Chapter 10

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A new P.O.V!

*Euphemia's P.O.V*

Today has not been what I would call a good day. It has been rather hectic and I hate hectic days. I like days that go mostly to plan since I like to plan and nothing goes exactly to plan. Retiring was supposed to be my way out of the kingdom's politics, although that never truly got to happen seeing as I had remarried a merchant who liked to travel a lot so had a surprising amount of political connections. He had enough connections to marry the queen though, so I shouldn't have been surprised. It's rare for me to get relaxing days. It's a habit I find hard to get rid of from when I was queen. You can't stop being the queen so someone was always looking for a second of my time. I got used to always running the kingdom so now I'm always running my husband's business. This needs to go there, that needs to go here, we have too much of this so we need to drop the price, too little of this so need to raise the price, the supplier will be early, the supplier will be late, they want how much cut of the profit? And these are the questions on a good day.

On the days I do get a chance to relax because someone is forcing me to, I did so hate when they got interrupted. My mind goes back to this morning as I braid Elizabeth's hair, ignoring her sulking.

"Did you hear that Beth has lost another advisor?" Grey's voice rings in my ears as she enters my dining room, unannounced. Sometimes I regret letting her know where the spare key is since she takes it upon herself to use it instead of knocking. She could at least let the staff announce her first.

"I am aware but you already knew that," I say as I cut into a piece of sausage, lifting the fork up to my mouth and taking a bite. I take a moment to chew before I continue speaking. "Do you only forget your manners when you visit me or is it all former queens that you disrespect?" I ask as I stare at her, quite annoyed that it is no longer peaceful and quiet.

"Do you not remember all the times we barged into the room your late mother-in-law was in? She claimed to hate it just as much as you but we both know how much she enjoyed our... well really, my presence. She just tolerated you. So don't think yourself special," Grey says with a smile and a roll of her eyes as she sits next to me. Before now, she would have been much more formal. She wouldn't have rolled her eyes or barged into my home but it seems in the years of me retiring, she has taken it upon herself to become a nuisance of a best friend.

"That is lovely to know. I'm so glad to find out you still haven't learned anything in what should be your mature years," I say sarcastically as I continue to eat.

"Whatever, 'mia. At least I'm not as far into my "mature years" as you. So what are we going to do about Elizabeth losing her advisor...again?" Grey asks and I can sense her annoyance. Most likely caused since Elizabeth had chosen Richard instead of her choice of advisor last time. I think she did it just to annoy her and it didn't help that it worked.

"I have been training a proper advisor for her that we both will approve of as a replacement. It's a bit earlier than I would like but I've learned not to pass up a great opportunity when it offers itself for the taking. You are going to see her after this so I'll let you deliver the news to her." I tell her as I tilt my head, studying her. It was clear based on the fact that she was actually dressed up that she was going to see Elizabeth. I mean no one got that dressed up unless they were going to be around nobles or the queen. She definitely stopped dressing like that for me a while ago.

"You are either very good at hiding your spies from me or I am predictable. Yes, I am going to have a little chat with Elizabeth. Not about Richard, well not originally but I'm sure he'll come up, but rather her behavior as of late towards the nobles that she doesn't like," Grey says as she sighs. "I told you that letting her have private tutors would isolate her and make it hard for her socially, and it seems like I was right," she states, sounding a bit too smug.

I lean closer, tilting my head. I can see the slight fear that she still holds from when I was queen. It was amusing to see how quickly people would shut their mouth when they thought of me as the queen still. She also knows I don't like when people, including her, talk bad about how I chose to raise my daughter and she went too far with that one.

"Perhaps you are right in some regards. I did tend to give in to her fits when she was younger. Although I think I was more stern with her than you. The tutors also didn't do a very good job teaching her proper etiquette or giving her opportunities to make social connections like a school would have. It's hard to imagine our Beth in a classroom all day though. She would have driven those teachers mad, just like her tutors. Speaking of, when you leave, there is a letter on my study desk. Grab it and take it with you please," I state after getting control of my emotions, making her huff slightly.

"Of course you were 'mia, you were her mother and did the best you could. You were around her much more than me and were the final say in what disciplinary action she had to accept," Grey says and it makes me flinch internally when I hear her words. That wasn't true, I had never gotten to spend much time with Elizabeth when she was young. Grey acted more like a proper mother to her than I ever did. She was such an independent child so never wanted or needed me and then after her father passed, the kingdom had taken most of my time. There were moments here and there that we shared but they were rare. Especially moments I wasn't distracted with kingdom events and giving her my full attention.

Perhaps that was why I had taken a more active role in her life now that I was retired. I now had the time to spend with her but she didn't seem to care much for spending time with me nowadays. We had a decent relationship when I was considering stepping down, letting her become queen but after that...when I stepped down because I remarried...she had drifted away from me so quickly and I was lost on what to do about it. She was not that good at hiding how she truly felt around me and I had seen the flashes of pain in her eyes when she saw my husband and I together. I think he sees it too and that's why he avoids the castle and her now.

That's why I had started training Zelene to be an advisor, in hopes of preparing her to help my daughter and maybe help her have more free time that we could spend together. My fear is her turning into me and refusing to stop working to relax. Plus it was comforting to know that my daughter would soon have someone that I could trust by her side. Sure her other advisors had been fine but they hadn't been trustworthy, at least not to me. And I learned to be a very good judge of character after being queen for so long.

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