Queen of the Mad Dog Knights - Chapter 24.1
T/N: Sorry for disappearing for a good while, I was kinda burned out from translating this series and went on translating my other series, Redemption of the Blue Rose Princess instead. But anyway, here’s the long-awaited chapter, also, I decided to make a schedule for this series, I’ll try to post 1-2 chapters a week, depending on how long the chapters are, as you probably aware, this series’ chapters are long for web novels standards. The release time would be every weekend, like usual. Sorry for the long wall of text, enjoy the chapter, it’s a good one!
Interlude – Her Majesty’s Foot Mat (Commander of the Sixth Division, Borzoi’s PoV)
“Lord Borzoi! I’m angry at you, you know?”
Master stood in front of me, her forehead and nose were covered in bandages.
A shiver ran through my spine as I felt the presence hiding inside the pocket of her blue overalls. The nail clippers.
But as the faithful dog I was, I kneeled down with reverence toward her.
“I wonder what are you so angry about, Your Majesty?”
“Many of our people suffered from the heatstroke because of your nonsense about the summer cuts! And you, without consulting me, even went ahead and drove the Empire to the brink of destruction! I knew that both you and Leonhardt-sama were the mastermind behind all this! I realized that from the eye contacts you sent to Leonhardt-sama!”
“Your Majesty wronged me. I was merely making a small talk here and there back in the Empire. Please don’t make strange accusations on me, Your Majesty.”
“Of course, you won’t admit it easily, too bad I bribed Greyhound-sama with my shoes and socks, he easily told me everything.”
She seemed to have learned how to deal with the Dog-Kins better.
She was growing.
—Still, this wasn’t good enough.
While Master and I kept our banters going.
At the same time, I was comparing the fur of the red carpet that her round shoes were stepping on with my own.
* * *
Independence movements had been occurring in succession throughout the territory of the Empire.
The Imperial Castle, the Dragon Palace was in huge turmoil thanks to this.
I drank the glass of wine served by a Crocodile-Kin maid as I sat cross-legged in one of the rooms reserved for nobility. In my hands, there were documents that my subordinates sent to me.
The content of the documents was mainly about the movements of the person I had indirectly conspired with.
“Borzoi-sama, do you want me to fan you harder?”
“You don’t need to, your hands are getting tired, no? Please rest on that sofa instead.”
“No! I still want to be of some use to Borzoi-sama!”
I gave out a light sigh as I sent a melancholic gaze toward the brunette next to me– who was desperately fanning while looking up at me. She was the wife of the head of the Crocodile-Kins.
“I’m on the enemy side, you know? You could just turn the fan in your beautiful hand into a knife and thrust it into my neck, I won’t mind.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! I already knew that you were working for the enemy since long time ago! But, I don’t care! I want to help you as much as I can! I want you to live! …This collar…”
The beauty with a graceful body who sat beside me brought her face closer to mine while pleading.
She relentlessly traced the collar on my neck with her fingers, which nails were painted red.
“I’ll tell you every movement that my husband and other noblewomen make, so please, rely on me more! Let me relieve some of the burdens of your painful mission off your shoulders…”
She whispered in a self-absorbed tone.
Rather than calling it mission, it’s actually just my regular job.
Well, she came to that conclusion by herself, I had no obligation to correct her.
I answered her while rubbing my collar, ‘This is a secret between both of us okay? They gave me an important mission, and I’m not allowed to fail… or else…’
I didn’t lie.
The woman then proceeded to talk about her visions and whatnot, while I half-ignored her and skimmed through the rest of the documents I was reading.
I already predicted most of the things that happened, but the fact that the Fourth Division was completely wiped out was beyond my prediction.
Originally, I was just trying to cut down the mobility of the Kennel Kingdom so that the Second Division wouldn’t be put on the spot when the civil war happened.
Lion cuts? Round cuts? Mohawks? Those guys are really funny, aren’t they?
As I read on while wondering what advice I should give them next, I arrived at the last line.
There, it said, ‘Our Queen was stroking me with a faraway look in her face while muttering ‘nail clippers…’ over and over.’
—We purposely didn’t tell her about this operation.
I remembered the face of the earnest young girl and her feet inside her round shoes.
I smiled at the head’s wife and politely asked her to move to the sofa.
I then made a note with my pen at the end of the letter ‘Foot mats, on hold’.
* * *
It was only a few hundred years ago that the Empire, ruled by the Dragon-Kin, was established.
