48 Chapter 48 Praise from the King
Court, the next morning, was very interesting. Joseph had agreed with all of the members of his small group, the evening before, that today should be spent sitting in on court.
Duke Cesilea (pronounced see silly) stepped up to make a proposal to the king, after about an hour into court. After his butt kissing period, he finally proposed his idea.
"Your majesty, because of the central location of my territory, it only seems appropriate that I be the one to organize the many mages under you, and the Court of Mages, for you during this time of turmoil. I will see to it, that the mages are put to good use ensuring that there is no shortage of food or commodities during this time of hardship. I'm sure that you would agree, that you are very busy with the war coming from two different directions, and I am sure that I am more than capable of handling such an important task of the kingdom as a duke instead of just as a foreign merchant."
Joseph knew from his etiquette training that this was a serious dig at the king and his ability to make decisions. Glancing at the king's face, he hadn't missed the dig either. Judging by the slight twitch of his eyebrow, he was fully aware of the implications behind the duke's words. Joseph couldn't tell if he was intentionally trying to get the king to disregard his idea of using the mages to help the kingdom solely to hurt him, or because he had so many mages, he didn't want them conscripted by the king. It was probably both.
If the king went with his proposal, then he would get control of all of the kingdom mages, and if the king opposed it, it made sure others wouldn't be able to easily get his mages.
"Enough!" shouted the king in rage as the court erupted into turmoil. "There will be a recess until after lunch so that I may meet with my advisors to determine the merits of the request, as well as who should be appointed to the position."
Marquis Eli Rosenwald, General Walter's nephew, quickly stood up.
"Your majesty! Please, grant me a few moments of your time to discuss the northern wall!"
Walter was supposed to pass a few sketches and some notes to the guard captain and current commander of the kingdom's army before he headed north, but Joseph hadn't had the time to get the notes polished. Mostly, he was worried about them being misrepresented when they proposed the idea, and would get rejected. Joseph glared at Walter and the Marquis.
Walter had the decency to avoid his eyes, but the marquis smirked. The king saw everything, of course.
"I will discuss it with my advisors," growled the king.
Eli lost his smirk as the king turned towards him.
"I will discuss it with Joseph, not you Marquis."
"Your majesty, I assure you I had not intended for anyone to use my notes. I merely left them on my table while I ate lunch. Perhaps those who are meeting with me are taking my ideas to others…" Joseph tried to explain, but the king jumped in.
Sitting down, calmly, he tried to ignore the words of the king. His heart jumped and he broke out into a cold sweat as the much larger man screamed and swore at him, coming very close to breaking the contract. He just kept telling himself that the king was merely upset with the situation, that he really didn't mean to threaten his life or liberty as he was.
Spying the look of fear on his face, the king finally managed to calm himself, and sat down as well.
"Joseph, you are a very bright boy. I understand that you do not understand politics very well yet, but this has gotten out of hand. I cannot have the nobles coming at me with your ideas as their own, trying to usurp my power like this. Is there any way you could refrain from stirring the pot so vigorously?"
"Your majesty, I honestly don't know what else I can do. I showed you all of my plans already, then discussed them with my advisors that you assigned me. I need to make plans that will work in order to ensure the success of my father in his side of the contract. I was just trying to help you make sure that you could provide your side. I hated the idea of you falling through because you honestly couldn't keep up your side of the contract because of the war."
"Boy, I understand you are only trying to help, but I assure you, I am not incompetent. If you would allow me the space to rule my own kingdom, I will not fall through on my side of the contract."
Joseph looked at the tired look in the king's eyes and knew that it was the right time to show the king his letter. Pulling out the forgery he had made the day before, he handed it to the king.
"I was trying to send you notes on my ideas, after you told me to just send them to you, instead of handing them to you personally, and this is what I received. I'm not sure who wrote it, but it had your signature…"
The note basically told him, in very flowery script, to deal with his own issues instead of bothering him, and was signed by the king. It bothered the king quite a bit, as he knew he was not the one to have written it.
"I will see into this. Thank you for showing this to me. Now, please, focus on your planning on the trip to the north, and leave the rest to me."
"What of the problem with the marquis? Will you really leave him in charge of all the mages?"
"And have him in charge of the court mages as well? Preposterous! I will oversee it myself until I can find someone who isn't a snake to deal with it. Though, just between the two of us," he leaned in very close to Joseph, which made everyone in the room very uncomfortable, but let Joseph know that he actually trusted him, "I think you have wonderful ideas!"
Beaming, he stood up from his chair, and bowed before leaving the room. He was barely able to contain the smile when he passed in front of the nobles who were impatiently waiting to hear the king's decisions.
Joseph knew that the king had a lot on his plate at the moment, and that all of his ideas, while wonderful, were making his job even harder, but getting confirmation that he was doing a great job, from a king himself, made him feel good.
(CONGRATULATIONS! FOR GETTING IN THE GOOD GRACES OF AN ACTUAL KING, YOU HAVE BEEN AWARDED 10 LIFE POINTS.)
Joseph couldn't believe it! All but skipping, he returned to his room to tell Stella, in private, the good news! Now, what to spend them on…