Everyone’s eyes turned first to Peter, and then to the baron. The grim expression on his father’s face was like ice in the middle of winter, bleak with worry and too many facts unclear.
“That is something,” he began, “that they long debated, but never decided upon.”
“Not in that meeting, at least,” James added.
Peter seemed as though he wanted to scowl, but stopped himself short, and looked to his sister. “How are we to be of any help if he cannot be more forthcoming?” Then he turned to his boyfriend. “I hope that we’re not expected to prevent this from happening.”
“I would not ask you to be the king’s guard,” Lexavier replied. “I can understand how troubling this must all seem, but I promise you that I am asking as little of you as I can. If you can warn him of the danger, then his men will be able to take over from there.”
“And you can’t warn him yourselves,” Peter said, “because if they see one of you riding into the capital,” he paused and looked straightforward at the baron, “your daughter may be in danger.”
“That is a very simple way way to put it, yes,” Lexavier said. “The good– I daresay important– thing about your party is your ability to move through our realm unknown.”
“Wouldn’t they start to catch on and tell each other about us, though?” Bayani asked. “Or know they we come to represent you?”
“We have sorted that out,” James answered. “To begin with, word does not travel as fast here as it does on Earth. Without your kind of technology, news does not get around quickly unless it is terribly important. Our kingdom has a great many messengers, and the king receives them regularly. We will not be sending you with our barony’s crest, so that anyone at court will be unable to know that you have come to warn him on our behalf.”
“I think the next question we should ask,” Himeko chimed in, “is whether yo have any evidence to back up what we are going to be telling His Majesty.”
Baron Lexavier gave a slow, solemn nod. He glanced around the room, and then reached into one of the pockets on the breast of his shirt. When he pulled it back out again, he opened his palm to reveal a smooth amethyst stone. It was rounded, like a drop of water resting on a leaf, and shimmered as though minuscule silver fish swam inside. Cerys and the other leaned in to peer at it, gaping at the way it shone.
“This,” the baron told them, “is all the proof that the king will need.”