Dungeon Defense

Volume 4 Chapter 9



attempt_nine

Minhee swept away all of the people who bullied me on the very exact day she transferred to our school. She then dragged me outside and got upset at me. Are you nuts? You’re doin’ things just because they tell you to? Do you have no shame? Will you be able to become a man at this rate? That’s what she said to me. When I, who was standing there vacantly and felt like his head was going to explode, heard those words.

I, I, I hit Minhee’s hand away.

I cried.

I got on my knees. I cried. Just because it’s me. Me. What exactly did I? Why me? I wept. Words began to pour out like an unclogged faucet spewing out water. Me. Why me, me exactly, why me exactly, why, me? For what, what reason? A lot of time was required before words that barely sounded like a language, that had a hint of logic in them could be spoken.

During that long period of time, Minhee didn’t utter a single thing. That was why I was eventually able to talk.

Why, don’t they consider me?

Why, don’t they worry about me?

Even though they say that it’s for my sake, in truth, why, why don’t they care about me.

There was a smell.

It was the same smell that would always welcome you whenever you entered this room. Vomit and internal organs that couldn’t be wiped clean, flesh and blood hidden in places where rags couldn’t reach, these terrible smells emanated from these things as they dried and dug their way into my nose. However, there was a different fragrance mixed in this time. It was the smell of leaves and stamens, the smell of trees and the sap on the trees.

I heard the sound of a door closing behind me.

I raised my head. At the same exact time, Sophna, who was confined within a steel cage, lifted her head as well.

“What are you here for?”

Sii hesitantly took a step back. That was how penetrating Sophna’s eyes were. It felt as if her falling apart earlier was a lie. It felt like I could hear her denying it herself as well. That it never happened. That that was nothing more than a momentary illusion, Sophna Radgrinkle was soundlessly making that declaration.

That was something that had definitely happened. That memory remained in my mind as well. That was most likely engraved in your eyes as clear as the crack in your pupils.

I knew this, so I talked with an attitude that clearly displayed that I was aware.

“I’m here to interrogate you.”

Sophna made a face that appeared as if she had heard a joke.

“What?”

I dragged a chair forward and sat down on it. I hung my beads around my wrist and took out a pen and notebook.

“I received an order to cooperate with the guard in order to figure out who had carried out the assault within the castle while either acting as a part of the Gongshik or pretending to be one of them. The Earl didn’t retract this order either. Roroa, the Vice-captain of the guard, transferred the task of interrogating the suspect over to me. Therefore, interrogating you, the prime suspect, would simply be following procedures and lawful as well.”

Sophna let out a ‘hah!’ sound and laughed.

“Do you think this nonsense will work? Do you truly believe so? Are you that dim-witted? Mii is a bright child. Although there is a problem with her learning capabilities, how much do you think I have taught her? Do you believe that we are incapable of resolving a misunderstanding between us?”

“It will be difficult. The mask and dagger are quite the indisputable pieces of evidence. They’re completely identical to what was discovered next to Alshi.”

“A trivial ploy like that! Were you not the one who had planted those!?”

“Did your magic not prove otherwise?”

“You most likely didn’t plant them yourself! That sort of childish trickery!”

“Then who could have planted them?”

“It was probably Ariya! Or that Roroa girl could have done it! Or······.”

Sophna paused in the middle of her sentence. She stared at Sii, who was standing beside me, for a moment before speaking in a weak voice.

“So it was you.”

Sii didn’t back off this time. She took in a deep breath.

Sophna glared at me as her body trembled.

“There is truly no other ponce like you. How could you do such a cruel thing!? Do you know what sort of severe reprimanding Sii will receive once Mii learns of this!?”

“I know.”

I spoke and wrapped my arm around Sii’s shoulder.

“You obviously know as well. That’s why you won’t be able to accuse anyone of having planted these pieces of evidence.”

A smile which resembled a poisonous mushroom spread across Sophna’s face.

“Do you truly think that? How laughable. Do you think I’ll keep my mouth shut for the sake of an illegitimate child······?”

“Yup. That’s right.”

Sii uttered.

Sophna paused. Sii continued to speak and didn’t back down.

“Miss Sophna, is a good person.”

Silence.

“Yup~~ w-when I learned Korean, when I adjusted my way of speaking in Korean to make a character, Miss Sophna helped me······ many times, she······ she’d show me kindness. That’s why, that’s why I, this narrow-minded and timid girl, kept judging Miss Sophna to be a ‘good person’. Because she cherished me.”

