My aunt believed that she didn’t hate me. Regardless of the public opinion, if someone were to ask my aunt about why she hated her nephew so much, then she would probably be dumbfounded.
If anything, she supported me. She, herself, most likely believed that. This was clear since every time she introduced me to one of her fellow church-goers, she would tell them about how much of a pitiful child I was. Always including a small comment about how she was a saintess for having taken me, who was in that state, in because of her overflowing sympathy. She probably believed that it was a well-deserved gratuity towards her because she had treated her nephew with such compassion.
Even now, I end up recalling her voice whenever I smell the scent that comes from churches. Within the shadow cast down from the statue of Our Lord, you must understand the glory of Our Savior, and over all else, you must especially understand how big your uncle’s and my hearts are for having decided to take you in, she was a person who would say these kinds of words to a 10-year-old child. Do you know what happened back then, Yujin? No one tried to take you in. They were all busy trying to live their own lives, after all. But do you know what your father’s eldest brother did? He despised the idea, despised it! He didn’t want to take care of you despite being a politician, successful, and rich! You, who had lost your parents and was crying in the funeral while surrounded by relatives, he didn’t want to take in such a pitiful and young lamb! How could he abhor the idea that much!? If it weren’t for me, what would have happened to you, you poor pitiable young lamb?
Truly, you must learn how to give thanks.
I cowered. I’m not sure what other reaction a 10-year-old child, who had just become an orphan, should have given. That was probably the biggest reason behind why I didn’t retaliate whatsoever to the bullying I received at school.
I was defenseless. I was a wide open new field. No matter how many times I was stepped on, hit, or cursed at, I didn’t fight back⎯⎯⎯and merely cried, like a fool. I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I’m sorry that I’m unhappy. I’m, luggage. I’m utterly useless luggage and all I do is inconvenience my uncle and aunt. I’m sorry, Miyeong. It’s my fault. I’m, luggage. Since I’m a retard, I believed that it couldn’t be helped if anything happened to me.
In contrast, Joo Chanmi was a girl who was allowed to do anything.
An esteemed daughter who was promised everything. Whenever she walked, light swayed vaguely around her. A thick scent of flowers emanated from her whenever she brushed past someone. Her intelligence was like a sturdy steel tower. A level 99 prodigy girl who was beautiful, talented, and well-rounded in both sports and studying.
Should I say that the biggest misfortune was the fact that she was a girl?
That’s right, a girl.
A girl with a lot of curiosity.
That girl, who wanted to sate that cruel curiosity of hers while not even possessing the slightest bit of hesitation.
To her, I must have been quite the interesting plaything. Like a machine running amok, she committed every possible thing she could think of towards me and didn’t stop there. Joo Chanmi would repeatedly prove that she, herself, was really, truly, an authentic genius. Whenever I thought that nothing more severe could happen after this, she would prove me wrong the next time. Forced labor, giving false hope, sexual harassment, harsh insults, mob violence, slander······ everything. Time wasn’t required for the bullying towards me to spread throughout my entire class, my entire grade, and soon, my entire school.
Running away was impossible. Although there was a time when I refused to go to school once, my uncle soon came and barked at me, ‘We took in a child who doesn’t have a mother or father, and you’re not going to school?’. Even my aunt, ‘How could you do this’, she uttered, ‘Do you not know how to show thanks?’, she then wept. However, regardless of what anyone would say, the sole person to bust down my door and drag me by the hair was my younger cousin, Miyeong. ‘Y-You, Y-Y-You, You, b-because you’re not coming to school, I, I-I-I, I end up being the taaaarget!!!!’. Though it was Miyeong who started the flame, since the baton had been passed to Chanmi, the school had ended up in a state where it didn’t matter who the target of the bullying was anymore.
What about graduation? Couldn’t it have been resolved with that? Of course, it’s possible. Every student will end up graduating, after all. However, this was a coed school that had an education system where everything from elementary school to university was all connected. Then a different method? I reiterated the words said by my aunt and the certain religion that she believed in. Suicide is a sin. The biggest betrayal. If you do something like that, then the people around you will be sad. Even when Judgement Day arrives, murderers will be forgiven, but apostates and people who commit suicide will not. I wasn’t even allowed to kill myself.
The only path that I was allowed was to merely wither, fall sick, and die off slowly. Even when I entered into my first year of middle school, I sincerely believed that was my only fate.
The flaming transfer student, ‘The Princess of Death’, it was around that time that I met my goddess, Cha Minhee, for the first time.
I entered into my third day. I have yet to examine the torture room.
“Anten! Are you awake!?”
That’s because, the moment I opened my eyes, the Earl of the Silver Lion was on top of my stomach. This time, her attire was a layer thinner than what she wore yesterday and the day before that. She was wearing pajamas with rabbit and pig patterns on them. For some reason, she still had on her socks, rings, and bracelets.
“Yeess! Did you sleep well?”
“I thought I was having a nightmare, but it seems I wasn’t having sleep paralysis, but my stomach was being pressed down instead.”
“Ah ha ha. Pardon mee. But you really were being pressed down by scissors, you know? Here, look.”
She then placed a pair of scissors on top of my stomach. It seems like both master and servant are the same when it comes to cringy jokes.
(TL note: The term ‘sleep paralysis’ can be literally read as ‘pressed by scissors’.)
“You put that on me just now.”
“Although you’re right, Mr. Yujin. You shouldn’t pay attention to trivial things, Mr. Yujin.”
“Then I’m not sure where I should be paying attention to······.”
“Ufu. Are you uncomfortable? Should I get off?”
“No, you aren’t that heavy so it’s fine.”
The Earl twitched and her face became flushed······ if she were a person who’d give that kind of reaction, then I wouldn’t be worrying about my life right now. There’s a chance that if it were Zia, then she may have reacted like that, but at the very least, in this current situation, the Earl of the Silver Lion only wetted her lips slightly. Her canines gave off a dull glint.
