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Chapter 6: Long Live the King

by Vil, Stringbean


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

"Calcitrop... retired?" Michael asked. "And then was... deported?"

"Yes," Phineas said. "And their dictatorial president turned their government into a monarchy in the process. Thira worships Hastam as a god."

"Blasphemy," Michael groaned. "Just great..." He turned to Alexia. "Are we legally required to help snakes?"

"Nope," the old woman answered. "Official alliances between Thirans and Belecthorians are illegal under royal law."

"Good," Michael said. "Have someone bring him here. He won't be a Thiran for much longer. Snakes are useful if they can be tamed."

"Not a snake," Phineas corrected, "but a weasel."

Michael reached for his plain white handkerchief and started coughing, huffing and puffing as though he'd been smoking for years. When his fit subsided, he said, "I don't trust these Nesrin doctors. I'm not satisfied with my care."

"You'll have Edwin back soon enough, sir," Phineas replied.

"Not soon enough--" Michael burst out into a cough again, just a speckle of red dotting the once pure cloth. "How much longer... until the invasion by Nesrin is officially over?"

"An hour at most," Alexia answered. "Their vice president has already been captured. Dragonheart supporters are flocking to Misty Pass as we speak. Correct, Natalia?"

The emissary's dark eyes flicked up from where they had been lingering on the cloth in Michael's hand. She blinked at Alexia and nodded. "We have our own soldiers on the other side, in Norburn, as well."

"Good," Michael said. "Very good. I'll be home before nightfall, and I can see a real doctor that knows what they're doing... Dry cough my foot... I drink a gallon of tea a day, and twice that in water."

"They aren't Belecthorians," Phineas said. "Doctors here just can't do their jobs right. The Allegorians in the Hamiltons are decent enough, but there is no better doctor than a Belecthorian doctor."

"You... think it's something bad?" Natalia asked them softly.

"No," Michael answered, "but I do think that Asterin's doctors don't have a clue as to what they're doing. All they did was recommend more tea..."

Natalia absently shifted her weight and leaned against the big table behind her, giving a small nod. "Mm... Things from home are often better," she said thoughtfully.

All of a sudden, without a knock or announcement, the doors to the room swung open. "Mikey!" a high-pitched voice said. "I missed you."

Michael cringed and looked at Natalia, as if to beg her to save him. He actually mouthed the word, "Help."

She smiled a tiny bit in an apologetic way and glanced past him as Queen Cynthia came hurrying in, extravagant white skirt billowing around her and golden jewelry jingling at her side.

"Are you feeling any better, Mikey Wikey?" she asked, sticking out her lower lip.

"Much," Michael lied, voice clearly hoarse. "Er... Cynthia, why are you here?"

"I'm going with you to Belecthoria!" Her face beamed.

"...why?"

"It's on my way home, silly!" she laughed.

Natalia's gaze flicked over the queen and then down to the floor at her own feet. She pressed her hand lightly against her right leg, politely pretending not to pay attention to the two of them.

Michael paled. "Could Natalia and I have the room please."

"But Mikey--"

"You heard His Majesty!" Phineas said, hopping up. "Come on, out with you." He and Alexia escorted a pouting Cynthia from the room, locking the door behind them so Cynthia could not enter again.

The Belecthorian breathed a sigh of relief. "I am very, very happy that I only touch guns during Easter."

With a faintly nervous glance at the door, Natalia gave him a gently chiding look like she didn't believe he was serious. "She can be-- a bit much," she said, watching his expression closely.

Michael frowned. "That's a bit of an understatement... As a far left authoritarian monarch, it is very hard to deal with-- her. She makes politics between our nations so... difficult... just because she thinks I love her or something..." He shook his head and glanced towards the big window.

Natalia's smile hung on as she glanced down again and said quietly, "She fancies you."

"What?" he said sarcastically. "I had no idea! Why didn't anyone tell me?" After a moment or two, he allowed himself to laugh before he started coughing again-- no blood this time. He sighed as he pocketed his handkerchief again, "I'm just happy to be going home."

