“My beloved daughter, tell me how you have been doing.” My father hugs me. While he normally doesn’t talk to me after morning court he decided to stop by today. “Has the brat been treating you well?”
“Father?! He is the Emperor!” I exclaim in shock. Father may have been his teacher but that is no excuse to speak treason. Father laughs and pats my head. “He has been treating me well, that is when I do see him. Stop calling him a brat, he is my husband.”
“I will stop calling him a brat when he apologizes for releasing a hawk inside my study.” I begin to laugh. It doesn’t sound like something Michael would do. He always spends so much time working inside his study or practicing his swordsmanship. “You may think it funny but it set me back by an entire month.”
“Of course, father. On another note, how was morning court?”
“Boring, it was merely going over the ball. Last minute issues. Michael has managed to successfully start moving Arria’s industry base from Casterso towards Belnuo. We will see if this has any lasting effect.” My father rattles off, I am not particularly surprised. Luca has told me Michael wants the Industry closer to the capital so he can control it more. He said something about Michael being happy over finally setting the imperial budget positive.
“Is that a bad thing?”
“For Arria? No, it lets us restructure our ancient industry base. For me? Very bad, it allows Michael to strengthen his own power while weakening mine.” I lower my head. I feel torn between my father and my husband. If only the two could have gotten along.
“Will mother be here for the ball? I have missed her greatly since I have married.” I say taking a seat. I will have to prepare later but I have gone for a simpler style and thus can wait a bit.
Father sits down before answering my question. “She just arrived yesterday. She was very excited to see you and your husband.” While the way he said it wasn’t very nice he did stop using the term brat.
“I think Michael will be pleased to see her.” Though I do have to question why. I can think of no reason for the two to get along as well as the two do. Father merely shakes his head and grumbles something that I cannot quite hear.
"She does get along with your husband. Probably has to do with that one time she visited.” I suddenly perk up. I didn’t know mother had met Michael before the wedding. “She kept pestering me about him, asking stupid questions.”
“What did she ask?”
“She just wanted to know his age, who he was, and my opinions on the brat.” Father waves his hand and begins to drink his tea. “Told her quite clearly that I thought he was just like his father and to give up.”
“But here we are.”
“Well... I do suppose he is showing that he took some of my lessons to heart. Perhaps I should have disciplined him some more, if he actually listened during my classes, he could have been a genius.” I don’t think it would have mattered. Michael is rather smart. Being taught or having to self-learn would have made little difference.
“Though... I recommend you visit after the war.”
“Nothing, I am just reminded of a little boy I grew up knowing.” My father says with a strange look in his eyes. Why would talk of education remind him of this person and what does this have to do with my visit. “He did study Arrian military strategy, didn’t he...”
“Never mind me. My age seems to be showing, suddenly getting lost in thought.” Father suddenly bursts out in laughter. I just tilt my head inquisitively. The time spent away seems to have made his mannerisms grow strange to me. “Well... I shall be on my way. I have to prepare for the ball.”
“Archduke Alle!” Suddenly I turn my head to Francesca at the door. My smile immediately drops. Why must she appear at such a time? “It is a pleasure. I have always wished to meet you. Forgive my rudeness, I am Francesca De Casttica.”
“My, what a lovely lady. It is certainly my pleasure.” My father bows and smiles. While his attitude towards Michael is bad there is a reason my father is the Chancellor. He spent much of his time outside of Arria learning the arts of diplomacy when he became an adult. “I hear you have served our country.”
“Yes, I did join the military and thus I may be a bit brash.” While she said she didn’t hate my father I don’t remember her telling me she admired him this much. The two chat, completely ignoring me. “I shall be heading to Cerva tomorrow.”
“That is rather close to the war.”
“I will give my life to the empire. It matters not the danger.” I hold back a snort. While serving one’s country is important not dying senselessly is more important. Dead people can’t serve Arria.
A/N: We got about 5 more chapters before we learn a little bit more about Michael's magical abilities. I think I mentioned a little bit about it before but it hasn't been demonstrated because there really is no need to. Michael is most certainly OP in the sense that almost no character can beat him in a 1vs1 duel. This is alright because most of his issues aren't physical in nature, they are political and strategic and thus his magic is of no use for him. I am a fan of soft magic but the amount of magic I use in my books vary as it can make it seem as if the MC doesn't earn their victory. That is my largest struggle in this book, making sure that Michael's problems don't feel as if they are resolved because of this magic. I hope by the end you guys are satisfied and I managed to get past this hurdle.