Chapter Eight, Season One - Visited (b)
“Brother, I would rather stay inside my study than talk with my sisters!” he exclaimed as he locked the saddle on his horse. He turned around to face me, “All they talk about is parties, dresses, and what the Winroe brothers are doing every day!”
“The twins that they met in the Kingdom of the Northern Sky,” he sighed as he took one final check around his horse. “They befriended someone in that kingdom. Whoever that is, that person would send my sisters daily reports on what those twin brothers are doing every day. They even threatened the maids to stay away,” he continued.
“Looks like your sisters found their future husbands,” I let a joke slip out.
“And who’s suffering from the consequences of that? Me!” he pointed to himself. “They continue to bother me, asking me to befriend those boys!”
“Why don’t you give it a try?” I suggested. “They could be great people to talk to from time to time.”
“I don’t want to befriend the Winroe brothers!” he protested.
“What’s wrong with befriending other people?” I questioned, baffled on why Benjamin doesn’t like that idea.
“It’s because I don’t understand their language and accent!”
“You’re losing me quite a bit, Benjamin,” I expressed my confusion. I don’t see anything wrong with befriending these brothers that he mentioned. I’m always open to having new friends since being a royal, I’m contained in a specific circle here in our kingdom. Having other people to talk to would be a great relief.
“I don’t speak the native language of their kingdom!” he continued talking hysterically. “I overheard them fighting over something the last time we visited their kingdom and I had no idea what they were talking about.”
“Maybe they can speak our universal language, Benjamin,” I replied, an attempt to give him a different perspective. “All you have to do is try.”
“They do speak our universal language but they have this thick accent that I can’t get through!” he complained. “I know it’s hard to learn another language but… if you heard them speaking in the universal language, you’ll wish you should’ve kept your mouth quiet.”
“Why don’t you tell your sisters that you don’t want to do what they want?” I suggested. “That’s the easiest solution that you can do to save yourself from agony.”
“If I do that, they would whine continuously and they will tell our mother,” he groaned as he rolled his eyes. “And once my mother intervenes, she’ll scold me and she would force me to befriend the Winroe brothers.”
I’ve always been thankful to have Elizabeth as my sister. She can be annoying at times but she doesn’t torture me the same way Benjamin’s sisters do to him. “Then what are you planning to do?”
“I always tell them that I will but when they ask if I already did it, I keep on making excuses on why I haven’t yet,” he answered, a smirk appeared on his lips.
“What do you tell them?” I asked another.
“Most of the time, I use my responsibilities as my excuse,” he said. “In reality, my responsibilities as a royal don’t take all of my time. I’m the one who keeps my schedule full. I’m thankful to the gods that my sisters never complained regarding duties.”
“How are you doing with your responsibilities, if I may ask?”
“Every day, it’s almost the same thing. I have my meetings, I have daily, weekly and monthly reports,” he began to count everything on his fingers. “Amidst all that, I still have fun with everything I’m doing. What about you? How are your responsibilities?”
“I don’t want to talk about mine right now, Benjamin,” I smiled as I declined his question. “I’m currently out of sorts personally and you know that when we have a conversation, I never liked talking about responsibilities.”
“Of course, brother. I can respect that,” he nodded. “Well, I have to be on my way, brother,” he jumped on his horse. “It may be heading towards the end of the day but I can already feel the piles of reports being dumped on my desk while I’m gone.”
“Take care of yourself, brother.” I smiled as I looked up.
“You as well, brother. I’ll see you soon,” we shook hands and went on his way out of the stables.
“Your Highness?” Gonzalo suddenly came from behind me.
“Gonzalo.” I greeted, turning around.
He bowed and quickly replied, “His Royal Majesty is asking for your presence in his study. He said he has something to tell you.”
I groaned at the message from Gonzalo. I thought this day was going to end on a lighter note because of Benjamin’s visit… but it looks like James is planning to ruin my whole day again.
I nodded and proceeded to walk back inside with Gonzalo behind me.
When the door of James’ study was in sight, his guards crossed their spears to block our way. “Your Highness,” one of the guards greeted. “His Majesty is currently in a meeting. Is there something you would like to tell him?”
“Gonzalo over here,” I gestured to Gonzalo who was right behind me, “Mentioned that His Royal Majesty has summoned me. I’m surprised that you didn’t know about that.”
“Our apologies, Your Highness. Please don’t take us as incompetent,” the other guard replied, still blocking the door. “However, as long as the king doesn’t tell us that someone will be coming here when he’s in a meeting, we don’t let them in.”
Suddenly, the door opened and James’ page appeared. “Young prince,” he bowed. “I heard that there’s some sort of commotion happening outside this study. Is there anything that I can help you with?”
“His Royal Majesty asked me to fetch the young prince,” Gonzalo entered the conversation. “That’s why His Highness is here.”
James’ page looked at us, baffled. “Did he, now?” he slowly turned to Gonzalo, giving him an icy stare. “I’m the king’s royal page. If he’s summoning for the young prince, he would’ve told me to do so.”
