Cromwell spat out an ugly brown malformed shard of the apple’s core. He always proclaimed it had been too troublesome trying to decipher which parts of the fruit were and were not edible, so he’d simply wolf down chunks of his apples till his teeth met a piece he found unfavourable.
“’bout forty now, mayhaps firty-five if ‘ey don’t demand sum anssers from th’ poor lady concernin’ ‘eir own trivial trifles”, he grumbled, spitting out more pieces of his breakfast as he spoke. “’ey always got sumthin’ to ask, ‘em lot. Sum sheep wot gone missin’, mayhaps a chick’n or free”
He words were a dreadful slur, even without half a mouthful of food, but after fortnight on the job I’d managed to conclude that he only opened his mouth to talk righteously about the Queen, or to berate someone whose mere presence might have brought insult upon her.
“Fools, dey ar’! Fools, th’ lot o’ ‘em”, came another choked insult from the callus Edward Cromwell.
He wore the Queen’s own colours, just as I: an ultramarine coatee with goldenrod pauldrons and cuffs. Its collar and buttons were a contrasting obsidian black, along with our breeches and boots, and atop our heads sat leather bicornes, fair Queen Sophia’s three-headed lion emblazoned in gold upon the faces of them. We’d both been issued new silver-lined rapiers, each with jewel-encrusted hilts so they looked “respectable” in our scabbards, as Gauss the blacksmith had said, and matching pistols as well. On the contrary however, their barrels had been filled with wax and the intricate jade and garnet infused design on the grip meant the flintlock system had to be screwed stationary so as not to shatter some poor craftsman’s handiwork.
I’d always preferred the blade to the gun, and it wasn’t as though my bullets had been dipped in silver like the edge of my sword, but having a working pistol on my hip helped to ease my nerves. So, on that day, my old 22cm had sat uneasily jammed into my holster; much to Cromwell’s amusement as I’d fumble around trying to keep it from falling out every time I bent over.
“Youse won’ be protectin’ shit wi’ that!” he chortled, stuffing his apple into his face once more for another mouthful of rotted core. “No ‘ard o’ ‘er fairest maj’sty is fit t’ serve ‘er wi’ such n’ foul gun!”
I shot him a sharp look, wishing I could’ve shot him with something else.