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, 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, 97

“We’re going to go to bed after this,” Edwin told Nigel, who was cleaning up the bedroom.

“Okay,” said Nigel, who went about getting a hot water bottle for the bed.

Edwin watched him do it with half an eye, mostly focusing on being in the bathtub, leaning on Erik. Erik held him in place, resting his head on Edwin’s. “Stop stressing,” he said quietly.

“Not stressing,” Edwin said. “Just enjoying the bath.”

Knighthood, 94

“Hey, you know what stupid shit Ty told me?” Robby asked, fiddling with a button on his coat with his free hand. His other hand was in Edwin’s as they walked down the road.

“What?” Edwin asked, thinking about Ty, who’d left the city a few hours ago on a mission to fight goblins somewhere. Edwin had meant to go see him off, but they’d left while he’d still been on duty.

“He said that on your first day in the training school they strip you naked and make you fight the best guy there. Isn’t that stupid?” Robby laughed.

“That’s really stupid,” Edwin agreed. “They let me keep my smallclothes on.”

Knighthood, 93

Sometimes Edwin felt that since he’d been knighted, all he really did was paperwork.

Which he knew was his own fault, because he’d been offered this job and accepted it, so it wasn’t like he had anyone to blame but himself in reality. And Owen had told him that Gavin was feeling overwhelmed lately, so he couldn’t even blame Gavin for convincing him he deserved it, because that would be mean.

Edwin sighed. “Problem?” Warren asked, sitting with him at the table in their room in the castle.

Edwin shook his head. “No, it’s fine. Just that if I’d wanted to do this much writing, I’d have gone to scribe school instead of knight school.”

Slavery, 90

Now that Greg was a prince, there were sometimes servants who could help him get dressed or have a bath. He’d never let any of them, and all of the servants knew now that he preferred to bathe and change clothes by himself or, even better, with Grey Rain.

Greg hadn’t intentionally been naked in front of anyone but Grey Rain since he’d been enslaved. And he didn’t have to be tonight. They were having the party for Edwin’s anointment—the second party, the one that was also an orgy. Gavin had decided that the anointment part would be done naked because of some old knighthood ritual, so everyone was going to be naked. Gavin and Owen and Edwin and Grey Rain had all told Greg it was okay if he wanted to stay dressed, and also okay if he didn’t want to come.

But Greg wanted to come. He’d been so sad during the first party that he’d missed it all. He wanted to come and be happy for Edwin, even if he wasn’t going to go to the orgy. So he was here, in the small anteroom of Stag Keep, to watch at least the anointing part of the party.

Others, 36

“And then he had some old ladies over for supper, I think they talked about him buying a farm.” Ned straightened the papers he was holding, which caused him to nearly drop the second one, which was blank. He managed to catch it in time and stuck it in front of the first one, which was also blank. “Uh, then he went up to his bedroom and went to bed. I guess he probably had sex with his fiancé, but I didn’t ask.”

Cameron looked bored, which was terrifying, so Ned shuffled his two papers. “And then this morning he went to work again, and he’s been at the castle all day. His shift ends just after sundown, and he has a date tonight at a bathhouse and he won’t be home until late.”

Cameron was quiet, so Ned waited just a second. “Uh, that’s all,” he said. “He hasn’t done anything miraculous or magical or anything.”

“Fine,” Cameron said, waving a hand. “Get out.”

Knighthood, 87

Just as Edwin was pulling on the portal to open it, the door opened on its own and Erik walked through. “Hey,” Edwin said.

“Good morning.” Erik looked exhausted, and he leaned down to kiss Edwin. “You’re leaving really early, aren’t you? I thought you’d have time for breakfast.”

“Yeah,” Edwin said, feeling a bit bad. Erik had been working night shifts the last few days now. “Sorry. I’m going to see Rudy before my shift.” It had been a few days and he wanted to check on him.

“Right. Okay, I’m going to go sleep for a bit, but I should be awake by the time you get back this evening,” Erik told him. Edwin was going to try and convince Elaine to put Erik on fewer night shifts—at least when Edwin wasn’t also working them. “I don’t have the night shift tomorrow, so I’m going to try to get back on a normal sleep schedule.”

Edwin nodded, looking behind him. Sure enough, there was Nigel in the doorway, just in case Edwin needed anything. “Nigel,” he said. “Wake Erik up after three hours, okay?”