Sii dropped her head and ended her words with a trembling voice.

“Because I-I inherited my father’s blood.”

The Head Vassal who had protected the Earl’s bloodline for over a century bared her teeth.

“That’s a very generous interpretation. If that were the case, then,”

“I-I know.”

“What exactly do you know?”

“That Miss Sophna isn’t a ‘good person’······ rather than that, you’re ‘a person whose priorities are clear’. In other words, if you put me and Her Excellency the Earl on a scale, then Her Excellency would be first.”

Sii and the Earl were similar in this regard. They were sensitive to the direction of the affection that was directed towards them.

“I-In other words, even while knowing that I was being harassed, even though you could have easily done something about it, unlike Zia, yup, instead of doing that······ Be it the pre-established faction maids who follow Miss Sophna or anyone else, no one took my side. If anything, when my arm was going to be severed after being framed, they stood as witnesses.”

Furthermore, Sii and the Earl were different in this regard. Whenever their emotions went rampant, the Earl’s eye rims would dry up, but the edges of Sii’s eyelids would become red. Along with her red pupils, it felt like I was looking at a desert sunset.

“There’s⎯⎯⎯There’s no way that something like that would have happened without Miss Sophna’s approval. Since for Miss Sophna······ for Miss Sophna, rather than my arm, rather than something like my arm, Her Excellency’s will had precedence.”

Sophna averted her gaze as if she had been dyed in flames.

“That time······ that is not the only reason why that had happened.”

I could feel Sii tremble. I pulled her into a hug.

I stuck out a single finger while comforting her.

“What goes around comes around. I believe that you won’t cause a commotion for having been betrayed by a girl who had taken part in pressing false charges against you when you yourself had played a part in pressing false charges as well. An inflexible person who had lived for 187 years probably wouldn’t display such shameful behavior. Thus, you can say that Sii was the only one who had the qualification to hide those pieces of evidence. This is one reason.”

I extended another finger.

“Just as Sii had said, there’s a difference. If you compare Sii and the Earl, then the Earl would come first. As expected, you’ve probably given a higher priority to the Earl, the direct descendant, rather than an illegitimate child like Sii, right?”

Sophna didn’t answer.

Although I had a theory about this, I didn’t bring it up. It wasn’t the right time.

“However, if you’re more inclined towards the Earl and not Sii, then what would happen if you compared Sii’s safety with your own self-preservation? I don’t believe that you, who had protected the Earl’s bloodline for the past 187 years, could possibly place Sii in a deadly situation just for the sake of your own self-protection. Thus, you can say that Sii was the only one who had the qualification to hide those pieces of evidence.”

“Believe what you want to believe. Let us see what happens when you try to confirm it.”

Even though she had said those words provokingly, there was no strength in her voice. She must have realized this as well as she quickly supplemented her words.

“Even if that were the case······ even if you were right, do you think that something as simple as that dagger and mask would be enough to be such decisive pieces of evidence? There is no reason for me to go out of my way in order to point at Sii. Anyone could have hidden those items in my office. All I have to do is say this. If I had done it, then why would I do something as foolish as placing such obvious pieces of evidence under my desk? I’m saying this once more, but Mii is a bright child.”

“I also think that. The two of you will probably arrive at the truth. The two of you will most likely manage to work out this misunderstanding. All of this is similar to incidents that would normally happen in episodic drama series, so it will probably be resolved faster than what one might normally expect.”

I adjusted my glasses and spoke sternly.

“That is to say, if I’m not at the Earl’s side.”

Sophna froze.

I sat down comfortably with my legs crossed.

“I’ll tell you what’s going to happen after this point, Miss Head Vassal.”

I tilted my head and lowered my voice.

“The Earl isn’t going to come here.”

As if I were whispering.

“After tonight, even after she’s become sober in the morning, she will not be coming here. Be it the next day, the day after, or even a week after, she won’t come here to meet you. She won’t summon you either.”

Sophna’s body shook.

“Do you······ do you think that you can make that happen? Do you think that you can control Mii? Do you think that you have such an ability?”

“Those are quite the strange questions. If you consider the fact that you were thrown into this prison because I was able to do so.”

“You will not be able to do so!”

Sophna shouted. I didn’t mistake this as a refutation that came from anger.

