This will be important later.

“I assume you know that drives him insane,” Jan told Liza, not quite to her back as the two walked through the camp. The Tribune had been tempted to see if the Carnivora could match a legionnaire’s stride for any length of time, but actually doing it felt petty. Especially since Jan had also volunteered for the mission.

“I’m not sure what you mean, Praefecta,” Liza replied, carefully not smiling. “I didn’t disrespect him. I just said the truth out loud. The Emperor always has a clever plan for something. Everybody knows this. Surely he enjoys honest, forthright speech from his soldiers?”

“‘Enjoy’ is a strong word, Tribune.” Jan considered it, then smirked. “Although watching him deal with it from you is fun. No, I meant the way you treat him with deeply respectful exasperation all the time.”

Liza stopped short. “Don’t you?”

“What? No. Oh, no. Himself and I banter. Well, as much as we still can, seeing as he’s the Emperor and I’m not. But I do it because he needs the distraction from his responsibilities. You, on the other hand, always visibly expect him to get over it and get on with the job. I’m not saying it’s a bad strategy. It’s just that nobody else has the guts to try it.”