Wendel immediately started shaking his head in denial. “I’m not to be king. I’m the third son.” He then paled more when Uduak just lifted her eyebrow.
“But you are Prince Wendel Jaeger.” She took a deep breath. Under other circumstances, she’d be ecstatic about all the ways she could turn this to her advantage. “One of ours was lost in the process of saving your life, and you decline us the basic courtesy of truth?”
“Forgive me, my lady.” He gave a small bow. “After our experiences of the past few months trust is in short supply. The last group we paid for passage sold us to Manisar upon learning we were noblemen.”
She gave him a sharp nod, then turned to Liam and switched languages. “What else can you tell me?”
“There are false messages being delivered. He knows the truth, having witnessed certain events firsthand, and he’s someone from whom the king will hear the truth. King Sigmund trusts him most of his sons. Calls him the Rock of Ardual.”
“I see.” She gave the young man a considering look, and saw him shift his weight nervously. Then she looked back at Liam.
“And…” Liam met her eyes. “Events are far enough and I can’t…” He took a deep breath. “I can’t focus right now. We need him alive and on the throne, Mother. We need him as an ally.”
“Adaeze, tell the pilot to change course. We’ll take him where he needs to go.” Uduak switched back to the trade tongue. “Prince Wendel, we’ll get you to your destination. I assume you want us to do so…” She gave a small shrug. “In a subtle fashion?”
“It would…” He nodded, though he gave Liam a confused look. “Be appreciated, my lady.
“Captain.” She narrowed her eyes. “My title is captain, and on my ship, Prince Wendel, I am the sovereign.”
“Understood, Captain.” He bowed.