The morning after his worrying heart-to-heart with Ram, all the members gathered in front of the Mansion’s front gate, among them Subaru burst out in a loud voice irrespective of the mood.
“Hwaaa, it’s this guy!”
Subaru cried out in joy. Before the energized Subaru’s eyes was a majestic steed carrying an air of composure. Green hard skin, a body big enough that one had to strain their neck, a pair of sharp yellow eyes, he’d witnessed them many times but hadn’t been blessed with many opportunities to come so close to them like this. Giant lizards, that is.
Magnificently enshrined in front of the Roswaal mansion gates was their guide inviting Subaru and the others down the road to the capital, a dragon-carriage pulled by an earth dragon.
“Big body! Tough skin! Scary face!”
A huge creature, or could it even limited to a creature? In front of this gigantic being he could feel his spirits rising, this is a feeling all boys would understand. Naturally Subaru as well, simply because of it being ‘gigantic’ he was already madly in love and his mood was set full throttle despite it being so early in the morning. Jumping all around the lizard, his excitement was plain for all to see.
“He’s such a kid, fooling around like that.”
Watching this scene bewildered, Emilia let out a long sigh. Shrugging her shoulders as if she was seeking some form of consent from the nearby Rem.
“Subaru-kun… cute. Don’t you think so as well Emilia-sama?” Rem said, trying to hold herself back.
“It’s cute, it’s cute, I think so too… it seems like Subaru’s been quite a bad influence on you Rem.”
Watching Subaru mess run around so energetically, Emilia and Rem let out a long sigh.
Ignorant of the impressions exchanged behind him, Subaru reached out and patted the earth dragon without restraint, letting out a strange voice
“Oh my god, I’m so moved! Super-fantasy! If only I had a digital camera, I so want to take a picture! How about titling it, 「Dragon crawling around on the ground, and me」.…”
Starting to lose himself in high spirits, his way of patting the lizard had quickly moved from touching to attacking, the Lizard was the one to lose its patience first.
TL: Name of some Russian novelist, Subaru yells it out randomly
The lizard turned around roaring coiling its tail like a whip and slamming it full strength onto Subaru’s shoulder. His body was swept away in a blur, Subaru was sent flying fast enough it seemed like it would create after-images. Like a ragdoll Subaru flew off to the side of the gate, landing head first into the soft branches of a thicket. After a brief moment of silence he began working his way out somehow,
“Wh-what’s the meaning of this?”
“Subaru-kun. Earth dragons are very smart creatures, even if they can’t understand words they can understand your intent. That’s why you have to be sure to treat them with respect.”
“Say that sooner! I saw what was on the other side and there was a mayonnaise bath waiting for me.”
After coming to this new world, the number of times I’m brought to the brink of death never ends. Just when I thought I could spend the day quietly, this had to happen.
While rotating the shoulder that got hit, Subaru struggled to pull his last foot from the thicket and return back to the gate. Glancing at the lizard nervously, its yellow eyes narrowed as if to say “this is what you get for touching me so carelessly”, exhaling strongly through its nose.
Even if he was used to the humans here treating him like this, having some animal in a backwater region show this kind of attitude was something in itself.
“From now on I’ll pay a little bit more attention to my way of speaking, and my attitude, and my actions, and my usual habits…”
“That’s a lot of things to reflect on isn’t it? But, I guess that’s something very like you Subaru.”
“Is this something, something you like Emilia-tan?”
“I think you should learn to choose the person, place, and timing better.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” obediently raising his hand and obliging.
“Good.” Emilia put her hands on her hips and laughed. Like this, the door to the mansion opened abruptly. Those who came out were Roswaal and Ram, who were both running a bit late from the designated meeting time. Subaru tapped his finger lightly on his wrist-watchless wrist,
“Oi oi oi, what are you doing running late? Roswaal, weren’t you the one who set a meeting time in the first place? A guy who’s loose with time is loose with a whole lot more, right, Rem?”
“That’s right, yes! Even though Subaru-kun was oversleeping and wouldn’t have made it in time if not for Rem. I don’t mind if you praise me.”
“Alright alright alright, be quite for a bit Rem.”
