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[b]Qingyuan, United Federation of the East[/b]

Until recently, in many ways the city of Qingyuan had been the capital of the UFE in name only. The city had been made the capital as a gesture of friendship to the Southern States which while much smaller than China were equal to it in total area. However, the Korean War and now giant monster rampage up North had finally forced much of the everyday business to shift to the Southern City. As such, the city was now rapidly experiencing economic development, with much of the infrastructure focused on linking it to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. It was estimated that the area in total would soon become the largest metropolis in the world.

Jia stood on the balcony of the Imperial Compound, eyeing the rising sky scrapers while deep in thought. The Imperial Compound's tree line represented some of the last green in the area, as the city was transforming into a great city of Asia on the lines of Tokyo and Beijing. The lush gardens provided some of the few doses of fresh air you could still find in the city, even as coal fire power plants were being replaced by cleaner nuclear fusion and thorium fission ones the smell of construction was everywhere.

The Federation had triumphed in large part now in the East. The Germans were being pushed back, the Koreans had collapsed. The one genuine concern was the fate of Austria. They had received word of a republican uprising there and in truth, on a personal level, he welcomed Theresia returning to China.

However, he had not yet broached the subject. Both had in large part been distracted by Theresia's difficult late stages of pregnancy. Leopold had only been born two days earlier, and both mother and child were still recovering. Though she knew of the rebellion, he had not yet broached the subject with her.

He looked down at the path below him to see Wei walking into the compound. He went back inside enjoying the cool air and walking down from the residence to the office level. "How are things?" Wei asked.

Jia shrugged, "You know, I'm just tired as all hell." he said.

Wei laughed, "Kid doesn't sleep?" he asked.

Jia nodded, "Yeah. I suppose we could have servants do it, but you know, I don't think we want him getting too pampered this early." he chuckled.

Wei let out a short laugh before getting to the matter at hand, "Right, there are several matters which need your attention. The first is the giant monster attack in the north." he said.

"You know, its bad enough I've had to give up booze for the past few months in solidarity, but this bull !@#$..." Jia said annoyed. "God that monster is such a !@#$%*."

Wei nodded, "Yes according to our scientists its !@#$%*iosity exceeds both your wife's at her worst mood swing's these past few months and your sister's violent rampages, and the Ice Empress during her time of the month combined."

Jia sighed, "God damn. So what do you want?"

"Ming and your brother are requesting funding to crash course develop a super weapon." Wei said. "... The Super X."

Jia nodded, "So ordered." he said. "Anything else?"

Wei paused before talking slowly, "Yes we do need and answer on Austria... its a touchy subject. I know but."

Jia sighed, "Yeah." he replied curtly. "I mean, ok... I'll ask, I'm going back up there if there is nothing else." he said.

"No." Wei said.

"Right. Talk to you later." Jia said. As Wei left, Jia ran his finger through his hair letting out a sigh. He was a bit tired, he then put a smile on his face.

Jia headed back up the stairs into the residence. He saw Xuehua, acting as sort of a constantly vigilant sentinel over the room where Theresia and Leopold were resting.

As she saw Jia approach she eyed him suspiciously. "Gege, you better be here to visit with your family and not with business." she said.

Jia shook his head, "I'm for the most part not." he said. His sister gave him an evil eye as he walked into the room. Seeing Leopold looking around as he sat on Theresia's lap. His weary faced, turned to one of happiness as he entered the room.

"Hey, looks like he's awake... and quiet." he said. "How are you feeling?" he asked her.

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Theresia smiled meekly as she ran her hands across Leopold's head. The actual birthing process and nearly killed her and the doctor's had told her that the chance that she had survived was a miracle. Even in the modern age, complications occurred and the Empress was just happy to be alive and well. "I'm doing as best as I can. The doctors say I'll be able to walk around normally in a few days and the sickness should leave. They said that I should wait on returning to Austria," then her head seemed to soften, nearly to the point of tears. "But I guess I won't really be in any rush. Did you see the news?"

She reached across towards the table and picked up a small piece of paper. "The Republicans have declared a new government, a complete democracy and the demand for my abdication." Theresia's lips gently touched Leopold's head as she held back her grief. "I failed them Jia. I failed the entire country. I though my rule was going to be different than my sister's or my grandfather's, but it just turned out to be the same exact thing." She feigned a smile and hugged her child. "I still have you though and that's all that matters, I have this family to build. I just wish things would have been different."

