“At first I thought this dirty place had a certain jumbled charm in its own right, now that I’m familiar with it there’s nothing interesting here at all. It’s no use at all in staving off my boredom.”
The end of her arm raised, while the hem of her dress fluttered; the orange-haired girl muttered without breaking her bored look.
“It’s only been a few minutes and you say you’ve seen everything there is to see in the back-alleys. The capital’s architect would be rolling in his grave if he knew his city was being evaluated as boring.”
“It’s because this world was made for me, that’s why everything in this world exists to entertain me. Why should I care about the opinion of someone who designed such a boring city? And when you talk about the royalty, it seems they lacked a discerning eye. There’s a reason they died off recently.”
“Y-you… what are you doing saying something so disrespectful in the king’s own back-yard!”
Just hearing her words made his heart sink, even knowing there wasn’t anyone around in the vicinity Subaru couldn’t help but shrink down and cast glances around himself. Seeing Subaru’s caution, or rather cowardice, the girl flared her nostrils.
“What a boring reaction, and an idiotic irrational fear. Being this afraid, thou’s caliber is no different from the many thousands of innumerable commoners after all.”
“I already know I’m a mediocre, common, average, ordinary person from the lower class so I don’t care. I already got wrapped up in one fight today thanks to you, I don’t want to get dragged in any more cause of your irresponsible words.”
“What foolishness. You should be proud to follow the brilliant path I walk, even if it’s a minor role. Showing discontent goes against all reason.”
“I don’t want to take any more time like this and trouble my companions! I’m already out time wise, but the more time that passes puts me in an even worse position! OUT OF CONSIDERATION!!”
Thinking of being stared at by Emilia’s cold gaze, shivers shot up his spine from fear. He also felt a strange sense of chill. Even though he didn’t know what this mysterious feeling was, he knew it was the kind of feeling that he didn’t want to have the misfortune of learning about it in more detail. As such, he wanted to avoid sticking it out with this egotistical girl for any longer.
Like so, Subaru was reminded of this impending danger. But, the girl ridiculed these very fears of Subaru as ridiculous.
“What stupidity. How rude to think of another’s existence while in my presence. In actuality I also have a companion, but I think nothing of them getting lost.”
“No, that’s something you should think a little about! Don’t you feel sorry for them?”
The girl he was escorting was like the incarnation of arrogance. Even without meeting this other person he knew from this short period of time how much hardship they had to endure, the flames of sympathy flared up in his heart. No doubt they were thrown about by this unreasonable young lady, they must be a beautiful woman with an unfortunate fate and a neat and tidy personality; tossed around on the whims of the lady they serve. For Subaru who had a weakness for elegant characters, this was definitely a person he wanted to see for himself.
“On the other hand, coming in contact with them means I’d have to deal with this one as well though.”
“Calling me ‘this person’, I see you’re getting quite full of yourself. If you upset me too much, your life is yours to lose.”
“I’m sick and tired of that kind of talk! Just how much do I have to watch out to not trigger any death flags, damn it. Good girl, good girl, please don’t be angry!”
Walking side-by-side, he cut in front of her, waving his hands with a flutter and calling out in a playful voice. The girl frowned like she had some thoughts about his attitude; abruptly laughing.
“Well, it’s fine. A fool is only fit to be called a fool because they act like one. For the likes of a jester who doesn’t even have the self-reflection to be ashamed of themselves, there’s no reason for me to dirty my hand.”
“You said it in a smart sounding way, but you’re basically calling me an idiot right?”
“If I called thee an idiot that’d be just as expected. Being aware of it or not aware of it is the difference.”
Saying it with a look of enlightenment, the girl shifted the focus of her ridicule to Subaru. Receiving such an unpleasant gaze, Subaru was aware of just how bad a compatibility he had with this girl.
“Well, I guess it’s fine.”
We’re originally just strangers who happened to meet. We don’t even know each other’s names, once we get out onto the main street I can turn my back and probably never meet her again in my life. Even though he could go out of his way to put up with unpleasant feelings, he didn’t have such an amiable personality to be able to get along with just anybody. The thing that Subaru hated the most was trying to spend time turning something he disliked into something he liked. While making this decision, he still wasn’t going to leave her until they were safely out onto the main street. That’s just the kind of person Subaru was.