“I shouldn’t be able to. Because you have to look after the central water source. Because there are maids who are loyal to you. Because the end of the month is approaching.”

Since the city will be sent flying if she doesn’t look after the central water source, she has to relieve it beforehand, since the pre-established faction maids loyal to Sophna will do anything in order to rescue her, and more than anything else, since the Earl was going to send me back to Korea for a day because her summoning limit was going to reset. Because of these reasons, no matter how much I attempted to act behind the scenes, there was a limit to keeping Sophna confined.

Normally this would be the case.

“But you said it yourself, didn’t you? That you had come up here after having taken measures so that you don’t have to go down to the central water source for quite the long time. I can just obstruct the pre-established faction maids by utilizing the other maids and the guard. The other issue is the fact that I will be gone for a day to go on vacation, but that won’t be an issue if I just don’t go on my trip.”

“Are you saying that you won’t go back to your original world!? If the proofs of summonings are renewed, then you will no longer be able to······.”

“When I went back to Korea for the first time, I brought back a catalyst that belongs to a person I know. I just have to make the Earl summon him next month, grab onto something that can be summon canceled with him, and go back like that. Why are you saying that when you already know all of this?”

Sophna’s expression changed like dried firewood. I shifted my words into embers and continued.

“I could do this. I could stand by the Earl’s side while kneeling, servicing, massaging her shoulders, and while being kicked and hit by her. By pushing her very slightly, by pulling her very slightly, I’ll prevent you from reaching her by continuously altering her direction by incremental amounts. Until the day you have to go down to the central water source, I’ll utilize all of that time. Then you’ll be lonely for quite a long period of time. Here. By yourself. Albeit, you supposedly enjoy shutting yourself in, so solitary itself should be enjoyable for you.”

I spoke.

“You’ll probably feel uneasy.”

Silence.

“I was able to move Borg, a branch manager of the Black Dragon Street, within a short period of time. The guard are in my grasp. I wonder how far I could spread my roots while you’re being held captive here. I wonder how much that uneasiness will eat away at you. Do you think that you’ll be able to endure it?”

“······ I will endure it.”

“Are you sure? If you were capable of that, then you wouldn’t have tried to kill me so hastily. You would have been patient and waited longer. You overdid yourself in order to take care of the water source and come up for a long period of time just because you lacked that in the first place.”

Firewood always made a sound whenever they burned. I continued to toss the embers known as words on top of Sophna’s heavy breathing.

“You should know. It’s because you wanted to kill me, and because you did try to kill me that all of this was possible. In the end, it’s because your murderous intent was real, because that was an undeniable fact that all of these false charges were possible.”

If she didn’t, then it wouldn’t have been possible to reach this far.

I wouldn’t have tried to come this far either.

“It’s really late for self-introductions, but I actually don’t like stimulating things. I wouldn’t have gone this far if you didn’t set a time limit.”

“I······.”

“I know. You were probably nervous. Roroa was like that as well, but the fact that the fear of otherworlders had spread this much, although no matter how much I think about it, it’s probably because of that Ahyeon fellow······ since making sly remarks about someone I don’t really know well about would be rude, I won’t do that for the time being. So let’s skip that part for now. No matter what your reasons were, that was something which you shouldn’t have done. You’re your own biggest enemy since you were the one who had cornered yourself into this state.”

“······Are you saying that I was narrow-minded?”

“Yup. There is a total of 4 different ways for people to deal with other people. Make an exchange with them, follow them, win them over, or get rid of them. You had no intention to make a deal with me. You obviously didn’t plan to follow me. You didn’t even intend to win me over. You simply tried to get rid of me. The issue is the fact that you weren’t able to do so.”

I spoke.

“Now it’s your time to pay the price.”

A silence fell over us.

Sophna looked back and forth between me and Sii before closing her eyes. The Earl’s Head Vassal spoke with a voice that sounded like a dried leaf crumbling under a foot.

“What do you want?”

“I’m going to rehabilitate the Earl.”

I rolled a bead.

“That I have potential, that there is a possibility for me to achieve this, I believe that you already know all of this. You felt anxiety because you knew this, didn’t you?”

I rolled another bead.

“Help me and I’ll let you out of here immediately.”

Sophna didn’t show any response. Sii pleaded.

“Miss Sophna, please believe in Yujin.”

With a sincere voice, the Silver Lion Earl’s half-sister confessed.

