"Where are you going, my emperor? We have a meeting with the duchy after this. It's on the schedule for today," I smiled at him and went to grabbed a decanter and pour myself a glass of wine.
"To meet those grand dukes and duchess, I need to have a bit of alcohol in my system. God knows what they have planned. Some of them want to take over throne from me, some want to make me marry their daughter. I don't like that." My advisor sighs a little before pouring himself a glass of wine as well.
"I heard that the princess together with the grand duchess and grand duke is actually here in the capital city already. What should we do about them?" Asked my advisor. Madeline and others will never give up on finding me a partner.
I'm the emperor for God sake. I can do whatever I want with my power.
"Let them be. Who knows, maybe they finally introduced me with someone I can tolerate with. I rather let them choose my life partner than the council members." I went back to my chair and reevaluate the reports.
Why was my father so fixated to build a tower that represents our power for the world to see? Gralia has always been on top of everything. We don't need this tower to begin with. I can't help but wonder if there is something going on behind my back that he hadn't have the guts to tell me yet.
"Frederick, about this tower. Did my father ever tell you about the significance of this tower for Gralia?" My advisor shakes his head no.
"But, in one of his doctrine, this tower is essential for the emperor's power to bloom. I guess it supposes to tell the world that the current emperor is the one who holds the power. His belief was this monument could prevent another civil war from happening," war will happen whether we like it or not.
But for him to believe that this will prevent them, that's another level of confidence.
"Well, it's halfway done now. There is no need for me to question this anymore. Also, did you find out more information about her?" My advisor smiled before he nods.
"Kathryn Park. 26 years old. Just graduated from the Le Stella Academy and now currently working as a maid in Le Stella. She came from an average family with siblings of 8. No criminal records, never joined any resistance group. Nothing special. They're just an average family who struggles to get by." I smiled when I saw Kathryn's picture when she was in high school.
This woman ... she's different than all the noblewoman I have met before. She's not afraid to say no and be vocal about her beliefs. That woman ... she was the first who dared to question the emperor's motive on things and it made me wonder more about her private life.
It's been 24 hours since we last met and I haven't even heard any news about me yet. Does that mean she's not going to gain something from knowing my secret?
"Emperor Alvia! Are you even listening to me?" I was brought back to reality by a loud noise. My advisor was staring at me.
"I'm sorry Frederick. What were you saying?" He sighed.
"Why did you asked me to find out information about a mere commoner? Does this have something to do with your mysterious disappearance last night?" I gave him a small smile before running my fingers through my short brown hair and give him an expressionless shrugged.
That always annoys him for some reason.
"Do I have to restrict your friends now? Obviously, the ones who manage to bring you out from the Palace is the one who I should be aware off," I waved it off.
"There's no need to be so strict about that petty stuff. I was the one who wishes to go last night. Even an emperor need some time off." I smiled and continue to do my work for a few more hours.
After finishing the last report I have to read through, I push the file forward and stood up from my chair and went to the balcony just outside my office to see the night view of the capital city of Gralia. What I had to go through since I was born, all so that I could provide a stable future for the next generation of Gralian's.
Since I was crown as the emperor, there's nothing more important than to avoid every single conflict so that the newer generation would live in a peaceful environment.
After what happened at the border incident, it opened my eyes to a new reason. And that is to not following my ancestor footstep who got too greedy. It almost causes the life of my precious Gralian's.
Will I ever found someone who has the same ideology as me? What if I choose the wrong empress and my people ended up suffering because of it? I've seen too many of our neighbouring kingdoms did as so and I don't want to risk my people's life just because.
As the emperor, my marriage is somewhat important for my nation's future as well. What if my future empress decided to spend the nation's wealth for her own gain? My people will suffer and it will cause a major problem for the economy as well.
None of the nobility ever match up with that woman whom I've met last night. Yes, we only know each other for a few hours but ... she manages to capture my attention with her own thoughts and action.
She's truly a magnificent woman and I am saddened that I will never ever get to meet her again. To think that I met someone like her at the club, it must be a coincidence.
I heard a knock before a pair of footstep can be heard entering my office.
"Your highness, would you like to have your dinner here or at the dining hall?" Asked the attending maid.
"Having dinner with my family really does sounds nice." I turned around while buttoning my suit before following the maid towards the dining hall.
"What do you mean you need for funding from the council? Your duchy doesn't even give the empire any source of income and yet you have the guts to ask for more? This is nonsense. Your highness, please ignore this man because he doesn't have what it takes to lead a territory given by you." This annoys me.
