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Mistress and Servant Boy

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Oh, yeah. Real subtle.

Grandfather: Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Westley around.
Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.
Westley: As you wish.

The archetype of a young man kept under the heel of his typically older female employer. Usually, she takes a certain amount of pleasure from teasing him, asking him to get coffee, giving him Prank Punishments for misdemeanors, and generally watching him squirm. The fact that she's often The Wonka means that he usually rolls his eyes at her exploits, but nonetheless follows her diligently, so there's often overlap with Beleaguered Assistant.

Despite this, the woman usually does genuinely care about the boy, she just shows it in a very strange way. She's often a grown-up Tsundere or a Defrosting Ice Queen and may act the way she does because she has trouble showing affection. Hypocritical Heartwarming is likely to occur at some point if someone else decides to mess with the boy instead of her.

Note that this relationship doesn't have to be romantic or sexual, and may simply be a mentor/student relationship meant to help the young man develop. There are often elements of UST, but more often than not, it goes unresolved. If the age gap is big enough, the mistress may mother her servant boy instead. Nonetheless, if the relationship does become sexual, the power dynamic between the lady and the boy is likely to serve as the erotic "turn-on". Often, though not always, the mistress possesses magical powers, while her boy is an ordinary human.

Compare Lady and Knight which is more about the guy protecting his lady/mistress than serving, but overlap is possible. A major difference is the knight will usually choose to serve the lady out of love, chivalry, duty, etc, while the servant boy is more likely to be hired or indentured.

Compare and contrast Pizza Boy Special Delivery, Cheating with the Milkman, and Sleeping with the Boss, when the relationship is primarily sexual.

