The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania

The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania by Andre Norton Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania by Andre Norton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andre Norton
his unguarded eyes. The American was standing at the open casement staring out.
    “Really, must you be so energetic so early in the morning?” inquired Michael Karl somewhat peevishly. His shoulder was thumping, and his feet were hurrying to inform him that they were still there.
    “Hullo! You've come to at last? It's past ten,” Frank Ericson informed his guest with a smile.
    Michael Karl sat up guiltily. “I say, it isn't!”
    “But it is. And I'm afraid, if you are able, we must be on our way. I've been hearing things about our friend up yonder,” he nodded curtly towards the window.
    “I knew,” Michael Karl said with some satisfaction, “that he wouldn't let me get away as easy as that. Well, I've got to be going then. If you can lend me a pair of shoes—”
    “We're leaving in an hour,” Ericson informed him. “And I've got your livery here. Remember, you're my chauffeur, lent me by the editor of Rein's leading newspaper.”
    “But,” protested Michael Karl firmly, “I got myself into this mess, and I'm not going to drag you in after me. I'm leaving alone.”
    He scrambled stiffly out of bed and essayed to stand. A little white, he sank back on the bed. Unable to stand, much less walk a step, he was de- pendent upon the American whether or no.
    “Now that you've got over that foolishness, suppose you eat your breakfast while I have a look at those feet of yours.”
    The American produced a loaded tray and his first-aid kit almost by magic.
    “There,” he said when the last bandage was wrapped, “that will do, I think. Heinrich's boots will be about two sizes too large, so they won't cause you any trouble as long as you obey orders and keep off your feet.”
    “But what will people think of a chauffeur who can't even stand, much less drive a car. You'll give the game away right there,” Michael Karl was triumphant.
    Ericson smiled down at him. “I'll do the driving, and we'll have a convincing story for the public, never fear. You are to do as you are told!”
    Michael Karl digested that and then said:
    “Well, what do you want me to do?”
    The American was striding up and down the room tugging perplexedly at his black hair. Suddenly he stopped and came to perch on the foot of the wide bed.
    “We've been mountain climbing,” he began.
    “You're not so far wrong there,” broke in Michael Karl.
    Ericson silenced him with a look and continued: “I slipped and you were pulled down for a nasty fall. It was my fault, and that's why I'm so anxious about you and must hurry you back to Rein. The landlord will give out that you're my guide, I've fixed that, and in Rein they'll think that you're some boy I've picked up in the mountains. Can you speak Morvanian?”
    “A very little. Only what I've picked up these last two months. The Court speaks English, you know.”
    Ericson frowned. “Well, that will have to do. Remember, you're my guide and have had a fall on the rocks. Now let's get you into this.”
    He pulled out a pair of dark green breeches with a high-collared, side-buttoned tunic to match and pushed and pulled Michael Karl into them by main force. They fitted tolerably well except for the black boots, which as Ericson had said were too large, but they just went over the rolls of bandages.
    “Not so bad,” commented the American when he had finished and Michael Karl was established in a chair before the mirror. “You'd better put a strip of adhesive tape on that scratch of yours, it will add a little color to our story.”
    Michael Karl obeyed and then surveyed his reflection. The face in the mirror was a little pale perhaps and the splash of white plaster across one cheek gave him a slightly damaged appearance, but he sadly feared that any one who had seen the late Crown Prince would be very apt to recognize him. He'd have to lie close once he got to Rein. Do his errand with the Cross and then stick indoors until Ericson talked the American Minister into giving him a passport.
    Ericson

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