The Lady of the South

Noba sighed, annoyed, as she signed her name. The budget that passed Parliament was just barely acceptable, as expected. But she was not in the mood to send it back and force more rounds of talks. Secretly she wished for the days in which the Shogun ruled with an iron fist. Back then the politicians were less annoying. She looked up at the portrait of their founder, dressed in the samurai armor that was now sitting in a museum dedicated to his memory. There was a sharp rap on the door as a maid entered, carrying a tray of tea.

“Tea time already?” she said glancing at the clock. “I didn’t realize that it had been that long.” She moved to the couch and accepted the cup as the tea was poured. She sipped it savoring the taste. “God why is this so stressful.” She closed her eyes enjoying the ambience of her office before another knock interrupted her. “Someone better be fucking dying,” she grumbled to herself as she waved her hand to let in the knocker.

“Nobaaaaaa, you didn’t accept my invitation!” whined the woman who entered. Noba knew exactly who it was without opening her eyes from the first word alone.

“Vikutoria, you need to hold yourself with more dignity!” she scolded, nodding to the maid to pour another cup of tea as Vikutoria lounged into the couch across from her. “You are supposed to be graceful.”

“Oh come off it, you and I both know that’s not true,” Vikutoria said rolling her eyes as she accepted the tea. “All I do is look pretty for tourists and travel the nation promoting your agenda. There’s nothing dignified about being a puppet.”

Noba chuckled. “Well we could have the Parliament vote to give you-”

“Screw that,” Vikutoria said interrupting Noba. “Don’t try and pawn off your work on me. Unlike you I get to have a life.” She flashed a smile before drinking some more. “Who needs dignity when I can just freeload.”

Noba rolled her eyes. Vikutoria had always been a carefree spirit. “The press would be horrified if they knew how you really were.”

“The press can shove it. They make even a day trip a pain.” Vikutoria finished her tea and stood up, offering her hand to Noba with a twinkle in her eyes. “Come on and skip work for the rest of the day. Your ministers can handle it.”

Noba sighed. “I’m going to regret this,” she said taking the offered hand.

“Guaranteed.”

Anyone visiting Government House would have been forgiven for being confused by its appearance. While outwardly it was a very western design, internally it was clearly designed by the first Shogun, Reginald Knight. As Noba walked through the building designed by her ancestor she sighed at the décor. She had done her best to fix what she considered the worst excesses of her ancestors, who had somehow turned the house into the most ostentatious building in the state. Now it was a lot more humble, taking more inspiration from a commoner’s house than a noble’s palace. She strolled through the plants lining the halls, the one thing she splurged on as decoration, replacing the samurai armor that used to adorn the halls.

However today was not about play. There was work to be done. She nodded to the guards as she entered the “War Room” and took her seat at the desk. She was the only one there in person, as a precaution to prevent a decapitation strike against the government the high command was rarely in the same place, and besides most of them did not like living in the Falklands, they much preferred the mainland.

“Gentlemen, what is the current situation?”

“Everything appears to be alright. The Europeans are expanding their militaries and threatening force projection around the globe yet again.”

Noba rolled her eyes at that statement. It was getting annoying getting status updates on the Europeans. Why couldn’t they finally stick to their own continent. “What is the status of the Armed Forces?”

“Functional, Parliament is debating a bill right now to increase the budget.”

“Alright. Once that is passed we will need to procure a stronger naval and air force. Keep watching everything. I don’t want to be caught by surprise by anyone.”

After a few other items the meeting was finally over and Noba finally was able to leave. As she strolled through the gardens a maid came up to her holding a vibrating phone. Noba smiled as she picked it up.

“I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU FOR THE LAST HOUR!” Noba held the phone away from her ear as Vikutoria yelled at her.

“So it seems as though you got my gift?”

“You! Alright. Look. Just don’t be late ok.”

“I have my own private airline, I’ll be on time even if I have to land on the streets.”