TL note: Conversations in bold means they’re talking in this world’s language(Not Earth). Furthermore, the POV is thrown all over the place here, so just read this as if it were a general POV. You should be able to figure out who is having which monologue.
Zia Batsand is a girl who’ll be turning 18 this year. However, finding on her a hint of girlishness, that you’d normally see in other girls her age, was difficult.
The first thing that catches the eye is her cold appearance that looks as if even a single drop of blood wouldn’t come out if you pierced her skin. The knightly etiquette and martial artist style movements, which she accustomed her body with since a young age, played a role in creating that proud image. The fact that she is capable of using one of the 12 worldly skills and the fact that she’s the right hand of the Earl of the Silver Lion, who’s occupying the first seat of the Twelve Sky Wizards, and is also referred to as ‘the most dangerous mage in the world’, she was an untouchable existence like a flower blooming on top of a plateau.
The Azure Rose Knight.
It was around when she was 14-years-old. It was then that she was officially recognized by her teacher for completing her training. From that point on, people started to refer to her as the Azure Rose Knight. To be able to receive a title through one’s ability alone, and not through lineage, meant that the individual was able to display incredible skill within a single field, so for someone her age to receive a title was a rare act.
However, Borg Edentras greeted that girl without any respect.
“To come here at this time, what is it?”
It’s hard to say that his attitude was disrespectful when you consider the fact that this man had also received his title of Lunar Scorpion around the same age Zia received her own and had also made his way up to an executive seat of the Black Dragon Street. Of course, if you consider the fact that Zia was a guest, then this would indeed be a rude behavior, but since Zia was a special guest, in various meanings, Borg believed that this was more appropriate for her.
“Your orders shouldn’t have been that difficult. Did you come back to hear them again because you couldn’t remember? I did hear that the Azure Rose was dumber than she looked, but I hoped it’d be a false rumor. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to work with an incompetent accomplice. That idiotic appearance is more of a whore’s field of expertise, rather than a knight.”
Borg spoke while stroking his goatee that spread from the bottom of his lip to his chin in a single line. Instead of a chair or a cushion underneath the bottom of that man, there was a single large demonic dog. This demonic dog, which possessed four arms and two reverse-jointed legs, had all of its nails and teeth pulled out. Although demonic dogs were a lifeform that will characteristically continue to grow out new nails and teeth for the rest of their lives, this demonic dog had constantly had those pulled out whenever that happened and was fated to continue receiving that treatment.
Without feeling unrest, the Azure Rose Knight, Zia Batsand, spoke.
“It’s true that my head is bad, Borg, however, the reason why I’m here isn’t because I’ve forgotten my duty.”
If Borg’s current attitude wasn’t a behavior that should be taken towards a knight, then Zia’s attitude wasn’t a behavior that was appropriate to have towards a thief, either. Except, Zia’s case wasn’t similar to Borg’s in the fact that his attitude changed depending on who the opposition was. The Azure Rose Knight had the peculiarity of speaking courteously to even a just born infant. That was one of the influences she received from her teacher.
“Then what is it? There hasn’t been any contact from the Mage Tower yet.”
“I need proof that the Fedchants forged the documents.”
Borg furrowed his brow.
“Didn’t we come to an agreement that we didn’t need that?”
“If there’s none, then please make some.”
“How bold of you. What’s the reason? After having come this far, have you started to feel guilty for deceiving your lord?”
And that was the decisive reason why Borg didn’t respect Zia. In Borg’s sense of values, he deemed a dog who obeyed a master as someone who didn’t require respect. Borg smirked as he stroke the demonic dog that he was seated on top of.
The Azure Rose Knight gave a sidelong scowl.
“It’s not for that kind of⎯⎯⎯reason. If we possess that sort of evidence, then we can put her into an even bigger trap.”
“A bigger trap, is it? For example?”
“A trap that’ll make the Earl unable to move a single inch. For security reasons, I can’t give you the exact details.”
“For security reasons, you can’t tell me the details, huh?”
Borg snorted. He scanned Zia up and down once more. Matching his title of Lunar Scorpion, his eyes gave off a dull glow similar to that of the shine a scorpion’s carapace emanates under the moonlight.
