Vol. 3 Ch. 12: Secret castle infiltration and its result

 

“When things go smoothly like this, it makes me worry even more.”

Scratching his head, Subaru looked around at his surroundings while sighing. It was a sturdy passageway made of stone, a little less than two meters in width. It was narrow enough that four men side by side were enough to block it up, but if you only consider the movements of servants it was plenty big enough for their use. In comparison, the Roswaal mansion’s hallways were needlessly large which made cleaning a pain.

Anyways,

“I was imagining a whole lot more obstacles――  is it possible we cleared it on the first try?”

An unpopulated passageway―― lurking in the corner of one of the passageways of the Royal castle’s basement, Subaru let out one of many innumerable sighs, unknown to anyone else.

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――“Kadomon pictures presents, Exciting Secret Infiltration Plan”, or so he was currently carrying out this scheme they had crafted not even an hour ago.

“Listen here, don’t ever say my name. You can use this trick to enter into the nobles district… the upper ward, but you’ll need to find some other way into the castle. Now that it’s come to this I’ll ask a person I know here by the name of Henehehe. They’ll be able to guide us back safely.”

[TL: ヘネヘヘ, this really is their name]

Off to Subaru’s side reminding him to not get into any unnecessary trouble was Kadomon, he even went so far as having secured information about the all-important escape route. No matter how much he’d already done, his helpful nature compelled him to do even more, this scary faced shopkeeper. Considering he was accompanying Subaru in his recklessness, you could say his goodness as a person was almost disastrous.

Going by Kadoman’s plan (he’d never take the credit for it though), they decided they were going to sneak into the upper ward by mixing in with the carts carrying goods from the business district. The lower classes: commoners living in amongst the general population, including those in the commerce ward or along the business street, when adding in the slums as well, which occupied the outer circumference of the capital, this seemed to be the entire range referred to as the lower class and their corresponding areas were referred to as the lower wards. The transportation of goods between the lower wards and upper wards appeared to occur at regular intervals, and the control issued by the guard station was said to be relatively lax.

“Do they just trust the merchants that much?”

“Rather than them trusting the merchants, it’s more like they never imagined there’d be idiots stupid enough to do something that would upset the nobles like this…”

The one who answered Subaru’s question was the muscular giant with his arms crossed. Rubbing his bald head once, Rom-jii’s outfit was completely different from usual. In place of the old worn rags he had on just a little while ago was a set of relatively clean clothes. Being questioned by him, Rom-jii finally noticed Subaru’s stares.

“If we made it into the upper district you could say I’d be quite suspicious looking, but if I dress neatly like this it probably wouldn’t go farther than drawing attention. In your case, that’s just another unnecessary concern.”

“Well, in my case I’m actually a servant at a fairly respectable house. Since this is my debut in the capital, there’s been quite a bit of money put forward on stuff like my clothes.”

Facing those scrutinizing eyes Subaru gestured his hands toward his clothes, giving himself a quick look over before laughing.  Related to his servant lifestyle at the Roswaal mansion, he received some formal men’s clothing prepared by Rem. She said it was ok to get them dirty, but from the appearance and feel he knew it was something of the highest quality. For someone who was basically from the lower-middle class, taking abnormal care of his things was basically a given.

While in the lower ward the formal clothes were a source of attention, but here in the upper ward he thought the quality wouldn’t stand that much so they were a rather mild choice. While making them understand that point, Subaru redirected the conversation to Rom-jii’s tidy appearance,

“Anyways, ” he said while looking him over.

“Um, it’s that, you know… If Rom-jii is seriously coming along with us I’m a bit worried here.”

Since it was his single greatest source of anxiety right now, he touched on the subject apprehensively. Related to their human trafficking into the upper ward, the person who decided to accompany Subaru was Rom-jii himself. Honestly, Subaru was against him coming along since he wanted to reduce the chance they were discovered as much as possible, but…

“What? When it comes to getting into the upper class area I have plenty of experience! Where do you think all the stolen goods from the loot house gets sold?”

“Annoying! You’re like a father trying to hype up how much of a bad boy he was in the past. Or rather, you do this regularly!? It’s dangerous to rely on this that much, old man.”

Looking at Kadomon for some sense of agreement, the scarface’s attention was absent from the two’s conversation and was instead focused on his own conversation with the driver leading the carts. Subaru watched him not comment on Rom-jii’s coming with them, apparently the old man had used this trick far more than just once or twice.

The fact that the driver didn’t have much of a reaction when Kadomon asked him to smuggle them into the upper ward, lent extra credence to that theory as well.

“I don’t know if I should sigh at how lax the guards are here, or give a thumbs up to the sheer tenacity of these merchants trying to make a buck off it…”

“If a problem occurs, then it’ll bring trouble to Kadomon and the others as well. If there wasn’t this kind of mutual trust we’d never be able to do stuff as unreasonable as this. That’s why it’s only because I’m here that you’re allowed to ride along with us, so where’s my thanks?”

“You’re definitely a bad adult, happily dragging a troubled youth like me down the wrong path. I swear I’ll never be like this old man here, I’ll give you some superficial praise at least though. As expected, Rom-jii! Your head today is shining!”

“Wa-ha-ha, you really don’t know how to watch your mouth you damned brat. Should I kick you off in front of the guard station?”

Reaching such an impasse they let out a sigh at the same time, trading smiles. While shrugging his shoulders, Subaru brought the conversation back to their original topic.

“Nn-so, in the end why did you tag along? It’s not like I mind, since it’s only thanks to Rom-jii that we get a free pass on the cart, but do you really have a reason to be taking such a huge risk like this?”

Kadomon as well, he’d said he was merely an acquaintance of Rom-jii’s but given the current situation that was a little hard to believe. Simply from Rom-jii asking for his cooperation he’d agreed to lend his support, there wasn’t really a clear reason for Kadomon to go along with Subaru’s recklessness so it didn’t make much sense.

At Subaru’s line of questioning Rom-jii made a difficult face, wrinkling his brow.

“It’s about the kid, you said Felt was taken by that ‘sword saint’ fellow right? Since that’s the case, I was thinkin’ there might be an opportunity here to get some information about it.”

Rom-jii had a bitter expression when he said the words ‘sword saint.’ Hearing that phrase, an image of the red-haired youth floated up in Subaru’s mind. If he remembered correctly his residence was also located in the upper ward. He was unmistakably someone from a fairly respectable family, I guess that was to be expected from somebody named ‘sword saint.’ Although, actually finding the house might prove to be fairly difficult, it’s not like they have big nameplates scrawled out on the front gate.

“Not even mentioning the fact that I don’t know which house is Reinhard’s, even if we did find it I can’t really imagine we’d be able to just walk up to the door and ask to meet Reinhard you know? Knowing that good-looking bastard though, I kind of get the feeling that even if we charged in unannounced he’d probably welcome us in warmly… ”

“Brat, you’re the only one that’d do such a stupid thing. At most, I’ll just be doing some preliminary investigation and making some preparations for what comes later.”

“… what comes later?”

Tilting his head, he looked at Rom-jii who was lightly stroking his chin in thought.

“Preparations ‘fer takin’ Felt back. As long as I know where the mansion is, with the right amount of money and connections, learning about about it in more detail should be possible.”

“Uhh… did I just set off a really big event? I’m not one to speak, but Rom-jii you’re giving me the feeling like I just lit the fuse of something I really shouldn’t have.”

While the one criticizing Rom-jii for saying such a radical idea was Subaru, looking at it objectively what they were doing probably wouldn’t be viewed much differently than terrorism. One of them was intending to sneak into the royal castle, while the other was in the midst of drafting up plans to break into a noble’s mansion―― the very nature of the offense made it quite likely they’d be cut down on the spot if they were discovered.

“At least when it comes to Felt, I don’t think you need to worry about Reinhard doing anything bad to her. Speaking frankly, the chance she’s living better now than before is pretty high you know? She could be working as a servant like me, with a fully satisfying lifestyle.”

You might not have been able to tell since she was living in the slums with a filthy appearance, but if you fixed up her clothes and cleaned her up a bit her looks would be pretty decent. If it’s Reinhard, then it wasn’t impossible to think he noticed her aesthetic virtue and decided to take pity on a poor girl struggling in poverty. Shaking his head though, he didn’t think think Reinhard was the kind of guy that would show the kind of compassion typical of an elite looking down on others from his position. Like that, Subaru tried to fit the context into the image he had of Reinhard in his mind and ended up rejecting the notion himself.

In any case, it was hard to believe she was being treated badly. But, towards Subaru’s carefree attitude Rom-jii pursed his lips with difficulty.

“No, I can’t let it be. It doesn’t matter who the other person is, that’s not the problem. That girl has always belonged in the upper classes.  ―― Sooner or later though, it’ll cause problems.”

Subaru looked suspiciously at Rom-jii, whose attitude was more earnest than obstinate.  While his suspicion somewhat included the parts about Rom being concerned for her wellbeing, it was moreso because he had an even stronger suspicion that Rom’s words were tainted with self interest. But before Subaru could question him about his real intentions,

“Oi, we’re finished on our end. If you’re serious about this then hurry up and get on. We’re on the third wagon. Old man, you usually handle the arrangements, so bring that kid up to speed on things.”

Kadomon had finished his conversation with the driver and came back to tell them the preparations were done. Rom-jii responded to that by waving his hand, staring with quiet eyes at Subaru who seemed like he had something he wanted to say.

“In any case, we need to get past the guard station first. Since it’s you I’m giving you an extra warning, don’t do anything unnecessary. Even if their guard is down, they’re still guards. If we’re caught it’ll end up making our purse hurt quite a bit.”

“I was sort of expecting we’d get beaten to death if caught, but for you to actually be able to settle things with money… this place sure is a hive of villainy. Be careful.”

Still finding it rather hard to accept, Subaru nodded; following Rom-jii’s back, who had already started to move. There were four carts headed to the upper ward, they took up about half the space of the business district’s wide street by themselves so these carts were pretty big. And as for the earth dragons pulling the carts, unlike the thin lizard looking type he had seen before, these ones had short, thick legs, and reminded him more of slow lumbering turtles.

For the four carts, there were four earth dragons in total. The one he and Rom-jii were getting on was the third cart in the middle, whose main good appeared to be――

“Wow I was thinking it smelled pretty fishy, could it be that all of this is fish?”

“It smells pretty bad, so the guards are less likely to pay special attention to it. It hides our scent too so it’s perfect. Here, don’t forget to put on this deodorant powder.”

Rom-jii handed a small green colored pouch over to Subaru, who was grimacing at the fishy scent having entered his nostrils. It was a small pouch whose size fit perfectly in the palm of his hand, sniffing the bag from the outside… he almost fainted in disgust. The foul odor was painful to his nose, It was even worse than the fishy smell. The smell attacked his face to the extent he thought he would get a nosebleed. Dropping the bag unintentionally, Rom-jii stooped down to pick it up.

“This is our lifeline, don’t handle it so roughly you damned ingrate.”

“This feels like I’m getting an advanced loan on some divine retribution, what the hell is this stuff!? This isn’t at the level where you can just pinch your nose anymore! It feels more like my nose is gonna get torn off! In a non-metaphorical sense!”

“This Kalnago powder smells bad at first, but a few minutes after you apply it on your body the smell’ll disappear, along with any other odors. Don’t tell me you want to walk around in the upper ward with yer specially made nice clothes stinkin’ like fish; you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Just think of it as a necessary sacrifice.”

Pushing the pouch back at Subaru, Rom-jii had a wicked smile on his face. Reluctantly accepting it, he put the pouch in the pocket of his trousers while keeping his nose as far away as possible. Looking at the back-and-forth between these two, Kadomon waved his hand indicating them to hurry it up. Seeing that he wasn’t allowed to waste any more time, Subaru resolved himself and boarded the wagon.

As he feared―― no, worse than he feared, the fishy smell assaulted his nose. They hadn’t even left yet and his spirit already felt like breaking. It seems they also had some method of chilling the raw fish, as the middle of the cart was unusually cold. While seeing the whiteness of his breath, he scanned for a spot to hide himself.

“Stop it with yer lookin’ around like that. The hidin’ spot is a little bit from the entrance… let’s see, behind that wooden box there. I’m hiding too so try to squeeze in.”

“This is just too sad, I’m stuck with this muscley old man for twenty-four hours a day… the floor better not be covered in fish juice, these clothes are brand new.”

It’s far better than the alternative, having your clothes bloodied from living a life in poverty. B’sides the fish in the crate are salted so they don’t stink as much.”

Rom-jii pushed Subaru’s back from behind to hurry him up. Coinciding with the moment he was pushed, the dragon-carriage started forward with a light jolt. Before hiding further in the back, Subaru poked his head out of the entrance of carriage to peek. Seeing them off with a wave, Kadomon gave them a final goodbye. He responded to that wave with a wave of his own, but Kadomon turned his back signaling not to look anymore, walking away from the carriage back to the business district. Confirming this, Subaru too retreated back into the wagon――settling in the corner next to the wooden crate he had been designated. He focused on calming his rapidly beating heart, excited from the thought of his first castle infiltration.

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Grimacing at the pain from his heart, this carriage ride was one of slight regret for him, lamenting the fact that reckless deeds came so naturally to him. Though, the proof that Subaru’s worries were largely unfounded came when the driver seated on the coachman stand stealthily informed them that they had safely slipped past the guard station.

Roughly twenty minutes had passed since they departed from the business district. Having broken through so very easily, to the extent that he was even depressed from such an anti-climactic turn of events, Subaru looked with at Rom-jii with a shocked face like he had just been told a joke or something.

“Is slipping past the guard station really this simple? They aren’t going to inspect the goods or anything?”

At worst, he had been imagining they’d do a really violent inspection like he’d seen in a few manga, like sticking spears into the wagon one by one. For Subaru who had been lying on the floor under this assumption, it was like his mental state was just thrown sumo-style.

Looking down, Rom-jii laughed at Subaru’s baseless fears.

“Like I’ve been saying, there’s an unspoken agreement here. Normally there are only supposed to be three carriages when bringing food items in from the business district to the upper ward. In the fourth wagon behind us, there were quite a few goods piled up to catch the guard’s fancy.”

From Rom-jii’s attitude, telling him with such an unpleasant face, it seems that Rom already knew the details behind the station’s loose surveillance from the start. Hearing that with a sour face, Subaru openly displayed his displeasure with Rom’s teasing-nature.

“So basically it’s a rigged game from the start, and it’s my fault for getting scared… Anyways, with the way you said it, can I assume the stuff piled up in the wagon were bribes?”

“If I said it without coating with any sweet words, then yes that’s what it is. The cart was filled with a lot of inconvenient things that’d be bad if you got stopped with. And not just a small quantity.”

He muttered like that, with his arms crossed. But after that Rom-jii sent a serious look at Subaru.

“However, displeasing those bunch is the law. And getting caught and inviting unwanted attention isn’t something they want either. They won’t give you any chance to explain yerself, they’ll cut’ya down to keep their secret safe―― what a wretched way to die, got that?”

With unsaid words, Rom-jii warned him against any hasty or rash actions. Faced with such a serious atmosphere, the usually talkative Subaru solemnly nodded his head, indicating his agreement silently. The shaking in the wagon decreased suddenly; it seemed they’d entered the upper ward―― the sound of the wheels biting into the ground changed into that of pavement, informing them of their entrance into the nobles district.

“We’ll get off after goin’ a little bit further. Next, I’m headed to the place I told you about earlier, going to gather up some information in nobles district… hey brat, you should do the same.”

“Um… but if I do that I can’t achieve my objective?”

“It’s only cause you pushed me so much to help that you were able to get into the upper ward. But, trying to sneak in with how things are now should be impossible. You’ll just be throwin’ yer life down the drain. I know you have some reasons, but your preparation is lacking.”

Having logic thrown at him, Subaru kept silent. Seeing him like that, Rom-jii put a firm hand on Subaru’s head, tousling his hair roughly.

“B’sides…”, he prefaced

“Challenging these things with no preparation, from a certain perspective you can call that ‘preparing to lose.’ Even if you rush it, it’s not going to get you the result you want. That’s why… you understand right, kid?”

“…when you preach and act like an adult like that it’s hard to argue”

Removing the hand resting on his head, Subaru sat up in the cart; turning to face away from the old man. Towards Subaru’s pouting behavior, Rom-jii smiled wrly. Peeking out from the gaps of the cart’s canopy, he judged that this was around where their planned departure area was.

“Hey, we’re gettin’ off here. If we fully stopped the wagon it’d look suspicious. The carriage is going slow though, so I don’t think you need to worry about getting injured; try to match your speed to the speed of the wagon and run along with it when you land.”

Putting his arms though the gap in the canopy, Rom lifted it up enough for his body to fit through. The sun’s rays flooded into the cart that was closed off from the light, to Subaru the strong light was painful to his eyes as he peered outside.

It was a paved road just like he had been imagining from the sensation in the wagon, and compared to the lower wards the way the city blocks looked in the nobles district’s upper ward was fundamentally different.

Unlike the plain looking and crammed-together buildings in the trade district or slums, the amount of land dedicated to each building was vast. From Subaru’s perspective using so much space between each building was a waste of land, it was like each building was enshrined by its own plot of a land. Each building felt pretty close being an extravagant mansion that you’d only see in fairy tales. He didn’t see any buildings that were quite as large as the Roswaal mansion, but that was already a nonsensically large waste of space and was only really that large for the entertainment of Roswaal. Without the Rem and Ram sisters being excellent at their jobs, it’d probably end up where the mansion was impossible to maintain.

Finally at an understanding, Subaru took in the sights as he came to experience the difference between the upper-class and lower-class on a fundamental level. I guess this is the disparity between these fairy tale-like nobles and commoners, but it’s also probably proof of how powerful the Lugnican empire had grown to be.

Including the wagon full of bribes behind him, he didn’t exactly have a good impression, but it was also true that he had rode in on the back of those very misdeeds. Easily dismissing that inner-turmoil, Subaru’s attention turned to getting off of the dragon-carriage.

“How’s it, think you can do it?”

“I’ve got some experience when it comes to jumping, or rather, falling off a dragon carriage… I’m a little bit scared to be honest, if you would demonstrate it for me, I’ll send you a nice gift or something.”

“At least you don’t try to act tough, that’s one of yer good points you know. Here, watch close.”

Nodding at Subaru, who had just confessed his own incompetence with honesty, Rom-jii was the first the climb off. Pushing off from the edge of the wagon with one hand, his old body worked with practiced movement as he propelled his body off the wagon. Grabbing the edge of the wagon with both arms, he waited for the perfect timing before setting his feet on the ground.

He had imagined him being dragged along like that, or even worse getting caught in the wheel and turned to mince-meat in a huge accident, but――

“And without any of that happening… could this be?”

“It’s because the divine protection’s still working. As long as you don’t let go with your hands you won’t get thrown off. Like this.”

Just like the dragon-carriage they had ridden to the capital, this dragon-pulled wagon also appeared to have divine protection against wind. So as to not have his body affected by the wind when putting it outside the carriage, he was running alongside the carriage while matching speed.

The speed of the cart was roughly what a bicycle pedaling at a relaxed pace could achieve. A little faster than a jog, but considerably slower than an all-out sprint. For Rom-jii, whose stride was considerably bigger than the average person, keeping pace wasn’t difficult at all.

Letting his hand go, Rom-jii was completely separated from the divine protection of the carriage. His body was now subjected to the natural law of inertia, but for Rom-jii who had predicted its influence, this was a small matter. Without even flinching, he ran alongside the dragon-carriage.

Witnessing his magnificent skill, Subaru couldn’t help but sigh in admiration. And as for Rom-jii, seeing Subaru’s face exuding awe, he clapped his hands once while running alongside the carriage normally.

“Here, jump down just like I showed you. I can even catch you if you’d like, nice and gently.”

The words might have been intended to stoke Subaru’s competitive spirit. But, having that thrown at him, Subaru simply peered out from the canopy looking over Rom’s smiling face. What he learned from watching the running Rom, that is, to put his hand on the wagon’s edge and propel his body off―― his practical application of that never materialized.

His innermost thoughts were seized with fear at the realization that he had to perform such an unexpected display of acrobatics. After chasing the dragon-carriage on foot for roughly 300 meters Rom-jii seemed to have picked up on Subaru’s thoughts as concern wove its way into the furrows on his brow. Veins popping on his wrinkled brow, his face reddened and spit flew while he shouted,

“W-wait, kid! Weren’t you going to get off here and sneak into the castle!?”

