Only Fools Complain
An Interesting Surprise
I warned the soldiers on duty what I planned on doing. They spoke of others attempting it with everyone turning and walking away disappointed. I mentioned the psychic vision I saw when I contacted the shell down in the barracks. The soldiers agreed that the others that attempted what I would be doing all claimed that the problem was hopeless.
While I spoke to them, I kept easing toward the shell. When at an appropriate distance, I turned to Mersidda and lifted my sword. She stood and cheered, which I felt was the proper conditions to make my attack.
The attack went just as expected. I rushed the shell and made my thrust with my sword. The same psychic vision as before overwhelmed me, but I did not let it stop my action. With a quick application of my strength, I made a slice in the shell large enough for me to step through.
I did not step out into the ground on the other side of the barrier. I actually dropped a couple of feet to land on a tiled floor. I looked behind me to see a glowing golden orb floating in a wonderful wooden holder that I felt held a globe when the magic was not working. Along the wall were tables and shelves holding a variety of odd and normal items. Sitting at a desk was a man carefully working an item of gold. I sheathed my sword as I stepped to him.
He did not look up from his work as he replied, “That must be a wonderful sword to have cut through my barrier, yet you put it away?”
“The only reason to leave it out is to attack you, and I am not certain that would be a wise move.”
“It wouldn’t be. Since you are being sociable, there is a chair over there near the table with the carafe of wine. Help yourself to the wine. The plate should be my breakfast, so leave it alone. If there are some pastries however, you may help yourself to them.”
I did move to take the chair as I said, “Thank you, but I had breakfast with my wives before coming.”
“Ah, so you are a married man. That is a change from the usual hero. I see the orange tassels on your armor, but they cover violet and the blue is wrong. I know that the king of Thiminy was contacted, so I expect you are from that land.”
“Yes. The people tried at first to have me pretend to be a local person, but I am not one for charades. Major Berair.”
He put away his work as he said, “You can call me Major Benign. Any title would really not be appropriate for me, but at the moment I am willing to set myself as your equal.”
I ignored the name, as I could tell it was fake, but asked about a truth I thought would be said. “No one spoke of a demand. Do you have one?”
“Yes, but it is not something you can do. You were simply brought in to remove the problem so the demands would not need to be fulfilled.”
“Just to know the situation, could I hear them?”
He lifted a hand, and the plate he said held his breakfast floated over to him. He uncovered it to show that it was food, although the slab of meat with a pile of onion and cabbage did not have me think of breakfast. Before he began eating, he answered my question.
“No. Trust me, those that could do as I desire have been told. If they have not told you, why should I?”
“Okay, so everyone is just stuck until someone finally accedes to your demands?”
He did not wipe his mouth, but did at least swallow before answering. “No. The magic of creating that spell is just too taxing. You have about over a week, then the shell will disappear. At that time I will consider myself to have displayed my power, so will just take personal action.”
My head lifted, and so did his. He had made a mistake. I smiled with confidence, as I tried to detect if he recognized his error. It was something that I learned in having a king that could fight armies by himself. I came to the conclusion that he did not really comprehend where he made the mistake, as his eyes lifted while thinking of a way to end the conversation instead of attempting to explain away a remark.
“Any other question that you might have, Major Berair?”
“No – well, I see you eating alone. Are you married?”
“No, but a question like that deserves some little response of its own. Let’s say that I am throwing you a bone.” I believe he thought of that phrase due to there being one in his slab of meat, but what he did not seem to grasp was that everything he said was just evidence to use against him. “Do you know a Princess Aden?”
That question shocked me, but I was already on alert not to reveal anything important. “Well, she is around the castle.”
“It might do you well to talk to her. Now, Major Berair, go.”
I found myself in the center of the main hallway to the castle. It pleased me not to be sick. I stood for a moment, then rushed to a set of stairs to start finding a solution to the dilemma.
Aden and Tamesa came out the alternate bedroom showing shock when I entered the apartment. The servant was handed a dress before my mature wife came to me. Honestly, I felt my commands were for Tamesa, but I enjoyed speaking to Aden and it truly was her responsibility to deal with my female servant.