The two continued on with their dangerous but friendly chat in this manner. Rom-jii, the only person who could have intervened, was nowhere to be seen. He disliked going out onto the main street, and declined to accompany Subaru and the girl on their way. Although he hadn’t met the old man in a long time, from his aloof attitude he could infer the position Rom was in wasn’t all too great.
For Subaru whose understanding of the slums and the capital was too shallow, he didn’t realize just how valuable the loothouse was for the people of the slums there. However, judging from the conversation of the thugs earlier it seems Rom-jii’s situation was well known. Losing the loothouse, his situation certainly couldn’t have gone in a rosier direction.
“It’s a rather heartless story, not something I can do anything about though.”
Even guessing what his situation was, there was nothing he could do for him. In a certain sense you could say that Subaru was the one responsible for destroying the loothouse in the first place. From Rom-jii’s perspective Subaru is the abominable villain that destroyed his livelihood. Even though Rom-jii could have blamed him for it, he didn’t hear anything about it from him. Rom-jii’s definitely a reasonable guy after-all. Thinking of how likeable Rom was, he only wished he could do something for him.
If I want to repay him, I have to at least find out where Felt went off to.
Even though it was a bit of a detour, following the route Rom-jii told them they’d be able to get out safely to the main street. For the sake of his own well-being he naturally wanted to avoid meeting the thugs for a second time; other than the unpleasant chatter coming from the girl along the way he really didn’t have any reason to complain.
“Thinking along those lines, it looks like we finally found the exit.”
Breaking out from the winding alleyways, out from the darkness there was finally a ray of bright sunlight piercing through onto the street. Seeing an uninterrupted stream of people crossing, with all the liveliness it seems the place they wound up at was close to the business district. Thinking that his agony was over, Subaru turned to the girl.
“Now that we’re back in the open, from now on you and I are no more than strangers. I’ve got to go look for my cute-cutey-companion and I’d like to avoid further trouble from sticking around with you. Your companion is probably looking for you desperately as well, just don’t move around too much and they’ll find you.”
Cold-blooded, cold-hearted, and steeling himself for abuse, Subaru put his foot down between him and the girl firmly. Until now he had gotten wrapped up in the pace of things so there was a tinge of him getting back at her here, but he also judged that if he didn’t say it plainly the girl in front of him probably wouldn’t pick up on his intentions.
Possibly because he said it so clearly, the girl didn’t appear to be taking it as ‘working out in her favor.’ Regardless, she didn’t forget to laugh intrepidly.
“Something as obvious as thou and I being unrelated, there’s no need to go out of one’s way to say it. Thou are nothing more than one of countless pebbles placed for my stepping. There’s no need for someone like me, who has personally received the favor of the world, to be related to likes of a stone on the road…
―it’s not like it’s bothering me.”
Crossing her arms and puffing out her abundant chest, the girl glanced apprehensively at Subaru, averting her eyes when they met his. Her speech and actions were completely opposites. She was so obvious even the notoriously dim-witted Subaru could figure it out.
“You act arrogant yet you still care about what people think about you?! You’re such a pain!”
“It’s the world’s natural order for me to be loved by all. Going against that truth, you’re the one who’s strange. Rather I’m the one who’s shocked at your lack of common sense.”
“While I’m rather confident in my lack of common sense, you’re the last person I want to hear that from!”
As if the previously tense atmosphere was never there, Subaru raised his voice boldly and dove in. Even though, if he left now he’d only elicit some bitter feelings and be soon forgotten just like he preferred, but there was just something about her attitude. She was undoubtedly beautiful, and he didn’t exactly hate this new side of her.
She was incredibly egotistical and spoke like she didn’t care about other’s feelings, yet she was afraid of being disliked.
Looking at her like this he couldn’t settle down.
“Aah! Alright alright, I get it. I don’t hate you, OK?”
Like he had somehow rid himself of his malicious tone, Subaru smiled bitterly while answering the girl. Seemingly dissatisfied with this, she scrunched her face in discontent, “so what?” she started out,
“Being loved is only natural. Thou say some obvious things.”