She watched him a bit worriedly and nodded. "I will too, soon..." Back to her home and country, he back to his. It'd likely be just as before. She'd go back to Shanoa, to the Council, and in a day or two the freshness of this other world would wear away, she'd settle back into routine. A routine that had very little to do with anyone outside... How quickly, she wondered, would he forget her?

"I want to establish official relations between Misericord and Belecthoria."

Something fluttered lightly inside her chest. "Oh... I don't know... I don't know what the Council will say I mean."

"Oh... um..." Michael paused before joking, "What if I threatened them with war, pain, death, and destruction? Would they consider it then?"

"I think they would consider hating you and flooding Misty Pass so you could not get through," she said through a laugh that thickened her accent.

"Oh. We... could..." Michael shrugged. "Is there not a surefire way...?"

"Way for what?" she asked, hoping silently.

"I'd like to see you again after all of this mess is straightened out."

A warm smile lit her face in a moment. "I'd like that." Though the question of how still remained. Natalia rested her hands on the edge of the table and looked down, quiet for a few seconds. "I've not traveled much... But I think I could. It's very different here, and I'd like to see Belecthoria too."

"I'd like to see Misericord," Michael replied. "You've met members of my family, and I'd like to meet yours."

"Ahm..." She looked down again uncomfortably before putting together a reply. "They... live much farther south, I don't see them much... But if you came sometime-- if you wanted to come... I live close to Shanoa, we could visit."

"That'd be nice," he answered. "Misericord is only so big, after all."

She laughed a little and nodded. "It feels bigger than it looks on the map."

Before Michael could reply, there was a knock on the door. "We're ready!" Asterin called.

A soft sigh left Natalia's shoulders. She smiled at the king and gave him a small nod. "Have a safe trip back, Michael."

"I will," he said with a smile, eyes flashing excitedly.

-----

Later that night, Natalia tossed her dark hair back behind her shoulder, letting it fall down the full length of her back and smoothed the front of her silky pajama top. Then she went quietly across the lush, creamy carpet to her bed. Nearby, Lucy was already snuggled down in her own bed, seemingly lost in the mound of pillows and a fluffy gray comforter. She was on her side, eyes open, and watched Natalia climb into bed and pull her own blanket up close to her chin under her arm. Brunovo was in the next room of their suite, already fast asleep.

"Well, we'll be home tomorrow," Lucy whispered with a smile.

Natalia smiled back a little tiredly. "It's been awhile since we've been here for more than a few weeks, hasn't it?"

"Four months."

They were both quite a few moments before Lucy whispered, "It'll be nice to really get back."

"Yeah..."

Lucy studied her friend a moment. Natalia was staring past the feet of their beds at the big, wide window on the opposite wall, it's dark blue curtains drawn back to let the soft moonlight drift in. "But...?"

Natalia's eyes shifted to Lucy's face. "But what?"

"What are you thinking about?"

Natalia sighed quietly and looked out the window again. Beyond the gates of Asterin's palace, the great capital city of Nesrin twinkled and glared into the night. "It's getting worse back home..."

The room was quiet before Lucy answered. "We're getting help now. The king's going back home. He'll have things under control again soon and can start sending aid properly."

"It's been too long," Natalia whispered. Lucy just looked at her from her bed.

Twice a week since they'd come here, except on the few week-long stays back home, they'd had conference calls, one with Natalia's advisors in Shanoa, who'd been left in charge, and one with the remaining members of the Council. At first, things were alright. Nothing changed much from how it'd been when she'd left, but then things started shifting more steadily. Stability declined as tensions escalated. Jason and his followers in the reform movement became more vocal, more imposing. Their gatherings began happening more frequently and in greater numbers, every speech warning of some impending destruction from outside.

The two young women fell silent, neither looking directly at the other. Eventually, Lucy rolled over to her other side-- a loud rustle, then stilness. Natalia laid awake a long while, blinking sometimes as she stared out the moonlit window at the faded sky above this foreign city.

-------

The chair was carved of a fine oak, crested with several jewels and decorative metals forming an elegant coat of arms. The cushions were made of the finest midnight blue silk, and the hall around it was built of firm gray stone, with great wooden beams holding up the ceiling. Fans were hidden in the rafters, and the dim lights were disguised in the walnut floor.