Seeing through Subaru’s inner thoughts, the running Rom shouted with a face full of unease. While ignoring that, Subaru neither affirmed nor denied his words. But, with an attitude like he was going to close the canopy, his actions were demonstrating he heard it.

――This dragon-carriage was bringing supplies to the castle.

Although he had repeatedly corrected that statement saying he’d just misspoken, Subaru’s ears hadn’t forgotten the words Kadomon let slip at the start. This dragon-carriage’s destination was the royal castle, it was probably safe to assume the food provisions they were carrying would be brought to the castle’s cellar. Otherwise, then the plan of getting off here with Rom-jii and finding a way into the castle together should have had a far better chance of succeeding.

Rom chased after him, having guessed Subaru’s intention, but this place was the nobles district and once they got into the more populated areas he’d have no choice but to stop his pursuit. Just like Subaru had things he had to accomplish, Rom-jii had his own priorities. If he caused a commotion on his own, that benefitted neither of them. Because he understood that point, with a vexxed expression on his face he dodged off the road, his giant body slipping into an alleyway. Seeing Rom’s back disappear behind a corner, Subaru felt a pang of guilt.

In the end, it was like he was throwing away Kadomon’s kindness and Rom-jii’s sympathy. They had given him the most assistance they could possibly give, it wouldn’t be wrong if they thought he was paying that back with betrayal. Even so, Subaru had exploited their goodwill but he had no intentions of making excuses for himself.

――I’m going to be by Emilia’s side.

For the current Subaru, this was truly his only priority. For that purpose, any problems that stood between him were nothing more than words on a page to be ignored.

The capital was a distorted land, where danger spread like a disease. Leaving Emilia exposed and defenseless in a place like this was something that Subaru couldn’t allow on an emotional level.

If he were at least by her side there might be something he could do. In other words, “Even if it’s no good, there’s still a chance I might be able to do something, somehow or another.” Or so Subaru was thinking subconsciously.

――Not noticing that this kind of thinking excessively prideful, or even inhuman.

Among the supply carriage’s cargo there was only the slightest of differences, an unfamiliar face enjoying the smoothness of the paved road as they headed towards the royal castle. Happy with the realization he’d made it this far without something like a bribe, unbeknownst to him the situation was like an unexploded powder keg, growing ever and ever larger.

賄賂の発覚など可愛らしくなるほどの火薬を積んだまま、ゆっくりと、ゆっくりと。

[TL: anyone have a better way to translate this sentence?]

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After the tearful farewell with his benefactors, Subaru had no choice but to challenge this ordeal himself. Blocking his way were countless thousands of crises and hardships, along with the love and friendship born amongst such tribulations. And, his collapsing life, ambition, dreams―― stepping over that and shedding blood while pressing on.

“Or something like that would be ideal… in reality aren’t I in a pinch?”

Easily slipping into the castle’s food cellar and currently walking around in the castle’s interior, Subaru couldn’t help but sigh in wonder at the state of the castle’s defenses―― or rather lack of.

From the point of their journey where Subaru abandoned Rom-jii about thirty minutes had passed, with Subaru riding along with the dragon-carriage he had easily entered the premises of the royal castle. Part way through, before they reached the castle the fourth wagon had strayed off the path, but that probably meant the bribes in it were destined for a different location. If that was the case it should be that the leading three wagons weren’t headed for a location other than the castle, and that Subaru’s life was probably safe for now.

“I guess this is what I get for cohabitating with salted fish. I didn’t expect the salt to stick to my body, but I guess the deodorant powder did its work.”

Noticing that some white powder was still clinging to a few spots on his body, Subaru dusted himself off with neurotic scrutiny while praising his own quick-wittedness. As expected after entering the castle, in order to unload the wagon of course they had to check inside. Faced with the likelihood of being caught, Subaru decided to climb into the crate of salted fish to escape the current crisis.

In actuality, they checked the contents of all the wooden crates next to him, but thanks to a stroke of god-like good luck they never checked the one Subaru had climbed into.

After that, the movement of the cargo itself was done with something like wind magic, Carrying the food provisions to the interior with something other than by human labor. Thanks to that the unnatural weight in the wooden box went undiscovered, and with his primitive hybrid-combination of absurd, reckless, and unreasonable, he somehow managed to succeed with his unlikely plan.

For Subaru the current situation was very lucky, but with the lax surveillance his thoughts immediately drifted towards worrying about Emilia’s safety, so he couldn’t celebrate without restraint. Taking into account all the information he had he slipped out of the food cellar, and thus choosing an area with few people he began moving about the basement.

“Well, it’s nice I managed to get in, but… I seriously have no plan here.”

Honestly, it was nice he got to this place, but he was drawing a complete blank on what to do now. Watching over Emilia from the shadows, if that was possible that was the best option, but as one would expect it didn’t quite seem possible to make it to where she was in the centre of the royal castle without being noticed. At worst, even if he was discovered mid-way through it wouldn’t be impossible to handle it by gradually pressing to meet up with Emilia to have her bail him out, or so Subaru calculated shamelessly.

But now that he had snuck in this far, even though Emilia would probably be angry he didn’t think she would send him away. It’d be enough to just apologize with his whole heart, and rely on her kindness. Thinking with extreme optimism, Subaru ran through the basement passageway.  Without even a shred of self reflection, if other people were to see him now how would they judge him? Fortunately or unfortunately there was nobody around to do that.

And,

“Crap, somebody’s coming…”

Feeling somebody’s presence coming from the front, Subaru’s eyes searched his surroundings in a panic. As the location was a passageway in the basement, this was most likely a place only used by servants. Sliding his body into a nearby room, Subaru stood behind the crudely made door.

Luckily for him, there was nobody in the room he snuck into.

This small room was probably something like a dressing room used by the servants. There were several closets lined up next to each other, from the sweet scent he could tell this was room was intended for female servants as some feelings of guilt came to mind. But, he didn’t have the leisure to savor the sensation of the room’s sweet scent. In a hurry Subaru opened the interior closet, confirming that nothing was inside he quietly hid himself in it.

Concealing his breath, it would be fine if he just waited for the presence in the hallway to pass. If he was caught he could probably do something about it, or so he was going about thinking optimistically, but his body’s actions revealed that this wasn’t a situation where he’d get off easily if discovered. Although he hadn’t steeled himself for the situation and his courage was wavering, to him now this was a trifling matter.

First thing was to get through this current situation, he could even try announcing himself and playing it off from there. But, Subaru’s composure in considering his future course of actions…

“――This room stinks.”

…was broken so easily; a girl’s voice called out as the door swung open violently. He was so nervous it felt like his heart was going to jump out of his throat. He felt the sound of his blood moving with each pulse while he ground his teeth in despair. This closet was unlike that of changing room locker in that there were no convenient holes for him to peer out from. In other words, Subaru was in the dark and could only imagine what was happening outside based on the actions of the other person.

While feeling his throat closing up from stress, Subaru once again regretted his actions. He underestimated it, made fun of it, and got full of himself. He was too conceited. And now looking at the predicament he was in he understood just how stupid his actions were. Why did he ever just calmly carry out with such a reckless idea, he couldn’t understand the reasoning behind his actions and decisions up till now.

But, while confused and trying to reason things out, Subaru still decided not to go ahead with the option of announcing himself to the other person. He was still hoping that maybe, just maybe, the other person hadn’t noticed he was here. Or so he clung to that thread of hope thinner than a spider’s silk, unable to throw those feelings away.

Subaru held his breath, his whole body tormented with the urge to run.

“――I’m only going to wait five seconds. My princess hates waiting even more than I do, you see.”

He heard a muffled voice proclaim from beyond the wooden door of the closet. It was somehow a voice without much energy, but the intention behind it appeared not to be a lie, from the midst of silence the sound of a sword sliding out of its scabbard was proof enough.

Like this the proclamation he thought was just a bluff turned serious, he was still hoping to pretend like nobody was there and wait for this all to blow over――  but he didn’t have the guts to go through with that choice.

“5, 4, alright I’m done counting――”

“Time-out, stop, let’s talk this over! I’m coming out, I’m coming out right now, just wait”

Hurried by the voice seemingly eager to use their sword, Subaru was pressured through fear to open to door. The closet slowly grated as it opened, the scent that had settled and drifted about in the room flowed in as a refreshing breeze, for just a moment it softly caressed his feeling of despair.

But then again, what followed was going to be a harsh scolding where excuses were useless. Thinking of the current situation he had brought about, it wasn’t something that could be settled with just a light punishment. It’s not like he hadn’t thought about it at all, but it was true to a certain degree he had been overly optimistic in thinking everything would work out in the end.

Since there wouldn’t be much point in arguing about it, before he was completely defeated he would play every card he could play―― and Subaru having come to that determination, looked at who stood before him,

“See, look Al. Isn’t it just like I said?”

It was a certain haughty voice he’d heard before, reflexively raising his head, an orange-haired girl smiled arrogantly while pointing the small fan-like prop in her hand at him.

“For us to meet this buffoon again so soon, even I’m surprised at how much early than expected this was.”

“Aah, I guess so. As expected of Princess, you have quite the eye. And you, you sure have bad luck.”

It was the middle-aged man standing next to her―― sporting a jet-black helmet and bizarre light clothes, same as last time. The first half of Al’s statement was agreeing with the girl, the latter half he uttered with a tone seemingly full of sympathy for Subaru.

Wasn’t this the very situation he wanted to avoid? Getting thrown about without any say. Still, a feeling of relief attacked his whole body, before he knew it he was crouched down, letting out a dry laughter; he couldn’t help but breath out a long sigh.

Vol. 3 Ch. 11: Three heads are better than one, for sinister schemes

 

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Chapter Translated by Rilakkulina

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ーAs they continued glaring at each other for an excruciating amount of time, Subaru became uncomfortably aware of the droplets of sweat running down his brow.

What a big room. There were two beds on the far side, and near the door was a space that could easily fit Subaru’s room from his home world. In that space was packages brought in and neatly organized, but the space could easily accommodate those things without becoming crowded.

If Subaru stood in the center of the room and enacted a fight, he’d encounter no obstacles at all.

“You don’t plan to let me pass no matter what, do you?”

Subaru asked, painfully aware of his dry lips and throat that had gone rough out of nervousness.

It was a deep voice, to hide his trembling. Then as a response, the obstruction in front of him, the one blocking Subaru’s path, opened his arms, firmly blocking the door from Subaru’s view.

Recognizing the futility of trying to get past that posture, Subaru latched onto a glimmer of hope, putting out an entreatying look. For a second, Subaru could see a slight wavering in her eyes, but her professionalism quickly recovered and any hesitation vanished.

“Even if that were your request, Subaru-kun, you cannot leave here.”

The one blocking the wayーRemーlooked straight at Subaru, and said bluntly. Subaru sighed at her obstinance, and jokingly shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, just calm down and think about it. I’ve already been left behind, and moreover it’s not as if I have any big power or influence. Therefore, even if I left this room, there’s not much I could do. You get it, right?”

“Repeating himself, Subaru presses Rem urgently in an effort to ease Rem’s anxiety.

Hearing Subaru’s words, she said, “yes,” smiling cutely.

“Certainly if you think about it normally, Subaru-kun’s wish wouldn’t come true if you were to just leave this room. It’s not as if it’s an easy place to find, and hypothetically, if you were to make it there, I still can’t think of anything you could do.”

“Right?”

“But that is merely the conclusion Rem can draw from common sense.”

Shutting him down flatly, Rem looks at Subaru unsmilingly. Having been scrutinized from head to toe, Subaru adjusted his posture. Then the girl continued.

“But in Subaru-kun’s case, it is impossible to tell what kind of strange methods you will use to achieve your goal. It could be a solution that is beyond Rem’s imagination.”

“You sound like you’ve been taken over by a demon; I can’t tell if you trust me or you don’t trust me. It’s not like I’ve done anything above your expectations!?”

“If Subaru-kun thinks so, then that must be. From your perspective, that is.”

Subaru tried to gently correct Rem’s thoughts, but Rem, who had already solidly constructed an image of Subaru, was unswayed.

Either way, it was quite the difficult situation, having to persuade her to let him pass using his words. Maybe it was better to create a path a different way.

“That’s quite a high level topic. It’s the same as what you said in the beginning.

Scratching his head while sighing, Subaru narrowed his eyes as if thinking while looking at Rem. No, his line of sight was actually beyond him–to beyond the door to the room where Emilia and Roswaal had left Subaru behind.

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“–What? Housesitting!?”

Breakfast had just ended, and everyone was about to return to their rooms when Subaru, who was just told his task for the day, shouted in surprise.

In front of the shocked Subaru was Emilia and Rem.

And the one who had caused Subaru to yell in the first place, Emilia, put her hand on her hip, saying, “isn’t it obvious?”

“You haven’t forgotten why you’ve come all the way to the capital, have you? You’ve come to check on the welfare your acquaintance, and to recuperate. That was a promise.”

“Yeah well that second half is up to interpretation…”

“DEFINITELY not! It’s not fun and games, so we can’t allow any outsiders. We can’t even bring Rem.”

To the Emilia who had adopted an unusually threatening tone, it was bad for Subaru, who had made a mistake yesterday, to protest with a slip of the tongue. As if to look for help, he looked to Rem, who was standing in the corner of the room, but the blue-haired maid only shook her head to his supplication.

“All the same, Rem cannot be Subaru-kun’s ally in this situation. Roswaal-sama has made his intentions known, and Emilia-sama’s opinion is correct. Please listen to them.”

“Shit, I’m alone in this, huh. But if I think of yesterday’s mishap, I can’t even say anything. This sucks!”

Even Rem, who generally took Subaru’s side, had her priorities in order.

With yesterday’s failure–in short, because of the stray child incident when he disobeyed command, Subaru had his movements severely limited within the capital.

Regarding this, Subaru had little to say by way of excuse because he too recognized his own failures, and hoping for another meeting with Rom-jii and the fruit stand man was not a big problem. Though it was a bit of a shock to himself that the people he most wanted to see were a bunch of dirty old men.

“Nah, I was just thinking I wanted to see Felt again, so that shouldn’t be a problem. People connected to the throne are 3/4ths men…though 6/7 of them are absurd!

There was no way to increase the proportion of girls in the group of people he wanted to see again without including Elsa. It’s an alternate-universe fantasy, after all, so why the heck were there only flags for male character story routes?

“It’s fine, at least I have the main heroine flag…”

“If you keep grumbling to yourself like that, I’ll start to get reallyyy suspicious.”

The one who was the main heroine, Emilia, said this with reproachful eyes, and all Subaru could do was stay silent without a peep. Seeing that Subaru had run out of refusals or hair-splitting arguments, Emilia gave a satisfied nod, saying,

“It won’t take that long… at least I’d like to say that, but I have no idea how long it will take today. So have your meals with Rem. If you wait for us, we’ll definitely keep you for a while.”

“Humph. Well if Emilia-tan says so so sternly, I have ideas of my own. Right, Rem? Let’s dine like kings today!”

“Negative. Today’s menu is roast appas followed by appa salad. Appa pie made with plenty of appa jam. After the meal will be juice extracted from appas that I’ve also prepared.”

“What is this endless appa?! Damn you, Scarface!!”

Blind to the fact that he was the one that had carried nine or so appas home himself, Subaru visualized the scary face of the fruit stand man floating in the air. Returning the thumbs up of the vision who was smiling brightly at him, Subaru smilied with his teeth showing, as it had come to this.

“That’s fine. Appas are my favorite fruit, after all! Seriously, it’s Appa Night Fever! The two of us will eat them all up!”

[T/N: Reference to Luka Night Fever?]

“Definitely not. Rem is a maid with sense, so I will not hinder Subaru-kun, who likes appas so much. All of the food will be served to Subaru-kun.”

“Why is it you’re so merciless when it comes to me?!”

Subaru yelled at Rem, who always bore in mind her position, or rather, bore in mind how to use her position to her advantage. While watching their comedy sketch-like exchange, Emilia looked thoughtful, then turned her head to the side as if trying to shake off an idea.

“Anyways, I’m leaving everything to Rem. Though I think she was also told the same thing by Roswaal, but I’ve left strict instructions. –I’m serious, okay?”

“For you to have thought this through so much, you must really care about me, Emilia-tan!”

For emphasis, Subaru made a thumbs-up at Emilia.

Emilia, who was already used to his gestures, used her palm to push down his outstretched hand. Subaru caught his breath at the sudden contact. And with that, any opposition he had to the previous conversation they were having became extraordinarily weak.

As if she hadn’t noticed the change in Subaru’s attitude, Emilia said,

“Subaru. I’m not asking for much.”

“Y-yeah?”

“Please, just let me trust you.”

She said closing her eyes, as if supplicating him. For that moment, Subaru lost the ability to think.

Her words reverberated in his head, as he mulled them over, replayed them, until he understood exactly what she meant and felt by those words, then said,

“Ah, aah! All of it, I’ll do it all! I’ll succeed your expectations! As if I only live for them!”

He responding with resounding positives, as if he hadn’t understood what she was talking about. As long as he agreed to it now then fulfilled it later.

And Emilia fixed her purple-blue eyes at Subaru, whose assurances were undeniably flippant, and looked at him unhappily, quietly grumbling,

“Alright. –I trust you.”

 

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And now, our story comes back to the beginning.

Emelia and Roswaal had made their way to the capital, and Subaru, who had been left behind at their lodgings under Rem’s surveilance, spent some time copying writing.

At this time, Subaru had basically mastered all of the “E writing system,” and was now working on the “Ro writing system.” If the “E writing system” was the equivalent of the Japanese hiragana system, then the “Ro writing system” would be similar to katakana, the shape of the characters was different but the underlying logic behind it was mostly the same, with this new mastery he predicted it wouldn’t take nearly as much time to learn as the first.

Around an hour and a half after Subaru had begun copying the Ro characters, Subaru, who usually enjoyed studying, had gotten tired. Not so much of the studying, but more of having to stay in one place.

To Subaru, studying how to write was letting this alternate world into himself, and wasn’t a bad feeling at all. This is why he looked forward to studying every day without a single complaint.

However, if the thing on the other end of the scales was Emilia, it wasn’t even a question as to which one was more important.

Subaru stood up, preparing to walk slowly towards the outside of the room until he was masterfully intercepted by Rem.

When Subaru had said, “I’m going to pick some flowers,” the maid who was simultaneously in charge of cleaning the room, taking care of the luggage, and managing/tutoring Subaru in his studies, immediately realized true meaning behind Subaru’s words.

That is, his scheme to escape the inn and head for the capital.

He felt no small amount of guilt, since he was essentially breaking his promise with Emilia.

Rem had seen Emilia’s well-founded uneasiness, and was watching Subaru’s movements carefully as ordered.

And, while Subaru understood that all, he still couldn’t bear to stay holed up waiting in his room.

“She only has bad memories of the capital, so she’s probably scared stiff…”

Last time Emilia went to the capital, she suffered just as much hardship as he worried she would.

Probably, in spite of having arriving at the capital secretly, enemies who want the insignia would probably take it, and maybe her life along with it.

Subaru knew that if hadn’t been there, she would have met that fate.

–If he recalled the day they met, Subaru couldn’t place himself if he wasn’t aware.

Having suddenly been summoned to an alternate world, Subaru hadn’t been given a single thing that could be called a mission. On the surface, his insolence was disguised through positivity, but on the inside, you could only call him rash and reckless.

In short, he was basically the same inside and out, so it was undeniable that the developments up til now that let to him being in his current situation were not in his control.

However,

“People who just go with the flow should swim to and choose which currents to follow.”

Without denying that he had simply followed along up to this point, he could also have chosen options that did not lead to this point. And the reason he was here now, was because he had chosen so.

Subaru, who was dropped into an alternate world without so much as a goal.

It’s because he had that perspective that he was now thinking about turning his powerless situation around.

If he wasn’t given a mission, he simply had to decide on one himself.

“Let’s go save Emelia.”

It wasn’t just because he had been saved by her.

It was because the feeling of wanting to become Emilia’s strength brimmed over from the bottom of his heart.

“That’s the power of love!”

[T/N: Subaru says Rabu Pawaa]

“What did you say just now?”

“Sorry, it was kind of serious, so having to say it again is embarrassing,”

was Subaru’s one-sentence answer to Rem, who had asked him with her head tilted. Then, Subaru collected himself by clearing his throat, and set his mind in full operation in order to break through the obstacle in front of him.

