Lesson 10

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Benedikt gasped as Grielle drew back her hand and brought it swiftly to Henrik's face to strike his cheek

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Benedikt gasped as Grielle drew back her hand and brought it swiftly to Henrik's face to strike his cheek. With equal speed, Henrik grabbed her wrist and stopped her short.

"Still the same girl, I see." He chuckled amiably, though it seemed forced and insincere.

Grielle bristled with anger, her lips peeling back into a snarl. Her other fist trembled at her side as if she had to hold herself back. She and her Liberators may have avoided violence whenever possible, but she was certainly capable of inflicting harm when needed. Benedikt had seen it for himself at Osgarden.

Instead of using her fists, she chose some choice words for Henrik and let loose a string of curses so foul it would have made a sailor blush. "...and then you just left me to the ogres, you good-for-nothing son-of-a-harpy. I would have died if Ludvig hadn't stumbled across me!" Grielle's shouts carried throughout the hall, drawing the attention of everyone within earshot.

The Liberators watched with rapt attention. Benedikt took a cautious step back to stay out of her line of fire. Yet, the more she yelled, the more King Henrik seemed amused.

King Henrik released Grielle's wrist once she had fixed her mouth into a hard line. "Are you done yelling at me?" he asked.

The muscles in Grielle's jaw pulsed, but she remained silent.

"I'm sorry I fled from the ogres and left you to fend for yourself. I knew you were tough enough to survive, and here you are. As beautiful as when I left you a year ago." Though his words conveyed a sense of regret, the dancing smirk in his eyes suggested otherwise.

Benedikt held his breath, fully expecting Grielle to deliver King Henrik a very deserving blow, but instead, she sighed. "I accept the apology, but that doesn't mean I will ever trust you again. As soon as I leave this city, I fully intend to never return."

"Fine, but it is against the core of my nature to be inhospitable. I'm offering you a place to spend the night. Rest up, eat, and leave once I have replenished your supplies. I also can't help but notice Prince Benedikt carries a sword that wasn't made for him. I'll have my blacksmith forge him one." King Henrik turned to Benedikt now.

Benedikt felt the chill of a glare from Grielle. He knew she wanted him to refuse, but he also knew how much the people of Andor valued hospitality. For the sake of diplomacy, he had to agree. He didn't need to start a feud with Andor before he even started his regency.

He drew himself up to his full height — what little there was. "I cannot refuse such a generous offer from our neighbors to the south. I am in dire need of a new sword as this one is far too short for me."

King Henrik clasped his hands together. "Excellent! I shall have a feast prepared for tonight." He snapped his fingers and servants appeared as if from thin air. "Show our guests to the best rooms."

The king and the prince exchanged bows before Henrik quit the room. Henrik knew better than to address Grielle again.

~

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