"It is time," said the king. "Now you are 18 years old, you need to discover what it means to be a king. I am growing old. Soon you will be crowned king of our land. But first, you must understand for yourself how to rule."
Prince Agadir groaned inwardly. "But Father," he began, "I was born to be king! All my life people have been showing me what I must do. I've worked hard at my lessons and passed all my exams in the history of our land and of the world. I've studied politics and economics. I've sat in the Forum and listened to the cut and thrust of modern debate. I know how to behave in polite society. And I've watched you. What more do I need?"
The old king laughed. "My son, you must travel through time and space to find out about kingship for yourself. Look at kings in history and kings in the future. Sit in their courts, see how they rule. And most importantly, listen to their people."
"And how shall I know when I've found the best model of kingship?" demanded the prince. "I suppose some kings are better than others, but basically, a king's a king!"
"You'll know when you discover the right king," replied his father, "because you'll find yourself immediately transported back here to Eatonia. Until then, I'm afraid you just have to wander."
Prince Agadir packed reluctantly for the journey and climbed into the time machine. He thought an advanced civilisation might be the best place to start, so he set the parameters for the year 3052. Then he closed his eyes and waited. The time machine moved swiftly and silently through the centuries, and woke the prince with a buzzer when the right time zone had been reached.
Prince Agadir stepped into a strange, silent world. The streets were empty, there were no large buildings, no people, and no means of transport, just small box-like structures which he took to be houses. The prince entered the largest box.
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