There were only around a million Dragon-Kins on the continent.
They were able able to take control of a large part of the continent because of their individual fighting prowess.
Their power, which was said to be able to destroy a small mountain, was more powerful than anyone else’s in the continent.
But, Dragon-Kins weren’t good at domestic affairs.
That was part of the reason why they tried to conquer the countries of other races, they were looking for talents from various fields.
Those conquered nations were eventually called autonomous territories by them and were advertised as the foundation of a great multiracial nation.
Though, from the perspective of those nations, they were just invaders who gave them strange titles out of nowhere.
Nevertheless, they still decided to stick with the Empire and betrayed their old masters in the name of profits, in which the Empire rewarded them with various titles to govern the autonomous territories. But, the ones who lost the most out of this were the commoners, who were even more oppressed than before, by both the Dragon-Kins who demanded to be worshipped and their new rulers, who prioritized their own profits above all else.
But you couldn’t deny that this method of creating scapegoats out of the other countries and eventually conquering them, boosted the Empire’s wealth, territory, and the patriotic spirits of their people.
However, they messed up quite badly as they became quite conceited after multiple victories.
The autonomous territories were united mostly because of the economic power of the Empire itself, not because of their love for the Empire.
Because they had the money, people would listen to them.
Unlike the Dog-Kin, other countries’ citizens didn’t develop any particular affections toward their royal family.
They obeyed them because the government gave them money, and they didn’t want the government to reduce the amount of money they received.
The Dragon-Kin lost in their conceit, forgotten that the Empire could prosper only because of those opportunists.
There was no such thing as a society made up of noble and just people in this world.
The society itself was moved by the whims of the majority.
Well, there were the radical purists, but, well they were eradicated already.
A certain mongrel’s face came to mind.
The main target of the sabotage unit this time was the people of the Empire.
Our goal was just to spread rumors.
Before I left the country, I received a message from the Prime Minister who was still in his sickbed.
“Lise-sama might be angry at us because of this. I could see her saying ‘Why didn’t you consult me about this matter? Am I not trustworthy enough?’ if she were to find out that we are making a mess in another country without her permission.
But still, we can’t let this opportunity go. Abel-sama will hate me for this, but now it’s the time to finish the radical purists for good. We also need to shut those lizards up while we still can. Make them understand that Her Majesty Liselotte-sama is the one and only ruler of this continent.
…Only by then could we finally make the continent peaceful enough for our master to grow healthily. That’s the dream I wish to achieve…
Nevertheless, if Lize-sama somehow were to know of our goal, she will follow her pacifistic nature and restrict our movements…
Time is not on our side, so, please, crush them quickly.”
I changed into my nightgown before skimming through the message once more.
I styled my hair in a loose bun and hardened it with a hair gel.
The small Lord Corgi was kneeling.
He was waiting for my instructions before he started his operation under the cloak of the night.
The Seventh Division had already started their tasks in various places.
They were really good at manipulating information, thanks to their commander, Lord Greyhound.
Lord Greyhound himself was also manipulating the information, exaggerating the matter of the heatstroke victims in the Kennel Kingdom to provoke the dark side of the Empire.
He had given out instructions to his units.
The Seventh Division, posing as a reporter, went all over the Empire, selling information to the newspaper and advertising agencies.
Information about ‘reduction of the rights of races other than the Dragon-Kin’. Information about ‘massive tax increase for races other than the Dragon-Kin’. Information about ‘Dragon-Kin’s food monopoly’.
Of course, those were information without any source.
But at the same time, the possibility of the things stated by those information happening wasn’t zero.
Those kinds of information passed through all kinds of media across the autonomous territories, being spread mouth by mouth by the citizens and continued to spread uncontrollably.
After all, those information were about something that could threaten their own lifestyle.
Eventually, those information spiraled out of control. New information such as the Dragon-Kins will receive more preferential treatments while other races’ priority would be lowered.
Information saying that the Dragon-Kins would receive preferential tax treatment, becoming richer than everyone else and they will flock into the autonomous territories to flaunt their status.
There were also information that said the Dragon-Kins had their own dedicated food storage facilities hidden through the Imperial City.
Because of those information, the Dragon-Kins received even bigger hatred than the scapegoats they preciously made.
Those information spread around among a lot of races who lived throughout the Empire, uniting them to stand out the discrimination that was started by the Dragon-Kins.
