The old king sat upon his throne, wheezing and coughing as he looked over the crowd that had formed in front of him. His breaths were short and he felt the life draining from him. His time has coming to an end and it was about time to hand off the responsibilities of the throne to the next in line. A crowd of constituents and royal advisers had filled the throne room to see this monumental occasion.
Even though his memory was slipping, the king could still remember small bits from when he was crowned king and the king that sat before him on that day. He imagined he looked just as old and sickly as the king before him did before the crown was passed along. Now he sat on the throne, barely able to see or hear the commotion around him.
“Please bring forward the child,” The king wheezed.
There was a bit of shuffling as people made space for an aisle down the middle of the throne room. Two royal guards guided the small child down the middle, toward the throne. Royal advisers whispered to one another in anticipation as the child walked forward.
The child stopped at the front of the crowd momentarily, before the royal guard shoved them forward.
“Here…here I am,” The child said.
Behind them the crowd began to murmur once again.
“A girl,” One adviser said before stood out above the whispers.
The king slowly turned his head.
“Ah, yes. Child. Please come closer,” The king said.
“Yes sir,” She said.
The small girl nodded her head and approached the throne.
“Have my royal advisers prepared you for the throne. Are you ready to take the mantle?” The King asked in a whisper to the girl.
“I…I’m not sure. I…” She turned to look at the crowd which seemed unsure and even hostile toward her. “I don’t think I can do it.”
“You know, I was once like you. I stood before both an aging king and a room full of people filled with doubts. I didn’t know how to be king or even what to expect,” The king said.
“Really? What did you do?”
The king let out a bit of a wheezy laugh.
“Well, I was forced to take the crown even though I was not ready for it. I stumbled almost every day trying to do my best even though my head was filled with doubts,” The king said.
“Did it get any easier?”
“In some ways it did and in some ways it didn’t. Each and every day was filled with its own challenges and just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, some unexpected would happen. My job was to reign in the chaos and I barely had control.”
“That sounds terrifying,” The girl said as she tugged at her dress.
“It was. And it still is,” The king said. “Just remember that the people out there all look toward you for guidance and for wisdom. Even though you may be young and inexperienced, you must stand tall and fake confidence.”
The king nodded.
“Every day I faked it. Even now as my body fails me, I am faking it. I am trying to pass on as much to you as my time comes to an end.”
“Please can’t you hold on just a little bit longer. I need more time to learn,” The girl said.
“I am sorry, child. But my time is quickly ending and you will be the new leader. Let me just pass on some last bits of wisdom. The king before me told me to focus on keeping the people safe with full bellies. If the people are safe and well fed, they will be happy.”
“Safe and well fed,” The girl repeated to herself.
“Although that is only the start,” The king continued. “Being a leader means being willing to put yourself out there even though there is a chance of failure. I failed a lot and many days were dark, but once the sun rose again, I had to face my people and do my best to lead them. Do not give up hope in the bad times and keep on looking ahead. Hopefully by the end of your reign, there will be more good days than bad.”
“But how can you be sure you are doing the right thing?” The girl asked.
“You can never be sure, but you know deep down in your heart what is right and what is wrong. Hold to your principles and don’t let others bully you. You can do it,” The king said before coughing again.
“Sir?” The girl ran to his side.
“You can do this,” The king repeated. “I know you can.”
“I’m…I’m not sure…”
“I am. You will be a powerful Queen. One that will show compassion and strength in the face of adversity. One that will put me and the kings before you to shame. You will take the world by storm,” The king said. “Not only will you lead, you will also set a new precedent for the Queens that will rule after you.”
The girl smiled a bit.
“Thank you, sir,” She said.
A large chime began to ring and the sound filled the throne room drowning out the conversations.
“It’s time,” The king said reaching up and taking the crown off his head.
“This is now yours,” He said placing the crown on the girl’s head.
“The new Queen,” The royal guard said turning the girl out toward the crowd of people.
The crowd still looked a bit uneasy but the girl stood firm looking out over the throne room.
“You may take your throne,” The royal guard said gesturing to the throne.
The girl turned to look at the old king once again, but to her surprise, the throne was empty and the king was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh, alright,” She said walking over to the throne and taking a seat.
The whole thing seemed strange to her and her heart was beating incredibly fast, but she did her best to hide the panic she was feeling.
The royal guard took a step forward and addressed the crowd of people.
“King 2019 is dead. Long live Queen 2020!” The guard chanted.
“Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen!” The crowd chanted back.
Header Photo Credit to h0neybee on We Heart It