… Swaying, staggering, wobbling.
His consciousness slowly wavered. He wobbled left and right as if he were on a ship sailing upon a vast ocean. His swaying consciousness felt heavy, and it seemed like his eyes were spinning, even though his eyelids were closed.
It's not enough. Anything and everything is not enough. Blood, flesh, bones, tranquility, wrath, joy, and all the other things that made up an individual were missing. There was not enough, as if all of it had been spilled somewhere.
He must gather them, he aimlessly reckoned. He needed to pick them up again, reassemble them, and then, he must rise once more.
There is a place he must go, a desire that he must reach. He has a reason to live, a wish that cried out for him to live.
Therefore, therefore, therefore. Even though anything and everything is lacking and incomplete, he must move forward. To that end, Natsuki Subaru will...
As soon as he regained consciousness, Natsuki Subaru's lips twisted due to a sticky sensation that covered his face. All over his body, from his face down to his chest, he felt a wet sensation. The slimy wet feeling was similar to the sensation of waking up drenched in sweat after a bad dream. He was in a daze and felt heavy-headed, which combined with the fact that he was probably running a fever.
Subaru: "....Yet another unfamiliar ceiling."
The ceiling he mentioned in his often-repeated statement was a crude one, made of wood. Far from a solid architectural design, it's a dugout with a rather bold combination of wood. Subaru's thoughts were bewildered for a while by this work of art, which was a masterpiece of primitive technology. Subaru slowly dredged up his memory, trying to remember what had brought him to the shack in the first place.
Subaru: "As I recall, I left the convenience store and blinked, and I was in a different world, then I met Emilia-tan there... That’s a bit too long, so I’ll skip ahead for now."
Subaru was just muttering to himself, without letting anyone listen in on him, but the lightheartedness of his words brought his mind back to life.
Yes, the boy, Natsuki Subaru, who was summoned to another world, met a silver-haired super beautiful girl, went to go on various great adventures, finally conquered the tower in the desert, and was sent to a neighboring country.
Subaru: "I don't even know what I'm saying....."
Anyway, the reality was that the situation had continued to be so erratic that he wanted to lament over it. And although he searched through his memory, he still didn't recognize this shoddy ceiling.
Subaru: "There was barely any possibility of it being in the Sanctuary. Even when Garfiel locked me up, the building was in a good shape."
Garfiel is a childlike boy who now idolizes him and calls him Cap’n, but the memory of being locked up by him with his hands and feet bound was still prominent in Subaru's mind, even if it had been in a lost world. Although Subaru doesn't hate him, that precious, first-hand experience of confinement isn’t something he can easily forget, even if he wanted to. However, that terrible environment does not coincide with the ceiling in front of his eyes. In any case, living in a different world in a high level of civilization in its own way is something that Subaru, being one of the very few modern age people around, feels fortunate about.
While in deep thought about how he would truly like to be in a better environment…
As he tried to sort through his disarrayed mind’s contents, one fragment at a time, a lightning-like impact pierced through Subaru without warning. ...Yes, this was not the Kingdom of Lugnica, but the Vollachia Empire. Having unexpectedly been tossed into a neighboring country, Subaru and Rem, with no one to trust, were completely helpless...
The girl who he has to protect no matter what, also came to this country with him. To make matters worse, Subaru has been separated from her, and Rem is still in the hands of those dangerous men...
Subaru: "Stupid. No, I really am stupid...! This is not the time to be doing this kind of thing......"
???: "...What are you making such a fuss about?"
Just as he was about to stand up and begin searching for Rem, a harsh voice spoke at him from his side, causing the energetic Subaru to gasp. As he sat up his upper body, it seemed that he was lying on the floor that was just as simple and crude as the ceiling. Suddenly Subaru met a pair of blue pupils staring at him with disdain. It was a girl with neatly cut, short blue hair, with beautiful pupils that stared at him.
Rem: "...Yes, although I am not very sure of my response. I still have yet to accept myself as the human you call Rem.”
At the harsh manner of speaking from the girl who froze her emotions to the best of her ability, Subaru quietly widened his eyes in astonishment. However, she was talking right in front of his eyes, proving that this was neither a dream nor an illusion. He could even smell her soft scent. Yes, and the heat in her hand.
Subaru: "...Hmm, hand?"
Suddenly, Subaru noticed that under the rag covering him, his right hand was holding the hand of the girl, Rem, and he was dumbfounded. He couldn’t remember what happened at all.
Subaru: "Could it be that you were holding my hand until I woke up?"
Rem: "Hah? Please don't say such repulsing things. If you look, you will see. It is you who took hold of my hand, refusing to let go."
Subaru: "Ah, that, is that so? Yeah, you must be right. It was me that was holding your hand after all......."
