[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that the Queen wanted to make Liana’s son the heir to her throne..
If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!
Liana’s Journey Continues
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
A Cup of Tea?
The Monkey Jungle
Drama at the Royal Court]
The Boy Who Would Be King
Ten years had passed since that fateful day when the Queen told Liana of her plans for Kenju. Liana had felt a mixture of joyful pride and fluttering fears during the ceremony in which the Queen adopted Kenju as her own Royal Prince and Heir.
“He will always be your son,” the Queen had reassured Liana at the celebratory feast. “This was just a formality so I can have a worthy heir. I find it fitting he should be one created by the Storm God.”
And it was true: Kenju had remained the son of Liana, and the Queen had not usurped her role. Except now that he was heir to the throne, Kenju needed to be educated properly, at good schools, first in Fiji, and now in Japan. His guards were always with him to ensure his safety, but discreetly. It was best the other students perceived him as a normal boy. Kenju was brilliant though, skipping grades, and would soon start university at age 16. Then he might return only once a year until he finished the Masters program the Queen had in mind for him.
Liana missed him so much! She led a lonely life on the beautiful isle, as a companion to the Queen, more than a servant, less than a friend. And she hadn’t allowed herself to love a man again, despite the Queen’s encouragement. Liana couldn’t imagine being with anyone but Kenju’s real father, and the more time passed, the more determined she became to wait until they met again in the land beyond. Maybe it would not be that long…
Liana hadn’t been well, despite her usual robust constitution. Another virus had hit the island, passed to the people from a trading ship, and this time Liana had fallen desperately ill. None of the usual remedies had helped, and she’d been in a weakened state for months, only managing to rally a bit when the time for her son’s visit had approached. She was so happy to have him here in her pretty apartment at the Royal Court. Other women had been attending the Queen since Liana’s illness, but her position was secure as the mother of the future ruler.
“Mama, you should come to Japan and see a proper doctor,” Kenju told her as they relaxed in her lounge. “These backward island people don’t know what they’re doing. Did you even get an X-ray for your cough?”
Liana didn’t know what an X-ray was. “I’m much better now. The body sometimes needs to take its time to heal slowly. I’ve been resting. Have some mango?” She pointed to the tray a servant had set on the table.
Her son shook his head. “I don’t think you get enough protein. Why do you only eat fruit? You are not a monkey!”
She laughed. “Oh, my clever son! How I’ve missed you. Your smile, your eyes… an exact image of your father.”
“My father?” Kenju frowned. “Tell me about him. And not the Storm God nonsense. I learned how babies are made a long time ago.”
Feeling reckless, Liana told him the truth. She recounted the story of the other island, his father Ken, the prophet Benji, the volcano, and her narrow escape from the fiery death that claimed the lives of her family. And she also told him of her capture by the people with whom they lived now, the Queen’s subjects. Liana was exhausted when she finished talking and collapsed on a pile of pillows, coughing and gasping for breath.
“Wow!” Kenju stared at her. “I’m not sure what to make of this tale. A disappearing island, pirates, a crazy plot to kill you…”
“And now,” Liana waved her hand weakly. “Look. You’re heir. To the throne. The Queen would… like you to choose a bride.”
“What?” Kenju appeared horrified. “I’m starting at university next month. I can’t get married now. It would be–”
“Not now.” Liana interrupted. “Not a wedding now, just choose a girl for later, so the people… can have a celebration. That makes them happy.”
“Bread and circuses,” Kenju muttered. “Forget having jobs and decent medical care. You need to see a real doctor!”
Liana didn’t understand what he meant by all that, but she was so tired and her eyes were closing. These cushions were so soft and comfortable, there was a lovely breeze outside the window, and the afternoon was perfect, now that Kenju had returned.
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