Bianca van Coenen sat in a closed room. Her next Admin candidate was about to arrive.
“Gettis Ritter…” Recommended by Matsuhiro… Ugh. That little brat.
She looked over his profile. Rei had altered his appearance to make him more approachable. On paper, all of his characteristics were perfect for the Administry. And Rei seemed to like him as well.
Hmm… I don’t like that Matsuhiro likes him, but if I’m the one that hires him, it’ll really impress Rei.
There was a knock at the door. That must be him. She put a smile on her face, and fluttered her wings a little bit. “Come in!”
Ducking under the doorframe, he nearly stumbles on the chair. Not even when he lived as a peasant had he been in a room as small as this. Sitting down, the chair creaked. Worrisome conditions. Was it some sort of psychological testing?
Keeping a stoneface, he looked up at the interviewer. He stared at her but caught himself before it turned too intense. While interviews like this was a new thing to him, he was well aware that a person who appeared too defiant would never be hired.
“Hello. I’m Gettis Ritter. I’m here for the admin position.”
The man most certainly towered over Bianca, but she didn’t like to seem powerless, so she made a few quick modifications before he came in. Gettis, now seated in a small chair, his knees almost comically up in the air, was forced to look up at someone for perhaps the first time in his life.
Bianca sat cross legged atop a fancy swivel chair. On most days she donned a simple maid’s uniform—it was recommended by Rei—but during duties like these, she wore a simple black dress, fishnets, and tall boots. She gave off a more intimidating aura this way, her one uncovered eye fiercely gazing at him down below. That’s right, I am above you.
Despite his strange appearance, he was surprisingly attractive. “Welcome to the Administry,” she began. Her wings spread out. “We’ll begin with you answering a series of questions.” She uncrossed her legs, leaned forward, and smiled.
“So, why do you want to become an Admin?”
Deciding to ignore the quirks of the room due to even normal rooms being uncomfortable for someone his height, he kept as comfortable as possible. Returning her gaze casually, he nodded slightly.
The way crossed and uncrossed her legs made him feel an old-fashioned discomfort that he had struggled to get rid of. He still wasn’t used to dresses going above the ankle. He knew he’d get used to it, one way or another. He’d seen many such legs when he was wilder.
He thought she’d given him a smug smile when she asked why he wanted to become an admin, it made him slightly annoyed, so he curled his lip in a half-smile. “I’ve been bred to help people. I’d love to say I have nobler purposes, but a life of comfort and a purpose is what I need even in a world like this.”
He wouldn’t mention being bored out of his mind, or wanting some sort of power, maybe even authority. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to work with a blabbermouth.
“Bred, huh?” She smirked. “And here I thought those furry ears were just for show.” She twirled her ringlet. A fine specimen, indeed…
She took notes in her Admin PDA. “Protection, you say…” Well, he does have the body for it. Hee hee, he could really be put to good use for Rei…
“What exactly do you think is the kind of work we do, as Admins?”
“I’d appreciate your comment about my ears more if they were my own” he says, looking down at his hands. He still wasn’t entirely used to whatever it was he looked like now.
“I’d say the work of an admin is keeping order. Helping people get used to their new situation and adjusting it for the ones that refuse to settle down.” He’d seen plenty people try and fail to do just that, but he’d never bring that up. Some of the admins he’d seen so far seemed just as confused as him.
“Would you disagree on any of those?” He allowed himself the slightest of a smug smile, looking up at her.
Ahhh, he doesn’t even know that Rei modified him. He can’t appreciate her properly! Well, she must not have had a chance to speak with him yet. Really, though, Rei had done a beautiful job with Gettis. It was one of the most unique designs Bianca had ever laid eyes on.
“Ah, yes, I can see why you might think that…” She scrolled through his files. “Mmm, you were awoken by Iris, yes?” One of Rei’s favorite’s. She had even taken time out of her busy schedule to go wake Iris up herself. Ahhh, my sister is so wonderful.
“Those points are certainly correct, however, there’s a bit more to it. Really, it just depends on what you get assigned to.” Hmmm, he had a traumatic death. Burned alive.
“Let’s talk a bit about your awakening.” She wouldn’t let him get ahead of her. “So, you came to, and thrashed about, causing a bit of trouble for poor Iris. However, you seem to have adapted and appear to be more relaxed now. Let’s say you get assigned to awakening duty. The soul comes to, reacting similarly to the way you did, screaming, thrashing about.” She smirked. “How will you handle this?”