“You know, no matter how I look at it, I think you’re talking nonsense.”
“Is it nonsense?”
“Yup. The fact that someone, who was following orders well until now, suddenly comes in and says something weird. That means something peculiar happened.”
Borg flicked the finger that was stroking his beard.
“I’ll tell you what I think, Azure Rose. I believe that you’ve had a change of heart. Whether it’s because of your petty conscience, your guilt, or your fear, you’ve suddenly started to have a feeling of doubt in the fact that you’ve been deceiving your lord. That’s why, in order to at least avoid this, you’re trying to do whatever you can to receive evidence, while also mentioning some additional plan that probably won’t ever happen.”
In front of the eyes of the Black Dragon Street executive, which were shining cunningly, Zia Batsand inhaled deeply.
〈The opposition will most likely say something along those lines.〉
Before coming here, Han Yujin had said that.
〈It’s a valid assumption. Borg is a cunning fellow.〉
Zia responded as so. The Azure Rose Knight, who was renowned for speaking courteously to anyone, spoke in plain terms when talking in Korean. Like how she was influenced to speak politely because of her teacher, this was the influence of the Korean person who taught her the Korean language. Though that Korean person believed that it was a good thing since it gave her a gap, the only people who could comprehend this were the ones who understood both this world’s language and the Korean language, so it could be called a pointless gap.
(TL note: Gap as in, ‘gap moe’)
〈Well, if he’s able to become an executive in a group of thieves, then he should be capable of this much. More than that,〉 As expected, the Korean who was still unable to speak our world’s language, Yujin, was unaware of that fact and continued to speak. 〈You’re not particularly the type to come up with a plan, are you? If someone like that were to say that they had a plan, then it’s obvious that the opposition would feel contempt and wariness.〉
Zia cleared her throat. Yujin scratched his temple.
〈In other words, the first thing we have to do is get past those two things.〉
〈Do you mean the contempt and wariness?〉
〈Yup. In cases like contempt, it’s simple depending on the situation. You can say that it’s someone else’s idea. Do you have anyone reasonable that you can use the name of? It’d be good if it’s the name of a fellow who those people can’t behave carelessly towards, someone that’s difficult to confirm the information with, and someone who won’t be particularly upset if they find out that you used their name.〉
Even while Yujin was talking, he had a doubtful expression on his face as if he were wondering if someone who perfectly fitted his quota could possibly exist. The problem was that Zia did know an individual like that.
〈There’s one person.〉
〈A person, is it? Who?〉
Yujin fell into thought. Although it’s impossible for him to know exactly how powerful Zia is in this world, there’s no way that someone, who’s the immediate royal knight of a lord and an ability user with the capability of using a shining blade that could cut anything, would be weak. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the teacher of Zia, who’s like that, would be an impressive person.
〈Okay. Then use your teacher’s name. Say it was that person’s idea. The contempt will be breached with that, but the problem now is the wariness······.〉
“This isn’t my idea, Borg. It’s my teacher’s idea.”
Borg twitched. He had kept in mind the possibility that this plan wasn’t Zia’s, and he had also borne in mind the chances that she’d bring up Yellow-Green Grass’ name. However, the individual that was mentioned through Zia’s mouth was someone who easily surpassed his expectations.
“The Violet Swamp of Poison(紫毒沼)······ The Draconian Demonic Spear(至嚴魔槍), did?”
“I have learned many things from many different people. However, excluding that person, there is no other individual that I refer to as my teacher. Therefore, yes. I’m referring to that person.”
“Why that person?”
Borg’s brown eyes were tinged in caution. As much as he’s working as an executive in the Black Dragon Street, the organization of thieves and swindlers, he knew that much about Zia’s teacher as well.
It’s a misleading expression. He knew very well about the ‘rumors’. The rumor that the person had literally erased an entire labyrinth within a single day, the rumor that they would come to the City of Confinement once a year in order to fight bloody battles with the otherworldly monsters that the Silver Lion Earl would summon for them, the rumor that one of their disciples was a member of the Twelve Zodiacs royal family, the rumor that they would raid non-licensed settlement areas and massacre everyone living there, excluding one or two people in order to make them seek vengeance on them, the rumor that they’re unexpectedly gentle and have good manners, etc. The most confusing thing was the fact that all of those rumors had a considerable amount of basis backing them all up.