The country’s economy was in shambles.
The food supply was monopolized by the Dragon-Kins.
If they were going to keep getting discriminated against by the Dragon-Kins, then they had no choice… They had to stand and fight.
Taking advantage of this situation, the Fifth Division set up a stage for them to treasure hunt.
They hid every kind of treasures, whether it was jewelry, gold, silver in the houses of various Dragon-Kin’s nobles.
In various parts of the country, they built shelters and hid a large amount of food there.
Every time those treasures were found, despair would spread among those other races.
Ahh, it was true. The Dragon-Kins… The Emperor will abandon us…
It didn’t take long for the majority of the common citizens living in the autonomous territories to appeal toward the leaders of their races.
* * *
The Empire treats its reverse troop poorly despite the quality of its military power. Perhaps it’s because their top brass wasted too much time on useless things? But still, the quality of their individual troops is just too poor and lax.
I cut down an obese Dragon-Kin soldier who was hiding behind a pillar.
Nearby, a beautiful blonde woman stabbed another unathletic-looking soldier to his death with her saber.
This woman was the Leader of the Snake-Kins.
She defeated her enemies one after another purely with her strength while giving orders to her troops in the imperial capital.
The Emperor, who abandoned his people to protect himself in his castle.
We were out here to capture him.
“We don’t need him to be alive! There is still Duke Hainuwele that is also a member of the imperial family. We can negotiate with him instead for our independence!”
The capture of the imperial capital was progressing steadily.
I thanked the woman for her cooperation.
In response to me, the woman just said, ‘It’s for our own prosperity as well, it’s nothing much’ while smiling and curling her lustrous hair with her hand.
She then put her hand on my cheek while using her other hand to fix my messy bangs.
“I really wish that you were just a stray dog. I really want to chain you up and live together with you in my nest forever.”
“Pardon me, Chief… I’m merely a normal dog, even if I haven’t sworn allegiance to my owner, I doubt I could make you happy…”
“You could just agree with me to make me feel happy, you know? I know you’ll never take that collar off your neck.”
“…I hate to lie to you…”
“Seriously, what an inconsiderate person…”
The Emperor was eventually captured by the Snake-Kin and Crocodile-Kin, and ended up getting killed in the process.
The Kennel Kingdom’s sabotage attack on the Empire was finally completed.
But, there was one thing—
The relationship between the Leader of the Snake-Kin and the wife of the Head of the Crocodile-Kin suddenly turned sour during the civil war.
Now, it was completely up to Duke Hainuwele to calm the new sparks that started in the Empire.
* * *
During the time of the civil war, he came to the Kennel Kingdom as the Empire’s ambassador.
Of course, he never lent any help to the Emperor when the war was happening.
He never even returned to the capital until after everything was over.
When I met him briefly in the guest room, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘I’ve heard about the situation, but he stationed me here to keep an eye on the Kennel Kingdom, so I have to obey him.’
There was no sign of the politician who had repeatedly provoked us for his country’s benefit.
If he were to fight seriously, me, as Dog-Kin, would be no match for him.
There would be heavy casualties among the Dog-Kins in the palace.
But the chances of that happening were slim.
He had no respect for the Emperor.
The Duke of Hainuwele.
It was one of the titles that were given to the other emperor candidates who failed to succeed the throne.
In the word of the Dragon-Kin, the word Hainuwele meant ‘foundation of the nation.’
Though, if you were to look at it in a more negative way, it was a cursed title that said, ‘a stepping stone for the Emperor.’
As a politician, I intended to live for my country.
But, if I could get rid of that Emperor who kept threatening my life for no reason, then I won’t mind even if the number of the sacrifices piled up.
Also, it would be better for me if I could become the Emperor later.
He said while leisurely sipping his tea.
“My brother is a terrible ruler. I’ve tried to help him in a lot of ways, but despite that, he could still manage to divide the country into pieces… After the situation had calmed down a bit more, I think I’ll go meet the Dragon-Kin army that my men assembled. I don’t think I’ll be able to take the throne any time soon though.”
He calmly stated, though, he immediately sighed as he realized that he just added more work for himself.
The Duke pretended to obey the Emperor on the surface, but in truth, he really hated him to the core.
—Because of that fact, I was able to enjoy destroying their already cracked relationship even further.
The Duke’s Mistress cooperated too, so everything proceeded smoothly.
When I remembered the face of that alluring woman, the duke’s whispers entered my ears.
