“If I rise again, it will be too early.”
The king’s two sons tried not to sigh. It wouldn’t be the first time their father had acted melodramatic that he had reached “old age”. As the wise woman in the castle was twice as old, the woman both sons had known since infancy, they had a hard time taking the king seriously. “Your lunch will be sent to you,” said the younger son, who wondered why they had to put up with this. Even if it was the king, even if he was their father, a part of him wanted to give the man a wake up call.
The older son was of a similar mindset. Less passive, yet more tactful, he cleared his throat. “Never you mind the treaties for the day. I shall handle them – a good trial as to the weighty duties that will lay heavily upon me when you are gone. I shall do you proud.”
The king grumbled under his doublet. The younger son schooled his face to be still.
“Rest and eat well, father. We shall present royalty’s most auspicious face to our audience.”
“I’m not dead yet!” the king said.
“Of course not, father,” said his eldest with the most sincere tone possible. “And we await the day your health recovers enough that you can take us both under your wing again. In the meantime, we will do our best to struggle inconspicuously without you.”
As the king’s retainers arrived with his meal, the two brothers left their father to eat. The younger gave the elder an exaggerated eye roll. “Did you have to taunt like that?”
“I have no idea to what you refer.”
The corners of the younger’s lips twitched upwards. “I suppose not. My apologies, King-in-Waiting.”
The two of them continued with their, and their father’s, daily duties.