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That night Michael crept into the kitchen, there were still some servants working at the meal for tomorrow but he managed to snatch two loaves of bread. He took the same route out of the castle and through the town so he could get to the monument undetected. The moon was shining off the cage and he saw all the people cramped up inside of it. He looked at the two pathetic loaves in his hands, it would be spread thinly among them but it was better than nothing. He slowly got to the cage watching his back the entire time.

“Linc,” he whispered and his brother was soon at the cage bars.

“You have to stop coming here, Michael, you’ll get caught one time.”

“I came to give you these,” he said slipping the bread through the bars. “Share it with the others as best you can,”

“Michael, I…” Lincoln sighed and looked at the bread in his hands. “Thanks,” he said and started to wake some of the people, he handed out some of the bread and they all quietly accepted it, Charles was given the other loaf to break to the people. Lincoln came back to the bars with a piece in his hand, he slowly looked at Michael, who was looking at how pathetically the bread had been shared.

“Don’t get into trouble, Mike,” he said.

“Me? Get into trouble? Isn’t that your job?” Michael smiled, a twinkling in his midnight blue eyes.

The music was fluidly streaming throughout the ballroom. The meal had been devoured and now the music was playing and the lady’s and lords spoke amongst themselves, politics and the crusades mainly. Paul was standing dressed in his finest, his mouth curled into a proud smile, his coat was lined with red velvet, not as grand as the kings purple velvet coat that was bigger and decorated with jewels, Paul’s had golden buttons and gold lace lining the edges among the red velvet. Sara was wearing a green velvet dress, she knew Paul was wearing red, so she dressed to clash with him. She had rebelled against her fathers suggestion to dress in her finest red dress to match the lord. He had given her a disapproving look and she had innocently said that her red velvet one had not been worn for so long and moths had gotten to it. She was standing the opposite end of the hall to Paul, watching the crowds dancing. The more potent ale that flowed and sweet wines, the more people danced and conversation drifted to more light hearted. Lords were flirting shamelessly with the young and pretty ladies and they flirted back, depending on how rich he was and the men how big the ladies dowry was. Sara hated this. She rolled her eyes when loud laughter erupted in one corner of the room. She looked at the door and saw Michael and some other servants, dressed slightly more formal than usual.

Michael looked so much better in his modest and simple servant attire than the fashion obsessed lords in their rich coats and smart buckle shoes. He was so much more handsome as well. Sara was torn from her thoughts when Paul approached her. He took her hand and kissed it.

“If you are going to start courting me or even talking to me, I’m going to need some wine,” she said and he smiled amused at the attitude she threw at him constantly. He was going to enjoy tormenting her when they are married. He clicked his fingers at a servant who hurried over immediately.

“Wine, for the lady,” he said and the servant hurried back to them with some wine. Sara took it and thanked him, Paul frowned at her politeness to a slave. “Don’t thank them,” he said. “they are no better than the vermin we hunt in the forest.”

“Is that so? Hmm, you see, a servant clearly has more morals and respect than a lord,” it was an indirect insult and he was not amused. He took her by the wrist and pulled her close in a discreet violent manner and hissed in her ear.

“When we are wed, and when I am king, you will regret every bad word you put my way, you will severely regret it.” she was shaking but she looked at him, their eyes connected, she was leaning away from him as he had pulled her close. Her breath was escaping her shakily and her voice came with a slight tremble.

“Is that a promise?” she asked, her eyes full of hate.

“Oh yes, my princess, that is a promise,” he snarled and then took her hand. “Now, would you like to dance?” he was grinning now. She pulled her hand away and left the hall and headed to the courtyard to be on her own.

Michael had seen some hostility towards the princess from one of the lords, he had been watching her, and detected its subtlety. The lord was careful, but no one else had been watching the princess as intently as he had been. She was looking beautiful in her green dress, her auburn hair pulled up and into a golden lace net with pearls delicately sewed onto it. She had soft curls falling beside her cheeks and her full lips were rouged. He had seen her leave, she looked upset and he wondered if he could slip out of the hall unnoticed and see if he could help her. Most of the lords and ladies were highly intoxicated, the king was in a heated discussion. He could go after her, despite how completely inappropriate it would be, but he wanted to help her.

 

 

 

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