Subaru brushed Rem’s hair to keep her from letting out any more unnecessary words slip. Emilia’s white eyes piercing through him, Subaru rushed to explain himself in a panic.
“It’s not like that! I have reasons! Reasons bluer than the seas, and greener than the mountains!”
“I bet you’ve got some pretty green excuses too huh… let’s hear it.”
“I was so excited I couldn’t sleep!”
“You’re such a kid.”
Looking like she’s given up, Emilia dropped her shoulders. From her forfeiting this round, Subaru managed to get away unscathed. Hoping to avoid any further line of questioning Subaru once again pointed the conversation back at Roswaal like a spear.”
“So, what do you say? Why were you two late? Weren’t we all gathered like usual at breakfast? And Rem essentially dealt with all the luggage.”
“Sorry, sorry, iiiisn’t it fine? After all, Ram’s staying to take care of the mansion so we won’t be able to see her for a while right? Thaaat’s why we were having a bit of a thorough farewell.”
Waving his finger, Roswaal straightened his collar while trying to explain himself. Next to him, Ram was hurriedly trying to fix her hair. Just from looking at this a fresh new meaning could be understood.
“OK, I take that back! Let’s pretend I didn’t ask, and we’ll look the other way. 1st, me. 2nd, Emilia-tan. 3rd, Rem. …And also Ros-chi.”
“How am I an ‘also’? The dragon-carriage is my perrrrsonal property you know.”
Laughing softly, Roswaal reached out his hand and touched the chin of the hard-to-please lizard. Subaru shrugged his shoulders instinctively, imagining Roswaal get sent flying he found was extremely funny, but his faint hopes were soon dashed. Far from flinging Roswaal, it snuggled its snout up next to him. Almost like a horse and owner, it showed an expression of deep affection.
“Somehow, I can’t really accept this.”
“That’s because it’s a dragon Roswaal-sama raised, being held by Roswaal is only natural right? You were wrong for thoughtlessly and recklessly provoking it.”
“Keeping a dragon, that’s an amazing impression… wait, where were you even watching from to see my embarrassing display?”
“Ara, did it actually happen?”
Ram confessed she was just speaking randomly, Subaru felt embarrassed. Pointing a finger at his face, she let out a disagreeable snort from her nose.
“You have leaves stuck to you all over your head and body. What’s worse, you have dirt marks too… I don’t want you getting the inside of the carriage dirty.”
“Even though you aren’t the one that cleans it…”
“You’ll be riding together with Roswaal-sama. Preventing nuisances is a servant’s job isn’t it? Speaking of nuisances, where Barusu is concerned it’s only… natural, it’s Barusu after all.”
“Don’t use my name like I’m some bad word, I’m seriously gonna cry.
In an embarrassing display Subaru flailed his arms and legs about, rolling around on the ground like a spoiled kid. Of course, when it comes to Ram this had the chance of backfiring and incurring even more scorn and ridicule.
In the time they had spoken, Rem had rapidly piled up the luggage onto the dragon-carriage. Reaching the end of their friendly chat, the mood shifted towards setting up for departure. Among the various voices calling out to the left-behind Ram, a single thought popped into Subaru’s mind.
“Speaking of it, I guess Bea-ko won’t come to see us off.”
‘A heartless loli-character’, was what Subaru thought of the cream-haired girl. Of course he had expected that something like this would happen, they had made fun of her so much yesterday. It was just a little bit lonely for her to not be there at the scene of their departure. Now would be a good time to make an appearance, Subaru’s expression soured as he glared at the mansion.
The door was opened just barely, just a smidge, in the shadow a dress wearing character peeked out glancing stealthily over in this direction, their gazes meeting briefly.
Realizing she had been spotted she faltered for a moment before resolving herself boldly. Nevertheless, still hiding in the shadow of the door, she resumed her sneaking mission. Towards this obstinate girl Subaru smiled bitterly, putting his hand in the air,
“If I return safely, I have something I definitely want to tell you”
Or so, that was the kind of thought he put into the gesture. Facing this the girl wore an apathetic expression, sluggishly waving her hand in a shooing motion as if to drive him away. With that, she closed the door as if she had completed her task of seeing them off.
“Subaru? What’s wrong?”
