“Here, over here! If you don’t hurry they’ll catch us.”
“I know, I’m saying I know already, wait– timeou…!”
Pulled by the arm, the two ran through the alley with poor footing.
It’s a small back alley. Even though it’s past noon the sunlight has yet to reach this area, the dimly lit dark alleys formed a complex maze as if to reject to two.
For Subaru who had no familiarity with this area this wasn’t a very amiable situation. If only the one leading knew the way, was all he wished for.
“We sure came down a dark path, do you know where you’re going?”
After a refreshing amount of back-and-forth chatter, Subaru let out a defeated sigh as he brought a hand to his brow.
It was a response to be expected, after all the person pulling Subaru by the hand was dressed in a showy manner that one couldn’t help but think unfamiliar with the hidden back alleys.
A fluttering red dress made with expensive looking materials. A glittering necklace catching the light. The skin that peaked out was an elegant white, it was impossible to think her upbringing would have been any different.
Most of all, the coloring of her vivid orange-colored hair. The nobility of it claimed her presence as being laughably far-removed from this place in the slums.
Looking at this appearance once more, Subaru was once again convinced he had picked up a troublemaker.
Hearing the the multiple footsteps following behind them, this wasn’t exactly the time to stop and catch his breath.
How did things come to this… this question filled Subaru’s mind. Running out of breath, he grimaced as aching filled his lungs.
Subaru’s current trouble all started around two days ago.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
―― For Natsuki Subaru, morning was a time for sleeping, at the very least not a time for vigorous activity.
Even if it’s too much of a stretch to say that he’d melt from showering in the morning’s bright light, for the DNA making up Natsuki Subaru’s body it certainly felt like dying. For this Subaru to be bathing in the early morning sunlight doing radio calisthenics before a crowd, a mere month ago such a thing would have been unthinkable.
―― Speaking of which, getting summoned to another world is pretty unthinkable in itself.
It’s such a big transformation one would think they’ve hit their head or something. In fact, he did have memories of a rather strong impact to his head, such that it wouldn’t be surprising if his way of thinking had changed a little. However, even taking that into account it wasn’t like this was a situation he was all that opposed to.
“Ai, and for the last part stretch your arms to sky, Finishhh-! Victory-!!”
A chorus of voices followed Subaru’s instructions, stretching their arms to sky; radio-calisthenics complete. Hearing shouts of joy rise up from the crowd, Subaru lightly wiped the drops of sweat from his brow. In front, as if to surround him, was a crowd of inhabitants from the village bordering the Roswaal mansion. From the looks of it, I’d say roughly half of the villagers were gathered.
The radio-calisthenics he had started light-heartedly seemed to have unexpectedly caught the heart-strings of this world’s inhabitants. In this village he had given rise to a great movement, one that had driven the non-committal Subaru into a situation where he couldn’t quit even if he tried.
“Subaru―, we finished the exercises!” “Give us a stamp, give us a stamp!” “Sweet potato, sweet potato!”
TL: It sounds weird, but you’ll see
“Daaaa! Stop it, stop crowding around me so early in the morning, and settle down! You guys are seriously too energetic, it must be nice to be young! You don’t have to be so rushed, the stamps aren’t going to run away. Line up, line up.”
After coming in contact with the overly-familiar gang of children Subaru’s expression carved into a bitter smile. Showing no hints of defiance, the children followed his instructions and formed a straight line in front of him. Seeing this Subaru gave a satisfied nod and turned his head.
“Well then, Emilia-tan, if you’ll do the honors.”
“Yes- here you go”
Emilia stood directly behind him, gripping a small sack before handing it over, her lips wavering between a bitter and happy smile. Opening the received bundle, inside were long thinly shaven raw sweet potatoes. Seeing the sweet potatoes appear the children raised excited voices, as if responding to the shrill voices Subaru took up a sweet potato.
TL: It’s like a wood-block print except instead of being a wood-block print it’s now a potato-block print
“Alright I’m going to press it down now, take out your paper”
Taking out the container of ink from the same bag Subaru dipped the end of the sweet potato in, pressing down the inked-potato onto the paper presented by the first child. Emilia watches the children’s faces turn to joy as a picture emerges onto the surface.
“Carving the flat side of a potato to make a potato-stamp. Subaru, you always come up with weird things.”
“If you cut off the inked part then you can use it as emergency rations, and this picture has more sense than you’d think. By the way, I name today’s masterpiece ‘Monday’s Puck’.
What appeared on the paper was a distorted print of a cat, bringing out a feeling of languor. It captured the key characteristics fairly well, anyone looking at it could guess the model at a glance. Well, the title itself is a dead giveaway.
“I’m really surprised, it looks just like Puck. Subaru, you’re really good at art”
“Well, I’ve had ample time that I’ve wasted away practicing to draw like this. I only know the basics though, since I gave up half-way.
