Disclaimer: See Part 1
Summary: Xena was tired of her Seneschals who were all trying to kill her, Elusia the last one is dead and Palimon, the captain of her Imperial guard and her right hand man was tired of hiring Seneschals after seneschals. He was allowed to hire one, but with a strict order... MALE Seneschal or none at all.
“Empress,” I stopped reading a new scroll and looked up to see Elkton enter my antechamber, he left my door open so I'm betting my empiric ass that someone is to follow. My right eye twitched when he just stood there and looked at me. “I'll have no qualm ordering Palimon to behead you if you don't talk. You're wasting my precious work time.” I said putting stress on the word work . Well, when I decided to conquer the whole known world, It didn't occur to me that QUEENING will be all work and no play!
“Ahrm,” he cleared his throat, “Might I say you are very good with your words Empress, but you had threatened me with the same thing for the last ten years and I still have my head on my neck your majesty.”
I rolled my eyes, his bravado! “So what?”
“I'm just making sure that I have your undivided attention your majesty,” My old advisor said bowing in respect. Well, he may have sass, but he always do his sassing and still look like he's doing it with respect, unlike Palimon. I can't blame the big guy though, he always gets the brunt of my ire.
“I brought the new Seneschal and your personal scribe.” He finally said, “Should I call for him?”
“So Palimon decided already hm?”
“The Captain? Oh, Vidalis decided on this one. “ He replied nonchalantly, why do I surround myself with people like him? I know a king or two who'd have no doubt behead them without batting an eyelash!
“Captain Palimon was busy with Generals Atalanta and Draco with the recruitment.”
“New soldiers Empress,” He smiled.
“Oh yes, I almost forgot about that.” I felt another twitch in my right eye and then smiled, “My personal scribe you say?” I watch him nod his head, “Sent him in, then leave us.” I commanded.
“By your will your majesty,” he bowed down and stepped back without turning around. When he reached the entrance of my room, he announced, “Empress, the palace new Seneschal and your personal scribe. Gabriel of Potadeia,” My eye didn't leave the space beyond my door, and soon, blonde locks peeked followed by a nervously smiling face... with the most vibrant green eyes I've ever seen.
He probably got the ball to get out of his hiding place and stood before me, though still at the entrance. He bowed respectfully and say, “I am at your service your majesty,”
Well, everyone says that, I feed them, clothed them and provide roof over their heads, so I expect them to be in my service any time... no... all the time. My personal reverie was cut short by Elkton bowing on his knees, turning and leaving. I heard the sound of my door closing but I hadn't seen it for my eyes were riveted on my new Seneschal and Personal Scribe in one.
I stood and stifle a laugh when I saw his throat moved when he gulped, probably scared. Hah... I still have it in me! I rejoiced. Being the Empress, my army probably thinks that I'm getting soft. Glad I never hear them word it, for if I do, they'll know how really soft I'd become. Then I stepped close to him, ready to do my usual inspection. I wasn't able to stifle the laughter when his head followed my length, that means he have to look up several inches only for his eyes to meet my breast line. His gulp was audible this time.
“Alright, you amuse me.” I took a deep breath and then walked around him, “But I hire you here to be the Seneschal and my personal scribe, I didn't hire you to be my jester, because if I want a jester, I already have one in my army.” I said thinking of the doofus one whose name I recall was Joxer. I don't know what Palimon was thinking when he hired him.
I sniffed the air, cherry blossom, and I was sure it was from him. I'm not going to use cherry blossom for a shampoo! No way, high way! By the gods... Is he as gay as Vidalis? But he doesn't look it... “What is your preference?”
I watched his forehead crinkle and there was this cute wrinkle on his nose as he thought of his answer. Then I raised one brow, “Preference your majesty?” he asked. His voice was deep, but it wasn't the usual deepness I'm used with men. I've been surrounded by men all the time, and the quality of voice they have were more... how do you say it... masculine? Well, Vidalis, despite his big body always have a girly voice, but he is a sodomite, I can't complain.
“Your preference, I'm asking. Are you a sodomite or are you not?”
I chuckle when his eyes went wide, “Majesty...” the blush did it for me! Oh my goddess... if this man have been a woman, I'd say he is adorable! I'd probably shift his status from Seneschal cum Personal Scribe to Personal Scribe cum Personal Slave.
“I... haven't decided yet your majesty,” he answered and I swear, he probably could triple as my own personal jester!
“Okay,” I said after I have manage to calm my self. “You see that?” I said pointing on the small mountain of scrolls I had on my desk, “I want you to read them all, summarize them one by one and report to me before the end of the day. Do you think you can do that?”
I saw him raise one finely curved eyebrow as if he was saying “Is that all?”, was that a challenge in his eyes I see? Ohhh, I think I'm going to like this man.
