Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Prince and I - 31

My story would have ended there except for one thing. Well two things actually.

By the time I finally got my emotions under control I was back at the Mall. A few guys I knew greeted me with questions about where I disappeared to, as if I’d been gone for weeks not just a few days. They also commented, rather snarkily, on my clothes. I’d forgotten in my rush to get away from Sadron and everything he stood for that I was now decently dressed—at least compared to the other guys. I shrugged it off, telling them I’d gotten lucky when I hit up a clothing bank at one of the drop-in centers.

I did however decide I should change into my usual gear so I snuck into a john in a fast-food joint on the Mall. When I set my pack down on the sink and opened it I started swearing. Softly because I didn’t want anyone noticing me, but still… All my old clothes were gone, the new ones Sadron had paid for took their place, plus a good jacket I’d have bet used to belong to AJ. In the outer pocket of my pack I found soap, shampoo and other hygiene necessities.

You fucking bastard, you just can’t let it drop. How the hell am I going to convince anyone I need money when I’m dressed like a preppy high school kid playing at being homeless to get some drug money?  

I found out when I started going through the rest of the pockets to see what other crap he’d gifted me with. In one was a long thick envelope. Not sure I wanted anyone seeing what it held I went into a stall, locking the door behind me.

When I tore it open I was expecting to find some cash, a payoff of sorts in his mind because I’d turned down his offer. There was money, quite a lot of it in fact. There was also a smaller envelope with an address on the outside and a note inside for the manager of the apartment building it belonged to. Yeah I looked at the not. I’m not dumb. I started to tear it up, stopped, and stuck in back in the larger envelope. Why? I couldn’t have said. Maybe common sense had kicked in. Maybe I figured I should get something—even in the short term—for what I’d been through.  

I took a small part of the cash, stuffing it in the front pocket of my jeans where it’d be safe but accessible. The rest I split in two parts to put in my shoes after I worked the insoles loose. Then I put on the jacket, shouldered my pack and headed back to the street and Civic Center Station. I found out I’d just missed the bus I needed and another one wouldn’t be along for an hour, so I found a place to get a fast meal and ate while I waited.

It was a damned good thing I was going to the end of the line because I fell asleep on the bus and woke up in a panic when the driver shook my shoulder. It was late, too late I figured to find the apartment house and talk to the manager. My luck was with me, there was a small park across the street from the bus stop with enough trees I figured it would be a safe place to crash until morning. So I did.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Prince and I - 30

Dashing up to Connor’s room as fast as possible, I burst through the door and froze. The room was empty—everything of Connor’s was gone. Everything, as far as I could tell. I checked the closet, the dresser, even the bathroom. It was like he’d never been there.

Moments later I was back in Sadron’s office. “Where is he?”

Without blinking an eye he replied, “Back home where he belongs and where he’ll be safe.”

“You… bastard! So all this talking was just a… a ruse to keep me here while he was forced to leave.”

“No, Richie, I intend to follow through on my promise. I’ve already arranged for an apartment for you close to the campus and for a tutor to help you pass your GED test. After that you will start classes, probably in the fall.”

“Not happening!” I swear I was close to crying, something I’d never done before no matter what had happened to me. But then I’d never been both so angry and so desolate at the same time. “You can take your… the whole damned offer and shove it!”

“Don’t be a fool young man! This is your chance to make something of yourself.”

“I’ll do it on my own so fuck you. And… and when you see… Aw hell…”

I got out of there fast because I was breaking down. Not just out of the office but out of the damned mansion as well. I didn’t know what hurt more, the fact that Connor had been forced to leave or the fact he hadn’t even said goodbye.

By the time I got to the end of the driveway my sight was blurred by tears. I collapsed against one of the tall pillars, rubbing my eyes.

This will teach me not to trust anyone, especially someone who acts as if they care! Damn you Connor! Damn all of you.

“Sir.” I looked up to see the bodyguard who hated me standing there. “You forgot this,” he said, handing me my backpack.

When I didn’t take it he dropped it down beside me. I glared at him. “Bet you’re happy. One less human to deal with.”

He shook his head. “Not really, or at least not in your case. You turned out to be halfway decent—for a human.”

“Gee thanks, I think. And, umm, thanks for bringing this.”

