• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 08


I’m having such a marvellous time. Don’t let the hubbub outside convince you otherwise. Inside my palace I have everything I need. Laid out before me there is a feast for fifty, and all of it is for me. The oldest bottles of wines have been uncorked and I’m sampling them all. I’m wrapped in the family’s finest silks and I'm surrounded by the crown jewels. Ravishing rubies, gleaming emeralds, shimmering sapphires, opulent opals. And diamonds. What can beat the brilliant shine of that precious stone? Gold, maybe? Wait, no. Gold, definitely. Gold has always been my favourite. But currently my gold is elsewhere... Sorry if I’m not making sense, I’ve had a lot to drink.

I am the queen of my castle; nothing will change that.

Not the violent chants from outside; not the flame of their fiery torches; not the thundering thud of the tree trunk my people are slamming against the front door; not the fear on my servants’ faces as they advise me that I really should leave.

They say my time is up. They say that this way of life is changing. Nobody wants me or people like me in charge. That’s quite all right. I don’t know much about taking charge of a country. But I do know how to enjoy myself.

My brothers and my father and my father’s father and his father before that all got to do so. Why should I be deprived of my chance at extravagance? Just let me indulge in a lavish life while I still have the chance. Is that too much to ask?

“Your Majesty… The secret passage… please!” Boris the butler has been whimpering the same refrain since the commotion started. A few days ago his escape plan had been a little more coherent… I think. I hadn’t really been listening. Escape, pah. Why should I escape? But I nodded, anyway.



The poor man could do with some humouring. It was all he needed to find some resolve.


“Excellent, Your Majesty. Excellent! I will head to the vault and we will carry what we can of your fortune. Then we will travel to your sister’s palace."

He potters off. I decide it's bath-time. All the servants accompany me. Why do they look so confused, so frightened? I just want to bathe. That feast has made me work up quite a sweat.

As I approach, Boris pops up all a flurry with worry.

“YOUR MAJESTY!” he wails. “It’s gone. Your family fortune, it’s gone. Disappeared.”

“You don’t say?” I say, entering the bathroom.

“I do say,” he begins, following me in to the room, evidently without thinking. He stops when he spies the tub. A glorious sight, it’s filled to the brim with gleaming liquid gold.

“Would you all excuse me?” I ask my audience. “I’m going to take a bath."

Without bothering to undress, I go to dip my toe, excitedly bracing myself for the sumptuous splendour that will be my end.