Raising the Crown

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Just the Beginning.

Submitted: July 06, 2019

Reads: 113

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Submitted: July 06, 2019



Since we could not enter through Italy’s air space, we had to go around it and stop in Warsaw, Poland, as well as Ljubljana, Slovenia, before we turned south into Xudia. This trip literally took up an entire day, but that was okay with me, because I got to bond with my son and his mother’s parents. I had discovered that Mr. Juric wasn’t actually Camila’s biological father, but rather he was her stepfather who came from Croatia. Her biological father had died shortly after Mrs. Juric became pregnant with Camila. Sadly, they couldn’t do much for him, because he had a bad fall, and died from internal bleeding due to his Hemophilia.

Because Mrs. Juric’s second husband was not of their Xudian culture, she was forced to give up her right to the throne, but Camila could still inherit it, if she would be born in the palace of Moscjen, which she was. However, Mrs. Juric had an older sister named Anja, so when their mother died from giving birth to Marija, Anja took over their mother’s rule. Anja’s first husband died from a brain aneurysm, so then she married Chaudhry Oorija, the one who was currently king. He didn’t have any heirs to the throne, because Marija’s sister was barren, which is how Luca came to be next in line, since Camila also married outside of their culture. Camila and Marija were still princesses due to their royal lineage, but because of their marriages to outsiders they could never rule, and would have to automatically pass the crown to the next person in line.

“After the funeral, my king is going to plead with me to stay in Xudia,” Luca said as he locked his eyes with mine near the last forty-five minutes of our flight. “I would not be surprised if he pulled you aside as well, since you are now my legal guardian.”
“I figured as much,” I replied, but I could tell that Luca had something on his mind. “Do you want to stay?”

Luca was quiet for a few moments.

“Yes and no,” he answered thoughtfully. “No, because I finally get to be with you.”

If a heart could melt, mine certainly would have in this moment. I had tears in my eyes, but I kept them. I felt so bad that I couldn’t be there for this kid in the first ten years of his life!

“And yes, because . . .?”

Luca smiled warmly.

“Look out the window. You should be seeing the mountains of Vopuyune right about now.”

I did as Luca asked, and I swear my breath got caught in my throat. These mountains were lush and green, and absolutely gorgeous. I could see villages dispersed throughout the region on the outskirts of the mountains, as well as inside the mountains. The villages in the region of Vopuyune had an agricultural feel to them, because outside of the mountains seemed to be cattle, horse, and sheep farms. There were even some fields where I could see some magnificent horses run free.

I honestly did not know what to expect in regards to what this country looked like, if it was more third world or first world, but this luxurious royal airplane sure made me think Xudia was more first world than third world. To me, it felt like it was a lot like the official airplane of the president of the United States, except this one belonged to Xudia. It had a lot of closed off cabins and even an office room for official royal meetings. Xir Charles spent most of the flight in his own private quarters, except during meal times. Then he was out to help the flight attendants with preparing meals and delivering them to us.

“You have a beautiful country,” I replied as I pulled back and simultaneously turned towards my son and his grandparents.
“You just wait, you haven’t really seen anything yet,” Marija stated.
“You’re going to love the caves, abbo.”

I looked into my son's eyes and could see he was in awe. This would be the second time he’s mentioned those caves, and now I was curious, wanted to know what was so special about them. I had to respond to this.

“Oh, yeah?”

He nodded, but said nothing, though the grin on his face just got as wide as it could get.

“Are you going to tell me what makes them special?”
“No,” he answered quickly. “You’re going to have to find out for yourself. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I must ask you. Do you still scuba dive or snorkel? Mommy said you were once certified to scuba dive, but I haven’t ever seen any pictures of you online where you are scuba diving or snorkeling.”

“Yes, I am still certified to scuba, but I haven’t had a diving adventure since Gloria got pregnant with your brother, Eric. We all do snorkel from time to time, but in remote places, where we can get some privacy away from mainstream media.”
“Okay, good,” Luca replied.
“Why do you ask?”

Luca moved forward in his seat and lifted his eyebrows for a playful moment.

“Because . . . in order to see the best parts of the Taergorijan caves, you need scuba diving and snorkel equipment, depending on which section you want to explore. The deeper you go, the more beautiful it is.”

Cave diving? Is he for real? I’ve never dived in a cave before . . .

