༺ There are too many people above me (3) ༻
I was the Executive Manager, and yet, the Duchess was making jokes that I should be doing to entertain my superiors. What kind of torture was this? It felt a bit unfair. She was clearly bullying me using her status.
‘Is it because of her age?’
I felt a bit sorry when I thought of the Mage Duchess’s age. Despite her age, she hadn’t gotten married or had children. If she found joy in making such silly jokes, then it was the duty of a young person to endure them.
“Baby? What are you thinking about?”
It seemed like my sympathetic feelings toward the Mage Duchess were visible. She suddenly put more strength on her hands while stroking my head.
“I was thinking that my subordinates would do a better job if I had a good sense of humor like the Duchess.”
“Oh, you must have been having a hard time. Baby, don’t worry. Things will get sorted out as time passes.”
‘I’d rather not.’
That advice sounded like ‘You’ll become like me once you grow older.’ They said that the words of magicians that have reached a higher plane carried a lot of weight, which made things scarier.
Regardless of my feelings, the Duchess’s smile deepened. It seemed like she was pleased with my words.
“It’s been eight years since I’ve met that child you’ve talked about. That was the only time when I taught someone magic.”
“Is that so?”
That’s a relief. If Louise was the only one she’d taught magic, then it meant that she didn’t have secret disciples scattered all over the place. Several would be a problem, but one could be considered a whim or hobby of the Duchess.
Even the Emperor’s suspicions don’t extend to such trivial matters. I was worried about what would happen if the Emperor started doubting the Mage Duchess as well. Well, she probably already thought about potential issues since she was a Duchess.
Anyway, eight years ago meant that Louise was about 9 years old.
‘It’s a one-year difference.’
The free chapters only mentioned Louise’s story up to when she was about eight years old. To think that the part where she learned magic after encountering the Duchess would be in the paid chapters.
“That kid isn’t aware that the person who taught her magic was you. It’s pitiful that she doesn’t know how lucky she is.”
“I was traveling, so I didn’t want things to get noisy.”
The last question was also answered. It seemed like she’d hid her identity because she was traveling and didn’t want to be bothered. Indeed, it can be vexing to have disturbances during a trip meant for rest.
I felt relieved. Having a sudden meeting with the Duchess was flustering, but at least I heard the truth from the person involved. The Duchess wasn’t someone who would lie about these things.
“Is that child doing well?”
“Yes. She’s healthy and doing well.”
The Duchess, who’d taken her hand off my head, asked me about Louise’s well-being. Although she’d taught her because of a whim, it seemed like she’d gotten a liking to her since she’d taught her.
“That’s good to hear. When I first saw her, she had a gloomy expression despite being so young.”
I just nodded at her words.
The truth revealed by the Mage Duchess turned out to be a rather ordinary story of a romance novel heroine encountering a strange destiny by accident. It was a bit disappointing, considering the serious talk I had with the Principal. Of course, this was better than handling a major incident.
Since I had finished all my business here, I just had to return to the Academy.
“Baby, could you pour me another cup?”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
But, ma’am, why aren’t you leaving?
I barely managed to suppress the words that were about to burst out of my throat. I carefully poured tea into the cup.
The reason why the Mage Duchess had summoned me here was due to an invasion of privacy. I asked for her apology and had been forgiven, and we’d already talked about Louise, so there was nothing left to discuss. However, the Mage Duchess didn’t seem to have any intention of leaving.
“How’s life in the Academy?”
This felt like a grandmother asking her grandson how school was. However, that wasn’t something I could or should say out loud, so I decided to keep it to myself.
“I’m getting used to it as time goes by.”
“I see. I was excited to hear that you were going to the Academy.”
Apparently, my pain was a form of entertainment to the Duchess.
“When I used to go there…”
The Mage Duchess began talking about her school days then trailed off, sipping her tea. I just lowered my gaze.
Everyone knew that the Mage Duchess avoided talking about her age. Elves were usually indifferent to their age, but the Mage Duchess was a half-elf. Moreover, she lived along with humans, so her values were also closer to a human.
Even if she knew and accepted that her age was overwhelming compared to others, her human-like heart showed strong resistance. That’s why she usually avoids talking about her Academy days. Even so, most people already know her age.
‘Did she graduate about a hundred years ago?’
But again, this wasn’t something I could mention, so I decided to keep it to myself. I don’t know how she will react if a mere heir like me brought up that topic.
“I heard that the Academy has changed a lot. I would like to visit someday if I get the chance.”
“I’m sure the Principal would be delighted if you came.”
“Really? I wonder if there’s a teaching position available.”
