Chapter 1: Prince, Job Interview, and Practical Examination I
Kuro had taken Herscherik down to the western wing of the Greisis Kingdom’s Royal Castle, which was managed by the Military Bureau.
Herscherik curiously surveyed it. Amongst all the buildings in the royal castle, this one seemed to be the most solid and imposing, as if symbolizing the kingdom’s military power.
“Is this Your Highness’ first time at the Military Bureau?”
Herscherik was looking around curiously, with Kuro following behind him, trying to contain himself when their guide spoke. He was Herscherik’s swordsmanship master and today would be serving as one of the examiner.
From their very first lesson together, he had identified Herscherik as talentless, but had also sensed that the prince would become stronger with perseverance, and as such had continued to guide the boy.
And seeing the fruits of Herscherik’s labours dispelled all of the instructor’s doubts… was something that didn’t happen.
No matter how much he continued his training, Herscherik was unable to wield a sword, his arrows always flew in the wrong direction, and he lacked both physical and muscular strength. It was only his horsemanship that showed any progress, though at a snail’s pace.
Regardless, the instructor refused to give up and continued to teach him well, being the type of person who would never abandon a hard working pupil.
On a related note, Kuro, who had observed the prince’s training, only patted the boy’s head to console him. Herscherik was in a huff because of this cheeky butler.
Herscherik nodded at the instructor.
“Yes, it’s my first time seeing this place, so I’m quite interested.”
(Well, it’s my first time seeing it in the daylight.)
Herscherik added in his head.
Ever since he was three years old, he had conducted his “Charge In ☆ Internal Audit” at night when everyone was asleep. As such, there was hardly a place in the castle that he didn’t know about. If he had to name them, it would be royal family’s private rooms, which is to say, that of his father and siblings, the treasure room, the national coffers, and the rooms on the other side of this building—the research institute, whose rooms were sealed with a barrier.
Because he held some interest in the research institute, he had pestered his butler, Schwartz, who used to be Kuro, the spy, but only got the response, “Well, if you don’t mind me absolutely destroying several of these stupidly tall buildings,”, making him give up.
(……Actually, was he asking for permission to use force?)
Herscherik didn’t voice this thought, but considered that he had unexpectedly discovered a new side to his brawny and brainy butler.
The instructor led them to a room where a wandering-magic-operated air conditioner was running full-force.
The candidates for the position of Herscherik’s personal knight were gathered there. There were about 20 people. Their ages ranged from 18, fresh from the Academy, to 30, but in this diverse group, all were buff.
Herscherik was envious of them since, no matter how hard he trained, his body remained slim and delicate, to the point where he could easily be mistaken as a girl.
“We have been waiting for you, Master Herscherik.”
The one who greeted them was the king’s chief butler, Luke.
He was the same age as Herscherik’s father. However unlike the father whose beauty made people mistake him for someone in his 20s, Luke looked his age. He had midnight green hair, and black eyes that shifted to match the colour of his hair when the light touched them His body proportions were well balanced, probably making him quite popular with the ladies, and when he wore his butler uniform, it seemed like perfection. If he would have called Ryouko ‘My Lady’ in his calming voice, she would have definitely fainted out of sheer bliss.
“I have come today as His Majesty’s proxy.”
“Thank you for coming, Mr. Luke.”
Luke spoke courteously, and Herscherik returned with a bow.
For a chief butler to serve as his master’s proxy, it meant that the trust between the two was strong. In a sense, the one with the highest rank here would be Luke, the chief butler to the kingdom’s own monarch.
Herscherik growled, as he sat between Luke and the instructor.
Even though they had already listened to 80% of the candidates, not a single one of them had spoken to him.
They mostly looked at Luke while they talked, and sometimes the instructor.
They were respectful enough to greet Herscherik in the beginning, but they were by no means actually addressing the prince himself.
As time passed, Kuro looked at the annoyed Herscherik from the back and felt exhausted.
While it was true that these candidates were here knowing they would be serving the prince, it couldn’t be helped that they would think lightly of their master.
Both Herscherik and Kuro were fully aware of the reason.
The candidates were all gathered here for the position of the prince’s personal knight, but they weren’t doing this to pledge their loyalty to Herscherik, the youngest of all the princes, and not to mention, a five year-old.
The position of a personal knight was on the same level or even higher than that of an Imperial Guard. The rank may change according to the person they serve, but nevertheless, this could be considered a promotion for these men.
Additionally, the king’s only trusted retainer, the chief butler Luke, was present at the interview. If he were to recall their faces later on…..the position of general wouldn’t be that far off. Indeed, there had been many cases where personal knights went on to become generals.
In his head, Herscherik understood this; the event when his chief butler Kuro swore allegiance to a five year-old child was an abnormality.
(In the end, It doesn’t really matter if I’m here or not, right?)
The thought was running through Herscherik’s head when the last candidate stood up.
Unlike the other candidates, this one was lean and looked almost delicate in comparison.
His loose and messy hair was the color of a sunset, and although there seemed to be several golden highlights, it all looked so natural. His sapphire eyes gave off a slightly lazy, but gentle, impression, and they looked straight at Herscherik as he bowed.
“I’m Octavian. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Highness Herscherik.”
He held Herscherik’s eyes as he grinned.
Herscherik opened his eyes wide in surprise. Unlike the other candidates, this man didn’t avert his gaze, nor his attention, away from Herscherik after the bow.
“Well then, let’s hear your reason for applying for this position.”
