A Perfect Sunset

- A Serialized Novel -

A reluctant queen becomes involved in intrigue in a kingdom ruled by a tyrant and on the verge of revolution.

Author’s Note: Sometimes plans are bad. Wait, it’s me. All plans are bad. This isn’t anything new. It’s another in a long line of bad plans, though they’re spread out over many stories and personal foibles.

Pushed to a Desperate Plan

“The queen thinks that the king’s inspection of the troops is an indication that he is almost ready for war. That he intends to kill her soon.”

Agache nodded. “I believe she is correct. She’s not a fool.”

Anokii sat down next to her husband, letting Gekin’s presence soothe her as she did. She had not liked leaving the queen, even though the other woman could not delay—she had to go join the king—not when she was facing such a threat and still low in spirit. “You have some sort of… plan, don’t you? I do not think you want her harmed.”

“Of course not. I’m not that much of a Gichikane,” Agache said, closing his eyes. He put a hand on his side and drew in a breath, and Anokii knew she’d have to look at that wound before they parted company. “It is time to create as much chaos and confusion as we can. I do not mean the annoyances at the borders and to the troops. No, this time we must cause a huge conflict, the kind that will push us toward civil war.”

“Are you insane?”


Gekin frowned, and Anokii sighed. She thought she understood what her cousin was thinking, but she didn’t like it much more than Gekin did. “Is it not better to let the king start his war and then start the chaos? Let him be besieged on all sides.”

“If the queen dies and we go to war, he will not care about chaos back here. He will see that war to its conclusion before he comes back to quell any insurgency here. You know this. He would inspire more fear by decimating the armies of the Binesiou than he would crushing a rebellion here. He would enjoy letting them think they had won here only to destroy them without mercy upon his return.”

Gekin lowered his head. “I hate that you are right about that.”

“It would be Malzhi who took control in the king’s absence. The Nebkasha would be slaughtered.”

Anokii shook her head, turning into Gekin, holding onto him. She could not imagine the horrors they would face if Malzhi gained true power. “That cannot be allowed to happen.”

“I believe the only option that we have now is to force that conflict here before the king can move against our neighbors. That is to say… We must make the king think Malzhi is about to attempt a coup. We must force Malzhi to make that attempt.”

Gekin wrapped his arm around Anokii’s waist, kissing her forehead, and she knew that he wanted comfort as much as she did. “Manipulating Malzhi is dangerous. You came far too close to your cousin earlier today. How are you going to do any of this and not get yourself killed?”

Agache shook his head. “I won’t. I can’t. I don’t know how he didn’t know I was there this morning—or perhaps he did and that is why he hurt her in front of us—but I cannot go close the king, not even to make him think he is under threat. Ideally, someone would make him think that Malzhi had failed to assassinate him, but he’d wake if I tried to walk in there at night. If I approached in the daytime—”

“No. That is impossible.”

Anokii let out a breath. “The queen could do it. I know you won’t want her to, but she has the right sort of access. The king has been keeping her close at his side of late.”

“And if she turns on him, no matter what her training, she will die,” Gekin said. He lifted Anokii’s chin. “You are not suggesting that she try to kill him, are you?”

“Agache told you about her being an esibani? I had to hear that from her.”

“No, he didn’t. I just remembered what I’d heard of them while I was in Binesiou land and made the connection on my own.”

“I think I may know how to do this and prevent the queen from being accused of anything,” Agache said, rising. He walked down the path and stopped. “We will need some apaak.”

Anokii swallowed, forcing that unpleasantness down her throat. “That is too dangerous to use, and you know it.”

“If we have any hope of convincing the king that it was a real threat, it has to be apaak.”

Gekin grimaced. “I don’t like it, but Agache is right—only apaak has any hope of causing a Gichikane any form of distress. I can get some, but I admit, I worry for you in the preparation of it. I do not want you harmed.”

“I can do it if I am told what to do. I should be fine.”


“Just get us the apaak we need.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *