The Queen is coming! This is why the Mayor had ordered the cleaning of its streets and alleyways a week before this fateful day. The air is a buzz of excitement with people coming and going and talking all at the same time. This is a big day for all of them!
The Mayor watched with squinted eyes, from the balcony of his regal home amongst the tattered shelters of his neighbors, all of the activity that surrounds him. He is also memorizing a speech that he will deliver, conveying his unwavering loyalty to the present regime, and also to ask for several favors. She was expected to arrive in the afternoon, but at high-noon, the people from all over the countryside were already waiting under the merciless heat.
After all, this may be just a single chance in their lifetime, to see in the flesh the one who they pay their taxes to. The powerful monarch of the land is going to pay them a visit! Many can’t believe it. Isn’t it exciting!? Theirs is one of the farthest towns in the whole kingdom, and yet the Queen had seen fit to waste her precious time and set foot in its dusty streets.
“She’s here! The Queen’s here!” shouted the town crier.
The people made way for the passing of the footmen, the Queen’s female entourage, and the knights in their steeds.
Finally, here comes the large carriage driven by the royal horses. After the dust settled down, she step down from the vehicle and waved her greeting to the people. Her subjects dutifully clapped their hands as if it she’d just performed an incredible feat. She was followed by the good Grand Duke of the province who accompanied her in the vehicle.
Physically, she doesn’t present such a striking presence, which has been mistaken by others in the past as an Achilles' heel. They’ve long since regretted the mistake. Her Excellency stands only 4 feet and 11 pulgadas. She looks old, with worry lines creasing her otherwise noble face. It is just one of the penalties of the demands and pressures of running a kingdom composed of more than 7,000 islands. Yet, it cannot be denied the power and influence of the short ruler. A simple wave of the scepter makes her court tremble, and a simple press of the ring into the soft wax for the seals of orders means poverty and prosperity for many. There had been numerous plans and attempts for dethroning her, but the Ice Queen, as some of the radicals began to call her, has consistently squelched these rebellions with military might.
The fat merchants, the skinny laborers, the tired farmers, the mothers with their crying children, the wealthy and the weary, the stout and the hungry, all brushed shoulders, vying for the best view.
The royalty made their way onto the improvised platform constructed yesterday by the Mayor’s hired servants. Shy-faced, unsmiling girls waved flaglets while some cast flower petals ahead of her feet as she walked.
A fixed smile was on the Queen’s mug. She’s wearing a simple white dress and a white cape. Some of the spectators climbed up their seats as she’s hard to see among the heads of others because of her small stature.
The soldiers surround her, creating a protective wall, which seems unnecessary since the people didn’t make any attempt to get too close. When the Queen was seated, the knights stood in strategically assigned positions in the midst of the crowd, not moving much, constantly scanning the faces of the natives for any threat.
The Mayor delivered his speech with much ardor, praising and telling how much the townspeople love her, pausing at the right moments for the applause, and then continuing after it died down. The Queen then ordered some of her soldiers to take out a box from the royal carriage. The heavy box is full of silver coins. The poorest peasants were instructed to line up and each bowed down low before Her Excellency and received the money.
Many went home happily that day. The mothers will buy rice and fish for their children, and cheap gin and tobacco for their husbands.
Then, as quickly as she had come, it was time for her to go. Once again, the soldiers surround her, this time raising their shields and some their spears, to defend her from their dirty hands and foul breaths as the peasants got more confident to draw nearer. Several got through and have shaken her hand and kissed her ring.
The Queen tried hard not to mind, projecting herself as a person of the masses. Some would have fallen on their knees and embraced her feet if not for the immediate reaction of the knights. She has taken off her cape because of the heat.
After much jostling, shoving, and pure manhandling, the Queen reached the sanctuary of the carriage.
The Grand Duke once again joined her aboard as he will be discussing some of the economic problems of the province with her.
The people soon went to their own homes.
The topic of conversation for the next week, no doubt, will be their personal encounter with the monarch. The images of that momentous day forever etched in their minds. However, almost nothing will change, the peasants will still continue to live in paucity, and the impact of the Queen’s visit to that sleepy town will be so trivial as insignificant.