The Lost Prince (part 11)

SEVEN

Look, it’s not my fault. I mean, what would you have done? A man is only flesh and blood. It would have taken a heart of stone to resist. And, if I’m honest, resisting temptation has never been my best thing.

See, I’d been touring around for a bit. Sail up to a new kingdom, present the best wishes of my homeland, ask a few questions about the ostensible purpose for my visit. Then enjoy the hospitality of my host for a week or two while making “further enquiries.” And the kings, for the most part, were good hosts. Not overly friendly, but unfailingly civil. Seems to be a point of pride with them.

Then, when I get to Sparta, the king’s out of town visiting family. The queen invites me to stay until he gets back. She’s a great hostess. Gives me a very warm welcome. Warm… soft… tender…

She said she’s never known a man like me. I told her I hear that a lot. The men she’s used to are all beard and bravado. They wouldn’t know subtlety if it punched them in the face. They’re always jostling with one another to be top dog, because it’s the only game they know. It would never occur to them that someone could be playing a different game. That even the top dog is still just a dog.

Their game never interested me. I prefer one where the odds are stacked in my favour. Who needs strength and honour when you’ve got cunning and creativity? They can have their swords and shields. I get more done with words.


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