“Her Excellency the Earl had said this before, Yujin. That she will make the people who resort to stealing repent their crime with iron and flames. On the very day you returned to Korea, another incident where the jewelry of the previous earl’s wife was stolen had occurred once more. It wasn’t a substantial amount, but, Yujin, Yujin⎯⎯⎯Are you listening, Yujin?
It was an accusation. Witnesses, 4 maids had stepped forward in order to testify. They claimed that they saw Sii taking the jewelry, Yujin, stop for a second. Listen to what I have to say, according to those accusations, they conducted a search on Sii’s room and they discovered the missing jewelry there. Although Sii herself claimed that she was being framed, the testimonies⎯⎯⎯Yujin.
What do you think the Earl should have done? She couldn’t overlook this. This was a point in time where it hasn’t been that long since she had last shown generosity. This time, she had to display severity, coldness. In order to prevent other people from acting up, within that sort of situation⎯⎯⎯Yujin. Stop. I’m begging you, Yujin. Yujin⎯⎯⎯.”
I pushed Zia aside and entered the office.
Yudia Batsand was eating chicken. I could see him tilting his head towards me who had slammed the door open. I didn’t worry about it. Yudia Batsand wasn’t related. I looked for the Silver Lion Earl who was related.
The Silver Lion Earl, while sitting with her legs crossed and with her back comfortably leaning against the backrest of her chair, was gaming.
Raising her head to look at me was⎯⎯⎯the Silver Lion Earl.
The remains of the eaten chicken pieces were cast aside on the floor like trash.
“What’s this? Knocking on the door before entering a girl’s space should be a basic maaanner. Mr. Yujin, if you continue to live without that sort of fundamental common sense, then one day you’ll⎯⎯⎯.”
I walked up to her,
And slammed down on her desk.
A bang sound, a trembling desk,
And the Silver Lion Earl who was looking at me unfazed.
“Shall I listen to your explanation?”
“I said that I’ll listen to yooour explanation. It seems Mr. Yujin’s ears must have heard it oppositely. Whether there is a need for you to have those useless ears or not, the Silver Lion Earl, the Silver Lion Earl has contemplated this once before.”
“Why’d you do it? Even you should have known that Sii wasn’t the one to have done it.”
“Huumm~? Sii~? Aha, are you talking about Mikatni’s adopted daughter? Who knows⎯⎯⎯nyaa nyaa nyaa nyaa. Even if I were to suddenly hear such a defense with that kind of emotion mixed in it, you know, it’s troubling. The evidence and witnesses had all become a single finger and that finger was pointing towards that Sii, Mikatni’s adopted daughter. Do you know about Occam’s razor? There is always only a single truth! All the mysteries have been solved! With that kind of feeling in mind, we submitted Mikatni’s adopted daughter to a simple trial, and we settled her crime with a single arm. Towards this boundlessly beautiful plea-bargain, Mr. Yujin. Do you have a problem with it, Mr. Yujin?”
My head was hot.
Mm⎯⎯⎯my head, was hot.
“How uproarious. Is there a problem?”
Yudia Batsand lowered the chicken leg he was eating and raised an eyebrow.
“It is a query to this young lady as well, Lord Yudia.” When the Silver Lion Earl spoke in this world’s language, she put on airs. “You know the incident where we had cut off the arm of a thieving maid and settled the matter with that? He’s becoming this unruly because of something like that, so it’s puzzling.”
“The arm of a thieving maid, is it?”
Yudia tilted his head. Although the heat in my head remained the same, I felt like I was calming down a bit since I had heard the voice of someone other than the earl. Yudia Batsand, like I had proven when Abria Mikatni had visited, he was an individual who was feared solely because of his appearance, behavior, and status. He was a good fellow who common sense got through to.
“The arm that you had severed.”
“Ah, that. I had forgotten because it was distasteful to a detestable degree.”
“For starters, she’s just a maid. She wasn’t a master of martial arts or a monster, so she was probably lacking for you to deal with.”
“That is a bias. Every master and monster start off as a normal individual after all. Regardless, that maid certainly lacked in ability. From start to finish, all she did was beg for forgiveness while struck with fear. A coward who doesn’t even have the right to possess hatred. She’s the type of person who I believe to be worthless the most.”
It felt as if I had gulped down a glass of detergent. My insides ached and my vision felt blurry.
“Why, did you cut it?”
