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Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

by Allain Atienza

Chapter 41

The day turned out to be beautiful. The sky was a bright storybook blue, with a few cotton clouds thrown in for color. The meadow shone with a fresh spring green, and the woods beyond were cool and inviting. After almost a solid hour at the sword stake, Zorikh found himself again on the palisade, leaning contentedly against the wooden wall and enjoying the day, allowing the late morning breeze to cool him.

“We have apple trees not far from here,” a woman’s voice said from the courtyard, “if you accompany me, I will show you how to choose the ripest ones, and tell your future in the seeds.”

Zorikh turned to see Wealtheow standing near with her hands clasped on the handle of a closed basket, looking fresh and lovely in a saffron dress that set her hair afire. Zorikh had assumed that Wealtheow would diminish when compared to Fara, but he was wrong. Fara was mysterious and beautiful in an almost supernatural way, but Wealtheow was warm and alive, and made one feel enormously glad of her company.

As Zorikh descended and bowed, she smiled pleasantly and offered her hand to his lips. He cast a furtive glance towards the doors of the hall before bestowing the queen’s hand with a respectful kiss.

“Rise, good Zorikh.” Wealtheow said gently. She took his arm and steered him towards the gate. “So, will you walk with me to the orchard, or am I not as radiant as when you met me?”

Don’t flirt with the queen, Zorikh thought. “To be perfectly honest your majesty, you’re twice as beautiful now. You’re one of those ladies who look lovelier as you shine more light on them. That’s how you know when a woman is truly beautiful.” Oops.

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