I stop by the military barracks outside of the capital. While this trip isn’t necessary it will be beneficial to see how the army is doing. They were a bunch of kids and idiots when I first started with no idea of team cohesion.
Francesca De Casttica, the female general I put in charge of training, walks up to me. Her wavy red hair mimics a wild-fire. She most likely wants something for her green eyes key on to me the moment I walk in.
“My Emperor, I have successfully trained the army. They are ready for battle. I merely recommend you ensure they train till the time comes for them to be used.” She bows. I merely look up at the men drilling away. I will change to another general, they cannot get use to a single trainer. They will be the best army in the world.
“I shall send you back.”
“But my family has stated they will not welcome me back.” I look back down on her. While it was common, in the rare occasion a son wanted to go back home, for families to refuse to allow sons back home after they join the military as they are considered adults this policy doesn’t apply to the very few women who do join. If she isn’t worried about being refused that means only one thing: she worries about being accepted back.
“Very well, I shall allow you to follow me back to the palace while we wait for your new posting.” I cannot risk the new general’s authority by keeping the last one here. I sigh before heading back. Perhaps I shall start sparing with the military once a month, that way I can see how they do in combat. Perhaps a war game.
“Thank you, Michael. I knew you wouldn’t let me go back there.” This is a bad idea but I can’t help but agree. Sending her back to her family might be worse. While I doubt that they would do anything out of line they weren’t good people. Suddenly I can’t help but think about my father.
I have successfully got inside the palace. I have been trying to get Michael’s attention for years and have failed. Being closer to him will be a great boon in this task. First, I will get out of my chainmail. After that I can meet the wife.
Putting on a dress I follow the maids. Upon walking into the greeting room, I see Isabella sitting down. Her long white hair provides an excellent backdrop for her blood red eyes. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Francesca De Casttica.” I fight back the urge to sneer at her.
Her eyes don’t show a single sign of enjoyment. Instead she looks at me as if she is looking at a lowlife. Funny that my competition is everything I hate with Arrian society. I wasn’t born with the noble features and my family disdains me for it. Their only daughter looks like a commoner and I was treated as such.
“No, it is my pleasure to meet you, your majesty.” I can tell she knows that I covet her spot and I won’t try too hard to mask my intentions. “I am so glad for you welcoming me. Michael and I have known each other for a long time.”
“Oh?” Judging by her tone of voice I can tell that she still has a rather bad relationship with Michael. Not that I am surprised, when you force somebody into a marriage that they don’t want they tend not to like the other person. “I am not surprised by your friendship. I was more surprised by that fact that you are a... woman.”
I slightly lower my gaze. It doesn’t matter whether she is more feminine than me if she doesn’t get along with Michael. Upon raising my gaze, I notice that she is smirking at me. If she thinks that I care about these silly trivial details than she is sorely mistaken.
“Well... I do admit that I had spent a long time in the military barracks rather than in society. But that was only because Michael asked me to do so, there are so few people he can trust.”
“I am glad that my husband has such loyal subjects.” She says picking up her tea cup and taking a sip from it. Everything she does looks noble and stuck up. In comparison I lack the grace she has. “But it is hardly a subject for us to talk about. Tell me what you prefer for dinner, I shall have the head cook make it according to your taste.”
“No need.” I laugh at her suggestion. I wouldn’t put it past her poisoning my meal if I gave her the slightest hint of my likes and dislikes. It does help that I don’t really care what I eat since anything is better than the meals given to the army.
She merely sips her tea. I can’t see any changes in her facial expression but I know that the cogs in her head are turning. She is thinking about the most efficient way to get rid of me. I know Michael far better than she does. While she was being a little princess, I was busy being a survivor.
She has nothing in common with Michael, I do.
A/N: How well do you bet Francesca does? Badly? Great? Based on the tags I think we have our answer. The army is perhaps the most "progressive" thing about Arria. I use the word progressive lightly as for Arria it isn't seen as something weird. The army accepts everybody so long as they have merit. It is the only way to gain a position of power outside of the nobility. This being said it there are not a lot of females in the army... it is a rather rare thing. As always, Thank you for reading!