SSS-Class Suicide Hunter - Chapter 218 - Golden Rule (2)
Chapter 218. < Golden Rule (2) >
We walked into the meeting room.
Tap tap. Every step Viscount Ja Soo-jung made was followed by the steps of dozens of nobles. Only the sounds of footsteps could be heard as no one spoke.
Like elite soldiers heading towards the final battle.
The moment we entered the meeting hall, I lost my breath.
The nobles from other factions, who were already there, looked over to us.
And glares filled with envy and yearning.
“Hello, everyone. I believe the meeting is about to resume.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung smiled in a relaxed manner.
“This one’s faction members have come. Are we too late?”
No one answered.
But Viscount Ja Soo-jung didn’t seem to expect an answer in the first place. With a smile on her face, Viscount Ja Soo-jung went to her seat.
“What are you doing, Advisor?”
As I turned to leave, Viscount Ja Soo-jung called out to me.
“The Advisor’s seat is right beside this one. Come along quickly. Surely you don’t intend to leave this one alone.”
‘She is being considerate since my memories are unclear.’
I nodded and quietly followed Viscount Ja Soo-jung.
It was only as I walked towards the seat that I got a good look of the meeting hall.
It was very different from the [National Assembly] image that I knew.
Firstly, instead of a semicircle, it was a complete circle. It reminded me of a colosseum. A throne was placed in the middle like a pillar, and the seats of the noble council members surrounded it.
There was a part that was even stranger.
That’s right. There was flowing water.
A water channel had been installed beneath the seat. If I sat down, my feet would naturally be submerged in water. The water channels spread out like a web throughout the council hall, and they all flowed down to a drain beneath the throne.
“It’s amniotic fluid. Ossa*.” (*:something like a soft exclamation of pleasure. I couldn’t think of a good English equivalent in this case.)
Viscount Ja Soo-jung took off her shoes and sat down. Looking around, I saw other nobles also taking off their shoes as if they were used to it.
“Yes. Amniotic fluid. There is a large lake beneath the Royal Capital. Water is drawn from the lake and connected to the waterways throughout the city, but first, the water passes through this place. The Platinum Tower’s meeting hall.”
I followed the others and took off my shoes.
“What is the meaning of this?”
“It has many meanings. And also many uses. The council makes laws in this hall, and the laws make the kingdom. This is where the kingdom is born from. [Always be aware that we are giving birth to a kingdom]. That is why it’s called amniotic fluid.”
I also took off my socks before putting my feet in the water channel.
Trickle, the warm water drifted between my toes.
“Yes, because it’s winter now. It’s cool in the summer. It serves as a temperature control for this large conference room.”
“The color and temperature of the water also changes depending on the importance of the agenda. For example, if the council decides to invade a Dragon Kingdom, the amniotic fluid will become red like blood. The waterways throughout the city will also become red. This serves to tell the populace that there is an emergency.”
“In other words, the water the populace uses in their everyday life had to first run across the feet of the nobles. It seems to give some kind of fetish satisfaction to the nobles and subjects. Isn’t it really practical in many ways?”
No. That was a bit.
Seeing my disgusted expression, Viscount Ja Soo-jung snickered.
“Kim Gong-ja. You’re not being the Advisor at all.”
“This one’s Advisor would never make that kind of expression. It would be interesting if Kim Gong-ja’s identity is revealed, but this meeting is more important for now. I’d appreciate it if you were careful so that other people didn’t notice.”
“The manner of speech of the person called Gu Won-ha… What was it like?”
“Huh? You don’t remember?”
“Yes, the memories are faint. I feel like this is my first time seeing the amniotic fluid.”
Ja Soo-jung glanced at me from the side.
“Well, it’s simple. Generally polite. Usually expressionless. If you act indifferent and speak in a stiff manner, that’s Advisor Gu Won-ha’s tone .”
I furrowed my brows slightly.
“It’s fine. But it’s not perfect.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung held her chin as she looked at me.
“It would be better if you could make your face a bit more expressionless. This one’s Advisor didn’t really value the world.”
“Didn’t value the world….”
“Yes. Regardless of whether it’s a person, the public or the kingdom. The only people that matter to the Advisor are this one and her daughter. Everything else is meaningless background noise.”
All of a sudden, I remembered the information spell that the original owner of this body had created.
What she’d written about Viscount Ja Soo-jung.
My everything in this world.
As I recalled those words, my heart thumped loudly for some reason.
Viscount Ja Soo-jung looked at me with an interested expression.
“Your facial expressions are pretty good. Have you learned acting before?”
“…I have. I had the chance to act in a play while climbing the Tower.”
“You are quite versatile, Kim Gong-ja. Right now, you’re very much like Advisor Gu Won-ha.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung grew wider.
“Is it okay for me to call you [Advisor] instead of Kim Gong-ja from now on?”
Was my heart pounding again.
Even though I was just making eye contact with Viscount Ja Soo-jung, my heart felt stuffy. Just like when I’d first entered this world, fog formed in my head.
