Chapter 38: The Two Goals
“Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
PROVERBS 3:9–10 NKJV
“What is lost may be found,” said Ichi, who smoothly ascended one of the staircases that led onto the walls.
Lemuel thumped the guard’s back with tight fists. “Let go! No fair! I didn’t do anything wrong!”
Kester endured their retreat in silence, but his inverted view of the gardens below made him more than a little giddy. At least on Solomon’s horse, he’d been facing forward. Ichi’s hold left him upside down and backward.
“Fear not.” Ichi patted Kester’s legs. “I know where a song awaits.”
“One of the old king’s songs?”
“His song, his psalm, his heart.”
Going limp, Lemuel sulked. “I’m a prince, you know. Stupid Ichi.”
“Son of the son of David, I know you. Earn my respect, and it is yours. Until then, you are under my guard.”
Lemuel lapsed into grumbles.
Pausing atop a guard tower, Ichi set the boys down and held up a finger. “Follow Ichi—swift as sunbeams, sure as stars. None shall stop us.”
“Where are we going?” asked Kester.
“To a manger.”
With a small frown, Lemuel asked, “In the stables?”
Ichi nodded. “Where a newborn awaits.”
The prince’s whole expression changed to something awed and eager. “Is there a foal?”
“As new as today’s sunrise.”
Kester marveled at the boy’s change in mood. “Do you like horses?”
“More than anything!” Grabbing Kester’s arm, Lemuel pushed Ichi ahead of them. “We’re coming.”
Lemuel’s sandals smacked purposefully against stone as he marched after their guide, but Kester drifted after him, caught up in his own thoughts. More than anything? Can one thing be more than any other thing? He nodded to himself, for One existed above all others. But no matter how Kester turned the matter around in his mind, he couldn’t understand Lemuel’s rash statement.
“Too slow!” grumbled Lemuel, who made a grab for Kester’s hand. “Walk faster!”
“More than your father?” asked Kester.
The prince’s expression creased in confusion. “What about Father?”
“If you like horses more than anything, do you like them more than your father?”
Lemuel’s eyes narrowed.
“Or more than Magdiel?”
“Are you teasing?” asked the boy.
Kester shook his head. “I am trying to understand why you value an animal above all else.” In hushed tones, he dared to add. “More than God Most High?”
Lemuel stopped short. “That’s wrong. You’re wrong.”
A sigh of relief escaped Kester’s lips, and he smiled weakly. “Good.”
“And you’re strange.” Lemuel checked to make sure Ichi wasn’t getting away from them, then leaned close. “Don’t you like horses?”
Kester’s experience with them was limited, but vivid. “I do not like to ride them.”
“Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean I can’t like them.”
That made sense. With each passing day, Kester was developing preferences, interests, and tastes. Some were like his mentor’s, but some were all his own. He offered a small nod.
Pulling at Kester’s arm, the prince continued after Ichi. “I like horses the way you like songs, and Ichi promised both.”
With two goals in mind, the boys ran after Ichi, who grinned and set a higher pace—swift as sunbeams, sure as stars.
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Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz]. More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page. Sage and Song, © Copyright 2015–2016 Christa Kinde, all rights reserved. If you want to receive an email whenever my stories update, subscribe to this blog. You can also watch for notifications on Twitter.
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