to see what the commotion was all about. Three knights entered the kitchen, questioned looks on their faces.

“Stop him!” the chef yelled as he pointed at Galen’s fleeting form.

The knights gave chase as Galen exited the kitchen through the northeastern doorway.

Galen threw the drumstick away as he turned eastwards down the long corridor. He glanced back as he heard the clanging of metal armor and saw that three knights chased after him. “So much for my exploration,” he muttered. He stuck out his tongue at them and he saw that it enraged them even more. “You guys can’t catch me with all that armor on!” he taunted. He then ran into something.

Or someone.

“What have we here?” an accented voice asked.

Galen, who had fallen to the floor when he had bumped into the ‘voice’, stood up and dusted himself. He mumbled angrily as he finished cleaning himself up. He then glared up at the person he had bumped into.

A man with golden hair that had begun to streak with grey stared down at him. He wore a long white robe that had the emblem of Zeldukes against a blue shield embroidered on the upper left. He leaned against a cane of solid oak as he looked at the boy with mild curiosity.

“Watch where you’re going old man!” Galen snapped. He noticed that the man was taken aback by his little outburst and a little offended.

“Old man?” the man repeated. “I’m not even fifty yet, kid.” He then glanced up from the boy to the approaching knights. “It seems you have been up to some mischief.”

The boy remembered about the knights and quickly glanced back. He saw that they were approaching fast almost upon him. “I’d love to stay and chat, old man, but I got to run. Later!” With that, Galen began to run past the old man but the old man grabbed him and held him firm. “Hey!” Galen protested as he squirmed in the man’s firm grasp. “Let me go!” He struggled against the man’s grip, thinking that he could break free seeing that the man was old. “You’re pretty strong for an old man!” Galen growled still struggling.

“Your majesty!” one of the knights called as they approached.

Galen stopped struggling when he heard what the knight had called the old man. Majesty?, he thought as he looked up at the man that held him. Strange but he doesn’t look like anyone that the Boss described. And he carries no sword. He was a bit saddened by that last thought, hoping to see the great sword that the knight in the courtyard had described to him.

“What has the boy done?” the man asked the knight that had called out to him. He still maintained a firm hold on Galen who had stopped struggling for the moment.

The knight shrugged as he replied, “We have no idea, sire. The chef told us to stop him for some unknown reason. Perhaps he had stolen some food from the pantry. . .?” The last statement was directed at Galen.

Galen fidgeted nervously from the stares he was receiving from the knights and the old man. He still didn’t believe the man that was holding onto him was the king. “Well, boy?” the old man asked gently, urging the child to reply.

Galen stood silent for a moment, deciding to tell them the truth or to concoct a lie. For some reason he could not define, he couldn’t lie. Whatever story he had made up, it would plague his conscience so he decided to tell the truth. “I,” he began softly, “stole a drumstick from one of the turkeys in the kitchen.”

“A drumstick?!” the knight asked incredulously. “The chef made us chase after you because you tore off ONE drumstick from a turkey?!”

Galen lowered his head as he answered, “Yes sir.”

The knight threw up his hands in the air in exasperation. “We’ve abandoned our posts because a boy stole ONE drumstick from the kitchen,” he muttered as he shook his head. He then turned to the two other knights with him. “Let’s go back. We’ve wasted our time here.”

“But what about the chef?” one of the other knights asked.

“Just tell him that I pardoned the boy,” the old man replied.

The knights looked at the old man as if contemplating what he said. Then the knight that had done most of the talking nodded his head in agreement. “Very well, your highness.” The three knights bowed in unison before leaving the king alone with the drumstick snatcher.

“Now what to do with you,” the old man muttered as he gazed down at Galen. He then turned towards the room that he had exited when the boy had bumped into him.

“Let‘s go McDullen,” a feminine voice said. “Let‘s find out where this garden is.” A young woman with curly blonde hair and a pink dress emerged from the room followed by a wiry man.

“Very well, Milady,” the wiry man replied as he shut the door.

Those voices sound familiar, the boy thought as studied the two. Then a bomb went off his head. “Boss!” he shouted as he wriggled around the old man to get a closer look at the ’Boss’. “Am I glad to see you!”

The old man act surprised. “You know her, kid?”

“Of course I know her!” Galen replied smugly. “Now you’re in for it! Boss!”