“Do you want a drink?”
The Earl got off of my stomach. Sleep had escaped me completely as well. I pulled up my upper body to sit up.
“Did it turn out well?”
“Hmhm! It’s, Good. Now, have a glass.”
The Earl, who had brought the chair and sat down on it, poured a glass of alcohol with a kettle and passed it to me. I received the shot glass with a ‘Samhyang’ logo on it, a company I’ve never heard of before.
“I’m not really good with alcohol.”
“What a boooring man. You can at least have one glass, right? Drink up.”
I drank it down in one gulp. For now, since I’m in front of the Earl, I drank while maintaining etiquette.
“Ah ha? Ufu, ah ha ha ha ha. Mm. How cute. What’s up with that? You’ve been constantly talking informally up until now, but now you’re turning your head to drink?”
I silently put the shot glass down, picked up the kettle with both hands, and poured her a glass. A steady fragrance of alcohol drifted around within my mouth. Leaning back against the chair, the Earl, who was holding the shot glass with only her index finger and thumb, quickly drank the alcohol in a single gulp and let out a ‘Kaah!’ sound.
“Seriously, homemade alcohol is the greatest in the woooorld!”
“It tastes nice. Is it citrus wine?”
“Yes– Well, it’s an alcohol made from a similar fruit that can be found in our world. It’s one of the few existing specialties of my city.”
“The alcohol? Or the fruit?”
“Both. Anyway, it ended well. Ah ha ha. Burned the original files, put out forged documents, and I shouted out, ‘after examining the papers closely, they turned out to be fake!’. You should have seen the head office manager of the Fedchants’ face! He had a confused expression on his face at first, as if he didn’t know what I was saying, and then after he examined the papers, he let out a groan and glared at me! That expression! Kya hah! Ah, the best! Ah hah hah ha ha ha······ I’m getting upset from thinking about it.”
“Calm down, Earl. There’s no point in kicking me now.”
“Mm, that’s right. In any case, the documents were forged. I can’t give the demolition order. The other corresponding requests for the transfer of land ownership⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯all of it, void! Damn it, it’s regrettable that I can’t send them to prison since they’re outsiders.”
“Is there no jurisdiction?”
“Since getting into the law of this world would be complicated, let’s skip it. Well, to put it in simple terms, if they aren’t one of my citizens, then I can’t deem them as criminals. However, civil cases are possible! I requested for the highest amount of compensation and shouted out using words that had an ambiguous meaning, ‘How dare you try to carry out such a ridiculous scheme. Don’t look down on this Earl of the Silver Liooooon!’, like that. Ah hah ha ha ha.”
I wonder if she felt delighted the more she thought about it since the Earl was drawing her face closer to me while cackling.
“It was great. That Equivalent Exchange grandma, is probably grinding her teeth right now. Strong! Invincible! The greatest! Ah ha ha. It was really great. Mr. Yujin, do you have something you want? You’re the person who gave me the idea, so I should give you a reward.”
“Send me back and don’t summon me again.”
“Pfft, kukukuku. Wrong! I can’t do that. To not let go of something once it comes into my grasp. Since I’m like that, I’m called the Earl of the Silver Lion.”
I wasn’t expecting anything, either.
“I’ll think about it.”
“I’ll tell you this now, but you can’t avoid from going to the torture rack either, okay? Ufu fufufu.”
“For some reason, it feels like an ungainly reward.”
“The thing that’s ungainly is the mistake of you having been born in a place like Korea.”
“Why is it that I have to listen to the belittlement of Korea even after having come to another world······? How were the other people’s responses?”
“Hmhm. For starters, the citizens who submitted a direct petition had a face of admiration. How was it? Then······ like the face someone makes when looking at a courageous man who had just shouted the last number during the PT exercise of guerrilla training?”
So Ahyeon served in the military, huh. Though I heard that it’s recently been a trend for the last number in a PT exercise chant to be omitted.
(TL note: Information regarding this joke is a bit complicated, so I’ll explain it further at the end of the chapter.)
“What’s wrong? Isn’t this the timing where you make a rebuttal by saying ‘that’s not a look of admiration then!’?”
“It’s a deliberate omission.”
“This sort of situation is a 0 contraction of discretionary power.”
“That feels vaguely like a civil servant gag.”
“Well, I am a civil servant, and an earl.”
“That’s right, isn’t it?”. I didn’t say, ‘In any case, congratulations.’ to her. “Just like I guessed, it seems you’re receiving quite the animosity from your citizens, huh?”
“N-N-N-Nonsense. Where else can you find a politician that’s as excellent as I, and how could someone like that be hated?”
“I made that assumption because of your self-deprecating joke just now.”
“Ahmng······ mm. What should I say⎯⎯⎯.” The Earl poured herself another glass of alcohol and sighed. “I played around too much.”
“You sure there isn’t another reason besides that?”
“There are, but, mm, those aren’t that important. Now then, let’s drink instead. Mr. Yujin, I’ll pour you a glass.”
I received the alcohol she poured with both of my hands and emptied the glass in a single gulp. Instead of trying to establish an equal standing with this series of drinks, my goal was to hammer into her the implication that ‘I was her dependent’, but I wasn’t sure if it was working well. In any case, she no longer brought up my drinking etiquette.
A moment of silence.
I poured her a glass. The Earl drank it and spoke.
“It’s not that important, but······ if I were to still say it.”
“It’s probably because, of my outer appearance.”
“Outer appearance? The fact that you summon otherworldly beings and torture them?”
“Yeess. And actually, I’ve also played around with prisoners who were on death row. I was once caught by a special corps while I was doing that, though. Well, there were some circumstances to that, but anyway, I’m a part of the Twelve Sky Wizards and an aristocrat, and the opposition was a prisoner on death row, so nothing much happened.”
“Is your name, perhaps, Elizabeth Báthory?”
