about five miles from the walls, so he walked. Sean wouldn’t have let him go alone, but he wasn’t thinking clearly and Charles hadn’t asked.
Sean had recovered by the time the afternoon was half over, but he agreed that they would remain where they were until morning. Sean had never waited well and worrying about Charles had him pacing.
Mattie and Cordan accosted him and pushed him into his tent then down onto his cot. “You’re tired, my lord,” said Mattie. “You need to sleep. If you want, I’ll try to help you.”
“The pacing has the men all edgy,” said Cordan.
Sean looked at the two of them; he trusted them. “Okay, I know, you’re right. You’re right about all of it, but I don’t think I can sleep, so I’ll need help. I’ll do my best to let it happen.”
“What does that mean?” asked Cordan, as Sean kicked off his boots and stretched out on his cot.
“It means that he knows that I’m not strong enough to make him do anything,” explained Mattie.
Sean looked up at Cordan; he was tired, he could feel the weight of his eyelids. Maybe he wouldn’t have so much trouble sleeping after all.
He recognized Mattie’s fluttery touch instantly, but it was obvious that she was making full use of the stones. It felt like an odd combination of both black and white magic. Even though she spoke no verbal command, she was pushing as well as letting him fall asleep. Any instinctive resistance he might have offered came too late. He was asleep before he had completely puzzled out her tactic.
Searching for Royalty
Charles still wasn’t back when Sean woke the next morning, so like he had done at Caen, he authorized a rotating leave to go through the city on a fact-finding mission. He couldn’t possibly be as lucky here as he had been in Caen, so he didn’t get his hopes up. Charles just might, but Sean didn’t think they would. Like before, Larry, Jenny, Mattie and Sean went into town together. This time Cordan came along, and this time they rode. Prince stayed in the camp; he would draw too much unwanted attention. Sean was certain he’d have to question quite a few people before he found even a drop of the information he needed.
Though they were dressed like before, Mattie handed Sean his crown. He thought that might draw too much attention too, but she said that it also just might draw out the kind of attention they were looking for; at the very least, it might get him some answers he might not get otherwise. It was an unobtrusive thing designed so a helmet could be worn over it, so Sean conceded.
They passed the north gate without being questioned, then they checked their horses into a stable not far from it and walked the rest of the way into the heart of the city. Jenny and Mattie almost instantly started shopping. It was the first real chance for Jenny to do so since the first tiny village they had come across where they had met Mattie, and Sean didn’t think Mattie had ever been to a city other than Ruhin, and she had taken over running the palace rather than go shopping.
Sean thoroughly enjoyed following them from shop to shop as they progressed into the city. Watching the two of them giggling and conferring over the different things they found almost made him forget why they had come. Since he, Cordan and Larry hung in the background, few of the shop owners noticed that one of them wore a crown. They did, however, notice the emblem that was on the girls’ shoulders, and most of the time they were greeted warmly. Apparently, the White Star was popular with the people; they’d have to see about the constabulary when they met them.
In the main market square, they stopped at the different stalls and bought the components of their lunch, then they bought a table at what might have been a café if they had served food. All they did was ‘rent’ a table. A person or persons would pay a fee and they could sit for as long as they wished. It was an ingenious