Panties and Bras

 

 

A Tale of Ung

 

Chapter 22

 

 

 

 

 

Could Ajinblambia Be Crowned King?

 

 

 

On the 47th, I received a call from Cocothrasp, director of the University of Mecnita’s Department of Neurosciences. He told me that the anatomic survey of Ucrazvandia’s nervous system in particular and more generally of her entire body was complete, and I might come the next day to his office. He had directed the preparation of 10 copies of the survey, as Udi’s edict specified, and these were ready now to be picked up. I could detect elation and excitement in his voice, as if he’d just discovered electricity or gravity or relativity. I asked him why.

"Macs ogashta has just been superseded," he was chuckling, with his subtle medical man’s sense of humor, "It seems Macs rigashta has debuted." ‘Rigashta’ is an Ungi word for ‘glorious’, ‘superior’ or ‘beautiful’, just haply rhyming with ‘ogashta’, the Ungi word for ‘sapient’.

"Are you thinking of her beauty or her brains?" I asked.

"Well, both, but don’t let’s ruin it by jabbering about it on the telephone. This is too important, too momentous."

"I see," I said, "I’ll be there shortly."

I saw Udi in her chamber, and though Ajinblambia was then in Dorgdid, I was afraid to speak to Udi or go in. If I’d seen Udi in her study or her office, I’d probably have entered to inform her I was on my way to Plembrust to pick up the survey, but, as it was, there was nothing I could do but go without a word. I descended to the lilac, lavender and purple subway station and caught a golden comet going to the university. Minutes later I was in the bottle-green and onyx-black tall tower, awaiting Cocothrasp in his reception room.

"Vocno, how are you?" asked Cocothrasp, emerging from his office.

"Fine, fine, and you? What’s the excitement all about?"

"Come into my office. I’ll introduce you to my colleagues."

In his spacious office sat a dozen venerable doctors, evidently. At any rate, their lofty gaze and decorous composure were enough to intimidate a dean.

"Vocno, please meet Dlidsent, Ecoflasc, Adinvo, Oaslamd here on my left. In the middle are Ruftonnic, Zhlegel, Hampacar and Dizzelmornit. On my right are Nwabsech, Pruffo, Miopilz and Quonderhassel. They are doctors here in the Department of Neurosciences, but not all neurologists exactly. Gentlemen, meet Vocno, formerly prime minister of Ung and currently a member of the vice queen’s staff. Vocno, let me tell you first of all, we recognize that Ucrazvandia and Ajinblambia are really the same person. We’ve mentioned this by footnote in our survey, but still we’ve used the pseudonym throughout."

In Eldor Palace, I was so used to dealing exclusively with women that standing here before a group of men embarrassed me. I’d forgotten that in Ung, medicine is one of very few professions dominated by the male sex, for some strange reason.

"We’ve compiled an atlas of Ucrazvandia’s anatomy, some 200 tomograms, tinted to improve the clarity, each with a legend or a key identifying body parts and organs. Each is accompanied by a tomogram of a normal Ungi woman of Ucrazvandia’s age and size and figure, for comparison.

"Look, for instance, at the cranial nerves of Igoritsia, the normal Ungi lady, her so-called arbor vitae of a dozen nerves, much like the cranial nerves of Thorfclon. Do you recall the picture that I gave you? Remember the olfactory, optic, oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducent, facial, acoustic, glossopharyngeal, vagal, accessory and hypoglossal nerves, numbers I through XII? Now look at Ucrazvandia’s. The arbor vitae has become a huge sequoia of 100 cranial nerves. Yes, Ucrazvandia senses and perceives so much, much better than do we. Her hearing and her vision clearly are superior. All her senses are enhanced, and she has other senses too. We’d call her psychic, but that’s not really it. She merely has more ways—ways incomprehensible to us—of apprehending the reality we apprehend but dimly. Furthermore the evidence suggests she has a photographic memory, tremendous problem-solving skills, incomparable intelligence…"

"Would you reckon her I. Q. above 200?" I inquired, interrupting the neurologist.