“Ah hah ha. That’s rude. I haven’t bathed in blood before, you know? Also, didn’t she kidnap normal citizens and play around with them too? My targets are strictly limited to death row prisoners, plus alpha, AND otherworldly beings. Yay.”
I believed that an inhabitant from an unknown world being able to casually tell the history of Earth was something to be afraid of.
“Moreover, I was meandering too much at the time. Ah ha ah······ I was immature, really.”
“Just how old were you then?”
“Hm. Around 14-years-old?”
“It’s only been 2 years.”
“Even in that short time, a girl will change. Therefore, that’s why I believe that girls are beautiful forms of life that must be protected.”
“Though I’m curious if that’s still the case when the girl has such a crude hobby like this···.”
“That’s why I said, it’s my preference. Please respect it.”
“It’s not hard to respect, but I think it’s gone past the border of being considered one’s preference······.”
Did I go too far?
I gazed at her without avoiding her gaze or flinching. A sweet aroma of alcohol, that could make a person’s body freeze, came from the Earl of the Silver Lion’s breath. She was displaying her canines with her tongue slightly sticking out.
“Don’t act out of line, Mr. Yujin.”
That’s right, it’s my mistake.
Two people reached the third day. None has reached the fourth⎯⎯⎯⎯, despite having received this information from Zia, I ended up uttering words that I didn’t have to utter. Is it the influence of the two glasses of alcohol I had?
In any case, this mistake was big.
I said and lowered my head submissively.
“I was presumptuous.”
The Earl moistened her lips with her tongue. Silence.
“Well, you just have to not do that from now on.”
The Earl let out an ‘Ah hah ha’ laugh and patted my head. Thankfully, it seems I wasn’t out in the first strike. However, regardless of that, it’s certain that a considerable amount of points were removed.
While I was grinding my teeth in vexation, the Earl of the Silver Lion continued our previous conversation.
“No matter what world it is, the public are people who judge people by their outer appearance, aren’t they? Of course, there’s my mistake as well and I can’t make any excuses about that, but for them to go as far as to worry about completely useless things and despising someone for it, that’s a bit troubling even for me. That kind of feeling.”
“They’ll feel anxious, after all.”
“That’s the thing that’s needless. I’m already well aware of the system of society. I can’t go against 12 people at once, and since I know that, I won’t do something similar to what Elizabeth Báthory did. Though I’ll continue to play around with prisoners who are on death row.”
“Do you resent them?”
“Should I call it resentment⎯⎯⎯⎯ something like, tiring? Even this incident, if the Fedchants didn’t try to pull off such a ridiculous scheme, then I would have just accepted it. The documents were perfect, after all. People who would normally avoid me, but would come clinging to me and call me their ruler when in these types of situations, I honestly see these people as unseemly.”
“You’ll need time.”
“That time, I don’t need it. Understand?”
I didn’t say anything more.
That seemed to be the right answer. The Earl, who sipped on her glass as if waiting for a reply, lowered her glass and grinned.
“How great would it be if the people also had a sense that was as quick as yours?”
“Anyway, who knows? While I’m in this position, I’m an earl. Since I was handed down this role from my father. I’ll take care of them at the very least. I don’t want to let go of this position either. I can spend my time messing around, I have a torture chamber, and I can play around with prisoners on death row and all I’ll receive are cold gazes. Also, having a base is important. However, that’s it. That’s everything. The End! I don’t plan to do anything more than this. Live on your own⎯⎯⎯⎯and on your own, die. Ah hah hah ha ha ha!”
“What an outrageous Her Lordship, Earl······.”
“Even when I was little, I pondered whether this kind of earl could possibly exist. It was something that even I believed would have an incredibly low chance of possibly happening. But then it actually happened.”
For some reason, I feel like I can almost grasp that Ahyeon guy’s character now.
“And thus, another trial popped up today as weeell.”
After chuckling, ‘Mufufu’, the Earl lifted up her glass. Then, after waiting for me to fill up her glass, she used the pinky of her other hand to stir her drink for a moment before sticking it out towards me.
I obediently licked it. After I did so, I tilted my head and the Earl gave a sullen laugh.
“There’s a maid. She committed theft. That’s it.”
“Was she caught in the act?”
“She was caught by the guards so, probably. It’s something that happened just a short while ago. They said they caught her going through the drawers in my deceased mother’s room. They went through her clothing and, oh dear, a bunch of jewelry appeared.”
“According to the law, how will she be punished?”
“If they’re a noble, then I can charge them for three times the appropriate price. However, since she’s a commoner, I can do something like cut off one of her arms. Making her pay 3 times the amount of what she was about to steal is, of course, also possible. A great masterpiece. Ah hah ha ha.”
Although this girl truly seemed to be enjoying herself while laughing and clapping.
“Then what’s the issue?”
“Mm? When did I say, that there’s a problem, Mr. Yujin?”
“Then why are you saying something cocky like that?”
“All I did was listen to the girl, who came to visit me in the middle of the night, make complaints while drinking alcohol, still look rather upset despite all that ranting, and speak her mind about her annoyance towards the public before suddenly bringing up another trial.”
The Earl, didn’t show any easily readable body gesture like biting her lips.
A momentary silence.
I asked her first.
“Was it a person you adored?”
“A feeling of betrayal?”
“Something like that?”
I tried reconstructing what must have occurred. The Earl of the Silver Lion was able to suppress the Fedchant’s scheme. Although the Earl claimed that she merely wanted to show the Fedchants their place and that the civilians didn’t matter, it’s clear that the last line was nothing more than something which she added later on. This 16-year-old girl most likely wanted for her people, who had a prejudice towards her, to reevaluate her once more. However, the things which she received⎯⎯⎯⎯ was still prejudice, ostracization, and fear.
