I immediately said hello.
“Ah, hello, Miss Sophna.”
She could have easily guessed that I was here to give my regular report, but Sii was next to me as well. Sii bowed her head in a panic. Although Sophna ignored my greeting, she raised her hand and received Sii’s.
I glanced around the room during their small exchange. The Earl wasn’t here.
“Did the Earl go somewhere?”
Sophna smiled cynically.
“There is no reason for you to know.”
I simply nodded my head in response. There was no reason for me to tell her that I was here in order to give my regular report, and in order to do so, I had to obviously meet the Earl. As Sophna herself already knew this, there was also someone else present that was capable of saying it better than me.
“Y-Yujin is here to meet Her Excellency the Earl······.”
Sii spoke carefully. Sophna let out a sigh and thumped her staff against the floor.
“Speak in Korean.”
Sii’s face became red.
“It’s embarrassing because I’m still poor at it······.”
“You will get better if you continue to use it. Simply use it for now. It is natural to gradually become better at the things you are poor at.”
She sounded like a grandmother who was talking to her granddaughter. Her icy gaze had softened as well.
If you consider the fact that Sii’s evaluation of Sophna had always been strangely generous, this must be how they usually interact with each other. Different from me who was a stone that had tumbled here from another world, Sii had inherited the blood of her ancestors, in other words, the blood of the first earl, Sophna’s comrade.
If you think about it like that, then there’s one thing I didn’t understand, but.
“Yeah~~ Yujin said something similar as well! He said that you can only fix problems if you face them consistently!”
Regardless, it seems that genes with the inability to read the mood were mixed in that ancestor’s blood as well. Sophna’s smile became cold once more.
“That fellow said that? Kuhuhu. That Ahyeon person was like that as well, but it seems that Koreans have genes which make them good at blabbering with their mouths.”
I had already vaguely pieced together the fact that Ahyeon was a good speaker, and this was something that Roroa had confirmed for me as well. Furthermore, the instant I met her, I knew that Sophna disliked Ahyeon.
Was it for the same reason as Roroa? Because he had talked big about changing the city? Because he had abruptly disappeared despite having said that? In the first place, what happened to Ahyeon, to the Twelve Bullets that the Earl had summoned?
Roroa said that she didn’t know and Zia said she couldn’t answer.
Sophna, this woman most likely knows.
She’s most likely showing this sort of attitude⎯⎯⎯because she knows.
“I-I’m sorry······ Are you mad?”
Sophna’s expression softened once more in response to Sii’s flustered words.
“You are not the one I am upset at.”
As I thought, she was too lax. If she answers like that, then that means that she was indeed mad. She should have said ‘I’m not upset’ just now. If she did, then.
“Are you mad at Yujin······?”
She could have avoided being asked this question by Sii.
“It is unrelated to you.”
“No, it’s related. Yujin is a precious person to me.”
Sophna drew her brows together. Sii was frightened, but she did her best to not back down and continued.
“I personally, don’t know why Miss Sophna is so unhappy with Yujin. But, yup, regardless of that, Yujin is precious to me. I can’t, yup, I can’t just stand by and watch Yujin be treated harshly in front of me. I.”
I, Sii spoke. I, she brought both of her hands together as she spoke and bowed her head.
“Please don’t hate Yujin.”
Sophna’s face became rigid like a pine tree that had aged a millennium. She turned to look at me.
“It seems that you and Sii have gotten quite close despite not having been here for long. For you to have exerted your evil influence over such a small girl. Is there a single reason why I should trust that sort of libertine?”
Should I try provoking her? ‘If it’s trust, then I’m receiving plenty from both Sii and the Earl.’ No. Provocations are something you do when you can obtain something besides firm hostility, and there’s nothing that can be gained right now. Should I bow? ‘You’re right. Thank you for enlightening me.’ As I thought, this wouldn’t work either. This would only sound sarcastic. If it’s like that, then it’s no different to having provoked her.
I glimpsed at Sii.
“I couldn’t leave a tormented girl by herself.”
Sii, who was breathing heavily as the price for having squeezed out her courage, was startled. I carefully observed Sophna’s face.
Sophna didn’t say anything. She most likely had no other choice but to stay silent. This was because she was probably aware of what topic would be brought up if she were to say something here. Therefore, silence ensued and it was important for me to grasp what emotion it was that was acting as a foothold for her silence. Because that emotion was going to determine how I responded to her from now on.
