Once I returned to Korea, it was midday.
Although I had twisted the first line of a certain novel which had received a Nobel prize in literature, the reason why I didn’t feel particularly better despite having done that, wasn’t because I felt guilty for having used that famous line for such a trivial situation, nor was it because of the fact that the pessimistic prediction, regarding the fact that barely anyone in this world would be able to recognize this phrase, let alone the people in the other world, had crossed my mind, and, as expected, neither was it because of the fact that I had become aware of the truth that this was indeed reality and not some scene from a novel. Just, how should I say it? Because, it was just awkward. It was because the clothes I was currently wearing didn’t match this room I was in.
A small room. There were 3 monitors placed on top of a desk, 3 laptops stacked on top of each other in a bookcase, and on the wall, there was a cross and the statue of the Virgin Mary hanging above an illustration of Buddha.
There was nothing more than that.
Nothing more than what I had left here.
This private space was my room.
My base, during the 8 Years’ War.
Instead of lying on my bed, I changed the battery on my phone. I then stretched and looked for clothes to change into. After I had picked up my glasses, took out my jeans, polar t-shirts, underwear, and socks, and put them into a shopping bag, messages started to continuously arrive on my now fully turned on phone. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
I put on my glasses.
I confirmed the messages.
〈Child, are you staying out overnight? ······ Child, where have you gone? ······ Child, why aren’t you answering your phone? ······ This is your cram school teacher, but why didn’t you come to today’s lesson? ······ Hey, didn’t we have a promise today? ······ What’s up? ······ Did something happen? ······ Did you quit gaming? ······ Child, I’ve notified the police. You aren’t going through something bad, right? ······ Hey, what are you doing? ······ Contact me already. ······ Hey. ······ Did you go somewhere? ······ Yujin. ······ It’s Ryubin. Contact me. ······ Child. ······ Yujin. ······ Child. ······ Bro, what have you been doing lately? ······ Child. ······ ······ Child, poor lamb. I do not know what trial you are going through, but make sure to pray. The Lord only bestows upon us trials which we can always win.〉
I turned off that phone and took out the other phone that I had created as a reserved phone number. There were three messages that had arrived. They were from my older cousin, Eun Minseon, and Saei.
First, as expected, things became a bit better with my glasses on. It would have been nice if I had these while I was learning how to read the words in the other world. I tried borrowing Yudia’s glasses, but those glasses, no, the glasses in that world itself were a bit iffy. Honestly, since it was rather ambiguous to even call those things glasses, there’ll probably be a day where I’ll be able to explain this.
Second, even though I had spent a long period of time in the other world, surprisingly, it turned out that not even a second had passed on Earth······ something like this didn’t happen. The time I had spent in the other world was 5 days in the basement and 15 days aboveground, so a total of 20 days. 26 X 20 equals 520 hours. If I divide that by 24 hours, then that would make it 21.6 days. The last memory I had of being on Earth was on the 10th night of January, and seeing that it was noon on the 1st day of February right now······ if I roughly say that I was summoned in the middle of the night, then it should be fine to say that the flow of time hasn’t been estranged. Moreover, like Zia had told me, it seems the rotation speed of the planet of that world being 26 hours per rotation was roughly correct.
Third, I was absent for 21.6 days. Among the missed calls, texts, Kakaotalk, Tictalk, Line, twitter mentions, direct messages, etcetera, which totaled at 1278 missed messages, there was approximately only 10 of them that were important. The number of things I had to take care of was around that much as well. The remaining messages⎯⎯⎯putting the 421 messages sent by my aunt as the head⎯⎯⎯were all mundane businesses. If you look at it like this, then I feel as if I’ve become quite free these days.
In any case, I mustered up some strength once more.
February 1st, Sunday, noon.
My devoted adherent of an aunt should have gone to church and my uncle who was sick of going to church should have gone fishing. Miyeong should have gone off somewhere to play as well. Thanks to that, it would often be possible for me to become engrossed in using the internet for several hours at a time while inside an empty house on Sundays, however, I only had 26 hours left right now. Since it’s the Silver Lion Earl, I should consider the fact that it could possibly be plus-minus 4 hours. If that’s the case, then that would make it so that I didn’t even have a full day.
As much as I didn’t know when my next return would be, I had to use this time efficiently.
Pushing my reunion with my relatives behind a bit, I should take care of more urgent things⎯⎯⎯.
“Who’s there, you thief!!”
Bang, a shout resonated as the door swung open. The moment I took a step back, Clang! a flash struck the floor. Adding an exaggeration, it was strong enough to shake the entire house, and even while removing the exaggeration, it was a strike that was powerful enough to dent the floor. The sunlight that was casting down on the landing point displayed a dull and circular outline.
It was an aluminum bat.
I lifted my head and met the eyes of Miyeong who was in a posture that evidently showed that she had put her all into that swing.
Well, it could be no one other than Miyeong.
“······What, so it was you?”
Miyeong clicked her tongue and turned away. Her face was slightly red. This was also incredibly Miyeong-like.
“To be concrete, the fact that you had determined the person to be a thief before even asking who they were, went to get something to incapacitate the so-called thief, and had already swung the item you brought, and yet, you still shouted ‘who’s there’. Moreover, for someone who had almost killed a person just now, the fact that you’re more embarrassed about your own misunderstanding than you are about your own murder attempt is also quite Miyeong-like.”
“What are you mumbling about on your own? I’ll kill you.”
That line was also quite Miyeong-like.
I gave her a me-like response and adjusted my glasses. After that, Miyeong and I experienced a time which we were accustomed to, being in an awkward silence together.
Like always, Miyeong was the one to break the silence.
“What’s with those clothes?”
“Now you ask?”
“You being in a weird state is an everyday occurrence. But your current state, even if I consider that fact, this hobby is pushing it way too much. Did you finally become gay?”
I was currently still wearing Sii’s maid uniform. I had done the test while in these clothes as well. I’ll have to make sure that I bring my clothes with me when I return.
In any case.
“Throw away your prejudice towards gay people.”
“Are you lecturing me? I’ll kill you.”
If it’s a girl who has an adherent devotee as a mother, then it makes sense that she’d have a repulsion towards gay prejudice and lectures.
“I plan to get changed. I’ll be able to if you leave.”
“Fuck. You’re talking as if this is your home.”
“Then I’ll just get changed like this.”
“I’ll kill you. Ah, hey. I said I’ll kill you. H-Hey! Will you stop!? Ah⎯⎯⎯jeez! Hey!”
I stopped. The red face Miyeong, who was searching for a place to put her eyes, scratched the back of her head before letting out a long sigh. She then, instead of leaving, sat on top of my bed and crossed her legs.
Another awkward silence.
“Where’d you go?”
- Normally, people would ask that first.
- Were you worried?
- Another world.
Regardless of what option I chose, I’ll probably be told that I’ll be killed. I was summoned to another world and was nearly tortured to death, and after coming back from that other world, I was mistaken for a thief and was nearly killed by an aluminum bat. I also received countless threats of being killed. Although it was a life that befitted me, that was enough for today.
“There was a place I had to go.”
“Ah? That’s why I’m asking where.”
“It’s hard to say.”
“Is that so?”
Both Miyeong and I had a moment to push up our glasses.
Miyeong clicked her tongue and spoke.
“So you’re back for good now, right?”
I shook my head. Miyeong’s expression became fierce.
“Then you’re going again?”
“Yeah. I’m just dropping by here for a moment.”
“What about school? Winter break ends the day after tomorrow, you know?”
“I’ll somehow deal with that myself.” As I thought, I should meet Saei. My older cousin as well. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Who said I was worried about you? Hey. I feel like I’m going to die because of mom. Every time we have a meal, our food goes cold because mom keeps saying that we have to pray for you. How are you going to take responsibility for that? Huh?”
“Buy something to eat. Here, money.”
“What am I supposed to buy with this much? Give me more.”
I handed her some more. Miyeong fanned herself with the money for a moment before shoving it into her pocket.
“When are you going?”
“Probably around 2 pm tomorrow. Do you want to have a meal together before I go?”
“Do you think I’m crazy?”
Was there a need to detest the idea so much even though the cousin who lived under the same roof as you had returned after being missing for 21 days? Well, it was to be expected when among the missed messages on my phone, none of them were sent by this girl. My relationship with Miyeong was like that.
“Oh right, keep it a secret from your parents that I was here.”
“Because I don’t have time. If I get caught by auntie, then an entire day will probably pass trying to explain my circumstances to her.”
“That wasn’t a ‘why’ to you, but a ‘why should I?’.”
“Because I gave you money.”
“You’re really funny. Do you think you can do anything if you have money?”
“Do you want more?”
“I said do you think you can do anything if you have money?”
“Is this much enough?”
“Yup, money, that is.”
“You can use the computer as well.”
Miyeong, who was disregarding me, made a victory pose with her fists clenched tightly.
Once I stared right at her, she lowered her fist with a blush on her face.
“······Give me your Steam account too.”
“Sure. Let me just backup my data first.”
Since I had mentioned it, I decided to do that first. I backed up my data by distributing it onto the 3 laptops. I then placed a lock on one of the laptops and put it on the bookcase. I packed up the remaining 2 laptops. I also packed up a wireless router.
Like that, while I was taking care of everything I had to do at home and packing up the things that I was going to take with me, Miyeong had gone onto Steam with my computer and was turning on Crusader King 2. I finished up with everything I had left to do here and spoke towards Miyeong’s back.
Miyeong responded without even turning around.
“If you sit down and play games for too long, then you’ll get fat.”
I dodged the lotion bottle that was thrown at me and escaped outside.
After leaving the maid uniform at a dry cleaner’s, I took care of several important matters since I was already downtown. I met with the required people⎯⎯⎯including Saei⎯⎯⎯and apologized for suddenly losing contact with them. I explained my situation while mixing in some lies. Post-management. Once I was finished, it was around 6 pm.
I went shopping. First I bought clothes, books after that, and then I roamed around the electronics store in Samwon. In regard to electronics, it would have been better if I had gone to Yongsan for certainty, but since going all the way there would have been a waste of time, I decided to make do with a place that was nearby. However, maybe I should have just gone to Yongsan anyway. Although I was able to roughly obtain everything that I wanted, in regard to the time that I wanted to conserve so much, I actually ended up suffering a loss. 9 pm.
I became hungry, so I decided to get something to eat. The menu was Kimbap Heaven. 10 pm.
Although I believe that I had moved around rather effectively, the flow of time was like a shooting arrow. I wonder if this was how military people felt when they’re on vacation.
I picked up my clothes at the dry cleaner’s and watched a movie. 12:30 am.
I went to a bathhouse, washed up, scrubbed some dead skin off of my body, and went to sleep. I woke up at 5 am on the dot.
(TL note: People in Korea often go to bathhouses and stay the night. It’s cheaper than motels/hotels since you aren’t given a personal room, but it’s convenient since you have access to spas, saunas, and baths)
I washed up once more and after making both my body and mind neat and tidy, I went to the hospital. My goddess, my love.
It was 7 am once I had left the hospital.
I had a meal. The menu was a 24 hours chicken place. After I finished eating, I bought 5 more boxes as take-out. 8 am.
I had approximately 6 hours left. If I plus-minus 4 hours, then there was either 2 hours or 10 hours left. To be on the safe side, I decided to act as if I only had 2 hours left. It’s a relief that I had already finished my shopping for things that were urgent yesterday.
I went to a 24-hours underground manga café. A manga café that was about to go out of business. After bargaining with the owner of the café, I went shopping while prioritizing mangas that weren’t in the Silver Lion Castle library and were currently not being printed anymore but were still considered masterpieces. Manga that Sii may enjoy. BL that Zia may read. While I was getting things related to BL, I decided to log into XMC and purchase a bunch of M rated e-books. Even though XMC lacked in material and were old-fashioned, the reason why I used XMC was because their viewer was one of the few things that didn’t require internet verification to use. Similarly, I also bought several stand-alone games that Yudia may possibly play. I bought some ramen packs as well and put them in a stack. While I was at it, I configured the settings on the wireless router.
It was around that moment.
Someone, sat in the seat behind me.
Since the formation of the seating here was two sofas placed back to back against each other, the other person and I were in a state where we were back to back with the backrest of the sofas placed between us.
There were two reasons why I felt that this person’s decision to sit there was special. First, the fact that within this completely empty manga café, this person had gone out of their way to sit directly behind me. Second, the fact that I didn’t see this person come in through the entrance.
They weren’t originally in the café either. Before I had come down here, the only person that was in this café was the owner. This fellow had sat behind me as if they had spouted out of nowhere.
Of course, this was modern-day Earth.
A fantastical thing like that didn’t exist here.
“I recall telling you about 6 times to use the entrance normally.”
I spoke. The person behind me, who had obviously used the fire escape to enter the manga café, spoke in a low voice.
“Where’d you go?”
They weren’t responding to my words.
Well, this person has always been someone who didn’t listen if you spoke.
“I don’t feel the need to tell you.”
“Should I make you feel the need?”
“Your younger cousin, Samwon high school, 2nd grade, class 3, attendance number 39.”
“And your little brother is currently in Samwon middle school, 2nd grade, class 5, attendance number 16.”
(TL note: Yujin says this line)
“For you to use my family as a hostage, how cowardly.”
“From which mouth are you saying that out of?”
“Which mouth? How lewd.”
I ignored them.
The fellow behind me seemed to be trying to decide what topic to talk about. And then,
“What’s with your state?”
“What of it?”
“Are you a refugee or something? What’s with all that stuff you’re carrying? You even have a rope attached to your waist. Even though no one is going to steal your stuff.”
“Because there’s a need.”
“In any case, you aren’t normal.”
I ignored them.
The fellow behind me spoke.
“Our Lady isn’t in a normal state yet.”
“Our Lady was a person who was supposed to become a king. You’re the one who broke that sort of individual. If you still have a sense of humanity left inside of you, then you coming to visit at least once should be natural.”
“King, is it?”
“So according to you, a king is a person who bullies others, lynches people, fabricates evidence in order to throw people into a detention center for juvenile offenders, and turns a person into a vegetable, huh?”
“It’s due to youth. For you to be unable to forgive at least that much, it’s because of that backward, savage, and barbaric national character that crooked charismatic people like Jobs aren’t born in this country. That Minhee girl is also just⎯⎯⎯.”
“Chanmi’s dog. You’re free to say whatever you wish, but if you speak lightly of Minhee, then.”
A long silence.
The fellow seated behind me continued.
“There are people⎯⎯⎯who can’t choose their king.”
“That’s your problem.”
“That’s right, but because of you, our path forward has been blocked as well. At least let us complain.”
“It’s fine as long as you don’t talk about Minhee. Complaints outside of that are fine.”
“······I’ve said it before, but the matter involving Minhee wasn’t done by our Lady.”
“That’s why it wasn’t us either.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
I could hear the person behind me standing up. Step, step, the sound of something being tossed on the counter could be heard before I heard the entryway opening and the sound of footsteps leaving through the door. They came in through the rear and left through the front. It was a behavior that suited that person.
It was my country, Korea, which I had returned to for the first time in 21 days, and yet, everyone only did the things that were like them and I had only done the things that were like me.
Even though I had returned from an abnormal environment, something like being unable to readjust to my everyday life didn’t occur. Even I wanted to experience that kind of common cliche.
Well, even if you call it my everyday life.
“There are people who can’t choose their king, was it?”
“Ah hah ha ha, what are you saying all of a sudden?”
I shrugged my shoulders. The everyday life that was like me had ended, and I had returned to the abnormal everyday life.
“I smell something good.”
To the Silver Lion Earl who had uttered that, I tossed a box of chicken. The Silver Lion Earl, who had leaped up and caught it, rolled around the floor with the chicken held tightly in her arms.
“Chicken! Chicken! Kyochon Chicken! Ah hah hah hah ha, yup~ GoodGood! It’s truly been a long time. You did well, Mr. Yujin! Ah hah hah hah ha!”
(TL note: Kyochon Chicken is the name of a franchise)
“It’s a bit cold, though.”
“In order to distinguish between gold and gilt, you have to bite into them first in order to find ooout. Similarly, if chicken wants to prove its real worth, then it has to cool down first.”
“That’s a plausible figure of speech.”
I untied the rope that was attached to my waist. I then opened the shopping bags that were connected to the rope one bag at a time, taking out the chicken and the ramen first before placing them on top of the table.
I gestured towards Yudia Batsand and Zia Batsand.
Yudia, who was looking down at the chicken with a gaze filled with curiosity(=As if he were looking down at a child that was born from an unwanted pregnancy), was the first to approach and opened a box. While he was advertently attempting to make contact with the different world culture known as chicken, I started taking out my laptops and the other things that I had bought.
The Silver Lion Earl, who was basking in delight with a drumstick held in her mouth, showed interest.
“Hm? What’s that?”
To the Silver Lion Earl who had asked that, I tossed a Primary Star Andromeda Tab. The Silver Lion Earl, who had leaped up and caught it, looked at it with sparkling eyes.
“Hueh? Huah, nya hah ha ha ha. Hueh~ What is this. It looks interesting.”
“Science is all-powerful, after all.”
“Yeesss. Ah hah ha ha ha. Mm. But Mr. Yujin. Doesn’t this consume a lot of electricity? The laptop and computer that Ahyeon left behind, in truth, we still have those. But their batteries went out.
As expected⎯⎯⎯they did have those.
Although I had heard some good information, I didn’t let it show on my face.
The things I had brought, I put on top of the table the items that I had bought while roaming around the electronics store. A laptop, a tablet computer, an iPhone, an iPad, a router, and,
“A solar charger.” I tapped on the panel with my finger. “It’s 50watts.”
The Silver Lion Earl opened her eyes wide.
While connecting it to the router and turning it on, I continued.
“The sunlight here, compared to Earth’s⎯⎯⎯or at the very least, since it seems stronger than the sunlight in Korea. If you put it on the top of the tower during a clear day, then it should be fully charged within a few hours.”
A smiled appeared in the Silver Lion Earl’s eyes. The smile was closer to being more goat-like than it was cat-like and more amphibious than it was mammalian.
“Hmm, was it not expensive?”
“When it comes to necessary expenses, I’m the type of person who doesn’t conserve his money.”
“I see. Ah hah ha, you’re similar to me in that regard.”
No, you’re just someone who’s extravagant and doesn’t plan ahead. That being said, once I looked at her hand, her pinky and ring finger on her left hand, her 2 nails that represented the proof of summoning had been dyed black. If that’s the case, then that meant her summoning me just now was her 2nd use. I’m not sure what she summoned before me, but for her to have used her summons like this even though it was the beginning of the month.
Pension and restriction.
Recalling the unfunny play on words, I turned to gaze at the main instigator.
“Why aren’t you eating?”
Different to her teacher who was eating chicken as if he were chewing on the liver of his enemy, Zia, who’s been standing awkwardly this entire time, cleared her throat. However, she still didn’t approach and take a piece of chicken or show interest in the things like the laptop. Perhaps.
“Do you not like chicken?”
“There’s no way that’d be the case, Yujin. What about me says that to you?”
As I thought, that wasn’t it. There’s a chance that chicken may be the only cultural heritage that our country, which has been treated badly by even the people from another world, can put forward with confidence.
“Then that must mean that instead of your physical hunger, your mental hunger has the priority. Though it doesn’t matter since I can sufficiently fill both of your desires up. Here.”
I took out the BL books.
The moment I did so, Zia instantaneously tossed aside her hesitation and dived towards the BL books like how a lascivious man would dash towards a nude high school girl in one of those erotic doujinshi⎯⎯⎯something like this didn’t happen.
Just as she did a second ago.
She merely looked at me hesitantly.
That meant there was a problem.
“Zia. Come see me for a second.”
I gestured towards her and headed outside the office. The Silver Lion Earl raised an eyebrow.
“Huu~? Where are you off to? A vacation plan before going on a vacation and writing a vacation report once you’ve returned. Something like that, isn’t that the fundamental culture of Korean males?”
“I’m still a bit too young to know about that.”