“Aww, that’s right~ you have the mind of a baby and everyone loves the baby!~”
Making silly faces was a staple for when you go to a social gathering with the neighbor’s baby. It’s always been a hit with the mothers. Although at the time he hadn’t necessarily been trying to make a silly face, that was just how he looked normally, so he had some bitter feelings remaining from that.
Using those sad memories from that unpleasant experience as a basis for his approach, he was sure it’d receive a standing ovation, but what was important was how the girl responded to it.
“Hmph, thou are a wretched fool.”
Far from laughing she let out a sigh, putting a finger to her forehead she closed her eyes and shook her head. Ignoring Subaru’s face, still frozen in a funny look.
“I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but it appears your behavior is ingrained into your being. Hardly a charming feature. It’s simply a brittle husk to hide your own weakness. I can’t bear to watch your dumb face any further.”
“The first half you were saying some pretty serious things, but for the last part did you really have to comment my how my face looks!?”
“If you’re going to stubbornly continue with that, then it’s none of my concern.”
Wrapping up the conversation like that, she made no allusion to Subaru’s previous behavior. Losing his opportunity to put the strange look on his face back to normal, the girl said her part and tilted her head at him innocently while he was stuck with a warped expression on his face.
Subaru had no idea what she wanted to say. According to her actions or attitude or speech pattern she had no regard for other people. Even if he investigated this further he probably wouldn’t get a clear answer. Thinking along those lines, Subaru gave up on trying to decipher her previous statements.
In a sense, he deemed her an existence that was impossible to come to an understanding with, but on this occasion perhaps he was avoiding coming to terms with that. But, while he was still stuck on how he should respond, he didn’t get his opportunity to form a reply.
The moment they came onto the street, the two were greeted by a voice. Unlike the darkness of the inner-alleys, out on the main street the sunlight beat down harshly from above. They poked their heads out from under darkness to a sunny spot; Subaru narrowed his eyes as they were scorched by the intense light.
A girl wearing a white robe almost enveloped in light was looking at Subaru. With a seemingly troubled, tired look, she scrunched her noble eyebrows; from under her hood, silver hair swayed in radiance. Among her well-kept looks, the relief on her face was shown plain alongside a warm smile, and a difficult to describe emotion flickered in her bluish-purple eyes.
With just one look at her beautiful face wearing such a worried look, he could tell just how much his going missing had weighed on her heart. While on one hand he was sorry about making her worry, having her worry so much about him made him somewhat happy as a man. The love relations between a man and a woman were a rather complex thing.
Coming across the street just now, the person he wanted to meet the most came to see him. Being able to meet up earlier than expected, his face was beaming as he called out her name. But, that was all torn about abruptly with a sudden strong sense of foreboding.
Next to Emilia letting out her soft sigh of relief, there was the shadow of another person. He could tell it was a muscly man with a well-built body. The words that popped into Subaru’s mind were “Mr. steal your wife.”
『TL: The phrase Subaru uses is Netorare (nsfw)』
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing! Who are you to Emilia-tan!?”
Stepping forward rapidly, he immediately wedged himself between Emilia and the other man. Hiding her behind his back, he pointed his finger and glared―― the moment he thought “I’d love to see this bastard’s face!” his face hardened.
“Oi oi, little lady. Your pal over here has a few screws loose. Is this going to be alright?”
Shrugging his shoulders like that, he called out to Emilia in a booming but friendly voice. His voice had a few hard to distinguish grumbles mixed in.
It was only natural considering his head was entirely covered with a jet-black color full face helmet. A helmet that concealed his entire face, if it was only that then it probably wouldn’t have stood out so much. This was the capital after all, a great number and variety of people travel back and forth along these roads. The likes of which naturally included those dressed as knights and sorcerers, you could say that type of outfit was rather popular. If he was going around with full body armor Subaru probably wouldn’t be this surprised.
Even so, Subaru was dumbfounded by this man’s appearance. That was because this man was not wearing a full armor suit, but was dressed in a strange manner not like what was usually seen in the capital.
“Immediately getting treated like a home-wrecker by a girly-man like you, this is new even for me. Gets me excited.”
“Right back at you, your fashion sense is terrible.”
“Hey kid, you don’t know how to talk to your elders. I’m a cool dude, so I’ll let you off this time but if you get on my bad side your head’s gonna’ fly.”
Faced with the maniacally screaming and pointing Subaru, the man happily tapped on his own neck demonstratively.
His irregularity didn’t stop at his head―― no, I suppose it was irregular precisely because it did stop at his head.
A jet-black full-face helmet. From the neck below, normally there would be a set of matching armor. But, in reality there was no armor below the neck, instead he had on some light linen attire made from cheap looking materials. It didn’t look like it was made from special material or anything like that, it was just some simple light garb. It wasn’t just his shirt, his pants were the same way, and on top of it all he was even wearing Japanese-style wooden sandals.
『TL: Japanese sandals are called 草履(zouri/zōri)』
That combination already didn’t make any sense. In terms of style, Subaru’s jersey was already considered pretty weird but it was nothing compared to this guy’s outfit. He couldn’t rule out that this was maybe the standard outfit in this world, but…
“It isn’t like that, right Emilia-tan!?”
“Don’t worry, I was surprised by his appearance too.”
“Yep, she was really surprised, it was cute. When she asked to join me after learning I was looking for a lost kid, it was my turn to be surprised!”
With a giggling laugh, the man readily recounted his encounter with Emilia. Hearing this, Subaru stared vacantly at Emilia,
“Emilia-tan, even though being super-nice is one of your good points, you should choose more wisely. Do you know why a poisonous mushroom looks poisonous? It’s because it wants you to think “huh, that’s poisonous. I probably shouldn’t eat that because I’d die.” It’s telling you that to prevent any damage before it occurs you know?”
“Oi oi, hearing that it’s almost like you’re saying I’m somebody dangerous, that’s a bit harsh you know?”
“For someone as blatantly suspicious looking as you, from where I’m from if you even got in the vicinity of a child you’d get reported immediately. They’d hold a community assembly at the nearby elementary schools warning about you.”
It was to the level that they’d be circulating flyers about a suspicious man just because you walked down the street. This was maybe going a bit too far, but it was probably Subaru’s prejudice against him than an actual concern for the children.
While continuing those baseless delusions et cetera, Subaru turned to Emilia.
“Anyways. Emilia-tan, aren’t I always telling you to watch out for cars and men? Especially the men, if you so much as give them a smile they’re all wolves that will… wait, are you angry?”
“Since you seem to have some things you want to say, I’m just wondering if you remember what I had asked you to do. I don’t mean it in a bad way.”
He poked a hornet’s nest; regretting his poor choice of words he felt like burying his face. But, fortunately for him what seemed to soon be a lecture was unexpectedly interrupted. The one taking that action wasn’t one of the 3 participants in the current conversation,
“Hmph, to be waiting here at my intended destination, thou sure pay a lot of attention to details. Thou hast a more commendable spirit than I first thought, Al.”
“…honestly, it’s more of an accidental fluke of a coincidence, but if I said that it’d put princess in a bad mood. Too annoying, so I’ll just play along with it. Aah, it’s just as you say!”
As the girl stepped forward, haughtily addressing him―― the man called Al laughed heartily. Taking his giant arm he tousled the girl’s orange-colored hair messily with his hand.”
“Nothing bad about coincidences, but the fellow you’re looking for and the person I’m looking seem to be fellow travelers. This must be something like fate or something.”
“It was just the red string pulling Emilia and I together, I refuse to believe there’s anything like fate between us and you two!”
“You’re never at a loss for words, huh.”
Raising a grumbling laugh at Subaru’s response, Al waved the hand that had been rubbing the girl’s head. From some time ago, he had been only using his right hand. That was perfectly natural of course. After all, for the man in front of him, in the spot that one would normally have a left-arm there was nothing there.
One arm and a black helm. Not to mention his light clothes unsuited for his overbearing body. Going from the sound of his voice and his looks aside from his face, this was probably someone more experienced and older than him. Despite this, he didn’t seem to inspire an air of superiority, probably because his attitude was as frivolous as his clothes.
