401 The Long Awaited Answer
At the estate house in Istanbul, Christina was in her bedroom, a telephone wedged between her ears and shoulder as she spoke to someone important on the phone.
“So? Is everything going as intended?” Alexander asked and without much of a pause for thought, Christina hummed a reply.
“It’s going as intended, brother. The Sultan is considering it but he has to talk about it with his ministers. I’m sure the prospect would be tempting for a country that needs growing to catch up with the Europan powers.”
“I can vouch for that. It is still not too late for the Anatolia Empire to redeem themselves as one of the major powers to be reckoned with.”
“It will be a challenge if they are still messing around,” Christina chuckled.
“Anyways, you know how to reach me out. Just stay with Rolan at all times. If he asks you to do something, do so immediately. I have reminded you a lot of times, the Anatolia Empire is a melting pot. Sooner or later, violence may break out in Istanbul.”
“I know brother, and you don’t really have to remind me again and again. I know what to do.”
“Fine, once you are done there, I will give you another assignment,” Alexander said.
“Another assignment?” Christina repeated, sighing out loud. “Are you going to send me to another country again?”
“Of course, Ruthenia is facing a lot of problems as of right now. One of the major ones is our weapons getting out of the country without our say-so. There’s a mole in the military and I’m committed to finding who it is. The gunrunning is affecting the relationship and partnerships with the Britannia Empire and Francois Republic and I want you to smooth it way back.”
“Shouldn’t this job fall under the Minister of Foreign Affairs?” Christina asked.
“Well it’s true but Sergei has his hands full at the moment. He’ll be visiting Paris next month so I want you to go to London after your trip there,” Alexander said.
“I see. In that case, I will do what you ask. Good night brother, it’s getting late here in Istanbul and I’m feeling sleepy now.”
“Good night,” Alexander said before hanging up the telephone.
The telephone rang a continuous beep after that. Christina returned the telephone back to its cradle and lay down on the bed. She stared at the ceiling for a while to collect her thoughts. Alexander always gave her the most challenging assignments and she couldn’t help but admire his cunning mind. He was always ahead of the game and never missed a beat. Christina was proud to be his sister and work alongside him in the government.
She thought about the upcoming mission to London. It was going to be a delicate situation and she needed to be at her best. Christina closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She knew what was at stake and she couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.
The next morning, she woke up early and went straight to work. She spent the entire morning gathering information about the situation in the Anatolia Empire. She needed to be well-informed and ready for any situation that may arise. That includes analyzing and studying the Young Turks Movement and the separatist who are most likely to erupt and conduct violence. By reviewing the files she had on them, she learned a lot.
While reviewing the files, Christina took a glance at her itinerary for today in Istanbul, which includes her visiting tourist attraction. The decision of the Sultan about the joint venture and exclusive rights to mine oil will be in six days. Meaning, she has six days of free time to do whatever she likes to pass the time.
She stretched her arms up and decided to take a break from work.
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Christina said, sitting up straight in her chair.
Rolan entered her room and closed the door behind him.
“Your Imperial Highness,” Rolan placed a hand over his chest and bowed his head.
“You are formal today, Rolan. What’s going on?” Christina asked, ever since their relationship started getting close, Rolan would call her by her first name casually. But if Rolan addressed her formally, like how everyone else should, it means that there is something up.
“We have received a tip from the Foreign Intelligence Services that there will be a protest in front of the Topkapi Palace in six days,” Rolan said.
“In six days? That’s the day where I’ll get to hear the decision of the Sultan,” Christina said.
“So I gathered,” Rolan agreed with a nod, “But your Majesty, it is more than a protest. Something is happening and I can’t seem to determine exactly what it is. We have to approach this cautiously.”
Christina nodded in understanding and stood up from her seat. “Thank you for alerting me, but I believe the Imperial Guards have everything necessary to protect me as the meeting on that day is underway.”
“My men and the Foreign Intelligence Services are digging deeper to find out about what the protesters are going to do on the day of the protest. If it’s a peaceful one, then we will be on alert but if it’s going to be a violent one, like an uprising, then as the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Guards tasked by the emperor to protect you from harm, I will have you stay in the estate house and not let you go anywhere near the Topkapi Palace until everything else cools down,” Rolan said, his tone firm and unyielding.
“I understand the gravity of the threat, Rolan. After all, I have read about some of them, the protesters. They were discontent with the government’s actions and are demanding radical changes. One of the examples would be the abolishment of autocracy in favor of constitutional monarchy. Something that is very similar to the Ruthenia Empire before. But is it okay if we go around to discover the city of Istanbul?”
“Yes, it is safe to go out, Christina,” Rolan said, this time his voice was casual. “I will inform my men outside.”
Christina smiled, happy that Rolan returned to his usual self for the last six years.
Just as Rolan was about to leave the room to inform his men, he felt a force stopping him from going forward. Two slender arms wrapped around his waist and a soft and fluffy sensation behind his back. There, he found out that Christina was hugging him from behind.
“Don’t go yet…I have something to tell you,” Christina softly whispered. Her right cheek pressed against Rolan’s back.
For a minute, Rolan froze. It wasn’t often that Christina initiated a contact like that. And she did it without hesitation too.
“My answer, I’ve been meaning to say this to you but I couldn’t find the right moment,” Christina replied.
“Ahh that…It’s been six years since I asked you to marry me. Are you perhaps ready to answer it now?”
That’s right, Rolan waited for six years. He didn’t even care why it took that long as long as he’ll receive the greatest gift he’ll have in his life.
“That is because I am working hard and saving money for myself if I were to get kicked out from the royal family for marrying a nobleman of lower rank.”
“Wait…are we really having this conversation right now?”
“I want to be with you Rolan…For that, I’m prepared to marry you.”
Rolan’s heart raced and the emotions inside started overwhelming his body. A tear formed in his eye and fell off of his face. As soon as he heard those words from her lips, he turned around and embraced Christina tightly.
“Geez, you could have waited until we returned to St. Petersburg. Well, if you are giving me your answer today, then I don’t mind. I will love you and protect you until I die…” Rolan muttered softly.
“Please take care of me,” Christina whispered as she pressed her cheek on Rolan’s chest.
“I can’t wait to tell your brother about this,” Rolan chuckled.