The Summer Elegance Palace
The Empress Dowager's palace was quiet as night fell and most the servants were sent away. The guard had been doubled, but it hardly mattered since most her guards were always on alert any way. She had specifically chosen members of the old guard who had been quite loyal to her before the Emperor Prior had fallen ill and passed. Most of them had stuck with her through all of it, even the Concubine wars as the servants called it. It was a dark time of hatred and pandering for attention. Very few had stayed when the Emperor had passed. There was no reason to, and if it wasn't for her grandchildren, the Empress Dowager, Vivian would have left a long time ago.
Beside her, the Tigress called Grace laid quietly at her side. The sunlight shimmering off her silvering coat. Her black stripes were slowly turning grey at the edges despite her amazing care here. Every muscle was toned and capable, but there was only so much that could be done against time. She reached down gently dragging her fingers through her soft fur.
"You seem so sad, My Dear Grace." She whispered, speaking softly to her dear friend. The Tigress looked up at her, pale blue eyes sad as she tried to find a way to respond to her. A far away look deep in her eyes saddened the Empress Dowager.
"Its nothing Miss, you should rest soon." Akira replied with a soft purr, bumping her furr into her mistress's hand. The Empress smiled softly at her, well aware that it was not nothing. It never was. Things seemed to be changing, and the empress wasn't sure how she felt about it.
"Alright. I will have my servant fix us tea. Then we will both get some rest." The Empress Dowager replied starting to stand but wincing slightly. Akira sat up, concern and alarm in her eyes as she gently pushed her back into the chair.
"You rest here. I will go get the tea made. For now, please don't move." The tigress begged softly, concern lacing every word. The Empress Dowager nodded slowly.
"Go then, love." She replied knowing there was no use arguing with a tiger that could just pin her to the chair without a second thought. There would be no way she could remove her, even as old as the tigress was.
"As you wish." Akira agreed stepping off of her with a soft swishing sound of fur on stone floors. She started her way back toward the small private kitchen in the Summer Elegance Palace. She looked about, ensuring no humans were near, Akira allowed herself to blur and morph into her human form in the kitchen. Taking a sheet off the clothesline she artfully swirled it around herself, creating a make shift dress. Once it was tied into place, she nodded and put water on to boil.
"Akira." A voice spoke from not far away. At first she thought she was hearing things, how long had it been since that voice spoke without cursing her name? It had to be her imagination.. But then wouldn't it be calling her mother? "Akira, don't ignore me." Kyera demanded from the doorway.
Sure enough, as Akira turned, she saw her daughter dressed in the shadows veil, standing in the doorway to the kitchens. There was no anger or murderous intent wafting around her, but there was s sense of nervousness crackling in the air. For a moment Akira just let this feeling wash over her, feeling out her daughter's intentions.
"You are uncertain… and you seek me out. What has the Forest Princess so… nervous?" Akira asked her voice gentle and questioning. Kyera walked forward so that her back was no longer unprotected, and pressed to the doorway. The Shadows draped over her body swished lightly around her legs.
"I need your help, Akira." Kyera replied calmly. Inside she was fighting the torrent of emotions that hated herself for this. She hated being vulnerable and now to face her mother and need her help, it was almost more than she could bear. That's if she helped. There was nothing to force her hand, nothing Kyera could really offer to make her want to do so. Even if the chance was slim, Mally's life depended on it.
I would like to thank the two people who took a guess. I don't know if it means I'm too predictable or if I was able to leave enough clues for people to follow to know who she needed to turn to for help. However, I would still like to say thank you for reading and commenting!
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