"Alright, what should your Mother be able to do?" Empress Evelyn asked expecting playing and cooking to be the top of the list.
"My mother has to be able to smile a lot. She also needs to care more than anyone else in the world." Raina replied and Eve chuckled having expected such a answer. It was interesting to talk like this with the child.
"Why's that?" Eve prompted and Raina smiles back.
"Because a smile is a good way to reassure people and show she cares. My mother could be the mother of the kingdom one day if Daddy becomes Emperor and My Mother will have to be mother to the entire empire then." Raina replied, and her answer broke the Empress for a moment. Those clear blue eyes gazed back at the older woman so full of understanding and kindness. She herself almost couldn't believe the child was truly seven years old.
"Who taught you that?" the Empress wondered, honestly wanting to thank the teacher. Princess Raina beamed with pride.
"'The Mother of the Many by Silvia Roarer." Princess Raina replied reciting from memory. Once again The Empress was caught off guard. Then she remembered hearing the princess was playing music.
"A song, I see. Who taught you it?" Empress Evelyn probed vaguely remembering this conversation with her son.
"Lady Kyera teaches me all my songs. I prefer to play Pretty Polite Princess Pearl, but my favorite song to listen to is Mournful Sounds of the Warrior's Pyre." Raina offered with a smile. Empress Evelyn listened to the child with a wide smile. She never dreamed she would have the same love for music as Eve herself had as a child.
"Those are beautiful songs. I will have to hear you play some time." Evelyn replied honestly overjoyed by the child's knowledge.
"Mmmhm. I would like that." Princess Raina added with a childish giggle.
"Well. One more question and I think I will know what to do with these women. What is the most important thing you want in a Mother? For you not the people." Evelyn added, wanting to focus on the child's happiness first and foremost.
Raina's jovial little expression fell. The child looked down at the floor as she thought for a moment. She remembered all the things she had been through in her few short years alive. The feelings of loneliness and being unwanted by everyone but Daddy, Grandma and the Emperor. All her little failures and the berating she received from the Queens. One thing stood out. Even those who loved her lacked one quality she desperately needed.
"I would like a Mother that believes in me. Believes I am a good girl and… not a burden. A Mommy who can teach me to do for myself and trust me to do what's right. I want a Mommy that wants me as much as I want her." Raina replied as her eyes turned away from the Empress, focused on the ground before sneaking glances toward the tea service.
The Empress felt her eyes glaze over with tears as she watched the child speak. Those words were obviously from the depths of her tiny heart. She couldn't help but wonder if there was more to the baby's pain than she had ever known? Such a sweet child, so young and full of life and yet she seemed to carry a burden swallowing her whole. Those soft sad eyes were focused on someone in the crowd. The Empress didn't have to look to see who she was focused on.
There was only one person who that child looked at with so much adoration. The woman who believes in her… The Empress had no doubt in her mind as to who the child wanted. Perhaps it was possible to grant her little wish.
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