“I, I have a grudge towards Her Excellency the Earl. I still do. S-So······. But I won’t take her life. Although I’ll probably do severe things to her, it won’t be too severe. Yujin will stop me from doing so. Yujin is kind. Yujin, in the end, everything that Yujin does will all be beneficial for Her Excellency the Earl.”

Sophna opened her mouth slowly.

“Is that what you believe?”

“Yup, that’s what I believe. That’s what I think. That Yujin will achieve it. I believe that Yujin will change Her Excellency the Earl completely. Miss Sophna thinks so as well, right?”

“I know······ Naturally, I am aware.”

Sophna Radgrinkle spoke as if she were whispering.

“However, I am also aware that it is dangerous.”

There was a loud sound.

The noise had come from behind us.

Sii flinched and turned around. Her eyes opened widely. I stood up, pulled Sii into my arms, and followed her line of sight.

The sound was that of the iron door of the torture chamber breaking.

To be exact, it was the sound of the door being crushed completely.

“Good day.”

While stepping on the remains of the iron door which had changed into iron fragments, Yudia Batsand gave that greeting while wielding his spear which was wrapped in a purple glow.

“You don’t seem very surprised.”

Yudia let out his signature ‘guhuhu’ laugh and twirled his spear with his hand. Sii let out a shriek and shrunk back.

And I,

“I knew it would be you.”

And I put more strength in my arm that was wrapped around Sii.

“Borg knew that Sophna intended to kill me before the end of this month.”

The information must have flowed to him through Ashya. That’s why I was able to comprehend this flow of information.

“The problem was that you knew as well. You, who didn’t care about anyone and didn’t come to the castle unless you wanted to charge the smartphone. There is no such thing as a causeless outcome. I thought about how, and through what route, you had found out about it.”

“How detestable. In other words, you had predicted my arrival.”

“Although I considered you coming here at this moment the worst-case scenario.”

“Guhuhu, as expected. Regardless, worst-case scenarios are destined to happen. I am here to kill you.”

“D-Do you think you’ll be able to get out unharmed!?”

Sii, who had been trembling up to this point, exclaimed. He must have not been expecting that as Yudia raised a single brow.

“Hmm? Well, would that not be the case? Yujin is not a citizen of this world. He has no civil rights and cannot receive any legal protection. Above all, this isn’t me acting arbitrarily, but a request from Sophna.”

“Her Excellency the Earl would······!”

“Additionally, even the Silver Lion Earl’s hatred would follow after. Yujin’s iPad and generator included. How could I refuse such a detestable proposition?”

Sii froze up with a stifled look on her face. I slowly closed and opened my eyes after comforting her.

“You most likely couldn’t refuse.”

I also don’t believe that you had the ability to refuse.

“You know me.”

“I know.”

“I see⎯⎯⎯then you will not get upset for some unknown reason if the arm of that maid over there were to fall off again. Since you know me, Mr. Yujin.”

Yudia.

“Guhuhu, that is quite the impressive gaze. This is why I say that one’s true blaze is hiding within oneself.”

Yudia Batsand.

“Aah, truly amazing⎯⎯⎯Yujin. In truth, I am detestably sad. How amazing would you have become if I were to let another year pass!? How thrilling would the hate from you at that time be!? Aah, Yujin! I am sincerely excited! Is there,”

After laughing as if he were intoxicated, he pointed his spear at me.

“Is there nothing more!?”

From his purple eyes, a sensuous glint emitted through his monocle.

“As the Royal Courier of the Martial Origin, there are only 10 people in the world who are capable of beating me in a test of strength. As an ascended-being, I can change the composition of my body and nullify all physical attacks. As a creator of transcendent skills, from slashes to self-protection, I can use all sorts of transcendent skills. A person of this caliber is going to kill you right now. Utilizing every violent ability which I am capable of. Now then, how,”

With a face dyed with anticipation, Yudia Batsand shouted.

“How do you intend to stop me!?”

······.

“You were making plans for after this month, were you not!? That means you are confident with your chances of survival! Do not tell me that you intended to browbeat Sophna and persuade her, win her over before I got here, and make her cancel the contract after having done so. Is this everything!? Oh, please. Do not say such detestable words! At this moment, I am truly expecting······.”

Yudia, who was being driven by his enthusiasm, closed his mouth.

Sii had stepped in front of me.

“Is there a problem?”