“Lord Borzoi… Do you think the one who has the stronger military power would be the one who wins in the end?”
“That depends. After all, there are cases like what is currently happening.”
The duke let out a light sigh as he gazed out of the window, toward the Puppy Squad that was stationed outside, with an envious gaze in his eyes.
Still, he continued.
“Even if you guys ended up ruling this continent, there’s no way you people would be able to unite the whole continent and accept the other races’ beliefs.”
“That, I have to agree.”
The Dog-Kins were simply single-minded.
To us, our ruler was everything, and we prioritized our loyalty to them more than anything.
If we somehow stood on the top of the continent, we will force the other races to serve our ruler like some kind of cult.
Everyone could guess what would happen next.
Eventually, the duke left the room, leaving me alone.
I stared at the legs of the table.
Below them laid a magnificent scarlet mat.
That person’s feet came to my mind as a thrill of pleasure ran through my back.
Ah, when will I be able to become her foot mat?
* * *
Compared to the arrogant empire, that was somehow able to tolerate their people’s variety of ideologies, our country was…
Fragile, like a castle made of sand.
They could boast about how great they were.
But in truth, if the royal family, their moral support, were gone, the country would just turn into the country of wild dogs.
Back then, the royal family’s numbers were bigger.
The royal family wasn’t homogenous back then as they shared various opinions and ideals.
In truth, there were even quite a few members that couldn’t be called virtuous in any way.
But to Dog-Kins, such things didn’t matter.
If they thought that they should follow a person, no matter how disgusting they were, the Dog-Kins would still love and follow them.
As long as they could follow the person they chose, anything else didn’t matter.
There was only one surviving member of the royal family in this world.
A lonely girl who was a victim of abuse to the point that she was on the brink of death.
The harsh living condition and starvation made her stomach completely shrink.
Though she finally had a better living condition these days and her face started regaining its color again…
Everyone was still worrying about her mental health.
Liselotte-sama was a clumsy child.
She was too serious and always treated other people’s words seriously.
—Also she was starving for someone she could call a friend.
She seemed to get along better with those close to her age, like Lord Maltese and Lord Shiba.
But I wish she would be able to restrain herself a little.
To her, the word pet dog simply meant friend.
However, in the Kennel Kingdom, the definition of the word pet dog wasn’t that simple.
—I felt sorry for her, but…
A clear line between the Dog-Kins and humans should be made.
A certain boy’s face came to my mind.
The boy, who was once her stepbrother. The boy who was able to gauge the true nature of the Dog-Kin by seeing them through his own eyes.
I had high hopes for him. I wished that he could rise quickly through the ranks so that the country could utilize his talent easier.
Also, I want the Queen to prepare herself for her future more…
The Prime Minister was too considerate, while the Commander was blinded by his ideal.
In addition, Lord Pitbull was too twisted and only ever conveyed his violent tendencies to her.
I wish she could be more honest with herself.
Yes, just like me.
* * *
Back to the current timeline.
“Mazo-sama! Listen to me!”
“Master, may I tell you something first? …You see, I think the Prime Minister is too kind to tell you about this matter, so, firstly, may I ask you a question first?”
Her violet colored-eyes expressed her emotion more than her face.
The overly zealous girl, a clumsy child who made all kinds of mistakes because of her zealousness.
“Do you think of us Dog-Kins as human? Or dogs?”
Master was at a loss of words as her eyes expressed her confusion.
I chuckled at her reaction.
“I’m glad that Master is finally able to be at ease around us, but why are you treating us like humans?”
“Because everyone took their human form often, and they also live their life like humans…”
And that’s where you are wrong, Master.
“Master, that’s not how it is. Let’s get this straight, okay? I am a dog.”
I kneeled down and took Master’s little hand.
I love her. She wished for affection more than anyone else that I’ve ever known, but she always backed down whenever someone was about to give it to her.
I gently placed her hand on my head.
Master’s confusion grew after seeing that gesture.
“The Dog-Kin in this country, no, every Dog-Kins are all dogs. They can’t understand Master’s point of view, Master who’s been raised not as our owner, but as a normal human being. Their actions are all out of their love toward you, Master. To handle them is a simple matter… Just show them that you are their owner, teach them the feeling that they are beneath you.”
She backed down a step at the phrase ‘a normal human being.’
I then added another sentence as advice for her.