I responded as so and left the office. The Silver Lion Earl made a ‘hmm’ sound with her nose, but that was it. She didn’t prevent me from stepping out.
Once I was in the hallway, Zia came out soon after.
Without preamble, I asked.
“Did something happen?”
Zia lowered her gaze.
Zia continued to waver.
“I told you to talk, my sword.”
Spasmodically⎯⎯⎯abrupt enough to make it so that you couldn’t call it anything besides that, Zia called out to me.
Once I pushed up my glasses, Zia Batsand lowered her head and continued.
“You promised back in the basement, right? That you’ll look after Her Excellency. That you’ll take responsibility. When I heard those words, do you know how much my chest felt, Yujin, Yujin⎯⎯⎯ Her Excellency is a good person. She was a good person. A bit, a very slight bit, just, slightly, it went out of line. Her Excellency, that is.”
(TL note: Zia is cutting herself off mid-sentence when she says Yujin’s name)
A little while ago, when I was still in Korea, Zia was saying things that were severely different to what the person who was sitting behind me had said. Zia bit her bottom lip.
She bowed her head once more.
“Her Excellency the Earl, do not hate her.”
“Her Excellency the Earl, do not give up on her.”
Zia Batsand, spoke like that.
Was that not it?
That’s not it. It’s not. Ahh, it’s not.
If that’s the case.
Confused responses continued to return.
If that’s the case. No⎯⎯⎯ I had realized it here, but other Koreans were meaningless. That’s right, the fact that Zia was showing this kind of response.
Was because Zia herself was hurt as well.
There was a stir.
Zia’s eyes, that trembling, it was too immense.
“Sii Garno Mikatni.”
Zia groaned and dropped her gaze.
I turned around.
I started running after my second step.
I heard someone calling out to me from behind. I ignored it.
It was night. I ran through the hallways of the night. Thanks to the candles, my field of vision wasn’t hindered. Each time I passed by, the candles wavered, and the darkness that had filled the hallway swayed like seaweed that was waving in the night sea. My front became distorted. The midnight castle went back and forth from being bright and faint. Occasionally, whenever I passed by a section of a window that wasn’t covered by a curtain, something similar to stepping stones flowed down onto the ground due to the moonlight. I ignored them. I ran. I merely ran.
And then, I stood in front of Sii’s room.
I opened the door.
The sound of the door being swung open resonated and a shriek followed immediately after. Darkness, darkness, darkness, in the room that was filled to the brim with darkness, a distant pure white girl, was curled up with a blanket wrapped around her. Towards the girl who was trembling so much that it was pitiful, I.
I thought that she was small.
She always had a small frame. However, her current state was smaller than that. At first, I thought that was the case because she was curled up. But she was so small that that wasn’t enough to explain it. Small.
To be exact, she was made to be small.
Sii shuddered while huddled up.
Sii looked at me while lifting her head.
Sii smiled as if she were relieved.
“You’re back······ yup, I was waiting······ waited for a long long time······ ehehe······ yup······ Yujin.”
Sii wiped the corner of her eye.
“Sit, Yujin······ Mm~~! What’s with that face? Hometown, didn’t you take a trip there? Because I, want to hear stories about Yujin’s hometown······ Ah, did you perhaps buy me a gift? Yujin······ mm, Yujin······.”
Sii called my name.
“I······ was trapped.”
Ehehe, she laughed.
Sii smiled awkwardly once more.
The right arm of Sii, was gone.
From right above her elbow, leaving a clean cross section, it was severed.
TL Note: Thanks for reading the chapter. It was a short trip to Korea, but it was still an efficient time. Even if it was short-lived, he’ll probably be able to go on these kinds of trips monthly. So yeah.
Anyway, I do wonder why people seem to want everything spoonfed to them. You aren’t going to learn about every single last detail concerning a character the moment you meet them. There’s a thing called pacing and suspense. Trying to figure out their motives, what happened to them, and how they ended up like they are now. You, the readers, are supposed to be grasping at straws here as you slowly figure out more and more. Moreover, the thing about this author is that they often write stories with a somewhat slow plot.
Rant aside, you can expect the next chapter sometime during the middle of next week.