As if his enthusiasm had been dowsed, Yudia spoke in a low tone. Sii spread her arms out and clenched her teeth.

Haa, haa. Sii didn’t stand down even though her shoulders were trembling while she was trying to steady her breath.

Sii.

“You have been a hindrance since earlier. Get out of the way. I do not want to end up feeling bored as a result of killing you.”

“Miss Sophna······!”

Sii exclaimed.

“I-If Yujin dies, then the false accusation on Miss Sophna would become true! Since Yujin would be dying because of your instigation! Even now, while you’re being imprisoned, if that were to happen, then Her Excellency the Earl seriously won’t······!”

No.

That’s not it, Sii. That logic won’t work on them.

It would be great if it did, but it won’t. Sophna is,

“······It does not matter.”

Sophna Radgrinkle spoke.

“It is just as this Yujin fellow had said earlier. ······In order to protect you, Sii, this lady will not say anything in regard to the pieces of evidence. As this is the case, even if Her Excellency the Earl comes to dislike this lady, despise this lady, I will be able to endure it. Any sort of harm that this lady receives is trivial.”

Sii let out a sound.

“But you were in pain!”

“Although I was in pain.”

“But you cried······!!”

“Although I cried.”

Sophna bit her lips.

“I can endure it. ······This lady is really good at these sorts of things.”

The Head Vassal of the earl’s household dropped her head. However, her voice was still as clear as day.

“That’s right, Yujin······ I had abandoned Sii. Even though I knew that Sii was being harassed, I did not stop it. Not only did I remain as a spectator when Sii’s arm was severed, but I gave my approval as well. Sii resented me and I was able to endure it now. Mii will most likely resent and despise me, due to your death. I will also endure that. Mii will one day come to terms with the fact that I had done this for her sake.”

Sii cried out.

“Why!? Why do you hate Yujin that much······!!”

There was a smack.

“Kahak······!”

Sii, after being hit, fell to the ground. Yudia brushed the handle of his spear with an irked look on his face.

“I did not cut you. It would become troublesome, then. Just stay shriveled up over there.”

“No······!”

Sii pushed herself back up and clung to Yudia. Yudia let out a sigh, adjusted his monocle, and towards Sii, he,

“Yudia Batsand.”

I,

I spoke.

“If you lay your hand on Sii one more time, then.”

If he did,

If he did, then,

“What will you do?”

Tens of thousands of ideas brushed through my head. There was only one effective measure which I could carry out.

“I won’t do anything for you.”

Silence.

“I won’t move anymore. I won’t say another word. Of course, I won’t hate you either. I will spend whatever time I have left saying farewell to Sii. You probably don’t want that, Yudia Batsand. You were hoping for something, were you not?”

Silence.

“If you want to see me struggle for my life, then just stay there.”

Yudia lowered his leg which he had pulled back in order to kick Sii.

“How detestable. That is certainly a threat which you can carry out unquestionably while also being effective. You truly do know me now. However, Yujin, how do you intend to struggle?”

I closed my eyes and opened them.

“I came to a realization after watching you fight at the arena. In my current state, I cannot win against you no matter what personal connections I use and methods I utilize. Although I could avoid the problem for a moment if I were to hide behind the Earl, that wouldn’t be a fundamental solution. Therefore, I only have one option left to choose.”

“Are you referring to what I said?”

“Yup. Nullifying the cause. What you said. Winning Sophna over whether it be by force or persuasion. After doing so, I’ll make her cancel the contract.”

A look of disappointment appeared on Yudia’s face.

“As I expected. Then that means there is nothing more to,”

“Was the area not empty while you were on your way here?”

Yudia tilted his head slightly.

“Did you remove them yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Why? Did you think that I would violently kill everyone who was standing guard?”

“No way. I told you that I saw you fight in the arena. You don’t kill people thoughtlessly. Only when there is enough pretext would you kill them.”

“Indeed, it would be detestable if something bothersome were to occur. If that is the case, then why did you get rid of them if you already knew that? If you blocked the entrance with a bunch of guards, then there is a chance that I could have delayed this by a day due to it being a hindrance.”

“Why do you think I did?”

“You didn’t want to put forward fruitless strength? It could also be dealt with if I don’t kill them but paralyze them all instead. In any case, did you think that it would be over if I appeared?”

“To be precise, it’s the exact opposite reason.”

I rolled a bead.

