© 2017 A. Jane
“What mess have you gotten yourself into this time, Rythwaen?” Arno entered the room, his boots ringing on the slate flooring.
Jayd’s head shot up and he just kept from swearing. He looked towards the fireplace to check on Magic, but remembered his son was with the cook in the kitchen, supervising the making of a tartberry pie. Magic seemed to have an affinity with all those who baked. Upon Ganos, Magic had charmed Mistress Horn so much, she gave him a sweetbun each time they saw her. Even if they did not go into the shoppe, she would come out and give him one slathered in icing.
He stood. “What might I do for you, Your Majesty?”
“You can answer my question.”
“And what mess am I accused of getting myself into?”
“Insulted you have Princess Sari. Insulted her so grievously that I have heard of it. I expect you to apologize to her, Simm.”
Jayd narrowed his eyes, trying to decide which was worse, being called by his title or by his first name. He was leaning, in this instance, with the king using that tone of voice, towards his name. “’Twould be appreciated did you keep from my business.”
“Your business is my business.” Arno stopped in front of the desk, planted his hands upon it. “Do you ruin any chance of a connection to Artezan, you will care little for my reaction. You will apologize…”
“Tired I am of being ordered about. And tired I am of being informed on. Was it Aunt Fai?”
“You, Simm, understand not the embarrassment you have caused me with your foolishness. I only wish ‘twas from Fai I heard it.” Arno’s green eyes were trained on Jayd like a cat cornering a mouse. “Understand I do that you were recently upon Ganos.”
Jayd blinked at the change of subject. “I was. Magic wished to play with some yullies. Acquainted I am with one whose father raises the animals.”
“I have been informed that Princess Sari was there visiting her grandmother and uncle. ‘Tis the uncle you are acquainted with, yes? ‘Tis his father who raises the yullies?”
“’Tis good to have that cleared up. And ‘tis the father who is married to Princess Sari’s grandmother, correct?”
“Know you who her grandmother is?”
Jayd sat, tried to do so without showing his growing apprehension. He disliked the way Arno was smiling at him. “Vylla van Jyn.”
“Very good, lad. Vylla van Jyn. Are you aware of exactly who Vylla van Jyn is? Allow me to enlighten you if you were not. The Dusalla of Fyrwyn she is, mother to Artezan’s fucking king! That is who Vylla van Jyn is.”
He knew all of that, of course he knew all of that, but he thought it best to ignore the genealogical lesson. “Then ‘tis King Usan who informed you?”
“No, if only that were so, ‘twould be easier to bear, but I hear you not accusing the princess of informing upon you.”
“The princess knows not who I am.”
“She knows not who you are?”
“No. Did she, and certain I am that she would have said.”
Arno’s voice turned silky as he glided about the desk, still upon the hunt, his smile dangerous, “And yet you dared insult her for being a princess? Wonder I do if mayhap when lightning struck you at nine, it caused damage to your mind. To be such a hypocrite… No, I go too far by offering you such an excuse. Methinks the House of ayn Gyl flows more through you than the fai Lynn with how fucking hard your head is!”
“Only did I learn she was princess through…”
“I care not! Upon learning that Sari was the crown princess, mayhap you should have confessed exactly who you are. Mayhap upon learning she was princess, a closer connection you should have forged.”
He held up a hand, taking a moment to pull in a calming breath. “This is not the path I was upon. We were discussing how I learned of this exchange of words, these insults. I learned not that you insulted Princess Sari from her father—though certain I am by this time he is aware. No, it turns out that Dusalla Fyrwyn has long held a friendship with your grandmother! A fucking lecture I received from your grandmother. Mind you, I received this lecture long after she claimed you to be my problem! But still she wishes not to take you on; still are you my problem because you are fai Lynn and the fai Lynn are of Berja!”
Jayd wished not to be anyone’s problem. He wished Arno would leave him be. To The Firebreath with his constant lecturing. He opened his mouth to say just that, willing to risk the loss of his boat for some peace, “I…”
“You will fix this, lad, and you will fix it soon. I want a connection to Artezan.”
He bit his tongue. Fuck! “My son has Title in Artezan through his mother. There is your connection.”
“Do you think so? Do you think, because he is citizen of Artezan it gains me a connection?”
“That I am his father…”
“Truly you understand very little about the way the world works. You think ‘tis all about you and if ‘tis not about you, then you step upon it. That is not how it works. ‘Twould indeed serve you well did I make you king for the six months next and then mayhap you would gain an appreciation for what I need deal with all before I deal with you! Were Paden about, I would thrash him for allowing this mess. Since he is within The Everafter, I will lecture your father instead, and lecture him well. Mayhap he will finally put aside the guilt and self-loathing he suffers and take you in hand.”
“I owe the princess no apology.” No they had parted on good terms. At least mostly good terms. And she had yet to write him. Wait. Why had she yet to write him? Should she not have written to him? They were to meet for the Winter Celebration. And…
“Oh indeed you do! But that is not all I heard. Aware I am that Princess Sari demanded you bring Magic before her at least twice a year. I expect you to comply.”
“Or what?” He was forced all the way back in his chair when Arno leaned over him, their noses nigh touching.
“Do not push me to such a point, Simm.”
“She wants not a Titledman for husband!” And he told no lie. Sari wished not a stuffy Titledman for a husband. Did she not marry him as pirate? But that was something Arno need not know, that he and Sari were married. He would not have Arno crowing with smugness.
“Then change her mind!”
Jayd was wondering if he should just set fire to his boat and be done with this mess, then naught would there be for Arno to hold over his head. And if his uncle wanted to take Title from him, well, Arno could fucking have it.
Princess Sari has much upon her plate. Classes about pirates. Dancing. Her father sneaking from the palace. Her twin brother stumbling about. Troublemaking spirits. Pretending she and a certain pirate are not married.
Jayd Lightning wants nothing more than to be with Sari. His son wants him to be with Sari. He wished his uncle would leave him be. Wait. Is that a bit of treasure in need of liberating.
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