Long live the King
King Wilbur was in an exceptionally jovial mood as he sat at the dinner table in the great hall feasting and smiling much more than usual, surrounded by those close to him.
Dinner this evening consisted of the usual group. The King sat on his throne at the head of the table flanked by Sir Lambert, his most trusted knight who had the honour of being seated on his right.
Lord Fenton and Sir Gregory, the two men who, along with Sir Lambert had bravely accompanied King Wilbur to the Equinox when she had first arrived on the planet, were seated at the King’s left.
There were a few other familiar faces present too, none of whom Jason particularly socialised with, but who he knew in passing.
Jason occupied the wooden throne at the opposite end of the table, accompanied by his wife, Vince, Eve, Admiral Hayes and Bart.
King Wilbur had much to be thankful for, starting with his beloved daughter Jasmine who had been brought back from the very edge of death by modern medicine and was now happily married to the famous Jason King.
He looked up once again, nodding at Jason who occupied the ornate wooden throne at the opposite end of the table and smiled at his daughter who was seated at Jason’s right.
Princess Jasmine looked as pretty as her mother, the late Queen Isabella. Wilbur’s heart warmed and filled with pride as he watched her. She had indeed grown into a beautiful and smart young woman.
Jasmine was not all he was thankful for at this moment, though.
Since the distribution of Jason’s latest invention, free of charge throughout the planet, the very existence of every man, woman and child on Carac had been touched, and forever changed for the better. This device which could convert energy or matter into food and necessities meant that no one would ever go hungry again, ever.
For the first time in living memory, there had been no disputes between any of the regions across the planet. The people were just too happy and content to think about petty differences. This was truly a time of peace.
Deadly diseases which were once feared were now no more than a footnote in Carac’s history books.
King Wilbur tapped his silver wine filled goblet with his fork, bringing the room to silence.
Once he had everyone’s attention, he stood up, raised his goblet and spoke in his usual booming voice reserved for public speaking.
“A salute to Prince Jason, a man I am proud to call my son-in-law. Thank you for coming into our lives, for saving my daughter and for all you have done in the name of progress, including this huge feast created by your technology.”
Everyone in the room turned to face Jason, raising their goblets.
Jason looked up in surprise and embarrassment while the small group cheered and sang his praises.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty,” he responded, standing up and raising his goblet towards the King. “Thank you for allowing us to call Carac home.”
Vince and Eve who were seated next to each other, across from the Princess raised their goblets and nodded in agreement.
Jason may have been all smiles, but behind the facade lurked an irrational anger directed towards King Wilbur. He had spent every waking moment of the last week obsessing over the King’s refusal to allow him to attack Earth, but he was smart enough to keep his thoughts to himself. He was, after all, not yet King so he had no choice but to abide by the ruling.
Jason eyed the King as Wilbur took another sip of his aromatic red wine, smiling to himself and looking so content with his life.
He felt the rage build up deep inside as he watched Wilbur turn to his most trusted knight, Sir Lambert who almost always occupied the seat to the King’s right and exchange a few light-hearted words. Jason’s head was beginning to throb now from the extreme bout of negative emotion which had overtaken his rational thought processes.
Jason reached out with his mind all the way into Wilbur’s chest where he could feel the old man’s heart beating strongly. He slowly applied pressure, squeezing and compressing the King’s heart.
A look which Jason could only describe as a combination of shock, horror and excruciating pain crossed Wilbur’s face as he gasped out loudly, clutching at his chest.
Sir Lambert was the first to realise that the King was in distress.
“Your Majesty!” he exclaimed in surprise, quickly standing up. “What’s wrong?”
“Father!” screamed Jasmine quickly becoming aware of the situation which was unfolding across the table.
She jumped off her chair and sprinted to the far end of the table followed by Jason, Vince and Eve.
“He seems to be having a heart attack,” said Vince, his medical prowess evident. Eve nodded in agreement.
Jason displayed an expression of shock and bewilderment while he continued to squeeze the old man’s heart with even more force, causing the heart to stop beating altogether.
The King’s eyes rolled upwards in agony and beads of perspiration quickly formed on his forehead as his life force began to ebb away. Darkness began overtaking his vision.
Jason now reached into the King’s mind and whispered, “It’s time to retire, old man.”
The helpless King Wilbur now understood that it was Jason who was inflicting this horrible pain upon him and tried to speak out, to warn everyone in the room, especially his daughter.
“Jason,” he managed in a hoarse and pained whisper. He raised his hand which now trembled and with the greatest effort born out of the need to warn his beloved daughter about the man she had married, pointed to Jason.
“Jason,” he croaked, but he couldn’t get any more words out because the same will power which had caused his heart to stop beating was now squeezing at his vocal chords.
“Quick! Get him on the floor.” instructed Vince, taking charge.
Vince began chest compressions while Eve rushed out to fetch a medical kit, but it was all in vain.
As Wilbur’s consciousness faded into darkness he heard Jason’s voice inside his mind for the last time.
“It’s time for a new King, old man. Rest well.”
“The king is dead.”
“Long live the king.”
Jason ascended the throne as King of all Carac in a sombre ceremony attended by countless people from all parts of the planet.
It was both a sad and happy occasion. Sad, because the beloved King Wilbur had passed on, and happy, because there was a male heir to the throne, an heir who had the support and admiration everyone.
It took a great deal of effort maintaining a serious and somewhat mournful expression seated on the throne alongside the devastated, teary eyed Jasmine, and in plain view of the crowd, while he really felt like smiling his smug and victorious smile.
Princess Jasmine had taken the death of her father badly. She had adored him, and they had been very close. He had been both a mother and father to her, and the only family she had.
She still couldn’t believe how unexpectedly death had stolen her beloved father away from her. One minute, they were all enjoying a hearty supper, engaging in conversation and laughter and moments later he had taken his last breath.
“Father was really proud of you, Jason,” she said. “He even tried to thank you with his last breath.”
Jason’s thoughts had also drifted back to that fateful and tragic moment when the King had passed on from the world of the living, though his recollection was a little different from that of his wife’s.
As he sat on the throne looking sad and mourning the loss of Jasmine’s father, his mind was elsewhere. Planning. Always planning. Always two steps ahead of everyone else.
Now there was nothing standing between him and all his ambitions. All decisions, from the mundane to the monumental were his to make. He occupied the seat of absolute power now. He was King!
His thoughts then turned to the Equinox, and the upgrades which had been carried out in preparation for his trip to Earth. Her faster than light drive had been upgraded. She was also fitted with the most powerful version of his fearsome weapon, the atomic disruptor.
As soon as the boring coronation ceremony was over, he was going to launch the Equinox and have her in orbit around Carac, while the rest of the fleet was launched.
By the time the ceremony had finally drawn to a close, Jason was exhausted and decided to delay the launch till the following morning.
After all that had transpired, he actually looked forward to a good night’s rest and time with his wife. The adventure would continue tomorrow.