The Arrangement

"How long have you been beating your servants for delivering messages you don't want to hear?" Alexander demanded, entering his mother's room without bothering to knock.

"Alexander, to what god to I owe the pleasure of seeing your bright, shining face at this hour?" the queen commented sardonically.

Ignoring his mother's deliberate reference to an ancient religion in which he did not believe, Alexander went straight to the point. "I think it's time you start treating your servants like the human beings they are."

"Why do you say this foolishness?"

Thoroughly angry, Alexander was tempted to kick the side of his mother's bed and yell at her. Instead, he forced himself to control his immature anger and cleared his throat. "What did you do when your attendant told you I wouldn't be following through with your instructions concerning Adrian?"

"Why do you care, Alexander? Really, it isn't like you to pay much attention to those of a low social status."

"That's because I've been modeling you and Father far too much for my own good. I want to relieve young Ivan and Lillie - the twins who are serving as a replacement after their mother's death - of their duties to you and instead have them serve my guest."

"Your guest?" the Queen asked, incredulous. "You mean that prisoner girl?"

"That's exactly who I mean. Mother, you have enough attendants as it is. What loss will you experience if you let Ivan and Lillie go? You must admit that they don't do much around here."

"You know me far better than to think I'd actually listen to any of your advice, my dearest son." The Queen narrowed her eyes. "What's gotten into you, Alexander? Why do you care?"

"Because you don't. That's why I care. My guest has caused me to face my own selfishness. Do you know what I did to her, Mother? I asked her to by my mistress. My mistress. And I barely know her! What kind of a prince makes a request like that?"

"The kind of prince I'd like you to be." The Queen smiled. "I see what this is, Alexander. You're going to give the young twins to the prisoner as a way of getting on her good side after making such a scandalous request of her."

Alexander shook his head. "That's not what I'm doing."

"I wouldn't put it past you. You are, after all, my son. I wouldn't expect anything else."

"So you'll release Ivan and Lillie from their responsibility to you?"

"If you relieve Adrian of his almost-knightship. You know how I feel about that man. I fear he's corrupting you."

You stubborn wench! "No, Mother. I haven't listened to him nearly as much as I should. I think I'm going to start paying more mind to his words from now on."

"Then the twins will not be released."

Unable to tame his anger any longer, Alexander whirled around with a huff and walked out of his mother's bedchamber.

The End

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