Luke prompted, and Octavian opened his mouth, still smiling.
“I was thrown out and forced to take this interview by my parents.”
Herscherik fell backwards dramatically. But only in his head, of course. He couldn’t display such shameful behavior as a prince.
“Your parents…..Ah, yes, you are the son of General Ordis, correct?”
“That person would do that……”
Luke had looked at the documents with admiration while the instructor nodded his head.
The mention of ‘Ordis’ created a buzz among the candidates. Seeking an explanation, Herscherik rotating his face between Luke and the instructor.
“Your Highness, General Ordis was the previous general of the Imperial Army. He was known as ‘The Blazing General’.”
His red hair fluttering in the wind like flames, he stood in the front lines of the Imperial Army and would rage through the enemy forces like an explosive flame; he was the Kingdom’s sword.
There was no enemy soldier left standing on the path he blazed through. Stories of how enemy troops would mistake his red hair for fire and would be unable to draw out their full strength spread far and wide to other countries.
“He was invincible whenever he went out to battle, but he was quite the difficult general to deal with.”
Luke flashed a bitter grin as he continued.
In the past, the general would complain that the strategy everyone worked so hard on was “Too much work!” and would charge headfirst into battle. He would always win in the end, so this behavior posed no real problem to the kingdom.
However, the subordinates under him would be at death’s door every time, driving them to the point of mad. In the end, they begged Herscherik’s grandfather, who was the king at that time, in tears.
The king did warn the general, but even he understood that the man wouldn’t listen to the words of even his king. He had thought about punishing him, but punishing the invincible general who won their battles felt wrong.
As such, ‘strategies where he would run headfirst’ had naturally begun to be drafted. Because of this, the rate of his subordinates getting wounded greatly decreased, since they were now properly prepared
“That man…really doesn’t listen to others…..”
The instructor looked into the distance, seeming like he had aged quite a bit since the start of the interview. Could it be that one of the crying subordinates was him?
Past memories caused the instructor to be at the brink of tears while Octavian continued to speak.
“At my house, you can’t go easy, lest you be kicked out.”
“You graduated from the Academy this year, yes?”
Noticing Luke run through the documents, Herscherik imitated the action.
Since he didn’t have even a sliver of interest in any of the candidates so far, he hadn’t touched the documents in front of him yet. However, the young man with the sunset-colored hair was quite interesting.
“…..I see that you graduated from the knight course with the bare minimum qualifications.”
The instructor’s tone revealed his shock.
The Royal Academy was a school managed and operated by the country. Those who attended were royalty, aristocrats, those from affluent houses, and the occasional scholarship students with outstanding abilities.
Aside from general education, there were departmental classes as well. There was the knight department and the magic department, which were necessities for a fantasy world. But there was also the research department and economic department among others. Students would take their general classes along with the ones from the department of their choice. They would strive in their studies in their chosen field to secure a job in the future. Herscherik was scheduled to enroll in a few years.
(School, huh? I’d thought that I wouldn’t have to go anymore….)
In his past life, the feeling of liberation after graduating from university was magnificent, since he’d thought that he would no longer need to study. However, it went without saying that in reality, you don’t stop learning even after entering the workforce.
In the Kingdom of Greisis, the most popular occupation was knight. The minimum requirement for becoming one was graduating from the Academy’s knight department. Among those graduates, there were soldiers who became knights by honing their strength. However, there were also exceptions to this.
“To tell you the truth, I cannot fathom how a son of General Ordis just ‘barely passed’. You have two older brothers, yes?”
His two brothers, the rising stars of the Order of Knights, were handpicked from among the knights to be close to the Imperial Guards.
“Unlike my brothers, I was poorly made.”
He nonchalantly answered and shrugged his shoulders. Herscherik closely observed his behavior.
People would usually reveal their discomfort quite openly when they were being compared and labeled as inferior to others. However, this young man easily let it slide. Did he truly believe that? Did he have no interest in what others had to say? Or could it be….
Herscherik flipped through the documents again and his eyes widened. Now he was even more interested in this young man.
“Even though I’m poorly made and unemployed, our family follows the motto: ‘Those who don’t work, don’t eat’, so I was kicked out against my will.”
These words caused the surrounding candidates to murmur. They had done everything they could to obtain this chance to get the interview.
Some implored their superiors to write a recommendation letter for them. Others used their parents’ money. There were also some who came here out of a sense of competition, unwilling to lose to their colleagues.
As such, this fact that this person was only here because his parents threw him out made them all disgruntled. But, the young man in question didn’t read the mood and kept talking.
“Your Highness Herscherik, what do you think of such a family motto?”
Herscherik was surprised at this question, that was posed with such a leading tone.
Especially since this was the first time in the interview that a question was directed towards him.
So far, all the candidates’ questions were directed at either Luke or the instructor; he was as invisible as the air.
But he soon showed a smile.
He hadn’t lived for over thirty years in his past life for nothing. In terms of experience, the sum of his past self along with his current self was definitely much higher than this man.
Besides, that family motto was the same as the Hayakawa family motto of his past life. Incidentally, the Hayakawa family also added, “You have to wipe your own ass.” to the line. Even though the family was composed of three daughters, it was quite the manly household.
“I think you have wonderful parents. I believe that letting you play around without working would be spoiling you.”
These words, coming from a member of the royal family, especially one who was only 5 years old, felt out of place.
Octavian was momentarily taken aback by Herscherik’s prompt answer.
(So that’s how it is.)
Herscherik giggled, satisfied.