The Lupine Saga 58

“Jane Melonscone enters!” the herald announced. It was a normal afternoon meeting in Fidel’s throne room, however today Jane was entering through the corridor. Vacant from her place in the gallery, she had come seeking a direct audience with Fidel. Being a high-noble, her entrance was announced.

“Madam, are you not going to interrupt from the gallery today?” Fidel asked with a chuckle.

“Funny. Now, dismiss the room except for those that are closest to you. Every noble must leave, as well,” Jane said in a demanding voice.

“Madam, please. State what you need. There isn’t a need to go to such great lengths,” Fidel said calmly.

“There is. I’ll be using something today. That. Dismiss the room.” Fidel sighed as Jane spoke. Jane walked closer to Fidel and spoke again very quietly.

“Those who do not know the real reason why that woman is at your side should be dismissed,” Jane said. Fidel then dismissed the room except for a few select people. Even the other high-nobles were dismissed. There were only a few people left in the room. They were those who knew Fidel’s secrets.

“The room has been cleared. Speak, Madam,” Fidel said.

“You don’t have to speak that formally with me right now,” Jane said.

“Fine. Then what do you know?” Fidel asked. He eyed Jane cautiously.

“It breaks me to say this. To do this. But I won’t hold back. You, you’re not going to be around much longer, are you, Fidel?” Jane asked softly.

“Jane, how can I respond to that? I can’t lie well to you, can I? Your perception is amazing, as always,” Fidel said with a laugh.

“This isn’t funny! You brought a doctor from the water kingdom to stay at your side all day long for years, and you think I wouldn’t realize that your life is coming to an end? Just, just how do you think I feel about that?” Jane asked. She sounded angry and hurt.

“I know. I’m sorry. You’re right. I ache, I hurt, I can barely walk, and I don’t know when I will leave. The accommodations Miss Aoi has made for me to help me keep up my appearance have been amazing, but I’m still helpless,” Fidel said with sincerity.

“I knew it. You ridiculous man. Too ridiculous. I won’t feel bad if I use it now, selfishly,” Jane said. Her voice was trembling, but still held a resolute aura.

“It’s within your right. I promised. I was a fool, but not a liar. Even if I add another regret, it won’t matter. I’ll be looked at however people want afterwards. I suppose I can guess what you’re leaning towards, Jane,” Fidel said.

“Fidel. Fidel, just why haven’t you done what’s right? Even I did. I can’t regret it now. I’m asking for it. If I don’t, what will happen? Write it, finish it. I already know you will,” Jane said as she reached into a pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. It had a few scribbles on it, but no real words.

“Wait, Jane. Maybe I misunderstood. What do you mean, if you don’t ask for it? What you want, tell me directly first,” Fidel said. A rush of old memories filled his mind and he half smiled.

“Sovereignty. Who will rule when you are gone?” Jane asked. A few people in the room wanted to yell out in objection, but they kept quiet out of respect for Fidel.

“Ah, well that’s easy. My son,” Fidel answered with a smile.

There was a gasp in the room, even though there weren’t many people. Jane was white-faced, and her mouth was slightly open.

“Your, you have a son?” Jane asked quietly.

“This, I suppose, is the first most of the people here have heard of this. But it’s true. I’m sorry, Jane. You know, as well as I, that the heir becomes the ruler. I cannot give you this. But there is something, wait, no, never mind.” Jane took a few steps back and let the truth sink in. She closed her eyes for a few seconds, and calmly breathed.

“Your son, how old?” Jane asked in a quick manner.

“I will not tell,” Fidel said. His face didn’t betray his words; he was serious.

“But who, where, how? You’re not that old, Fidel, your child can’t be old enough to rule!” Jane said. She took a few steps forward and got closer to Fidel, who had started speaking quietly.

“Until he can, the country will last. Rising is strong; the people can work as long as they know there is someone who will rise to the throne. They will accept going for a few years without a singular ruler. My legacy is a group of wonderful advisors who should be around long enough to guide him. Makeen is also filled with wonderful guides. You don’t need to worry, dear Jane,” Fidel said just loud enough for Jane to hear. He said each word with care and concern, as if to reassure Jane’s fears. He had forgotten to watch his words, and didn’t see Jane’s eyes open widely in realization for a moment. It was too quick to notice, and afterwards she immediately responded.

“You know, Fidel, you are someone I still haven’t figured out. Just when I think I’ve come closer, you pull away. I cannot control or predict you. I’m glad. But this doesn’t end it.” Jane smiled politely, and handed Fidel the paper. She then stepped back.

“What is it you want, Jane?” Fidel asked. He reassumed his royal tone and volume.

