Chapter Fourteen: Guard

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The rest of the night continued in a blur. Damian didn't really remember much of it. He probably slept somewhere in there, or entered some kind of hypnotic trance that allowed him to regain rest. Whatever happened, the party ended and the guests began to leave in their own carriages. Once they were all gone, Eldric, Damian, and their crew also left and began to load up their own carriage.

"Did you have a good time lad?" Eldric asked as he loaded his things into the carriage.

Damian nodded vigorously. "It was an excellent time. I couldn't have asked for better."

The elder knight broke into a grin. "I'm glad. You deserved it."

Damian smiled. Outside of this world, he had no recollection of anyone even remotely like Eldric, but just the man's presence here was enough to fill him with warmth. It was like Eldric was the father figured he'd always wished for. Not that his own dad wasn't a good father figure, but--

Oof. He didn't want to have to unpack that today.

As they finished up packing their final things one of the Queen's guards approached them.

"Sir Ryker," the mousy man spoke. "The Queen has requested your and Sir Eldric's appearance in the throne room."

The request caught him off guard. "Oh, alright." He looked over at his mentor.

The knight looked just as surprised as Damian. "Well, best not to keep the Queen waiting. Shall we?"

The two followed the guard into the castle and to the throne room. The door was open this time, unlike per the ceremony yesterday, providing a direct view of the queen on her throne. She was dressed more modestly today, or well, as modest as a queen could dress. The two knights approached the throne and bowed before the royal.

"Sir Ryker, Sir Eldric," the queen spoke in her usual stern tone, "Thank you for joining me on such short notice."

"It is no problem," Eldric spoke. "May we ask what is the purpose of the meeting today?"

The queen nodded once. "My business today is primarily with Sir Ryker, but I would like the approval of you, Sir Eldric, while you are here."

"Of course," he replied quietly.

The queen redirected her attention to Damian. "Sir Ryker, I should thank you for last night. My son, the crowned prince, while wise for his age has yet to master the art of public appearances. Your gesture went above and beyond in making him feel welcomed in a space he normally does not willingly traverse."

"It was like meeting an old friend, Your Majesty," Damian replied.

She almost smirked at that one. "That is what I wanted to hear. I have a request, or should I say, a first assignment for your new knighthood. You see, in the next day, Prince Alexander will be embarking on a diplomatic mission to our neighboring country. While it is not the most perilous of places, I do have concerns about some of the characters that he could encounter on his travels. I would like to assign you to head of his detail for the trip.

"You see, Prince Alexander is often resistant to having too many men assigned to his security. He seems to have taken quite a liking to you. With you as head of security, I believe he will carry out his journey with very little protest."

Damian bowed his head. "It would be the honor to serve the crowned prince on my first assignment. Thank you for the opportunity."

The queen directed her attention back to the elder knight. "Sir Eldric, is your patrol under enough control that you can afford to go without Sir Ryker for a short while?"

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