Coronet of Saer
"You always leave your eyes closed for the full flight? You look disoriented."
"I slept, actually, wasn't just my eyes closed. I am a little disorientated, now that you mention it. Where are we?"
"Not telling, but we flew for 8 hours."
"But we could be almost across all of Eurani from Kagomei."
"Yes a 8 hour flight, unless you go hypersonic, which we didn't, I care about Arnd too much to do that."
"And do you know anyone who does?"
"Amarat does, sometimes."
"I keep forgetting just how much resources he has, it's a civilian owned aircraft?"
"State, as in military?"
"No state, as diplomatic, he flies hypersonic on Kagomei One."
"Hmm, no, not yet, but keep asking nicely like that, please."
"You are making fun of me."
"You're so cute, when you feign innocence."
"I feign no more, and no less than you do, I take it?"
"Point to you. This is a fun game, with you."
"What, what did I say?"
"Honey, I gain nothing by disbursing all those feminine secrets to you all at once and too early. Patience."
"Hmm, and then what?"
"Then, if you pass all the trials, I make it up to you dear, that's how it works."
"Is this how dating works in Kagomei? The girl gets chased?"
"No, it's not gender based, it's more status based... Which is why, you get to court a Sarn Princess-Elector." She batted her eyelashes at him.
"Oh, so it's like in Moniq then, if I was horse-lord, I'd get the ladies to give me the time of day, but not the princess."
"I don't know if it's that comparable, after all, you told me the extent of my titles, they had never been that important to my identity before."
"But, even without titles, I'm a senior administration official at state. Top 4 or so."
"So, an Ambassador?"
"No, I was an Ambassador, a Voice of Meihomei, four promotions ago. Now I'm vice-undersecretary of State for Kagomei."
"What are your chances for promotion?"
"Feeble, I can get undersecretary, maybe, in the next ten years, if Mikhala decides to have one."
"What do you mean why?"
"Doesn't it help motivate people, being able to move up?"
"I've moved up, even past, the point I could get without politics. If anything, Undersecretary of State is under-minister of foreign affairs, and deeply political."
"Oh, so not an Ambassador, the Ambassador's boss' boss?"
"Add two bosses, if you go by rank, I can only order the most senior of Ambassadors since my second to last promotion though, so going by actual authority, two bosses."
"I'd imagine you get a lot of people wanting your attention."
"No, and that's because our actual ranks, and hierarchy, aren't exactly well known outside of Kagomei. It's not a secret, per se, but we don't advertise who can order an Ambassador around, for instance."
"Tanlere!" (Your papers)
"Here you go Zim."
"Piepien Buler?" Translation from Alessian: Diplomatic Pass?
"Piepien Buler a, Buler i erve Grib." Translation from Alessian: Diplomatic pass for me, my boyfriend is a civlian.
"Tanlere." (In a gentler tone: you may pass)
"What was that you called me?"
"Just what I thought."
"Don't get ideas... You're sleeping alone tonight."
"I was sure I was sleeping on the plane, since you're expected back in Kagomei tomorrow."
"Look at the big brain on you, you're right."
"We meet in person, finally? What, Shibué?"
"You two know each other?" That was Lunqui.
"Hard not to, Shibué is famous."
"Lunqui here is Amarat's money manager."
"I know, he's also my money manager... Amarat suggested it..."
"Oh, I am slain, I wasn't the first one he was trying to set up for a date with him?"
"Amarat seldom plots just one target for each shot..." Linus piped in.
"What do you mean?"
"You really needed a money manager, didn't you?" Linus continued.
"And you needed another client? On both occasions?"
"I'm at about 90% workload right now, I can take you and your sister, but no one else."
"Did Amarat mention anything about you two dating?"
"No, but he keeps saying things I don't understand, I thought he expected it..."
"No chance he did, you grabbed your courage to ask me completely on your own..."
"What about you little brother, did you take your chance with this Amazon yourself?"
"Amazon?" Shibué asked.
"He is a half-head shorter, and probably weighs 80% of your weight, sodden wet."
"Actually no, your brother's been working out... I can play seesaw with him now." She smiled, and put her hand around his bicep.
"What, my cats-are-so-smart-they-nap-all-day brother doing exercise?"
"Self-defense calisthenics, he's too high a level to fail those now, he has to be able to defend himself."
"And you're his instructor?"
"Elements, no. I'm his miptun, his instructor is someone else."
"Where would you find the time, I thought full-time lifeguard of Meihomei herself would keep you too busy."
"Meihomei's insisted I hire more guards, and not guard her myself so much, we were getting on each other's nerves.
"Where are we? And why did you bring us here sis?" The small discreet air facility seemed in the middle of nowhere.
"Were's in the village of, in the , in the . the last of which is my largest holding and title. I am to receive a small honouring today, and I thought I'd like you to witness."
"I asked, he couldn't attend. He's working up some squadrons back in Kagomei."
"I am theof this village. I welcome you, what are your names?" An older man, clearly in his best clothes, who had seen better days.
"Shibué Dandelion of Megamisama Domeidom, in Kagomei."
"Lunqui Zwei, originally of Sook Zenith, now a citizen of Megamisama Domeidom in Kagomei."
"Linnaeus Van Pelt, Ryder Kannagael, ."
"Lusitania Van Pelt, , Electoral Princess of Saer-Natthingham." , , ,
"Princess, you return at last. We've been expecting you. We have... it's not a gift, it is a precious, we entrust in your care, as a symbol of your authority and dignity. It is the Coronet of Saer, it has been in the trust of our village, when not in the trust of your predecessors, since before Sarn was Sarn. Please treat it as your most precious belonging." The still spry, but frail old man waited for her to kneel, and laid it upon her brow, it fit perfectly.
"I will endeavour to treat it as my second most precious possession, my first possession being the trust of my people." That was the proper ritual response.
"We are gratified to be known among your people. We have prepared a little traditional dinner, with, and , to celebrate the occasion."
"Why so few? There's only twenty people here."
"It's the rules, apparently one of the Archduke predecessors felt outshined by the Electoral-Prince or Princess of the time, and said any celebration of more would be an act of Lèse-Majesté. I chose to come here instead of a larger city so at least it wouldn't look so out of place..."
"Yes, unfortunately, our village is small, hard working, but has no amenities that would bring us fame or fortune, so we are few."
"But 20, you can't?"
"Twenty is the limit, Linus, not the size of the village. Besides, this is Baroness Mikhala's ancestral castle." She pointed to a magnificent fortification in the distance, all pink sandstone,
"Will she object you using it?"
"No, Auntie insisted, when I told her we were coming here, that I stay in her stead, instead of at a hotel." She leaned closer to Lunqui. "You'll be staying in a castlestayed in, since he actually held the title of Baron of Czarny-Las."
"The Great Master was indeed one of the residents, and wrote many pieces in the castle. Opus 76, 77 and 79th, and parts of the Note to Harmony."
"You're kidding!" Lunqui looked like a child, his eyes were shining.
"No, there is a plaque, to commemorate it. The Archduke granted him the Barony as a means to finance his art."
"Wait, I thought you said you had to go back?"
"I'm going back, you get to sleep in the Castle, all three of you."
"No breakfast for you!" Lunqui spoke, in a theatrical accent, referencing a broadcast artist.
"Oh, shots fired! Have I told you lately that I love you?"
"Not recently... What brought this on?" She just mashed her lips on him and they were silent for a while.