It was in the middle of the night when Sii had opened her eyes.
“Yujin! Don’t overdo yourself!”
Sii, who had listened to the whole story, spoke with puffed up cheeks.
“Really, what did you do while I was unconscious? For you to have charged towards Miss Earl, Miss Earl who was also in that basement room at that! There’s a limit to overworking yourself! Yujin’s arm could have flown off. There’s a chance that it could have not ended with just your arm!”
Sii uttered while patting my forehead. She was using her right arm which she had reattached⎯⎯⎯not.
I had received the severed arm within that day. I had received the medicine as well. Under Zia’s instructions, I had even attached it. However, Zia said this at the same time.
“Similar to how there are no magic spells that are omnipotent, there’s no medicine that’s omnipotent as well. Yujin, as these words can also be said in your World of Spires exactly, in this world, those words contain the same weight. It’d be a good idea if she didn’t push herself for the time being.”
“Can you elaborate on the definition of ‘for the time being’ and ‘push herself’?”
“The time period is about 1 month. To be more specific, she shouldn’t lift anything that’s heavier than a spoon.”
So in other words, this girl, who was in that state, was currently telling me not to overdo myself.
“Yujin. What’s with your face? ······Are you mad?”
Sii hesitantly drew back her hand and asked.
“I’m not mad.”
Although I actually was, it wasn’t towards Sii.
Moreover, an anger that came from being unable to change anything would only become a poison if you kept it contained within yourself. If you’re going to harbor it, then at the very least, you need to do so after you’ve gained the resolve to change something.
Zia placed a hand on my shoulder. I let out a sigh.
“I’m going to organize the situation.”
“First off, Sii can’t use her right arm for a month. Maid work will be impossible. Miss Sii, is it possible for you to apply for a long-term vacation?”
Sii let out an ‘eh’ sound.
“Something like that, how could it be possible······.”
“Miss Sii, please think about it a little more and answer. Is it possible, or is it impossible? If it’s impossible, then what’s the reason why you cannot? We can only think together if we know the situation as well. In a calm and orderly way.”
“······Mm, mmm.” After thinking about it for a moment, Sii Garno Mikatni responded hesitantly. “If I go back to Sir Mikatni’s home······ it may be possible. But even if I go back, I wouldn’t be able to spend my time there recuperating. Sir Mercè Mikatni has been bedridden and······ the person who currently has authority over both the house and the forge is Sir Mikatni’s actual daughter. In other words, my foster-sister. And that person, you should know since you met her last time, but······.”
“Yes, she dislikes Miss Sii, right? How about just living outside of the castle? For at least one month until your arm is healed.”
“That’d be possible if I had money saved up, but······.”
Sii trailed off. I understood what she meant since she was biting her lower lip.
“The pretext was that they discovered you stealing, right? Is it compensation?”
Instead of saying something, Sii responded by showing a flushed face. Her red face didn’t mean that she was embarrassed, but rather, it meant that she was angry.
“It’s most likely impossible to cover that compensation fee with the savings of a maid. For the time being, your savings were taken as a forfeit. Was the rest put under as debt?”
Sii’s red face became even more flushed. If I use the incident that occurred while I was still in the basement as the previous example, then it would be 3 times the value of the pieces of jewelry that were discovered. As I thought, even the Earl wouldn’t request for things without a decent reason······.
“The price of the medicine that helped reattach Miss Sii’s arm······.”
“I paid that part. You don’t have to worry about it.”
“Did the Earl not say something?”
“Whatever, is what she said. She simply said that. That’s why, I simply did whatever.”
“It should have been quite expensive. A medicine that can reattach an arm, that is.”
“I used up all of my savings.”
Zia spoke while averting her gaze. Sii made a precipitously panicked face.
“Thank you very much, Miss Zia. For someone like me······.”
“······There’s no reason for you to thank me. When your arm was being cut off, and even when Yujin and her Excellency were talking in the basement, in the end, I wasn’t helpful at all.”
That’s why this is the least I could do, it felt as if I could hear these words inaudibly. Zia Batsand. My sword.
“You really don’t have any tact, do you?”
“What do you mean, Yujin?”
It was literally as I had said.
If I were to speak from my perspective, then that insect creature not having to experience any more pain in that very moment was thanks to Zia’s entrance, so she wasn’t entirely unhelpful. But if she was going to agonize over it by herself, then it’ll probably be better off if I let her reproach herself for now. Furthermore, that agony on her face wasn’t solely because she was blaming herself.