Even if he managed to escape this place, he couldn’t think of a single way to get to the capital. But none of that mattered if he didn’t manage to escape this place first.

And regarding that, it was more Subaru’s style to force things rather than go with the flow.

“Although the situation’s badness doesn’t really change.”

Getting past Rem, who was standing imposingly with arms outstretched, was like clearing an insanely difficult last boss.

[T/N: Writer actually uses “murige-,” which is slang for “impossible game”]

The difference between their physical abilities were evident, not to mention Subaru wasn’t even in his best condition. An attack from behind would probably be rendered ineffective by that huge difference in strength, and Subaru had nothing up his sleeve to change the power imbalance either.

He also considered casting Shamoc and running away under the cover of the black smoke, but he would definitely faint after breathing in the smoke because he didn’t have any Bocco fruit with him. After all, the use of Bocco fruit was strictly banned in every corner of the residence.

Because of this, Subaru was boxed in. Subaru, who wasn’t using any cheat codes to make his brain faster and sharper, was all out of ideas.

That is –,

“Woa…no way, it’s!”

“Subaru-kun?”

Subaru’s face suddenly lost all color, as he clutched his forehead, trembling furiously.

Seeing Subaru in this unusual state, knees trembling and breath rough, Rem panickingly outstretched her arms and gently supported him by the shoulder.

“What has happened, Subaru-kun? Don’t tell me you’re despairing at the recklessness of your ideas…?!”

“How low would my score be if you gave my worth to you a number? I can’t, I can’t… Ugh, so painful…”

Even while being supported, Subaru clutched his chest as he went to his knees, gasping at the pain. Seeing this, Rem too kneeled and nestled closer to him, saying,

“Now it’s not your head, but your chest? Are you alright?”

“Huh, was it my head? No, my chest hurts… It must be that…”

“The shallow atmosphere is showing a little, but do you know the cause?”

Seeing Subaru’s shallow anguish, Rem’s worries were sky high. Hearing this, Subaru gripped Rem’s collar as if holding on for dear life, brought their faces close, and opened his mouth tremblingly,

“–ma”

“Ma?”

“–Mayonnaise deficiency.”

He asked himself if this was really the only idea he had, and one he had already used once already. 

However, once he had said it, he had to see it to the fullest. This was Natsuki Subaru’s unwavering policy. The unwavering spirit of an uninteresting male.

“This deficiency happens to mayonnaise lovers who don’t get enough mayonnaise…Thanks to you, Rem, it was alleviated til now, but now that the house has been empty for a day… the symptoms advanced.”

“No way… What should I do…?”

Make me some mayonnaise…If I just could just suck on some mayonnaise, you could save my life…Oof, it hurts…”

[T/N: Mayochuchu is this thing where people drink mayonaise straight from the container.]

Subaru, who couldn’t even raise his body to a standing position, fell over sideways even as he was clinging to Rem. Putting Subaru’s head on her knee, while stroking the suffering Subaru’s forehead, she murmurered softly,

“Mayonaise…I’d have to prepare the eggs, oil, and other ingredients, but…”

“It hurts…I’ll die. Please, Rem. Only you…I can only depend on you…”

“–You can only depend on Rem?”

She couldn’t look at the suffering Subaru. So she wouldn’t know if anything changed during the time she had averted her eyes.

Hung out to dry between her own feelings and the orders she received, Rem was wavering, but but it seemed as if Subaru’s final words were the decisive blow.

“Only Rem!” She balled her hands into hard fists, muttering with force,

“I understand! Please, leave it up to me, Rem!”

“Ouch! and oof!”

Rem stood up suddenly. Because of that, Subaru’s head fell from her knees, and he hit the back of his head, and moreover, his rib was crushed by the overeager Rem’s heel. It didn’t seem that Rem, whose enthusiasm had reached maximum levels, had noticed her own act of violence. Just like that, she put herself in order speedily, saying,

“Well then, Rem will quickly go get the ingredients and make mayonaise! Subaru-kun, don’t sleep there on the floor, please rest properly in bed.”

“The fainting…is connected…to mayonaise…”

“Huh? Yes, I know. Rem will do her best for Subaru-kun. And the dawn…fufu, I look forward to it.”

She interpreted Subaru’s words as he was fainting in agony, and leaving behind an unusually cute smile, Rem fled the room.

Clutching his chest in pain, Subaru watched her disappear around the corner, confirming his success. He confirmed it indeed, but due to the accident earlier, he was unable to move for a while.

By and large the pain started to disappear, and while patting the back of his head which had begun to swell, Subaru stood up, then dusted his clothes that had been in contact with the floor before looking around,

“I can’t believe such a bad plan actually worked. I’m a little worried about Rem’s future, but I’ve been saved by her simpleness today.”

His rib and the back of his head were necessary sacrifices.

Having gained a pathway simply by exchanging a bit of pain was surely a good deal.

“All that’s left to do now is to leave a note to Rem, then run away quickly. It’d be bad if I left through the door and bumped into her…”

He left a scribbled note on the table, then opened a window and looked down. The room was on the second floor, so it wasn’t extremely dangerous to climb down by tying a sash to something. Under the window was a fairly empty alley, so there was probably little chance he would be mistaken for an underwear thief as he climbed down.

“Well, better get going. It’s not like climbing into my old house through the balcony to surprise my parents when I was young was just for show, anyways.”

He was an expert at climbing up and down the pipes and such that went around his house. His window was barred with iron, so he also developed the skill of squeezing his body through the spaces. He dubbed this skill “rubbermen”, which for some reason when naming it he made it plural. 

Digging up these old memories, Subaru grabbed the sides of the window, and jumped down tumbling towards the capital’s road with little hesitation.

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

 

–Shortly after Subaru secretly slipped out of his room.

“…Even so, for him to actually believe I was fooled by a trick like that is a bit of a shock.”

In the middle of the otherwise unpopulated room, Rem, who had just returned, muttered to herself while touching the table.

She retrieved the note left on the table she was touching. There, in hastily scribbled, barely legible E characters were written, “I’ll b back soon.”

[T/N: Subaru’s note actually says “chichikitokusugukaeru.” This phrase is a bit of a running joke on the Japanese speaking internet, as in “My mom left this note on the table. What does it mean?” and then people give really contrived explanations.]

Although she didn’t understand it, she could tell from Subaru’s personality that it was meant to be some obscure reference or joke.

“He didn’t really have to jump through the window…I didn’t really try to stop him from leaving the room.”

This was the result of her pretending to have left through the door and hiding herself in the depths of a corridor. Once she had sensed that there was no human presence in the room and returned, she discovered the wide-open window and the note–and realized he had left through a rather dangerous method.

“…Geez, Subaru-kun really can’t be helped…”

Contrary to the words she muttered, the expression on her face held a hint of happiness.

She was the one Subaru left the message for. The contents aside, it was unmistakably a letter addressed to her. Folding it neatly, she tucked it into the inner pocket of her maid uniform, treating it preciously. 

“–Still, I wonder what Roswaal-sama is thinking.”

Hands on her cheeks, Rem tilted her head, wondering about the meaning behind her master’s order. It was an order she was given this morning by her just-awoken master.

Specifically, “Do not interfere with Natsuki Subaru’s movements. Even if you were to be ordered to by Emilia.”

When Rem tried to ask the reason, she was simply met with a silent refusal. Thus, as a servant, she had no choice but to comply quietly. She felt some amount of guilt for going against Emelia’s orders, but her hierarchy in terms of masters unmistakably placed Roswaal above Emilia. Although as an exception, Subaru was somewhere in that hierarchy.

Regardless,

“–please, come back safely, Subaru-kun.”

She didn’t think he was the type to have dashed off without a plan, but even so he was the type of boy to come running to the aid of others without regards for his own well-being. The only thing she could do was to pray for his wish to be fulfilled, and that he didn’t encounter too much harm in the process of fulfilling it.

–Rem was wishing too much for the former, and much too optimistic about the latter.

Rem, who generally held Subaru in higher regard than he was worth, closed the window he left from, turning around to face the room. Shaking her head as if forget her troubles, Rem immersed herself in the work befitting her role as a maidservant.

Like this, Natsuki Subaru was let loose into the capital for a second time. As to whether he was playing into the palm of someone else’s hand, that much was unclear. 

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

“And so, for that reason Natsuki Subaru-kun has been running around aimlessly,”

the rubbermen Subaru who had jumped down into the capital without a scratch thought to himself–his mind refreshingly empty of thought.

He didn’t have a way to make it into the castle by himself, even his chances of getting past the guard station and into nobles district had a low probability. He considered breaking into the guard office using his reliably trusty Shamoc, but that idea was rejected because he could just imagine himself fainting by the roadside from smoke inhalation. Relying too much on Shamoc as an all-purpose tool was a bit of a problem.

Shamoc is pretty versatile, but I just don’t have enough power. If I could at least improve my mana pool for when I use magic…”

Since the uproar with the demon beasts he had been getting some lessons on using magic from Roswaal. If the Royal Mage was right, for Subaru to learn some magic, and learn how to use his mana for that magic, would take two years. If he trained limited by his own natural talent, it would take Subaru twenty years to become a second-rate mage. And, in the first place, it would take over half a year for his overused body to return to the condition it previously was in.

“Trying to break through with using magic was unreasonable from the start, I’m still disappointed though.”

The next time he overuses his gate, there was no telling what would happen to his body.

So currently he had no choice but to remove the use of Shamoc as an option. While it’s not like Shamoc was ever a viable choice to begin with, it still stung.

“Having to say good bye to the romance that is magic,  vexing indeed.”

Were more or less Subaru’s strong feelings on the matter. But compared to the how it would be for the sisters Rem and Ram, or Roswaal considering his job, Subaru didn’t wasn’t as bothered by his current state. Subaru was never really able to use stuff like magic or mana, so losing something he never had in the first place didn’t really feel like that great of a loss. Or at least, even if were to go down that path, now was definitely not the time for it.

“So that’s how it is, the question now is how do I get into the castle without relying on anything magical. My knowledge and connections, if you’re listening, now’s the time to do something!”

“…And just what exactly am I supposed to do after hearing that? Jeez”

“More importantly, don’t talk about dangerous stuff in front of someone else’s store. This is supposed to be a respectable business that won’t draw the eye of the crown. What am I supposed to do if some strange rumors surface thanks to you?”

“It’s too late for this store to be respectable when the shopkeeper’s face is the least thing from honest. Having connections with an old man from the back-alleys, it’s no wonder there’s rumors about you.”

“You’ve got quite the bad mouth there, kid…”

The one who making a grim face at Subaru’s extremely rude comment was Scarface, a long white scar running from his forehead to his chin. And nearby, was an old bald man whose immense muscular body was squeezed into the narrow store.

Including himself, he felt the surroundings smelled even more like sweat now. He let out a long sigh, “Anyways.”

“The store that Rom-jii had connections with turned out to be this uncle’s shop. It’s a small world–or rather, it’s a small capital…or is it that birds of a feather flock together?”

Don’t group us up like that.

“Don’t talk in unison like that! Unlike the pair of pretty young maid siblings I know, if a baldy and a scar face like you guys do that, nobody wins!”

[T/N: Subaru calls it a “daretoku” action, which is Japanese net slang. Basically, it’s something neither the doer or the viewer profits from. Of course, this isn’t a phrase that anyone else will understand, as usual.]

The two looked at each other, exchanging disagreeable looks. By the way, currently the merchant’s store was definitely still open, but unrelated to Subaru and Rom-jii’s presence, the number of customers was low.

It was a merchant street, yet because of the location of the store, as well as the shopkeeper’s face, he was playing on hard mode. Subaru, who always encouraged self-inflicted handicaps, felt a great affinity for the shopkeeper on this point.

[T/N: The writer uses the phrase “shibari-play,” which is slang for giving yourself extra handicaps when gaming.]

“Oi, what the hell. What’s with that hand on my shoulder.”

“Both of us want to just to live it out on easy mode, I can sympathize with someone the like me. But the gods just aren’t fair, ya know.”

“Don’t rope me into your pessimistic delusions. Unlike you, I have a wife and a daughter. I’m on the winning team here.”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

[T/N: Subaru says “That’s a lie, don doko do-n!” “Don doko do-n” is a kind of catch-phrase type thing you say after a short statement.]

Shocked at having been betrayed by someone of his own ilk, Subaru’s speech became wild.

Subaru took a step back, and turned his face towards Rom-jii in order to ask Rom-jii about what was just said. The bald old man looked straight into Subaru’s wavering black eyes, saying,

“Face the truth. Plus my wife’s a beauty and my daughter’s cute too.”

“You damned…! This is the first time I’ve been treated this badly since I came to this world,  you!!”, unleashing the fury he had accumulated after being summoned to this world. 

Giving way to all the dark feelings he had pushed deep down into his stomach, Subaru flew at the shopkeeper, and was instantly met with a counterattack by way of a strong arm to his forehead.

“I’m… I’m powerless…”

“You’ve got to handle things situation by situation, but is there anything you want to say aside from lines that make you sound like a sore loser?”

Looking at Subaru sulking after having his angry outburst put to a stop, Rom-jii stroked his chin in thought.

He was in a good mood after being called out here since he was sure it had something to do with Felt. But when he learned it was just Subaru trying to rope him in on some shady scheme, instead of getting upset the old man showed the goodness in his heart and helped consult Subaru on his troubles.

Softened by that show of kindness, he felt guilty a bit about taking advantage of the old man, but prioritizing his personal gain above his own feelings and moving forward regardless was one of Subaru’s good points. 

Therefore,

“I’ll ask your opinion again. How can I sneak into the castle without being caught?”

“What if you commit a felony and get shut up in the dungeons under the castle? That’d also achieve your goal, though your head would have to say goodbye to your torso.”

“Give me some more constructive ideas. After all, it’s not like you or your shop are busy right now.”

“Don’t say it like that, kid. It’s because Kadomon’s shop isn’t popular that we can talk secretly like this. If you think about it that way, it’s not a bad thing. Right, Kadomon?”

“Do you two have a grudge against my shop?”

Subaru and Rom-jii met the eyes of the shopkeeper–Kadomon, who had been glaring at them, then shook their heads, with an “of course not.”

As if to chastise the two for their infuriating behavior, Kadomon rubbed the scar on his face, saying,

“Stop it with those dangerous ideas, like sneaking into the palace. There’s no emperor right now, so the security’s not all that high, but it’s not as if you won’t be punished if you’re caught.”

“Well then, the risk is just as high as we imagined, isn’t it. If you’re spotted, brat, you’ll die,”

said Rom-jii, agreeing with Kadomon.

The two had concluded Subaru should give up on his plans. But of course, to those two, there was no reason to try so hard in the first place.

“Well, when you put it like that, I don’t really have a clear reason to risk my life like this…”

Unlike up til now, this time Subaru didn’t have much of a reason to put his life on the line.

He always had another option–stroll back to the inn, stay in bed, drink the mayonnaise that Rem had made, and wait for Emilia’s return.

It was definitely the case that Emilia and company would be much happier if he did that. It was definitely the case… but, 

“Why am I so desperate about this?”

Subaru had always half-thought being at Emilia’s side was his mission. He didn’t know how much help he could be to her. Even though he didn’t know, he still thought that as long as he stayed by her side, the opportunity to help her may arise. If he wasn’t near her, these chances wouldn’t appear. That being the case,

“Even if it’s conceited, I want to be with her, that’s what I think.”

Although he was only a little ways separated, he felt a terror so deep it felt like it was burning him up.

Weighed against the other option of his own life, it was his reason for moving forwards now.

“Well, it’s the truth that I will break the jinx that surrounds the capital.”

In a place where dark premonitions regarding the candidates to the crown didn’t die, Subaru’s unease was bottomless.

If it was a place where he could only decrease the possibility that Emilia might get hurt when he wasn’t around by a little, he wouldn’t have had a reason to be so impatient all this time.

“It’s fine if I can’t be by her side, but I at least want to be where I can see her face. Somehow.”

“It’s not as easy as that. If it’s a guard post, you could get past with a bribe,  but all the way inside the castle?”

Although it’s not impossible Subaru’s attitude wasn’t impacted deeply, it could only be seen that he did not look like he was going to give up. After being left alone to run wild, he would only be arrested and given the death penalty–and that left a bad taste in Rom-jii’s mouth, so he too began to seriously formulate a plan to get into the castle. Compared to Rom-jii, who was not self-conscious about his own position as an accomplice, Kadomon’s relationship with Subaru was not so deep.

He eyed the pair of conspirators amazedly, and quipped,

“Whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t cause me trouble.”

He couldn’t say that that was impossible because it chipped away at his earnestness, but Subaru pursed his lips at the uncooperative man, saying,

“Don’t say that. You do your best operating this store even if you have no customers even though you’re on a merchant street. We might get some sort of idea seeing your willpower in action.”

“First of all, even though I’m not feeling that well today my store is still popular, ok? …Instead of using hard to understand tricks, why don’t you go to the guard station and ask about it. Your companion is in the castle, right? …hmm, what did she look like?”

Having stated his honest opinion, Kadomon scowled as if to search his memory. It seemed that no matter what, that silver-haired beauty’s appearance would not surface from within his memories. It was the result of her hood, who’s purpose was to obstruct facial recognition.

Anyways, unfortunately, his decent proposal was not even considered as an option.

“If we do that, we’ll definitely be caught by Emilia-tan! It’s ideal to watch and protect her quietly from the shadows, even better if is undetectable. I’ll name this strategy “The Super-Strong Me Under the Floorboards.”

“What an extraordinarily self-praising name for hiding.”

“You’re such a pain. Well, what if you hid yourself inside packages that are send into the castle? Coincidentally, today’s market day so they will send food in, and if you’re lucky…”

Kadomon said smiling, as if he was just chit-chatting. But his scarred face soon hardened.

It was because the instant Subaru heard that information, his two eyes shone.

He shut his own mouth as if ashamed of his slip of the tongue, then held out his palms, and started to say, “forget what I said just now!” but was interrupted by

“That idea–it’s a YES!”

It was way too early for Subaru to smile brightly with a thumbs up and wink.

Rom-jii lamented at the sky at this recklessness.

The sun’s rays shone down on that bald head, making it glow a pale white.

 

Vol. 3 Ch. 10: Confluence and Farewell

“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.

That’s because—

“Found you!”

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.

“Ah, Emili…”

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.

――Subaru.”

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.

“Rem”

“Yes.”

“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.”

“Wow! Amazing.”

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.

――Subaru”

Towards her pleading mumbles, he was completely oblivious.

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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.

――Aye, Ma’am”

With violent vividity, a bloody smile was born under his jet-black helmet.

Vol 3. Ch. 9: Divine protection and reunion and promise

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Semi-big announcement: we’ve got another translator that has joined to help out with translating the Re: Zero Webnovel series. Many thanks to Rilakkulina for their wonderful translation of chapter 9.   

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Around five minutes after breaking into a run on the rutted roadーwhile being pulled along by the hand, Subaru continued staggering forwards, breathing feebly.

“If you don’t hurry, we’ll be caught. Is this the time to be playing around?”

“Say-saying something like that… Time out, seriously, just a sec…”

[T/N: Subaru says “tanma”, which is slang for “time-out”]

When they had first started running, Subaru was in front, but because of a matter of physical constitution, their positions were now switched.

The girl running ahead of him looked unruffled, not even short of breath. And on the other hand, Subaru, unable to handle full-force sprinting for an extended period of time, was soon exhausted.

But it must be explained in order to protect Subaru’s pride that his fatigue was partially because he had not yet recovered from his injuries. Considering that Subaru’s strength mid-rehabilitation was lower than usual, his current state was well below even thatーit seemed.

“Pathetic. Don’t you think it’s embarrassing, falling behind a delicate maiden such as I?”

[T/N: The girl refers to herself as “warawa,” a diminuitive, archaic word.]

“I’ll try justifying it by saying that I’m having trouble because I’m still recovering. …But to be honest, I’m pretty screwed.”

The threat of the hoodlums chasing behind Subaru and the girl was still present. Fortunately, the duo’s head start created quite a large distance between them and the mob. But because there was basically only one path in the alleyway, it was clear that if the two slowed down, they’d be caught. Ideally, they would leave the main alleyway before that happened, but…

“We’re heading towards a dark area with no people…do you have an idea or what?”

