TL note: Sorry for the late upload. Like I mentioned in the previous chapter, I’ve been really busy last week and was barely able to write 8k words. This chapter also turned out much longer than I predicted, so that factors in my lateness as well.
In other news, names are hard:
Even if you become impatient, it can’t be helped.
Life isn’t a quiz show. Something like a host who overuses 2-3 times chance opportunities just because their show has entered the mid-portion of the program, those people don’t exist. It’s not like chances themselves are non-existent, it’s just that, to an extent, those are all just bonuses. The only trick to obtaining a high score is to pile it up earnestly.
This is the same even if your start is somewhat late. If you’re at the bottom, then you have to gradually gather points while you’re back there. For starters, while within a pace where you can maintain both your balance and breathing, run. Walk at the very least. Don’t stop if possible, and absolutely never fall down.
As long as you don’t fall down, the opportunity to run will arrive.
I raised a needle and thread in one hand. After threading the piece of string through the needle while using a tool from the sewing kit, which I had brought back from Earth, I held it up. I adjusted my voice as I began to sew.
“The first pillar rose in the north. The first shadow to cast down on the earth floated up and became clouds. Mixed together with the first raindrops to seep into the earth, the second pillar struck down to the right. The dust that scattered piled up and became mountain ranges······.”
As this was a hymn that described the creation of this world and was the national anthem that praised the founding process of this country, it was a practical song that helped people become accustomed to the words and numbers of this language. Once I got to the part where the ninth pillar struck down due west and shook the entire world, I stopped singing.
“Done.” After making a knot, I spoke. “You can turn on the lights now.”
“Eck!? I’m not······.”
Although I could hear a panicked voice, someone soon turned on the lights. Within the now brightened room, I was sitting face to face with a maid, a single table placed between us, and with other maids standing around us. The maid in front of me, who had been sewing while leaning forward a bit, barked.
“W-What is this!? It hasn’t even been 10 minutes! How sloppily did you do it for you to have finished so quickly!?”
This girl’s name was Kina. Because of her short height, which didn’t even reach a single meter high, her small physique, and the fluffy dog ears hanging off both sides of her head, you could tell that she wasn’t a human but a type of beast race.
It was a misleading expression. It’s questionable whether otherworlders, like the Earl and Zia, were even the same race as the people from Earth or not. In any case, among the classifications of this world, her race seemed to be referred to as Extro’ tiel(The race of cutting teeth······ I’ll be liberally translating it to Saber-Fangs), and if I were to distinguish her by her personality, then she was one of the idiot trio types.
Although she seemed to have nimble fingers that were at least more impressive than the other maids, she wasn’t a match for me.
“······Kina. The sewing that this guy······this person did, is perfect.”
The maid known as Shiyo(she’s a normal human) hesitantly made a fair evaluation. Kina pricked up her ears as if she couldn’t believe Shiyo’s words, but once she saw the fabric that I had sewn, Kina became speechless. She then hesitantly hid her needlework behind her back.
“Wan! This doesn’t count! Because you started singing all of a sudden! That’s why I couldn’t concentrate!”
“W-W-W-What are you staring at!? Woof! Why did you suddenly start singing!?”
“In order to rhythmically maintain the distance between the stitches.”
“······I-Is it possible to maintain the distance by doing that?”
Is this fellow’s dexterity actually impressive? Even the buttons attached to the maid uniform she’s wearing were sewn on crookedly. Instead of pointing that out, I reached out and took Kina’s needlework. I tailored it while humming. I finished sewing around the time Kina’s ears had become pricked up and were as straight as rails.
“If there’s more to be done, then hand it to me.”
“Is there no more?”
“T-That’s everything······ for, today. Woof······.”
Kina uttered and averted her gaze. I nodded and gestured towards her.
“Then take those clothes off.”
“The buttons are crooked. I’ll fasten it properly.”
“Y-Y-You don’t have to worry about that!”
Well, it can’t be helped then. I didn’t pester her any further with my offer and proceeded to neatly fold the pieces of fabrics. A scarlet cat, twelve fingers, a violet swamp, etc, they were burgees with all sorts of crests embroidered onto them.
“Nyaah! But don’t think that this is the end! There are more things to do tomorrow! If you want to properly welcome guests, then you need to do a lot more!”
I nodded and departed from the room.
I placed a broom and dustpan on one side. I stood in front of a bookshelf and looked around the entire room. I set the rags out in a line and flipped a sponge insect upside down beside the rags. After glancing down at the metallic limbs wriggling underneath the sponge-like body, I dusted my hands.
After finishing my preparations like that, I immediately started to clean. I moved every carriable object outside of the room. Following after that, I promptly lowered my back and began sweeping. I gathered all of the trash into one area, and after transferring the dust and trash from the dustpan to the trash can, I threw away the garbage. The wiping, which started immediately after that, ended the instant both sides of every single rag had all been used. I gathered all of the used tools into one spot and carried back everything that I had taken outside.
One of the lady type maids, a girl named Seri, gathered her hands in front of her chest.
She looked as if she were incredibly impressed. Several of the other maids, as if they were displeased by this, barked their complaints.
“Wooof! Senior Seri! What’s with that expression! That’s unlike you who was once called the Empress of Cleaning!”
“That’s right! Don’t let that pervert······that mister, who fancies himself as that Whitey’s toy put on airs!”
“Kina, Shiyo, be quiet.”
Kina and Shiyo, who had raised their tone a second ago, lowered their heads with sullen looks on their faces. Seri, thinking they were hopeless, scratched her cheek before walking towards me.
“Thank you for your assistance. Although I believe that we’re making you work too hard for something like cleaning.”
“Starting from cleaning, if you develop a habit for these sorts of things, then you can also efficiently respond to other things that aren’t ‘something like this’.”
“Are you sure that life doesn’t become more complicated because of that?”
I didn’t answer.
Seri placed the back of her hand near the edge of her mouth and giggled.
“It’s indeed something that’s worth modeling oneself after. As much as we have big guests scheduled to visit one after the other, it’d be a good idea to be on the side of doing the cleaning thoroughly. Did you say your name was Sir Yujin?”
“It’s fine to not attach the sir.”
“All right, Sir Yujin.” Seri, who had approached slowly, brushed my shoulder as if she were stroking it. “Then we’ll be in your care until Sii has recovered.”
I picked up the laundry which had to be hung out to dry in my hands.
They had just arrived from the second-floor basement of the central tower. The opportunity to reveal what facility is located there will probably arrive one day. I’ll just say that it’s a place where you can use as much hot water as you want. Before the heated laundry, which had yet to lose its warmth, could cool down, I used them to thaw my hands.
“······I see, you’re a pervert.”
A maid named Alshi muttered. She was one of the martial artist type maids that I saw when I first came up from the basement. She had long, straight, black hair and a small frame. She already looked as if she had a layer of skin that was one size too small for her, but her firm body type made her slightly large chest stick out further.
I decided to acknowledge the fact that having my hands shoved into a pile of socks and stockings could appear weird.
“The weather is cold so I, do understand. It’s something I, do often as well after all. But at the very least, do it with the larger articles of clothing.”
The socks with the socks, the stockings with the stockings, the panties with the panties, and the tops and bottoms with the tops and bottoms, I separated each article of clothing by their types and stacked them up in their own respective piles. There were also bed sheets and blankets. This laundry had come from the living quarters of the maids. Although it appeared as if there were no marks on any of these to distinguish who the owner was, there were probably various distinct characteristics about each article of clothing that only their owners could recognize. Except, only Sii’s shabby stockings stuck out like a sore thumb. I should buy her a bunch of new ones when I go back to Korea.
I started to hang the laundry up. The drying area on the rooftop of the Star Tower was the optimal place for sunlight. I hung up the bed sheets and blankets first, the tops and bottoms of clothes followed after that, then the stockings, and for last, I hung up the undergarments and the socks. During that process, I checked on the generator which I had brought back from Korea. Due to the fact that I had installed these kinds of generators a countless number of times back during the 8 Years’ War, this generator was functioning properly as well. However, because of this very generator and also because of the laundry that had been set out to dry, there was a single thing that I was worried about.
“What happens if it rains?”
The clothes will most likely be fine, but I was more worried about the bed sheets and blankets. However, Alshi gestured towards a drainage pipe without any concern.
“It’s set up so that the rain scatters and, goes in there. With the power of, magic.”
So it’s a fantasy setting in this part.
No, everything has been a fantasy setting since the very beginning······.
If there’s no need to be worried about the rain, then the next thing that should be held in concern was the chance of theft, however, that doesn’t feel like something I should be particularly worried about here. Knowledge about the Silver Lion Earl’s resoluteness when it comes to responding to acts of thievery should have already spread widely throughout the castle by now and they should also have their own safety measures. Above all, this was the rooftop of the Star Tower.
After hanging up all of the laundry, I started to gather together the previously hung up laundry, which I had spread out beforehand, and placed them into a pile. I then began to fold them. Alshi, who was displaying an upset expression the entire time, had a quizzical look the moment she saw me folding the clothes.
Alshi attempted to copy my movements multiple times before making a face that looked as if she had fallen into a sea of mystery.
“How do you, do that?”
I showed it to her.
Alshi attempted it once more and made a face that appeared as if she had been scammed.
“······Really, how do you, do it?”
I gave her a demonstration. Placing the shirt of a maid uniform down on a flat surface, I traced a horizontal line across the center of the shirt and drew another vertical line down from the right shoulder, making a sort of cross. After that, I pinched the intersection point of the two lines with one hand, grabbed the right shoulder with my other hand, and I then folded the shirt down towards the bottom point of the vertical line and flipped it.
(TL note: Example video)
Alshi, who had been watching my demonstration carefully, attempted it once more. It wasn’t long before an expression of realization spread across her face.
“······So it’s, magic.”
That’s not right.
It’d be great if these people didn’t depend on a fantastical setting so easily just because they’re in a fantasy world.
“Place it down in front of you.”
Alshi placed the shirt down before her. I moved and stood behind her.
“May I grab your hands?”
“I have, a lover.”
“I pray for your happiness together. May I grab your hands?”
Alshi conceded. I grabbed her hands and moved them like I did my own while folding the shirt a second ago. Alshi’s expression finally changed into that of understanding once I made her fold five shirts like that.
“Ooooooh······ Thank you, very much!”
Alshi spoke while trembling in awe. I patted her head since her reaction was cute.
It seems there were maids who didn’t like that.
“Woof! Alshi! What are you doing!? Isn’t it fatal if a man touches you!?”
“Where’s Ariya in a time like this!? I’m going to tell her everything!”
These two, what jobs were they exactly in charge of for them to be able to follow behind me like this all the time?
“Because of an errand for Miss Sophna, Ariya went to the arena. Rather than that, Shiyo, Kina, aren’t you two not, supposed to be here? You don’t, have other jobs?”
I remembered the named Sophna. Around the time when I had just arrived in this world and had to write the Silver Lion Earl’s speech, Sophna was a person with the title of ‘Head Vassal’. Yudia mentioned her name as well. Although I’ve never actually seen her before.
“I-I just came here to meet a family member!”
“That’s riiight! Kina’s relative is a guard, remember?”
And this was the reason why I said that ‘it should be fine to lower my concern a bit since this was the rooftop of the Star Tower’. The Star Tower was the headquarters for the guards.
Alshi’s expression contorted. The name ‘Ariya’ that kept being mentioned, moreover, if you make the assumption that that ‘Ariya’ was Alshi’s lover, then a conversation about the guards wouldn’t be pleasant to her. Although it seems Kina had realized this as well, contrary to apologizing, she pricked up her ears instead.
“Hmph! If anything, aren’t you the one who shouldn’t be here? For someone like you who has a thief as her lover!” Woof!”
“Ah, wait, Kina. That’s a bit too much······.”
“What is!? Woof! It’s the truth, isn’t it!? Alshi, if you also⎯⎯⎯upah!”
Kina, who had received a fastball to the face with a ball of laundry, flailed her arms around. Alshi glared at Kina with cold eyes and picked up another piece of laundry in order to make another ball.
“Grrrrr······ you dare-go-against-meeeee-!?”
Kina’s height increased by 3 times and her frame increased to a size that befitted that height. Her maid uniform swelled up as well, shifting in order to match her new physique. However, only the buttons on her uniform were unable to win against the pressure and ended up becoming misaligned. It took less than 2 seconds for this entire process to finish.
I felt like I understood why her race was called ‘Saber-Fangs’ and not just ‘beast race’. Her eye-catchingly large dog ears from when she was still short, didn’t change even after her body size had increased. On the other hand, her mouth stretched all the way to her ears and the teeth within her mouth literally became as sharp as daggers.
Even with Kina, who had transformed like the Kuchisake-onna, standing before her, Alshi didn’t shrink back whatsoever. If anything, at the same time of her throwing the laundry she had in her hand like a pickoff ball, Alshi tried to leap forward in order to close the distance between her and Kina.
Although I’m not certain, I would have probably been able to witness an amazing fantasy fight scene if I just stood here and watched. However, instead of doing that, I intercepted the pickoff ball that Alshi had tossed and stood between the two maids.
Alshi halted. Kina got upset.
“Woof! Why are you getting in the way!?!“
“Don’t fight. As you mentioned earlier, we’re right above the main building of the guards. Aren’t you ashamed to meet that family member of yours who’s a part of the guards?”
Kina’s blade-like teeth interlocked. Shiyo, who was waving her arms around, quickly pulled on Kina’s sleeves, thinking that she would miss this opportunity if she didn’t intervene as well.
“That’s riiight. Stop it, Kinaa. Alshi, you too. Kina didn’t say all that on purpose, it was just a slip of her tongue.”
Kina’s body shrunk down to her original size. She stood on her tip toes, raised her ears, and pointed her finger at me.
“Woof! You’re really annoying! I’ll definitely unmask you one day!”
“I don’t wear things like masks.”
“Shut up! Let’s go, Shiyo!”
“All right, let’s be on our way.”
Kina and Shiyo then turned around and walked off. The things we had to do on the rooftop of the Star Tower, which was now absent of obstructors, were clear.
“Now then, let’s fold the rest of the laundry.”
I uttered as I picked up the laundry that Alshi had tossed and hung it up. Alshi let out a sigh and gazed at me.
“You’re a fool, I see.”
“For you to have stood in front of a Saber-Fang while they’re in their Troxi(Translating······ ‘Take out?’ ‘Unsheathed?’ I’ll translate it as ‘Unsheathed state’). It’s something that can’t be done, if you’re sane. You could have been injured, you know?”
“The very person who had taunted the other individual and made them enter that unsheathed state is saying something like that to me, that’s a surprise.”
“I can, take care of myself. However, you’re weak.”
“I’m definitely unable to fight. I hate it after all.” I spoke. “That’s why, if possible, I want to stop the fights that I can stop.”
Alshi stared at me. Shortly after, she shrugged.
“······You really are, an idiot.”
“I’m not particularly dimwitted.”
“No, you’re an, idiot.” After declaring that as if she were nailing her statement down, Alshi crouched down once more and started to fold the clothes. “Idiot.”
I didn’t make any more rebuttals and went to help her out instead.
It wasn’t long before our task was complete. Alshi dusted her hands and gazed up at me.
“So, idiot. Did you, eat yet?”
“I was planning to now.”
With my hand, I grabbed the handle of a frying pan that had finished heating up.
I placed the minced pieces of meat onto the surface of the pan, making sure that the skin part of the meat was the side that was touching the surface. I slowly maneuvered the frying pan in order to prevent the meat from scorching and sticking to the pan before I largely shook the frying pan once and flipped the pieces of meat over. The side of the meat that was cooked into a golden color became exposed while the pink undercooked side went underneath.
When the grease from the heated meat started to let out an audible grilling sound while also letting off a white steam, I added the vegetables. Once the water from the vegetables and the juices from the meat mixed together and evaporated, a pleasant aroma started to emanate from the frying pan. A wave of heat brushed passed my face every time I shook the pan. Around the time when I felt a vague taste on the end of my tongue, I stopped the heat, let out a breath, and pushed the contents of the pan onto a plate.
“Stir-fried bunny beef with garlic and cabbage is complete.”
Forks immediately carpet bombed the plate. Each fork, with a piece of meat impaled onto them, went into the mouths of their respective owners.
“······It’s tastier than what Raya makes.”
The first person to evaluate the food while placing her hand against her mouth was Aresa. Among the co-existing lilies type, she was the maid who was more on the passive side. As expected, Raya, who was the other co-existing lilies type but with a more dominant personality, appeared as if her feelings were hurt.
“Aresa······! Are you saying that seriously?”
“······Ah, sorry······. But it’s the truth. Have a bite.”
Aresa picked up another piece of meat with her fork and fed it to Raya. Although Raya raised her eyes, she soon placed her hand against her mouth like Aresa did.
“It’s tastier than what I make.”
“Overall,” I spoke while cleaning the frying pan with a sponge insect. “Raya, you don’t mince the meat enough. The meat won’t cook well. In order to cover that, you make the fire stronger. The taste becomes clouded. In order to cover that, you add more condiments. The taste becomes sharp. In order to round that out, you stir it for a long time. You mess up the timing of the stirring.”
The sponge insect squirmed, making its many metallic legs collide against one another. Raya thought about what I told her for a moment before tilting her head.
“Then do I just have to cut the meat a lot?”
“That’s the first reason. To be more precise, you need to touch up the meat more. After that, keep the flame weak.”
“Touch it up more, keep the flames weak······ don’t put in water, use an adequate amount of condiments. The timing of the stirring, mm······.”
“Getting accustomed to managing the condiments and the timing of the stirring is something that’ll happen as you continue to cook. For starters, handling the ingredients and controlling the intensity of the fire, as long as you’re able to maintain these two things, you won’t fail in making stir-fried food.”
Raya fell into deep thought. It seems there were maids who were displeased by this since they got upset.
“Woof! Why are you just taking it in! Grrr! Raya, you, chewchew, don’t you have any pride, nomnom, as the one in charge of the cooking!?”
“That’s right, that’s right! Even when Miss Abria came to visit, omom, didn’t you say that they put away everything you made, and the stuff that guy······gulp. That mister made went out instead!? Doesn’t that ruin, nyamnyam, your priiide!?”
“······Uhm, Kina, Shiyo. If you’re going to say that, then you can at least do so after having swallowed your food······ although I feel sorry to be the one to say this······.”
“But it’s tasty!”
“Raya! You definitely have to make your food like this next tiiime!”
“Can you not shout at Aresa?”
The maids, who had raised their voices, folded their arms and puffed out their cheeks. Raya let out a sigh and turned to me.
“I should thank you for your advice. I understand well that you aren’t someone who only knows how to flap his lips. Of course, in the first place, I should have blamed my lacking dignity······.”
Raya’s gaze dropped to the side as she spoke. As the person who had talked down on her food when Abria Mikatni was visiting, I could only shrug my shoulders in response.
“The fact that you’re able to reflect on your actions means that you can become better. You’re also young. Don’t worry about it too much.”
“How old are you?”
“I’ll be 19 this year. It should be similar in this world’s standards as well.”
Should I reply that maturity has nothing to do with age? No, there’s a chance that she’ll just hear it as me bragging. If you look back at what she said a second ago, then, even if I don’t tell her, she’s most likely already aware of this.
I should shift the conversation by complimenting her.
“So you have a young face. I thought that you were younger than me.”
“No matter how much you praise the moon, you can’t stop the sun from rising.”
“It’s not lip service. Your skin is clean and your hair is smooth.”
Although Raya didn’t respond, she didn’t blush either. She merely pulled back her shoulders as if she were uncomfortable with the compliments. Although every female in this world wasn’t as difficult as the Silver Lion Earl, they weren’t as easy as Sii and Kina either.
Of course, that’s different according to how you compliment them.
“It must be nice for Aresa to have someone like you so close to her.”
Raya twitched. Aresa let out a breath.
“······ Yup, not particularly. She’s really violent when she’s moody after all.”
“······Ah, sorry. But it’s the truth······.”
