Honeyed Words and Serpent Stings

Smirk

‘If this is the will of the people, I shall be king.’

The people gathered before him cheer, calling out praises to their new king and his humility. It’s only been a few weeks since his brother, the king, has been declared dead, but they welcome their new king. And why shouldn’t they?

He’s always found it easy to draw people to his side, to have them ready to fight for him, die for him. Why should this be any different?

Even the council of ministers who have served his brother for years are smiling at him. They had never smiled at his brother, who had been a harsh master, fair but hot tempered and hard headed.

In his place, the new king speaks softly and with a smile, and if his ministers notice that he always seems to get his way, despite their misgivings and objections, none of them comment on it.

When they had pressed him to ascend because the Crown Prince had been too young, he had put on a mask of humility, and pretended to take the throne only because ‘it’s what his brother would have wanted.’

It had been easy enough to make his brother’s retainers believe that he had done all he could, that he had warned his brother not to fight, that he had been horrified when his brother had lost, and heartsick and broken, he had sealed the cave to make sure the creature that had killed his brother would die in there with him.

They believed it because the story made sense, because everyone knew his brother, knew his impulsive, headstrong nature, knew that he was the type of king to rush in after a marauding creature himself.

They believed it because no one could ever think that the king’s twin – softspoken, mild mannered, nice – could have sealed the cave with his brother inside, still alive and fighting.

They believed it because when the throne was offered to him, he had declined, telling the ministers – with tears in his eyes, that had been a nice touch – that he was not worthy of the throne, not after he had failed his brother.

They believed it because no wants to think their new king capable of murder, and if any of the ministers has misgivings about the day his brother and their king had ‘died’, they keep their questions to themselves.

Most of all, they believed it because he has always been a good liar.

Want to read more?
Order the Dark Things anthology and read the full story!

Featuring cross-dressing assassins, were-snakes, gods and goddesses, demonesses and asura kings, Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul retells age-old tales from Indian mythology—with a twist. Rearranging myth and legend to create new plots, these short stories will delight lovers of the unusual.

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[mood|indian mythology Bleh to the world]
[music| Mistake: The Band Has No Name]

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1 Comment

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