"Oh yes, definitely, way above 200, except that, in her range, numerical evaluation is of precious little meaning. Suffice it just to say there’s not another mind like hers on Nya."

"Really? Incredible! Know what I mean?"

"Indeed I do. We too have been exclaiming our astonishment. Our Ucrazvandia can voluntarily control her blood pressure and heartbeat, menses, endocrine secretions, healing and a host of other functions ordinarily involuntary. Apparently, she’s parthenogenetic too."

"Does she constitute another, higher species?"

"Yes, I’d say she does. We’re proposing the much-mooted Macs vrikshaya as the new specific name. How do you opine?"

"I agree. Put yourself in touch with Ansculard and have Obscont publish a complete report later on this year—delicately phrased, you know. Then call up Rupsnoir Press and have the term put in The Ungi Dictionary," I suggested.

"Said is done! At any rate, these doctors will discuss with you in detail some features of the survey. So if you’ll sit down and join us in a brunch of walnut muffins, butter, sour cream and tuco, we’ll have a small symposium together."

I spent the day with the 13 distinguished doctors, who did a whole lot of explaining in an informal way to ready me to read the survey more intelligently. Late in the afternoon, I took my leave, carrying the carton of 10 copies of the survey in my arms. I got on a golden comet and attained the privacy of my apartment at half past seven Ungi. The copies were 10 volumes 9 x 12 bound in pebbled navy leather. I noticed that the survey had 518 pages, with 400 pages full of pictures, 91 of text, and 27 for the title and the contents and the indexes. I was utterly amazed.

On the 49th, the queen was incommunicado in the harem Ajinblambia had made herself of Udi’s bedroom. I was eager to show Udi a copy of the survey, but since I couldn’t do this, I read and read again the text, examined all the pictures, awestruck and humiliated before the greatness of the vice queen.

On the 50th, however, I found Udi in her office. When I told her I’d received the copies of the survey, she replied she’d been expecting them and would have asked about them but that Ajinblambia had called from Dorgdid and instructed her to stay inside her bedroom, without a word to anyone.

"She’s very jealous and possessive," Udi said in explanation, "but I just try to humor her in this, because she’s such as asset to the realm. Our friendship has evolved to such a structured pairing that she requires obedience of me and I oblige her in this as devoutly as I can. I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and if I would, I couldn’t, she simply wouldn’t let me. But let me have the survey. When Photon I’s been launched, I’ll read it carefully, and we’ll discuss it thoroughly before she’s back in Eldor Palace."

At 5 Ungi—our high noon—the streamlined spaceship rose from Mezquinc Aerospace Facility’s vast launching area. Instead of five orange streams of fire on which an Ungi Star ascends, there was a single flaming geyser, as if a huge volcano had erupted and disgorged a silver javelin, hurling it across the galaxy. The spaceship vanished instantaneously and the blazing cloud of flame encompassing the launching pad subsided. The entire conflagration was over in just seconds, and the lovely face of Ajinblambia, framed by the raven tresses I’d so often set and brushed and combed, appeared upon the television screen that I was watching. She described much of what went into her achievement. She reported also on her plan to colonize Dlivandor, emphasizing several Photons would be launched in swift succession to transport both people and equipment.

Udi was in raptures, overwhelmed by the outstanding victory and glory of her friend, full of tender pride, obviously in love. The telecasts that covered the occasion went on all afternoon and evening, including interviews with physicists, astronomers, astronauts and engineers participating in the project. A great many times our Ajinblambia appeared upon the screen, sometimes alone, sometimes with a collocutor or panel of reporters. I doubt wholeheartedly our planet here had ever seen the likes of her before. I too was full of awe and admiration, not to mention my electric fascination for her figure and her face, but I was also mountainously envious and jealous, irritated at my being so decisively outdone and fretting over my well-founded feelings of inferiority.

