“Prince Marcos, how did you feel when you learned of the loss of your great-grandfather?” one reporter called out.
“Prince Marcos, will you be traveling to Saudi Arabia for the king’s funeral?”
“Prince Marcos, what do you say to those who claim you are not the rightful heir to the throne?”
Marcos ignored the questions and spoke with authority. “It is with regret that I announce the passing of my great-grandfather, King Sayid of Mada’in Saleh. He led our kingdom for many years and will be missed by all who knew him. Upon coming of age, my son inherited the rights to the crown and I therefore turn the microphone to my son, Crown Prince Aaron Sayid of Mada’in Saleh.”
There were gasps of confusion as the oldest of the young princes stepped forward. Now twenty-one years old, he’d finally matured to a man who looked the part of a crown prince.
Prior to this moment, Aaron had been more like a playmate, a goofy kid who played pranks on his younger brothers, partied with them, instigated misdeeds, stood by their sides when they needed a big brother.
Today he looked like a prince.
“Good afternoon,” Aaron said with confidence into the microphone. “I was sorrowed to learn of the passing of my great, great-grandfather. As his rightful heir it is my duty to recognize the leader he was and honor him. However, I will not draw my people into a civil war by challenging my cousin. I therefore choose to abdicate my rights to the throne of Mada’in Saleh. I turn the microphone to my brother, Prince Owen Sayid.”
When Aaron stepped back, Owen’s jaw dropped, and his eyes widened, betrayal masking his fear. Hayden gave him a little shove and Owen stepped to the microphone, cleared his throat and announced in a scratchy, timid voice, “I choose to abdicate my rights to the throne to my brother, Prince Hayden Sayid.”
When Hayden stepped up to the microphone, Gus realized what was about to happen. He was next. He was given the chance, once, here, now or never, to make the choice. Tears slipped down his cheeks as he listened to Hayden say the words, “I choose to abdicate my rights to the throne to my brother, Prince Augustus Sayid.”
Cameras flashed from all around him, capturing this moment of vulnerability. His mind raced. His heart pounded. His kingdom and monarchy crumbled in his mind’s eye and he knew the right thing to do. His announcement was different than that of his father’s and brothers’.
“It is with deep regret that I do hereby choose to abdicate my rights to the throne of Mada’in Saleh. May the king rest in peace.”
Gus stepped back and took his place in line beside his older brothers and father, then was escorted from behind the microphone and the royal family retired to their estate to mourn the loss of their patriarch.