It seems like the time to talk about the end of the 8 Years’ War has arrived.
Like I said before, it was a war of influence. A battle where we disrupted, controlled, deceived, and stole from the opponent’s faction. A game of territory conquest that unfolded not on a Go board, but with the entire school as the background. It didn’t matter whether our ally was an idiot or the opponent was an upright person. At the age of 15, there was an incident involving Shin Eunji that occurred. At the age of 16, I shattered the mid-boss of Chanmi’s faction, Eun Minseon, and destabilized their group. And, at the age of 17⎯⎯⎯ crossing over to high school, followed by another year, that blazing summer that felt like everything was going to melt when I was 18-years-old.
We finally reached the full stop once I was elected as school president and Joo Chanmi, who was pushed back in votes, miserably became the vice-president. The Joo Chanmi at the time, appeared as if she were empty.
[Yujin, ain’t your head really good?]
If it’s the story, then indeed, it would have ended here, but.
[This······uh, for you to think of me whenever I’m not around.]
This time, I couldn’t put down the period at the end of the sentence.
Forcefully continued the story. Disgraceful and cruel unnecessary comments. ······I, started the purge.
I started fiddling with the personages at the very bottom of Chanmi’s faction. Bullying, slander, defamation, execution. Each time I crushed one person under my feet, I spoke to Chanmi. Joo Chanmi. Minhee, give back, Minhee. You used people and broke her. You broke her to the point where she’s now beyond retrieval. That girl is now living while depending on a machine. You did this. Didn’t you break her? Then you should be able to undo it. You should be able to fix it. That’s right.
You can’t be unable to do this.
However, even after Chanmi’s clique was completely shattered, and only Chanmi remained, the occurrence where Minhee opened her eyes never occurred.
I couldn’t accept it.
Why, is it?
Why won’t, Minhee, wake up?
Minhee, Cha Minhee. My Goddess whose hair fluttered like flames. Why won’t you open your eyes? Why won’t you tell me? I overcame it. I overcame being bullied and treated like an outcast. If anything, I gathered my own faction and crushed the bastard who ruined you and stepped on me. This was possible because you were there. Because you transferred to our school on that day. Because you were there. I’m great, right? Isn’t the current me admirable? My savior.
Minhee. Ah, Minhee.
But, why? Why, is it?
Ah. Ah. Ah. Ah. Ah, aaah. Ah. Ah.
Is that it, Chanmi? Is it because you’re alive? Is it because I didn’t put my hands on you? I see. They say that you have to solve the problem that you yourself created. So as long as you’re around, Minhee won’t be able to return. If that’s so, then I have no more reason to let you go. I’ll give you special treatment.
I won’t let you live.
I dragged her to Minhee’s hospital room. This was a type of ritual. I declared it as so. In the hospital room that’s covered in darkness, with the sound of Minhee sleeping as the background, beside her, Joo Chanmi, you, will die here. That is your fate. The sound of liquid dripping in Minhee’s IV, the noisy chirping of a starling that gave me a headache, a ringing sound in my ear. The white hands that were choking Chanmi’s neck.
The reason I stopped,
was because of the one line Chanmi uttered, before passing out.
My hands trembled. I stared into her eyes because I couldn’t believe it. It would be a different case if someone else were to say it, but I couldn’t trust it when this person was the one. However, that really was Joo Chanmi. Chanmi spoke using Chanmi’s voice.
‘So,rry. I’m, so,rry. Yu,jin, I’m, so,rry.’
Don’t beg for forgiveness. I didn’t want to hear those words from you. ‘So,rry.’ Shut up. Only you aren’t allowed to say those words. You absolutely cannot. ‘Sorry······ I’m sorry, Yujin.’ Shut up. Fucking, shut up. ‘Sorry······ I’m sorry, Yujin. Sorry. It was my fault. It was my, yeah, my fault······. Yujin······.’ Shut uuuuup! Chanmi didn’t listen. That prodigy girl, with her neck released, cried. She was weeping, like a child, collapsed next to Minhee, who was laying down like a vegetable. I was also crying. My tears, felt like they were magma piercing through the face of the earth. The unrecoverable generosity that flowed down the paved path.
It was then, that I realized.
There’s a limit, to everything. There are things you can’t get back, in the world.
Even the prodigy girl of a conglomerate, and even myself who had broken that girl, there are things that are impossible even for us in this world.
Therefore, in the first place
In order for it to not break
In order to not lose it
I should have, worked harder.
Everyone was young at the time······ thus no one knew.
The fifth day, I organized the occurrences that happened so far.
First, I was kidnapped by a lunatic from another world.
Second, I ended up in a situation where I was supporting that lunatic politically • intellectually.
Third, among those affairs, the first trouble was something that involved a group called the Fedchants, so I advised her to resolve it by using the Black Dragon Street, but······.
“Did it not turn out well?”
“Mm? Mr. Yujin, why do you think that’s so, Mr. Yujin?”
“Well, that’s because you abruptly knocked me down onto the ground, and now you’re stepping on my face.”
“I’m washing your face! I’m making Mr. Yujin’s face clean!”
“What world’s method is that?”
“It goes without saying, it’s an old tradition that’s been passed down in the world of heavens.”
“Why is it the heaven that I ridiculously dislike······?”
“As for proof, look. If I do the same thing to this angel, then···.”
Additionally, although it seems as if, after great mid-progress, Miss Earl of the Silver Lion has acknowledged that I was a ‘human’, it didn’t apply to the other beings.
Sorry, other beings. I’m busy trying to live.
“Putting that aside, what happened? Tell me already.”
“Ehem. Zia? Explain.”
Zia let out a sigh and scratched her blue hair.
“It didn’t turn out well.”
“And I didn’t say out loud that if you told me it didn’t turn out well when I asked the first time, then we could have saved a lot of time.”
“Zia let out a groan and had an angry expression on her face. However, she soon responded like this.”
I was natural! instead of saying this, I slowly made my way into the main topic······ Ah, that was dangerous. I almost said this out loud as well. This isn’t even my style and yet it feels as if I’m going to go along with her pace. This happens whenever I have to deal with her.
Anyway, the main point.
“So how? I don’t think it was a situation where it wouldn’t work.”
Zia turned to glance at the Earl. However, since the Earl was still stepping on my face while not showing any sign of interest, Zia continued.
“There’s another reason why that didn’t work.”
“What is it?”
“This time, it’s the Black Dragon Street’s fault for the written request and receipt being passed over to the Fedchants. The Black Dragon Street admitted this completely, however, they voiced their concerns that if they passed the Fedchant’s receipt to us as well, or if they forged them for us, then that will just upsize the problem. ‘Our other customers will be anxious if receipts and written requests are being passed around recklessly.’, is what they said. ‘Furthermore, since it’s our fault, we will take responsibility, but even if we do so, if we do something that’s disadvantageous for the Fedchants, then wouldn’t they also request for us to take the same responsibility?’ they said that as well.”
“Though I get what they’re saying, that’s ridiculous. In the first place, didn’t the executive run away with the documents because they received money from the Fedchants?”
“It’s not certain.”
“Is it not certain, or is it because there’s no evidence.”
“The latter. Though I believe, that it’s most likely the Fedchant’s deed.”
“Hm. In conclusion, if I narrow it down, then the Black Dragon Street doesn’t want to start any trouble with the Fedchants.”
“Since the Fedchant is a huge organization, after all.”
“Do you have another idea?”
I stared straight at Zia.
“Not yet. I need a little more time to think.”
Zia had a clear disappointed look on her face.
“Is that so.” She then soon recovered. “Your Excellency, how about doing what I suggested yesterday?”
Meanwhile, the Earl had finally taken her foot off of my face, and had stepped up onto my chest and was tapping her feet.
······Spare me. I’m a human being, you know?
“Hm? What you said yesterday, Zia?”
“Requesting for the Mage Tower to mediate.”
“······I told you, I don’t, waaaant to.”
Zia had a bothered look on her face.
“Your Excellency, I’m more than aware that you feel pain. It must hurt to make a request to those people. However, there are times in your life when something will come to bite you in the back when you fail to do something when it’s required.”
“I don’t think right now is that time, thoough?”
“It’s now. You can’t incline to the Fedchants, right? If you end up getting entangled rashly, then there’s a chance that the entire Earl’s House will get pulled in as well. Your Excellency should already be aware of that danger.”
Zia hesitantly stroked her own stomach and gave a sidelong scowl. The Earl was silent for a moment before speaking.
“And in contrast, what will happen if I request for the Mage Tower to mediate?”
“Summon the thing the Mage Tower wants and send it to them, that’s it. isn’t it? You don’t have to lower your head to the Fedchants, and you can prevent your citizens from going through pain······.”
“Ooh? Would the Mage Tower help out that much?”
“I’ll talk with them properly.”
“Hmph. For someone like you, you’re rather confident.”
“Damn it······ Your Excellency!”
I, who had his hands in his pocket and was fumbling with his smartphone, and even the Earl, froze and stared at Zia. In that spot, there wasn’t a woman who indulged in BL or a fool who enthusiastically made bad jokes, but a female knight who was lowering her head in embarrassment.
“I messed things up.”
A silence flowed.
“Yes. I’m the one who ruined everything. If I only hadn’t used the check signed under the Earl’s House. Even if the request and receipt were passed onto the Fedchants, it should have been meaningless. I understand. It was my mistake. That’s why, I.”
“Won’t let Your Excellency lower your head to someone like the Fedchants······.”
Zia didn’t finish her sentence. The Earl was gazing at her knight who was lowering her head.
There was another silence.
Thud! She then suddenly kicked my chin.
What, are you doing? when I looked up at her with those words written on my face, she stepped on my nose. ······No, it hurts. Seriously.
“What are you doing?”
I was kicked again without receiving an answer. Since it really hurt, I grabbed her ankle.
“You’re grabbing meeee? Graaaabbing? Hm, what hurts? You should just obediently get hit. You dirty otherworldly being.”
“I’ll get hit after I know the reason.”
“No, well, I felt annoyed.”
An incredibly sullen face said those words. For some reason, it truly felt like the expression of a normal 16-year-old girl. A girl who was getting mad at the world because things weren’t going right.
“Do you normally kick people when that happens?”
“It’s a massage, so you’ll be able to use your head more.”
“I’ll be able to do that quite well, when I’m being treated like this.”
If it were just yesterday, then she would have already snapped and moved me to the torture rack by now, but the current Earl just gave me a sharp glare instead.
“You, should I send you home?”
She spoke the words which I never expected to hear.
It seems Zia was surprised by her words as well. Her mouth was agape. I was shocked. However, while ignoring all of our responses, the Earl, without meeting any of our eyes, spat out.
“Think of a good method. A method where I won’t have to incline to either the Mage Tower or the Fedchants. It’s fine for you to think about it.”
At this point, I didn’t question her about what she meant by ‘think about it’, and ‘send you home’, to be exact, I didn’t have the time to do so. Before I could say anything else, the Earl was already dusting her coat and arranging her clothes.
And then, the Earl puffed up her cheeks and marched up the stairs. She had basically tossed aside both Zia and I so we could only watch as the Earl’s figure disappeared.
A stillness continued to flow. A female knight who was biting her lips in guilt, and myself, who was used as a floor mat and covered in dust.
In the end, I was the first person to speak.
Zia didn’t respond. I let out a sigh.
“Zia, are you alright?”
“Young Master Sion is really cute. I like him, too.”
“You think so, as well!?”
“Yeah, and you?”
“Mm, I like the savage butler. However, he can only display his worth when there’s another person. No matter how much technique one has, a catcher is needed for a pitcher to shine, and······.”
I stayed silent while I watched the hopeless BL-stained blue haired female knight(18) who was born in another world, raised in another world, and properly serving her lord. Zia Batsand must have realized what she was doing as she had let out an ‘ah’.
“Of course, I also like the situations where a pitcher is struggling on their own when a catcher isn’t around. Something like this, a long time after a pitcher and a catcher gets into a relationship. The catcher has to leave the pitcher’s side for a while because of a school trip or something. So every day, the pitcher, who’s left by himself, on the bed, with his loneliness······.”
There was an otherworldly blue haired female knight(18), who became even more ecstatic after becoming self-aware of her situation, standing here.
······Let’s stop, please.
Zia closed her mouth. A bitter smile spread across her lips.
“It was a joke.”
“It doesn’t seem like a joke when you’re talking about BL······.”
“I know that feeling.”
“So you’re aware?”
“Of course. Regardless, it can’t be helped. I was made to like BL. This is most likely a problem in my genes.”
“Perhaps that’s why, when you analyze a selfish gene, you get the ‘ah’ feeling that there’s a pitcher gene and a catcher gene. If you look at it like that, then whether you’re a catcher or a pitcher is determined before you’re born, so it’s a genetical issue. Natural Born Attack. Natural Born······ uh······ mm.”
“Why did you betray the Earl?”
“Ah, right. It was Natural Born Defense.
“It’s not that defense. Why did you betray the Earl?”
“Natural Born Number.”
(Tl note: ‘Defense’ and ‘Number’ uses the same letter.)
“It’s not that defense either. I asked you why you betrayed the Earl.”
Zia looked down at me with her head slightly turned. I met that gaze silently while holding my prayer beads.
Zia, spoke. While once again, turning her head, until it creaked.
“What, do you mean?”
“I mean just that. Why, did you, betray, the Earl, Zia, Batsand? I’m asking you that. Should I say it again?”
Zia didn’t want that. She clenched her fist.
“Why do you say that? Even if it’s you, Yujin, I can’t let that slide.”
“If I explain it to you calmly, then will you tell me?”
If that’s the case. I nodded my head.
“The first time I thought it was strange, was when I found out that you were the one who gave the check that was signed by the House of the Earl’s name to the Black Dragon Street.”
“That’s because, I’m an idiot.”
“There’s a limit to stupidity. And an idiot can’t become a knight. Every time you open your mouth you’re thinking about the Earl. For the knight, who’s always thinking of the Earl and was accusing herself that much earlier, to go into the cave of thieves and make a transaction with a check from the Earl’s House? No matter how much of an idiot you are, I don’t believe that could ever happen.”
“Anyone can make a mistake.”
“Let’s say that’s the case, then what about after that? Today as well, you’re the one who went to make a trade with the Black Dragon Street, right? Even while possessing a good proposition, you didn’t push it, but instead, returned after having lost. It’s obvious. Because you didn’t have the intention to win.”
“That’s out of my hands. I’m a knight, and there are times when I don’t win arguments, and there are also times when I’m unable to make proper negotiations.”
“Hmm, a conditional problem?”
“Adding to that, the Black Dragon Street didn’t want to start friction with the Fedchants, and because of that they were especially belligerent with me······.”
“You probably wanted it to appear like that.”
“What, are, you saying?”
“Zia. Look at the image as a whole.” I let out a sigh and stretched my body. “Honestly, it isn’t only one or two things that were strange.”
“I’m telling you that isn’t the case.”
“That’s right, it was strange when I heard that the Fedchants were obtaining land with that sort of method. At first, I thought they were treating your Earl like an idiot. However, regardless of whether they treated her like a fool or not, the earl is still the earl, and she’s also one of the twelve existing Sky Wizards in your world. There’s no need to pick a fight when you’re trying to obtain the land of a person like that.”
“That’s what you think, but since the Fedchant’s judgment is different······.”
“Listen. What I mean by ‘no need to pick a fight’, is that ‘there’s no need to take over the land of 10 people by stealing and stamping their seals, a method that’s strange no matter who looks at it.’.”
“Tell me in easy terms.”
“It’s like this. The Fedchant, is literally a place where almost every single merchant is a part of, right? Your current Pharmaceutical Association, or rather, the Alchemy Fortress, has a vaccine for almost every single disease in your world because they share information among one another. Then wouldn’t it be the same for the Fedchants, as well? The place where almost every single merchant in your world is a part of, how many incredible knowhows do they have accumulated? Even I can’t fathom it. If they used only a couple of their knowhows, then honestly, they can easily obtain something like land. However, why did those ‘Fedchants’ do something weird like that? That’s problem number 1.”
Zia was now glaring at me in silence.
With her blue eyes.
This girl, I’ve felt this since the first time I was summoned here by the Earl, but she possesses, an incredibly befitting,
tremendously⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯frigid, and cold face.
“Now then, Zia? The Fedchants behaved like that towards the Earl as if they wanted to start a fight. A method that’s so obvious that anyone who glanced at it would realize what they’re up to, and they fostered that while obstinately causing discord. Just like a fraud ring trying to receive compensation money for something minor, to the Earl, it was as if they were asking her to hit them once. If the Earl was fooled by that, then that’s that. It may have also been over if she didn’t get fooled by it, either. In any case, the Earl, who was going through a lot of stress, was fooled by it. ······Though for this part, I was one of the major reasons for that stress.”
If I didn’t needlessly give her tips, then the incident wouldn’t have become as large as this. Although I’m upset at the earl, I was planning to accept that it couldn’t be helped. If I thought like that, then ‘Didn’t I fail because of your unnecessary piece of advice?’ that fellow came and complained to me. In the end, she was right.
“Therefore, second. The Earl screwed with the Fedchants just like that. But a day after that, no, not even two days, a betrayal occurred unexpectedly within the Black Dragon Street? And out of all things, they passed over the Earl’s written request and recipe to the Fedchants? This can’t be explained by coincidence, right?”
“That’s why, probably.”
Zia opened her mouth. Zia, aah, Zia.
You aren’t supposed to open your mouth right now. I’m not denouncing you, but I’m talking about the weirdness of the situation. But why are you protecting that situation? That itself is a mistake. I didn’t explain to her that right now was the timing to keep her mouth shut······ without a word, I just listened to what Zia had to say.
“The Fedchants⎯⎯⎯⎯ probably bribed, the executive from the Black Dragon Street. Since they were humiliated by our earl, in order to get her back⎯⎯⎯⎯ they, utilized that immense funding of theirs, and used the executive from the Black Dragon Street.”
“And made him betray them?”
Zia looked at me as if questioning how someone who’s never been outside could be so sure of himself. If you look at it in reverse, then that meant I’d be able to affirm it if I were outside.
“Time is the problem.”
I said that and continued.
“The Black Dragon Street, you see, is still quite the big organization, right? No matter how much money you offer, would someone like an executive betray their group in a moment’s notice? Before even a day or two could pass, at that? Furthermore, in that case, wouldn’t that mean the Black Dragon Street was screwed over by the Fedchants? Then wouldn’t the Black Dragon Street want to deal a blow to the Fedchants? But when you went to them, you said that the Black Dragon Street would deal a blow to the Fedchants, so they didn’t want to do what the Earl asked.”
“I’ve told you this several times now, but the Black Dragon Street doesn’t want friction with the Fedchants······.”
“There’s a better answer.”
“······What is it?”
“The chance that both groups are plotting together. Though, it’s something I brought up yesterday, as well.”
“If the two were plotting together with the sole purpose of screwing over the Earl, then the weird taunt from the Fedchants, the suspiciously quick betrayal of the Black Dragon Street executive, it would explain it all. Ah, in truth, another element needs to go in here as well.”
“Now then. Next. Let’s say the two are indeed plotting together. Then who would benefit? The Black Dragon Street? The Fedchants? The Earl? No. Have you played mahjong before? Go-Stop? Either way, it’s a game with 4 players. If there are two players that are scheming together and one easy mark, then there’ll be one skillful player. A role that comfortably takes the money, and wipes their mouth without coming off as weird. A role where the player just has to be there. Tycoons usually take that role in a fraudulent gambling game. If that’s the case, then in this situation, where’s the magnate faction?”
“Earlier, I said that another element needs to be added to the quick betrayal by the Black Dragon Street’s executive. Obviously. Be it the Black Dragon Street or the Fedchants, they’re both large organizations. But would things go so harmoniously in such a short amount of time? Using mahjong as an example again, no matter how much the two players planned to scheme together at first, the decoy, a fellow giving the signals to inform the others about what tiles the easy mark has, is required. That way they can decide whether they should pass the tile or receive a tile. You kang, pong, and ron, that’s how you do it. That’s right⎯⎯⎯⎯one decoy, is essential. A person who sticks right next to the Earl and reports all of her movements, allowing the others to respond swiftly.”
If you think along those lines and go through the information again.
“Since yesterday, the person who kept insisting for the Mage Tower to mediate, despite the fact that their lord despised the idea.”
If I were to make a guess, then.
“At the very beginning, the idea of screwing over the Fedchants was something that came out from my head, the person who came from another world. It’s information that was shared between only three people. Me, you, and the Earl. Other people couldn’t have possibly been involved since the Earl asserted that she couldn’t believe something like other people. Then that means it’s just us three. First, it’s not the Earl.”
She has no reason to.
“It’s not me, either.”
I don’t have the method to.
“Then that means you’re the only one remaining. ······1 plus 1 is 2.”
And then⎯⎯⎯⎯there was a silence.
Zia Batsand was expressionless. That face was eerily cold.
Although it felt like that void face would continue, she then let out a sigh and erased it. She shook her head as if she were lamenting.
“If I hear that much, then denying any more than this is impossible.”
“Would it be fine to take that as you agreeing with my words?”
“That’s right, Yujin. You, what are you exactly?”
“I told you before. A normal male student who overcame bullying.”
Zia Batsand smirked.
However, that really is all there is to me. I don’t have something like a special ability. The only thing I’m capable of is calmly looking at a situation and organizing it.
Although my inner words most likely didn’t transfer onto her, Zia let out another sigh.
“Well, at least I feel relieved. If everything is revealed so refreshingly, then, if anything, my mind feels cooled off. I give you my thanks in that regard.”
“Though I’m thankful that you think like that, but why?”
To say it again : Why did you try to make the Earl become indebted towards the Mage Tower?
Zia shrugged her shoulders. I gripped my beads.
“Tell me. You even admitted to it a second ago, anyway. Then it’s only right for you to teach me.”
“An obligation, is it?”
“That’s right. I don’t understand. Didn’t you say it a few days ago? That the Earl was detained in the 7th branch office of the Mage Tower, and that they’re one of the major reasons as to why the Earl has become this broken? Of course, that 7th branch office of the Mage Tower has already been destroyed, but if it were a place that one of the Twelve Sky Wizards led at the time, then there’s no way that the upper echelon of the Mage Tower wouldn’t be aware of it. Even the repulsion that the Earl possesses towards the Mage Tower is because she doesn’t want to be in debt towards the people who detained her before.”
I gazed at Zia.
“But you, deliberately, tried to make your lord do that.”
“What is it, Zia, Batsand? Were you only pretending to support the Earl at first?”
“Just because you’re talking away doesn’t mean you’re right, Yujin.”
“Then teach me the reason.”
Zia bit her lips. But not for a long time.
“It’s about Her Excellency the Earl’s ability, and the reason behind why Her Excellency was detained at the 7th branch office of the Mage Tower. It’s also the reason why the Mage Tower still has their interest leaning towards Her Excellency, but······.”
For now, like that, Zia Batsand started talking.
“Yujin. What do you think is the most outstanding part of the Earl’s ability?”
“The usage? For starters, I can narrow it down to 4 things.”
“Tell me them.”
“Tracker and rescuer. Say there’s a missing person. As long as she has that missing person’s belonging, then with the piece of life······catalsyt······it feels like I’m talking about ‘DNA’ here, but, in any case, she can search that object and bring the missing person directly in front of her.”
“That’s one method.”
“Next, teleporter and carrier. By summoning a person who’s living in a certain city, she can stick to that person and cancel the summon, resulting in her teleporting along with them. Though it’s limited, it’s possible to use it as a teleportation ability. Furthermore, since clothing, and the things they’re carrying can be teleported as well, if used properly, then moving a lot of items over a long distance should be possible, right? In any case, it’s much faster than walking or riding on a boat. It also doesn’t cost any fuel.”
“That’s another method.”
“Third, a black hole that can suck in an indefinite amount of otherworldly beings······is another, but what should I say. Since the number of worlds that the Earl can meddle in is 12, and her ability is limited to a certain number of uses during a set cycle, I’ve deemed that as impossible.”
“So you knew?”
“The Earl herself was the one who told me about the number of worlds she can meddle in being 12. The limited number of uses······ is because I can boast my observation skill and composure.”
“······You, you keep saying that you’re a normal student. You’ve only been here for 5 days, you know?”
I smiled bitterly while putting more strength into my grip.
“Since earlier, it feels like you’ve been trying to make me into something that’s not a ‘normal student’.”
If I weren’t⎯⎯⎯⎯a ‘normal student’ like that.
“If I really wasn’t, then I wouldn’t hope for anything more.”
If I had the strength Zia has, then I wouldn’t have been tormented like I was when I was young, and if I had a power like the Earl’s, then Minhee wouldn’t have had to end up like that.
However, that wasn’t the case. I lost things. I made mistakes. I regretted things. I became aware of my situation after I had already lost many, many precious things to me. Consequently, I eventually fell into despair by the fact that I couldn’t turn anything back, and could only scream as I was locked away in my inescapable inner asylum.
“For someone like me, what could I possibly be besides a normal student with a slightly good head?”
Zia didn’t reply.
I shook my head.
“Anyway, finally, the fourth usage. I believe that this is, probably, what you’re talking about.”
“This very moment. The fact that we’re talking in Korean. The fact that you’re into BL. The fact that the Earl has an otaku-like hobby. ⎯⎯⎯⎯The fact that you can actually bring the knowledge and items from another world, at no cost, to this world, this is probably it.”
Zia Batsand laughed. She was looking at me with eyes as if she were looking at a monster.
“Zia, put those away. I don’t like, that type of gaze.”
She didn’t shift her gaze so I got upset.
“I’m just looking at a situation calmly. If there’s someone with the ability to ‘summon beings from another world’, then it’s natural to consider what that person can do and what other subsidiary things become possible. Also, I’m not some prophet or a pioneer. If there’s something that I can think about, then it’d be a situation where the research for it, all the way down to its core, has already been finished. That’s it. There’s nothing outside of that, there’s nothing above that, and there’s nothing below that.”
“Anyway, I’m correct, right? The thing the Mage Tower is aiming for. The thing that the so-called Sky Prison fellow wanted while confining the Earl. The knowledge from other worlds······ That’s right. Since you said that the Korean language is at the level of a third-world country, then our world probably doesn’t have that high of a priority at the moment. Regardless, if I use our Earth as an example to understand it easier, if you summon some of the famous scientists in Korea right now, and extract useful techniques from them through torture, then. Yeah, it’s something that comes out often in SF films, ‘obtain new technology after torturing an alien.’⎯⎯⎯⎯, it’s a stale cliche.”
How many failures did mankind have to go through in order to invent the concept known as the steam engine? How many people fell on their knees and disappeared in order to complete the very first computer? How many mathematicians, who collapsed without having left behind their name, were needed in order to reach Euler’s formula?
But, if you were able to obtain those easily?
Something like the language of another world, like how the Earl and Zia are able to do it right now, it’s something that can be easily learned with time. I can imagine it. The sight of the people of this world learning Korean, English, Japanese, and German. The sight of the scientists, who were summoned by the Earl, being tied up in a row and being tortured. And then suddenly, due to that, steam engines and computers being added to this world. Pythagoras’ theorem, E=MC², and the theory of relativity being added. Quantum mechanics, nuclear fusion, airplanes, rocket technology, rifles······ the things that were done by others, the achievements of other worlds⎯⎯⎯⎯ can be brought. They can simply take the fruits that originally required thousands of geniuses to achieve.
That’s truly something so terrifying that it gives me goosebumps.
I bit my lips because of the imagery that flashed in my head, the sight that could make one shudder.
“You, did you want that?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t know how the people from the Mage Tower convinced you. However, is that what you want? You’re also interested in the technology of other worlds? The free technology that you can gain through torture and not diplomacy? Or what. Is there something else?” I shook my head and came to the conclusion. “Regardless of what it is, the truth is that you, the Earl of the Silver Lion’s Sword, went over to their side.”
At the same time as the momentary silence,
Zia showed a strange smile⎯⎯⎯⎯as if something was splitting apart. It was truly a ghastly and dark smile.
She then started giving her explanation.
“It’s actually been quite a long time since I was won over. It was a short while after Her Excellency had destroyed the 7th branch office of the Mage Tower, so it’s truly a long time ago. However, the upper executives of the Mage Tower who came in contact with me didn’t have a radical view like the 7th branch office did, of course. They wanted a more moderate inducement. They told me that I didn’t have to betray the Earl. All I had to do was, like right now, this very day, induce her very slightly. They said that was all I had to do.”
The tinge of guilt which she showed earlier had reappeared on Zia’s face while she was saying those words. ······If that’s the case, then that means her earlier appearance wasn’t an act, but truly, she couldn’t raise her head because she was embarrassed by how the situation had ended up like this.
“Perhaps, my thoughts were shallow. Since my head is bad. But despite that, the terms didn’t appear that bad. That’s why I, tried to induce her like that, but······ the Earl’s situation⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
“Wasn’t that normal?”
“That’s⎯⎯⎯⎯right. The Earl, was a bit, broken······ so it was difficult for that kind of inducement to work, it was that kind of situation.”
······I thought about it.
If you think about it now, the fact that the Earl at the time had destroyed the 7th branch office.
She willingly fastened the catalysts of 12 otherworldly gods to her body and made herself into a nuclear bomb.
The fact that she had become a psychopath like this, and refused contact with anyone while living as a blood-covered savage of a girl.
By all these facts, how much of a saving grace were these otherworldly beings to her?
Of course, something like this is laughable. I had no other choice but to feel something in particular towards the otherworldly creatures that the Earl had killed, especially the Koreans.
However······ even if that was the case.
“The thing you said to me, that you want me to help the Earl. Zia Batsand. Did you mean that the Earl, for starters, needs to have at least some of her emotions returned to normal?”
Zia let out a chuckle as if what I said was going too far.
“I told you, it wasn’t something as calculative as that. But, who knows······ it might have slightly been like that.”
“What do you mean by slightly. The Earl.”
Believes in you without even the slightest bit of doubt.
That’s right⎯⎯⎯⎯ trust.
Before she left, the Earl said this to me, 〈Think of a good method. A method where I won’t have to incline to either the Mage Tower or the Fedchants.〉 if I did so then she’ll consider sending me home. It’s obvious. That fellow, who’s unable to read the inner workings of a situation, wouldn’t have been able to realize the truth that Zia had used the check signed under the Earl’s House on purpose and that she had also returned after having purposely failed in the talks with the Black Dragon street.
Simply because she didn’t want to see the sight of the subordinate she trusts, Zia who’s like a sibling to her, blame herself. Because she believed that whether she becomes in debt to the Mage Tower, or lowers her head to the Fedchants, Zia will be hurt either way.
On the other hand, for me, since the Earl was already aware that my head was good. She wanted me to work harder by giving me a sense of purpose.
Are you telling me that this sort of easily readable bundle of text hasn’t been read by her already?
“I’m not sure.” Zia now had a tired smile on her face. “Lately, even my head hurts.”
“Wearing a mask is difficult. It’s also difficult for someone like me, who has never been proficient in schemes in the first place, to do something like inducing someone and acting like a spy. Think about it. Why would I have requested someone like you to correct Her Excellency?”
“Someone like me, huh?”
“That’s right. Yujin, I can’t correct the Earl. Even if I’ve been working that hard for the Earl, and believed that I was something similar to the Earl’s sibling, despite all that, I failed at changing the Earl even slightly. But you were different. You achieved that while in a situation where everything was hostile against you, and within a few days since being summoned, at that. ······Do you know what I thought while I was watching that?”
I believed that people, intelligent life-forms, must be treated like equal beings,
Therefore, I believed that I shouldn’t behave sarcastically or belittle the other party, but······.
“How would I know something like a fool’s thought?”
Zia let out a hearty laugh.
“Ahaha. A fool······ a fool, huh. I see······. Yeah. You’re right. I’m a fool. An idiot who has only trained with a sword until now, a blue haired gorilla whose brain even consists of muscles. That me, until now, has continued, contin–ued, to do spy stuff that I’ve never been used to. I sent the information that I gained from talking to the people who get summoned from other worlds to the Mage Tower, I induced the Earl towards a direction where she’ll become in debt to the Mage Tower······ and the Earl didn’t change······ I was reaching my limit······ and while I was in that state, you appeared.”
The hearty laugh started to change into a bitter one. I wordlessly gazed at the spy of the Mage Tower who the Earl trusted.
The stillness was flowing.
The silence broke.
“From now on, I need you to move as I tell you to.”
The blue haired and blue eyed female knight looked at me with a dumbfounded gaze. I spoke.
“For starters, I need you to stop, being a spy for the Mage Tower.”
“Also, before you quit, go back to the Black Dragon Street while pretending to still be a spy. Say whatever you can and bring back evidence that the Fedchants had forged the documents. Say something like 〈We can put her in an even bigger trap like this〉 and it should work.
A cold glint was shining in Zia’s blue eyes.
“And if I refuse?”
“Then I’ll inform the Earl of your identity. I’ll tell her that you, the person who went around saying that you’re like a sibling to her, was actually secretly communicating with the Earl’s enemies. In that moment, even you should know what the Earl of the Silver Lion would do. Don’t forget it. The fact that you’re serving a lord with an ability that you can’t possibly run away from.”
“You’re going to threaten me in this situation? If I had to say that I’m impressed, then I am, Yujin.”
“It’s a threat that you have no other choice but to follow.”
“That’s interesting. If there wasn’t a single misunderstanding about your words, then I really would have obeyed without a complaint.”
Zia nodded her head and lowered her body slightly towards me.
“Do you think, Her Excellency the Earl, will trust your words?”
“Are you not misunderstanding your place, Yujin? To Her Excellency, you’re nothing more than an otherworldly being who has been around for merely 5 days. But I’m no different than the Earl’s sibling. Even if you were able to slightly change the Earl, an act which I wasn’t able to achieve, that fact doesn’t change. If perhaps, you and I were to get into an argument, then the Earl will obviously lean towards my side.”
That was a type of declaration. She had an unwavering expression on her face as if she were speaking a mountainous truth. I was quite deeply moved by the fact that I was able to witness that expression, which I’ve seen several times in Korea, here in this world. Moreover, it must be true that the fact was actually unwavering.
That’s why, it was okay.
Since that was the truth⎯⎯⎯⎯ I, could say this.
“I think so as well.”
“Since the Earl will believe your words······ the blackmail is established.”
I took out my smartphone from my pocket. iPhone6. I showed to Zia Batsand, the thing that had recorded our entire conversation.
Zia’s smile shattered.
Her smile broke apart and revealed a stunned expression.
Yeah, a smartphone.
“Don’t make me lau······ That doesn’t make sen······ wait. Something like a smartphone······ 5 days has passed, right? There’s no way, there’ll be any battery left. Adding to that, there’s no cell tower here to connect to. It shouldn’t have been able to last even two days since it would have automatically sent out signals in order to find a cell tower.”
Battery, huh. The fact that a knight from another world could point that out was frightening.
Also, to comment that ‘it should have automatically sent out signals in order to find a cell tower’, was an eerily accurate remark.
“It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that you can turn the power off on a smartphone.”
Zia Batsand had an expression on her face that appeared like her heart was shattering.
“I kept it off. And, when I was being stepped on by the Earl, I turned it back on. Of course, it still lets out discharge even when it’s off, but something like trying to find a cell tower, like you mentioned, doesn’t happen. Moreover, thanks to the needlessly advanced technical skill in my world, smartphones can hold out for 5 days and barely lose any battery.”
“Now then, you understand the situation now, right? Will you do as I ask? Go to the Black Dragon Street. Make proof that can be used to refute against the Fedchants. After that, the situation will be resolved once you betray the Mage Tower, Black Dragon Street, and the Fedchants. Referentially, this isn’t a threat, but an order.”
An immense murderous intent exploded out from Zia.
Zia’s tone sank down quietly.
“Since earlier, Yujin, you’ve been saying this and that while putting on airs······.”
Her glaring eyes felt like fangs.
“It goes without saying, I did say with my own mouth that I’m an idiot, but no matter how much that may be the case.”
A noise that sounded like something was scraping bones, resonated.
“Why are you trying to ignore the fact that I also have a choice of my own?”
That sword, was raised while severing the darkness. That wretched, smile.
“Take your life and take that smartphone. If I just do that, then everything will be over, right? Yujin, you idiot. For someone who can’t even subdue me in a time of emergency, if you blab your mouth that much then the side that’ll end up dying is yours. You’ve prattled on about this and that, but in the end, strength······!!”
The reason why Zia Batsand’s words were cut off in such a weird place, was because I had escaped towards the hallway. “Eeeng!?” I didn’t give any particular response and passed through the door that led to the hall. “Huh······ that, hey!? Hey, hey!” I refreshingly ignored something like the sound that was coming from behind me.
I ran out into the hall.
Shortly after, as I predicted, Zia Batsand ran through the doorway as well. The sound of metal colliding with each other emanated from her body.
She was slow. By the looks of it, since I was wearing casual clothes, I was faster than her because she was equipped with armor. As I planned earlier, I entered the cell, B-7, the room that could be opened and closed and also had something similar to a Korean’s remains and a coffin laying inside of it. After that, I quickly closed the door. Belatedly, Zia Batsand, who was chasing after me, kicked the door.
It’s obvious, but it didn’t open. No matter how much you kick a pull door, do you think it’ll open?
“Yujin!! You, Tero······!! Open, the door!”
Am I insane? Why would I open the door?
I’m just a normal male student.
How could I possibly win against a knight like you in a frontal assault? Thinking logically.
Say what you want. Since even talking would be a waste of time at this point, I won’t do it.
Calmly, after stroking my prayer beads once.
I pulled out the ropes from under my clothes. The tools I found in the torture room. For reference, Zia, as long as you don’t immediately try to pull open the door, I didn’t plan to give you any more opportunities to open it. I hastily tied the rope around the door handle and pulled on it until it made an audible sound. It was around then that Zia tried to pull open the door, but this side as well, while keeping to the knot tying method, had desperately pulled and fastened the rope to the coffin.
Indeed, investigating the hallway, torture chamber, and the cells beforehand was the right idea. A match is always decided by the difference in information one side has.
Bang! Bang! Since it didn’t work after pulling, Zia started kicking the door again. Was she upset? If you kick like that, then only your leg will hurt.
“Eeegh······ Yujin, you······ is that it? I understand what you’re thinking.”
What I’m thinking?
“Do you plan to Girte······ make a deal, with me?”
Why a deal?
“You plan to keep shutting yourself away in there, right? If you do that, then the winner won’t be decided, so you’ll wait until either Her Excellency comes down here herself, summons me, or summons you, right, Yujin!?”
The hell is she talking about?
“That’s why, before that happens⎯⎯⎯⎯kneel, Is that what you’re trying to say? Ha! You coward.”
Ah, damn it.
In any case, this girl really is amusing. She keeps making me want to give her a rebuttal.
“This Zia Batsand, no matter how big of a weakness of hers is being seized⎯⎯⎯⎯ not only do I have no intention of submitting to someone who’s weaker than me but”
I want to give her a reply, but I’m busy with my preparations.
“Also, because of that pathetic calculation of yours, you’ll die in there pitifully.”
Wait wait. I’m almost done······.
“The fact that you’ll meet your end by the same skill that saved you from the guillotine yesterday. That is,”
“The irony of contradiction!”
“You want to make bad jokes even in this kind of situation⎯⎯⎯⎯!?!”
This kind of things isn’t my preference.
Ah, it was the same yesterday and the same today. I end up unintentionally······ really.
“Till the very end, we had a good talk.”
“What are you talking about!? It was good for you alone!”
“It’ll be difficult from now on, to meet another tsukkomer like you.”
“You made a weird word······!?”
“Perhaps you may have been my last chance, Zia says regretfully as Zia looks up at the sunset.”
“I’ll pretend I didn’t here that one just now! In the first place, there’s no sunset here!”
“Is that blazing sunset not contained within, the chest of that gentlemen?”
“How hot is that chest supposed to be!?!”
And then, a sudden⎯⎯⎯⎯silence.
“Kuroso–Extro 〈絶大切斷 / Great Rending Slice〉”
A white diagonal line formed on the iron door before my eyes.
Clang······!! Craaaaaaash······!! A flash of light that felt as if it were going insane. A line of ruin that caused the door to twist, whirl, and collapse. It felt as if space itself was being torn, crushed, and collapsing in on itself. Bang······!! The door fell in an unamusing manner, and Zia Batsand was standing in her sword swinging posture on the opposite side of that door while trying to catch her breathe.
The problem is, Zia.
That technique, you showed it to me yesterday.
At that time, I already realized that the cooldown for it is severe.
Right before the door fell,
Something like the lamp bottle that I threw,
You being unable to deflect it
The lamp bottle shattered and the liquid that was inside of it got all over Zia. She flailed about in the air. I didn’t ask her if she wanted to dance.
Rather, she threw me a question first.
What do you think?
It’s sticky and has viscosity.
The thing you and your perverted master kept saying was delicious······.
“H-Heaven Brand······ Milk?”
Plus blood and organs.
Momentarily sorting out the situation : Do you remember the lamp bottle I discovered in the prison guard room? I figured I could put something in it and use it in a time of emergency. But there was no liquid inside of it. I could barely afford to drink the limited water supply I had, so that was out of the question, and urine lacked viscosity. Compared to those, there’s a sense of weight to the blood and organs, and if you get it all over the opposition, then you can blind them temporarily, however, it can dry up and harden, so in order to prevent that solidifying, I had poured in some Heaven Brand Milk. That’s the story.
“You······ you said you didn’t like things that were too stimulating.”
Towards the girl who couldn’t see in front of herself so she was flailing around.
“Zia, the irony of contradiction.”
I rushed towards her.
“Is something like this.”
······At that instant.
The Zia, who had her eyes sealed and was flailing around, regained her posture instantly. It was literally an expert’s master, an astonishment’s surprise. She then, put her blade in order, and towards the approaching shadow, the shape of the body,
(TL note: Same phrasing as the poem mentioned in a previous chapter. ‘Expert’s expert, surprise’s surprise’.)
“Don’t make me laugh, I’m······!!”
“The Silver Lion Royal Guaaard······!!”
The glint of her blade, roared out rampageously.
“Did you think······ to some cheap brawl like this······.”
The sound of something being sliced.
“That I’d lose······!?!”
The body fell after being sliced into two pieces,
the thing that originally existed
······here in B-7
“Zia Batsand, if you really want me to give you a tackle that much, then······!!”
I didn’t offer any silent prayer, but instead, I stepped and crushed those remains, and rushed towards Zia’s body.
“I’ll become that tackle······!!”
Along with a somewhat dangerous line, I threw out my⎯⎯⎯⎯ desperate, body tackle.
She couldn’t focus her gaze, her posture was broken because she had just swung her blade, and the ground was slippery because of the Heaven Brand Milk, organs, and blood.
This is the critical strike······!! Telling her to not fall down was impossible now. An impossible situation!
The Silver Lion Royal Guard, The Earl of the Silver Lion’s Sword, Zia Batsand⎯⎯⎯⎯ fell down, just like that.
Before she could struggle, I got on top of her and placed the blade which I took from the torture chamber to her neck, and with this, it was⎯⎯⎯⎯checkmate.
Although it seemed like she hadn’t recovered her vision yet, that clear sensation was enough to completely seal her movements.
While biting her lips,
With a terrible face,
a face that appeared as if she were about to cry, she looked up at me.
I tapped that nose of hers and looked down at her.
“The match has been decided.”
Even when I removed the blade and stood up, Zia didn’t fight back. She didn’t weep or struggle either.
As if the determination she had to charge towards me and take my life had disappeared⎯⎯⎯⎯the person that was here now was, like usual, the Silver Lion Earl’s loyal blade, the BL addicted female knight who loved to make bad jokes, Zia Batsand.
The girl, who was lost in thought with a composed look on her face, let out a sigh.
“I’m talking about your battle preparations. There’s no way that all of those things were located conveniently in those spots. Furthermore, even when you ran out of the torture room and went into that cell, you moved swiftly as if you had it all planned out.”
“Well, of course, since I did have it planned out.”
“Why? Did you know you were going to fight me?”
“Not in particular······ it’d be great if something like that didn’t happen, but, since it’s very well possible that I’ll have to fight someone while I’m down here, I merely made a plan that could counteract anyone. If you exclude the occasions where either of you two came down to occasionally interact with me, I had spare time. A lot of it.”
Zia Batsand must have been thinking about those words since she had fallen silent.
I waited patiently.
Shortly after, Zia Batsand asked me a question.
“What did you want me to do?”
“I told you earlier.”
“I’ve said it before, but I’m an idiot. My head isn’t that great. Please summarize it for me.”
“······You shouldn’t keep calling yourself an idiot.”
“You talk well for a person who called me an idiot as well.”
“Well, that’s that, and this is this.”
“Gianism, is it?”
(TL note: Doraemon reference. Link)
“That’s not right. This is that, and that is that, is what Gianism is.”
“Is that so? So I even had that mixed up because I’m an idiot.”
“No, like I said. You shouldn’t say with your own mouth that you’re an idiot and that your head is bad······ that’s not right.”
I fiddled with my prayer beads as I recalled my Goddess who was laying in a hospital. Zia looked at me, who was like that, with slightly prying eyes.
I summarized it for her.
“In any case : Go to the Black Dragon Street, receive the evidence to refute against the Fedchants, and then betray the Black Dragon Street • Fedchant • Mage Tower. With that, the case will be over.”
It appeared as if Zia were squirming her shoulders. She then let out a sigh.
“And so? What do you gain?”
I didn’t respond. To be exact, Zia continued her words before I was able to do so.
“Is it, that? The thing Her Excellency said? Do something, and resolve this incident well. If you do that, then I’ll send you home⎯⎯⎯⎯this?”
“Ah, if it’s that, then that really was a tempting offer······.”
No, really. It truly sounded alluring, but.
I shook my head and let out a sigh.
“Wrong. Though it did enthrall me.”
Zia froze and looked at me. I scratched the back of my head.
“In the first place······, if I tried to help you with that intention in mind, then I wouldn’t have done something like threatening you.”
“Let’s say I did plan to go back like that, if I did then I wouldn’t have done something like meddling in your situation and order you to betray the Mage Tower, right? If I’m leaving, then I would have spoken in a way where you only have to cooperate with me this one time.”
“I don’t understand that well.”
“If I explain it in a language that’s easy to understand, then when I told you to betray the Mage Tower, I didn’t mean that you should return to being the Earl of the Silver Lion’s loyal knight. That wasn’t my intention.”
Zia still had a clueless expression on her face. Regardless, I spoke.
“Your sword, devote it to me.”
“Why are you so surprised? Nothing will change. You’ll remain as the Earl’s loyal knight. However, that sword will be devoted to me and your real intention will remain with me as well. I’m telling you to move as I command from now on.”
An alarmed glint appeared in Zia’s eyes.
“You, what are you······!?”
“Relax. I don’t have any ulterior motives against your Earl······. You said it before. The reason why you acted as a spy for those guys is because you didn’t have to point your blade at the Earl, right? It’s the same. Orders like killing the Earl or telling you to hurt her⎯⎯⎯⎯I will never, ever say those types of words. That’s why, Zia Batsand.”
I spoke towards the girl who was looking at me.
“Give your sword to me.”
Zia took out her sword and tossed it to me.
······Even for her, it was a high-class gag.
“Take me seriously. Don’t make me snitch on you to the Earl.”
“Do it. I’ll make you into a real eunuch then.”
(TL note: ‘Tell on/snitch’ the first two letters of this word can also be translated as ‘eunuch’)
“Hey, we decided the winner already······.”
Zia let out a groan. She still had a doubtful look on her face. I could guess why.
“Are you curious as to why I’m not trying to go back?”
Seeing as she didn’t reply, it seems I was right.
“Of course, there’s a chance that she’ll send me back home after this incident is resolved and I’m able to properly persuade her. But, how long will that last?”
“Yeah. At any rate, the Earl has a catalyst that’s related to me, you know? I’m in a situation where I can be summoned at any time. If I were to return in that kind of situation, then can you truly view that as having ‘gone home’? Every day will be filled with anxiety. I’ll go to sleep worried that I’ll one day wake up back in that cell.”
“And, what if I really am summoned again?”
“The affection points······ though I don’t like that expression, will have reset, and the mental state of the Earl will have reset as well. What am I going to do if I end up meeting my demise because something like that happened?”
“Uh, but. If you establish a condition where you can’t be summoned back······.”
“Certainly, if I talk to her well, then I might be able to return after making her give me her word of honor. However, though she may not summon me anymore, what about the others? Koreans will keep disappearing one or two people at a time, right? Since I’m currently the only otherworldly being that the earl treats as an equal, then wouldn’t those people end up in exactly the same situation as I was at first, ripped apart, crushed, and killed?”
In contrast, if I stay here, then I’m sure the Earl wouldn’t summon another Korean. Since I believe that she’s a person with at least that much consideration. No matter how much of a special existence Zia is, and I’m pitiable in comparison, she’s someone who tried to let me go in order to not let Zia feel anguish.
“So you’re saying that you’ll sacrifice yourself in the stead of the people of your world?”
“Sacrifice, huh······ It’s not something as distinguished as that, but.”
I let out a sigh while I rotated my beads.
“Except, among those destined to be ‘summoned Koreans who will die’, isn’t there a chance that someone I know will be among them······? That’s it.”
There are several, people in Korea that I don’t want to lose.
Starting from, my sleeping Goddess, Minhee.
“A sandcastle doesn’t collapse because of the waves. It does so because of the fact that it was made from sand.”
“What an admirable saying.”
“I see that the requirement level of feeling admiration is low······.”
“The reason why a glass castle is transparent isn’t because of the sunlight that shines down onto it, but because it was made from glass.”
Uh, it somehow sounds cool······ is something that didn’t come to mind. Seriously.
“Well, in any case, I’m saying that I can’t go back happily with that sort of anxiety looming over behind me.”
I was unable to know what this blue haired and blue eyed female knight thought about those words. However, it was clear that she was still hesitating.
This knight really doesn’t listen despite having her weakness seized and having lost the fight······.
“I also can’t leave the Earl of the Silver Lion like this.”
Zia twitched as if she were waiting for these words. I kept talking.
“You said this before. That it seems as if, I made the Earl, a bit⎯⎯⎯⎯softer.”
“A reason why that’s not completely a good thing, is because that means it’s become that much easier for nuisances to approach the Earl compared to before, right?”
If I’m⎯⎯⎯⎯the one who slightly released that seal, then.
If someone has to take responsibility, then it has to be me.
“A-Are you saying that you’ll protect Her Excellency?”
“Rather than that, a continuation of what I said earlier, I’m only protecting my world. If perhaps, it becomes really bad······ if Her Excellency the Earl is passed over to the Mage Tower, then the people who will receive harm are the otherworlders, which includes the people from my world.”
Zia lowered her head. She had a distressed face.
I decided to encourage her a bit.
“Though I will do whatever I can to help the Earl as well.”
Zia froze up and raised her head. I continued.
“You made a request, right? Please help Her Excellency.”
Zia opened her eyes wide.
And I, while staring into those eyes of hers, smiled quietly.
“You should already be aware since you saw the way I fought earlier, but······ I’m cowardly, you know? I don’t know anything about 1:1 fights, a knight’s duty, and a noble’s pride. Since that’s the case, even if I help out, anything above what I’m capable of is a bit.”
Cut me some slack. Anything more than that would be difficult.
“Anyway, that’s it. This is fine, right? Let’s start cleaning up and retire for the day.”
I wonder if it was because I talked for a long time but my throat felt rough. However, the only thing within my vicinity that can be drunk is the Heaven Brand Milk······.
Should I try it?
No, I can’t. That Mr/Miss. Angel is also an excellent person.
But I’m feeling parched.
······No, like I said, I’m a cowardly human in the end.
Albeit, since I don’t like things that are too stimulating, I won’t drink it.
“Is that so. I think I understand now.”
When I lifted my gaze, I could see Zia Batsand nodding her head.
“Yujin, you’re a frighteningly nosy guy, aren’t you?”
“What are you saying. Stop with the needless comments.”
“No, I’m serious. It’s good, Yujin.”
Zia walked in front of me and got down on one knee.
“Although my lord will always be Her Excellency the Earl, as long as you do not commit any direct harm to her, my sword is yours. I shall cut down your enemies, destroy your obstacles, and be an ally to your will.”
I assured her and placed my hand on her shoulder.
After cleaning up our battlefield, and on our way back to the torture chamber.
There are several problems that occur when you get too caught up in a moment and atmosphere, one of those things is the feeling of embarrassment. Though I didn’t feel any at the moment, it seems Zia did. Zia, who was casting sidelong glances with a red face, eventually cleared her throat.
“But really, what are you?”
“Certainly, Yujin, your conclusion is ideal, but.”
“It’s also a conclusion that anyone can arrive at.”
“The part of it being something that anyone can arrive at is a question in itself, and people are beings that aren’t able to make quick decisions like that. There should be a place that you want to go back to and someone you wish to see, but to throw all that away and⎯⎯⎯⎯.”
“Who said I threw those away? I’m just going to observe until the situation becomes a bit better.”
“Even so, it’s still impressive. To decide that you’ll stay in a world that you’ve never seen before.”
“Is it that impressive?”
“That’s right. People like you, that is. People who have a set goal and, without hesitation, put their all into that goal, we call those type of people Kurosotia here, but do you know what it is in Korean?”
“It means Mental Armor.”
(TL note: A Korean slang 멘탈갑)
“I really don’t like this world······.”
“It also means hero. It means hero as well.”
“Say that first.” I showed a wry smile on my lips. “I’m really, really grateful that you’re telling me that, but.”
I’m, not a hero nor do I possess a Mental Armor.
“If anything, I’m the opposite. I’m full of faults.”
I’m simply someone who has some experience in overcoming bullying.
Someone who broke and lost precious things several times during that process.
Because I had imprinted, engraved, and carved onto myself that I can’t get any of those things back,
That’s why I no longer wished for the things I possessed to become broken right from the start again.
Someone who thinks that he wants to do whatever he is capable of.
Someone who thinks solely that.
“A normal high school boy, is it?”
“If there’s something that I can do, then I just want to do it.”
Outside of that, a reason why I want to stay here⎯⎯⎯⎯there’s also my own personal selfishness.
Although I’m not sure how exactly the magic system in this world works.
If I had the power of the thing called magic.
Then I may truly be able to make Minhee, my Goddess of Flames who’s currently asleep, get up⎯⎯⎯⎯I kept that kind of hope buried deep in my chest.
“······By the way, Zia. What about you?”
Zia had a puzzled look on her face. I elaborated for her in detail.
“Why did you act like a spy for the Mage Tower in the first place? You’re always thinking about the Earl foremost.”
This time a wry smile appeared on Zia’s lips. I spoke.
“In the first place, you’re someone who went around saying that your own head was bad. Despite that, behind that Earl you cherish so much, you tried to induce her here and there. Regardless of whether it causes any direct harm or not, a betrayal is still a betrayal.”
“You should have a reason. So why’d you do it? Did you also have some interest towards other world technology? Were you deluded by the tempting words of those Mage Tower people?”
“Do I have to, give a response?”
“Tell me. The person who’s going to become my sword shouldn’t hide things from me.”
I told her that while adamantly staring straight into her eyes. Zia twitched! and it seemed as if she were trying to find a place to put her eyes, but I firmly gripped her shoulders and didn’t let her go. A stillness fell upon us like that.
The wavering Zia Batsand eventually spasmodically shook her head.
“T-There are two reasons.”
“Yeah. The first reason is because of a prophecy. The individual of the Mage Tower that I came into contact with was the 5th branch’s manager, the one who has the 7th position of the Sky Wizards, New Design Foresight(Lord : Timing), Touma Soh. An individual like that stated that an unavoidable calamity will approach Her Excellency, and if I cooperate with them, then they’ll help Her Excellency avoid that calamity.”
“······A calamity? What kind exactly?”
“They didn’t tell me that part. Just that it’ll arrive this year, that it’ll endanger the Earl and the world, and that it was similar to a ball that’s been tossed into the air. No matter how much you try to stop it, it’ll return.”
“The possibility that the prophecy itself was a lie they made up in order to pull you in?”
“······Of course, I thought about it. However, although Touma Soh is an unbelievable piece of trash when it comes to something that happened in the past and the present, there’s a rumor that says he’s a man that will absolutely not lie when it comes to the future. Well, I also considered the possibility that that very rumor was a lie as well, but······.”
Zia didn’t say anything more and lowered her gaze. I understood her feeling. Even in modern day Earth, there are a countless number of people who get deceived by pseudo fortune-tellers because of that ‘perhaps’ feeling. Furthermore, wasn’t the reason why I was able to get past the second day here because I had used one of those pseudo fortune-teller’s techniques? Much more than that, this is a world where magic exists. It would have been difficult for someone like Zia to deal with.
“You said today was January, right?”
“That’s right. ······That’s also the reason why I felt more desperate.”
I see. I let out a sigh.
Zia froze. I bowed my head.
“I spoke thoughtlessly. In the end, even that betrayal was done because you wanted to protect your Earl from a calamity.”
Whether the prophecy was true or not, Zia believed it was true and moved busily in order to protect the Earl. There’s no room for doubt in this female knight’s loyalty.
“······Not really. They weren’t entirely thoughtless words. Your words weren’t exactly wrong either, were they? In the first place, the reason I got that upset was because of that. The fact that I couldn’t refute it, the rage that’s supposed to be directed towards the opposition was returned to myself, that feeling hurt.”
“Mm. Since I’m aware of that, I’m sorry.”
Having said that, I raised my head and looked straight at Zia.
“Though I said that I wouldn’t protect the Earl earlier······ if the situation is like that, and if that calamity or whatever is true, then I’ll do whatever I can about those as well.”
Of course, even if I say that, it’ll be within the line of what I’m capable of, I didn’t say that out loud.
“You said there were two reasons. The first reason was because of the prophecy, but what about the second?”
Zia twitched. I wonder if it’s because her hair and eyes were blue, but the chromatic contrast with those and her red face made it stick out peculiarly.
“I-It’s a personal reason.”
“T-That’s, mm, i-it’s really a personal reason!”
“······No, you don’t have to go as far as to go beat red like that and flutter your arms. Hm. It really must be personal, huh?”
“That’s right. Aaaaanyway, the conversation has been dragged on far too long. Let’s make haste. Her Excellency the Earl must be waiting.”
She hurriedly cut off her words, turned her body, and resumed walking. No matter how I looked at it, it must have really been an immensely personal reason. Though it makes me needlessly more curious, digging in for more information wouldn’t be polite here.
If you think from a common perspective, then something like that Ahyeon fellow actually having returned back to Korea safely, Zia felt attached to that guy, thus she wanted to see him once more, so she accepted the Mage Tower’s plan to use the Earl of the Silver Lion’s ability deliberately······ Mm, this is more like something that’d come out in a morning drama. It’s also a story that doesn’t fit Zia that much.
I shook off my delusions and was about to follow after Zia until I noticed something.
On Zia’s back, something swaying near the vicinity of her rear attracted my attention. It was a book that was shoved into the back pocket of her knight uniform. Whether I wanted to or not, the sight of the book’s cover with a picture of a glasses wearing man smiling refreshingly and a title written in Korean entered my vision. ‘Student body president’s cross-cultural exchange ~Elf boy volume~’ Though I could only see the upper portion of the book since the rest was covered by her pocket, there was a picture of an elven boy with tears in his eyes on the cover as well. At any rate, this girl’s BL addiction is really······ wait.
It can’t be, right?
······yeah. It can’t be.
That’s probably not it······ yeah, probably not······ there’s no way······.
······Thus, the conclusion of the 5th day which had made me feel like I would die because of various reasons.
“Hmm. Mr. Yujin. Are you really okay with that, Mr. Yujin?”
“You know. Didn’t you say that you wanted to reside upstairs?”
“That’s okay, isn’t it? The incident was resolved well, but who knows when something else will happen again.”
The case was handled well. Although there was a slight trouble, Zia Batsand was successful in making the Black Dragon Street forge documents that could be used as evidence to refute against the Fedchants. By the time she had returned, I had just finished writing the Earl’s speech. A civil discourse followed after. The Earl of the Silver Lion received applause once more.
The Black Dragon Street and the Fedchant are probably waiting for Zia to stab the Earl in the back, but something like that won’t be happening anymore since Zia had returned back to the Earl’s side. The day they find out what happened, will probably also be the day that the Mage Tower will start scheming again, but at the very least, there’ll be peace here for the time being.
“But why are you acting conceited? The one who worked hard and received the evidence was my, Miss Zia Batsand, you knooow?”
“That’s why I told you. It would have been a big deal if I didn’t tell Zia what to say. Didn’t Zia say that herself, as well?”
“Mm. Certainly, Zia said that herself, but······. For some reason, I heard these unusually servile words like, ‘I would have absolutely failed if Yujin wasn’t here!’ or ‘Yujin is the sun and I’m a sunspot.’ and had the merits turned towards you······.”
The things Zia did from behind. Since we couldn’t tell the Earl about the double contract that was established between Zia and me, we ended up dealing with the situation like this. If she didn’t know about what happened in the background, then this would have become ‘Something Zia went out and took care of by herself’. If that happened, then it would’ve been difficult for me to put myself as the Earl’s benefactor, and the Earl wouldn’t treat me more generously, either.
“It’s somewhat, how should I say it, a bit······Mmm······ like that-ish?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Is that what I should do?”
Despite that, the Earl of the Silver Lion had a bitter face. Seriously, this girl’s intuition is scary. Well, she soon dusted her coat and turned around.
“But in any case, are you really okay with not going back? Who knows if opportunities like this, will be often or not?”
“I’m fine. Even if I do go back, I feel like I’d be summoned back the next day with you saying 〈Did you have a nice vacation?〉.”
“N-N-N-Nonsense. Something like that, I won’t do it, you know?”
I knew it, she really did intend on doing so.
“That being said, just give me proper vacations.”
“Literally as I said. If this world uses the same week system, then let me go back during the weekends so I can take care of things.”
The Earl of the Silver Lion, who was listening with wide eyes, showed a characteristically bad smile. While brushing her slightly stuck out tongue against her sharply glinting canines, she formed a silver line.
“Ah hah ha ah······. You were hoping for something like that? Mr. Yujin, it’s unfoooortunate. You shouldn’t decide things like that, on your oooown, you knooow?”
“No, it’s not something I decided in particular······. That Zia was the one who said to do it.”
“Hm? Zia did? Why?”
“That’s, she said it was about time to start looking at new BL material······ Hey.”
“You, it feels like your gaze has become incredibly gentle right now.”
“Ah ha ah······? What are you saying, Mr. Yujin? For me, to have a warm gaze, isn’t there no way that’d happen?”
“Yeah. That’s why I feel really creeped out and uncomfortable. Put those away, those eyes of yours.”
The Earl’s eyes changed back. It didn’t return back entirely, but instead, turned into a mellow gaze for some reason.
“No, well······ Even for people like me who have black blood pumping through their veins, whenever we see a consistent person, our hearts feel waaarm······.”
“That Zia was a healing item, huh······.”
“It’s quite warm when we’re together.”
“Is she a heater?”
“If you ask how much, then like a feet pad.”
Then only your feet will get warm! is a rebuttal I didn’t make.
I recovered my pace.
“In any case, what will I end up doing when I go upstairs?”
The Earl of the Silver Lion looked as if she were thinking intently.
“Hm~ that’s right, huh. What should you do?”
“For the time being, I’d like something that’s a bit free. I’d like to learn the language here first.”
“Ah ha. That’s right. Mm. For starters, a miscellaneous worker. How about physical labor? You’ll go on all the errands.”
“Do you believe that’s putting the right man in the right place?”
“While you’re at it, you’ll cut down your sleep time, and also write my speeches for meee.”
“Go easy on me.”
The Earl blinked her two eyes.
“Mm······ no, but, I’m being serious here, that, uh, do you plan to be exempted? That won’t work out well. Heughghgh, because, if you do that, then, mm, theeen.”
“I wanted to say this before, but, that’s not a very good thing to do so it’d be a good idea to stop.”
Okay! I said it. I was able to say it! Right in front of her.
Certainly, treating someone like a human being is a treatment to receive and use.
“I get what you’re mostly trying to say. You’re saying that it won’t look good in the eyes of others, right?”
“Mm······ where would be good? Do you have any recommendations?”
“Hm? You could do something related to me. Or, since there’s no apprentice knight under Zia, I’m wondering how it’d be if you did something like that. We’re the only two people who know about your circumstances, after all.”
I pondered about it. But isn’t an apprentice knight similar to a servant who has to do things like, for example, preparing the armor and sword Zia uses? Since Zia is supposed to be my sword, that role doesn’t really sound appropriate. If that’s the case then, maybe something related to the Earl······.
“Referentially, relating to me, Mr. Yujin, the role of foot mat is vacant, Mr. Yujin.”
“I’ll be Zia’s apprentice knight.”
The Earl displayed her canines and giggled. Damn it.
Well, this is until I learn how to speak.
“And so, what about my holidays? It’s fine since it’s still winter vacation, but I’m going to be in my third year of high school soon.”
“Hu? For now, since you’ve become Zia’s, why not discuss it with her?”
“I’ll probably, 100%, have to go and buy BL stuff. Due to Miss Main-Knight Zia.”
“I think so as well······. I’ll give you a cycle. However, that’ll be a bit later⎯⎯⎯⎯after adjusting it to the standard operating procedures.”
“What’s the standard operating procedures?”
“7 days of labor every week.”
“Isn’t one week 7 days here?”
“‘Volunteering and sincerity, is the greatest relaxation.’ Rixxuko–Chidorea.”
“I don’t know someone like that. Are there no labor laws here, or a labor organization where laborers gather? Like a labor union.”
“Some wicked organization like that, Mr. Yujin, wouldn’t possibly exist, would it now, Mr. Yujin?”
Ah, is that so.
Then I guess the first thing I should do is establish that wicked organization.
I’ll leave alone the bureaucrats, gather the maids, butlers, and the guards······they’re soldiers so would it be a bit difficult? If I can, then do it, if I can’t, then oh well. In any case, I’ll put Zia forward as the manageress and make her the supporter of the union. Good good.
“Anyway, what do you really want?”
When I tilted my head in response, the Earl of the Silver Lion was gazing at me while brushing aside her hair.
“Mm. Just as I said. For you to decide to continue staying here. Do you have some secret plan?”
“I told you, if you’re going to summon me after one day, then······.”
“Nooo. Not that. Putting all those aside⎯⎯⎯⎯the fact that you, suddenly, wanted to go upstairs, and work.”
She snickered and looked me up and down.
“Are you afraid that if you cont–inue to stay down here like this, you’ll go to the torture chamber again?”
“That’s one thing.”
I answered honestly.
“The bed is also cold and there’s no water to wash with down here.”
“Hmm. In pursuit of comfortability, is it? That’s a believable moootive.”
“Isn’t it fine? Since I’ve been getting unnecessarily involved in your matters here and there, I also wanted to take responsibility for that.”
“Responsibility, huh? Hmm.”
“That’s right. Responsibility.”
Like how I took your sword today,
And how I thought about establishing a labor union a second ago,
I’ll consume the factions you have one group at a time, and by the time you regain your senses, you probably won’t have any authority left, is what I intended to do, but······.
“I’ll be in your care.”
That’s until you mature a bit more.
It’s something I felt when facing Chanmi, but authority being in the hands of someone who has yet to mature is, in itself, a literal calamity. Regardless of what the calamity of the prophecy is.
I’ll make sure to manage you properly, little Silver Lion.
“Ah ha ah? Though, it feels like you’re thinking of something bad right now?”
“That’s your imagination, imagination.”
“Imaaagination, is it?”
“Now then, let’s both work hard and make the City of Confinement a good place to live in.”
The Earl of the Silver Lion smirked and lowered her head. Shortly after, she quickly spun around and started to walk in strides up the stairs that were next to the torture room.
While I was watching the back that would always disappear just like that, the Earl suddenly stopped.
Soon after, she took something out from her coat and,
The Earl, after putting away the handkerchief that was in her hand, was staring at me while standing right before my eyes.
The realization that the Earl had summoned and pulled in me, who was standing still, came a bit after that. The Earl⎯⎯⎯⎯The Earl of the Silver Lion, spoke.
“What are you doing not following me?”
······Ah, that’s right. Now that I think about it, I have to follow her this time.
The Earl resumed her stride.
I cleared my throat and followed behind that Earl, while putting behind me, the underground that I was beholden to for the past 5 days.
······If perhaps, my story is able to continue.
Similar to how all other people live, that story will, compared to now, start in a slightly higher place.
TL Note: Thanks for reading this really long chapter of Your and My Asylum! This is the last numbered chapter of volume 1. The only things left are the side story and the afterword. The side story is actually from Zia’s perspective, so look forward to that. And don’t worry, it’s not about her obsessing over BL. It’s her reaction to the events that occurred in this volume and some information about her past.
It took me 6 days to write 14.5k words, and I was also sick this week. Straining myself is fun. But I had to do it. In order to finish this volume before volume 4 of DD comes out! I’m not sure how fast I’ll get the side story out, but I’ll see what I can do.
See you in the next update.