The queen and I expected Ajinblambia in Mecnita the next day at noon, and Udi told me to be in her office several hours before that time so we’d be able to greet the heroine together and congratulate her fitly. Meanwhile, she would read the survey carefully, and, when we met, she’d ask me any questions she might have. I promised to review my copy once again and so be ready to respond to any questions I anticipated she would have. If I wasn’t Ajinblambia, at least I was a great authority on Ajinblambia.

The double impact of the launching and the survey quite swept Udi off her feet. When I met her the next day, she kept exclaiming and exclaiming her wonder and idolatry. This was something she would never have supposed could happen, not in a million years, not here on Nya, where the best minds always had descended from the House of Ung. This was a miracle, a prodigy, a marvel. She and I discussed the anatomic survey at some length, and though I could tell her only little the survey didn’t tell itself about the vice queen’s constitution and development, I did relate the interest and excitement of the doctors at the university and how the whole department got involved in following the research.

Ajinblambia herself at last appeared. She had on a sleeveless tailored scarlet dress of plain-woven linen, a black crepe scarf of silk about her neck, with black patent leather purse and shoes. Her beautiful, round, girlish face was radiant as she smiled with mingled pride and modesty, as if she hardly could believe that everyone was so impressed with her accomplishments, which she herself regarded as natural and normal, but was thoroughly delighted to be the center of attention anyway. Her jet-black hair hung to her waist, bobbing and swaying slightly as she moved about. Her slender waistline was neatly snugged, contrasting quite becomingly with the alluring curves of her full bosom and her ample hips. More often in the past, she’d gone about in stretch pants, slacks or shorts, especially when in the capital on business, her mind intent on practical considerations and affairs, but because of all the interviews, she’d donned more fashionable attire. She seemed taller than she’d ever seemed before, on entering the royal office, and as I rose to greet her, I felt wholly insignificant, as if I had been nothing but a silly little babysitter or beautician.

Udi, who had still been paging through the survey when the vice queen entered, closed the book abruptly, furtively reposing it inside a drawer within her 6 x 30 walnut desk, as if she’d been detected in the very act of prying into Ajinblambia’s most private matters, but of course the latter knew nothing of the survey. Then Udi smiled guiltily but soon recovered her aplomb.

"Ajinblambia, the launching was superb! This is a landmark, a milestone in the career of Ung. I don’t know how to honor and reward you adequately. This is the realm’s high-water mark."

"Udi, Photon I amounts to nothing but a modernizing of already proven engineering methods, not so amazing a development as many seem to think. The real credit is due you, for allocating funds and authorizing the entire project. Only a provident, farsighted sovereign would support a program that confers long-range instead of fleeting benefits, thinking of the decades and the centuries of the future rather than the weeks that lie ahead. For this, we’re all indebted to your highness."

Ajinblambia’s wording and the cadence of her diction made it clear she had premeditated what she’d say in answer to the splendid praises she could well foreknow the queen would lavish on her at this point, but her gratitude was genuine of course.

Udi was attired in a gown of saffron velvet with a deep, round neckline, fitted little half-sleeves, snug corsage and knee-length skirt and crinolines. The saffron velvet blended beautifully with the mellow wheaten color of her hair and the sunny golden brown of her complexion. She didn’t have her crown on at the time but just a narrow, delicate gold circlet with a single large rose pearl in the center of her forehead. The cleavage of her bosom was just barely visible above her deep décolletage, voluptuous, alluring and flirtatious. She too was in high spirits, merry and exuberant. It would have been exceeding difficult deciding whether Ajinblambia or Udi was more beautiful, but certainly our planet had few others in their class.

"I’m delighted I was able to provide the wherewithal," replied Queen Udi to the vice queen’s little speech, "Without your genius, though, the project would have foundered long ago."