Putting it in a good way, ‘friendly’. Putting it in a bad way, ‘this guy has ADHD.”
“Speaking of it, you’re this girl’s companion aren’t you! What happened to her retainer being a ‘neat-and-tidy beautiful girl who gets run around and is always troubled by her master’ type person that I was promised!?”
“Things never work out that well, you’ll have to make due with a middle-aged man like me. ――Hmm, what’s wrong little lady?”
Facing Subaru who couldn’t hide his dissatisfaction at having his expectations betrayed, the big-hearted man brought up Emilia in a dubious manner.
From the man’s attitude Subaru belatedly realized something was wrong with Emilia.
Something was strange with Emilia, she had went silent a little while ago and wasn’t participating in their conversation. She had nonchalantly hidden her face behind the corners of her hood, and seemed to be hiding behind Subaru’s back to obstruct other’s view of her. As for who she could be hiding from, there was only one person it could be. You could immediately tell who it was, even without doing something like calculating the angle from where she was standing.
“What, why are thou staring at me? Now that you know we’re parting are you starting to miss my beautiful face? While it’s true I have sinfully good looks it’s still rude to stare like that.”
“Sorry, but if it’s beautiful ladies then I’m in no shortage. We’ve both found the people we were looking for, so it’s probably about time we head our separate ways.”
He responded coldly to the girl’s words, the person Emilia seemed to be hiding from, but the person he was really speaking to was Al rather than the girl.
He didn’t know why, but Emilia didn’t seem to want to make her existence known here. In that case he’d take her feelings into account and oblige her. In order to do that, rather than negotiating with the person who wouldn’t get it at all, he should try the person who would probably understand his intentions.
It wasn’t certain or not on whether he grasped the inner workings of Subaru’s mind, but Al didn’t appear to particularly deny anything that was said.
“Well, that’s fine I guess. You know I’m dead-tired from having to deal with Princess here.”
“…The amount of sympathy I have for you is no small amount. No, seriously.”
“If you hang out with broad minded adults, it’s not that tiring. Looking for that in a kid the same age as you would be unfair, so I don’t.”
Shrugging his shoulders at Subaru’s relatively serious words, Al lowered his eyes from the girl. You couldn’t tell from under his helmet, but his expression was somewhat close to that of a father’s affection for their daughter. It was no doubt a difficult relationship, or so he felt vaguely.
“Alright, we’re going to be going in this direction… what about you?”
“We’re heading that way too.”
“….alright, then we’re going in the other direction.”
“Then we’ll go in that direction too…”
“You’re such a pain, did you fall in love with me or something!? This easily? Are you a girl in a gal-game?”
『TL: term he uses is chorion (チョロイン), combination of the words choroi (easy) and heroine, It’s a Gal-game term for a heroine that falls for you too easily.』
“It’s just a small joke, thou are so fussy. A boring man leads a boring life to a boring death.”
Right up until the end she was calling him boring. Together with her escort in tow, she walked off into the distance majestically. Her back showed no hesitation, even though it was something he wanted in the first place, getting thrown away so resolutely wasn’t fun at all.
As such, Subaru put together a final revenge for the departing girl.
“Hey, pompous girl, catch this”
“It seems you look down on me quite a bit. Al, I order you to take this fools head…”
Saying some dangerous words, the girl turned her head; her red eyes opened lightly. Her eyes traced a parabola, following the path of Subaru’s poorly thrown appa. Aiming for the two appa’s slow trajectory, the girl received them snuggly in her arms. Making sure she had caught it, Subaru smiled.
“You can have it, my appa of friendship. Next time be careful to not get reeled in by any bad adults using appa as bait.”
“I wasn’t in the back alleys for such a moronic reason.”
“The image I have of you is already set. Anyways, just take it.”
Using some rough logic he forced the appas on her, taking Emilia’s arm he turned his back on the pair. Just a little before turning around, he was starting to regret not putting his arm around Emilia, if it was earlier she probably wouldn’t have refused him. He had to convince himself to be satisfied with holding hands.