“I was just teleported back into the castle. Mersidda is still back on the wall, so I am going to get her. What I want you to understand is that when I get back I need to sit alone and think. I however will probably spend some time with you asking you questions.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Something in her tone did not sound right, so I clarified. “I am not mad at you, Aden. I just learned some stuff, and I need to put things right in my head. I will be here, probably sitting in a corner, but I want you and Mersidda to know to basically leave me alone or simply obey.”
“Yes, my lord.”
I saw her want to close with me, so I pulled her to me. The contact was warm, and I did what I could to extend it. When we finally broke, I went ahead and revealed s simple fact that I had learned about her.
“Oh, I was told why you grip my arm.”
She responded before I could. “It is to let others know the strength of our relationship.”
All I could do was smile as I explained how I learned. “Some people told Mersidda to do the same when she was with me.”
“I was never improper toward Therlik, but – just as I stood up for the soldiers – I stood up for a number of people. They became concerned about me, and gave the suggestion. I went through much of my marriage not even having my hand lightly rest on Therlik’s arm, as is the proper way.” I felt that she had said enough, but Aden added, “Therlik never noticed.”
“Well, I noticed how you latch onto me. I thought it was another of your wounds showing, but now I know it was a statement of our relationship. Please, Aden, come to me and talk to me if you ever feel a need to do any less.”
“You just came to me and explained a coming change in your behavior. I feel the same will be with me. If I feel a need to do something different, it will not be because of our relationship. I am gaining a security with you that I never felt with Therlik. Still, yes, Berair, I will speak to you. Honestly, I enjoy it.” I was about to part, when she came to me, kissed me, then said, “I enjoy something else. Come, since I have you alone, let me have you for a time. Surely Mersidda expected you to be gone longer.”
She was my wife, and I would not refuse her. Aden was also very lovely. There was an elegance to her when dressed, but with the clothes removed there was still a natural beauty to her form. Seeing her body respond to mine was enjoyable. The time with her did not have the energy of Mersidda, but had me wanting to prolong the experience as much as possible. At the end, my mature wife grabbed an arm, and began kissing my fingers.
“I agree that you can handle two wives, my lord, but I need these times. Thank you.”
I recognized the compliment, but knew not to sound arrogant. “Mersidda might be my wife as well, but you are my wife. I am yours to claim.”
She continued to kiss my fingers, as I saw her body slowly calm itself. “I knew that you could do this. When you come back, I will learn how you do other things. I hope that it will not trouble you that I will be watching.”
“I consider that just a part of being married. It might trouble me, but I suspect it will bring me pleasure as well. Still, I need the calm to work things out.”
“Your problem, my lord, is that I find my calm when I am with you. Might I, please, try reading a book while in your presence? Hopefully, it will not bother you.”
“That is perfectly acceptable, Aden.”
That concession seemed to be enough for her, as she then had us clean up. She asked me about dinner, and I told her to keep it simple. She asked me about beverages. I mentioned usually drinking whiskey during private times, but willing to accept something weaker.
She replied, “I did not drink brandy to think, my lord, but for the opposite reason.”
“The alcohol relaxes the mind, true, but sometimes you have to ease your reasoning to see through certain things others are hoping will blind you.”
“I suspect that is very true, Berair. I will thus get you some whiskey.”
“One of the demands was you, Aden.” She had been looking at me, but her eyes focused on mine. “He specifically asked me about you without any indication of knowing you were my wife. I had learned that he was unmarried, and there is only one reason an adult unmarried man asks about a lady that is not a member of his family.”
She was about to put her undergarments back on, but I found myself able to look at her body for a moment longer as she countered, “But, Berair, Mersidda was given to you because the baron did not feel that you would consider me to have any value.”
“But you were given to me, Aden. You said that you made the baron promise to give you to a man with honor. I presently believe that the baron kept that promise.”
“I know that he did, but I believe he really did not know.”
“Let me say that he probably did know, in as much as he had something to compare what he heard of me against.”
Now that he has evidence, Berair must ponder the next move.