20.Merely Wishes and Dreams
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I spread out the letter in front of me. I long to go back to Alle. The rivers of Casterso are vast and beautiful and I have tapped into the great potential within them. Arrian’s have rejected the notion of the navy. They do not see any wealth in investing into the sea. 

I can see the truth that they have grown blind to. This is the secret behind Allonia’s recent success economically. Keeping the court under my control has gotten harder and harder as the days pass. 

“I just need to secure another method of gathering funds.” Bribes are key to keeping my voting bloc inside the court. The number of petty nobles is high and a large number of them are susceptible to bribes as they don’t have any reliable sources of money. 

I swear Michael never attended any of my lessons. How is he able to spot the missing money? Not only have I taken money from it secretly and covered up my tracks but I have put bait out there to trick anybody looking into the matter. Most people will see the obvious cases of embezzlement and skip over the less noticeable cases. 

Well... it doesn’t matter. Even if the people near the capital swap sides it will be difficult for him to breach into Casterso. His ability to react to changes would be hampered and I am earning enough money that I no longer need to embezzle it. 

Who knew that by just spending money on infrastructure over military one would be able to become wealthy? I do, however, have to weigh the problem of Ante. The nobles there have become a great source of pain for me. 

I could get rid of Michael, while he was always a rebel child, he never showed an interest in politics before and thus I decided to let him be. This would have dire consequences. Never had an emperor been assassinated, it would send a sense of shock and panic across Arria. This could be disastrous in the current war. 

The other would be there was no guarantee Antonio would sit back either. I may put somebody with more power onto the throne and go from a difficult problem to an unsolvable one. 

I would also make my daughter a widow. Her reputation would be shattered. No, I cannot kill Michael. While I may look at this issue later down the line it isn’t viable at the moment. I do have to smile to myself. 

It doesn’t matter what happens in the future, I have accomplished my one true goal. The rest are merely wishes and dreams. I have been working for a long time. Samuel and I dreamed of a better future for Arria. The roads had begun to crumble, buildings started leaking, things seemed to be breaking down. 

We worked hard in our early years. I gathered support and pushed laws to build up Arria. When I failed Samuel pushed them for me. Then Diana, Samuel’s wife, died giving birth to Michael. I watched my friend drink himself into oblivion. 

No longer did the man who dreamed of the future with me exist. Replacing him was a monster. I do not know what happened in the years prior to his death and he sent me away. Instead I focused on my domains while Arria proper suffered. 

When I returned to the capital I met Michael for the first time. He was... nothing like Samuel when he was younger. Michael seemed to avoid people, he looked at me as if I was evil. He seemed much more like Samuel before his death. 

Perhaps that was my mistake. Samuel might have dreamed but he didn’t have the ability to make them reality.  “Giovanni?” I look up to see my wife. I had probably spent too much time thinking. My old age has caused me to become sentimental. Rather than looking towards to future I seem to be looking at the past more and more. 

“Rosa, forgive me. I seem to have gotten lost in thought.” 

“You work too much, you should relax.” She moves behind me and begins to massage my shoulders. I would step back from the political scenes but I have nobody that I can entrust it to. Who else in Arria sees the truth? 

“I am merely doing my duty.” 

“Your duty can wait, it isn’t going anywhere.” She smiles at me. The problem is it is going somewhere, it is slipping from my grasp as we speak. I might even be able to argue that it is officially out of my control. 

“Just wait for me to finish this letter, I will be with you soon.” 

“I shall hold you to it.” She smiles before leaving the study. I then begin to wrap up my letter to Alberto. He has done a good job in my stead but unfortunately his background as a commoner prevents him from helping me within the court. 

I tie the letter upon the homing pigeon and send it out. I then pull out a second copy and repeat the process. It is important that nothing happens to these messages along the way. 

A/N: I probably don't need to say much more about Michael's father after this chapter. I am fairly certain you guys all know what kind of person he was, his reason for becoming like that, and what Michael grew up with. Next chapter we get more information on Michael's magic.

On extending my story... what is your guy's current opinions? Should I or should I just stick with my current goals?