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The Chenthya Queendom


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Part Nineteen, Day Forty-Two — Chèèpi

 
I lay beside Mommy’s nest. She was asleep for what I knew was the last time. Her last son, Anray, laid at her belly, too young to understand that his mother wouldn’t stay for long. Fray snoozed beside me, while Minduk lay a tail-length away with his back turned to us. The twins were snuggled up beside Mommy in the nest; though they were a bit older than Anray, they were too young to wander far. Louis had already began to speak a bit, loudly exclaiming in baby-garble, but Jelno hadn’t made a sound yet. Pnuma was somewhere in the Unknown, still hoping he could find a female for the Queendom.

I looked to the stars. Daddy was somewhere up there, and Mommy would join him that night. But then there’d be no Queen — no heiress. As the oldest, I would have to take the Leaves of Home and lead the Queendom to find a new Queen. The thought terrified me; I couldn’t be trusted! I’m too young and clumsy! But I was the only choice. Sure, Pnuma was older, but he wasn’t a big fan of social interaction.

I booped Mommy — Queen Mii — on the nose for the last time. I love you.

 

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— — —
 
When I woke the next morning, I was down, but I knew I could push through the day. I’d already grieved for Mommy last night. It was time to take the Leaves of Home, until there was a female to give them to. I looked to Mommy’s nest, expecting to see them there, but the nest was empty except for the sleeping Anray and Mommy’s frail bones. Frantically, I searched the nest, hoping it perhaps fell and got stuck in the sticks when Mommy’s bones disintegrated.

“Looking for this?” I spun around to face Minduk taunting me. Despite being younger than me, he rivaled me in size and strength. Around his neck, he wore the Leaves of Home.

I stood my ground. “Those aren’t yours, Minduk. Our parents entrusted me with them, until we can find a new Queen.”

“Who needs a Queen when we can have a King?” Minduk winked at me. “You won’t have to do anything, Chèèpi. I’ll be King, and when we find females, we’ll put them to work.”

I gasped. For a teenager, Minduk had always been a bit sly and distant, but he was smart too. “You can’t do that. There can never be Kings here, only Queens. Females have power over us, but they protect us, too.”

“We don’t need protection! We can protect ourselves.” Minduk looked at me and huffed, using his paw to play with the ring of leaves. “This isn’t going anywhere. There’s only once outcome: I’m King.”

“I’ll fight you, then.”

“You?” He laughed. “Fight me? You might be my older brother, but I’m the strongest of us.”
I glanced at our other brothers. Fray, who was splashing in the water nearby despite being an adult now, might join me, but the others were too young - I wouldn’t let them fight. Pnuma was out still searching for a mate, too far to help. Just then an idea sparked in my head.

“Fine, then. But let me go."

Minduk laughed. “Yeah, whatever.”

I went to the water and explained what happened to Fray. Being so agreeable, he easily accepted my plea that he join me. Soon, we were in the Unknown, finding Pnuma and informing him as well.

The plan was this: we three would wander the Unknown, in search of a female. Without one, there was no Queendom to defend. Only then would we return to Minduk and take the Leaves of Home for our new Queen. We would restore the Queendom, together.

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