Chapter Nineteen

So it was The Old Fox came before The King. The afternoon sun in the eastern sky lit The King's throneroom, and The Old Fox was surprised that the curtains were not drawn. And then the thought came to his mind why they weren't. He noticed The Priest of Tr standing in the background, evilly awaiting his confrontation with The King.
2 At first, The King ignored The Old Fox, tending to other matters. But The Old Fox knew he was watching him every moment. He motioned his followers out onto the balcony, and they stood in the blazing sun. The clouds of winter would soon come, and The Old Fox knew that much would happen before then.
3 A page came up and spoke to him. "The King will hear you now," he announced, "come."
4 And The Old Fox stepped before the throne. The King looked up. There was something about this man's bearing that worried him. He wasn't hesitant, he walked with a boldness for his age, and he seemed totally unafraid. Almost every man that stood before him was afraid, but this man showed no fear at all, and that The King feared! "What powers does he possess?" he thought, "What strength does he have?" Well, he had best be on with it! He summoned a page. "Someone close those curtains!" he ordered, "It's like an oven in here!" The page quickly obeyed.
5 "So you are The Old Fox!" growled The King.
6 "I am he," The Old Fox answered, "Your Majesty's humble servant."
7 "My servant?" roared The King, "How can you be my servant when you deny my authority? Now, what kind of servant is that?"
8 "Now, who has told Your Majesty that I deny his authority?" asked The Old Fosx. "Never have I done so."
9 "Liar!" screamed The King. "I have witnesses that you deny my Divine Right to Rule. Yet you say you do not deny my authority?"
10 "And these witnesses speak truly!" explained The Old Fox. "I do deny your Divine Right to Rule. For Your Majesty knows as well as I do, that he is not divine, that he is merely a man like myself, a devoted servant of his god as I am a Servant of My Lords.
11 I deny, Your Majesty, your divineness, but I do not deny your right to rule. Your people accept your rule. They say you are our King. As long as they continue to do so, we will respect their judgment and abide by your laws and decrees. Your Majesty rules because he rules well. And as long as he continues to rule well, we will stand with him."
12 The king was taken back. "You do not deny the charges against you," he gasped, "you confirm them?"
13 "As I understand the charges against me," The Old Fox agreed, "yes, no one has spoken an untruth about my words. But as to denying your authority I do not. I have encouraged my people to obey Your Majesty's Laws, to pay Your Majesty's taxes, to obey Your Majesty's officials. Now is that treason, Your Majesty?
14 Now, I have made no complaint to His Majesty about the bad treatment my people have been receiving...the destruction of our property, the beating of our Teachers, the lies being spread about us, by certain religious peoples in the land. I have brought forward none of these complaints, yet I would have been fully justified in doing so."
15 Now The King did not know what to think. He was completely off balance. Was this man a threat to his authority or wasn't he? What was The Priest of Tr trying to do?
16 He motioned to a councilman. "Does he speak true?" he asked. "Are his people being harassed?"
17 "I fear, Your Majesty, it is so," the councilman told him. "There has been no life lost, but there are incidents almost daily. One of his servants, a renegade Priest of Tr, was attacked just a short time ago. There are rumors that he killed one of his attackers and crippled another, and that The People of Spirit are treating the crippled man like their own."
18 "The man that attacked his servant?" asked The King.
19 The councilman nodded. The King pointed to his keeper of taxes and motioned him over.
20 "These Children of Spirit," he asked, "do they pay their taxes?"
21 "On time, and without question, Your Majesty!" the man told him. "And always what they are due. Many who were delinquent before, have paid up their bill after joining this Faith."
22 The King looked back at The Old Fox, and motioned the others away. "There are rumors," he inquired, "that a servant of yours was attacked, and that he killed one of his attackers. Is that true?"
23 "We believe so, Your Majesty," The Old Fox told him. "One of the attackers is recouperating at our house. One got away. My servant believed the other was dead, but when we went looking for his body, it had disappeared. No one has made complaint against my servant, so I do not know what to say to Your Majesty."
24 The King nodded. "And you wish to make no complaints against this man you are caring for?"
25 "We do not," The Old Fox answered.
26 "Then, as far as I am concerned," The King announced, "THAT matter is settled. I wish to hear no more of it. As to our other problem, your Faith is strange to me. I do not understand it. I wish to know more about it."
27 The Old Fox raised his hand. "I have brought with me," he said, "a Book of Our Law, and a Book of Our Teachings; everything that Spirit has taught us so far. And if Your Majesty wishes, I will send a Speaker any time he desires to explain to him anything he does not understand."

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