• Grace A. Johnson

The Queen (Reign: Part 9)

Y'all, I am terribly sorry that this is coming out a day late! I meant to have it out last night, but life intervened, so here we are now! Just know the next installment will (Lord willing) be next Thursday!

Anyway, enough chit-chat! Let's get into the story!


Part 9: The Queen


Nymphs were more beautiful than I’d expected. The Naiad—Charis—was the strangest creature. And yet...she was so pretty. Enchanting, really.

But that was the point, I supposed.

Brehn would fault me for my curiosity—and he’d have good reason to—but despite the awaiting lecture, I leaned forward, gripping the edge of the little boat, and just kept staring at the Naiad and the two Sirens.

And since I was the queen, unabashed staring wasn’t at all rude, trust me. They should be pleased the Queen of Magni paid them any mind.

At least, that’s what the Regent would say, in his smooth voice, with a tight smile. Even though Brehn hated him (don’t tell me that wasn’t obvious), the Regent was never hard with me. He hid any anger, like he did pretty much every feeling. ‘Twas a good quality, and just one reason why I didn’t mind him. But Brehn was adamant about hating the man, so here we were. Dragged out of the castle on a fool’s errand.

I loved my uncle, don’t get me wrong, and I trusted him with my life. But I knew Renout better than he did. I knew what made him tick. And I knew that he wouldn’t have me murdered.

Not that Brehn had said that. He didn’t need to. I knew him better than I knew the Regent—and I could read his face better than I read a book.

The Regent was up to something worse than just killing me and Brehn. I just didn’t know what. Yet. Had it not been for Brehn and his wild impatience, I would’ve been at home solving this mystery.

Instead, I was on my way to Parvi. Under different circumstances, I’d be upset—all right, I was still upset. I didn’t want to leave Magni—or run for my life either—but maybe I’d find a piece to the puzzle in this messy old place.

I sighed, letting my gaze slide down to the river for a moment. I looked horrible. I mean, of course I did. I hadn’t slept last night and I hadn’t brushed my hair and I honestly didn’t think I’d ever looked so bad in my life.. For a second, I wondered how my mother would think if she saw me. Would she understand, like Brehn, and tweak my nose and kiss my forehead? Or, like my father and the Regent, would she quirk an eyebrow and call for a maid to bathe me and stuff me in a fancy dress?

I’d never know. She’d died the day I was born, and Brehn said that after that, Father was never the same again. Renout picked up most of the king’s slack and dealt with problems that weren’t his. Brehn always said that he’d used my father’s “vulnerable state” to begin his takeover of the kingdom, but I knew the truth.

Renout was dedicated to Magni. Sure, he didn’t always get things right. Far from it. My father had no doubt been a better king before Mother died—but Renout had learned with him and had given up his life for his home.

Hence the mystery. Hence me examining the sea creatures more closely. Hence me wondering what was up with the City, with Parvi, with the Regent in the high castle. With Brehn acting so funny.

Either he knew something I didn’t (doubted that; I had eyes and ears in places Brehn wouldn’t even think to look) or he was assuming something that wasn’t true. Which was like him. He was always assuming that I deferred to him, that I was a child under his care and guidance. And maybe I was. Or maybe I was stronger and wiser than he thought. I’d been raised a queen, after all, not as a child with no worries.

I looked back up at the Siren—what had Charis called her? Seira? She was still talking with the Naiad and the other Siren, Charis’s watery body swirling around and light bouncing off of the Sirens’ scales. No wonder men were so captivated.

I wasn’t, though. I was hungry and tired and thirsty and ready to get out of this mucky place. I frowned, pulled Pascal into my lap, then speared those chatty creatures with my best glare. “We best get on with it, don’t you think, Seira? We’re burning daylight.”

The oldest Siren flipped back, eyes as big as saucers. “Well, I-I—yes, of course, Your Majesty.”

I grinned. She followed my orders much better than Brehn did. Maybe our trip wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Missed Part 8? Read it here!

#theriver #reign #serial #fantasy #theguardiansofmagni

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