Chapter 15: There is no Perfect Leader, Only a True One.

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After days of rigorous preparation and practice, Julián was ready to deliver his opinion to his people. He wanted to make a significant change for the better in his community concerning the attitude towards the other kingdoms, especially Literaya.

At the moment, he stood inside the imposing castle doors with his official royal attire. He usually wore darker colors like charcoal gray, black, or navy, and the occasional royal purple. But the colors of Attrais were the opposite of dark, something clear in his uniform. His pants and jacket were sky blue and had golden embroidery to accentuate his rank. He wore the jacket over a simple white shirt though the jacket's stiff collar wasn't very comfortable.

And though he had to wear his uniform, he bore the symbol of the sorcerers, which he found strangely comforting. Jather was beside him, as always. Julián saw him as his rock, not only recently, but throughout his whole life. Whenever he needed Jather, he was always there.

"Are you ready, Julián?"

"I think so," the prince replied taking a deep breath, before motioning for the guards to open the doors to the castle.

He had decided to be more open with his announcement, unlike his father. Julián wanted to go and have a meaningful interaction with his people. The Crown Prince might dislike big crowds, but he appreciated the one-on-one reactions with them. Life at the castle tended to keep him away from such interactions, as he was often too busy for them, and security was very tight.

Normally, a carriage would have been waiting by the gates, but Julián had managed to convince his parents to let him walk into the city alone. All without revealing his true purpose. Brimon accompanied him, of course, along with some other guards.

Almost the second he crossed the front gates of the castle, people swarmed around him, smiles on their faces as they recognized their prince. Julián greeted them with a smile on his face and talked with each of them as they walked along the stone roads to the main square. The houses on either side marked the wealthy part of town, with their large windows, beautiful gardens and elegant exterior. The square was right in the middle of the capital, and a place where everyone frequented. Its beautiful outdoor market that was one of the best places to buy fresh food and works of art.

With each block, the houses started losing their elegance and became simpler and more practical ones of merchants and wealthy artists. The best paintings that didn't come from sorcerers who imbued theirs with emotion, came from this area. Though he was secluded at the palace, Julián knew some of the artists in the area, and greeted them jovially, his ever-present smile on his face.

They finally reached their destination when their senses were enveloped from almost every stall. Some sold spices, others sold fruit and other various handmade products made by the artists in the city. All in all, the variety of products gave Attrais a growing economy. And the positives were only boosted by the fertile plains that occupied most of the kingdom.

People were everywhere, and Julián had a hard time navigating between them to reach the small platform where he would deliver his speech. He had chosen that spot because it was right in the middle of the city. The stage allowed him to be seen, without giving the illusion that he was superior, as it often happens with the stage next to their castle, where most announcements were made. Thankfully, the streets became crowded enough for him to lose his entourage. Allowing him to go through the crowd undetected. and reach the platform.

The young prince mounted the stairs to the middle of the platform. Almost immediately, whispers started spreading through the crowd as people stopped what they were doing to turn and look at him.

"It's the Crown Prince!"

"What's he doing here?"

"I have no idea, but he looks as if he's going to say something important."

Most of the comments directed at him were the same, so Julián ignored them. Taking a deep breath he glanced at Brimon and Jather for support before starting.

"For those of you who do not know, I am Julián Chauveron. First of all, let me say that I am sorry for my absence lately. I have hardly been in Attrais since the musical, and when I am here, I am busy catching up to everything I have to do as a prince... as well as studying my magic..." he started. "However, that is no excuse for forgetting the most important thing about being a ruler. Serving my people and do anything I can for your benefit. The conception most people have of a ruler is someone that has all the power over their people, but they forget that a ruler is there to represent the people. To help them grow and get better."

Jather smiled, but it went unnoticed by the young prince, as he was fully invested in his speech and the true meaning he was trying to convey.

"Speaking of the Musical, a few days ago my father addressed the rumored argument, saying that all the kingdoms were against Attrais. I was there too, and though I won't deny that there was an argument and that tensions are high, certain details of the reports were... exaggerated."

The crowd looked at him with uncertainty, but there was a lingering curiosity in the air. Everyone's attention was solely on Julián.

"When the argument broke out, most people were focusing on defending their own kingdom. It was the wording they used that created the impression that the 'attacks' were personal when they weren't. Meaning, what some of the reports said makes no sense at all. And others are blaming Literaya. Look, even though there has been a historical rivalry of images vs words, the negotiations that took place months ago have helped us get over that. Because of this argument, we're set against each other again."

Julián took out the clipping of the news that Veronika sent him enclosed in her letter, and showed it to the citizens.

"This is a report from Literaya, sent to me by my good friend, Princess Veronika Llewellyn. It was published the same day that ours was. It, essentially, has the same main idea, but instead of blaming themselves, they are blaming us. The same thing has happened all over the continent, in each kingdom. Now I ask you, is this argument necessary?" He paused, before continuing.

"I know that defending our kingdom's honor is important. My parents have told me over and over again, and I have heard it from the other kings and queens when they talk to their children or grandchildren. But we can defend that honor without fighting. We can share the best parts of Attrais with the rest of the world, so they can learn to appreciate our culture, just like we can learn about theirs. In the process, we can enrich our knowledge and our own culture." The passion with which he spoke was indisputable, and the audience felt it.

"I know I am not the perfect leader. Nobody is. What I am trying to do is be better, and do what is best for everyone. It isn't easy, but one of my ancestors, a wonderful and wise queen once told her husband "There is no perfect leader, only a true one." I aspire to live by this, and even though I am not perfect, be as true as I can to you. To my people."

With the tone of finality in his last sentence, the audience erupted in applause and cheers. Julián's speech had empowered the people, taking a big step towards reaching their goal.

I really enjoy this chapter. I hope you did too. Thank you to @MyLovelyWriter for the quote. I love it, and agree with it whole heartedly. (If you haven't you should read her Celeste Academy series and the Dark Frost series) The next update should be on 24/1/20.


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