He asked the orange hair that was unhesitatingly, rapidly moving forwards. But her answer to the ask was, “Ha, ha, ha, I dunno!” followed by a refreshing,

“Everything I attempt has favorable results. I’ve never needed to think about anything deeply in the past, and I will never have to in the future. Trust in whatever I attempt.”

“I take my hat off to you…Really though, whatever you do, no matter what…?

At this time, there was no doubt that it was thanks to the girl that they had not run into any dead ends. And if you consider the possibility that if they exited onto the main street they might be caught like mice running into a trap, it was still too early to assume that something bad would happen if they continued deeper inwards. Nonetheless…

[T/N: “fukuro no nezumi,” “rat in a bag,” is the expression used here]

“Our future doesn’t look bright…and my body isn’t feewing so good either.”

[T/N: Subaru says “kichui” (severe) instead of “kitsui” because it’s cuter.]

“ーHmm, we’re in a difficult situation.”

Subaru fumbled through his last words, breathing roughly. In front of his eyes, the girl suddenly stopped. Subaru, who was being pulled along by his hand, also stopped,

“Oi, oi. There’s no time to stop, they’ll close the distance and chase us down,”

Subaru said while making jogging motions to try to get the girl to start moving. But the girl mused over Subaru’s words, then faced him with a bored expression, saying,

“ーI’ve lost interest”

“Lost int-…WHAT?!”

“I said, I’m tired of it. In the first place, why should I have to run? I’ll decide my own actions. I’m certainly not affected by the actions or words of those ruffians back there.”

“I mean, you can say that, but that’s not how reality works…?!”

Subaru became impatient, seeing this princessy temper tantrum. Honestly, time was too precious to have this kind of argument. If he wanted to save his own skin, the best option was to leave the girl behind and make a mad dash for safety. But if he did that, he wouldn’t be able to achieve his initial goal.

Stuck between a rock and two hard places, Subaru internally struggles with his ideals, reality, and the possibility of escape. Watching the conflicted Subaru, the girl opens her mouth obstinately,

“Hmph. I’ve decided. ーbe honored that thou have been allowed to carry me”

[T/N: kisama, a rude, patronizing way to say “you,” has been translated as “thou” because this girl tends to use rather old-fashioned mannerisms.]

“Non, merci!”

[T/N: Subaru says “No thank you” in English, which would make about as much sense to the girl as French would to, well, someone who doesn’t speak it.]

He crossed his arms to express his refusal of this seemingly worthless proposal. Seeing Subaru’s instant decision, the girl gave an insulted frown, saying,

“It’s not as if I let just anyone have the honor of carrying me. Men who do so without permission don’t know the meaning of fear.”

“Do I look like a macho man who can carry someone while running? Even if I was at peak performance, it’d take all of my strength to carry a girl even skinnier than you! Not to mention that my strength is so far gone my legs are like those of newborn deer! Just look!”

Pointing to his continuously trembling legs, he complained with vigour.

Looking down on Subaru’s disgraceful behavior, the girl said, “you good-for-nothing,” sighing disgustedly,

“ーacura”

[T/N: A spell of some sort. Not a car.]

She muttered under her breath.

“Huh?”

Suddenly, the moment her whispers reached his eardrums, a faint light appeared, surrounding Subaru. The gold-colored glamour wrapped around the surprised Subaru’s entire body like a veil.

Bathed in comfortable golden light, Subaru raised his two hands in front of his face.

 

“Wha-what the heck!? I can see an aura materializing…what’s going on!?”

Said Subaru, extremely confused at the changes going on on his body. The girl, who had been hidden in the shadows behind him, walked calmly around him, saying,

“If thou does not wish to carry me, then we shall do this”

“Whoa…oof!”

Subaru is interrupted as the girl easily throws herself onto Subaru’s back.

With her arms wrapped around his neck, Subaru planted his feet firmly into the ground. Although the girl was petite, he would nevertheless had to have bear her whole body weightーbut this preparation turned out to be unnecessary.

“What the heck? You’re as light as a feather…wait, no, it’s me that’s unusually strong?”

It didn’t even matter that she was on his back; it was like he didn’t feel her body weight at all. Moreover, the appa bag in his hand also became weightless, and his legs that had been jogging suddenly felt as nimble as if they had been replaced with brand new ones.

“Anyone who receives my blessing can work like carthorses. Including thou.”

“Whoa, well I don’t entirely understand, but this works! Natsuki Subaru, takeoffーー!”

He starts running, with a hand on the girl’s hip to make sure she didn’t fall off.

Light, light, so light were his feet. The lightness was as if he had shedded the shell that was his physical body, and his speed was such that a single step rivaled five of his steps previously.

The distance that had once shortened because of their pause once again widened, and this time, there was no sign of it decreasing.

His senses were sharpenedーto the point where he could even keenly detect the presence and movements of the men in the distance. Subaru was very satisfied with how every part of him had been boosted to the utmost.

“This is amazing! My body’s so light! I’m not scared of anything anymore!”

Bending over to reduce air resistance, Subaru moved with such vigor that he became the wind. He narrowed his field of vision, and sped down the alleyway towards a small street, all the while turning just his neck to face the girl, saying,

“Now that we’ve gained a lil’ distance and we’ve got time to spare, I’ll ask this… What got you tangled up with them in the first place?”

 

To people wary of authority like that group, you’d think that someone as eye-catching as this girl would conversely be harder to lay a hand on. No matter how you looked at it, she didn’t look like the other townspeople.

Or maybe, it was possible that her absurdity was so extreme you couldn’t even consider that.

[T/N: Author is saying that she’s so absurd she came back around to being non-absurd, basically.]

After hearing that question, the girl softly snorted with her shapely nose, saying, “nothing, really,” continuing with,

“I got separated from my companion while sightseeing to kill time. I simply happened across those guys when I stopped to check out that unusual dirty alleyway while looking for my companion.”

“But you can’t have gotten in a fight with them just because of that…”

“It turned out that way because I jeered at their strange style of dress.”

“IT’S YOUR FAULT!?”

“I won’t be friendly with such easy to anger people.”

“Learn to watch that slippery tongue!”

The typhoon-like girl’s sense of compassion had been completely dwarfed by the absurdity of their misfortune. Even though in this situation, the person that thoroughly got the short end of the stick was Subaru.

In the middle of this rousing quarrel, Subaru came across a street that turned perpendicularly to his right ahead of him. Killing his momentum by kicking the wall, he used the recoil to turn rightーthen suddenly was struck with an idea.

“If we continue along the roads, we’ll never lose them. So instead of running along the path, I’ll make a pathー!”

“Was the effect of my spell so strong that it affected thine head?”

“Don’t be mean! Observe, and regret doubting me!”

He declared, changing gear to go even faster than before.

The girl riding on his back shared the same field of view. Because of that, she knew that would be no outcome other than Subaru crashing into the wall directly in front of him.

She tightened her grip around his neck, saying,

“Hey you. What art thou thinking? We’ll crash if we keep going…”

“Stop nitpicking and just watch! Fire! This is it, the wall-riding ability learned from that awful sticky-fingered slum girl Felt!!”

[T/N: Subaru actually says “fire.” No error here.]

Saying this, he vigorously planted his feet on the ashy brown wall, taking two steps that ignored gravity. With a sound, Subaru ascended. performing a wall-walk that would make Newton half-cryー.

“Red King Crab!”

[T/N: Your guess is as good as mine.]

Except no such thing happened.

On the fourth step, his foot slipped, he rotated downwards, falling with his face towards the ground. Subaru faceplanted without adjusting to reduce damage, and rolled on the ground in agony, screaming,

“IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTSSSS!”

“What art thou doing?”

The girl who had jumped off Subaru who was now covered in wounds, and eyed him as if she was looking at a strange exhibit. In her hand was the appa bag, which had avoided the misfortune of falling.

Relieved at seeing her safety, Subaru started to move to get up, saying

“Shit, that was a huge failure… Stupid Felt, showing me something that would give me false hope…”

It wasn’t very good to be cursing people who aren’t present, but if you’re going to be falsely blaming people, the golden haired girl was a good scapegoat. In the first place, it was true that she had done the wall-climb, although she has no recollection of teaching Subaru that skill. Of course, it’s not as if Subaru remembers being taught, either. Having displayed that ostentatious failure, Subaru scratched his head and tries to stand up and pull himself together.

“Huh, what? My legs… Ouch! Shit, hey, they really freaking hurt?! I only twisted it but it feels like I broke it!”

“It’s because thou exceeded thine body’s maximum limits. It’s obvious thine limbs will be more sensitive to pain than usual.”

“Obvious in what world!?”

She spoke of the side effects of Subaru’s buff matter-of-factly. Not only did she show no sympathy for Subaru who was moaning in pain, but curtly ordered him, “Now stand up.” But Subaru refused, with a childish, “Wahh, it hurts so bad I’ll cry.”

The distance and time they had gone to great lengths to earn once again decreased, and they could once again sense the presence of the approaching ruffians.

At that time:

“Just as I was thinking it’s been a while since I’ve seen you, what are you’re doing?”

Slowly, the owner of that voice peeked his large body out of the road on the right they were supposed to turn into.

They raised their line of sight. Where a normal person’s head was supposed to be just barely reached this man’s chest. When they looked further up, they could see a moustachioed bald head.

“You-you’re…”

A familiar brawny old man was looking down at them.

“Rom-jii is here! We’re savedー!!”

“As usual it’s still early and you’re already irritating me. I’ll leave you behind, brat.”

“Save us HELP PLS! It’s not just virtue that’s in danger but innards too!”

[T/N: Subaru says maji herupu, slang pseudo-English]

The former danger being the girl’s, and the latter being Subaru’s.

That that the bad guys definitely peddled illegal organs was only Subaru’s prejudice at work, but hearing that, the old manーRom-jiiーlooked at the girl’s appearance and Subaru, saying,

“What, have you stuck your neck into dangerous situations again? Your knack for causing a ruckus with female companions isn’t to be underestimated.”

“I don’t need that kind of pervy old-man comments from you! Help us!”

He gritted his teeth against the pain and stood up, pleading with Old Rom while jumping on one leg. The man nodded his hairless head as if troubled, appraising the silent girl all the while. The refined girl clearly expressed her discomfort at the treatment, saying,

“How darest thou look at me with thine ill-bred eyes, thou dirty old man.”

“I shouldn’t be talking, but you sure love to bad-mouth! What are you saying to the old man who’s about to snatch us from the jaws of hell? Please don’t think bad of us, Rom-jii. Both of us are just a little too blunt!”

“You’re as good at decreasing motivation as usual, runt. Hide, quick!”

[T/N: Note: Subaru isn’t actually denying that Rom-jii is a dirty old man, only saying that they were a little blunt about telling the truth. Lol.]

Covering the girl’s ever-ready-to-spout-poison mouth, Rom-jii looks around, then takes off towards a hiding place. There were bundles of lumber leaning against the wall, and it looked as if two people could just fit and hide in there.

He pushed the girl in first, then Subaru by his behind, as if to stopper up the hole. The girl wanted to complain about the grime, but Subaru covered her mouth so decisively that she suppressed her dissatisfaction.

“Rom-jii, everything’s OK”

“What in the world is ‘oakkeh’… Anyways, I’ll hide you with my body, so don’t move, you hear? If you get spotted it’s trouble for me too.”

Even as he lectured them gruffly, Rom-jii moved to cover them from sight with his huge body. The two held their breaths behind Rom-jii, who leaned against the wall with his arms crossed.

Merely tens of seconds after they had hidden themselves, the sound of several footsteps rushing down the nearby alleyway could be heardー,

“The fu-! Thought it was a brat, but it turned out to be an old geezer!”

[T/N: The first half of his exclamation is cut off in a similar way to “the fu-”]

Swooping in from the direction of the noise, the man running at the front of the pack jeered at the gargantuan Rom-jii. All Rom-jii had to do was silently fix a level glance at him for the man’s spirit to break, as he took a step back, uttering, “uh, uhh.”

“What’s this noise for? I won’t be impressed by you trying to frighten the elderly, you know.”

It wasn’t as if he had said anything particularly threatening, but when a behemoth like Rom-jii says something ill-humoured in his low voice, it was already intimidating in itself.

Displaying just the reaction Rom-jii was going for, the man prepared to turn tail and run back to his pursuer companions, but,

“I was wondering who he was, but isn’t that Old Man Cromwell?”

Shouted a man in the mob, pointing at Rom-jii.

Subaru raised his head at hearing that unfamiliar name, but the one who had an even bigger reaction to being called was Rom-jii himself.

His already wrinkled face furrowed more with bitterness as he said,

“I don’t like being called that name.”

“Are ya in the position to be making complaints? I’m askin’ ya, wouldn’t you think I’d become a big-shot in the slums if I smashed down your stolen goods warehouse?”

“It’s gathered a lot of dirt over the years. It’s not spick and span any longer. …I’ll allow you to do whatever you like,”

was Rom-jii’s expressionless response to the lily-livered men, who then thought to themselves that they really didn’t want to incite a bigger reaction than that. The man shrugged his shoulders, saying,

“Well, do as you like. But if you’re fixing to bow your head to Russel, come pay your respects sometime soon. The longer you wait, the worse your position looks.”

The man only managed to say that much, and walked towards the men behind him to continue down the alleyway, turning around at the last minute to ask,

“Th-that’s right. Old Man Cromwell…Have two brats come around these parts?”

“Haven’t seen ‘em. Ah, you lot as well. Have you seen my acquaintance, that blonde lass?”

“Dunno. What, is that brat you took in so important? An old fool and a young one, you two are.”

With a careless wave, the men leave, this time for sure.

Rom-jii stared unwaveringly at their receding backs, chewing his lip as if to quell his anger.

Gazing at his profile from the gaps between the scrap wood, Subaru couldn’t do anything that would be of comfort. It was a happy thing to have bumped into Rom-jii again after such a long time. But today he seemed slightly different to the Rom-jii Subaru knew.

“Even his skin…”

“Hm?”

His line of thought broken by a murmur, Subaru looked around. Right beside him, breathtakingly close, was the pretty face of the girl who was leaning over, and his hand was still over her lips in his previous effort to shut her up.

She mumbled through her covered mouth,

“Ftopkwabwaengfwawafwasumouth!”

Then came the sharp pain of her chomping down mercilessly with her canines.

“ーAYIIIII!!”

Subaru’s shrill, puppy-like howl rang through the silent alley.

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

 

“Thanks for hiding us, Rom-jii. I thought maybe you got knocked silly over the head, but it looks like everything turned out well.”

“You… Those fellas are still on the prowl, so it’d be better if you weren’t so optimistic.”

“You’re huge, so don’t say something so small-minded! I can handle such lowly people myself just fine! YEAH!”

Seeing Subaru’s bright, toothy smile and thumbs-up, Rom-jii heaved a tired sight.

They switched locations from the alleyway that was even narrower than the one from before to a slightly more open road. This was the place that Rom-jii had led Subaru and company to, after saying he would take them somewhere less eye-catching.

The threat of the chasing men had disappeared, and Subaru and the girl could finally breathe easy.

And from that breath of freedom were these initial words:

“Oi, thou. Who is that old man that speaks to thou so familiarly? Explain,”

said the girl who had maintained silence until now, pulling on Subaru’s sleeve agitatedly.

She pointed haughtily at Rom-jii with her chin, and Subaru answered, nodding,

“This old man is from the slums in the capital. Rom-jii is a giant and the stingy boss of a group of thieves and ruffians. His special skills are his bad eyesight, spoiling children, and acting tough.”

“I get that you’re happy to see the old man you’ve been missing for so long, but aren’t you getting ahead of yourself, kid?”

Catching the finger Subaru was pointing at him, Rom-jii chided Subaru. Subaru answered, “my bad, my bad,” with little remorse, and continued,

“But to be fair, even if I’m joking around, it’s not as if I’m spreading lies.”

“So it’s partially true. In short, he’s an old, stingy, short-sighted thief with bark but no bite from the slums. How pitiful, for someone who has lived for so long.”

“Your companion is as irritating as you are, brat!”

Subaru and the girl exchanged shrugs in front of the stomping Rom-jii.

Then Subaru faced the disheartened Rom-jii, saying,

“Either way, it’s true that I’m glad we met again, Rom-jii. To be frank, we were doomed back there, so I didn’t have a way to [confirm our circumstances].

“I’m not sure if you’re quick at changing your tune or you’re a little unstable, kid. And you, youngun, would look more spirited if you opened your mind.”

Rom-jii smiles wryly, and gives Subaru a once-over. Seeing the wounds all over Subaru’s exposed skin, he says,

“It’s funny coming from me, but it looks like you got messed up pretty bad by that knife-user.”

[T/N: Rom-jii uses “washi”, a way to say “I” used by old men.]

“Nah, the wounds I got from her are almost all on my stomach, so everything else is from after that event.”

“But it’s been barely a week since then? What happened?”

“It’s a long, tiresome story, so never mind. I’m alive, and that’s all that matters. I’m satisfied with that. Anyways, speaking of,”

Hiding his scars from the surprised Rom-jii’s view, Subaru points towards the slums (or at least where he thinks they are), and once again brings up talk of the event.

What happened after the uproar at the Stolen Goods Warehouse? Since you lost your workplace, have you been eating properly? If you’re only eating side dishes you’ll starve.”

“I don’t understand the second half of whatever you said, but I’m getting by, more or less. It’s not as if the Stolen Goods Warehouse was my only livelihood. If you’ve lived as long as I have in the slums, you’d have lots of connections.”

Rom-jii replied laughingly to Subaru, who looked as worried as a mom whose child had gone to the big city. After all, there was no way that he could have been trusted with the role of taking care of stolen goods if he wasn’t a person who was trusted in the slum community. He probably wasn’t bluffing about having “connections.”

Either way, if it hadn’t been for the scars from that particular event and the worries of life after that, Subaru would have been relieved. Of course, he was substantially less heartbroken about him when compared to how he felt about Emilia and the girls of the Roswaal mansion.

“That’s why I wasn’t really worried about you, Rom-jii.”

“Sorry for saying something distasteful suddenly, but I too have something to ask of you.”

Rom-jii abruptly informs the meaninglessly tsundere-ing Subaru in a lower voice. Seeing the earnesty in his face, Subaru adjusted the attitude he had adopted until now. At that time, his sleeve was suddenly pulled behind him.

[T/N: The author uses a made-up word “tsunderation”, which refers to the act of being tsundere]

He turned around. The girl was standing closer to him than was necessary, and he was startled by the beautiful face in such close proximity to his. Then she said,

“I’m bored.”

“Now’s not the time to be bratty.”

“It’s not me being selfish, the world just has it in for me.”

[T/N: Author here uses netspeak, “sekai no sentaku,” meaning “the world’s choice,” which roughly means that you’re in the position to change the world, or are pretending to possess something that can greatly affect the world.]

“You’re so fussy. Then, I’ll give you a quiz. In this world, are there more uphills or downhills? LET’S THINKING!”

[T/N: Subaru being weird and using Engrish again.]

Slap-dashedly abandoning the girl to her thoughts, Subaru once again faced Rom-jii. Then waved his hand as if to say, “go on,” to Rom-jii, who was irritated at being cut off.

He sighed at Subaru’s attitude, then shook his neck as if to adjust his spirits, and said,

“Kid. Do you know where Felt went?”

“…Haven’t you heard? Apparently she was taken by that bastard Reinhard.”

“Reinhard…the Sword Saint? What would the Knight Among Knights want with Felt?”

Rom-jii tilted his head as if he really didn’t know. Subaru, commiserating with the old man’s unhappiness, thought “it’s definitely because he got knocked over the head,” then suddenly realized the inconsistency between Rom-jii’s knowledge and the events at the Stolen Goods Warehouse.

He recalled that during that event Rom-jii had lost consciousness before Reinhard and his men. After that and before Subaru too lost consciousness, there had been no instance where Rom-jii had been awake while Reinhard was there. In short,

“The abandoned Rom-jii had awoken at his destroyed warehouse with no one around to explain what happened, and was left to stare dumbfounded at the ruins of what was once his home.”

“I didn’t fall into  such a sorry state. When I regained consciousness, there were palace guards stationed. It was helpful they treated my wounds, but they left me alone soon after.”

“Ah, that’s true. That’s a little awkward.”

After all, people who have done bad deeds don’t have the sensation of having lived if they wake up in a police hospital. It’s not strange for them to want to get out before anyone starts asking any questions.

Because Rom-jii had left the guard station before being able to ask more about the situation, he had no contact with Reinhard, who was holding Felt in custody, and it seems he has been left dangling ever since.

