Chapter Three

King Victor had never believed in using niceties to get what he wanted. He was, after all, a King. But the next day, when Reed Richards had eaten only one meal, the King began to consider it.

King Victor made his way to the East Wing. He could swear that the eyes of his servants followed his flowing cape and his footsteps.

He swung open the door to find Reed Richards excitedly darting about his laboratory, from the metallurgy devices to the brewery. The inventor was chattering excitedly to himself, fumbling with gears and a wrench as he raced about.

"The coils should be ready soon, just need to attach…there we go, and now…much better…now just tighten here and…"

"Richards!" bellowed King Victor. "What is the meaning of this!?"

The inventor continued to babble, oblivious of whom he was speaking to. "Oh, it's just an automatic arm device that should be able to feed me while I work, so I don't have to stop to eat! I don't know why I haven't thought of this before, but I guess I didn't have any metallurgy equipment…" Richards began to slow when he realised that the King was before him, and appeared to be glaring at him. He shut his mouth immediately.

"I didn't realise that you were so…dedicated, to your work." King Victor said.

"I always have been." Said Richards. "I don't eat nearly as I should, for I am always working. I only want to work as fast as I can so that you can have a cure for your ailment and I can go home to Baxter."

"Ah yes, Baxter." The King said, coming further into the room to look at the invention. "This is quite…remarkable. Quaint and useless in any other situation, but it is remarkable." The King attempted to ignore the smile that Richards attempted to supress. "And this will help you to work faster?"

"If it works." Said Reed.

King Victor nodded. "Very well, then. I will permit you to invent devices to help you in your task, but on one condition- you are to eat three meals a day and drink two cups of water with every meal."

"I believe I can manage that." Said Reed. "Thank you, your majesty."

King Victor was taken aback, but did not show it. Reed continued. "Is the skin tonic working?"

"Yes." Said King Victor. It had worked better than any other remedy he had tried, but he would not tell the inventor of that.

"I am glad of that." Said Reed. "I hope to start on another batch soon. If you…" he paused, afraid of what the King might say, "If you could tell me of your ailment, I may be able to make a better batch. I cannot really cure what I do not even know."

King Victor growled. The King hated talking about his scar. But he supposed that if the inventor was to help him, he must know. "What does Ben Grimm suffer from?"

"Scars from a terrible burn." Said Reed quietly. "It is my fault he received it."

King Victor ignored Reed's laments. "I do not suffer from a burn scar, though it is a scar that I seek to be rid of."

Reed looked thoughtful for a moment. "Then that would be why the skin tonic is working so well. What is your scar from?"

"I do not know it's origin." Said King Victor.

"How do you have a scar and you do not know it's origin?" Reed asked, almost exasperatedly. King Victor growled.

"I have tolerated your insolence for too long, Richards. My patience grows thin."

Reed was openly taken aback. "I'm sorry, I didn't realise…"

"That's 'I'm sorry, your majesty'" spat King Victor. "I tire of your foolishness, peasant." King Victor spun and left, slamming the doors behind him.