“Your Majesty!” Ka Koubun’s voice called from down the hall.
Kougyoku turned her head to see him running towards her, a smile on his face, nearly tripping on his robes. “Your Majesty, I am aware that you are retiring your chambers, but if I may be so rude-”
Kougyoku smiled. “Stop it! Ka Koubun, what is it?”
Ka Koubun caught his breath. “The imperial garden, Your Majesty” Ka Koubun said, still smiling, “it’s been finished.”
“Really?” Kougyoku exclaimed, breaking into a wide smile. “That’s great!” Unable to contain her joy, Kougyoku threw her arms around her old friend before stepping back, and taking a few seconds to contain herself. “Thank you for informing me of this, Ka Koubun. I think I will take a look at it before I retire to my chambers,” she said, and awkwardly bowed her head, remembering the degree of separation that an empress ought to keep between herself and her subjects.