Re: timing, it's not apparent from the crayon drawings, but Soon is supposed to already be in his late 40's when his wife is killed (his wife is in her 30's). Then it's 19 more years until Shojo takes command. In the panel showing the two Shojos, Shojo II is supposed to be about 12 (old enough to already be learning in his father's court). If Shojo takes control of Azure City when he's 21 (let's say), then Soon passed the baton more than 56 years ago. That would make Soon in his late 50's when he passes control to Shojo I. Not too early to die of old age in a medieval setting, especially for someone still grieving his spouse. Shojo II would then be around 68, downright ancient by these health standards.