༺ A Civil Servant Has No Vacations (3) ༻
We often fail to recognize the value of some things while we have them. It’s only when you lose it that you realize how precious it is. It’s a heart-wrenching and regrettable thing.
Health was a prime example of this. While one’s 20s were undoubtedly a vibrant age, I felt like I was steadily losing my health, probably because I pushed myself too hard during my teenage years. The Great War and internal purges were incredibly harsh.
However, thanks to the grace of one legendary and unparalleled archmage, I was rapidly regaining the health I had lost.
“Thank you, Mage Duchess.”
These days, my day started with gratitude toward the Mage Duchess. She couldn’t hear it, of course, but that was the least I could do after receiving such a favor. I might have black hair, but I wasn’t a beast.
Starting a day full of energy just by drinking a small potion I received for free was certainly a joy. Thank you a lot, Mage Duchess!
‘It really is amazing.’
When I first drank it, I thought it was just a placebo effect. I drank it because she said it was good, but the more I drank it, the more I felt the benefits.
I even felt invigorated during the times when I would typically feel exhausted.
I had to resist the urge to drink two or three bottles a day. In some rogue cities, excessive potion consumption was believed to be good for stamina. But in this world, overdosing on potions would make you suffer. Doping might have immediate effects, but it would ultimately be harmful.
“Master, may I come in?”
I was fiddling with the empty bottle when I heard Yuris’s voice coming from outside the door. Ah, I kept her waiting for too long.
“Yes, come in.”
I quickly adjusted my hair, anticipating Yuris’s touch. Another exciting day at work awaited me.
The backlog wasn’t something I could clear in just a day. I thought it was done, but imagine my surprise when the Senior Manager said he would bring the next batch of documents the following day.
Well, it would be dishonest of me to wish for the work accumulated in a couple of months to be done in just a day. It would also mean that I wasn’t needed there. It would be more economical to place a doll in my seat.
I didn’t actually imply that it would be okay to put a doll there.
To my surprise, a doll was sitting in my place when I arrived at work. It even had a portrait of me stuck to its face. Who would play such a prank?
As I turned my gaze, I saw the 1st Manager making a proud expression. She held her head high, which annoyed me quite a bit.
“This. Explain it.”
“I’ve placed a new superior who cares for his subordinates.”
I pointed to the doll while suppressing a sigh and asked, expecting an explanation to resolve my doubts. However, her response only raised more questions.
Is she crazy? Did she go insane after just one night shift?
Should I just hit her?
While I was battling my inner rage, the 1st Manager clung to the doll and glared at me. Fuck. At least take off my picture.
“I don’t need a mean boss who torments his subordinates! Carl over here always shows his appreciation and love for his noona!”
“Have you gone mad?”
Calling one’s boss by their first name was unacceptable. If they started calling me by my name and using informal speech, I wouldn’t be able to control them anymore.
That was a line that couldn’t be crossed. Even during my previous life, when subordinates started speaking informally to their superiors, they were basically peers from that point onward.
As I approached the doll, the 1st Manager trembled without letting it go. What happened during the night shift to make her do this?
“Don’t come any closer! I’ll protect the Executive Manager!”
“I’m going to kill that replacement.”
I forcibly snatched the doll from the struggling 1st Manager and ignored her pleas. She said the doll wasn’t hers and that the 2nd Manager made it, so I shouldn’t mess it up, etc. I started by tearing its neck.
That’s how the doll, Executive Manager Carl’s life ended in 6 months after being made.
“Carl, I’m sorry for not being able to protect you…”
“Stop talking nonsense and take this.”
I threw a paper bag at the 1st Manager, who was collecting the plushie pieces with trembling hands. I wouldn’t have brought it if I knew she’d play a prank first thing in the morning.
Then, the 1st Manager discarded the plushie pieces in her hand and grabbed the bag. She smiled happily after checking out the contents.
“It’s a gift in answer to the cake. The head chef made them.”
The 1st Manager took a piece of bread from the bag and bit into it with a happy expression. Her mood swings were too extreme.
While the 1st Manager ate the bread, I gathered the torn pieces of the plushie. Yesterday was a cake, and today was a plushie. What would she bring tomorrow? Flowers? It would have been a perfect gift set if I had received them simultaneously. It’s all torn up now, though.
“Executive Manager, you’re going to make the dust scatter. Clean it up later.”
