[Author's note: So before I could get down to the serios business of editing Sarah and Jason's interview with the King I had to know what information the King actually had. We'll just presume his son had nothing nice to say, but here's what Jason's supirior found out - its been split in two for your reading convenience.]
General Hector left the castle and returned to the city Scout Barracks, chewing on his whiskers the whole time. Sarah; the name was so familiar and to hear in connection with Phoenix seemed perfectly natural. But, as far as the General knew, Phoenix had not been courting any woman, of any rank, since his failed engagement with Lady Angelina.
That of course was surprising, seeing as Phoenix was a good man. If his standing with the scouts didn’t give him high marks certainly being a noble man ought to. Then again, if Hector remembered correctly, Phoenix had never had much luck with women, always disappearing when they seemed to need him most.
“Sarah!” General Hector stopped mid step before starting again. What was it he had said, I’m sorry General but Sarah needed me. Yes, that had been his excuse for his continued disappearances. But the question now, he thought, was the woman with Troop Phoenix the same Sarah. The General found himself in front of Phoenix’s house. Well he might as well start at the source. He knocked on the door and listened. There was no answer.
“Sergeant Phoenix,” General Hector called as he knocked on the door again.
“Sergeant Phoenix, this is General Hector, open up.”
There were hushed whispers, some scuffling and before the General could knock again the door opened to reveal on of the Phoenix Scouts.
“General,” he stammered.
Hector could see others of Phoenix Troop crowding in the kitchen doorway. “May I come in?”
“O, of course.” The man moved back.
“Is Phoenix here?”
The men exchanged glances before the one at the door answered. “No, No General.”
“Well then perhaps you boys can help me.” They all exchanged puzzled glances again. “See there’s a rumor going about and I just need to know if it’s true or not.” There were more exchanged glances and the General could sense their unease. “I’m sure it’s nothing, so why don’t we dig into Phoenix’s beer allowance and laugh at the accusations?”
Well what the General found out was that the accusations were not laughable. The youngest made a slip of the tongue and it had all come out. There indeed had been a woman with Phoenix Troop, for much longer than he would have thought. However, the men were adamant that she had not been a camp follower. In fact they claimed she was handy with a sword. She had tackled an archer saving Phoenix life and procuring the prisoner they had turned in at _. Additionally they said she was the one sent into the General’s camp and brought out the Prince single handedly. Not to mention, one of them had added, she made a mean stew. The rest nodded.
“All right,” General Hector nodded. “So where is Sergeant Phoenix and Scout Mathew?”
The men remained silent as they exchanged glances, finally one spoke up. “Well we don’t really know, General.”
Another one continued, “We were on our way home after the assignment was done when his head suddenly shot up and he told Mathew he was in charge and that Sarah needed him.”
“Then the next thing we knew,” a third continued, “he was running for a glowing Willow tree and with a flash of light his disappeared underneath it.”
“And Mathew?” The General wanted to know.
“He brought us home and then went to get Phoenix’s and his horses. He said he’d bring Phoenix and Sarah back from Griffon’s.”
“Sarah went to stay there to keep Phoenix out of trouble.” The men exchanged nervous glances. “He’s not in trouble is he?”
The General stood and shook his head. “I’ve got more questions to ask of others before that can be decided and it will be the King who passes judgment not I.” The men looked nervous. “I know you boys are loyal to Phoenix and so I appreciate your truthfulness in this matter.” He looked at each one in turn. “My current opinion is that, though unconventional, Phoenix was only exercising his right of autonomy in the field.”
The General left and sent out messengers to the four other Scout Sergeants that had been sent on the mission. He only hoped they would all be able to travel post haste. He wanted to make sure he could lay all the facts before the King.