Chapter 11

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*Euphemia's P.O.V*

I snap out of my thoughts when Elizabeth moves, her back pressing into my knees as I continue to braid her hair. It's clear that she is a little uncomfortable with how long she has been sitting still so I let her move around a bit until she settles back down, leaning her head back to glance at me. When she sees me looking at her, her eyes widen for a second before her head snaps back down and she goes back to looking straight ahead. I sigh as I lean down and press a kiss to the top of her head before continuing to do her hair and getting lost in my thoughts once again.

I had actually gotten to relax for at least part of the day. That had ended when Grey so rudely interrupted my time in the library. I had just opened a book, ready to start reading it before the door to my library door slams open.

"Have you heard the news?" Grey asks as she looks at me, a frown on her lips.

"I hear lots of news, Grey. What is important news to you does not always mean important news to me. Can you please be more specific on what news you are referring to?" I ask as I try to start reading the book in my hands. It was a gift from my husband who had just returned from one of his overseas trips. I did miss him whenever he traveled which is why he rarely traveled without me. This time I had wanted to stay home...which actually had worked out in my favor this time.

"Astley has decided to bring a guest with him when he visits with Elizabeth tonight. One that he hopes to convince her to take as her advisor. She might accept just to spite us like last time again," Grey says. I shut my book at her words, the smack of the pages hitting together loud in the silent room.

"He plans on doing what now?" I ask as my eye twitches slightly. I can't believe Astley would have the audacity to do such a thing. When did he grow such a backbone? He usually acts very timid and cautious with his political moves. He had no right to add on a guest to a meeting with the queen, not without permission. I knew he didn't have permission based on past meetings with him and because I knew my daughter and she would never approve it.

"I know, can you believe the audacity of that man? I mean first of all he's just a Viscount i and second of all, well I don't have a second reason. I just don't like the idea that Beth is about to hire another advisor unsuited for the job. I know he has the right to recommend someone but to do it so openly? What are we going to do about this, 'mia?" Grey states as she rolls her eyes. I shake my head slightly as I stand up, finding it kind of ironic that she of all people is complaining about following etiquette after barging in here as I'm throwing the book down onto the couch.

"We won't be doing anything. You will go home and let me deal with this. It seems I will have to change my plans around and make a special trip today instead of waiting until tomorrow. A shame really, I was hoping to not have Elizabeth scolded for her behavior on the same day she meets her advisor. She's absolutely going to refuse to listen to me now," I sigh as I walk out of the library, Grey following behind me.

"Can you even introduce her to her advisor today? I mean I thought Zelene was busy and always out," Grey states.

"Why do you think I had a room designated for Zelene to stay in these last couple months? I've had her on my payroll for a little while now so I know how to keep her where I want her. Plus, she has known for a while now that I've been training her for a different role than the one she was originally hired for so is getting impatient to find out what that role is," I inform Grey as I pick up the pace to get to Zelene's room. A lady never runs but a lady most certainly can speedwalk.

"Mother, are you done?" Elizabeth asks, snapping me out of my daydreaming with her question. It's almost muscle memory for me to braid hair like this but even then, I can't be as quick as she clearly wants me to be. I also probably wasn't moving as fast as I could since I was daydreaming.

"Just a little bit longer darling," I inform her, ignoring the way she huffs and crosses her arms. She always sulks over the tiniest things especially when things are not done to her liking as soon as she asks for them to be, especially around me.

Elizabeth stays silent as Zelene enters the room and I finish braiding her hair. It's almost like she doesn't notice Zelene entering the room at first. Elizabeth also doesn't immediately get up like I thought she would, she almost seems to press her back into my knees more when she notices there is someone new in the room. Like she is shying away from Zelene.

Her shyness disappears when Zelene mistakes her for a child, watching as her face furrows into a frown. I couldn't blame Zelene for not realizing that Elizabeth was the queen, Elizabeth had been sitting at my feet sulking like a child, since she entered. As far as I know, she also has never seen my daughter in person before now.

I see the tenseness in Elizabeth's shoulders, most likely her pride being wounded by Zelene mistaking her for a child. Elizabeth has always been fond of thinking of herself as a mature adult even when she still looks much younger and if I'm being honest, really acts the part without being pressed to, usually by me or Grey. I couldn't blame Zelene for thinking that she is a child but I think Elizabeth may just hold a small grudge. Today really was a terrible day to introduce them.

"I do not look like a child, take it back!" is the first thing Elizabeth says as she scrambles up and I give her a look to try and remind her of her manners. She is still sulking over being scolded, and while I understand she isn't pleased with being scolded and mistaken for a child, she still has to remember her manners. Plus, that was very childish.

"I apologize, your majesty," Zelene says slowly, still trying to come out of her obvious surprise. I hadn't seen her that confused since I had informed her that I had a new job for her that she will be taking and will require months of training. This was a few months ago but I hadn't exactly told her what she was training for since then so I can only imagine what is going through her mind right now. Perhaps I should have given her more warning but I didn't know that Elizabeth would need an advisor so soon. I thought I would have months more to continue training Zelene.

"You are not the first one to make the mistake and assume that my daughter is younger than she is. Few people get her age right on the first guess," I say as Elizabeth slips past me to get back to the spot reserved for the queen in this room. I can't blame her for wanting to go back to her spot, she's still probably sulking over my lecture and probably wants to save face after having her next advisor mistake her for a child.

I understand that she is probably upset with me for interrupting her meeting with Astley but I am not stupid enough to be sorry for it. I had done what I had to do, to protect my daughter from another bad advisor and keep the kingdom on a good track. It's past time she stopped relying on Grey and I to bail her out of all her silly and mostly childish decisions she makes on a whim. She would see that my decision for her advisor was good for her soon. She can sulk over it at first all she wants but my mind is made up and she will be accepting that before I leave.

"Have a seat Zelene," I offer, letting Zelene sit to the right of Elizabeth. It was where advisors normally sit and I can't help but smirk when Elizabeth doesn't object. Not that it would have changed much but I do appreciate how accepting she is of the situation. I sit down on the other side of Elizabeth, reaching for the bell out of instinct. I pause when Elizabeth's hand curls around the bell in an almost protective manner.

"It's my bell. I'm the queen now," Elizabeth says, giving me a look that shows just how upset she is that I tried to touch her bell...again. I sigh at her words, shaking my head slightly.

"Go ahead then darling, ring it," I encourage, a small smile tugging on my lips. Her behavior bordered on disrespectful but as long as she didn't cross the line of fully disrespecting me, it was fine. It's also kind of cute because it reminds me of an old memory of when she claimed my bell as hers when I was queen.

Elizabeth smiles slightly as she rings it and I can see the way Zelene watches her, her own lips curling up into a smile. I may have had another reason for hiring Zelene and it is because I want someone I can genuinely trust to watch over Elizabeth. To help her, to cherish her like Grey and I do. Elizabeth may not accept me helping her but I am hoping she'll allow someone else to. I just knew the person was Zelene once I started working with her and training her... I just hope my Beth eventually feels the same.

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