Turning around, Emilia was leaning out from the dragon-carriage’s guest room. Without him noticing it seems they had already started to board, Subaru was the only one left still standing on the ground. Panicked, he reached out for the guest room door.
Before he could touch the handle, white fingertips reached out towards his. He hesitated for only a moment, taking the hand. With a strength not matching with the slenderness of the wrist, Subaru was pulled up to guest room.
Confirming that Subaru had boarded, Rem gave a single nod to the left-behind Ram. Words weren’t necessary between twins, with just that action their thoughts had been conveyed. Rem pulled the reigns and the earth dragon complied, pulling its feet forward.
As the frame creaked and Subaru could feel it move he turned to the window. Sticking only his head out, he turned to Ram who was facing them.
“N-well, see you later! Take care you two!”
“Barusu too, if anything happens try to become a meat shield at least. You have talent as a decoy, ehe, that’s the only recognition I’ll give you.”
“Surely I have some better parts!?”
Before she completely disappeared into the distance Ram pinched the edge of her skirt, giving a small curtsy. Entirely silent, she lowered her head. Just like an exemplary maid she saw Subaru and the others off.
“If only she was as proficient at doing her job she’d be perfect.”
As they reached the slightly beveled main road Ram’s figure completely disappeared. Confirming this, Subaru lowered himself into one of the guest room’s seats with a great sigh. And, somehow or another the feeling of his first carriage ride stirred in him. The feel of the seats in the guest room had some good and bad parts, but as for the overall feeling of traveling in a carriage it was a rather pleasant.
As for his true thoughts, this highway couldn’t have been particularly well maintained. His former world hadn’t developed the type of wheels used on the dragon-carriage, the tremors that he had expected to be present in the carriage were far weaker than he expected. So much so that honestly, the feel of riding in a vehicles from his former world wasn’t any better.
“You seem quite currrrious about the dragon-carriage.”
“Should I call it unusual, or should I say fresh astonishment, everything’s a first so it’s like this. I’ll be a little noisy but cut me some slack.”
He responded to Roswaal’s question while his seat jarred, he could feel the vibrations from the bottom of the frame travel up his legs. He couldn’t tell if the carriage was going at a leisure pace, but looking out from the window the speed at which scenery passed by was anything but relaxed. Measuring it by eye the carriage had to be going close to 100 km/hr, that it could match up cars to this extent was shocking.
If it’s like this… Rem being outside alone on the coachman’s stand worried him.
“Hey, we’re going so fast yet the coachman’s stand is completely exposed to the wind, is this really OK? Like getting thrown off or something, well, it’s Rem so I don’t think we have to worry about that in particular… but won’t her hair and clothes be a mess by the time we get to the capital?”
“You don’t need worry, the dragon-carriage is protected by divinity.”
Responding to Subaru’s overly dull question, Emilia responded with an inquisitive look.
“Divine protection?”, Subaru tilted his head at her reply.
“Somehow that’s a word that’s been buzzing around lately. It hasn’t come up as often as stuff like mana so I never got the chance to ask. So, what’s this divine protection thing anyway?”
“Divine protection is divine protection. It’s something you’re blessed with when you’re born, wait… do you really not know this?”
Pointing both hands towards Emilia, Subaru rocked his body back and forth. “Nope,” Subaru declared his ignorance with a bright smile.
Emilia massaged her brow lightly with her fingers,
“Divine protection is like I said, a blessing brought about by this world. There are a lot of different divine protections so I can’t say this definitively, but there are species that have specific divine protections given to them. The Earth dragon’s ‘protection from wind’ is one of those.”
“When you say ‘protection from wind’…”
“When earth dragons run across the ground they don’t get affected by the wind. On top of that, the blessings’ effect is also passed on to the carriage they are pulling. That’s why this guest room isn’t getting affected at all by the wind.”
“Then it’s the same for Rem outside too, huh”
Subaru nodded in consent, digesting the information Emilia had just told him. Towards Emilia who was smiling as if to say, “very good!” he sent a wink as thanks. Mulling over everything he had just learned about divine protection.
Felt was abnormally quick on her feet so she must have the divine protection from wind. And Reinhard who demonstrated his offensive and defensive powers at the loot house had divine protection from arrows. I see, so there are a whole bunch of ones.