Also see Subordinate Excuse for when more personal reasons are involved in their working relationship.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yuuko and Watanuki in ×××HOLiC. From making him get her expensive and rare types of alcohol to having him follow her around carrying her stuff while she slices a woman's computer clean in half without scratching the table. Yes, with a baseball bat. As employers go, Yuuko is pretty... unique. Watanuki considers himself to be her slave, but she cares far more about his well-being than is initially obvious. And it turns out, as the audience learns in a very heart-rending way about 3/4 through the series, the feeling is mutual
  • In Accel World, the bullied Haruyuki sees his relationship with the School Idol Kuroyukihime on a mere mistress and subordinate level. The problem is that Kuroyukihime wants it to be much more equal, but Haruyuki can't imagine that she would honestly like him for who he is.
  • Age-flipped in Angel Links, where the teenage yet well-endowed Meifon Li has a twenty-something Boy Friday named Kosei Hida.
  • Revy and Rock's relationship in Black Lagoon. In a conversation with Eda; Revy does reveal that she hasn't been able to make Rock sleep with her yet. Of course, Revy has a funny definition of "trying"...
  • While not a direct mistress/servant relationship, Yoruichi and Ichigo of Bleach fulfill this trope when training together, She seems to enjoy teasing him by going naked every once in a while.
  • The relationship between Haji and Saya began this way in Blood+, with Haji as a surly cute boy and Saya as a well-intentioned but tyrannical teenager. After finding out the reason for Haji's antipathy—he was sold as a slave to her guardian, Joel—Saya becomes friendlier, and their relationship improves. As the years go by and Haji grows up, their relationship becomes less this trope and more like friends. But then the fire happens, and then it becomes a mostly bright Lady and Knight pair.
  • Liang Qi and Cummings of Canaan are a particularly dark example of this trope. Liang Qi couldn't care less about Cummings and mostly vents her frustrations on him using an airsoft gun, and Cummings harbors a one-sided affection for her to the point that he eventually starts to like her abuse, while Liang Qi harbors her own one-sided love for Alphard to a truly obsessive extent. Cummings' loyalty to Liang Qi is so great, in fact, that he's the one who gives her a Mercy Kill after she tries to give herself synesthesia and it backfires horribly, and at the end of the series, he's shown to have become a monk and still thinks of Liang Qi fondly.
  • Ryoko and Izumida in The Case Files of Yakushiji Ryoko. This is the main feature that the light novel series is known for, even though both of them are the main protagonists.
  • CLAMP have a male example in Drug & Drop with Kakei and his store workers Rikuo and Kazahaya, whom he loves to make squirm and whom he sends on shady missions to retrieve supernatural objects that he intentionally withholds important information on (in one case: that Kazahaya is going to drown). The mirroring of dynamic in ×××HOLiC is very apparent.
  • The Familiar of Zero: The two main characters form this kind of pair, with Louise being the fancy magician mistress who summoned Saitou as her "familiar". Louise takes the "Mistress" bit just a bit farther than most, treating Saito more like a slave (to the point of having a whip/riding crop to "discipline" him) but over time she becomes less Tsun and more Dere towards him.
  • Sort of exists between Alice Nakiri and Ryou Kurokiba in Food Wars!. For starters, when they first met Alice was asking her mom, "Can I keep take him home?" like he was a stray dog, much to his chagrin. While Ryou does help her with whatever tasks she has in mind, and addresses her as "Lady Alice", the two are more or less even in terms of skills and experience than is standard for this trope, and Ryou is not above making snarky comments at Alice's expense whenever she messes up something.
  • Tohko and Mikiya in The Garden of Sinners are a more subtle example (plus Touko flirts with Shiki too, so her orientation is anyone's guess), but Shiki and Mikiya also have aspects of this at times, especially considering how much he follows her around (to the point that when she's in a coma the nurses at the hospital call him "Puppy-kun" since he visits so regularly).
  • Ekaterina and Kukrachyov, the pilots of Valspinner from Godannar, which actually used the combination command "Slave On". It even became a plot point of how submissive and "unmanly" Kukrachyov is when the male pilots one after the other flip out from the virus. Just to drive the point home, Shadow, one of America's lesbian pilots, is the only girl affected by it because she's the "manly" one of the two girls
  • To an extent, Haruhi and Kyon in Haruhi Suzumiya qualify, as Haruhi is the brigade leader and Kyon basically has the lowest rank. They even employ the Necktie Leash trope on occasion but they are generally more peaceful than others as Haruhi doesn't do harm to him for emotional reasons. In the later novels, Kyon seems to acknowledge her as The Leader.
    • This is definitely how the rest of the school views them. "Right, Kyon, you're normal. Sure. You're Suzumiya's minion and you're trying to pull that?"
    • Haruhi seems to think of them this way. In the movie, after a long list of outrageous titles for Haruhi the credits say "Menial Labor: Kyon".
  • Opposite of this exists in Hayate the Combat Butler. Hayate is the servant to Nagi, Nagi is the younger and also the one Hayate's attempting to teach. She also clearly has a crush on him.
    • It's also possible that it's again opposites in Wataru and Saki's case.
    • The dynamic is probably strongest with Hayate and Athena, however.
  • High School D×D: While many female devils tend to have this, the main such relation shown is that between Rias Gremory and Issei Hyoudou.
  • Inu × Boku SS:
    • This trope is explored with Ririchiyo and Miketsukami, though it's not enough to be called a Deconstruction. Both of them are trying to become more humanenote  to each other, and it's an awkward process.
    • Miketsukami's relationship with other (much older) women in the past qualify too, usually in a very sexual way.
  • Tomoe, the servant, and Nanami, the mistress from Kamisama Kiss. Played with since Tomoe is much older and more powerful than her, and not even human, Nanami can bend him to her will thanks to the familiar contract. She also starts to fall in love with him, an idea Tomoe finds repulsive at least at first.
  • In the 2006 anime adaptation of Kanon, Kaori Misaka and Jun Kitagawa have this kind of relationship, with Kaori taking full advantage of Kitagawa's unrequited crush on her to use him as a Human Pack Mule. Played for laughs in an early scene where Yuichi actually calls Kitagawa "The Servant Boy." Kitagawa angrily retorts that he's nobody's servant, only to have Kaori walk up just a few seconds later and shove a bunch of her stuff into his arms.
  • Benika and Shinkurou of Kure-nai. Mostly a mentor/protégé relationship, as Shinkurou earnestly admires Benika and constantly seeks her approval.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016): Midna helps Link return to his human form on the condition that he serves as her "pet" until she collects all of the Fused Shadows. Despite his initial protests, Link doesn't actually mind getting bossed around as long as he thinks of her as his "navigator" rather than "master."
  • Medaka Box: Medaka often drags childhood friend Zenkichi along for whatever quirky misadventure that she decides to undertake, and he tends to act like something of a closet Tsundere concerning it. It goes far enough that Fandom pegs Zenkichi as her personal boy toy, affectionately (and more) or otherwise.
  • Rin does this to Maeno a few times in Mnemosyne, comparing finding him to finding a lost puppy, when she first meets him. She also intentionally plays up the Les Yay with her assistant Mimi in order to make him squirm. As time goes by she respects him more and more, to the point that he turns into an angel to save her.
  • Eva from Monster has two bouts of this. One with her gardener, the other with her bodyguard. Neither ends well.
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, Lunar attempts to force Nagasumi into one of these relationships despite (or rather, because of) his engagement to Sun.
  • Slime Life plays with this trope. The setup is fairly straight: young (or at least, behaves young) servant comes to work for a black mage. The pay-off is unusual though; Darul manipulates Slime not because she enjoys watching him squirm, but because she finds pretty much everything he does unbearable cute. And her stated desire to "touch him" is in a completely non-erotic way, too.
  • Katina and Russel's relationship in the Super Robot Wars: Original Generation games occasionally carries undertones of this.
    • It's actually a recurring element with some individuals. Viletta's pretty stoic, but she is a pretty harsh teacher especially when it comes to Ryusei. They spend a good deal of time relatively alone in Alpha Gaiden (it makes sense in context), and she works him to the bone. However, she has never acted in a way that contradicts her role as a mentor.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Fanon often portrays Adiane and Viral as an example of this trope, mostly based on Viral's stoic acceptance of Adiane's abuse for letting her lover be killed by Team Gurren.
  • While Ren has three separate masters in They Are My Noble Masters, it's invoked by both Shinra & Miyu. Both are older than he is. Both tease him mercilessly. Neither one has any issue invoking an Accidental Pervert scenario upon him. And for the icing, he has UST with both sisters, involving his wandering hands with Miyu and Shinra’s various come-ons that lead nowhere. Well, that is until the Grand Finale where Shinra rams her tongue down Ren’s throat.
  • In an early episode of the Trigun anime, badass gunslinger Vash the Stampede (who really doesn't know how to deal with women) falls immediately into such a relationship, Played for Laughs, with a beautiful female engineer who arrives to fix the town's power plant.
  • Sumire and Momo's relationship is like this in You're My Pet, although unusually, Momo is quite enthusiastic about being Sumire's pet.

