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Beginnings, Chapter EightWhen Arthur and Matthew pushed the cabin door open, they were met with the delicious smell of Francis’ cooking. Whatever it was had been made with lots of butter and fresh herbs - and there was little left of the dish.“I’ll bet you’re regretting not staying for lunch,” Francis said as he scrubbed the pan. Arthur scoffed, refusing to admit how much he missed Francis’ cooking.“Suit yourself,” said Francis. He handed a cleaned dish toward Alfred so the child could dry it, but Alfred had already run off. Matthew looked around and found Alfred bouncing on Arthur’s bed. In mid-air, Alfred stuck his legs out in front of him, bounced to a sitting position, and let momentum take him off the bed. He stopped inches away from Matthew, who flinched.“You missed lunch,” Alfred said. Matthew shrugged. Even when enveloped in the scent of delicious food, Matthew still couldn’t think
Beginnings, Chapter SevenThe two walked without direction for some time, allowing themselves to become lost together amongst the sounds of birds and rushing river water. Eventually they came to a boulder that was large enough for them both to sit atop. Matthew struggled to climb it, at which point, Arthur picked him up and sat him on a smooth edge of the rock’s surface. Then Arthur climbed up beside him. The two sat together in a peaceful silence. As Matthew leaned against Arthur’s body, he felt comforted. His last wisps of nervousness, he realized, were awkward modesty. After all, here was the Earth’s most powerful empire, who had the whole world as his back garden, and he was choosing to spend time with just this one tiny colony. It was an honour Matthew found a little bit overwhelming.“Aren’t you busy?” Matthew asked. Arthur looked down at him and smiled.“Right now,” Arthur said, “I am doing the mo