A fateful union – part 2

Ferdinand grabbed Hugo’s hand and at the same time, reached for his knife. It wasn’t there. Of course. He wasn’t wearing his own clothing. Thoughts went racing through Ferdinand’s head, yet were quickly interrupted by the realisation that he had been squeezing Hugo’s hand harder and harder. He quickly let go. “I’m Ferdinand”, he exclaimed. His voice was, for the first time, filled with uncertainty. “I am duke of the kingdom of Audacia.”

Hugo stared at Ferdinand.
“Oh, I know your kingdom.” Hugo said. “We used to fight each other, a long time ago.”
“Well, don’t expect that to happen again anytime soon”, mumbled Ferdinand.
“And why do you say that?” asked Hugo.
Ferdinand bit his tongue. He was getting too familiar with this man. It’s easier to kill a stranger.

Ferdinand decided it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, looking around the room. There was a set of knives hanging by the wall. Ferdinand started walking slightly towards it, his eyes fixated on Hugo. “You see, my king is very old. He has lost his sharpness.” He casually grabbed one of the knives.

“Just like this one here. I couldn’t defeat a cat with such a dull blade, much less a real enemy.” He threw the knife in the air and skilfully caught it with his other hand. He then grabbed another, much sharper knife from the wall and started moving towards the table. “So when our neighbours will hear of my king’s frailty, they will be coming for a visit. And certainly not for a friendly debate.” Ferdinand thrust both knives into the table. The dull blade fell to the side. The other one stuck.

Ferdinand and Hugo eatingHugo got up and left the room. Ferdinand sighed. No blood had to be spilled. He went to grab his belongings. Before he had the chance to leave, Hugo returned. He carried beer, bread and a bowl of apples. Hugo sat down and took out Ferdinand’s knife from his pocket. He looked at Ferdinand, and began cutting the apples into pieces. “There is more to being a king than just winning battles” Hugo said. “Despite your anger towards your king, you still seem eager to return to his domain. Stay here and rest for the night. You can leave tomorrow morning.”

Ferdinand felt humbled. He sat down and dropped his shoulders. “Thank you.” He mumbled. And so the two men ate, drank and talked. It wasn’t long until the room was filled with political debates, curses and laughter. The next morning, Ferdinand said his goodbyes. He reached into his pocket and presented an old ring with a small blue diamond sitting on top. “Thank you Hugo. I have with me nothing of real value. Will you keep this as a token of my gratitude?”

Hugo nodded. Ferdinand handed him the ring and the two men shook hands once more. The young duke then turned around and started walking towards his home.

“Hey Ferdinand!” Hugo shouted. “When we’re both king, we should unite!”

“Maybe!” replied Ferdinand and disappeared between the trees.

To be continued…

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