The dawn of a new age

"I’m- I’m so sorry your highness,” the small boy said. He was trembling in his too tight shoes and he wouldn't meet your face. Not that it mattered much anyway, you were too busy grooming Cupcake to pay much attention to a lowly servant boy. 

He shuffled a little closer to you and whispered “It’s the Empress, your highness. She’s- she’s dead.” He looked behind his shoulder, and you caught a small glimpse of his face. His eyes were red from crying and his cheeks were stained from tears. You paid no notice to him as you continued to run the golden brush through Cupcake’s dark brown mane. 

“Y-you, um, you're supposed to come with me,” the small boy said. “Most of the public doesn’t know yet, and well… you’re supposed to break it to them. You are her daughter after all.” You turned to see him fully and scowled at his uncombed hair and ripped clothes. Didn’t he know how to take care of himself? 

“Why would I tell them? I’m busy,” you said sourly. You turned your back fully to him and continued brushing Cupcake. 

“B-but you’re the Empress now! You have to!” As soon as the words left his mouth you whipped around and slapped him in the face, hard. His eyes filled with tears again and he opened and closed his mouth trying to form words. 

“YOU DON’T ORDER ME AROUND!” You screamed. “I AM ROYALTY! YOU ARE NOTHING!” You lowered your voice and leaned in close to him. He whimpered and leaned backwards into the earth wall. 

“I-I’m so s-sorry,” he stuttered. 

“Sorry doesn’t matter,” you said calmly. “Get out of my sight.” He sprinted as fast as his little legs could take him, and you returned to brushing Cupcake’s mane. 

Cupcake was a little antsy from you yelling, but she had seen much worse. Especially the other night when your butler came in and tried to tell you something about your mom being sick. You had been in the middle of talking to Cupcake about important matters when your butler had just burst in and insisted you see your mom. You had fired him at once of course, but not after yelling at him for a good bit about not interrupting you when you were with Cupcake. 

“Humans are annoying,” you complained to Cupcake. “Honestly, everything is annoying. According to the endless rules that my grandmother made, I have to give a whole speech about my mom’s death. It has to be about how it’s so sad she died, but it has to cheer up the people about me being the new empress. What kind of bullshit is that?” Cupcake twitched her nose twice in agreement and then stamped at the ground with her hoof. 

“You want me to take you for a ride? All right, but then I have to prepare for my stupid little speach,” you said. Tossing Cupcake’s brush into the corner of the room, you got on her and led her at a slow pace into the hallways of Magnicollis. 

Your mom had always told you to admire the vastness and spaciousness of your little kingdom under the ground, but you weren’t quite sure whether it was great or not. Yeah, it was cool that your grandmother had tricked the giant mutant sea spiders into carving out a kingdom inside a mountain, but you have always wondered what it would be like to go outside and fight off the mutant animals that roamed the earth. Wouldn’t it be great to ride Cupcake into battle against a 60 foot long scorpion that could control fire? Then again, you didn’t really want to die. 

You circled the edge of the tunnels that you were allowed to go in and gazed in longing at the entryway to the commons. You had always wondered what life outside the royal tunnels was like, and while you knew that your life was better than most, you couldn’t help but wish for a fleeting moment that you could live just like them. They could leave through one of many secret entrances if they were supply scavengers, which most were, and they could go wherever they wanted. Everywhere that is but the royal tunnels. 

You took Cupcake back to her room and locked her in. The lock didn’t matter much because you were sure she could teleport, but it was just an old habit. You remember when you first found out about Cupcake’s powers. You had been eight years old and you had just gone into the horse room for your normal training. Your horse riding instructor had looked at you sadly when you walked in and had said some news that had chilled you to the bone. 

“Cupcake died,” he had said, leaning down to your face height. “We have a new horse now. Would you like to name her?” You nodded and walked into the room. You were immediately met with the younger version of Cupcake. She looked completely different, but you could just tell she was Cupcake. Nobody believed you, but you told them her “new” name was Cupcake and they didn’t object. That was the day that you had found out Cupcake had special powers. Cupcake could come back from the dead. 

You also knew that Cupcake could duplicate. Once Cupcake had been alone in her room, and the next day she had a baby horse with them. People tried to say that Cupcake just had birth, but you knew they were wrong. Cupcake had come back from the dead in a different body many times so duplicating wasn’t too far of a stretch. 

You walked up to the throne room and sat on your mom’s throne. For the first time in what felt like forever, you felt a little bit of emotion prick at your throat-but only a little. Your mom had never paid any attention to you and only insisted that you train harder to become the perfect empress. You shouldn’t miss her after the total of a few hours you ever got to see her in your life. Now you saw why she had acted the way she did. You had no time for weakness if you were going to rule a kingdom. 

You heard light footsteps pattering in your direction, but you didn’t turn your head to look at them. You weren’t in the mood to talk with anyone right now.

 “Empress,” began a shaky voice coming from the back of the room. It sounded vaguely familiar, but you don’t know why. 

“I am to be your new butler. I mean, I am to be your new butler if you accept me,” the voice continued. It was slightly paned and full of desperation. A little bit high pitched as if coming from a child. You sighed as you realized who it was. It sounded like the boy from earlier.

“Didn’t I tell you to get out of my sight?” you asked. You turned around to face him and you made sure your voice wasn’t quite so icy this time you spoke to him. You did need a butler, and he seemed like he would be a good one.

“Y-yes miss, but I needed to tell you that your mother’s old supervisor has you giving a speech in 15 minutes.” 

“IN 15 MINUTES?” you say, forgetting to keep a reasonable tone. 

“Yes miss,” he said, managing not to stutter that time. He was getting better at being a butler already. 

“Find that man and tell him he is no longer employed. Understood?” 

“Yes miss,” he said while nodding rapidly. He scurred down the hall, and as soon as he was gone you stood up. You had to give a speech now without any preparation or clue what to say. 

You quickly put your hair up in a bun and then went to grab your crown. It was resting inside of a glass case in your mother’s bedroom on top of a golden pillow. It was gold with diamonds making up a weird pattern that hurt your eyes. You had never liked the crown, but if you had to wear it to be in charge then it was worth it. Taking a deep breath you stepped out onto the balcony and looked down at hundreds of people. They glanced at each other and murmurs of concern swept across the whole crowd. You sighed in annoyance and glared at them for a few seconds. 

When that didn’t work, you screamed, “BE QUIET!” The people quieted down and looked up at you, most with fear in their eyes. 

“The former Empress has died. Me being the eldest, and only, child I have stepped up to fill her place. Now-” You are cut off by a loud wail coming from the crowd. Sobbing spreads across the crowd like a wildfire, and you almost rip your hair out in disgust. You really have the temptation to just yell at them and lose your temper, but you know that you're supposed to stay calm and be good.