'If you're looking for something to sing about,' Cuthbert said, 'I've got a fantastic idea for you.'
He paused dramatically, letting their anticipation build and build as he looked between them, grinning.
'You're going to say "me", aren't you?' the accordionist asked but Cuthbert shouted over the top of him: 'Me!'
Cuthbert clenched his hands into fists. Mostly to stop the temptation of wrapping them around the man with a clipboard's neck. 'But since I don't have a sword,' he said, very reasonably, 'couldn't I just go in? It would be the same as having a sword and handing it in, since the end result is still me going in without a sword.' He tried to smile. His eye twitched.
The man looked down at his clipboard. He hmmed. 'I don't know about that,' he said, shaking his head. 'It's quite clear here that I can't let you in without you having handed in your sword. I think we'd better just stick to the rules on this one.'
She snapped her chewing gum loudly, her mouth open, watching Cuthbert as he gave her the old Tattersall once-over.
'Paint a portrait, it'll last longer,' she said. 'Ten gold pieces to paint it. Twenty for paints. Fifty for the paper.'
An impressively tall - if entirely impractical - throne loomed over the courtroom. It had been carved out of white marble and gold, with intricately detailed sculptures of roses and thorn bushes winding all around the base and up to the seat where they bloomed out behind the queen. It was a nice way of hiding the stairs, that was for sure.
Cuthbert tried not to wonder how she nipped to the loo. He had a vague suspicion that was what treason was. But surely she needed people to help her down, even if it was only to act as a soft landing.