Ch 46.3 – Eli waited for midnight. His room in the castle was dark, and the night was unusually quiet. At last the poison wore off. Sweating and gasping, he rolled out of bed. His arms shook as he got to his knees. He crawled to the door and opened it, expecting to find his human bodyguard. Instead, Zelda waited for him.
“Oh, no you don’t,” she said. “I’ve worked too hard for this.”
She grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. Eli was too weak to resist her. It was frustrating and humiliating to have this diminutive girl troll handle him as if he were a little child.
“You’re going to be a good, obedient, little prince. I only need you around for a couple more weeks until I assume the throne, but during that time you must play your part.”
She dumped him back in his bed, tied him up, and put a gag in his mouth. Then she rolled him on his side, facing the wall, and pulled up the covers. To anyone who came into the room, Eli would appear to be sleeping. He was helpless.
Footsteps sounded in the hallway. Zelda rushed out of the room. The door clicked shut behind her, but Eli could still hear every word.
“Jeeves? Why aren’t you at your post?” Zelda said.
Eli heard fear in the bodyguard’s usual pompous voice. “I apologize, my Lady. I was only gone a moment to use the, er, toilet.”
“Hmm.” Her voice softened. “You have served the royal family faithfully for many years, haven’t you?” “Yes, Lady Zelda, I have.” There was pride in Jeeves’s voice.
Zelda’s tone changed again, oozing sorrow. “My poor, beloved Eli. I fear for his health.”
“I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. Prince Eli looked fine today — in perfect physical condition. The people were so happy to see him back, safe and alive.”
Zelda sniffed. “Jeeves, I’m going to tell you a secret. You mustn’t tell anyone else.”
“Of course not, my Lady.”
Eli’s heart sank.