Chapter 12

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*Zelene's P.O.V*

After the mild embarrassment of mistaking Queen Elizabeth for a child, I wonder if my observation is actually not that far off. She may physically be an adult but she seems to behave like a child in some manners.

The way she refuses to let Lady Euphemia touch what she considers her bell is one thing I notice. In fact she goes so far as to scoot it closer to me so that it is now fully out of Lady Euphemia's reach. Lady Euphemia just seems amused by her behavior rather than scolding which...is not what I had expected.

Knowing Lady Euphemia, I had expected her to correct the queen's behavior. I mean she is her mother and the former queen, after all, but Lady Euphemia just gives her an indulgent smile. It seems to please her that Queen Elizabeth is doing this.

I slowly piece parts of it together, coming up with my own conclusion. Lady Euphemia had not gotten much time with Queen Elizabeth when she was younger. She had confessed as much to me on a day that I had asked about her daughter.

Lady Euphemia had tried to spend much of her time with Queen Elizabeth when she was younger but after the passing of King Leon, she had been quite busy with running an entire kingdom on her own. It wasn't that she couldn't ask for help, she just didn't need or want it. She was brilliant and witty, sharp-tongued in a way that no noble expected her to be. She was the perfect queen. That had led to an upset in the nobles, one that only grew when she didn't take on an advisor as previous kings and queens had.

An advisor would have taken some of the workload off of her, it would have given her more time to step back and be a mother. It wasn't something she was willing to do, although no one knew why. I mean work that could be passed onto someone else, who wouldn't jump at the chance? At least that was the thinking of many, if not most of the nobles. I knew the reason she didn't accept an advisor was because she didn't want to deal with the political game of having one. Queen Elizabeth and her many advisors are a good example of that.

I think that is why so many nobles are nervous about Queen Elizabeth. Her lack of retaining an advisor as well as her loose tongue when it came to disrespecting those who disrespected her was too close to her mother's rule for their liking. I quite liked it, I mean perhaps I shouldn't be happy the queen insulted people but from what I had heard, her insults had been quite creative. If she was going to insult people, of course they should be original.

I'm brought out of my thoughts when I notice Queen Elizabeth looking at me. Before she had just been stealing glances, giving me a look like she's not sure what to make of me. I can't blame her, it seems that she is just as surprised as I am. Lady Euphemia would be paying for springing this on me. She was technically my boss but I didn't like surprises and she knew that very well! Least of all when it comes to hindering me doing my job correctly. I notice now while I was lost in thought, we also moved from a study to the dining room table.

"Your resume shows that you're very talented... it's impressive," Queen Elizabeth says, giving me an appraising look.

"Thank you your majesty," I reply, the corner of my lips quirking up slightly in a smile.

"I do not think it would be so impressive without the connections that I have acquired," I state. Queen Elizabeth glances at her mother, seeming to understand that she was the source of many of my connections.

"Yes, I imagine so," Queen Elizabeth says slowly, studying her mother for a moment before looking back at me.

"I do hope my mother hasn't overburdened you, I know that she tends to over exaggerate people's workload," Queen Elizabeth states, frowning when Lady Euphemia simply hums in response while sipping her drink.

"Yes well I have informed Zelene about your tricks while I personally trained her for this role so it will not be easy to rid yourself of her, not like you have done to other advisors," Lady Euphemia retorts, a small smile on her lips.

"I have never purposefully gotten rid of an advisor," Queen Elizabeth huffs, refusing to look in Lady Euphemia's direction as she cuts into her steak, the inside of it looking only just barely cooked.

"I have to disagree with that darling. You have and you know it. The first two advisors as well as your fourth one," Lady Euphemia says, raising an eyebrow.

"I did not know that you ate your steak rare. You have always eaten it well done," she muses, a question in her voice.

"Things change, mother. I mean you would know that though, especially since you have people to keep you informed," Queen Elizabeth says, her tone a little bit sharper than it was before. Her words bewilder me. What was she speaking about?

"I would not have any of them if my daughter could write back to her mother. Apparently she thinks herself too good to reply, so her mother has to find her own ways." Lady Euphemia says, her tone holding an edge that shows her anger.

"I feel no need to write to you when your letters are just you attempting to control the kingdom. You always impose your thoughts and views without me asking... you are no longer the queen, mother! I am!" Queen Elizabeth says as she glances at her mother with a frown.

"I send you those letters because I care for you and would rather not have to listen to the nobles slander your name while talking about the choices you are making," Lady Euphemia says.

"If you wish to continue arguing, we can do that later, I do not think you are making the best introduction to your advisor by arguing with me at every turn," she states, her voice holding a warning that Queen Elizabeth seems to understand.

"You're not going to be mean like some of the other ones she gave her opinion on, are you?" Queen Elizabeth asks as she turns her attention to me. That sudden change of conversation takes me a moment to adjust to so I just cut into my steak as I mull over my thoughts for a moment.

"I do not think I am mean. I will be your advisor, I will advise you. I do not intend to be mean, but I apologize in advance if my advice comes off that way," I say slowly, earning a small nod.

"Which of your advisors have been mean to you Beth? Is this the same thing you did with your tutors about them being mean to you by expecting you to do your work?" Lady Euphemia says, her tone teasing towards the end and I can see Queen Elizabeth frown. Before that though, there is the slightest quirk of her lips upwards.

Does she enjoy riling Lady Euphemia up? I would say that most people would not but it seems that Queen Elizabeth enjoys her mother's teasing even when being displeased with her.

"They were mean to me Mother, you just think that they should be allowed to be mean to me. Much like you are," Queen Elizabeth says as she holds her mother's gaze for a moment, making Lady Euphemia arch an eyebrow.

"I am mean? When? I have been nothing but loving towards you," Lady Euphemia states, amusement coloring her tone.

"Yes! You are nothing but mean to me!" Queen Elizabeth exclaims and the way she says it has me biting back a chuckle. It's quite clear that she does believe her mother is mean to her, in the same way a child who is given a bedtime would call their parent mean.

"I am so sure that you mean that," Lady Euphemia scoffs, making Queen Elizabeth pout. It was actually quite amusing that she was pouting over her mother's sarcasm.

"I do mean that," Queen Elizabeth mutters, still pouting slightly. "You won't be mean to me right?" She double checks with me.

"No, I will not be mean to you Queen Elizabeth," I promise, making her smile.

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