Taken aback because she was caught off guard? Anger for not being able to speak more? Anger towards me? Those were all present. However, those things were similar to a type of impurity. There were other core emotions.
It was remorse.
“Bite off all Twelve Fingers.”
An intruding voice broke the silence. Sophna held her staff close to her body before making a stern face.
“Mii, how many times have I told you not to use such foul words?”
“Huu~? I see that you’re nagging right in my face now. Did your senility go rampant because you shut yourself in your room for too long? Dementia confirmed?”
The Silver Lion Earl spoke with a displeased face. Although this was a scene that revealed the fact that she wasn’t lazy when it came to taking in all of the latest jokes from the iPad I had downloaded a bunch of content onto when I was back on Earth, her tone was too venomous for me to point something like that out. Sophna seemed to have realized this as well as she straightened her face.
“I see that things did not go well. If there is something that I can do, then tell me.”
“YesYesYes. Of course you would. But how could I do such a thing? You’re a busy formal member of the Mage Tower. How could I make a request of a busy person who’s having it easy by using the central water source as an excuuuse?”
“Ah ha, what’s this? Are you shouting in front of me?”
It was like a volatile situation had materialized. Both the Silver Lion Earl and Sophna didn’t budge an inch as they glared at each other. However, that confrontation didn’t last for long. Sophna lamented.
“Are you upset?”
“What, should I be excited, then? Ah ha, I see that the great teacher is now going to lecture me on how and when I should be happy. All riiight, you’re a hikikomori spinster so you’re probably experienced when it comes to masturbation. Your ability also revolves around plants, so you must have reached rank 1 when it comes to tentacle play.”
“Vines, tangle, raise.”
A light started to radiate from the end of Sophna’s staff. Tentacles sprouted out from a section of empty space that had cracked open and entangled the Silver Lion Earl. The Silver Lion Earl struggled.
“Gaauuuu! Let, let me go right this instaaant!”
“I will let you go once you have settled down.”
“Damn it, damn you!! Are you, are you not going to listen to me!? Are you disobeying the lord!? Release me! Release me this instant, you hag!! Freckles! Tentacle monster! You burning pine treeeee!!”
Although Sophna had a regrettable expression on her face, she didn’t release her magic. The Silver Lion Earl soon exhausted herself and started to pant. It wasn’t until that moment did Sophna release her spell. The Silver Lion Earl only gnashed her teeth and didn’t say anything in response.
I was a bit surprised by this series of events. Genuine magic, the Silver Lion Earl being treated in this manner, and the Silver Lion Earl’s reaction, these were all things that I was seeing for the first time.
She was this type of person.
The Silver Lion Earl, was a person who was capable of showing this side of herself.
This was something which I already knew in my head, but knowing about something and seeing it for yourself were two clearly different things.
“Silver Lion Earl.”
“Ah, Mr. Yujin. And the unwelcomed baggage next to you. Have you been doing well? As you can see, I’m not doing well right now.”
The baggage next to me that was supposedly unwelcomed was bowing her head. The Silver Lion Earl had an expression on her face that said that she was more annoyed by Sii’s very attitude, but she didn’t say anything. There was also the fact that I had offered her a seat before she could say anything.
The Earl sat down on the chair. Normally, I would have immediately gone into the massage right now, but thoughtlessly touching a cat that’s raising its hair would only leave claw marks.
I took out a thermos. I poured out a cup of pre-heated hot chocolate and handed it to her.
“Mii, you shouldn’t drink some unknown concoction like that. Put it down. If you need something to drink, then I will boil you some of my medicinal herbs.”
The Silver Lion Earl cast a sidelong glance at Sophna before bringing the rim of the cup to her lips. However, Sophna only sighed as she watched the grouchy Earl and didn’t try to forcefully take the cup away.
One gulp, two gulps. I calculated the exact moment of when she would take her third gulp before I handed the thermos over to Sii and got down on one knee in front of the Silver Lion Earl.
Once I waited for a moment, the Silver Lion Earl stuck her right foot out towards me.
“Mii! You must not allow a person like him to touch your royal······.”
Sophna let out a sigh for the umpteenth time. The Silver Lion Earl glared at Sophna while still extending her foot towards me.
I reverently held the Silver Lion Earl’s extended foot and caressed it as if I were wiping a gem.