With a nod of acknowledgement he turned and walked back up the driveway to the mansion. I stood, picked up my pack, which I slung over one shoulder, and started back to the streets where I’d begun this whole fiasco.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Prince and I - 29

Sadron paced back and forth across his office. Each time he passed Connor and me where we were sitting on the sofa he glared. The whole time he was swearing under his breath in Elvish or whatever it was called. I figured if people spoke English in England then the elves probably spoke Elvish in Elfland. I snickered at the idea which only made Sadron glower harder.

Finally he came to a stop, planting himself in front of us. “Melcindómien…” He was back to using Connor’s real name now—and had been since we got back and the bodyguards told him what had happened. What he said after ‘Melcindómien’ I had no clue since it was in their language, but from the look on Connor’s face I knew it wasn’t good.

They argued for a few minutes then Connor jumped to his feet and stormed out of the room. I started to get up to follow him.

“Stay where you are!” Sadron ordered. “I have a few things to say to you.”

“You aren’t the boss of me,” I replied angrily.

“Actually at the moment since you’re a guest in my house I am.”

“Arthur’s house.”

“A technicality,” he growled, his arms crossed over his chest. “Now… I owe you my thanks for keeping my nephew safe when you first met him. Arthur told me he’d promised I’d reward you if you found Connor. I suspect you’re reasonably intelligent. You’d have to be to have survived the way you have. I hold controlling interests in two companies here in the city. I’m willing to offer you a job at one of them but not until you’ve finished your education.”

“As if,” I snorted. “I told you I dropped out of high school. Even if I got my GED there’s no way in hell I can afford college.”

“I intend to pay for it.”

I looked at him in shock, speechless for a minute. “Why?” I finally got out. “I mean all I did was find Connor and try to help him. That’s hardly worth…”

Sadron held up one hand to stop me. “You kept him safe from my enemies and brought him home. To me that means the world.” He paused for a moment to study me again. “What do you know about minerals?”

“Not a damned thing… um, sorry. Nothing, sir.”

He chuckled. “You don’t have to refine your words around me. You haven’t so far. I asked because I would like you to study mineralogy. If you do you could be a great help to me here.”

“Umm humm, right, like you don’t have experts already.”

“Experts, yes. Ones loyal to me and mine, no. They have no idea what I am and why I’m interested.”

I tapped a knuckle against my lips as I thought about his proposition. Hell, what did I have to loose? It would get me off the streets and hopefully keep me in contact with him, and more importantly Connor, on a regular basis. I had the feeling Sadron was a fairly regular visitor here. Finally I nodded. “I can try, that’s all I can promise.”

“That is all I ask. I’ll have Arthur set everything in motion.” He nodded. “I believe the School of Mines would be the best alternative.” When I didn’t move he said with a slight smile, “You may go now.”

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Prince and I - 28

As we turned off the boulevard onto the side street leading to the mansion a dark SUV veered in front of us. Our driver slammed on the brakes and hung a one-eighty so fast Connor was thrown into me and I hit the door hard.

“Down,” the bodyguard in the front seat barked out as a gun appeared in his hand. The other one didn’t bother with words; he just shoved Connor onto the floor of the back seat. I guess he figured I was expendable because he ignored me. I flattened down on the seat as much as possible considering he was taking up a good part of it as he watched out the car’s back window.

Another sharp turn and I was on top of Connor. If I hadn’t been so scared I might have made some wisecrack about it, but trust me it wasn’t in me at that point. He shifted as much as possible so I wasn’t crushing him then I wrapped an arm around him, as much out of fear for his safety as to comfort him.

The ride seemed to go on forever. When you can’t see what’s happening your mind imagines the worst. I had visions of our having an accident, or worse yet being cut off again and there being a gun battle before Connor was kidnapped over the dead bodies of our bodyguards.

“Damn, they’re elves, why aren’t they tossing out magic spells to get rid of the dudes who’re after us,” I muttered at one point.

Connor chuckled though it was a weak one. “That’s so yesterday. We’re actually up with the times, at least here.”

“Yeah well I’d settle for a good death spell for them right about now.”

After what seemed like an eternity the car pulled to a stop. I prayed it was voluntary. It was. Our two bodyguards got out. The one who seemed to hold a hatred for humans actually offered me his hand to help me up. Probably, I figured, so he could be certain Connor was all right.

