Chapter 46 - Sir Adrian
“No! Marin, you are being l…”
Chelleno gasped as if he was responding to my words. But then he shut it like he had seen something. I was curious and turned to look at the front, and Sir Adrian was looking at me with a smile that was so bright that it could blind me.
“Shall we head on then, Secretary Harrant?”
With Chelleno and Sir Adrian escorting me, I soon arrived at the central palace. The servants there opened the door for me. I saw a figure sitting down at the office desk, so I bowed and showed respect to the emperor of this country.
“Your Majesty, Marina von Harrant is your servant.”
“Welcome. Are you the new secretary that we recruited this time?” asked the Emperor.
“Yes, Your Majesty. I was appointed as a policy officer at the Operations department.”
“You may raise your head.”
I looked up and saw the middle-aged man with sharp features that somewhat resembled the Crown Prince. The Emperor sat at his desk and was giving me an intrigued look.
“So, you are the daughter of Count Harrant? Then perhaps, do you know about the demonic race that became flowers?”
“Please excuse me, Your Majesty. I don’t know what you are speaking of.”
“I see. There’s no need to talk about it if you don’t know. It will be more interesting to talk about more realistic matters on hand,” replied the Emperor as he got up from his seat and moved to the couch. He then offered me a seat. “You may sit. This will take a while.”
As I sat down because of his offer, he looked at me carefully and smiled, “Haven’t you liked chess since you were young?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I used to play against my father.”
“Yes. Count Harrant was unmatched by anyone with his skills.” Then I almost laughed at the whispering words that the Emperor added, “It was to the point that he had to intentionally lose to the Chancellor who was so eager to win.”
So he was that good! The Emperor wasn’t someone I could just speak casually like that.
“I’m sure you visited the palace when you were young, have you not?”
The palace… Of course, I could never forget. At the time, I came to the palace with my mother, who went to look for my father while I played by myself. There was a child who appeared to be a young servant around my age who approached me. He was crying so sadly alone, so I taught him chess. I taught him that this was the best way to forget about bad thoughts. Then I gave him the doll that I had with me.
That boy was my first love. He had a beautiful face and unforgettable eyes.
“Yes, Your Majesty. I believe I have.”
“As expected. Do you perhaps happen to know why Count Harrant was sent to the estate on the outskirts of the country?”
I was a bit annoyed by him casually asking about the cause of my family’s collapse, but it was the Emperor who was asking the question. I didn’t show even the slightest bit of my feelings and answered what I knew without hesitation, “I have heard that he was removed from his office because he opposed the tax increase policy.”
“So that’s what you know. However, that isn’t true. He had put down his post to protect what is precious.”
What? So my father wasn’t removed but voluntarily resigned from the office? Unknowingly, I gave the Emperor a surprised look for telling me such a startling truth. Then I realized it was disrespectful and bowed.
The Emperor then looked at me kindly and said, “You are very much like your father.”
No way, Your Majesty. People always say I look like my mother. My head was spinning from what I had just learned about my father. For what reason did he have to give up his post of Advisor to the Emperor and leave the palace?
“You will learn one day. By the way, I would like to play a chess game with you. Would you mind playing with me right now?”
“It would be my honor, Your Majesty.”
Then we played a few rounds of chess. It was three wins out of three games. The Emperor laughed sheepishly, “You sure are great at chess. I sometimes won when I used to play with your father. Have you overcome your father?”
“That is correct, Your Majesty.”
In response to his compliment, I told the truth. The Emperor looked at me kindly and said, “I’m sorry I took too much of your time. I had a lot of fun.”
“It’s an honor, Your Majesty. I had a great time as well.”
“I would like to play chess with you from time to time if you don’t mind. Will you allow me?”
Unlike his son, the Crown Prince, his Majesty the Emperor was a very gentle and nobleman. Besides, he was very considerate and cared about the feelings of a mere middle-grade officer. It might be disrespectful to think of that. If he was my father’s old friend and not the emperor, I would have liked him very much.
“I’m honored, Your Majesty.”
I was already very fond of the Emperor, who has shown his humane side instead of being a sovereign being. Yeah, I guess a few chess games can do that. I can always play with such an emperor.
I bowed to him, left the office, and found Chelleno nervously waiting for me. Sir Adrian smiled as he approached, “I will escort you back, my lady.”
“Thank you for your kindness, sir.”
As I walked back with them, Chelleno tapped me from behind. He mouthed if I was alright. I nodded, and my cousin turned from a concerned cousin back to a gentle knight.
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