“You’re like a swallow.”
The Silver Lion Earl grumbled. I lowered my head and raised it as if I had been complimented.
“Will you tell me what happened?”
“I don’t waaant to.”
The Silver Lion Earl responded while pressing her hand against her cheek. I simply shrugged and focused on my task at hand. The Silver Lion Earl emptied her cup during that time. Sii approached and received the cup from her.
The silence persisted for a while after, so I managed to massage the Earl’s left foot as well. During that time, this girl, who was twisting her body around while still pressing her hand against her cheek, glimpsed at Sophna for a moment before letting out a sigh.
Sophna, who was holding her staff close to her chest, twitched. The Silver Lion Earl scratched the back of her head.
“Shit⎯⎯⎯Damn it, just stop lecturing mee. Am I some sort of child? No, if you’re going to lecture me, then do it regularly. The fact that that’s the first thing you do after shutting yourself in your room for so long······ Ah, whatever. Grandma. In any case, I’m sorry about getting annoyed at you.”
This must have come off as a surprise since Sophna was bewildered.
“No, Mii. There is nothing for you to apologize······.”
“It’s something I have to apologize about, I’m apologizing right now, and you should just accept that apology, so, please. Okay?”
“YeahYeahYeahYeah. I’ve grown up, right? I’m cute, right? I already know, so don’t bother mentioning it. Hmph. In any case, Mr. Yujin, that drink was tasty. I could feel the blood and sweat of the child laborers whose backs are crooked due to being overworked in those cacao farms within the Polynesian archipelagos. Pour me some more.”
“Your teeth will go bad.”
“Like hell. Since when did I start being surrounded by a bunch of health fanatics? Let me just consume whatever I want and die. How long do you think life will last for anyway?”
“You can live for up to 187 years, right? Like Yudia or Head Vassal Sophna over there.”
Although Sophna furrowed her brow at being mentioned in such a familiar manner, the Silver Lion Earl laughed before she could do or say anything.
“Ah hah ha. You really are a swallow. You never miss out on an opportunity to flatter a girl, huh?”
“I simply don’t miss out on an opportunity to flatter my superiors.”
The Earl broke out in laughter once more so Sophna was unable to snap at me and ask something along the lines of ‘who are you calling your superior?’.
“You’re riiight. Nominally, Mr. Yujin is below Zia, Zia is a part of the Silver Lion Royal Guard, and grandma is the leader of the Silver Lion Royal Guard. That means she’s your superior by 2 ranks. Ah ha, these sorts of things are fun when you think about them. But, well······.”
The Silver Lion Earl folded her arms and looked at me with a grin.
“Even if you live for a long time, how should I say it, it’s not a good thing, you know? Hugugugugu. You’ll either end up seeing a whole bunch of dirty things like grandma over there, or you’ll personally create those sorts of dirty things like Yudia, you know? There’s that saying in Korea, isn’t there? If you live for too long, then you’ll defecate all over the walls. It’s like that.”
“That depends on how you spend your time. Imagine shutting yourself in your room for 187 years just playing games.”
“Oh, that’s tempting. I acknowledge good-natured hikikomori activities.”
The Silver Lion Earl giggled and patted me on the head. Not with her feet, but with her hand. Considering her current posture, she had to bend forward in order to do that, so the fact that she had gone through the effort to pat my head meant that her mood was better now. As if to prove my assumption, the Silver Lion Earl was still smiling even when she turned to face Sii.
“Mikatni’s adopted daughter. You really lack foresight. Hurry up and pour me another glass.”
Sii poured the Earl another glass of hot chocolate. This must have been the most nerve-wracking moment for Sii today, but thankfully, something like Sii spilling the hot chocolate everywhere and ruining the mood didn’t happen.
The Silver Lion Earl held the cup with both of her hands and stuck her tongue in the hot chocolate.
“Huah. This is nice. It would be perfect if I had some unsweet snacks.”
“Mii, is it truly okay? There might be something bad in there.”
“Ah, please. It’s fiiine. Sophna, you probably aren’t aware since you’ve been holed up until now, but I’ve already eaten a lot of the stuff that Mr. Yujin had brought. In other words, if he intended to drug me, then he would have done so much sooner. However, I’m perfectly fine right now, hence, Mr. Yujin wouldn’t do something like that. It’s logical, right? Open bracket, a passing logician gave his acknowledgment, close bracket.”
