Chapter 6: Behind closed doors
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 is my first web novel, so any feedback is welcomed. This is chapter 6, so if you want to read from the beginning please click here
While Marco was gathering trusted allies around him, the forces of the Empire were watching him closely. They had to know what moves the Emperor was doing so they would know what stance they would take during the council.
In a large mansion, there was a gathering of people discussing the recent actions of the Emperor.
“Do we know where he left last night from the palace?” an old man, which seemed to be the leader of the group, asked.
Seeing that nobody was answering him, he got a little mad.
“Do at least we know who his new bodyguard is? Where he comes from? What is his background?”
“We don’t know any of these” someone managed to open their mouth. “We suspect that this is one of the Emperor friends from his adventuring days. Nobody knows exactly what he was doing when he was outside the capital. We didn’t think back then, that he would become an important person and didn’t place any eyes on him”.
“Sigh… who would’ve thought that Augusto will name him the Emperor and die the very same night. What a comedy… Keep the tabs on the Emperor, I want to know what he does next. We need to figure out what this Emperor is thinking”. The old concluded the meeting and dismissed the others.
Let’s go now to another interesting scene, inside the Darin Mansion from the capital. A man in the uniform of the imperial guards was pacing furiously in the room.
“Uncle, this guy is insane, how does he dare to insult the Imperial guards in such a way. The honor of protecting the Emperor is that of the guard, not of some random, common brute, who knows from where. We need to make him go away. You need to talk with Marco about this”. This was a young captain of the guard, a nephew of the Grand Duke of Darin. Because of the presence of Argento, he felt insulted.
A slap so hard, that almost turned the young captain head to the back, was heard in the room. And after that, a second one followed, still powerful, but not as the first one.
“First of all, it’s not Marco, it’s the Emperor from now on. Second, never insult the Emperor, especially in my presence… And, if the Emperor decided to do something, you just suck it up, because this mean that your Imperial guard doesn’t meet his standard. Do you understand?”
While saying the last sentence, the speaker gently slapped the face of the captain, emphasizing each word.
The who acted right now was Armando, the oldest brother of the Emperor. Armando was married with a woman of the Darin family, the sister of the current Grand Duke of Darin. Beside the grand political ambitions of the Duke, this connection was another reason why he supported Armado for the throne. Everything changed with Marco on the throne. Darius knew that Marco will never make him the Prime minister.
“Armando, let the poor boy alone. He learned his lesson.” Darius tried to appease the upset Armando. He knew that Armando was very sensitive towards how people looked at the Emperor and imperial family. Such kind of disrespect could lead towards the death of the speaker. What Armando did was a very mild reaction.
“What do you think that the Emperor is doing. His movements from the last two days are quite out of the ordinary. Missing from the palace for one night, having a new bodyguard. I could bet that the visit to those twins has something behind it as well.”
Armando sank into a big chair, shaking his head. This brother of his, made an uproar in the capital just by making one move. Having a personal bodyguard. No Emperor has ever done that. The Imperial guard was the one protected the Emperor. And the Imperial guard was made only by nobles. No trusting the guards was like not trusting the nobility itself.
“I don’t know exactly what is in his head. I never did. The things he was doing when he was a kid, the things he does now. I never got what was in his mind. As a prince, your life is full of rules, because you represent the Imperial family, the Empire. But for him all of that didn’t matter. He always did what he thought was right.” Armando said with a grave voice. “I always felt that my actions reflected the view of the family, but for him, that didn’t matter. He even argued with father, when he made some hard decisions. Alas, maybe this why he is the Emperor now”.
“Don’t get heartbroken now.” Darius consoled his friend, “I know that I pushed on Emperor Augusto to choose you as an heir, but you told me many times that you didn’t want it. I remember that you specifically told me this on many occasions”
“I know that. It’s just a feeling that I have right now” Armando replied.
“Let’s talk about business a little bit” Darius shifted the conversation to what mattered. “Now that the ceremonies finished, the nobles will start to curry Marco’s favor for various benefits. How do you think we should play till the council?”
“ Do you really think that Marco could be swayed into political games? If there is someone that tries to play him, or even worse, tried to force him into a decision… I don’t want to be in that person's shoes. My little brother might be young and without experience, but he is a born leader and God protect the person that will anger him. Ever father was afraid of making him mad. Let’s wait till the council and see what he has in mind. One month is not that much”.
The council that everybody awaited was the Grand Council of the Empire. The empire was ruled by the emperor, but for all the administrative tasks key positions had to be filled. At the Grand Council, the nobles could attend and voice their opinion on empire related matters and the Emperor would name the people that will fill those key positions. They would form the Advisory Council, which would advise and help the Emperor in ruling his Empire.
While Armando and Darius were discussing what moves to make, a carriage was approaching the Darin Mansion
A servant entered with haste into the office of Darius, where he and Armando was talking.
“My lord, I’m sorry to interrupt you so suddenly, but the Emperor carriage is approaching the Mansion”
Thank you reading and for your support. In this chapter I wanted to shift a little bit the focus from Marco and show you how the other characters are doing. What do you think it will happen and the Grand Council? Who will form the Advisory Council? And most of all, what is the purpose of the visit at the Darin Mansion?