If you’re a true Otaku then you’ll have traveled down the path of drawing at least once. From there it’s about establishing your own drawing style, whether you make a name for yourself is mostly up to luck. By the way, for Subaru this ended up being impossible.
“This is all I can do, carving images of cats onto potatoes in a world that doesn’t even have potato-stamps; it’s only good for spoiling innocent little kids.”
“That’s a pretty unpleasant way to phrase it… and doesn’t this picture of puck somehow look like it lacks energy?”
“I told you it’s called ‘Monday’s Puck’, I wanted to try and capture that hidden negative feeling where you know that there’s an entire week ahead of you. Those poorly drawn ears were on purpose.
Hearing Emilia’s impression, Subaru tried to emphasize his artistic intent. All-the-while being pestered by children holding out papers to be stamped, on which the number of radio-calisthenics participation stamps was steadily accumulating. It’s like I’m re-creating one of those summer vacation stamp-rallies, Subaru thought with a bit of playfulness. Every day before sleeping Subaru carved out a new stamp, there were always a lot of kids looking forward to what kind of stamp they’d get. Entertaining children, Subaru demonstrated the nimbleness of his fingers in a rather odd way.
Subaru enjoyed chatting with the children for a while as they clamored around him, finally exchanging promises for tomorrow’s radio-calisthenics exercise and bidding farewell with a wave of his hand. Subaru talked with each of the group of adult participants before accompanying Emilia back to the mansion.
Lately this had become Subaru’s daily routine, leaving in the early hours to spend time in the village. This setting came about because his body hadn’t quite recovered so he wasn’t able to participate in the mansion’s morning work, the pitifulness of this state was added onto by the fact he was also using up Emilia’s relaxation time, something that bothered Subaru quite a lot.
“Aahhh, I’m worn out. Emilia-tan, I feel bad taking up your time like this every morning.”
“It’s fine, it’s not like your conditions back to normal yet, and Ram and Rem both have their work at the mansion. And it’s not like I dislike this anyway…”
“When you say you don’t dislike it… could that possibly be spending time with me!?”
“Wrongー. I meant getting to know the villagers who I hadn’t been involved with in the past. You know how it’s been… because it was like I thought I had drawn up a line around myself.
She coldly shot down Subaru’s words who was now wildly inhaling through his nose; Emilia gave a shy laugh. From under her hood, her face’s white profile was interrupted by a glimpse of lovely-red lips, Subaru felt the blood rise unintentionally to his cheeks from the charmingness of it.
Emilia’s current appearance is closest to what she wore when they first met in the capital. A lightweight short skirt, over the top of which was a white robe with falcon shaped embroidery, her beautiful silver hair entirely concealed under her hood. Subaru stood next to her in clear contrast, wearing a slightly dirty cheap-looking grey jersey. After coming to this world it had taken quite the beating, it was only due to Rem’s handiwork that it was able to recover to this extent. The areas most frayed were the parts Subaru had attempted to mend by himself.
Comparing my clothes, appearance, and various other specs to Emilia’s, in my heart I couldn’t help but let out a sigh. I’m desperate over here trying to even things out. From the start our positions aren’t even in the same arena.
The one to break the silence was Emilia, as Subaru was still brooding in deep thought. She was bent over in front of Subaru, looking down at him from an angle with both arms crossed.
“You’ve become quite familiar with the villagers haven’t you, could it be that you’re more of a celebrity now than Ram and Rem?”
“Well, in a certain way I’m like a hero that saves children! Kind of like a hero that goes around saving people, so maybe that’s being talked about somewhat?”
Even though he dressed it up as a joke, in reality Subaru had done enough that it didn’t sound entirely ridiculous, it ended up not being much of a joke.
Towards Subaru’s playful words Emilia kept silent with a finger on her lips, tilting her head at Subaru.
“It’s probably something a little different from a hero”
“Ah, yeah I guess they wouldn’t be talking about it… but if it wasn’t the forest incident then I wonder what else it’d be”
Being praised for his role in the rescue-business wasn’t something that was needed or expected by Subaru. However, outside his expectations, Emilia’s words continued on in this direction. Smiling with her peach-colored lips as she let out a small laugh.
“It’s true that the current impression of you by the village children is a bit like a hero, but more than that the rumors are leaning more towards you being a (shikisha) scholar you know?”
“(Shikisha) musical director…? I can’t lead an orchestra you know. My musical sense is zero.”
I was a proud living legend back in elementary school band class, getting the opportunity to play the big taiko drums once. Someone with zero musical sense on a big taiko drum is quite the scene. Why they had to change people midway through is still a mystery to me.
At the previous boke Emilia shakes her head sideways, “that’s not it.”
“(Shikisha) scholar as in an intellectual. A foolish sage himself, is what the old men in the village are saying.”