“We can’t use death spells when there’s civilians who might be endangered,” he commented with a slight smile as he reached in to help Connor get back onto the seat.

The other bodyguard was scanning the area, his gun still held firmly in his hand. Finally he relaxed enough to congratulate our driver on his evasion skills. I took a deep breath before getting back in beside Connor. It wasn’t until then that I realized my arm ached from my shoulder to my elbow. I guess the adrenaline was wearing off. I winced and Connor asked what was wrong.

“I must have hit the door real hard on that first spin. I’m betting I’ve got one hell of a bruise.”

“Let me see.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ve been hit worse in fights. It’ll be fine, honest.”

“Richie,” he growled.

By then everyone was back in the car. As we took off again Connor made me turn so he could unbutton my shirt. Then he carefully pulled it off far enough to check the damage. Only then did he agree I’d probably live.

“From now on you wear your seatbelt, Richie,” he told me sternly.

“Umm, you too?”

He nodded, pulling my shirt back up, and hugged me carefully as he growled, “If I ever get my hands on those bastards…”

“You and me both.” I put my good arm around his shoulders, pulling him tightly against me and we rode the rest of the way back to the mansion like that.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Prince and I - 27

The bodyguards turned out to be elven warriors, according to Connor. That meant of course they didn’t look much older than me. It struck me then that Sadron did. He didn’t appear as old as Arthur. More like he might be thirty to Connor’s apparent eighteen at best.

As we drove to the shop I worried over that until finally I had to ask “How old is your uncle?”

“He’s a bit over three hundred and fifty. He’ll live for another four hundred years if he isn’t killed.”

“It’ll be the same for you. Damn.”  

“I know. Right now I don’t like that idea at all.”

One of the bodyguards was frowning as he listened. “How can you not like it, knowing you will outlive a mere human,” he spat out.

“Whoa up there bud," I said, "I may be human but it doesn’t make me inferior to you.”

His frown deepened to a scowl. He started to reply then seemed to think better of it and turned away to stare out the car window.

Connor and I looked at each other. He gave a small nod and I had the feeling he was thinking the same thing I was. This guard could be the one spying on Sadron for Aemornion.

We stayed quiet about that of course. But for the next three hours—while we shopped and the bodyguards… guarded—I kept glancing at the man when I thought he wasn’t looking. Unfortunately he didn’t have ‘spy’ written on his forehead and he didn’t act like the ones in the movies. He watched us and the people around us just like the other one did, not being obvious but I could tell he knew what he was doing and I hoped he’d step in if anyone took it into their head to go after Connor.

By the time we left the shop I was more than ready to head back to the mansion. Who knew getting a new wardrobe could tire a guy out so bad. And it wasn’t even a lot of clothes. I stuck to basics---jeans, a nice pair of slacks just in case, tees and a couple of button downs plus socks and underwear. Connor had tried to make me get more. I let him talk me into a new pair of shoes before I told him for me this was plenty. Hell, as far as knew I might not even get to wear most of them before Connor and his uncle disappeared to their world, leaving me behind with nice threads and no where to go in them.

All I wanted at that point was to get back to the mansion and collapse, preferably with Connor to keep me company. 

That didn’t happen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Prince and I - 26

I met AJ later that morning. It only took a moment—and the sneer on his face when he saw me that vanished the second he saw Connor was right behind me—to let me know we’d never be best buds or anything close to. I was half tempted to give back the clothes he’d told Connor I could use. If I’d had anything of my own that didn’t make me look like what I was, I probably would have.

AJ was tall, taller than my five-eleven, and good looking in the same well-groomed way his father was. The main difference between them was the superior look on AJ’s face—as if he was the most important person in the room. I suspect he felt he was.

When Connor introduced us, AJ acknowledged it with a slight nod of his head before he picked up his cup of coffee and left the kitchen.

Mrs. Robert’s shook her head in obvious disgust. “That young man thinks way too much of himself. One day someone will take him down a peg or two and then he just might realize he shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

I snickered. “Especially since the ‘book’ is wearing his clothes.”

Connor also added his two cents worth, apologizing for AJ’s actions. I shrugged it off, letting him know I was used to it. “Well you shouldn’t be,” he told me adamantly. “You’re twice the man he is.”

“You’re prejudiced.”

