Chapter 27

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*Elizabeth's P.O.V*

I lock myself in the bathroom, getting a rag to scrub my face. I hurry to try and get all the lipstick off my face, my cheeks burning from the embarrassment of having my mother's lipstick all over my face. I mean what kind of queen still got kisses from her Mommy?! It was so embarrassing!

I leave the dirty rag in the sink, leaving the bathroom as I head to my study. As soon as I'm in the room, I nearly jump out of my skin when I see that Zelene's already there. I furrow my eyebrows as I sit down at my desk, looking over the papers in front of me. I decide the reports about how the trades are going is the priority so work on them first.

"Did you take a break at all or have you just been standing in here waiting for me to get back?" I ask Zelene curiously, glancing up at her as I keep working on the reports.

"I took a break, I just finished my break before you came back and decided to get used to your study. If I am to advise you, it would be best if I knew how you liked to do things," Zelene says simply as she smiles slightly, turning her attention back to my bookshelves.

I nod my head, furrowing my eyebrows as I read over one of the letters that had been sent to me. It was one from one of our trade partners, a thinly veiled demand that I needed to lower our prices or else. He couldn't make me do that! Normally, I would just do what he wished since he was a long standing trade partner but...I didn't want to just keep listening to him. It wasn't fun to just blindly listen to people all the time, not anymore at least.

I tap my pen against my lips, trying to decide the politest way to reject his demands. I could just reply with a letter that said no but I don't think he'd be very happy if I did that. Even if it would be hilarious.

I finally start to form the words, carefully writing my reply as Zelene cleans up my study. She seems to be careful about not moving things around too much but doesn't seem comfortable with just leaving everything scattered about...it was a good system though! I just had to look around the entire room to find something which only took up a minuscule amount of time...sometimes. It was a great way to distract myself from all this paperwork though!

'Dear Duke Campbell,

With all the best wishes, I cannot lower the price of items in the Bilge. It is a danger to even send trade ships or carriages through your land and yet I still do to supply your people. The price of sending the supplies and having constant guards with them means that the kingdom is barely making a profit. You have been tasked with getting rid of whatever thing has hold of the land and is attacking the carriages and ships. You have failed this task, several times. If you cannot handle it, I will send my best guards to do so. For the sake of the kingdom and for the people of the Bilge, as it is not fair for them to be stuck in such a place because of a lack of leadership. I wish you the best, as well as Lady Catherine.

Regards, Queen Elizabeth'

I sign my name with a flourish, a little too happy to finish the letter to my cousin who is once removed. I know him being removed didn't make him actually removed from the family....but I wish it did. It would be much easier to deal with him if he wasn't related and I didn't have to worry about upsetting my Auntie Catherine. It wasn't her fault her grandson was incompetent and I did hate hurting her feelings in anyways, however I couldn't bow down to how anyone felt anymore.

Auntie Catherine was my mother's eldest sister. She got married and started a family while very young. My mother was a surprise by the fact that all her siblings are much older than her. In fact, Auntie Catherine had her first born only a couple years after my mother was born. So that is why my cousins are all older than me and some much older. some even have children around my age, which makes a weird family tree, if you look at the ages. Anyway, Auntie stepped away from her controlling roles shortly after my father died and then my lovely cousin, once removed, was given control shortly after I took over as queen because frankly, his parents hated doing it and loved the idea of someone else having that responsibility. Let's just say they rely on my Auntie's prestige a bit too much.

"Look this over," I say as I push the letter towards Zelene. She approaches my desk, taking the letter and also stealing my pen. I huff slightly as I switch my focus to reading Mother's letters while Zelene revises what I've written.

I open the drawer, pulling a letter out. I carefully cut the seal, making sure not to break it or ruin it. Perhaps it's a childish thing but I like saving each of the seals of the letters my mother sends me, as a way to keep her close to me even when we are fighting. I smile slightly as I hold the letter close, feeling a little silly as I start to read over it.

Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen the top letter, as it's mostly Mother scolding me and threatening to come visit if I don't reply soon or fix my behavior with the nobles. She wanted me to be stern with them but apparently I couldn't be rude for some reason...I thought that was rude of her to do.

"This one is definitely going into the fires," I say out loud, setting the letter down. I carefully rip off the part of the letter that holds my mother's signature, opening another drawer and setting the seal and signature with the other seals and signatures I had. They weren't something I needed to keep but they were something I wanted to. Every one was a reminder of my mother and one day she wouldn't be here anymore so I had to keep whatever I could of hers.

I keep the drawer open as I grab another of my mother's letters, slowly working my way through the pile of letters. I throw the letters that are scolding me into a pile on the corner of my deck, deciding to make that my pile of letters to burn. I try to slip in a few of the invitations from nobles for parties, smiling when Zelene doesn't even notice.

She finally brings me my letter back, one I take happily. That is, until I see that she has made a lot of corrections. I pout at her corrections, my pouting worsening when I see Zelene slip the invitations out of my burn pile. How dare she! I didn't want to go to any of those events and she couldn't make me!

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