“What about me, what about me? Neee, Emilia-tan. Do I have something like divine protection?”
Divine protection bestowed upon them by birth, this was it, this was the moment Subaru had been waiting for since he had been summoned to this world. It couldn’t be a cheat ability could it? The activation conditions for Reinheard’s and the earth-dragons’ divine protection was rather limited. If so, there was a possibility that his own blessing had its own conditions and just hadn’t been activated yet. His expectations boiled up, as he looked at her with expecting eyes.
“It’s hard to tell, the number of people born without divine blessings is way higher than those with it though. And for people who do have them, it doesn’t matter who it is, they should all be aware if they have it…”
Her words fading out… she looked at him apologetically. Unexpectedly though, Subaru understood what she meant from that, the tower of hope he had just built came crashing down. It was a dim hope, his face bent in self-derision.
“Yeah, it’s fine. It was too much of a luxury to ask for. After all, I’ve gotten something even more valuable from this place. The miracle of meeting you Emilia-tan, that’s more of a blessing than any sort of divine protection.”
“Yes yes. We’ll get to the capital in another four hours, so just behave yourself till then.”
“Emilia-tan, so cold! But, I’m slightly mortified that even this type of response makes me happy…”
From spending time with Emilia-tan like this, Subaru was in the process of acquiring some pretty strange preferences. Sitting to the side, Roswaal and Emilia were now discussing their plans once they arrived in the capital, Subaru sat quietly and observed, behaving himself like he had been told.
In contrast to its showy appearance, the inside of the carriage was rather small. It was like what you’d see in a movie, something like what a rich person would ride in, a snug compartment that seated four people. The seats were made of quite the high class materials gathered from exotic lands, so his butt getting sore from sitting a few hours wasn’t a worry. On the other hand, the inside was quite cramped, the composure that Subaru had just established was starting to wear.
“Emilia-tan, Emilia-tan, can I sit near the window?”
“What’s wrong? Ah, did you get sick from the vibrations? It happens a lot to people who aren’t used to riding in carriages. I’ve got, I’ll lend you Puck.”
“The thought makes me happy, but it’s a little different. And wait a minute, how is giving me Puck even related with me getting sick? Would I use him as a vomit bag?”
“If you did that to him even Puck would get angry…”
The time was still early morning, raising this type of topic before the cat-type spirit had even woken up, Subaru felt shivers down his spine imagining such a laid-back character like Puck get angry.
After that Emilia sighed, looking at Subaru again.
“If it’s not that then what is it?”
“Because~, Emilia-tan and Ros-chi are so busy talking with each other. I’m lonely from not being talked to, and going back to sleep a second time is annoying, so I wanted to pass the time looking at the scenery or something.”
“Aa, sorry. I didn’t notice. Then, here.”
Emilia started moving to his request, in the small carriage the two changed seats. Since she was sitting next to him in the first place, when she started to change seats he felt contact all over his body, with a smug face he enjoyed this side-benefit. With this they successfully changed seats.
“Alright then, properly behave yourself this time. Understand?”
“Mm. I’ll be enjoying this indirect warmth from where you were sitting.”
“I don’t really know what you mean but it sounds reeeally disgusting, so keep it in moderation.”
Saying this, she looked several times worriedly at Subaru wiggling his butt in the seat, finally resuming her discussion with Roswaal. Seeing her smiles and gestures, Subaru turned his gaze out the window he had secured for himself. From the small window affixed above the exit/entrance door he could see they were still going extremely fast, the scenery streaming by. From the angle he was looking out from a large portion of the view was blue-sky, he couldn’t see any tall trees anymore so it seems they’ve already left the forest around the Roswaal mansion, he thought to himself.
“Now that you mention it, I don’t really know how far it is between the mansion and the capital…”
Emilia had said it’d be around four hours, considering it for a bit, without knowing exactly how fast this dragon-carriage was traveling there were too many unknowns, he could only make guesses. Lifting his waist from the seat, he pressed his face to the window. Seeing the scenery zoom by they could be going faster than he had initially thought. Irrespective of them flying down a poorly maintained highway, no tremors were transmitted up inside the carriage, it was a puzzle among puzzles.
