The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.
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Philothea walked ahead. The sun was high in the sky. The road was dusty and warm. She stared ahead, ignoring the king behind her.
“Stop,” the king said. Philothea continued walking. The king reached for her wrist and held her back. “Stop,” he said again.
“But you wanted me to walk,” she said harshly.
The king looked into her eyes, reaching out to her. “When did I tell you? When did I say walk and stop looking, just walk and never slow down; walk, walk, walk, until your heart gives up? When did I say that? Didn’t I say to pause and look, walk a while, rest, laugh, eat something? Why haven’t you eaten?”
Philothea looked at the ground, “I’m not hungry.”
The king’s concern persisted, “You aren’t hungry because your stomach is too small. Why won’t you drink water?”
“I do. I drink a little when I can.”
“Why won’t you let your father help you? Why won’t you take his advice? Why do you push him the way you do?”
“Do I?” the girl asked honestly. Then Philothea said, “I settled into this life. I have enjoyed it,” she paused, then added defiantly, “and I’m going through it.”
The king’s tone softened, “you made it all blurry.” He cared for her.
“I served you. I loved you.”
“Then why can’t you remember these past five days? You did not say anything to me.”
Meekly, Philothea attempted to defend herself, “I did a little.”
He took her by the hands and guided her off the road. He continued to hold her hands in his, pleading with her. “Why won’t you talk to the princess? Or your fellow soldiers? You complain. Are you tired of making an effort?”
“It’s only that…”
“Stop,” he said. Love.
“I loved you,” she said.
“I know you did, but please, where is your heart? You are doing so well. It just seems blurry, doesn’t it? You look at me with these eyes and you love me and you think about me. Please talk to me. We are so close, too close to have silence.” They looked over and saw a little girl with red hair and an open heart in a field with flowers. She seemed to be chasing a butterfly. “Look over there,” he said. The little girl laughed. “Isn’t she beautiful?” He said. Philothea nodded. He continued, “I love that little girl.”
“Does she know you?”
“She used to come and sit with me and cry. One day, she yelled at me. She’s been gone for a little while. I have been giving her a few presents since. Would you bring her to the palace? It would make me so happy.”
“Okay. I will.” The king smiled and sighed. “Does she know how much you care for her?”
“I told her once. She is getting the idea again.”
Philothea stood up and looked around. “King, I do not know what to do. I am bored.”
With a serious look he said, “I know.”
“It’s like so much of me became active, and now nothing.”
“It’s a different life, isn’t it?” He stood up and put an arm around her shoulders. “Keep working, but not too hard. You need to have some fun.”
“It feels like every time I try to, it’s wrong.”
“It is not. Just misunderstood. You are expected to be a certain way, but you’re not.”
“Everyone I love feels so far away. I don’t know who to go to anymore. You know I cried.”
“I remember. You forgot that I was there. Remember when you bent your head down like that. Maybe you hurt too badly to remember, because my hands supported your head. Some of your tears fell on my hands.”
“You remember better than I do,” Philothea admitted.
“That happens, I suppose. Come now, don’t be so childish.”
“My heart has gotten picky. I don’t know what to do. I want to be with someone, but I don’t know who to go to, who to lean on. Remember, I feel alone.”
“I know you do. Listen, it isn’t true. These things you think, they’re lies. Someone whispered them to you in your sleep. If it’s not one thing; it’s another.”
“I feel like I’m bothering people.”
“Darling, people love you! Remember all the people I told about us. I could do it again, if you like.”
Philothea laughed. “No, don’t do that.” She was not so bold to show off their relationship as she had been when she was younger.
“Come on.” With his arm still around her they walked back. “Stop complaining. Tell you what, I’ll give you something special if you start enjoying things more.”
“Enjoy what? What will you give me?” The girl began to feel playful again with him.
“You are too nosy. Come on, trust me.”
Philothea hugged the king. “I love you something more than anything else.”
“I know. I love you very much, little princess.” She looked at him and shut her eyes. There could have been tears. Instead, there was a smile. he made some thing of her. He was always reaching out to her, never too harsh, always harsh enough.