In other words, it’s the same as absolutely nothing being known about Zia’s teacher, and in principle, Borg couldn’t accept an idea given by that sort of individual. No matter what Zia says, Borg was firmly ready to refuse. Zia watched as Borg’s broad-mindedness waned like the glint of a sword which was being sheathed.
〈If you get past the contempt, then his wariness will get that much worse.〉
〈The fact that he can’t hold something in contempt means that he can’t ignore the issue. If he’s unable to ignore the issue, then that means he acknowledged the other person that much as well.〉
〈It’d be awkward to just ignore it, but if he accepted the plan, then it’d feel like he was being controlled, something like that?〉
〈Yeah. Therefore, it’s a given that his caution will go up. If that Borg fellow is exactly like the person you’ve grasped him to be, then he’ll refuse, since the advantage he has is the fact that he doesn’t have to do anything. He has no need to wake up a sleeping wolf.〉
〈Then what should I do?〉
〈For starters, you need to lower their wariness. If you dig up the source of the wariness, which I mentioned earlier, then it’s the fact that ‘he doesn’t know what your intentions are’. That’s why you have to create a scheme that he can understand.〉
That’s what Yujin said.
Zia Batsand spoke the words that Yujin had said to her earlier.
“You may have guessed so already, but I’m in the danger of being killed.”
Although she had started her line with ‘You may have guessed so already’, they were words that Borg didn’t expect one bit. The Azure Rose Knight continued talking while looking at Borg with the cold face that was unique to her.
“The reason her Excellency the Earl is in this mess is because I used the check signed under the House of the Earl’s name. Moreover, are you unaware of Her Excellency’s temper? Her Excellency informed me to choose between fixing this incident or spending the remainder of my life tied up in the torture chamber.”
Zia didn’t like the words that were currently coming out of her mouth. The Earl didn’t blame her even slightly. Even for Zia, that was something which she didn’t predict. It was also something which she was so thankful for that she could cry.
She was constantly afraid of whether her lord was broken beyond repair, or whether she was latching onto an impossible hope. However, or therefore, this sort of generosity that the Earl showed sometimes made Zia Batsand feel relief.
Although, as an executive of the Black Dragon Street, Borg was proficient at some magic spells, he doesn’t have a spell that could read the minds of others. Ever since the death of the head of the Odd Sky Wizards, 350 years ago, no one with such an ability ever existed again, and Borg isn’t that great of an existence. Zia’s cold face also had the function of being an excellent poker face. Thus, while not realizing what sort of thoughts were going through Zia’s head, Borg whistled.
“Didn’t you say that you could handle it yourself? You said that since you two were like siblings, at the very least, your life wouldn’t be at risk.”
“It seems I thought wrong.” Zia spoke in a pure tone and lowered her head. “Since I did not want to die, I needed to find a way.”
“So you latched onto your teacher and cried?”
Borg burst out in laughter. He believed that he understood the situation. His misunderstanding was amplified further once he witnessed Zia avoiding his gaze and biting her lips.
“I get the gist of what happened.” A crude glint appeared in the Black Dragon Street executive’s brown eyes. “However, Azure Rose, if what I’ve understood is correct, then isn’t that solely your problem? Why do I have to go through the trouble of helping you? What do I gain?”
〈 For starters, say something pretentious. 〉 While recalling Yujin’s advice, Zia spoke.
“I’d be grateful if you did it out of your benevolence.”
“I don’t give out something like mercy. How do you think I got to this position? Especially if the person is female, something like mercy······ that’s an undeserved emotion.”
Borg spoke in an amused tone. He was clearly enjoying this situation.
Zia felt disgusted, but with her iceberg-like self-control, she hid that emotion. You could say that it’s the only positive influence that came from dealing with the Earl’s bad hobby.
“If I’m not around, then even the Mage Tower will be troubled.”
“I know. I know, you know? That’s right, Azure Rose. If you disappear now, then both the Mage Tower and His Honor Rio will be troubled. Sir Jaho Azum······ well, I’m not sure about him. In any case, if I were to make my VIPs troubled, then I’d have to give up on doing business. However······ that’s right, the thing I’m talking about is, if I take care of your side, then there’s a need for you to show a little sincerity as well.”