Every single time we have this meeting, it always happens. They tend to bicker among themselves, trying to show who's the best duke or duchess so that they could take over each other's duchy.
To be quite frank, none of them suits the title given to them by my father and grandfather. None of them has what it takes to lead a territory within Gralia. But I can't help it. It is a known fact that these useless bunch of people came from a respected family and they hold the keys to my empire success.
But as a strategist, I can always use them for my own gain. For now, I let Frederick dig thoroughly about their deepest and dark secrets within their duchy so I can present them to the council when the time comes.
It's either them trying to sabotage me or me trying to keep my standing as the emperor.
"Please refrain yourself from being an embarrassment. You're in the presence of the emperor." I turned to face the owner of the voice. It's none other than my own cousin, Grand Duchess Annabelle.
I gave Duke Joel a head nod when I saw him standing behind his sister.
"Grand Duchess Annabelle and Grand Duke Joel, in a flash. We all thought that you two might not make it for today's annual meeting." This annoying duke is faking it and we all know how upset he is with their presence here.
"Oh keep your worries. We all know how upset it is now that we're here." Annabelle smiled at me.
"We apologise for our tardiness. It's all Madeline's fault." Of course it is. I waved it off and let them go to their seat before continuing with this pointless meeting.
"Now, about my funding ..." here we go again. I laid back to my chair and sigh mentally because I have to listen to his reason for wanting more funding than the others.
After hours of listening to what they have to say, it's finally my turn to give them my own thoughts whether I agree to what they want or not.
"There won't be any unnecessary raise on funds for each duchy. I will reevaluate the education system so that everyone will have their fair share of knowledge. Your point is fully noted, Grand duke Joel." I was surprised when he mentioned this when it was his turn to talk.
I never thought that my cousin would actually say something meaningful for his duchy.
"And as for everyone's concern regarding the same incident like the one we face at the borders, I can assure you that the imperial family is well aware of some illegal activities that have been happening behind our back. My people will look through it." Do they really think I don't know about that?
Even I have to do some fieldwork when it comes to my people's safety. Unlike them, I will never rest until I know what's really going on.
"And about the rising of illegal immigrants in your duchy, please remember than our neighbouring kingdom is on verge of war. We are protected by a peace treaty. Even if we accepted them into our nation, they will never get their hands on us or they will break the treaty. If hey broke the treaty meaning we have rights to go all out and I'm sure they're smart enough to think about the consequences." They all seem relief.
After the coronation, the first thing that I changed was the strength of our soldier and their equipment. After the border incident, Gralia was well known for its defensive strategy and how my sister and I manage to infiltrate enemies territory without them knowing.
Madeline may look as girly as she is soft. But when it comes to sword fight, she's way better than I ever will.
"Dear cousin, why do you look so distant?" I was brought back to my senses by Annabelle's voice. It's only the two of us left. Even Joel is not here anymore.
"Nothing much. How are you, Anna?" I asked. She shrugged her shoulder. There's only one thing I hate about her is that she never wants to talk. Why can't she just open up as everyone can?
I know she's suffering from her marriage just because she holds more power than her husband is. And knowing that man, he's just an egoistic little bastard who belittle her just because she's a woman.
"Anna ... if there is something you want me to do, just say it. What's the point of having me as an emperor if you don't want to use my power," she chuckled.
"Alvia, I know how to control my husband. Don't worry. If he ever gets his hands on me, you know I won't let him go. I'll chase him around with my bow." A warrior will always be a warrior I suppose.
"That's not why I'm here, Alvia. I know what happened on the night you disappeared." Huh? What does she mean by that? I was waiting for her to explain to me until she shows me a picture of her and Kathryn together.
"You gave her your handkerchief. She has your scent too. That woman didn't think of the consequences of not changing her clothes for work. Madeline and Joel were too dumb to connect the dots but I'm not. You were having fun with her on the night you were disappeared, correct? Those marks on her body, it was from you right?" I look away from looking at my cousin.
Annabelle giggled before patting my shoulder.
"You don't have to worry much about it. I won't tell anyone about it. Even the emperor need some time off as the nation's leader." She was about to leave when she turned to face me again.
"I almost forgot to tell you that Madeline and Joel has chosen their candidate for the matchmaking. That includes me. My advice, just choose someone that your heart desire. It doesn't matter the background she's from. Just remember that." She smiled and leave me alone to my thoughts.
What does she mean by that? Why shouldn't I?