Dad stops near the doors to my balcony. “I need air.” He types his override into the digital panel next to it. When he turns the handle the door doesn't move. His fist smashes into the wooden bit between the doors. “Why won't my overrides work?”
“The digital security in the palace is shocking. Just for my room, I demoted you to a normal user and made myself the only administrator. I’d like to see the secret service get in here.” I fold my arms again and smile a little. With my feet on the pedestal I rock the chair back and forth. “Seriously your system architect should be shot. I could be murdered in my bed. There's also a honey pot and a firewall."
“The thought of murdering you in your bed is tempting right now. Open the damn doors.”
“Can't. You confiscated my copper and General Luis broke my other one.” I spread my arms and spin a little so I can indicate the bits on the desk. “This one's not even close to being ready.”
He sighs and takes the original copper from his pocket. “Here. Once you've opened the damn doors I want it back.”
I shake my head innocently. “But then how can I lock it again. My room cannot be controlled without it.”
“Very well, you can keep it until tomorrow morning when my technical team will be in here fixing the mess you've made.”
“Good luck,” I mutter. Satisfied, I've won the point I take it off him and enter the pass code.
There is a shush and he pushes open the doors. The breaths he takes are exaggerated. Although I’d never admit it, I welcome the cool sea and blossom scented breeze and it calms me a little.
Galileo walks out onto the balcony with his tail stuck in the air. He has never liked arguments.
“Right, young man, you are under house arrest until after the talks. My best warriors will be stationed outside your door and down below the balcony. You're a security risk.”
“I'm a security risk because I tried to help Lady Aya Luis?”
“You're a security risk because you consistently refuse to see the bigger picture and how dangerous things are.” He winces and holds his side. “Just do as you're told for three weeks. Nate will continue to act as your tutor. You will not be going to school.”
“Sir.” He doesn’t deserve to be called Dad right now. All I did was help a sick guest at the banquet.
His face is going whiter and more drawn by the minute.
“Dad, are you OK?”
I type...Dad. Help. Angus… into the copper and send the message to Gil.
When Dad accepts my help and leans on my shoulder, I know he's feeling rough. “Just leave them. I'll get them in the morning.” He indicates the sword and cloak. “Too… heavy.”
With my help he limps to the door.
“No you’re not, Dad.”
“Just… need more painkillers,” his voice is strangled in pain.
Sir Gilbert enters my room without knocking. “Loren.” He takes Dad from me with the ease of a seasoned nurse and within seconds he has escorted Dad out the room.
For security, I close my balcony doors and lock them with the copper.
I look around, lost, wondering, pondering but finding no answers to the questions I don’t know how to ask.
There's no way I can sleep with the sword so close.
Images of grandfather… no I can't.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe the old man out. He does not deserve a place in my life.
I wrap up the sword in Dad’s cloak and stow them both in the massive, thick armoire plated wardrobe. The bad joke – one of Dad's back when he still had a sense of humour – makes me laugh a little. When Grandfather was on one of his rampages, Dad would make a bed for me in the bottom of the wardrobe and say not to worry. He’d then lock the door. With that in mind, I lock the door and pray the sword cannot escape.
I use the copper to secure the room and turn on my music player. The Skuas, a group my dad hates, blast out. Face down on my bed, Gorse curls into my neck and Galileo climbs on the small of my back. The cat’s purring soothes me.
Robbie Albatross’ raspy baritone and the bass carry me out of my misery to a world far, far away from Litae.
A night of blood, mayhem and magic thrust Prince Angus, the youngest son of the king, onto the throne of Covesea Island. He's never wanted to be king. Social media calls King Angus a clown. His subjects don't rate his ability to lead them in the trade negotiations with one of the planet's superpowers.