I force my eyes to stay open. I haven’t had a good night’s rest in ages. The words in front of me begin to mix themselves up into ever more difficult jumbles, this is beginning to affect me. “I think I need sleep.”
“I agree, you are looking tired.” I look up to see Matteo standing guard. I don’t remember him entering, which is the worrying part. “How much sleep are you getting?”
“I slept two hours last night...” I trail off before going back to my documents. Even if I cannot read them it is natural not to look at Matteo when I hold a conversation with him as I am sure that he will see right through my façade.
I look up to see Matteo moving his mouth but the words he is saying don’t enter my ears. I blink and I swear his face is scrunched in worry, he drops the book he is reading and rushes towards me. That is the last sight I see before blacking out.
“His majesty is simply tired, he simply needs to rest. I recommend your majesty ensure that he goes to bed at night, the imperial body is more important than his work.” I slowly open my eyes to see Isabella and the imperial doctor talking. I close my eyes and enjoy the peace and quiet.
I feel the bed beside me sink as Isabella sits. “I hate you, why do you do this to me? I question the decision to marry you. I guess there was no choice, the pope declared it so and thus it was destined.” I feel as if a knife is stabbing itself into my stomach.
“I do not plan on killing your father... He is simply too useful of a statesman.” I open my eyes, Isabella just looks at me. It might have been better to simply remain quiet but she has grossly misinterpreted my intentions.
It makes me so mad and I can’t control my rage.
“You should go back to bed.” She says closing my eyes, I hear her exit. She doesn’t trust me, she has never trusted me. Try as I might I cannot fall asleep, my body is sluggish and yet it doesn’t give out.
I get up and pick up a book from my bookshelf. Military theory, economics, political theory. My tastes in books use to be rather the opposite of today. I used to hate books but for some reason I came to enjoy them, though I do not remember why.
I stop at the Arrian bible. Giovanni is very religious, in rebellion to his tutelage I rejected the notion of a god. Looking deeper into the book I realized that it was a bunch of bogus. I read the first emperor’s diary, a hero? He is the opposite of that, he is a tyrant.
“What is it?”
“I-I was just checking on you.” A random maid says, I look at her. She has brown hair and green eyes. Her hair and eyes show her lack of magic. “I have brought lunch.”
“Leave it.” I look back to the books losing interest in her. I believe it is time to read more diaries, to see if the previous emperors have dealt with my current situation. “Did you not leave?”
“I-Uh-I will leave now, your majesty.” I look back at the food but choose to ignore it. I can tell when one has underlying motives and I need not test the food to tell that it is tampered with, it is not the first time and it won’t be the last time.
“Yes, my lord?” He enters the room and bows, I look at the food. A disgusted feeling emerges from out of nowhere. Never before have I reacted this badly to an attempt but for some reason it sickens me today.
“That... maid, she seems to require a leave of absence.”
“I understand, I shall have it taken care of.” I look back deep in thought. What have I done to deserve this? I have not done anything and yet it seems I am punished. I must get back to work, the empire will not wait for me.
“Where do you think you are going?” I see Matteo reading a book outside my door, he is clearly not happy that I am up and about. I glare at him and he shuts up, he may be informal but he is still my subject.
“I have no time for rest.”