The feeling of having cold water poured on you, albeit, she probably didn’t feel anything······ I’m certain that her mood has become as worse as the amount of authority she had to use. And during that situation, this incident occurred. Of all things, why did it have to be the jewelry of her deceased mother, and of all people, why did it have to be the fellow that she doted on? If that’s the case, then, of course, she would be depressed. It felt as if I could almost hear her say ‘This is why, I don’t want to do something like be nice towards the people below me.’.
I had also lost my sight for a moment. If you think about it, the fact that she came to me with alcohol while wearing pajamas(Probably means that it’s still the middle of the night outside) was already a huge indicator, but for me to have almost tried to lecture her. That’s no different than stepping on a landmine after having behaved conceitedly.
“What do you plan to do?”
“Hm? It’s not something that Mr. Yujin needs to really care about, though?”
That’s a lie. If that was the case, then you wouldn’t have brought all this up in the first place, is something I didn’t say to her. In truth, I didn’t say anything. A deliberate omission.
The Earl of the Silver Lion replied.
“She’s tied up, in the torture room.”
“I won’t kill her. She’s not a citizen of another world, but this world, this home world of ours. A citizen with civil rights. It’d be a bit much if she were to die just for having committed theft. But I’ll have to at least take one of her arms and receive the compensation fee from her body directly. I plan to make her into a one-armed slave maid that’ll work for the Earl’s House until the day she dies. Ah hah ha ha. Of course, since the amount of jewelry that was discovered on her was rather significant, if it’s three times that amount, then it’s not a price that can be paid off even if a one-armed maid worked for the rest of her life. Her descendants will have to carry the debt, too. If she resists, then we’ll have to bind her and force her to get pregnant throughout the night. Ah hah ha ha······.”
That laughter was truly cruel and⎯⎯⎯⎯ and,
What⎯⎯⎯⎯ should I say?
“Do you want to go and see it? It’s a contraption that you might end up being bound to as well, you know? If you ask what it is, then it’s something where you wrap a wire-like thing around the arm. And then puuuuuuuuuuull! If you pull on it, the wire will dig into the flesh just like that. You then leave it in that state. Once a day or two passes, that area will rot and the arm will fall off. It can do other things, too······.”
“You asked if there’s something I wanted, right?”
“Hm?” The Earl tilted her head for a moment before folding her arms. “Aha. Ah, that. Yeah. Why?”
“Can you follow my advice for this case?”
“Ha? You’re saying presumptuous words again.”
“Though that may be the case, you said you’ll give me a reward. If I can’t prevent myself from going to the torture room and you won’t send me home, then at least something like this······ is what I mean. Is that not possible?”
The Earl knitted her brow and looked at me. Since she didn’t reply immediately, I spoke.
“For what reason did that girl resort to stealing?”
“Is a reason needed?”
“Would a maid working for the Earl resort to theft without reason?”
“Such things are common in this world.”
“Even if it’s common in this world, it’d be difficult to do to the Earl of the Silver Lion. You said that your cruelty is already widespread.”
But if someone were to resort to stealing from that type of person, while shouldering that risk, then there would be a motive. That’s what I meant. The Earl snorted.
“Well, it’s cliche. I’m sorry, Lord Earl. My mother became bedridden. I needed the money for medicine. I’m unable to say something if I were to die, but if I’m gone, then there’ll be no one to support my mother······ so on and so forth, etc etc.”
“Is that the truth?”
“Just how much does the medicine cost······ to make someone try and steal one-third of an amount that can’t be paid off even if they worked for the rest of their life?”
“Mm. The field of medicine is managed by a faction called Alchemy Fortress, but, ah, in Korean terms they’d be the Pharmaceutical Association, but since the Alchemy Fortress is on a global-scale, price-fixing is severe.”
“That doesn’t make sense. Medicine is directly connected to survival. If something like that’s sold at an exorbitant price, then······.”
“Ah, of course, medicine is at a fixed price that’s within the range of common sense. If it really were at an exorbitant price, like what you assumed, then something like the Alchemy Fortress would have disappeared a long time ago.”
“Then what? Is it really just made up words?”
“The reason that’s not it······ is because she gave the exact name of the medicine. The reason why the Alchemy Fortress is able to establish its position right now is because, through the sharing of their know-hows, they’re able to provide vaccines for almost every pathogen in the world and they set the price for those vaccines······ you probably wouldn’t understand even if I tell you this.”
“One line summary : It’s a rare disease, so it’s expensive.”
“Therefore, the circumstances are true.”
“According to the law, is it necessary for you to cut off one of her arms? Or do you not have to cut it off?”
“I don’t have to. It’s at my discretion. It’s just that I want to cut it off. Thus, I’m cutting off one of her arms because I want to cut it off.”
“You don’t have to emphasize it. Okay. Then the measures you have to take is clear.”
Organizing the incident : Government(Earl of the Silver Lion) vs Citizen. A criminal case. Theft with a motive.
“Make her pay three times the value of the jewelry that was found on her.”
“I’m fine with that.”
“Don’t cut off her arm.”
“I don’t like that idea that much.”
“And, buy the medicine for that maid’s mother. You can do that much, can’t you, Your Excellency the Earl?”
“Okay, now that’s genuine nonsense⎯⎯⎯⎯ Why do I have to do that, Mr. Yujin? I’m, as my title says, the Earl, Mr. Yujin.”
“I said this before. If this is possible to do in place of my reward.”
“······Haa. Even if that was possible, I was planning to provide you with daily necessities like a blanket or something so you could spend your time here a bit more pleasantly. But, what could you possibly gain by throwing all that away and saving a maid that you’ve never met before, who’s also from a world that isn’t yours?”
didn’t tell her that it was because of her laughing appearance earlier, that⎯⎯⎯⎯ she sincerely appeared cruel,
and ‘in pain’.
“I don’t think I have to answer that.”
“Let me off. It’s not something hypocritical, and it’s not for that maid who I’ve never met before, either, like you assumed.”