"It’s been an honor serving such a queen as you."

"Ajinblambia, I’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking about how I can ever find rewards commensurate with your achievement, and I’ve come at last to the conclusion that you’re more qualified to rule Ung and Nya than I. It would be most beneficial to the kingdom and the planet for me to abdicate the queenship and name you the queen instead. Only thus may I discharge my debt to you sufficiently while at the same time acting in the interests of Ung. Will you accept?"

"No, no, of course not, Udi. I’m honored by the lofty sentiments that motivate your unbelievably magnanimous proposal, but no, no, no, dear Udi, I’ll not be a party to your abdication. This to me would be a hateful thing. I worship and adore you as my queen, and I won’t hear another syllable of your unthroning, voluntary or involuntary. I will ever be the cornerstone of the edifice of your dominion and renown."

"But Ajinblambia, I won’t be leaving Eldor Palace. I’ll still be here as your loyal friend and staunch supporter."

"No, no, dear Udi. My firm answer still is ‘no’. As far as I’m concerned, you are and will remain my queen."

I was just a bit surprised at Ajinblambia’s prompt declination. In the past four years, it had come to seem the overladyship of Ung was the very goal that Ajinblambia had set herself. Now that the crown itself had been proffered her by Udi, she’d refused it gracefully without a moment’s hesitation. I had seen ambition even in her courtship of the queen, as if she’d sought to reach the throne by conquest of the queenly bed. Now all at once my puerile suspicions had been shown to be illusory. What then was it the great goddess wanted?

Udi too was taken by surprise, astonished, evidently hurt. She’d thought that she was offering a treasure unsurpassable, a trophy that would be accepted eagerly. Now she’d been disappointed, disillusioned and dismayed. She couldn’t understand. She was puzzled and dejected.

All three of us were silent for a good long while. Finally, a smile came to Udi’s lips. "Ajinblambia?" she called.

"Yes, dear Udi?"

"Would you consider reigning as the king of Ung?"

"King of Ung?" exclaimed our Ajinblambia, "Can a woman be a king? A monarch who’s a woman is simply called a ‘queen’. Why style her a ‘king’?"

"No, no, no, not necessarily," replied Queen Udi, "In the Ungi language ‘tlascon’ and ‘manona’ (‘king’ and ‘queen’) have been defined according to an opposition of prerogatives and privileges, perquisites and powers, and not just differences of sex."

"Not just differences of sex, but differences of sex do make a difference in the definition, is this true or false?"

"Well, hitherto they have, but I see no good reason we can’t use the title ‘tlascon’ with an extended meaning. We can merely emphasize the nature of the kingly station, deemphasizing accidental attributes, like sex and size and age. After all, I’m the ultimate authority on the niceties of the vocabulary of the Ungi language, as valedictorian of the highest university and queen of every continent and isle."

"Surely you’re just jesting, Udi?" said Ajinblambia, probing as it were.

"No, no, no, dear Ajinblambia. I think you’d be a great king."

"It’s the selfsame thing. You’d abdicate and I’d ascend the throne, but I’d be hailed as ‘king’ instead of ‘queen’. Is this what you’re proposing?"

"Oh no, no, not that!" cried Udi, "That’s not it at all. You’d become the king and I’d remain the queen."

Ajinblambia, lowering her eyelids, blushed a purple blush. She was obviously immensely flattered, absolutely thrilled. She seemed to be attempting to conceal her rapture and her ecstasy. How indubitably apposite she seemed to think the queen’s proposal!

"Do the laws of Ung permit this kind of thing?" asked Ajinblambia.

"They don’t prohibit it. And if a statute did prohibit it, I could easily repeal it."

"Why have a law if all you have to do to break it is repeal it?"

"If the promulgator of the law did not anticipate a prodigy, should we just disallow the prodigy’s existence?" snapped Udi with amazing swiftness, "At any rate, I think our laws can be interpreted as not prohibiting, and thus permitting, the enthronement of a female king.

