It's actually one of the puppet masters in disguise and in attempt to distract you / to keep you from beating him up as you discover he's at first impersonating neinheart as you call him out on it he transforms into Empress. However as he questions if you can hit him or not as you threaten him and you're about to one of the puppet masters appears behind you and knocks you out.. so that's actually a trap! literately and figuratively
For some reason I'm reminded of that scene in Conan the Barbarian (1982). Where Conan's mother was about to kill James Earl Jones, but was seduced by his puppy dog eyes only then to do a "sike!" on her; cutting her head off.