Knighthood, 109

Between the funeral, being there with Gavin and Owen, organizing the protest and trying to track down half of Three Hills’s black market, Edwin really needed these few days off.

He’d been in the bath for ten minutes and was falling asleep, so he should either get out and have a nap, or stay in the bath and have a nap. He was too tired to decide which was better, though.

“Do you want me to help you wash?” Nikolai asked, done changing the sheets on the bed even though Edwin hadn’t slept in it last night. He and Nigel seemed to think Edwin didn’t know that they fucked in his bed when he wasn’t there, even though they didn’t hide it at all.

“Nah,” Edwin said, shifting a little. “Thanks, though. I’ll definitely fall asleep if you do that.”

Knighthood, 108

“The problem with most poisons is that they’re made of really normal stuff,” Noel said, leading Edwin through a series of winding streets that Edwin wasn’t sure he’d ever been down. “So there’s not a whole lot of point going around asking about who bought ingredients, because like, you can buy mireberries anywhere and they’re also used in medicine and makeup, so someone might have wanted to poison someone or just stain their cheeks, you know?”

“Right,” said Edwin, who’d never heard Noel talk this much. He’d asked Twig for help with tracking the poison down and Twig had pulled Noel out of somewhere to help instead. Apparently being the queen’s squire didn’t mean that Noel didn’t have free time sometimes, which made sense. There were probably lots of times when Gabrielle was doing queen stuff and didn’t have time to train him. “So what are we looking for, then?”

Knighthood, 107

“The security for the king’s funeral and the queen’s coronation will be similar to that for the wedding, and I shall oversee it personally,” said Sir Richard, voice grave, hands clasped behind his back.

“With respect, sir,” said Sir Pascal, an older, barrel-chested knight who was shorter than Edwin. “The king was my charge. I would like to have the final honour of overseeing security for his funeral.”

Edwin glanced at Devin to see if he was going to ask the same for Gabrielle’s coronation, but he didn’t say anything. The knight commander had paused, watching Sir Pascal carefully. “Very well,” he said. “The funeral procession will, of course, be the part fraught with the most difficulties. We expect a large crowd and most of the guests from the wedding are still in the city and will require protection as well.”

Knighthood, 106

Edwin was five minutes late for breakfast, but only because Erik hadn’t wanted him to pull out. But Robby had helped him put his armour on and now all three of them were ready to go.

Well, Robby was still sluggish and had had bad dreams last night, but he’d insisted he was okay to go back to class today and had certainly been okay for sex earlier. And Erik was walking a bit bow-legged, but he’d get over that, probably.

“Morning,” he said to Nigel, as he sat down. “You’re picking up the cats today, right?”

“Yeah,” said Nigel. “We just got an urgent message for you, from the castle.”

Knighthood, 105

“There’s no sign he came through Techen’s Stand,” Edwin assured the small crowd of people in the Hummingbird’s Spring, which was what the townspeople had renamed their only inn after Drew had been arrested.

“How do we know we can trust that?” asked a scared looking young man with long arms, which were crossed in front of him.

“Lee says everyone’s memories are unaltered, which means Drew wasn’t here.” Edwin gestured at the mage from the academy, who’d come with him to check everyone out.

“How do we know we can trust her?” asked Rosalyn. She looked scared too. They all did. Edwin couldn’t blame them. The guy who’d terrorized their town was missing.

Knighthood, 104

And the Grandpa Gerard said I reminded him of his sister, said Greg, looking at his fingers as they moved. Which was very nice of him.

Everyone says she was really nice, said Edwin. He didn’t know that much about the king’s sister because she’d died like twenty years ago or something, but the few things he’d heard people say about her had said she’d been a good person.

Greg nodded. That’s what I heard too. I wasn’t trying to talk like her and I don’t talk like that normally, I was only making a joke about the sardines.

Knighthood, 103

The weather had held for a few days after the wedding and it was still nice and springlike out as Erik and Robby dragged Edwin across half the city to wherever they’d decided was the best place to take Edwin on a shared date.

“This place is in the capital, right?” Edwin asked them. The portals hadn’t been put back up yet, so he was still staying in the city. But the wedding had gone off mostly without a hitch and the whole security team had had a really long debriefing and even though a few snarky comments had been made about Edwin staging an arrest outside the church, Sir Devin and Sir Elaine had been on his side, so it was fine.

If even the other high-ranking knights disagreed with Richard, Edwin wondered what that said about the knight commander’s ability to lead the order.

Knighthood, 102

Rich people really did get all the perks in life, Edwin thought. Aside from all the obvious shit, they even got to have weddings on perfect spring days.

It was the first day of Remin and it wasn’t actually spring for another week, but it was warm and sunny and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue and everything looked very picturesque. Even though Edwin knew the streets had been cleaned and the dirty snow moved in preparation for the wedding, it still felt like the kind of thing that had just happened naturally rather than being bought.

The streets looked much nicer now that a lot of the people lined up to get into the First Church had been checked and let in. “Okay, thank you for your cooperation, your Majesty,” Edwin said.

Knighthood, 101

“Seven entrances,” Edwin muttered, glaring at the First Church. “Why does a church need seven entrances? Not counting all the windows.”

“People coming in through the windows won’t be your fault,” Erik reminded Edwin. “Nor will people coming in through the other six entrances.”

“Yeah, but we still have to guard them. Putting this much of a guard on a church feels like a sin. Do you think Cal will get mad at us?”

“No,” said Erik, crossing his arms.

“Good, because the seven entrances wasn’t counting the secret tunnel that leads to a series of demon caverns,” Edwin grumbled. “Gabrielle and Franz should get married in the fortress. It’s safer.”

Knighthood, 100

“I will be personally overseeing the wedding’s security,” said the knight commander, hands folded on his desk. “With Sir Devin working out the specifics. Given that the whole royal family will be present for the duration of the event, you will all be put under his command. The castle guard will comprise most of the security, and the city guard will be stationed outside the First Church to ensure order. Sir Elaine, you will liaise with the captains of those two forces to ensure continuity of protection.”

Elaine nodded, and Edwin was profoundly grateful he hadn’t been stuck with that job. “Yes, sir.”

“Given the security issues at the last several royal events, we’ll be searching all guests—no matter who they are—for weapons before they’re allowed into the cathedral and again before they can be allowed into the palace afterwards. Sir Edwin will be in command of that operation, and Sir Elaine can negotiate with the captains of both guards to have them spare some people to help speed the searching along.”

Oh. Edwin nodded. “Yes, sir.” He didn’t need to look around the room to know that was the crappiest job on the security detail. The royal wedding was a huge deal and over a thousand people were attending. The city guard didn’t play well with the order and wouldn’t like being under a knight’s command. If there were delays getting people inside—which there would be—they’d be Edwin’s fault.

If there was any kind of security breach like there always was, it would be Edwin’s fault. There were easily four hundred people doing security for the wedding, but anything that went wrong would be Edwin’s fault.