“So that’s why our stories don’t add up. OK, then, I’ll just fill you in on the bits after you lost conscious, and before I lost conscious.”

With that as the preface, gesticulating, Subaru told the story of the grand decisive Battle of the Stolen Goods Warehouse, [Sword Saint vs Bowel Hunter], a sort of one-man VTR.

[T/N: VTR: TiVO, still very popular in Japan.]

Rom-jii watched Subaru in wonder as he displayed his surprising yet useless performance skill, and even the girl who had looked bored watched him in fascination, eyes glittering.

“And then I said this to the surprised girl: ーI want you to tell me your name.”

“Whatー! I said that, I did!”

“Ho-ho, isn’t that an elegant way of saying it. I don’t dislike it.”

With that slight derailment, the battle saga ended.

All three were a little fired up from that explanation, but the first to come to his senses was Rom-jii, who said,

“This isn’t the time nor place to be doing things like that. Ahー, in other words, you, kid, don’t know anything beyond what happened when you and Felt were taken by Reinhard?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Isn’t it obvious that the number of uphills and downhills is the same?!”

“Baumkuchen!”

[T/N: Subaru being weird and spouting nonsense. baumkuchen, or baum (bah oo mu) for short, is a German cake popularized in Japan.]

Eating a body-blow from the girl who had suddenly arrived at an epiphany, Subaru squatted down in agony. Swinging the fist that struck Subaru, the girl seemed satisfied, declaring “From henceforth, do as you will.”

After recovering from his shocked daze, Rom-jii looked down pityingly at the groaning Subaru.

“What I’m saying may be indirect, but I think you should pick your companions.”

[T/N: What Rom-jii is suggesting is that Subaru pick his companions more carefully.]

“It’s not like I’m especially picking them! I just wait for them to pick me! I’m in the middle of a powerful DAZE that won’t disappear from eyesight!”

[T/N: Subaru says some especially strange things that I won’t pretend I understand. “DAZE” is already written in English.]

Jumping to his feet, Subaru poses, pointing out Rom-jii’s incorrect assumption. Then, clearing his throat, Subaru once again returns to the previous topic.

“Those longtime connections of yours, can one of them personally make an enquiry at Reinhard’s house?”

“If I had such powerful allies, would I be holed up in a shack drinking booze? But if if that’s the only way, I’m in trouble. ーI can’t think of anyone except the Astrea household.”

That last half was a murmur that barely left Rom-jii’s lips, and didn’t reach Subaru’s ears. Looking at the serious-expressioned Rom-jii, Subaru shrugged as if giving up, and said,

“Then, I might be able to speak with Reinhard on my end, so if I learn something I’ll let you know. I’ve always thought that I should see how Felt is.”

“Those are comforting words…but you too, have some unusual connections. Any relation to that little lass over there?”

Remembering Subaru’s temperament at their previous chance meeting, Rom-jii pointed Subaru’s source of confidence at not Subaru himself but at the people around him.

Although that judgement itself is not wrong, associating it with that girl is incorrect thinking.

“No, not at all. In the first place, I don’t even know that girl’s name or anything.”

“Youngun, why are you getting into feuds with allies you don’t even know the names of!?”

“Looking back, I didn’t know Emilia-tan’s name either, so this kind of thing isn’t that strange for me.”

Resigned, Rom-jii put his finger on the nonchalant Subaru’s forehead, closed his eyes, and mused, “even considering it is useless.”

Then, Rom-jii looked straight at Subaru and said,

“Then, without going through that young lass, you think it’s possible to create an opportunity to speak to the Sword Saint?”

“At least more than you who have nothing, Rom-jii, I think. Put your faith in me, as you would when you cross an old fishing bridge!”

“The saying is to ‘tap a bridge as you cross it’, so how did it become this…”

[T/N: “Tap a bridge as you cross it,” as in looking for weak spots on the bridge, means to proceed with care. Unlike Subaru’s invented saying.]

Rom-jii nodded at Subaru, who was beating his chest triumphantly, as if he was already prepared for the worst.

“Very well. I’ll leave it to you, youngun. Once you learn about Felt’s whereabouts, let me know. I’ll repay your kindness.”

“Don’t be so earnest. Don’t tell me you really are soft for children?”

“ーmaybe so. That girl is my granddaughter of sorts. So please”

“-Then, it’s been asked.”

There wasn’t even a rebuttal to Subaru’s bold assertion. Subaru’s mouth slackened slightly at Rom-jii’s direct affirmation.

As for the golden haired girl: what would she think if she knew she was loved this much? Because it’s her, she’d probably turn beet red, all the while putting on a tough front.

“If I find news, how should I contact you?”

“Good point. …There’s a shop called “Kadomon” on the merchant’s street. If you act intimidating and say my name, you’ll be able to contact me. Much obliged.”

“Aight, aight, Kadomn…Kadomon?”

[T/N: Subaru says “oorai, oorai,” which is Engrish, but not something people in this world would understand.]

Subaru tilted his head. It seems as if that word had been etched into his memory recently.

Anyways, as long as he knew where the merchant street was, there was no problem. If he combed that street carefully, he would find that store.

With a nod to indicate understanding, Subaru and Rom-jii entered a steadfast agreement.

Subaru owed Rom-jii for having made it this far, and he didn’t have a reason to refuse either. Doing what he had originally set out to do, and being able to help ease the life of an old man whose days were numbered was profit in and of itself.

“That’s right. I should probably explain to Emilia-tan. About this being for my own sake as well or something.”

“Did you say something before?”

“No, not really. Speaking of, it’s a bit soon, but I know a way you can be of use.”

Subaru pointed again at Rom-jii, rocking his hips to get Rom-jii’s attention.

Rom-jii frankly didn’t look too pleased at being asked for a favor so soon, but then again that was the deal they made moments ago. With a sour face, he said, “go on.”

To that, Subaru said, “It’s no big deal, but:”

“To be honest, both that girl and I are completely lost, you see. My adventure ends thus, without having been fulfilled my promise! Or something like that, so please guide us out to a main street.”

“…I see. I got it, leave it to me. Which street?”

“Outside the station would be great.”

“Brat, didn’t you just hear I ran away from the station!?”

Rom-jii’s shout echoed through the alleyway.

About an hour had passed since Subaru had strayed from Emilia.

 

Vol. 3 Ch. 8: The result of gambling

 

–The coin flew up, spinning round and round through the air.

On the back of the copper coin there was the image of a dragon indicating it was of Lugnican make, on the face of the coin the year of production was engraved onto it, the appearance of it wasn’t too far from the coins in his world.

Reaching the peak of its ascent, for a brief instant the spinning coin froze like it was sown into the air. Subaru held his breath, while watching the trajectory of the falling coin he moved both his hands with a tremendous speed.

Punching towards empty space with a consecutive barrage, trying to alter the falling coin’s path with the resulting burst of wind.

Letting the coin drop right in front of him, he lowered his knees and leaned in, as the time it was still airborne dwindled. Right before the coin met the ground, he snatched it up in a crossing motion with both hands.

“Come now! Is it the left hand? Right hand? Or maybe even in my mouth?!”

“I’ve had enough of your bluffs. It’s in your right.”

“Oh My Goddess!!”

Opening his trembling right hand, he presented the coin on his palm to the triumphantly gloating girl. Seeing her smile grow bigger, he couldn’t help tremble in embarrassment and hang his head in shame. Transferring the appa from the bag to her hand, catching glimpse of the contents, a mere two appas stared back.

“Now, only two left. Not only making me guess which side of the coin, you even have me guess which hand it’s in. What kind of tricks do you have for me next?”

Does she have no doubt whatsoever? She genuinely seemed to have no interest in what type of gamble he’d bring out. Her attitude was one where no matter what the game entailed, she had unwavering conviction that she’d win.

On the other side was Subaru in a completely defeated state, after losing in his specialty game of coin-catching his 10 betting chips were now reduced to 2.  Mentally he was already feeling pressured.

“Impossible… for this coin-flipping skill that I’ve honed solely through reading manga to be completely ineffective. They even used to call me ‘dazzling Subaru’…”

“I’ll say it again, petty tricks are meaningless before me. I don’t understand the point of your coin-spinning in the first place, there’s no need for me to see the coin.”

Sitting on a broken down crate on the side of a wall, he clutched his knees listlessly as the girl looked at him strangely. A smile appeared on her face as always, but a sadistic expression of her enjoying tormenting the weak was starting to mix in. Seeing such a haughty opponent his manly spirit flared up, he wanted to break that stuck-up nose by any means. But, he didn’t have even a shred of the ability required to do so.

“I only challenged her to a coin flip because I thought I could win and then this happens…  she’s even treating it like it’s completely meaningless! Since it’s come to this all I can do is leave it to fate――”

“Have you decided your method? I wouldn’t mind if you just handed me the two appa.”

“Oi oi, in my country deserting under enemy fire means you’ll be made to commit sepukku. Don’t underestimate the harshness of an angry military officer. And don’t think that I’ll let this off with me being a sore loser.”

The girl’s attitude was like the incarnation of the word pride. However with how pitiful of state he’d found himself in, he almost felt like prostrating himself before her intimidating aura. Struggling to go against it he shook his head, raising his voice he jabbed out his finger.

“The game will be…. Rock Paper Scissors! This is the traditional means for a final-battle used in my homeland.”

“Rock Paper Scissors?”

“What’s this, could it be you don’t know what Rock Paper Scissors is? You don’t do you!? Oi oi oi, how much of a sheltered baby do you have to be to say those words!?”

“A boring provocation, not enough class. While I won’t deny thy charges of being ignorant of the world, I won’t rise to such a low challenge.”

Making fun of and teasing her at the same he was planning to somehow throw off her usual calm-self, but against this girl who saw through him in a single breath it was useless. Even though he provoked her that much she still didn’t pay him any mind. On top of being firmly self-centered, she seemed to think of Subaru as no different from another pebble on the side of the road. A pebble’s provocation couldn’t rise to the level of causing waves in her mind.

“I-i-t’s not like I was scheming anything!? Just because I lost consecutively like that doesn’t mean I’ll do something underhanded to win, don’t look down on me!”

“You waste my time. Hey, hurry up and explain this ‘rock paper scissors’ thing. That’ll be the end of you then.”

Waving her hands out to the side carefree, the girl sneered at him. Getting his provocations flipped on him Subaru couldn’t hide his agitation. Biting his lip in dismay, he brought his hands out front.

“Rock paper scissors is a type of duel where you throw out certain hand gestures while yelling at the same time, depending on the superior-inferior relation of the hand gestures victory and loss is decided. There are 3 different hand gestures, ‘rock’, ‘paper’, and ‘scissors’.  Rock is strong against scissors, scissors is strong against paper, and paper is strong against rock. Got it?”

“Hmm”, she stroked her chin while Subaru bent his hands into various shapes during his explanation,

“Indeed, I understand. That’s quite an interesting idea there. What do we yell?”

“At the ‘scissors’ part of ‘rock paper scissors’ you throw out the hand you plan on using. And by the way, in the case that the same hand comes out it’s a tie and you have to do it again.”

“Is that all? Good, I understand. In that case I choose paper.”

“Mind games right off that bat!?”

In rock paper scissors there is the high level technique of declaring your hand, Subaru shuddered at the level of her reasoning and application. Immediately after explaining the rules, she understood everything completely, and right away chose the method that gives her a mental advantage. It didn’t come out earlier because they were contests of pure luck, the absolute best method for winning――Her ability to choose that is being displayed here.

“My strategy of explaining the rules quickly and jumping into a game of rock-paper-scissors while the opponent was still confused… was crushed!?”

“Let’s start then. Here, Rock-Paper…”

“W-wait, timeout, hey, I haven’t decided on what I want to use.”

Having his makeshift strategy completely seen through, it backfired and now he was the one flustered. However now that she started she continued without heeding him, watching her raise her hand up Subaru had no choice but to match up.”

“”-scissors!””

Throwing out her hand at the same time as her yell, it was paper just like she had declared earlier. As for Subaru…

“Making a flower like me wait, even though you protested so much… it seems like you wanted to give me your appa after all.”

“No! Ontop of being statistically the most common choice, when a person is forced into a game of rock-paper-scissors unexpectedly their hand tightens up, it’s out of my control!”

In front of the girl with her hand laid out flat, Subaru’s hand was tightly balled into a fist while he made up excuses like a sore loser. A schemer drowned to death in his own schemes, Subaru played the part of a drowned corpse perfectly.

“Now then”

Letting out a long sigh, he watched as the girl’s white fingertips reached past him to steal away an appa out from his bag. With this he only had one chip left to bet.

“And by taking even that, I’ll teach thee who knows not thy own place a lesson. I’m at the top of the pyramid, you’re at the bottom. It suits you to crawl.”

“Oi oi, isn’t it a little extreme to treat a person who loses a bet like they’re the bottom rung of pyramid? Even though I don’t have a chance of winning and it seems like I’ll have all my belongings stripped from me and be ruined, my pride won’t let me not bet this last one… aa, am I actually the bottom rung!?”

“Don’t worry. Everything below me is the bottom rung. In this world there’s nothing but things below me.”

“A two story pyramid huh, even if there’s nowhere for me to stay it’s pretty refreshing!?”

Even though the portion touching the ground can be very wide, the place at the top only has one spot. With an extremely tall summit it ends being a pretty crazy pyramid. The pyramid in his imagination was in dire need of some lodging. “Now then,” the girl clapped her hands, bringing Subaru back to reality.

“Let’s bet the last one and have a match.”

“…this is the part where you’re supposed to pity me, like leave me the last piece at least.”

“I’ll make every last one of your appas mine. I’ve already gave me decision. All that’s left is for you to come up with the means, you can come up with whatever method you wish to hand over your appa with. I’m of the nature that I don’t get bored easily, but even so… this is becoming a little tedious.”

Even though her statement was no different from the ones earlier, it could said that she had absolutely no inclination to let him go; to Subaru this was a death sentence. For this girl who had no doubt in her own path, that she would win the remaining appa was already a decided matter――since it’s like this, Subaru had no way out.

“Let’s do another rock-paper-scissors for the last match.”

“Hmm, challenging me right away when you’re at a disadvantage. There might be some logic to that, but whatever you do is useless.”

“No more talk, from both of us. And no more of that lead in like last time either, just a straight match.”

Putting his hand out, Subaru’s first objective was to seal the girl’s mind games. Seeing Subaru’s unexpected attitude she raised her eyebrows, concluding that it wasn’t anything that could influence the odds of winning she shook her head.

“Very well. Let’s start this quickly and end this quickly then, shall we?”

Seeing that she agreed, Subaru pulled his hand back, winding it up. Covering his clenched right hand with his left, he shrunk down while twisting his body, like he was preparing to draw a sword from his hip quickly and strike, pulling his body to the limit, heightening his fighting spirit to the point it could cut.

“Aaaaaaaa!!”

Putting his spirit into it, an overly excessive warcry flooded out from his mouth. Movement without meaning, actions without meaning, preparation without meaning, fighting spirit without meaning. No matter how much force he put into his body, victory or defeat wouldn’t be influenced by such a thing. Even knowing this, no… despite knowing this! Subaru put his heart in soul into his right fist!

The atmosphere in the back alley began to change, from the spirit Subaru put into this match even the girl’s expression began to stiffen. The moment his fighting spirit reached its peak, the two of them moved.

“”Rock-paper-scissors!!””

They shouted. With it their two fists shot out like they would collide, for just a split second all sound disappeared. The air in front of their fists broke apart, in the vacuum left behind speckles of light could be seen exploding―― looking at the fist in front of her, unrest began spreading throughout her red pair of eyes. Subaru noticed this!

The girl’s clenched hand was ‘rock’. As for her opponent Subaru…

“T-this is….”

“Listen and be astonished, look and be amazed. This is the ultimate rock-paper-scissors lethal weapon, passed down from centuries-old.”

Muttering to himself. Subaru’s right hand, it was a shape that defied the girl’s understanding. ――His thumb, index finger, and middle finger were extended in an irregular shape. This was the ultimate forbidden move, tremble and be in terror!!”

“Yes, this is the ultimate form ‘rock+scissors+paper’!”

“What the heck is that!? I didn’t hear that you could use a shape like that!”

“Quite your complaining, loser! I may not have said it, but it’s your fault for not asking! This part here is rock, and this part here is scissors, and this over here is paper. In other words, my hand beats your rock.”

“If that logic works, then shouldn’t a portion of it lose to my rock…?”

“Aaa-aaa-aaa! I can’t hear you!!”

He raised his voice while plugging his ears, with a tap in his step he collected the remaining apple. The last remaining one that didn’t get taken away, he held it as if it were extremely precious.

“I win! I win! I won’t let you complain! Unlike a simple coin toss, rules have a shady side to them. It’s your fault for not putting in the effort to notice! My tenacity triumphs over your good luck! No objections! I’m more positive!”

From her unwillingness to lose to such an improvised idiotic reasoning, and the ugliness of Subaru’s cowardly victory parade, “grrrr” she growled bitterly. Within this short time, for the girl who had always had an air of daringness, her expression was stained with defeat for the first time.

“――In that case, let’s do one last bet.”

“Haa? What nonsense are you speaking, little Ms. Bunny-rabbit? The bet for the last appa ended with my win. What reason do I have to bet any further: NONE!”

“You bet the one appa you have left, and I’ll bet all the ones I’ve won.”

Towards Subaru who was thinking of running away after winning, the girl glared with fire sparkling in her eyes as she made the proposal.

Hearing this, Subaru stopped; staring back at her while frozen in place. The girl’s expression reflected in his black pupils showed her daringness was already coming back, this time with an even fiercer tenacity.

“The match will be rock-paper-scissors again. However, you can only use that ‘rock+scissors+paper’ move one time.”

“Are you serious? I’m just going to say it, but you already have 10 appa…”

“I believe I said I wanted all of them. If it’s not all of them, it’s the same as none.”

An even more refreshing self-righteous reasoning. She tilted her head, ‘what is thy answer?’ she questioned Subaru’s resolve. Hearing this, Subaru thought to himself ‘she’s quite stupid’. Losing herself in the heat of things, and not knowing to quit when you’re ahead is indeed quite foolish. Obsessed with victory

After all, he could never understand the absolute avarice to steal another’s belongings that shaped her very soul. Therefore, upon securing a single appa, and feeling that he had managed to get a good hit on her, Subaru had no reason to accept such a contest.

Even so――

“That old man’s face covered with scars is pushing me forward. Take back the fruit of our friendship. And land a good solid punch on that haughty girl’s face. No! What stupid things are you making me do!?”

“I’ll take that as an affirmative.” The girl confirmed in a deep voice.

Subaru stroked his chin, showing his agreement. Lifting their fists up in air, the final duel entered its starting sequence.

As their fists came down, for a few seconds the world became a slideshow, their thoughts accelerating.

One of the prerequisites for this duel was that the ‘rock-scissors-paper’ move was limited to one use. As this was a sure-kill ultimate move, it would naturally be the first one to be used. This way it’d be a tie, and afterwards it’d turn into a pure game of rock-paper-scissors.

Her tremendous luck was a menace.

Being able to guess heads or tails for 7 consecutive coin tosses, and even being able to recognize which hand he hid it in after he caught it. It was to such a level that if she told him she could predict the future, he’d believe it. But, there’s no way that she could actually do that. Knowing future events, and being able to act to change that outcome is beyond a cheat ability. Such a ridiculous ability would be――”

“Ah, isn’t that describing me!”

“Here I go! Rock-paper-ss….”

Aiming for the moment his concentration was interrupted, her hand swung down. Seeing this, Subaru promptly followed with his own hand.

And――

“Naturally you used ‘rock-scissors-paper’ move. However, you were too naïve!”

Seeing the ‘rock-scissors-paper’ shaped hand in front of him, Subaru’s face warped into a broad grin.

Faced with Subaru’s composed attitude, the girl once again blinked her eyes in bewilderment.

“That hand, what is that?”

Subaru with his thumb sticking up; she called out with a completely chilled voice. Not paying attention to the tone of her voice, he let out a ‘harrumph’ through his nose.

“This is an even more forbidden move, hidden arts ‘bomb’. Even something like the ‘rock+scissors+paper’ move gets blown away by it, the strongest ultimate technique. Blam, boom, the opponent gets their just deserts.”

“What the heck!? Is this just anything goes!?”