The Empress looked up at her husband and nodded her head. "I think I'm going to abdicate. What do you think Jia, do you think it's wise? What would you do if you were me? And what will the Federation do in regards to the Republic?"

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Jia's face slackened seeing the look in here eyes. He felt a knot in his stomach. He could only imagine what she was going through. Theresia's reign had been short, and the timing of the pregnancy and the war could not have been worse. He had never imagined it would've put the stress that it did on her, even to the extent that he for a few weeks had to give power to Kou. But it was what it was. He was deeply relieved to see her with some strength in her at all.

He sat down on the bed next to them. He wrapped his arm around her as she hugged the infant. "Hey do not blame yourself. We can't control medical stuff. You gave it your best, blame Haas, he's the !@#$%^& whose responsible not you." Jia said with conviction.

"As for what you should do, that is not for me to decide, I'll support you with anything you choose. I'd love to have you here with me, I'd love for us to be a regular family. I also think you'd make a great ruler. I think its truly up to what you think is best for Austria. I've got your back no matter what and at the end of the day, you don't know what the future holds. So I'm not sure.

I do know one thing though. I know you're one of the gentlest people I know, and you won't shed others blood unless your absolutely have to. They know you'll simply never push this to civil war unless the republicans become oppressive, so I think at the end of the day, if they keep their demands what they are, you will look best in the eyes of your people if you do what is the quickest path to restore normalcy... I fear that may be stepping down though." Jia said twitching his mouth upwards to once side.

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Theresia took his hand in her own and nodded, holding it tightly. "Then what I would like you to arrange, Jia, is an invitation to the Interim Government and the Republican Government to come to China and meet with us both. I was never a woman of power, demanding power and strength above all else. I'm a home maker and I realize now that my home is not in Austria anymore." She handed Leopold to Jia as gently as she could and reaching over to her cane, picked herself up to walk to the window. Gazing down at the lush Chinese gardens, it brought a tear to her eye. "This is where I belong and I am more proud to be Empress of China, than I ever was to be Empress of Austria."

She turned around and grinned. "I will abdicate and free the Legion from their bonds to the Empire. Hopefully the Republicans can finally do right to Austria what the Monarchy has failed to do for years. I will stay here and watch and if my country eventually needs me again. I will be there for them."

An invitation to both Denard and his contingent and Vogel and her Council, was then sent for them to arrive in Qingyuan and conduct negotiations there.

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Seeing his son begin to squirm, Jia held Leopold making faces as he rocked him back and forth to calm him. He turned to Theresia after seeming to have made the infant comfortable, "I'll have Wei draft formal language to send out the invitations. You know, people will remember this Theresia, they'll remember you doing the graceful thing for your people. I do not think that the last chapter on you and Austria has been written yet."he said with a reassuring tone.

He leaned back against the side of the bed, "That said. I'm certainly glad to have you back here. Its been a hard few years with us only getting to visit every few weeks." Jia said letting out a sigh of relief. "And hey always look on the bright side of life, we don't have to fly with Leopold, nobody wants that, do they?" he said directing the question to Leopold as he bounced him up and down.

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After the meeting was over and both Dellion and Vogel had left the Imperial Compound, Theresia near collapsed from fatigue. It was hard for her, so soon after a painful birth to have to join back into the political fray, even for that brief moment and she was happy to see them leave even though the outcome didn't lend anything to her mood. Taking Jia's hand, she lifted herself off the chair in the conference room and with her cane balanced herself on the way back towards her private quarters.

"I want you to make sure that the nation is taken care of Jia. Both of them, Dellion and Vogel, filled with idealism and that Austria has been reborn. But the amount of death changes that. Austria is not ready for war again and if Haas or any other aggressive movement would come to Austria. I do not believe it could survive. Promise me that the UFE will still protect Austria, just as it did when I was on the throne. There is a bond we created, I do not want to see it die because Republicanism finally has been given a chance to breathe."

As they reached the room and she laid down on the bed, the Empress smiled. "I guess this makes my life complete, at least for now."

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It pained Jia to see Theresia seem to drained. "Hey, don't sound so fatalistic. This isn't the end for you. You're still Empress of China. You are important here, you were before you became Empress of Austria and you are now." Jia said with a smile. "...and we're still partners, don't expect me to just put you in the kitchen, cause I simply won't. We'll [i]both[/i] still watch over Austria and you can make sure it is protected even from afar.

That said, we'll make efforts with the new government. I hope that they remain friendly to us. I'll make sure Wei plays nice." he said.

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