Sir Edward and the Formidable Foe
“Sir Edward the Brave!” the page announced as the aforementioned person entered the throne room, bowing low. He was unquestionably an impressive person, with his armor and long sword hanging on his belt. The king rose and stepped forward.
“Welcome to our kingdom. Be sure that thou art welcome in our palace. I trust that thou understandest our reason for thy presence?”
“Yea, even so, your majesty. I have been told there was an enemy to fight. There is no enemy too large for me.”
“Good, then we have no doubt that this will pose no problem. But come, tell me of your ventures.” Sitting down once more, he waved toward a chair. The knight took the seat and crossed his legs.
“As you may know, Sire, I am not one to brag about my quests, but there is one that strikes me as the most wonderful and unusual of them all and is fit to be told in a kings court. Thou seest, there was this great green eyed blue tongued lying dragon who could hypnotize anyone simply by looking at him...”
And as he told the stories of his past successes, the king sat round eyed and the sun slid lower until it disappeared below the horizon and the servants lit candles; and still he told stories until the king rose and said,
“Thy stories are truly intriguing, but now thou shouldst take thy rest, for thou must do battle on the morrow.”
So the knight stood and went to his chambers. He lit a candle and was just beginning to unbuckle his sword belt when he spotted a small creature upon the floor at the foot of the bed. It was a roach.
“Master Roach, if thou hast come to challenge me to single combat, I am afraid that thou must wait until the morning, for I feel sure that now is not a good time.”
The roach took one last look at him and ducked below the bed. The knight watched it and then called to it telling it to leave his room. But it showed not so much as an antenna. He tightened his belt back up and sat down to wait. This was one foe who would not catch him sleeping. He had slept in giants homes and under the presence of great dragons before, but this was worse. For its size made it hard to see and it could move so quickly. He decided that roaches were the last thing he wanted to fight with at the moment and so after an hours wakeful vigil he rose and left the room, and headed for the king's gardens. Once there he found sleep came quickly beneath the starry sky, and when he awoke, the sun was high in the sky. Leaping to his feet, and instantly learning the reason why he never slept on the hard ground with armor on, he stretched and entered the palace to find it in an uproar. One of the servants, spotting him, rushed up and dropped a curtsey.
“Oh, Sir! It is good to see you! I hope you've rested well. The king has been searching for you.” Then in a whisper, “He thought you left because you were afraid of the coming battle.”
“Ha! ME? Afraid? I will teach that old man a thing or two. What's all the fuss about anyways? Why does he want me suddenly?”
“Another attack, Sir. You're to go to the king immediately.”
“Attack? I'll handle it. Don't you dare worry that pretty little face about a thing. Would you like to come and see the renowned Sir Edward the Brave in action?”
Her eyes widened eagerly. He started towards the king's throne room with the servant tagging along behind.
Once more the door was opened and the page announced him.
“Sir Edward the...”
“Never mind!” snapped the king, rising to his feet and coming forward. “Where have you been? You were not in your room, nor was your bed slept in at all. I thought you had deserted me.”
The knight's previous encounter with the king had given him the impression that he was short tempered and easily frightened. In short, one to start wars at the drop of a hat and surrender as quickly. But now, looking at him, he wondered whether perhaps he had underestimated him.
“He is clearly in terror,” he thought. Realizing too late that he had actually said it aloud.
“Terror? I am petrified! If you knew what I had been through perhaps you would have some sympathy!”
“I am truly mortified your majesty. I am ready for battle against the most formidable of foes. Of course there is still the matter of the reward.” He drummed his fingers on his sword hilt. He was prepared for the offer of half his kingdom in gold and his daughters hand in marriage and was unsurprised when that was the offer granted him. He waved his hand as though all that was frivolous in his eyes and countered it with his own offer.
“Your most gracious majesty, though I am sure that thy offer is meant kindly, I must make an objection, for I have at the forefront of my knowledge, the fact that thou hast no daughter. Nor even a son to be thine heir. If I should succeed in this coming battle, I would wish to become thy heir, have half thy kingdom in gold and the choice of all thy subjects to wed.”
The king looked rather aghast but in the next moment he nodded vigorously and said “Yes! Yes, anything! Only please, rid me of the monster. It torments me day and night.”
“I'll have that on paper your majesty,” he said, handing across a contract which he had already taken the liberty to write. The king took it and signing quickly he said, “Now, do thy duty. Rid me of this monster.”
He showed him to the place behind his royal throne, and there crouched the roach from the previous night. The knight gaped at it. He had said no enemy too big, but maybe he should have said that there were some who were too small. The creatures could crawl up you and torment you far worse than a dragon with all its fire and claws. He took a step back and out of the corner of his eye he saw the servant watching with wide expectant eyes. For her hand in marriage, he would do this, he decided. He stepped forward with raised sword and said in his most formidable voice,
“Rogue! Darest thou to torment the king thusly? Thou shalt pay with thy life.”
Then it charged. He forgot the servant, he forgot the gold and he threw dignity to the wind as he fled the throne room. It took him nearly two hours to work up the courage to reenter the palace. When he did, he entered the throne room and found it vacant except for the remains of the roach which seemed to have met an untimely and messy end. He left the room wondering what had happened when he met a servant.
“Where is everyone? Is it not yet known that I have killed yonder enemy? Lo, it lieth in ruin in the throne room, but all have fled from the battle that ensued. And now it is my intention to find them and secure my reward.”
“Sir, they are all in the dining hall holding a great feast, for the new of the demise of the kings enemy hath spread far and near and kings and princes have come to ask for her ladyship's hand in marriage.”
“Whose?” He asked, mouth agape.
“The servant girl whom you employed to strike from behind when you drew it out, sir. Really quite an ingenious plan if I do say so myself.”
“The servant girl? Is that how she's telling it?”
“Yes sir. Your presence is required at the feast and you will have your reward.”
He entered the dining hall and there she was, now in elegant apparel with many princes surrounding her. But she looked up and upon seeing him, she came forward, pushing past all the princes.
“Perhaps I will get her after all,” he thought as she approached, his heart pounding with excitement. She stepped close.
“Sir Edward the Brave?” Her tone was scornful, but quiet so that he alone could hear her.
“Madam, I would marry you, if you would but accept me.” He knelt before her.
“I have saved thy dignity as well as thy reputation, need I do more for thee? Leave now and perhaps find a better profession. Or when you take on a quest tell them that you fear nothing but roaches and that you fled faster than a woman could, and that a woman squashed it when you were already halfway down the hall. You should thank me, not insult me.”
And with that she turned back to the group of princes and he left sadly. He became famous later on in life for his bug spray that killed roaches on contact, and he married a woman who was more afraid of roaches than he and was able to look up to him for it.
Thanks so much to Laura for spending time editing this for me, I am very happy I had someone to look out for me when 'your' should be 'you're' and other typos and grammatical errors that might make you laugh at me instead of the story.