“That really doesn’t sound like praise… like someone who can study but is still an idiot. In the first place, what have I ever done that’s intellectual-like…”
TL: he created mayonnaise earlier in volume 2.
Stabbing her finger out, Emilia blurts out a straight-forward single word. From her words Subaru could only agree. Ever since the incident a few days ago, the adoption rate for this new technology was progressing smoothly. Because it was deemed too much of a waste (mostly by Emilia) to keep such a treat to themselves, they had been spreading the production method out to the nearby villages. It’s only been a few days but it seems like it’s caused quite a stir.
As a mayonnaise lover, bringing mayonnaise to another world was truly a step to be celebrated. May mayonnaise be eternal.
“It’s great that those who recognize the magnificence of mayonnaise are spreading, but for my death-defying heroics to be deemed less than a brand of mayonnaise…”
It seems rather than a hero, I’m becoming famous as a mayonnaise evangelist, in the end this is my so called value to society. With quite an overwhelmed feeling Subaru drooped his shoulders.
Seeing this reaction Emilia acted in a panic, massaging his shoulders,
“A, um, you know, I’m sure the children are thankful for you saving them? But the one who brought them back from the forest was Rem after all, and the rumors going around are saying that the one who finished off the demon-beast in the forest was Roswaal…”
It hurt to receive such sympathy, but he couldn’t deny anything she had said. Looking back at it again, Subaru was shocked.
When it came to rescuing the children, all Subaru managed to accomplish was to get bitten all over his body and become terribly injured. And with defeating the demon beast, other than restoring Rem’s sanity he had left everything else to Roswaal, ran out of energy and lied down to rest. He was surprised with himself.
“I didn’t actually contribute anything did I?!”
I was just flailing around the whole time. Subaru feeling like all his hard work was just denied from him, he felt increasingly like shrinking.
Seeing Subaru like this Emilia found it more and more difficult to find the words to call out to him, stumbling and ending with phrases like, “um,” and “you know,” “it’s not like that…”
“Mou, stop being like that, getting all caught up on small things”
“The people that understand that you worked hard already know it. Roswaal, and Ram, and especially Rem are all like that.”
Emilia said with a playful tone, as she poked Subaru’s face with her finger. Feeling the pointy sensation Subaru shifted his eyes to her with a pitiful look, she let out a grumble as she trotted out in front of him. Turning around, she removed her hood with vigor, her long silver hair glistening in the morning sun as it ran down her back. Seeing such a magical figure Subaru stopped in his tracks. Standing in front of Subaru she placed her hands on her hips, with an attitude almost like scolding a younger brother,
“I know it too, you know.”
“That you tried hard, that’s something that I really understand. That’s why you can’t get depressed like this. Understand?”
Emilia tilted her head, “Your reply?” she asked. Hearing those words the dazed Subaru woke up in scramble, vigorously shaking his head up and down. Seeing this reaction Emilia burst into a smile.
“Mou, what is it this time? You’re moving like a broken toy. You’re always like this.”
“No, this time it wasn’t like I was doing it on purpose… and anyway Emilia-tan who does these things without trying is 100x more unfair! No matter how I struggle I fall in love again.”
“Yes, yes. And stop trying to play it up like that, I think that’s a bad― habit. “
We’re having a heart-to-heart talk here, but the smiling Emilia won’t lend her ear. As she catches her flowing hair with one hand and combs it to the back, Subaru thought once more that she was completely out of his league.
Even though walking together like this was something that they had done so countless times before, each time, every time, he felt like it was a brand new experience.
None of the Emilia’s were the same. If he let today’s get away, the chance to meet today’s Emilia would never come around again. Treating this time as precious and looking forward to tomorrow, it was unexpected that he’d be spending his daily life like this.
“Working energetically, deepening my relationship with my sweetheart―― what a wholesome lifestyle. Noone can call me a shut-in anymore!”
“Even if it can’t be helped that you act tough like this because you’re a boy, you need to properly take care of your body you know. There’s no good reason to push yourself right now you know. Just be obedient and let Rem and Ram… well mostly just Rem, take care of you.”
From Subaru’s energetic yell and eccentric pose, Emilia seems to have garnered quite a few misunderstandings and offered up some candid advice.
It seems in her mind Subaru had taken up a position as a well-mannered upstanding young man. One that would work themselves to death through labor and hard work. Of course, in reality Subaru was far from hardworking, his personality was one where he’d like to live his whole life eating and sleeping if he didn’t have to work.
Of course he also wasn’t honest enough to go out of his way to correct such a favorable misunderstanding like this though.
Meanwhile, during their extended talk you could begin to see the top of the Roswaal mansion peak out over the horizon. Like this they continued on, spending the few minutes in a pleasant morning conversation, the time of which one could see would soon end.