Mentally recoiling at every single one of her words, he refused to let it show on his face. Instead keeping it very steady. Her summary made him recollect how the fire had licked across his skin, and how real it felt waking up.
“I’ll go ahead and assume most awakenings are somewhere between complete calm and hysteria. Do you recall your own? When dealing with animals, the wolf wasn’t the worst problem. It was keeping the mother from kicking them out, or keeping the runts alive.” He slightly glazed over, remembering the one sow that could never keep a litter alive. It was hard to keep her, but he had somehow convinced the farmhand that it was a very valuable sow. Like it could be inspiratonal to one of the gilts.
“That’s where I have excelled. I’ve taken care of reintroducing runts to a litter, raising unwanted foals, piglets and so on and I know even the best humans are animals. Same source, different weaning process.”
He tried to be as calm and professional as possible to throw her off her high horse, hoping she’d feel looked down upon even from up high. He wasn’t new to this kind of power play, if it was indeed what this was. Sitting on the floor, kneeling, all of it.
“From what you’ve seen of me so far, what would I be assigned to? What can you be assigned to?”
Bianca felt disgusted yet intrigued by this man. It was as though he knew exactly how to get under her skin, something only one person had been able to do before: Matsuhiro. However, it was in a completely different way. Instead of acting smugly back at her, Gettis thoroughly answered her question with complete serenity.
“Very interesting…” She added some more notes to his profile. “As for other tasks, well, Rei plays a huge role in what people get assigned to. But there is another manager that officially assigns tasks to the admins. Take me, for example. I’ve never done a greeting job once. I’m simply suited for other tasks, like weeding out poor Admin candidates, and selecting only the best.” She frowned. “Matsuhiro, on the other hand… He was picked to become an Admin by Rei’s partner. I personally cannot understand why he was chosen. His demeanor simply revolts me. He takes care of citizen upkeep in this district, and occasionally works as a greeter.”
She looked down at Gettis once more. Bianca wasn’t ready to lose this battle yet. “So, you’re skilled in raising animals. Do you find yourself capable of taking care of humans as well?” He didn’t seem like much of a people-person. “Humans are quite different from other animals, which is what we primarily deal with. Personally, I can’t see you working as a greeter.”
Pondering for a moment on her dislike for Matsuhiro, he looked directly at her. “The short, blonde creature that talks way too fast? Is that the one you’re referring to?”
Don’t play dumb, she thought, towards his comment about Matsuhiro. I know you’ve met him, he was slacking off on his duties right before you came in here.
Nonchalantly, he changed the subject back to the Admin position.
“In what way are humans different from animals? Not even the food we eat is different from theirs. Whether we respond to a pack leader or an Admin, there is a hierarchy. Does putting yourself above animals make you feel powerful?” He gazed up at her.
“I accomplish my tasks, animal or human. My ears serve as a reminder of the fine line.” He thought in disgust, still bitter about the change. “So you don’t see me as a greeter, what do you see me as? Are you as good of a people person as you pride yourself?”
“How dare you speak to me that way?” She glared at him and sighed angrily. “Look, Gettis. As much as I don’t want to hire you, it’s really not up to me. I’m just the first part of the process.” She sent a quick message to the manager and Rei. I know Ritter is a great candidate, but I just can’t handle him. I need Rita to conduct a further analysis. I need her here immediately. …Sorry, sis.
She scoffed. “If it were up to me, I would’ve kicked you out. But the bosses have other plans.” This man had a strong resolve. Bianca was strong, but not as strong as Rei.
Ping. She received a response from Rei. Don’t worry sis, there is nothing you could do to let me down. He must have done something really bad to hurt your feelings. I’ll treat you to a fancy dinner tonight~! Bianca smiled. Rita sent a message too. I’m on my way. Don’t be too mean to him. And frowned again. “Hmph. Your second part of the interview is about to take place. So I’ll be taking my leave.” She fluttered down to the ground
At the door, she hesitated. “I’ll see you around, Ritter.”
Seeing her hesitation at the door, he looked back up and smiled at her. “I hope so.” He had a feeling they’d see each other again quite soon.
