For quite some time all members of the court felt a certain degree of aversion towards the Countess of Hubrisego. Here competence and skills are not questioned when it comes to working at court. It’s here attitude and character.
Every nobleman and noblewoman lower than the dukes and duchesses has suffered patiently under her arrogance and presumptuous attitude. At certain times, she would yell at them.
When a dame or a baron is being reprimanded, and most of the time, by the Archduchess, she is always there, behind the Archduchess’ glorious ferocity to add more wood to the fire, contributing to the shredding into pieces of the one who is reprimanded.
It was reported sometime by a certain duke that the Countess of Hubrisego usually has audience with the Archduchess and sometimes with the Imperial Vicereine, when she was still the Vassal Queen, and during these audiences, she would sometimes tell them how incompetent and inefficient a specific count or baron is, obviously, elevating herself in eyes of those who are in power.
She was everybody’s friend and yet behind their backs, she’s been delivering negative reports to her two favourite superiors.
It is not unknown to many how she treats the dukes and duchess so kindly. She can be a total bitch with others but never with those who wear the white robes with the title of duke. The Duchess of Kalos realized later on how she was treated with gracious favours and the Marchioness of Ponzim, princess-elector, confided with me once that she was surprised how presumptuous the countess can be.
Obviously, as everyone else were constantly reprimanded and bullied by the Archduchess and sometimes by the Imperial Vicereine, she was basking under the gracious favours and sympathy of the Archduchess and the Imperial Vicereine, also because she was more than eager to sell her soul to them and to the establishment of His Imperial Highness.
So we have established how perfidious she can be. But her victims were not brave enough to confront her. You see, confrontation is not something pleasurable. In the culture of an onion-skinned people, confrontation would result to chaos and chaos would even result to bad reputation and unforgettable negative memories. Thus, for the sake of not hurting the arrogant countess, everyone just kept silent.
To get even, every now and then, they would talk about her behind her back, calling her names and recounting how she behaved.
Compared to others, I have very few conflicts with her, since we were really flirting with each other for laughs most of the time. I told them that perhaps it’s high time that we tell her everything about this and that it’s time to check our conscience. But we went on.
One day, for some particular reason, the Countess of Hubrisego had a fight with the Baroness of L’Oreal. I have no reliable reports on what really happened but one thing was sure- all hell broke out.
The Baroness of L’Oreal was a maiden would simply back down from something like this and she was ready for a fight, like Joan of Arc. She didn’t actually lead others to fight the oppression of the countess and her company, but she did start a war. I assume, during the war of words between the two, Joan of Arc slipped some delicate facts. These hurt the sensitive feelings of the egotistical countess.
As expected, the Countess sent a courier to the Archduchess telling her, in tears and agony, of the treachery of her peers.
The Archduchess, in her ferocious manner, summoned four specific people- the Countess of Chansons, the Earl of Aulozalia, the former knight now Baronet of Cauda, and the Viscountess of Philandera. All were put under interrogation.
Presumably, one of them squeaked and it was found out that the Baronet of Cauda confessed all the names involved in the treachery.
One thing popped in my mind. This was actually a matter between our faction and the Countess of Hubrisego. The Archduchess shouldn’t have been involved here. Why did she have to intervene on this personal matter?
A meeting was set up for everyone to talk about this. I was not present during the meeting for I was away to carry out a more important errand. I got all the details from the Countess of Chansons.
According to her, the Archduchess was present in the trial, and as everyone confessed their sins and presented their case against the Countess of Hubrisego, the Archduchess actually defended her. The Countess of Chansons stood as the lead prosecutor. She wasn’t aiming to nail down the offensive lady, but she was explaining what was wrong with her and how they want to settle the matter and be reconciled.
After so much discussion, the matter was supposed to be settled.
In the end, the arrogant Countess of Hubrisego turned out to be the victim and the others as treacherous fools. Others tried to clean their hands of the matter by staying silent and kept kissing the asses of the powerful. Others are virtually exempted by the perilous attacks of the Archduchess such as the Baroness of L’Oreal, who happens to be a relative, and the Margrave of San Paulo, since he is betrothed to the Princess of the Lugo of Romania, a relative of the Imperial Vicereine.
The only one who was never confronted in this issue was the Marquis of Warzyko, husband of the Duchess of Kalos. He was always straightforward with the Countess of Hubrisego.
Despite the bravery and the honesty of those who were implicated, the Archduchess put them to shame by emanating pamphlets denouncing the treachery against the Countess of Hubrisego.
It was made official to the eyes of those who are in court that the arrogant countess is undeniably the imperial protégée and favourite of the Archduchess and the Imperial Vicereine.
The King of Hearts knew about what happened but since it shouldn’t concern him and his role in court, he chose to be professional, though he wished that his loyal subjects would be brave enough next time to confront the other faction and fight back. The Marchioness of Ponzim, with sincere tears and sad eyes, encouraged the Countess of Chansons to be brave and courageous because she can imagine what could the Archduchess, the Imperial Vicereine, together with the Imperial Grand Duchess do to somebody who won’t kneel and bow to their rule.
They say that dark times show the real character of people. I had the opportunity to see them all. There were those who were eager to embrace honesty, assume the responsibility and face the consequences of their actions such as the Countess of Chansons and the Earl of Aulozalia. There are those who will not cease to wage war against the deceptiveness of those in power such as the Baroness of L’Oreal. There were those who were real cowards such as the Baronet of Cauda, who has become a reliable pup of the Archduchess. And an even more treacherous coward like me.
Yes, a foreign count and envoy must please the people and the powerful. I’m not a double-agent, but I try my best to stick to both sides to protect my interest. Workplaces like this one can complicate life. They tell you to be honest and cooperative but you experience the total opposite. Truth falls on deaf ears and blind eyes, but lies and perfidy become the official rule in the empire. Oppressors become victims, and the abused become dogs in a cage.
Amidst all these, and considering my interests, I know now to whom I should be a real friend.