“For example, you can step on me to teach me that feeling…”
Her legs twitched.
I wish you could just give it up, Master.
Dog-Kins are really just dogs.
What we want from you is nothing special.
—Like, in my case, I just want you to step on me.
—Isn’t it simple?
“You don’t need to think too hard about complicated things like the breeds’ customs or habits. You only need to act as our owner, stand at the top for us, that’s all you need to do for us. If you do just that, it’s fine even if you don’t love us. Just think of our barking as an annoyance for the neighboring countries.”
I felt her trembling hand on my head as I smiled at her with the biggest smile I could muster.
—The more I thought about the Dog-Kins’ nature, the more I respected the mongrel.
Contrary to his big stature, he wouldn’t bark nor bite anyone. He was also potty trained.
He wasn’t intimidated by his Master’s authority (though it was because he didn’t understand hierarchical relationships between other dogs).
He knew he was a weakling, but he didn’t care.
He was a free dog to a fault.
There were very few dogs like him.
Whether he was loved or not, whether he was hugged or beaten.
They said he was so idiotic that he somehow forgot his master’s face.
But, whenever he remembered his master, he would stick behind her.
He really was an impulsive idiot.
And Master considered such dog as her friend.
Other Dog-Kins tried too hard to be loved by aiming to be ‘capable’ dogs.
They would go as far as doing something that would be ‘undesirable for the Master.’
And they would still do their best to achieve that.
A good example would be Pitbull who would go around looking for enemies and kill them.
They wanted to do the best they could do with all the power that they had.
That was what being a ‘dog’ meant to them.
In my case, I only want her to step on me, so it was pretty cute compared to the other Dog-Kins.
Also, for the Dog-Kins, the fear of being left behind by their master was their strongest fear.
Back when the royalty was dying one after another…
Back then there was nothing but despair…
‘The Masters were abandoning us.’
‘They were disappearing into the valley of death…’
Among the royalties, I remembered an amazing man who once said, ‘I want to sleep on a dog-bed’, but he too died.
All of us were haunted by the trauma of losing our masters.
The scars on our hearts wouldn’t be healed so easily.
And this ten-year-old child, who barely knew anything, received the brunt of it.
Poor little thing. To be swallowed by tens of thousands of dogs, seeking your affections just by being a royalty.
It seemed that I underestimated Master— Liselotte-sama.
Master who regained her composure, sighed deeply as she pondered for a moment.
“I understand. Your punishment won’t be nail clipping. Instead, I will ban you from being a foot mat, a permanent ban.”
She made a ruthless decision.
That unexpected action shocked me.
“…I knew that this would work on you.”
“Master, are you trying to kill me? Are you trying to kill my heart and soul?”
When I clung to her, it seemed like she was realizing something as she dangled her legs in front of me.
My eyes followed her legs movements frantically.
“Take on your dog form.”
Immediately, I turned into a dog and dove right under the sole of her shoes.
But, Master quickly set her feet on the ground and said…
“Lord Borzoi, thank you.”
As I desperately tried to get under her round shoes, for some reason, she thanked me.
“Up until now, I treated you all as humans, that’s why I only reprimanded you all for all you’ve done. That’s also why my feelings couldn’t get through to the Dog-Kin’s heart, our sense of value is too different and so is our way of showing affection. But now, I finally understand…”
Ah, she grew up so quickly.
I poked Master’s toes with my nose, but she didn’t lift her feet at all.
I looked up at Master with my teary-eyed face.
Then I saw her cruel, ice-like smile.
It was the same smile that made Pitbull excited, and I think I understood him, this smile was so out of this world.
I felt so thrilled that I could feel my whole body shivering.
“If you want me to step on you as hard as I can, then you must not bother other dogs.”
Master kept her cold tone (she probably thought it was a lovely tone though) and continued…
“Do not needlessly provoke or humiliate the other dogs. If you’re going to do that in another country, it’s fine, but don’t go too far and cause needless deaths… Properly report to me first as I’m your ruler, your owner… If you do all that…”
Bearing the cold air of a queen, she gently brushed my fur and gently combed them with her hand.
Then, with both hands, she scooped up my face as she brushed the fur on my cheeks.
“I will stroke you a lot and praise you for being a good boy.”
She smiled at me as if she was about to tear my head off.
I was dumbstruck.
In the future, or maybe even now.
I could expect her stomping on me.
That was when I decided.
To be the best foot mat in the world for her.
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