Even though I had been in the room before (on several occasions, in fact), I still felt nervous being in the personal presense of the queen. Her private counsel chambers were decorated much like the rest of the palace, but the room had a different ambience - subtle but perceptable to all but the most frequant of guests.
My duties required that I report to the queen on occasion, but most of my time was spent in the field, gathering information from this source or that source. I was always in much more danger out and about, but report time to the queen was my least favorite of the two aspects of the job.
Despite my hesitation about being there, I wasted no time in making my report. "I have observed and made contact."
"Is she the one?" The queen was wasting no time, either.
"No, ma'am," I replied, making sure not to call her by the official royal title, which she didn't like all that much. "I do not believe so. There is still more information I can gleam from her, but the information you provided does not seem to match."
"Does she meet the other criteria?" The queen's questions were worded in such a way that someone listening in would not get the full meaning.
"Yes." My simple answer told the queen that I had met an Iberan spy. However, there was one more thing to report. "There is another, though."
"I am aware of this," the queen responded. Her answer surprised me, though thinking about it later, I realized that it shouldn't have. "Now, Mr. Hurst, if you told me there were at least three or four, I would not have been aware of that."
I smiled, realizing that in her own royal, stiff way, the queen was trying to be funny. "No, ma'am," I said, allowing the smile to fade. "I do not suspect anyone else of the criteria." I paused and glanced at her bodyguard briefly.
"You may speak in front of him," the queen stated, gesturing in the direction of the guard. "He's one of us."
"Yes, ma'am," I said, automatically bestowing respect for the queen's word. "There is someone else to worry about, someone who is not on our side."
"Is it the court you speak of?" She asked, and I nodded. "Then, yes, I am aware of Miss Mays."