Borg then shoved his hand into the mouth of the demonic dog he was sitting on top of and felt around its empty mouth. He then took out his saliva covered fingers and obscenely rubbed them together while grinning.
〈I’m just going to ask selflessly, but how far can you go?〉
〈What do you mean?〉
Zia asked in a nitpicking tone. Since it was a response that could only be seen in people who knew exactly what was said, Yujin waited without giving any further explanation.
He didn’t have to wait long.
〈······Borg is a vulgar and indecent man. He’s also a person that doesn’t let a person’s weakness out of his grasp and digs into it like a demonic dog.〉 Zia recalled the pet she’d see every time she went to meet Borg. 〈He’ll most certainly request for something shameful.〉
〈Then it’d be difficult to resolve it with money, huh.〉
I had a rough outline of what type of man Borg was. If he receives money, then everything would be over after an equal transaction, however, if he receives psychological damage even once, then it’s possible to maintain that advantageous position. If you implant into him the feeling of submission, then afterward, it’s possible to suck out as much money as you want from him.
〈Of course, if it’s for Her Excellency the Earl, then I can do anything. I can endure something like a little shame.〉
Zia Batsand spoke with a face that appeared as if she were chewing on a spider. She did her best to ignore the certainty that the amount of shame actually won’t be small. Although the path will definitely be long and painful, the Azure Rose Knight believed, within her exhaustion, that this path may perhaps be the appropriate atonement process for having deceived the Earl of the Silver Lion until now.
〈You don’t have to do that.〉
Yujin told her. This man referred to as Borg, is certainly a bad type of person with the worst quality, befitting his status as an executive among an organization of thieves. However, at the same time, he’s also the easiest type of person for Yujin to deal with.
〈Tell him this.〉
Zia spoke as thus.
“I am a knight. There is something more important than my life.”
“They say that the Earl of the Silver Lion is quite the decent torturer. Didn’t she steam ‘some guy’ to death last time? If you’re able to say the same thing while going through that kind of torture, then I’d have nothing more to say.”
Borg had mentioned that incident purely with the intention to tease Zia, but without being shaken, Zia nodded her head.
“That’s correct. I will most likely be unable to keep my mouth shut.”
Zia looked straight at Borg. Her blue pupils were aimed at him like an icicle within a cave on a snowy mountain.
“Within that heated torture, I will end up confessing that I was receiving orders from the Mage Tower. Starting from Touma Soh’s name, I’ll end up saying a countless number of other names. And among those, yours will be squeezed in with them, Borg. As you mentioned, she’s someone who steamed to death ‘some guy’. She’s an individual who’s trying to kill the person who was her right hand since a young age, and was also the daughter of her nanny, solely because I messed things up. How do you think that individual would behave if she were to find out that she was being treated as a fool?”
Similar to the winter wind blowing through a canyon, Zia’s voice bleakly and deeply burrowed into Borg’s ear.
“You should know well since you’re an executive of the Black Dragon Street. Thanks to the Earl’s ability, she doesn’t have to go and find her assassination target. She doesn’t have to send you people a request, either. All she has to do is place down as many traps as possible, comfortably sit back, and summon her target right in front of her. As you’ve said yourself, the Earl of the Silver Lion is quite the decent torturer. The best possible situation for an assassination target is probably being instantly killed by a trap the moment they’re summoned. However, that kind of luck doesn’t happen often.”
The demonic dog that Borg was seated on top of started to whine. It was because Borg’s fingers had curved inwards like a hook and were tearing into the dog’s skin. Borg already knew that the Earl of the Silver Lion had received several accusations of assassinations. It’d be safe to say that the reason why the security unit of the Twelve Zodiacs royal family moved around within the City of Confinement before wasn’t because the Earl of the Silver Lion tortured prisoners who were on death row, but rather, it was because they wanted to dig up those assassination accusations. Albeit, they were unable to find anything······.
“If you do something like that, then wouldn’t that be admitting the fact that you’ve been betraying the Silver Lion Earl since the very beginning? You’ll die for certain. You could just bow your head once here and⎯⎯⎯.”