It’s not for you, either.
“It’s simply because I know that my chances of being dragged to the torture chamber increase if you’re in pain, annoyed, or upset.”
I only want to avoid that.
“Ultimately, it’s just my own selfishness.”
I’m not sure how the Earl took in my calmly spoken words. I don’t have the ability to do something like reading other people’s minds.
The Earl avoided my gaze.
“The medicine, is expensive.”
“You’re an earl, aren’t you? Do you not have enough money?”
“I’m saying that it’s not a small sum that I can just give out as charity!”
“Then make the maid repay the price of the medicine as well. It should be fine then.
“Then wouldn’t the payback period get extended too much?”
“Then you’ll obtain that much of a devoted servant. Don’t you want that? Furthermore, your opinion among the masses will go up a bit, too. Don’t you dislike being looked at coldly all the time?”
When it felt like the Earl was going to go silent again······ she let out a sigh.
“That’s too lenient.”
She then clicked her tongue and started scratching the back of her head.
“The authority of the law won’t stand then. How could someone overlook a thieving criminal just because of their circumstance and also give them charity? If you look at it like that, then do other people not have their own circumstances? For example, since Zia is stupid, no, well, she actually is an idiot, in any case, does Zia work and receive a salary because she’s an idiot? What about the other maids? They work hard, and gather money. If that doesn’t work, then by going through proper procedures, they borrow money and solve their problems. If you’re a member of society, then that’s fundamental. If you go against that fundamental, then you’re no longer a member of society. A price must be paid.”
“Is that amount of compensation not enough?”
“It isn’t insufficient, but it’s like this. If the incident ends like that, then the lesson given to the others will be, ‘Ah, it’s fine if I don’t get caught for stealing, and even if I do get caught, it’ll be fine after I pay a fine’. Then it’s over. A group that believes that it’s safe to go against regulation will, without a doubt, collapse.”
“I agree. That’s why you need to nail in the fact that only this occasion will be an exception.”
“You do something like a morning assembly, right?”
The Earl shut her mouth and nodded her head. I continued.
“Gather every single employee and tell them this.”
“Tell them what?”
“I’ll write it down, Earl. A pen and paper, please.”
I, the daughter of the Murky Lion and the Blizzard Cat, the one allowed the Silver Crown and the Green orb, the honorable ruler of the City of Confinement, the Earl of the Silver Lion, believe that the dishonorable occurrence that occurred last night to be regrettable. I anguished a countless number of times while contemplating about this incident, but after careful consideration, I have gathered you all here in order to deal with this issue while hoping to prevent even a single question or doubt from remaining in your minds after this case has been resolved.
First, the story that I’ve been told.
This guard standing before me witnessed the maid while she was in the act of stealing and apprehended her. An appropriate reward will be given to him due to his courageous action.
This maid has admitted her crimes of stealing. Moreover, she has confessed that she had no other choice because she needed the money for her mother’s medicine. After having people investigate the matter, it was reported that her situation was indeed true, and after further investigation, this maid could have stolen more, but it was confirmed that she had later returned the jewelry that could have been sold for more than the price needed for the medicine. Thus, though it is certain that she took such actions because of her beautiful devotion towards her mother,
It is not enough.
No matter the reason, if that action does harm towards others, then it cannot be pardoned. That is the rule of society where people live. The harm for this incident is not strictly limited to the monetary problem I may receive, but the relative sense of loss that the others must shoulder due to such actions. Are you all receiving a wage because you are dumb, do you make a savings because you are pathetic, and are you all working because you are impudent?
You can say that it is an occurrence that happened abruptly while in a situation where one didn’t have enough savings. However, it’s still the same. You can borrow money. You can beg for money. If all else fails, then you could have come to me. Yes, to me⎯⎯⎯. The thing that upsets me the most is the fact that this pitiable thief, didn’t consider to rely on me even once. In conclusion, although she may have begged to me in the end, that was after everything had already been ruined on her own, with a kneeling body that had already been detained.
This maid is, unbelievably foolish. That is all, and the story ends there.
······Although it should end there.
On the other hand, it may have been my own mistake.
To state clearly, I have not been able to show the image of a sincere and reliable leader to you all. Most likely, it is because of that reason that this maid was unable to rely on me.
If there’s something to consider, then it’s solely that. However, I admit that that issue in itself is a significant problem.
Heed my words.
This maid will have to pay back 3 times the amount of what she tried to steal. Head vassal of the house, Sophna, please record this on the documents.
Furthermore, Sophna, this is the Earl’s order. Take the money from the vault, buy the medicine that was mentioned by the maid, and deliver that medicine to her mother. The price of the medicine, will, of course, be added onto to the maid’s debt.
No interest shall be attached to these two debts. Until the debt has been paid off, it shall be passed down generation after generation. Excluding complete reimbursement, bankruptcy and any type of abrogation will not be acknowledged.
There will be no punishment besides that.
That is my, the Earl’s, verdict.
However, honorable citizens of the City of Confinement, be aware of this, I am not doing an act of charity towards this maid, herself. This maid does not have good luck, either. Nor is this on my own personal whim. In truth, I am merely using this opportunity to execute an idea that I have had since a long time ago. With this action, I am tossing aside the debt that you all were bearing.
Now the debt from the time I was an undependable leader is gone. You and I, will stand squarely.
If, perhaps, you ignore these words and rely on the luck and mercy that never existed in the first place, then at that time, I will make an inquiry to the flesh and internal organs of the person directly involved by the means of iron and flames.
I, as the individual to have received the 12th glass from His Majesty.
I, as the lord of the City of Confinement.
I, as your sovereign.
I am the Earl of the Silver Lion.
“It was impressive.”
Zia Batsand came down and said that to me, who was in the middle of investigating the torture chamber.
“Mm, how should I say it? It’s seriously something that can only be described as exceptional’s excellent.”
“You know that?”