“A bit, yes.” He surreptitiously patted my ass. I had the feeling if Mrs. Rogers hadn’t been standing right there he’d have kissed me instead.

He did kiss me a while later, after we’d eaten a very late breakfast. As a matter of fact we kissed several times, once for each room in the mansion as he showed me around. We ended up in his bedroom where we did a hell of a lot more than kiss.

Afterwards, because he seemed to understand—probably from the look on my face as I got dressed again—that I really could use some clothes which were both nicer than my own and not borrowed from the snob, we went in search of Sadron.

Connor was good to the point of being manipulative. He played his uncle until Sadron finally gave in. He agreed we could go shopping but only if we took two bodyguards along. Then he called Arthur to find out what the best place would be for what we wanted.

“Like a man his age would even know,” Connor whispered with a dramatic eye-roll. We both snickered then turned serious when Sadron hung up and turned back to tell us our destination.

“Damn, he does know.”

“It’s a good place?”

“Yeah.” I shook my head with a sigh. “I’m going to be paying someone back for the next fifty years.”

Sadron overheard me. “You’re not to worry about that. We are far from poor, even in this world. I think I can afford to pay for your clothes as long as you don’t go overboard.”

I would have protested but Connor tugged me toward the door with a muttered “Don’t argue. He’s right.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Prince and I - 25

I woke up feeling something was off. I was too warm and comfortable and my face was buried in something soft. I rolled over quickly and heard a voice say, “Good morning sleepyhead.”

My eyes shot open and I found myself staring into deep green ones. “Umm, good morning yourself and what are you doing in my bed?”

“I got lonely?” Connor grinned mischievously.

“Umm humm.”

“Well I did,” he replied indignantly, still grinning. “I’m used to sleeping next to you.”

I snorted softly. “For all of two times.”

“It’s a habit I want to cultivate.”

I felt his hand on my thigh, realized I’d fallen into bed naked. I discovered so was he seconds late when he shifted so he was pressed against me from chest to toe.

“Your uncle’s going to kill you if he finds out you’re in here.”

“First off…” he kissed me, “he doesn’t rule my life, and secondly…” he kissed me again, “even if he disapproves he wouldn’t say anything. I’m old enough to make my own decisions.” He kissed me again.

If he was trying to start something he succeeded. I’d already been half hard, suddenly I had a raging hard-on. Now I just have to remember the ins and outs of what to do. It’s been a long time I figured distractedly. I was distracted because Connor’s hand was checking out the problem. I groaned, he chuckled. Things went up hill from there with more kisses, a few muttered ‘Fuck me’ moans on my part and his willing agreement that he planned to.

There was a brief break in the proceedings when he rushed to his room to get some lube after  commenting “I guess I was too distracted by the idea of being with you to remember the basic necessities.” Condoms it turned out weren’t needed. Being an elf he was immune to any diseases and—as he also pointed out much to my chagrin after he’d asked—I was practically virginal since it had been more than two years since I’d been with anyone.

He took things slowly once he returned. I pulled my legs up because he said quite seriously that he wanted to watch my face so he’d know if he hurt me and could stop. 

“No stopping, not in this lifetime,” I growled.

Grinning, he very gently inserted two fingers to stretch my hole. When he touched and stroked my gland I almost came on the spot. Only his fingers locked tightly around the base of my cock kept that from happening. Finally he entered, inch by inch, his eyes locked on mine. I bit my lip to keep from crying out at first but it wasn’t long before fantastic pleasure took over. We moved as one, as if we’d been making love for years, until we reached to ultimate high. I came first with a shout I was dead cert everyone in the house heard. His cry as he released seconds later echoed mine.

“Well if no one knew before…” I managed to gasp out when I could finally talk again.

“They do now,” he agreed, laughing as he wrapped his arms around me. “Somehow I doubt anyone’s in the least surprised.”

We stayed that way for a while, savoring what had happened. I didn’t know how Connor felt; I just knew I was halfway to maybe loving him. Not that I’d admit it. I was more than aware things would end the moment he had to return to his own world. Until then however I’d take what he offered and give back to him as best I could.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Prince and I - 24

Sadron sent us out of the office so he and Arthur could discuss business. He suggested we go to the kitchen and get something to eat as it was late enough that supper should be ready.

“You don’t eat in some fancy dining room?”