“No need to have a long discussion about this, gentlemen,” I interjected, trying to prevent them from disagreeing. “If my father’s household doesn’t know about it then I can respect that. I have nothing against that,” I continued. “Please tell my father that I was here.”
The guards and James’ page bowed.
I gave them a slow nod and walked away with Gonzalo.
Not far along the hallway, I heard, “Robert?”
I came to a halt, turning my head to see James standing by the door.
“Come here, please,” he gestured for me to go back.
I sighed as I scratched the back of my neck.
As I returned to where I was previously, he asked, “I called for you. Why didn’t you knock?”
“Your household mentioned that you were in a meeting,” I explained.
James suddenly turned to the guards and his page, scowling over them.
“Your Majesty,” they all uttered, bowing all at the same time.
“Would one of you mind telling me why you stopped my son from entering?” he questioned. I could see his fists shaking by his sides.
“Forgive us, Your Majesty,” his page replied, his attempt to hide the fact that he’s shaking is failing him. “You were in the middle of a meeting and we thought you didn’t want to be disturbed by anyone.”
“Also, Your Majesty,” one of the guards entered the conversation. “You never told us that you asked for Gonzalo to fetch the young prince. So, we thought they’re here without telling you.”
James let out a long sigh, crossing his arms. His reaction made the three men go down to their knees as fast as they could.
“Please, Your Majesty, spare us from your punishment,” one of the guards started to cry out. “We didn’t know, Your Majesty. We didn’t know.”
I started to feel guilty because they’re being frowned upon by James because of me. They weren’t rude to me when they said I couldn’t enter. They adequately told me so I wouldn’t say they have offended me or something. These people don’t deserve James’ anger.
“Your Majesty,” I intervened, bowing in the process. “If I may?”
As I knelt on one knee, I saw him turning around slowly from where my head was.
“Spare them from any punishments that you have in mind,” I began. “They don’t deserve it. Although they may have forbidden me from entering your study, they were simply doing their duties. Rest assured, they weren’t rude. They were very kind and they did tell me to return once you’re done with your meeting.”
He turned back to his servants. “Is that true? What he said about you three is true?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” his page quickly replied, nodding his head along with the other two. “We would never dare to be rude to the young prince.”
Then it was just silence for a few seconds. I kept my head low, humbling myself along with these people. Please, James, rethink your decision if you’re wanting to punish them.
James let out a long sigh and finally broke the silence, “Because my son said that you’ve been… hospitable, to say the least, I will spare you.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty! You’re very gracious!” his page threw himself onto the floor in relief. One of the guards followed.
“Let this be a lesson to the three of you that whenever my family wants to have a word with me, they’re allowed to enter my study,” James continued with his sermon. “Whether I’m in the middle of reports or a meeting, they can always have a word with me. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“We will remember it, Your Majesty.”
“I will inform all the other servants of this rule to make sure everybody knows,” his page quickly offered.
“Make sure that everyone knows that. I don’t want this to happen again,” James finally put down his arms. I took this as a sign to stand up properly. “Be thankful that my son is gracious enough to convince me not to punish you.”
Without any hesitation, they turned their attention to me, bowing once more to the floor. “Thank you, young prince! You’re very gracious,” they all said in unison.
“Please stand,” I replied. “There’s no need to bow. You don’t deserve any punishments. You were only doing your duties.”
They all nodded as they slowly stood up.
James then turned around. “Would you like to come inside?” he asked me in a lighter tone.
I nodded, my smile contained in a firm, straight line.
James went on first and Gonzalo gestured for me to follow him, standing on my right side with his hand showing the way.
“Thank you, young prince.”
“Thank you, Your Highness,” they started to thank me, shaking my hand as I walked past them. I gave them all a light nod and continued walking towards James’ study.
Entering the room, James still has visitors inside. He was in a meeting with the lords of the court. As the door closed behind me, the lords stood up and bowed to greet me, “Your Highness.”
I stopped as they bowed, paying my respect to them with a bow along with Gonzalo.
“Hello, my lords,” I started walking towards them. “I hope everything is well with all of you,” I began to shake hands with all five of them.
“We’re doing fine. Thank you for asking, Your Highness,” one of them smiled.
“He’s all grown up now, isn’t he?” James remarked with a proud smile, standing in front of his chair.
“Indeed, Your Majesty. And to think, it feels like it was only yesterday when he keeps on running around the halls of this castle,” another lord replied, causing everyone to let out a slight laugh.
“Well, I would like to have a quick word with my son. We’ll resume our meeting tomorrow morning,” James answered. “Would you like to join us for dinner later?”
“Oh, we don’t want to be a bother to your family, Your Majesty,” the lord on my right responded.
James raised his hand, stopping him from talking. “Don’t think of such things. My family and I would love to have you join us at dinner. Gonzalo?” he turned to Gonzalo after responding to the lords.
Gonzalo walked out from my shadow. “Yes, Your Majesty?” he bowed.