Chapter 29 - The Crown Prince
“Head Secretary. With the Chancellor and other senior officials above the Deputy Director missing, who is the top decision-maker in this situation?”
Rave looked at me with solemn eyes in response to my question and replied, “That would be me.”
I almost laughed at his serious response but was able to maintain a stern expression. Then I urged him, the person in charge, to make a decision. “Then you have to decide. Will you take the responsibility yourself, or will you leave it to me instead?”
Rave sighed at my question, then answered, “I’ll leave it to you. However, I will take the responsibility if things go wrong.”
He then signed the document that I drafted. This was surprising. I took him as a not-so-serious kind of person, but he seemed to be responsible.
“As you say. I will take this to his highness now.”
Everyone sighed in relief and looked at me with a sympathetic look. Then, they exchanged glances and took something out. An officer brought it up to me with a determined look on his face, “Ma’am… you should take this just in case.”
“What is… this?”
It almost looked like a shield. It wasn’t big, but it was quite thick. Not only that, it was light, but the material seemed to be like mithril, which was the most expensive metal out there. Why a shield?
“It’s a tray. His highness sometimes throws a vase or something like that at you, so you should put the proposal on this tray. Then, you should use it to block whenever he throws something at you. It’s difficult at first, but you’ll get used to it.”
“…Okay,” I answered.
“Dear associate, learning to block will be the first thing you need to learn at Internal Affairs! Every official is a pro at shield defense now. You never know when you will come across his highness, you see. Although, you are encountering him much earlier than others,” said Rave.
I was almost stunned. We’re office workers, and we have to practice that?
“Here, I’ll teach you,” added Rave.
“Yeah. I am the best when it comes to shields… I mean trays. Hahaha! I never saw his highness, but I’m sure I can block anything he throws at me.”
So, it is a shield then! Besides, how can I trust him when he had never seen his highness?
“…Do we have to do this?” I asked.
“Of course. I’ll be heartbroken if I see my dear associate pass out from being struck on the head by a stone thrown by his highness. We’re running out of time, so learn quickly.”
Rave and other members seemed determined, so I had to practice that shield- tray- or whatever thing until they found me sufficient enough to block with it.
“Have a safe trip, my associate! Don’t forget what I taught you!” shouted Rave.
“Be well, Secretary Harrant!”
My arm was numb from practicing. Everyone cheered me on with a determined look from behind me, and I had to put the proposal on top of that shield tray. Everyone became relieved at that and returned to their work.
After a long walk with the tray, I saw the palace of the Crown Prince. The guard was looking at me with a bored look at the entrance.
‘Wow, they’re so negligent.’
The guard came back to his senses only when I got right in front of him. He asked, “W-what brings you here, ma’am?”
“I’m Marina von Harrant, the Policy Officer at Internal Affairs. I bring an alternative proposal to his highness’s letter,” I answered as I revealed my title and reason for visiting.
The guard looked at me with a bit of a dazed look as if he wasn’t fully awake from a nap, which soon turned sympathetic towards me. He then opened the door for me and whispered, “He usually throws from the right side. Good luck, ma’am.”
Is he really that much of a a*sh*le? He didn’t seem like that before.
I arrived at the front of the Crown Prince’s office. Then, I revealed the purpose of my visit, and the servant opened the door and went in to report. Soon, the door opened with the Crown Prince’s permission.
“Marina von Harrant, the Policy Officer of Internal Affairs, at your service, your highness.”
“Are you here with an alternative proposal?”
The arrogant, low-pitched voice that went straight to the point while ignoring my greetings was quite wonderful. But that had nothing to do with me. I just needed approval for my proposal.
I bowed and handed the proposal on top of the tray to the servant. The servant then took it up to the Crown Prince. I kept my head lowered, waiting for an answer.
After a short wait, a nice low-pitched voice could be heard as he asked, “Are you the one who drafted this?”
“Yes, your highness. The Head Secretary approved, and I brought it here to report.”
“A woman. Interesting. Don’t noblewomen usually aim to become maids?”
His words had many meanings behind them. It included his intrigue on a woman entering Internal Affairs, speculation that I may have been blamed to cover up my superior’s mistakes, and that I’m ugly, so I had become a woman official rather than a maid.
Noblewomen who were ugly and couldn’t find suitable marriage candidates were usually the only ones who sought to become government officials. Ones with beauty preferred to be palace maids, then officials.
To be frank, I didn’t consider myself ugly. My mother was one of the most beautiful women in the capital, and my father was handsome too. It was just that Elise, the fiancée of the Crown Prince, was gorgeous compared to me. In a general sense, I was good-looking too… Or I wished I was.
“Raise your head,” said his highness.
I was thinking of various things when he said that, so I sighed softly and looked up. Without realizing it, I took a deep breath. He still was amazingly handsome. I almost thought, ‘how can a person look like that?’
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