...Something, it felt like something repulsive was swirling within him, enveloping him.
...Vortex, it was a vortex. Swirling, churning round and round, forcefully rotating, swallowing everything in its path. Somewhere, no, within his own heart, a whirlpool was swirling.
A black vortex that swallows up everything, as intense as a storm, as fierce as lightning, as fervent as magma, such a vicious black vortex is swirling.
A horrible spell that has been dormant within the depths of his body for a long time. A spell of death that has never been broken, and is endlessly intertwined, knotted, and linked together. A spell of greed that refuses to sell this life to anyone, saying that it is already pledged.
Curses that would otherwise be life-threatening, they interfere with each other, hate each other, refuse to yield to the other, and resist each other. ...Resulting in conflicting responses.
The curse tries not to let its vessel die.
Swirling, churning round and round, and forcefully rotating, swallowing everything in its path. The beast, the dragon, and the cursed vessel are at the center of the whirlpool that swirls for eternity, churning round and round.
The tents with the red flags were for medical treatment. There were a total of five in the camp. The tents with the black flags were for storage. There were a total of twenty-five in the camp. The tents with the white flags were for the officers. There were a total of three in the camp.
The tent with the gold flag was for the commander. There was only one in the camp.
Since he was given the freedom to run around here and there as a nominal handyman, Subaru was surprisingly able to pay attention to various places in the short time he was there. This was Subaru’s second time seeing a real encampment.
The first time was in the Kingdom of Lugnica, before and after the White Whale Subjugation. They had to prepare for the appearance of the White Whale, and had set up an encampment around Flugel’s great tree, though it was not as large-scale as this one. After that, he had several opportunities to encamp on a smaller scale. However, they were only simple ones, and not many of them were as full-scale as the Empire's.
So, out of curiosity, he had observed many things here and there. Of course, all but one of the Imperial soldiers didn't seem to have a good impression of Subaru, so if he had tried to enter or leave a place where something important was located, his head and body would have been separated, and that would just be the beginning. But even that level of knowledge...
???: [...is useful enough. The difference between having and not having information is as big as night and day... Above all, knowing the enemy’s positions and strategies gives us a distinct advantage where we can divide their troops and crush their spirits. The rest is up to us.]
???: [Let's show them our courage and strength. I know you well, my fellow compatriots.]
???: [Yes, let's show them. Show them the pride and valor of the people of Shudrak, the brave warriors who once fought alongside the emperor known as the Warrior Emperor and defeated all our enemies.]
Drowsily, he felt a sense of fatigue as though floating in warm water. In the dimness, Subaru heard the passionate voices of a man and several women.
In addition to the owners of the male and female voices, the sounds of many people breathing could be heard. He could sense the presence of many people. He could feel the passion of many people.
Their passion was gradually rising as if they were piling on top of one another...
???: [...Let’s begin, Shudrak! Raise the signals of our counterattack!]
...Their war cries shook the heavens as if to shatter the world itself into many tiny pieces.
With a snap, a cold and wet feeling covered his face, and Subaru jumped up in shock. It seemed that something had happened. Subaru was immediately raised to consciousness, blinked, and found that his field of vision was covered in white. ...No, this was the answer to the wet feeling. Covering Subaru's face was a wet but not yet wrung cloth.
Subaru had read about something like this in a book before. It described a torture method comprising of putting a towel on a person’s face and pouring water over it. All that needed to be prepared was a towel and a victim. This method could easily make the other party feel as if they were drowning, a hellish technique known as waterboarding...
Subaru: [I... I don’t have any information you want...!]
Utakata: [Oh, oh, Su, you are up. Seeing you acting so energetic, Uu feels assured.]
Hearing a voice too young to be a torturer, Subaru shook his face in surprise. Then, the cloth covering his face moved aside and he could finally see. It seemed that he was not being tortured and, after opening his eyes, he could see the sky, which was slightly obscured by the branches of a large tree. And, the one who stuck out her face to block the sky was...
Subaru: [You are……]
Utakata: [Utakata! Uu is Su's guard! Nurse! Babysitter! So glad to see you awake!]