“? Even if you ask me, that’s hard to answer. After the Silver Lion Earl had reached a verdict, she requested for me to carry it out. It was like an after meal recreation.”
Sii is, is what I had uttered. Sii is.
“Why would Sii, do something like that?”
“Like I said, even if you ask me, that’s hard to answer······.”
Yudia tilted his head like that and the Silver Lion Earl dramatically spread out her arms.
“Welcome, Mr. Yujin! Our minds, which once seemed as if they were crossing each other, have finally fused together into one mass. No, in truth, it has always been fused together. The boy and girl who thought they were opposing one another discovered that they were actually standing in the same position! If I were to say something in accordance to this cliche of a boundlessly beautiful development drama, then, I’m not so sure as well. It’s something that I also want to know. In any case, I’ve only evaded things after all.”
“Yudia Batsand······ Silver Lion Earl.”
I clenched my teeth.
I swallowed down the saliva that felt as if it were burning into my flesh and lowered my head.
“Earl⎯⎯⎯Earl. Silver Lion Earl.”
“Though there was never a time where I had thought that my title was complicated enough to require someone to memorize the cadence of it. Remove your hand from my desk.”
“Mikatni’s adopted daughter?”
“Sii, was framed.”
“W-What⎯⎯⎯!? Even the Silver Lion Earl is surprised by the shock of this revelation! My Lord, are you telling me that my eyes were actually a pair of knotholes!? Aah, I’ve been thinking wrong, Professor Yujin! For Mikatni’s adopted daughter to have not been the true culprit! What should we do about this? Lord Yudia, as the individual who had carried out the punishment, what do you think about this newly proposed possibility?”
Yudia Batsand, with his head slightly tilted, had laughed unambiguously.
“If she’s been framed, then isn’t that better? There’s no greater fuel than injustice to make one’s hatred burn. Ah, but, if you look at it from that standpoint, then as expected, wouldn’t that mean she wasn’t framed? I said it a second ago, but that maid was only struck with fear after all, ah, that’s right⎯⎯⎯How about this, Earl? Should we go right now and sever that child’s other remaining arm? If one were to have both of their arms severed unjustly, then at that time, wouldn’t even that coward be able to properly harbor hatred and aim for a higher goal?”
As he was Zia’s teacher, he was also the royal courier of the End Void Gate, one of the twelve world factions, and he was a hatred enthusiast.
“Stop right there, Lord Yudia. This young lady governs her domain with thorough rule of law.”
“Although I believe there are occasionally times when one should go outside the bounds of the law, but, if that’s how you deem it.”
I thought that I knew.
That I had a grasp of him.
Zia was lowering her head with a face that was on the verge of tears. Her teacher is a scary individual. Right now, those words which she had said before. I, who had believed that Yudia Batsand wasn’t a dangerous fellow.
“Why, did you have to go that far?”
“It seems you only intend to ask weird questions today, Yujin. I’ve said it several times already, so I thought that you would have understood by now.” Yudia Batsand took a bite out of a drumstick and spoke. “Humans must harbor hatred in order for them to become stronger.”
Those were words that Yudia had said several times before.
“Sii most likely never asked you to make her stronger.”
“That’s correct. In the first place, that maid doesn’t even have the right to say those kinds of words to me⎯⎯⎯if one wishes to become my disciple, then for starters, there is a need for you to prove yourself and arm yourself with endless enmity. Detestably, it’s difficult to find those sorts of individuals. In truth, I may have never been able to obtain a disciple.”
Yudia Batsand took another bite of the chicken leg that was in his hand before licking his finger.
“If I ‘stayed still’ until now, that is.”
“Quite a long time ago, there was a time when I had received a request from the Cat Earl to capture escaped slaves. Under the condition that I could deal with them however I pleased, I accepted the request. Before long, I had captured all of them alive and had brought them back to my base. They were all people who had suffered terribly. There were even those among them who had tasted all sorts of humiliation and pain while being raised in a place known as the ‘Cat’s Kiln’. Although even those individuals didn’t have the enmity which I desired, several times they had shown grounds to possess that sort of hatred if something more were to happen to them. That’s why I had.”
“Ah. You didn’t like stimulating things, did you? Yujin, since I’m not a sadist as well, I will end it by saying that I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it.”
“So you’re saying that you’re searching for someone worthy enough to become your disciple?”
“Detestably, it’s because I’m the royal courier of one of the twelve world factions after all. What can I do when I can’t seem to find a formidable youth? I can’t miss out on an opportunity to plant the seeds. Shouldn’t the side that has something which they desire be the ones to be diligent?”