Both Aresa and Raya lowered their heads with flustered expressions on their faces. Even while like that, the two approached one another and grabbed the other’s hand. Their action was natural and didn’t have any superfluousness to it. Raya, who had turned to look back at me, no longer had any signs of discomfort in her eyes.
“Tsk. If it’s like this, then I’ll have to keep leaving the cooking for the reception of guests to you. But don’t get too elated about this. I’ll make sure to take in all of your tips in no time.”
“All right. Next time, I’ll teach you how to bake snacks.”
Raya made an embarrassed smile.
Like so, as I continued to do Sii’s tasks in her stead, night had soon arrived. I spoke with my head lowered while in the Silver Lion Earl’s office.
“⎯⎯⎯That’s everything that happened today. Earl, if I acted out of place or did something wrong, then punish me accordingly.”
It was a routine report. After I declared that I belonged to the Silver Lion Earl, I planned to repeat this procedure every night. After giving a report on the things that happened during that day, the decisions I made on that day, and the reason behind those respective decisions, I asked the Earl for her judgment. Moreover, I also gave her reports about the things that were going to happen, the decisions I’ll be making during those times, and the reason behind those respective decisions. After doing that, I would then ask for her permission to do them.
I won’t do something that’ll harm the Silver Lion Earl’s dignity.
If I did or if I had to do it, then I would explain it to her beforehand and apologize.
The fact that I’m the Silver Lion Earl’s possession, I ascertained this fact every day.
There was only one thing that I excluded from those routine reports. My long-term goal of receiving an apology from her.
The Silver Lion Earl whistled.
“Ah hah ha. Hm, I don’t really see anything you did today as having gone out of bounds or wrong. Albeit it’s still weird that a squire is doing the tasks of a maid.”
I wordlessly kept my head lowered. There was a chance that saying anything related to Sii would upset the Silver Lion Earl.
It seems that was the right answer. With her head leaning against her hand, the Silver Lion Earl didn’t say anything more about it. Instead, she brought up something else.
“By your report, it seems there’s a yapping dog who’s been following you around. How about it, Mr. Yujin⎯⎯⎯should I call her here and lecture her a bit?”
“Hmm, it’s okay to accept my offer, you know? The fact that there are fellows who don’t recognize the people that are above and below them is the same in any world. That’s why the Laugh Hunters are able to make a living.”
“Sorry. I don’t watch Infinite Challenge.”
“You, are you even a Korean?”
It’s troubling if I hear that from an otherworlder.
“Lately, it hasn’t been a program of that extent. An eternal king doesn’t exist.”
“Hmn. Even though the title of the show is Infinite Challenge, they aren’t infinite when it comes to that challenge, huh? This is what they call a contradicting irony in Korea, right?”
Zia was like this as well, but these two really say some old-fashioned bad jokes. It’s probably because of the gap between when Ahyeon was here and when I had arrived. I’ve been diligently updating them, but it seems the road we have to take is still long.
In any case, I succeeded in changing the topic. The Silver Lion Earl waved her hand.
“Stand properly, Mr. Yujin.”
I stood. The Silver Lion Earl gestured for me to approach her by bobbing her toes and then pulled me into a hug. A fragrance that felt as if mercury, coated in the scent of roses, was filling my chest. Her fluffy coat made me feel as if I were descending into a deep chasm.
“Good boy, good boy, Mr. Yujin. If you keep being well-behaved like this, then I’ll dote on you. I’ll dote on you lots and lots. I’ll make you into the general of endearingness, you know? Ah hah hah ha.”
The Silver Lion Earl⎯⎯⎯was patting my head. Instead of just wordlessly receiving the patting, I got down on one knee in order to make it easier for her to stroke my head. The Silver Lion Earl chuckled and crossed her legs before passing me a file.
“Now then, Mr. Yujin. This is your work for today.”
The City of Confinement.
The settled population was approximately 20,000. The average number of the unsettled population was approximately 5,000. The area of the city was roughly 7 square kilometers. The key industries of this city were the industrial industry, the mining industry, and the manufacturing industry.
This wasn’t a major city.
The fact that a city of this size wasn’t considered a ‘major city’ in this world, which at a glance looked as if it were still in the Middle Ages, meant that, besides the fact that this world’s productive capacity was being supported by magic, the world was simply that advanced. People who starved to death existed and infectious diseases occasionally went around, but those things weren’t dire. The ‘Union of Agriculture’, ‘Council of Craftsmen’, and the ‘Alchemy Fortress’ were doing their jobs properly and they continued to openly prove that they were veteran factions even among the 12 Factions of the World. The reason why the City of Confinement, which was managed by the Silver Lion Earl, was considered nothing more than a medium-sized town was understandable.
However, just because the size of the city was small didn’t mean that there was that little number of things to manage as well. Even in Samwon Highschool, which had a little over 400 enrolled students, incidents occurred nearly every day. Hoping for nothing to happen in this city that has to shoulder every activity done by around 25,000 humans, starting from when they leave their beds and until they return to their beds at night, would be excessively greedy.
“I’ll say this now, but even if you’re doing Mikatni’s adopted daughter’s tasks in her stead, hmph. Like I said, that’s a maid’s job, right? Because it isn’t Mr. Yujin’s job. Therefore, even if you’re exhausted from doing maid work, Mr. Yujin. The number of things Mr. Yujin has to do won’t be reduced.”
“I know. Do I have to read the paper?”
“YesYes. Reading commence.”
“Okay. Your Excellency the Earl, in the waterway of the mining district yesterday······.”
“Translate it into Korean and read it.”
“In the waterway of the mining district yesterday, the two corpses that were discovered were both females. Not only were they contaminated by the precipitation which flowed down from the open storage area, but because they had no possessions whatsoever on them, we were unable to find out anything more about them. Seeing that there were no missing person reports, we assume that they’re foreigners from outside of the city. Report written by Roroa, Assistant Commissioner of the guards. That’s it.”
“Hmm, what should be done?”
“Can’t you figure out who they are by summoning a relative through a catalyst of life that’s smeared on their bodies?”
“Eck~ it’s probably possible, but, I wonder what should be done about the assistant knight who’s telling his lord to feel up a rotten corpse. In any case, think about it logically.”
“Sorry. I’m an advocate of efficiency after all.”
“Hm. For starters, I don’t want to touch dead bodies, and the possibility that such catalysts were all washed away by the water is Humpty Dumpty.”
“Fifty Fifty. You’re saying that it’s a 50:50 chance, right?”
“You’re quite the explanation freak. That’s right. Moreover, if they’re foreigners and not citizens of this city, then they aren’t worth the trouble. If anything, it’ll probably only borrow trouble. That kind of feeling, you know? Something like that.”
“So it’s a problem of jurisdiction?”
“Yeess. If they were just injured while within the city, then I could offer them medical treatment, but if they were discovered as corpses? The fact that their identities are unknown means that they might be nobles. That’s why, if they really are nobles, then this is now ‘Bothersome, the Beginning’. Thus, I’m contemplating whether I should bury them or not. Or will Mr. Yujin reveal a solution right here and now? Should I get you an armchair?”
(TL note: ‘Bothersome, the Beginning’ is supposed to read like some movie title.)
“Sorry, but my head isn’t as good as that.”
“Ah hah ha, all right. Don’t mind, don’t mind! Let’s go to the next item on the agenda then. Read it.”
I did as I was told.
“I wish to make an appeal to the administration which is under the exclusive authorization of Your Excellency the Earl. My name is Mablo Ixidin and as an honorable resident of this city, I have repaid Your Excellency’s grace with the payment of taxes and my loyalty. The incident that had occurred to this loyal citizen may truly be referred to as a curse which had been bestowed upon me by the Twelve Gods. In order to overcome it, I plea for a Kurosotia······ Mental Armor······.”
(TL note: Reference to Volume 1 Chapter 5, Mental Armor)
“Kuh? Ah hah hah hah ha, ah~ you’re not wrong, but, ukuku!”
That damn Zia.
“I plea for a brave warrior to be sent. The issue which I am currently undergoing is a conflict that involves the usage of water. Although it has always been arranged so that I’m allowed to use more water, which is bestowed upon us by Your Excellency the Earl, from the upper-level, Carlson Viratch, who must receive divine retribution, has been ignoring that settlement and has been claiming that I do not have the rights to take the water from the upper-level. I am unable to acknowledge this since I personally pay more taxes than Viratch’s family does as a whole, so I believe that it’s obvious that I have more rights than he does to use the water on the upper-level. That’s it.”
“Mhm, but your literature skill has really gone up by a lot.”
“My speaking and writing ability are still at a ghastly level.”
“Even so, if you consider how much time you had to study, then you’re doing well. Kuhuhu, the development of your reading ability is especially wonderful. And so, Mr. Yujin, what’re your thoughts on this civil complaint?”
“A dispute about water concessions. I feel like these sorts of incidents have been occurring a lot more recently.”
“The flow out from the central source of water has weakened after all. This is something that happens all the time around this time of the year. All of the citizens know this as well. Be patient since this will be resolved if you wait, saying something like this, although it’s a model answer, this is a problem that involves waaater.”
“Is there no other method to supply water besides the waterway?”
“There is. There are wells. It’s just that they’re small in number and mostly gathered around the northwest.”
“In the upper-class district, right?”
“YesYesYes. But they aren’t popular. In the first place, they’re the vestige of the military camps that were once created there in order to assault this castle which was a labyrinth a very long time ago. People who have a taste of the fine water from the waterways get addicted to that convenience after all. To the point where some people even fall into them and drown to death, just like the people who were mentioned earlier.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that about the people who’ve died. At any rate, this castle was a labyrinth?”
“Mm? Did I not tell you? Ah⎯⎯⎯mm. It’ll take too long to tell you everything so I’ll give you the exact details laterlater. Or you can go to the library and read a book. In simple terms, this castle, in precise terms, the basement of this castle, was the nest of a water dragon. In order to subdue that water dragon, there was a rather long punitive expedition. They were finally able to penetrate the outer wall and strike the base that was inside, but it took a long period of time before they were able to capture the castle entirely. Within this water dragon raid, which if I had to give it a name, then I’d call it the ‘Asylum Origin’, the person who got the last hit was the founder of my household.”
The Silver Lion Earl exhaled a proud gust of air from her nose.