"How long has it been, Phineas?" Michael asked, filled with familiarality as he entered his throne room.

"Almost ten months, sir," the old man answered. "Will you sit, sir?"

Michael looked upon his empty throne-- almost empty. He lifted a note with a large black "GH" stamped onto it and then looked at Phineas. "Hughes has been here."

"Are you sure, sire?" Phineas asked nervously.

Michael opened the note and read aloud, "You have won this round. The next will not be so easy. A new power is rising, one that you cannot beat alone. By the time you read this, I will already be far away from you and in the clutches of another. But a revolution will come. -Gerald Hughes."

"What does it mean?" Phineas asked.

"It means that the chief conspirator has escaped us," Michael said with a sigh.

He took a step back and gazed upon his throne. On his right hand was his ring, passed from generation to generation-- ancient beyond count of years and priced beyond the value of all material things. Its silver gleamed, despite the dim light. Michael turned, straightening his back. He took a deep breath as he sat, back against the silk, rooting himself back into his kingdom, his homeland.

"Long live the King."


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Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:54 pm
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SilverNight wrote a review...



Hey! Since I'm following this story, I should probably review it as well.

When his fit subsided, he said, "I don't trust these Nesrin doctors. I'm not satisfied with my care."


"They aren't Belecthorians," Phineas said. "Doctors here just can't do their jobs right. The Allegorians in the Hamiltons are decent enough, but there is no better doctor than a Belecthorian doctor."


Wellllllll, Michael and Phineas sound just a bit biased here, don’t they? XD

I drink a gallon of tea a day, and twice that in water."


I might not be a health expert, but that sounds like a lot...

The Belecthorian breathed a sigh of relief. "I am very, very happy that I only touch guns during Easter."


Oh, dear. That’s lucky for Cynthia.

"What if I threatened them with war, pain, death, and destruction? Would they consider it then?"

"I think they would consider hating you and flooding Misty Pass so you could not get through," she said through a laugh that thickened her accent.


This is a pretty good way to remind us that Misericord is an isolationist nation that mostly keeps to itself. I could probably see them doing that so they’d never be bothered by outside events again.

I’m not sure I remember who Gerard Hughes is. I could just not be remembering his role in the story, but in case he hasn’t really been covered, I would suggest a better description near the end of the chapter.

Anyway, that’s what I have to say. Have a nice day!

- Shadow




Vil says...


Thanks! <3



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Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:58 pm
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm Knight Hardy here on a mission to ensure that all works on YWS has at least two reviews. You will probably never see this but....Imma do this anyway.

First Impression: Okay is this another time skip? 'Cause I wasn't quite sure how this one related to the rest but the really nicely presented friendship between Michael and Natalia suggested so. And well I liked the ending, that sounded like it was going somewhere and I am maybe starting to get a little idea of what is happening but mostly it is still a bit murky in terms of actual plot at least to me. Maybe I just have too many things in my head. :)

Anyway let's get right to it,

"Calcitrop... retired?" Michael asked. "And then was... deported?"


Already trying to frantically remember who that is in the first paragraph...not the greatest of signs but heyyy at least I remember Micheal...he's the king...maybe of someplace...

"Good," Michael said. "Have someone bring him here. He won't be a Thiran for much longer. Snakes are useful if they can be tamed."

"Not a snake," Phineas corrected, "but a weasel."


Snakes and weasels are both quite annoying but to each their own.

"Not soon enough--" Michael burst out into a cough again, just a speckle of red dotting the once pure cloth. "How much longer... until the invasion by Nesrin is officially over?"


Red on pure clothes after coughing is never a good sign.

"Good," Michael said. "Very good. I'll be home before nightfall, and I can see a real doctor that knows what they're doing... Dry cough my foot... I drink a gallon of tea a day, and twice that in water."


If my math is correct that should be far too much liquid for a person to ingest so I'm hoping that was meant to be an exaggeration.

"No," Michael answered, "but I do think that Asterin's doctors don't have a clue as to what they're doing. All they did was recommend more tea..."


Well at least that's better than some of the things they did back in the day.

She smiled a tiny bit in an apologetic way and glanced past him as Queen Cynthia came hurrying in, extravagant white skirt billowing around her and golden jewelry jingling at her side.