I did consider putting something like nervine in her food, but messing with the food of a noble was a risk which I couldn’t possibly take.
Not right now.
If you consider that situation, then it was absolutely right for Sophna to be wary.
“Are you telling me that you trust that boy?”
Albeit, she nagged a lot.
The Silver Lion Earl slanted her eyes once more. Her expression appeared as if it were asking ‘Is there a problem with that?’ and she would have actually said that out loud.
But I spoke up before she could.
“It’s you whom she trusts.”
The Silver Lion Earl tilted her head. I turned to face Sophna and continued.
“She believes that I wouldn’t dare to do something in poor taste while in your presence. Even if I did, she believes that you’ll take care of it somehow.” I paused for a moment before I continued. “Of course, you’re most likely already aware of this.”
Sophna was unable to speak. This was an obvious conclusion as every path which she could take to speak on had been blocked. Although this was a situation which should have naturally upset her, and in truth, her face was also frozen, she couldn’t say anything in return. It’s probably because the Earl was in front of her. She was a good vassal who, despite nagging a lot, knew when and where she should take it out on someone. She was a person who knew how to carry out something that appeared obvious but was actually difficult to act out.
“Acting like you know it all.”
The Silver Lion Earl grinned as she pinched my cheek with her toes. I turned my head and lightly kissed her foot.
“That’s how you’re actually thinking, isn’t it?”
“Really, you overindulge in flattery. A disloyal subject? Or a eunuch? Are you even able to get erect?”
Like I said, I wasn’t flattering anyone. Despite all of the words and actions she had spoken and displayed until now, if one were to ask whom the Earl trusted more sincerely, then it would most likely be Sophna and not me.
If I confuse this fact, then I’ll end up dead.
Let’s not forget this.
In any case, the Earl was satisfied. Sophna was also quiet.
Therefore, the time had arrived.
“In any case, Earl, can you tell me why you were upset earlier?”
“Hmm, well, it’s not a big deal, all things considered, but⎯⎯⎯you heard that some big guests will be arriving soon, right?”
“Is it related to those guests?”
“Yes. Early next month, a person from my mother’s side of the family will be coming.”
The Silver Lion Earl stated while resting her chin on her hand.
The House of the Cat Earl.
As they were a part of Lady Blizzard Cat, the Silver Lion Earl’s mother’s household, they were, in other words, the Silver Lion Earl’s family on her mother’s side.
It was a reputable house that had produced gifted individuals that were either skilled at commerce or elemental magic. Full Moon Cat Earl, as she was the current head of the Cat Earl Household, she was also the Silver Lion Earl’s oldest aunt, and while she was a middle executive of the Fedchants, she also managed the role as the branch manager of the Mage Tower’s 8th branch which was also known as the ‘Elemental Branch’.
“I naturally don’t like them.”
The Silver Lion Earl spoke as if she were spitting out her words.
“They didn’t do anything when I was kidnapped or even when my mother had passed away. Well, this, I can understand. Not only do people naturally cherish their own lives, but these fellows, they were blessed with fecundity so they produce a lot of children. To them, my mother was most likely nothing more than just one of their many other siblings, and compared to her, I was probably nothing more than one of their many nieces. That’s why I understand. The issue is that among those people, there were some that had even stuck their spoons in.”
“Are you certain?”
“I don’t have any proof that I can make public. But I’m certain.”
It would probably be dangerous if I asked her whether that was just a strong suspicion or not. I decided to stay silent. That must have been the right answer as the roughly breathing Silver Lion Earl continued.
“I saw several people while I was confined. Even though they were wearing masks and had altered their voices, I could see through an obvious ploy like that with just a glance. Once things were resolved, I summoned the fellows that I could summon and sure enough, they confessed after I played around with them a little.”
“Nevertheless, there were also bastards who I couldn’t summon for various reasons. So I had to go through some hardship for a while because they had tattled to the Twelve Earthly Branches and the special corps had arrived······Did I tell you about this before?”
“Yeah. I heard that it was because you had executed condemned criminals on your own volition, but I also heard that there was more to it than that.”