“This is the genuine last hidden kind of move. You confirmed the ways you could use the ‘rock+scissors+paper’ move, but since you didn’t ask about different ones I didn’t tell you. With this bomb I deal you direct damage! Pulverization! Honorable defeat! Thunderous Ovation!”

TL: He’s making references to Yugioh, one of Kaibaman’s quotes when using his 3 blue-eyes-white-dragon attack. Funsai! Gyokusai! Daikassai!

爆弾の効果でお前にダイレクトダメージ! 粉砕! 玉砕! 俺大喝采!

Furiously clapping his hands, Subaru drew in the area’s ambiance; trumpeting his victory loudly. The girl furiously bit her lip, pointing a trembling finger at Subaru.

“A-are you saying it doesn’t matter as long as you win!? Have you no pride as a man!”

“It’s all good as long as you win, as long as you win! Don’t misunderstand me! I don’t like fighting! I like winning!”

Petty villain full-speed ahead. Forcing out a magnificent speech, Subaru set his foot down. Turning his attention back, he put his hand over the girl’s finger pointed out at him.

“In the match just now, since you used the ‘rock+scissors+paper’ move you indirectly acknowledged my win as legitimate! In other words you have no choice but to admit to my victory! Hahaha, rock-paper-scissors truly is hell!”

“Grrrr….”

Subaru gloating in victory and the girl growling bitterly. But, the girl soon shrugged her shoulders, “I suppose there’s no helping it.”

Putting her hands on her hips, she puffed out her chest.

“It’s as you say, now that it’s over and done it’s too late to back out now. As such, I’ll say that this bet was your win. Now, do as you wish.”

The girl took a big step forwards as if to say, ‘here’. Taking a stance that emphasized her abundant chest, it was apparent that nothing was supporting her breasts as they shook lightly under her dress. Getting another good look at them once again, they went beyond what he had imagined. This was the first time in his life he’d met such a great person with such giant breasts. Among his ranking of the Roswaal mansion, Emilia’s were the most well-formed. Below her were the twins, but even if you were trying to flatter them you couldn’t call their’s big. As for Beatrice, she didn’t even meet the evaluation standards in the first place.

Therefore, with such a girl pushing her body out as an official prize, Subaru swallowed his saliva.

“O-oi oi oi oi, you’re way too open to this. Can’t you be a little bit more like, “Nooo you dummy, there’s no way I can do something embarrassing like that, so embarassing!”, it wouldn’t hurt you know? If you did that, as a man named Natsuki Subaru, I wouldn’t hesitate to show you some mercy…”

TL: the specific line he wants her to say is a catchphrase from an 80’s show Maicchingu Machiko Sensei, the main character is a female teacher that gets sexually harassed constantly and says this whenever it happens. It’s technically a children’s show (technically).

“In the contest my loss was decided, making excuses on top of that is not something that can be allowed. That’d just make me a poor loser. It’s as you say, I got full of myself from my divine blessing and lost track of what was required to win. It was my mistake. Most of all, for me who has never lost this badly before in my life it could be said to be a valuable experience. As such, there’s nothing to feel bad about. Come hold them.”

Saying that, she stepped even further forward. Overpowered by her forcefulness, for as much she stepped forward Subaru retreated back. Scowling at his attitude,

“You, it couldn’t be… now that it’s actually progressed to the stage of touching my breasts, you lost your nerve?”

“Haa!? Ww-what, I don’t know what you’re saying! Who’s c-c-c-ch-chickening out!? Who spread that nonsense!?  When did they do it, how many hours ago, how many seconds, how many times did the earth spin around on its axis!?”

“… It seems you’ve fallen helplessly for me. Getting cold feet like this, what a pure love.”

Bringing her palm to her forehead in a shocked manner, she gazed at Subaru with charming eyes. Chills ran up his spine, reflexively he hugged his own body in a feminine manner.

“I don’t care anymore, just please let me go. I want to just take my appa and leave. I have a total cutie that I just got separated from for a bit… I’m probably already going to get a full timeout by now.”

Right around now Emilia was without a doubt earnestly searching for the missing Subaru. His strategy of returning before she got out of the guard station and insisting that he had been patiently waiting the whole time didn’t seem like it’d work anymore. Subaru who was led astray by the loveliness in front of his own eyes and wasted all this time had no qualifications to make excuses.

“On top of it all, now that I earned the right to do this I’m hesitating like a no-good bastard. No, the pure-heartedness inside of me is speaking. It’s saying that if my first boob-touch isn’t with the girl I set my sights on then it’s no good!”

“What moldy values… if it’s like this I’m not pleased.”

To touch or not to touch, the respective positions between the two were starting to reverse. Subaru displaying his apparent virginity and chickening out, on the other hand the girl’s pride wouldn’t let her happily withdraw after she herself was the one to offer her body. It had truly fallen into a bizarre state of affairs, with one side retreating and one side pushing forward.

“Hmm, this seems like it’s going to become rather troublesome.”

Abruptly releasing her gaze on Subaru, she turned towards the entrance to the street. Lured in, Subaru turned his attention over there as well.

“Huh, it seems like a bunch of delinquent looking people are coming over here.”

“And the ones leading the pack are some very familiar looking pieces of trash. Oh dear, it seems these fools don’t have a shred of fun in them.”

The girl shook her head with an expression that didn’t conceal her surprise and disdain. Standing next to her was Subaru in a panic, casting eyes on the alley in the opposite the direction of the oncoming group. He didn’t feel any presence of a group coming from that direction, but he had no proof it wasn’t a dead-end either.

“Either way, getting caught here definitely feels like a BADEND. Even after hearing Reinhard’s name they came back, what the hell are these guys thinking!?”

“They must have found out about your bluff about being acquainted with the Knight among Knights. They’ve got their honor too. Putting together their numbers, they came to pay back their debts. It’s that same tenacity to win you were talking about earlier.”

“What sore losers! Even if I forgive myself for not having any pride, I’m the type that won’t forgive others for their prideless behavior!

The sheer egotism espoused by Subaru and this girl.

Leading as the vanguard of the group, the stooges noticed the pair’s existence. Yelling something, they signaled to the group’s rear and some scary looking men broke into a run.

Subaru seeing this,

“Damnit, today is seriously unlucky!”

It started with his attempted fall from the dragon-carriage, and even more so after he got separated from Emilia. If he messed up at all it likely wouldn’t end pretty. He really hasn’t had any decent luck at all. Forcefully taking the hand of the girl standing up next to him and the bag packed with appa, he put on a hurried retreat ――with no idea where he was going he advanced towards the dark.

“Oi, what are you doing, don’t touch me so casually.”

“This isn’t the time for that! If you don’t want to get caught run! Just look at the lewd look on their faces! If you get caught they’d only be able to put that in an adult magazine!”

While forcibly pulling the girl who had little intention of running, “and anyways!” Subaru enunciated out each syllable while rushing forward forcefully.

“You leased out your breasts to me just now! Like I’d let those guys touch them, outrageous! If you get it then dash! B-dash!”

Pulling her arm, he ran down the poorly maintained road; leading her as he headed deeper into the alleys. Behind them, the shouts and footsteps of the men linked together while following in pursuit. He felt his heart beat faster and harder, and felt pain in his lungs ―― while aware of that all, Subaru ignored it as he ran deeper and deeper down the extremely narrow alleyway.

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Emilia got out of the guard station, returning to the main street it was 20 minutes since she left Subaru alone.

Her main objective was getting in touch with Reinhard ―― Regardless of the time it took, you could say the result ended in failure. Bringing up the subject to her guide Julius,

“Reinhard? For a while now, he’s been busy with something and hasn’t had the time to come here… well, since it’s Emilia-sama I could convey your words to him personally.”

Getting this offer from Julius she somehow or another turned him down, seeing that her objective was crushed she planned to return quickly.

But,

“Julius took up more of my time than I thought.”

“He doesn’t mean any harm, and since I can discern these types of things it wasn’t too uncomfortable for me.  Not to mention his colorful and abundant mana, I definitely don’t dislike that.”

Finally getting out of the guard station and onto the street, out from under her silver hair Puck replied to her words. Responding, Emilia nodded her head “yeah,”

“It’s not like I think he’s a bad person. And I think the things he told us were quite useful, I’m not unhappy with any of that, but…”

“Well, he does talk about himself a bit too much….. if Subaru were there, what would he call it, ‘someone who can’t read the mood’ or something?”

Seeing Puck laugh dryly, she responded with a long sigh; looking out over the road. Even though it was only 20 minutes, it was plenty enough to get tired of waiting. She felt bad making him wait idle for that long. But, more than that she had been feeling a sense of unease in her heart.

“How to say it, it’s just as expected huh.”

“… I thought he wasn’t the type of kid to wait patiently for 20 minutes.”

The unpleasant sense of apprehension hit the mark. Running her hands through her silver hair, Emilia hung her head in shame. On the street spanning out in front of the nobles district, there was no sign of Subaru who had been told to wait there. They wondered whether or not if Subaru had sought shelter in some building while he waited for them, but, standing outside the guard station for a few minutes there was no sign of him appearing.

“It seems he isn’t here anymore… Puck, can you track him?”

“I can try. But right now Subaru’s mana feels pretty weak as a whole, so if I fail I don’t want you to get mad.”

“That way of talking, you’re becoming more like Subaru. ――Anyways, please do it.”

‘Okayyy’, Puck replied softly; pushing his way out through her silver hair he came up to surface. Popping out from under her hood, he settled down on her shoulder. Wiggling his pink nose, he sniffed the air searching for Subaru’s scent―― more exactly, he was smelling for any remnants of mana from Subaru’s body.

To a certain degree, if it was the mana of someone he knew then Puck’s nose was quite dependable. The problem was, how long had passed since Subaru had left. And, the problem of the current state of Subaru’s body which lacked mana. Both of those brought him a tinge of worry.

While Puck was using his nose like this, Emilia was scanning the surroundings for clues about Subaru’s whereabouts. There were very few people along the road next to the nobles district’s entrance and especially few near the guardhouse. The restrictions on coming in and out of the nobles district were pretty strict, if you didn’t have business in the nobles district then this probably wasn’t the type of place you’d want to hang out at. As such, minus Emilia, the number of people visible on the street was probably few enough to count on one hand.

“… that person, I wonder what they’re doing?”

Spotting a person across the street, she was extremely interested in that person’s strange actions.

They were standing at a location a few dozen meters away from the guard station, on the opposite side of the entrance to the nobles district, near a path that headed into the commoners district. On the side of the road, was a place with a wooden box that had been established for the purpose of garbage collection. Leaning up against the wooden box, they person was sticking their head and arms in searching for something.

“I wonder if they’re looking for a lost item?”

This is what Emilia thought, putting a finger to her lips. Glancing over at her shoulder, Puck was closing his eyes and sniffing through his nose with all his might, still trying to pick up on any remnants. He hadn’t signaled for her to start moving yet. Confirming that, ‘OK!’ she whispered to herself and started walking, heading towards the suspicious person.

If Subaru had been here, or if anyone else had been here for that matter, she would have probably controlled herself.  One would normally avoid going up to a person so interested in fishing around in the garbage. But, with Emilia on her own there was nobody around to stop her. And the only one around who could warn her, Puck, was completely oblivious to what she was doing. As such, with no hindrances she had already come up to the person’s back.

“Huh, it’s not here either, princess. I’m stumped, really. I wonder what happened.”

Coming up behind them, the person’s grumbles reached her ears. She could already tell from looking at him from behind, but it was a man’s voice. A man who’s upper body was thrust into the wooden box searching around, he was dressed in slightly dirty lightweight equipment. However, from the fact that the portion around his waist was furnished with a sword as wide as chest one could tell they were exceedingly strong. From the looks of his lower body he was built quite sturdily, there was no doubt at least a portion of that was reflected in his fighting ability.

From the roughness of his voice too, this was someone you’d normally want to avoid touching. But, the person here was someone far outside the norm, a soft-hearted half-elf.

“Um.”

“――Mm?”

Being called out to so unreservedly, the man raised a seemingly surprised voice and pulled his head out,

“Gaa!”

Pulling his upper body out of the wooden box, he hit the back of his head strongly against the crate. Leaning over, this time he crashed his chin forcefully against the outside of the crate. Receiving consecutive hits to the head, the man crouched over.

“Ow-owww, it hurts….! What the heck, me, I’m getting too old old for this……”

“A-are you ok?”

Letting out an oddly pained voice the man consoled himself, as the one who called out to him Emilia felt a bit guilty.

Touching his shoulder,

“Kyaa!”

The man stood up forcefully, Emilia who touched his shoulder was surprised. The man wrapped himself in his arms, turning around to face Emilia behind him.

Because the man was tall, he had to look down at her. And, the moment that man’s face met hers, her bluish-purple pupils widened in fright.

Towards this Emilia whose throat was filled with fright, the man pointed a finger and said.

“Oi, don’t touch me so casually little lady. Those that touch me get burned.”

Vol. 3 Ch. 7: Orange-colored girl

He wavered for a few seconds, deciding on whether he should go in the direction of the voices or not.

Even Subaru himself wasn’t sure what his deciding factor was. It could have been that after being lost for such a long time he longed for human contact, maybe he was just drawn to the scene out of morbid curiosity. Or perhaps, it was because a certain silver haired girl did the same for him during his first loop.

Getting a bad feeling about this Subaru grimaced and pushed forward, rounding the corner.

“Don’t mess with us, woman! Should we ruin that pretty face of yours?!”

“Stop making such a racket, you louts. Such an uncultured group, even your method of coercing lacks class.”

Facing these disheveled men whose spit was flying in anger, her crystal-clear voice sounded cold and carried a hint of poison.

Quietly, he peeked his head out from around the corner, timidly checking to see what was happening.

In the narrow alleyway stood a single girl, three men surrounded her trying to cut off all means of escape. He couldn’t help but sigh at the start of such a stereotypical ‘petty-criminal’ event, but what drew his attention more was the girl’s appearance that didn’t seem to fit in with this place’s atmosphere.

Vivid orange-colored haired that sparkled like it was catching light from the sun, tied together with a barrette into a single bunch as it streamed down her back. A florid vermilion dress, one that’s beauty would best be used for a ball or tea with the aristocracy, certainly inappropriate for this cluttered and dirty alleyway. The many ornaments adorning her neck, ears, and fingers, even an amateur could tell these were inlaid with first-class gems. From top-to-bottom, the coordination of her outfit just screamed ‘I have money’ to Subaru.

And the girl herself despite being clad in dozens of dazzling jewels, her noble appearance still stuck out, not inferior to her possessions in the slightest. Her red almond-shaped eyes glinted defiance. Thin peach-colored lips, and skin shining white as fresh snow. Such perfection would make any painter snap their brush in frustration, seeing this in person Subaru once again confirmed how irregular this world was.

Surrounding this girl, the men savagely revealed their violent nature, shouting at her openly. The girl calmly looked back at them.  This attitude didn’t appear to just be her acting strong, but no matter how he looked at it her delicate body didn’t appear to contain the power to extract herself from this situation. Or even if she did have the ability to take care of this herself, he had no way to confirm it. Crossing her arms, she puffed up her abundant chest with an air of composure. From his outsider’s perspective, he could tell the men had interpreted this as her looking down on them and gotten even more riled up.

“–H-hey! Sorry to keep you waiting, honey!”

Promptly waving his hands, Subaru nimbly made his way into the middle of the altercation. Four people, the three hoodlums and the girl all stared at him; for the time being, he lifted a hand out to the three-hoodlums as if trying to apologize.

“It looks like there’s been some sort of misgivings between you all, but could you overlook this one for me. You can probably tell from looking, but she’s not all there in the head. You get me?”

The public order in this city’s underbelly definitely couldn’t be called good. Walking around celebrity-style was just begging to have all your possessions stolen. Wasn’t this exactly what you’d refer to as someone with mental issues? Shelving his own indiscretions at having temporarily lost his sanity chasing a fluff-ball therianthrope and wandering off, Subaru faced the group of awkwardly staring men.

“Well, that’s how it is. Bye!” he said energetically. Grabbing the girl’s hand behind him.

“Wh-“

“Look, let’s get going and not bother these nice young men any more. Remember we have that promise today… the one where we’ll be eating sweets together, feeding each other with a spoon “aaaan”, that promise you know…”

Making a cast substitution in the dream schedule he’d planned out for Emilia, Subaru took the girl by the arm and started quickly moving to depart. However,

“Insolence.”

“Ha…?”

Grabbing the hand he touched her with, the angle of Subaru’s body was forcibly changed with a great twisting motion. Made to lean forward, his waist turned as his body made a full revolution.

“Don’t touch me so casually”

Releasing the wrist he’d grabbed, he felt his other hand brace the back of his head before a strong impact run out as he struck against the side of a wall like a rag doll.

“G-ghh!?”

“Oh my, I go outside and immediately this happens. Men see my body and are drawn in like flies. Truly, I can’t let my guard down at all.”

Almost like looking at some garbage on the side of the road, the girl ignored Subaru rolling around in pain on the ground clutching his injured face. Subaru looked up from below, still half-crying from the pain of having his nose scrape against the stone wall. He stood up, anger welling.

“You! Go with the flow! That was definitely pattern A: Save the thankful woman from hoodlums. If you don’t go along with it how are we supposed to go by the template!”

“I don’t know what you’re saying. I do whatever I want.”

“Smashing someone you just met against a wall, that’s way beyond the level of being free-spirited!”

He tried to help her out, but far from having his intentions understood, he actually got treated like some pervert. To make things worse she actually took expensing justice into her own hands.

助け出そう、というこちらの意図が伝わらないどころか、痴漢扱いな上で本人からの必殺仕置き人だ。

TL: removed a pop-culture reference, since it just doesn’t translate. 必殺仕置き人 is an old Samurai drama, she dispatched Subaru like they dealt with the villains in the show.

If he wasn’t so resistant to nosebleeds, or if his teeth protruded out more than an ordinary person this would have ended in tragedy.

Subaru’s face bent with pain and disgrace. It took him a while to realize the men silently standing around were looking at him. Subaru had put on such a spectacularly pitiful display. He collected the appa that had spilled out everywhere, setting them against the wall.

“Go ahead and laugh. I tried to act cool and help someone, and ended up eating a wall to the face for it. I’m lame so just go ahead and laugh. Do it!”

“Err, that’s… laughing would be a bit too much…”

The men’s words were colored with sympathy. Subaru dropped his shoulders, he would have been much more comfortable with being laughed at. Letting out a long sigh he settled his feelings. Taking control again,

“Take two!  Come, you scoundrels! Now that I’m here, things won’t be so easy! If you want to pass here, you’ll have to go through me first. Hehe, once this battle’s over I’m going to go open a bakery in my hometown. I promised my childhood sweetheart I’d marry her too!”

Declaring his words assertively in good spirit, Subaru spoke sharply to the men. Protecting the girl behind him, he observed how the men would move. It’s 3-on-1, so if I take the initiative I might have a chance of winning ―― as he thought that,

“Uh, you guys kind of seem familiar”

Wracking his brain, he looked at the men in front of him, comparing their faces to his memory. With a sudden realization, he clapped his hands.

“Ah, the stooges. No way, this can’t be. Are there really no other goons in the capital besides you three?”

It was only natural he remembered these three, this was the idiotic 3-man gang he dubbed the ‘three-stooges’ after they harassed him on his first day in the capital. A slight feeling of tension seized Subaru, they did take his life once after all,

“Any more of this and I’m going to start losing my energy… what the hell are you guys, do you do this every single day? Every day? One day? Summer vacation?”

“He came in, bumped his head, now he’s spouting this gibberish”

“Oi, I don’t really want to deal with him right now, you go.”

“I don’t want to either! If we harass him a little do you think he’ll leave?”

He didn’t know if they were being cautious, or if their tension had dropped; facing the idiotic Subaru they couldn’t get their fighting spirit up and were now consulting each other in a low voice, deciding who should have to deal with him. With the three losing their will to fight and the mood on the verge of settling, the girl who had been observing silently spoke up,

“I grow bored. Talking amongst yourselves so indecisively, nothing’s ever going to happen. What are you, women? If that’s it, then I think you should dress like it. With all that muscle and hair, you’d look quite funny.”

Putting a finger to her mouth, the girl threw out abuses; laying on ridicule and contempt. In that instant the other four (3 stooges + Subaru) had no idea what she’d just said. It took them a while to process what had just happened, but once it got through they all exploded at the same time.

