Seven-year-old Al looked to the distance, shading his eyes from the sun’s rays. Grey clouds approached, but looked to be still some distance off. A commotion on the horizon disturbed the mid-day’s peace.
“What could that be?” he wondered to the captain. Nestor paused, rope in hand, to scan the water.
“It’s a boat, though not of Macedonian make. They could be fishing, but that’s no fish I’ve ever seen.” The captain frowned. “Perchance we should investigate, my prince?”
Al frowned. He could make out none of the details, but he trusted his captain’s sight. He nodded. If Nestor felt something amiss, it was best to investigate.
The captain turned, barking fresh commands to the rowers.
Lem stood, placing a steadying hand on Al’s shoulder.
“Don’t overtax yourself,” he murmured. “You should rest after that heavy mid-day meal.”
Al pulled away.
“Thank you, no. I should oversee this. I’ve rested enough since eating.”
|“You’re like your father. You push yourself too hard.”
“I’m to be king one day. I must push myself. Even if I never surpass my father’s reputation, I need not shame his memory!”
Lem smiled fondly at his young friend.
“Would that you were more like Heph. He knows when to rest.”
Al stole a glance to his playmate. Hephaestion reclined against the stern, eyes closed.
“Would that Heph were more active in preparing for the future!” he retorted.
Lem opened his mouth, but only nodded and closed it again as the captain returned.
“We’ll be there shortly,” the portly man said.
Lem turned and peered across the water.
“That’s no fish like I’ve ever seen!” he whispered. Al looked to the distant boat as they approached.