“Why do you look like you’re afraid?” he asked when the expression on his face turned concerned after he studied mine for a few moments. “Have you never dived in a cave before?”

Was I that obvious?

“Actually, no, I haven’t,” I answered sheepishly. “I also didn’t think to bring my scuba gear with me.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Mr. Juric said as our attention was drawn to him. “We have scuba gear and suits in every size available. And, Luca, you know that Marko must go with you, right? Absolutely no sneaking off on him! He is there to make sure nothing goes wrong.”

Luca responded to him in Xudian, but Marija now spoke up to me again.

“Look out the window,” she said. “And tell me what you see now. You should be seeing the fields of Darijam.”

I did as she asked and when I looked out the window, I could see we were now in a new region, which looked like a lot of fields and some villages, and some farmhouses spread out. I could see grapes growing, wheat growing, and some other vegetables growing.

“I see wheat, vineyards, and . . . what are those fields growing purple plants?”
“Plum pitaya,” Marija answered, which caused me to look back to her. “It’s a type of lettuce, but purple like a plum, and can be a little sweet if left to ripen. It is very popular in a lot of Mediterranean dishes.”

Ah, yes, I knew quite well what it was. I had just never seen it in the ground before. I also had not realized that plum pitaya came from Xudia.

“Plum pitaya is one of our main sources of income with the import-export trade we have going with a lot of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.”
“But not Italy, right?” I asked her. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in any dish in their restaurants, or sold in the markets. I’ve seen it and had it in Greece, but never saw it in Italy.”

Marija chuckled softly as her husband and Luca quieted down and turned to her.

“Yes . . . Italy is not included,” she replied softly as the smile left her face, but she still kept her eyes locked with mine. “You are quite observant.”
“We’ll fix that when I become king,” Luca said, and then my eyes locked with his. “The king will ask me to stay here in Xudia, to begin my crown training here, may even be willing to expedite my training, since I’m so smart.”


“And what will you tell him?” I asked.
“That I shall start it at home with you, until I complete the first two years of basic training.”
“Then what?” I continued in curiosity.
“Then I will be required to be here . . . in Xudia. I will be twelve then, if the training goes according to plan . . . or sooner. What would you do?”

Oh, shit. He had a major point. This was going to be a big game changer with my professional career. It was bad enough that I canceled a week of tour dates for my latest album that went platinum. I couldn’t cancel the entire tour. Could I? I don’t know. I’m going to have to talk to Gloria about this.

“I don’t know yet, kiddo,” I said honestly. “This is going to mean some major changes, things I have to talk to Gloria about first.”

I think Marija could see the panic in my face, because she immediately responded.

“It’s alright, Vince. It’s natural that this should all feel so overwhelming to you. I assure you that Gloria knows our customs quite well.” At that moment, I could hear the ‘ding’ that every airplane has as a standard safety precaution, and I looked up, and saw the buckle-up symbol was now lit up. “There will be plenty of time to talk about the crown later. Give our country a chance, get to know it. You might surprise yourself and fall in love with our culture, like your wife has a long time ago.”

Really? This was news to me. Man, Gloria and I really needed to talk. Once I saw Luca and his grandparents put their seatbelts on, I did as well. I looked out the window and could see we were so close. I no longer saw the fields of Darijam.

As we descended, I saw how modernized this city was, and then I knew it was Moscjen. It was so elegant, and looked so clean, and in the distance I could see a grand and beautiful palace. It had an Indian or ancient Arabian-inspired feel to it with its numerous white towers with gold domes on top. It was absolutely gorgeous! I could see what Luca meant when he previously talked about the elegance of Moscjen.

“Wow,” was all I could say.
“I think he likes it already,” Luca said to his grandparents.

I turned to Luca to find a huge smirk on his face again as he now looked to me once more.

“Just a little bit longer, abbo, and then we can get off this plane.”

Just as soon as he said that, I could feel the wheels coming out of their respective spots in the plane’s underside, and knew we were landing within a couple minutes. That was my favorite part of flying, landing and takeoff. There was just something about the high speeds on the runway that brought me comfort when it touched down or sped up. And there it was . . . the wheels had finally touched ground . . . and I was super nervous. I really hoped I would not get the same treatment from the people of this country that I had initially received from Xir Charles. There was a new change in the air. In fact, many would be coming. This was just the beginning.

© Copyright 2019 Jenah Pierce. All rights reserved.


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