From across the street, facing towards the quickly departing Subaru and Emilia for the last time
“Little lady, thanks for helping me find who I was looking for!”
With a muffled voice; nevertheless the feelings put into it were conveyed.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Bidding farewell to the haughty girl and her mismatched guardian, after walking down the street for a short-while Subaru slowed down to a stop.
“Hey, Emilia-tan. They’re gone now, so do you mind telling me what that was about?”
Looking at the surroundings, Subaru called out to Emilia who had similarly stopped walking. The girl had been silent up until now. Because she had been hiding under her hood the whole time, even Subaru wasn’t able to see what facial expressions she was making.
During the conversation back there, he was worried he had done something to displease her. Thinking that,
“Um, sorry Subaru. I was spacing out a little.”
Emilia muttered, blinking her eyes and abruptly coming back to her senses. At the very least, hearing her say that made him relieved, hiding that sense of relief in his chest he played around.
“Are you sure you should space out around me? I could take that chance to do some things that can’t be said out loud”
“Things that can’t be said out loud…?”
At Subaru’s words, who was now wagging his finger side to side, a wave was set off in her bluish-purple eyes. Seeing that ripple in her big eyes, Subaru tilted his head
“Yeah, things that are beyond description. But Emilia-tan, before you even know it you’ll be mesmerized by my golden-finger, before long I’ll make it so your body can’t live a day without me… huh, is it just my imagination or did it suddenly get a lot colder in here!?”
“I don’t think it’s just your imagination.”
Subaru felt the physical sensation of a faint cold wave of air on the back of his neck. At the same time he felt a ringing in his head, the exact same type of sensation that he felt an hour earlier with the forced telepathy.
Experiencing the unbridled wrath of Emilia’s guardian, a grey kitty whose figure was nowhere to be seen, Subaru gestured frantically with a cold sweat.
“What I mean is, you know, that. I’m an upstanding son of Japan, one-track manly person with good morals, that’s why I’d never do something horrible like that without consent. The first time is us enjoying the night sky together at a suite, it’s no good unless we properly tell each other our feelings right… right?”
With his previous statement, he picked up a sigh from somewhere unseen. Seeing he had somehow or another managed to escape punishment, he felt like another weight was lifted from his shoulders. Seeing Subaru like this, Emilia frowned lightly.
“Subaru. ――That girl earlier”
“Hmm, what is it, Emilia-tan are you jealous? Do you feel like baking some yakimochi? Seriously, I pushed on through these grueling two weeks―― finally, the day my effort is rewarded has come!”
『TL: The phrase he uses is ‘yakimochi wo yaku’, and is a pun with a double meaning. Yakimochi (a chewy doughy gelatinous rice desert) is phonetically the same as jealousy. So ‘baking yakimochi’ is a pun that means someone is jealous.』
Putting voice to his desires so naturally, he interrupted Emilia’s words. In return she interrupted his words in an even stronger tone, calling his name. From the seriousness of her expression, the look in her bluish-purple eyes filled with vigor, even someone like Subaru felt alarmed and quit his jokes.
“H-huh? Emilia-tan, why are you making such a serious face…”
“I’m begging you Subaru, please don’t treat this like a joke. Why were you together with that girl?”
It was like Emilia was investigating something about Subaru. Uneasy about her request, he raced to think of an explanation she’d accept. With that, Subaru had an unusually earnest mindset.
“Finally found you! Making us go through all that trouble.”
As if dubbing over the two’s conversation, a rough and vulgar anger-filled voice interrupted them.
Surprised, Subaru looked around the surroundings in astonishment. In a street that just a little while ago should have been crowded with people, looking at it now they were surrounded by rough and dangerous looking men. Leading the bunch was the big and strong looking one of the three stooges. Although the other two were nowhere to be seen, the big stooge stood grinning at Subaru’s group who stood frozen in place.
“You sure made a fool of us back there. I’ve been looking for you and the girl for awhile now, gotta’ repay the favor.”
“…for a little tiny dispute you’re going to call your friends and get revenge? I’m a bit disappointed in you. No matter how much you were made fun of, no matter how frustrated, you’d never let others wipe your own ass for you. You made an oath to settle all debts yourself. Even though I’ve always… always! Always believed you were that kind of man!”
