The Prince had entered the parlor and stood facing Sarah, arms crossed against his chest. A wave of dizziness swept over her as she stepped into the room. Clutching the back of a chair Sarah steadied herself. One hand involuntarily went to her head as it began to pound. The pain didn’t lessen her awareness of the Prince’s scrutiny.
“Sit, you are obviously not well,” the tone of his voice bore no compassion.
“No s--t Sherlock,” Sarah muttered under her breath just as Martha came in. The scathing look Martha gave Sarah clearly indicated that Sarah’s manners were lacking.
“No, she’s not, Your Highness.” The Prince turned to Martha, clearly expecting her to elaborate. “We thought the Gods had taken her, but somehow here she is, up when she should be a bed.” Martha scowled at Sarah as she set a bowl of soup in front of her.
“So,” the Prince said after dismissing Martha. “Do you know Scout Sergeant Phoenix?”
“Yes,” Sarah spoke warily. “Your highness,” she amended as his frown deepened. She began to slowly eat, ignoring the man’s look of annoyance. If she was to think clearly and not be horribly rude then Sarah needed food.
“How long have you known him?” he asked, interrupting her thoughts.
“Most of my life, Your Highness,” Sarah looked up at the Prince, wishing she had the strength to stand.
“Then you were not randomly picked up by Phoenix Troop.”
Sarah blinked. The Prince’s tone had amazingly become sourer. He eyed her critically. Oh God, she thought, I just jumped into the frying pan didn’t I?
“She was picked up unexpectedly, Your Highness.”
The sound of Jason’s voice rushed over Sarah like a cool glass of water on a hot day. She looked over to him. His face was grim like it was when he was with his troop. Jason bowed, his eyes never leaving the Prince.
“And how long was she with your troop Scout Sergeant Phoenix?” the man asked with contempt.
Sarah had never seen Jason look so uncomfortable before. Not that she could blame him with the way the Prince was looking. “Over three months, Your Highness.”
“Three months?” The Prince’s voice raised a pitch. “So you took her into enemy lands when even in untroubled times a scout troop is no place for a woman!”
“With all due respect, Your Highness,” Jason straightened up to his full height to face the Prince. “Sarah, in no way, endangered our mission. In fact without her help we would not have captured an enemy scout or procured our target.”
“She,” the Prince looked at Sarah disbelievingly, “helped with that?”
“She has also survived two Nigiri Assassinations, Your Highness.” Jason drew two weapons from his pocket and let them clatter onto the table.
“People do not survive Nigiri Assassinations.” The Prince glared at Jason, one hand hovering above his sword hilt.
“Well she did, Your Highness,” Jason’s tone became more troubled. “Surely Grand-Fayther Jesus explained what happened when he returned to the capitol.”
“Her assassin was the Godless Nigiri?” The Prince’s hand clutched his sword hilt. He took a step towards Jason. “If I find you are lying.”
Jason bowed his head to the unspoken threat, “I am not, Your Highness.”
Sarah saw Griffon step into the room and speak, but at this point Sarah’s head had erupted into a splitting headache. No sound penetrated the pounding; all she could do was watch. The conversation was obviously becoming heated. Occasionally Sarah caught a word or two; Gods, Nigiri, Faith.
She looked at Jay, who now stood silent, letting Griffon and the Prince argue. What is going on, her mind questioned. Jason’s eyes flicked towards her, his expression softening slightly.
I will try to explain later my love, his voice seemed to speak directly to her head, though his lips never moved.
Then Jason’s expression went grim again. He spoke, though Sarah still could not hear. At last the Prince stormed out. Her hearing slowly returned and the first thing Sarah heard was the sound of horses’ hooves pounding down the street.
“Well, tha' wen' well.” Griffon remarked after a moment of silence.