Kingdom of Tofu (Chapter 4)

C H A P T E R F O U R

It was a very chaotic day. Everyone in the palace— and in the Kingdom— was in panic for no one has any idea how Prince Ronald disappeared.

The King requested for the presence of the guards and maids who were supposed to be with the Prince. The guards said they did not leave the Prince’s doors, or even windows. While the maids swore they were inside the Prince’s room all the time. One moment the Prince was sleeping peacefully, but in a blink of an eye, he was gone.

Mikee was torn between hating her father (she was really fond of her aunt) and losing her mind because of her brother’s disappearance. While James, together with their two best knights, followed his aunt and planned to question her about his brother’s disappearance.

The King was very furious. He lost his wife, and now, the last memory of his wife is missing. So he decided to consult the wisest and oldest man in his Kingdom, and also his friend, Martin. As the oldest in the Kingdom, Martin would always have someone asking advice from him. But, never his King. The King would visit him, yes. But he would come as a friend, not as someone who seeks advice.

Martin lived alone. He had no wife, his parents were dead. He had gray hair. He cannot stand straight anymore because of his age. But three things did not change, his sharp mind, keen eyes and open ears. His house was quite far from the palace. It was a small hut, enough for an old man like him. Usually the king would come alone, but because of disturbances in the palace, he had to travel with knights with him. They traveled too fast. And when they reached Martin’s hut, the King alighted from his horse too fast as well. He almost ran to the door. He did not plan to knock but the door still opened just before he reached it. The knights stayed outside the house while the King entered. He refused the meals offered to him, instead, told the old man what happened.

“It is not a coincidence, my King,” Martin said. They were both sitting, facing each other.

“No, it is not. Veronica was in in the palace. Moments after she left, Ronald went missing. If those events are not related, I must be damned,” the King replied. Exhaustion was in his voice. He looked like he did not sleep for weeks.

“But Veronica does not posses the ability to perform such trick.”

“Trick?” the King inquired.

“You said the guards and maids were in the room and Ronald just disappeared. It is a trick. Or a magic. Surely, it is not Veronica’s doing.”

“Are you saying Veronica has nothing to do with the disappearance of my son?”

“As I have said, my King, it’s not a coincidence. It was planned, yes. But it was not Veronica who stole your son. She’s not stupid to show up and steal your son.”

“So, who stole my son?” the King inquired. He was too tired to think of someone to blame. It would be easier if it was Veronica, he need not to think anymore. Just blame. But if it was not Veronica, who?

“You have many enemies more than you think, my King,” Martin stood up. “Let me prepare a drink for you.”

“No. I have to go now,” the King said as he stood up and walked to the door. He opened the door, but remembered something, so he looked back at Martin,”thank you. I’ll visit again,” he went outside and rode back to the palace.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Veronica was in her room, resting. She was still disappointed not seeing her nephew so she locked herself up in her room. She only allowed servants to enter when it was time to eat. Other than that, no one entered her room. She even bathed herself, dressed herself, brushed her hair herself. So, she was really annoyed when a guard knocked on her door when it was not time to eat yet. She did not open the door, but shouted “what is it” instead. The guard hesitated to reply for he was afraid that the Queen might get mad at him. But he answered back. “Your nephew, Prince James, with their two knights, just arrived.”

The Queen froze. Why did he follow me? She quickly got up from her bed, looked at the mirror and fixed herself and went to the door.

“Where are they?” she asked the guard.

“They’re in the garden. They refused to enter the palace.”

The Queen ran to the stairs and rushed to the garden. There, she saw three familiar faces. James was standing and in deep thought. His aunt was in font of him but he did not notice her, or even feel her presence. One of his companions, a knight and also his friend, was admiring the beautiful garden. He was actually smelling one of the flowers when the Queen arrived. The Queen smiled. Gabriel. The other knight was sleeping on a long wooden bench. He was snoring so loud. But not loud enough to disturb James who was still in deep thought, or Gabriel who was busy admiring the flowers. The queen smiled again.The sleeping knight.Geo.

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