“Yes your majesty,” And yet, he talks in respect... hmmm, I need fresh air.
“Well then, Elkton had tour you around is it not?” He nodded his head, “He also read you the simplified rules in the palace and your duty as Seneschal?”
“Yes your majesty,”
“He told you about doubling as my scribe?”
“Mr. Vidalis and him your majesty,”
I smiled, “Be careful of Vidalis then, I think he has blonde fetish.” I grinned when I saw him gulped in nervousness. “I'll see about your work, and if I like it, I'd ask Vidalis to find an assistant for you,”
His eyes widened again, darn... why are those green orbs so... sooo... magnetic?
“Assistant your majesty?”
“Assistant Seneschal, if I like your work, you'll be doing a lot of scribing, so you need someone to act on the things you want arranged in the castle.” I said, “When you're not scribing, I expect you to be roaming around the castle and making sure that servants are doing their jobs properly.” I said seriously this time. “I always want my castle in order Gabby, I can call you Gabby right?” he nodded his head, well he should, if he said no, he'll probably go to the dungeon as punishment... and on his first day. “Good, remember this, if I hear even one word about the slaves staging a coup, your neck is on the line.”
He looked at me as he nod his head, his eyes bore no contempt or nervousness. I'll see how long you'll last then... “If you have any doubt about my words, you can ask Elkton or Vidalis what happened to my past Seneschals.”
“I do not doubt your words your majesty,”
I stepped closer to him and put my hands on both his cheeks, his cheeks were warm and soft. I'll bet both my legs, this man is a sodomite! I softly tapped the mentioned anatomy thrice, “Very good, you are well trained.” I grinned and then walked away. “Come here,”
I said and watch as he walked unevenly towards my working desk, both my eyebrows rose this time, “What happened to your leg?” I looked down and focused my gaze on his right leg that was a little bit shorter than the left,”
“Gift by the warlord who ransacked Potadeia your majesty,” I almost frowned. The warlord who burned Potadeia was Darphus, he burned everything in my name and took all the women there to be sold as slaves. The first time the bastard betrayed me... I should have not given him another chance, I should have killed him right then!
The thought of Darphus boils my blood and I guess it reflects on my aura, for he started fidgeting.
“Sit,” I said and watch him look around, “Sit on my chair, you'll be doing the scribing from there so feel free to use it when working.” I smiled, “If I'm letting you do most of my work, it's quite fitting that I at least give you a comfortable chair.” He nodded.
I followed his movement as he walked around the table and sat. He awkwardly pulled the chair closer to the table. “Now, I want you to start with this,” I said giving him a scroll, “All the scrolls were tied with three different colored ribbons. The red ones are the urgent matters, the yellow ones are the not so immediate and the green ones are those you can just browse because they will not affect the realm at all.”
“So they are not important your majesty?” He asked innocently.
“Not not important, there's nothing not important in the realm, if a nobleman from the council sneezes, it is still important but it's not going to affect the realm. Let me ask you this,” I said and saw him leaning forward and was intent on listening carefully, “I a son was orphaned because the parents died of an accident, would you consider that not important?”
A crease formed on his forehead, and that cute crinkling of his nose re appeared, “It may seem not important your majesty, but it is.”
“And yet it's not going to affect my realm isn't it? Just another orphan from so many,”
“Then things like that goes with green ribbons, and that usually goes to Elkton, depending on how serious I decide it to be.” He nod his head. “I will be at the training ground, if anyone disturbs you resulting to you not finishing these scrolls, you will tell me the name of the disturber and I'll make sure he or she won't do it again. Understood?”
His eyes were wide again, “Ah... I'm sure no one will do that your majesty,”
“True, but there are people who are really idiots,” I said as I stepped away from the desk and happily went out to partake in the recruitment process.
I saw Palimon looked my way when I enter the training ground, a mischievous smile on his face. When I reached the long table, not only him was looking at me with the same kind of smile, my other Generals, Atalanta and Draco were doing the same.
“Finally got the time to play?” Atalanta asked. The female General was the third I hired. She was a blacksmith with a curly blonde hair, deep, intelligent brown eyes, muscles that rivals that of Hercules, she probably has more muscles than him. Aside from her wonderful skill in making weapons, she is a skilled athlete and fighter. And I order, that in every recruitment, she'd be present.
Draco on the other hand was a polemarchos or a warlord. I've met him when I was rebuilding my army, after Darphus betrayal, his specialty was on slave trading, he was good in it and he follows the rule. When he says his good is a virgin, then his goods are virgins. He beheaded his right hand Hector when he found out one day that he raped one of the women they were to sell to a rich man from Persia . When I become the supreme ruler of the known world, I enticed him to join my army and made him General. All recruits that had been mercenaries or were polemarchos goes through him.
