The sword protruded from the stone with the promise of not being covered in mud all the time. And clothes that had never been anything other than clothes. And a bed. He wasn’t entirely sure what a bed was, but it sounded very posh.
Arthur reached out, and grasped the glittering hilt.
‘What’s your economic policy?’ said the sword.
‘What?’ said a very startled Arthur.
‘Your economic policy,’ said the sword. ‘Are you a fiscal conservative, or do you believe in big government?’
‘I just want to be king,’ said Arthur.
‘We all want to be king,’ said the sword. ‘That’s hardly a qualification is it?’
‘But I thought if I pulled you out of the stone, I’d be king.’
‘And then what?’ said the sword.
‘And then I wouldn’t cough whenever I breathe,’ said Arthur, coughing as he breathed.
‘There’s a lot more to kinging than not coughing all the time. For instance, what are you going to do about the French? They’ve been getting uppity lately, but another war could plunge us into a recession.’
‘I don’t know what a recession is,’ said Arthur.
‘What about education? There are peasants wanting to learn to read, how are you going to stop that?’
‘I just want to not be cold all the time.’
‘And health,’ said the sword. ‘Sure, universal healthcare sounds nice, but there are only so many leaches to go around. What happens when the Arch Bishop gets sick and you’ve used all the leaches on peasants? Suddenly we’ve got God’s wrath up our pants and everyone goes to Hell.’
‘Please, Mr. Sword, I’ll do anything you want me to, just make me king before this thing on my leg turns a worse shade of green.’
Despite a lack of eyes, or eyebrows, or any sort of face, the sword gave the impression of raising an inquisitive eyebrow. ‘Anything?’
‘Anything,’ said Arthur.
‘We have a problem,’ said the Duke of Lamafew (two towns over from Camelot.)
‘What do you mean?’ said the Earl of Justtherightamountofgoats.
As secret meetings go, this one was well catered. As middle ages catering goes.
‘It’s this new king,’ said the Viscountess of Becausecamelotisacombinationofthewordscamelandlot ‘He’s spend half the budget already. On scabbards.’
‘Some of them are made out of the skin of virgins. And the virgins that still have their skin, he’s had them all rounded up to polish his sword.’
‘I mean literally polish his literal sword. The king himself only gets out of bed to have baths.’
The secret meeting looked to the floor in a moment of befuddled silence.
‘But I don’t understand,’ said the Earl, ‘How could a system of government built on randomised monarchy go wrong?’
‘I don’t know, but we have to do something,’ said the Viscountess.
‘Are you suggesting… treason?’
‘We’re suggesting the complete opposite,’ said the Duke. ‘A new king. A double king! Chosen by two swords in four stones! And eight axes in sixteen logs! And thirty two crossbows in sixty four piles of leaves! And a hundred and twenty eight catapults in -‘
‘A democracy of inanimate objects!’ interrupted the Earl, happily. ‘What could go wrong?’
The people of Camelot had gathered for the coronation, a smile on every face. Finally there would be government not just for swords, but for all weaponry. True equality through representation.
‘I now dub thee,’ said the Arch Bishop, placing the crown upon the new monarch, ‘King Donald Trump.’