Ch. 28.7 — Sorrow welled up inside Eli as his father went limp.
Doctor Billings rushed in and set his black bag on the floor by the king. He knelt, leaned over, and put his ear against the king’s chest. After a moment he looked up at the boys. “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do. None of my medicines are effective in a case like this. He won’t last much longer.”
Matthew gestured to the guards. “Carry my father to his bedchamber. Tell his servants to care for him.” Two more guards brought a stretcher into the room and lifted the king onto it.
Ezra burst into the room, carrying a small jar. “Wait! Use this medicine for Father. It will help.”
“Not now, Ezra.” Matthew wiped the sweat from his face.
“But it will help him to get better.”
Matthew turned on him, furious. “How did you get out of your room?”
Ezra’s face paled. “I… um.”
Eli went over and stood beside Ezra. “I let him out.”
Matthew skewered them both with a thunderous scowl. “Guards, take Prince Ezra back to his room, lock the door, and make sure he doesn’t get out again. Take Franklin to the dungeon and put him in chains.”
“No,” said Ezra. “You can’t do that. It wasn’t Franklin’s fault. Please, just listen. This ointment will cure Father.” He held out the jar.
Matthew sneered at Ezra. “You think you’re so smart with all your inventions, but even you can’t cure Father’s heart. You’re nothing but a spoiled little brat with no idea about how the real world works.“
Matthew grabbed the jar of Miracle Mix and hurled it to the ground. Smash! Glass fragments scattered all over the stone tile floor. Fumes from the ointment filled the air with a sweet, pungent scent.
Dr. Billings opened his mouth, aghast, but one look at Matthew’s face, and he shut his mouth again.
The king began to breathe easier, and his color improved, but no one saw it but Eli.
Ezra faced Matthew. “What have you done?” he yelled. “That was the only Miracle Mix left in the castle, maybe in the whole kingdom.”
Matthew jerked his chin at two more guards. “Get him out of here.”
The guards dragged Ezra away.
“No!” he screamed.
Then Matthew gestured to the other guards, and they picked up the king’s stretcher.
At that moment, Queen Natalie hurried in. When she saw the king, she burst into tears. “Oh, Frances!”
“It was Eli’s fault,” said Matthew. “He was in here bothering Father, stressing him out. He never thinks about Father’s health, or anyone but himself for that matter.”
The queen turned to the doctor. “Isn’t there anything you can do?”
“I’m sorry, your Highness.” Dr. Billings looked regretfully at the mess on the floor. “All we can do now is to say our goodbyes.”
She turned and looked at Eli, her eyes full of pain. “Oh, Eli, what have you done?”
Eli gasped, stung at the unfairness of it all. “Mother, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
The guards carried his father out. His mother walked behind them, weeping.
Eli had never felt so terrible in his whole life.