The Queen’s Treasure

Henry prepared to board the train at Clapham Junction that morning at half-eight the same way he did every morning.  His headphones were crooning French love songs in his ear because they calmed him and made him able to pretend that someone loved him.

The quite ordinary looking man picked up the Times (TM) at the news agent’s and tucked it under his arm as he calmly made his way to the sandwich vendor’s stand in the middle of the concourse.  He looked around cautiously, noting that there weren’t as many travelers this morning . . . probably the weather.  It was raining nonstop and the sky was dismally grey and cold so probably a lot of people called in sick from work.  That wasn’t unusual these days.  The economy was bad, food was in short supply and salaries simply weren’t keeping up with the changes.  Even wizards like himself were having a hard time keeping themselves in brooms and potions and staying healthy.

Just then a young girl approached to ask, “Excuse me, sir, but you dropped this.”  She held up a five-pound note and he took it, not having realized he’d dropped it in the first place.

“Very kind of you, thanks.”  He took in the dark hair wet from the rain, her pale skin and big, violet eyes.  He guessed that she was about fourteen and decided she would be a beauty when she entered adulthood.

At least she’s honest, he thought briefly.  Not like some of these cheeky beggars hanging ’round here and the tube these days.  Or, was she?  In a panic, he reached into his pouch and felt around until he touched it.  No, it was safe.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  It would not do to disappoint her Highness and this was very important cargo he was safeguarding.

Normally the wizard would have hopped on his trusty broom and been to Windsor in a snap, but the broom was misfiring and he didn’t want to fall and land on his treasure.  Besides, while most wizards preferred aviation balm or brooms or faery dust, Henry loved the trains.  He rode them every day without fail so he could look out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery and listen to his headphones and pretend that someone loved him.  It wasn’t much of a life, but it was one he loved and today was more special than most because of his assignment.  He was as excited as the Queen herself over his find.

Henry had been the Queen’s loyal sorcerer for over twenty years and she valued both his service and his discretion.  No one knew of their relationship save the two of them and both wanted the secret to remain that way.  To the rest of the world he was simply another advisor although rumours did rise once in awhile because of the secrecy but none guessed the truth which rather amused them.

Henry heard the announcement telling him, “Platform 6 now boarding for Windsor” over the loudspeaker and he made his way there.  The doors were open and waiting for him so he selected the car with the least number of passengers, carefully avoiding the lad with the bicycle as he entered.  He took the very last seat in the rear with no one around him and watched the others as they selected their seats.  The trains were always quiet in the mornings with passengers reading their papers.  Henry considered reading his as well instead of watching the drizzle outside, but he was too distracted to read so he decided to simply watch the rain fall from the sky.

About halfway between stations, Henry heard a tiny crack.  Goodness, I hope I hear no more noises like that before we arrive.  It could get rather sticky, he thought, but kept quiet and prayed a bit.  Fortunately there were no further noises coming from the pouch and the next thing he knew they were pulling into the station.  As soon as the train stopped, Henry was out of the doors and hopping into the Queen’s limo which she had sent to meet him.  Neither the driver nor Henry spoke a word as they carefully made their way through the throng and up the High Street the short distance to the castle.  Henry paid no mind to the entrance, the guards, or the trappings which he had seen so many times he no longer noticed.  Instead he was directed to the church where he knew they would have total privacy for this meeting.

He bowed low and reached into his bag as he approached.  When he was directly before her, he could see the excitement that sparkled in her eyes that changed to wonder as he pulled the large speckled egg from his pocket and held it out to her.  She didn’t touch, but they were both amazed when the remainder of the shell broke and inside was a tiny dragon, bare of scales and looking about with wide eyes, trying to take in all of his new world.  He was the last of his kind and had been hidden in the Cave for years waiting  for the right time to make his appearance.  Henry didn’t know why he found the egg nor did he know why it hatched now, but he was honoured to have a part in the discovery.  He felt an instant connection with the wee creature who kept cocking his head to the side to look at the wizard with a puzzled expression on his face.

The Queen reached out to pet the tiny newborn in awe for a few moments before she picked up a small bell resting beside her which she rang, lokking regretful as she did so.  Into the room came a beautiful woman with dark hair and violet eyes.  The girl at the station.  Why was she here, Henry wondered.  And why does she now look my age instead of fourteen?

The Queen had a sly smile upon her face as she introduced the young girl to Henry.  “This is Avery, the dragon’s keeper.  She will be taking charge of our little precious cargo while he is yet young. I want you to take him to Balmoral where I believe you will be more likely to keep his existance a secret until he is a little older.  Also, I would like the two of you to work closely together and keep me informed of his progress.  That will be all.  Oh, and Henry, pay attention to what I am not saying.”

Henry looked over at the woman now holding the baby dragon and he smiled as he pulled his headphones out of his pocket and placed them in the bin on his way out.  He had a feeling he wouldn’t be needing them any longer.


One Response to “The Queen’s Treasure”

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