“Did you not hear what I said a second ago? I’ll die regardless.”
“So you’re saying that you’ll take me down with you?”
“That’s if you don’t do me a favor.”
The demonic dog whined once more, but not for long. Struck by fear, the dog shut its mouth. The Black Dragon Street executive, who had received the title of Lunar Scorpion, had an angered look on his face.
In contrast to the demonic dog, Zia Batsand didn’t cower before that rage. Rather, she took a step closer to that angered Borg.
“Borg, I will tell you what you have to do. As I said before, you will make the evidence that the Fedchants had forged the documents. You will then obediently keep your mouth shut as you wait for the Earl to fall into a trap through means that aren’t attributable to me. During that process, in my stead, you will deal with the complaints that could possibly come from the Mage Tower and the Fedchant. You will do that for me purely because of your goodwill. Is that not so, Borg Edentras?”
“You crazy bitch.”
Borg spat out. However, there was acceptance mixed in with that curse.
Although the desire to let out a sigh of relief was piled up like a mountain, Zia was able to suppress that desire with her iceberg-like self-control.
“If one’s life is at risk, then anyone would go crazy.”
“People as insane as you aren’t common. Certainly, like master like servant.”
Borg was unable to hide his dismay as he spoke. Although his words just now were an insult towards the Earl she served, the female knight before him was already an individual who had betrayed that lord. It was obvious that she wouldn’t even snort if someone insulted her lord. How could he have fumbled like this?
The ironic thing was that Zia actually did receive damage from that insult. If she lacked even a slight bit of her self-control, then her ice plate-like expression would have cracked. Fortunately, she possessed a lot of self-control.
Excessively so. Zia, who recalled that development process, felt the afterglow of the small victory she had just achieved disappear in a blink of an eye.
And exhaustion washed over her.
“Did it not turn out well?”
In the basement of the Silver Lion Castle, Yujin asked. Zia tilted her head.
“Why do you think that?”
“Since your expression is a bit dark.”
“······” Zia felt her own face. It was the same as usual. “Now that I think about it, Yujin, how are you able to read my face?”
“? I’m able to read it since you make a facial expression.”
Zia felt her face once more, but as she expected, she wasn’t able to understand that well. Although the assumption that he was able to grasp her facial expression through a different method because he was an otherworlder came to mind, when she recalled the fact that Ahyeon wasn’t able to read her expression one bit in the past, she figured that it was just Yujin’s own ability.
“It ended well.” Zia shook her head and continued. “How did you know that everything would end up like this?”
“Obviously, there’s no way that a guy, who pulls out the teeth and nails of his pet, wouldn’t be a coward, right?”
Yujin added that he knew someone similar to Borg back on Earth. Those people appear dangerous at first, but it’s a tendency that often occurs among wild animals as well. Like a plant that decorates itself in order to appear as if they’re poisonous, they’re no different to a dog that barks noisily.
“Those type of guys are only dangerous to the people who they’re certain won’t bite back. If you’re able to make them fear the fact that they could possibly be bitten, then they’ll shrink away on their own.”
“······I never thought of it like that.”
“That’s because I’m older than you.”
Zia giggled. Her own age was 18 and Yujin’s age was 19, however, as much as their two worlds’ times were different, their actual ages were that much the same. Yujin shrugged his shoulders as if he were admitting that what he said was a silly joke.
“In any case, if it ended well then what’s with the face?”
Zia folded her arms.
“It’s nothing. It’s just that something to think about came up······.”
“Something to think about?”
“It’s unrelated to you.”
“It’s related.” Han Yujin spoke as if it were an obvious fact. “You’re my sword, after all.”
Those words made Zia’s stubborn attitude falter for a moment. Zia Batsand⎯⎯⎯as much as she could feel it herself this time⎯⎯⎯gazed at the otherworlder boy with wavering eyes. The boy who possessed a cunning and keen enough intelligence to accurately grasp the true nature of a Black Dragon Street executive, despite having never seen him before, would say completely unexpected words that were capable of digging into her mind like this.
“······It’s just that, I still remember the words Borg said before I left.”
“What did he say?”
