Diamond in the Rough

The National Diet of Japan is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives, and an upper house, called the House of Chancellors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under a parallel voting system. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally responsible for selecting the Prime Minister. - Wikipedia

"Today, my darling, we are taking a little field trip to the Diet."

A pair of ears perked up. The sixteen-year-old princess had been getting antsy, and her mother had picked up on the teen's boredom rather quickly. Still, there were tasks that had to be accomplished and skills to be learned, and though Serenity was not quite ready for a break from her daughter's weekly princess lessons, she knew the value in educational field trips quite well. Besides, the girl had been working hard in school, so one day off wouldn't hurt her.

Oh, and Serenity really needed to get back to the legislative branch of the government at some point, considering she hadn't been in seven months. Usagi grinned. "Finally! Something of actual importance!"

The queen frowned at her daughter. "Usa-chan, studying the culture of the Roman Empire will only benefit you when you ascend the throne someday." She leaned closer to the younger girl. "And besides, if you learn everything well, Mina-chan said she'd perform at your birthday party."

With that, Usagi rolled her eyes and pulled her jacket over her gray school uniform. "Let's go, okaa-chan! Maybe Hotaru and the other girls can come, too?"

Of course, it only took a good ten minutes in the viewing room designated for the Royal family for Serenity to recall exactly why she had stopped attending the Diet's meetings in the first place. Although Usagi and Arisu appeared to be genuinely interested in the verbal sparring of the legislators, the rest of the group was not. Sailor Saturn sat beside the queen, her glaive absentmindedly bobbing up and down on her knee as she stared longingly at the green-haired incarnation of Juno who stood beside the princess. Sayuri and Natsume played Black Jack, and the former had apparently conned the latter out of a week's salary. The youngest and smallest of the Quartet, Sachiko, danced lithely around the room as if in her own dreamy realm, practicing the acrobatic skills only she had retained from her previous life.

The queen found the current debate, on whether or not the Crystal Tokyian government had a case for having a case for abolishing the severe gum restrictions they had adopted to appease the Singaporeans at the beginning of the imperial days, dreadfully boring. Weren't there other issues more important? What about the illegal mining project on Venus? What was being done about that?

Sometimes I think it might just be better to get rid of the Diet. What a waste of resources, she thought as she examined the older men and women arguing with one another just beyond the large one-way glass window.

Granted, she understood the necessity of having a balanced government, but still... sometimes she wondered if all of the bureaucracy did nothing more than slow the entire political process down.

When the trip ended, Usagi linked her arm with her mother's. "Okaa-chan, that was a surprisingly enlightening experience."

"They were fighting about gum." Serenity furrowed her brow. "Not even. They were fighting about fighting over gum."

Usagi shrugged. "I didn't say the topic was enlightening. I just said the experience was." Seeing that her mother didn't quite understand, she elaborated. "It's funny how people have this innate urge to fight and battle through life. Even over silly things like gum. And, I dunno, but it seems like a good example of what happens when people get power-hungry. They just fight and fight and fight, even if there isn't really anything to fight for. Or rather, even if what they think they are fighting for isn't really what they are fighting for at all, but a decoy, a shadow, of their true objectives."

The princess sighed, suddenly looking a lot older than her body's age of sixteen. "Isn't it possible that the real debate was actually focused on evolving our traditions and moving toward the future in our values and ideals?"

The queen's eyebrows shot to her hairline. "Yes, I suppose so," she agreed, completely caught off guard by her daughter's analysis of the Diet's seemingly fruitless debate.

A smile flickered across Usagi's face. "Then I would certainly say that trip was enlightening."

Yes, it was. It revealed a hint of discontent in the government and the wealthy elite, a discontent that would trouble Serenity for the remainder of her reign.