“Yeess. This is the actual reason. They were suspected of assassination. Seriously, how could they be so rude to such a simple person like me? Regardless, the disposal of the pieces of evidence was perfect. I was freed from suspicion because the grotesque executions that remained on record were only targeted at prisoners who were already legally sentenced to death. I had to go through some trouble because I got caught for steaming the son of one of the city’s community leaders to death, but it wasn’t enough to be a lasting problem. Hurray for noble power. Yay.”
The Silver Lion Earl licked her nails as she said that. Sophna had a grief-stricken expression on her face.
“But it’s true that my freedom to move has become limited. I can’t necessarily say that I’m no longer capable of doing something like that again, but I’ll have to be more careful from now on. Nyanyanya. Therefore, Mr. Yujin, would I not be stressed because of this? What do you think this poor, stressed out little girl should have done?”
I couldn’t say that, at the very least, she shouldn’t have tortured beings from other worlds. However, I was unable to hide my emotions completely. No matter how much I resolved myself, in the end, I was just human.
My heart felt heavy and ached as if it were being filled with lead. The Silver Lion Earl must have noticed that aching as she made a pleased face. Ah hah hah ha. She let out a laugh before crossing her legs and bobbing her foot.
I kneeled down once more and obediently brought my lips to it. The Silver Lion Earl stroked my head with her other foot and continued.
“Hugugugu. It’s because of this very reason, ah hah ha, that it would only be appropriate for Mr. Yujin to also despise the Cat Earl Household. Yup, you can’t ignore the fact that those bastards are also partially responsible for the people of your world, Mr. Yujin, being hurt. If they hadn’t squealed on me, then my irritation gauge wouldn’t have maxed out. This Silver Lion Earl can say with confidence that they’re approximately 30% responsible⎯⎯⎯Gya hah ha ha?!”
“Was that too strong?”
“It was! Tell me beforehand if you’re going to tickle me. Seriously, Mr. Yujin, you don’t know what fair play is.”
“Sorry. The sole of your foot was too pretty.”
“Hmph. You’re really shallow, Mr. Yujin. If you think that you can make every girl in the world feel happy just by calling them pretty, then you’re making a huge mistake.”
Despite those words, the Silver Lion Earl was grinning. She put aside the unpleasant topic and returned to talking about the House of the Cat Earl.
“In any case, the person coming this time is one of their esteemed daughters who’s also known as Dansoomyo(丹燧貓, Vorpal Rabbit). She’s the third daughter of the Full Moon Cat Earl and she specializes in fire magic. She’s also an honorable executive of a Fedchant branch. She’s a gambling fanatic as well. I have to admit that her title of ‘red flint’ suits her.”
“The Chinese characters and the English words don’t match at all this time as well.”
“Like I said, it’s my own chuunibyou-like naming sense. Dansoomyo(丹燧貓) and Dansoomyo(斷首卯). Well, the general title that’s referred to in this world is closer to the former.”
(TL note: “丹燧貓” can be read as “Red Flint Cat” and “斷首卯” can be read as “Vorpal Rabbit”. Additionally, “丹燧貓” and “斷首卯” are pronounced completely the same)
“I don’t understand this title system.”
“Do you think I understand it? It’s similar to an achievement system. Nobles are cash users so they can get them easily. Albeit, their slots are determined by their noble title. Also, well, they just add your characteristics as a part of your title. Since I have messy silver hair, Silver Lion. Yudia is like a purple swamp, so Violet Swamp of Poison. And Sophna over there is like a yellowish-green plant, so Yellow-Green Grass. Zia is blue and has a cold appearance, so Azure Rose.”
“Azure Rose Knight, Zia Batsand······.”
“Do you get why I said I didn’t understand either? Just think of world-class titles like ‘Draconian Demonic Spear’ and ‘Universal Summoner’ as platinum trophies. Is there anything else you’re curious about?”
Something I’m curious about, huh? I nodded my head and spoke.
“Earl, your name, Mii⎯⎯⎯.”
“I’ll kill you.”
“I’ll kill you, Mr. Yujin. I’m serious. I’ll reaaally kill you. If you understand, then don’t say even a single word about that. Okay?”
The retorting Silver Lion Earl’s face was red, which was a rare sight.
I knew I shouldn’t have asked. But how could I not ask······? Even though she told me to ask her anything······.
No. This isn’t the time for that.
“In any case, you’re saying that an irritating relative is coming.”
“That’s right. She’s a psycho I don’t want to be associated with. It’d be great if she didn’t come. I want to lock the door and enjoy a happy, happy torture life.”
