This chapter was sponsored by Holly. 🙂 Thanks.
The king looked at the quill in his hand with a face full of concern. As he was unsure whether the decision he was about to make was a sensible choice or not, his eyebrows quivered. The indecision left an unpleasant taste upon his tongue.
Originally, when his son was born, he was happy. His happiness didn’t last, however. It was quickly discovered that the prince had an incurable disease and for him to continue living he would require a lot of care. This was what was stated to the king by every doctor, priest and Secret Arts Practitioner that came to check the princes condition.
If any of the previous kings had a son with such a horrid disposition, they would have quickly and quietly removed from the world. The king of this time, though, was a sentimental fellow and didn’t wish to kill his son. Thus, he allocated a portion of the kingdoms funds for the care of the broken prince, as he would come to be known by the servants.
During the first few years of the prince’s life, the king spent a fair amount of time by his side, hoping that a miracle might occur if he did. He prayed to a multitude of gods and even considered looking to the demon-kin for help. When he raised these thoughts to his advisers, they all warned him that it was a bad idea and so the king abstained from conducting such dangerous actions.
With the last idea he could come up with turned down, he started to look away from the prince and instead spent the time he wasn’t ruling the kingdom with his two daughters. The older daughter was happy and hoped the king would forget about his son and only focus on her and her younger sister, as the broken boy would never be of use to the kingdom. The younger sister, however, was only a few days younger than the boy. Being born from a different mistress and at such an innocent age, she wasn’t able to understand what was going on and simply wished to play.
The king would occasionally take them to see their brother, hoping that in the even that he did get better, that they would be friendly with each other. While the young girl looked at and hoped for him to get better so that he would be her playmate, the older girl looked at him in disdain for causing trouble for the kingdom and its ruler. She believed that the kings of the previous generations were sensible for getting rid of the troublesome variables to keep order. She could not understand why her father would take her to see the prince for any reason other than to show her what weakness looked like.
So it was, over the years, that the king spent less time with both his son and his daughters as the kingdom had begun to require a more steady hand ruling it. He was getting reports from those on other continents and in the countries of this continent of bad weather stirring and bandits rising up with no concern for the law. These problems were further increased by monsters becoming commonplace near the outskirts of towns, requiring an increase in the army forces, in turn raising the need for food. As the Royal Capital of the continent was in the desert, most of it’s food was meat, imported from the other areas of the continent or even from the other continents.
It was within the past year that a singular merchant came to see the king and offered an amulet that could store the energy of people which could then be used by others – unfortunately the method of controlling it was unknown. When the king heard how expensive the amulet was evaluated, he was crestfallen. The amount required would cause too many issues for the kingdom. Apparently, the amulet contained the energy of many, many years. With such a valuable item the merchant had gained the kings attention and then offered a glimmer of hope to the king.
“In this world, there are two things of importance: Status… And power. What could you offer me that could equal the price of this amulet?”
The merchant challenged the king with such an offer and the king struggled to understand his goal. He wasn’t really paying much attention to the merchant himself before but a closer look showed the merchant to be around the parenting age. It wasn’t unheard of though, for the corrupt people of this nation to have those types of interests.
‘It can’t be that, right? It can’t be so….’
The king began stressing in his heard that the merchant was attempting to trick him into giving him one of his daughters. This type of worry was for naught though, as nobody would be as brace as to try and trick the current king. The merchant spoke again.
“If you can’t come up with an offer, perhaps then, I’d be permitted to make a request?”
The merchant had noticed that the king was confused as to what he wanted. When he saw that, he thought the king had too many burdens placed upon him. A correct assumption that the king was lacking sleep was made.
The king granted him permission, even with the belief it would be a request that was impossible to grant. He still wished to hear it from the merchants mouth.
“I am the father of three beautiful daughters. While they may be young, they are well behaved. It need only be one, but perhaps you’d be able to find someone who could grant them status? They are of the ages 5, 11 and 18. They are intelligent and will be able to offer many perks to whomever you can find for them.”
In his mind, the king was in a state shock. The merchant was offering three of his daughters off in order to gain status! Sure, marrying off one daughter is commonplace, but this merchant was offering three! He could understand that intent behind the merchants offer. It was a hint towards matching a daughter with the prince. Surely the merchant knew that it’s required that the prince only marry a princess from another continent in order to maintain power?
‘Then… Is he suggesting that?’
The king finally connected the puzzle pieces that the merchant had set up. The offer he made was an amulet that might be able to help the prince with his disease. It wasn’t definite but it was the biggest source of hope he had in a long time. The request was for at least one daughter to gain status. It was assumed that it was a hint towards the prince but a marriage was impossible due to the politics of the world. That left a final option.
In this continent, those that were close to the prince and king were not only their wives. There were also the many women they kept in order to increase the royal lineage. In order to keep their power as the highest, they needed many family members. Having few children meant weakening the families power for a generation. Therefore, they had many women as harem members.
These women are introduced to the kingdom as new members of the royal family, with status almost equaling to the wives of the king or prince. It wasn’t a rare occurrence for strong commoners to try and gain the respect of the royal family in order to gain status. It was completely different to the concubines of noblemen, who had a much lower status than the legal wives. The harems of the royal family members were impossible to compare to those.
“What if I said I could find all your daughters a ‘partner’ to increase their status?”
The king asked by avoiding the word ‘marriage’ to test the merchant – his response would determine his true intent.
“I would be incredibly grateful. Of course, the rise of my daughters status would increase my own. There would be no reason for me to be sad.”
The merchant honestly revealed his greed when he spoke but did not displease the king. It was obvious that the intent of the king had been understood and that the daughters would become members of the prince’s harem thus meaning the merchant would become famous from his daughters names.
“Then it’s sorted. The deal has been made.”
The king finalised the deal and hoped the amulet would truly be effective with helping the prince with his affliction. If it didn’t, the daughters of the merchant would gain more power as even if the prince was sick, they’d still be members of his harem and gain the status and power that comes along with it.
The king then heard something which shocked him.
“My daughters currently live on the island academy – if that information interests you.”
The island academy was not a place that was safe to stay. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous places that young people could go. It ignores status and wealth to an extreme level. This caused the king to be shocked as the merchant was suggesting to send the prince there.
The king soon dismissed the merchant while being deep in thought.
Memories of the past welled up inside the king as he stared at the blank piece of paper. After a few minutes, he finally came to a realisation.
“There’s absolutely no other way, is there? This is the best way! Hahahaha!”
The king laughed heartily as he came to the conclusion that there was no need to be conflicted. The prince would be fine – he would simply send some insurance to ensure his safety. In fact, why not just sent them all? It would become a good trial for them! The king lost all feelings of confliction and began to write.
‘My old friend Radolfo,
How long has it been since we’ve met face to face? Is that hag still kicking? I write to you now in hope that my children: Lum Fei, Lun Lumi and Lun Zana, attend the academy. I know that it’s against tradition but I would like to send three servants in order to take care of my son due to his illness. Many things have happened…’
He continued writing until he had used up all the paper, talking about endeavours since the time he left the academy while he had a sense of nostalgia. He thought about the future of his son and had a happy look on his face.
“You’re only eight and have already gotten three partners! You’ll be meeting them soon – you should feel blessed… I met my first when I was fifteen.”
The king spoke to himself as though his son was in the room. His son, who would be leaving the continent for a dangerous academy if he got better. Even so, a light atmosphere filled the room.