Subaru: [...Doesn’t quite ring a bell.]
Laughing and introducing herself in a high-pitched voice was a girl with black hair dyed with a peachy color... Utakata. This girl was a member of the people of Shudrak, and he had met her before in the settlement. ...She was also the person who had once killed Subaru with a poisoned arrow. But, seeing the smile on her face, they appeared to be on friendly terms now, and there seemed to be no need to worry about being suffocated by a poisoned arrow like before.
Subaru: [Of course, you weren’t trying to waterboard me… right? Err...]
Utakata: [Su, the "Lifeblood Ritual" is over! You defeated the Elgina! Uu, Mi, and Ho, everyone everyone was surprised!]
TL: Note: "everyone everyone" isn't an error. She says みんなみんな which is just everyone twice (most likely in her childish excitement).
Subaru: [It's slowly coming back to me. Right, I was forced to participate in the "Lifeblood Ritual”.]
In order for the people of Shudrak to recognize the two of them, Subaru and Abel challenged the "Lifeblood Ritual". Passed down from generation to generation, it was a coming-of-age ceremony of the people of Shudrak in order to prove one worthy of adulthood. Subaru and Abel, who was also captured, challenged it together. And the one who acted as their enemy in the ritual was the Elgina, a huge snake-shaped demon beast that resided in the Buddheim forest. Subaru and Abel fought desperately, trying to break the horn of the snake...
Subaru: [...No. Maybe it was because I was too forgetful at the time, I can’t remember what happened in the second half of the battle. But since I survived, did Abel defeat it...?]
Utakata: [...? Su, don't you remember? It made Mi laugh so hard at the time.]
Subaru: [Laugh so hard, does that mean you saw how shameful I was? Give me a break...will you.]
Subaru frowned and looked at Utakata’s face. When he tried to get up, his right hand touched the floor, giving him a strange feeling. It's not that the floor he touched was wet or that he touched something hard. It's not that type of uncomfortable feeling, it's the feeling of himself. To be precise, it was not caused by the floor but by Subaru's own arm.
Subaru: [.... Uh, Utakata-san? What, what happened to my right hand?]
Utakata: [Su's right hand? Ah, it's amazing! First it went splat!! Then it went bwah!!]
Subaru: [“Splat”, then “bwah”!?]
Listening to the unpleasant sound effects, Subaru's eyes widened. He then took a deep breath, prepared himself mentally, and made up his mind. He turned his head toward his left hand, and saw that three fingers were broken. Although it hurt, he felt relieved. Then slowly, he looked in the direction of his right hand...
Subaru: [...What is this?]
The state of his right hand was so strange that, for an instant, he couldn't help but think that he was seeing things wrong. Subaru's right arm originally had black patterns, which was a scar he had gained after the fight in the Watergate City of Pristella against the Sin Archbishop of Lust. "Lust", or Capella, referred to her own blood as dragon blood, and poured it on Subaru and Crusch. As a result, Crusch suffered an unhealable injury, while Subaru seemed to have absorbed the “evil blood” from her body, and as a result, his right hand was engraved with a dark pattern.
Apart from looking unpleasant, it didn't have any side effects, so Subaru wore long sleeves to hide it and didn’t appear to let it drag him down. However, the black pattern...
It wasn't just mere patterns anymore. Subaru's right arm, from his fingertips up to his wrist, from his wrist up to his elbow, and about half of his arm was dyed entirely black.
Taking in one big gulp of air, Subaru touched his black right hand with his left one cautiously. He could feel a soft and flabby elasticity with his left hand, while the feeling in his right was very poor. His right hand felt as if he was wearing rubber gloves, and its movements were very sluggish...
Subaru: [...No, this, could it be.]
Something felt very out of place. In order to find out what it was, Subaru dug into his black right hand with the nails of his left hand. He shoved his fingers in hard and moved them like he was clawing at it. Then, the black part of his right hand was peeled off like walls of mud. With a shocked exclamation of “Huh!?”, Subaru started using his fingers to peel off the black layer and was so focused on it that it was as if he was possessed by a ghost, and gradually the black layers on his forearm were all removed. Only the clean new product, Natsuki Subaru's right hand, emerged from it.
