Sequel to The King's Prize
Pan is poisoned and, though he recovers, King Seronisis will not let the matter rest. There is a would-be killer in the palace and the culprit must be brought to justice.
An afternoon spent with the royal accountant gives Pan the perfect opportunity to investigate the crime himself. Will he find the person or persons who want him dead? Or is there a deeper secret he runs the risk of uncovering?
“I’ll come with you,” Pan replied, slipping his legs over the side of the bed.
“No, no. We have said our good byes. You must get better.”
A determined look came over Pan’s face. “Mother,” he said taking an authoritative tone, “I am coming to see you off. I’m fine, a little weak, but otherwise fine.”
Margette nodded and allowed her son to escort her to the cart that was waiting for them at the front of the palace.
There were streams of tears as Pan helped his mother onto the cart. Even Seronisis let a couple of his own slip.
“Come and visit us,” Margette called as the horse-drawn cart rattled down the cobblestones towards the inner gate. “Your father would love to see you.”
“I will!” Pan called back amidst a chorus of good byes and take cares from his sisters.
Pan watched the gates open, the cart with his mother and sisters disappear through it and the gates close once again. King Seronisis placed a comforting arm around Pan and escorted him into the palace.
“Now I have you to myself,” he said. He kissed Pan on the forehead.
“It’ll be so nice to feel your body next to mine tonight. I hate that uncomfortable hospital bed.”
The king laughed. “At least you’re better now.”
They walked through the entrance hall and turned down a passage which led to the king’s private office.
“Pan, there is still the matter of your attacker,” said Seronisis, referring to the person who had poisoned Pan at the harem party.
They sat down on one of the many over-stuffed leather sofas.
“I’d rather just forget about it,” said Pan. “I’m okay now. I even got to see my mother and sisters.”
But the king would have none of it. He shook his head and the shadow of a frown appeared on his forehead. “Absolutely not!” The king’s tone set Pan’s heart racing. “We have a killer in our midst and I will not rest until he is brought to justice. I do everything for the people who dwell within these walls and this is how they repay my kindness. I will not have it.”
Pan nodded. He could not argue that the king didn’t, indeed, have a good point.
“I have called everyone to meet in the Great Hall. I am determined that this very day I will find the criminal responsible and end this unfortunate incident.”
“You will be by my side.”
Pan felt a lump form in his throat. While he could understand the king’s wish for justice, as far as he was concerned, he just wanted to put the whole thing in the past. He smiled weakly and the king pressed his lips against that smile.
“I have missed you,” he whispered.