    Comic Books 
  • The Masters of Barley: As CEO of her late father's beer brewing company, Adrienne Steenfort has a younger male assistant who obviously has a crush on her.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Far and Away, Shannon urges Joseph to come with her and be her servant boy while she's running away to America (since she's secretly taken a liking to him, but also because she wants a way to protect herself); he, on the other hand, angrily rejects the idea.
    Joseph: I'll throw the tea in your face and I'll piss on your boots before I serve the likes of you! Get out!
    Shannon: I'll pay you threepence a day!
    Joseph: Get out!
    • Later, when he's faced with no other alternative (other than getting shot and dying), he does end up choosing to become her servant for the time being. Although he doesn't miss any opportunities to snark at her while doing so.
      Shannon: May I ask what you are doing, sitting at my table?
      Joseph: I'm eating your chocolate cake.
  • In both Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula, this trope is deconstructed by showing wealthy women lusting after their farmhands/stable boys (Joe Dalessandro plays this role in both films) for pure physical pleasure and the "servant boy" being fully aware and not caring, even going so far as to throw it back in their faces when they mouth off.
  • In The Last Jedi, Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo and her subordinate Captain Poe Dameron have a bit of this dynamic between them. She is an eccentric older woman who acts condescendingly towards her younger subordinate (with a hint of flirtatiousness, which is especially prominent when she jokingly calls him "flyboy"), and he is a young and impulsive pilot who is annoyed that he has to obey Holdo's orders. The flirtatious subtext was more prominent in the original version of the script, but was significantly toned down in the final version.
  • The relationship between Maleficent and her servant Diaval is as much this as it is Lady and Knight—since she certainly doesn't need his protecting. All the elements are there; her teasing but ultimately caring for him, his eye-rolling but maintaining Undying Loyalty to her. The original script and novelization also imply some UST there, too.
  • The Princess Bride: Buttercup and Westley's relationship began this way, though it soon changed.
    Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning!
    Westley: As you wish.
  • The main characters of The Proposal are a mistress and servant boy who start off both Married to the Job and wind up married to each other.
  • Variant tragic version: Sunset Boulevard has down-and-out writer Joe Gillis working for aging star Norma Desmond.

