Justus was in a hurry. It had been months now since his first arrival in a land that was unusual to him. His time was filled with requests the nobles wished to be put to the king. Roman was also willing to lend an ear to the more simple people of his kingdom so the cries for attention were never silent.
Now Justus was on his way to the library of the castle, carrying books on the history of Navaria so he could arm himself with knowledge.
He met Vasinov en route. Justus bowed as respectfully as he could. Vasinov gave a curt nod.
“I’m glad I managed to get you alone,” stated the Count.
“To what do I owe the honour?” asked Justus.
“I have my concerns about my cousin. Perhaps you can relieve them.”
“I’ll do my best, Your Grace,” was Justus’ response.
“Ever since the pending nuptials to the Lady Francesca were announced he hasn’t been quite himself. He barely speaks which Is most unlike him. It is almost like he has been bewitched.”
Justus’ eyes widened at first. To claim someone was under an enchantment was not to be taken lightly, especially when that person was a king. Vasinov laughed when he realised how seriously Justus was taking his words.
“I don’t mean that literally, of course. His Majesty and I have always been very close. I’m just worried about him.”
Justus shuffled his books into a more comfortable position in his arms.
“I believe it is not the wedding that concerns the king. On the contrary, it is one thing that he seems still in good cheer about. It is the fate of my predecessor, a man named Perrin, that has left him cold. Also, he was very fond of the Lady Natalya who is no longer with us.”
Vasinov’s round face turned a pale shade of red.
“That business with the Countess was unfortunate,” said Vasinov. “I do think it was best for His Majesty though. The people were starting to talk. They said that he had stolen his brother’s wife just as he had stolen his brother’s crown.”
Noticing the advisers dismay Count Vasinov continued.
“It’s all nonsense of course.”
“Intelligent men and women pay no mind to such treacherous talk. Otherwise we could have chaos on our hands,” replied Justus.
Vasinov gave another nod. “Without a doubt.”
“If I were to listen to all the talk I hear I would be led to believe that you are deliberately trying to sow discord at court. You were an enabler of the king’s affair with the deceased Countess.” Justus said cooly.
Vasinov hadn’t expected to be challenged by the man from Susiname. He cleared his face of shock.
“I can’t say I have heard that talk. Then of course if it is about me then I would be the last to hear…”
“As I said,” Justus remained cool. “Intelligent people pay no mind to such talk.”
Vasinov interrupted. “His Majesty and I were always really close.”
Justus agreed. “I am aware of that. So close in fact he named you his successor in the event his union with Francesca bore no children. Most would have thought he would be more inclined to name his nephew.”
The redness of Vasinov’s face deepened.
“That was his decision!” he proclaimed.
“If you would excuse me I still have much to learn,” said Justus indicating the books in his arms. “You can rest assured that His Majesty will always receive the best guidance I can provide. If there is anything I feel you should know I will come to you.”
Justus left Vasinov behind and continued on to the library.
Later that afternoon the count sought out Drenisov in the court yard. He and two of his guards were sharing a story of what a girl from the gates had been willing to do to be released from the charges of witchcraft.
“She couldn’t suck cock to save her life,” Drenisov laughed at the irony. “I burned her anyway.”
They all shared a sinister laugh. One had a hand on the wall they stood by and was holding himself up. His face was purple from having drank too much.
Vasinov urged the witch hunter aside with him. The purple faced guard bent over and vomited.
“I want you to keep a close eye on the king’s new adviser, Justus,” Vasinov instructed. “He knows too much already. He will be trouble.”
Drenisov shrugged his shoulders. His upper lip curled.
“That isn’t my problem, My Lord,” he stated.
Vasinov folded his arms across his chest and tried to stretch himself to his full height to match the towering frame of the witch hunter.
“If you want to continue gaining more power in this kingdom then I suggest that you make it your problem. Do you believe Justus would do nothing if he found out about your treatment of your prisoners?”
Drenisov sighed. “I have never known a Susinamian to have a moral conscience.”
Vasinov dismissed the comment.
“This one is different. After being saved from a life of slavery he is in a debt to the king and his loyalty will not be bought.”
Subscribe to the page for all the latest episodes of Red Crown.
Fancy more magic, murder and mayhem? Click HERE to read Vivika Widow’s explosive introduction to the fairy tale world of Red Snow.