Subaru: [This, what is this... ahhhh!?]
Seeing something so shocking happen to him, Subaru screamed. Hearing his voice, Utakata fell on her bottom. However, as Subaru had lost his composure, he couldn’t even reach out to help the girl who fell on the ground.
Subaru: [Wha, wha...what the hell happened to my hand!? This is….my hand... right?]
Dumbfounded, Subaru made a fist with his new right hand then reopened it, then cautiously touched his face, and then touched the floor. There was no problem with his sense of touch or movement, and it was in good condition. The black markings that were engraved on his right hand had disappeared and Subaru's right hand had become clean. This was the right arm of the "Lolimancer" who had been living in another world for a whole year.
Subaru: [Oi, who is a "Lolimancer”!?]
???: [...I heard a noise and decided to come over and take a look, what are you talking about?]
While he bafflingly confirmed that his right hand was in good condition, someone appeared in front of Subaru. ...No, it’s not just someone. There were only two people in Subaru's memory with this snobbish way of speaking. Since one was male and the other female, they were easy to distinguish. This was the voice of a man, so it was none other than...
Subaru: [Abel? You, you’re still alive.]
Abel: [Of course. I’m in a much better state than you.]
The one who snorted was the unchanging masked figure of Abel he had become familiar with. He had challenged the "Lifeblood Ritual" with Subaru, and appeared to have survived the battle against the Elgina. Rather, Subaru was still alive thanks to him. Maybe he was the one who defeated the Elgina.
Abel: [...What's wrong with your right arm? Have you given up on that ugly style?]
Subaru: [Can you not say it like I wanted to change the coloring of my right hand? It's not a character customization option of Western style games, it doesn't have that degree of freedom. ...The black part became clean as soon as I peeled it off. Right, Utakata?]
Utakata: [Yes, that’s right. Su's right hand peeled off and scattered everywhere! It was very disgusting!]
Subaru: [I understand as much!]
Listening to Utakata’s merciless thoughts, Subaru stiffened his cheeks and stuck out his right hand for Abel to look at. Abel muttered “I see” as he scrutinized the hand to make certain it was intact.
Abel: [In any case, I don’t really care if it's back to normal. I didn't expect you to hit it with the magic-stone ring. Your whole wrist was gone, I thought you were too far-gone to save.]
Subaru: [Wait wait wait, are you telling me a horror story? Whose wrist was gone?]
Abel, with his arms folded, answered along with Utakata, who was filled with vitality. Hearing those two’s answers, Subaru couldn't help but feel shivers run down his spine, and looked at his clean right hand. Not only had it disappeared, a brand new right arm had grown back.
Subaru: [Th-there you go again, saying weird stuff like that.. If it was gone, then what’s up with this right hand?]
Abel: [It was a terrible and wonderful phenomenon. After you lost your arm, I had you speak your last words. I thought you would die, but... from your hand, a black mass spilled out.]
Subaru: [Ma..., mass.....]
Abel: [In a flash, that thing took on the shape of your arm, turning it black. If someone needs to ask about what happened, then it should be us asking you.]
Pierced by his sharp gaze, Subaru choked on his breath. No matter what Abel said to him, Subaru didn't even know what had happened. However, there was no mistaking that the black pattern that had been etched on his right hand for so long ...The one that was no longer visible, was not unrelated. Perhaps it might really be the result of the dragon’s blood at work...
Subaru: [Even so, up until now, such an effect has never been activated before...]
With that said, it had been nearly three months since the incident where Subaru had showered in the dragon’s blood. During the subsequent journey through the Auguria Sand Dunes and the fight to the death at the Pleiades Watchtower, Subaru went through more deaths than ever before, and then ended up entering the Empire. During that time, he had encountered many death-defying situations, but none of them had been so convenient that his wounds would heal. So why was that the case here...
Subaru: [I don't need to think about what I don't know… Besides, the wounds outside of my right hand haven't healed at all.]