“I feel like you could just tell her to not come, but if that were possible, then you would have probably done so already. Why’s that?”
“I have a debt.”
“A psychological one? The thing you mentioned earlier?”
“No. Not something I have to receive. It’s a physical debt I have to give to her. It may be surprising, but even a riajuu, alpha girl like myself, who’s perfect at everything, has a slightly extravagant personality.”
“It’s not surprising.”
I had said this to Zia as well, but this was something I could tell just by looking at her attire.
“Why did you become indebted to people you don’t like?”
“I didn’t hate them back when I initially became indebted. It’s something that happened when I was really young. Back around the time when my parents were still around, there were things that I wanted to do, so I poked a little into my mother’s side of the family. Weeell, to be more exact, the exchange has already been completed, so it’s difficult to call it a debt, but there were a couple of things that were handed over.”
“So you can’t act aggressively with them.”
“Yeesss. Well, it’s like that. I can’t stop them if they say they’re going to come. Isn’t that unfair, Mr. Yujin? Hugugugu. It’s annoying, but there are things that can’t be helped while you live your life. That kind of feeling, I guess? Something like that.”
“Do you know why she’s coming?”
“Who knows? She’s a crazy bitch who I can’t make head nor tail of. I feel like she might be coming to either find fault with the Fedchant business that happened previously, mess around with me, provoke me, or to do something related to the Mage Tower. ETCETC.”
“Let her come!”
Sophna shouted grandly.
“In the first place, bringing the two households together is what I wanted to bring about. Tell her to come. I shall help however I can.”
The Silver Lion Earl propped her chin on her hand.
“Heeh. You’re rather zealous. Even though you’re probably going to use the central water source as an excuse to shut yourself in when she actually arrives.”
“I had set up some fences in order to make it so that I do not have to worry about it for a while. That is why I took more time this year. If I do the finishing touches, then I should be able to stay above ground until the city settles down.”
The Silver Lion Earl, who was being apathetic, raised the corners of her mouth.
Her smile thickened.
“Ah hah hah ha ha. Hm, what’s this? Did you take the wrong medication? Are you really suffering from dementia? I heard that when people abruptly start to do things which they normally don’t do, it means that their deaths are near. Is it something like that? Should I think of it like this?”
Her tone was still filled with haughtiness, but there was no venom in her words now. The Silver Lion Earl was sincerely being happy about Sophna’s words, the fact that Sophna had done something for her sake.
That fact⎯⎯⎯at the very least, I could feel it, and from what I could tell, Sophna felt it as well.
“I see that you are a lot brighter now.”
The Silver Lion Earl let out a ‘Hmm~?’ sound before hopping up from her seat.
“I’m always bright. Always sunshine!”
Sophna wordlessly watched the Silver Lion Earl as she gave that response. The Silver Lion Earl pouted and sat back down with her chin on her hand again.
I decided to come forward.
“I’ll also help in whatever way that I can.”
The Silver Lion Earl grinned.
“Ah ha, of course you will. Why do you think I called the both of you here at the same time?”
I thought Sophna was here to denounce me. Sophna turned to look at me with eyes that didn’t have even a sliver of the affection which they had when they looked at the Silver Lion Earl and spoke.
“Mii, I am more than enough.”
The Silver Lion Earl’s expression changed to a frown. Sophna appeared apologetic, but she still said what she wanted to say.
“I’m saying this for your sake. Even in an insignificant magic experiment, it is best to lower the total number of variables.”
The Silver Lion Earl took in a deep breath. Was she going to shout again?
“Can something not be done?”
Surprisingly, the Silver Lion Earl had taken a step back and said that.
“Mr. Yujin is smart. I’m sure he’ll be helpful. Caaan’t, you do something?”
Sophna looked at the Silver Lion Earl with bewildered eyes. It was an expression that I had seen multiple times today. With those words, I had another opportunity to speak.
“I’ll be in your care, Miss Head Vassal.”
I shook Sophna’s hand as I said that.
Sophna gnashed her teeth. However, the Silver Lion Earl had an earnest expression on her face. After a short period of time, Sophna returned my handshake. Her touch felt like the roots of trees that were burrowing into a bog.
“Do not impede my work.”