Almost as soon as Bianca was gone, an orange-haired, fair-skinned woman appeared. This one had no strange features as the last couple that Gettis had met.
“Now, now,” she spoke, in a gentle voice. “This isn’t a way to interview someone. Let me fix this.”
She pulled out her Admin PDA and tapped a few buttons. Gettis was presented with a much more appropriately sized chair, and the desk was removed. Rita smiled, then took her seat. She and Gettis could see eye-to-eye this way. Taken slightly off-guard by the resizing of the furniture, Gettis corrected his posture.
“My apologies, sir,” she began. “It seems Bianca wasn’t quite suited for your interview.” She pulled up the chatlog between the two of them. Oh, yes, I see why she was upset. He doesn’t seem to do well with power-play.
“So, Mr. Ritter… You want to be an Admin because you want to help protect our citizens. That’s wonderful, and I quite admire you for that.” She did her best to maintain eye contact, having no reaction to his strange features. She clapped her hands a couple times.
“Honestly, you seem like a great candidate. I’ve learned all I needed about your qualifications, so I want to hear a bit more about you. Tell me about Gettis.”
Gettis listened to the newcomer talk, almost allowing himself to be lulled by the calm demeanor and soothing voice. Her amount of eye contact worried him, it was a sort of sincere that was hard to deal with. If that wasn’t bad enough, it felt like she was trying to look right through him just the way his sister used to do.
“What a curious question coming from a curious person. Depending on my answers, would that change your mind one way or another? Do you share the previous interviewer’s sentiments?” His gaze kept getting more intense as his curiousity flared.
“Tell me about yourself, what qualities do you look for? What do you think protection means?” He asked, part of him trying to avoid the question about who he is. He wasn’t quite sure of it himself right now. He never felt like he had a strong sense of self, only curiousity and whipped-in discipline.
“Ohoho, I see what you’re trying to do, Mr. Ritter. You know, they do say it’s good to ask the interviewer questions!” Rita was genuinely impressed. It had been awhile since she had an interview like this. Not since…Hiro? Many, many years ago.
“Unlike Bianca, I’ll actually answer your questions.” She smiled, and maintained eye contact. “My name is Rita Emerson. Before I passed away, I was the CEO of a multi-million dollar makeup company. We were ranked number one in corporate social responsibility!” She chuckled. That was something she was always proud of.
“As for protection, we try to keep the order in The Universe. There are ‘PVP’-style areas, for those who were gamers in their lifetime.” She looked through his profile. “Hmm, it seems like you wouldn’t really know what a game is. Basically, we have areas designated for those who want adventure and nonthreatening battles. We prefer to keep the fighting out of that area.”
She looked back up at him. “On a similar note, we need people to greet new citizens properly. One Admin might not be right for every candidate. So we try to hire a diverse crew to cater to all of the citizens’ needs, so that they can be awakened properly. Someone like you, for example… would be well-suited to greeting those who need a bit of coddling.” She chuckled again. “Since you have experience with young animals, and such.”
Confused. That was the best word to describe him right now. She had taken his insubordination and turned it into a positive thing. Where is the indignation and ‘righteous’ fury? He didn’t mind this at all, but had never seen anyone quite so spellbinding before.
Hearing her speak about being a Seeo, was that some sort of Seer? A magician? He’d unfortunately slipped back into his old mindset, but shook it off when he heard how much money she had been making. He didn’t quite know the value of the dollar coin to the gold coin, but hearing her speak with confidence like that in the amount made him think she couldn’t have chosen a better job for herself than management. She could possibly even be a head knight. He’d want to test her prowess in battle, but shook it off again.
He was oddly excited about talking to this person, she was like a breath of fresh air. He mentally skipped over her explanation of PVP and battles, he could volunteer for the area but Zephyr had made him never want to step foot there.
“You’re not worried I’d be too crude?” He stroked along his jaw, giving it some serious contemplation. Being a greeter would likely lead to seeing his sister faster, if at all. This way he would have a bigger chance of finding her among the crowd if he could see the newcomers. “I’d like to become a greeter.”
“Crude? Absolutely not. I think you’re wonderful.” She placed her hands on her thighs and looked even further into his mismatched eyes. Beautiful. They appear to be natural, as well. “As I mentioned earlier, the Administry requires a diverse crew. As it is now, we don’t have anyone like you, personality-wise.”
