What Queen Sisi Looks Forward To
Despite being Queen Sisi’s attendant, I didn’t have the right to directly serve her because the head lady-in-waiting didn’t trust me, apparently. She just had me take care of hygiene inside the residential palace. In other words, I wiped stairs, rails and walls. I had to report in at the imperial palace very early every morning then get to work as a hygiene technician. While it housed only the Queen, it was four-storeys high. Wiping the stair rails daily was a death sentence.
One of the most important aspects was that the head lady-in-waiting was extremely strict and harsh. Her love for Queen Sisi bordered on crazy motherly love for her daughter. She didn’t allow anything in Queen Sisi’s environment to be less than optimal. She’d go bananas give people an earful if there was as much as a layer of dust on the handrails. Lots of ladies-in-waiting were afraid of the head lady-in-waiting. Furthermore, she was attentive of how others dressed, demanding they were dressed properly at all times.
Queen Sisi didn’t dress properly in her room, and she always left clothes everywhere akin to a snake shedding its skin or throwing food straight onto the ground without a care. Sometimes, she’d pour red wine straight onto the carpet if it didn’t please her palate, but the head lady-in-waiting wouldn’t complain. Instead, she’d desperately try to clean the carpet.
The head lady-in-waiting cherished the painting; she treated it was if she was Sisi’s mother and cherished the painting. Normally, she didn’t even allow us to go near it when carrying water. She even demanded that we gently cleaned the frame. I was under the impression that the last thing Queen Sisi wanted was to continue hanging it there… After all, it was the most shameful sight in her adulthood. The people who visited the place were among her high-ranking ministers; everyone would, therefore, see her childhood painting. That only served to make her feel ashamed.
Queen Sisi gazed at the painting for a long time every time she came. Perhaps the head lady-in-waiting couldn’t tell, but I could tell what Queen Sisi was actually thinking. She wanted to destroy the painting… but she didn’t know how to articulate it without giving herself away. If she did it herself, it would make her look bad. She was no longer a child. If she was to get angry over the painting, then she wouldn’t have the temperament of a Queen. It would be awkward for her to tell the head lady-in-waiting to destroy it, too, as it would be the same as admitting that her painting was ugly. There was no way Queen Sisi would allow a blemish on herself given her prideful personality. Nonetheless, leaving it there would only continue to embarrass her. I thought I should help Queen Sisi get rid of the painting…
Ever since I was instated as Queen Sisi’s personal attendant, I was able to deal more directly with her living necessities, but Queen Sisi wasn’t as intimate with me as she was in the carriage again. I wasn’t sure if she was just sick of me or if she was too busy with work. She lived a lavish lifestyle and had a loathsome personality. With that said, there was no doubt that she was a diligent Queen. The residential palace was only used for resting, true to its name. She didn’t have much for entertainment. Apparently, her odious personality was merely a way for her to tease others for some entertainment.
I had yet to have many chances to see the outside world because I was stuck working in Queen Sisi’s residential palace. I decided that I had to find a chance to convince her to let me go outside. In saying that, if she didn’t take me out, what would be the point of going with her? Was I supposed to be Queen Sisi’s worker in the palace? That wasn’t what I wanted. It definitely wasn’t wise to stay at the side of such a loathsome Queen. She could have me killed at the drop of a hat. I needed to come up with a way to have her let me go so that I could live in the outside world on my own. Thus, I needed to come up with a plan to ingratiate myself with her. The one that came to mind was that I should help her get rid of the painting.
“What happened here?” The head lady-in-waiting inspected the black mark on the wall at the top of the painting. With her arms folded, she ordered, “I remember it was perfectly fine yesterday. How did this happen? Actually, let’s put that aside for now. Go and get a ladder to remove the stain!”
I responded with a nod. It was my plan. At the end of the work day yesterday, I sneakily made a mark there. It wasn’t visible at night under the dim lights, which was why it was a perfect opportunity for me. After I brought the ladder over, the head lady-in-waiting told me, “Take the painting down; else, it’ll be too dangerous.”
I took the painting down. The head lady-in-waiting carefully leaned it on one of the far walls. I took in a deep breath. The ladder was slightly wobbly before I climbed it, but I never mentioned it on purpose. I planned to wobble then pretend to rip the painting down while trying to regain my balance. Unfortunately, the plan no longer looked plausible. Despite the disappointment, I glanced over to check the distance.
I judged it to be possible. Nonetheless, if I fell down from my position… I didn’t know how to ensure my own safety… I was able to keep my balance on the ladder. If I fell from there, though, I wouldn’t be able to do so without getting hurt for the ladder was quite high…
Stalling due to hesitation, the head lady-in-waiting asserted, “Hurry and get rid of the stain. Her Majesty will be meeting with her vassals here very soon. We can’t let her be embarrassed!”
As aforementioned, the head lady-in-waiting was extremely strict. She didn’t want to allow Queen Sisi to be embarrassed in any capacity.
I thought, “Does it not occur to you all that what’s truly embarrassing her is the painting?! Do I really need to spell it out for you?! I don’t think you’d even want to believe me if I told you, but Queen Sisi thinks the painting is embarrassing. Why would you bring it out?!
It appears that I have no alternative. If I want to guarantee Queen Sisi had a good evaluation of me, I have no other choice now. This is the best opportunity I have. If I miss this opportunity and embarrass Queen Sisi, it’ll be pointless even if I destroy the painting later. Well, it appears I’ll have to take a gamble… Man, I pray I don’t break a leg doing this…”
I took in a deep breath. I vigorously swung my arm. The unstable ladder cracked. Next, with the head lady-in-waiting’s scream accompanying the timber cracking, I fell sideways onto the ground.
The bucket in my hand couldn’t have poured onto the painting any more precisely. While I was at it, I scrunched it up with my hand. At the same time, my leg was stuck in between the snapped portions of the ladder. A clear crack and painful sensation took my breath away. I fell limp on the ground. I watched the head lady-in-waiting scream and crying for help.
The critical question was, “Was it… worth it in the end…?”
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