  • In The Adventures of Pinocchio, the relationship between Pinocchio and the Blue Fairy has shades of this. He is a young and naive boy, and she is an older female who loves him and cares for him, but can also tease him and give him Prank Punishments when he misbehaves. There's no romantic angle though, since he considers her more of a mother-like figure.
  • In The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey, the relationship between the titular Fairy Godmother Elena Klovis and Prince Alexander is an interesting involuntary example. As punishment for his jerkassery, she turned him into a donkey and took to her house, where he had to do a lot of work and was constantly ridiculed and made fun of. While he saw himself as a Defiant Captive, from Elena's perspective his attempts to break free were naive and amusing. Eventually, once he realized the error of his ways, he and Elena became a romantic couple.
  • In Joseph And His Brothers by Thomas Mann, the main character is sold as a slave to the captain of Pharaoh's guard Potiphar and his wife Mut-em-enet, and Mut-em-enet falls in love with him.
  • In The Red and the Black, the protagonist Julien Sorel and the mayor's wife Madame de Rênal have this sort of dynamic between them. A downplayed example, since it was him who seduced her in the first place, and she couldn't stop feeling guilty about their affair.
  • In The Snow Queen, the relationship between the Snow Queen and Kai somewhat fits. He is young and naive (even after the mirror shards get into his heart and eye), and she is a beautiful, mysterious, and aloof woman who likes keeping him around as a foster child of sorts. Some adaptations even add the romantic subtext between them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Delenn and Lennier in Babylon 5 have a non-romantic version. Delenn cares for Lennier like he was family but Lennier loves her in a more than romantic way but knows he isn't meant to be with her.
  • On Battlestar Galactica (2003), Laura Roslin's relationship with her aide Billy had elements of this.
  • While he's not really her assistant, Defrosting Ice Queen/Magnificent Bastard Adelle DeWitt and Geeky Mad Scientist Topher Brink have this kind of relationship on Dollhouse. Their relationship winds up seeming somewhat like a mother and son, though at first many fans thought it would turn romantic.
  • In Downton Abbey, it appears that the footman Jimmy Kent had a similar relationship with his previous employer, Lady Anstruther. He even writes her Valentine's cards while employed at Downton. We don't actually see Lady Anstruther for the first two series in which Jimmy appeared, though; however, she appears in Series 5 and nothing so far contradicts what we've gleaned from Jimmy's prior account.
  • The relationship between Cersei and Lancel Lannister from Game of Thrones certainly comes across as this. She is the queen, and he is her whim.

  • Soda Stereo's very steamy song "Juego de Seducción" ("The Seduction Game") opens with the narrator telling his girlfriend that he wants them to roleplay as this while in the bedroom. Among other things.
    "Voy a ser tu mayordomo, y vos haràs el rol de señora bien..." ("I'm gonna be your butler, and you'll play the role of a high-class lady...")
  • Judging from the lyrics, Smash Mouth's "Always Gets Her Way" is about a couple with this kind of dynamic. Played with, though, in that the girl tries to act like a "Mistress" type lady, but has some Hidden Depths that the boy seems to find irresistible (she secretly loves punk rock, for one thing).

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Shadows of Mexico setting for Vampire: The Requiem shows a deconstruction of this trope in the relationship between the Harpy Mariposa and her poor PR agent/childe Colibri. Mariposa often humiliates Colibri in front of Mexico's other vampires, treating her as little more than a punching bag, but she actually does care about her in private. This just makes Colibri even crazier!
    • ...actually, this pretty much sums up the relationship of most of the female and a few male vampires in this game with anyone with lower Status than them.


