Chapter 14

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Minister’s point of view.
Sitting on a chair facing Emiel’s seat, I questioned her while stroking my hair that had become a bit desolate lately.

“Do you know why you have been called?”

“… I don’t.”

Since she’s making such a face, does she take it already for granted to skip work?
Feeling irritated, I confronted the anxious-looking Emiel with the reports that have been coming my way for several months now.

“The Royal Magicians have informed me that you’ve been skipping work. What’s going on here?”

“I did not——”

“Don’t play dumb!”

She obviously got agitated. This confirms it.
At the same time I got convinced, I saw Emiel making a dissatisfied face as if she was asking what is wrong with skipping work, causing me to click my tongue reflexively.

“Enough. You are dismissed. Get out of the castle.”

“Dis… missed?”

“Correct. We will never hire a woman with commoner origins ever again.”

I scoffed inwardly at Emiel, who looked down in silence after hearing of her dismissal, but when I noticed that she was smiling, I felt something was wrong.

“Oy, why don’t you say something?”

“I don’t have to work anymore?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“I don’t have to calculate the Knights Order’s budget ever again?”

“Yeah… wait.”

“I don’t have to maintain the barrier all alone or intercept intruders on my own starting today!?”

“Hah!?”

Emiel left the room without paying any further attention to me, who let out a strange voice due to her unbelievable remarks.
Knights Order’s paperwork? Managing the barrier? Intercepting intruders?
… No, I should calm down. Both the nobles and Royal Magicians all said that she was skipping work. I’m sure she was just trying to deceive me, seeing that I didn’t investigate in detail.
I changed my mind and decided to let the guards waiting on standby behind me deal with that woman and went to continue on with my work.

After finishing the paperwork that was submitted today, I approached the window with a cup of tea in hand.
I love the view from here after a long day of work. I never get tired of it, no matter how many years have passed.
Seeing the bird-shaped monster flying in the sky, illuminated by the red sunset, I started thinking how frightening daily life would be if there was no barrier.

The monster seemed to notice my gaze and stayed in the air, then eventually turned and flew towards me.
I sipped my tea, surprised at the unusual behavior, and watched it absentmindedly——

“Nuah!?”

I moved away from the window in a hurry as the monster continued to approach despite the fact that it had entered the effective range of the barrier.
Immediately afterward, the monster that broke the window easily and entered the building let out a high-pitched cry as it stretched out its 3-meter-long wings.

“What happened!?”

The two guards who entered the room with such a panicked voice quickly stood in front of me as soon as they noticed the monster and pulled out their respective weapons.

”Please run! We’ll take it down, sir!”

“Y, yeah. I will leave it to you.”

As I fled from the room, whipping my shaking legs with fear that I savored for the first time in my life, I informed the knights who rushed over after hearing the noise and had them to assist the two guards. I collapsed on the floor involuntarily.
The barrier set up around the castle was supposed to be something that would drive back even monsters such as dragons. So why on earth is it that a low-grade monster like that could easily get through?

With such confusion stirring in my brain, Emiel’s words from a few hours ago played out in my head.
——The words that I had determined to be a lie; that she won’t have to manage the barrier all on her own starting today.

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