The True Adventures of Jay B R Wokky, Web Serials

Jay B. R. Wokky Ch. 40.9 — A Conversation with the King

Ch. 40.9 — Butterfingers rushed away to the kitchen, where Cook and her assistants kneaded bread dough, stirred the stew, peeled potatoes, and chopped up a large chunk of beef. Cook did not look happy.
“Something’s wrong here,” she muttered. “King on his deathbed, Queen sick, royal children missing, and they want to have a celebration feast? What’s to celebrate? What’s this kingdom coming to?”
At that moment, a tove scurried across the floor. Cook screamed, grabbed the rolling pin, and began to chase the tove around, raining blows on it. “Get out of my kitchen! Get out!”
The tove squeaked in panic and raced around the room. Delighted for the break, the cook’s helpers joined the chase, shouting as they danced in and out of her way.
In the midst of the chaos, Butterfingers flitted between the moving figures, staying unseen while he grabbed a flask of water and a sack full of fruit, bread, and cheese. After delivering these to the queen, he scurried through the secret passageways until he came to the king’s apartment. He peeked inside.
The king lay on his bed. Four armed guards stood at attention near the doors.
Butterfingers watched for the rise and fall of the king’s chest, a flutter of his eyelids or hands, or any sign that the king was still alive, but the enormous man lay still.
Butterfingers crouched on the stone tiles, put his hands to his head, and squeezed. “Think, think.”
Then he had an idea. He made his way back to the hallway, where a suit of armor stood at attention. He grabbed the ax and shoved the armor over. Crash! Before the guards could open the door, Butterfingers was back in hiding. He returned to the king’s room. Only one guard remained at his post. Butterfingers crept up behind the guard and hit him over the head with the blunt end of the ax.  The poor fellow slumped to the floor.
Butterfingers dropped the ax and leaped onto the bed, close to the king’s head. “Majesty? Are you alive?” He felt for a pulse and found one, faint and erratic. The king’s skin was clammy, his breathing shallow.
The king’s eyes blinked open. “Who?” he whispered.
“A friend of Ezra’s.”
He moaned. “Enemy in castle. Natalie dead. Sons dead. I’m next.”
Butterfingers shook his head. “No, Sire, they’re not dead, just in hiding. Don’t give up hope. Keep fighting.”
The king’s eyes were wet, his expression tortured. “Ezra. All my fault.” He turned his head away and closed his eyes.
Butterfingers pleaded with him, but the king’s eyes remained closed.
At last the gnome leaped from the bed and ran back into the passage. His heart hammered in his chest. Butterfingers was not a brave gnome. He wasn’t very smart, and he wasn’t wise. What could he do against such an enemy? Who could he call on for help? No one in his kingdom would believe such a young, clumsy gnome. He almost wept with despair.
Then he thought of Ezra, who had befriended him, taught him, and treated him like an equal. Butterfingers couldn’t let his best friend down. Butterfingers gathered up his courage and hurried away.

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