“We started talking and the time just flew b… hey, what’s with you going so slow all of sudden?”
“This is my reluctance to part ways, behold my snail’s pace tactics. Don’t you just want to enjoy this refreshing morning air some more? With who? With me!”
“If we go too slow people would get upset you know… I did say that you shouldn’t push yourself, but keeping promises is important. I have my contracts with the spirits I have to keep too.”
“I’m weak to that kind of reasoning. …Puck’s about to wake up now too, it seems like I missed my timing to have some nuisance-free love talk with Emilia.”
The contract of a spirit user, he was weak to that being brought up. He hid his innermost thoughts behind his facial expression while holding back tears of blood in his heart,
“I know… let’s go back. …shit, I could have done some even better things…!”
“I don’t know what’s gotten you so vexed, but if I have some extra time I’ll hear you out so stop pouting, mou.”
Emilia who had gradually come to act more intimate towards Subaru gave a troubled smile while putting a finger to her lips. Subaru watched as she muttered softly under her breath “what’s this?”
“There’s a carriage… stopped in front of the mansion.”
Piqued by her murmurs he aligned his vision to where she was looking, narrowing his eyes he confirmed its existence.
In front of the Roswaal mansion’s main gate there was a single ‘horse’-drawn carriage approaching. At a glance Subaru could tell this ‘horse’-drawn carriage was different from the horse-drawn carriages he was familiar with.
After all, the animal pulling the frame wasn’t a horse but a horse-sized lizard. In that case it couldn’t truly be called a horse-drawn carriage, so he had no choice other than to refer to it as a ‘horse’-drawn carriage.
“I sort of remember these things darting around everywhere in the capital”
On the first day he was summoned, he remembered looking out from the marketplace onto the road the figure of these things running past kicking up a great amount of dust, it would be difficult to forget such a scene. From the fact that the word ‘horse-drawn’ was understood he could ascertain that there were indeed horses in this world, but from the fact that I’m observing a lizard pulling the carriage here I guess that this animal is the standard in this world’s society.
“If I’m not mistaken they were calling that a dragon-carriage?”
“…..? Yeah. Because the one pulling the frame is an earth dragon, calling it a dragon-carriage is only natural right? Ee, it’s a lie, could it be my common sense is wrong? Does it have a proper name?”
Responding to the zero-knowledge Subaru’s question was Emilia, whose own breadth of knowledge was now increasingly suspect. For the girl reading way too much into his words, Subaru shook his hands in denial,
“It’s just that I’m lacking in knowledge. Emilia-tan is right about this, probably, so have some confidence.”
“Really? You’re not teasing me? Don’t start any embarrassing rumors about me ok. If you lie I’ll whack you, you know.”
“Whack, that’s not a word you hear nowadays….”
Like this, they came up to the carriage while talking. Looking the lizard up close it was shocking how big it really was. On the carriage it was pulling there was a stand built to seat a coachman, sitting on which was a person who fit the bill, spotting the two approaching he began to climb down to the ground.
“Welcome back. I beg your pardon for parking our vehicle in front of your gate.”
With conduct fitting for an old-gentleman he greeted us while offering a bow. If the one escorting this carriage was like this then the passenger was surely a distinguished person in their own respect. Peeking inside from the coach’s window there wasn’t even a trace of a shadow inside carriage’s room. In other words,
“The envoy is already inside the mansion holding an audience with the count.”
“My, how polite. How should I put it, I’m embarrassed to be stealing looks like this. Anway, I’m not used to things like this so I’d hope if you could overlook it.”
Subaru blew it by responding in an overly honest manner, trying to cover with polite sounding language was too much to ask for. Standing next to him Emilia made a look like “you know how to speak properly” right? Subaru felt the difference in social standing between him and her keenly.
Covering for the now silent Subaru, Emilia stepped in front to face the coachman.
“You said envoy… by chance could it be?”
Facing the subjectless question the coachman gave a quick bow and demonstrated he was well informed,
“It’s exactly has Emilia-sama has guessed, this matter is related to the selection of the next king.”
Hearing the words ‘king-selection’ Subaru raised his face. Even just hearing it now, this was a far-off phrase for him.
Emilia’s face spontaneously stiffened, and Subaru frowned at this turn of events. Seeing their reactions the old gentleman held his bow and continued.
“I imagine you’ll hear this officially from the envoy. Please, if you would return to the mansion.”
“I wonder if it’s a summons?”
“For anything further I would request that you hear out the envoys message”
Facing the coachman who clearly knew his role, bowing her head Emilia replied “very well” with hardened face.
Giving a short declaration, without turning to face Subaru she began walking. Heading towards the entrance to the mansion.
Flustered, Subaru ran off chasing her back. Turning his head once more for another look.
The coachman stood facing them with his head still lowered, seeing them off in silence.