17.Never Claimed to be a Gentleman
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I put on our new military uniform. I attach the medals representing my position as a member of the royal guard. I must hurry up to continue giving orders. Today marks the 1438th year that the Arrian has existed. 

The mixture of black and gold is brilliant. I hear a knock on the door and I go to see what is going on. Before I can reach the door it swings open revealing Michael. I bow down in reverence, on my knee. 

“You look good.” 

“I could say the same about you.” I smile at him and he extends his arm. I take it and he helps me up. We both laugh. Everything has been going according to our plans despite some minor setbacks. The treasury is finally being filled up and saved for the war. Though this is merely a small amount of the money.

He motions for me to follow him and turns around. I follow him down the halls towards the ball room. It seems Michael plans on joining the party soon. We meet up with Isabella outside the entrance and enter together. 

The light washes through the door as the somebody announces the Emperor’s entrance. I follow behind the two. Many nobles greet the emperor but I notice a distinct lack of people from Ante. The audacity... 

“Greetings, your majesty.” The Allonian diplomat, Reynard Hamond De Mitham, greets Michael. I narrow my eyes at the scrawny man. While I had no opinion on him before I have recently come to dislike him. Immensely. To dare suggest Arria would sign a white peace. 

“Greetings Reynard De Mitham, it is always a pleasure to talk with you.” Michael greets the man, a much too respectful gesture. Reynard looks at me and something comes over his eyes. Disgust, or perhaps dread. “Are you enjoying the ball?” 

“It is marvelous, reminds me of Allonia.” The diplomat says. I do not know how anything about Arria could remind him about Allonia and I care little to find out. Unfortunately, Reynard continues on to explain. “We too celebrate the founding of Allonia, only it is on the day the Archduchies signed the Treaty of Morey.” 

“Which reminds me... one of the duchies no longer exists.” Michael probes. If I remember correctly Michael told me this has caused major upheaval within Allonia, the people see the government as illegitimate without one of the three Archduchies. 

“It is most unfortunate. The Cavendish has no eligible heirs.” He says before quickly moving on the topic to the food. Suddenly a flash of red catches my eyes. I feel compelled to look into it. 

“My lord, I want to go somewhere. I shall leave momentarily.” Michael nods his head, there are plenty of guards around him. I may be the head guard but that doesn’t mean I have to be beside him the entire time. 

I walk out into the corridor. Looking to my left I see a lady with wavy red hair and a black dress leaning against the wall. I stride over and just before I reach her, she turns her green eyes to me. “Ah, Sir Luca.” 

“And this lady would be?” I ask. She merely smiles at me. I take another step towards her, narrowing my eyes. “That is the wrong answer.” I put my hand on the wall next to her. She frowns at me and tries to move the other way. I block her with my other hand. 

“This is no way for a gentleman to treat a lady.” 

“I never claimed to be a gentleman.” I whisper into her ear. Upon retracting my head away I notice her fervently blushing. She is surprisingly innocent. “You still haven’t answered my question.” 

“I am Francesca De Casttica.” She curtsies and I slowly back away in response. The name rings a bell inside my head. I spend most of my time next to the Emperor or doing task for him but I have heard this name. 

“I thank you, my lady.” I say giving her a kiss on her hand. I then walk back to the ballroom. I need to think of a way to convince Michael to let her stay. I look around the room in search of Michael. 

I spot him next to Giovanni. Part of me wants to laugh and yet the other part of me just sighs. I guess it is true that one should keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. I walk towards them but maintain a short distance. 

Family matters are none of my concern. 

To pass the time I stare at Francesca as she dances with some nobles. While I am not being distracted, I am looking at the other royal guard members. While assassins are unlikely to have made it past our watch one can never be to vigilant. 

Pride is a deadly sin after all. 

A/N: I believe this is the first time we have Luca's POV. I feel as if he is kind of a background character in a way. While he has been here since the start he is kind of mellow and silent. This is in stark contrast to Matteo's more flamboyant personality. Do you guys think Luca will succeed in convincing Michael in letting Francesca stay?