*note: this one seemed shorter than usual when I finished. I’ll post another one on Friday!*
Zerrin looked around the table at three sets of hopeful eyes and knew his children were up to something and he doubted he’d appreciate the outcome. “You three want to help pick the next queen.”
“Yes,” they said in unison.
He couldn’t tell from their expressions who had thought of the idea. None of them are claiming credit. All three insisted they had reached a joint consensus.
“She will be our mother,” Chall stated. “We should have some say.”
“But she will be my wife.” Zerrin tried to put the ridiculous idea into the context it deserved but his sons didn’t appear to be backing down. He felt a spurt of pride at his sons negotiation techniques even as he scrambled for a way out of this mess.
“How were you going to pick your next wife, father?” Lianth asked. Zerrin’s older son always represented the voice of reason. As the eldest he tended to be the leader of the trio.
“Pretty much the way most king’s pick. Give the counsel my requirements and they would choose several potential brides. From that group I would pick which one appealed to me the most and we would get married.” His voice softened. “It worked well with your mother.”
He might not have had searing passion towards his dead queen but she had been a sweet woman beloved by the kingdom. They’d had a comfortable, happy marriage. Considering the tumultuous, strife filled relationships he heard of other monarchs experiencing Zerrin considered himself lucky in his first marriage. Her death had hit the family hard and Zerrin had mourned her in the proper fashion. Now it was time to move on.
“I think you should marry Bella,” Varren piped up.
Zerrin laughed. “I don’t think Bella would be an approved bride.” The idea of marrying his chef would never work no matter how beautiful her face or kind her manner towards his sons. “As a king I would be required to marry someone who would bring something to the kingdom. Like your mother brought a diamond treaty.” His kingdom had profited greatly over that agreement.
“Bella can bring candy.” Chall smiled no doubt at the thought of those chocolaty treats.
“It’s not quite the same thing,” Zerrin refuted. His sons’ defense of the chef charmed him but it didn’t change his mind. “How about I’ll let you pick among the choices the counsel hands out.”
Silent looks were exchanged between the children before they all turned and nodded at him.
Their sudden agreement caused a soft twinge of alarm but he quickly quelled it. After all the counsel was bound to pick perfectly good choices so it wasn’t as if his sons could go wrong.