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The Greatest King

by Dilbert64


There once was a magnificent kingdom with lands that reached up to the most northern tundras and grasped onto the most scorching deserts. The castles and palaces practically drowned in gold and, it was said that the silk was used cleaning rags. At the apex of such an unparalleled empire was his majesty the king. All the scribes agreed that he was truly the peak of humanity, the greatest, most intelligent, just, and most powerful ruler, surpassing his father in every way. The scribes neglected to mention any examples of the king's virtues, but that was usually forgotten about during the glorious ceremonies in which the scribes' praises were read out.

The king sat, slumped sadly on his throne like a doll thrown against a wall. He was miserable, but could not fathom why. Surely he had everything, absolute rule over what everyone assured him was the most vast kingdom on earth, riches inconceivable, even as a fantasy to most, yet he had them as a reality. Truly, he was a god among men, just as his advisors told him, but that thought did not stem the sadness that flowed from his mind like blood from a wound. Not that he had been allowed to see what a wound looked like, for the hero king to even sustain an injury would obviously be obscene. Then, an idea flooded the king's mind. Of course! He could just ask his subjects what filled them with the bright glow of joy.

Within a week after the call for the happiest person in the kingdom, the palace swelled with pompous chatter from hundreds of people, smiles glinting like flashes of gold across their faces. Peasants were banned, of course, they couldn't mix with the nobles and especially not their king. The first man was called up. Sahrail, the governor of the asique desertlands, was a man who had become immensely wealthy shortly after the money being brought from the year's great trading expedition was lost mysteriously to the desert sands. Sahrail ascended the steps with the dangerous elegance of a prowling cat, with his head bent and his cast to the ground. Why? Well why on earth would the mighty king be viewed by anyone? To even gaze upon his majesty would be to proclaim yourself equal to him. That would be treason, punishable by death. What strange place do you come from that people can commit treason without punishment? The king sighed, he had not seen the face of another person for so long. He wished to command Sahrail to look him in the eyes. However, I could not force the man to commit treason and suffer death. He instead called out ''Sahrail, what is your secret to happiness?''

''My king, I believe that you yearn to have greater power and riches, you are not satified with this meagre living, and you want more. That urge is a trait shared by many great people. I myself have felt it. That is why I redesigned my desert palace, extending it and making it reach up towards the heavens themselves. I tall you there is no greater thrill than standing at a height that my entire domain look miniscule. It easily affirms your strength in this world. I suggest that you create even greater structures in your image and decorate yourself with more extravagant beauty until you are no longer human, but a work of art.''

The king was disappointed, he had already attempted this,  towering strructures, great fortresses, beautiful palaces, none mitigated his melanchol. He waved Sahrail away. A grimace slashed across the man's face and he muttered about the fool of a king he must endure, however this went unnoticed by the king.

The next noble, a general, told him 'Conquer foreign lands for your glory.' The third, a banker advised him 'Increase the wealth of your kingdom for your greatness.' The advice of the fourth, fifth, and sixth blurred together and was forgotten by the king almost instantly. Nothing helped, yet the king kept consulting the nobles for hours until the sun's eye drooped and it slept beneath a pale moon. Eventually, he grew weary of their transparent, useless advice. He dismissed the nobles and stormed away to his bedchambers. In the darkness of the room, he could see nothing of it's grandeur, and felt lonely and weak with no one to comfort him, except the inviting pull of slumber.

Upon the next dawn the king left the castle, pondering his situation. As he entered the capital city of Carrowmore, trumpets sounded to herald his arrival, and all the people retreated into their houses so as not to bother his majesty with their presence. The king dismissed his personal guard who were surprised at being given orders from him, but nonetheless compiled. He walked through the streets without any signs of life, past the familiar city square, past the houses of the merchants and doctors, streets becoming stripped thinner and thinner til they became alleyways. To parts of his city that were completely foreign to him, but equally empty at least until he turned a corner and found a man looking directly at him. Had the guards been there the man would have been killed, yet the king simply looked upon him with fascination. He wore ragged clothing, hos face was dirty and rugged, yet it wore a smile brimming with contentment. The king was perplexed, how could this man, was one step above a beggar, happier than the most powerful man on earth? He asked the man what he was doing outside. The man replied that he was waiting for his friends to come out of their house, while enjoying the sunlight. The king was taken aback, never in his life had he been referred to without copious honorifics. This peasant spoke while looking him in the eye and talked like he was a regular person. The king found it... refreshing. The man did not wear a porcelin mask  when speaking to him, the man talked like he was a person. For once the king felt like he was with true company, all from a few simple words.

The two men spoke for hours, the king learning about the people of his kingdom, and the peasant learning of the sadness that afflicted the king. When sunset bathed the sky red, the king came asked the man to come to the castle as his advisor. He replied that he was happy where he was and didn't believe he would be of use in the royal court. The king thanked him for his help and the two men parted ways. The king now knew that he was not the greatest, nor the most intelligent, and bis power was merely a facade. But he now wished to discover humanity and understand his empire.

The scribes and bards would remember him as a fool, and would ingrain this into the minds of generations after him. That was his official legacy. However, the people of the kingdom secretly held him in their hearts and revered him, not as a fool, but as the king who cared.


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Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:25 am
silvermoon17 wrote a review...



