This follows on from Shopping.
The Emperor sent a message requesting the indulgence and pleasure of Her Highness the Princess devaunt’s company in his office at 2:00pm. As Mirren, Rensa and the guards had returned to the Palace in time for lunch, this presented no problem.
Rensa presented herself at the Emperor’s office at five to the hour, dressed in the neutral tunic she had worn at her betrothal, sandals and, importantly to her, adequate and sufficient underwear. This would be the first time she had seen him since the betrothal and it gave her confidence to think that this time she was properly dressed. The secretaries guarding the door greeted her as welcome guest and one fussed over her for the few minutes to took for the Emperor to be ready to see her.
She was shown into the room that had been her uncle’s office, and her grandfather’s and was now occupied by her betrothed. It was a large, rectangular room with pale walls and little decoration. Her maternal grandfather’s reference books still sat in their bookshelf against the near wall - not only had her uncle not moved them, neither had Yannic. The windows in the wall opposite the door opened onto one of the internal courtyards, this one contained apple trees. To see the Emperor’s work desk you needed to turn left as you entered the room. Before that was a cluster of comfortable wicker chairs around a coffee table, they were antiques but they’d been in this room since they were made. The Emperor was standing next to these.
“Please, sit down,” he said, indicating the chair beside him. As she sat Yannic walked around the table and sat opposite her. “I thought we should see at least a little of each other between the betrothal and the wedding and I couldn’t think of any other way to have an uninterrupted conversation except to put you in my diary. There’s more to running the Empire than we ever realised.”
“I had thought that might be the case.” Rensa did not smile, but she had suspected that these men who had been insurgents had never thought through to winning and being the people who made the day to day detail happen.
“Did you?” Yannic did smile, “How was your shopping morning?”
“We looked at fabric, found some colours that look good on me or make me look good, then ordered some travel clothes and shoes to go with them.” Rensa thought is was an admirable precise.
“I was expecting a little more detail,” Yannic said gently, “When my mother and her friends go clothes shopping I usually get a blow by blow description plus a fashion parade.”
“Getting new clothes was never a matter of much discussion in our family,” Rensa replied, “It wasn’t particularly exciting. This morning I spotted a dress I liked, we found out they’d make them to order, we looked at fabric and actually bought some for the dress I saw, went and got me measured up then ordered another dress because the tailor had some fabric that goes really well with my hair. Oh,” she’d rather liked the thin, middle aged tailor with his manner an odd mixture of fay, primness and matter-of-fact, “The tailor asked me in the fitting if the bruises were going to be an ongoing issue and I told him that I thought not.”
“Thank you.” He paused, “Are they healing up well?”
“Yes, thank you.” She paused for a moment too, “When Trado sent me off on pilgrimage I thought he was giving Haslic permission to do more than beat me.”
“He did,” Yannic agreed, “I wasn’t able to rescind his orders completely, but I was able to give you a chaperone with appropriate instructions.”
“What happened to him?” Rensa asked, “I know everyone said that he was killed in the fighting but doesn’t seem to gel with what I remember. I realise that I was fairly miserable at the time and not paying attention but I have wondered...”
“He tried to tell the Central Unit of the CDS that he was in charge and had all the access privileges of Emperor, and it shot him. Drop down guns in the ceiling.” Yannic sighed, “Then it told us that a candidate would only be acceptable if he had Persis’ Y chromosome. I was the only candidate.”