Pierce had been sitting in the castle’s waiting room for three hours, using the seat to scratch the cloth off his pants and trying to figure out what the King might want from him. After all, those summoned normally either had to do something or had already done something.
He read a lot and people did not like that too much, he thought. The priest, for example, loathed him for reading other books than the bible. But what could he do? He had finished that particular book when he was seven! Maybe he was about to be sent off to some church school to be led back to the right ways or something. But, did it take a King to do that? No, there was something else…perhaps, but what? And why did he have to wait for that long? Well. This was the King. He could let people wait at leisure. Finally, Elidor arrived. He nodded in Pierce’s direction.
”Whassup wiff him?” he asked the Herald who was leaning on the doorframe into the throne room.
”Nothing!” Pierce said before the Herald could answer.
”Nervous little twat!” Elidor spat. ”Go get yerself some dignerty!”
The Herald almost fell over as the door to the throne room was opened by another servant. He snuck inside and stood to attention immediatly.
”Your Majesty!” he yelled into a pile of air in front and a little above him.
”Elidor O’Caigh and Pierce…er, what ́s your last name, boy?” he asked from the corner of his mouth.
”I don’t know, er…sorry!”
”What?” the Herald laughed a little too loudly. ”You don’t know your last n…?”
”Silence!” the King interrupted. ”It is known who was called before the King. They may enter!”
The Herald ushered Pierce through the door and disappeared as fast as he dared. Elidor was already inside.
”Heads up, yer Majersty!” he said. ”Lookin’ good in dem pants!”
For a mere split-second, there was absolute silence.
”The royal pair of trousers is of no particular interest here! You left your King waiting, Elidor O’Caigh!”
Pierce sighed in relief.
”Yep, sorry ’bout dat, Sire!” Elidor said and scratched his head. ”Had to finish der garden gate for der merch…”
The King’s voice thundered through the throne room like Elidor’s hammer hitting a poor piece of iron. A lightning of cold sweat ran up and down Pierce’s spine while Elidor stood there cramping together a few leathery leaves of some sort.
”Behold”, the King thundered on. ”You could be thrown into the deepest and darkest dungeons for having the face to behave in this way before your King, Elidor O’Caigh!”
”But you won’t be!”
The King paused and looked at Elidor who was inspecting the leaves in his hand and then put them into his mouth. When Elidor started to chew rather noisily the King broke down. Pierce’s thoughts went “Oh!”
”No, I won’t throw you anywhere.” he said weakly. ”On the contrary, I want you to do me a favour, Elidor.”
”No problem, yer Majersty!” Elidor said. ”Jus’ tell me, wha’s der problem?”
”Well, you see…” the King became smaller and smaller on the throne. ”…I mean,…”
”The Princess is gone!” Pierce said.
Elidor and the King stared at him.
”Er…sorry!” Pierce added. ”Happens all the time, doesn’t it, so…er, so I just thought…I mean, er…sorry!”
The King straightened up.
”No, boy! You shall not be sorry! You are right! The princess has been stolen and led away by evil trolls. And it will be the mission of the two of you to bring her back!”
”Princess stolen, ey?” Elidor said.
”Piece o’cake, yer Majersty! I’m gonna get me hammer, and den I’ll be going out troll huntin’!” Elidor turned around and rubbed his hands excitedly. ”Let’s get der hammer!”
The King watched him go: ”May God be on your side, Elidor O’Caigh! There is just one more thing!”
”It was said: The two of you!”
The King pointed at Pierce.
”You are going to take him with you!”
”Him!!! Why dat?”
The King let his gaze rest upon Pierce.
”People say the boy tends to notice things!” he said.
And that was that! He signalled for a servant.
”Show them out!” he ordered.