You must know in order to fight. If you do not know, then you must think. If you cannot think, then you must feel. If you cannot feel, then you have no other choice but to hope that you have good luck. However, something like luck doesn’t exist, and even if it did, that luck won’t take your side. If you have no other choice but to hope for a lucky occurrence, then you can only depend on mercy.
There’s at least mercy. If it’s staying alive, then that can be managed. If I use Korea as an example, then out of the approximately fifty million citizens, the majority of them all either possess the money or a method to take care of their meals for the day. They’re able to survive. Mercifully, ironically.
The instant you anticipate something more than ‘continue to live’ from ‘staying alive’ is when the struggle begins. Life becomes hard, the road turns fierce, and the world becomes a battleground. Like so, you return to the premise of ‘you must know in order to fight’. The root of dignity is within Hell.
The process of Ariya joining us was actually strenuous. The following day, she abruptly asked me this.
“How should I address you?”
“Just call me Yujin.”
“I cannot carelessly say the name of my savior.”
“Then add a Mr. at the front.”
“That sounds disrespectful.”
“Then add a Sir at the front.”
“That sounds insincere.”
“Just tell me what you want to call me by.”
“As much as I am in your debt, I believe that it’d only be right to address you as Fair Grace(恩公).”
“Then do so.”
Although I had said that, Ariya merely stared at me.
I realized what the problem was.
“Call me Fair Grace.”
I said that, but Ariya kept staring right at me.
I⎯⎯⎯for real this time⎯⎯⎯realized what the problem was.
“Refer to me as Fair Grace. That’s an order.”
Ariya lowered her head as if she were sheathing a blade.
“Yes, Fair Grace.”
If it was this much, then it might not be that large of a problem. If this conversation didn’t happen in the center of the dining room, while in front of the watchful eyes of all the other maids, that is. The fact that we’re eating while within the crevice of where girls whisper among one another was something that I was accustomed to and Ariya herself didn’t seem as if she were concerned about it at all, however, it seems Sii felt as if she had fallen into a pit filled with centipedes.
The moment there were fewer people, Sii violently pointed out Ariya’s absence of awareness.
“Ariya! Just what were you doing!? Hm? ······I-I, mean······ uhm, mm~~ p-people were all······ watching······ something like that is a bit······ wouldn’t it be bad······ is what I thought······.”
The reason why Sii’s voice became quieter as she continued to speak was because she had shrunk back once she received Ariya’s glare. Ariya spoke coldly.
“Please do not assume that I am like you, Sii. I didn’t do that thoughtlessly. The matter regarding appellation was something that we were going to have to deal with one day anyway. Furthermore, I do not wish to requite Fair Grace’s kindness while also being wary of watchful eyes. Thus, since the fact that I hold Fair Grace in respect is something that will one day be revealed anyway, I thought that it would be better to take care of it sooner, so that is why I had done that.”
“B-but, even so······ Mm······, ······, that doesn’t make sense! If you really did want to do that, then you should have told Yujin first! There would have been no reason for you to say it so publicly like that! It’s just that you have a pathetic sense of awareness! You lump of muscle!”
The reason why Sii’s voice became louder as she continued to speak was because she had hidden behind me. Ariya looked at Sii, who was boldly shouting while only sticking her head out from behind me, as if she were pathetic before speaking.
“Do as you wish. At any rate, your words hold no meaning to me.”
“Then what will Yujin say? Yujin, what do you think!? You’re obviously on my side, right!? Tell her that she was a bother!”
I didn’t repeat the companionship campaign that I had done for the two of them before.
“Ariya, you have a point. Moreover, I’m also grateful towards that open declaration that you’ll help me regardless of what everyone else thinks.”
“Yes, Fair Grace.”
“But it was a bit rash. Next time, tell me beforehand.”
“······Is that an order?”
Ariya bowed her head.
If you look at it from this angle, then you can’t really say that Ariya had caused any problems. Ariya didn’t act without thinking and if I point something out, then she’d listen obediently. If Sii didn’t nitpick at things, then the majority of the troubles that had occurred were things that couldn’t be considered problems in the first place.
The thing that happened after the dining room incident was an example of that.
“Ariya, what are you carrying?”
Ariya spoke after putting down the duffel bag she was carrying. Sii furrowed her brow.
“Yeah. I have eyes as well. What I want to know is why you’re putting that down here.”
We were in Sii’s room.
“The same reason as to why you left the sick room and why you’ve been following Fair Grace around even though you’re still unable to do anything because of your arm. It is unknown whether there will be another assault or not so I cannot leave Fair Grace by himself.”
It seems a cat got Sii’s tongue. If you read into Ariya’s words a bit, then you would know that I’ve been constantly taking Sii along with me now because of the same reason. I couldn’t leave her by herself.
“Additionally, it’s also in order to keep watch so I can prevent you from making Fair Grace do something like that again.”
I was in the middle of massaging Sii’s thighs. Sii was about to snort but she became frightened by Ariya’s gaze, so she ended up pulling her legs back. I nearly broke my neck thanks to that, but, well, in any case, I spoke.
“Is it fine for you to live here?”
“I received Miss Sophna’s approval.”
“Ah, did she come out of her room?”
“No, she is still in her lab. Since she still has her meals, whenever we have business with Miss Sophna, we communicate with her by writing a memo, putting it into her food basket, and delivering it to her. We receive an answer when we go to retrieve the empty food basket.”
“A genuine hikikomori-style conversation method. Hm······ well, whatever.” I thought for a moment. “Then I guess that means there won’t be any problems if you live he⎯⎯⎯eub.”
My words were cut off. Sii had drawn her legs back and choked me with them.
“How could there be no problems!? This is my room!”
“I guess, it would, be narrow.”
“That’s not the issue!” Sii shouted and then shifted into talking in Korean. “Yujin, think. This room is small. Moreover, you won’t be able to service me anymore. Something like that, Yujin the masochist, wouldn’t want that, right?”
“Miss Sii, you claimed that that wasn’t the issue but not only was this room being small the very first thing you mentioned but if I really were a masochist, then have you not considered that I would actually enjoy someone watching me while I serviced you? Of course, since I’m not a masochist, all speculation regarding this is pointless.”
“Well, Yujin will probably be delighted, but if that girl physically prevents that from happening, then I can’t do anything about it! I’m, weak.”
“I believe that Sii’s strength is on the strong side.”
“Yeah, that’s right! But that isn’t the issue. That girl has technique. With that technique, she supplements her strength that’s weaker than mine······ No, this isn’t the issue either! I’m, alone!”
“You aren’t alone.”
Sii looked down at me for a moment. Her face became dyed in a scarlet color like a field that had caught on fire. The girl, whose body became so red that even her legs which were wrapped around my neck felt hot, averted her gaze away from me.
“Really, Yujin occasionally says some incredibly cute things sometimes.”
While Sii and I were having this conversation, Ariya had been tossing Sii’s stuff into the hallway. Sii realized this a second late and cried out in a panic.
“What are you doing!?”
“Cleaning.” Ariya, who had tossed out roughly everything, walked over to us. “Sii, Fair Grace. I have to move the bed as well, please get up.”
I did as I was told. Sii sat herself down with her legs crossed, making it appear as if she didn’t intend to ever move from her spot, but she immediately became frightened by Ariya’s gaze and wrapped herself in her blanket, turning herself into a pupa again. In any case, she still didn’t move away from her bed.
“I won’t move! Just where exactly does it need to be cleaned?”
“How long has it been since you washed your bed sheet?”
The blanket pupa twitched.
“The air is stuffy as well. Have you been airing your room properly? This room doesn’t have windows. It’s because you’re a girl that a smell that’s still barely tolerable is going around.”
The blanket pupa squirmed and twitched.
“Just how much hair is on the flo⎯⎯⎯.”
Ariya stopped mid-sentence. The blanket pupa had wriggled and crawled its way down from the bed. Ariya sighed and turned towards me.
“Fair Grace as well. Wouldn’t it have been better if you had cleaned this room while Sii was still in the sick room? I heard that starting from cleaning, you specialize in every type of housework.”
“It’d be rude to arbitrarily clean a girl’s room, right?”
It seems a cat got Ariya’s tongue this time. Sii tilted her head.
“Yujin, you really do occasionally say some sane but also cute things sometimes.”
“Although it’s unpleasant to agree with you, it can’t be helped. However, since I will be living here, I shall play my role as a rude person.”
Ariya lifted up the bed and set it down outside. After that, she brought in a bunch of cleaning utensils and started to dust and wipe the entire room. I helped out as well. Sii, who was assisting with her uninjured arm, was sulking the entire time, but after she saw the things Ariya took out of her duffel bag, she brightened up.
“A new sheet and blanket!”
“Then is it fine to live together now?”
Sii nibbled on her lips before quickly turning away.
“Uu······ because I saw Yujin’s face!”
No matter how you looked at it, it was because she saw the new sheet and blanket.
Ariya shrugged her shoulders and wrapped the new sheet around the mattress. Sii hesitantly helped out with that.
Like how you could tell from this situation, Ariya was more considerate than I had expected. Whenever a fight occurs between the two of them, Sii was usually to blame. Sii was also ill-natured, but since she wasn’t wicked to the point of being untouchable, she was familiarizing herself with how to take care of herself.
Like so, the three of us ended up living together. A heart-pounding life living together with two girls in a single room which was barely several square meters wide⎯⎯⎯Of course, something like that didn’t happen.
“I see that Fair Grace is celibate.”
“Obviously. Yujin is satisfying all of his twisted sexual desires while servicing me.”
That wasn’t the case.
Like I said, I believed that I wouldn’t get excited for anyone other than Minhee.
Except, in the moment my situation feels as if the number of girls living with me will increase to three, I feel like my heart will pound for an entirely different reason.
“Yes, Fair Grace.”
“There’s a person who’s been peeking at this room ever since you moved here.”
To be exact, it was Alshi. The other martial artist type maid who was together with me at the laundry drying area. Ariya’s lover, and······.
Ariya pressed her hand against her forehead.
“I’ll send her back.”
“No. How about living together with her as well?”
If Ariya was slightly startled by my response, then Sii was incredibly perplexed.
“Yujin! Just how many people do you plan to bring to my room!?”
“It will be narrow, but I believe that increasing the number of our companions is something that should be welcomed. I’ve said it before, but the more colleagues we have, the more options that’ll be available to us.”
Since this was something that I had to tell Ariya as well, I spoke in this world’s language. Sii became red and shouted.
“Even so! It’s not like my room is some sort of salon! If only the number of girls increases in this small space, then that’s a bit······ even if Yujin has a girl in Korea······ No, more so because of that!”
Ariya became flustered, something which rarely happened, and waved her hand.
“That will be difficult.”
“Because the room is small? Or because you don’t want to place the girl, whom you cherish so much, near the girl you dislike?”
“Both are correct.” Ariya ignored Sii’s rising eyebrows. “Alshi is, how should I say it······ she is contemplating about something right now.”
Contemplating about something, is it?
There was one thing that came to mind.
“Furthermore, I may lose my composure. I don’t live a celibate life like Fair Grace, after all.”
For this girl, who’d even sleep while also maintaining a perfect body angle, to say something like that, it felt somewhat ironic.
“Although I don’t think that I live a celibate life, is that really a reason?”
“It is. If I were to sleep together with Alshi in a room that’s as small as this, then I will most likely be unable to control myself.”
It became an explanation that had an excessively vivid taste. Sii furrowed her brow.
“Really, I don’t understand. Why do people of the same gender······? You can’t even have a child.”
“I do not intend to make you understand. In any case, I’m saying that it’ll be troubling for me. Solely this, even if Fair Grace were to command me, this is something that’ll be hard for me to obey.”
