First Day on the Job
“…and therefore, from this day forward, I shall serve you to the best of my ability, milady.”
“No, even if you say that, isn’t this a little sudden?”
Master and I stood across from Empress Rosalind in her private chambers. Her attendant, Glint, was standing behind her, arms folded, quietly vigilant. Most others would have been refused entry to the Empress’ chambers, but Master, as the High Chancellor, was one of the few who was permitted private audiences with our Empress. Master smiled and responded to the Empress’ confusion.
“As I said, I have decided to entrust Alpha here to your care. She will henceforth serve as your maid. She is extremely competent in all duties that this role might require, I assure you.”
“No, I got that, and I have no doubt that she’s very good at her job, but why lend her to me?”
“Ah, pardon my insolence, but you have only recently entered the world of courtly intrigue. It would not do for a woman of your status to lack a personal attendant. It would generate some rather unpleasant whisperings among the nobility.”
“I have Glint.”
“And I have seen firsthand how talented this young man is. I have no doubt that he is an excellent attendant. However, he is a man. I hope you will pardon me for saying this, but a woman of your intellect must surely have realised how improper it would appear for our Empress to be constantly attended upon by a man other than her husband.”
The Empress pressed her lips together. Her facial expression suggested displeasure. She glanced at Glint, who simply nodded. She turned back to Master.
“I see your point. But as generous as this is, don’t you need her services yourself? From what I’ve seen, this girl serves as your maid, secretary as well as bodyguard. In that case, is it really alright to let her serve me?”
“Certainly, while losing her assistance would cause some small amount of inconvenience for me, there are others who can fill her roles. Of course, I would have to borrow her on occasion, but for the most part, I feel that supporting you would be a better use of her talents.”
She shared another glance with Glint, then sighed and nodded.
“In that case, I shall happily accept your generosity. I’ll be counting on you, Alpha.”
“I hope that I am able to live up to your expectations, milady.”
I bowed and provided the response that etiquette required. Master nodded with satisfaction.
“In that case, I shall leave you to become better acquainted with one another. If you happen to need anything, you’ll find me in my office.”
“Thank you for your time, Chancellor.”
“No, thank you, your Majesty.”
With that, Master left the room, leaving myself, Empress Rosalind, and Glint in her private quarters. As he exited, Master gave me a meaningful look, filled with expectation, before closing the door.
I suppose that this is a prudent time for me to divulge the duty which Master had assigned me.
It should be abundantly clear that he did not truly assign me to serve as the Empress’ attendant out of generosity or genuine concern. Rather, my mission was to serve as his spy. I was to observe the Empress’ movements and report anything suspicious to Master.
Master was no fool. He was not so gullible as to believe that the Empress was as smitten with the Emperor as she appeared. Rather, he suspected that the Empress was planning some sort of revenge against the Emperor. However, his objective was not to prevent her from doing so. Rather, her plotted revenge factored into his plans – he hoped that she would try to do something to take revenge on the Emperor. He had acted in a way to foster her hatred of the man – although Elysium’s execution had been ordered by him, he had submitted the order in the Emperor’s name. His end goal was, of course, the elimination of the Emperor.
Master desired the throne. He had various reasons, which I had never taken the time to inquire – curiosity was not a freedom accorded to me. However, although he held the position of High Chancellor, one whose authority was arguably equal to that of the Emperor, he still desired the throne. Yet, he could not move to depose the Emperor himself – the other nobles would be outraged. The nation would fall apart. Instead, all he could do was to fan the flames of revolution, in the hope that the power of the nobles could be crippled. When the time came, he would rise up from the ashes as a hero, the man who stood up for the people against the tyranny of a selfish Emperor. It was for that purpose that he had spent so much time increasing his popularity with the common people.
That was the plan that he had listed to me on countless occasions, despite my inability to respond to it in any constructive manner. Whenever he found the opportunity, he would begin to rant about the nature of revolution and about his grand plan. It happened so often that I had memorised his entire speech, and yet he still insisted on periodically making it. It was truly unfortunate that I lacked the free will to beg him to stop.
Returning to the topic at hand, Master had ordered me to watch the Empress and note if she had any revolutionary tendencies – if I noticed any such leanings, I was to report them to him, and then support her in her plots to the best of my ability, as long as they did not endanger Master. I was to be Master’s eyes, ears and hands in manipulating the Empress.
It was with this mission in mind that I bowed deeply to the Empress and asked what she would have me do – I was skilled as a maid, a bodyguard, and an administrative assistant, and so I asked her which role she desired for me to take first.
“Uh. Well, for a start, tell me about yourself.”
That was unexpected. My training had not prepared me for such a question. I decided that she was asking for my designation.
“I am Alpha.”
“…Yes, I know that. Can you tell me anything else?”
I found her response odd. I had expected that my prior answer would have adequately answered her query. Perhaps she was asking about my capabilities?
“I am a maid. I can also act as a secretary, and I have received training in martial arts.”
“…Yes, you already mentioned all that. Is there anything else? Tell me about yourself. About you.”
“…I apologise, but I do not comprehend the question.”
“Uhm, let me put it another way… let’s see… okay. How about this? Is there anything you like? Is there anything you dislike?”
“Personal preferences are irrelevant to my duties. As such, I do not possess any such preferences.”
The Empress blinked several times, then looked at Glint. The young man shrugged in response, a puzzled look on his face. I determined that neither of them were asking anything of me, so I maintained a neutral, expressionless demeanor. Finally, the Empress sighed and turned to me.
“Well, since we’re not getting anywhere, let’s just put you to work right away. Since you serve the Chancellor, I take it that he’s had you collect documents before?”
“Yes, that is correct. I have retrieved reports for Master Julio on numerous occasions.”
“Okay, do you mind helping me ask for the financial reports from the last three months? I’m going to need a better understanding of our country if I am to support my Lord to the best of my ability.”
“Understood. I will return shortly.”
With that, I bowed and exited. Thus were the beginnings of my days in the service of Empress Rosalind Kronschild.