I stared at my older brother, scoffing at him.

"You cannot just go house to house collecting money, Percy. Father gave taxes to our people, too. It is how you use the money that matters. Besides, these roads need people to work on them as well. Perhaps we should look at how Father handled these things, to find out where we can get some money."

Percival, who had been kneeling to examine the road,  stood up quickly and charged toward me, puffing out his chest with intimidation.

"Don't you dare use that tone with me, Stephen! There will be changes now that I am King and it will be me who makes the decisions!"

I snorted in frustration but kept my head cool. "Percy, I just want to help you understand what I know. I don't want to challenge you. There is nothing I want more than to help you do what's right for your Kingdom. Do we have an understanding?”

Percy stayed very close to me, glaring, for a few more moments. Then he glanced at the ground and stood back. “What you say holds truth, brother. However, I have been wanting to go among the people anyway. Will you ride with me and my knights tomorrow? We shall start with the village of Hoseth, travelling along the East road through the Thieves’ forest.”

I nodded my head, accepting his request but also voiced some concern. “I have heard rumors of bandits on that path. Are you sure it is wise for us to travel that way?”

I realized that I had questioned him too soon, as he sent daggers toward me with his piercing gaze. Apparently the wound I had opened by questioning his authority would take a while to heal. “Again I will remind you that I am a different man than my father, and visiting each small village in our territory will help to show the people exactly that. Now let us return to the castle. I have tired of this sport and find myself famished.”

He swiftly mounted his horse and began to ride away, leaving me standing with the overturned horse carts, and our timid advisor spurring ahead to try to keep up with our King.

The End

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