“I’ve always wanted to see the Imperial Capital.” Prince Rodegard bounced in his seat, ignoring the armed guards surrounding him and acting not nearly the age Edora had been assured he was. “Is it as shining and bright and tall as everyone says it is?”
He was a hostage, technically. The entire railway car was filled with people devoted to getting him – and, by proxy, Edora – back to the Imperial Capital, where he would remain as assurance of his royal mother’s good behavior. But the young prince had volunteered, and, from the looks of things, hardly understood the situation he was in.
Well, it was Edora’s job to instruct him, as well as to protect, guide, and direct him. “Well, as with anything, your Royal Highness,” she replied, in the language of the Capital and of her childhood, “there are many facets to the Capital, and some of them shine more than others.”
The Prince blinked at her. “What was that?”
“The language spoken in the Imperial Palace. It is called Eskembion by those who speak it, your Royal Highness.”
“I thought the whole Empire spoke Cetechlain! It’s the language of trade, isn’t it? It’s the universal language!” The boy looked panicked.
Edora smiled. “The Empire is large, young princeling. And it was once many small kingdoms, with many small cultures.”
The boy – the Prince – leaned forward. “That was a different language.”
“Very good. That was Telirienan, spoken in the far South and in parts of the East-“
“-where the Imperial Consort came from.” Rodegard nodded slowly. “How many languages do you speak, Dame Edora?”
Time to explain her actual title to him later; he likely thought he was being polite. “Seven fluently, five more functionally, and I can swear in three more. By the time I am done with you, your Royal Highness, you will know at least three of those.”
“Done with…” He was turning a bit grey. Good. Edora smiled.
“I have six months to prepare you for Her Imperial Highness. We’re going to have to do a lot of work.”
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