It felt as if I was looking at a swamp that consisted of poison.
While supporting his jaw with his hand, Yudia was smiling in a way that appeared as if he were pleasantly watching over the death of his mortal enemy. As I had done so until now, I was able to understand that expression of his as him having fun while talking about his own philosophy, nothing more than that. I was able to accurately understand what mood Yudia currently had and what he wanted to do next. As such, I was able to understand the human known as Yudia Batsand······ I thought that I could understand him······.
I couldn’t understand him.
“Saying that you aren’t a sadist. You speak quite well.”
The Silver Lion Earl spat out as if she were tired of it. Yudia gripped at his chest and grunted as if he were hit by an arrow.
“I’m speaking the truth.”
“Sure sure, I understand.” The Silver Lion Earl let out a sigh and looked at me. “So, Mr. Yujin, are you done now? There’s nothing more to address, right? Take your hand off of my desk.”
I swallowed down the words that I was about to say in this world’s language. There was no meaning. It was useless. I spoke towards the Silver Lion Earl.
“Sii, didn’t do it.”
“Sii, Sii, Sii, Sii⎯⎯⎯aah, it appears that adopted daughter of Mikatni has really grabbed Mr. Yujin’s heart in an instant. As expected of a whore’s daughter. It’s admiraaable.”
“Listen to me, seriously.”
“Mr. Yujin, you’re the one who’s going to be listening to the words that I say from this point forth seriously. Remove your hand from the desk. I’ve said this three times now.”
The Silver Lion Earl spoke while revealing her canines. Even before seeing those eyes, I knew by intuition. The remains of the chicken pieces that had been eaten and tossed aside on the ground. This girl who had a small appetite, cruel, and grew tired of things quickly. I’ll die. If don’t listen to this girl any more than this, if I get on this girl’s nerves any more than this, then I’ll die.
Be cool-headed, me. Hold onto the beads. Calmly. Calmly calmly calmly.
I can’t calm down.
My hand, I didn’t take it off.
I didn’t take it off.
I didn’t take it off.
“3. 2. 1.”
I didn’t take it off⎯⎯⎯I was made to take it off.
I was kicked on the side⎯⎯⎯and rolled onto the floor.
“You insolent fellow!”
It was Zia Batsand. While biting her bottom lip, her hair disheveled, and with a tearful face⎯⎯⎯ with a face that was so wretched that it was difficult to describe, she looked at me. Those blue eyes, her cold pupils looked down at me with a magma-like passion contained within them. She was pleading with me. Please. Zia’s eyes were saying that to me. Please, Yujin. Please.
“Your Excellency, it seems Yujin has forgotten his place! This is all because I had supervised and managed him poorly. This isn’t something that Your Excellency needs to lift your hand for! I shall take him outside and give him his punishment, so please!”
The Silver Lion Earl stood from her seat.
She walked towards me.
She stood in front of me, and looked down at me.
“Your Excellency, Yujin is······.”
“No, Zia. I’ll be personally giving him his punishment. That’s most likely the duty of the lord.” The Silver Lion Earl, who had spoken brightly, smiled with her hands on her hip. “Five lashings.”
“You’re noisy, Zia. Stay right there, okay? Each time you take a step, I’ll increase the lashings by 10, you know? ⎯⎯⎯Larte’ gias.”
The Silver Lion Earl raised her left arm while her right hand was still on her hip. The nail on the middle finger of her left hand became dyed black and something was grasped in her hand as if that something was wrapping around her grip.
It was a snake. No, it was a whip. No, as I thought, it was a snake. No, as I expected, it was a whip. As it was a snake, it was also a whip, and while it wasn’t a whip, it wasn’t a snake either. The thing I was certain of was the fact that it was alive. The fact that it was gripped in the Silver Lion Earl’s hand and was wiggling.
The Silver Lion Earl took in a deep breath and pulled back her shoulder.
My clothes were torn into.
The crack of the whip resonated with a delay. The pain, came together with that sound.
Flesh, and blood, splattered upwards much too slowly before falling to the floor.
I didn’t cry out.
Not me, but Zia⎯⎯⎯let out a cry, a groan that felt as if it were boiling death.
“That’s one.” The Silver Lion uttered and pulled back her shoulder once more. “There’s four left now.”
The whip moved as if it were splitting the air apart.
My consciousness was cut off for a second before continuing on. A thunderous crack. Splattering blood.
