I got her letter in the middle of a meeting. It wasn’t signed but I knew the handwriting well. Only when she wrote privet letters to me did she dot her i’s with checkmarks, she was clever that way. The wording also tipped me off, short and to the point with just the right amount of coldness. We were having a lover’s spat, or at least that how I sugar coated the situation.
“Center of bush labyrinth, excuse yourself when most convenient.”
We might not be talking, but she knew were I would be. My father had been dragging me to royal meeting since we got back from the front to get me use to my future duties but I didn’t need to be there. I didn’t think I needed to be there, my place was with my wife, but my father insisted on getting me ready. One might think he was dying some time soon.
Waiting for an opening in the dull conversation about changes in the uniform color, I got up. “If you’ll excuse me, my wife needs me right away.” As soon as the words had left my mouth, I knew I would never live them down. It didn’t matter really, my reputation was sound and I was sure the likes of them would understand. They all had families and talked highly of them after all.
I hear thing in the likes of whip sound and laughter, but I didn’t care. Even my father put forth a comment about how I let my wife wear the trousers in our marriage. He’s one to talk, he prohibited women from wearing trousers five years before I was born. And the sad bit was that no one really opposed him, it was already a well common practice in our society. I didn’t think much of it either, women looked wonderful in skirts and dresses. My opinions had changed since my marriage, and I was determined to change things once I came into power, but in quite some time from now.
The labyrinth was conveniently place on the other side of the estate. It was immense and seemingly endless. That was yet another thing I didn’t give much thought into before, but she loved the damn labyrinth. I would get lost chasing after her in the walls carved out of bush, but once I caught her, my reward was sweet. I guess I must have stopped thinking about the way and just let memory guide me to her because I suddenly found myself walking into the center of the bloody labyrinth.
All I heard before a seemingly huge fist came knocking into my face was someone call my name. I lost my footing from surprise and landed on my hands and knees. I was a little disoriented and couldn’t quite place the face I’d seen before the punch.
“Get up.” The voice was almost a whisper this time, cold and hard. I didn’t want to obey, but I knew I had to get up and face my attacker. I took my time getting up. Still being a little out of it, I hoped my delay would show defiance, but I mostly just needed time to put myself together.
As soon as I got up to face my assailant, another fist came crashing into my jaw, knocking me down again. I’d gotten a good look at the individual throwing the punches and couldn’t stop myself from laughing. With each hardy laugh, a wave of pain shrouded my face. I could feel my left eye begging to swell, it would most likely be all sorts of colours in the morning. Hell, it would probably swell shut for all my luck.
“Let that serve you as a warning, Ezra, to never lie to your wife again.” Her breathing was quick and shallow, her cheeks flushed, and her knuckles bone white. I’d always known my wife would be a great queen some day, and she knew just how to prove it to me.