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17 HE, THE KING PART III

His Reign

"The King has passed away!" Eunuch Song announced in despair.

All the people in the King's Residence dropped to their knees and started to wail.

Then there were sound of horses galloped and stopped in front of the residence and the Crown Prince ran inside but stopped in front of the King's chamber. He looked at me and I didn't know how to convey the news of his father's death but I was sure he knew from the moment he entered the residence and heard the people wailed. 

In a second all eyes turned to the Prince, this was the sign of a new reign. He knew it. He just lost a father but the responsibilities lied on him now. He had no time to be sad. He had to rule the nation. He wiped away his tears.

"Long live the King!" I said the sacred words aloud, confirming, that he was the King.

Then one by one, his subjects pronounced their loyalty to the new King. 

Main Hall, The Palace

All ministers lined up according to their ranks and duties. It has been a week since the King had passed away and everyone talked about the new King. All the people present wore white as they are still in 'mourning period'.

I was called into the Hall to recite again His Late King's posthumous decree as part of the formality since I was the only one heard His Late King's will; and this was also served as a confirmation as there were ministers that weren't exactly in favour of the new King.

I was standing in front near the throne with Court Lady Song stood right behind me. It was the first time I stepped into the Main Hall and the air in there didn't help in calming my nerves.

"His Highness has arrived," a eunuch announced from outside the hall. The Crown Prince was technically the King but due to some formalities and he had not yet appointed formally which was until the Coronation Day, the title still not applied.

The Crown Prince strode and passed by me too quickly - that I didn't even have the chance to take a glance at him - he took the stairs two at a time and he sat on the throne. He was occupied with a lot of things since he came back from the North Border and he has to shoulder  everything after his father left him, not just the throne but also the people. I was sure he was overwhelmed with everything but he was the hope of his people and he couldn't afford to show weakness.

He lifted his hand and Eunuch Han came closer to him. He said something and Eunuch Han listened attentively then nodded. After that, Eunuch Han stepped forward and looked at my direction.

"Your Highness, please step forward," he said.

I took a few steps forward and stood at the middle of the hall, right in front of the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince looked down at me from the throne and suddenly I felt so little and I doubted myself. Was I really his wife? Was I even qualified to be his companion? To be his Queen? To be the Mother of this Nation? Will I be able to accompany him through the journey?

"Your Highness, please recite everything of His Late Majesty's will," Eunuch Han said and he looked at the transcriber at the end of the stairs. "Teacher Im will transcribe the words into the scroll and it will be documented  as His Late King's decree, so please say everything that His Late Majesty said without leaving any words behind."

As I was reciting what I heard from the late King, I could hear few ministers grunted and looked dissatisfied. Were they dissatisfied by the late King's choice for their next King? But he was the Crown Prince and he was eventually going to be their King. Or were they dissatisfied due to his young age? But the Crown Prince was proven to be knowledgeable and brave that for someone of his age, it was considered great traits. He had also succeeded the negotiation with the Ming and he personally met the Ming which before, the proposals brought forward by General Sun kept rejected. The only conclusion I made was that they wanted another person to be the King. But that would be treason.

"Based on what Her Highness Crown Princess heard from His Late Majesty was that the Crown Prince was selected as the next King and as the sole witness of the decree, the integrity of Her Highness will be regarded highly and without prejudice; as Her Highness is the Crown Princess and was selected by both His Late Majesty and the Queen Dowager," Eunuch Han said and I could hear grunts and murmurs.

Then the Crown Prince stood up and stepped forward, "My late father regarded me highly and I was crowned as he Crown Prince the moment I was born, he was sure that I was his successor.  I know few of you doubted my capability to be better than my father, even I doubted myself. How could I be better than him?" He paused.

"But, His Late Majesty trusted me and gave me the throne and his trust is enough. If His Late Majesty left me the throne then I will take it and prove to you that I will be as better as our Late King and together, you will help me to make our nation better."

After the Crown Prince finished his speech, Eunuch Han said, "Bow to our new King."
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