The Silver Lion Earl was watching the two of us while we were like that while supporting her chin with both of her hands. It seems like she believed that things were going to be better for the time being. On the other hand, Sii had an apprehensive expression on her face.
If possible, both Sophna and I would have probably given our votes to Sii’s apprehension.
I’ll wrap up our current situation.
First, a guest from the Earl’s mother’s side of the family will be arriving soon.
Second, the representative of the debtor’s household was most likely coming here in order to quibble about the previous incident related to the Fedchants that had occurred.
Third, thus I decided to help.
Fourth, along with Sophna.
“Is it simple? Yujin, you got wrapped up in another troublesome task again, right?”
Sii asked that with a worried voice. I, who was lying on the bed and organizing my plan on my iPad, responded in this world’s language.
“The most troublesome matters are the ones that can’t be grasped. In other words, problems where you don’t know how far the issues go and you have no idea how to handle it. Our current situation is simple since I have both a clear understanding of it and a method to cope with it.”
“Mm~~ is that so······. But, Yujin, I.”
“Talk in this language. The other two have to hear it as well.”
Sii puffed out her cheeks, but she obeyed meekly.
“But Yujin, this doesn’t seem simple to me at all. Of course, Miss Sophna is a good person, but she disapproves of you, Yujin.”
That was the truth. The instant we left the office together, Sophna glared at me with harsh eyes. ‘I will definitely catch you red-handed’, those were her final words to me before she left.
“Like that, the cooperation itself is already unstable, but adding to that, for us to have to face the Cat Earl Household while bearing that unstable cooperation. This is seriously ominous beyond measure.”
“It seems that I’ll need some information on the Cat Earl Household and that Lady Dansoomyo. If you know anything, then please tell me.”
Ariya was the one to answer that question and not Sii. The girl who was lying in the same bed turned to face me.
“There are rumors that they are the wealthiest family in this entire region. There are even more rumors than that about their cruelty. Even if you consider the fact that they are an earl’s household, the Cat Earl Household is said to be cruel to an unnatural degree.”
Roroa had said something similar. Ariya glimpsed at me before continuing.
“However, the wife of the previous earl was a person of elegance despite being from the Cat Earl Household.”
If you consider the Silver Lion Earl’s personality, then it might be genes that affect every second generation.
Now that I think about it.
“What kind of people were the previous earl and his wife?”
“His Excellency the Earl was a moderate person. There was nothing special about him other than the fact that he was lecherous. His wife, on the other hand, was an excellent person. Befitting her title of Blizzard Cat, she was skillful at handling cold and wind magic, and although she couldn’t reach Miss Sophna’s level, she was impressive enough to be able to at least stand shoulder to shoulder with Miss Zaho.”
Alshi, who was lying right next to Ariya, took the baton. She was discharged from the infirmary earlier today, so she had moved to this room.
“Zaho Naricpitor. She’s currently one of the city’s community leaders and she was Her Excellency the Earl’s, nanny. The name of the House of Naricpitor itself is famous for producing clothing, but Miss Zaho is more famous as a mage. She even has the title Azure Water Lotus(藍水蓮).”
Another title holder, huh.
“If she was a nanny, then,” I recalled an age-old piece of information, “is she perhaps, Zia’s?”
“Yes. Fair Grace. She’s Miss Zia’s mother.”
Ariya was the one to answer. For that unidentified organism known as Zia to have a biological mother, well, all things considered, this was an obvious fact but it gave me a peculiar feeling.
At the same time, it also brought a question to my head.
“But Zia doesn’t use Naricpitor as her family name.”
The only family name Zia used was that of her teacher’s, ‘Batsand’. Was it perhaps a tradition of Martial Origin to discard the family name you were born with and use your teacher’s family name?
That didn’t seem to be the case as Ariya shook her head.
“She used it in the past.”
“Then why is she only using Batsand as her family name?”
“I apologize, Fair Grace, but I believe that’s something you should hear from Miss Zia herself.”
It was a polite but stern refusal. Not only was that a reasonable response, but this wasn’t what was important right now either.
What was important was,
“Ariya. Can you move a bit more to the side? Your chest keeps touching my face, so back up a bit. This is an order.”
Ariya obeyed my command and laid down further away from me. This action was followed by quietly covering her chest, which had been touching my face, with a flushed face and averting her gaze. Even though they didn’t have as much volume or sensation to them as Sii’s did.
