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, 96

“And then he said that I was only allowed in the school because I was a good cocksucker,” Robby said, flinching as Edwin put the ice pack to his eye. “So I asked if that was true what was he good at, and he hit me in the face!”

“Hm,” Edwin said. “Sounds like a piece of shit.” This kid Jasper had apparently been picking on Robby for a few days now, which Edwin suspected was because he was jealous.

“No, it’s okay.” Robby smiled, taking the ice and holding it there himself now. “I kicked him in the balls and then we got in trouble for fighting, so we’re friends now! Also I have to go in early to polish all the practice weapons, so I’ll probably leave before sunrise, and then I have to stay late because I’m going to give Jasper cocksucking lessons, so I might just sleep there tomorrow.”

Knighthood, 92

“You can all stay here if you want,” Edwin said to Robby and Millicent’s parents. “As long as you want.”

“Thanks, son,” said Merle, smiling tiredly. “We’ll take you up on that for a night or two, but we don’t want to impose.”

Edwin gestured around Stag Keep’s main hall to indicate how big it was. “You couldn’t possibly impose on me, sir. And I want you to tell anyone else in Techen’s Stand they can come stay here if they need to get away from the town for a bit.”

“Thank you,” said Rosalyn, arm around Millicent. “That’s very kind of you, Edwin.”

“I only wish I could have been there to help,” Edwin said, looking at Robby, who had also declined to sit at the head of the table and was sitting beside Edwin. He looked tired too, but he was smiling.

Knighthood, 86

“I’m going to keep the baby,” Millicent said, hand in Edwin’s. “But I want you to promise me something.”

“Okay.” They were walking just outside Techen’s Stand, along the cliffs, snow falling in their hair. “Anything you want.”

Millicent sighed. “You shouldn’t say that before you even know what it is.”

“It’s true, though,” Edwin said. “I’ll do anything.”

“No you won’t. What would you do if I said I wanted to get married?”

Knighthood, 83

“Listen, I get that you’re excited,” said Sir Stan, not far off from Edwin. “But this is the palace. You can’t go making an ass of yourself.”

“Right,” said Twig, nodding in a way that reminded Edwin of someone. “I promise not to make an ass of myself, sir.”

“Right. Which means that you will…”

Hearing Stan’s pause, Twig appeared to cast around for an answer. “Hunt for murderers discreetly, and with dignity.”

“No,” Stan said with a sigh. “You will hunt for murderers not at all, Twig.”

“But if I do that…” Twig said, looking at his fingers, “then the murderers will stay hidden and they’ll be able to murder someone.”

“There are no murderers.” Stan was clearly trying to sound patient. It was working about as well as Edwin’s attempts not to laugh. “Repeat after me. There are no murderers.”

“There are no murderers,” Twig repeated.

Knighthood, 72

Millicent’s hand was warm in Edwin’s, which was a comfort. “I wish I knew what to do, Edwin.”

Edwin wished he knew what to do too. “I know. But you’ll—we’ll figure it out.”

Millicent nodded. “I know. I’m glad you’re here. You didn’t have to be.”

Something caught in Edwin’s throat at that. He squeezed her hand. He hadn’t had to have sex with her either. “I did if I didn’t want to be a crappy person,” he told her. “I’ll be here. I’ll be here whatever you decide. Promise.”

Doctor’s Visit

“Are you her boyfriend?”

“I’m…” Edwin wasn’t sure what he was. He was sacred, that was something. He was standing here in a doctor’s office with Millicent even though he’d rather be anywhere else in the world. He felt like a complete idiot.

The condoms had been in his fucking pocket.

Knighthood, 69

“Thanks for doing this.”

Prince Franz had asked to meet Louis. Or rather, he’d asked for his baby brother to meet Louis, which honestly Edwin thought was kind of cute, even though it was delaying his getting on Louis to go to Techen’s Stand and set up the portal there. It was the sort of thing he’d have done for a baby brother.

“I didn’t do anything, sir. He goes where he wants.” The littler prince was currently over there babbling at Louis in Kyn, which Louis apparently knew but Edwin didn’t, so he had no idea what they were saying. The prince was sitting on Louis’s shoulder pulling on his horns, though, and Louis was letting him.

Prince Franz kept speaking, which was annoying, because Edwin was trying to watch his adorable boyfriend do something way cuter than he had any right to even attempt. “Yeah,” he was saying, “but he wanted to come here because you asked him to, didn’t he?”