Remembering what she saw earlier listed on his profile, she added, “You were a knight. And not only did you protect people, animals… but you held your sister more dearly than anyone. That’s beautiful.” Her eyes glistened with tears. “Excuse me, I’m just so moved by your story, and I’ve only seen it on paper!” She wiped her eyes gently.
“Whenever you’re ready, I’d love to hear more about you, Mr. Ritter. Directly from you, if I may, and not your profile.”
He felt humbled when she spoke highly of him, up until one point. Gripping the chair’s armrest just out of view to the interviewer until his knuckles turned white, he remembered one of the anger management lessons. Become sweetness itself. He smiled up at her, seeing more and more red the more she spoke.
Seeing her cry disgusted him, he wasn’t sure at this point whether she was a great actress or an even greater sadist. She’d like to hear more about me? What else is there to know? What do you want?
“It appears you know quite a bit already” he enunciated, thinking he understood why this one was sent in now. Lulling you into a false sense of calm and then grip you by the unshielded heart. “And I do believe I have other appointments to attend to today, so I would like to thank you for giving me the time of day. It’s been a great honour to be considered.”
With that, he stood up and deliberately walked to the door. He didn’t look back, not even once. He shut the door carefully and started walking out of the building. His bad tendency to cry when angry got to him at the exit, but he refused to let it distort his face. Refused to let it be visible beyond a little extra shine on his face. He’d find other ways to find his treasured Guinevere, he’d just hoped in vain that it wouldn’t have to be this manually.
“W-Wait!” Rita shouted, but it was too late. Rita felt a twinge of sadness inside. I shouldn’t have pressured him so much. Poor man.
She pulled up her chat with Rei.
Rita: He’s a bit of a tough cookie, but I do believe he’s the man for the job.
Rei: I’ll always trust your judgement, Boss. It was quite amusing how he managed to bother Bianca. No one’s ever gotten her so worked up!
Rita: Oh, Rei! You know you don’t have to call me Boss… You’re the Goddess, after all.
Rei: Teehee~ I call you Boss because you’re so good at your job, after all!
Bianca sat on the rooftop of the Administry, reading Rita and Gettis’s chatlog. Even Rita couldn’t quite handle him. At least I got a real reaction out of him!
When Rita had mentioned his sister, and asked him to tell her more about himself, the chat suddenly ended. The front door slammed, and Bianca lost her balance. She used her wings to ease her landing. Gettis, the man she just got so angry at, was standing right at the door.
She quickly stood up and brushed the dirt off the skirt of her dress. “S-So!” she began, not even acknowledging her fall. “How was your interview with Rita? Did she tear you to shreds?” she smirked, pretending to not know exactly what just happened.
“You missed a spot” he said, indicating there would be some dust on her hindquarters. “And you dropped something right there” he pointed towards the ground.
“I’ll be honest and say what it was right away. It was your dignity, Ms. Wheezy Breather.” He settled on a blank face, only betrayed by a slight tilt. He reckoned she knew what her associate had been doing, and why he’d reacted the way he had.
He felt a twinge of guilt and helped straighten out Bianca’s jacket, straightening her maid uniform and dusting off her shoulders. He looked into her eyes and smiled, she was less infuriating at a distance. “She seemed like a very attentive young lady. You have a lot to learn from her.”
“Someone as lowly as you couldn’t make me lose my dignity. I’ll have you know I was simply fulfilling my Admin duties! I had to watch, o-or if you did something, Rita could have been in trouble!” A lie. She had watched out of curiosity.
He had reached out and touched her, dusting off her jacket. As he looked into her uncovered eye she quickly looked away, her face turning a light shade of pink. “H-How many times have you been told we need a diverse cast? And d-don’t think I only have this job because I’m Rei’s sister!” She folded her arms. “But… Th-Thanks for helping me dust off my uniform. I appreciate it. But don’t think that means I accept you as an Admin just yet!”
Sighing at her reaction to even the slightest touch, he stepped away. “I understand, I understand. Lucky for you, I am very unlikely to be hired after this.”
Turning, he started walking towards his home. She was an interesting person, that’s for sure. And infuriating. On the other hand, there were quite a lot of those around here so he was probably lucky that he wouldn’t get the job.
“Try not to listen in on too many conversations, sooner or later you might hear something you really don’t want to hear.”