“Can you swim?”


“Can you swim?” I peered through one of the knots in the door to make sure no one was close enough to hear my answer. The king had told me to meet him during my meal break. I thought back to when I was much younger. We weren’t slaves then, and once a week go bathe in the lake.

“Yes, but-”

“Excellent! The regent and my brother are going to the lake in three days’ time. I need you to accompany them.”

I groaned inwardly. That day was the only break I had, and I did not want to spend it babysitting the nobles. But I did not tell the king that.

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Now, here is what I want you to-”

I heard the loud clatter of wooden bowls from the kitchen and realized that breakfast was over.

“Sorry Your Majesty, but I have to go.” I race out the door to join the others. Edgar elbowed me.

“Why didn’t you eat with the rest of us? Do you think having a girlfriend places you above the rest of us?”

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“You are right. What was I thinking?” Edgar winked at me and walked away. I was about to go with him when I suddenly had an idea. I turned to Lucy, a girl from the one of slave families.

“Lucy, would you like to trade jobs with me for a while?” I saw her eyes widen. Lucy, for reasons unknown to me, had feelings for Edgar, and I knew that she would love to go work with him, even if it meant helping chop firewood.

But of course she would never make it look that way. “Alright, if I must.” She walked in a huff, but I saw her walking unusually close to Edgar. I grinned and turned. Lucy’s job was in the kitchen, where Sarah was. Perhaps I could get another chance to talk to her. I stepped into the kitchen and looked around. Sarah was not there. I walked to one of the cooks.

“Excuse me, d-do you know where…”

“It is about time!” She placed a pile of dishes into my hands and pushed me toward the sink. Bewildered, I began washing. Another woman came by to place another pile of dishes in the sink and I turned to her.

“S-sorry, but do you know where Sarah is?”

“Sarah?” The woman pursed her lips, while she wiped her large hands on her apron. “I do not know. Morgan!” She yelled so loud half the kitchen turned to look. “Do you know where Sarah is?”

“She left in the morning,” answered a girl who I decided must have been Morgan. “I haven’t seen her since.”

“You did not hear this from me,” an old woman with yellowed teeth said, “But I heard that the king proposed to her before he died, and now she’s marrying his brother.”

This produced a gasp from everyone in the kitchen.

“Have you been drinking the cooking sherry again?” The woman beside me crossed her arms.

“I have my sources.” The old crone taped the side of her head and grinned.

“I wished that I could be married to a king.” Morgan sighed, placing her elbows on the dough she had been kneading.

“But to an infant? It is a pity the old king died. He was much more handsome.”

While the women chattered, I washed the dishes, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had told the nobles about the proposal. Sarah would hate me for sure. But did she know?

“How d-did they find out about the proposal?” The old woman shrugged.

So Sarah did not know. At least, not yet. But how was I going to talk to her now? Now that I think about it, what was the point in talking to her? She had not believed us. However, she was rather pretty…

 I plunged my hands deeper into the soapy water. No, I could not think about that. Not only was she engaged, she also had the old king pining for her. I do not know what he would if I started liking her. Besides, we had only just met.

I washed furiously, trying to push the image of her face out of my head.

The End

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