Chapter 34 - Coworkers
The word stuck-up reminded me of Kyles again. A boring and stuck-up woman were the words that he used in the letter to Elise. I felt bitter about the word, so I replied, “Well, I am a stuck-up and boring woman.”
My low and depressed voice made the people around the office silent. The change in the atmosphere shook me awake. Oh, so did I just throw a wet blanket here? I guess that confirms that I really am a stuck-up and a boring woman.
While I was critical of myself, Lynel spoke with seriousness in his voice, “Isn’t that a perfect trait for a government official, though?”
Huh? How’s that perfect? I was shocked and absent-minded, then heard another voice.
“I’m not saying Secretary Harrant is like that, but always being serious and careful is a big plus.”
It was Clerk Bonde, one of my associates. I blanked out again, and another voice jumped in. This person added, “You know, I like a more serious person than a person who always jokes around working under me.”
This time, it was Associate Deputy and the Chief Administrator Ramont. Rave, who was wary of me, began to talk once more in response, “Sir, didn’t you say I’m like a flower that makes the office bright? Are you dumping me in the trash because we now have a real flower? Huh? I mean, we got a flower of steel, fitting for the cold steel Internal Affairs.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at Rave’s words. It was easy to see his intention. He was trying hard to cover it up. I see what you did, you know. My laughter caused others to burst into laughter too. The office soon broke away from the awkwardness and into laughter.
I realized after laughing, that I was the only one who thought it was severe. Come to think of it, I was boring and serious, but it was an advantage. And it was this place where it was seen as an advantage.
I felt slightly better about my bad qualities that someone had rejected, and they suddenly turned into good ones. Then, I let go of my bitterness and began preparing for work in a good mood.
After a while, the clock indicated it was time to start work, and the office changed itself to be a battleground of policies. I finished organizing materials for the morning meeting, then began working on my assignments one by one. While I was reviewing data from the Administration office and sorting general issues out, Rave called out to me.
“It’s time for the meeting, associate.”
I looked at the time, and two hours had already passed. Starting with the chancellor, chief of staff, their aides, our director, and chief deputies, they were all leaving the office.
“Let’s go,” said Rave.
Rave, another secretary, and Lynel were waiting for us, and I quickly joined their ranks. Officers from the Administration office were waiting for us by the entrance of the meeting room. The Chancellor went in first, and then the other officers joined from behind.
The atmosphere at the meeting hall was cold. It was good until we talked about Azar, a country currently in a truce. The problem started when two directors went head-on onto each other. Count Clove, the Director of Operations, and Count Raisen were going against each other, not backing down with their opinions.
I sighed, contemplating if I should record their petty arguments too when my eyes met with the Chancellor’s eyes. I took a breath, knowing it was a bad sign, and looked back at the Chancellor. Then it happened.
“Secretary Harrant. May I ask for your opinion?”
Ugh, why me out of all these people? My eyes shivered slightly at the frustrating situation, but I hid it and acted like a newbie who was shocked by such a situation.
“I’m just a secretary, sir… I can’t-”
“You will need to do it once promoted to Associate Deputy. I, as the chancellor, allow you to speak. Go ahead,” said the Chancellor.
Hah. So he’s determined to hear what I have to say, old snake. I let out a small breath and took in a deep breath. Then I began to explain the strategy I thought up while I was recording the meeting.
“In the case of Azar…”
As soon as I explained, officers from both sides of the office, Operations, and Administrations all began to throw questions at me.
‘Ugh, government people,’ I thought. I answered each and every one of them, and they fell silent and listened to what I had to say. The result… was a great success. The Chancellor liked the strategy I came up with, praised it, and said that he would announce it in my name. And…
“What do you think about our new secretary?” asked the Chancellor. Count Raisen looked at me intrigued.
“Claiming victory with less than one-tenth of the troops we expected, learn the hostility within themselves to shift their powers, and only take what is needed… I am impressed. To think she can think of a strategy like that in such a short time…”
Then Marquis Serde, who was second in rank at Internal Affairs, looked at me as he caressed his chin.
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