Norma and Fujisur stood up, saluted and as they turned around to leave, the prime minister spoke.
"Ah, also, since the dinner tomorrow will be held at a garden owned by the royal family, some PM Office personnel will be present incognito, I hope you understand. Naturally, we have sent messengers to Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc about this matter."
Norma stopped walking and turned around, and said this while gently looking straight in the prime minister's eyes.
"Send messengers to the two marquises and tell them that the prime minister has offered the presence of PM Office's personnel during the dinner, ask them if we should approve this."
"Yes. At once."
"I shall wait here."
The prime minister raised his right hand with the palm open wide. A sign of surrender.
"No need for those messengers. It's my bad. I take back what I said."
Just as Norma suspected, the PM was trying to get Norma's approval to have her men be present during the dinner.
(You really can't let up against this man.)
(But I understand where the prime minister is coming from.)
(It seems he's putting the royal family's and the country's benefits above House of Rainzats's.)
(Though he likely has no intention of openly antagonizing Wazrof.)
(He's by no means an ally.)
(Let alone to a country bumpkin like me.)
(He won't hesitate to employ any tricks.)
(I should be prepared to that much at least.)
Even merely knowing that fact has made this visit to PM Office fruitful.
Fujisur bowed his head at Norma inside the wagon on their way back.
"That was truly superb. I almost made a big blunder."
"Even if the dinner is held in the royal family's garden, the PM Office cannot get their personnel inside without our approval. Yet I fell for it because he clearly stated that they had sent messengers to Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc."
"They might have sent messengers, but he never said that they had obtained their approval."
"I cannot believe he would go to such a length. I have misjudged the prime minister."
"It just goes to show how desperate they are. To me that prime minister seems to be someone who would use any and all underhanded tactics for the sake of the royal family. But the way he's picking a fight with Wazrof is just too candid. Perhaps this is a form of warning. Like saying, 'hey, we will use these hands if we have to in this matter.'"
"You truly are amazing."
Norma smiled gently.
Eda spun words while looking around.
"It's so true. I was too in awe at how gorgeous the room inside to do anything. When I saw how super calm Norma-san was, I thought, 'Oh she's a real noble lady all right.'"
"Haha. You too Eda. You looked completely unperturbed despite that."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"There was only one knight inside the room, was that all the guard there."
"No. There were two additional adepts in the back room."
"Oh really. I see then. Findin."
"How do you see the prime minister."
"I am incapable of measuring that person."
"That goes for me too."
She somehow managed to deal with the PM earlier since the meeting was face-to-face and only for a short while, but had they stood completely opposite to each other, Norma would stand absolutely no chance. The other party is an authoritative figure who holds innumerable tricks under his sleeve, a literal incarnation of wiles.
As such, it's imperative she makes him believe that she won't become his enemy.
In other word, he must be made to believe that Norma is not someone who will bring instabilities or complications to the kingdom. It'd be great if he thinks she's beneficial even.
And how to achieve that.
Norma fell deep in thought.
A messenger from Rainzats was waiting for them at the mansion.
Lady Heles Rainzats wishes to meet her in a small gazebo near the <Snow Flower Arbor> tomorrow at third of Small Turtle time.
The next day, the 32nd of month four.
With around 20 people surrounding her, Norma proceeded into the royal family's garden.
Fujisur stayed at the mansion. There's little he could do even if he had gone with Norma now. He'd be better off staying at the mansion to deal with any unforeseen situation.
When the gazebo came into sight, Norma had the 20 attendants stay behind out of sight, and proceeded into the gazebo with just Eda and Jinga.
The other party is already waiting in there.
This gazebo has been constructed in a way that lets you enjoy the garden view from inside while having tea, there are windbreaks but the view is good. It's naturally hidden from view due to tree branches covering it, only showing the person's elegant sitting posture.
(Is she here alone?)
It seems there's only one person inside the arbor.
And that person is wearing an armor.
(You can't be serious?)
(She's going to attend the dinner dressed in armor?)
(Even I'm wearing a dress for today.)
Norma signaled Eda and Jinga to wait a bit further away, and walked inside the gazebo alone.
The person inside stood up and greeted her.
"Nice to meet you, lady Norma. I am knight Heles Rainzats."
The lady knight put her hand on her chest to make a greeting.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Heles-sama. I am Norma Wazrof Goncourt."
Norma made a graceful ladylike bow she learned recently.
Norma lifted her head.
Heles also relaxed and looked at Norma.
Thus the two princesses met.