“Why do I have to learn this?” twelve-year-old Lucy sat under the shade of a large pear tree and rolled her eyes at her mother.
“Because you need to understand our history if you are going to be the Empress one day.” Lady Loradona, The Great Lady, Empress of the world, and mother to Lucy and her brother Oscar repeated for the tenth time that morning.
“Oh, please. We do not even know that I will be Empress.” Lucy folded her arms with a pout. “For all we know, Oscar could become the Emperor and then all this learning will be for naught.”
Lady Loradona let out a sigh and leaned back in her chair. “It makes no difference who obtains the mark, you and your brother both need to understand our history. The Lady Empress made the decree five hundred years ago, today, that all those of the royal family should know the history of The Lady’s arrival and how she saved our species from extinction.”
“Besides,” Loradona looked at her young daughter. “If you do not understand the past, how can you rule over the future.”
“I am only twelve years old.” Lucy pounded her fist on the table in frustration at her mother’s reasoning. “I should be running around with my friends, giggling over boys, worrying about what I am going to wear for the dance next weekend, not sitting here learning needless information!” Lucy stuck her bottom lip out as she tried another tactic on her mother. “Please Mama. I need to have a childhood too.” She batted her long lashes towards her mother’s unmoving stare.
Lady Loradona saw the ploy for what it was and was not amused at her daughter’s tantrum. “Not even remotely effective. Now, explain to me the role of the protectors in our society”
Lucy groaned out loud. She really hated her life. It was completely unfair that she had to sit here in the heat of summer and learn about nonsense that had nothing to do with her while her friends got to run around and be free. Life just plained sucked.
“The seven protectors were created by the original Great Emperor to protect the one that carries the mark that makes them worthy to rule our world. Though their original assignment was to find The Great Lady that would appear to save our world, now that they have fulfilled that role, they are used as ambassadors of The Emperor and Empress to gather information and settle disputes that the rules of each of the seven nations cannot. Their secondary job is to make sure that there is a smooth transition between the rulers when the mark transfers.” Oscar, the only son of the Emperor and Empress spoke from across the table where he had been quietly doing his own work.
“Thank you Oscar,” Loradona replied. “However, I was speaking to your sister, not you.”
Oscar shrugged. “I was getting tired of her whining.” Oscar finally lifted his head, his starling Green eyes meeting the opaque eyes of his mother.
While he and his sister had light-colored skin with Lanky builds, his mother had dark, opaque skin and curves in abundance. Many people struggled to believe that they were her children.
Empress Loradona had dark tresses that reached her thighs in waves of curls framing her dark skin tone and ample curves, showing them to their fullest in her summer dress. Her mark sat on her left hip, hidden from the world, but the red vibrancy of the dragon could be seen clearly against her skin. On the other hand, her daughter’s hair barely skimmed her shoulders, straight and thick with the blonde highlights glowing in the afternoon sunlight, just like her father. Unlike the Lady Loradona, Lucy’s body still held onto the straight lines of childhood with no hint of curves, even at the age of twelve.
Oscar looked the most like her husband of the too with hair that curled around his ears in a light brown tinge. His physical built was identical to his father’s thin, lanky, no fat anywhere to be seen, but even though he was thin, there was strength and muscle from years of combat training. She had noticed his fifteen-year-old body was starting to fill out in the shoulder area more and more and soon she was going to have to openly admit that he was no longer a child. As it was, he could already look at his father in the eyes and he was dangerously close to meeting her’s as well.
He really needed a haircut, she thought to herself as she watched him flick it off his forehead. She really would have to remember to get it done. Perhaps tonight, after he bathed. His hair was so much easier to cut when it was wet anyway.
“See,” His sister pointed to her brother, snapping Lady Loradona out of her musing. “This is why he is going to be Emperor. He Knows this useless stuff. He even likes learning this useless stuff. Please, Please, Please. I beg of you, let me out of this nightmarish hellhole of learning.” Lucy begged her mother.
“Not happening.” Lady Loradona mentally let out a sigh, feeling a tinge of an oncoming headache.
Lucy let out another groan, but kept her mouth shut. She knew when to stop pushing and her mother was at an end of her tolerance. Lucy really hated dealing with her mother during lessons. She was such a stickler for rules and tradition. None of this nonsense pertained to now or her. It was such a waste of her life.
Loradona looked at her children. She loved them so very much, but they were driving her absolutely out of her ever-loving mind. At least, Lucy was. Oscar, bless his soul, he was her saving grace at times like this. He only questioned to make sure he understood what was asked of him and he strived to be the best he could be. Lucy, on the other hand, was willful and negligent and demanded things to be her way without thought or care of those around her. How she had ended up this way, Loradona would never know. She had not brought her up to behave this way and all she could do was hope that puberty would bring maturity to her daughter or heaven help them all, Lucy’s prediction had better come true and her brother had best receive the mark.
“Yes Mr. Shang?” Loradona turned to the ever quiet Shang that had appeared behind her. The protectors were gathering here as the Rulers of the seven kingdoms were coming together to acknowledge the passing of the mark from the King of Seria to his Daughter.
“They have all arrived and are ready, My Lady.” Loradona caught Lucy’s grin from the corner of her eye. So she thinks that she is getting out of work. Hmm, try again little one. Loradona sighed to herself. Raising children sucked sometimes.
“Thank you, Mr. Shang. I am on my way.” Loradona gave a nod for him to be dismissed and turned to Sensei Lucas, the children’s ever-present teacher. “Please continue the lesson for me, Sensei” Loradona turned to go. “Oh, and make sure she finishes the five-page essay on the history of The Great Lady before you dismiss her for the day.” She gave her daughter a tight smile before turning her back on the trio and headed for the sanctuary of Kings.
Oscar and Sensei Lucas both grinned as Lucy let out a cry of disgust at her mother’s edict.
“You really ought to watch that tongue of yours,” Oscar commented, ducking under the level of the table as a book came flying his way. “Really, sis, how can we be related?” He asked with a grin as he quickly raised up his textbook to deftly block Lucy’s next attack.