“Don’t look so glum,” Sir Arthur told Sarah as he led her though the streets. “You are a hero you know. I doubt the King will call for your beheading.” He gave a little laugh, but Sarah was too nervous to enjoy the joke.
Sighing Sir Arthur took an abrupt left before they reached the castle gates and led her to a large iron door recessed into the castle wall. He pulled a large skeleton key out of a hidden pocket and opened it.
“After you Sarah Ann Smith,” Sir Arthur gestured for her to precede him.
Sarah entered with much trepidation. The area beyond the door was dark. It became pitch black once Jason’s brother had closed the door.
“Oh Gods above,” she heard him mutter before his voice called loudly. “If I find out who let the torch go out there will be a whipping involved!” He heaved a sigh. “Sorry about that, if you will excuse me...”
Sarah pressed against a wall to let Sir Arthur pass. There were a few very soft swears as something got knocked into.
The exclamation was followed by the opening of a second door. Light from the setting sun flooded the room, blinding Sarah for a moment.
“The King thought an informal meeting in the Gardens would suit you better than in his appointment room.” Sir Arthur explained as Sarah stepped cautiously out.
Blinking a few more times her eyes finally adjusted. She looked about noticing the rows of vegetables and corn. “In the kitchen garden?” She knew she was more a wench than a lady but this seemed...
Sir Arthur laughed. “No, no, in the formal Gardens, if you will follow me again.”
Sir Arthur strode off, Sarah in tow. They passed the kitchen garden where a few servants looked up with curiosity at their passing. Passing through another locked gate, Sarah nearly stumbled at the view. A panorama opened out before them and in the distance, she thought she saw the sea. It was, she realized, the same view she’d seen from King Demetrioso’s study. Looking to her right, she saw the castle stretched into this garden and above the tiled roof, windows glinted in the sunlight. Sarah looked forward again, moving towards the low stone wall, completely forgetting why she was here. She looked down and took a step back.
“Right,” she muttered to herself, “mental note, don’t fall over the wall.”
“It is a long drop is it not?” Sarah started and then relaxed as she realized it was Sir Arthur. “Come on, His Majesty is waiting on the south side.”
Once more following Sir Arthur’s lead, Sarah traversed the garden paths that meandered around the hall. The sun warmed the south side where they stopped near a merrily bubbling fountain. Conversing near the fountain where the King and Princess, but not General Hector, to Sarah's relief. Sir Arthur coughed politely.
“Ah, Sarah Ann Smith, come join us.” King Demetrioso beckoned her forward and so Sarah took a few steps towards them. “Thank you Arthur, you may go, but stray not far.”
Arthur bowed, “of course Your Majesty.”
Sarah watched him leave and then turned back to the King. Pulling upon what she remembered of Lady Abigail’s teachings she managed a curtsey. Princess Allmarah smothered a laugh and Sarah smiled. A bow probably would have been more appropriate given she was still in pants.
“I am sorry I was not there for the debriefing,” she apologized when neither of them spoke. “Your Majesty.”
The King chuckled. “General Hector would discipline you, but you are not under his jurisdiction, nor mine.” Sarah started to comment, but he continued. “So fear not, there is no punishment to be dealt, just a few things which must be asked.”
Princess Allmarah gestured for Sarah to join her on the bench. “I would have thought you would be in a skirt by now.” She smiled
Sarah flushed slightly as she sat down. “Well I was hoping for a bath after sparring with Phoenix but.....”
“Did you really nearly beat him?” she asked leaning in.
King Demetrioso cleared his throat and Princess Allmarah straightened up as he sat down upon the other side of Sarah.