“That’s why, this city is called Water Dragon(水龍) City now.”
“I, thought it was called the City of Confinement(收容).”
(TL note: ‘Water dragon’ and the word ‘Confinement’ that’s used here are pronounced the same in Korean. The difference is the Chinese letters.)
“It’s a play on words! Ah hah ha, Since it’s a place where a dragon of water had once lived, Water Dragon City. Since you’re confined within a bunch of ramparts, City of Confinement!”
“Aren’t the terms ‘water dragon’ and ‘confinement’ completely different in this world’s language?”
“That’s right. That’s why the only people who’re able to notice this play on words are the ones who know Korean. Me, Zia, Sophna, and also⎯⎯⎯well. It’s something like that. Now you’re also one of those people. How is it? Is it not moving? My ambiguous sense of language.”
“I think it’s a chuuni-like sense of language.”
(TL note: Chuuni is the shortened form of Chuunibyou. Ambiguous and Chuuni sound almost the same in Korean)
“Hugugugugu. How ill-mannered. In any case, so⎯⎯⎯ what should be done?”
“Like last time, I think it’d be a good idea to let them access the water supply on a rotation according to their tax payments. As you said, since this is a water shortage issue, we should take care of this quickly. If someone goes against this or if there are any additional complaints, then inform them to come to the castle.”
“Hm, I see that it’s the same as always. Don’t you have more fun ideas?”
“What are you going to do by finding fun in a water shortage?”
“That’s right, isn’t it? It’s a water issue after all.”
Like that, I assisted the Silver Lion Earl in several more cases and dealt with my duties for the day. There were two more cases involving the management of water rights, a lawsuit, and two trial cases. When everything was finished, it was already the middle of the night.
“Today was another fruitful day.”
“Mr. Yujin, doesn’t your school start soon? You said that you’re going to be in your third year of high school this year. This isn’t really a good time for you to be messing around in a place like this, you know? This Silver Lion Earl is curious as to whether or not Mr. Yujin doesn’t have to go to school.”
Instead of asking her what mouth she was saying those words out of, I shrugged.
“I made an arrangement.”
“An arrangement, is it?”
“Yup. There’s this kid called Saei······ it’ll work out somehow. If it doesn’t, then I’ll give up on my high school records and just take qualification exams.”
Rather than that, I’m more worried that Chanmi’s group will use my absence as an opportunity to do something stupid. The Silver Lion Earl put her hands behind her head.
“Well, if that’s the case, then that’s a relief. Of course, since Mr. Yujin is going to continue living in this world, it doesn’t matter.”
Those words spilled out.
The Silver Lion Earl giggled and stuck out her foot. The moment I got down on one knee in order to massage her foot, her other leg came out and wrapped around my neck. It was similar to earlier, but this time, I was hugged by her leg and not her arms. My face became buried between her thighs. A similar scent and sensation, except, it felt as if a thicker and sharper sensation was scraping its way down my spine.
This fellow was like this and her half-sibling was the same as well. Why do these two like squeezing my head on all 4 sides so much?
As if I were resisting, I tried to take my head out. The Silver Lion Earl immediately put strength into her leg and blocked my escape. Although I had instinctively moved my hand up and grabbed the Silver Lion Earl’s knee, because the back of my hand had been smacked, I ended up quickly letting go. The only region of my body which I could use was the area above my neck. Each time I moved my head around in order to pull it out, with her small thighs, the Silver Lion Earl would occasionally pretend to let me go before pulling me back in with her calf. Like this, she thwarted my escape several times.
Eventually, around the time when I felt as if I were going to have trouble breathing, I heard a laughter that was similar to Royal gifts being given away.
“Ah hah hah ha.”
I could feel a slightly wet sensation on her thigh. Her scent became a bit thicker. The Silver Lion Earl’s, sweat.
“That was fun. As expected, a light exercise helps in refreshing my mood.”
The Silver Lion Earl reached out and stroked my head. As she did that, she released me from her leg, but it took some time before I was able to catch my breath. Once I arduously raised my head, I could see the Silver Lion Earl looking down at me through my glasses which had become completely clouded.
Each time I breathed, my vision went back and forth between being blurry and being clear. A rose scent that had been drenched in spring rain.
Once I opened my mouth slightly as if I were pleading for her clemency, a smile appeared on the Silver Lion Earl’s lips.
“······Are you, satisfied?”
“Yes. I feel heavenly.”
In order to not spoil her fun, I didn’t resist seriously. However, if I just stayed still then she wouldn’t enjoy it at all so I pretended to at least struggle. A little bit at first, struggling more and more as time went on, and finally, as if I had given up due to exhaustion, I acted as if I were leaving my fate solely in the Earl’s hands.
I’m not sure if the Earl had seen through my performance or not. In any case, she was satisfied, so she let me go.
“Your clothes are a mess.”
“Whose fault do you think that is?”
“Yup yup. But you should still go around while wearing your clothes properly. How do they say it? One of the basics as a member of society? Especially since you belong to a lord like me. If you go around while in a messy state, then even my dignity would go up on a chopping board. Mikatni’s adopted daughter?”
The Silver Lion Earl grinned and turned to look at one of the corners of the office. She gave an order to Sii who was standing in the corner the entire time with both of her arms gathered in front of her.
“Tidy Yujin up.”
“······Yes, Your Excellency.”
Sii approached. She straightened my disheveled clothes and buttoned up the places that had become unbuttoned. Once Sii was at the point where she was taking out her handkerchief in order to wipe my glasses, her hands were shaking slightly. The Silver Lion Earl watched us with her legs crossed.
This was also something that happened every day.
Make it clear that I am someone’s possession. Make Sii aware of this.
It most likely wasn’t solely because of the Earl’s inborn sadism. No matter how you think about it, in the end, it seems she didn’t fancy the fact that I had gotten Sii’s arm back for her. Possessiveness. An obsession with taking the initiative. It was similar to what Joo Chanmi and Eun Minseon had displayed.
Fortunately, Sii was able to endure today as well.
In reverse, it seems that displeased the Silver Lion Earl. Although the Silver Lion Earl glared at Sii who was backing away, the Earl merely shrugged her shoulders. If there’s nothing to complain about, then even the Earl is unable to do anything.
“You can go and rest.”
I received her order and left.
Sii, whose arm has yet to fully heal, was staying in the sick room.
“Uuu······ Really, that girl! Can’t be forgiven!”
Sii shouted that out the instant we had arrived at the sick room. I comforted her.
“You endured well, Miss Sii.”
“Yujin, are you okay? The scent that girl coated you in, is it not unpleasant?”
Sii latched onto me with a teary face. I shook my head.
“Mm~~ I’m not fine! If I don’t overlay her scent with my own quickly!”
Are you a dog?
No, I heard that cats do something similar to this as well.
“Yujin, lay on the bed for a moment!”
Sii forcefully knocked me over on top of the bed and mounted me. Although she had a scrawny body, the thighs were areas that were inevitably plump. Sii became red because of her anger towards the Silver Lion Earl and the embarrassment she was feeling because of what she was currently doing, so it felt as if I were being massaged by a roll of bread that was just steamed.
Due to the gap between our strengths, I couldn’t resist anyway. Seeing Sii’s face burning with a sense of duty didn’t really make me want to resist either. Sii dismounted me while panting.
“Okay! You’re fine now!”
Her body fragrance smelled like whipped cream that was left out to dry at room temperature. Before going to sleep today, I should wipe her down with a hot towel and some soap. I’ll wash up as well.
“Another day is over.”
“Yup······ Yujin, worked a lot today. Are you not tired?”
I weighed up my body condition.
“The tasks that I do with the Earl is fine since I only have to use my head, but the maid jobs are indeed a bit tiring. It’s been a long time since I did this much physical labor after all.”
“Uuu······ sorry. Those girls, they’re just giving me their tasks all at once. Even though all they do is play around, they’re really underhanded.”
“There was also quite the number of tasks that were difficult to be called odd jobs.”
I spoke while taking out an iPad. I then turned to look at Sii and waited. Although Sii looked as if she were clueless at first, she soon let out an ‘ah’ sound and went into deep ‘thought’.
She spoke a moment later.
“I think they were trying to, forestall you, Yujin.”
“Although I don’t really want to say this myself, the things that Yujin said he had to do, I normally don’t do those sorts of things. No matter who the person is, they wouldn’t assign important work to someone who’s in a position like mine. The worry that I’ll mess up the job would be their first concern. And if I mess it up, that’s not something that can be resolved by harassing me. Someone will have to do the work that was messed up. They’ll naturally work 2-3 more times, and their time to rest will shrink. Inconvenient work like that, they usually won’t do it.”
I was delighted. As I had told her yesterday, Sii had started to ‘think’.
“Yes. For a similar reason with what Miss Sii had said, in order to forestall me, they were waiting while having prepared things to do beforehand. I think this is around a 7.”
“What about the remaining 3?”
“It’s just that they had a lot of things to do overall. They seemed busy with the reception of guests.”
“Ah······ it’s like that during this time. Yudia······ Sir Yudia, is currently visiting.”
Zia’s teacher. The Violet Swamp. The royal courier of the Martial Origin.
“He received repairs on his weapon from my foster-sister last time she was here······ and the fact that he’s able to wield his spear well now was confirmed.”
The culprit who had severed Sii’s arm because of the Silver Lion Earl’s request.
“Therefore, Sir Yudia’s preparations are complete. The arena from now on, it’ll be heated. Naturally, big guests are scheduled to arrive one after another.”
I’ll be busy for a while helping my teacher’s work⎯⎯⎯this was what Zia Batsand had told me.
“Does Miss Sii perhaps know what sorts of guests will be arriving?”
“Mm~~ I’m not sure. If I use last year as an example, then······ Her Excellency’s cousin on her mother’s side had come. A prince came as well.”
“A prince, is it?”
“He’s Her Excellency’s suitor. I heard that he has no right of succession because his rank is low.”
A suitor. huh?
For someone like that Silver Lion Earl? Although it was doubtful, if you look back at it, then it was reasonable. Within this world that had adopted monarchy and nobility, there’s no way that they would leave alone a lone orphan girl who has her own territory and rules it as an earl.