Muttering as he confirmed it, Subaru's whole body, the broken fingers on his left hand, the wound near his shoulder blades, the unknown burns around his neck, and numerous other bruises had not healed. Seriously, only the wound on his right hand had healed, which raised the possibility that the wound on the right hand was only healed because it had the black pattern.
Subaru: [And now that the thing on my right hand is gone, I don't think it will heal anymore... If you ask me to blow off my right hand one more time to test it, I can't do it.]
Abel: [In the end, it's all about what is unspoken. You seem to have a lot to hide.]
Subaru: [I don't want to be told that by someone who hides his face...]
As he answered with a sullen look on his face, Subaru let out an “ah” and suddenly exhaled.He had been relaxedly thinking about the anomaly of his right hand and making sure Abel was okay, but then he remembered that he had a higher priority.
If his participation in the “Lifeblood Ritual” and the completion of the ritual had proceeded without him dying, it meant that time had been flowing while Subaru was unconscious. This meant a few hours had passed since then so....
Subaru: [...Rem. Yes, Rem! I can't stay here like this, I need to get to Rem ......]
The original purpose of his journey was to rescue Rem, who he had to leave behind in the Imperial encampment. That was why he had challenged the “Lifeblood Ritual”, but if he couldn't save her due to the passage of time, the reason why he had risked his life in the battle would be lost.
Utakata: [Ah! Su, don't be so reckless! You'll die!]
Subaru: [Nonsense! Even if I don't die, what’s the point if Rem dies?]
Under the pressure of his impatience, Subaru shifted his posture to get off the bed. Subaru realized after all this time that he had been apparently lying on a strange bed, a portable shrine-like box made of logs that had been taken out of the building. As he fell down from there with great force, Subaru moaned in the pain that covered his entire body.
Subaru: [Gagh, hah...]
Abel: [Nonsense. Did you really think that your dying body would recover just because your right arm grew back? I told you. I saw that you were going to die. You thought I was wrong?]
Looking down at Subaru who was curled up in pain, Abel's cold voice slammed into him. As if affirming Abel's words, Subaru noticed something slowly oozing out of his body from deep within.
Subaru, who had experienced fatal wounds, understood that this was a sign of danger. It was as if a balloon or a bucket had a hole where it shouldn’t be, and the water, air, and other inflating elements inside were spilling out...
Subaru: [But, Rem has to be...]
Abel: [...Even after it turned out to be like this, you still don’t care about yourself but instead the girl. Forget it. I already knew this. After all, you’d save her even if it meant losing your right hand.]
He was more worried about the safety of Rem, who was not present, than his own life. Hearing Subaru's words, Abel sighed and pointed with his chin. Then he walked away without looking at Subaru. Follow him, is what that said.
Utakata: [Su, can you walk? Do you need a shoulder?]
Subaru: [No, I can walk... Besides, even if I borrowed Utakata’s shoulders, it would be pointless due to the height difference.]
Looking at Utakata, who was worried about him, Subaru smiled bitterly. Then, he took a deep breath and stood up. He dragged his legs forward and followed Abel who was walking in front of him.
Abel was a bit ahead, waiting for Subaru to catch up to him. He used the moss rocks as stepping stones, and looked forward from the edge of the cliff. Subaru struggled to climb the rocks and stood beside him. And then...
Once again, following the arrogant instructions, Subaru raised his chin. From the elevated horizon, Subaru saw a panoramic view from the high ground, and his mouth opened. With a gaping stare, he was stunned. Because, that way...
Black smoke rose and the camp of the Imperial soldiers was engulfed in flames.
...What he heard was a battle cry, a triumphant song of victory that shook the atmosphere.
The ones that screamed or sang a song that Subaru had never heard before were female warriors with brown skin, bows and arrows on their backs, running across the battlefield in all directions. Due to the surprise attack by the people of Shudrak, the Imperial soldiers' positions were destroyed, and they no longer had any way to resist but to run around and fall one by one.
Subaru: [This is……]
Abel: [We turned to the offensive, seized their weapons, burned their medicines, and shot their commander to death. Once they lost their fingers and their heads, their only remaining option was to flee with their backs exposed to their enemies.... Despite being a sword wolf, how disgraceful.]