"I don’t know, Queen Udi. This is all so unexpected and so extraordinary, but it certainly deserves my earnest and sincere consideration. There are some questions that arise immediately."

"Like what?"

"Well, suppose that I’ve assumed the royal purple, promising to rule until I die, and it’s turned out that I’m not fit to reign as king, or, being fit, I simply do not like the kingly station. What am I to do? Continue in my misrule or reluctant rule, deleteriously and detrimentally to Ung? You’d have created an undesirable situation, bringing bale instead of boons and bounty. And I’ve have been a party to the crime."

The queen fell pensive. A stressful silence followed. This was a game of chess of sorts, as I perceived it, whose object was to make a king of Ajinblambia; this was mate. Udi was trying hard to checkmate her and seemed to be grand mistress of the game. Undoubtedly she’d win. Then I remembered Hennamarn’s mad prophecy, "Next year a king, Ung’s greatest king, shall ascend the throne in Eldor Palace." Why hadn’t I unpuzzled the import of her oracle? I was such a booby to pooh-pooh it out of hand. I wondered whether Hennamarn had taken my uncomprehending doltishness for granted by glancing at my face, making it an element of her vaticination. Perhaps I’d been the very sign portending the ascent of Ajinblambia, the tea leaves in the cup that Hennamarn had read.

"Well, Ajinblambia," the queen resumed her suit, "will you accept a trial kingship? Rule a year, then you and I will judge your efforts and appraise your happiness in your new dignity. If we’re both fully satisfied and agree it should continue, we’ll proclaim your rule in perpetuity. How do you opine?"

"That certainly would help resolve the problem," Ajinblambia agreed, "but there’s another obstacle for us to overcome."

"Another obstacle? What other obstacle?"

"Vocno."

"Vocno?" Udi asked surprised, "How’s dear Vocno an impediment?"

"Well, when Vocno sees that you and I are queen and king of Ung, surely he’ll be full of anger and self-pity. The trial kingship you’ve proposed will be a delicate experiment, precarious and fragile, a time when animosities and rivalries will pose a nuisance or a threat."

"Oh, but Vocno’s not irascible or prone to jealousy. He loves you and admires you, Ajinblambia, don’t you, Vocno?" Udi turned to me with a commanding look, as if to say I’d better second her wholeheartedly. Of course, I loved our Ajinblambia, admired her undoubtedly, but not as passionately as Udi loved her, nor could I disclaim I was susceptible to jealousy. But Udi’s look was categorical: I must agree. So I agreed.

"No, I’m not jealous. I look up to Ajinblambia."

"Vocno’s very gallant when he says that," Ajinblambia responded, "and I have every confidence in his integrity. Otherwise, I’d never have allowed him to comb my hair and put my lipstick on my lips. Still he’s only human. Did you ever ask dear Vocno to be king?"

"No, no, of course not, he lacks the traits of kingship. I don’t think he’s ever even wanted to be king, have you, Vocno?" Udi turned to me again with her commanding look.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t wanted to be king so much as that I didn’t feel qualified and sensed Udi didn’t think so either or else she’d have invited me. But I just complied with her commanding look, "No, I’m not a king at all, though Ajinblambia would be perfect as a king I’m sure. No man or woman can approach her."

"See?" said royal Udi, "He didn’t even really want to be prime minister, but I imposed it on him, didn’t I, dear Vocno?"

"Yes, Queen Udi," I replied, but somehow I got tongue-tied, lisping in a tiny, childlike voice.

"Hear his voice, dear Ajinblambia? Is that a king’s voice?"

"Still," said Ajinblambia, "I feel the situation could possibly have an undesirable influence on palatine affairs, even on the kingdom as a whole. Under these unlucky circumstances, I’d decline the kingship."