“He’s incredibly pretty. He can use magic well and I heard he’s really strong. And for him to even be a prince, that’s a young girl’s dream person.”
Sii’s eyes, which were giving me a sidelong glance, were shining like a glimmering twilight.
So she had this sort of maidenlike side to her, I smiled due to this thought.
“Is Miss Sii jealous?”
“Mm~ I’m not particularly jealous. I have my own prince.”
Sii’s eyes, which were staring at me, changed and appeared like a pair of burning embers.
So she had this sort of maidenlike side to her. I erased my smile due to this thought.
“Because I did Miss Sii a favor?”
“Do you think it’s not good if it starts from that sort of trigger?”
I adjusted my glasses. In the end, the reason why I fell in love with Minhee was like that as well.
“That seems a bit far from ‘a young girl’s dream’ like Miss Sii mentioned.”
“Mm~~ that’s right. It’s lacking a fateful feeling. If you say it in other terms, then it’s like saying anyone was fine as long as they were nice to me. Nevertheless, Yujin was the first person to ever show me kindness, get upset for my sake, and call me his friend. Those things have a clear meaning to me.”
Her red eyes were directed towards me with a type of heat contained within them.
“I like, Yujin.”
I closed my eyes and opened them.
“Should I give an answer now?”
Sii’s expression became flustered.
“Yes~~! I-I’ll be happy if you did. But I can wait. So it’s fine to do it slowly.”
“No, I’ll give an answer now,” I spoke. “It’s impossible.”
I spoke while gripping onto my beads tightly.
“There’s a person who I like back in Korea.”
People who have faith are unable to form a relationship with the mundane world. My past experience of being led to a church by my aunt’s hand when I was young was still affecting me even to this very day. It was mentally impossible for me to go out with someone other than my goddess, Minhee.
I’m sure that it’s physically impossible as well.
Sii looked at me······. She spoke.
“Is that so?”
She went silent.
“Ehehe······ mm~~ okay. ······Mm. Mmm.”
“Mmn! Yujin has nothing to be sorry about. Ehehe······ Ah, in any case, let’s go back to the main topic.”
Sii spoke while smiling widely. I patted her.
“Yes. A guest from Her Excellency’s mother’s side. The prince. And if there’s someone else who’s worth mentioning, then······.”
“The president of the Fedchants had come as well. Although the Tower Lord of the Mage Tower was going to come together with them, Her Excellency refused. That’s all I can remember right now.”
“In conclusion, several guests that even the Silver Lion Earl can’t handle thoughtlessly will be visiting as well.”
“Are you asking this because of the distinguished service thing you were talking about before?”
“That’s correct. No matter what, I’ll have to make a connection with them while they’re here. Moreover, if I’m going to do that, then I’ll have to go to the arena soon and meet Zia and Yudia.”
Zia had said that it’ll be difficult to see her for a while, but I’ll be making that prediction of hers wrong. While I was thinking that, Sii, who was avoiding my eyes, came into my line of sight.
“I’m not saying that I’ll be going immediately. I’ll visit the arena after thinking of a couple of methods to deal with Yudia.”
Failing for the second time must be avoided. As I was making that resolve, Sii had a concerned look on her face.
“Don’t strain yourself, Yujin. I said it before, but you shouldn’t hurry.”
I gratefully listened to her advice.
My daily life flowed by like that for a while.
I woke up at dawn and did Sii’s work in her stead. At night, I gave a routine report to the Silver Lion Earl. After that, I did some paperwork before returning to the sick room with Sii once more. It was tiring, but I had a tighter schedule than this back during the 8 Years’ War. I also grew more accustomed to the schedule as the days went by.
My relationship with the other maids somewhat improved as well.
“Yujin. I made some snacks like how you taught me before······.”
“Yup, it’s good. You did well.”
“······Are you sure I really did it well? I feel like the taste is a bit lacking compared to what you make.”
“Call me when you make it next time. We can make it together.”
Of course, my relationship didn’t improve with all of the maids.
“Woof! I’ll definitely unmask you!”
Kina especially kept threatening me while following me around.
“Woof! Stop petting me!”
Even if a dog-eared beast girl, who isn’t even 1 meter tall, were to do that, she’ll only look adorable.
“Woof······ d-don’t pet, hya wan, don’t touch my ear!”
“Waan······ bark, garururu······ That’s not it! S-S-Stop-petting-me!”
If I make her too upset, then she’ll transform into an 180cm tall monster, but it was worth the risk.
I didn’t spend my daily life solely like that. I also did something as well. The opportunity to give a detailed explanation about what that something is will arrive one day. I’ll just say that it’s a sensitive task that can cause misunderstandings. It’s quite the sensitive task, so when someone called out to me the instant I finished doing that task and had come out of the room, I was really surprised.
It was the leader type maid who had caused that one incident on top of the rampart⎯⎯⎯Mari.
Mari let out a grunt.
“It’s, Mari. Pronounce it properly.”
“Mari.” The vocalization was subtly different. “What is it?”
“I should be asking you that. The place you just came out of, that’s the female bathroom, you know?”
Mari asked while narrowing her eyes at me. I calmly put my arms behind my back.
“Yup. I cleaned it a bit. It’s a place that’s used by Miss Sii after all.”
“······Are you still calling her ‘Miss’?”
The best way to change the topic was to bring up a topic that the opposition was more interested in. I nodded.
“Yeah. So what’s up? Are you perhaps here to visit Miss Sii?”
“Of course not. Do I look like a person who’d do that?”
She didn’t. That’s why it was perplexing. But then again,
“Then why are you standing in front of the door of the sick room which Miss Sii is residing in while holding a basket of fruits?”
“I found it on the way here. I thought that it might be yours.”
It seems Mari wanted to talk in a haughty attitude. Albeit, she must have realized that it was too much for her in the middle of her sentence since her fully exposed forehead became dyed in a scarlet color.
It’d be entertaining to look at her vacantly until her forehead becomes fully cooked, but since it’d only be entertaining and nothing more, I decided not to.
“Thanks. I must have dropped it this morning.”
“Hmph. You better keep your mind straight from now on, pervert.”
“Do you want to go in?”
“Am I mad? This was all the business I had here. I’ll be going back now.”
I, with the basket now in my arms, took out a fruit that looked as if an apple and a peach were fused together and bit into it. It tasted as if it had the same sugar content as a grape and a similar texture to a banana. Mari, who was about to turn around, narrowed her eyes.
“You should wait until the person leaves, student body president. I’m not sure what social position that prestige of yours had, but it’s clear to me that it’s the lowest one. Signs that you’re uneducated sticks out, you know?”
I chewed a bit before swallowing it down. I lightly turned the apple-peach with the tip of my fingers and bit into it again.
“Sorry. I was thirsty. I want to compensate you, but is there anything that you’re hoping for? Something like a service, maybe?”
I had two bites but I didn’t feel any particular problem with my body. That means that she didn’t mess around with the food in order to do something to Sii. Of course, if she did, then she would have shown a more dramatic reaction the moment she saw me eat one.
Fortunately, Mari didn’t realize that I had suspected her.
“······You know. How long do you think it’s been since Sii’s arm was cut off because you were doing things like that? The bathroom thing earlier as well······ if you have the time to mess around, then be more devoted to Her Excellency the Earl.”
While purposely making a surprised expression on my face, I folded my arms behind my back.
“Hm? Wasn’t Miss Sii’s arm severed because she stole something? Sii herself stated that she was framed, though······.”
“Are you an idiot!?”
Mari looked at me with wide eyes.
“······No, you are an idiot······. Of course, if you weren’t an idiot, then you wouldn’t have done something like that to me back at the rampart. Yup, an idiot. Idiot. Id-iot.”
Alshi was like this as well, but do I look like that much of an idiot to the girls of this world? If I recall the fact that Miyeong and the person who sat behind me both treated me like an idiot, then I guess I should change it to ‘the girls of all worlds’.
“Don’t take in events exactly as they’ve occurred. Only idiots do that. Her Excellency, you know, she was upset because you went around making yourself appear cheap. The complete opposite of what you blabbered crudely about.”
Mari boasted as she placed one hand on her hip and she waved her index finger and thumb of her other hand. She was a girl who was surprisingly easy to understand······ she was.
If you wrap it up, then that’s probably it.
Instead of saying that.
“Who told you that?”
“······ Hey, that’s what I’m referring to as wrong. Does it always have to be said for you to understand? You can tell by just looking. I’m not sure which side is the one that’s slow-witted.”
This is⎯⎯⎯ a bit weird.
No, it’s really weird. Is this what you call a girl’s unique intuition? But, it doesn’t seem······.
“Ah, sorry,” I concluded my thought. “The thought that I should reflect on myself, had popped up.”
“Of course you should reflect on yourself. If you did well, then do you think that girl’s arm would have ended up like that? In that girl’s position, what sort of disaster is this? I’m not sure how it’s like in your world, but if something that was once small starts to inflate, then the people of this world would want to stomp on it.”
That was the same in my world as well. I believe that it was a fanciless topic.
“Ah~ Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean that I’m worried about you, so don’t misunderstand this weirdly. I’m only telling you this because it’d be unpleasant for me to watch quietly.”
Mari spoke with one eye shut and both of her arms slightly spread out.
“What is this? You’re strangely docile today.”
“I’m just being grateful for the things I should be thankful about. If you have any other pieces of advice, then I’ll gladly listen to them.”
“Hmph. It would have been good if you were docile like this from the beginning. If you were, then the other maids wouldn’t have had made those sorts of testimonies in order to step on Sii.”
“You as well?”
Mari’s shoulder slightly froze. A faint scent of grape tickled the end of my nose.
Was this it?
Was she feeling guilty for what happened to Sii’s arm? So that’s why she came here with a basket of fruits as a symbol of apology? She didn’t really appear like she had that weak of a mentality, but people occasionally do things different to their outer appearance.
However, Mari shook her head.
“I, didn’t do it.”
“I admit that⎯⎯⎯ I put out a similar idea. But like I said on the roof, that was just a joke that came out during an idle talk. I didn’t plan on really doing it nor did I actually do it. To make a false testimony. Not only do I have my own pride, but the price was an arm being severed. That sort of cruel punishment.”
