Fool Chapter 25




Alas, your humble fool is the King of France. Actually, France, Britain, Normandy, Belgium, Brittany, and Spain. Perhaps more, I haven't seen Cordelia since breakfast. She can be a terror when left to her own devices, but she keeps the empire in working order and I adore her, of course. (As has always been the case.)

Good Kent had his lands and title restored, and was also given the title Duke of Cornwall, and the attendant lands and properties. He's retained the black beard and glamour given him by the witches, and seems to have convinced himself that he is younger and more vibrant than the multitude of years he carries on his back.

Albany retained his title and lands and signed an oath of fealty to Cordelia and me, and I trust he will be true to it. He's a decent, if dull chap, and without Goneril in his ear, his will be the way of virtue.

We've given Curan the title of Duke of Buckingham, and he acts as regent of Britain when we are not on the islands. Edgar took his title as Earl of Gloucester and returned to his home where he buried his father in the walls of the castle temple built to his many gods. He's started his own family and will no doubt have many sons who will grow up to betray him or simply be dolts in the image of their father.

Cordelia and I live in a number of palaces around the empire, traveling with an embarrassingly large entourage that includes Bubble and Squeak, as well as Shanker Mary and other loyal staff from the White Tower. I have a crashingly large throne, on which I hold court with Drool on one side (who has been given the title of Royal Minister of Wank), and my monkey, Jeff, on the other. We hear cases of the local farmers and merchants, and I pronounce judgments, damages, and sentences. For a while I allowed monkey Jeff to pronounce sentences while I was off having lunch with the queen, giving him a little plaque with various penalties to which he could point, but that had to stop when I returned one afternoon from a protracted Cordelia bonking to find that the cheeky little bloke had hanged the entire village of Beauvois for cheese violations. (Awkward, that, but the French understand. They are very serious about their cheese.) Most of the time justice can be satisfied with a bit of verbal humiliation, name-calling, and pointed sarcasm, at which, it turns out, I excel, so I am viewed as a fair and just king and much beloved by my people, even the fucking French.

We are at our palace in Gascony now, near northern Spain. Lovely, but very dry. I was just saying to froggy Queen Jeff today (he and Queen Burgundy are visiting), "It's lovely, Jeff, but bloody dry. I'm English, I require dampness. I feel as if I'm drying out and becoming all crackly as we speak."

"It's true," Cordelia said. "He's always gravitated toward the moist."

"Yes, well, darling, we shan't speak of that in front of Jeff, shall we? Oh, look! Drool has sprouted an erection. Let's ask him what he's thinking about. Had his way with a knotted oak on the way here. A right spectacular tree-shagging it was, too. Knocked down enough acorns to feed the village for a week. They wanted to have a special feast day in honor of the git - declare him god of the tree-shag - more fertility symbols there than you can shake a stick at, innit?"

"C'est la vie,"[47] said Jeff, in perfectly incomprehensible fucking French.

Later, as I was holding audiences with the public, there entered the great hall three ancient, bent figures. The witches of Great Birnam Wood. I suppose I'd always known they'd show up at some time or another. Drool ran and hid in the kitchen. Jeff jumped on my shoulder and screeched at them. (Jeff the monkey, not the queen.)

"A year has passed for witches three,

And we are here to collect our fee," said Rosemary, the green, cattoed witch.

"Oh, for fuck's sake, you're on with the rhyming again?"

"A need was filled, a promise made,

For service done we must be paid," the witches chanted in unison.

"Just stop the rhyming," said I. "And those rags are entirely too heavy for this climate. You'll get a rash on your warts and carbuncles if you're not careful."

"You've been made a king and enchanted your true love to be yours forevermore, fool. We only want what is our due," said Sage, the most warty of the three.

"Rightly so, rightly so," said I. "But Cordelia is not enchanted to love me. She is with me of her own free will."

"Balderdash," said Parsley, the tall witch. "We gave you three puffballs for three sisters."

"Aye, but I used the third to enchant Edgar of Gloucester, so he would fall in love with a laundress at his castle named Emma. Lovely lass with smashing knockers. She'd been mistreated by the bastard brother - only seemed just."

"Still, the spell was used. We will have our payment," said Rosemary.

"Of course. I have more treasure than you crones could carry. Gold? Silver? Jewels? But Cordelia doesn't know of all of your manipulations, nor that the ghost was her mother, and she mustn't ever. If you agree, name your reward, I've important kingly things to accomplish and my monkey is hungry. Name your price, crones."

"Spain," said the witches.

"Fuckstockings," said the puppet Jones.

Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies