I have a year long plan. This month is dedicated to writing.
They could follow the stag’s path with infrared and sonic trackers. Spy eyes ran regular sweeps, sending data of what little movement filtered through the dense forest. Nonetheless, they had yet to come within an arrow’s distance of the animal. There was considerable worry, bordering on panic, in the upper levels of the administration. Everything had been tried, and it kept eluding them.
The newly-wed, newly-widowed queen was distraught. If there had been an argument that precipitated the current troubles, tongues kept still.
They kept hunting.
The queen grew used to the spy eye that hung just above head height a pace behind her. There were no euphemisms about protection, the thing was there to monitor her activities. The queen, between attending matters of state, did nothing of interest but cry. She cried with such regularity and pathos that the men and women monitoring her fell in love. They traced the shaking lines of her shoulders on their monitors with gentle fingers. They watched and she knew they watched, but the queen remained an island.
Sympathy dulled their reactions sufficiently when the time came. The queen met the stag as she wandered the edge of the estate, against a black wall of trees. They were alone for less than a minute, but it was long enough for the queen to slip her bracelet over one of the stag’s antlers.
Guards spilled across the grounds. A squad split off, gently forcing the queen to her locked chambers. The rest gathered spy eyes, stun guns and infrared and entered the woods. They followed the tracer in the queen’s bracelet. A valuable part of the kingdom, the queen carried at least a dozen tracers on her person, none of which she knew about.
The stag was trapped when they found it, the bracelet hooking its rack to a tree branch. They gathered the beast and brought it back to a room in the estate. That night, guards found the room empty, the stag’s pelt neatly folded on a chair, the antlers set on top. Following procedure, the guards put them into the incinerator until there was nothing but hot coals behind cold iron.
In the morning the attendants drew back the curtains of the bed to find they had failed. The queen lay there, the same queen who they spied on and loved, who had been closeted in her rooms since the final hunt for the stag.
When both women stood next to each other the only difference was that one wore the queen’s bracelet as her only jewellery. The two held hands and felt part of a whole. Disappointed, the guards shot the woman with the bracelet, adding her body to the incinerator.
The administration began searching the woods for another stag. The queen continued ruling. The men and women monitoring her, having found no room in their hearts to love two such beings, watched just above head height a pace behind her.