Udi looked as if she’d cry—thunderstruck and crestfallen and wounded to the quick. Another stressful silence followed. Finally the queen looked up at Ajinblambia and asked, "So shall I understand this as an absolute refusal?"

"Oh no, no, no! No, not at all!" replied the vice queen instantaneously, "I only meant we shouldn’t draw a triangle around the royal crown. If Vocno could absent himself from Eldor Palace for a year, I’d feel more comfortable as the ruler of the realm. We’d be a royal couple rather than a trio."

Udi now was radiant again. "How would you like to go on a vacation for a year, dear Vocno? You’re entitled to a lengthy holiday."

"Where do you propose he go?" asked Ajinblambia of Udi.

"If he doesn’t want to go vacationing, he could take up residence in Qizilot and work for Vinja."

"That’s a possibility," Ajinblambia agreed.

"Or when you ascend the throne, you can hand the aerospace facility to Barti to direct and put Vocno in the pocket of her skirt."

"I love your metaphors, dear Udi," Ajinblambia was laughing, "They’re so succinct and pithy."

"Or maybe he could go to Ufzu with Shandra as his nanny."

"Yes," said Ajinblambia, "or maybe we could domicile him in a country seat somewhere in ruralia in Ung. There he could pursue his hobbies. Does he hunt and fish or hike and camp?"

"No."

"He must have pastimes though."

"He does. He embroiders and makes dresses and keeps dolls."

"Vocno, I’m surprised at you," said Ajinblambia, shaking her forefinger playfully at me, "You’re such a little nancy. Maybe you’d be silly as a king, but probably you’d be outstanding as a queen."

The ladies giggled gaily.

"Did you ever offer Vocno queenship?" Ajinblambia was grinning ear to ear, her eyes chatoyant as black sapphires in her merriment.

"No," said Udi, "I’ve never asked him to be queen, but I put him in a nunnery as a novice nun."

"I heard that somebody saw Vocno in the habit and the wimple of a nun in company of other nuns some days ago, but I didn’t pay the rumor much attention. I just assumed that whoever said she saw him in a habit really saw a nun who looked exactly like him. A lot of sisters have that kind of sissy face and prissy mouth that he has. He’d be perfect as a nun."

"But his confinement in the nunnery was years ago."

"Years ago? Tell me all about it. This must be something else."

Udi told the tale, "In year 386, a conspiracy named Plubac started persecuting Vocno and myself. We were next-door neighbors on Ponduraf, in Corlamarn. I was resident in Corlamarn incognito, not for fear of Plubac, but for fear of Jilndij, a conspiracy designing usurpation that had engaged the services of Plubac. We knew eluding Plubac would require us to leave Mecnita, but fearing Plubac’s spies would monitor the airports and the terminals, we realized disguises would be mandatory, and put on nunnish habits, joining 200 other nuns returning to Defdefa Convent, in Dwesfesco, north of Fwascren. Detraining at Mubunur Station in that city, we opted to accompany the nuns on a sacramental 20-mile pilgrimage they always make to reach the convent in the country. Our plan was, once we reached the treeless prairies near the nunnery and made sure that we weren’t being stalked, we’d slip away from all the wimpled ladies and return to Fwascren unobserved. I managed to adhere to our agreed-upon procedure, but when Vocno tried to slip away, he was captured by a nun who took him willy-nilly to the convent…"

"It was four nuns," I explained, interrupting Udi, "four unusually large sisters."

"Vocno, it was one nun, and she was just about your size."

"It doesn’t matter, Vocno," said Ajinblambia, "It may well have been four sisters, as you say, but I’m sure the average nun could handle you alone as well."

"Anyway," continued Udi, "she got him to the convent in spite of his resistance, and he was cloistered under lock and key as Sister Rogizlenia. In the convent, he was required to observe a regimen of discipline, mortification of the flesh, austerity and work. He was the personal attendant of the abbess of the convent, Sister Olezconia, who tyrannized him in a reign of holy terror, at least as he describes it. Of course the rules of the order impose a year of silence on all postulants or novices—they even wear a mouthpiece—except that once a day they take it out in order to repeat their vows. After 90 days, however, Vocno managed to escape."

