The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2)

The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard

Book: The Unwilling Apprentice (Book 2) by Heidi Willard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heidi Willard
asked them.
    Pat sighed and rolled her eyes. "Lead the way," she told him in an exasperated tone.
    Fred cringed. "Why me?"
    "Because if something goes wrong I don't want you holding that staff behind me," she replied.
    The boy's face drooped, but after what happened in the kitchen he couldn't blame her. Fred peeked his head out the door and saw the hall was empty. He led the pair down the stairs, but they made it only as far as the entrance hall when a voice spoke up from the shadows. "Good evening, Lady Lamakin."
    All three of them jumped and their heads snapped toward one of the tall columns. Percy stepped out of the shadows with a smooth smile on his face. Pat clutched at her heart and handed Ruth's hand to Fred. "You startled us, Percy," she scolded.
    "And why would I do that? Surely you're not sneaking around the castle this late at night to cause mischief?" he teased.
    Pat blushed and glanced back at her companions. Fred rolled his eyes, and Ruth glanced nervously between them. "Well, no, we're just, well, just out for a snack. We missed dinner enjoying the fireworks."
    Percy raised his eyebrows. "Oh? I hope you weren't caught up in the chaos outside."
    Pat laughed a little too loudly, and shook her head. "Oh no, of course not. We try to avoid such trouble."
    The young man smiled. Fred didn't like that smile. "I seem to recall you had quite a bit of trouble with the assassin Deadly Sins while you stayed at Tramadore."
    The girl waved off his words. "Oh, yes, that. I'm sure he made a mistake and attacked the wrong room."
    Percy's good humor slipped and he dropped his voice to a whisper. "I'm afraid I may have some information that would say otherwise." Pat flinched and frowned at him, but he shook his head. "I can't say any more, not here, but I would worry about your stay here."
    "Worry about what?" she asked him.
    "About whom," he corrected her. Percy glanced up at the balconies, and though he saw no one he ushered them into the passage that led to the kitchen. "King Stephen invited my father and me here to attend your coronation as the captain of his guard, but I fear my father my have other, less sincere intentions for coming here. He speaks of an errand we are to perform here, but will not confide in me the details."
    Fred wasn't surprised, but Pat was aghast. "But what could he want here?"
    Percy shook his head. "I do not know, but I noticed my father outside your door a few minutes ago. He seemed interested in entering, but when he found his way barred he left."
    Pat paled. "What could this mean?"
    "I wish I could answer that for you, Lady Lamakin, but I have only questions myself," Percy replied. There was a noise above them and he ducked behind the passage wall. Footsteps moved along the balcony and down the stairs to the landing in front of the throne room. Percy frowned.
    "Who is it?" Pat asked him.
    "That strange woman who King Stephen consults so often," he informed her. "What could she be doing here?" Lady Martley slipped into the throne room and closed the door behind her. Percy whipped his head around to his companions. "Perhaps you had better forsake your stomachs and return to your rooms."
    "We'll be sure to grab only what we need and return to our rooms," Pat promised. "Thank you for the warning about your father, though I hope it proves to be false."
    Percy grimly smiled and bowed at the waist. "I am forever at your service, Lady Lamakin."
    Pat smiled back and pushed her companions down the hall. Percy slipped out of the hall and upstairs, though he paused at the throne doors and frowned. Not a sound drifted out of the throne room, and he hurried on.
    As for the three companions, they rushed into the abandoned kitchen, pried open the hatch and slipped down into the tunnel. Ruth reverted back to her gargoyle form to avoid complicated questions. Fred led the way with his lit staff, but the farther they traveled the slower he walked until Pat, who walked behind him, prodded his back. "Why are you so

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