“I can’t wait for this feast, Jeannine. All this heroism has made me hungry.”
John sat at the head of his grand table, preparing for the umpteenth feast that week. Jeannine had actually obeyed John’s orders to help with the cooking, but now she too sat at the table, ready to eat. Bill was nowhere to be seen; John assumed that he was still fixing the hole in the ceiling left by Shamus. He was wrong.
Regardless, the feast soon commenced. Everyone was laughing with joy at the good food and good company, except Pompetus, who was still bitter about John’s failure to die.
“I’d like to propose a toast,” said John, tapping on his crystal goblet with his spoon. “To me! The greatest, smartest king ever!”
“To John!” the call resounded.
“That wasn’t nearly enthusiastic enough,” said John, expressionless. “Again.”
“TO JOHN!” everyone cried.
“Better. Not perfect, but better. Carry on.”
They all resumed eating, and Jeannine took this opportunity to ask John what he and Shamus had spoken about. John was very cryptic, not thinking Jeannine capable of understanding much, but he told her enough for her to be worried.
“But what if you don’t win the battle, John, and Mischa does? Then he’ll get Cyprus, Josiah will make her betray him and all will be lost!” protested Jeannine.
“Mischa won’t win the battle, you fool,” claimed John. “How could he? I’m infinitely better than he is. I doubt he could even win a battle against Bill!”
“What?” asked Bill, who was suddenly present.
“Finish that roof yet?”
“What roof?” asked Bill.
“The one I told you to fix before the feast,” replied John. “You did fix it, didn’t you? If you didn’t fix it, I’m going to be very angry.”
“Fix?” asked Bill.
“You don’t know what fix means? Are you really that stupid?” questioned John.
“Yes,” answered Bill.
“Oh. Anyway,” said John, turning back to Jeannine and grabbing a chicken wing, “as I was saying, Mischa has no chance against me. He’s just…bad. At everything. I’ll win for sure, and then I’ll get Cyprus. After that, I’ll thwart Josiah and we’ll all live happily ever after.”
“But what about me?” asked Jeannine, again upset.
“You? What about you? Well, you can be our maid or something, I guess,” offered John. “You can do laundry, right? I hate doing laundry. It’s just not me.”
Jeannine sighed as John bit into a giant leg of lamb. A few minutes passed, and then Pompetus rose, evidently preparing to make some sort of speech. He waited (unsuccessfully) for the room to quiet down simply because of his standing, then cleared his throat loudly, which worked slightly better.
“King John, it has come to my attention that you desire another 50 warriors. Sadly, as was true before, we do not have the resources to meet your request. There is, however, another alternative. Roughly ten miles hence there is an enchanted den. If you defeat Errour, the monster therein, you shall find all the soldiers you need,” he said.
“Killing all these monsters is getting stale and repetitive,” said John. “First Wendel, then his mother…are you sure there isn’t a quicker way? Something a little less tedious?”
“I’m afraid not, my lord. Destroying Errour is the only way to obtain the men you seek,” said Pompetus. “Of course, Errour can’t be defeated by the likes of you! And when you die trying to kill her, I will be come king! Oh, crap…I really shouldn’t have said that part so loud.”
“To the den of Errour!” shouted John, standing up.
“John,” said Jeannine suddenly, “Do me.”
“A big favor, and pass the salt.”