“I, don’t trust Roroa completely yet.”

“Hmm?”

“This is the most important part. I can’t leave a part like this to a person who I can’t trust. If I order her to place some guards, then Roroa might comply with that order. However, there is a chance that she could get rid of the guards in order to betray me in this crucial moment. If this were to happen, then even I would be affected by it. I would end up using my head in order to deal with this as well. I wanted to prevent this. That’s why I told her to get rid of the guards. Regardless of whether the worst possible situation was to occur.”

Yudia, even if you were to appear.

“In order to soundly exhibit myself.”

I,

“I came here with the one and only person I trust.”

“Yujin······.”

Sii became teary. I pushed up my glasses and turned to face Sophna.

I won’t give up.

“I’ll persuade you until the very end.”

Yudia was looking at me while puckering his lips······ He spoke.

“Do you believe that is going to be possible?”

“I only do the things which I am capable of.”

“Do you think that doing that would have any significance? Do you think I will stop if you manage to persuade her?”

“People like you,” I spoke. “Have a peculiar sense of aesthetics when it comes to things like this.”

Yudia chuckled.

“Aha, that’s right. How impressive. Truly magnificent. However, since giving you an infinite amount of time would also be a detestable thing to do.”

Yudia lifted Sii up. He was holding her in a bridal carry pose. Although the panicking Sii struggled, Yudia calmly received her flailing and tilted his head.

“Let us say that this will be until I am standing before you.”

Bead.

Processing start.

Processing end.

“Sophna Radgrinkle.”

Sophna was closing her mouth shut.

Step, the sound of a single footstep approached us.

“If you want to kill me that much, then okay. However, I realized something after hearing what Sii said just now.”

Sophna didn’t respond.

Clang. I heard the sound of the end of a spear hitting the ground.

“Your hatred is unnatural.”

Sophna paused.

Grrrrk. The end of the spear drew closer as it scraped the floor.

“You aren’t biased? You aren’t stereotyping? You looked at me in my entirety? You made your judgment after seeing me? Are you sure that was the conclusion that came up after a realistic assessment?”

Sophna raised her head.

Another footstep.

“If you saw me, then how did you end up seeing me? What was the reason behind why you paid attention to me in the first place?”

Sophna furrowed her brow.

The sound of a spear hitting the floor resonated once more.

“At first, I thought it was because you had a bad experience with Ahyeon. That you were overreacting because of that trauma. But there was something more than that. It’s here right now. Think about it.”

Sophna was looking at me.

Once more, the sound of the spear drawing closer as it scraped the floor.

“Think.”

Sophna was thinking.

Another footstep.

“Around the end of last month, Abriya Mikatni had come to the castle. On that day, that fellow, Yudia said that he was going to go down to your research lab. Did you not hear something about me from him on that day?”

Sophna jerked.

And then, silence.

“Was it not since that moment on that you started to feel an unusual amount of threat from me? Similar to what I had done to the Earl, can you say that someone didn’t lead your train of thought towards a specific direction? Through a couple of passing comments that felt unimportant but had their first impression and firm beliefs towards me⎯⎯⎯.”

“Guhuhuhu.”

I could hear the sound of laughing.

I raised my head. Yudia Batsand was laughing.

“Aah, truly amazing!”

I don’t want to be praised by you.

If you consider the fact that I treated you like a good person around that time, I don’t want to be praised by you even more.

“You are truly amazing. Nevertheless, you are about to be out of time. Is there nothing more?”

I held my beads tightly.

“Sophna.”

“Even so······!!”

In the end, Sophna Radgrinkle exclaimed spasmodically.

“Even if I was lead······! Even if it’s prejudice······! Still······! You, you are dangerous······!!”

Sophna started to catch her breath while lowering her head.

“This, this is for the best. This is the best way······ For Sii, Her Excellency the Earl, I······ One day, one day you two will also understand.”

“What are you saying is the best way!?”

It was Sii.

Sophna gritted her teeth before grabbing the steel bars of the cage which was confining her.

“Have you not seen it already!? Do you not know already!? Have you not witnessed that boy deceive people!? Have you not seen him plot things!? How could you trust that sort of fellow!? How could you believe in him!?”

“Miss Sophna, Miss Sophna did it first! It’s because you were the one who tried to kill Yujin first!”

“That is not the case! In case something like this would happen, I, I tried to kill that boy! Because he couldn’t be trusted!”

