Chapter 7:

Working for the Princess

Hated by the Evil Lady

Did he say that it didn’t seem so bad?

He took it back. Giselle was a complete slave driver, to say the least.

Sure, she might not be forcing her methods on him, but it was as if she never ran out of tasks to give.

One time he would be organizing documents, then the next time he would be running here and there to deliver things.

Lucien sighed as he leaned back on the carriage returning to the Imperial Palace from the house of Viscount Hallenberry. He was tasked by Giselle to deliver certain documents to him, since he would apparently be providing his newest dessert products for the ball.

It had only been a few days since he started working for Giselle, but he felt like he'd done an entire month of work.

On his first day, right after reporting to Giselle that he had read all the documents she'd given him the day before, she immediately made him run to the Crown Prince—her older brother—to get him to sign some documents.

Lucien never thought that this would be how his first meeting with the Crown Prince would go. As a gofer for his little sister.

Crown Prince Kaiser Veritas Ollandis was five years older than Giselle. He looked just like his sister with his curly black hair and eyes, but he was even more devoid of emotions compared to her. He looked like he would sooner die than smile at other people, Lucien noted during his five minutes being in Kaiser's presence.

Lucien immediately bailed after getting those signatures. He was never good at dealing with such rigid people, like the Crown Prince and the Princess he was working for.

The next thing he did was write some letters of invitation to a few nobles on Giselle’s behalf. There were apparently a number of people that she would like to personally invite to the ball, one of them being Duke Karron.

That made sense, he was her cousin after all.

What didn’t make sense was what he had to do afterwards—he was tasked by Giselle to feed her cherished horse every day for a week.

Was this really the scope of work of an aide? He felt like he had become an official servant of the Imperial family instead.

This really was a punishment after all. He had to spend time doing things he didn't want to when he could be helping his father on the matters of the new mine they just discovered in their territory. The Marquess of Renand himself said that they had really hit big this time—Lucien only wished he could've been a part of such a joyous moment.

Lucien knocked on the door to Giselle’s office while sighing. He was already so tired and he wouldn't be able to clock out yet without the permission of the Princess.

He waited for over a minute outside the door, yet no one answered. Lucien raised his eyebrow and decided to just go in.

“Pardon me…?” he said as he carefully opened the door. The room was completely silent, it didn't seem like anyone was inside.

He almost thought Giselle had left the room when he finally noticed someone was lying on her desk.

As Lucien approached the desk, he saw that the Princess was resting her head on her crossed arms and sleeping over the papers related to the ball.

Lucien blinked in surprise.

He didn’t think he would ever see Giselle letting down her guard like this. She usually just seemed so poised and collected, so seeing her taking a nap in the middle of work was pretty surprising.

She must be that exhausted. Lucien nodded to himself as he thought so. Even he was tired, and all he did was run errands for her.

Lucien decided that he shouldn’t disturb her nap. He took off his coat and put it over her shoulders, which was exposed due to the model of her dress. He then took some of the papers and read through them.

He thought that she was admirable for being able to do all this work by herself even though she just came of age. Although it was normal to assign tasks like this to a lady who just came of age, the average noblewomen would usually leave most of the work to someone who was more capable, like their butler or aide. They would just be the face of the function, if anything.

Yet in the case of Giselle, she was the one who came up with most things in regards to the ball. The concept, decoration, rundown, list of invitees, and so on were all Giselle’s ideas.

Maybe he should learn a thing or two from her, actually. Lucien silently cleared his throat in embarrassment.

Giselle looked so calm when she was asleep, unlike the perpetual glare she almost always had on her face whenever she was awake. Lucien thought that she looked her age like this—a young lady who was just taking her step into adulthood for the first time.

A very beautiful one, if he might note. Lucien knew staring at a lady's sleeping face was unbecoming of him, but he couldn't help it. The setting sun was shining on Giselle, and he couldn't help but notice the shadow under her long eyelashes.

“Mmm…” Giselle murmured with furrowed eyebrows. She seemed to have woken up.

“You should rest more, Your Highness,” Lucien said, but Giselle just rose up while rubbing her eyes. She instinctively cuddled into Lucien's coat like it was hers.

"What time is it…" Giselle said with a voice that could barely be heard.

Lucien took a glance at the clock in the room to check on the time.

"Just a little past 5, Your Highness," he said. Giselle nodded as a reply and just sat still for a moment. Lucien didn't know what to do while she was silently sitting there, so he just stayed by her side.

It took some time for her to finally open her eyes fully, though the drowsiness was still visible in her eyes.

"Have you done what I told you to do?" Giselle said, her hand scrambling to grab a pen so she could get back into work. Once she managed to grab it, she immediately straightened her back.

“Yes, Your Highness. Viscount Hallenberry sent you his regards,” Lucien said as he handed a few documents related to his visit to the Viscount today.

Giselle nodded as she received those documents, but not before she noticed the unfamiliar coat draped over her shoulders.

“Is this yours?” she said while pointing at the coat on her back with her dainty finger.

Lucien nodded. "The weather is quite chilly today. Please feel free to keep it for the rest of the day."

Giselle looked conflicted for a second, but she decided not to say anything and just went about her business.

Not knowing what else to do since he was done with his tasks for the day, Lucien just stood idly there. Now that it dawned on him that his day was truly over, his exhaustion just came back to him.

He tilted his head left and right to relieve the tension on his neck and let out a small sigh.

"Are you tired? You can go home," Giselle said. Lucien was startled when he heard that, since he didn't expect that her eyes would be on him.

"I'm fine. There is no way an aide can leave when Your Highness is still working, is there?" Lucien said with a smile as he fixed his standing position.

Giselle shrugged. "Suit yourself, but no need to be all stiff."

She said that with a nonchalant face, but that still relieved a lot of the pressure on Lucien's shoulders. Maybe that was why his tongue was starting to feel loose today. He was getting too comfortable.

"I must say, Your Highness, you are much more generous than you let on. I've heard so much praise about you everywhere I go for err—I mean, my tasks. Even Viscount Hallenberry today said that he found you admirable for having these novel ideas—"

Lucien gasped and covered his mouth with his hand when he realized he had just rambled on and on. He knew that Giselle liked her peace and quiet while working, so what was he thinking?

He took a glance in her direction and the first thing he noticed was her hand trembling as it clenched on her pen.

Crap, did I upset her? Lucien thought as he tried to study her face.

However, Lucien widened his eyes when he saw Giselle's face had gone completely red up to the tip of her nose.

It didn't look like an expression of fury. It was more like she was… embarrassed?

"Flattery will get you nowhere. You'll still have to work until the ball," Giselle said. She finally gained enough composure to respond, but she quickly turned her head to the side afterwards. It was probably to hide her blushing face.

Lucien blinked his eyes. After all, it was so new seeing the Princess react like the maiden she was. A smile appeared on his face as he bowed with his head.

"Certainly, Your Highness."