The young woman turned around to see who was calling her and saw the old man holding a small boy.

An all too familiar boy with red hair.

“Great,” she muttered as she approached the two. “There goes my day.”

“Boss! Boss!” the boy shouted excitedly as he tried to continue to wriggle away thinking that he was going to be set free from the old man’s grip.

“He seems to know you,” the old man said as the young woman stopped and looked at the boy with mild interest. “I assume that he’s from the orphanage in Court Seim.”

The boy stopped squirming when he heard what the old man said. How does he know that?, he thought. Then he got his answer when the young lady answered, “Yes, he’s from the orphanage. Unfortunately, he’s the troublemaker of the place. Sister Bridgett has a hard time keeping an eye on him. What did he do now, Jack?”

Jack?! The boy’s eyes widened at the name. So this was the king after all. Oh boy, now I’m in for it. . .

“He said he stole a drumstick from a turkey in the kitchen,” Jack replied letting go of the boy who merely stood where he was. “The chef had gotten really angry that he had to send three knights after this boy.”

“And I’m sorry for it,” the boy apologized meekly.

“You’re sorry for everything you do but you still don’t change,” the young woman chided. “When will you act more mature Galen?”

“I said I was sorry,” Galen replied.

“Being sorry doesn’t get you nowhere in life,” the young woman said. “You better start taking responsibility for your actions. I’m not getting you out of this one. I stand by Jack’s decision for whatever punishment he has for you.”

Galen swallowed a lump that had formed in his throat as he awaited judgment. He should have taken Calan’s advice more seriously seeing that he was in a serious predicament that involved the decision of the king. Not the dungeon, not the dungeon, he prayed silently. Anything but the dungeon. Anything but going back home.

“Seeing the trouble he took to get here unnoticed,” Jack began, “I guess that’s punishment enough.”

Galen let out his breath slowly in a sigh of relief. Home free! “But,” Jack said interrupting the boy’s thoughts like a gong.

“But?” Galen asked hysterically. “But what?”

“You still made the chef angry,” Jack finished. “And when the chef is angry, his cooking becomes terrible and I can’t have that while Cecilia is weak as she is.”

A knot began to form in Galen’s stomach. He had a feeling of where the king was headed. Great, he thought. He’ll make me work in the kitchen to make amends with the chef. As if to clarify his fear, Jack said, “You shall work in the kitchen with the chef you had angered.”

Galen groaned. “Remember,” the young woman reminded the boy, “responsibility for your actions. You’re old enough to learn from your mistakes.”

“I know,” Galen sighed. He then looked up at Jack. “For how long should I work in the kitchen, sire?”

“You’re learning already,” Jack smiled. “Work as long as the chef sees fit. If he sees that you have done enough to pay for the insult you had given him, then that will be the end of your term.”

“And back to Court Seim,” the young lady finished with a grin.

“Great,” Galen muttered under his breath. “When do I begin?”

“When do you think Jane?” Jack asked the young lady for her opinion.

Jane chuckled. “How about now? By the time Galen becomes a good friend to the chef, we would be leaving for Court Seim and we could take him along with us.”

“It has merit,” Jack agreed, “though I’m not so sure that he’ll be returning with you.”

“What do you mean?” Jane queried. “You have another job for him afterwards?” When Jack nodded, she asked, “Of what, pray tell?”

“That is for another day,” Jack replied, “and for Galen to decide whether he wishes to stay in the castle or return to Court Seim.” He then began limping towards the kitchen, stilling any more questions. “Come along Galen. It’s time for work.”

Galen sighed and looked at Jane. “Maybe tonight you’ll have an explanation of how you came here,” Jane said sternly. “Now get going.”

Galen sighed again and followed the king to the kitchen. What have I gotten myself into?, he asked himself as they both entered the kitchen. Time to earn the king’s trust or more importantly, the chef‘s.


Home. . .

Cecil sat in thoughtful silence as he stared out the window of the Gullwing. He watched white cumulus clouds pass below them as the Metal Bird blazed across the sky in a streak of red. Mountains passed below them and soon they were flying over the Inner Sea. He could see some trading vessels among the white-capped waves of the sea, their white sails as beacons to the Gullwing. He sighed as he continued to stare idly at the passing scenery.

“Home,” he whispered, the Gullwing hurrying on to its destination.

Chapter 12

Wild ARMs Fanfic