I am eating lunch inside the garden. The weather is good and the day seems brighter, Michael does not want to kill my father. I was simply being hysterical. “What shall we have for dinner tonight?”
“The chef said he would make...” I listened as she listed off the dishes, meals in the palace were more extravagant than back home. Though the first meal had a large number of mushrooms, luckily that was the only case as I dislike mushrooms.
“Have you begun to settle in?”
“The servants... most are just fine.” I raise my eyebrows. Cecilia is the personal servant to the empress. Who would dare attack or mock her? “Some of them have some arrogance, it will merely take some time for them to have their ego shattered for their pride earns them the scorn of God.”
“Is that so? Do not hesitate to use any force necessary to ensure they comply.” I put the matter to the back of my mind. Today has been a rather shocking day, it started with the Emperor fainting due to over working himself.
I hadn’t realized that he had a sleep issue but it doesn’t surprise me. “My majesty, it... it seems the Emperor is up an about. Could you, perhaps, convince him to rest?” I look over to see Luca, he usually is by the Emperor’s side.
“Hm?” I look at Luca, not fully registering what he is saying. The Emperor was completely out cold just a while ago, he has hardly rested since he collapsed. There is no way he could be up and moving! “I will go check on the situation immediately.”
I get up and follow Luca to the study, how the hell could he survive if he treats himself with such blatant disregard for his own personal health? I See Matteo standing guard, the moment he notices me he smiles in response. “Watch out, he has been in a foul mood all day.”
I knock on the door. At first, I believe Michael hasn’t heard me but not long after doubt begins to set in my worry is absolved. I walk through the door to see him working on paperwork. “The doctor said that you should be resting.”
“I did.” He looks up to me and then back down to his paperwork. I simply sigh in my head. When the doctor had informed me to make sure the Emperor takes time to rest he hadn’t meant for Michael to take a small nap. I walk over to be next to Michael, it seems as if he is working on the ledgers, while I understand the numbers there is too much for me and I begin to get a headache looking at it.
“You should preserve the imperial body, come and join me for lunch.” I say extending my hand, Michael merely looks at it weirdly. I don’t know what he is thinking behind his beautiful red eyes, I wish to know more about him.
“Very well, I shall escort you to lunch.” While sleep would be preferable anything is better than doing work, which does make me wonder. I have never seen Michael do anything for leisure, he is always working.
We sit in complete silence eating lunch. I can see the tiredness in his entire being, he hasn’t been sleeping. It makes sense, I don’t remember the last time he came to bed. Most nights he spends in his study.
“You have a good relationship with mother.” I have found it odd but he will often seek mother out during celebrations and balls, even on our wedding. Though I guess it is a good sign he doesn’t hate both of my parents.
“She is a very pleasing person to be around.”
“That she is, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I wish that I was half as beautiful as she is. She is also better at socializing than I am.” I spent too much time learning from my tutors rather than tea parties. The grass sways as the wind blows giving way to a beautiful picture.
Suddenly Michael leans his head onto my shoulder. I almost jump back in shock because of this sudden touch. It is not common for us to meet out in public and even less common for him to touch me in public. I feel waves of embarrassment begin to spill forth.
“Don’t move, I am tired and want to rest.” Michael commands and I completely stop and obey his command to the letter. I listen to his breathing. It is deep and rhythmic. Suddenly I feel myself dozing off to the soothing sound.
I refocus myself and begin looking at the Arrian Flag out in the distance. The double-headed eagle, the crown, and the strips. It evokes a feeling of nationalism that makes me smile. Out of every country in the world I was born to Arria, it is my home and nation.
“You are prettier than your mother.” Michael whispers into my ear. I look over to see him still resting but judging based on his breathing he has woken up. He must not be a deep sleeper if he can doze off and wake up again.
“Do you question me?”
“N-no, of course not.” He opens his eyes slightly before closing them again, within seconds he is asleep again. I touch his hair, it is soft. What an amazing world it would be if he loved me rather than hated me. He hasn’t disrespected me but that was a long way from love. And while he hasn’t been loving he has never been cruel.
I shouldn’t have doubted his intentions towards my father, despite his hatred Michael is a wise and benevolent ruler. Arria will prosper under him. He will do his duty to his country and I will do mine as well, to him.