The Ice Prime Minister
It was night when the King summoned me.
After the invasion of the demons, the castle was filled with sounds of clattering noise.
There is a little harm done, so there were no injured persons. Speaking of damage, it was only the inner courtyard of the East building where the Minotaur and Renas-sama fought. Because of the Minotaur’s attacks, the gardeners’ shoulders slumped. That was the only disastrous sight.
However, the West courtyard next to the Palace where Greed-sama and the others have fought . . . was not damaged at all. It was strange, since the humanoid demon is much stronger than the Minotaur.
According to Rufus-sama, the kinds of barrier used were different, though as he tried to explain the difference between the barrier that covered the castle, the barrier Renas-sama used and Greed-sama’s barrier, I, who do not possess magic, could not understand it very well.
“Greed’s barrier uses the powers of the spirits and it is only necessary to remember that it is extremely special.”
Rufus-sama told me, who only stared blankly. I’m sorry for being dim-witted, Rufus-sama….. But for me who has no magical power, it was difficult to understand it thoroughly.
That right. As what the demons had expected, the magicians’ attention were focused on the decoy Minotaur and none of them saw the demon with the appearance of a boy. All the magicians were surprised an disappointed when they learned the truth.
For the magicians, it is important for them to gather information regarding the humanoid type of demons. Therefore, I understand that they want to ask me a lot of questions.
However, as I have reiterated many times, I have no magical powers! Therefore, without knowing that boy is a demon, I inadvertently approached it!
If you are eager to ask, I suggest you approach Greed-sama who actually fought it, or Rufaga-sama who was supposed to have joined him later!
……But the two of them seems to have gone somewhere.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, I have not seen the them ever since I greeted them in the princess’s room.
“Welcome back, Greed-sama. Thank God you are safe.”
At that time, when I ran up to him, Greed-sama smiled gently.
“I’m back, Aria. You were scared, right? But it’s all right now.”
Seeing his smile, I thought my chest tightened……. I’m sorry for all the trouble.
After that,Greed-sama left the room, saying that he will go to see the state of the barrier. Rufaga-sama also had gone somewhere before long.
Everyone else had been drinking the tea I brewed in the Princess’s room for sometime and reported the fight against the Minotaur to Rufus-sama.
Although I was worrying about various things, I still did my usual work after that, and when I was about to return to my room, contemplating if I should tell Greed-sama the feelings I came to realize yesterday——the King summoned me.
Last night’s lack of sleep was because I did a lot of thinking and during the day, I’ve been running around due to the invasion of the demons. And then after that, I still had work to do.
I was exhausted after a long day, so I unconsciously told the Prime Minister, who came all the way to the Princess’s room to see me.
“I will go tomorrow……”
“No, I can’t allow that.”
But in contradiction, he smiled……? Although his reply was curt.
I bobbed my head despite feeling tired, said my greeting to the Princess before leaving, and headed to the King’s office together with the Prime Minister.
I feel like a livestock taken to a slaughterhouse.
After all, the King’s order is absolute. I don’t think he will only ask about my encounter with the demon. He must have heard about my engagement with the Hero, and wants to confirm the truth.
I don’t remember agreeing to the engagement, and of course there’s no other way but to deny it, but I felt disheartened thinking about it.
It’s because the King expects it! Yet, when I think I could say “no”, I felt depressed.
Leaving the main residence and walking along the long hallway that leads to the main tower, I asked the Prime Minister, who was half a step ahead, in a soft voice.
“Err, Prime Minister? The rumor that the Hero and I got engaged is just a rumor, okay?”
I want him to turn a blind eye on it, so I tried hinting that nuance. This person is great at reading between the lines and subtle nuances.
The Prime Minister stopped walking, looked back at me and said while smiling.
“Say that in front of His Majesty. However, Aria, let me tell you one thing. No matter how long you want to delay this, refusing is not in the option, you know?”
Even before the King could say anything, this person did not mince words! Although I knew that he is really merciless……
Although he was holding the position of Prime Minister for 10 years, His Excellency, Ruth Hyllingam, who wears a pair of glasses that suits him well, giving him an image of an intellectual person, speaks with honorifics even towards a Lady-in-waiting A.
Although he is already a middle-aged man, his youthful appearance does not fit him the word ‘Uncle’ at all. Based on his appearance, he looks like he’s still in his mid-30’s. But the fact is, he is in the same generation as the royal magician, Famir-sama.
Prime Minister Hyllingam and Famir-sama work hand in hand together, but when standing side by side with the grim, middle-aged Famir-sama, the Prime Minister would look like his younger brother or his subordinate. It seems like he is scamming us because he is, in fact, more than 40 years old.
As for his youthfulness, is it a demon’s curse? Does he also have an Elf’s blood? And other speculations that have come to light. However, as his subordinates’ stomachs grow bigger and their hairs thinning faster, does the Prime Minister actually suck up his younger subordinates’ youth? That theory is the most plausible. I support that theory.
He has amber colored eyes hidden behind his glasses and straight chestnut hair. He has a tall nose bridge, lips that are ruthlessly thin, and nice almond-shaped eyes. Each part of his face is as beautiful as an exquisite plaster figure.
