Fumbles sat at a table in the center of the room, wearing a bright red tunic. His hat lay crumpled in a ball in front of him leaving his head a great tangle of sloppy graying hair. Denrikk noted how aged the fool appeared. Beside the hat lay a leather pouch and a large basket of red apples. Two additional apples sat apart from the others on the edge of the table. Fumbles looked up at Denrikk. “Ah, Blueberry, you’re right on time. Punctuality, I like that.”
Denrikk nodded. “Those are your things, I presume.” He waved a hand. “Bring them here.”
Denrikk walked to him and laid his sack and his bow on the table. The fool pulled the bag closer and presumptuously began digging inside.
Denrikk watched silently as Fumbles pulled out all of his clothing, one piece at a time, and tossed them onto the floor behind him. “Boring. Boring. Drab. Awful. Boring.”
When all of Denrikk’s clothes had been scattered about the floor, Fumbles looked up at him. “Dreadful.” He cringed. “I’ll speak to the seamstress about crafting you some more suitable
attire.” Again, the fool bent and stuck his head into the sack. “Is that everything? Well, what have we here?” He reached inside and pulled out Denrikk’s knife.
“Know how to use this?” he asked, pulling the blade from its sheath.
Denrikk nodded. “Yes, sir.”
The fool eyed the knife, balancing it deftly on one finger. “It doesn’t seem very good for throwing.”
“Throwing?” Denrikk said.
“Yes, throwing. You won’t be gutting pigs, Blueberry. If you use a knife, you’ll be throwing it.”
“Throwing it at what, sir?”
The fool looked up. “Whatever needs a knife stuck in it.” He reached back into the sack and retrieved Denrikk’s book. It was ragged and stained, the only book Denrikk had ever
owned. It was a simple tale about a knight who slayed a dragon. He’d read it countless times.
“So, you can read?” Fumbles said, thumbing through the pages.
“Yes, sir,” Denrikk said. “My father taught me when I was just a boy.”
“Excellent.” Fumbles set the book down. “I’ll be sure to find you something interesting to read.”
The fool rested back in his chair and looked at Denrikk as if sizing him up. “So, what else can you do?”
Denrikk smiled, for his skills were many. “I’m accomplished with a sword, a fair jouster, I’m very good at hand fighting, but archery is probably—”
“And how’s your juggling?” The fool stared at him dumbly.
Denrikk’s jaw dropped. “Juggling?
Title: The Fool’s Apprentice
Author: Kelly Hess
Genre: YA Fantasy
In the kingdom of Dragon’s Launch, young Denrikk’s aspirations of becoming a knight are dashed when he is instead apprenticed to the king’s fool. Embarrassed and devastated that his new position will ruin all hopes of winning the hand of the girl he loves–the princess Alendria– Denrikk reluctantly begins training under his new master, Fumbles, the king’s aging fool. He quickly learns, however, that being a fool in Dragon’s Launch is much more than juggling and laughing like a hyena.
But when a shocking murder within the castle walls shakes the palace, all evidence points toward Denrikk. Now, with his new skills, a bit of luck, and the help of some unlikely friends, the fool’s apprentice must race to prove his innocence, all while evading capture.
Kelly Hess is the author of the BlackMyst Trilogy. Kelly grew up with a love of reading science fiction and fantasy which inspired him to write his own books for young readers. He lives in Vacaville, California with his wife and son where he is currently working on his next adventure.
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