“Peter! Cerys chided.
He only rolled his eyes at her.
James did not answer the question, either indirectly or directly. Instead, he got up from his chair and crossed the room, saying, “You should eat.”
He unbarred the door and opened it, stepping out into the hall to look for a servant. He came back after a couple of minutes, and sat down, not saying anything.
“What are we going to do?” Cerys asked him.
“It would seem,” Nashtra noted out loud, “that a lot depends on whether or not the king still lives.”
“So did he choke to death,” Peter wanted to know, “or was he able to get this thing out of his throat?”
James gave him a silencing glare.
Bayani leaned over and whispered to him, “It seems as though there are prying ears in the castle.”
“Sounds more like we need to pry information out of him!” Peter complained. “What was it that we came all this way at for?”
Nobody else seemed to be in the mood to talk. They let the young teenager’s question go unanswered, and instead wait in silence– no matter how uncomfortable it made them feel– until several trays of food were brought in. There were roasted quails, grilled fish, steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, and even several types of fish and bread. Peter acted as though he had very little appetite while the others ate ravenously; breakfast was hours away, and the journey had taken a lot out of them.
Once the meal was well under way, and the several all dismissed, James looked across the group. “Regardless of His Majesty’s condition,” he began, his voice low and rough, “there is only one way for you to continue this journey.”
“What do you mean?” Cerys asked him as she took another slice of reddish-orange cheese from the platter.
“I brought you here to do more than deliver a message,” he explained. “Our next task in all of this is the find the source of these noir beasts and put a stop to it.”
Peter looked over at the baron’s son and narrowed his eyes. “You mean you want us to defeat a great and terrible evil?”
“That is what I plan on doing,” the young noble replied. “Why not join me?”
“Are you serious about this?” Himeko asked. “It sounds like an incredible danger that we would be facing.”
James grinned back at her. “At the very least, you would learn exactly what became of King Leonars.”
Himeko look to Cerys, and the stare that they shared with one another told each girl exactly what the other was thinking.
End of Part Four
A Modern Legend