Chapter 48 – The Missing Page (1)
She had barely taken a few strides when Marianne stopped in her tracks, unable to contain herself any longer. She turned around and addressed her superior.
“General Officer Sarah?”
“Is everything under control?”
Sarah was careful to remain composed as she said, “You do not have to worry about it.”
But Marianne knew better. Just because Sarah said, it didn’t mean that there was indeed nothing for her to worry about. She’d always upheld her duty- the queen being her prime concern. And although she was a diligent worker, this time she felt like it was more than a duty. She was surprised at her own feelings, more so because this feeling was towards this Queen.
The queen’s memory loss, only a few were privy to this secret. There was a lot of uncertainty looming around this, in terms of both people and circumstances. For instance, after the incident, the queen had become a completely different person. It felt like the former Jin Anika was evicted from the body, and someone else had taken her place. Although it was an absurd logic, reality pointed towards it. That said, it would only be a matter of time until people realized this disparity and rumors would begin to spread like a plague.
The queen being the subject of gossip, was not ideal. Let alone her image; it was detrimental even to the harmony of the kingdom. Marianne worried not only about what would be imagined to be true but also how the story would be distorted as it passed from person to person. Hence the need for secrecy, the fewer ears heard, the fewer mouths babbled.
As a measure, the entourage of servants was minimized. Those few were handpicked and monitored constantly. Also, Marianne did not want to expose the queen to a lot of people just yet. Not only because the queen needed to get acquainted with the goings-on and the past, but also herself. And this needed time. So, the less the exposure, the fewer the errors.
It was General Officer Sarah who was responsible for selecting the servants. She had observed the due precautions during the process and had them all under her constant gaze.
“And the girl?”
Marianne’s concern was Zanne, the new servant that served the queen at the forefront. She appeared to know her place and never crossed her line, but the skeptic in Marianne found it all too good to be true.
Sarah did not need Marianne to mention her explicitly to understand who she was referring to. They seemed to be in perfect sync with each other’s thoughts.
“She is a quiet and calm girl. You do not have to worry about her.” Sarah reassured.
“One ought to be shaken if the surroundings provoke them.” Marianne countered solemnly.
Zanne was a young girl and had already become one of the most important servants in the palace. Marianne knew the nature of those around her was bound to jealousy. Hence, she felt the need for extra measures to protect her.
“Do not worry,” Sarah said, “I know who I work for.”
Marianne realized her mistake. Sarah was the current Chief General Officer, and for Marianne to speak to her in such a manner, was to take liberties she had no right to. Despite Marianne’s misstep, Sarah was gracious, speaking carefully and respectfully to shield Marianne from humiliation.
Marianne smiled. Sarah was very responsible and passionate about her work. Marianne trusted Sarah, which was why she had passed on her position to Sarah three years ago.
“I worry too much. I must be getting old.” Marianne returned her empathy with humility and good nature.
“The servants seem to be enjoying more of their time. It is a good change. Or perhaps it is just me.” Sarah mused.
Since the queen’s change, the palace staff had become easier to handle; they had released the rudest of the servants, who were also the queen’s favorite.
Looking at Sarah’s face etched with worry, Marianne felt somewhat sorry for the general. She hadn’t thought placing her as general officer after the king’s marriage would put her under so much stress. But to her, at that time, she was the apt candidate for the job.
The queen’s orders were obviously more important than the general officer’s orders to the servants. Whenever the two orders conflicted, the dignity of the general officer would be at stake as the servants chose to ignore her orders. And Marianne was unaware of the mess in hierarchy among the staff.
Ah, I cannot imagine the mess the queen must be in, Marianne thought. She had been taken aback by the queen’s question on her ability, the Ramita. Forgetting about Ramita meant the queen was in a more severe condition than she had expected. Also, the queen behaved less and less like her former self.
I feel guilty for wanting these days to continue forever.
Brushing aside her thoughts, Marianne quickly headed over to the King’s Office. As she arrived, Chancellor Verus stepped out of the office. The two gave each other a nod as they passed.
Chancellor Verus tilted his head as he walked down the hallway, thinking over the strange events of late.
There’s something amiss in the palace these days…
He had heard the former general officer had returned. This meant… the royal couple must be in danger or why else would she visit frequently?
A king was both the owner of the kingdom and the head of the family. All the power one could wish for was his. That made the process for recruiting a contributing staff member to run the royal family rather flexible. But being right under the monarch’s eyes meant being under a constant watch and called for extra caution. It was a double-edged sword, indeed.
Is His Majesty using the former general officer to control Her Royal Highness The Queen?
The tumultuous relationship between the queen and the former general officer was quite notorious among the palace staff. Everyone knew of their everyday battles in the confines of the palace walls. However, no one would have imagined the return of the former officer was connected to the royal couple, as most staff were under the impression the couple had a good relationship. Chancellor Verus was one of the hand few that knew all the details.
But why is it so quiet? This must be the calm before the storm.
Chancellor Verus had expected huge concern from the king at the report of the queen’s disappearance. At least, he wanted him to be concerned. But the King’s attitude towards the news was indifferent. He believed that if there was no sign of improvement in the relationship between the royal couple, the king should have the queen assume full responsibility for her duties.
But for some reason, there hadn’t been a single announcement regarding the issue, even up until now.
A kingdom needs a happy royal couple. In his heart, Chancellor Verus knew this to be true but still could not condone the king’s behavior.
He let out a long sigh and tried to push the subject to the back of his mind.
Why waste precious energy when he was powerless in this regard?