She was right. If you exclude the fact that the person who had dragged a weak-skinned girl out into the direct rays of the sun shouldn’t be the one to be saying this, that is. As expected, Mari must have been aware of this fact as she then averted her gaze.
“Well, it’s true that I handled Sii roughly. Nevertheless, there’s a limit to that as well. For the time being, I, and the majority of the other maids believe this as well, but an arm was too severe.”
Even within this world where magical healing methods exist, was this what an ordinary person’s sensibility was like?
“Adding to that, think about it. The fact that that happened once means that it can happen once more, but how can someone guarantee that the target won’t be them at that time? I truly did not wish for this to happen. But those girls did something needless······.”
Mari paused in the middle of her sentence and clenched her teeth. After she took a moment to calm her breathing down, she hesitantly looked up at me.
“Do you not believe me?” After asking that, she then placed her hand against her forehead and sighed. “······No, it doesn’t matter. If you think about it, then it’s not like I’m inclined to convince you or anything.”
“No. I should apologize for doubting you carelessly.”
The moment I lowered my head and apologized to her, Mari’s eyes grew wide.
“You’re really docile today.”
“If I organize it then: You and the faction you lead weren’t involved in Sii’s punishment. However, there is another faction and that faction was involved. Is this right?”
“Faction? We maids aren’t mages from the Mage Tower nor are we members of the Twelve Knight Branches. We aren’t as high-sounding as that, but······ if you narrow it down, then I guess it’s sort of like that.”
“Can you give me information on that faction?”
“No. Like I said, not only are our groups not high-sounding like factions, but I feel like I’ve already said too much.”
It’d be a good idea to not latch onto her any further. Even this much was enough to call a harvest.
“Thank you for the advice. I’ll definitely remunerate you later on.”
“You don’t have to reward me······. I’ve said it several times, but I have no interest in your perverted services. If you’re really that grateful for the advice and want to do something in return, then, that’s right.”
Mari’s lips approached my ears.
“Go get crushed somewhere.”
I’m grateful, but that’s a request that I can’t oblige to do.
After Mari had left, I waited for a moment before I opened the door to the sickroom and entered. Sii made a relieved expression the instant she saw me.
“Mm~~ Yujin, nothing happened, right? I was worried.”
“There’s nothing to be worried about.”
“But the thing Yujin said he was doing, it’s dangerous, isn’t it? If you get caught······.”
“There’s no way that would happen. Rather than that, have some of these.”
“Ah, fruits······. Did you go to the kitchen?”
“No, I met Mari in front of the sick room.”
“Eck, Mari!? Why!?”
I told her about the conversation I had with Mari. Sii furrowed her brow.
“Mari, that girl······. She’s really arrogant. She thinks she can do anything and goes around giving needless pieces of advice. So annoying.”
“She herself most likely believes that what she did was out of good will.”
“That’s what’s annoying.”
“I see. Miss Sii, do you know how the factions between the maids are roughly established? Although I’ve grasped the minor power relations between the maids while I was working, and I intend to continue getting a grasp of it, being able to see the larger framework is a separate issue.”
“Hm~ I don’t know it exactly either, but if I were to divide them largely, then the people who’ve been working here and the people who had started to work here recently, it’s sort of like that. For example, Mari and I belong to the latter.”
This was a bit of a surprise.
“That girl, Mari, was she not a veteran who had been working here for a long time?”
“Her actual work experience isn’t that long. After the mass dismissal incident that was said to have happened a long time ago, she was hired here around the same time that I was. Actually, the majority of the maids entered around that time.”
“I see. So if you call those people the new faction and the people who were already here the pre-established faction, then······.”
“The pre-established faction are the people who’ve been working while having established Miss Sophna as their key individual. There are also people whose families have continued to serve under the Earl’s House since long before, and as much as that is the case, compared to the new faction, their loyalty to Her Excellency the Earl is incomparably deep.”
Sophna. I’ve been hearing her name a lot recently. If I believe in Mari’s words, then that means the maids who were involved in Sii’s arm being cut off were a part of the pre-established faction which mainly serves under Sophna.
“If that’s the case, then does that mean that the person called Sophna wanted Miss Sii’s arm to be cut off?”
“Mm~~······. I wonder. I don’t think so. They probably just complied with Her Excellency’s persistence. That person, she doesn’t have much interest in the things that happen in the mundane world. In the first place, she shut herself in her research room and doesn’t come out.”
Yudia mentioned something about a research room when talking about Sophna, didn’t he? If I add all of the information that was presented together, then:
“Is she a mage?”
“Yup. Miss Sophna is both the head of the vassals and the exclusive mage of the Earl’s House. She’s a title possessor who had received her title through her abilities and I heard that she had Ex’ ia.”
“That Ex’ ia······ what does ‘ascended’ mean exactly? I recall hearing it once when Abria and Yudia were talking.”
“Uhm······ it refers to when one’s body changes as a result of continuous training. There are various changes, but I heard that one of the changes is your lifespan increasing for an incredible amount.”
So it’s a fantasy setting here as well.
Though it’s always been a fantasy-setting since the start······.
“I heard that Sir Yudia had done that ‘ascension’ as well.”
I thought about Yudia. I recalled his child-like appearance, the fact that he was Zia’s teacher despite that appearance, and the time when he mentioned that he had experienced 187 springs. Although I thought that what he said was possibly related to either a time period gap, a skill, a silly joke, the difference of seasons compared to Earth and here, etc, all of which being things that often appear in light novels, it turned out to be something that was more fantastical than that.
“Returning back to Miss Sophna. I heard that when Her Excellency the Earl was young, Miss Sophna was Her Excellency’s private teacher. In truth, I heard that the previous earl······ that the current earl’s father was taught by her as well. She’s that old of a person, she’s quiet, and there are actually times when I forget that she even exists.”
Does that mean she’s in a no touch zone? Within the same context, I could understand why Mari’s right to speak was peculiarly strong despite being a part of the new faction. Also within the same context, I could also understand why an existence like a head maid didn’t exist.
“By the way, Yujin. What are you doing right now?”
“Ah.” I lifted my hand off of my iPad. “I’m currently constructing a database. Do you want to see?”
Sii sat down and squeezed up next to me. While I was perceiving that, Sii became startled.
“Eck, what is this? Picture······ that’s what this is called, right? This is a picture of Mari.”
“Yes, it’s a picture. Personal details are written underneath that image, and underneath those details, I’m writing down whatever facts I’m able to figure out about the person.
“Ah, really······ Mm~~ It’s amazing. It’s neat and easy to read. Did you make this for other people as well?”
“Yes. Moreover, I didn’t only make character sheets, but I’ve been also organizing new information as I obtain them like the size of the city, the imports, prices in this world, the races, the political powers, etc.”
It was one of the habits that I raised up while going through the 8 Years’ War. Sii, who was looking through the iPad with a face filled with admiration, returned back to the character sheets. It seems she was interested in those the most. The girl who was making a Yudia-like smile while peeking at the personal information of her colleagues suddenly fixed her line of sight onto a single spot.
“Yujin. What’s this here?”
It was at that moment.
A knocking sound could be heard.
Sii turned towards the door. I thought about the people who could possibly visit this place. For starters, Zia. Not only did she say that she wouldn’t be able to come for the time being, but there’s no way that she would do something like knocking on the door. The Earl. If she needed to see me, then she would just summon me. After that was the possibility that Mari would revisit. This had a rather high chance, but······.
Was it impossible?
If it were one of those three people that had come to my mind, then the lock wouldn’t be turning right now without even waiting for our response.
Sii shrunk back the moment she saw the lock silently turn without emanating even a clicking sound. I got into a posture where I held the basket in my right arm while I stuck my other arm forward. The door soon opened.
Two masked maids walked into the sickroom.
It was a mask that didn’t cover only the face, but the entire head as well.
There were holes punctured here and there on the masks. The holes with erratic sizes had a strangely regular distance placed between one another. The black holes were all filled to the brim with brown lumps. The visual stimulation that the masks gave off was unpleasant. It was like staring at an anther up close. It was my first time seeing a mask that gave off such an ominous feeling.
Within their gloved hands, they were holding daggers that had an appearance which was as bizarre as their masks.
The moment Sii had uttered that word, I stretched out my arm and tossed the fruit basket.
The instant the maid in the front had struck the basket aside, I had already moved from my position and had charged directly in front of that masked maid. Without displaying any signs of panic, the masked maid took a step back and swung down her dagger. I blocked her swing by grabbing onto her wrist and reached my other hand out towards her mask.
There was no point in asking who they were. The fact that they came here wearing masks meant that they wanted to maintain their anonymity. If that was the case, then I had to expose that anonymity. Although there was a chance that they could decide to take lethal actions if their identities were to be exposed, there was no point in worrying about that when the opposition had already swung her dagger. The best option was to subdue them and take off their masks.
Best options generally can’t be achieved easily.
The second I touched the bottom part of the mask, bang······! I felt a powerful shock coming from the side of my body. I rolled and collided with the wall. Within my shaking line of sight, I could see a masked maid in a firm kicking posture. It was a leg strength that went beyond common sense. It felt as if some sort of magically enhanced strength was involved there, but the exact details were unknown. It didn’t appear like she could only do that a limited number of times and the masked maid seemed to consider that strength to be nothing special = Therefore, as much as she was accustomed to that strength, there was no reason for me to think further into it.
Approximately 1 second has passed since my first move.
The masked maid who had kicked me started to walk towards me while gripping onto her dagger. The other maid that was standing in the back started to walk towards Sii. I solved the issue of standing up and getting closer to Sii by rolling over to the side and pushing myself up.
I stood in front of the bed that Sii was laying down on.
The two masked maids paused for a second before they set their sights on me and resumed their approach.
The fact that I had tossed the basket, rushed towards them, abruptly tried to take off their mask, recovered quickly before standing in front of the bed, etc. This should have all been outside of their expectations. However, they didn’t show any signs of panic. Was that it? I’m not sure about the person in the back, but the person at the front had calmly selected the most optimal actions and was acting upon them.
Their side had the physical strength advantage.