Didn’t you apologize to it because you couldn’t protect it? What’s up with this change in attitude? I haven’t seen many people as crazy as her.
Recalling the saying that you shouldn’t bother a dog while it was eating, I couldn’t bring myself to hit her. Eat a lot and grow up healthy, our dog-like 1st Manager.
If it weren’t for the potion given to me by the Mage Duchess, I would have collapsed from stress.
There was a small disturbance, but time continued to pass. If I wasted any more time, my workload would only pile up more.
The Senior Manager entered after I chased out the 1st Manager. He must have been waiting outside because the office was noisy. Sorry for showing you such a scene.
After exchanging an awkward glance, I cautiously asked.
“How much is left?”
“Two more days should be enough.”
“That’s a relief.”
I nodded in satisfaction. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and the day after. Yes. four days of struggle wasn’t much. Once done, I wouldn’t need to appear here for a while.
Moreover, there weren’t any urgent documents, so it seemed like there weren’t any major cases. I had already taken care of the dispatch incident yesterday, so there was nothing to worry about.
As soon as I thought that, the communication crystal on my desk started to glow.
“Yes. I should take the call.”
I was tempted to ignore it, but upon hearing the Senior Manager’s voice, I returned to my senses and took the call. I might have ignored it if the Senior Manager wasn’t here.
“It’s the Prosecutor’s Executive Manager.”
— This is the Minister of Intelligence.
As I received the call, the face of the Minister of Intelligence, which was full of scars, appeared.
It didn’t matter how many times I’d seen him. I couldn’t get used to seeing his face.
Why keep the scars when they could be treated?
Some people went crazy because they wanted to erase them but couldn’t.
Still, his face wouldn’t change unless the Emperor himself ordered him to, so I let it go. I’d be tired if I bothered.
“Yes, Your Grace. What can I do for you?”
— Come to my office. We have important matters to discuss.
— The Minister of Foreign Affairs is here too, so you should hurry.
The Minister of Intelligence cut off the call after the unilateral summon order. Meeting the Minister of Intelligence and Foreign Affairs simultaneously?
This was the most annoying possible combination. What had happened to make the two ministers collaborate?
I stared blankly at the ceiling for a brief moment. Then, I lifted my body, which felt heavier than before. I didn’t want to go, but ignoring the summons of the two ministers would be even worse.
“Please return safely.”
The farewell, which sounded like a prayer wishing for my survival, didn’t make things better.
Sure enough, when the two Ministers met, it meant trouble.
“We’ve received information from the Holy Kingdom.”
It was evident that things had gone wrong. The Minister of Foreign Affairs had a stern expression, which was rare for him. As I turned my head around, I saw the Minister of Intelligence standing there with a stiff face and his arms crossed.
‘He’s also in this state?’
This was a man whose face didn’t change unless he was in a bad mood.
“The Twilight Cult.”
The Minister of Intelligence, who’d been silent after hearing my question, finally replied quietly. At that answer, the Minister of Foreign Affairs clicked his tongue, and I instinctively sighed.
This wasn’t just an annoying incident. It was a filthy major one.
“The Twilight Cult is coming to the Capital.”
“Are they crazy?”
“They’re fanatics for a reason.”
I didn’t have anything to say at that remark.
“While the Holy Kingdom was chasing the Twilight Cult, they found evidence of them infiltrating the Empire.”
This time, it was the Minister of Foreign Affairs who explained things. Although his complexion had improved compared to earlier, seeing him continually wipe his forehead with a handkerchief showed that he was still under significant mental strain.
“After a while of hiding, they suddenly decided to cross the border.”
“And their target is the Capital?”
Although the Minister of Foreign Affairs was calmly nodding, I could see that his eyes were cursing. To think that the Twilight Cult would target the capital at this time. It’s all too obvious what they’re after.
“Their goal is most likely assassination.”
Tannian, who was currently staying at my mansion, bore the fancy title of the next Saint. From the perspective of the Twilight Cult, he was similar to a Pope. If they could kill him, they could deal significant damage to the Holy Kingdom.
The only possible answer I could come up with was an assassination attempt. If they had dared to enter the Empire despite knowing we were after them, they were probably after an important figure.
“How dare they underestimate the Empire.”
I heard a roaring voice coming from next to me. This time, I agreed with the words of the Minister of Intelligence.
How lightly did they think of the Empire to plan such a thing?
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