Empress Mai

Chapter One

Life often brought so many misconceptions and mishaps, and I was always wondering how I could even survive it. I lived in a world where women were treated so unfairly, like the only thing we could do was bow to men, bear children, and take care of the household. They felt like they could beat us, kill us, or sell us whenever they wanted to. We had no say in anything related to work, politics, or religion. We were being treated worse than dogs on the street. Even at court, the queen and her daughters were not allowed to step in, and all I could see was a bunch of arrogant men killing each other for power. They were greedy, selfish, and proud. I was always asking myself why I was born in this cruel world, but I did not realize I was there for something greater. I wanted the world to be peaceful again. I wanted to have the power to protect those I loved and all the nation.

The king had five daughters and no sons—I, Mai, was the fifth one. All my sisters were weak and naive, just like my father, and they had no interest in politics. In my time, we weren taught war, strategy, fighting, or anything related. We were taught how to be a princess like we were. They taught us how to get ready to be a mother. They taught us embroidery and how to flirt with powerful men. As I grew up, I always hid in the back of the fields where the generals and those men of war were training. I sat in the back room every time they were talking about strategic ways to defeat my kingdoms enemies. I learned the swords, the strategies, and politics thanks to my naughtiness. My father, the king, always carelessly did politics in front of me because I was young and playful; he didn think that I would care much about learning. My mother always told me that I looked and acted too much like a man, and she was always afraid that I wouldn find a man to marry me because of my behavior, but no one knew what was in my head.

In my kingdom, once a girl turned sixteen, she entered the age of maturity where her parents must choose a suitor for her. That was not the kind of life I wanted; I wanted a wild free life. Unfortunately, I was a princess, the daughter of the great king Rudolf and the most spoiled princess in the country. As the younger princess, my father allowed me to do everything I wanted. No one expected anything from me because I could never have reached anywhere close to being the queen or crown princess. Every day was a struggle for my father to choose his successor. The court wouldn leave him be. Since my father only had daughters, no one in court wanted a crown princess but a prince. He was in a demanding situation to find a solution. The poor man was too humble for these hungry power men at court.

My father decided to call for a family meeting as his most trusted people. He was desperate and wanted something to change. He wanted peace at court, and at the same time, he didn want to give these powerful men the opportunity to the throne, or else his people would perish. But he was too soft to scare them off. My father was getting older; all he ever wanted was a normal life with my mother. When he got in power, he didn like this kind of life, but he had to because he was obligated to do it. It was his duty as the first son of the king, my grandfather.

That night at the table, all seven of us sat for dinner. I looked into my fathers eyes; all I saw was sadness and desperation. He was a good king; he cared deeply about his country and his family, and all he ever wanted was for his country to prosper. He looked at each one of us, holding my mothers hand.

”My beloved, I have something to announce, ” he said with worries, all eyes immediately fixed on him and waiting for him to talk. He scratched his throat and continued, ”In three days time, I shall declare my heir to the throne. They want me to have my greedy cousin as heir while I have five beautiful daughters that can do equally the same job as the queen. ”

”What is on your mind, your majesty? ” my mother, Lisa, asked.

”Well, I was thinking three of our daughters are already married. Since Dana is already my firstborn, she can become the crown princess when the time comes for her to rule. She can give her husband the crown matrimonial. Otherwise, I don know what to do. What do you think, Dana? ”

Dana had always been shy and quiet, just like my father. She always wanted to stay away from politics. She looked at us incredibly sad and said, ”Father, why me? Why do I have to shoulder this responsibility just because Im the oldest? I don even know how to be queen, and they hate women in power. ”

”I understand you, honey, but right now, I want you to understand your fathers position also. It is exceedingly difficult for him. We love all of you, and we do want whats best for you. The fact that we were born royalty, we can be like any normal family. One person must make the sacrifice so we can be safe, and our nation can live in peace, ” my mother said to Dana. She looked at the rest of us and continued, ”Since Dana refuses to be the crown princess, who is brave enough to take her place? Jenna! Alisa! ” she said, looking at each one of them.

Jenna was the third child and Alisa the second. Lily and I were the youngest. Amongst all my sisters, Lily was the kindest and most beautiful soul of all. That was why I had always been closer to her and became very protective of her. She and I were the only two that were not married yet. She was engaged with the prime ministers son Thomas.

”Not me, ” Alisa replied.

Everybody else, including me, didn say anything for at least thirty seconds.

”I will accept to be the crown princess, father, ” I said.

I looked at my parents, and it felt like someone was about to have a heart attack. They were all in shock and looked confused.

”No, no, no, no, theres no way you can do that, Mai. You are our youngest and inexperienced. Also,

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