Fortunately, a voice called for attention just as I was about to be enveloped in fog.
“Presenting His Majesty the King!”
The meeting resumed.
As soon as the meeting began, the nobles from the other factions began to bombard Viscount Ja Soo-jung.
The first person to open the floodgates was Count Ah Ru-ho, who had been holding it in since they were in the lounge.
“Viscount Ja Soo-jung privately accepted rebels as her subordinates. Not just the Red Nails. The Stone Assembly, Half Stones, Heavenly Gods, Hearts. All of the rebel groups that caused disturbances in the recent years have become Viscount Ja Soo-jung’s subordinates. I do not recommend that such a noble be made into a Duke.”
Hundreds of nobles turned to Count Ah Ru-ho. The King of the Kingdom accepted the Count’s remarks without comment.
It felt like this was more of a hearing for Viscount Ja Soo-jung than a meeting.
“Even now, we should bring the traitors hiding under Viscount Ja Soo-jung’s and punish them according to their crimes. If the Viscount is loyal to the kingdom, she will cooperate. Is that not so, Viscount? Why would you hide traitors if not to rebel?”
“Count. All of the people that this one accepted were captured by this one.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung responded with a smile.
“Every prisoner captured on the battlefield belongs to the general. What is wrong with this one doing as I like with my belongings?”
“Even if they are traitors who pointed their swords towards the kingdom?”
“There is nothing wrong with that. An excellent warrior’s sword has tasted the blood of thousands of people. But no one blames the sword. It is the warrior’s fault. This one simply collected a few bloody swords.”
“Are you now saying that these living people are objects?!”
“They are this one’s property. If the Count wanted to do things to them, then you should have captured them. Or you can abolish slavery.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung blinked slowly, naturally.
“Aren’t there a large number of slaves in Count Ah Ru-ho’s county? It’s a pity that the territory’s finances rely heavily on the slave economy. I’d advise you begin to renovate your territory’s economy immediately.”
“How dare you talk about a Count’s management…”
“It’s the same. The prisoner’s this one captured are also this one’s private property. I don’t know what right the Count has that lets you interfere with this one’s family affairs. Wouldn’t it be better for the Count and this one to draw the line there?”
Count Ah Ru-ho asked.
“…What if it was a crime committed not by your property, but a living subordinate, Viscount Ja Soo-jung?”
Count Ah Ru-ho turned to the throne.
“There is something I’d like to tell Your Majesty.”
“The birth of a new Duke is a serious, without precedent in the 2,000 year history of our Kingdom. Since strict procedures are required, I believe it is essential to verify the moral quality of the Duke candidate.”
The Sun King quietly listened to the Count.
He had not left the palace in 60 years. Those who didn’t work for success, and those who did not succeed had no authority. The Sun King had no authority.
And the nobles didn’t respect those without authority.
“I have received some very questionable reports about Viscount Ja Soo-jung’s moral character.”
“…” 0 “Therefore, if Your Majesty grants me leave, I would like to bring a few witnesses here.”
The Sun King turned his head to look at Viscount Ja Soo-jung.
His eyes seemed to ask what she wanted.
Ja Soo-jung simply smiled as if she was not worried.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
The prepared witnesses entered the council hall one after the other.
The first person to set foot in the amniotic fluid was a neat looking old man.
Count Ah Ru-ho asked the old man.
“What is the name of the witness?”
“My name is Nam Suk.”
“What is the identity and origin of the witness?”
“I am a free citizen. 41 years ago, I came to the Royal Capital from Baron Sa Jo-sung’s territory and settled here.”
“Nam Suk. To come here as a free citizen, the royal grace bestowed upon you was by no means light.”
The old man knelt and pressed his forehead to the ground.
“This unworthy one is eternally grateful for your grace.”
“This is an appeal for the nobles who have treated you unfairly.”
“My world felt like it collapsed when I lost my granddaughter, who was my only descendant. That is why this unworthy one dares to dirty your precious eyes and ears.”
Upon hearing that, I turned my head.
In the seat next to me, Marquis Baek Seol-to’s face turned blue.
“It is truly unfortunate that you lost your granddaughter. But the loss of human life is a matter that’s determined by the heavens. You are not the only one who lost a family member. What is so unfair that you decided to make an appeal here?”
“The death of lowly people is as natural as cutting weeds, but this unworthy one’s granddaughter was not taken by the heavens.”
Count Ah Ru-ho pretended to be a merciful Lord.
“How did your granddaughter die?”
“My granddaughter was whipped to death by someone called Baek Seol-to.”
A murmur rippled in the amniotic fluid.
“Baek Seol-to? That is a familiar name. Do you perhaps no the identity of that person?”
“When my granddaughter died 6 years ago, I only heard that it was done by Young Lady Baek Seol-to.”
“If it’s Baek Seol-to, it should be the Marquis sitting there right now.”
The nobles turned to look at Baek Seol-to.
The Marquis was not only blue in the face, she was also shaking.
