Their Imperial Majesties Miguel Juan Alejandro de la Castillo the King of the New Spanish Empire and his lovely wife Queen Isabella Catarina of Hispania were a shocked by the size of the audience that had gathered for their afternoon session.
The earlier morning session went well enough so they were wondering why all of a sudden this afternoon’s session was turning into a who’s who in the kingdom.
The King and Queen were both very distant relatives from the House of Hapsburg and the House of Savoy. When the Rths were first gathering the descendants from the old Spanish Empire, they knew the importance of keeping the Spanish Monarchy’s bloodline intact. Therefore, they took Catalina Micaela de Austria, the daughter of Phillip II, from her deathbed in Italy in the year 1597 and healed her worn body during the long voyage back to the Scorpii system.
The Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain awoke to a new world and a new purpose; continuing the royal line of the House of Hapsburg and Savoy. Because she was her father’s daughter, she went to work with a determination to rebuild the family line and give it her father’s elegance and grace.
Catalina, along with Archduke Ernest of Austria who supposedly died in Brussels in 1595 and was ‘rescued’ by the Rths; were the two Royal foundations upon which the new House of Hapsburg and Savoy would be founded.
The years passed and the royal bloodline grew and prospered to where it now flowed through the veins of both the King and Queen of Hispania today.
They were not pleased when they found themselves thrust into making an Empire changing decision without having any form of warning. The sheer size and scope of the plan to venture back to the Old World stunned them when they were informed. The decision was theirs to make, they could either start a new chapter for their people by seeking out distant relatives or be the last of the Hapsburg-Savoy line. If they decided not to send this mission, they would be condemning their people to defeat.
How could they call themselves Sovereigns if they allowed this new enemy to overrun their kingdom? The New Spaniards, like their ancestors, will not lie down and die easily. No, they are fighters. They just didn’t know how to fight.
The fighting spirit lay dormant inside each member of the Spanish race because of hundreds of years away from conflict. They lacked the tools and the knowledge to be combative. They had the spirit but lack the weapons to counter this new threat. Therefore, it was a very easy decision for the monarchs to make.
The King and Queen realized their people needed a fighting chance to confront this enemy and the only place they will find the answers are back at the Old World.
But, there were those that were determined not to let the Jesuits and their plan work. They had to fight it at all cost and fight back they did.
The King and Queen listened to the advice from their Church Counselors about the animosity and the split that this decision would cause in the Holy Mother Church.
They were aware that going back and making contact with their ancestors could very well be the ‘end of living in Eden.’ The Monarchs listened when the Dominicans said that God or the Church did not bless this expedition. They heard that this venture was a direct violation of what God’s plan was for the New Spanish Empire. Why would God deliver them from Sodom and Gomorrah just to throw them back in again? The Dominicans argued.
The King and Queen heard the pros and cons of the mission and considered all of the Dominican’s advice but they always kept coming back to how will their people’s survival.
Then they heard the strong argument that the Black Pope Father Antonio de la Medida made when he conjectured that maybe it was God’s plan all along to have this unknown enemy show up at a time when their faith was the strongest. He further suggested God wanted them to seek out their old ancestors and send out Franciscan missionaries to ‘bring the sheep back into the fold.’ He went onto quote the parable or the story that Jesus told of the ‘Lost Sheep.’ He finished by stating that if the New Spanish Empire did not go after that one lost sheep and bring it back into the flock, then they would be going against God’s will.
It was this final theological and well thought out reason that carried the day. The Jesuits, the Military, most of the King’s staff and the King and Queen themselves were in full agreement that this expedition should not only go forward but should be blessed and supported by Mother Church.
The King ordered Prior General Rodrico de la Sagrada, the head of the Franciscan Order, to produce as many clerics he thought the mission would need to take the gospel to the Old World’s masses.
This historic meeting, held in one of the most elegant audience chambers that the royal palace could offer, quickly adjourned after the King and Queen made their decision.
Their Majesties were still seated quietly speaking about the last few hours when the door to the chambers were thrown open and a young female of 14, almost 15, came through the reverberating doors. The young female was the oldest of their six children and although lovely, agile, extremely intelligent and talented she was the most fiery and undisciplined of the royal children. She was also, their dear, sweet little girl, Infanta Anna Clara Eugenia of Nuevo Hispania or ‘Anna’ for short.
Anna marched the short distance, stopped and looked up at her parents. “How could you?” she asked.
Both her parents looked at each other with raised eyebrows. “How could we what, dear?” asked her mother.
“Let this…this expedition go out before my day!” she exclaimed. “Anybody that is anybody will be leaving without celebrating my Sacrament of Confirmation.”
The King and Queen both looked at each other again.
“And how did you come to know this?” asked her father.
The Princess’ eyes grew a bit larger as she breathlessly went on to explain, “Oh, Papa we all knew about the expedition days ago. I already knew what you were going to do. How could you do anything else but send out this mission to help our people?”
The King thought about that for a second and said, “It seems we are almost becoming figureheads, my dear.”
“It appears so,” agreed the Queen.
“Oh, please can we focus on the bigger problem here,” she stated. “Me?”
