Love at first sight?
VATHOPIAN STATE VISIT TO THE EMPIRE OF INIMICUS
Imperial Square, where official State Visit ceremonies are conducted
"How long now?", Artabanos asked after having sipped his tea. Tea, for once, not coffee.
"Not long now, Your Highness. I think they'll be in view in abou-"
The stewart was cut off by a message through the Imperial Aviation Lounge loudspeakers. The Vathopian plane was inbound to land. Artabanos quickly downed the rest of his tea, which was still too hot and as such left a burning feeling in his throat, and made his way to the reception area.
It was getting colder, even though the first day of November had been the warmest in years, the second was exceptionally windy and cold. Artabanos was therefore wearing a thick overcoat, and if not for formal protocols, he would have worn a hat. There were advantages to not having and hair on your head, but the weather effects were definitely not among them.
The Vathopian plane touched down and taxied its way to the reception area. Vathopian Prime Minister Donquixote disembarked the private jet, accompanied by some aides. Artabanos came out to meet him, and amicably shook his hand, even though the two leaders had never met before. "...Welcome to Inimicus, Prime Minister...", Artabanos said as he directed the Vathopian leader to indoors. "...The Inimicians have organised quite a spectacle for you, Your Excellency. We will drive to the Imperial Square, where our top military band will greet you with our two nations' anthems, and then we will have to inspect the Guard of Honour. All formality, obviously, but enjoyable nonetheless...".
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Barely had the Prime Minister slept when he was in the cab to the airport. To prevent the mood of irritation from taking over his spirit, the PM had tried to sleep in the plane. Unfortunately his habit of not being able to sleep in moving objects had caused it to be more tiring than he had expected. Still, this was his first foreign visit and also the first time in a long time that Vathopia moved her face towards the rest of the continent. The nation was content with themselves as it were, but the PM knew that wouldn't be forever. All in all, he had to keep his spirits high.
"I am very pleased to be here, Emperor. Our nation has stayed neutral and isolated for a very long time. But I believe that diplomatic ties are necessary if we want to keep our nation a safe heaven."
Donquixote extended his hand towards the Emperor. The two shook their hands firmly as their eyes were fixed upon eachother.
"The program sounds excellent, Your Highness. I'm looking forward to it. I feel flattered to be called "Your Excellency", as it is unusual in our country. We are mere people chosen by the peoples of the Emperors to help them rule the country. There is nothing "excellent" about us. But, please, let's not get cultural differences cause holes in this visit. You can call me whatever you desire, Emperor."
As the Emperor nodded, Donquixote noticed they were still shaking hands. He looked back at the Emperor and said: "Now, shall we move on?"
"How interesting", Artabanos noted, "In Inimicus, we have a very high sense of hierarchy. In 'ye olden days', Kings were even considered deities. This tradition has continued into the modern day, but I have to admit I am not considered a God and would not even want to be."
The two statesmen continued through the Imperial Aerodrome to greet the press, shaking hands in front of the cameras. "I am glad you have chosen Inimicus as your first ever state visit, Prime Minister. Or, Your Excellency, whichever you prefer!", Artabanos said, joking, "I feel it is a great honour to recieve such marvellous statesmen like yourself."
Artabanos led on to the motorcade waiting outside. The Imperial Limousine, Inimician and Vathopian flags on the bonnet, opened its doors to a Vathopian for the first time in history. The two leaders discussed what they were going to talk about in the formal conversation: "Let's see. Possible trade options; co-operation on a European level; and we should also discuss recent international developments like the Davishirian-Groot-Belgian tensions and the reported Bulgarian atrocities."
A few minutes later, the cars arrived at the Imperial Square. "Ooh, it seems we have arrived!", Artabanos said as the limousine came to a halt.
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PM Donquixote and Emperor Artabanos stepped out of the limosine after a porter opened the car's doors. Donquixote rubbed his hands together to warm them up and took a second to look at the glorious square. "What a wonderful Square that is, Emperor. It's about as big as the Revolution Square in Vathena. Yet it has a complete unique charm to it."
Before Emperor Artabanos could reply, an Inimican officer walked up towards the diplomats and asked them to follow them to where the ceremony will be held. The walked through a road formed by Inimican military holding banners with the Inimican tricolor and the Vathopian sun. Once the diplomats reached their destination, the Inimican military band took their places and started playing "Arirang", the Vathopian anthem, for the first time ever in the Imperial Square. Donquixote and Artabanos watched in silence as a group of Inimican women in traditional Vathopian clothing performed the dance accompanied with the national anthem.
When the anthem was finished, Donquixote clapped as hard as he could. "That was marvelous, Emperor. I hoped you liked our anthem!" he said as the military band was getting ready to play the Inimican anthem.
Artabanos had never heard the Vathopian anthem before, nor had he ever seen the peculiar yet interesting dance which accopanied it. "That was marvelous", he said, "You have an incredibly beautiful anthem indeed, Your Excellency. I must apologise, however, I do not know the lyrics!". The two men laughed.
For this Imperial occasion, the Inimician Imperial Anthem - rather than the Civil one - was going to be played. It was customary to play the entire anthem, but since that version is over four minutes long and Artabanos had predicted today was going to be a very cold day indeed, he had ordered only the first and third stanzas (his personal favourites) to be played. The band began the first stanza
Artabanos had never thought of himself as a good singer, although some disagreed. He kept his mouth firmly shut and listened to the chants rising from the crowds on the other end of the Imperial Square, and the military choir's singing. It had always interested him why the Inimician Kings of Old had tolerated their Royal (and now Imperial) Anthem to be sung in German, but he liked it. It showed the tri-liguality of Inimicus.
Heil dir im Siegerkranz
Herscherr des Vaterlands
Heil, Kaiser, Dir!
"I have to admit I'm not completely fluent in German", Artabanos whispered to Donquixote when the anthem had finished, "I mean, I can get around in German rather well, but I daren't speak it on a political level!"
It was now time for an inspection of the Guard of Honour. Artabanos led the Vathopian PM along the ranks of Inimicus's finest. When they had finished their route, the Emperor, as he was also the High Commander of the Inimician Armed Forces, saluted. "Now, let's get out of this cold, shall we?", he said, "Allow me to introduce you to my Imperial Palace"