“This person is saying that his granddaughter was killed by the Marquis. Six years ago. Is that correct?”
“Ah. That. I, I…”
At that moment, Viscount Ja Soo-jung stood up.
As the Viscount got up, the water splashed under her feet.
“Marquis Baek Seol-to’s family is under this one’s protection. Since this one is the main gate of the family, the Marquis would be the side gate. As such, this one should be reprimanded instead of my subordinates. I’m saying that it’s not right for Count Ah Ru-ho to question this one’s subordinates.”
“…what do you think Count?”
“Viscount Ja Soo-jung has a good heart. I would also like to question Viscount Ja Soo-jung instead of Marquis Baek Seol-to.”
Count Ah Ru-ho had a triumphant expression as though that was what he wanted.
“Did you know what the Marquis had done?”
A murmur rippled through the amniotic fluid once again.
“Since when did you know?”
“I already knew what Marquis Baek Seol-to did before making her a subordinate. The Marquis directly confessed to this one.”
“No. Does that mean that you accepted the Marquis despite knowing her sins?”
“That is correct.”
Count Ah Ru-ho slammed his hand on the table.
“Why? The Marquis whipped a child to death. How could you accept such a cruel noble?!”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung smiled.
Looking at that smile made me uneasy.
“I’m not sure if you know… At that time, the Marquis family’s Young Miss was known for her recklessness. Retarded Young Miss, Stupid Young Miss, Brainless Young Miss… She heard sarcastic remarks like this every day. After meeting the Marquis, this one decided to raise her properly.”
“Raise her properly?”
“The Young Miss grew up in an abusive family.”
Baek Seol-to flinched, her shoulders shaking.
“Marquis Baek Seol-to’s grandfather, Marquis Baek Mi-to was a genius. But he was a genius in a bad way. He couldn’t understand people who weren’t as smart as him, and he couldn’t understand his granddaughter who wasn’t smarter than him. Rebukes. Verbal Abuse. Physical Abuse. Marquis Baek Seol-to’s childhood was tainted by her grandfather’s evil disregard.”
Count Ah Ru-ho furrowed his eyebrows.
“So? Are you saying Marquis Baek Seol-to should be forgiven because she’s pitiful?”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung covered her mouth with her sleeve as she smiled.
“If I had left her alone, Marquis Baek Seol-to would have continued being the [Brainless Young Miss] forever. She would have also died peacefully at the hands of assassins sent by someone without a chance to repent for her sins.”
“This one doesn’t think that’s right.”
“What are you talking about….”
“This one took Marquis Baek Seol-to on a trip for a month.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung hummed.
It felt like she was reminiscing about a pleasant memory.
“I showed the Young Miss, who had never done anything for herself, what the reality of life was. I forced her to experience the lives of those who couldn’t eat if they didn’t work, and I forced her to understand the reality of the outside world where it was difficult to eat even if you work hard. Thanks to this, Marquis Baek Seol-to was able to understand, even if she is unhappy, it is still [tolerable misfortune].”
“Then this one regularly gave the Young Miss classes. Sometimes we went to the northern port to take a look at the lives of merchants, and sometimes I took her to subjugate bandits. Like this, I showed her how the lives of people could be ruined.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung breathed heavily.
Almost as if she was intoxicated, Viscount Ja Soo-jung spoke in a low, breathy voice.
“Did you know? Marquis Baek Seol-to is still 15 years old. Although she is only 15, she had already experienced the deaths of ordinary people, the deaths of merchants, and the deaths of bandits. I dare say that Marquis Baek Seol-to will surely become one of the greatest Lords in the kingdom.”
Count Ah Ru-ho laughed.
“I was wondering what you were talking about. So you’re trying to cover up her past stains by claiming she would be a great politician in the future. VIscount, such a rotten spirit…”
“You really don’t know anything, Count.”
“What matters isn’t whether she becomes a good politician or not. The point is, despite being such a good noble, she will have [a mistake that can never be undone] in her past.”
Ja Soo-jung’s breath became hot.
“Don’t you get it? That means the better Marquis Baek Seol-to becomes, the unhappier she will be.”
“No matter what she chooses to do, no matter how many people she saves, Marquis Baek Seol-to will never be able to consider herself a good person. This is natural, since she’ll never be able to change the fact that she killed a child.”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung clasped her hands together.
As if she was saying a prayer.
“This one will raise Marquis Baek Seol-to to be the greatest noble in this kingdom. And I will also make her grow up to be the unhappiest noble in the kingdom. As the days pass, misfortune will dye the Marquis. The combination of self blame and shame will surely paint the Marquis’ face.”
“Count. Imagine the Marquis like that. Imagine how unhappiness will be clear in her every gesture, her past continuously dragged behind in her shadow. What do you think?”
Viscount Ja Soo-jung smiled brightly like a saint.
“Isn’t it lovely?”
(TL:…This arc is so strange)
To report errors, join our Discord: discord.gg/woopread