Kingdom (larry au)

"He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has," Henry Ward Beeche

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6. Louis

Louis

 

I tried to explain to Edward that I felt fine, but he wouldn’t here of it.

 

I was sent to bed and told to wait for the physician. 

The physician was worse than Liam’s mum. A sweaty man with one of those   He spent several minutes prodding and poking at me, shaking his head at my small physique.

“You want to get some meat on those bones boy.”

The man had too much meat on his bones, literally. He wasn’t fat, but he was chubby. His stomach swelled until his belt was at breaking point. My thighs were smaller than his arms for gods sake.

I thought of Harry and the others. They were just as skinny as me, yet they had now choice. I had enough food to feed all of them yet I didn’t eat it. It was strange, I was aristocrat but I didn’t look like one. They were well feed `nd pink, whilst peasant were skinny and pale. 

Why was it that I felt more out of place here than there?

“I eat normally,” I lied.

Edward frowned at me obviously thinking about the balls where I’d barely touched my plate.

I didn’t do it on purpose I was just never hungry.

The man gave me a smile as if to say “I don’t believe you,” before delving into his bag. His behind was so large that I couldn’t see what he was doing.

“Hold him down,” He said to hiss assistant a boy who was even smaller and skinner than me.

I didn’t know what he meant that was until the physician bought a knife to my arm.

“What are you doing?” I snapped trying to get up.

The assistant was stronger than he looked as his knobbly elbows kept me down. 

“Blood letting,” he casually replied pressing the knife into my flesh.

I didn’t feel anything at first. My whole arm went numb. For a minute I though perhaps he had hacked the whole thing off that was until the pain started followed by a fountain of blood. There was so much blood that my white sheets quite quickly turned red. It was impressive just how much blood came out of a small wound.

“Sir,” I heard the skinny boy pipe up, “are you sure you haven’t cut too deep.”

“He’s bleeding like a fountain,” Edward pointed out.

“Nonsense,” ripping up one of my spare pillowcases the physician wrapped the material around my wound, “you should feel better soon, your highness.”

I felt anything but better My head was pulsing and my vision was blurred. My body felt so weak that   I barely noticed the blood covered sheet being removed from the bed. 

“You’ll be fine, Louis,” Edward gave me a tight smile before leaving.

I knew he was angry. Angry at Thomas mostly. He was supposed to travel with me-yet he hadn’t. Thomas job had always been to protect me and he had for my whole life. The one time he gave me any sort of freedom this happened.

I feared that I would never have any freedom again.

All I could do was fall asleep and reflect on the insaness of the last few days.

 I seemed to take up permanent residence in my room. I was so tired that I did nothing but sleep for the next few days. The chubby physician came in to check up on me a few times. He seemed nervous about my wound the first few times but it seemed to be healing fine. It hurt a lot but I understood that it was for my benefit.

It was on day four things went wrong.

I woke up to voices. I immediately recognised them. 

No sooner had I woken up, Thomas had rushed into the room. He didn’t hesitate in embracing me. I cringed as his hand brushed my arm but I didn’t say anything.

“Louis, I’m sorry,” He siad thickly. He sounded as if he had been crying.

“It’s ok, I’m fine it’s no big deal-“

Edward stood in the doorway, his arms crossed glaring at his twin.

“It is a big deal, Thomas you were supposed to travel with him.”

“I know-“  Thomas started stuttering. 

This was the first time I had ever seen him even remotely scared.

“What if he’d died, think of the poor king.”

I couldn’t understand this overreaction. They were completely forgotten the fact that I was an eighteen year old man not a eight year old child. So what if Thomas had come. It wouldn’t have stopped the snow storm, or the coachman being impaled on the tree.

 “The coachman?” I asked, “what happened to him, is he ok?”

Edward shook his head, “He was dead when he was found, extreme blood loss would have killed him in a matter of minutes.”

A pang of guilt ran through my chest. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible. If it wasn’t for me traveling to the palace he would still be alive.

The worst feeling I had was the fact I knew nothing about him. I didn’t know his name or anything. Somewhere there was a family grieving for a man who had died an avoidable death. 

Nobody here cared about his sacrifice though, all there focus was purely on me.

“Who saved you then?” Thomas asked the dreaded question I had been trying to avoid.

“What?”

“The physician made it quite clear that your wounds had already been tended too, so who did it?” Thomas raised his eyebrows in confusion at my lack of response.

I had sworn to keep Harry’s identity a secret. Not by my choice but his. The minute I told him about being rewarded he become cold and distant. Why? What could be better than a poor boy getting everything they need.

He could certainly do with new clothes, hot food and better accommodation. Anyone who performed any sort of noble act was rewarded with whatever they needed. So why didn’t Harry want it?

“It was an elderly woman,” I lied, “She was um pasing by and helped to treat me, she worked as a healer though so she wanted to stay unidentified.”

Thomas seemed to be taking it all in. Edward however seemed less convinced.

“Well as long as you’re here now and healthy then no harm done, right?” Thomas peered nervously at his twin. 

Edward didn’t answer. His focus seemed to be staring at the heavy snow fall out of the window. Sighing loudly he shook his head.

“No, there is no harm done. Thomas, you did what you believed to be right in the situation.”

The colour immediately flooded back to Thomas’ face. He was safe, for now.

“Anyway, you need to be dressed and downstairs, your father wishes to see you.”

“He doesn’t know does he?”

Thomas shook his head furiously, “NO not unless you tell him and I pray to God that you won’t.”

I frequently didn’t like Thomas, but I supposed I loved him. No sane person would ever tell and have him possibly sentenced to death. The only person I’d remembered being sentenced to death was the duke of somerset and it wasn’t something I wanted to see anyone else have to go through. Especially not my own flesh and blood.

I didn’t need any new clothes. My father regular paid for new ones to be made but I still opened my wardrobe to find in full. I scanned through the outfits trying to find something vaguely normal looking. At home I never really had to make an effort, but here it seemed like a different story.

Gone was the scruffy boy. He had been replaced with a me I barely recognised.

It felt awkward walking around my fathers court. Nobody even knew who I was. most were middle aged men who walked past me without a second though. Otherwise looked confused but didn’t say anything

 

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