“He said it’d be a good idea to make Her Excellency the Earl fall into a trap as soon as possible. That he’d send a letter if I didn’t do so. A letter saying that I’ve been deceiving Her Excellency and have been moving under the Mage Tower’s commands. If I don’t want to meet a terrible fate, then I should quickly strike the Earl’s back.”
Yujin thought about those words.
He tilted his head.
“Does he think something like that would work as a threat?”
“Well, if Borg was really that afraid of the thought of being dragged down with me, I figured that sending a letter was just empty words. Regardless, if we do end up fighting with the Mage Tower in the future, if a mage from the Mage Tower reveals that I had betrayed the Earl.”
Yujin tried playing a simulation of what was said just now in his head. In the future, while working for the Earl, the enemy(Moderate Mage A of the Mage Tower) says to the Earl, ‘Fufufu. There was a time thy servant was actually our informant.’, presume a situation where they say something like that were to occur. The Earl is taken aback. Zia flinches. I make a bitter expression. Companion A(There’s a chance I may have one at that time) is shocked. Well, something like that.
As expected, I tilted my head.
“What is it, Yujin?”
“You, what did you say when I said that I’d reveal your identity to the Earl?”
Zia Batsand boldly stuck out her chest.
“I said that rather than believing someone like you, she’d believe the words spoken by me who’s like a sibling to her.”
“It’s fine. If something like that does happen, then I’ll take your side and say ‘the Mage Tower you despise is just trying to alienate you from your most cherished subordinate.’.”
Zia hugged her head. She wanted to say ‘No, but.’. She wanted to say ‘What I mean is, that.’. but in the end, after being unable to say anything, she dropped her shoulders and gazed at Yujin.
“Why is it that whenever I talk with you, everything becomes a simple problem!?”
Yujin had an expression on his face that said that it was troubling if she were to suddenly get upset like that.
“Well, that’s because you’re contemplating simple problems······.”
“They aren’t simple! Everything I’ve been wracking my brain over was complicated.”
Zia wanted to bring up the negotiation with Borg as an example. However, damn it, didn’t Yujin resolve that easily? All things considered, he’s a person who was able to easily get over the life-threatening situation of being summoned from another world and tortured to death. Zia felt a deep wave of exhaustion wash over her once more.
“I, betrayed Her Excellency the Earl.”
Zia rubbed her eyes. They were tired eyes.
“We were able to take care of this incident well, but, in the end, no matter what excuse I make, no matter what I try to say, no matter how much I try to play innocent, in the end, I still betrayed Her Excellency. You could say that Borg, that damn Lunar Scorpion, had unintentionally stabbed a venom into my heart. Similar to how poison leaves a mark, the original sin will remain in my mind.”
“If that’s the case, then.”
And then, Yujin even made that into a simple problem.
“Neutralize the poison and atone for it.”
Zia stared at Yujin with a speechless expression on her face. There wasn’t anything like a smile drifting on Yujin’s lips. At all times, he spoke boldly and in a serious tone.
“In order for you to be able to do that, I’ll help you.”
There still wasn’t even a fragment of a smile on Yujin’s lips. It was similar to her own expression of indifference. But it was different. Because of that faint difference, the edge of Zia’s mouth twitched.
Following after, the ice melted and, as if it were rising up from below, a smile drifted up on Zia’s lips. She then approached Yujin and hugged him. Yujin wordlessly returned her hug and patted her back.
For a long time, the female knight with the title of Azure Rose rested her head on the shoulder of an otherworlder boy.
(TL note: Please don’t read on a site that isn’t my own. I have not given anyone the permission to upload my translations on their site. If you’re reading this from readlightnovel, then please stop)
TL note: Wew, as I hoped, I was able to finish volume 1 of Your and My Asylum before the release day of the fourth volume of Dungeon Defense. Now I can happily read it without having to worry about anything else. For those of you who have really been enjoying this series, don’t worry. I’ll come back to this series once I finish translating volume 4 of DD. Although it’ll probably take awhile, I’ll get back to this series soon.
Furthermore, this story has character sheets at the end of the volume, so I’ll be adding those along with the afterword post. I have to make you guys read the author’s message somehow, after all. The Afterword & Character Sheets post will be put up once my editors scan and typeset it.
Anyway, see you guys in the next update.