Ariya drew a line as if she didn’t want to say anything more. Even I had no desire to cross that line.
At the very least, not right now.
Fortunately, like this incident, all of the chaos which had occurred after Ariya joined us were all things that could be endured. Once our situation had been decently organized, I started to make my move.
“This is what I was talking about before.”
I lifted up a USB. Sii curved her body slightly.
“Yujin, as I thought, isn’t this dangerous?”
“It’s more dangerous to not do anything. We were attacked for some unknown reason, you know? We were, fortunately, able to survive thanks to Ariya.” I turned towards that very savior of ours. “If we weren’t saved, then something terrible would have happened.”
“That’s true, but, but······ what I mean is, wouldn’t it be fine to just leave it to Her Excellency the Earl? You gave her the report, didn’t you? The guards should be moving.”
“The guards can’t be trusted.”
I spoke sternly.
“The civilization level of this world is mediocre. Moreover, even when Miss Sii was framed, they did nothing and allowed the Earl to execute her unlawful punishment.”
Sii looked up at me with her arms gathered in front of her chest. However, Ariya tilted her head.
“Fair Grace, are you not underestimating them a bit too much? The guards of the Water Dragon City are actually more competent than what you might think.”
(TL note: I’ll be referring to this city as Water Dragon City whenever they talk in this world’s language. When they talk in Korean or when Yujin monologues, I’ll be leaving it as City of Confinement)
“Mm~~ Certainly, they’re competent enough to capture a certain someone who was trying to steal the jewelry of Her Excellency’s mother in the middle of the night.”
“Sii, spasmodically going into a fit every time someone gives an opinion that’s the opposite of Fair Grace’s own opinion will only make you a nuisance to him. Since you won’t understand even if I tell you this, I’ll borrow that head of yours for a second.”
“Continuing on from where I left off, Fair Grace. There is a competent person within the guards. As a believer of the God of Equality, Gainu Warmon, there’s a person who has solved several dozen cases. I also said this back when you first told me the summary of your plan, but since that individual is there, I’m unable to agree with this method.”
Ariya stated and gestured at the USB in my hand with her chin. She didn’t point at it with her hand because she was pressing both of her fists into Sii’s temple. I stopped her by grabbing onto both of her wrists before speaking.
“Let me get this straight then. The guards of the Water Dragon City are more competent than what I think of them and the reason for that is because they have a single genius. The reason why you’re telling me this is because if this is perhaps discovered by the guards, then you’re worried that I’ll be in trouble.”
“One way or another, I can get away with feigning ignorance and I don’t really care about what happens to Sii, but there is still a debt that I have to repay, Fair Grace.”
“I’m really grateful for your concern, but the impression other people have of me is already at the lowest. Not only am I an otherworlder, but I’m also the Earl’s toy. I went head on against the maid who leads the largest faction among the maids. I also chose to stand on Sii’s side. Even if one or two more things are added to this list, if I were to say it in this world’s terms, then it’s adding one to twelve. That’s why you don’t have to worry. Honestly speaking,”
I fixed the position of my glasses and continued.
“I’m, already used to this type of feeling and it’s simple to handle.”
Sii and Ariya glanced at one another. I spoke while connecting my iPad to the USB.
“I’m going to play it.”
I then took out a single wireless earphone meant for only one ear and a single pair of earphones which were connected together by a cable. I passed the two of them the connected earphones, handing them one earphone each.
“Wait, Yujin! I want to listen together with Yujin!”
“My apologies, Fair Grace, but sitting side by side with Sii and sharing these with her is physiologically difficult for me. If it’s an order, then I will listen.”
I ignored their complaints and pressed the play button. Although they looked displeased, they shared the earphones in the end.
We then watched the recorded video that had begun to play on the tablet screen.
〈Aah, really. How much longer do we have to work like this? Seri, don’t you think so as well?〉
〈Yes, but this is still on the easy side right now······ We have prominent guests scheduled to arrive one after another next month and the month after.〉
〈The esteemed daughter of the Cat Earl and the prince of the Orange Hawk were going to come, right······? Really, I’m grateful that Mari and that guy······ Yujin are handling the work so well.〉
〈Woof! Don’t compliment that guy!〉
〈Kina, why do you dislike that guy so much? He honestly works well, doesn’t he?〉
〈Woof······. That guy came from another world, didn’t he? That’s why······.〉
It was a hidden camera. This was the certain something that I had been setting up while I was also getting accustomed to my daily life here. I had installed all of the electronics, which I had brought back from my last trip to Korea, throughout the castle. I had collected today’s data earlier and was going through them now. Ariya looked as if she were in awe.
“The magic of Fair Grace’s world······ did you say this was called a hidden camera? I heard the explanation, but it’s surprising.”
“This is common in my world.”
“Even so, this is still amazing, Fair Grace. Except, the thing I’m still unable to understand is how exactly watching the maids getting changed is related to our investigation regarding the assailants.”
I adjusted my glasses.
“Collecting information. Since there are pieces of information which can only be gathered like this.”
“Is that the case?”
“Yup. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m busy renewing the character sheets and the relationship charts.”
Although Ariya looked as if she were still confused, she nodded anyway. Sii was already staring at the screen as if her eyes had been absorbed into it. For starters, the dressing room.
〈I’m tired~! This is all Miss Sophna’s fault! Ever since she shut herself in······.〉
〈Shh! What are you going to do if someone hears you!? You’ll become bunny beef, you know!〉
The reception room.
〈Hey, do I really have to clean the basement? I mean, I did lose the Twelve Fingers match, but······. What I mean is, Sii left the sick room today, didn’t she? We could also make that Yujin person do it······.〉
〈Losers~ can’t complain~.〉
〈Either resent Sii or resent yourself for being unable to work as well as Yujin does. Hurry up and go down to clean.〉
〈Doesn’t it seem like the food has become tastier lately?〉
〈Raya must be working harder!〉
〈No, rather than that, it’s just because Yujin has been taking charge of the cooking more frequently lately······.〉
〈Aresa, you’re really ruthless towards Raya.〉
〈It’s regrettable for me too, but the truth is the truth······.〉
〈······I’m asking just to be sure, but are you two actually dating?〉
“Fair Grace, do we really have to watch places like this as well?”