“Well I was wrong,” Draco said grinning,
“Wrong about what?” Palimon asked eyeing him,
“I told Xena before, there's no rest for the wicked... it seemed I am wrong, she is here isn't she?” He said laughing and I rolled my eyes.
“Well I need to test this new Seneschal cum Personal Scribe isn't it? Well, if I don't, he may make a mistake and forgot to draft your payment Draco.” I said, my words oozing with sweet poison.
The dark, good looking man raised his hand in surrender, “I'm not letting you cut my pay,”
We all laughed and then I have my gaze on the new faces, “Done with the recruits?”
“We had sent half of the aspirants home,” Palimon said sighing,
“No back bone?”
“No bones, no balls,” Atalanta said chuckling.
“Me,” Draco said. “Atalanta lost,”
“Lost?” I have to raise one brow, “What, you two betted?”
“No Xena, they played Paper, rock, scissor,” Palimon said seriously,
“Seriously?” I'm amused. I didn't know I got a lot of jesters in the palace.
“Seriously,” Both Atalanta and Draco replied.
I grinned when I thought of something. “Line them up,” I smiled when I saw Palimon looked at me as if I grew another head, “What?”
“What were you thinking?”
I stepped away from the table, “I need to work out this body of mine. It's tired of sitting all day long.”
“You can't spar with the new recruits,” He said and he looked at the two generals who just shrugged their shoulders.
“If you spar, more of them will want to go home!”
“If they feel like going home after facing me, then they don't have room in my barracks.” I said flatly.
“She's got a point Palimon,” Atalanta said grinning, “Besides, it's been ages since I've seen Xena pick up a sword!”
“So am I,” Draco agreed,
“Am I the only one worried here?”
“You know you don't have to worry about Xena,” Atalanta said as she put one muscled arm over Palimon's shoulder.
“I'm not talking about Xena, I'm talking about the recruits.”
“You worry too much,” I said tapping Palimon's arm, “Okay recruits, line up!”
With wide eyes, the recruits lined up... those who didn't, begged to go home.
Saying I was nervous was an understatement. I just had my interview with Vidalis, then I was dragged around by this Elkton advisor around the palace... my feet are killing me, and then he said I'd be meeting the Empress to get her approval.
Approval? I thought I was already hired?
Anyway, we arrived at the Empress chamber and I was told to wait here, outside and he went in without knocking at her door. Huh... I hope he doesn't lose his head by barging in on the Empress just like that... well, I guess he didn't lose his head cause I could hear the sound of them exchanging words, to what they were talking about? It should probably be me.
“Oh yes, I almost forgot about that...My personal scribe you say? Sent him in, then leave us.” I finally hear complete sentences, and it was very clear, I am to go inside.
“By your will your majesty,” I heard him say, he's probably bowing low by now. Damn it! I wasn't prepared for this!!! “Empress, the palace new Seneschal and your personal scribe. Gabriel of Potadeia,” Oh-oh... what to do? What to do?!
I think it took me a little more time than necessary before I was able to move, and silly me to show my face first before finally going in. I really am so nervous especially when those striking blue eyes met mine, I feel like I'm going to be sentenced to the cross once again. With shaking knees that were covered by my pants, I bowed, “I am at your service your majesty,” I did not forget to deepen my voice. My nerves got more erratic when I heard the door close, damn! He's really leaving me behind!!!
By the gods... she's coming closer... arghhh, the last time I saw her I was so angry I didn't even dare look her face that long. All I remember was that blue eyes that were devoid of any feelings when she sentenced me to the cross, and then the evil grin when she added “And break her legs,” By the gods... how tall is she really? I found myself looking up, as if I was David and am facing Goliath... literally. Then my eyes settled on her breast line... wow
“Alright, you amuse me.” She's amused? I'm going to piss myself here and she tells me I amuse her?! What am I? Her jester?! “But I hire you here to be the Seneschal and my personal scribe, I didn't hire you to be my jester, because if I want a jester, I already have one in my army.” Duh... my prospectus doesn't include amusing royalties with tricks! Jester in the army... was she talking about that Joxer?
Wait a minute, what the... is she sniffing me? I'm trying my best to be completely still and not sniff my self, what the heck... do I smell? HEY! I maybe a peasant but I take physical hygiene to heart... “What is your preference?” WHAT?!
Damn it, what preference? What soap I prefer... damn, what preference?! “Preference your majesty?”
“Your preference, I'm asking. Are you a sodomite or are you not?” I... sodomite? Where did that question come from?! “Majesty...” I could feel my face burn up, what is she thinking. Then my eyes widened more, by the gods, is she suspecting... what should I say? No? But I am not a guy, what if she asked me to demonstrate that I am guy? Like what if she ask me to kiss her, by the gods there's no way I'll live through that, or what if she ask me to strip and show her my manhood? I don't have anything to show her!!! I sighed inside my head and decided on a very safe answer, I hope, “I... haven't decided yet your majesty,”
She laughed! Okay... that's good, the Empress is laughing, isn't it?