    Video Games 
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, you get this, dashed with Beleaguered Assistant with L'Arachel and her "loyal" followers, Dozla and Rennac. Dozla just seems happy to go fight and kill whoever or whatever L'Arachel tells him to, while Rennac plays the "Beleaguered" part to the hilt, being practically dragged along by L'Arachel everywhere. The conversation having L'Arachel properly recruit Rennac is a stock example of this trope.
  • Pit and Palutena in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Palutena seems to enjoy teasing Pit every now and then, but despite other characters pointing out that she probably takes too much advantage of his Undying Loyalty, it's clear she does care for him in return.
  • This dynamic will develop in the H-Game Koikatsu should the player character go out with a girl with the Sadistic personality type, with the girl even giving him a dog collar for him to wear.
  • Ukiha Mikado and Gen'ichirō Washigami from La Corda d'Oro Starlight Orchestra respectively despite both being boys; the former is a feminine, ladylike Princely Young Man who orders the latter around often, while the latter is a Country Mouse and the former's painfully loyal personal servant.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna has this relationship with Link. She initially forces him into it and acts cruel and dismissive to his plight, barking orders to the disgruntled farmer-turned-warrior and regularly mocking him. She comes to respect him more when he goes out of his way to save her life against her wishes near the midpoint of the game, becoming more reserved and kind as a result.
  • Piratez: Implied with the Altar Boys who are enslaved... er, repurposed as "squires" by the protagonists.
  • Touhou Project: Yuyuko and Youmu have some shades of this, mostly because Yuyuko is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer compared to other mistress-type characters.
  • Trauma Team has Dr. Naomi Kimishima and her "FBI" contact Little Guy in this type of relationship, complete with UST and a blushing instance of almost-Necktie Leash.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Kalim Al-Asim is the son of a ridiculously rich aristocrat family, with Jamil Viper as his beleaguered servant. The former's Sheltered Aristocrat personality constantly causes grief for the latter.
  • Played very darkly in Wolfenstein: The New Order.. Secondary antagonist Frau Engle is a middle-aged woman who's been an enthusiastic member of the Nazi party for decades who currently runs a prison camp. She's always seen in the company of a subordinate young man in his twenties. Canonically, his name is Hans Winkle, but most players will know him as, "Bubi," the nickname that Engle refers to him by throughout the game. Engle was promoted to primary antagonist in the sequel, and a considerable part of her malice toward player character BJ Blaskowicz stems from BJ killing Bubi in self-defense after being ambushed by him.

  • Mistress and Apprentice Ivan from the NSFW Oglaf very much have this dynamic. Mistress is also a supremely powerful sorceress who rules an evil kingdom and is a sadistic monster so her form of 'sexual teasing' is a little more extreme than usual. In fact, Ivan's predecessor had had a firewand used on him as a strap-on that then activated.
  • Sette and Duane from Unsounded have this dynamic, with the twist that Sette is prepubescent.
  • The Lady of the House strips by Humon have a kink version of this as their premise: a wealthy woman has a male harem, all of whom she also employs as her servants in her stately home. In her case, though, the strict demeanor is part of the fun and is put on as much for their benefit as for hers.

    Web Original 
  • While the "boy" in question is a robot and there's no caring involved, The Nostalgia Chick and her new Sex Bot fit into this. She uses it strictly for her own pleasure and it even calls her "mistress".
  • Humon does a lot of this sort of thing. Dominant female/submissive male is a pairing that really fascinates her.
    • In Scandinavia and the World, the pairing of Sister Sweden and Brother Finland is exactly this. The normally macho Finland bends over backwards—painfully literally—to oblige her whims.
    • She uses it a lot in her non—Scandinavia and the World work. Weedy feminised men in thrall to big strong women is a theme which recurs again and again in her work: she explicitly uses this trope in a series of works about an autocratic aristocratic lady who wields a rod, not necessarily of iron, over her male house-staff.
  • The "majo shuukai de aimashou" (an encounter with witches) art meme has a witch encounter/save a young boy and raise him (though it can happen with all genders), then shows their relationship after the kid is grown up. Sometimes it ends in this trope, sometimes in Wife Husbandry, sometimes in My Beloved Smother...
  • Same-sex version—the initial relationship between Prince Amir and Prince Rupert in The Two Princes have this dynamic early on, due to Prince Rupert pretending to be a thief named Fitzroy after hearing that Amir hates the Prince of the West. They grow out of this over time, especially when they start to fall for each other.