Ch. 50.4 – The gnomes found Janine and Ezra in different sections of the valley and escorted them to the castle. When they met at the door, Ezra took Janine’s hand.
“Please, come with me,” Ezra said.
They hurried up the stairs to the second floor and found Ezra’s brothers, mother, sister-in-law, and nephew in the king’s bed chamber. The men were bruised, and caked with mud and blood. Everyone’s faces were tired and full of sorrow. Ezra pulled Janine with him as he approached the bed.
The king’s eyes were closed, and he did not move. One look at his pale face, and Janine knew the king wasn’t going to have a happy ending like Mr. Dumfries or Felix. The smell of death hovered in the air.
“Janine, is there anything you can do?” Queen Natalie asked.
Janine opened her pack and rummaged inside. Her heart sank. She had been treating the injured ever since the battle had begun, and she had completely run out of her special blend. Only a few drops of Miracle Mix remained. If only she could call on Felix to magically snatch her a new jar.
Janine gave the king all that remained and then waited.
The king’s eyelids fluttered and opened. Unlike Mr. Dumfries, there was no revitalized alertness in his eyes. Janine looked at the four brothers and shook her head. Sorrow burned a hole in her heart. She felt like an intruder and wished she could leave, but Ezra gripped her hand.
“Matthew,” the king whispered.
His oldest son approached him. “Yes, Father.”
“Do what is right.”
“I promise, Father. I’ll make you proud of me. This time for real. I’m so sorry for the mess I made of things.”
The king called for Mark. “Go and find your true love. Be brave.”
“Yes, Father.” Mark wept.
King Francis whispered his wife’s name, and she bent over him and kissed his cheek. “You are amazing. I love you. Tell Esther I love her too.”
He spoke briefly to Ella and her son. “Thank you for loving him. Sam, be a good boy.”
Then he called for Eli. “You always kept your little brother safe. I’m proud of you.”
“I love you, Father.” Eli’s face crumpled.
Finally, it was Ezra’s turn. “Forgive me.”
Ezra gazed mournfully at his father. “There’s nothing to forgive.” He kissed his father’s cheek.
King Francis closed his eyes. Everyone began to weep.
Janine crept out of the room, feeling completely miserable.