Most of his job as a palace guard, Ian had come to realize, was thoroughly uneventful. He spent most of his time just stationed or patrolling, standing in an alcove or walking down a hallway and back, repeat.But, he supposed, it was probably better than if he was actually busy. Boredom also meant that the royal family and the Selected girls weren't under attack, and that was a good thing. Besides, it was a change of scenery from the farm, so he couldn't complain there.
"As if 'Princess' matters. The only important title around here is 'Queen'."Victoria had heard her mother say this plenty of times, and this was definitely one of the times she was glad for the Queen's self-important sense of reality. The less Victoria had to do with the Selected, the better. Especially since it meant she could talk a quiet walk away from all of the chaos of the dining hall.Thankful to have remembered to grab her book from under her chair before she left, Victoria turned from the hallway into the grand Great Hall, knowing that however grand it was, there wouldn't be a person in there. Much to her surprise, the guards' routine did not fail to have people in even otherwise empty rooms.
Ian snapped back to attention when he heard the door begin to open. He was surprised to find that it was not a fellow guard with a message, or a Selected girl escaping the king and queen's presence, but the eldest princess herself.As per the protocol that Arthur had drilled into their heads, Ian bowed; but the princess, book in hand, appeared to have come here for time alone. "Your highness," he said. And then, a little unsure of what to do - he was pretty sure Arthur would have his head if he left his post, but then again, didn't royalty's instruction override Arthur's? - he added, "If you came in here for some privacy, I can leave."
Victoria closed the door behind her as she stepped into the room. The Great Hall as it was now was just a ghost of her mother's many frivolous parties, with the majority of people speaking languages Victoria had been forced to learn. With just a single guard and untouched furniture, Victoria realized she actually preferred it like this.The guard, however, looked too uncomfortable to return the feeling. "Oh. No, no it's fine. Please stay. I'm sure Arthur would prefer it like this anyway," she added with a smile. Everyone who lived or worked in the palace knew of Arthur and his perfectionistic personality, despite some of the people he worked with.
Ian relaxed slightly; at the very least, the eldest princess was nice. It wasn't as if the princes and princesses had a bad reputation among the castle staff, but, well. It came as a relief because it wasn't like the king and queen were known for their kindness."Thank you, your highness," he said. It was quiet -- almost uncomfortably so. Back home, at the farm, there was never a moment of quiet. There were always people around, because, well, when you come from a family of ten, there's always someone around. After a moment's hesitation, he asked, "Do you read often?"
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