“While feeling the casualty’s death at twilight’s darkness, the breeze’s wind that blows from the west’s west···.”
(TL note: This is a poem that became popular online because of how nonsensical it was. It’s basically using a ‘[Korean word for excellent]’s excellent’, type of format. The latter words are written in Konglish, which are English words using Korean letters to write them. Just think of it like, “The cute’s kawaii is amazing’s sugoi.”)
You’ve even memorized it!? it’s probably the timing to give this kind of rebuttal, but I won’t.
“Referentially, if I say it in our world’s language, Ziora’ en senteauzi Korans’ en Neod···.”
“Stop it. So what happened?”
“I’ll explain it in a calm and orderly fashion. Her Excellency the Earl somewhat spitefully left the maid neglected in the torture chamber until morning. Only until it became time for the morning assembly, did she then bring the maid back up without saying a single word.”
“Her Excellency the Earl’s ruthlessness is infamous. This morning assembly, the assembled employees were all trembling with anxiety. The majority of the maids were close to tears. One of the maids, who was close to the maid who was captured, tried to jump in front of the Earl, but the other maids were holding her back. It was that kind of situation. Whether she Her Excellency the Earl read the mood or not, she started her speech.”
She most likely didn’t give the speech while holding onto a piece of paper. The reason why she left the maid neglected until morning was probably because she needed that time to memorize. She’s a fellow who’s smart enough to know the difference between the effects of reading off of a piece of paper and speaking impromptu.
“The guard, who apprehended the maid, kept his head turned away from the other maids. It seems he became nervous for a moment when he was mentioned in Her Excellency the Earl’s speech, but after hearing her latter words of being promised a reward, he nodded his head with a twitching expression on his face.”
Reward and punishment are certainly a basis of governing.
“The speech then went on to the maid. Though it seems the maid felt an instant of hope as she listened to Her Excellency the Earl talk about her circumstance, Her Excellency cut off that hope by looking down at the maid coldly and saying that it isn’t enough to be an excuse. The despairing maid lowered her head, and as she listened to Her Excellency the Earl speak further, her already fallen head dropped further, and the Earl’s words made a face of realization appear on the gathered employees’ faces.”
“Well, those were just things the Earl said herself, which I wrote down after organizing the detail a bit······ And then?”
“The moment the maid, who had become ragged after having been cut down by a stern and sound argument, was about to give up on all hope, Her Excellency the Earl, at that moment, made a turnabout. She had a modest appearance, an appearance where you couldn’t find even a slight glimpse of her usual arrogance or mischievousness.”
“It was so humble, that I nearly recalled that one Ben-Hur scene.”
“What kind of scene is that? Nevermind. You don’t have to overstrain yourself with this, I’ll give tackles sometimes, okay?”
“Is that so? I’m relieved.”
“What happened next?”
“The judgment continued. The apprehended maid listened as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, before finally, tears started to flow down her eyes. That other maid, who she was close to, started to cry ‘huaaang’ in the arms of the maids who were holding that maid back at first. Mm, was it ‘hukengkeng’ instead of ‘huaaang’?”
“Huaaang is probably right. Huaaang.”
“No, no matter how much I think about it, it feels like it was probably ‘ugyagya’.”
“What kind of person cries like that—!?”
“I’m truly relieved.”
“Get on with it.”
“After that, the sight of Her Excellency the Earl reflecting on herself and being resolved for a new start, when she was giving that final warning that was natural at that point, even my chest started to feel warm. It became so hot that I can still feel the heat right now. Though, if it’s now, I could ride the mood and let you touch it.”
“Okay, then let me.”
“Mm? Ah······ that, uh······.”
“······. Are you, really?”
“I’ve said it many times now, but I don’t like things that are too stimulating. It’s just that I’m a boy who’s in his third year of high school, and I can at least humor someone to this extent. That’s why you should refrain from doing body gags. If a girl does something like that, then you’ll only feel regret when you grow up.”
“Is that so? Those are incredibly helpful words.”
“Then that’s a relief. I’m saying this again, but, it’s a joke, so can you let go of my collar? No, don’t shake me. Let me go.”
There was a moment of time to adjust my clothes.
“Was there any applause after her final declaration?”
“It was literally a ★pulverizing★royal seal★tremendous ovation. It was a situation where it wouldn’t have been strange if banners with ★★★Silver Lion Earl of Victory★★★ written on them and glowsticks were to appear.”
“What kind of situation is that······ No, I have a rough guess, but······ how was the Earl?”
Zia Batsand didn’t immediately respond to the question. After letting out a ‘Hmm’ and touching her chin, she gave me a sidelong glance with her blue eyes.
“I’ll tell you about that later. Except, once her speech was over and Her Excellency was on her way out, she furtively said something to only me. That you wrote that speech.”
“What, are you?”
“I’m asking you what your true identity is. Were you a politician? Or a novelist?”
“No way. I’m merely a normal 19-year-old boy.”
“But it was so well written that it’s difficult to believe that a normal student had written it.”
“Like I said, 19-years-old. If you’re going to take an essay-type exam after entering your third year of high school, then you need to at least be able to write like that.”
“An essay-type exam, is it? Now that I think about it, Ahyeon was good at writing too. Do you guys train essay writers on a national level?”
“No, even I, who lived there for 19 years, am clueless when it comes to that country’s policy of education······ If you ask if there’s another requisite outside of that, then, mm, the fact that I’ve written publicity texts and speeches for the student body president election?”
Though I’ve written things like that almost every day since I was in my second year of middle school, I have to say that my greatest masterpiece was the kick-off speech I wrote when I was 18-years-old. The speech that started with 〈My friends of Samwon High School〉.
In order to go against Joo Chanmi’s speech that started off with 〈I will say this〉, it had to be at that level.
“In any case, it wasn’t difficult.”, after wrapping it up like that, I added. “I said it before, right? I didn’t make her say things that didn’t exist in the first place.”
