Settling onto his throne in his lavishly-appointed palace, King Virgil summoned, Chen Chin. “Where would I be without you, Chen Chin?” he thought, as his Chinese chief of staff quickly came into view.
No one knew just how Chen Chin had met up with the king, but his loyalty, his resourcefulness and his work ethic made him indispensible.
Virgil quickly came to overlook – and actually appreciate - Chen Chin’s strange fascination for rodents, which meant that he seemed to always need at least one mouse with him. “Why not?” thought Virgil, “lots of people have a lucky rabbit’s foot, but unlike those poor rabbits, Chen Chin’s long-tailed mouse is very much alive.”
Chen Chin’s ability to rapidly obtain information ensured that Virgil was up with any new ideas or challenges that could arise within or beyond his borders.
His police and armed forces strategists readily absorbed the information that Chen Chin supplied them, so life in Virgil’s realm was totally secure. The king could also be sure that Chen Chin would never move against him, since Chen Chin’s caste background had made him genetically averse to ambition.
It was if Chen Chin was hard-wired against such plotting, with self-effacing service as his raison d’etre - if a French term could relate to a Chinese national – but he had reluctantly accepted King Virgil’s offer of a knighthood.
Sir Chen Chin’s information-gathering skills enabled Virgil to effectively settle into his role, and he matured as a monarch by studying the governance of other regimes so he could adopt their successes and avoid their weaknesses.
Sir Chen Chin had uncovered the secret behind the collapse of legendary Camelot; but it was his cousin Chou Chin who stepped up to the plate to guarantee no repeat of that failure in the Virgil reign.
Camelot’s governance had been generously structured around King Arthur’s Round Table; a shape that ensured no head-of-the-table status to anyone seated at it. Yet among the knights at the Round Table, the roundest of all was Sir Cumference.
Sir Cumference carried a lot of weight in Camelot, and he inveigled his way into controlling that kingdom’s food supplies. From thence he began exacting heavy tributes for himself, which undermined the respect that the serfs held for the knights who ruled their districts. Anger at shortages of food – which they themselves had produced – eventually erupted into a serfs’ rebellion, and the nation subsided into chaos.
Chou Chin’s Chow program combined production and logistics so effectively that no-one in the kingdom went hungry, so all was at peace; and he became so famous that his life story was later made into a comic opera.
As King Virgil gazed around the sumptuous grandeur before him, he closed his eyes closed in reflection. Then he became aware of his name being called: “Virgil! Virgil!”
Were his devoted subjects chanting his name while gathering for a spontaneous parade in honour of the wisdom and generosity of his benevolent hold on power? An enjoyable possibility, but not something he avidly sought for himself. But no, this call was more urgent, more personal – and much closer.
He glanced over his shoulder, to see … his mother.
With her hands on her hips and her foot tapping on the floor, she was a picture of impatience in his bedroom door – raining on his reign!
“Virgil! We’ve been waiting for you for so long. Turn that thing off and come on down for supper!”
“Okay…” he sighed, clicking off his sirch enchin and pitching the computer screen into darkness.
Virgil’s “virgil” world of fantasy had evaporated against a wider, real world…
Author’s note: No avatars were harmed (well, virgilly none!) in the formation of this mini-epic, though this author may avatar-nished reputation as a result of concocting it.
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