Their side had the numbers advantage.
Mental state, they also had⎯⎯⎯
Sii cried out and tossed her pillow.
Similar to when the basket I had tossed was struck aside, the masked maid in the front hit the pillow away without any hesitation. However, the maid in the back stopped. It wasn’t because of the pillow. It was most likely because of Sii’s shouting. With a cracking voice that was coated in a lot of anxiety and fear, Sii continued.
“I-I’ll scream, so······!”
That volume itself was already more than enough to be considered as screaming.
“E-Even though I don’t know who you are······! I-I’ll call for help, so······! Until they come, I’ll keep······! I-I’ll keep shouting!”
Sii Garno Mikatni then stood beside me with shaking legs.
I see my analysis was incorrect.
It seems the numbers were 2:2.
Thanks to Sii just now, it seems our side had an overall advantage in terms of mental state.
“Sii’s right! The fact that you’re wearing masks! That means it’d be a problem if you get caught!”
My throat hurt since I was shouting at a volume which I normally didn’t use. However, seeing the masked maid in the back hesitating meant that it was worth it.
If you looked at it from another perspective, then it meant that even in this moment the maid in the front still didn’t show any signs of panicking.
She did at least respond.
It was a voice that was bizarrely modulated.
“If you’re going to scream, then go ahead.”
Without giving even an annoyed response, this was her reaction.
“Both the Azure Rose Knight and her teacher aren’t in this castle right now. There’s no way that the Earl would even come to this region of the castle. Even if other people were around, they won’t come to your help. There’s no one in this world who’d want to be involved in bothersome things.”
Damn it, this person.
“No matter how much you bark, no one will come.”
As expected⎯⎯⎯ this was difficult.
Summary of the situation. Surprise attack failed. Uproar operation succeeded half way. Succeeded in obtaining the knowledge that there’s an individual gap between the two masked maids and I successfully got a reaction from them. However, in order to overcome this situation, there was a need to either subdue these two or escape.
Understanding the variables. We’re currently located in the sickroom. We’re standing with the bed behind us. We’re three stories above ground. Sii is a patient. I’m a boy who isn’t proficient at combat. The oppositions are both armed. Furthermore, one of them possesses a strength that at least comes close to Sii’s own ability. The blade of their daggers is about 15cm.
I put my hand behind my back and grabbed onto the bed sheet.
“The fact that you’re going out of your way to say that! Means that you’ll actually be troubled! If any more time is dragged out!”
I shouted while holding out the sheet like a matador’s cape. Although my mobility will go down like this, I can secure a defense that’ll make up for that loss. The movement of the maid who had kicked me, even if it was better than I had expected, if the length of their daggers is only that long, then there’s no way that I could be taken down in one strike if I have this defense.
If you approach⎯⎯⎯then I’ll grab you and toss you down.
I could hear the sound of a tongue being clicked behind the mask. The masked maid in the front raised the hand she wasn’t holding the dagger in and made a gesture. The second masked maid saw the gesture and stepped forward, so they were now standing side by side. So they intend to approach at the same time. Not towards me but towards Sii. Of course, I’m not going to let them. It was at the moment a volatile atmosphere had settled over us.
I heard the sound of the window being opened behind me.
I couldn’t blame Sii for gasping. As expected, I had also received the same shock. Regardless, the fact that I didn’t turn around carelessly was because it was obvious that the masked maids would rush forward the moment I did, however, did they really have another accomplice? Or did they have even more than that? For us to be in a situation where we’re pressured on both fronts, this is really danger⎯⎯⎯
Our surroundings became dark for an instant.
The sole of a shoe slammed into the mask of one of the masked maids.
Together with an impact that sounded like an explosion, the masked maid was sent flying. The crown of the masked maid’s head hitting against the threshold of the door and the culprit behind the kick folding their legs superbly and landing directly in front of me happened nearly at the same time.
Flutter, the widely moving skirt caused a small, tepid gust to blow through the room.
Processing the situation⎯⎯⎯the fact that the person who had entered through the window jumped from their position, went over my head, and kicked the masked maid, was something I grasped only after everything had happened.
I recognized the person to be the other martial artist type maid who’d stick by Alshi’s side.
The continuing unforeseeable circumstances must have made something in Sii’s head malfunction since she was only making weird noises. The reaction of the other masked maid who wasn’t kicked was more practical than that. She immediately rushed forward. The martial artist maid swung her right arm, hitting the masked maid’s attack to the side, and slammed her left hand into the masked maid’s mask. Even though the masked maid’s face had received a shock, she still took a step forward. Like so, the two exchanged blows for a while.
The masked maid who was kicked aside uttered that after having barely pushed herself up. Without even waiting for a response, the masked maid turned around and ran out into the hallway. The other masked maid who was exchanging hits with the martial artist type maid turned around as well and ran away.
In an instant, the only ones remaining in the sickroom were me, Sii, and the martial artist maid who had saved us.
The martial artist maid who was catching her breath turned towards me.
“It’s a relief that you are safe.”
After courteously getting down on one knee, she had said that.
By the looks of it, it seems I have the tendency to look at a person’s height and hair first whenever I meet someone. In the Silver Lion Earl’s case, she had a short stature and a silver-colored lion head. In Zia’s case, she had a tall stature and blue bobbed hair. Even in Sii’s case, she had a short stature and white bobbed hair. In the case of this maid, she had a similar body type as myself and short brunette hair.
The impression I felt when I met her for the first time didn’t subside even now in this situation where I was meeting her again. Her tanned brown skin stuck firmly to her body, making the outlines of her whole body appear distinctly. The veins protruding from the back of her hands, the embossed joints on her fingers, her hair which was cut short in order to prevent it from being grabbed, and her maid uniform, the size of which was shrunk in order to fit her body perfectly. Similar to Soo Hyeon and the person who was once sitting behind me, her impelling atmosphere proved that she was a martial artist more than anything else.
While she was still kneeling down on one knee, the girl looked up at me with emerald-like pupils. The cracks within her pupils were like a sapphire. It felt as if I were looking into a mirror made of jewels.
That’s right⎯⎯⎯a mirror.
In two different⎯⎯⎯meanings.
“A-Ariya, you······ what happened just now······?”
Sii spoke as if the tenseness in her body had all washed away at once. The girl called Ariya, without even glancing at Sii, stared at me.
“Hello.” After putting her hands together and greeting me with the 6 fingers gesture, the maid spoke. “My name is Ariya Orgit.”
She bowed her head in a well-disciplined manner. She tilted her upper body in a 45 degrees angle and, while also maintaining that stance, she continued.
“I heard from Miss Zia.”
As expected, there was something that came to mind when I heard that name. Ariya. Around the time when I was still in the basement, the maid who was caught by the guards while stealing the relics of the Silver Lion Earl’s mother. Although the Silver Lion Earl and Zia had never told me the maid’s name, it was a name that Sii had mentioned without much thought. Ariya.
“I heard that you had saved me.”
She raised her head in a well-disciplined manner. Raising her upper body up by 45 degrees. Ariya Orgit spoke while staring straight at me.
“I wish to repay your kindness.”
Sii let out a confused sound. She apparently wasn’t able to comprehend the situation.
First, I gave Sii an explanation.
“The Silver Lion Earl’s speech, I wrote that for her.”
“······Ah, was that it?”
With a shaking voice, Sii seemed to have understood. I felt like I knew what sort of expression she was making right now. An expression that appeared when the final nail which prevented you from looking down on the opposition had fallen off. As I’ve seen it several times before and I had also done it myself, I knew what sort of sense of shame it’d eventually give to the people who’d make that sort of expression. That’s why I only looked at Ariya and didn’t turn around.
“When did you hear about it?”
Ariya bowed her head. That angle was also 45 degrees.
“A short while ago. Miss Zia had told me that ‘You especially mustn’t disregard Sir Yujin’, that the mercy that was shown to me by Her Excellency the Earl came from you, Sir Yujin.”
Zia Batsand. My sword.
In any case⎯⎯⎯and she said that I was nosy.
“All right. You arrived just in time. We were also in the midst of needing help.”
“Whenever I’m free, I’d hang on to the wall and peek through the window, but you seemed to be in danger so I broke in without permission. If that wasn’t rude of me, then it’s a relief.”
I’ll pass on asking her what she was hanging on.
“How could it be rude? We were able to survive thanks to you.”
“Who were they? Why were you attacked?”
“That’s what I want to ask. Miss Sii, do you have a hunch on who they were?”
“No, none at all······.”
“Is that so. Then let’s put that aside for the moment. You said your name was Ariya, right? Stand properly.”
Ariya raised herself. With her athletic body and movements that were so precise that it almost felt mechanical, Ariya stepped forward and stood before me.
I sat down on Sii’s bed and pointed towards the chair. Ariya looked back and forth between me and the chair.
“I will end up looking down at you.”
“It’s not fine for me.” Shortly after, Ariya added. “If it’s an order, then I will listen.”
“It’s an order.”
“So it’s an order. Understood.”
Ariya sat down on the chair. I spoke.
“I’ll ask frankly, how far can you go and how much can you do?”
“Anything as long as it does not cross the border of severely hindering the things that are more precious than myself.”
Those were similar words to what I had said to Sii earlier.
“What’s your opinion on Sii?”
Sii audibly flinched.
“I think that she’s weak and servile. I think that she’s pitiful and annoying. As she does not have wisdom nor does she have strength, I believe that there’s nothing about her that’s worth respecting. To be honest, she’s the type of person that I dislike the most.”
Sii gnashed her teeth. Ariya, who had been staring at me the entire time, then shifted her head slightly, moving her gaze towards where Sii was seated.
Her laser-like gaze⎯⎯⎯line of sight, the fact that it was making Sii shrivel up like a squid that was being grilled on a fire was something that I could tell even without turning around.
I raised my hand and stopped her.
“But, you can respect her, right?”
“Respect, is it?”
“If it’s an order, then I will comply.”
“It’s an order.”
It wasn’t a good solution, but we already had a mountain of things which we had to solve. Ariya let out a sigh.
“So, it’s an order. Understood. As long as that respect doesn’t involve doing masochistic deeds, then I will respect her.”
