The King Visits The Prisoners
Elise Boissonneau • Chapter 35
Elise shall tell this portion of the story as I was locked in a cell with Andelbert and Captain Peanut Butter.
I was stunned by the events that had just unfolded. Maria was sobbing uncontrollably in my arms.
“Let’s find the Comtesse de Genlis. Perhaps she can help,” I said and led Maria out of the room. We found the Comtesse in the Hall of Mirrors—her favorite place in the palace.
“Comtesse, We need your help,” I said as I saw her.
The Comtesse saw how distraught Maria was. “My heavens. What is wrong?”
“Britpop and Andelbert have been arrested for pirating and taken to a cell.”
“It is a long story. They traveled with a pirate for a time but were not truly pirates.”
“We must go to the Queen. She will know what to do,” the Comtesse replied.
We arrived at the Queen’s chateau and were greeted by one of the maids.
“We must see the Queen immediately,” the Comtesse said.
“She is unavailable.”
“She will see me.”
“She is with the King.”
“You will tell the Queen that the Comtesse de Genlis, Maria Swift, and Elise Boissonneau are here on urgent business, or I shall see that you are permanently removed from your position.”
A few moments later, we were led into a room with both the Queen and the King. We all bowed.
The King spoke first. “Maria and Elise, I am pleased you are here. I was just about to send for you. You must explain to me how Britpop and Andelbert are involved with the pirate Captain Peanut Butter.”
Maria told the Queen and King the whole tale of Britpop and Andelbert’s time with Captain Peanut Butter. Many of the facts I was hearing for the first time myself.
“Thank you, Maria,” the King said at her conclusion. “It is obvious Britpop and Andelbert had no intentions of becoming pirates, but as the King of France, I cannot be seen as weak on piracy. I am duty-bound to execute them tomorrow.”
“But I am not bound by any such duty,” the Queen said. “We were meeting to discuss plans to facilitate an escape of the prisoners. Comtesse, will you assist me in this?”
“I will, Your Majesty.”
“Good. You and I shall handle their release. We will use the cover of darkness. But Britpop and Andelbert must make a speedy departure from the country, or they will likely be apprehended.”
“We traveled here with Grand Duke Gruston Goatbeard. He has ship docked in Le Havre. The Grand Duke loves Britpop like a son. He will help us,” Elise said.
“Good. I will have a guard escort you to Le Havre so you can make arrangements.”
The King turned to Maria. “Maria, are you up to meeting with the Montgolfier Brothers? One of their balloons would be the perfect escape vehicle.”
“I will do anything to save Andelbert and Britpop, Your Highness.”
“Excellent. I will have a guard escort you to Paris.”
We spent several minutes going over the plan in detail.
“Obviously, what transpired in this meeting must remain between the necessary parties and us. Agreed?” the King said.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” we all replied.
“Then let us begin.”
I shall return to my duty as narrator.
As Andelbert, Captain Peanut Butter, and I sat in the cell, the Captain told us of his capture. I think mainly to take our minds off of our fate. After telling the tale, he began to apologize.
“I am sorry, Lads. I should have never taken you aboard the Jellyfish. I was amused by your naivety and thought it would be a brief lark. Now it will cost you your lives.”
“It is not your fault. I asked you to take us on board. The fault is mine,” I replied.
“You are kind to say it. But I should have known better.”
Andelbert spoke up.
“There is no blame to be laid. Life is the result of our daily actions and decisions, and none of us can know the path life will take us with any certainty. I, for one, am glad I was part of your crew for a time. I saw many wonders and lands I had only read about. And I met the love of my life. If I die tomorrow, I will still be grateful.”
“You are a wise man, Andelbert,” the Captain said.
At that moment, the King entered the cell block and told the guard to wait outside. The guard obeyed and left the King alone with us.
“I dearly wish you hadn’t told me you were part of the crew,” the King said. “I had no choice but to arrest you as pirates.”
“I can explain,” I said. The King cut me off.
“Maria told me the whole story. It was astounding, I must say. But it changes nothing. I cannot be seen as weak on piracy, so I am honor-bound to execute you all. You should prepare yourself to meet your maker.”
My face fell.
Then the King moved closer and spoke in a quiet voice. “But do not lose heart. Who knows what the night may bring? Stay alert.”
With that, the King yelled, “Guard.” The guard opened the door, and the King left.