Ariya voiced her disapproval once more. Sii hesitantly raised her head for the first time since the hidden videos had started to play and looked at me.
“Uhm, Yujin. I don’t want to agree with Ariya, but this location, uh, it’s the bathroom, isn’t it? It’s things like this that make you seem like a complete pervert.”
I pushed my glasses up.
“The bathroom is a place where important things are said a lot. It’s an area where you end up relaxing both mentally and physically. Back in my world, there was a time where a real estate millionaire was immediately arrested after having said something scandalous while in their own bathroom.”
“Mm~~ yeah. Yujin probably knows more about theoretical stuff. But Yujin, think about it. Yujin is sharing earphones with two other girls right now. You’re also watching secretly shot videos of the bathroom. This kind of man, what would Yujin call them?”
“In any case, it seems Mari has arrived.”
“Ah! Yujin, shh! I can’t miss this! Fufu, ufufu, ufufufufufu······ For someone who goes around with her head held up high so much, I’ll make sure to clearly watch what sort of crude appearance you’re going to display!”
This girl was also a pervert, so she had no sense of shame. Even though Ariya didn’t know Korean, it seems she must have grasped the situation through just the intonations since she was looking at Sii as if she were pathetic.
“My apologies, Fair Grace, but as I thought, this is the only venture which I do not think that I can accompany you on. Unless you order me to, then it cannot be helped.”
“If you’re going to back out now, then give me the other earphone! Make sure to close your eyes, too!”
“Let go. Fair Grace hasn’t given me an answer yet, has he? I do not wish to do it, but if it’s Fair Grace’s command, then I will have to do it in order to pay back his kindness. If it’s an order, that is. To an extent.”
Ariya uttered and looked at me with eyes that appeared as if they were hoping for something.
In other words, this girl was also a pervert.
“It’s an order.”
“Then it truly cannot be helped.”
Ariya pushed the earphone firmly into her ear. Shortly after, the concentrating while also audibly gulping down her saliva pervert and the silently concentrating pervert both displayed a disappointed expression. Though the extent of their respective disappointment was different.
“Mm~~ she isn’t doing anything.”
“It seems she came here to just rest.”
As they stated, the Mari in the video was just sitting back on the toilet seat with her eyes closed.
“Skipping out on her work like this, she really is the worst. Even though she foams at the mouth whenever I rest for even a tiny bit.”
“She deserves to rest like this. It’s true that Mari works a lot, isn’t it?”
“Yujin works more!”
“Yes, and the reason why Fair Grace is working that much is because he’s doing your work in your stead.”
“Uu······. I know that even if you don’t tell me. I’m trying to quickly get better······.”
“It is indeed an issue that cannot be resolved with just one’s own willpower.”
The two perverts’ conversation had strangely become cordial. It was probably something similar to an accomplice mentality that came from watching unauthorized videos together.
“Ah, Raya appeared next.”
“She’s holding snacks.”
〈Uuu, why is it that when I make it, it doesn’t come out like that guy’s······?〉
“It’s Miss Ashya. She’s just smoking. I guess she’s here to skip out on work like Mari. Albeit, different from Mari, she’s someone who normally doesn’t work anyway.”
“She’s been discouraged ever since Miss Sophna had shut herself in.”
“Yeah. She’s the leader of the established faction. In other words, she’s most likely one of the four people who framed me······.”
“It’s Kina. I’ve always been curious as to how she sits on the toilet with that height of hers, aha, she enters her unsheathed state and⎯⎯⎯.”
“Different from the docile impression Seri gives, she’s surprisingly⎯⎯⎯.”
Time flowed by like that for a while. Once we reached near the end of the video, Sii let out a satisfied sigh. (I’m also uncertain as to how it’s possible for her to contradict herself like that.)
“Mm~~ Nothing special today as well.”
“That seems to be the case. I had no other choice but to watch since it was Fair Grace’s order, so it was twice as difficult for me to······.”
I shut both of their mouths. In the video, someone had opened the door to the bathroom and entered. Ariya opened her eyes wide.
The one who had entered the bathroom was Ariya’s lover, Alshi. She was being displayed on the screen.
Ariya placed her hand on top of the iPad.
“All right. It seems that’s it.”
“What are you doing!?”
Sii grabbed onto the wrist of that hand. Ariya turned her wrist and twisted her body, immediately putting Sii into a subduing hold.
“Ariya, keep it moderate.” I spoke. “Make sure that you especially don’t touch her other arm.”
“I absolutely will not touch that arm, Fair Grace. However, we must not watch any further than this. This is not right.”
Her attitude was firm enough to remind me of the justice of the Supreme Court. Sii complained.
“You’re acting differently compared to the pervert who was enjoying herself while using orders as a pretext a second ago.”
“There is still the favor which I must repay Fair Grace, so I can perform quite the amount of tasks even if they violate laws or go against my own conscience. However, I cannot carry out an order that can cause harm to Alshi.”
“Harm!? What sort of harm would Alshi receive!? It’s not like she’s going to corrode just because we look at her a bit!”
Sii gave a cliche excuse that befits a peeker.
“Would we not be invading Alshi’s privacy?”
Really, those were words that I didn’t expect to hear from the pervert who was pleasantly watching the video while using my orders as an excuse a second ago.
“Who’s going to judge that so-called invasion? Alshi doesn’t know anything, right? Can there be something like an invasion of privacy or whatever when the opposition has no idea?”
The conversation became a high-level talk questioning whether that action could be predicated as wicked or not if the person directly involved had not received any mental harm due to the fact that they didn’t know.
“Don’t the sky, the earth, and we know?”