“I said that I don’t like stimulating things.”
Ariya became dispirited. Although it seemed like she wanted to say something, her face was telling me that she thought it would be impolite to say it.
I could guess what she was thinking.
“Rumors about my relationship with Sii have gone around a bit, haven’t they?”
I must have been on the mark since Ariya avoided my gaze. Even the act of dropping her line of sight was so exact that it was like she had measured it with a protractor······ Well, that’s beside the point, I should explain to her the things which should be explained.
“There are things that I had done intentionally, so I guess I should say that I reap what I sow. Nevertheless, I’m actually not a masochist nor am I a pervert.”
“But the rumor that you enjoy the smell of armpits.”
“I wanted to appall that girl named Mari.”
“There’s also the rumor that people had witnessed you treating Sii like a lady and saw you licking her foot on several different occasions.”
“Because Sii wished for it.”
Sii, I don’t think this is the right time to be moved.
Ariya turned her head.
“By those words, does that mean that if I were to perhaps wish for the same thing as Sii, then you would oblige?”
“As long as it isn’t too stimulating.”
“That’ll bother me!” Sii shouted. “Yujin, you remember what we talked about before, right!? You can’t do that to people other than me!”
The reason why she went out of her way to declare that in this world’s language was most likely because she wanted to display her will to Ariya. Should I say that this possessiveness also made her resemble her half-sister? Although that small figure of hers pulling on her blanket as she shrunk back once Ariya glared at her didn’t resemble her half-sister.
Ariya then turned back to me and spoke in a composed voice.
“I won’t wish for it in the first place.” Shortly after, Ariya added. “I have a lover.”
She then spoke towards Sii.
“Also, Sii. You should stop as well.”
Sii’s face quickly became flushed.
“W-What right do you have!?”
“I cannot allow you to make my savior do those sorts of things.”
“Uuk······ this is a problem between me and Yujin! This isn’t related to you!” Sii cried out as she tossed her blanket aside and stuck her foot out. “Yujin, lick!”
Ariya’s eyes narrowed.
Although Sii cowered once more, she didn’t back down this time. Similar to how she had proved it when she shielded me when I was being whipped by the Silver Lion Earl, Sii occasionally possessed the shining bravery to suppress her cowardice.
“Ariya, you stay right there and watch the sight of your savior servicing me!”
While saying such underhanded words with that shining bravery of hers, Sii wiggled her toes which were wrapped in her white stockings. Ariya bit her bottom lip.
“Please do not lick it.”
“H-Hmph, Ariya. Isn’t it laughable that you’re trying to order around Yujin, your savior?”
“Because I can’t watch idly as my savior gets humiliated like that.”
“O-Okay. ······Mm~~ Then Ariya, how about you do it instead?”
Sii uttered a mean line that went beyond even what I had expected of her. She must have been unable to endure Ariya’s glare since she was trembling, but she continued to keep her foot stuck out even as she shook.
“I-If you’re truly grateful towards Yujin, and if that’s why you don’t want to see your savior do something like that, then······ you can do it, right? Something as easy as licking my foot.”
“I-It’s no use if you glare at me like that. Or, as expected, was repaying his kindness just all talk?”
“······, ······, ············.”
“R-Right, Ariya is a boorish maid who steals. I was framed, but you were actually caught while doing it. Even if your wealth was declining, you said that you were the daughter of a family of knights, so you went around doing everything while holding your head up high, but the sight of you trembling when you were actually tied down, I still remember it. Mm~~ the thought that your house must have fallen because collapsing was all it could do, was what went through my mind.”
You really can’t deceive your bloodline.
“I-I-If Yujin wasn’t here, then there’s no way that all four of your limbs would have been fine. Limbs? It’s obvious that you would have lost your life. But if you’re unable to do something like this for that precious savior of yours, then as I thought, Ariya, you’re nothing but talk······ hik!”
Sii, who was saying lines that made it feel as if I were witnessing the birth of a rare type of charisma, became frightened. Ariya had stood up.
Ariya walked with big strides and lifted Sii up by the back of her neck.
Although there was no change in Ariya’s facial expression, the veins on the back of her hands had become twice as thick.
It soon became three times as thick.
“Kyaah! Aack! S-Sorry! I’m sorry! I was wrong, auh, it hurts! Ariya, stop it! Wrong, I believe that violence, violence is wrong! Stop this instant! Kyah!”
Sii, who ended up like a cat that was being held by the back of their neck, made a tearful face and flailed her arms. I⎯⎯⎯after leaving her like that for a bit⎯⎯⎯spoke.
Ariya let go of Sii as if she were setting her aside. The instant Sii fell on top of her bed, she immediately wrapped herself up in her blanket before rolling to the corner of the room. While glaring at Sii who had become like a pupa and was trembling, Ariya opened and closed her fists. Each time the sound of bones cracking resonated, the blanket pupa which contained Sii within it twitched and trembled.
“I said to stop.”
Ariya let out a sigh.
Ariya bowed her head towards me. After making her sit down by gesturing towards the chair, I turned towards Sii.
“Uu······ it hurts······ it hurts.”
“Yujin······ I’m, injured. I was abused······ Mm~~ isn’t this too much? Yujin, Yujin, help me, Yujin······.”
“Miss Sii.” I continued after calling her name for the third time. “We’re currently in a state where we urgently require help. Our lives were also in danger just a second ago. Ariya appeared during that situation and saved us.”
Although I wanted to say ‘taunting and provoking her won’t help us’, I’ll probably hear something like ‘but she started it’ in response. Would it be better to just tell her ‘please endure it a bit’? Or should I just conclude it by saying ‘therefore, please do not fight’?
That’s not it.
“Do not forget our goal.”
Using a standard tactic, I was honest and told it to her straight.
“If you establish a goal, then you should be able to endure the process. If you’re able to endure the process, then you can carry it out. Furthermore, you must be able to carry your goal out in order to be able to achieve the thing which you originally intended to do. Think about it. Was humiliating Ariya the thing which Miss Sii wanted to do?”
“Miss Sii is aware that what you did just now wasn’t helpful, right?”
“If you’re aware, then what must you do?”
“If you understand, then please do so.”
The blanket pupa squirmed around for a bit before Sii pushed her head out. She was lowering her gaze with a red face.
“Mm~~······ Sorry, Yujin. I was thinking wrongly······ I’m sorry.”
“I’m not the one who should be receiving the apology.”
“······.” Sii’s mouth wriggled about. “Sorry, Ariya.”
Ariya raised an eyebrow. That angle was also a clean 36 degrees. Before it could return back to its original position, I spoke.
“Ariya. I’m grateful towards that intention of yours which wants to pay back my kindness. I’m also really thankful for when you saved us earlier. We’re alive thanks to you.”
However? No, but is better.
“But I’m currently helping Sii.”
Thus, helping me will also be helping Sii? No, the opposite should be better.
“Thus, helping Sii will also be helping me.”
I’m not sure whether you’re going to ask me why I’m helping Sii or not? No, let’s wait.
“······Why, are you helping Sii?”
Once I paused for a moment, Ariya asked the question first.
“The Silver Lion Earl asked me the same thing when I was going to help you.”
Ariya most likely predicted that I would give this sort of reply.
That’s why I decided to tell her something that she both didn’t predict and was also curious about.
“At the time, I answered that it was for my own sake.”
As expected, I was honest and told it to her straight.
“But, I don’t understand how saving my life, the life of a person who you’ve never met before would be beneficial to you.”
“I was desperate to stay alive at that time. Due to the incident that you had caused, the Silver Lion Earl was in an unstable state as well. In order to fix that no matter what, I had appealed to her so that she would spare your life. I succeeded. The Silver Lion Earl accepted my request, forgave you, and was somewhat able to regain her mental stability.”
“The fact that I was able to come out of the basement was most likely by the narrowest of margins. If I didn’t save you, if the Silver Lion Earl’s mental state was a bit more unstable, then it would have probably been impossible.”
“Are you saying that by saving me, you were also saved?”
“Yup. Just now, I was able to receive your help, wasn’t I?
I spoke adamantly and added.
“There’s a saying in my world that says that saving the person in front of you is the same thing as saving yourself when you’re under a state of crisis in the future. Although it’s an old-fashioned saying, I believe that there’s a reason that it’s old-fashioned.”
Ariya’s line of sight shook.
“Under that same logic, the fact that I’m helping Sii is also an extension of helping myself. Do you think you can help her while keeping in mind that you’ll also be helping me?”
“······, ······ Honestly, I didn’t really understand what you meant earlier. Regardless, I properly understood what you’re saying now.”
Aria got down on one knee once more and bowed her head.
“I, Ariya Orgit, shall help you who had saved me.”
Ariya Orgit overlapped both of her hands, making the six finger shape, and stretched her arms out.
“······I’ll, also help Yujin.”
Sii, who had hesitantly rolled over here, sat down on the bed and stretched her hand towards me.
Two hands were being extended towards me from two different angles. It’s most likely premature to connect these two hands together right now. I, as the person who was in between the two, grabbed both of their hands. As if that were a signal, Ariya raised her head and Sii lowered hers. Their eyes met.
(TL note: Bed>Chair>Floor. That’s the height of things)
I then understood the feeling a lightbulb would have when they’ve been serially connected.
“I’ll be in your care, Sii.”
Ariya spoke while strengthening her grip like a hawk that was crushing its prey with its talons.
“I’ll be the one who’ll be in your care, Ariya.”
Sii spoke while putting strength into her hand like a lion that was chewing on its game.
I, who was stuck in between them, mm, lights were flashing before my eyes.
For the time being, it seems thing were going to be more difficult than before.
TL note: Once more, sorry for how long this chapter took. I normally would have gotten this done within a week, but work and whatnot. In any case, I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to release the next chapter, but it’ll probably be sooner than how long it took me to release this. It isn’t as long as this chapter, but it’s still fairly lengthy.
It seems the majority of people are saying that I should finish this volume of YaMA before I decide to do anything else, so I guess I’ll do just that. The only exception would be if DD volume 5 were released all of a sudden, but as long as that doesn’t happen, I’ll finish translating volume 3 of YaMA before I decide to touch anything else.
See you guys in the next chapter.