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The Accomplice: Chapter 10
Her first day wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. All the other maids and cooks just ignored her unless they had a task for her to do. But the afternoon of her third day, as she was cleaning the floor of the hall between the prisoner’s cells, she discovered one tiny flaw in their plan. As the prisoners were shouting insults and inappropriate things at her, she realized that out of this whole dungeon, only about two thirds of the prisoners were actually former slaves. The rest of them were actual criminals. “How will we know what to do with them when the time comes to free the slaves?” she thought silently to herself. She scrubbed furiously, thinking almost as hard as she was scrubbing. Suddenly, all the prisoners grew completely silent. Thankful for the break from their shocking words, she scrubbed the floor even harder, so hard, she was almost afraid she would burn a hole in it.
“If you scrubbed that floor any harder, I am afraid we would have to ask you to pay for the damages.” A cold voice said with not even a hint of humor in the tone. She turned around and to her horror, stood the warden himself staring at her with his grey, piercing eyes. “I think you are done here. You may go scrub my personal quarters now.” He said examining his perfect fingernails. She nodded her head briefly then gathered her tools and walked out of the hall. As she was leaving, she heard a prisoner talking to the warden.
“Scuse me sir, but me friends and colleagues here were wondering if ‘ou could spare us some extra food today considering the lack of quality of the food we ‘ave been gettin?” the brave man said mockingly. Alex could practically hear the slow smile spread across the warden’s face as the prisoner and his friends snickered.
“Perhaps you are right. But unfortunately for your friends here, your little speech has convinced me that a little dieting wouldn’t hurt. And while we are at it, I, the Sheriff of Nottingham might just have to personally remove that… eloquent tongue of yours to remind everyone what happens when you decide to over use that tongue.” Alex could just imagine the man’s face going pale as it was the warden’s turn to snicker. Alex left the room, not wanting to know what would happen next.
About an hour later as she was cleaning the warden’s quarters, she heard a scream of a man so desperate and scared; Alex got shivers down her spine. The captain’s quarters were like nothing she had ever seen before. It was incredible. The floor was made of cherry wood that was dark and polished. While the quarter itself was small, its elegance made up for it. In the corner of the room stood a desk made of the same wood as the floor. The bed was huge and neatly made. But the thing that really got her attention was the enormous chandelier that hung from the ceiling. Made of solid gold, small diamonds hung from every candle and sparkled wonderfully in the candlelight. The one thing that somewhat surprised her was the detail that there were no windows in the cabin. She couldn’t understand why the owner of such a beautiful room would want the room to go unnoticed by the people in the streets. She had just finished cleaning when she felt the presence of another enter the room. She spun around with the broom in a position as to be able to fight off the intruder. To her surprise, it was the Sheriff himself. Embarrassed and utterly surprised, she bowed her head and curtsied politely.
“Are you finished in here?” The Sheriff asked, barely giving her a second glance. She nodded.
“Good, now get out of here before I decide to break your scrawny neck.” Alex was shocked by his uncalled for behavior and looked at him warily.
“I said get out of here!” He screamed and hurled the book she had just finished dusting at her. It missed her waist by inches. She scrambled to collect her cleaning supplies and ran out of the room, leaving the fuming Sheriff behind. As she exited the room, she noticed the small, fat man entering in the doorway. He didn’t seem to even see her at all. He panted and breathed heavily with a red face. Apparently, the stairs were a strain for someone of his health. His recently waxed handlebar mustache was neatly trimmed and his hair was smoothed neatly. Excusing herself past the stranger, he shut the door behind him and locked it. Curiosity got the best of her as to why the stranger was here, why the Sheriff was so enraged and why the man locked the door behind him. She stood by the door with her ear pressed to the lock. She could hear almost everything being said.
“I thought I told you to prepare some of the slaves for the king’s arrival.” The plump man said in a harsh, authoritative tone.
“John is no king, but fortunately for you and I, my dear Lord Stephan, John doesn’t need a title to rule the kingdom as his own.” Said the Sheriff through gritted teeth.
“That is a minor detail. The point is, he will be staying in one of these houses in a couple of weeks and he needs slaves available to serve him. His own slaves have been neglecting to… satisfy him.” Squawked Stephan.
“I don’t see why he can’t just keep his own slaves instead of needing new ones every time he feels like a change.” The Sheriff badgered.
“Because John gets, what John wants. And we both know perfectly well what he will do with his former slaves.”
“Such a waste of precious humanity. If we didn’t know better, I would say that John was simply making an example to the people of his power. Although I don’t see how killing a few hundred slaves will show the people how dictating he is.” Exclaimed the Sheriff.
“Oh he isn’t killing his slaves; he plans to destroy the monastery. If he can eliminate all the other pauvre, that means no more slave catching business, and if that happens and he has all of his slaves plus all of these slaves, he can sell whichever ones he wants and since they will be so hard to come by, he will make a fortune off of them. Just think what he can do with all of that. With money like that added to the already massive amount of money in the castles treasury, he could buy all of England. Then, all of Europe and eventually, the world. Think of what power he would posses. All starting with this small but important act of power.”
“I see. Although, I don’t think all the money in Britain could buy the world.” The sheriff offered.
“No, not just in Britain. Think how much people would pay to own slaves bred of the highest quality. He plans to send them all through a special training to become the best slaves possible. Then he will sell them to the world. Everyone will want a slave that one doesn’t even have to command.” Alex had to put her hand over her own mouth to keep from gasping aloud. She tried to absorb as much of this information as possible. She knew they had to act quickly. The monastery was housing hundreds of thousands of other pauvre, including Robin. If she couldn’t warn Robin in time… Alex didn’t even want to consider the possibility. Swallowing with a hard lump in her throat she dragged herself down to the kitchen and prepared for a restless night.