Looking down, he could see the Imperial soldiers crawling away while being chased by black smoke and powerful bows. But it was impossible to escape from the people of Shudrak, who had been surviving in the forest by hunting beasts. With absolute precision, the soldiers who fled, their backs turned, were shot through the heart.
How many escaped? How many survived? And how many people died?
Abel: [What foolishness, Natsuki Subaru. This is what you wanted and so, with the information you provided, this is what your compatriots have achieved. If you don’t smile for this, what will you smile for?]
Looking at the camp turned battlefield, Subaru's gaze became distant. Additionally, Abel, who was attempting to force reality on him, had said Subaru wanted all of this to happen. Unable to bear this statement, Subaru stood up ferociously and grabbed Abel by the collar. Grasping Abel with his newly healed right hand, he glared into his eyes at close range.
Subaru: [You say I wished to see this? Su... Such a scene!? Don’t be ridiculous...]
Abel: [...Then, do you think you can achieve your wish without bloodshed?]
However, when Subaru attempted to snap at him in anger, Abel fired right back. Cut to pieces by the sharpness of his tongue, Subaru was unable to say anything in response.
When questioned about if he thought his wish could come true without bloodshed, he could say nothing. He thought he could do it all without bloodshed. He thought he could. Because...
Abel: [Allow me to put it this way, Natsuki Subaru.... Do you think that in order to achieve your wish, other than you, no one else's blood would have to be spilled?]
Abel: [Such a thought is utter nonsense. It is an unreasonable, foolish assumption. Do you think that as long as you bleed, you will be able to stop the battle of a third party? That is far worse than your silly heroic aspirations, it’s a heroic fantasy.]
Abel: [You are a human, Natsuki Subaru. You are neither a hero nor a sage. Therefore, even if you are present, people will still bleed, lose their lives, and be stuck in the cycle of kill or being killed.]
Being clutched by his collar, Abel verbally demolished the weakening Subaru. Being battered by his words, Subaru shook his head in disgust, trembling at the very base of his teeth.
That, that was indeed the case. An undeniable fact. He understood that. Even so, Subaru was unable to accept it. Having lived in a world he took for granted, he simply couldn't accept that as natural.
Even after arriving in another world, Natsuki Subaru's sense of ethics remained that of a Japanese high school student's. He couldn't accept the customs and conventional wisdoms of the battlefield as a matter of course.
Abel: [I don't want a hero. I will not have faith in them, rely on them, nor surrender to them. I shall shoulder the burden and move forward toward prosperity...A hero cannot do that.]
Subaru: [Wha, what the hell... You, what the hell do you want from me...?]
Subaru lost his energy and knelt on the ground again, not being able to understand Abel. They had challenged the “Lifeblood Ritual” together and defeated it, their rhythm of speaking was in tune, and they really shouldn’t be too different. Despite all this, Subaru couldn’t understand what Abel was thinking at all. Of course... How could he even begin to understand someone whose face he couldn’t even see?
Subaru: [What can someone who doesn't even show their face understand...]
Abel: [Face?...Alright then, I'll show you.]
Abel did not even give Subaru the time to utter an "Eh?". Hearing Subaru's strained, mosquito-like plea, Abel ran his hands over his face. As he undid the knot in the tattered mask wrapped around his face, the wind whipped around them. The mask came off and was swept away, fluttering in the strong wind. Flying, flying, it leapt across the battlefield, riding the wind, going anywhere, flying far, far away...
Abel: [Perhaps it'll fly to the Imperial capital... All the way to the throne in the capital, where I should be seated.]
Watching the rags blown away by the wind, Abel had said something so grandiose. Seeing the uncovered face of the man, Subaru silently gasped, and became unable to take his eyes off him.
He was an extremely handsome young man with black hair and slender eyes. He was only a few years older than Subaru, in his early to mid twenties. His face was so attractive that it was hard for one to take their eyes off of him, and although his hair was disheveled and his cheeks were stained from spending time in the forest and the settlement for a while, even that only served to accentuate his natural beauty. With such a face set atop a slender torso, lined with thin arms and legs, it could be said that he had an almost complete presence as a handsome and strong man. But still, the most distinctive characteristics of this person are his black pupils.
