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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Nexus Earth - Chapter 10.5 - Matters of State


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Though she had spent some time on the ground helping with reconstruction, that had been short-lived. A pair of Dalaraan Imperial Guard appeared and politely...but firmly...asked her to come with them to the presence of the Imperial Regent. Ryoko.

From that point onward, Lily had been doing the backstroke in a never-ending river of effluvia, and it just kept coming.

She was in the palace tactical/command center now, with Ryoko, where she'd spent the last couple of days it seemed like, trying to come up with answers to problems that somehow seemed to loom higher than the war itself had.

"What about the rebels?" Lily asked, leaning back in one of the bucket seats and spinning lazily around. "How many prisoners?"

Ryoko scowled at the display hovering in midair between her and her cousin. "Pureblood or Hiroga?"


"Not many. Three of the rebel Houses still have their lineages intact, and they've been put under arrest. The Hiroga were told they'd be killed like cowards if they accepted surrender offers. Most of them fought to the death. Only a handful were captured alive."

Lily's eyes widened and she sat up. "We killed ALL of them?!"

Ryoko shook her head. "A few, a very few, remained loyal to the Throne. They're still free and alive. And the civilian population..."

"...is going to raise a new generation of warriors that HATES us!" Lily blurted. "They're going to look at the Imperial line as a series of butchers and tyrants!"

The space pirate turned Imperial Regent grinned. "That's assume any of us live long enough to see them grow up. We got intel on the reinforcement fleets from the outer worlds. Wanna hear?"

Lily frowned as she looked at the manic, dark glee in Ryoko's grin. She'd thought the reinforcements would be good. Freeing Satoshi's ships to return to Earth, and retaking the orbitspace with Dalaraan ships...that would help morale some. "Suuure," she replied uncertainly. "What is it?"

"Seven of the major Houses are sending their flagships AND battalion-sized fleets." Ryoko smirked. "Just doing their patriotic duty, you know. Protect the Throneworld."

"Protect! With that many ships they could conquer it! EACH of them could!"

Ryoko nodded. "Fortunately, we have a second generation Imperial Flagship, and its ages and ages of custom and traditional weight to keep the...oh wait. Well, at least the Emperor himself is conscious and can call a conclave and...awww shit."

Lily's heart sank. Not even a week after the war was won, the Empire was teetering on the brink again. Not that it would take MUCH of a war this time. From the moment their fleets appeared in orbitspace, the Houses would engage each other in politics...each trying to secure the support of enough others to claim the Throne without actually fighting. Those that didn't have enough support would try to profit as much as possible in exchange for giving their support. The only House no one would touch was the Imperial House, the bloodline of Lily and her father. But until one of them felt they could act, they would play the game of obedience to the Throne. They had to, due to the silent majority; the dozens and dozens of minor houses. With blood too thin to vie for the Throne, they still had numbers too great to ignore. And by far the most of them supported the Emperor and the Imperial bloodline. Taking it could be done, but it would have to be done following tradition and convention. A coup would be messy no matter how it was handled.

"Leave the Houses to me," Lily said at last. "I'm Princess-Heir, they have to at least pretend to listen to me, and I have a few things I can use to try to woo the bottommost Houses to support the Emperor."

"The alliance with Earth?" inquired Ryoko. "Risky. That's a double-edged sword right now. Some are saying that it was that alliance that brought all this down on us in the first place."

Lily shook her head. "This all started long before I arrived on Earth. The assassinations of the heirs, the foundations of the civil war...those were all laid and done before there was any alliance. They were after Tsunami, and the Empire, all along."

"You know that. I know that. Convincing others might be harder," Ryoko pointed out dryly. "But okay. You want to handle the nobles, they're all yours. One less headache for me."

"Anyway, I have a couple of other tricks up my sleeve."

Ryoko shrugged. "Well that should be fun to see."

With a twist of her ankles, Lily sent her chair spinning again. Almost immediately a little furry creature sprang out of the shadows and landed with a delighted squee noise in Lily's lap. The princess laughed and hugged Ratheros, then looked up at Ryoko as she whizzed past. "What else?"

"Nothing," Ryoko said. "Go home. Get some rest. You've been at this two days now. I'll keep things going until tomorrow morning, I promise."

Lily looked like she was about to deny the order, when Ratheros chiruped quizzically at her, and she realized how very tired she was. But there was one last thing. "Ryoko?"


"Do you think father is going to wake up?"

Ryoko hesitated, but only for a moment. "Honestly? Probably not. It's actually pretty incredible he's not dead. The feedback from a second generation ship...even if he's breathing, there's probably nothing left of HIM in there, you know?" She had the grace to give Lily an apologetic look and add on an awkward, "Sorry."

"It's okay," said Lily quietly. "I guess I knew. I just had to hear it. I'll see you tomorrow." And with a flicker of light, she was gone.


Sasami and Hayato had moved back into the palace when it was safe. Sasami had immediately busied herself cleaning things up. Hayato had busied himself making more messes. By chance, both were in the kitchen when Lily arrived there with Ratheros in her arms.

She gave them a wan smile. "Hey guys. Sasami, are you doing dinner tonight?"

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