I look at my father, he looks like he has aged a little; there is something off about him. Ladda whispers to Erin but loud enough for me to hear.
“His Pupils are dilated; he is addicted to something.” Ladda says to Erin with his eyes locked on me.
“Why don’t you have a seat before you try to kill me with your glare?” My father says so leisurely that if not for the fact that I am looking at him, I would have doubted if it was my father talking.
I stare at him suspiciously as my men bow and take a seat each beside me.
“You have got to relaaaxxxx Salem, you are always so serious. Prince of Rale, don’t you think the same? Always with the same straight face looking around like everyone wants you dead. Take it easy.” My father chuckles.
“What is happening?” I ask out loud.
“What do you mean?” My father grins at me as he calls one of the maids to sit on his laps.
I have so many emotions running through me but there is one that supersedes all others. Anger, I am very angry at my father, he might not have been a model King but he was no fool either.
“Leave us.” I say to everyone.
There is no movement from anyone and I repeat myself but louder.
“Leave us!” Everyone disappears, Erin pats my back and whispers to me.
“Take it easy with him, remember he is not in his right senses.” He says as he follows Akka.
The girl on his laps looks at me as if daring me to make her get up, she is probably thinking my father can protect her from me.
“If you make me repeat myself, I will give you a scar you will never forget.” I warn.
She looks at my father expecting him so say something, when he doesn’t, she runs away.
“Would you have killed her?” My father asks with an amused smile.
“You are using Cami, aren’t you” I ask.
“What are you talking about?” He says with a dazed look at me.
I go closer and take a closer look, I take a whiff of his scent, It is very familiar with the drugs that most warriors and soldiers use to alleviate their pain, usually recommended in small dosages by healers but a heavy dosage can do more than just impede judgement, it can give you a delusion that takes away every worry, in other words, right now, my father is on a high, I do not think he did this to himself on purpose.
“Cami has no distinct smell except the metallic sweats, it is very possible that someone might have been feeding you without your consent until you can’t do without it. Father, I need you to listen, is there anything you started drinking or eating recently or in the last six months?” I ask.
He stares at me confused again and it frustrates me further.
“Salem, are you saying I am drugged?” He bursts out laughing ridiculously at me.
“Who has been handling the court since you are well…. You.” I ask.
He stands and walks closer to me as if seething in anger.
“You think I can’t rule my court?” He holds me up by my hair.
“There is a lot of things I think you can’t do and I am sure that everyone arounds you know that which begs the question as to why no one has done anything.” I say while detangling his hand from my hair.
“You think you are all that, you think that you are the only one who loves this kingdom? Our great general.” He bursts out laughing like he just said something hilarious.
“Where is Queen Lare?” I ask further.
“Since when do you care about that woman.” He taunts.
“Since she isn’t here being condescending and belittling me at every chance she gets, I am here yet she is no where to be found, she was never able to resist that urge in the past and I don’t think she will be able to resist that now. Bad habits die hard, you know.” I say with resignation.
“I banished her to the inner courts, how dare she try to stop me from taking more concubines?! I have needs you know; needs she can’t satisfy.” He winks.
“I see… So you have no loyal supporters left, this is just the silence before the storm, you can see all the signs but because you are either in between a woman’s legs or completely taken by Cami, you don’t even know what is happening in your kingdom, how can you when you cannot see a rebellion is about to happen. Look at you Father, look around you! This is not a palace and you are not a King of Roelum.”
He tries to slap me but I dodge, the only thing that can get a man out of the Cami phase is a strong emotional outburst, it might be a few minutes but I need him to have a moment of Clarity and so I press on.
“No wife, no court, no minister… Just you in your crown dallying with whichever maid is the flavor of the week, do you even understand who you are and who you are supposed to be? I don’t care if you indulged in Cami Knowingly or not. The fact is you let it happen, you have given our enemies a chance. How dare you put every of our work over the years to shame?” I say to him as he tries to hit me but I keep dodging which infuriates him further.
“The Varcasas are coming for your throne and the Kingdom, your people have betrayed you, you have pushed away the people who genuinely cared for you. Now, all that you are is a shadow of who you used to be. It didn’t bother me when you were unfair to me, I respected you even when I thought you should have treated me better, I might not have loved you but you had my respect, now… you have nothing.” I say with a sigh.
His eyes clear a bit as he goes down on his Knees. “What have I done?”
“Father?” I check.
“It was May, he… He brought a new healer; said he was the best. I had frequent headaches and the new healer actually helped, by the time I discovered something was wrong, I was too far gone. I knew it was him but was so comfortable, I did not have the strength to pull back, Help me Salem. Help me.” He runs and tears open a chair, he writes something on it and immediately calls for his assistant and guard.
He stamps it and before I can blink, we are surrounded by May and his men, I recognize a some of them, they were ministers before I left. I had little or no idea about the court because I was always on the battle field, I had no idea that it was a complete mess on this side.
“This is treason.” I say leisurely as I look at May.
“No, it isn’t, the King has not been of sound mind and so it is only necessary to protect the Kingdom especially now that we are nearly at war.” May says with all seriousness.
“Convenient… wouldn’t you say?” I sit back down; I have a headache from all of these.
“That was what I was going to say to you, I find it odd that you are here, in this particular moment in time. Why don’t you let the men handle this? It must have been a long trip from Rale, relax, rest and we will deal with the threats and it is not like I intend to kill him, he will be put in a place where he can get the best treatment, I am sure you already know what is wrong with him.” May signals to his men to lower their weapons, he must not see me as a threat.
“Oh, like how you helped with his headaches?” I say and he stiffens at that.
“Tsk tsk tsk… I was going to save your life but as it appears, you know way too much.” He smiles at me.
“You think my getting rid of my father, you will be recognized as King?” I ask.
“I am next in line, am I not?” He boasts.
“What does Christiana have to say about this?” I ask.
“She doesn’t have a say in whatever I choose to do.” He glares at me.
“I see… Do you think she would cry if you were to die today?” I ask with a brow raised.
He laughs at me.
“I am scared… you are not eager to make your sister a widow now, are you? What about your niece and nephew? They would cry for me.” He mocks.
“You just make it easier and easier.” I give him a wry smile.
“You can’t take the Kingdom anyway if you kill me.” My Father says and I stare at him.
“If anything were to happen to me, Salem will be Queen.”