Chapter 79. Attempted Poisoning of a Civil Servant (2)

Come to think of it, it would be my big sister's birthday soon. I sent her Goddess’s Blessing. I hope she received it well.

Originally, I was going to send it as a necklace or make it into some other jewelry, but it was too famous of a stone for me to leave it to a craftsman. However, I was worried about ruining such a precious stone if I tried myself, so I just sent it as is. Unlike me, the village’s master craftsman was good with his hands, so I reckon he would be able to make it into something.

When I entered the district office, a warm breeze blew out towards me. Looking at the flow of mana, there seemed to be a magic fan inside the building.

"Oh, it's warm inside."

Flam also felt the warm wind and his face relaxed.

"The inside is cleaner than I thought."

It was much cleaner than the office I saw when I went to report the transfer in the capital.

"I'm in the third department. Where are you, Flam?"

"Yes, I am in the fourth department."

The district office had a total of five departments, and each department received one trainee. If it were other training sessions to be held later on, it would be with many others like taking a class. But there were dozens of district offices in the capital, so individual training was possible. As Flam and I were at the top of the list, we were assigned to the district office, the lower ranks had been assigned to a local town office.

For your information, I visited a local town office once to report my transfer, but it was not a good environment. It was my first time coming to the district office. But the fact that the district office had a heater running because it was winter, the difference in work environment between the district and local town office was very clear. The building of the district office was so neat and nice that it made me want to just slightly raise my grades to get into the district office.

Flam and I went up to the second floor to go to the department we were assigned to. As soon as we went up, we noticed a banner saying, "Selected as the best district office by the imperial family”. There was also a small phrase below, "Thank you very much for your hard work”.

I almost burst into laughter at the banner that really seemed appropriate hanging in a national institution. It seems every world has this kind of thing hanging up.

When it came to the level of a district office, it seemed things were managed by the imperial family.

"I am over here," Flam said, pointing to where it said Fourth Department.

Let me see. 

"I'm over there."

Right next to where it said Fourth Department, it said Third Department.

"See you later, then. A drink later?"

Flam made a drinking gesture in front of the entrance door and I nodded.

"Sounds good to me."

It was a little too noisy to drink alone in the boarding house. But to drink together... Mrs. Arscilla was the only one who drank, besides me. However, she preferred wine and that too the high-end ones that it didn’t really suit me. Considering my tastes were cheap lager beer made from barley and a lot of other grains, I couldn’t really make any recommendations either.

I entered the door marked Third Department.

"Huh?"

I could see a wide-open space, not a small room. There was a group of desks under a wooden board hanging from the ceiling that said, "The Fourth Department" right next to the place where there was a wooden board that said, "The Third Department".

And when I turned my head, Flam and my eyes met. If it was going to be like this, why did you make two doors?

Flam and I smiled embarrassedly and approached the desk with the nameplate "Department Director”.

At the desk, a stern-looking, skinny, middle-aged bespectacled man in his 40s was sitting and perusing the documents. His neat black-brown hair, which was split 2:8, and the creases in the middle of the forehead made him look strict.

Third Department Director Pelgrant von Bologneo. Confirming the name on the plaque, I bowed and greeted.

"Hello! I am a trainee assigned as a probationary worker, Den von Mark! I look forward to working with you for the next week!"

Good. A 60-degree lower-back angle with a strong voice that was neither too loud nor too small and sounded polite; both hands politely hovering over the belly button. This was a perfect score for the first greeting.

Glancing over, Flam was greeting like he was greeting a brother with his arms slightly spread out in a loud voice.

Oh, my! I was a little worried about Flam, but the director smiled kindly and received Flam's greeting. I bowed my head and greeted, but the director who received my greeting didn’t respond.

I slightly looked up at the director's face, but he bluntly looked down at me with a face full of dissatisfaction.

"You... What time is it right now?"

At the rather grumpy voice, I answered while slowly straightening my back. "Yes! It's 7:50!" 

"Why did you come so late!"

What kind of nonsense is he spouting?!

I definitely received an official document telling me to come by 8:30. So I aimed to arrive by 8 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the appointed time but still arrived 10 minutes earlier because of my strong legs. But what? Late? I am?

"If it's your first time, you should have been here by 7:30!" the director hollered.

I bowed my head again. "I’m sorry!"

How unlucky! It was not the time for me to worry about others. Damn it, how could I get this unlucky! 

It wasn't a matter of my behavior, but rather that person. Suddenly, I became envious of Flam. Was it too late to swap now?

"Is it over if you’re sorry!?"

At the roar, I just stared at the director’s necktie pin and not his face.