My eyes twitched slightly at her sudden statement, and the Mage Duchess chuckled.
“But I’m already busy with the Magic Tower, so it will be hard. However, it would be a good chance to spend more time with my baby.”
“I also think that’s too bad.”
With a soft smile, the Mage Duchess put down her cup of tea and finally got up from her seat. I also got up to send her off when I noticed that she was looking at my arm.
“Do you need it?”
“No, it’s okay. I still have plenty left.”
I was about to roll up my sleeve when the Mage Duchess refused. She’d drawn blood from me just before I was dispatched to the Academy, so she should still have some left. Even before I possessed this body, the blood donation cycle was about two or three months, so it was a little too soon if she was to draw now.
“I think there’s going to be good results soon.”
“I’m glad to hear my blood is valuable.”
“It’s a relief that you think that way. Come to the Magic Tower later. Take it easy on your journey back.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
After saying that, the Mage Duchess left the Prosecutor’s Office. Her immaculate white hair, which sparkled in the sunlight, always left a strong impression when it trailed behind her on the floor. It didn’t get dirty no matter how much she dragged it around because she cast a spell on it.
‘A robot vacuum cleaner…’
Seeing how the spot where the Mage Duchess had passed through became totally clean was proof of how effective the magic’s effect was. She was a living vacuum cleaner.
While thinking about things that could be considered disrespectful, I sat back down. Now that I think about it, she mentioned that good results might come soon.
‘That’s faster than I thought.’
The war in the North had taught me things about my physical characteristics I wasn’t aware of. A remarkably strong life force and an astonishing recovery ability. Thanks to these things, I could survive in the North through numerous dangerous situations. And that was also why the Mage Duchess took notice of my bizarre body.
I was surprised when the Duchess suddenly appeared and asked me to sell my blood for an experiment. I had no reason to object, of course. After all, I had previously exchanged my blood for two Choco Pies. There was no reason to refuse if she would offer a fair price.
‘But how soon is ‘soon’ for the Duchess?’
The standard of ‘soon’ for a half-elf that had been alive for more than 120 years might be different.
Someone knocked on the door not long after the Mage Duchess left.
“She’s gone. Come in.”
My subordinates came in as soon as I replied. There were five of them in total. It seemed like they were all here without anyone wandering outside. Or it could be that they were summoned after the announcement of the Mage Duchess’s visit.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes. There’s no problem.”
I nodded at the Senior Manager, who’d asked on behalf of the others. It was a harmless interview that ended without any problems. The Senior Manager sighed in relief after hearing that.
“Executive Manager, did you come here because you missed us? As expected, you aren’t honest.”
After realizing the situation wasn’t serious, the 1st Manager began joking. The sight of her rushing forward while waving her hands was unpleasant.
“Don’t worry. We didn’t meet for work-related issues. It was personal, so just keep doing your job as usual.”
I explained to the others while pulling the cheeks of the 1st Manager. This time, the Mage Duchess had come because of my mishap. However, thinking about that made me angry again about the Secret Service Agency’s Executive Manager. That bastard.
“But why would the Mage Duchess herself come here? She’s someone that’s hard to meet outside the Tower.”
The 2nd Manager asked while stroking his chin. I planned to keep it a secret since it was the Duchess’s personal life, but it probably meant that it was okay for the other members of the Prosecutor’s Office to learn about it if she’d told me.
“There’s a noble that has learned one of the Duchess’s unique magic. I was trying to find more information when she kindly told me herself.”
“One of her unique magic? Whoever that is, they hit the jackpot. Everyone will try to recruit you if you’re the Duchess’s disciple.”
Upon hearing this, the 2nd Manager bit his lip, and his expression became distorted. Everyone knew that Louise was the president of the club I was in charge of. He probably doesn’t know whether to laugh, admire or offer words of comfort at the miraculous probability of my charge becoming the Mage Duchess’s disciple.
The Senior Manager muttered words that probably represented everyone’s feelings.
Just as I was about to sigh, I heard a pitiful moan coming from the side. I planned to pinch her briefly but ended up holding her longer than I thought.
“Are you going back right away?”
“I don’t have anything to do during the morning, so I’ll rest a bit before returning.”
The meeting with the Mage Duchess, which I didn’t want to be summoned for, was also over. I had also informed the Principal, Vice Principal, and Villar that I might be late. Besides, there was still some time before the club hour started, so it should be okay to take a breath before returning. It was a small treat for myself who has been through a lot.
I was resting when my communication crystal began shining.
It seemed like the rumors had already spread, although I had just got back.
I should’ve returned immediately and not tried to enjoy some peaceful time.
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