“With this, that’s two. It’s fine. You won’t die. You won’t die after all. Mr. Yujin? Be relieved. There are only three more lashes left. Now then, since you won’t die.”
With a tone that sounded as if she were coaxing a cat, the 3rd blow.
I didn’t meet, that 3rd blow.
It wasn’t because it was too fast. It wasn’t because my consciousness had cut off. In truth, my conscious was normal. It was excessively vivid and excessively clear. That was why I could see it. The sight of the Silver Lion Earl swinging her whip. The sight of Zia grasping her head. The sight of Yudia watching us with a glint in his eyes. And.
The sight of someone who had run over and tossed their body in order to cover me.
I spoke. I, I spoke, and,
Sii, who had collapsed on top of my body in an attempt to cover me, let out a moan that couldn’t be considered a response.
A weird expression. With a weird face that was smiling while crying, Sii looked down at me.
“Mikatni’s adopted daughter. What are you doing here?”
The Silver Lion Earl spoke. Sii, who had retracted her shoulders, spoke with a voice that was slow and fading like the blood that was flowing out of the area that was affected on her body.
“I asked you what you’re doing here, adopted daughter of Mikatni. Did you come here in order to see if there was anything else that was worth stealing? It seems even you lack in education. By the looks of it, it appears that a single arm as compensation wasn’t enough to teach yoouu a lesson.”
“I apologize······! I apologize······!” Swallowing down her saliva as if it were blood, and swallowing down her blood as if it were saliva, Sii Garno Mikatni wept. “I apologize······! But, b-b······but······!”
“Because you wanted to embrace him so much, did your hips end up moving first because you were unable to contain your urge? I expected nothing more from an obscene female cat of a maid. Why is it that there are so many people in our castle who are unable to learn how to ‘wait’? If you wish to embrace Yujin, then there should be a better time than this. For example, after he’s received his 3 remaining lashes and has passed out as a mess. Or⎯⎯⎯.”
“Me, he said that I was his friend······!!”
“Yujin······ Yup, Yujin······ said I was his friend······ for me, back then with the maids······ even now, Miss Knight⎯⎯⎯Miss Zia, he ignored her when she tried to stop him, yup, to Miss Earl······ he got upset, for me······ me······.”
“Saying that I was his friend······.” Tears streamed down Sii’s cheeks. “Me.”
The Silver Lion Earl spoke in a low voice.
“So what of it?”
Sii bit her bottom lip, and then.
In this situation.
In that state.
“I promised him······ in the beginning.”
Sii’s tears fell and wetted my face. Sii’s blood fell and soaked my stomach. It mixed together. Sii and my. At first the blood. And then.
“That I’ll tell her······ Miss Earl, that Yujin is a good boy······ that’s why.”
“If you wish,”
The Silver Lion uttered those words.
“Then okay, I’ll do it. Since Yujin said that you were his friend. Since he got mad for your sake. Since you felt indebtedness from that. In other words, you’re saying that you want to receive his lashings in his stead, right? How admirable. How beautiful. If that’s the case, then establishing that admirable story is probably the duty that I can carry out. Okay. If that’s how you want it.”
Her words stopped.
A shadow cast down above me. Above Sii’s white face as well.
Zia⎯⎯⎯Zia Batsand, spoke.
The sound of a thud.
The sound of kneeling.
The sound of crying.
With her hand pressed against her temple, the Silver Lion Earl spoke.
“Ah~ah, I told you, Zia. If you move, then that’s 10 more lashes. But why did you move? Why? Just why, aah. What I say. Just why is it that the people in this castle, the city people, everyone, towards what I say.”
“Everyone should die.”
The Silver Lion Earl threw the whip that was in her hand.
Before the whip could touch the ground, its summon was canceled, making it disappear. The Silver Lion Earl headed outside and left the office.
TL Note: Thanks for reading the chapter. The following chapters will probably be short like this so the next chapter might be released by the end of this week. Though, like I would always say, it depends on my schedule at work. If I’m suddenly given a lot of work, then it’ll be delayed,
In any case, to those of you who’re wondering why Yujin is behaving like this even though he’s always been so calm and composed until now, consider this fact: Yujin may have experienced an excruciating time during the 8 Years’ War, but those things were still somewhat restrained within the limitations of the law. Finding out that his friend had their arm cut off is probably a first for him. Asking someone to keep their calm in this sort of situation is asking a lot.