Natalya's greatest goal is to serve Aksinya. You must keep this in mind. You must also remember that Natalya was compelled to serve before. With this background, we see what is brewing in the dining room.
The novice sister curtsied to the floor. She couldn’t take her eyes off Aksinya and Natalya. She led them to the round table just below the head table and tried to seat them.
Aksinya sat and Natalya stood behind her chair. The novice sister stared at Natalya, “Lady, you should sit. That’s what the Reverend Mother instructed me.”
Natalya shook her head.
Aksinya spoke to the novice sister in German, “She doesn’t understand German.”
Novice Sister Rita pulled out the chair beside Aksinya, “Please lady, sit here. Countess, you tell her.” She glanced nervously at the head table.
All this time, the other students entered the dining room. They sat in their places and gawked at the odd scene at the older scholar’s table. The young women who sat at that table came in and took their places. They stared at Aksinya and Natalya. Natalya still obstinately stood behind Aksinya’s seat.
Sister Rita ran over to the head table and whispered to the Reverend Mother. The Reverend Mother slowly stood and stepped over to the older scholar’s table. She took everything in a glance and spoke in French, “Please Lady Natalya, sit at the table. It is necessary for the good order of the school.”
Natalya cocked her head toward the Reverend Mother, “For the good order, Reverend Mother?”
Aksinya laughed, “Yes, Lady Natalya. I told you already. You must sit.”
Natalya frowned and appeared as if she was about to cry. She complained, “But why isn’t it good order to wait on my mistress?”
Do you already know the answer to Natalya's question. I'll tell you tomorrow if you can't guess it. I've given hints all over the place. Natalya wishes to serve Aksinya at table. This is a world of precedence and protocol. Aksinya is an expert in this area. She is more expert than almost anyone. You might ask yourself why she is such an expert. You knew she was a book worm. You knew she spent most of her childhood in study.
The tension is funny to Aksinya. She realized this time would come--don't you see that she both expected it and looked forward to it. Aksinya isn't cruel, but she is a realist in many ways. She knows Natalya will not change easily, and she will not accept any change gracefully. Natalya is not stubborn, but she loves Aksinya. She loves the idea of subjugating herself to another being that is worth that subjugation. Remember, the demon told Aksinya that Natalya was looking for something. She was looking for purpose and for a master. That master should have rightly been God--remember the conversation outside Natalya's house. Natalya was forced to serve in the home Aksinya took her from. She was beaten to force that service. Natalya would have served without any coercion. She desires to serve. This is important.
So what is the answer to the question, and what will happen to Natalya? This is critical to Natalya's existence.