The topic leaped up to the level of Oriental philosophy.
“Then all we have to do is keep our mouths shut. Like we did for everyone else who was recorded until now.”
It was around the time when their conversation resembled something that the archangels of the Angiris Council would talk about while gazing down at the sacred grounds.
〈······Just how did it, end up like this.〉
Ariya flinched. It was Alshi’s voice. She had let the video play for too long. However, instead of seeing a scene that would happen as a matter of course in the bathroom, the sight of Alshi crouching down while placing her hand against her forehead was being displayed.
She was being tormented by something. Although you didn’t really need to have a special relationship with another person in order to sympathize with them, it tended to help. Ariya muttered while looking into the screen.
Using this moment when the strength in Ariya’s shoulders had disappeared, Sii shook off Ariya’s grip and stood up. Thankfully, contrary to my concern, Sii didn’t make any sarcastic remarks towards Ariya who was in agony because of her lover’s pain.
“Mm······,” Sii spoke up in a cautious tone. “Ariya, why is Alshi like that? Did something happen?”
Before Ariya could say anything in response, a change had occurred in the video. Someone had opened the door to the stall that Alshi was in and entered.
a really small girl.
Drooping dog ears that appeared like cotton battings which had been used for a long period of time. A short height that didn’t even reach 1 meter tall. She was a Saber-Fang like Kina. Her unkempt hair and projecting teeth made her give off a tomboyish vibe and the fact that the buttons on the uniform which was wrapped around her small body were misaligned gave me the impression that she was clumsy.
“It’s Miss Roroa······ the guard. But why is she in the place where Alshi······.”
Sii stopped mid-sentence and closed her mouth. The Saber-Fang guard known as Roroa had all of a sudden jumped into Alshi’s embrace.
Sii became perplexed and looked back and forth between the iPad and Ariya. Although Ariya’s face was void of emotions, the veins on the back of her hand were becoming thicker.
Within the video, Alshi and Roroa were hugging and rubbing up against one another. We couldn’t hear their conversation that well since they were both whispering. Soon after that, as if the battery had died, the video was cut off without any warning.
Sii hesitantly turned to look at Ariya.
“Uhm······ Ariya, that just now······.”
“Don’t say anything.”
Ariya uttered. That response made Sii fly into a temper instead.
“What do you mean by don’t say anything!? This, no matter how you look at it, it’s cheating, isn’t it?!”
“Alshi wouldn’t do something like that.”
“That’s just what you think! But putting aside your delusions! This is clearly cheating! Even if you overlook the fact that they’re both girls, for it to even be different races······ and with that Miss Roroa!”
“That’s a rather funny statement, Sii. If you consider the fact that your mother was half-marble, that is.”
“D-Don’t bring my mother into this!”
“Then you shouldn’t drag my lover into this!”
The instant Ariya shouted that while displaying an agitation which she rarely ever showed, a clicking sound resonated and the door had opened.
The light from a lamp and the setting sun mixed together, making a blood-like scarlet afterglow flow into the room. I grabbed the iPad at the same time as both Sii and Ariya had stopped and turned to look at the door. Whoever the person was, they must have felt the bustling atmosphere, as their small feet had stopped themselves from entering the room.
“Wan······ are you busy right now?”
a really small girl.
A Saber-Fang who was wearing the uniform of the Silver Guards⎯⎯⎯the girl who was being held in Alshi’s embrace in the video we were watching a second ago, Roroa was looking at us with a puzzled face.
I’ll organize the current situation.
First, we were gathering information from the hidden cameras.
Second, the person who was being displayed in those videos a moment ago had visited this room without notice.
Organizing complete. This was something that happened often during the 8 Years’ War. While skillfully flipping the iPad over and turning it off, I spoke.
“Hi. I’m Yujin. This here is······.”
“Wan! Miss Sii Mikatni and Miss Ariya Orgit. I am aware, wan.”
While responding with a pronunciation that let other people know she had a short tongue, Roroa giggled. She then spread her drooping dog ears out widely and looked at me.
“I know you as well, wan. Sir Yujin! The otherworlder who was summoned by Her Excellency the Earl! I heard about you from Abria, wan.”
Abria Mikatni. Sii’s foster-sister.
“Are you friends?”
“Yes. Furthermore, the House of Mikatni produces the arms for the Silver Lion Guards, wan. If they were also skilled at needlework, then they would have even produced our uniforms, but it’s quite regrettable. Isn’t that so, wan, Miss Sii?”
Sii laughed evasively. Roroa smiled widely before bowing her head towards me.
“Oh right. Sir Yujin, I’d like to also apologize to you, wan. My family has been inconveniencing you.”
“Yes. That girl’s personality has always been like that of a poison-barbed porcupine······.”
“It’s fine. She’s adorable.”
“Wan! If that’s the case, then it’s a relief, wan!”
Roroa raised her ears up and grinned brightly. I scooted over to the side and presented her a place to sit on the mattress.
“Don’t just stand there and have a seat. I apologize for the narrow space.”
“Wan! It’s okay, it’s okay. As you can see, wan, I’m small!”
Roroa dived onto the mattress. She was about to turn around and sit down, but she paused and swung her small hands and legs around.
“Hoeeeeeh!? I-It’s incredibly soft, smooth, and also gives off a good fragrance!? Did you perhaps······?”
“Yeah. It hasn’t been long since we brought in new sheets.”
“Ho-ho, I see-I see. Hmhm, hmm, huu, hua······ this was clearly washed with the water from the 2nd-floor basement of the Central Tower and dried with the winter sunlight······ this clean fragrance that makes one feel like they’re becoming healthier······ but the scent coming up from the mattress underneath the sheet······ because this fragrance that smells like trampled grass with a couple of drops of milk is emphasized······ it’s not monotonous.”
“W-What do you mean by trampled grass with a couple of drops of milk!?”
Sii became red and complained. Roroa’s ears pricked upwards for a moment before she modestly gathered her hands together on top of her lap and sat down.