“Also, Yujin, for the time being, it’ll be difficult for us to meet.”
“Is it because of Yudia?”
“That’s⎯⎯⎯right. My teacher plans to stay here through the entirety of this month and the month after. As his pupil and as Her Excellency the Earl’s knight, I must accompany him. Moreover, if you consider the prophecy, then······ with my teacher, while he’s here for this month, if I don’t protect Her Excellency’s side······.”
“I see you’re still concerned about that prophecy.”
“······It’s fine to scoff at me, Yujin. You have the right to do so.”
Within this girl, her overall priority will always have the Earl at the top. As much as I was aware of this, there was nothing I could be hurt about or scoff at.
“Just make sure to change the battery on your teacher’s phone properly. The solar power generator, you roughly understand how to use it, right? If there’s perhaps something he doesn’t know, then tell him to come to me.”
“······Even after going through all that, you’re still concerned about my teacher?”
“If I said I wasn’t upset, then that would be a lie. But I’m the one who had paid dearly for judging a person wrong. If I’m going to continue getting involved with your teacher, then I should make sure to learn about him properly this time.”
“By those words, then even Her Excellency······?”
“I won’t give up on her.”
I adjusted my glasses and spoke.
“Everything I said to the Earl back in the basement was sincere. Without that girl, I won’t be able to survive here and I also won’t be able to return home. Furthermore, if I’m unable to get that distant from her physically, then that means I can’t leave her alone mentally either. Consistently sticking by her side and improving her by even the slightest amount is for my sake. I won’t give up on it.”
“There’s nothing in the world that’s a waste of time, after all.”
If I deduct the optimal situation and go forward while taking steps that only involve tasks that I’m capable of, then one day.
“······Thank you, Yujin.”
“Don’t thank me. I said it in the basement, but this is for myself. That’s why there’s no need for you to be concerned in that regard······ and returning back to the topic of Sii. Miss Sii, it’d be difficult for you to go around the castle as a maid while not working, right?”
“Eh! ······Uu, uuhm. No matter how I think about it, that’s······ people like Mari wouldn’t stay still······.”
“I have an idea regarding that, but······ anyway, it’s fine. While Miss Sii’s arm is healing, I’ll take care of all of Miss Sii’s duties.”
“T-There’s no······ in the first place, isn’t Yujin a squire? Even if you say my duties, they’re all duties of a maid. If asked, it’s already weird that you’ve been spending your time with me until now······ for you to even do my job in my stead, that’s.”
“I wanted to do something about that with certainty anyway. Zia, what’s my current status? I’m still your knight apprentice, right?”
“······That’s, right. As long as Her Excellency the Earl doesn’t prepare a new job for you or give you any verbal promises, then I believe that standing will continue.”
“All right. If that’s the case, then, for the time being, give me the permission to be Sii’s guardian. Inform the Earl about it as well. If the Earl calls, then I’ll dash to her no matter what, so please tolerate this. Tell her that.”
Considering the Silver Lion Earl’s pride, she’ll probably only give a ‘whatever’ as a response, but it’s important that I gave a pledge to her.
There’s a chance that Sii’s arm would have never been cut off if I had done this at the start.
There’s no need for ‘a chance’.
“Yujin······ is that fine?”
Sii inquired cautiously. I gave her a nod.
“It’s fine. Rather, don’t overexert yourself, Miss Sii. If you overexert yourself further than this and strain your arm, then at that time, I’ll get angry.”
Sii sealed her lips. With a red face, she lowered her head while hugging her shoulders.
“Okay~~! That’s obvious. I don’t want to live with only a single arm as well! Because I’ll be careful······ Mm, I’ll be careful, Yujin!”
Sii uttered that and laughed, ‘Ehehe’.
“Zia, can you leave for a second?”
“Hm? What’s the matter, Yujin?”
“Just leave for now. This is a request.”
“······Mm. Understood. It’s about time for me to check on the horses anyway. I’ll be right back.”
Zia looked back and forth between Sii and me before standing up. Zia bowed her head once and headed outside.
Dawn was breaking. From the stables, while the sound of the horses⎯⎯⎯it’s not an exact expression, but if I were to substitute it with something from my world, then it would be difficult to translate it as something else⎯⎯⎯flapping their wings resonated, Sii and I were left alone in the office.
“Hm~~? What is it, Yujin?”
“Are you all right?”
Sii opened her eyes wide.
