Welcome to a new chapter of Imperial Struggle, the story of the young Emperor Marco, and the struggles with his new imperial position. Imperial Struggle it's my first web novel, so any feedback is welcomed. This is chapter 5, so if you want to read from the beginning please click here
The next morning Marco decided to go visit his brother and sister, Mario and Maria. These were his siblings having also the same mother. The rest of the imperial princes shared only their father’s blood. This is why Marco felt that he could trust these twins.
Mario and Maria were passionate about science. They liked to study biology, anatomy, astrology, engineering and dedicated themselves on creating a revolution in these fields. Although the Empire had a strong religious background, with the Church of Light as a spiritual leader for the people, they wanted to break that barrier. Both of them thought that only through science the Empire will find progress and prosperity.
They lived in a small palace, inside the capital, secluded from the rest of the people. Many stories rose up because of them, and some of the religious people declared that area an area of the devil. But that didn’t bother the twins, because they liked the quiet. This way they could see on their experiments without anyone bothering them.
When Marco arrived nobody waited for him at the entrance. This made the captain of the guard to frown, seeing this as a sign of disrespect to the emperor.
“Let it be, captain” said Marco amused by the situation. He knew his siblings better that anyone. “The imperial guard will remain here. Argento, follow me!” ordered Marco and entered the building.
The captain wanted to protest about this, but he knew already the emperor stance on this kind of this.
This morning the Imperial Guards were baffled when Marco announced that he will have a personal guard that will follow him around, so they shouldn’t make trouble for him. This was like a slap in the face of the guards, because they should be the protectors of the emperor, but they couldn’t do anything about this. The Emperor has spoken.
While the captain was having these kind of thoughts, Marco and Argeto were walking slowly through the halls of the palace. A servant was leading the way, evidently scared of being in the presence of the Emperor.
Inside the laboratory, under a dim light, Maria was looking at a strange plant, making notes into a her journal. Sensing that the door was open, she yelled:
“I said to not disturb me when I’m working. Are you guys deaf?”.
“At least you could take your eyes from that damn paper” Marco laughed because Maria still continued to scribble into her notes.
“Huh…” Maria finally looked to see who was disturbing her. “Marco! Why didn’t you say anything? You couldn’t have summoned us to the palace you know. You are the emperor now”. She left the notes and hugged her little brother. “Go and tell Mario to come the guest hall” she pointed to the servant that was quietly waiting by the door.
Maria directed Marco to the guest hall. Although they didn’t have many guests, they had to prepare this kind of rooms for the rare situations when Augusto or other high officials visited them; they were still imperial princes and had to stick to the etiquette.
“So… why are you here?” asked Maria while pouring Marco some tea.
“We should wait for Mario as well” Marco answered while sipping some tea. “Argento, do you want some?”
“I’m good”, the big Argento answered.
“Who’s the brute?” Maria asked. She was wondering this from the moment she saw him.”He doesn’t seem to be from the Imperial guards”.
“He isn’t” Marco answered, smiling.
The door opened and Mario entered like a hurricane, giving Marco a bear hug.
“How are you, little brother? How is to be emperor?”
“Be careful, Mario, or you will break this emperor to pieces.”
While Maria was thin and pale from the time spent in the labs, Mario was a big guy, tanned and very loud. He was more attracted to the engineering experiments, trying invent all kinds of machines. Both brothers were geniuses in their work field.
“Please take a seat and let’s talk business. ” said Marco with a grave voice. When Mario and Maria quieted down, he began.
“First of all I want to let you know that I believe that there is a conspiracy that lead to father death. Even he believed that he was poisoned. Maria, did you test that blood that I sent you a few days ago?”
“That was father’s blood? You crazy child, why didn’t you told me anything?”
“Did you managed to find anything or not? This is not the time for throwing a tantrum. I had my reasons why I kept you in the dark.” Marco cut her short.
“Don’t get mad. Wait a second…” she took out a notebook and started to search through it. “Where was it… here! I couldn’t figure out if was poisonous or not. The blood reacted to strange to my experiments. But knowing that it’s the blood of our father. I can theorize that his death was not a natural one.” Maria concluded.
“That was what I was afraid of.” Marco answered calmly like he was expecting this.”Father wasn’t sure if he was poisoned or not either. He told me that I could find more answers in his files, but I couldn’t find anything yet. He should have a secret journal, but he didn’t manage to tell me the location.”
Marco took a deep breath and looked as his siblings. They were older than him and decided to seclude themselves from the imperial ways and study their own ways. Their mother was a lower rank noble and because of this they didn’t have so much sway in the imperial court or the capital. This was the reason why everybody was shocked when Marco was chosen as the next emperor. When their mother died, the three of them remained alone in the capital, without any backing. But now Marco was emperor, and he will make his siblings stand high.
“Beside the reason with the poison, I have another reason for coming today. As you can see, there is a conspiracy of some kind that lead to Augusto’s death. And I don’t think they were expecting me as emperor. So they will do anything to remove me from power or at least to reduce me to a mere puppet. But that won’t happen.” I glimpse of fury crosses Marco’s eyes.
“I realised that I don’t know that many things in the capital, and most of all I don’t have that many supporters. I need some eyes and ears. I need my on spy group that will help me understand what is happening in this Empire of ours. And I need you two to organize it. With your skills and inventions I think you are the most suitable for this. What do you say?”
Shock and surprise, were now on Mario's and Maria’s face. They didn’t expect this kind of proposal from their emperor. They had to admit that their little brother started to look like an Emperor now.
“Your Highness, we accept”, Mario broke the silence after a short look to Maria. They were twins and could guess the other thoughts with just a look. “Although we don’t miss the equipment and the money to start of such organization, we don’t have the manpower. To recruit them in secret it will take some time”.
“That won’t be a problem” Argento answered instead of Marco making the twins a little bit confused. “How many men do you need to start with?”
“For the beginning we don’t need that many, a couple will suffice. But, I beg your pardon, Marco, who is these gentlemen that is with you?” Maria asked very courteously.
“My dear brother and sister, let me introduce you Argento, a member of the “Seven Hills” a mercenary group that I formed a few years ago when I didn’t think that I will become emperor. It seems that my idea back then it will become quite handy.”
“What?” Mario couldn’t help but shout. “Seven Hills it’s yours? This is one of the biggest groups that operates south of the Capital, with around 5000 members. I heard that they declined any hiring offers from the nobles and only protect the trade there.”
“Indeed. The “Sevens” are mine and at the moment they are my only weapon. I want that your group to become the second. We don’t have much time. In a month, my first council will take place and I need to be prepared for anything then.”
“We serve at the emperor's pleasure” both Maria and Mario kneeled in front of Marco, pledging their support to him.
And with this another weapon was added to Marco’s arsenal.
Thank you for reading and I also thank you for your support!. The story starts to develop more and more. What will Marco next step will be? What role will this new group will have into the power plays that seems to develop behind closed doors?