The Prince's Boy: 31

(Continuing the weekly serial by Cecilia Tan! Need to start at the beginning? Click here.)

Part 31: Kenet

The next day dawned damp and chill, but the fog burned off by midmorning. From the rise where Roichal’s tent was pitched I could see a large portion of the camp. How many men were here? Thousands, certainly. Finding Jorin was going to be quite a task.

Again I felt no urge to eat. After he had breakfasted himself, though, Roichal taught me to shine his boots and how to oil the leather of his armor. There were many buckles to be shined also, and to be kept from rust. He watched over me for a while, and then left me alone with the tent flaps up to let in light to work by. A soldier sat outside, whistling as he repaired something leather with a long needle. He wasn’t obviously a guard, but I wondered if he were there to keep an eye on me.

Roichal and Marksin came in at midday and Roichal gave me some bread and meat, but still I could not bring myself to eat it. They looked at me curiously and gave me plenty of fresh water. Roichal himself checked me for signs of fever, but I seemed well, just not hungry.

“He’ll eat when he’s ready to,” Marksin said. “Just like a stray cat.”

That made the general chuckle and pat my head affectionately, which felt better than it had any right to.

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