Ch 36.9 — Mr. Boddikins, the royal court recorder, knocked on the door, then came in and bowed to Queen Natalie. “Your Majesty, if I may interrupt?”
“What is it?” She looked up from the legal papers she had been studying as she sat by her husband’s bed.
“I just received a message from Saltonia, in answer to your request for news regarding your son, Prince Eli. It seems that he never arrived in Saltonia.”
The queen gasped. She had been very upset to learn that Matthew had banished Eli, but when Matthew vanished, she’d hoped to bring Eli home again soon.
What could have happened to him? She had ordered a notice to be posted of a reward for any information about Matthew and Mark, as well as their servants, George and Percival, but so far, there had been no news.
“Send spies to Saltonia,” said the queen. “Find out if the king is holding Eli in a dungeon. Send a formal letter to King Henry informing him of events here, and that he is to scour his kingdom for Prince Eli – and I do mean scour. Geoffrey, as soon as the storm clears, send out troops to search the forest between here and Saltonia.”
The guard snapped to attention and saluted. “Yes, My Lady.”
Queen Natalie glanced at her husband. The king had an expression of shocked admiration on his face. She turned away before he could see her smile.
The return letter arrived a week later. In it King Henry of Saltonia assured the queen that Prince Eli had not arrived in Saltonia and was presumed dead. The Princess Zelda Mary would leave in in four days for Nelsonia, prepared to take her turn to kiss Prince Ezra. If she should manage to waken the prince, King Henry expected all the formalities of marriage to be observed, in spite of the age difference.
Queen Natalie didn’t want to start a war with Saltonia. She had explained the conditions of Prince Ezra’s curse, but she had no choice but to agree. She had run out of heirs.