NaNoWriMo Day 5 Part 1
posted at: 11/6/2014

"You are truly a hero. It's lucky that you were here when I needed you."

"Oh, it's not really lucky. It's just 'cuz I was following you."

This new revelation was slightly startling for the Queen Mother. "You were following me?"

"Yeah. I have been all morning. It was real easy, your mule's so slow. Er. Your royal mule. Your Majesty."

"And why were you following me?"

He looked at his feet again. "I hope you're not mad. I wanted to come and help you but heros aren't supposed to show up until someone is in trouble.

Otherwise they're just ordinary people. So I thought I'd follow you until you were in trouble and then I could save you from it." He looked up and

grinned. "And it worked, didn't it?"

"And you were so certain I'd get into trouble?" Matilda asked with a smile.

The youth nodded sagely. "Oh yes. Everyone gets into trouble when they're on a quest."

"I think you're right." Looking up and down the river nervously, she continued. "You should get home now, though. I don't know if those burglars are

going to come back."

"I can't go home. I'm coming with you." He set a knapsack, a small bundle full of river stones, a long stick, and two glossy black birdfeathers in the

cart then hopped into it himself.

"I'm afraid your parents might have something to say about that if you don't show up for lunch today."

Sitting cross-legged in the donkey-cart, he shrugged nonchalantly. "They know where I am. I told them this morning that I was going to help you. They

thought it was a good idea. My Mum packed this pack for me. See?" He grabbed the bag and stuck his head inside it. "She doesn't really know what it's

like to be on an adventure so I had to help her. She wouldn't have known that you need a hatchet, but I made sure she packed one."

"That's...well, that's very good of you. I'm sure we'll need one." Matilda paused in thought for a moment before slowly getting down from her seat. "A

warrior like you will also probably need a sword of some kind. Do you have one?"

"No."

"Let's see if we can fix that." She searched along the bridge until she found what she was looking for--the abandoned sword of the malicious miscreant

who had attacked them. "Here we are." She began dragging the deadly chunk of steel towards the cart.

By now, the kid had jumped up from his seated position and run over to see what she was doing. When he saw the sword being scraped along the stones,

he cry out. "You'll dull it! You'll dull it! You have to pick it up by the handle. Here, let me show you."

Matilda stepped out of the way and let him take up the sword. "I have carried a sword before, you know. In fact, I own one of my own that I've taken

on many an adventure. It's just that sometimes you have trouble with these things when you get old."

He blushed. "Sorry, Your Majesty."

"Oh, that's alright." She ushered him back onto the cart. "I suppose we should get away from here before they come back for that, shouldn't we?" With

a snap of the reins, Sugar Bell continued the slow, steady plodding which had been temporarily interrupted by the morning's events.

After several seconds of silence, Matilda turned around to address her passenger. "What's your name?"

"Oh. I...uh. I can't tell you."

"You can't? Why can't you?"

The boy in the cart became very grave as he toyed with one of the bird feathers that he had, presumably, found along the trail while following the

Queen Mother. "My Pa told me before I left that if I told anyone my name while I was helping you, they might send soldiers to our house to take away

my little sister and kid brother. He also said that my Pa could lose his job or they might execute my Mum and my Pa."

"Oh! That sounds serious. And they still let you come along?"

"My Pa said that he wished he could come but he has to keep working the...uh...thing...that he does." He looked up apologetically from the feather.

"He said it would be safer not to mention his work either."