short story, story promptLilia has been Queen since her parents died a few years ago. She thinks she’s doing the right thing for her kingdom, but is she actually hurting her subjects?


Lilia scowled at the young man before her. Tristan glared back, the only man in the whole kingdom who would be brave enough to challenge his Queen.

“You’re supposed to be my advisor, not my father!” she snapped at him.

“I’m trying to be your advisor! You have no idea what is going on out there in your own kingdom. King Malvern has blinded you to everything in your own backyard! I’m trying to help you see that this false King is destroying your rule.”

Lilia’s frown deepened. “King Malvern is a very nice man. He helped us out after my parents died. He has helped me become the Queen I am today.”

Tristan shook his head. “You are a Queen who is hated by her people,” he said bluntly. “They call you the Gluttonous Queen.”

Shocked, the anger dissipated. “My subjects … hate me? They call me that vile name? Why?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the kingdom is falling into ruin while you sit up here in your pretty castle and entertain a foreign king? Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we are currently going through a famine, yet you don’t do anything to ease their suffering. In fact, you throw extravagant banquets for this foreign king.”

“The famine is that bad?” Lilia was sure her advisor had been exaggerating in the past. After all, she’d still had plenty of food.

She could tell that her old friend was struggling to hold on to his temper. “Yes! Yes, it is! Lilia, I’ve told you the problems happening in your kingdom. I’ve told you since the day you were crowned. I don’t take my job as Advisor lightly. Perhaps you shouldn’t take the job of Queen so lightly either!”

Lilia’s lip quivered and she reached for her favourite comfort food, the rare delicacy from Malvern’s kingdom known as chocolate. “Malvern says I’m doing a fantastic job of running my kingdom,” she said defensively.

“Lilia, he’s trying to undermine you. Can’t you see that? He’s trying to make you weak. He has already succeeded in making your own subjects hate you. I even have my suspicious that he’s partly responsible for the food shortage we have.”

Lilia scoffed around a mouthful of chocolate. “Tristan, no one has that much power.”

“A true Queen does,” he replied quietly.

Lilia swallowed the suddenly tasteless chocolate. “Does Malvern really want to take my kingdom from me?”

“Yes, Lilia. He does.”

“But he’s always so nice!”

“Look past the facade, Lil. He’s charming to your face, but once he leaves, he stabs you in the back. He’s only after the power that taking your kingdom will give him.”

She pushed the plate of chocolate away and rose. She walked over to the tall window and gazed out across her kingdom. Tristan came to her side.

“Don’t you see it? Can’t you feel their suffering?”

It felt like it had been a long time since she’d looked beyond the walls of her own castle. With Tristan beside her, she felt like she could see every corner of her precious kingdom, the legacy her parents had left behind. It wasn’t just her imagination – the kingdom looked drab, dirty and despondent.

A tear trickled down her cheek. She had done this. She’d caused her subjects this suffering. She wasn’t fit to be their Queen.

Tristan placed his hand on her shoulder. “All hope is not yet lost, Lil. You can save your kingdom, but you need to start being the Queen they deserve.”

She looked beseechingly at him. “How, Tristan? How do I turn this around?”

He smiled at her. “You’ve already started.”

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