"No not at all. It is possible sure, but I doubt it. Most likely she is just intelligent. When there is a catastrophe in the forest. Death of a matriarch, patriarch of a animal blood like they grieve much like ourselves. Often several species greive. It could be Moon just knew the dead and the wolf brought news." the Empress dowager replied as though he was being ridiculous. Deep down she tried to hide her own suspicions. If the tigress was a girl, why was she hiding, and why was she so close to Raina?
"Do.. do tigers mate for life?" Clovis asked frowning slightly. The look in Moon's eyes haunted him. It was chilling how close to his own feelings it had been. A idea teased the back of his mind as The Empress Dowager thought for a moment.
"Yes actually, they do. Why do you ask?" The Empress Dowager cast him a curious look. There were several questions she had been prepared for. Many of them would have made a lot of sense at the moment, however this was not one of them. She new the answer after offering Akira a chance to breed, and the girl had explained to her exactly why that couldn't be.
"Thank you, Grandmother. Emperor, please invite who you wish to the party. For now I have to go tend to the financial council." He nodded at both of them, bowing out of respect before he turned and left the room. Both elders stared after him in confusion.
"Any idea what that was about?" The Empress Dowager asked looking at her son in slight confusion. She saw the spread of paintings and information spread before her and sighed. "Your trying to set him up with a bride again? Do you remember how that turned out last time?"
"Yes, but this time I am not choosing his woman. We are setting up a ball and we will allow the Princess to help her father find a woman that would fit both of them. That last woman was a mistake and i should have taken her head at the gallows." he replied fire burning in his belly as he remembered the last woman he chose for his son. Clovis had let her leave, even after that woman had tried to rid them of Raina.
Raina had only been two years old then, the woman never dreamed that her fiance was as attached to the frail flower that child was back then. After trying to drown her in the river during a bath a maid had rescued the princess. The woman had tried to claim she slipped and couldn't' get her head back above water. He had been such a fool to believe her. Never again would he let power harm his grand child's health.
"Good. I am sure Raina will have a few ideas herself as to who will make her a good mother. We must simply listen to her." The Empress Dowager agreed with a soft smile. Raina had proven to have more perception than they had previously expected. So young and yet so observant.
"She will, and we will listen this time. No doubt." The Emperor agreed with a smile. "However, there is the matter of Moon. Do you think she could be a shifter spy? I mean Shifters have resorted to such attempts before... " He pointed out, letting his words trail off. The Empress Dowager shot him a look of disappointment.
"You had best erase those thoughts from your mind. I will not see my son become the same paranoid, angry, and murderous man that my husband had bee. Your grandfather caused those spys to be planted when he killed Maviel. That girl did nothing wrong. Yet he killed her after dragging her here to be his wife. That poor child's death reignited a war that we had thought was over." She reminded him and The Emperor paled a little as he thought of the story he had heard for years after.
Few spoke of Maviell now, mainly because it angered the Empress Dowager so much. He knew she had been close to the girl, though no one else truly knew that Maviell had been like a sister to the Empress Dowager. It was difficult for him to recognize the pain in her heart, but it was because of this he had never looked into shifter sensing magics. He couldn't bare to hurt his mother further.
"Mother, I was not meaning that…" The Emperor began to explain but she raised a hand to silence him. For the first time in a few years now, he fell silent. The pain was back, that ghost that hid within her heart. It wasn't worth trying to explain.
"I have watched enough death and hatred for Shifter Kin. I will not watch any more. If you begin the witch hunt, you will clash swords with me as well. You are a better man than your father had ever been. Don't let fear of something you don't understand ruin your family as it did his." The Empress Dowager stood, smoothing her dress as she turned her back on her son.
The Emperor watched as his mother walked from the room. The maid set his drink beside him, and he whispered a soft thanks. Once again the Emperor sat quietly and considered himself yet again. His actions now and past. The Suffering of his Empress, and the damage done to his eldest son. All the little things he had slowly fallen into. Not for the first time he cursed in that humble hall.
Chapter 5 of the 5 Review Mass Release
The Dowager Empress kinda declared war... Will she stand by it?
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