“Hm? Yup~······ like I said, I’m okay. I don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m fine······ and you said you’ll look after me, Yujin!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yup yup. Really. More than that, Yujin, I’ve been asking since before, but are you o⎯⎯⎯.”
“I’m not okay.”
I pushed up my glasses.
The words I couldn’t say while Zia was here, I said them.
“I’m mad at the Silver Lion Earl.”
“Y-Yujin, what are you······ i-if you say, those words thoughtlessly⎯⎯⎯.”
“Miss Sii, are you not upset?”
The smile on the edge of Sii’s lips thickened.
“Up······set, Yujin? What are you saying? If anything, I’m grateful towards Miss Earl’s kindness. Although it hurt a bit and was unfair······ she gave me my arm back, gave me medicine······ and at that time too! She didn’t lash me with her whip more. Yup yup, you should quickly forget the things that can’t be helped!”
“Yup~~! Really. Ehehe······ Yujin, as well, should quickly forget it. Because it’d be good, yup. Yujin.”
“Are you all right?”
“It’s fine for you to tell me.”
That’s why, Miss Sii, I continued.
“Are you all right?”
Sii grasped her head.
“There’s no way, I’d be all right······!!”
Her pale face became as bright as a fire. It went beyond that, making her face appear as if it were boiling like the surface of lava.
“My arm······ even though I didn’t do anything, my arm······! It hurt······ I was scared······! Adding to that, what do you mean by medicine······ Don’t make me laugh! In the first place, in the first place······ why······ if you’re going to do this, then why······ if you didn’t cut it off in the first place······ I, just why did my arm······ Money! Whipped! Even Yujin was whipped······ Don’t make me laugh······!!”
While gritting her teeth, while gritting her teeth as if she were grinding a millstone, she spoke⎯⎯⎯.
“I’m mad······ I’m, mad······!!”
The tears flowing down her cheeks mixed together with the blood flowing from her lips and became dyed pink.
“That girl, that girl······ I absolutely won’t leave her alone······ one day, without fail······! No matter what happens, without fail······!”
“Without fail, I’ll kill⎯⎯⎯.”
I pulled Sii into a hug.
The heated Sii, although I’ve felt it several times before, she was surprisingly hot. And small. She was trembling. It felt as if I were embracing a burning up baby bird. I’ll be burned. It won’t end with being burned. I’ll melt. I was aware of that.
I didn’t let her go.
“Miss Sii, any more than that.”
“Yu······jin, why······? You said it was fine to say it······ that’s why, I, I, as well⎯⎯⎯.”
“That’s correct. It’s all right, but any more than that is.”
That summer that felt as if I’d melt. The cries of a starling that had filled my head to the brim.
The hospital room Minhee was in. Chanmi and I.
“Because I’ve gone there before, I know.”
“There are people who believe that hatred makes people stronger. If you’re a normal person, then you wouldn’t seriously believe that. Rage is the same as well. Once you cross a fixed line, there’ll only be ashes there. You yourself will burn and disappear. That’s why, any more than this. Just to this point.”
Don’t forget your current emotions.
Don’t be swept away by them.
“Since I’ll help you, you must help me.”
Even if it takes a somewhat long period of time.
“To hear the Silver Lion Earl say, I’m sorry.”
“To make her say, it was my mistake.”
“Let us make her plead to us.”
Sii grit her teeth. Heavy breathing. Each time Sii let out a breath, it felt as if my chest, which was embracing her, was being singed. Red, her face that was burning a dark reddish color was slowly returning back to her original white color.
Eventually, Sii spoke.
She nodded and, tightly, after pulling me into a crushingly tight hug, Sii Garno Mikatni spoke.
“Okay~~! Let’s do it! Yujin! Certainly, without fail, let’s make her do that!”
TL Note: This the last chapter of volume 2. The side story and the afterword are after this. As some people could tell by the title of the side story on the ToC, it’ll be about Yudia Batsand. It’ll be diving further into his backstory and it’ll give a rather clear picture of what kind of character he is. I should be finished with volume 2 entirely within this week, so look forward to it.
Furthermore, to those of you who keep asking when Dungeon Defense volume 5 is coming out, I literally explained it in the TL note of both the last chapter and the intermission of volume 4 that the release date hasn’t been announced yet. I make sure to check up on their site nearly every day, so the moment I see that it’s announced, I’ll make a post about it on my site. If you don’t see the post, then that means it hasn’t been announced. Stop. Asking.