Her father took a deep breath and let it out. “My Darling little Anna our kingdom is facing difficult times and I know, being the age you are, that all of those problems could not possibly add up to yours,” he said. “But trust me dear, they very much do.”
“What your father is trying to say, darling,” the Queen began. “Is that, yes this expedition is bad timing and we are sorry. All we want is for your Sacrament of Confirmation to be a vast celebration. But we could not predict what came up.”
The princess looked down and her shoes. “All I wanted was a Sacrament of Confirmation that was as special as yours Mama.”
The Queen gave her husband a look and he shrugged and nodded back to her. The Queen rose from her throne, came down the steps, and took her daughter in her arms. “My dear, your Sacrament of Confirmation will be bigger than mine. With more festivals, celebrations, music and fireworks.”
“I’ll even ask the Pope to travel here to Hispania to preside over the Sacrament,” said the King.
Anna looked up at her mom with tears rolling down her cheeks. “Thank you Mama and Papa,” she said. “I have the best parents a girl could ever want.”
Her father came down and hugged them both. “I should be the one to be thankful for the best family a man could ever want,” he stated.
Her mom gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Off with you now, you have lessons and your father and I are going to have to move heaven and earth to get this celebration on track. We have many, many things to do and many favors to cash in. Now off with you.”
Anna squeezed her mother’s hand and bowed down to the both of them before leaving the room.
“And just how are we going to do all this?” the King asked.
“Good question,” replied the Queen.
After leaving her parents in the throne room, Anna headed back to her rooms. She entered and quickly Alphina, her done began to question her.
“So, what happened?” asked Alphina.
The princess looked up at her drone and smiled. “What do you think happened?”
“You got your way, of course,” replied Alphina.
“Of course,” Anna replied.
“So, what’s going to happen now?” Alphina asked.
“My father is going to ask the Pope to preside over my Confirmation,” she stated proudly.
“The Pope?” asked Alphina. “You mean the Pope that never leaves the Vatican?”
“Yes, that same Pope,” replied Anna. “Who else is named the Pope?”
“But he doesn’t leave the planet,” Alphina informed her. “At least he hasn’t in years.”
“The last time being when my mother had her Sacrament of Confirmation you mean?” asked Anna slyly.
“Ah, well, yes,” confessed Alphina. “Strangely that, that would have been the last time. Of course neither one of us was around then.”
“But we will be this time,” Anna said happily. “They even said that they were going to make it bigger and better than Mama’s was.”
“Oh you’re such a scheming little thing,” accused Alphina.
The Princess walked around the room touching the various objects in the room. “Is it scheming to want to grow up?” she asked. “I am becoming a woman and I still have all these childish things. You know my father even said ‘My darling little,’ I almost screamed. I’m not a child anymore, I’m a young lady. Why shouldn’t I want what every young lady gets?”
The drone hovered down closer to the Princess. “Nice try,” replied Alphina. “But those pouty, moist eyes and that quivering lower lips doesn’t work on me, Anna. I’m a machine, I don’t have emotions that you can twist to your needs.”
“Well, it was worth a try, anyway,” Anna said.
“So did they question you about where you got the information about the expedition from?” asked Alphina.
“No, I didn’t give them time,” Anna confessed.
“Anna, once they’ve gone over your conversation with their counselor drones,” began Alphina. “They are going to have some more questions for you.”
“So then I guess we better come up with some plausible answers for them, in that case,” Anna stated.
“Plausible?” Alphina asked. “Why not just be truthful with them?”
“I do that and we’ll both be in trouble,” Anna replied. “How am I going to explain to them that my ‘royal implant’ came online before my 15th birthday?”
“Or the fact that you have been using them like a maniac as well,” Alphina stated.
“Yeah, well that too,” admitted Anna.
“I should have never let you talk me into helping you learn to use the implant before proper instruction from the royal tutors,” accused Alphina.
“We both got something out of you instructing me,” Anna stated. “I got the royal upload of everything I need to know or where I can find the information. I also received the ability to store all the data and use it when I need to. And what did you get out of it?”
“Extra storage space, plus the mega boost of memory we happened to find available for drone consorts of the royal family,” admitted Alphina.
“I would say we both ‘made out like bandits’,” stated Anna.
“And it almost feels like we are bandits,” admitted Alphina.
“Oh please, I got the upload and the abilities just a few months earlier than I was supposed to,” admitted Anna. “So what’s the big deal?”
“The big deal is that we kept it hidden from your mom and dad, the King and Queen,” said Alphina. “That’s the big deal.”
“You might want to include the Drone Council as well,” Anna advised.
“Great, thanks for bringing that up,” Alphina stated.
“Anyway, don’t worry,” said Anna. “We’ll come up with a plausible enough reason why I knew about the mission and then we are home free.”
After the doors closed to the throne room and the King and Queen sat down again, their two Drone Advisors left their places in their respective corners and approached the two Monarchs. The King felt them approaching and asked, “Yes, what can we do for you?”
The King’s drone, Rexius, answered him, “Sire, we were both struck by something odd the Princess said to you.”