“Yujin, Yujin can be trusted!”

“What are you saying is trustworthy!? Sii, what do you know about this boy!? How long has it been since you’ve met him!? I’ve, I have watched over you since the day you were born! From a distance! But, what are you saying that you know about a boy who you’ve only known for less than 2 months!? Do you know what trust is!? Do you know what belief is!? That sort of irresponsible blind faith! Blind belief! You’re simply being intoxicated by your own self that wants to believe in that boy! You should also know that that’s nothing more than arrogance······.”

“You already know······!!”

It felt like a thunderbolt had just struck.

Even Yudia, who was raising his spear, and Sophna, who was shouting heatedly, froze in place.

I paused as well.

Sii began to cry.

“You already know······ that it’s arrogance······.”

Sii.

“Yup~~······ Miss Sophna······ how is that exactly for my, for Her Excellency the Earl’s sake? Something like that, that’s just arrogance······ you’re just satisfying yourself······ What exactly are you sacrificing? What do you mean by it doesn’t matter if you’re hated? Who’s the one pretending to sacrifice things, but refuses to sacrifice a single thing that they’re trying to arrogantly hold······? Yeah, Miss Sophna.”

Sii Garno Mikatni.

“Something like that, you’re just drunk on yourself······.”

Sii,

Sii······.

“If you really care about me, if you’ve really been watching me since I was born, then······ at least once is fine, Miss Sophna, believe in me and Yujin······.”

“You.”

Sophna opened her mouth. She shut it.

She opened it once more.

“Sii, if that belief turns out wrong, how do you intend to bear that shock······?”

“That’s also, different······.”

Sii continued while sniffling.

“Yujin, Yujin said so. Since this is the most important part, he came here with the person he trusts the most······ He trusts me that much······ But, but yup, I’m different······ I’m also different to what Miss Sophna had said······ I, I don’t trust Yujin that blindly.”

With eyes wet with tears, Sii turned to look at me.

“Yup, in the end, I’m that person’s sibling.”

Sii cleared her throat. It wasn’t until after she sobbed a couple more times did she call out to me.

“Yujin.”

“Yes.”

Ah.

“Don’t betray me. Don’t abandon me. Don’t break, your promise with me. I-If you do.”

“Yes.”

Aah.

“If you do, then I’ll tear you apart with my own hands.”

“Yes, Miss Sii. I will die by your hands.”

Sii was great.

Truly great.

“Yup, Yujin······ Yujin. Yujin······.”

When did she become this amazing?

No.

I most likely realized that she was this great of a child the instant I met her for the first time.

“I have to admit that I underestimated you.”

Yudia Batsand spoke.

“Maid······ Sii. I thought that you were weak. But that does not seem to be the case. I thought that you did not have the right to possess hatred. But that seems to have been wrong. I thought that you were a piece of trash consumed by fear. But it is different. Aah⎯⎯⎯You were actually a strong and marvelous person!”

He grinned widely and raised his spear.

“If I kill Yujin right now, then how much would you detest me!? How much would you grow for me!? You! The Earl! The half-siblings who detest one another would combine their strength and detest me! How would it feel to be detested by both sides like that!? Aah, Sii! As expected, you are······.”

“Stop······.”

Yudia paused abruptly.

It was Sophna.

“You can······ stop now.”

Sophna kneeled.

She raised her head.

She looked up at me and Sii.

And then at Yudia.

“Yudia Batsand······ you may leave.”

Yudia let out a groan. He glared at Sophna while grabbing his chest as if he had been struck by a poisoned arrow. However, shortly after, he set Sii down and patted her head. Sii dodged his hand in disgust, but Yudia didn’t seem to mind as he put his spear away. He then turned around.

“I will see you next time.”

Similar to when he had arrived, Yudia left the prison in an instant.


TL note: Thanks for reading the chapter. I’m sorry for taking so long with this chapter. A lot of things sort of happened at the start of this month, so I couldn’t really focus on translating. I know I’ve been giving these kinds of excuses a lot for the past couple of chapters, but it’s honestly because I haven’t been really feeling that great. And I don’t mean health-wise. I just need some time to sort my thoughts out. I guess I’m sort of relapsing in a way.

In any case, I’m fine now so you guys don’t have to worry. I just need to get back into my groove. I’ll see you guys in the next chapter. The last two chapters are fairly short.

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