“Attributing this to ‘divine protection is amazing’ he was able to accept it absentmindedly… a speed worthy of a lizard. From the feel of it, it’s probably around 100 km/hr?”
The speed of the passing scenery, it certainly didn’t seem inferior to what he remembered passing by from inside a car on the freeway. If it could keep up this speed continuously, it’s no wonder the dragon-carriages were in such wide use. Each lizard probably differed a bit based on its care and food, a metal car was mostly the same in that regard. Whichever one was more convenient would be up to personal taste.
“As for me, I’m not much of a fan of machines, I’m a pitiful boy who gets revved up when I see giant animals.”
He wanted to declare the dragon-carriage the winner based on personal preference. After weighing the merits of the dragon-carriage and automobile Subaru glanced around, “well then.” Even if I stay here the carriage won’t get any faster so it’s a waste of time. Putting his hand out onto the door, he knocked. The two stopped their conversation and looked at him.
“I want to go where Rem is, I get the feeling that it’s OK to open this door?”
“You sure say some interesssssting things, Subaru-kun. Because of the blessing, everything connected to the carriage won’t be affected by the wind. It’s notttt a difficult thing to climb up the frame of the wagon to get to where Rem is, but if you fall you’ll die you know?”
“Oi oi, Ros-chi, don’t underestimate my athleticism. If you put together all the high-schoolers from the go-home-club and tested them I’m pretty confident I’d be in the top ranks. Other than long-distance running, that is.”
“Attttt least do it after we call out to Rem.”
His teeth shining Roswaal gave Subaru a thumbs up. Looking like he’d bought the idea, he knocked on the window connected to the coachman’s stand. It was a window large enough that you’d be able to pass small luggage through. Separated by the small window, only Rem’s voice came through. “Yes, is something the matter?”
“Aa, Subaru-kun says he’s bored and wants to be near Rem. How wonderful a thing, you sure a loooved.”
“Subaru-kun is it? What should we do, do you want me to stop the carriage? If we take it to a stop, it will take a bit of time to get the earth dragon to start running again.”
“Nn?” Subaru tilted his head at Rem’s words, looking to Roswaal who was now holding his chin with this hand.
“The thing called divine protection isn’t all powerful. In the case of earth dragons, once they activate their protection from wind once, they need a littttle bit of time before they can use it again. We could take an early lunch though if you wanted?”
Listening to his explanation Subaru nodded, but shook his head no at the proposal.
“Nah, it’s fine it’s fine. I’ll be up there in a flash, so just be good and wait for me Rem. Aa, be careful not to cause the lizard to drift or something, or else I’d get sent flying from inertia.”
I’d hope she’d refrain from pulling off any moves like drifting or triple-acceleration. Since he didn’t know to what extent the protection from wind would apply, wanting to avoid any tricky moves was his sincere thoughts.
“I understand, I am waiting. The spot next to me is open. Hurry, hurry.”
From the other side of the window Rem called out impatiently, trying to feign indifference. Smiling bitterly, Subaru gestured with his hand to Roswaal.
“Nn-well, I’ll get going then.”
“Oh myyy, you sure seem to have won over Rem. You’ll get burned you know.”
“Ros-chi, getting burned by you is… if it was Emilia-tan I’d welcome it though!”
Giving Roswaal a light-hearted reply, he turned to Emilia with vigor. But it seems she wasn’t paying attention to what he’d said, mumbling to herself near the interior wall like she was looking for something. And, “here” she said, taking out something and putting it in Subaru’s hand.
“This isn’t something that’s all that dangerous so I won’t stop you, but make sure to keep hold of this.”
“A cord extending out from the interior wall… something like a seatbelt?”
“There are times when the carriage will sometimes flip over, that’s why they have these belts. I gave you the long end, so use it as a lifeline. After you get to the coachman’s stand you can let it go and it will retract.”
Gladly taking Emilia’s consideration, he took the belt he’d been handed and wrapped it around his wrist. While finishing the business of creating his lifeline, he started to realize that he probably should have sat up on the coachman’s stand in the first place. If that’s the case he probably should have just behaved himself and stayed put in his seat, but clearly not pleased with this option he displayed his selfishness in a big way.
