A/N: Hey, guys! Sorry its been so long~

His Majesty's Companion

"Thomas, make sure you get Starblaze and not Cinnamon. Cinnamon is probably the horse incarnate of the devil," Rutherford ordered as we stood outside of the stable.

The truth is that Cinnamon is a fabulous steed. King Rutherford just happens to be a terrible rider, and Cinnamon has a habit of bucking the young King off whenever he sees the opportunity to do so. Of course, as a servant, I am not in a position to point out the Kings faults, so instead I walk away before I can betray my true feelings.

As was to be expected, Paten the Stable-Chap was there. Sleeping in a pile of hay like some homeless beggar.

"Paten, you scoundrel, get up! I need three horses."

"Wha-? Thomas, is that you? You look… fatter," Paten mumbled. He stood up and dusted the hay off of his clothes, and shaking God knows what out of his greying beard. "Whadaya need a horse for? Running off to see some girls?" He winked.

"No, you sick, mongrel of a man. I need three horses. King's orders. Don't worry about why," I demanded.

"Oh, King's orders? Man, that guy-"

"Watch what you say. He's but a mere few feet from us," I said.

"Aw, cripes. Fine. Which horses do you want? I got Cinnamon."

"Not Cinnamon. Give me Starblaze and two of your travel horses."

He lit one of the stable lanterns and moved over to Starblaze, a large white horse with the patience of St. Mary herself, and began to saddle her up. He hummed a little tune to himself as he worked, casting glances at me every now and again as if I was the weirdo who slept in the stable.

I sighed, buckling under his curious stare. "What is it, Paten? Must you stare at me like that?"

"I know you told me not to worry about it, but I can't help wondering… Are you and the young King running off together?

"Excuse me, but we aren't 'running off together'. He wants to do some exploring and has requested my aide and valuable companionship. Don't make this sound like some romantic escape."

The old bastard starts chuckling as if he knows something I don't. Quite honestly, I'm starting to remember why I hate this guy and I'm amazed he's still alive considering that he looks older than what is humanly possible. I can practically hear his bones creaking as he works.

"Tell me this, Thomas. If King Rutherford was really looking for a suitable companion for an adventure, why would he choose an inexperienced castle servant like you? Why not a knight or two?"

"Um. Well I- I er… What?" The look of confusion on my face must have been pretty entertaining, because Paten began laughing so hard that it seemed like he was finally going to keel over and die. Flustered, I stormed out of the stable, and marched over to Rutherford to demand some answers.

Rutherford was sitting idly by a tree a few feet away, looking like he didn't have a care in the world; Looking as if we weren't about to embark on an adventure that could possible leave the kingdom ruler-less and chaotic. I walked until I was standing directly in front of him and cleared my throat to secure his attention.

"Thomas! Hey, where are the horses," He asked, rising to his feet and peering at me suspiciously. "Are you disobeying my orders?"

I know this is going to sound pathetic, but I totally crumbled under his gaze. What can I say? Submission has been drilled into me. "I, um… No, sire. The horses are being prepared for travel. And…"

Damn his cold, stubborn looks and that dastardly pout he gets when he believes someone is about to question his authority. I stare at him blankly, trying to figure out how I can word this in a way that doesn't suggest that I'm being insubordinate.

"What, Thomas? Don't just stare at me like I've grown a third head," He mused.

"A third head, sire?"

"Well, there's the head on my shoulder and then there's the head-"

"Never mind, I get it!"

"Oh, look, the horses!" Rutherford promptly turned away from me and bounced over to Paten. "Come over here and help me onto this horse."

"Yes, Sire." And then it dawned on me. Rutherford wasn't looking for a protector, a guide, or a friend. All he wanted was a slave, someone who would obey his every beck and call, and wouldn't argue against any of his outlandish ideas. Someone weak and submissive. Someone like me. That smarmy bastard.

As I walked over, shaking with self-hate and horror at what I have just realized, Rutherford turns to me with a devious little gleam in his eyes.

"Let's go to the Valley of No Return first!"