فصل 08

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فصل 08

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
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CHAPTER EIGHT

A King’s Love

The days that followed were very difficult for me. I saw Princess Flavia very often. Each time I saw her I loved her more. She, too, seemed to love me more each time we met. I remember that there was a ball one night, and I gave Princess Flavia a red rose. I behaved like all young men when they are in love.

‘You’re different, Rudolf,’ she told me once. ‘You changed when you became King. You’re a new man!’

I wanted to tell her who I really was. I wanted to tell her that I was not the King of Ruritania. I wanted her to love Rudolf Rassendyll, not the King of Ruritania!

Sometimes I imagined the future.

‘Will I always have to pretend to be the King? Will I marry Princess Flavia? Will she become my queen?’

One day she and I were talking. She said to me, ‘You are the King. Why can’t you be an ordinary man? Then I’d show you how much I love you!’

‘Would you really love me if I were an ordinary man, Princess?’ I asked. ‘Do you love me that much?’

‘Of course I do,’ she said.

Her words made me very happy. I decided that I could not go on lying to her any more. I loved her. I wanted to tell her the whole truth about myself and the King of Ruritania. I decided to speak.

‘Princess,’ I began. ‘I want to tell you something. I am -‘

Just at that moment the door of the room opened and Colonel Sapt came in. He looked angrily at me.

‘Forgive me, sir,’ he said. ‘I need to talk to you about something important.’

‘One moment, Princess,’ I said.

I left the room and followed Colonel Sapt. He was furious with me.

‘I heard everything you said,’ he told me. ‘You were going to tell her the truth. Be careful,’ he warned me. ‘The King’s life is in your hands, Mr. Rassendyll.’

Princess Flavia was not the only person who liked the new King. The people seemed happy with me, as well. I was becoming popular as the King of Ruritania. I spoke about this to Colonel Sapt one evening when we were alone together.

‘You know, Colonel,’ I said, ‘I’m a good king. The people like me. I could stay here and pretend to be the King forever. No one could stop me.’

The Colonel smiled.

‘It’s true,’ he agreed. ‘No one could stop you. But I know you’re a man of honor, Mr. Rassendyll. I know you’ll help us to find the real King. And then you’ll have to leave the country. There can’t be two Rudolfs in Ruritania!’

I sighed deeply. The Colonel was right.

‘I promised to help the King,’ I said, ‘and I will help him. I’ll help him even if - even if -‘

‘Even if the real King marries Princess Flavia?’ the Colonel asked gently.

‘Even that,’ I replied. ‘The Princess will marry the King. It’s her duty, Colonel. You know that.’

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