“The Earl most likely, no, most certainly wanted to say those words. But you know as well. She’s clever but her personality is bad. Therefore, she’s unable to express herself properly. Even if you say the same words, it’ll come out differently if you say it either logically or sarcastically.”
“Thus, all I did was smooth out the thoughts that the Earl usually had into more comprehensible terms. I didn’t stack up words from zero, either. So I haven’t done anything.”
Zia went silent as if she was lost deep in thought, and then,
“I think I roughly understand the situation. I also understand the behavior that Her Excellency the Earl is showing right now.”
“What is she doing?”
“She shut herself in her room. She said her head hurts too much.”
“Are you sure it isn’t a hangover?”
“How many shots did she drink?”
“Who knows? Around three or four?”
“I recall that Her Excellency’s drinking capacity is ten times more than that.”
“Then she was probably hard pressed on that particular day.”
Zia brushed her chin and gazed at me. I didn’t ask anything more about it.
“Was it good?”
“Who knows? I don’t really enjoy alcohol that much······.”
“For what joy do you live?”
“Did I commit a mistake that’s big enough to have my joy of living considered unjust?”
“A capital offense. Since we’re coincidentally in the torture room, let’s enforce your punishment immediately⎯⎯⎯.”
“Please. I can’t really take that as a joke.”
Zia seemed to have realized that as well. She meekly lowered her head.
“As a symbol of apology, this Heaven Brand milk.”
“I won’t drink it. No, stop squeezing it. Seriously. I said I won’t drink it. Don’t pass it to me. You drink it.”
“Whether it’s delicious or not, don’t force it onto me. Both master and servant are perverts.”
Zia laughed. I let out a sigh.
“Anyway.”, with a serious voice, I continued my words. “I guess we can see this as my win for the bet.”
Zia nodded her head. That must have been one of the reasons why she came down here, anyway.
“You haven’t entered into the fourth day yet, but since Her Excellency the Earl is in that state, she most likely won’t come down here anymore today. I’m not sure what the Earl will do to you later on, but with a single time as the limit, I will prevent her from doing that one thing to you.”
I succeeded in putting Shahryar to sleep for another day. I triumphed in breaching the impregnable 4th day. In addition to that, I’ve gained a 1UP······ even if I say it like this, my mood doesn’t get better.
I overcame my dejection and raised my head. The blue haired and blue eyed girl was sitting on a nearby table and spoke.
“I, am thankful towards you.”
“That’s because, the thing that I witnessed today⎯⎯⎯was the figure of the earl, that I’ve long yearned for.”
“I told you, right? That Her Excellency the Earl wasn’t originally like this. Even back when Ahyeon was around, the earl was, well, she was still haughty to an incorrigible degree, but it wasn’t as bad as now. Within her actions back then, there was······.” Zia paused for a lengthy moment as she tried to figure out the right word. “That’s right, there was a ‘light’.”
“Light, is it?”
“Yup. At that time, we really did have fun······.”
Like she was remembering a golden age from a long time ago that’ll never return⎯⎯⎯⎯
“We read manga, read BL, watched anime, watched BL, played games, and played BL. At the time, since both Her Excellency and I could cross over worlds, by grabbing onto Ahyeon and canceling his summon, we were able to go to Korea and try out the thing called the internet. I especially had fun at btool. Really, our faithfulness at the time is indescribable. Especially the BL part.”
(TL note: Btool is an internet community that uploaded a lot of BL images)
Though it somehow became an absurdly despicable golden age, I gave up on making a rebuttal.
The ‘at the time’ part bothered me.
“But that faithful time ended up breaking apart.”
“What happened exactly?”
“A lot happened······ but the fact that they all came at once was the issue. There was a problem revolving around Ahyeon and several problems with other things, as well. However, if I were to bring up the biggest incident among those, then it’ll probably have to be the kidnapping.”
“The Earl was?”
That earl, was once in the same state as I am currently⎯⎯⎯⎯?
“That’s right. Her Excellency the Earl was kidnapped. On the surface, it was a cooperation request to study her ability. It was ordered by the Mage Tower.”
“So the Earl’s ability really is rare.”
“More than that. Being a member of the Odd Sky Wizards means that they’re one of the six special individuals in the world that possess that kind of incredible ability. Also, even that ability’s limit······mm, is nearly non-existent, literally a Universal Summoner. Although this world has quite the long history, no one with the same ability as Her Excellency has ever existed, and I believe that there’ll never be another one in the future.”
Indeed, if that type of ability was common, then the border between worlds would have been broken a long time ago. Furthermore, a countless number of things that become possible with this ability were coming to mind right now, and most likely, the reason why she was kidnapped was probably because of one of those capabilities.
“Did the Earl not try to resist?”
“She didn’t plan to go obediently, but since her opponent was, at the time, the 7th branch manager of the Mage Tower, the Second Sky Wizard of the Twelve Sky Wizards, Sky Prison, it was no different from her having absolutely no authority. Rather, instead of having none, she just couldn’t. Different from the Odd Sky Wizards that Her Excellency the Earl is a part of, the members of the Even Sky Wizards are decided purely by power.”
“Was the earl unable to escape even with her ability?”
“There was a circumstance and they had a hostage. A situation where the hostage would die if she tried anything rash or escaped. Also, including her clothes, she had everything that could possibly be a catalyst taken away from her and had to spend her time not being able to move an inch. Even if it’s Her Excellency the Earl, she wasn’t able to show a bold front.”
“······Even if it’s the earl, is it?”