Connor shrugged. “Most of the time, but I suspect since he and Arthur will probably be tied up for hours they’ll have supper brought to them so we’re on our own.”

“What about AJ?”

“AJ spends more time gone than here. It was just luck he was home when I needed to borrow some of his clothes for you.”

By then we were at the kitchen. The cook, a grandmotherly woman Connor introduced as Mrs. Roberts, hugged him tightly then turned to look at me.

“When was the last time you had a good meal?”

“Umm… does a burger and fries a few days ago count?” I don’t know how she pegged me as someone who didn’t eat regularly, but she did.

“Absolutely not. Sit and I’ll fix you something that won’t make you sick.” She eyed Connor, shook her head, and told him he’d be eating what I did.

Whatever she’d been cooking made my mouth water. It smelled like the pot roasts I remember my mom cooking when I was a kid. It turned out to be exactly that but she didn’t just dish some out for us. She cut very thin slices from the roast to make sandwiches with no trimmings. Then she scooped out carrots and potatoes, drained off the gravy or whatever you call it, putting them on the plate with the sandwiches. That and water was supper, and damned if it wasn’t good.

She stood over us like a mother hen, cautioning us to eat slowly which was hard to do until I was halfway finished. That was when I realized I was almost full. After taking a couple more bites I gave up. Connor had no problem eating everything but when he asked for seconds she shook her head. “This is it until we’re sure it doesn’t do bad things to your systems.”

I got it, even if Connor didn’t. I remembered a while ago when I thought I lucked out. A nice woman gave me a big meal she’d bought for me at a local restaurant. I ate the whole damned thing and was sick as a dog an hour later. That’s when I learned that fancy food was not really good for someone who existed on what they could dig out of a dumpster or buy from a fast-food joint if they had the change.

We thanked her for supper and I offered to do the dishes. She laughed, pointed to the huge dishwasher, and told us to go to bed. “You both look as if you could use twenty hours of sleep.”

I was ready for just that, especially when I thought of the bed in my room. Apparently so was Connor because when we got upstairs all he said, with a yawn, was that he’d see me in the morning.

I didn’t care that it was only nine at night, as soon as I got into my room I undressed, carefully hanging up the shirt and pants, washed my face and hands since I showered only a few hours earlier, and then crawled under the bedcovers. I fell asleep almost instantly, feeling safe for the first time in forever.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Prince and I - 23

“You weren’t… I believe the word is ‘out’?” Sadron asked.

I snorted. “My dad’s a Mafia capo. Being gay is definitely frowned on with them, to put it mildly. Besides which I actually love my dad so I wasn’t about to do something to disgrace him. You better believe if I’d told her, my step-mom would have tried to use it in some way against him. He might have loved her but I'm real sure she only married him for the prestige, and his money.”

Arthur frowned. “Is he looking for you?”

“Hell if I know. Maybe. When I split I left a note saying I wanted to be something more than just a capo’s kid. I wanted to make my own life. Hokey but I figured he’d probably buy into that. Now that you know the details can we drop it?”

“One more question.”

I looked at Sadron and grinned. “Another one?”

“Touché.” He chuckled. “That explains why you understand Italian but why Spanish?”

“In Denver, living on the streets, it’s a necessity; Spanish and Spanglish though I’m not too good with either, not like Italian.”

He nodded. “Now we’ve established you’re a survivor, at least in your eyes. However…” Why had I known there’d be an ‘however’? “I am still not going to allow you to be involved in keeping my nephew out of the hands of Aemornion and his compatriots. There’s actually no need to. Connor will not be leaving the house until such time as we return to our homeland.”

“Hang on a minute. You’re going to keep me locked up here like some… some…” Connor said in dismay.

“Damsel in distress,” I muttered.

“I was thinking more a two-year-old who needs baby-sitting,” he countered. “I don’t think I fit the ‘damsel’ definition.”

I grinned at him. “Let your hair grow any longer and you might.”  

“Children!” Sadron glared at us, but I couldn’t help noticing a slight twinkle in his eyes for a moment. “The two of you can debate ages and sex later.”

Connor looked at me, I looked at him, and we broke out laughing. “No debate about the sex part,” Connor sputtered.

“Will the two of you please get serious. I meant it, Connor, you will not be leaving the house. As for you…” Sadron looked dead on at me.

“If I’m locked up here, so is Richie. I’ll go crazy without someone around to keep me company.”

“What about AJ?” Sadron said.

When I looked at him questioningly, Connor told me AJ was Arthur’s son. “He’s nice enough, but he’s old.”

I shook my head. “Says the kid who’s been around for more than twice as long as I have.”

Sadron tapped his fingers together in thought. Finally he said, “Alright, I agree Richie may stay, if he’s willing to.”

I actually had to think about it. Living in a real house, even if it would only be for a short time, was on the plus side. But if I said yes I’d be loosing my freedom, a definite negative. On the other hand I’d be with Connor which was also something in the plus column. I had no illusions there’d be anything more than the ‘friends with benefits’ thing going on, if we could get away with it, but still… “I’ll stay.”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Prince and I - 22

Connor looked at his uncle in shock. “You think that was Aemornion?”

“You know of him?”

“I knew his son, before he was killed in the last war. I never actually met Aemornion himself.”

And that makes me feel really young compared to Connor I thought a bit morosely.

Sadron nodded. “Yet another reason Aemornion hates the idea. That war was over your father’s attempt to form the trade alliance.”

“But it was between our people, not us and humans.”

“In his mind it’s all part of the whole. With no attempt at an alliance, there wouldn’t have been a war to try to stop it and his son would still be alive.”

“I have a question.”

“Another one, Richie?”

“Sorry, but yeah. If Aemor-whatever had captured Connor would you have done as he asked and ended the negotiations in order to get him back?”


I heard Connor draw in a shocked breath and slung my arm over his shoulders, glaring at Sadron. “You’re a cold son of a bitch.”

“I’m the king. My people and my land come before anything, even my love for my nephew.”

“He’s right I’m afraid. I don’t like it but…” Connor had stiffened at his words. Now he also pulled away from me.

I took his hand, holding it tightly, surprised he allowed it. I supposed he needed contact with someone who cared. Or at least that’s how I took it. I could understand what his uncle was saying; he did have a responsibility to his subjects, but still… “We need to keep Connor safe so neither of you faces that possibility.”

Sadron gave me a stern look. “Yes we do. But only those of us who are involved with what is happening. You will not be a part of it.”

“Why the hell not?”

“You are both human, and too young.”

“Yeah, right, throw my age back at me. Look, I might not have been around for forever but for damned sure I know a thing or three about how to survive. I hate to point this out but if it weren’t for me Connor might already be in the hands of this Aemor person.”

“Aemornion,” Connor whispered before returning to the topic at hand. “He’s right, uncle. Without him they probably would have captured me the second time. He’s the one who really showed me how to hide and stay safe from the cops and… and what have you—including Aemornion and his henchman.”

“Practice.” I smiled tightly. “I’ve been playing keep-away since the day I left home.”

Sadron nodded, studying me. “Why did you run away?”  

“My step-mom started coming on to me.”

“Why didn’t you tell your father?”

“Come on, if you had a kid and your wife was trying to seduce him and he told you, would you believe him?”

“I would hope I would listen and then try to find out if he was telling the truth.”

“Yeah, well you’re not my father. He places his ‘honor’ over everything else. If his people found out he’d married a woman who couldn’t be trusted around his own son he’d have… lost face I guess you could say. I figured it was better to just get out of there, for his sake and for mine. Fending her off was getting hard to do, especially since I wasn’t willing to tell her I didn’t like women that way.”

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Prince and I - 21

“Another question," I said, "why would someone care if your uncle forms an alliance between your world and mine?”

“Because,” Sadron replied, obviously overhearing me as he entered the office, “some of our people are very insular. With good reason to their way of thinking I might add, although I disagree.”

Arthur, who was right behind him, nodded. “From what Sadron has told me it’s been tried before, with less than stellar results.”

Sadron nodded. “Yes I’d say a war was far from ‘stellar’ but my brother won that one and continued his attempts at an alliance until his death.”

I was feeling confused. “Why wouldn’t people want this alliance?”

“It’s hard to explain since it’s only a business alliance.” Sadron took a seat before continuing. “In our world there are plants which pharmaceutical companies here could put to excellent use. In exchange there are minerals here that we don’t have in our world. One would think trading one for the other would be beneficial to both parties.”