In this castle wherein there are a lot of people who are mob-faced, it can be said that he has the most beautiful appearance. However, it is more fitting to additionally describe his beauty to be “like ice”.
No, he is not as expressionless as the Hero. The Prime Minister has a beautiful but sinister smile. With a smile—he spits out cold, icy words.
A gentle smile appeared on the face of the ice statue. For those who are daunted by the face of the Prime Minister, his smile is somehow like the end of a long winter, a sign of the coming spring. But the curve of his lips was like a shining ice blade—
An ice blade that mercilessly cuts another person’s heart.
Even if the other person is a royalty, he spares him no mercy……
That’s why he was given the nickname “Ice Prime Minister”.
Women were not afraid to approach him. The Prime Minister is a perfect ornament. [T/N: You know, noble society’s culture.]
However, he usually hides quite of his handsome features under a pair of eyeglasses. Well, some of the ladies-in-waiting have surmised his sadistic nature from his bespectacled image and accepted it.
I don’t have a glasses guy preference nor a sadistic devil fascination, so as much as possible, I truly don’t want to get close to him.
The Prime Minister, while gazing at me with his bespectacled amber eyes, added.
“His Majesty is kind so he won’t force you. But you are, though imperfect, a noble. And you know that you have a duty to prioritize something more than your own circumstances and emotions, right?”
His tone was chiding, as if I were a hardheaded child. But if I were to read between the lines, you were actually saying, “Instead of complaining, get married now.” Right, Prime Minister?
And if he’d let me retort, when he said, “Let me tell you one thing”—it’s not only one thing, right~~? There are actually a lot more, right~?
The Prime Minister further continued.
“Do you think you can postpone the inevitable? You cannot keep on getting to know each other in order to buy some time. Anyway, the newspaper guild is trying to find out everything about you. If they publish that the lady-in-waiting is reluctant to marry the Hero, it would also give foreign countries an opportunity to interfere with our domestic affairs. Before that happens—you should understand that I am only fulfilling my role as your guardian, okay?”
While saying the word “Okay”, he showed me a scary smile! If it’s this person, he can do it…… No, he can surely do it!
—In fact, due to this person becoming my guardian, I was able to work in the castle. To be exact, it was the both Famir-sama and him. I don’t know what exactly their relationship is, but the Prime Minister, although he looked younger than forty, Famir-sama and my father were friends.
I think that the Prime Minister, whose motto is “to be rational”, and my father, who tends to find things bothersome, were like oil and water…… but, well, they are truly friends.
That’s why when I came to the castle to become an apprentice lady-in-waiting, he was my guardian or backer. Although both the Prime Minister and I would forget that most of the time!
Originally, at the absence of my father, I should consult the Prime Minister and Famir-sama such matters about marriage. But, I did not do it. Because, as you can see from his previous line, he is trying to link the Hero and I for national interests.
Had I gone to him for consultation, I would absolutely have ended up being forced to marry the Hero. Scarrryyy!
“Just think about it. A man with strange tastes who will propose to a very ordinary woman like you will not appear anymore.”
……An ice blade stabbed me. Yes, it already went whack, whack.
“He may be a commoner, but he is handsome and has a promising future, isn’t it something to rejoice? Besides, for me, it is hitting two birds with one stone. I was thinking that I’d have to find you a marriage partner, so I will be able to save time and effort.”
……Uhm, in other words, I will not be able to find a marriage partner on my own? Is that what you mean?
Even though I don’t agree, it hurts when others point it out.
A-And yet, I am still single……!
But I am to afraid to say such a thing. Because it will haunt me many times. I am a coward.
“Well, His Majesty is waiting, so we do not have time to talk here. Let’s hurry.”
Speaking in a curt tone, the Prime Minister started to walk again. However, he suddenly stopped after a few steps and looked back at me again.
“That’s right. I forgot to tell you.”
The Prime Minister smiled at me, who eyed him with suspicion.
……I have a very bad feeling.
“It was agreed that once your marriage with Greed-dono will be formally decided, the remuneration to the Hero’s party for rescuing the princess will be overlooked.”
Being told something unexpected, I was stunned.
“Although rich, our kingdom is not economically comfortable with a small kingdom’s financial situation, so it is a just the thing that we long for. You will have a marriage partner while not hurting our kingdom’s funds.”
The Prime Minister brought it out in the open while simultaneously pushing the bridge part of his glasses with his index finger.
“That is all I wanted to say. Well then, shall we go to His Majesty?”
With a sidelong glance, the Prime Minister finally walked down the hallway.
If I accept the marriage proposal, the remuneration will be overlooked……? The . . . whole amount?
As the situation dawned on me, depression somehow spread inside me.
It’s too expensive to take a mere Lady-in-waiting A, isn’t it? After all, I was the desired reward of the Hero.
Calculating the difference for having a lady-in-waiting as a reward instead of the remuneration for the Princess’s rescue, how much did the kingdom save?
……I was sold!
—I’ve been sold by the kingdom!