I went in, along with Layred Vu and one guardsman. I left the rest outside. It was a good thing; the inside of the cottage was small and barely accommodated the four of us plus the three children. Mrs. Tern told the oldest to take his brothers out back.
“But I want to meet the king too,” he protested.
“Hush and do as I say,” his mother told him.
Sullen, he collected his brothers and took them outside.
“Your Highness, please have a seat. May I get you something to drink?” she asked.
She fetched three wooden cups filled with the clean water from the stream. The day was very hot already and I accepted the water gratefully.
“Thank you, madam,” I said. “Mrs. Tern...
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