At times like this, if you looked down at the floor, you would get yelled at for looking elsewhere, but if you looked at him, you would get yelled at for being audacious. You had to look at a place where he couldn’t get angry at you properly, bob your head, and acknowledge that you were listening to the nagging.

"No, it is not."

"Tsk, this is why kids these days won’t work out."

I wanted to hit the director clicking his tongue with all my might, but this man would be the one scoring me. No, before that, if I hit him with all my might, he'd die. I wasn’t such a bad guy as to kill a man for this kind of thing. Of course, of course. Let's be moderate and spit in his tea instead.

When I stood still and waited for the nagging, the man shouted angrily, "Go!"

"Yes!"

I can’t get sullen here. It was still not enough to judge what kind of person the director was, but there were cases where they would get scolded more if they were too sullen.

When I backed away carefully, a chubby man who seemed to be from the same department approached me.

"Ahhaha, ha. You said Mr. Den, right? You can sit here.”

The seat he pointed to with an awkward smile was closest to the director.

When I gave a look of, “are there no seats farther away”, he quietly whispered, "This is the trainee's seat."

Since the director was the evaluator, it seemed that trainees were assigned where he could easily keep his eyes on them.

"Cheer up!"

The chubby man looked at me with sorry eyes and went back to his seat.

Judging from that reaction, the Director seemed to be of that personality.

Dammit. I’m f**ked!

-o-

Around evening Pelgrant got up from his seat to get ready to leave work.

Then the new trainee seated closest to him stopped what he was doing and stood up to greet him.

"Are you leaving work now, Director!"

Pelgrant recalled the name of the trainee. Did he say his name was Den? It’s nice to see him working hard and brimming with laughter.

"Are you stopping now after you’ve finished your work?"

Unlike his innermost thoughts, Pelgrant pretended to be overbearing and glared at the new trainee.

"Yes! Everything you asked me to do is done."

Pelgrant was surprised by the trainee. What he had ordered Den to do couldn't be completed all in one day.

"Let me see." Pelgrant sincerely narrowed his brows and reached his hand out to the trainee.

If he had done a half-ass job because he wanted to leave early, he would have to actually scold him sincerely, rather than getting just a little upset.

"Here you are."

Den handed Pelgrant a thick pile of papers, the latter quickly examined the pile. 

What Pelgrant’d asked the trainee to do was to arrange the accounts for the year-end settlement. It wasn’t a task he had assigned with the intent of seeing its completion. It was just arranging many accounts for the year-end settlement.

It was a job that Pelgrant didn't even ask new recruits to do. It was a job he had assigned the new trainee, Den, along with a single abacus so that when Den came crying saying he couldn’t do it, he would be able to remove Den from the task and keep Den away from approaching him in the future.

However, at a glance, the accounting seemed perfect. To be sure, he would need to double-check all the receipts they had and the bank accounts, but it roughly matched the one from his memory.

"And here are the receipts and authorization documents in chronological order."

Pelgrant was frightened. What is this guy?

He had gone to the market in the morning to get tea and snacks for the department staff, helped them move heavy items, and ran errands for them, but still had time to finish his work?

What kind of monster was this?

The number of receipts and documents for authorization was so high that even he wouldn’t be able to complete it after working all day. He wondered if the trainee got help from the other department staff, but this trainee with innocent eyes had been under his watch since the morning. He had thought the guy had given up since he hadn't even touched the abacus, but it seems he just did the math in his head.

Should he scold him here? Pelgrant’s conscience wouldn't allow him.

"Hmm! Everybody can leave work."

Pelgrant threw the accounting papers onto his desk and left. From behind rose the joyful cries of the department staff.

The director smiled and quickly left the district office. He checked his watch as he hurried through the streets thinking time was a little tight.

Standing in front of a closed tavern in the back alley, Pelgrant let out a coarse breath and brought his civil service card to the door.

Beep!

When he heard the sound, a man of sturdy build came out of the tavern.

"You are a little late."

"You know it’s always busy at the end of the year. You're a civil servant too, so you should know."

The man smiled at Pelgrant’s words. "I know. You’re killing me these days."

Pelgrant smiled at the man’s bluntness.

"But still, didn't you get off work this early this time because of the work hours set by His Excellency?"

"Thanks to you, the number of times I’ve gotten off this early can be counted on one hand."

As Pelgrant and the man chatted, a voice came from inside the tavern.

"What are you guys talking about over there? Come on in."

Pelgrant went into the tavern. When the tavern door closed, it locked automatically with a clank.

Pelgrant couldn't feel it, but he knew the inside of the tavern was protected by all sorts of magic. He took a step closer and bowed his head in greeting.

"It's been a long time. Your Excellency, Prime Minister."

Arcanta smiled at Pelgrant.

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