His eyes were filled with a powerful sense of dominance and intimidation that would make any who happen to witness them bow before him. Facing that head-on, Subaru, who was already on his knees, felt himself immobilized in that position for reasons that differed from injury or fatigue. He could understand. His soul was succumbing to the man in front of him. The reason for his overwhelming presence...
Vincent: [...Vincent Abellux.]
Vincent: [That is my name. At least, when I am seated on the throne again, I shall bear this name. Of course, it’d be wise of you to continue addressing me as Abel here.]
Saying that to a stunned Subaru, Vincent's mouth twisted at the edges. Subaru later realized that it was a ferocious, or even, a savage smile. Without understanding the meaning of that name...
???: [...Abel! Subaru!]
What broke Subaru's fixation was a sharp voice calling out to the two of them. Turning his head quickly, Subaru saw a figure coming towards them while waving their hand. It was Mizelda, the Chief of the Shudrak, a woman with dyed red hair. Mizelda changed her battle hardened expression to a friendly one.
Mizelda: [The suppression of the camp is complete. The losses on our side are at a minimal... Oh? Abel, I've never seen your face before, but you're very handsome....]
Mizelda: [Ahem... Subaru, I’m glad you’re awake. If you died like that, your people might have been upset.]
Mizelda, who was fascinated by Vincent's true face for a while, coughed and looked at Subaru with a gentle gaze. That gentle smile, directed at the living who was on the verge of death, made Subaru's heart and body cower. Like Vincent, she had decided that Subaru would not last long. Additionally, the fact that she could be so positive about the situation could only be attributed to her different perspective on life and death. But, the difference in their perspectives on life and death was not the only thing that made Mizelda smile, as he soon realized by her following actions.
Mizelda: [Holly, bring her here.]
Holly: [Yes, yes, understood, noooo!]
Mizelda turned around and told someone, and the voice that answered was carefree and filled with glee. Like that, the one who walked towards them step by step was a woman with hair dyed yellow who could easily lift up a gigantic rock. That girl was called Holly. And, what the smiling Holly held in her arms was...
Holly: [Don't paaaaaanic. Poor Kuna, who was sent flying by you, is still diiiizzy.]
???: [You can't do this to me! Let go of me, please! What are you going to do to me!?]
Holly: [Again, I'm having trooouble with the child not listening to me.]
Holly, with a troubled look, held a young girl who was struggling in her arms.
It was the girl with blue hair and a lovely face tinged with anger, who right now, was the girl that Subaru wanted to see and hear the most in the world.
At that moment, Subaru forgot about his poor condition, his awe of Vincent, and the battlefield engulfed in flames below. He forgot everything and ran. He was slow. In order to avoid accidentally dying, he couldn't jump off the huge rock, so he could only drag his legs and run at a pace slower than a child would run. Then, Subaru came up to Rem who was being held by Holly...
Subaru: [Rem! Thank god, you’re safe...]
Rem: [Did you let them do all this? You're the worst!]
And, the moment Subaru stretched out his hand to try to touch her, Rem raised her hand and slapped Subaru. Hearing the loud bang, Holly, Mizelda, and even Utakata were all stunned. Due to its power, Subaru was almost sent flying.
But he was not. He didn't get sent flying. He didn't complain about why he was hit. There was nothing to complain about. After all, Rem was alive and talking like this, and that's all that mattered.
Rem: [...Y-You're so stubborn.]
He was slapped on the cheek with considerable force, but Subaru did not mind and embraced Rem's body. Subaru's chest welcomed her as he took her from Holly, and Rem was surprised then flushed with anger. And then, she clenched her first, ready to strike a powerful blow, when...
Before landing the final blow to Subaru's body, she realized his entire body was riddled with injuries.
Subaru slumped on the ground, feeling relieved. Rem, still being held in his arms, was rendered speechless by the injuries all over Subaru's body, the various wounds on his shoulders, torso, legs, and left hand.
