Matteo and I walk into the tailor shop. The place is large and countless people are being helped by the workers. While Arria lacks the industry that Allonia has places like this show me what could be. The problem is moving resources for this growing industry.

“Ah, you must be here looking for your new uniforms.” The owner of the establishment welcomes us. He clearly recognizes us from the last time we came here. “I must say this design is the greatest I have ever done. Marvelous, simple and yet elegant.”

The uniforms themselves had a couple of layers but was overall less bulky compared to previous uniforms. To accessorize them there were Gold in a variety of forms such as the shoulder pads. They were clearly inspired by designs showing up in Allonia but that was fine because the Allonian style was far better than the outdated Arrian style which was much too... large.

A small smile creeps onto my face when I think about how the owner would refuse to admit he borrowed the designs from Allonia. I guess it is fine, Allonia often steals stuff from us as well.

So long as it isn’t something from Yanzhou.

“Long time no see. How are you doing Jacobello.” Matteo begins speaking with the owner. It is better to let Matteo handle everything, he is far more used to it than me. I simply quietly follow the two and they idly chat.

“It is good to see some differences between the people of the royal guard, I have been far too nervous with so many of them visiting my store. Most of them are just automatons, unlike you two.” His claim isn’t as absurd as it sounds. Being raised from a young age to develop loyalty to the emperor and break down emotions and notions of individualism tend to cause people to become other than human.

“Well... We haven’t been raised as members of the royal guard. We did so later into our years so we actually remember our families. We are cousins.” Matteo explains, the owner merely says something about corruption and duty to country. I frown about the comment on corruption in the government. I spend my entire day looking at where our money is actually going and coming from. While I still haven’t found everything, I am making vast improvements.

I have tried every single day in my entire reign to ensure less corruption but the damn specter refuses to die. It doesn’t help that my chancellor is actively encouraging it to ensure power. There is no other way he would be able to hold any power legally.

“You and Lenuzo are cousins?”

“That we are, though he has always been a bit of a spoil sport since I met him.” Matteo laughs while the owner merely looks at me, he clearly didn’t expect that we were related but I can see the idea gather more support inside his head the longer he thinks about it. Perhaps I should put a stop to this nonsense.

“We are here to get our uniforms, not gossip.”

We enter the dressing room and put it on. This will do nicely for the coming ball. I can actually dance inside this. Since I failed to dance properly during my wedding, I have spent an hour a day to improve and improve I have. All the practice would have been wasted had I worn the previous uniform.

“You two are most certainly handsome, I see you picking up a lady or two at the coming celebrations.” I narrow my eyes at the owner. To even dare imply that I should betray my wife is treasonous. He should be beheaded where he stands.

“Sir, how could we? We are married.” Matteo gives me a look. Clearly my thoughts were showing on my face. Probably gave the poor owner a grave fright. “It is an Arrian man’s duty to remain loyal to his wife and only love her until death.”

“I didn’t know you were married, most of the your... kind don’t get married.”

“Well... We have some connections.” Matteo laughs it off and I consider sewing shut his mouth. He hasn’t really said anything big but he does talk too much. The owner merely mumbles something about finding some more connections and improving existing ones. While I choose to ignore the comments, Matteo does not. “None better than us, we got married despite being part of the royal guard. Len here is my greatest benefactor!

“Family is the most important thing, I could not abandon you.” Matteo begins to pat me on the shoulder. An unpleasant feeling begins to overwhelm me. Very few people have touched me before and I do not enjoy the act to this day.

“You’re the best cousin anyone can ask for, you know that Len?” I merely grunt in response before taking a step away from him. He should learn to keep his grubby little paws to himself. Personal space is important.

Haha, you two are humorous. Totally different and yet so similar. One quiet, the other loud. But both of you seem to value family and I respect that. I humbly invite you to bring your children over once they are born. I will certainly make the finest clothes I have to offer.” Matteo says some pleasantries before we leave. I slightly suspect the owner was merely trying to get us to keep coming back.

“Matteo, you will be given some time off.” I say catching Matteo’s attention. I make sure to keep my voice low before continuing on with my instructions. “After you are done with you time off you will go to Ante. In Ante I want you to assassinate Antonio. He has begun to become a blight upon Arria. This cannot be allowed.”

“I understand my lord. I will get this done with haste and hope that you hear of the good news soon.” I nod my head before continuing the rest of the journey in silence. I might stop by the barracks to check up on the troops training. Boetio should be returning to Belnuo and I wish to place him in charge of training even more troops.


About the author


Bio: I will figure out a schedule upon finishing either catching up with this story or finishing it. Until then I update daily on SH and will release the chapters in batches here. Chapters here won't have any Author's notes.

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