Seen off by Emilia who had an extremely worried look in her eyes, Subaru opened the guest room door and climbed out onto the carriage. The dragon-carriage was moving fast as ever. Occasionally the speed slackened a little, probably a result of Rem’s concern. Despite confirming with his eyes that they were moving at such a fast speed it was strange he couldn’t feel any wind resistance at all. It was almost like some illusion where they were encased in a transparent box as they traveled along. Swallowing his saliva and still grasping the cord tightly, Subaru put his hand on the frame and proceeded cautiously out around to the coachman’s stand.
Because there wasn’t even a hint of wind, the short trip went exceedingly smooth. Subaru felt like he was proceeding down a road with bad footing, it was only an inconvenience to that level.
“This really is a weird feeling. With the divine blessing it was only this difficult.”
Experiencing this world’s strange phenomenon with his own body, Subaru thought as he looked at the scenery streaming by. ‘80 km/h’. While he was standing isolated, this was the thought that seized his brain. In his former world he remembered hearing this one particular urban legend. That is,
“Wind resistance when going 80 km/h feels exactly like touching breasts…!”
It was a regrettable thing, due to the divine protection’s effects he wasn’t able to confirm this. If the myth was indeed true, and he was in a world without divine protection, then he would have been able to experience the sensation of having his whole body enveloped in a woman’s breasts.
“To add to it, if I look to the side a little there’s Emilia-tan inside the carriage. Could this be, looking at Emilia-tan while fantasizing about air-boobs, a win through imagination!?”
With this strange revelation Subaru’s mouth warped into an even more disgusting smile. Not giving up on his lingering regrets, he reached his hand out to the sky, fruitlessly trying to scratch the blue sky with his fingertips.
“By the way, Subaru-kun. I forgot to mention this but, don’t stick your body too far out from the carriage. You’ll be cut-off from the divine protection.”
It was the moment she said that.
Immediately following his fingertips grasping the empty air, his fingers were assaulted by a blast of wind almost as if trying to carry them away. With a force far above what he was expecting his hand on the frame of the carriage was dislodged, losing his only support his body was sent flying horizontally, expelled off the side of the carriage.
What was happening was exactly what Rem had warned him about. ‘This flag was triggered way too fast’, is what he wanted to say but he had no time for such leisure.
Enveloped by wind, he couldn’t tell up from down with his body thrown about in a windstorm.
“Abababababaaaa!? This is bad, really bad, could this be… Descartes!?”
TL: I’m noticing a trend, he blurts out literary figures when he’s surprised
Like that, in the instant he thought he’d impact the ground he was pulled by his right arm towards the carriage. Pain shot through his right arm like it was tearing off, looking he saw the lifeline that Emilia had fastened for him, true to its name it served its purpose. Just as the light that was his life was about to be extinguished, it narrowly protected him.
However, during this time Subaru’s right arm screamed, from his wrist up it was beginning to turn purplish-blue.
“Pull! Can you pull me up!? The vibrations are getting a bit too much for me… ga! My tongu… I bit my tongue.”
Through his own thoughts of greed Subaru had caused a major disaster. His right wrist was signaling it had gone beyond its limits, he felt like his insides would leap out as a dark feeling started to take over his chest. Then, as Subaru gave in to resignation a high-pitched sound repeatedly entered his eardrum.
Lifting his head. Directly in front of him, he saw a wiggling silver snake. The end of the snake’s body was large and round, with lots of spikes growing from it.
“―My trauma’s coming back”
Emitting a shrill sound, the wriggling snake wrapped around and entangled Subaru’s body. Letting out a pained gasp as the snake constricted him harder than he imagine, but in exchange it held onto him tightly. His body floating in the air was dragged up all at once, flying over the carriage and releasing him just above the lizard. His body falling through the air once more, he caught glimpse of Rem with his vision spinning. Gripping the reigns like iron with one hand, she stuck the other out to towards where he was landing to support the falling Subaru.
It seems somehow or another my life was spared, he confirmed
“I’m going to live more obediently from now on….”
He was told those words by many people, now for the first time he took it to heart. One step before he could even confirm he had landed he had already ‘gone back to sleep’.