Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, nor of any characters, locations, and elephants contained within. All rights of the Queen's Thief series belong exclusively to Megan Whalen Turner and her respective publishers.
Spoilers: Book 1
Word Count: 600
Summary: Sophos may make a terrible heir to the throne, but that may not mean he'd be a terrible future king.
Author's Notes: Written for the theorangethief, who requested of scene between Helen and Sophos during his stay in the Eddisian court towards the end of The Thief. Hope this is what you had in mind!
The queen of Eddis turned to the next page of her royal account book, twirled her elaborately fletched quill pen, and glanced over her shoulder. Sophos hid his face behind a book.
“What are you reading?” she asked politely. Sophos jumped as if he'd been concealed in the dark corners of the room where she couldn't possibly see him. He must have thought reading made him invisible.
“Umm,” he stammered, but soon found his tongue. “A geography book on the Eddisian mountains. In Sounis, all the books I've read tend to ignore other countries.”
“I see,” observed the queen as she shut her account registry. “I hope you're not planning to use your new knowledge against me.”
Sophos cringed. “No! I mean- No,” he said more calmly. “I read purely for academic interest. Nothing more, and I'll never become king of Sounis, so you don't have to worry.”
Leaning back in her chair, Eddis considered him with a thoughtful stare.
Sophos's face turned the same color as a ripe cherry, and he suddenly found the scratches on the table very interesting. “Is Gen feeling better?” he asked, changing the subject and pointing to the door that led to Eugenides's room.
Glancing at her cousin's chambers, Eddis nodded. “Yes, I think so. He's sleeping right now. You might be able to wake him for our lunch.”
“Our lunch?” Sophos repeated cautiously.
Eddis twisted the cork on her ink pot. “I'd like you and the magus to join me for lunch. We've much to discuss. Don't you agree, prince?”
“Well, I suppose so,” offered Sophos with as much confidence as she'd seen yet, “but please don't call me prince. I'm not the son of a king. Just a duke.”
Eddis laughed. “Just a duke? Oh, Sophos, sometimes I don't know if you're being humble or ignorant.”
Sophos's eyes went wide. “I didn't mean-”
Eddis smiled brightly--the same smile her attendants told her was as bright as sunlight on the snow covered mountain peaks. He shut up instantly.
Standing, Helen walked to his seat and took his hand. “I understand, Sophos. Now, I suggest you put that book down and get ready. There is much that lies ahead of you.” With a squeeze of his palm, she turned and left the room.
“She doesn't like me,” observed Sophos drily, as he toyed with Eugenides's purple curtains.
Eugenides rolled his eyes as he buttoned his cuffs. “Of course she does. What makes you say that?”
“She's very suspicious of me. She stares at me like a chess opponent. Well,” Sophos paused, “a harmless chess opponent.”
Eugenides laughed. “She's just seeing what you're made of. She doesn't mean anything bad by it.”
“I suppose.” Sophos sighed like a massive rock had just been set on his shoulders.
“Any particular reason you wanted her to like you?” asked Eugenides.
Sophos jerked his head up. “Of course not! I'm a guest, and I should be pleasant to my host.”
“Of course,” offered Eugenides.
“Of course,” insisted Sophos.
Smirking knowingly, Eugenides opened the door. “Let's go eat, and if it makes you feel any better, I'll help you prove to my queen that you're the most harmless of harmless chess opponents.”
“You think I'm harmless?” asked the younger boy, a bit miffed.
“In the best of ways,” his friend added kindly. “Some may say that's a bad trait in an heir, but perhaps, not such a bad trait in a future king.”
“A future king?” repeated Sophos incredulously.
Eugenides smiled. “A future king.”
As always, thank you for reading!
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