He spends the night and the next day in the English fairy court. It's all right. Different stories, different songs, perfectly likable people who want ordinary sorts of payment like sex and service and stories and gossip from the continent and help patrolling their territory and advice about humans. His advice about humans is that they like it when you're nice to them, and that if they have babies then they need to eat something other than flower nectar.
They speculate on the fate of the human king but no gossip on that topic reaches them, and no one from this court seems inclined to go and check it out.
He goes home late the following day, once they're even. His younger brother has returned from his journeys, and is full of ideas about how to run a court which no one else finds half as interesting as he does. He has a side project of quantifying the costs of most things to put together in a book for training children from, and their father is excited about that. Now that they're not trying to get the debt manageable as quickly as possible they don't settle it with violence. It's not wise to do that internal to a court, if you can come up with anything better; most forms of service make a court stronger, rather than weaker, and those are better.
He runs a lot of patrols.
He asks his father how it's going. It's not, not yet.
Rumor places the king of Scandinavia in Sweden, in France, in Denmark; none of the rumors seem credible but one of them could easily be right anyway.
He's been vaguely trying to avoid having sex that isn't ordered, for Catherine, but eventually this starts to feel important in a way he doesn't like, and he sleeps poorly and has odd dreams in which he imagines arguing with her, and it's not in their wedding vows which are the things she said was important. He picks up a boy. They don't see each other often but at least sometimes when he's having sex it involves things he likes. He misses her.
His father's son wants to slow down to try a new magic; he does the tedious work, all night, of moving crystals around to let him do it.
A court near theirs has a human. People go over to see her. They say she's thin and sad and trembly and won't survive the day. He doesn't go to see her.
He gets bored of the boy and picks up a girl and is rude to someone in their court who has started trying to retell Catherine's stories. He's not half as good at it.
He builds an expansion of the court underground. There'll be a shaped hall for music, and next to it dungeons, and on the other side of that a garden for fields of a hallucinogenic mushroom that can grow to a quite useful size in a day or two.
For Penelope it was twenty years and by the end of the fifth he is willing to acknowledge that that's awfully impressive.
He arrives at Catherine's house seven days later.