"You mean to say that Vocno daily vowed devotion to the Order of Defdefa? He failed to fulfill his vows then, didn’t he?" asked Ajinblambia.

"The vows were just formalities," I said to Ajinblambia, "I didn’t mean them earnestly and had no intention to fulfill them."

"I think those vows should be fulfilled. What do you think, Udi?"

"I don’t think it matters. After all, we were in a desperate predicament. I consider his impersonation and non-fulfillment pardonable."

"Perhaps you’re right, Queen Udi," conceded Ajinblambia, "but what about the recent rumor of Vocno in conventual apparel?"

"Is it really true, dear Vocno?" Udi asked, "Have you appeared in public in a habit lately?"

I blushed but didn’t say a word.

"See?" said Ajinblambia, "His conscience keeps reminding him of his neglected vows, so he’s conceived a wish to be a nun and goes about Mecnita in a habit to atone and compensate."

"Is it true, dear Vocno? Have you been dressing up in nuns’ clothes?"

"Yes, I guess," I finally admitted, "but it was just a lark. I merely succumbed to pressure from my peers I guess."

"Pressure from your peers? Who are your peers, for goodness’ sake?"

"Well, you know, I guess I’ve struck it off quite well with the nuns from Holy Armalissa’s. We go together around, understand? So I just go along with anything they like. It’s just for fun and friendship."

"Vocno’s joined a gang," said Ajinblambia ecstatically.

The ladies laughed delightedly.

"Anyway," said Udi, "to get back to Vocno’s absence from Mecnita, since religion has come up, perhaps he’d like to go on a retreat, communing with his maker and contemplating the eternal verities." I was amazed to hear pragmatic, realistic Udi speaking of things spiritual.

"What about Defdefa Convent?" Ajinblambia suggested.

"Defdefa Convent lacks facilities for the accommodation of retreating laymen," I was quick to interject.

"Does it?" Udi asked, "Well, in that case, we can find another."

"Why find another place? Let Vocno go as a religious rather than a layman. He’ll be there one whole year in any case."

"The religious of Defdefa are all nuns without exception," again I interjected quickly, as if I thought she’d meant I’d be a monk this time.

"Well, what’s wrong with nuns?" asked Udi, possibly facetiously, "You did it in’386, you can surely do it now."

"But Udi…," I exclaimed.

"Quiet, Vocno. I think I have the answer," Udi interrupted, "Let’s let Ajinblambia decide. Darling Ajinblambia, suppose I offer you a one-year trial kingship of the realm, with the option of continuing upon the throne in perpetuity thereafter, subject, naturally, to my approval, which I assure you you can take for granted, barring unforeseeable eventualities prohibiting the thing, and with the trial kingship, absolute authority to foreordain, as you see fit, the station and the fate of Vocno as your servant and your subject, will you accept my offer?"

Ajinblambia had handed me her purse. I knew reflexively that, as the ladies spoke, she wanted me to brush and comb her hair, touching up her lipstick and her makeup. She’d sat upon the boudoir chair in Udi’s office near a little dressing room. We had a tacit understanding; she need only glance in my direction.

To Udi she replied, "If you tender such an offer, I’ll be happy to accept."

"Then I tender it."

"And I accept it."

"I crown you King of Ung, King Ajinblambia I." She placed for just a moment a crown of gold and rubies on the head of Ajinblambia the King. Apparently, she had this all worked out beforehand. "Tomorrow we can consecrate the elevation."

Queen Udi and King Ajinblambia embraced each other tenderly.

I wondered what King Ajinblambia would have me be and do.



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Could Ajinblambia be Crowned King?

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**********A TALE OF UNG**********


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