“As I said, there are factions in our world whose attitudes toward foreigners border on paranoia.”

“That’s not what insular means,” I muttered under my breath. Sadron looked at me in surprise and I grinned. “I may be a high school dropout but it doesn’t mean I’m stupid.”

“Touché, but then English is not my first language. Be that as it may, these factions are afraid that given half a chance your people will try to take over our world.”

Arthur nodded. “One can hardly blame them all things considered.”

“Isn’t that what treaties are for?”

“Treaties can be and often are broken by people who want power.” Sadron’s voice was tight with frustration. “The anti-trade factions in my world base their resistance on that very fact.”

I thought about that. “Okay, yeah I can why they would, but how would we get to your world? I mean it’s not exactly as if you’re on the moon or some other planet.”

“The moon’s not a planet,” Connor whispered to me.

I swatted his leg. “Work with me on this. You all know what I’m saying.”

Sadron chuckled before answering my question. “We live in what is best described as an alternative universe. There are gates between our world and yours. Well guarded ones but nothing is invulnerable.”

“Got it. Like in one of the games I used to play. There’s a rocky hill and if you move the right boulder you find a door. Step through it and bingo you’re somewhere else.”

“They’re not quite that infantile but similar in concept, yes.”

I turned to Arthur. “Are there people here who feel the same way?”

“Of course. Paranoia is a universal trait, especially when it involves the unknown. Some elves see us as warlike hooligans and some people here see them as creatures that have magic at their fingertips and wouldn’t hesitate to use it against us.”

“My suspicion,” Sadron said, “is that one of my people has allied with one of yours here on earth to do whatever is necessary to stop this alliance. If the elf is who I think it is he’s a formidable enemy.”

I shook my head. “Tell you what, the big dude seemed more like a hired thug than someone to worry about.”

“He could have been just that. Not hired but someone loaned to Aemornion by whoever he’s working with here.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Prince and I - 20

Sadron looked up when we walked into his office, motioning for us to have a seat on the sofa at the far side of the room. He finished whatever he was doing and came over, taking a chair opposite us.

“Now, in detail, I want to know about the two men who tried to capture you, Connor.”

Connor told him everything he could remember, with me putting in my two cents worth when he missed a detail or two about the second attempt. When I mentioned that the two men had spoken some foreign language Sadron frowned, asking if I knew which one.

“I know it wasn’t Spanish or Italian but that’s it.”

“Languages you know I take it.” When I nodded he seemed to file the information away then asked, “Did it sound like this?” before rattling off something in what I figured had to be Elven.

I nodded. “I guess. I wasn’t really paying that much attention since I was running away at the time. But yeah that’s close.”

“Then it’s as I suspected, at least one of them is elven.” He turned his attention back to Connor. “When they tried to capture you in the alley did they say anything at all?”

“That I had, no, that I was something they wanted.”

Sadron’s face darkened. “I’m quite certain you were. With you as their prisoner they’d have a strong hold over me to make me do whatever they wished. I suppose I should be glad you stole the amulet. At least it gave you fair warning they were around, although I suspect you ignored it the first time.”

“The warmth was very faint,” Connor protested. “I really thought it was my imagination until they were too close to avoid. After that I knew better.”

“Thankfully.” Sadron leaned back in his chair, tapping his fingers together. “The slender man, the elf, did either of you notice the color of his eyes?”

I shook my head. “Sorry, I was too interested in saving my skin to stop and take a look.”

“They were gray with green flecks which is quite rare for us.”

“Yes it is,” Connor’s uncle agreed. “And it does narrow down who he might be. Your idea that he might have been using birds as a way to find you also helps, if indeed he was.”

“How would he know Connor had run away and was out on his own?”

“Now that is a very good question, Richie. Only a few people were aware he’d left. Arthur who I trust implicitly, his son and of course the servants and guards.”

“Well obviously this guy you’re worried about knows you’re here. Could he have bribed one of the servants to let him know what’s going on?”

Sadron’s scowl could have frozen ice as he jumped to his feet and left the office.

“Not a happy camper right now,” I commented.

Connor nodded in agreement. “Definitely not. Someone’s head will roll.”

“Not literally I hope.”

“With my uncle you never know. In our world he’s a force to be reckoned with and he hates betrayal more than almost anything else.”