Flash Fiction: Envy

She watched the ship pull from port as the warm wind tangled her hair and swirled her embroidered skirts. Her husband and her closest friend were finally together, but more importantly both were verging into true happiness.  It was there, under the rush and burn of love.

Like feeling the chill of pale wine as you held the glass, she could sense their joy separate from it, but she’d never tasted anything of the sort. It would have been easier to be angry, feel betrayed or abandoned. But they had stumbled into and then fought for the real thing. Nothing could move her to begrudge them it.

However, envy was still allowed. She had never partaken excessively of alcohol, or dabbled into the powders and dubious substances her more hedonistic brothers lost themselves in. Gambling rarely seemed attractive, and lovers and affairs were strictly out of the question. If she’d ever had a vice, it was envy.

When even her youngest brother was asked his opinion, as she was smiled at and patronized…she humored the vicious jealousy. When her friend had returned from her first voyage with tales of adventure and far off places, she’d felt it. And when the Prince had discarded his responsibility and lost himself in the races, she had marveled at the things she could have done with only a shred of his power. And she had wanted it.

She’d long ago stopped attempting to curb the ugly emotion. It made her strive for things, fueled her to gain the things she’d seen others flaunt and enjoy. Slowly she was gaining the respect, freedom and power once denied.

“My Queen?” The head of her guard leaned in almost tentatively. The struggle in the city and the new rulers had left everyone unsure of where they stood. The people set to protect her were not exempt.

She cast her gaze towards the palace. The next weeks would be a struggle, not everyone had taken well to the change, until her husband returned she was the voice of the new regime. His enemies were more hers than ever before. She smiled and turned to the Captain. “Shall we return?”

The man nodded deeply and fell into step behind the new Queen.

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