“Fueh······ I’m sorry, wan. I unconsciously became absorbed, wan. It’s just that my nose is good······.”
“N-N-No, the important thing is······. For it to have that scent······.”
“To be exact, it smells like it’s also been sealed for two days, wan. Fuah······ ah, I want to smell it again, wan.”
Sii turned her shoulders about with an embarrassed expression on her face. It’s not that bad of a smell so she doesn’t have to be that worried about it.
“Would you like a drink?”
“Wan, is that okay? I’d feel sorry if I make you go all the way to the dining room······.”
“It’s fine. There’s one here.”
I handed her a bottle. After gulping down a mouthful, Roroa’s eyes sparkled.
“Waan! Lipton Ice Tea! It’s been so long, wan!”
“You know about this drink?”
“Yes~ There was a time when Ahyeon had given me one. Wan! I didn’t think I’d be able to drink this again! Hoeeh, what a lucky day!”
The dog-eared girl sucked on the bottle while grabbing onto it with both of her hands. I waited for her to finish drinking before speaking.
“So what brings a guard here all of a sudden?”
“To hear from the witness, wan. I heard that you were assaulted yesterday, wan.”
I had gone into the main topic without warning, but it seems she was capable of responding immediately.
“You came now? Personally?”
“Yes. Normally, we were supposed to have come the instant the order was given, but during this time, even us guards are busy with all sorts of things······. I was just barely able to, wan, make some spare time now. I didn’t want to make you guys come and go since it’s so late, so I came personally. If you’re not busy, can I ask a few questions, wan?”
Not only did she perfectly grasp the real intention hidden behind my incoherent question, but she explained her own circumstances during that process and also went a step further and advanced the conversation. Her tomboyish first impression, it was completely different compared to the way she spoke. There’s no doubt that the ‘competent person among the guards’ was this girl.
“It’s almost time for me to go give my routine report to the Earl.”
“It won’t take long.”
“Well, if you say so.”
“Yeap. then please wait a moment, wan.”
(TL note: Pronounced ‘Yeh-ap’)
Roroa sprayed a green light into the air.
At first, it looked similar to the liquid particles that would be sprayed out of a spray bottle. It wasn’t long before those particles gathered together and formed lines, shapes, and figures. A vivid hologram phenomenon was now floating in the center of this dark room. I recognized the shape to be a type of list.
“It’s a sacred blessing. The majority of us ‘devotees of the Giant Molars’ organize our data like this. Now then······ Sir Yujin?”
“You can just call me Yujin.”
“Okay, Yujin. Wan. Can you give me an explanation of the situation during the time when you were attacked, wan?”
I did so. It was 2 people wearing maid uniforms, they opened a door that was locked and entered the room, they were equipped with weird masks and eccentric daggers, although I tried to fight against them, it was impossible for me, we were able to stay safe thanks to Ariya’s appearance. Roroa, who was organizing the information by moving her small finger around and touching the hologram floating in the air, flapped her ears.
“Sii. Ariya. How about you two? Out of all the information that was mentioned, wan, is there anything that’s wrong or needs to be fixed?”
“No, there’s nothing.”
Sii replied cautiously while Ariya just glared at Roroa. Roroa pricked up one ear and turned to look at Ariya.
“Ariya, is there something you wish to say, wan?”
Ariya didn’t respond. Silence.
Before the awkward silence could last any longer, I spoke.
“This is all we can tell you. What do you think?”
If this were Korea, then they wouldn’t tell the victim about the investigation, but this was another world.
“They’re probably someone from the outside or the inside, wan. This is obvious. If you consider the fact that they were able to accurately pinpoint Miss Sii’s sick room, the fact that they were wearing maid uniforms, and the fact that they didn’t encounter anyone while going to and escaping from the room, then there’s a high possibility that it’s the latter. Furthermore, the fact that they invaded this castle and caused a commotion means that they either don’t know their place or they’re that skilled, wan. Since they were fought off by Miss Ariya, there’s a high chance that it’s the former. Therefore, if I were to organize the information that I have now, then.”
Roroa pressed a button on the hologram. A twelve finger symbol spun around for a moment before soon displaying the result screen.
“Either a fairly insane insider who’s not afraid of Her Excellency the Earl or an outsider who’s standing in a position that’s able to obtain information from that sort of insider. Although they’re thorough during the planning phase, they’re the type of person to slack when it comes to actually carrying out their plan. This is about 7 out of 12.”
Certainly, as Ariya had said, it seems I was underestimating the guards of this world⎯⎯⎯ and the level of this civilization.
“That’s logical. I thought that you would use an investigation method that was a bit more magical.”
Roroa revealed her molars as she laughed.
“Wan! I heard that they do that in places like the House of the Cat Earl, wan. But we only have a few number of mages here and this is the only sacred blessing that I can use. No matter who the person is and where they are, wan, they’ll end up doing the best they can with whatever resources they have. Well, the most magical and certain method would be to retrieve something like the hair of the mask maids, deliver it to Her Excellency the Earl, and request for her to summon them, but······.”
“I told the Earl before when I gave her my initial report, but there was nothing.”
“Yes. Masks that covered their entire heads. Long gloves. It means that they were prepared for Her Excellency’s ability. That’s why I said that they were thorough when it came to the planning phase.”
Roroa had a concerned look on her face, showing that she was worried whether we’d take her words as her blaming us, the victims, or not. I shrugged my shoulders to assure her that that wasn’t the case.
“And the other 5 out of 12?”
“Wan! Starting from the possibility that you had lied to the possibility that they were assassins who’re able to use invisibility magic, since these things can’t be placed within the Twelve Fingers, there’s no point in quibbling over them, wan.”
“We didn’t lie!”
Sii shouted. Roroa folded her ears.