Subaru: [...No, my left hand was broken by Rem.]
Rem: [Of course I know! But there are so many injuries besides that...this, you'll die like this! You must be treated immediately...]
Mizelda: [It's pointless.]
Looking at Subaru's feeble smile, Rem desperately urged him. However, her plea was dismissed by Mizelda's simple and clear answer. After hearing the sharpness of those words, Rem couldn't help but mutter “eh” as she looked up. Seeing Rem's gaze, Mizelda shook her head.
Mizelda: [Subaru's injuries are very serious, and it is no longer to the extent that can be medically treated. Currently, his mental fortitude has been the only thing keeping him going, but that too will soon break.]
Rem: [Break, no, why so suddenly...!?]
Mizelda: [Obviously, it's because he got his woman back.]
Mizelda tilted her head and said that as if it was natural. In response, Rem choked out a "ha" and Subaru, who could no longer keep his head up, chuckled.
Subaru: [Mizelda-san, that choice of words...]
Mizelda: [Am I wrong? Since it was the last wish of our compatriot, we would naturally do our best. You're a man who is worthy of that, you know.]
Subaru: [Haha, how terrifying...]
Mizelda's truthful and trusting words made Subaru feel both pleased and disgusted. That was because Subaru knew that her observations and her words were not wrong. Therefore, Rem would be burdened by unnecessary things, things that would weigh her down. In turn, this made her already difficult to move legs even heavier.
Rem: [Why, why, why is...]
Subaru, who no longer had the strength to lift his head, heard Rem's voice. He noticed Rem's voice trembling, and before he realized it, Subaru, who should have been holding Rem, was being held by Rem's arms. What flickered in Rem's pale blue pupils was suspicion, disbelief, and sadness.
Rem: [Why would you go to such lengths? For me, why...]
Rem: [Why would you?]
She questioned him. Why, she wondered, why he would do such a thing. This question, he remembered someone had asked him this before. When he was asked this by someone precious to him, what had been Subaru's response?
Editor’s Note: There was much debate in the team as to whether it was a precious child or precious someone that Subaru refers to. The kanji for child was used, but it seems strange for Emilia to be referred to as a child. Some on the team thought Subaru was thinking of Beatrice. In the end we left it as ambiguous as possible.
His memory was blurry and his consciousness was about to fade, he couldn’t remember. Therefore, he replied truthfully to the girl who was about to cry in front of him.
Subaru: [You’re wondering why?]
Because, that's what was asked of him.
Subaru: [...I want you to be happy.]
Subaru: [I want you to laugh. ...I'm okay with just that.]
He wanted her to be surrounded by love, and to smile in the same place with the people she cared for. Like a blooming flower, under the clear sky without any clouds, like a star twinkling at the far end of the sky, laughing.
Simply put, he wanted her to laugh. For her...
Rem: [...Eh? Hey, wait, wait please...]
His body went limp, and Subaru gradually lost his strength. He lowered his head, his neck no longer able to support it, and his upper body slumped. Pulling him in tightly, Rem called out to Subaru as his head came to a rest next to her own. But there was no response.
Mizelda: [...To our fellow compatriot, let the soul of this warrior rest in peace.]
Mizelda straightened her back, speaking in a respectful tone, and then she spun a song of encouragement. Following Mizelda's singing, Holly, Utakata, and the other people of Shudrak, the people who had sung the triumphant song on the battlefield, all followed and sang.
It was a requiem for a warrior who had fought to the end and fulfilled his pride.
Rem: [Please, wait. Not like this, because, this person I...]
Sent off by a song of requiem, Subaru slowly surrendered his life. Seeing Subaru's peaceful face, Rem shook her head reluctantly.
She didn't understand the reason. She didn't understand what he meant. The words that were said, in the end, did not answer the question Rem had wanted answered. But she understood that if this went on, she'd lose this chance forever....
Rem: [Please, in a place like this, don't die, don't die, don't die...]
Emanating from the man who gazed at Rem with compassion was an unbearable, repulsive smell that instantly attempted to repel her, but her soul urged her not to lose him here. As she did so, Rem bit her lip, yearning for salvation...
