The Emperor’s secretary was having a hard time understanding. “Sir. Sir, if you go out onto the ship, you’re at risk.”
The Emperor shrugged into a heavily-embroidered vest. “Exactly. Otondyoo, if I don’t go out there, what kind of ruler am I?”
“An aging one, sir?” Otondyoo had not gotten to the position of Emperor’s secretary without learning how to be very very blunt with the monarch.
“But one that can still sit in a saddle with the best of them. We’ve forgotten a lot lately, in this long era of peace, but I believe we’ll never forget that.”
“…But it’s a boat, sir, not a goat.” Otondyoo tried to sound reasonable, even if the Emperor was being anything but.
“The theory still holds. I will be on the boat that greets these visitors. And if they attack us and I am killed, my heir will have sufficient diplomatic reason to kill them all and begin war on whence they came. But Otondyoo? If it comes to that, tell her to save the boat. You’re going to need it.”
The Emperor was smiling. Otondyoo had not seen that in quite a while. The Emperor’s secretary bowed deeply. Let him have his boat ride. He had been cooped up in the palace for far too long. “Of course, sir. Give me a moment to leave those notes with my assistant. I’m coming with you.”
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