“I know it hardly seems possible,” James said, “but I promise you that you will have a lot going your way in this quest.”
“And how much is working against us?” Cerys groaned. “I suppose next you’ll warn us that this duke and the other nobles are willing to hurt anyone who tell what they are up to.”
“Therein lies the beauty of it all,” he replied. “King Leonars trusts my father implicitly. He and Baron Richard are the only nobles that have that level of trust. The others have always been self-serving at heart, even though– up until now, at least– they have never betrayed him.”
“Then why not tell him yourself?” Peter asked in the same way any teenager might speak when he did not like the situation he was being put into against his will. Sour looks from his sister and her friend did nothing to change his mind about his feelings.
“Duke Emerias and the others cannot know that I am the one warning His Majesty about the danger that he is in,” Lexavier replied, seemingly undaunted by the fifteen-year-old’s tone. Then, before Peter could open his mouth to say anything else, he added, “I cannot explain it right now, but if you can trust me on how important it is that you be the ones to deliver this message…”
“The dukes are most often at court,” James explained. “If either my father or myself were to enter the capital, they would know exactly how the king found out about the plot against him.”
“And they would hurt him?” Bayani assumed.
“It is not so simple,” James replied, but that is part of it. Listen, I am sure that we have put you through enough for today. Let us take you to the bedchambers that we have prepared for you.”
“I suppose it is time that we got some rest,” Himeko said with a sort of sigh. She was still curious about how everything was going to work out.
“Indeed, my friends. I promise you, I will explain more– as much as I can, anyhow– after breakfast tomorrow.”
“I would have told the king myself right away, dukes be damned.”
“Peter!” Cerys shouted, giving her brother a look of contempt. “I am sure they have a very good explanation for all of this.”
“It is quite all right, young lady,” Baron Lexavier said, as calm as though he he merely been exchanging pleasantries. “It is only natural for him to say such things when he does not understand the entire situation. Give yourself the night. I think you will find that once your heads meet your pillows, you will realize just how deeply exhausted you all are.”
Not long thereafter, he excused himself from the study, leaving behind James to show his four friends to their bedrooms. They had to climb the stairs to the third floor, which turned out to be very tiring once they were ascending the last few steps.
All the while, Cerys took in the sights of the manor house. It seemed like a lovely place to grow up in (although she reminded herself to ask James later whether he had grown up there). Baron Lexavier seemed like the right kind of person to have a position of nobility. It was too bad, she found herself thinking at one point, that the other nobles were so ill-suited for their responsibilities. Was that not always the way of it though? Leaders too greedy to lead, yet being followed by those who knew not where they were going, and those of the best character having to modest a following. Another paradox to add to her collection, she supposed.