Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 28

Ash

I left Connie, Raylon, and Laylar in the garden speaking. I wanted to go check on the king, but I figured he must have had enough of me by now. I made my way to my bedroom and sat down by the window, to watch the sunset.

I really want to see him again.

I want to spend more time with him.

But who am I kidding to think that a king wants anything to do with someone like me?

He’s only being nice to me because I am Connie’s friend, and Connie is his brother's girlfriend.

He doesn’t think of me like I think of him.

I pulled my feet up to my chest and stared out at the sky as it slowly grew darker.

But the way he looks at me.

I can see he wants something from me.

But I don’t want a meaningless one-night-stand. Not with him.

I let out a long sigh and went to lay on my bed, fully clothed and still in my shoes.

I closed my eyes and thought back to how he smiled at me in the kitchen. How his eyes almost begged me to kiss him. How, even though we were in a dangerous situation, and he got hurt, I felt safe with him the whole time.

It’s because he is the king. No one would dare hurt him, nor you, but only by proxy.

The getaway to Raylon's private estate on a planet he owned was tomorrow, and the thought of the king being there made me smile.

Just the four of us, no kingdom, no responsibilities, no stress. Just free to be ourselves.

Don’t get your hopes up for stuff that you know won't happen.

I fell asleep on top of the covers, in my muddy boots and the same clothes I had on all day.

The next morning I woke up to loud voices coming from outside my window.

I moaned and tried to hide my head under the pillow, but I was awake now. I may as well get up. I stomped to the window to see what the fuss was about. I peered down but couldn’t see anyone there.

The voices continued, “...He has no idea what he’s doing! This will never stand. You and I both know who it should be! And now, there is this woman, keeping his mind unfocused and scattered. You heard it yourself, what happened in the market yesterday. Is that the kind of king we want leading us? We need to do something.”

“What can we do? We all swore our alliance with him years ago. To go back on that now is treason!”

“If it is for the betterment of our Kingdom, then he cannot stop us. He is losing his mind. I also heard he let this outsider sit in the queen’s throne. It’s disgraceful to our people. I will make the arrangements. You just make sure you do your part.”

Treason? Are they plotting against the king? I need to tell someone.

I tied my hair into a ponytail and ran for the door. When it opened, Rein stood there with a very pissed off look on his face.

“Rein, hey what's up?” I asked as he stepped into my room.

“Ash, good morning. Forgive my intrusion. May we speak for a moment?”

“Um,” I said as the door closed, “Ok, sure.”

“What happened with the king yesterday was reckless and dangerous. You cannot encourage the king to do such foolish things.”

“Foolish?”

“Yes. I mean no disrespect, but things could have gone much worse yesterday. The king could have been hurt severely, or worse. Do you know what happens if he dies before his son reaches maturity?”

I swallowed at the seriousness of his voice.

“No, I don’t.”

“If he dies before Prince Azmertas comes of age, and Lord Raylon refuses to take the throne, the kingdom falls to the other five families. It will once again be divided into five smaller houses and another war will break out. The last time this happened, it ended in the battle of the suns. It almost tore us all apart.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because he listens to you. You somehow hold the power to whisper in his ear and he will do as you ask. He put his life at risk, he shrugged off his responsibilities with the other families and he is unfocused. An unfocused leader cannot see a threat coming. Please, Ash, for the sake of all of the people in the Kingdom, leave the king alone.”

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