“Power, prestige, nobility. I have these. I want royalty. I want to give something to the future as well, so that, in time, those in my descent will do something that honors me, as I want to do for my ancestors. Dead as they are, they each did something that honored a previous ancestor, knowing that their descendants would repeat that. Fidel, do you understand?” Fidel nodded at Jane, and took a pen in hand. He placed it on the paper. On the sidelines, the various people in the room were concerned with what Fidel would give Jane. They were filled with several questions, the most important one being why Fidel was so nice and accommodating to an incredibly intolerable and arrogant woman.

“This will fulfill not only our promise, but my will. I apologize to those whom it may harm, and to those I make happy, I rejoice over. You who will be affected by this, you may hate me again. Maybe, you will understand in time. Oh, dear Jane, one more thing. What is your youngest girl’s full name? The girl with both families blood. Practically royalty herself, correct?” Fidel asked. Jane smiled as she realized what Fidel meant by his asking. In her heart, she felt relief, as she had been wondering if Fidel would really fulfill his promise towards her. She knew that she no longer had to spell out exactly what she wanted, as Fidel had already guessed it. He knows me too well, Jane thought.

“Yes, Sire. Ruby Louise Melonscone. Did you direct all that towards me? Ruby, did you give her something that will fulfill my desires in the process?” Jane asked, respectfully. Fidel finished writing and held up the paper in his hand. He showed the words to Aoi first, and placed it in her hands.

“Aoi, please hold onto this. Show it to Jane and the rest of the people in this room,” Fidel commanded.

Aoi held the paper up. Jane saw the writings before she could turn away. She cursed herself internally, since she didn’t yet know what the words meant, and no translation was written below.

“Fidel, you made me see the Right, the edict. Tell me, what does it mean? Will you make me regret the trust I placed in you? Should I have just asked directly?” Jane asked with worry in her voice. Aoi finished showing the paper to the people in the room, and sat down again. Fidel took the paper from her hands.

“Madam Jane Lucrene Melonscone. By the promise that Fidel has given to her, he will give a command in her favor. This command is that Fidel’s son will be married to the daughter of Jane Lucrene Melonscone, Ruby Louise Melonscone. That’s pretty much what it says, the short version at least. I know it’s too late to ask, but do you accept, Jane?” Fidel asked. As he finished speaking, the people in the room committed the words to memory, so that later on they could fulfill the edict.

Jane started crying. She dropped to her knees and cried for a minute. She soon stopped, wiped her face, and then stood up. She was smiling.

“Wonderful. Just wonderful. Mother to the queen, I accept, Fidel! You fulfilled it. Thank you. Thank you.” Jane walked up to Fidel, who sat smiling in his throne.

“You’re welcome, Jane. You’re welcome. I’m, I’m sorry, Mai.” Jane reached down and took Fidel’s hand in her own. She kissed it, and then looked at Fidel’s serene face. He was staring into the distance. She hadn’t paid much attention to Fidel’s last words.

“Fidel, Sire, King, who is your son? You can tell me now, right?” Jane asked. Fidel didn’t respond.

“Yes Sire, your son? And the exact translation of the edict?” Rillin, the old advisor, asked. Fidel didn’t answer. Behind Rillin was Diren, the hare. Diren looked at Fidel, then at Rillin, then at Jin, who also happened to be present. Diren noticed that both were frowning in silent contemplation.

“I’ll keep silent till his inauguration, so please, tell me,” Jane said. Fidel kept quiet.

“He has his reasons. The boy is still young,” Diren said quickly. He had answered impulsively. He took a sharp breath in worry as he looked at Jin and Rillin. Jin was frowning at Diren, and Rillin looked surprised. Both human men were thinking that Diren, a naturally rash hare, knew something they did not, which was true.

Diren silently cursed the impulsive blood that coursed through his veins. He thought over his words again, and then breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that his words didn’t betray any additional information, as it must be obvious that any child Fidel had would be relatively young. But if Diren had been human, the others wouldn’t have paid any attention to his words. Being a hare, though, Rillin and Jin both secretly thought that Diren was naturally prone to thoughtlessly revealing secrets. They noted Diren’s action in that instant, and then went back to observing the commotion around the king.

“No. That’s not the reason, Diren,” Aoi said as she stood up. The three advisors looked at Aoi. She put a hand on Jane’s shoulder. Jane looked up at Aoi with disgust in her eyes.

“Don’t tell me even you know who the boy is? Even an outsider? Really, Fidel?” Jane asked, half spitting at Aoi, half pleading towards Fidel.

“No, I don’t know. Madam, please. Let go of him,” Aoi said quietly, “so he can rest.”

“I won’t, not until he answers.” Jane refused to budge.

“He won’t answer you. He won’t answer anyone, anymore. Please, look up.” Jane looked up as Aoi moved one hand to Fidel’s face. She moved her hand softly over his eyes. Jane watched in horror as Aoi closed the eyes of the lifeless king.

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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