The Queen’s Secret

Chapter 21|3 mins read

A fine mist sprayed across Cyrus’ face as the ship broke through the clam waters of the sea. The King of Kings stood at the front of the vessel, gripping the broad mast. The desire that rose in him when he voyaged to Behrouz had begun to abate. He felt a measure of peace and silence as he surveyed the vast, open waters. Cyrus closed his eyes The blank canvas of his mind spat out an image of a sea, deep red in colour, floating with bodies. The king quickly opened his eyes and turned his gaze away from the blue sea.

“My King,” Ginger’s shadow approached Cyrus, “The ship is making good headway and we should reach the shores of our kingdom soon,” Ginger bowed.

“I am pleased to hear that,” Cyrus replied, a faint smile etched on his lips.

“There is…,” Ginger chose his words with hesitation, “something else…that I wanted to ask you.”

“Speak your mind,” The king gave his permission.

“Are we really going to invade Behrouz if King Piruz does not part with the biriyani recipe?”

Cyrus turned his gaze from Ginger towards the sea. The trusted aide wondered whether it would have been better if the words had not been spoken.

“Ginger,” The king’s deep voice rose above the gentle waves, “It has been only a day that I have parted from my kingdom, and yet, I feel I have missed it for years…This was never the case before,” Cyrus leant his hand on the ship’s thick mast, “I am growing tired of conquest and blood...Maybe it is time to enjoy what I have rather than desire what I do not possess,” A faint reflection of the shoreline was cast on the king’s blue eyes.

“My King, I completely agree,” Ginger bowed, “Perhaps Behrouz is best appreciated from the shores of our very own kingdom.”

Cyrus’ gaze was fixed on the silhouette of his palace which rose on the horizon.

The queen stood on the terrace with her eyes searching the harbour for the Royal Ship. Her face expressed a warm smile when she saw the vessel appear in the distance. She quickly turned and made her way from the terrace, past the spacious chambers and descended the spiralling flight of stairs, and stepped towards the large receiving area. The queen stood on the threshold, running her palms over her hair, then over her purple robe. She did not want anything out of place.

The echo of a horse’s gallop soon sounded. The queen turned her attentive eyes towards the towering palace gates where Cyrus appeared on his black steed, galloping towards the front steps.

The king gently patted the horse’s mane when he saw his queen. The steed slowed down to a trot and stopped at the steps of the palace. Cyrus alighted and quickly climbed the row of granites steps.

“You came back all alone,” The queen chided her king, “Where is the new queen…your new bride…?” She teased.

Cyrus embraced the lithe figure of his wife and planted a kiss on her broad forehead, “You are the only woman I need,” He smiled.

“Your words are sweeter than usual, my King. What is the matter?” The queen’s query was underlined with a mischievous tone.

Cyrus produced the small satin pouch laced with golden threads, “This is a memento from Behrouz,” He placed it on the queen’s palm.

She gently untied the pouch and peeked. A soft white light reflected on her visage, “This is beautiful,” The queen remarked picking up a white pearl, “And very generous too.”

“Yes, the hospitality of Behrouz is beyond comparison,” Cyrus stated.

“You must be tired after a long voyage,” The queen placed the pearl back in the satin pouch and fastened it with the threads, “Your bath is warm and ready,” She held Cyrus’ hand and led him from the receiving area.

A warm mist floated above the bath as the king immersed his body into it. The flower petals drifted to a side, allowing his broad back to soak in the water.

“You deserve to relax, my King,” The queen’s voice echoed in the hollow chamber, “I will take your leave for now,” She stepped away.

The queen made her way to her chamber. She closed the door behind her as soon as she entered the room. Her eyes drifted to a small wooden cupboard tucked away in a corner. She walked past an ornate bed and gently knelt near the cupboard. Her slender fingers pulled it open. A torn cloth fragment came into view. On it was imprinted the word, Behrouz.

To be continued...

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