The next morning found everyone seated at a long wooden table in the dining hall, including Sylvia who neither had the slightest appetite nor cared much for her company. On either side of her were Trevor and Bastiick, the latter of which who still only cheered about the Keepers even when simply asked to pass the salt and pepper. Trevor, on the other hand, seemed to be shyly courting Sylvia as he slid his chair closer to her and gave an amorous grin. The grin became more nervous on the former henchman when she received his affections with a death stare and he wisely pushed his chair back to its original spot. The newest visitor to the Kingdom of Fools still appeared quite uncomfortable. The fact five dozen or so vampires shared the room did nothing to alleviate his distress. The fact both Sylvia’s uncle and Gwendoloena assisted with preparing today’s first meal did nothing to alleviate his accompanying confusion.
“So, this is a place where undead roam the land.” Ian paused while Uncle Albert slid a hefty serving of eggs onto the plate before him. “And make breakfast.”
The zombie reached over to where Trevor, Sylvia and Bastiick sat, dishing out equal portions from a frying pan. “I may not eat them anymore but I can still make a fine omelet if I do say so myself.”
“Uh huh.” Ian stared at the plate’s contents before warily regarding his chef again. “And what do you eat?”
Uncle Albert looked at him as though this were the most childish question anyone ever asked. “Well, I’m a zombie good sir, so”—he waved the metal spatula he held in the air—“certainly not eggs.”
“Uh huh,” repeated Ian in the same dazed tone as before. (When one is not used to dining with vampires and zombies, it’s perhaps understandable that a certain preoccupation about the future menu will prevail). He gazed across the table at V, already with a full plate and in the process of grabbing a fork. The fork’s travel from plate to mouth paused mid-air when the vampire realized he held Ian’s undivided attention. V raised the fork in a toast motion while meeting the stare. “I eat eggs.”
“And?” demanded Ian.
V quickly swallowed down his forkful. “And we have plenty of cattle and other livestock for the other. Speaking of,” he offered a plate full of cooked links from the center of the table, “sausage?”
“Thanks.” Ian grabbed one of the links with such a slow, mechanical motion that he looked like a broken windup doll. He regained normal movement quickly as the vampire queen took her place at the chair on his left and he nearly jumped out of his own seat.
“No one is going to harm you, young man,” Gwendoloena assured him while attempting to touch his shoulder. It was an attempt that took a while to complete due to the fact Ian leaned away to his right to gain distance from the long, pale fingers stretching toward him. Since his retreat only brought him closer to Deigen sitting on his other side, he finally resigned to letting her pat him like a mother tending to frightened four-year-old. The Queen’s consolation became a tad less effective due to the two large fangs protruding under her upper lip. “You are safe here, I swear.”
Ian gulped loud enough for even the vampires sitting at the ends of the table to hear him. “Uh huh,” he squeaked out in doubtful agreement.