In that moment, Alshi shoved her hands underneath Ariya’s arms and grabbed onto her volumeless chest.
“Hauh! ······A-Alshi. What are you doing?”
“I’m covering them, for you.”
“But everyone is watching······.”
“So? That’s why I’m covering them, with my hands.”
After saying that, Alshi blew into the nape of Ariya’s neck. Ariya’s face became bright red.
“Alshi······ Uu, auh, w-wait. If you do that······.”
“D-Didn’t I tell you to not do perverted things like that!?”
Sii also became red and shouted. Alshi giggled and started to gnaw on the nape of Ariya’s neck. Ariya’s head rolled up smoothly to a 37.1 degrees angle. While that happened, Ariya’s volumeless chest was being massaged by Alshi’s small hands.
“Seriously! What are you doing!?”
Sii exclaimed once more. After sucking on Ariya’s neck long enough to leave a mark, Alshi spoke.
“It’s something we used to do every, night. It’s also something that we couldn’t do for a while because Ariya had, moved here. That’s why I’m doing it in celebration of my move here, is there a problem?”
“There is! Things like that go against the way of nature! You can’t do that!”
Those words were similar to what racists and homophobic people of any world would say. Regardless, Alshi displayed an amused face.
“Why does it go, against nature?”
“You can’t have a child!”
Those words were similar to what homophobes, the rest is omitted. Alshi broke apart that logic with ease.
“So you’re saying that petting that can’t make children goes against, the way of nature? Then what about you, who’s doing that with a person who’s a different race and from, a different world?”
“Yujin and I are able to have kids!”
“Ara. Is that, possible?”
“Yujin! It’s possible, right? Tell her that it’s possible! Quickly!”
Sii was shouting while holding onto my shoulders with hands that were hot enough to warm the air. According to the theory of evolution, it should be impossible since we’re already different species.
Were we different? Even though our individual races evolved through completely different methods, was it possible to evolve into such similar looking species? Using some creative works as an example, similar to Peacekeeper and Ancients, were the people of this world related to the people of Earth?
(TL note: I’m not sure what the author is referencing here)
However, starting from the crack in their eyes, the thing which the people of this world referred to as the ‘inner eye’, there were several differences in terms of body structure. According to the Silver Lion Earl, there was also a difference in the number of bones and joints in the body⎯⎯⎯frankly, it seems that there’s a bone, to be more exact, a joint in the genitalia of the males in this world⎯⎯⎯If you consider the fact that a human can’t have a child with an orangutan······.
No, why am I even contemplating this?
“Conclusion. A lady from a rich family that’s said to be cruel is coming.”
“Don’t change the subject~!!”
Sii shook my neck with a tearful face. Alshi grinned and removed her hands from Ariya’s chest.
“That’s a coarse but precise, conclusion. But there’s one thing. If it’s Lady Dansoomyo, then it isn’t a rumor.”
There was a moment of silence.
“What do you mean?”
Ariya, who had melted into a piece of chocolate during a summer day, caught her breath and answered.
“It’s just as she······said······. If I refer to the several times we had received her as a guest······ haa, then Lady Dansoomyo is indeed an unnaturally cruel······ person. Sii, you know as well since you saw her last year······ right? That large woman······ who brought a bunch of slaves.”
“Uu······ I remember. It was terrible, seriously.”
“Yes······. It was to the point that that Mari had to help clean the torture chamber. Of course, it’s also because Miss Sophna had instructed her to help······.”
I turned back to Sii. We were lying in the same bed, so the light emitting from the iPad was enough to illuminate Sii’s face.
“That’s why I said that earlier, Yujin. That you got caught up in something troublesome again.”
I then realized that Sii and Ariya were making the same face. As expected, it seems that Alshi didn’t massage Ariya and tease Sii just for fun.
It was tension.
“I guess we’ll have to up our preparations more.”
Those were my words.
TL note: Thanks for reading the chapter. I hope you guys had a nice Christmas. Holiday mood is sort of making me do other things besides translating, but then again, I usually always spend all of my mornings translating whatever I can. Albeit, I’ve procrastinated more. In any case, New Years is soon and I’m still translating. What is a holiday vacation? My New Years resolution is to just keep translating. I’m hoping that I can finish translating the entirety of Handholding next year. Maybe find a new project as well, who knows?
Anyway, I hope you guys have a great holiday and I’ll see you guys next year.