Heya Dilbert64- this is what I call a short story. Compelling, short, and yet unforgettable in its way. Now, there only are several points which itches me while reading your story. The first one is, the « drowned in gold », which is a beautiful thing, until we hear « it was said the silk was used, cleaning rags » I understand he’s rich, but in that sentence; that might mean all the silk there were rags- which means, something old- which is against the idea of a rich man. Then, the guard thing. OK, I understand all king must have guards- but killing anyone on sight, or gushing people in their houses- wouldn’t that give the King so many enemies? Surely, he’ll not live that long if he kills anyone on sight. I know he’s melancholic and all, but seeing a happy man- even though he strives to be happy- wouldn’t he have done.. umm.. something else..? You see, that man is a complete stranger. The king is known to kill people on first sight. And that man just sits there smiling, happily introducing himself; in front of such a murderer? OK, I know that exactly what happens with Clarisse and Montagne in Fahrenheit 451 do; but in there, it’s different- he doesn’t kill people on first sight, he kills people who possess books (burns them actually), so that’s why the girl wasn’t scared- but in here.. I would’ve ran for my life.. or at least, make him sweat not to kill me. Those are my points.




Dilbert64 says...


Thanks for the review! Yeah, I guess the man's actions do seem pretty illogical when you think about them. I should have put in something less extreme, like the guards would have hauled the man away from the king, or something like that.



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Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:10 pm
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hello, FlamingPhoenix here with a short review for you on this lovely day, and to help get your work out the green room once and for all.

Okay! Let's start.

So I did see one or two things that need to be fixed, and I'll point them out right now.

The castles and palaces practically drowned in gold and, it was said that the silk was used cleaning rags.

Okay so the words in bold is what I would like to talk about.
So this line was really well written, and everything. But the flow was messed up when I got to the part with the comma, to me it sound like the comma should be in front of the gold instead of the and, or you could put a full stop in front of gold. Take the and out and turn the i in it into a capitol. It is up to you.

Okay here is the next one.
However, I could not force the man to commit treason and suffer death.

Okay so you see the I is in bold, so I am quit super if you read this line you will see what is wrong. If you don't then I will tell you.
In this like you have chanced into first person. The I needs to be changed into he so it ill be changed into third person.

Here is another thing I saw.
hos face was dirty and rugged, yet it wore a smile brimming with contentment.

The word in bold just needs to be changed into a his.

Here is the last one.
and bis power was merely a facade.

This is the same mistake as the last one, and I'm sure it's just a typo.

Well that was all I could see out of the story.
I really like the story you have written here. I think everything was perfect. I really, really liked your description too, I could see everything perfectly. I also loved the speech.
And I'm really glad I had the chance to read ans review this. I hope you will keep writing and post again on YWS soon. Have a great day or night.

Your friend
FlamingPhoenix.
Reviewing with a fiery passion.




Dilbert64 says...


Thanks for the review! I'll try to spellcheck more thoroughly in the future.





I'm glad I could help you out! :D



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Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:28 pm
RandomVanGloboii wrote a review...



Hi, here is my review!

The beginning is fit for a fairy tale, because of the description, the style and the atmosphere. I clearly see the intention, and this is good.
The story does not go deeper into the king's psyche but in cases like this simplicity is more appropriate.
Some sentences could be shorter, sometimes I feel slightly lost, like in "Sahrail, the governor of the asique desertlands, was a man who had become immensely wealthy shortly after the money being brought from the year's great trading expedition was lost mysteriously to the desert sands". It adds a lot of details that are away from the main focus of the story. It is a simple story, keep it as such. Also, maybe you could divide it into more paragraphs.

My favorite part was this:


The next noble, a general, told him 'Conquer foreign lands for your glory.' The third, a banker advised him 'Increase the wealth of your kingdom for your greatness.' The advice of the fourth, fifth, and sixth blurred together and was forgotten by the king almost instantly. Nothing helped, yet the king kept consulting the nobles for hours until the sun's eye drooped and it slept beneath a pale moon. Eventually, he grew weary of their transparent, useless advice. He dismissed the nobles and stormed away to his bedchambers. In the darkness of the room, he could see nothing of it's grandeur, and felt lonely and weak with no one to comfort him, except the inviting pull of slumber.



This part is good, it's clear, direct and shows the king's feelings.

The moral of the story is nothing new, but for this kind of story is fine.

To sum up, it's a good short story for a very young audience. The only problems are the blocks of phrases that could have been divided into more paragraphs to make the read easier and some phrases that could have been shorter. The rest is what I expect from such a genre.

That's what I think! See ya




Dilbert64 says...


Thanks for the review! I actually was wondering if I went off on tangents too much at points in the story, so thanks for telling me.



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Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:44 pm
shieldmaiden wrote a review...



Wow ... such a beautiful piece with a heartfelt and important message. I especially loved your description. You truly have a gift. My favorite pieces that you wrote are:

"The king sat, slumped sadly on his throne like a doll thrown against a wall."

"Nothing helped, yet the king kept consulting the nobles for hours until the sun's eye drooped and it slept beneath a pale moon."

"no one to comfort him, except the inviting pull of slumber."

Such description paints such a vivid pictures and I only hope that one day I can do the same. Keep up the fantastic writing. I hope to read more of your work soon! :)

-Shieldmaiden




Dilbert64 says...


Thank you!




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