|“||All my fault, really. I should have a better eye for who I elevate. You could have been someone important here some day. But you've disappointed me - and it's time I cash out.||„|
|~ The Empress, threatening a cornered Hat Kid|
The Empress is the principal antagonist of the seventh chapter of A Hat in Time, "Nyakuza Metro". Similarly to The Snatcher, she steals Hat Kid's Time Pieces and conscripts her as a field operative. She is voiced by Laura Post.
The Empress is a very tall anthropomorphic cat. Her fur is black, though she also sports a mane of grey hair. A large scar runs down her left eye. She wears an expensive fur-lined coat and rings on every finger.
From what we see of The Empress, she is a cold and calculating individual who runs Nyakuza Metro through numerous crooks and cops on the take. Her arrogance is also quite apparent. In her first encounter with Hat Kid, she smugly "thanks" her for acquiring the Time Piece and proudly asserts that she'll be arranging Hat Kid's next tasks. For much of the chapter, she is content to reside behind the counter at her shop, Le Félin, while refusing to offer any additional aid. Given her ability to single-handedly kill Hat Kid with a simple swipe, The Empress' sheer strength almost certainly contributes to her haughty attitude alongside flagrant flaunting of her wealth. The cat's visible scars, likewise, might also have resulted from past encounters that only further emboldened her as a crime boss.
The Empress is also defined by her extreme anger—usually demonstrated through her beratement of those under her employ. As noted above, she is capable of executing Hat Kid with a single swipe of her claws, should the alien be so foolish to attack her. And at the chapter's completion, following Hat Kid's attempt to reclaim the stolen Time Pieces, the enraged feline sics her minions to kill the child on the promise of an increasing bounty. When they fail to capture or terminate Hat Kid, The Empress chastises them and joins the hunt. Even when she's foiled, The Empress makes it clear her anger is barely restrained by the circumstances.
After Hat Kid obtains the first Time Piece of the level, she is accosted by two feline minions that inform her it "belongs to the boss". When Hat Kid refuses to relinquish it, The Empress sneaks up behind the child and pries the Time Piece from her hands. She snidely announces Hat Kid will fall under her employ—as she can't have her "running around". Casually dropping Hat Kid a wad of cash, she orders the child to meet her at her shop (which is naturally a front for her operations and houses her ill-gotten gains). From there, she orders Hat Kid to acquire Time Pieces from various locales around the Metro, providing her with cash payments and no assistance. Her power over virtually every resident is further emphasized by their orders to steal any Time Pieces Hat Kid encounters or to trick her into setting herself up for an attack.
In the chapter's final mission, "Rush Hour", Hat Kid returns to Le Félin once there are no more Time Pieces to gather. Seeing that The Empress is absent from her usual spot behind the counter, she sneaks into the backroom and takes back all the Time Pieces stolen from her. Unfortunately, The Empress catches her right as she tries to sneak off. Fixing Hat Kid with a glare, The Empress calls for every minion in the Metro to assassinate the fleeing child for an increasing bounty. When Hat Kid successfully evades them, the crime boss pursues with a gold-plated rocket launcher, hell-bent on regaining the Time Pieces and turning her new hire into a pile of ash. Unfortunately for The Empress, Hat Kid plays off the criminal feline's arrogant rage by tricking her into destroying several generators powering the gates blocking the path. Unfortunately for Hat Kid, however, The Empress successfully captures the child as she tries to escape through an elevator. Hat Kid is saved by the timely arrival of two cops, whose presence drives The Empress to retreat. Ironically, one of the cops reveals himself to be on The Empress' payroll and, unaware of Hat Kid's intentions, passes the chapter's final Time Piece to her for a delivery.
Should she dare, Hat Kid can return to Le Félin and speak to The Empress, once again at her usual spot. The feline makes it very clear that current "negotiations" with the local police force are the only thing staying her claws from killing the child on the spot. She advises Hat Kid to run while she has the chance.
- Along with Queen Vanessa, The Empress is one of the only bosses Hat Kid cannot directly fight or confront. Considering The Empress' ability to execute with a single swing, Hat Kid's resulting fear is quite justified. However, her scars suggest that The Empress isn't completely invulnerable, simply just more powerful than Hat Kid.
- She's noticeably the tallest resident of the Metro (barring the cats pulling the various trains), contrasting with her minions.
- Her seeming invincibility and breed have drawn comparisons to Beerus. Similarly, her design is also reminiscent of villains from the Sly Cooper franchise.
- The backroom of her jewelry store reveals that her stacks of paper money come from a counterfeiting printer.