The young man looked up from the multiple computer monitors. "Aye?" he gazed up to look at one of the other palace attendants.
"Where's Mr. MacKenzie?" The man asked.
"Which one? Both of em are out anyway. Dougal is in a security briefing with Colum," he answered. "Can I help ye?"
"Good. His majesty wanted to speak to ye privately. Didn't want to discuss it with the Laird present"
"Me?" Jamie's eyes widened. "Are ye sure?"
"You're James, right?"
"Yes." he nodded.
"Then go meet the King." He turned to gaze at Ian, one of the other members of the security detail, to cover his position.
Jamie stood, straightening his tie, buttoning his jacket, and walked towards the King's study where he knew he would find him.
"Yer Majesty," he announced knocking at the door.
"Is that you James?" King Quentin greeted.
"Yes, your majesty," he came in and bowed at the older gentleman. "Ye wanted to see me?"
"Please come in, sit."
He took a seat across him in an armchair across the desk from the King, sitting as straight as he could. He took a deep calming breath composing himself before he spoke.
"How may I help ye, your majesty?"
"I'm sure you're aware, I'm not getting any younger. "
"None of us are, your highness."
"No, I suppose not." he chuckled. "However, I'm sure you're aware of my lack of an heir to the throne."
'Then we must keep ye in optimal shape, your majesty."
"You're kind James, I'm still holding out that she'll appear."
"The lost princess?" Jamie asked.
The king gazed out the window and nodded before his eyes settled on a picture on the edge of his desk of a young girl, all smiles and dark curls.
"They never found her body in the accident with my brother and his wife."
"And ye still have faith she'll find her way back?" Jamie questioned.
"Ye must think me mad." The king shook his head.
"No sire, hope is something we must always keep." Jamie reassured although he couldn't help but agree with the king's assessment that he was indeed mad. It had been over 20 years since anyone had last seen the lass in question.
" As for my succession, I'm sure you're aware that Colum and Dougal have been fighting over it."
"Yer naming one of them successor?"
"Colum is currently listed," he nodded. "But that I fear is not the best decision I could make."
"Oh?" he questioned.
"James, you are a well-read, well-rounded intelligent man. You have the mind of a politician, the fine breeding of a lord, the people would like you. And you're young."
"Well, I thank ye for the kind words, your majesty. "
"Jamie, you should be in line for the throne." His eyes widened.
"But your maj-"
"You have the best of Colum and Dougal's qualities without their brashness. You also have a fine head for figures, I'm told."
"Sir I'm just head of your security detail."
"Aye, but you should be more. I want you to advise me, and when the time comes it may be you who I choose as my successor."
"I thank ye for the opportunity, yer majesty. "
"I'll be having Ian take over for the moment, and you will come on as an advisor."
Jamie smiled. "Ian will serve ye well your majesty."
"I'm sure he will. Please send him in next. I plan for you to be starting next week."
"Aye, of course yer majesty." Jamie smiled as he walked back to the security station.
"Are ye fired Jamie?" Ian asked.
"Not yet." he said ."But he wants to see ye next."
"Are we having quarterly evaluations now?"
"Something like that." he said chuckling to himself as he sat down back at his station. He observed the monitors but his head was elsewhere. Becoming King? That had never been a thought that had crossed his mind, even after working in the palace every day for so long. A life like this could only be a fantasy.
He couldn't really complain. A life serving the king in general was a bit stressful but afforded him with all the things he had ever wanted. He owned a well-furnished, beautiful flat near the capital. He was able to afford to send money home to Lallybroch where his Da still ran their distillery and to put money away for whatever future he wanted. But a king? he shook his head. There would be no way he would be selected over his uncles, Colum or Dougal. Or was there?
Once Ian returned, they shared a knowing look and a grin but didn't mention their news in front of anyone. A few guards returned from a break and Jamie and Ian decided to go for a walk.
"Jamie, a royal advisor?" Ian asked him. he nodded with a grin. "That's incredible."
"Thank ye. I can hardly believe it myself."
"Do ye think ye could be king one day?"
Jamie shrugged. "Maybe but ye never ken."