Suddenly, following a child's growl, she felt a hand placed on her shoulder.
With tears in her eyes, she caught sight of a young girl with blonde hair putting her hands on her shoulder. She looked at Subaru who was unconscious. Then, the girl growled.
Rem: [....This is.]
A warm feeling flowed into Rem's body from her shoulders, which was where she was touched by the girl. As she felt a soft, itching sensation in her chest, Rem found herself struggling to breath and, before long, she couldn’t stop tears from flowing down her cheeks.
The thing that flowed in from the girl's palm triggered a strange feeling within Rem. As it swelled, she could no longer hold onto it. She had to release it somewhere, and so, as instinct dictated, Rem expelled it from her body. Then, it ran down the palms of the girl touching her, flooding Rem, and like that...
As she hugged him, it flowed into Subaru, who was on the verge of giving up his life.
Vincent: [...I see, is this healing magic? I did not anticipate this.]
A man's voice struck Rem's ears as he tried to figure out what was going on. She looked up to see a dark-haired man with his arms crossed, his eyes narrowed as he looked at her. She almost parted her lips to question his expression...
Vincent: [Keep your mouth shut, woman. It is a miracle that you are unaware of, but it is a miracle that is triggered by the right conditions. If you're not careful, the effect will be interrupted and you'll lose it.]
Vincent: [Don't question it or get angry until you've dealt with what's in front of you. Don't squander this opportunity.]
The weight of the man's words was hard to deny, and Rem closed her mouth that was trying to refute. Then, following what the man said, she focused on sending the heat to Subaru’s body, who was within her arms. Rem did not understand what effect this heat had. But she felt the faint breath in her arms gradually becoming stronger. Just that, it was enough for Rem now.
Rem: [...Right now, despite this, I don't know who you are. But...]
She had broken off her speech, and hesitant to say anything else, Rem closed her eyes. He must have wanted her to be happy, because those words he had said didn't sound like a lie.
Rem: [If you are not alive, you can't see me laughing]
So, she called out to him in a whisper.
...The healing light was activated, and Natsuki Subaru’s fatal wounds were gradually healed.
As he folded his arms and looked down, the one who called himself Vincent Abellux sighed at Subaru, the other man who had been pulled back from the brink of death.
What a man of ill luck. He had managed to win the hearts of the people of Shudrak in his dying state, and then not only was he able to recover what he wanted, but also his own life.
Unexpectedly, the blue-haired girl. ...If he could get Rem back, one could speculate he was calculating that his life would be spared.
Vincent: [If he is so resourceful, why didn't he heal the broken fingers on his left hand before?]
With his fingers broken by Rem, the man was covered with blood and mud, but he still only wanted to take the girl back. If this was all calculated, then he truly was a divine strategist, but there was no hint of the brilliance or the aura of a sage radiating from him. Rather, this man didn’t even possess the traits of the "Hero" the rumors spoke of.
Vincent: [I was thinking of saying farewell to a dying man... But if he survived, that's fine as well.]
Losing the sensation of the cloth covering his face, he narrowed his eyes as he touched his bare face, which had not been exposed to the wind in a long time. Natsuki Subaru's life was spared, and the blood pact with the people of Shudrak had been forged. It seemed the Imperial soldiers had not been told anything, but that was also as expected.
Moreover, the people of this land. No, the majority of the people in the Empire were not yet made aware.
The Sacred Vollachia Empire, a powerful nation, was in the midst of an unprecedented coup.
Vincent: [Prime Minister Belstetz, the rebellious Nine Divine Generals, and the foolish Imperial soldiers who don't know the summit.]
On a hilltop with a hot wind blowing, the man...Vincent, turned toward the Imperial City, far to the west. Toward the heart of the Sacred Vollachia Empire, the capital city Lupghana, the site of the throne that must be reclaimed...
Vincent: [...Tremble as you await my return.]
Vincent: [You've survived this long. You shall accompany me, Natsuki Subaru... To return the Vollachia Empire to my hands.]