“Don’t mess with me, you shitty woman!”

“Who you calling a girl? messin’ with me!”

“Who do you think you are, talking down to us like that! Huh!?”

“You, you’re so full of yourself! Whether we’re women or not, should we teach your sexy body the difference!?”

The 4-man gang of hoodlums spouted out vulgar objections. Among all of them the last one was especially inappropriate for public discourse. The one who shouted such a comment was Subaru, his shoulders swaying as he breathed heavily.

“Damn. What the hell am I doing joining up with the stooges…”

Even I’m surprised by my own impulsiveness sometimes. Honestly, the hoodlums were justified to be angry at her attitude. Then again, just because she was foul mouthed didn’t mean it was OK for her to be threatened by these guys.

“I sympathize with you guys, but I won’t yield from my original intentions. You may have reasons of your own, but if you want someone to blame, blame yourselves for making an enemy of me on first day we met.”

“That stuck-up woman is one thing, but what the hell’s your problem? You damn brat.”

Scratching his head, one of the stooges spat out angrily at Subaru, seemingly troubled. It appears they had absolutely no recollection of him. Getting beaten black and blue by Emilia, getting beaten up by Subaru even when they were 3 on 1, stabbing him when he was passing by, they went through a lot together. How heartless to forget him.

“Well, I guess all those events didn’t happen on this particular world-line. In reality, the one these guys should remember… is a certain pretty-boy’s valiant entrance.”

It was settled in the most peaceable manner, but you could also say it was the one that left the shallowest connection between Subaru and them. Because he didn’t deal with them directly, there was no helping that Subaru didn’t leave much of an impression on them. Subaru felt a few pangs of loneliness,

“Hey, I remember now. A few days back in the business district’s back alley…”

“――!He’s that crazy brat! He hasn’t changed a bit!”

“It’s really him. I didn’t notice because his clothes were different.”

A lightbulb lit up in one of the stooge’s minds; he yelled out, snapping his fingers. Like a chain reaction the stooges searched their memory, one after the other. Subaru’s sensitive ears picked up an inexcusable word mixed in, but that was water under the bridge. He clapped his hands in delight that they remembered him.

“Yep, since that’s the case, we’re not really strangers anymore right? So could you do me a favor this time and let us go?”

“Are you an idiot? Instead of strangers, we’re more like enemies now. The only thing that’s changed is instead of 3-vs-1 it’s 3-vs-2.”

“With just one more person it’d be evenly matched. Neither of us wants to make any painful memories, right?”

“I have a revision. It’s not 3 vs 2, it’s 3 vs 1 vs 1”

“You! Could you not talk for a while!?”

Even though he was trying to throw out a random bluff to somehow resolve this peacefully, the self-absorbed woman was completely ignoring his intentions. If only he could time-leap 5 minutes back, he wanted to tap himself on the shoulder and call out, “seriously, it’s not worth it.” It was way too late for that now though.

In the first place, he knew first-hand that these guys didn’t have much patience. Increasingly, what he felt from these guys wasn’t anger, but a certain cold and sharp emotion mixed in. This was something he’d gotten very familiar with since coming to this world, this thing called killing intent. Putting their hands in their breast pockets, it was only a matter of time before they took out some item to exact their bloodthirst with.

“… I guess there’s no helping it. I really didn’t want to do this.”

Having judged that there was now no avoiding a confrontation, Subaru shook his head at his own lack of ability. Unable to overcome this through conversation, he had to resort to his trump card as usual. He hoped he’d be able to take it easy one day.

“Stop right there, you three. Any more and this won’t end well for you.”

Turning a palm out towards the three, Subaru blocked the men who were now on the verge of violence. Listening to Subaru’s words, a vein popped up on one of the easier to anger stooge’s forehead.

“Ha? Aren’t you misunderstanding something here? We’re on top here, not you. Don’t be giving out orders.”

Not hiding his killing-intent, the stooge reached for the knife in chest pocket. Subaru was a moment quicker, stepping towards the stooge, declaring clearly in the most intimidating voice he could muster.

“Those words, don’t regret it.”

“Haa?”

“Just between me and you, I know Reinhard you know. We’re best buds. If I give him a call, he’ll come here flying.”

“――Wha!?”

Hearing what Subaru said, the stooge shrunk back in fright.  Begin operation ‘fox hiding behind a tiger’: they’re already shaking in their boots!

Having invoked Reinhard’s name, tremors ran between Subaru and the stooge. They probably wanted to call it a bluff, unfortunately, the stooges had actually witnessed Reinhard himself backing Subaru up before.

That ridiculous swordsman with a few screws loose up there, there was no way they didn’t know about him.

“What’ll it be, with just one shout I can take you guys out. I’ll do it.”

No sooner than he said that, the effects were apparent. Subaru cupped his hands around his mouth like he was going to yell, putting his acting skills to max in an attempt to threaten them. Honestly, if Reinhard wasn’t the type of character that’d conveniently appear out of nowhere like a hero to help citizens in need, Subaru would be getting the shit beat out of him right now. That’s why this was a rather desperate charade.

Not seeing through Subaru sweating bullets on the inside, the men grit their teeth in frustration.

“We’ll let you off this time.”

“But, it’s not like we lost, remember this.”

“And it’s not like we’re scared of Reinhard either!”

And here comes the loser’s excuses as expected, their unnecessary explanations made them look even more like kids. Leaving behind some foul words, the men shuffled down an alleyway.

Watching until their backs completely disappeared behind the street corner, he finally let out all the tension he had been keeping in with a sigh. Placing his hands on his knees he crouched down.

“Aaah, totally worn out. I’m seriously sweating. In a small child vs small child fight, it seems my small-child battle tactics were superior… it’s a small world!”

TL: it’s a small world = Disney song, Subaru being strange again.
「あー、しんどかった。マジ焦った。小者VS小者の争いは、どうやら俺の小者ぶりに軍配が上がったらしいな……イッツァスモールワールド!」

Telling a small joke he managed to get back some of his composure, turning to face the girl behind him. Trying to rationalize it all in his head: he had been bluffing towards those guys, so maybe she was doing something similar and that haughty attitude of hers was actually all an act for self-protection――

“What, looking at me with those eyes like a beggar. I have nothing to give to the likes of ye!”

“Nope, this is authentic. Can you at least say some words of gratitude towards the person who saved you?”

“Saved?”

She turned her head inquisitively. Closing her eyes in thought for a brief moment, letting out an ‘ah’, as if she’d come to some sort of understanding.

“What ye were chirping about earlier was all in order to save me. Hmm, I didn’t notice.”

“After all that, saying something like ‘I didn’t notice’, isn’t that exactly the same as no reward!?”

He twisted his legs, befuddled. The shock he received was so great he had to express it with his body. Even so, the girl looked at him with bored eyes, not commenting on it at all.

“Good grief, what a waste of time. Stealing my unlimited time, what a sinful story.”

“So you’re not going to say thanks after all…”

Gratitude and some words of thanks were all he sought, unintentionally Rem’s image came to mind. That blue-haired girl was probably on a shopping tour right around now, they’d only been apart for a few hours but how much he missed her. I want to be healed by Rem!

From Subaru’s voice she realized she may have been a little patronizing, with a ‘hmph’ she turned only her head back towards him.

“Don’t misunderstand me. Even if you weren’t there I would have been perfectly fine. It wasn’t even a problem in the first place, and you were the one who went out of their way to get involved. For you to boast of it as an achievement, it’s nothing but comical.”

“I don’t really get it, what do you mean? Is your ladyship so incredibly strong that you’d actually be fine on your own?! …Or something like that?”

“No, it’s even simpler than that. ――This world is made for my convenience. Therefore, I’ll never be in a disadvantageous position. Being saved by you was only thanks to me. Snatching my achievement and acting like it’s your own, have you no shame?!”

Like it was completely natural, like she was completely right, like it was just common sense, this young lady puffed up her abundant chest and proclaimed it as universal law.

Such a lively and refreshing declaration. All possible situations are her ally, and everything that happens is only because of her actions.

On top of that, Subaru’s act of coming in to help was struck down as ‘trying to take away her glory’. Simply refreshing.

As she was sparkling like the sun in front of him, Subaru came to a definite realization.

――Getting involved with this… I’ve made a huge mistake.

“Uh… is t-that right? I’m sorry for doing something unnecessary.”

To avoid provoking this fellow too much, he needed to just go along with everything she said. Nodding his head exaggeratedly in agreement, he quickly picked up the sack of Appa he had left leaning against the wall. They spilled everywhere when he face-crashed into the wall, luckily, there didn’t appear to be any signs of bruising or damage. He felt a bit of relief knowing that the grocer uncle’s goodwill wasn’t damaged.

“Well then, that’s that. May we walk again in a place with more sunlight!”

Waving his hand, he made an about-face and turned his back to the girl. Right now I need to put some distance between us without making her angry, once I turn the corner let’s all-out sprint to get away.

Like this he’d decided on a course of action, counting the steps until he reached the corner…

“――Halt.”

A low voice called out to him from behind, he stopped walking unintentionally, cursing himself.

He should have just pretended he didn’t hear anything and kept walking, now that he’s stopped walking that excuse wouldn’t work anymore. With a little hesitation, without turning around Subaru spoke up.

“W-whatever could it be?”

Delicately trying to avoid angering her and deprecating himself, unknowingly a superior-inferior relationship had already established itself in his mind. The mentally weak Subaru tried with all his might to not turn around, against such a mentally strong girl his petty resistance was futile.

“What’s in the bag? Show me.”

He turned around slowly, the girl was indicating with her finger to put down the sack he was holding to his chest. He didn’t have any particular obligation to obey meekly, but wanting to avoid dragging out the conversation by defying her, he reluctantly opened the sack for her, showing her the contents. Seeing the mountain of bright red fruit, her red eyes sparkled many times.

“Even after seeing it I don’t know. This fruit… what is it?”

“Even if you ask me that… it’s an appa. Have you really never seen one?”

Since they had always had them on the table for breakfast at the Roswaal mansion he had assumed they were a popular fruit. In a certain way, the standard of meals at the Roswaal mansion was fairly high, there was the possibility that appa’s themselves were quite an expensive food item. That is to say, each one cost him 2 copper coins. Which means… a genuine question mark floated up.

In front of Subaru frowning with skepticism, the one with an even more remarkable reaction was the girl. She peeked once more into the sack, then back at Subaru like he was making a fool of her.

“You liar. Don’t make me laugh. Understand me? Appa are a white fruit. Definitely not a fruit with a red appearance like this.”

“Well, if you peel them the insides are white.”

Not knowing what he should say, he blurted out something obvious, replying dejectedly. However, the one whose color drained from their face was the girl’s. Uncomfortable from her reaction, he asked timidly,

“Um, it couldn’t be, have you never seen an appa that wasn’t peeled?”

“Hmm, now that you mention it I’ve only seen what’s lined up on the dinner table. ――Alright. Give it here.”

Giving a single nod in assent, the girl thrust one hand out towards Subaru, requesting he hand over an appa. From the sheer audacity of her attitude Subaru wanted to try objecting, but, looking at her other hand he could tell that was a bad idea.

Opposite the left hand she presented out towards him, her right hand was tucked between her breasts, pulling out from her extravagant dress her palm gripped onto a short dagger the size of a kitchen knife.

The workmanship of the handle was inlaid with precious gems that he could tell were expensive just from one look. From the way the blade glinted, shining even in a back-alley like this with poor lighting, he definitely didn’t want to have the pleasure of tasting its cutting edge himself.

He tried helping out a girl who looked like she was getting extorted, now he had the extraordinary experience of getting extorted by that same girl. Subaru felt his head getting dizzy.

Towards Subaru whose brain had overworked and shut down, the girl once again demanded “give it” with short instruction.

“I’m going to cut it in two and look at the inside. That’s how I’ll check whether or not thy mouth is only capable of spouting out lies like an spout.”

“It’s quite unpleasant to have a knife pointed at you in a back-alley…”

“Hurry it up.”

His resistance in vain, the appa was snatched away as she split the appa in two in her hand. She handled the dagger in a manner that was unexpectedly skilled, gripping it in reverse. Confirming that the insides of the split appa were indeed white, she licked the little bit of juice that spilled onto her hand.

“It’s sour and sweet… this is definitely the same taste as an appa.”

“Are you satisfied with this?”

Towards the girl who finally looked like she approved, Subaru put on his business smile like he was serving a customer. If you’d like I’ll give you one, so please let me go, were his true feelings. How much time had passed since he split up with Emilia, even though he didn’t have a wristwatch so he couldn’t check, he was still afraid of knowing.

However the girl’s heartlessness knew no bounds, with no sign of consideration or empathy to Subaru’s plea,

“Interesting. Hand over all of the rest. I’ll split them all to make sure.”

“HELL NO!!”

She was well past audacious, from her words one could only call tyrannical, even Subaru would erupt. His body clattering with temper, he approached the girl

“If you didn’t get it from cutting just one appa, why do I have to give you all of them. Absolutely NO! These appa, these appa… they’re a symbol of my bond with a certain man. They’re not ordinary appa, they’re the fruit of my friendship!!”

“Enough nonsense, how about this then.”

Brushing off his fervent speech disinterestedly, she continued the conversation one-sidedly. Pointing at the bag of appa he was carrying, her lips peeled apart, revealing a sweet smile

“How about we make a bet?”

“――a bet?”
“Yes, a simple bet. That’s right, something simple like betting on what side a coin lands on is fine. Each time we’ll wager an appa. How about it?”

She proposed a cointoss, Subaru laughed scornfully at her proclamation. She acted like this was a compromise, but the premise itself was strange.

“Your idea is absurd. In the first place, I have no merit taking this bet. If I don’t want to have the appa taken, wouldn’t me just dashing out of here have the same effect?”

“Naturally, I’ll prepare collateral for you. That’s right…”

She touched her lips in thought. Finally she sent Subaru a charming, flirtatious glance. Lifting up and displaying her abundant chest with her arms crossed under.

“If you win, I’ll let you touch my chest. How about it?”

She bet her body as a chip like it was natural; Subaru let out a long sigh, shaking his head. Presenting herself so easily in a bet, she clearly didn’t understand the implications of what she was saying, that line of thinking was destructive. People who ruined themselves through gambling always had that personality.

And with such a good looking girl in front of them, what man wouldn’t fall for her charms. What a wretched tale, such a sad way of thinking.

Wondering why his reply was so slow, she looked at Subaru with suspicion. Completely overlooking her stares, he scolded her clearly.

“You need to treasure yourself more. Talking stupid like this… as if I’d fall for your charms!”

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

–A short while later.

“And this makes 7 consecutive wins for me, you only have 3 appas left you know.”

“Impossible! You took everything!”

In this backalley was Subaru’s figure after consecutive losses, ruined through gambling.

Vol. 3 Ch. 6: A dangerous pair

Relying on memory to reach the loothouse, it was an aging dilapidated house in the farthest corner of the capital’s slums.

I wonder if the people building the capital made a mistake or something, it was maddeningly how large a building it was; almost as if they were trying to hide all the unused space with it. For the sticky-fingered inhabitants of the slums, regardless of the legality or illegality of an item it would end up here through a various means, the one managing this place sold these goods out on a massive scale.

Like its name implied, this place was a hotbed of roguery.

“It’s completely and totally gone. There’s nothing left here at all.”

Standing in an empty lot Subaru stared at the demolished remains of the former loothouse.

The loothouse building had disappeared without even a trace, the scrap wood and dangerous materials that would normally remain after a building collapsed had all been cleaned away, not one piece remained. There were traces of a building left on the ground along the edges of the foundation, but if you ignored that, it wouldn’t be all that odd to doubt whether the place had ever really existed in the first place.

Thinking back, it’s hard to think that a single sword strike could do all this.

“Yep, I don’t think we can count Reinhard as human anymore…”

Reminded of a certain red-headed good looking man, Subaru’s praise for him wasn’t limited to the restraints of humanity. Then again, rather than positive this ‘praise’ had more of a negative tint to it; whether the person in question would be happy to hear this praise was another subject in itself.

“I suppose it doesn’t need to be said, but it looks like nobody’s living here anymore. Subaru, what will you do?”

This terrible scene was laid plainly before his eyes. Or maybe it was more accurate to say he couldn’t help feeling like the place had been tidied up, faced with this spectacle Subaru was overwhelmed. Rather than Subaru, the more goal oriented Emilia was the first to speak.

“Also, I think getting in touch with Reinhard would be the best option…”

“Yeah, that’s probably the right. I thought we could get in touch with Felt or Rom-jii by coming here and then we’d know what to do next, but I guess things never go that easy.”

The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime, well not exactly, but his common sense was such that he’d sort of been expecting that the stage for the end of the first event would somehow become the place for a sequel. However, reality doesn’t go like fiction; our two criminals got taken away building and all. Quite literally, the only thing remaining were remains, and even those seemed like they were meager enough to be carried away in the wind.

“In other words we’ve no more use for this place. Goodbye loothouse. You served your role well as an event trigger.”

Subaru picked up the bag of appa at his feet, giving a thumbs-up in remembrance as they departed; pulling Emilia by the hand. He lived his life never looking back. Goodbye yesterday, hello tomorrow. Please come in, Mr. Wedding-day.

“Anyways, since the slums are dangerous let’s hurry and get out of here. Next is… searching for Reinhard I’d think. Felt got taken away by Reinhard right?”

“Yeah, that’s correct. He said he didn’t mean them any harm, but… he changed his expression so quickly.”

Thinking back on what Emilia said, Reinhard settled the incident by saying he’d overlook those two. It may have been just a verbal promise, but he was a young man who seemed like he’d risk his life to uphold his convictions; not the type to break promises so easily. Incidentally Reinhard had also taken charge over treating Rom-jii’s injuries too.

“It would have been nice if we could have spoken a bit more at least, we had our own issues though and had to return to the mansion quickly.”

“What do you mean?”

“… Come on, we had a certain someone who had their stomach torn open you know? We couldn’t think of anyone other than Beatrice who could heal it properly, so we were in a rush.”

“And thank you very much for that assistance!”

He was wondering what she was talking about but it ended up being about himself. After throwing out a loud-voiced apology. “Now then” he said, trying to change to mood

“In any case, it looks like the conversations looped backed to searching for that pretty boy. I get the feeling there was something he said earlier, something about going to the royal guard station if we ever needed him…”

Digging through his memories of the conversation they had when they first met, Subaru was able to pull something out that seemed like it might be a lead. Well then, there you have it. Although he didn’t have too much confidence in it. At any rate, if he is at the guardhouse I guess that’d mean Reinhard had somewhat of a policeman type position in the city.

“Like hell someone like that’s just a policeman! I’m at least 90% sure that bastard’s an actual knight and just wanders around town for fun.”

He had an expensive looking sword, and even had some ridiculous nickname like ‘sword saint’. On top of that he had some insane power. If that was the strength of an average soldier then he’d never be able to walk in the capital again out of fear. Looking like she agreed with his assessment, Emilia gave a small nod.

“I think so too, the probability that Reinhard is at the guard station is rather low. But, even if the person himself isn’t there, there might be someone there that knows him.”

“Well, either way he’s probably some kind of soldier, and maybe in the guard station they’d have the castle’s phone number written down somewhere… they don’t have phones here do they?”

“Phone?”

Emilia put a finger on her cheek while tilting her head. “Cute!”, Subaru thought to himself while wracking his brain on how best to explain.

“If I put it simply… it’s a way to talk with people who are far away. Ah, and it’s not some primitive method like shouting in a loud voice.”

“If you’re talking about a communication mirror, I think they’d have one…”

TL: 対話鏡

This time it was Subaru’s turn to tilt his head at the word she spoke with confidence. She could see he didn’t know from his reaction, “hmm…” she groaned softly.

“It’s a magical item used for long-distance conversations. When you stand in front of it on one end and another person stands in front of it on the other end, their image and voice will be projected over and you can have a conversation. It’s one of the more popular magical devices, you can see them around in a lot of places.”

“Hahaa, so they had this kind of method after all. Mirror, a mirror… this really is a magical world huh, fantastic!”

When you stand in front of it, it works something like instead of reflecting your own image it reflects the image of the person you are trying to talk to. When it came to magical items, the only thing that came to mind was his ‘magical’-phone that he tricked Rom-jii with and passed off as a fake. Hearing that they actually had something similar to a phone got him excited, kindling his boyish spirit.

