”May the wheels of fortune ever turn to your favor always! ”
I can help but get infected by the giddiness of the woman who is shaking my hands right now in relief excitedly.
”I feel safer at the manor of Viscount Arguille than here at Arcadia Palace! ”
I gasped when she mentioned that, so I quickly shook my head to silence the maid with whom I was about to switch positions, ”Please, not so loud! Remember, its part of the deal that this swap of ours never happened, right? ”
”Oh, of course! Right! But really, I am so, so thankful! I swear I will do my utmost best at the manor! Well, I never saw you here! ” she then let go of my hand before grabbing her luggage and began walking towards the palace gates as if she was saved from death row.
I then turned around and looked up to marvel at the splendor of the seat of power of my nation, the Arcadia Palace.
They say it can give even Buckingham Palace a run for its money in sheer size and opulence.
It has over eight hundred rooms, seventy royal and guest rooms. Two hundred staff bedrooms, thirty staterooms, and over a hundred bathrooms.
Aside from the royal family, there is well more than eight hundred staff as part of the royal household to which I belong now, thanks to Frida and Jacobs help.
They used their royal court connections to check if there were any vacancies or requests for helper swaps among the nobilities and see if they could pull some strings to squeeze me in, so here I am.
The girl earlier seemed to be so desperate to get out of the palace that a place in my friends household looked like a lifeline for her, so she immediately accepted the offer for a discreet swap.
While it is technically not illegal for nobilities to nominate their own candidates to a position inside the royal household, Fridas family has never done it before, so it will raise suspicion and unwanted attention should it appear on the ledgers.
”Linnea Feodora? ”
I didn notice the old butler with a crisp black and white service uniform that appeared out of nowhere in front of me as he looked at me from head to foot and shook his head as if he found me lacking.
”Fritzgerald Fornier, Master of the Household of Arcadia Palace and your direct superior. You may call me Fritz. ”
I immediately bowed my head respectfully, and he motioned me to follow him towards the back entrance of the palace, where the staff entered the below stairs discreetly and away from the sight of the royalties living here.
”This is off the record, Jacob is an old colleague of mine, and I was briefed by your situation and will turn a blind eye to this ”oversight ” and be done with it. You will start your job tomorrow at exactly four in the morning until ten in the morning as a maid tasked with cleaning the offices located in the east wing of the palace, including staterooms and showrooms. I have checked your resume and I am sure you can operate with minimum to no supervision with such a simple task, given your past work experiences and educational attainment. ”
We entered the large iron doors past the guards and well into the busy hallways where countless members of the royal household went on with their tasks like bees.
Fritz toured me to the rooms assigned to me to clean, which are as large as impressive. Each has its own cleaning cabinets, so I don need to carry cleaning equipment from one room to another.
A total of ten offices, including those of the queen and the king, will have to be cleaned five hours before their breakfast is finished at nine-thirty in the morning.
After that, I will head downstairs and spend my time until two in the afternoon restocking the cleaning supplies.
Rinse and repeat for six days a week with a Sunday day off.
After the tour, we headed towards my small room next to the cleaning storage room, which is better than my own room downtown.
”Now, for the royal protocols. When addressing the queen, you will do a low curtsy and say, ”Your Majesty, ” and after that, its Maam. You only engage in a conversation with her if she enters the room you are cleaning early. If she comes near you, you will greet her. If she starts a conversation, you will conduct yourself well and politely. You will address her again when she leaves as ”Your Majesty ” and curtsy. Same with the king, with Sir. For the Crown Prince, its a curtsy and say, ”Your Royal Highness, ” followed by a Sir. Though he never talks to anyone from the royal household, if he ever did, you would stay quiet unless he asked you directly for an answer. Don make eye contact with him. I repeat, avoiding eye contact with the Crown Prince, keep your head down. You are also not allowed to clean, much less enter his office. Keep that in mind. For the prince, it is more relaxed, you are allowed to continue your cleaning while conversing with him as he is more hands-on with the palace maintenance. They are your employers, your sovereign, your liege. No physical contact whatsoever. Know your place beneath their notice, and you will stay here without a single problem. Do you want me to repeat, Linnea? ”
I shook my head and smiled, ”No need, Fritz. I got it. ”
”Jacob said you have her ladyships seal of approval. As expected, you delivered. I expect you to be in your post four in the morning tomorrow. You can either stay here in your room and rest the whole day to prepare yourself, or you can visit the gardens of the royal household we passed on the way here. Never go anywhere other than where I toured you. If you
e hungry, there is always food at the pantry. Help yourself as long as you
e not on your duty. ”
He was about to leave my room but stopped before he opened the door and faced me again, ”Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing, Linnea. ”
”Yes, Fritz? ”
”Everything I told you can be overridden by anyone from the royal family. Inside the Arcadia Palace, their words are absolute. That is all. ”
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