At the time this atrocity occurred, I was serving in the Imperial Guard. I was part of a squadron that protected the Emperor and his family, if he’d had one.
I remember hearing about the news. I refused to believe it at first, until I overheard Li admitting his guilt for participation in the espionage. The spy had been executed by hanging in the center of Sterving, the Allem Raush capital. Emperor Li would not speak publicly on the subject immediately, as he was personally distraught by the occurrence. He contacted Emperor Ambrose the day after, admitting his wrongdoing and putting forth a plea for forgiveness.
Needless to say, Ambrose was not pleased. However, he seemed more upset than he did angry, though there was still a noticeable hint of resentment about him. A few times, Ambrose flat out refused Li’s envoys for diplomatic discussion. To save face, Li issued a public apology to the people of Allem Raush. He admitted it was his own spy that infiltrated the city of Sterving, and promised it wouldn’t happen again. To most of the Red people, they felt Li was shallow and untrustworthy, but the apology was appreciated nonetheless. For months on end, he would receive hate letters from various courtiers of Ambrose’s company. He also received resentment from the Red people in general. At one point I worried about how the man was taking it. There were times when he seemed very on-edge, even depressed. However awful his actions may have been, he was taking more than his fair share of shame and blame.
It was stated by Ambrose that “The friendship between Te Jaan Song and Allem Raush shall not wither as a result of folly between its leaders.” In general, the Blue Empire was still looked well upon by most Red folk, but Li was mistrusted throughout the rest of his reign, unfortunately. Even his own people disdained his foolishness. We already lived through one hellish war, and we certainly didn’t need another one so soon.
Thankfully, Li and Ambrose were smart enough to work successfully through the tense situation. An agreement was passed that no further operations of espionage were to be conducted by either Empire unless both Emperors agreed upon a given operation. I never knew why Li had implanted a spy in the first place. It seemed such a ridiculous folly, especially for someone of such integrity. I smelled fish, but I decided not to poke my nose too far into the Emperor’s business.
The friendship of the Empires, though damaged, continued, and eventually grew stronger than before.
Something quite interesting did arise from this incident, however. On one of the Red Emperor’s visits, he brought with him his daughter. She was fair-skinned, had chestnut hair and eyes that were whirlpools of aqua green. When I saw her, she wore a dark crimson dress adorned with small, sparkling rubies. She was truly a sight, and from the looks of it she was Li’s age (mind you, Ambrose was easily twenty years Li’s senior). I didn’t see much of the Emperor that day, but I did happen to catch him just after his meeting. He was so dazed that he hardly heard me report the status of our new findings on the exploration frontier.
This is when I became curious.