“Cut it with that sentimental crap, you don’t know me!”
Listening to the abuse and spittle hurtling at him, Subaru quietly observed his surroundings. The men who were blocking both sides of the road were roughly 15 or 16 in number. They all had weapons that were intended to not stand out too much―― holding short poles or knives in their hands, they were probably pretty effective at chasing away potential onlookers. It certainly didn’t seem like there were any civilians around to get caught up in the mix. If they reported it, he wondered if the guards would notice the incident and come running eventually. Whether they’d make it in time like Reinhard with his hero-like perfect timing was a bit of a gamble though.
On top of escape being difficult, waiting for someone to save them was unrealistic in this situation. As such, the most effective method of making it out alive from this situation…
“Although it’s a bit pathetic, my best bet is to rely on Puck and Emilia”
Picking up his ears, Puck admired Subaru’s refreshing extent of reliance on others. Subaru nodded exaggeratedly at his own words, said without even a hint of sarcasm. He stood out in front of Emilia, as if he were dancing.
“And so, for that reason I’m going to give you guys an advanced warning. This is just a word of advice, if you attack us you’re going to be the ones to regret it.”
“You blind? Look at our numbers! You punk, I can understand showing off in front of your girl, but the one that’s gonna’ be screamin and cryin in pain is you.”
“Don’t jump to conclusions. The one that’ll beat the hell out of you isn’t me, it’s this cutey behind me.”
“The hell, at least try to show off a little in front of your girl!?”
Subaru comfortably ignored the stooge’s angry shouts
“Now then,” he turned to Emilia while gesturing his arm towards the men surrounding them.
“Now that I’ve decided to rely on your help, I leave the rest up to you. If you’ll do the honors Emilia-tan. Cleaning ‘em up with just a light beating will do. Or if you want you can make them into snow sculptures and we’ll have a snow festival here in Lugnica.”
“I took a quick peak into your mind for a bit, you sure are saying some scary things… but, it doesn’t seem like there’s really a need to go that far.”
Lining up the street with newly minted ice sculptures, he was thinking about naming it the Eternal Force Blizzard street until his thoughts got leaked to Puck. “Hmm?” Subaru wondered, after hearing his words.
『TL: Eternal Force Blizzard, had no idea what this was but it appears to be an old Japanese netizen meme. The premise is basically someone created an instruction manual for stereotypical ‘chuuni’ behavior, like if you yell ‘Eternal Force Blizzard’ enough then you’ll eventually be able to use ice magic.』
“――I came here following your scent, but what’s with this ruckus?”
Saying an ominous line from the sky, a certain blue-haired maid came falling from above.
Holding the hem of her skirt while flipping through the air, a sound effect not unlike an explosion sounded out accompanying Rem’s landing―― Blowing away the cloud of dust with a wave of her hand, everyone’s eyes were focused on her.
“And so, Subaru-kun. Don’t you have something to say to say to Rem?”
“Rem, you’re a supermaid with seriously good timing! I’ve fallen in love with you again!”
“If you praise me so much I’ll get bothered”
While the stooge’s stooges were on their toes from Rem’s sudden entrance, Rem and Subaru fell into their normal daily routine. Rem fidgeting from side to side, her face red from Subaru’s praise. The first to act was the big stooge, a vein bulging from listening to the two’s conversation.
Rem’s figure was perfectly positioned between Subaru and the stooge. With a scary face the stooge grabbed Rem’s shoulder angrily,
“Oi, you out-of-place maid. I was having a talk with that friend of yours o――”
The threatening words he had expertly seasoned with his veteran experience as a thug were cut short before he could even get the full sentence out, ephemeral like a fleeting dream.
Pulled by his shirt collar up into the air by Rem, the stooge was thrown onto the ground head first. As he got closer to the ground his body tumbled slowly, the whites of his eyes showing, unable to move out of shock.
I don’t think he’s dead. Definitely…probably… maybe…
“These are the people who threatened Subaru-kun and Emilia-sama, correct?”