“She stated that everybody ‘knew’ days ago about the planned secret expedition,” continued the Queen’s drone, Reginus.
“Yes, I thought that odd at the time too,” stated the Queen. “But we didn’t pursue it further because my daughter was devastated by the news that the mission would upset her Confirmation ceremony.”
“So we heard,” Rexius said.
“What are the both of you suggesting?” asked the King.
“Not suggesting right now but merely trying to get a form a clearer picture of your daughter, Sire,” began Rexius. “Her slight pause in answering, the quickening of her pulse and respiration indicate the Infanta was trying to hide something from you.”
“And do you know what that could possibly be?” asked the Queen.
“Nothing positive my Queen,” said Reginus. “But we surmise that her ‘implant’ may have already come online well before it was intended to.”
The King leaned back in his throne and looked over to his wife.
“Should we say something?” the Queen asked her husband.
“It’s your decision; it didn’t happen to me but to you,” he advised.
“Fine, but this discussion does not leave this room,” the Queen ordered.
“Rexius make sure all monitoring devices are off please,” said the King.
“As you wish Majesty,” he replied.
“My Queen I have been your consort, your advisor, your friend and sounding boards for years,” admitted Reginus. “I would never disclose anything that has been spoken to me in confidence.”
“As long as we’re straight on that, then I’ll continue,” the Queen replied.
“Please go ahead, Majesty,” said Rexius.
“It was when I was a girl,” she began. “The same age that Anna Clara is now, that one day I woke up and I thought my brain was on fire. There was nothing that could be done to offer me any relief. My Mama and the family Doctor both thought it was due to my recently attaining womanhood, but that wasn’t the reason.”
“What was the reason my Queen?” asked Reginus.
“My only guess was that my ‘implanted abilities’ were reached earlier than anybody expected,” she admitted.
“How long did this attack of ‘brain fire’ continue?” Reginus asked.
“Up until my 15th birthday,” she replied. “Then I was informed about the royal family’s extra abilities and we began my tutoring shortly after. Then I was sure what had caused my condition all those months before.”
“That was during the time I was teaching you about new your abilities, Majesty,” replied Reginus. “Why didn’t you mention any of this to me?”
“I had just turned fifteen,” admitted Isabella. “My body was acting crazy, I had emotions that were almost ripping me apart and then on top of it all I find out I have these new ‘abilities’. I never asked for the implants but yet I had them thrust on me before I was even supposed to get them. What a horror.”
“I was feeling like a freak already, I didn’t want anybody to realize I was more of a freak because I got them earlier,” she admitted.
“And that was perfectly understandable at the time, my dear,” the King stated.
“Thank you, dear.”
“Yes, given all that,” Reginus began, “I can understand there was a lot going on at that time, but why not mention it later?”
“Because I completely forgot about it until I started to think about Anna’s Sacrament of Confirmation,” replied Isabella.
“And that was when she revealed her past experience to me,” said the King.
“We understand, Sires,” acknowledged Rexius. “We have never heard of this happening before but your human makeup can cause unpredictable things to happen.”
“Are you suggesting that Anna may have gotten her abilities as early as her mother?” the King asked.
“Not only that,” Rexius began. “But she might already be skillfully using her implant.”
The King and Queen both looked at each other with a stricken look.
“Remember when I was telling you about the moment you asked Anna how she knew about the expedition and she paused?” asked Rexius.
“Yes,” replied the King.
“Her metabolism spiked,” he stated. “But then was quickly damped down to normal levels in a heartbeat. I thought that odd but not outside the norm in some situations. But now, with this new data, we believe she may have caused her metabolism to adjust itself by enabling her implant.”
“You can’t be serious?” the Queen asked.
“All indications are pointing to that conclusion, Majesty,” acknowledged her drone.
“But I wasn’t able to do that until I was in my late teens,” replied Isabella.
“It was more like my mid twenties for me,” admitted the King. “Well, you know my fiery temper and all that,” he added.
“Are you telling us our daughter’s not only got her ‘abilities’ earlier than most but is also able to manage and manipulate the implant without any structured guidance or tutoring?” asked the Queen.
“It appears so, Your Highness,” Rexius informed her. “Although we think she may have had some help from her nanny drone with the guidance and tutoring.”
“Well you both need to find out,” stated the King heatedly. “Not think, speculate or conjecture I want cold, hard facts and I’d like to get them as quickly as possible.”
“Sire, we could do that and do it quickly,” advised Rexius. “But in so doing we might lose some vital data.”
“If we let things just play out just a little longer,” Reginus suggested. “The data we gain might prove to be useful and beneficial to future ruling generations.”
“That’s presupposing there are any future ruling generations Reginus,” stated the Queen.
“True your Highness.”
“I don’t know if I feel comfortable with our daughter being some kind of experiment,” said the Queen.
“We won’t be conducting any kind of experiments on her, Highness,” informed Rexius.
“We’ll just be observing, like we normally do, but in her case with extra vigilance,” added Reginus.
The Queen laughed aloud.
“Well good luck with that!” she exclaimed.
“Just keep her safe,” said the King.
“For right now she is this Empire’s future generation.”
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