“No!” The pig herder, a slip of the girl really, crossed her legs, folded her arms and glared back at the king from her chair. “I will not marry some friggin’ prince just because I managed to unenchant him. If he was any use he would either have unenchanted himself or never have gotten himself enchanted in the first place.”
“What do you want to do?” The king leaned back in his own chair on the other side of the desk. There was a certain pungency to the firm minded young woman seated opposite him. No doubt it had a lot to do with pigs, physical labour and infrequent ablutions.
“Go home. Look after the pigs. Hope Tom the woodcutter, young Shepley or Shrimblestraw Jack asks me to walk out with them. Avoid enchanted…anythings.” She continued to glare at the king.
“You would prefer one of these young men to my son? Why?” The king steepled his fingers in front of him.
“Physical competence, for a start.” She leaned forward. “And they have families who won’t look at me like something the cat dragged in. Can Your Majesty honestly tell me you won’t have this chair burnt after I leave or that you’re looking forward to introducing me to the other kings?”
The king gave her a tight smile, “If you will excuse us for a moment, my dear? Sir Wendell, with me if you please.” He rose and walked to the far end of the room, the knight who’d been standing behind his right shoulder following him. With his back to the peasant girl he said quietly, “Damn it all, Wendell, she’s right.”
“I hear a ‘but’ in there, Sire.” The knight had been the King’s right hand man for internal matters for years.
“I want all of that for my grandsons – common sense, practicality, fire and determination. She crossed her legs at me!” He suppressed a chuckle. “My wife does that when she disagrees with me.”
“Nice knees, pretty ankles and a good head of her own hair.” Sir Wendell cleared his throat. “Nice cleavage too, if you like that sort of thing.” He did.
“She won’t have Prince Terrence, so what’s to do?” The king knew there were options but he didn’t voice them.
Sir Wendell had no such qualms. “There’s always the one in the tower. It would solve both problems.”
“Should we do that to her?” The king looked over his shoulder with a pang of guilt, his subjects’ safety was his responsibility.
Sir Wendell put a comforting hand on the king’s shoulder, “Needs must, Sire, needs must.”