“Okay, You see that?” Thank the gods, that worked... saved. I looked to where she was pointing and saw her desk with some scrolls. “I want you to read them all, summarize them one by one and report to me before the end of the day. Do you think you can do that?”
Can I do that? I can transcribe the whole Iliad with just my memory! “Is that all ? Yes your majesty, ” This is too easy.
“Well then, Elkton had tour you around is it not?” Alright I'm getting my nerves back... I nodded in reply. “He also read you the simplified rules in the palace and your duty as Seneschal?”
You call that simplified? I thought he was reading the whole Amazon Rule Book! “Yes your majesty,”
“He told you about doubling as my scribe?”
And if they don't? “Mr. Vidalis and him your majesty,”
“Be careful of Vidalis then, I think he has blonde fetish.” Oh, I do agree with you on that Empress, he had already come strong on me, I'd probably have to look behind me every time. “I'll see about your work, and if I like it, I'd ask Vidalis to find an assistant for you,”
I'm surprised, me have an assistant? Wow... “Assistant your majesty?”
“Assistant Seneschal, if I like your work, you'll be doing a lot of scribing, so you need someone to act on the things you want arranged in the castle. When you're not scribing, I expect you to be roaming around the castle and making sure that servants are doing their jobs properly. I always want my castle in order Gabby, I can call you Gabby right?” Gabby... the last person who called me Gabby was bed ridden for three days! I nodded my blond head. Huh...as if her gaze isn't dangerous enough?
But of course who am I to say no? I love having my head on my neck! “Good, remember this, if I hear even one word about the slaves staging a coup, your neck is on the line.” Didn't I've just said that I love having my head on my neck? “ If you have any doubt about my words, you can ask Elkton or Vidalis what happened to my past Seneschals.”
“I do not doubt your words your majesty,” No doubt at all.
“Very good, you are well trained.” Thud, my heart went hammering inside my chest. The Empress' hands, beautiful woman like her should have smooth ones, hers was calloused, from handling sword. But despite, the hammering in my chest kept on going, was I nervous or was there something else? “Come here,” Oh-oh, now what is she going to do? Is this just a facade? Like she doesn't recognize me but the truth is, she knew who I am? My heart may not take this suspense any longer. I walked towards her, composing my nerves and then... “What happened with your leg?” Damn it! I forgot about that!!!
What to say? Well... this was a gift from you, I rolled my eyes inside my head. I have to move on from that, it brought a lot of good to the realm! “Gift by the warlord who ransacked Potadeia your majesty” What did I say? I watch as the Empress face transformed as if she was a reminiscing a painful past. Then suddenly the expression vanished,
“Sit,” She said, but I saw no chair aside from... “Sit on my chair, you'll be doing the scribing from there so feel free to use it when working.” Wow, she smiled and it was... nice, “If I'm letting you do most of my work, it's quite fitting that I at least give you a comfortable chair.” I agree .
I could feel her eyes on me while I limped towards her chair and then, her face bore an expression of mirth when I struggle to pull the chair forward. Well, she's too tall! “Now, I want you to start with this,” She said giving me a scroll tied with red ribbon. “All the scrolls were tied with three different colored ribbons. The red ones are the urgent matters, the yellow ones are the not so immediate and the green ones are those you can just browse because they will not affect the realm at all.”
“So they are not important your majesty?” Why bring it to her attention if it's not important?
“Not not important, there's nothing not important in the realm, if a nobleman from the council sneezes, it is still important but it's not going to affect the realm. Let me ask you this,” Now now, this is interesting, I'm going to learn how the Empress mind really works, lucky! “A son was orphaned because the parents died from an accident, would you consider that not important?”
Of course not! “It may seem not important your majesty, but it is.”
“And yet it's not going to affect my realm isn't it? Just another orphan from so many,”
“Yes,” definitely, why would one orphan matter anyway?
“Then things like that goes with green ribbons, and that usually goes to Elkton, depending on how serious I decide it to be.” So in that case Empress, how serious is that? “I will be at the training ground, if anyone disturbs you resulting to you not finishing these scrolls, you will tell me the name of the disturber and I'll make sure he or she won't do it again. Understood?”
Then what? You'll have them break their legs? Darn Gabrielle, get it off your head already! Anger won't return your normal leg. “Ah... I'm sure no one will do that your majesty,”
“True, but there are people who are really idiots,” She said before she walked out of the room without even a glance back at me. I could feel it, my stay here in the palace wouldn't be a walk in the clouds...
When was my life had been easy anyway.
To be continued...
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