The Green Valley Prophecy Part 5 of 7
A Royal Pain
At first, Mage Bella was excited to meet the queen. Her whole life, she had dreamed of the glamorous lifestyle of royalty and wished it were her waving at her adoring subjects. Now, with the prophecy saying that the victors will become royals, her dream coming true was a real possibility.
Now, she sat in the queen’s antechamber, watching her complete paperwork and meeting with her ministers. Her robe was draped on the back of her ornate chair, and without her crown on her head, she looked more like an overworked accountant than a queen.
“Send this proposal to sell our excess honey over to Ferndale as quickly as possible. We need to increase our grain trade with them, and I feel they will find my terms agreeable.” She sealed a document with wax and stamped it with her royal seal. She handed it to a minister, who bowed and quickly exited.
“As for the rest of you, I need you to take your budgets back and remove another 10% from the bottom line. I refuse to increase taxes, especially when we’ve had such a good harvest.” With a flick of her hand, she dismissed the rest of the ministers.
She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. “Lady Ophelia, this had better be good.”
Lady Ophelia stepped up, explained the prophecy, and handed it to her with the key. “I solved the puzzle in no time at all,” she said proudly.
“Hmm,” said Queen Rosalie. “It’s a simple book cipher. A little too simple. There’s got to be more to this than a simple key. You should have picked up on that.”
“You mean there's more to this?” asked Florise. “So much for the smartest person in the kingdom.”
“Smart, yes,” said Queen Rosalie. “But wisdom and intelligence are two different things. Which, I hope, will come in time.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Lady Ophelia as she bowed and returned to the rest of the group.
Queen Rosalie rose from her chair and walked over to them and noticed the look on Bella’s face. “You look a bit disappointed.”
“I’m not disappointed, your majesty. It’s just that… I was expecting, uh, something different!”
Queen Rosalie smiled and patted her on the head. “Most commoners see the ceremonial side of things and never see what it takes to run a kingdom. You thought it was like that all the time, didn’t you?”
Bella nodded. “I assumed that people would be taking care of all your needs so you wouldn’t have to work.”
“Ha! Yes, they do take care of me. But, only so I can take care of everyone else. It’s a great responsibility, and dare I say, dangerous and unglamorous job. And yet, many would kill to be in this position.”
Mantoson coughed. “Your majesty, I’m imploring for your assistance. The prophecy describes all of us, including you. My kingdom is at stake.”
“I’m a queen. Others do my fighting for me.” She turned away and snapped her fingers. A small cricket with a top hat raced over with her crown and placed it on her head, and then helped her into her robes.
Bella gasped. “You’re not going to fight with us?”
Queen Rosalie shook her head. “No. I will not fight.”
“I knew she wouldn’t come,” grunted SunSpear quietly.
Queen Rosalie turned to SunSpear, who tried to hide himself behind Mantoson. “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to come. In fact, I will lead this party. But, my main task is to see if I can negotiate a peace. That is what I do best.” She handed the prophecy and key to him and walked back to her desk.
Mantoson sighed heavily. “You don’t know the people of Lilyshire. They won’t listen to reason.”
“Diplomacy first,” said Queen Rosalie. “And if I’m forced to battle the other queen…” She reached up to her crown and pulled a long metal stinger out and flung it towards Knight SunSpear. The stinger tore the prophecy out of SunSpear’s hand and pinned it against the wall. He gulped as he looked at the prophecy. The needle had pierced the document precisely at the word ‘Queen.’ “I will make sure that I’m the only queen that returns to her kingdom.”
Part 6, The Battle of the Loathesome Five