The Palace (Bell Mountain Series #6)

The Palace (Bell Mountain Series #6) by Lee Duigon

Book: The Palace (Bell Mountain Series #6) by Lee Duigon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lee Duigon
Only until the people’s minds can be put at ease. It’s the kind of thing that’s part of life. If you know the Scriptures, it’s like when King Irod married the princess of the Kephti. That was a small deception that brought peace to Obann, long ago.”
     
    “I don’t know that story, sir,” Jack said, which was true. He wondered what Obst would think of this man pretending to be a student of the Scriptures.
     
    “Well, never mind,” said Goryk. “One of these days I’m sure you’ll read it. But in the meantime—” he paused, and seemed to lick his lips—“how would you like to be the king of Obann, Jack? Just for a little while, I mean: to help me and the councilors of Obann end the war. Just to make peace possible again. Would you like that?”
     
    “Oh, yes—jump right into it!” Jack thought. “What kind of nitwit does he think I am?”
     
    But at that moment he thought of another boy, Fnaa, who’d played the king—and how, for a long time before that, Fnaa had kept himself safe in a wicked master’s house by playing the fool. Only it was the great traitor who was the fool, Jack thought: “He doesn’t even know there’s already a make-believe king!” But it struck Jack that he, like Fnaa, might find some security in playing the fool. It might be his only hope.
     
    “Wouldn’t I get into a lot of trouble, sir?” he said. “I mean, wouldn’t people find out I’m not the king?” He was careful not to ask, “What about the real king?”
     
    “You’ll be perfectly safe. I’ll protect you,” Goryk said. “Just do everything I tell you to, and there will be no trouble—not for you or me or anybody else.”
     
    “I’ll do everything you say, sir,” Jack said, “if you’ll just let me go back home when we’re finished.”
     
    Goryk smiled at him carnivorously. “Of course I will!” he said. “You’re a good boy, and I’ll take good care of you.”
     
    “Thank you, sir,” Jack said, but he was thinking of the creaking noise the loaded gallows made when the wind stirred the bodies.
     

 
    CHAPTER 12
    The Assassin
     
    Martis almost ran right into Ysbott and his men coming back from Silvertown. Wytt warned him in time, and he hid himself in a thicket alongside the road.
     
    They slogged right past him. Coming down from Silvertown, they went at a much slower pace than they’d set going up—the difference between anticipating a great reward and receiving a small one.
     
    Martis didn’t recognize them at first, but Wytt knew them at once by their scent. Except for the Boy and the Girl, Wytt found Big People to be hopelessly dull and slow. He whispered urgently into Martis’ ear, and even tugged on it. To the man, Wytt sounded like a mouse scolding her babies in the nest, but eventually the tone made his meaning clear enough.
     
    “So there they are, eh?” Martis said, when the outlaws had passed out of earshot. “No Jack, though—which means they must have left him in Silvertown.”
     
    Wytt chirped indignantly. How Martis wished he could understand him!
     
    “I’d give just about anything to capture one of those skruks alive,” he said to Wytt. “I’d have some questions for him! But how to do it …” One against eight, he thought, would make it difficult.
     
    Wytt understood most things that you said to him. When Martis spoke of capturing a man, Wytt got excited, jabbing the air with his little sharp stick. “He must be more intelligent than I am!” Martis thought.
     
    “All right,” he said. “Let’s try it. It’ll be dark soon, so they’ll be making camp. They won’t go much farther.”
     
    They followed at a safe distance, Wytt going on ahead to keep the men in sight. They’d never see him unless he wanted to be seen. Well before sunset, Ysbott ordered a halt.
     
    His men were tired from their grueling march to Silvertown. Having been disappointed there, they hadn’t decided where to go next, or what to do. They were used to letting

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