Decent bit of description there.

"You heard His Majesty!" Phineas said, hopping up. "Come on, out with you." He and Alexia escorted a pouting Cynthia from the room, locking the door behind them so Cynthia could not enter again.


Okay pouting Queen check...I have no idea if she was present before but I'll probably not forget her after that scene which is a good thing I think.

Natalia's smile hung on as she glanced down again and said quietly, "She fancies you."

"What?" he said sarcastically. "I had no idea! Why didn't anyone tell me?" After a moment or two, he allowed himself to laugh before he started coughing again-- no blood this time. He sighed as he pocketed his handkerchief again, "I'm just happy to be going home."


*giggling intensifies*

Harry...you are a prince of the freaking underworld, giggling is forbidden.

Sorry.

"Oh... um..." Michael paused before joking, "What if I threatened them with war, pain, death, and destruction? Would they consider it then?"


Well that's some pretty serious jokes right there. I mean wouldn't you expect a monarch to be more...careful with their word choices, I mean it is private but then you never know.

A soft sigh left Natalia's shoulders. She smiled at the king and gave him a small nod. "Have a safe trip back, Michael."

"I will," he said with a smile, eyes flashing excitedly.


Okay that was a lovely conversation there in the private part. Loved the very subtle language there and you could really tell they are friends. Pretty good job there. :D

Natalia sighed quietly and looked out the window again. Beyond the gates of Asterin's palace, the great capital city of Nesrin twinkled and glared into the night. "It's getting worse back home..."


Blame Vil for that.

Twice a week since they'd come here, except on the few week-long stays back home, they'd had conference calls, one with Natalia's advisors in Shanoa, who'd been left in charge, and one with the remaining members of the Council. At first, things were alright. Nothing changed much from how it'd been when she'd left, but then things started shifting more steadily. Stability declined as tensions escalated. Jason and his followers in the reform movement became more vocal, more imposing. Their gatherings began happening more frequently and in greater numbers, every speech warning of some impending destruction from outside.


Okay that was a pretty helpful little summary to put in there. Just about short enough to not be called an info dump and not long enough to be boring which means 'tis perfect.

The chair was carved of a fine oak, crested with several jewels and decorative metals forming an elegant coat of arms. The cushions were made of the finest midnight blue silk, and the hall around it was built of firm gray stone, with great wooden beams holding up the ceiling. Fans were hidden in the rafters, and the dim lights were disguised in the walnut floor.


Nice description once more!!

Michael opened the note and read aloud, "You have won this round. The next will not be so easy. A new power is rising, one that you cannot beat alone. By the time you read this, I will already be far away from you and in the clutches of another. But a revolution will come. -Gerald Hughes."


Well somebody likes to be dramatic about things and that's fine. Its always fun to have someone that likes to leave elaborate messages like that.

He took a step back and gazed upon his throne. On his right hand was his ring, passed from generation to generation-- ancient beyond count of years and priced beyond the value of all material things. Its silver gleamed, despite the dim light. Michael turned, straightening his back. He took a deep breath as he sat, back against the silk, rooting himself back into his kingdom, his homeland.

"Long live the King."


Oooh that one ended up pretty awesome note there. That paragraph did a wonderful job of sorting hyping you up for what's coming next sort of like a Avengers Assemble moment and that is of course only capable of being a good thing. :D

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall this seems to be going somewhere although I can't see where that somewhere is. Other than that, the chapter just judged as a chapter is pretty good. I feel like we maybe met a whole bunch of characters again although it could just be because I forgot but the descriptions and the dialogue all seemed really nice and that's always great to see. :)

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry

Image




Vil says...


Thanks for the review even though I somehow didn't get a notif for it XD!



Stringbean says...


Thanks!

That's the first time Calcitrop has been mentioned I believe so ack, we have to make that more apparent XD

I think the plot should be a lot clearer by the-- @Vil is the next chapter or the one after that The Big Thing%u2122 happens? We should probably go back and revise at some point to make it clearer from the beginning :p



Vil says...


It starts in the next and ends in the one after




Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.
— Sigmund Freud