Rem said in a deep voice, no emotion showing on her face as she entered into work mode. But considering that she subtly listed Subaru’s name first it seems like her priorities still weren’t fully in order. While thinking that strange thought, he had a bit of sympathy for the obviously shocked group of thugs. Saying a prayer for them in his heart out of compassion, it was the least he could do.
“Don’t kill them ok?”
“Yes, I’ll 3/4ths kill them.”
Deciding she would only 75% kill them, Rem leisurely got to work. There were some who threw things at her in desperation. There were some who turned tail and tried to flee. And then there were some who couldn’t quite grasp what was going on and just clutched their knees in fear.
―― Facing all that, she rained down punishment on them, distributing it evenly.”
Watching the figures of several people easily thrown through the air, Subaru muttered dumbfounded. He was completely taken in by the brawl that was coming to a close, so much so that he didn’t notice the pair of bluish-purple eyes staring at him quietly, isolated from the chaos.
Towards her pleading mumbles, he was completely oblivious.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
In the other direction, after separating from Subaru and the others Al and the girl were magnificently causing their own commotion.
Walking briefly after separating from Subaru’s group, in a section of the road where there were strangely few people they were surrounded by a group of men using the same modus operandi. These were led by the two remaining stooges, with the addition of those two this group was slightly larger.
Compared to Subaru, the girl’s physical looks probably attracted their attention more. Or, it could be that she had simply made them more angry than Subaru had.
“Since it’s like that, we’re going to put you through a little bit of pain. A little, just a little bit.”
Laughing vulgarly, the short stooge looked at the girl’s body with lewd eyes. The other men surrounding them similarly had a greedy light reflected in them, as for what they’d do after they caught her, it was obviously something you can’t say out loud.
And, speaking of the girl being stared at like this with lewd eyes,
“…hmph, what a bitter pleasure. The insides are unmistakably that of an Appa. With this it appears that fool earlier was right, he didn’t just paint the fruit red as a jest. What a shock, who knew that appa were actually red?”
“Uh-umm, Princess, do you realize what’s happening?”
Cutting the appa in her hand with a short knife, the girl put the piece in her mouth seemingly unconcerned with the surrounding men. Seeing this, the extent of the hoodlum’s rage intensified; acting as a proxy for the men’s feelings Al put voice to their concerns. That’s right tell ‘em! The men’s spirits were united; the girl looked questioning at Al who called out to her.
“Get to the point. I hate circuity more than anything.”
“Then I’ll just say it straight. ――You have two appa there, so isn’t one of those mine?”
“Haa? What foolishness. Listen, that fool threw these two appa and I caught them both. In which case, these are both mine.”
Letting out a tired sigh, Al shrugged his shoulders; seeking sympathy from the surrounding men. But, the men whose trust had been betrayed by what question he chose to ask, had a different response than he expected.
“Oh oh, they’re really out for blood. They can’t take even one playful joke, how mean.”
“I’m not joking. I won’t give any of the appas. They’re both mine.”
Even behind the helmet it was obvious Al was smiling bitterly at the obstinate girl. From their back and forth, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the hoodlums.
Displaying obvious hostility, they closed in on their prey, shrinking the enclosure as they slowly approached. They too had noticed the irregularity of Al’s appearance, but after considering his shabby clothing and missing arm they had judged if they grouped up on him he probably wasn’t a threat. Towards this group that seemed accustomed to ganging up on a single person, Al let out a sigh of admiration mixed with cynicism before turning back to the girl.
“So, Princess. What course of action does the world will?”
“Whatever I choose it to. You should already know that, Al”
“More or less.”
Nodding in satisfaction at his words, the girl took another bite from the appa. Puckering her face from its sour sweet flavor, an angelic smile formed on her charming face.
“I’m in a good mood right now. It’s fine if you don’t kill them.”
Like she was plucking the wings off an insect, a smile as innocent as an angel’s formed naturally on her lips. Hearing those words Al turned to face the men. Swinging his arm to his waist, he grasped the handle of the thick sword hanging on his hip. The sword grated slowly as he pulled it out of its sheath. He made that his background music.
With violent vividity, a bloody smile was born under his jet-black helmet.