“How did it go?”

“Better than I expected. I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends, but we might send each other Christmas cards.”

“That’s a step in the right direction,” replied the prince as he unbuttoned his shirt. “I’m glad to see you rebuilding your relationship with your sister. It must have been difficult for her to reach out to you.”

“Enough about me. How was your day?”

“Oh, more of the same old drudgery. Opening parliament, three ribbon cuttings, and tea with the prime minister. Thank God it’s Friday. Time to take a break from work.”

The princess laughed at how he downplayed his important role in society as the much beloved heir to the throne.

“I believe there are still some affairs of the state that you need to tend to.”

“Yes?” he asked, a confused look upon his face.

“We have not yet produced an heir.”

The prince smiled and turned off the bedside lamp.

Their lovemaking that night was very different than it had been in the past. His wife was much less inhibited, as if the reunion with her sister had relieved much of her internal stress.

Soon, they received news that the sister of the princess was moving to America to begin a new life. Although the sisters rarely saw each other in person, they shared frequent letters and phone conversations. The improvement in their relationship had a profound influence on the princess. She appeared happy and stress free. In the bedroom, she became more adventurous with each passing night.

Later that year, the country rejoiced as the princess gave birth to a son. The House of Stewart, reduced to just a single branch, would exist for at least another generation. By the time the prince ascended to the throne, there were six children . The House of Stewart had been saved from the brink of extinction, and the monarchy would continue to exist for an untold number of years. The country breathed a collective sigh of relief.

In a dungeon three hundred miles away, the true princess cried herself to sleep each night. Her husband had been stolen from her by those who plotted to overthrow the monarchy. They chose not a bullet nor a sword as their weapon; but rather, a woman. Her own sister. Her twin. A weapon that could easily breach the security around the royal family. A weapon that would cause the monarchy to die a slow and painful death.

When the princess was past her child bearing years, the plot would be revealed. Her sister – now being recognized as the queen – would reveal that she was a fraud. She would reveal that she had tricked her husband and her country – and that the true queen was her sister.

The six children that the king had fathered were, of course, illegitimate and could not ascend to the throne.

The monarchy seemed destined to die a natural death. The king would not be able to produce a legitimate heir with the true queen, since she was no longer able to bear children.

There were, of course, two options that remained . A divorce or the death of the queen would allow the king to remarry and produce a legitimate heir to the throne. But his love for his queen would not allow him to divorce her or expedite her death … or would it?

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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