Conclusions

“King Rashiv Demis Strail, a man of principle, and a man who says he seeks the best for his people,” Amanda Robinette said into the camera. “If even half of what he says is true, then he may really be what Lorishan needs at this time. And yet, we know the dangers that monarchs pose to the freedom of people, so the international community must be watchful of this little nation to keep any more atrocities from occurring under this unusual man’s rule.”

Amanda’s producer motioned to his secretary who hit the stop button on the VCR.

“That was interesting,” he said after a long moment.

“Thank you, I think,” Amanda replied uncertainly.

“I was expecting you to be a little more unforgiving, Amy,” he said to her, using the nick-name she hated. She looked up at him, uncertain of what to say.

“After all, he’s a dictator and a danger to the free world,” the producer continued, tapping his lips with his pen. Then he swiveled towards her. “Well, you did a fine job anyway. Not every production can be absolutely perfect and I’d say we’ve got a seven out of ten here. Pretty good for a second-timer.” He looked at her through his glasses, face serious. “Just be more direct next time, okay?”

“Okay,” she returned, not being able to think of anything else. She’d done her best to be as hard-hitting as possible, but the final product was not nearly what she’d wanted. There simply was no dirt to be had on Rashiv, and even the juiciest pieces of the interview couldn’t be pulled out of context, because the way he’d put it made it so that grabbing sentences wouldn’t make sense at all. The final portrait that had emerged had been unflattering, but at the same time had painted the picture of a man who was great, to put it simply, a man who was royal and who wore this royalty better than anyone she’d ever met before. This made her very uncomfortable as she went back to her desk and on to her next assignment.

I’m not going to think about him or his country any more, she decided and tried to push the thought away. Still, something that Queen Danya had said in her interview made her pause.

“The firmest anchor we have in this drifting world is our family,” she’d told Amanda. “If our family is strongly knit together, then we can withstand just about anything.” Amanda sat, pondering for a long moment and then reached for her phone and dialed a number.

“Hello, mom?” she said into the receiver after a moment. “It’s me, Amanda.”

• • •

“Well, that could have been worse,” Rashiv commented when his aide-de-camp turned off the video tape.

“I think it was quite well done,” Danya pointed out.

“You really said all that stuff?” Shauna asked, unbelieving. “And you meant it?”

“You know me, girl,” the king laughed. “I can’t keep my mouth shut. And, yes, I meant it.” He paused, thinking for a minute.

“I hope this gets aired,” Benedict put in, sitting down next to the princess. “If the Americans hear only half of what you had to say, it might do them some good.”

“That I hope, my friend,” Rashiv sighed. “That I hope.”