“Since it’s a given that a single person can’t take on 12. Be it the treatment that was enforced onto her afterward, or what that Sky Prison Earl tried to do with Her Excellency’s ability, if we go into that topic, then it’ll get too long so I’ll stop here. A lot of things happened, I’ll leave it at that. By this time, Her Excellency’s parents both passed away, and she succeeded the house, but······ Anyway, Her Excellency summoned a monster and destroyed the 7th branch of the Mage Tower. No, it would be more appropriate to say that, while using the chaos that broke out in the 7th branch of the Mage Tower because of the summoned monster, she escaped. Afterward, the monster demolished the 7th branch of the Mage Tower on its own volition.”
“The monster didn’t stop after that and ended up completely swallowing the entire city and created the labyrinth known as the Six Petal City. If you ask around, then you’ll find out that the monster still hasn’t been killed and that it’s alive and well, slaughtering the adventurers that arrive aiming for the relics of the 7th branch of the Mage Tower, showing off its robustness.”
What a tremendous story······.
“I’m digressing, but after that incident, Her Excellency the Earl devised a plan to protect herself since no one could be certain that something like that wouldn’t happen again. The rings and bracelets that Her Excellency wears, have you seen them?”
“Yeah. She was definitely still wearing them despite being in her pajamas.”
“The reason why the term ‘wearing’ is misleading, is because they’re actually attached to her bones. Unless you cut them off, they’ll never be detached from Her Excellency. Moreover, there are beings from the twelve worlds within those accessories; heteromorphic devas, demon lords of ancient times, and extraterrestrial monarchs······ if even one is summoned, then they’re capable of completely devastating this world and then some. The pieces of life from those beings are contained within her rings and bracelets.”
“So they’re catalysts that can be carried around at all times, huh. Is the earl able to control them?”
“That’s impossible. However, summoning, the act of bringing them here, is always possible······ that’s it.”
I understood. 〈Do not try to kidnap me again. Don’t screw around with me. It’s fine if you try to assassinate me, however, you’ll have to kill me in an instant. If you aren’t able to do that, then this world that you’re standing on top of will be destroyed. Even if I die along with it, I’ll destroy this world.〉 If I were to make a comparison, then a suicide squad with dynamite wrapped around them. No, in this case, it’d be a nuclear bomb.
“It means she was wounded that much. She has changed to the point where she’d take such defensive measures. And······ well······ mm, there were more things that happened after that.”
“And thus we arrived at today?”
Zia nodded her head. She was smiling slightly.
“That’s why I was happy. The fact that the earl showed such a demeanor and the fact that you broke my expectation and made it to the fourth day.”
“······I just want to live.”
That’s why I’m doing my utmost. That’s really it.
“Yujin. You somehow resemble Ahyeon.”
“Wait a second. Those are unforgivable words. I’ll summarize everything I’ve learned about that Ahyeon guy. Approximated to have served in the military, an incorrigible otaku, likes BL, addicted to the internet, and addicted to gaming. How could I possibly be similar to that kind of guy?”
“If I have to say it, then it’s the fact that you’re both Korean.”
“I can’t deny that······!?”
“Mm. Good. That was truly a good tsukkomi.”
Please, just call it a rebuttal or a tackle.
Zia quietly laughed again and stood up.
Although that smile felt unbalanced with her cold face, the indescribable gloom that came off of her smile didn’t align well with this location especially. Regardless, the fact that it stuck out because of that sense of unbalance was also true.
With a nod.
That otherworldly female knight that stuck out, spoke after lowering her head.
“Please help Her Excellency the Earl.”
I, was unable to say something.
“Also, please return the BL novel that I dropped yesterday.”
The conversation ended. Zia Batsand went back and I continued my investigation of the torture chamber.
The following are the results of today’s investigation.
First, there were four otherworldly life forms bound in the torture room. A large frog, an angel, a beastman that resembled a wolf, and a girl with cat ears.
Second, it’s obvious, but none of them could understand Korean.
Third, nearly all of them had lost the light in their eyes. Especially the wolf-like beastman and the giant frog, they were in a state where they could no longer be fixed. If there’s something that was possible, then it was a merciful death.
Fourth, that’s why······ I allowed the two to rest.
The beastman was unable to leave any last words, but the frog left behind the following will, ‘K–toro–kukuru’. The day I understand the meaning will most likely come. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t, either. At the very least, I’ll remember those last words.
During the fourth and final step, I first took the two ropes that were lying around and successfully hid something similar to a small blade within the torture rack, which most likely became loose due to its frequent usage. I had used that blade to put the two creatures to rest. Other than that, there was a cup that seemed to be used to contain the Heaven Brand milk, but there was no value in investigating that.
The reason why I put those two to rest was because only they were ‘in a situation where it wouldn’t be weird if they died’. Simply because I could do it without being suspected. I thought that if I had done it to any of the others, then there was a chance that I would get caught by the earl. And then what would the earl do? A person who hates when people act out of line. It’s obvious what she will do.
In the end, I, am this cowardly.
You may have requested, for me to help the earl.
That she’s someone who can be helped, in all respects.
There’s nothing above, what I’m capable of.
(Please do not read my translations on a site that isn’t my own. I have not given permission to anyone but a certain site has been stealing my work. Stop using the site readlightnovel)
TL note: The PT exercise that was mentioned earlier is something often done in the Korean military. I’m not sure if it’s done in other countries, but yeah. It’s like a warm-up exercise where you do jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, etc. You have to count out loud each time you do the action, but you HAVE to omit the last number. If you don’t, then the drill sergeant will make everyone do the exercise again, but with increased intensity. So the sergeant can tell everyone to do 20 jumping jacks, but if someone says the last number, they do another 30 jumping jacks. It’ll keep going up until everyone succeeds in not saying the last number. So anyone who does say it will be stared daggers at.
Anyway, I just realized I’m already passed the halfway point of this volume. I’m not sure how much I’ll get done before DD volume 4 comes out, but I’ll try to at least finish volume 1.
Please forgive the weird grammar style and comma placements, it’s something that’s actually written in the raws, so I’m trying to stay true to that. Bear with it, okay?
I probably had something else to say, but I forgot. Oh well, I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter!