Royal Rebirth: Final Decisions


This is the second of a three-part story from Hiro LeFevre, assistant to the Ambassador of Louisianne.

The Japanese Princes were surprised at the turn of events, and the Hunanese offered no explanations. Prince Hiroyuqui and Lady Xiaolan weren’t even interviewed, but were assured of the Hunanese goodwill. The four accompanied me to the main avenue, where the wives returned via private car to the hotel, and we were left alone. We reconvened in an upscale bar with members of parliament and a few businessmen.

I asked the Princes why they’d accepted their position in this final stage of the inquest. They both demurred to admit that they are both very driven, and neither said that they were pleased at founding their own dynasty, or at the stability a dynasty of Japanese lineage would engender in this weakened region of the world — but the thought was clear to be seen as I asked the question.

The geopolitical implications are apparent to novices of political science to see. Hunan, a great production center of rice would have its share of trade with the Far Eastern markets. With a stable government and healthy trade tariffs appropriately set, Hunan could be set for a long and stable life as a nation.

With an Imperial on the throne, Hunan would have the cachet of Japanese protection. Bellicose neighbors such as Fujian, Taiwan and Hainan, and Canton would reconsider with eyes and ears of Japan so close to them. Nanhanguo would welcome the influx of currency in its neighbor that would inevitably come in some small part across the border.

But who would the Special Committee choose, I wondered aloud, rhetorically. To my surprise, each suggested the other.  Prince Haruhico suggested that Lady Xiaolan would tip the scales, being Hunanese, and their children being a guarantee of continued succession and cultural ties with Japan. Prince Hiroyuqui suggested that his wife’s ancestry could displease the Hunanese, she being a descendent of the Daoguang Emperor, whereas Lady Eri had nothing but quietly honest and upstanding ancestors amidst the Yamatoan nobility.

Neither said more and excused themselves, each receiving a summons to the palace near dawn.

I was left alone to reflect on their suggestions. Both seemed eager to return to their prior pursuits, and for the other to shoulder the burden of rule. Yet, it was clear to see that each was also eager for the challenge of leading this nation from its beknighted past to the brigh future that they could see awaiting. Both had a background in management, of strict expectations of their underlings. Both were fluent in Cantonese, both had a deep interest in the success of Hunan as a state after the recent war. Both had personal Face to protect, should they be chosen.

But was that enough?

I had studied their wives’ past, and they were not as simple as had been suggested. Lady Eri’s ancestors had sided with the Chinese time and again, at the expense of Japanese interests, though largely faithful to their country, even when their decisions were costly to Yamamto in the short-term. Lady Xiaolan was not merely a great-great-granddaughter of the Emperor Daoguang, she was the granddaughter of King Balhaijoñ, pretender of Corea, known as Zaitao, the uncle of the last Emperor of China. The facts were easily obtainable in public records. The Hunaese were certainly aware.

Would either of their heritages disqualify their husband from leading the nation? Only the meeting in the morning would put paid to the decision.

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