“Even if I don’t have magical aptitude, maybe it turns out that I can fight using magical devices. This time for sure, my happy fantasy-world adventure is about to begin. ”

He was aware he lacked ability, but his nature was one that wanted to avoid situations where he’d have to use it in the first place.  He had drawn up quite the fantasies about having grand adventures after being summoned to this new world, even though after facing reality he knew just how unrealistic this was. Facing this extreme situation, what had he done aside from forgetting his dignity and clawing to stay alive desperately?

Gloomily, his thoughts sank back into a negative direction. Shaking his head he dispelled his despondence. As for why he’d fallen into this line of thinking in the first place, that’d be due to the long silence that had settled between the two.

“Emilia-tan?”

“…Huh? What’s wrong?”

Her reaction was a few seconds delayed. Looking at Subaru her purple-blue eyes twinkled with light. Seeing her indifferent response Subaru’s face soured.

“That’s what I want to know. You got quiet all of a sudden. Is there something on your mind?”

“…No, it’s nothing. So, off to the guard station?”

From her attitude it didn’t really seem like it was nothing, but her response indicated he shouldn’t press any further on this issue. Acting like he’d accepted this explanation, Subaru tried his best to give out a vague reply.

“Since the guard station is over in the nobles’ district, from here it’s a bit of a walk. Let’s hurry a bit shall we, if we take too long Rem’s going to sulk.”

Originally Rem was the one who was supposed to accompany Subaru around the capital, but since she had a lot of work related matters to tend to, crying and crying, she had to hand over Subaru’s charge to Emilia. Right now she should still be furiously tending to miscellaneous matters at the place they were staying for tonight.

Pulled by hand while they walked down a street heading out of the slum district, Subaru gazed silently at Emilia’s back. Facing her white hood and robe embroidered with the emblem of a hawk, Subaru couldn’t get a word in.

Whenever he was beside Emilia, he never failed to feel invigorated and excited. That’s why there wasn’t anything worse for him than getting the cold shoulder like this. ‘What’, ‘when’, Subaru fell into a panic as he raced to find what he’d done to put her in a bad mood.

If he got rejected by Emilia then he’d be all alone in this world. In this world Emilia had become his sole meaning of existence.

As the wheels in Subaru’s head started grinding, the way he defined himself worked itself in a bad direction. His vision dimmed as nerves in his head screamed.  A dark emotion crept up in his heart. He subconsciously understood this was the same as the dark hand he’d seen before. His lips trembled as the negative emotions started to run wild.

“That’s enough of that, Subaru.”

A voice resounded in his head unexpectedly, snapping him out of his stupor. Subaru opened his eyes in surprise. The words uttered felt like they were whispered directly into his mind. In front of him, Puck rested on top of Emilia’s hood, rubbing his own belly while gazing out towards Subaru.

“This looks like a pretty bad sign to me, so I’m here to put a stop to it. I’d hope you wouldn’t do anything improper with my daughter. I don’t want to come to hate you.”

Twirling a mustache, Puck came out with his reasonable as always tone. Subaru was a startled by the words as his face stiffened, looking at Emilia’s back fearfully. However, Emilia didn’t notice his panic and kept walking.

“You don’t have to worry about Lia hearing, I’m speaking directly to your mind.”

“…Can you hear what I’m thinking?”

“Telepaths can only do this when there’s a large difference in power. Well, you can just think of this as the difference between you and me.”

He could see Puck laughing dryly, but no sound was emitted. Although he could no longer be surprised at this emotion-reading-cat, the discomfort of speaking directly through his mind was something he didn’t think he’d easily get used to. Anyways,

“Ah, I’ll just say my thanks. Just now, I was a bit weird for a second there.”

It was like he was the only one left in the world, he hated it so much; desperately struggling to get away. Hysterically, he reached out his hand to cling onto Emilia’s back in front of him.  ――Shaking his head, even Subaru didn’t know what had come over him just now. It was like he wasn’t himself, a strange thought had run wild.

“I’m going to be blunt about this, the reason Ria’s in a bad mood isn’t because of you. She’s angry at herself after remembering some things.”

For Subaru who had doubted himself, Puck’s words brought him back to his senses. He tilted his head at Puck’s words.

“At herself?”

“There was something that reminded her of a bad experience. She’s only pouting over that. If you overlook it a bit, it’s pretty cute.”

Puck’s expression was one full of a father’s love for their child. Seeing this attitude Subaru felt alienated like he was being left out, he’d come to a sharp realization.

――I don’t know anything at all about her past.

The Emilia that Subaru knew was an impressionable beautiful girl with silver hair and purple-blue eyes. She was a half-elf, and a potential candidate for the queen of this Lugnica kingdom. Living at her Patron Roswaal’s mansion, she brought along a spirit named Puck who was close enough to call family. She was honest, always acted tough, soft-hearted, she’d take care of someone even if it meant losing something herself, she was like a big-sister, and on top of it all extremely easy to trick.

It’s been two weeks since he met Emilia and this was everything he’d observed of her. It was completely surface level information. Only now did Subaru realize that he hadn’t managed to step any closer to her.

Thinking of it, he didn’t even know about the king-selection until recently. And him coming to the Roswaal mansion was only due to what happened the day he met her.

He was in a daze, he’d only taken the things given to him, and never sought to know more than that. This mess of a situation was his reward. Unlike Puck who knew her circumstances, Subaru who knew nothing and could do nothing but hold his peace.

“Bottling up your feelings like that, it seems you’re quite the difficult child.”

Even though he had kept his mouth shout on the outside, his couldn’t keep the feeling on his inside quiet. Against Puck who could skim the top of Subaru’s mind there was really nothing he could do. Subaru shrugged his shoulders.

“Bottling up my feelings? I think you’ve missed the mark on this one; my candidness loses to no-one. It seems the great spirit-sama still has much to learn.”

Poking fun of Puck in an exaggerated manner, Subaru acted to cut off any further discussion on this subject. However,

“Hey, Subaru”

Regardless of what Subaru wished for, Puck wasn’t done with the conversation.

He didn’t even have the option to block it out. The words were whispered directly into his mind, rather than through his eardrum. Even though he was silent his feelings leaked out through his thoughts. And from his attitude it was clear these actions were not welcome. Irrespective of the other party’s interest, Puck broke through one-sidedly and informed him.

“I’d like if you didn’t expect too much. From me, and Lia too.”

“…Hah?”

“Hope is a gentle poison. Even if you know it, it will eventually eat away at your body. If you delude yourself into thinking something is within your reach there’s no way you won’t reach for it. Without a doubt, you are poison.”

Narrowing his black eyes, Puck erased his expression as he glared at Subaru. Faced with those expressionless eyes, his body froze up instinctively. Being stared at like he was being judged, he fought the urge to grind his teeth.

“You, what do you mean by that…”

But, before the incomprehensible Puck could give his reply――

“We’re here”

Emilia who was still pulling him by the hand stopped her feet.

“Oops”

Falling forward, he just barely managed to catch himself before almost bumping into her from behind.

He had been focusing too much on the conversation with Puck, disconnected from reality, finally the streets of the city came back into his view. Compared to the buildings that were jumbled together in a disorderly fashion, the buildings here were lined up neatly row-by-row.

The nobles’ district. If it was like the name implied, this was probably the place where people from society’s upper echelons lived. The scenery here was naturally more polished than from the districts where the masses lived, speaking directly, the way they spent money was different. The buildings were a given, along the roads were walls, and greenery was planted to maintain a beautiful view.

The other side of the street in front of him was like a completely different world. And, as if blocking the entrance to this new world a giant building had been erected. Even among the complete change in scenery this conspicuously tall building stood out. Like in his former world most of the buildings here were two or three stories tall, but this establishment in front of him looked to be about as tall as a six story building. The rear portion of the building joined into the outer wall behind it, the top portion had a terrace that could probably look out over everything. But rather than being intended to enjoy the view, he thought the terrace was probably built in order to look down over the people below. Even though he’d never done anything wrong, he was always timid in front of police; Subaru made a bitter face, remembering his own disposition as a member of lower-middle class society.

“This is the station for the guards that patrol the capital. People that want to go in and out of the nobles’ district need to have their social status confirmed here.”

“So that’s why they built something like this… but I guess no matter what era you’re in, the police organizations have a kind of strange power that’s hard to go against.”

The pressure he felt was the same. From the feeling this place gave off, what he could tell was this definitely wasn’t the type of place you’d go lightheartedly to about something like a lost child or forgotten item.  He’d take the police boxes over this any day.

TL: Japanese Police Boxes

“Anyways, let’s go talk with Reinhard inside… why are you doing all curled up?”

“It’s a conditioned reflex. There are some policeman out there that like to target people like me for questioning.”

“I don’t really know what you’re saying… but doesn’t that just mean you can’t do anything bad?”

“Impressive, now you’re starting to get it.”

Seeing through the spirit of Subaru’s statement, Emilia let out a sigh. Looking in front, she walked forward to knock on the door of the guard station. Chasing her hood-wearing back with his eyes, Subaru realized instantly that a certain little cat’s figure was missing. Disappearing off unnoticed, he was probably hiding in her silver hair right now.

Puck said what he wanted and left in a flash. Subaru scowled at his words, what exacted was he trying to say?

Whatever. Even if he worried about it it’s not like he’d get an answer. Folding his arms, he quickly ditched thinking about it as he moved his feet to line up behind Emilia. Almost immediately after she knocked on the door.

“――What’s this, what a coincidence to meet you here.”

The doors of the guard station opened outwards, a young man appearing from inside. The young man bowed respectfully to Emilia,

“It’s been a long time, Emilia-sama. Has anything come up in the meantime?”

He called her Emilia while she still had her hood on. Just from that Subaru’s heart filled with cautiousness. Emilia fidgeted a little after seeing him bow, but was overall calm.

“…Yeah, thank you. Nothing’s changed in particular. Um, Julius.”

“I’m honored that you remembered. I’m glad that your beauty is also unchanged, Emilia-sama.”

The man named Julius flashed his teeth with a glitter when he smiled. He said such a cheesy line without even flinching.

He was quite tall. It looked like he was at least 10 centimeters taller than Subaru, so around 180 centimeters in all. His hair was moderately long, purple with a tinge of blue; it made him seem both arrogant and polite at the same time. His body was slim, but rather than being frail it was more accurate call him supple and limber.

He had a big mouth fitting for a lady-killer. Amber colored eyes that women love and men couldn’t help but be jealous of.

From his appearance and the fact he’d just emerged from the guard station, Subaru came to an understanding.

“Isn’t it rare for a royal-guardsmen like you to be at a station like this?”

There were ornate decorations burnishing his uniform. A dragon symbol was woven into the sleeves, and a rapier hung from his waist like the wind. Most of all was Julius himself, it was clear from his appearance what his occupation was.

“Holding a ceremony for the guards, and inspecting the city… I suppose you could say. I came on the request of a friend, it’s fine to prioritize friendship once in a while”

He replied to Emilia while brandishing his hands, as if to sing a song.  His talkative mouth spun words like he was getting drunk just from listening to himself speak. Apparently trying to cut him off, Emilia in front of him followed up his words, “anyways…”

“Stretching my legs like this for a stroll through the city, no sooner than a single step was I able to come across such a beautiful flower. What more happiness could I wish for than this.”

Saying this, Julius took Emilia’s hand in a practiced manner and knelt on the spot. Before she could even let out a single breath he placed a kiss on her white hand.

Dumbfounded, Subaru was at his wit’s end at having witnessed such a chain of events. One second later his emotions were seething, on top of this guy being arrogant he had to go out and do something like this that’d undoubtedly rub Subaru the wrong way. However,

“Thank you, Julius. And I’m sorry to spring this on you suddenly but…”

Seeing Julius’ nostrils flair wildly, Subaru was about the let out a warcry but was instead interrupted by Emilia holding out her palm to stop him. Not understanding her intentions Subaru couldn’t move. In front of him the situation slowly progressed.

“I have some business to take care of, could I have you act as an intermediary between the castle…?”

“Ah, I see. So you need the station’s communication mirror.  I understand, allow me to guide you.”

Standing up and opening the door, Julius glanced inside the facility.

“Originally I’d feel a little awkward bringing Emilia-sama inside such a squalid place as this…”

“You don’t have to mind things like that. Please.”

“Well then, please come in…”

Emilia nodded at his words as Julius returned inside the station like he was going to guide her. Seeing this Emilia followed after. Scrambling, Subaru hurried to chase after them but,

“Subaru, wait here.”

“Huh?”

Before the door closed, Emilia glanced back and turned him down cleanly. Words wouldn’t come out. He tried to show his objection through gestures, but Emilia only shook her head.

“It’d be nice if I could bring you with me, but I don’t think Julius would be too happy if you tagged along. Wait here.”

“What the hell. Is that guy’s good mood more important that mine?”

Subaru’s mouth soured, from the way it came across it sounded like she was prioritizing Julius. Emilia protested with a troubled expression, “that’s not it”

“It’s not because it’d put Julius’ in a bad mood, it’s because it’d definitely be an unpleasant experience for you. That’s why I want you to stay. Please, understand.”

“It’s already quite the unpleasant experience for me.”

The kiss on her hand. Even if it was an action that expressed reverence and respect, for Subaru it was something that was hard to forgive. He’d already gone on a date with her and held hands with her in the capital, yet she completely didn’t see him as a member of the opposite sex. That’s why kissing was something that he’d been struggling especially hard to do. Seeing another man cross that threshold so easily it was only natural he saw him as an enemy.

If possible, he didn’t want that man to touch Emilia anymore. Far from that, he was actually seeing her go off to that guy’s place without out him. That was Subaru’s male instinct.

“It’s not going to be that long before I get back so be a good kid and wait here. And don’t wander away from the guard station.”

It was worded kindly, but the color of rejection was still thick. Emilia was thoroughly keeping him away from her matters, fearing to step in any further Subaru couldn’t say anything.

The door closed between them, interrupting the two. Subaru laid his hand heavily on the door and hung his head, spilling out a long, long sigh.

“I’m so lame… what am I even doing? I’m not even doing anything.”

What came out was only self-derision. He bared his jealousy openly, sinking in it. A jealousy that would never run out or be used up. However, he was already aware of his own incompetence, if he left it alone he’d just get depressed.

“Knowing my luck, if I stay outside the station too long sulking like this I’ll get picked up for questioning.”

Looking at it from an outsider’s perspective he was definitely suspicious, thinking this Subaru hurried away from the station.

Nonetheless, since he had instructions from Emilia he only moved across the street, still in view of the station. After taking an appropriate distance, he put his back to the wall and let out a second sigh.

“That smug guy… an imperial guard was it?”

If that was right, then he’d be a knight. Among all the knights groups, the imperial guard were special. Originally they were directly under the command of the royalty, but now that the country has no king I wonder what’s going to happen.

“That smug guy had a pretty obvious elite feeling to him. Licking and drooling all over Emilia-tan’s cute hand so casually…”

His memories had already been revised. In his mind Julius was slowly changing into a heinous sexual deviant.

All he could do for now was wait and brood on negative emotions like this. Praying that Emilia would hurry to complete her task and make it back safely without being attacked by that sexual deviant Julius.

“And, after being defiled by that man’s hand. Enter stage left. “Subaru, I’m no good anymore…” “That’s not true, Emilia-tan… no, Emilia! No matter what happens to you, the Emilia that’s reflected in my eyes is more beautiful than anyone else! Your eyes are more precious than any gemstone…” or something like that.”

His delusions exploding into a full-blown story, tears came to Emilia’s eyes as she closed them, leaning her lips in towards his. It was then that a figure crossing the street caught his eye.

“I-impossible.”

His lips trembling as the theater he had built up in his head collapsed. The lovely image of Emilia blushing vanished into his dreams, but a very real spectacle lavished his eyes, unable to avert his gaze.

In front of the shocked Subaru, an adorable therianthrope crossed the street.

It was only about about as tall as Subaru’s waist, its short body swaying side to side as it walked. Tottering with each step, its body was covered with an unbelievably fluffy looking white fur. It couldn’t even be compared to the beast-eared Demi-humans, this was the perfect figure for a therianthrope.

It was likely a dog, I think it’s a dog anyway. It had long fur that was pure white like freshly fallen snow, which it wore with a loveable roundness.

In just one moment he was completely captivated. The heartbreak he’d just experienced from Emilia’s attitude paled in comparison to this ultimate fluffball crossing the street in front of him. That is, he’d lost the will to fight even before the battle.

His soul as a fluff-a-holic, the resentment he’d built up since coming to this world, the self-loathing he’d wrapped himself up in just a few minutes ago, the torrent of emotions he could never seem to express to Emilia, through the combination of all these factors Subaru no longer possessed full control over his decisions.

I want to bury my hands in it. I want to rub my fingertips in the fluffy white fur. Hug it to my heart’s content, press my face in it, pick it up and spin it around, sing my love for it to the world. Fluffing is love, fluffy is the cornerstone of world peace, fluff shall save the world. Even without fluffing, you can still fluff. However, because you fluff you want to fluff. To fluff is precisely the deepest desire of a fluffist. To not fluff despite being able to fluff is equivalent to choosing death to a fluffist. In summary, to fluff = a fluffist’s life, without fluff the radiance that is a fluffist’s life would…

モフることが愛であり、モフりこそが平和の礎であり、モフこそが世界を救う。
モフらなくてもモフれる。だが、モフるからにはモフられたい。モフってモフることにこそモフリストとしての本懐があり、モフれるにも関わらずモフらないことはモフリストにとっては死を選ぶに等しい。つまり、モフること=モフリストにとっての生であり、モフっていなければモフリストの命の輝きは――。

TL: Exhibit A for why this WN is hard to translate.

 

“I got so caught up doing that, where the hell am I…”

When he came to his senses the therianthrope was gone, at his wits end Subaru stood looking around in shock.

Spread around him, his surroundings were a series of small alleyways he had no recollection of. The road in front of the station that was there a second ago was now gone. At the very least his surroundings were completely different from the showy nobles’ district. He was too preoccupied with fluffing, this what he got for disregarding everything.

“I can’t even sit still and wait, am I worse than a dog!? I guess after the point I got excited by the dog-like fluffball that much was already decided though.”

Having his sanity stolen away by the appearance of the fluffball, he followed it in a daze and now he’s here. He didn’t know how much time had passed, if he didn’t hurry he’d be in for another one of Emilia’s scoldings. Right now she must be waiting uneasily at the guard station, praying to be reunited with him even a minute sooner. That’d be nice if she thought that. Once she completed her objective and returned, she’d see the absence of our lost child Subaru who couldn’t even sit still and wait obediently.

Subaru shuddered at the cold-treatment in store for him.

“I’ll definitely get abandoned. This isn’t the time to laugh and make a cute pose!”

TL: There’s really no way to translate this one so I just called it a ‘cute pose’. It’s literally called ‘laugh-slurp'(てへぺろ) and is a very specific pose where the character laughs while sticking their tongue out and acting coy.

 

Scratching his head, he recognized he was now in the emergency situation of emergency situations. First I’ve got to get out to the main street, he thought to himself; dashing down an alleyway. But on top of being unfamiliar with this area, the alleyways all looked the same to him so he couldn’t tell up from down.

“Shit, why’d this have to happen now of all times… I’ve got it! I remember hearing that when you’re in a labyrinth, if you stick to one side of the wall you’ll eventually get to an exit. Piece of cake! Alright I’ll go on this side of the wall… hogyaaa!!”

Reaching out triumphantly to the wall, when his hand came in contact with the filth covered wall he felt a smearing sensation and his ‘unpleasant feeling coefficient’ immediately shot up to max.

“What the hell is this, it’s all sticky and slimy! This seriously better not be vomit!? Why the hell is this sprayed all over the walls, even with the power of alcohol you couldn’t do something like this!!”

Wiping this vomit, excrement, or whatever other unknown substance, off onto another wall; not being able to ask some grandma for directions he was completely at a loss. It just had to be at a time like this, he couldn’t feel the presence of anyone in the nearby streets. For Subaru who couldn’t live without relying on other people, he couldn’t find anyone at all to rely on.

“Like this, trapped in the labyrinth without possibility of escape, Subaru gave up on thinking… BAD END #8. Death by isolation… Ok seriously this isn’t funny!”

Not having the composure to mess around anymore, Subaru upped his movement to the max. At least let this be towards a place with people… the moment he thought that,

“You bitch! Stop messing with us!”

While he wondered whether he should get closer or not, his eardrums had certainly picked up traces of people.