“Waan. Of course, I’m aware. I meant that the there will be too many things to think about if we were to even consider those kinds of preposterous possibilities. That’s why, while putting nitpicks about those kinds of things aside, I intend to plan out an investigation while placing the highest possibility that was mentioned earlier, regarding the characteristics of the criminals, as the main subject, wan. I believe that I’ll have something to share with you all, wan, by the time you’ve counted down the number of days according to the number of fingers on both of your hands.”
I couldn’t find anything to criticize even in the way she had wrapped things up. Roroa scattered the holograms before holding onto the bottle with both of her hands once more and drinking the Lipton Ice Tea. She puffed out her cheeks like a pair of steam buns and displayed a satisfied expression on her face.
“Wan. So good······. This seeping scent. As I thought, I like the food from Earth the most, wan. Do you perhaps have alcohol? I actually like makgeolli.”
“Sorry. I’m still a student. ······The Korean that came before me. Do you know about Ahyeon well?”
“Wan! He’s just someone that I liked one-sidedly! Is he perhaps someone you know?”
“I’ve only heard his name.”
“I heard that he was a Korean who was here a long time ago, that he was here for about 4 years, and that he had taught the Earl and Zia the Korean language, and during that process, they became really close. The two of them wouldn’t tell me anything more than this so I couldn’t ask them about him either.”
“Wan. I see······. Mm? But even so······.”
“Do we give off a similar image? I’ve heard a couple of people say that casually.”
“Your black hair and black eyes are quite the same.”
That’s because we’re both Korean.
“You also give off a similar scent.”
As expected, I should wash up today.
“Waan~ but you’re certainly a bit different.”
Roroa laughed while her ears were pricked up.
“What kind of person was he?”
“He was a person who let out a good voice, wan. He was a good person. Waan. Really, without any prejudice, he was an individual who doted on me and Kina.”
That wasn’t really what I was asking. The instant that thought had crossed my mind, Roroa took another sip of the Lipton Ice Tea and giggled.
“Of course, you probably weren’t asking for this kind of fragmentary impressions, right? Yujin. If you want a particular answer, then you need to first ask a precise question.”
I’m unsure whether she was a guard back when Ahyeon was still around, and there’s also a chance that a lot of time had passed since she had surpassed the age of being referred to as just a ‘girl’.
“Was he a male?”
(TL note: Until now, they’ve been constantly referring to Ahyeon with the gender neutral pronoun. Yujin has been calling him a guy in his monologues ever since he assumed that Ahyeon had gone to the military.)
“How old did he look?”
“Waan······ actually, similar to how humans have a hard time figuring out the age of Saber-Fangs, we have a hard time figuring out the age of humans as well. Even Yujin is an otherworlder. Regardless, he had a beard, wore glasses, seemed like he had bad eyesight, and his body was so scrawny that it felt like if I were to ever bite into him, then even his bones would be torn out.”
A wimpy man, huh. Ever since I had guessed that he was someone who had served in the military, I kept in mind the thought that he could be an old man.
“What did he say he did in Korea?”
“He said he was a teacher. Wan. He taught kids. He said that he even made good money. But on the other hand, he said that he was starting to feel sick of that lifestyle of his, so I heard that since he was summoned, he tossed everything aside and decided to live here.”
“So he had a personality that couldn’t really be called responsible.”
“Hehe. But I think that that was just an excuse.”
Roroa closed her eyes as if she were reminiscing the past.
“That’s what he said, but he’s actually an individual who’s unable to look over twisted things. He got rid of a lot of bad customs and indictments, wan. You can even say that it was thanks to him that a Saber-Fang like me was able to become a part of the guards. Until then, they said that it was only possible for something like this to happen if the person in question had quite the impressive ability or if they were in places like the Twelve Earthly Branches.”
‘It’s not discrimination but division.’ I had heard this stereotypical racist phrase before and I was aware that racism existed here. However, it seems things were worse than I had imagined. It was even a man from another world who had changed that. An otherworld reformation fantasy that felt as if it were from a manga.
And that fantasy······.
“That Ahyeon person, what happened to him in the end?”
“I’m not sure, wan.”
Roroa made an apologetic face.
“When Her Excellency the Earl was kidnapped, I was still the lowest of the lows in terms of rank. Except, I remember that at that time, each member of the Merza’ kordia(Translating······ Twelve arrows? Bullets? I’ll translate it as Twelve Bullets) disappeared one after another. Ahyeon was one of those people.”
As I thought, it was around the time of the kidnapping.
“Was there perhaps 11 other people who were also standing in the same position as Ahyeon?”
Roroa raised her ears upwards. Even if you look at me with eyes that feel as if they’re asking ‘You didn’t know?’, what am I supposed to do?
“I’ve only heard Ahyeon’s name. Were the 11 other people also Korean?”
“Waan. No. Ahyeon was the only Korean, wan. Since the number of worlds Her Excellency the Earl is able to meddle in is 12, there’s one person from each world, so a total of 12 people. It was like a group of elite guards that consisted of solely otherworlders.”
A chuunibyou-like setting had popped up all of a sudden.
If you consider the Earl’s age at that time, then it would be shounibyou.
(TL note: Chuuni is basically middle school 2nd year(8th grade), and shouni is elementary school 2nd year. Chuugakusei = Middle schooler. Shougakusei = Elementary schooler)
“They were called the Twelve Bullets, but the regular members were only Ahyeon and a few others, wan. The members rarely ever gathered all together. But during the rare occasions when they did, it was really amazing! Waan! Isn’t that so, Miss Ariya? Don’t you remember as well?”
Although a shounibyou had started it, it seems it was taken in well by the adults as well. Even Ariya, who had not uttered a single word ever since Roroa had appeared, showed a response to those words.
“It was amazing. I remember that even my father did not hide his awe whenever the Twelve Bullets gathered.”
“Wahaha, yup. He really did enjoy it. On the days the Twelve Bullets gathered, the guards would have a get-together, you know? He would always drink alcohol out of a tall glass and say ‘You saw them, right!? My goal is those people! We have to surpass them!’. That brusque man would say childish things like that.”
