“Number 2275” the late arrival sighed as he read and reread the title he'd carried for as long as he remembered.
“You” a voice snapped from nearby, he looked up slowly four young male angels stood in front of him. 2275 rolled the piece of paper up again and tucked it into his belt not taking his eyes off the boys. “So you're the late arrival” one of them said “we had to do your share of the chores”
“Then I suppose I should thank you” 2275 said calmly.
Areem Carter walked out of the training tent to see a full scale brawl in the corner of the yard, he sighed and leaning on his gnarled walking stick limped over to the boys.
“Enough” his voice barked over their shots and curses. Four of them jumped up and stood to attention as the fifth pulled himself up slowly blood dripping onto the sandy floor. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing” the four angels said together.
“You four are on wash-up duty for the next week” Areem growled “dismissed”
“But sir…” one of the boys whined amid sounds of disapproval and annoyance from the others.
“I said dismissed” Areem snarled he looked at the bloody angel as the boys walked away. “Name?” he ordered.
“2275 sir” the angel said through a split lip.
“And your age?”
“Forty five sir”
“I take it this is the late arrival?” a voice said from behind Areem who spun to see the prince.
“Yes you highness” he said.
“Very well” Gabriel said “dismissed Areem” the old angel hobbled away and Gabriel smiled slightly as he heard him cursing under his breath.
“So you're the new addition to the guards?” Gabriel said.
“Yes sir” 2275 stood straight and even the prince heard as his ribs crunched and he paled.
“You’re injured?” Gabriel asked.
“I had a few problems before I arrived sir”
“Okay” Gabriel said “can you walk?”
“Then come with me” Gabriel turned and the boy followed him holding his side.
In the infirmary Gabriel looked at the beds as he passed them only two of the ten beds in the main ward were occupied.
“sit down” he said pointing to one of the beds “I wont subject you to matron today” he smiled pulling the curtain around the bed as 2275 smiled and sat down then he began to cough tasting blood he grimaced. “Then again if you have a punctured lung on the other hand that is beyond my level of expertise.”
“I'm not sure sire” the dark haired angel said Gabriel could see the blood staining his teeth.
“Then by the sound of you I will have to subject you to matron” he sighed and swept the curtain aside and disappeared from view.
2275 wiped his mouth on his sleeve as Gabriel came back in with a large buxom woman.
“This is matron” the prince said.
“Hello ma’am” 2275 said painfully.
“Shirt off boy” the woman said ignoring the greeting but Gabriel noticed a tiny smile on her face as 2275 began to slowly try and pull his shirt up. Gabriel watched for a moment before stepping forward to help he glared at the matron as he folded the bloody and torn shirt and put it on the chair beside the bed.
“Thank you” 2275 said breathing hard Gabriel could hear the wheeze in his chest.
“That’s perfectly alright” Gabriel said “you can lay down” 2275 nodded and obeyed slowly.