Ariya’s expression relaxed slightly. Roroa took another sip of the Lipton Ice Tea and made a face that appeared as if she were gazing far off into the distance.
“Nevertheless, as I thought, I liked Ahyeon the most, wan. He didn’t know how to fight. His body was weak. He sucked at exercising. Like that, he was a person who was absolutely terrible at physical activities, but I was infatuated with him. Albeit, it’s because of that that Kina felt as if she had her sister stolen from her, so she’d always say grouchy things······ but I still miss those days.”
I recalled something once I saw her soft eyes.
“Is the reason why Kina growls at me because of that?”
“Wan······ that child is an idiot, after all. She thinks I’ll end up like that again. ······Honestly, it’d be a lie if I said that I didn’t have some expectations. I did say that you resembled him.”
The Saber-Fang girl gazed at me with pupils that resembled the color of a brown teddy bear’s fur.
“You’re completely different from Ahyeon.”
“I’m a different person, after all.”
“That’s right, isn’t it? It’s obvious, but, there are some people in the world who’re unable to think of that obvious thought, wan.”
After saying that, Roroa lowered herself from the mattress.
“I’ll take my leave now, wan. It’s already become this late. Thank you for your cooperation and I apologize for taking up so much of your time, wan. Now then.”
“All right. See you next time.”
Roroa twirled around and folded down one ear before leaving the room with trot-like steps.
I turned on the iPad and recorded all of the information that I had obtained from the conversation that had gone back and forth just now.
Since I was able to figure out what kind of person Roroa was, I decided to push the information regarding the assailants to the back. I typed everything down, putting a priority on Roroa’s relations, Ahyeon, and the Twelve Bullets. There were several matters that I had to verify.
“Ariya. Can I ask you a couple of things?”
“Yeah. If I perhaps ask a question that’s troubling to answer, then you don’t have to. Was your father a guard?”
“He was the vice-captain.”
Ariya lowered her eyes.
“Holder of the title Pure Black Fist Knight. He was also a member of the Brown Lion Royal Guards.”
“Brown Lion Royal Guards instead of the Silver Lion Royal Guards······ Ah, around the time of the previous earl?”
“Yes. However, he passed away before much time had passed after the esteemed······ after the current earl was kidnapped. My mother also became sick around that time. I had no other choice but to stop what I was doing at that time and find a job. Fortunately, I was able to work as a maid thanks to Miss Sophna’s consideration.”
It was then that Sii had hesitantly opened her mouth. Ariya ignored her and looked at me.
“Fair Grace. Do you have any more questions?”
I got Sii’s consent after glancing at her and asked another question.
“Did you meet Alshi for the first time while working as a maid?”
“I said this earlier, but you don’t have to answer if it’s troubling.”
“No, it isn’t particularly······. I was just wondering why you were curious about that. We did know each other before, but we didn’t become closer until after I started to work as a maid. As a slight senior above me, she helped me a lot when I was trying to get accustomed to the work here as a maid.”
Sii raised her voice. Ariya turned towards Sii with annoyed eyes.
“What is it, Sii?”
“Ah, mm~~ You know······ since we’re talking about Alshi. The thing we saw in the video. Shouldn’t we have said something about it? Why was she and Alshi rubbing against one another in the bathroom?”
“You, did you not hear me when I told you to not drag my lover into this?”
“I-I wasn’t dragging her in! It’s just that the situation was······.”
“And what do you mean by ‘say something’? How do you plan to say something? ‘We were watching a video that was shot from a hidden camera and saw it’?”
Ariya’s voice was as cold as the air at the crack of dawn. Sii’s face was also red as if it were touched by the cold air of dawn.
“We just have to think about how we’re going to ask! It’s just that the fact that we went by it without even saying a single thing······ I-It’s not something that I can ask, and it’s a topic that’s difficult for even Yujin to say something about······.”
“It isn’t necessary.”
“I said it wasn’t needed. Furthermore, I’m saying this for the third time now, but this isn’t something which you need to be concerned about.”
Ariya uttered with a heavily irritated tone mixed into her words. Sii didn’t back down and shouted with a determined face.
“Yujin! Say something to her!”
You’re going to pass the baton to me in this timing while also making that face?
No, that’s Sii for you······.
“Miss Sii, things will only get ugly if you try to get between a couple.”
“Then you just have to make it not ugly! Yup~~! Make it quickly!”
“If the opposition has refused, then even that will not go as planned. Moreover······.” No, this wasn’t the right time. “At any rate, there’s no need to be concerned about this, Miss Sii.”
“It’s all right. Miss Sii has gone through a lot today. Ariya, you as well. Since there’s still some time left before I have to give my routine report, get some rest and enjoy the new sheet and blanket.”
“Yes, Fair Grace.”
Ariya replied. Sii shut her mouth with a displeased face. Her face was saying that she wasn’t wrong and that she had yet to understand, but since I had said this much, she was going to endure it for a bit.
In other words, her expression meant that she wasn’t going to endure for long, but it was fine. She most likely won’t actually cause an incident and before long, starting from the assailants incident, urgent matters will start to be wrapped up. That was my prediction.
Mm, predictions had the tendency of being off the mark.
TL note: Thanks for reading the chapter.
I should probably give you guys some information regarding the way Roroa speaks. Different from Kina who ‘woofs’, Roroa actually ‘wans’ instead. However, because of Roroa’s short tongue, she tends to sort of wan near the ends of her sentences as well, but I’m really terrible at dog based puns. Thus, I compromised with this. If you see “, wan.” at the end of sentences, then it means that Roroa had pronounced the end part of that sentence like a dog. Every other “Wan!” you see normally is her actually barking.
I’ll probably try to squeeze in some dog puns that perfectly matches the translation later on, but until a situation where a dog pun doesn’t sound too awkward even if it’s translated into English appears in one of her lines, this will have to do.
I wrote this TL note in the middle of the night, so pardon me if it sounds incoherent.