Unable to distinguish between expectation and reality, he added fuel onto Rem's unhappy mood. It seemed that when he lost consciousness, Subaru subconsciously held Rem's hand. ...Furthermore, he wasn't shaken off, he can't help but think of it in that way.
Rem: "What’s with that look in your eyes??"
Subaru: " N.., no, it’s nothing of concern. Yes..."
Rem: “Is that so? If you’re in good health please let go. Your hand is slimy."
Subaru: "Such words can deal tremendous damage to adolescent boys...!"
If someone was told this by a cute girl, then depending on the person, they could receive a blow that would leave an unhealable, lifelong, scar. Fortunately, Subaru was tough, having managed to barely escape with his life. After he timidly let go of her hand, Rem pulled her hand back to her chest and wiped her hand on her clothes. Seeing that, Subaru suffered a second blow. But, putting aside Subaru’s inner feelings...
Subaru: "Rem, are you injured? If you have anywhere that hurts, you don't need to hide it, just tell me."
Subaru: "Eh, what's with that expression...? Did I say something strange.....?"
Subaru who ignored the conversation just now is trying to confirm that Rem is safe and sound. Hearing Subaru's concerns regarding her well-being, Rem reacted coldly. Subaru couldn't help but worry that he spoke out of turn, but he couldn't think of the reason why. He was just worrying about Rem.
Rem: "...Your own injuries were much more serious than mine. Just a little longer and you would have died, do you not have any self-awareness?"
Subaru: "Self-awareness is, uh, well...."
Rem: "I see, you don’t.. ...As I thought, I can't trust you."
When his eyes met hers, he heard clear rejection in her words, and Subaru was speechless for a moment. Losing her memories and the smell of the miasma entwining Subaru's body contributed to the bad impression he gave her, and as such, Rem has kept a harsh and icy attitude towards him. Not to mention, this time between Subaru and Rem, there wasn't even the opportunity to bridge the gap. Subaru was just desperately trying to save Rem from the Imperial encampment...
Once again, a missing piece within Subaru’s memory was filled, and felt an illusion of his brain trembling. The shock this time was equal to Rem's existence.
In order to save Rem who was trapped in the Imperial camp, Subaru made a huge gamble. As a result, he encountered the tribe in the forest, the People of Shudrak. Subaru and the man who was taken prisoner along with him underwent the ritual, then...
Subaru: "...This right hand that I see isn’t black."
As he grumbled this, he raised his right arm sticking out from his missing sleeve, and looked at it. The hideous black patterns that appeared on Subaru's right arm, was an aftermath of the battle against the Archbishops of the Witch Cult in the Watergate City Priestella. The one mark that had never disappeared, disappeared without leaving a trace.
...The black pattern healed his crippled right hand.
It was a horrible memory, and it didn’t seem to be a dream nor a nightmare. Well, it was a nightmare, but it seems to have happened in reality. In other words, Subaru completed the Lifeblood Ritual without dying and successfully recovered Rem. ...But in exchange, many sacrifices were made.
Rem: "......You look pale. I think you should rest for a while longer."
Rem said this after seeing Subaru fall silent as he stared at his unnaturally clean hand. Even when facing someone she doesn't like, she couldn’t help but worry when seeing they’re feeling unwell. This was likely due to Rem's innate kindness. In other words, Subaru's expression was like that of a corpse.
Although Subaru wanted to rely on her kindness, the circumstances made it impossible to do so. There are still many things that needed to be confirmed.
Subaru: "Thank you for your concern. But, I have a lot of things I need to ask... Let me ask first, this is the home of someone from Shudrak, right?"
Rem: "Yes, that is what those women seem to be calling themselves."
Subaru: "I see. Then......, I'd like to see Mizelda-san and the others. Also..."
It was something he didn't really want to hear, but was also something he needed to confirm..
Rem, who was taken prisoner in the Imperial encampment is now here. Then like her, the person who should have also been trapped in that place… is Louis. Subaru was concerned about her whereabouts.
To put it frankly, he was worried. Not about Louis' safety, but about the damage that could be caused by leaving her behind.
Subaru: "I'll ask directly, Louis... where is she?"
Rem: "... What a shameful look on your face. Why are you trying to keep that girl away?"
Subaru: "There’s a good reason that would be hard to explain, and even if I did, you might not understand."
Any arguments concerning Louis had always led to great displeasure from Rem. Although it’s distressing for Subaru to think about, he also thinks it’s not something he could talk about.
Subaru: "Anyway, where is that girl? No way, could she be in the camp...."
Rem: "...Look to your left and you’ll know."
Subaru stared at her as he wondered what she meant, then he turned his wide eyes to his left.... towards the opposite side of where Rem was, the right. Then, when he looked in that direction, it was too long before Subaru’s face stiffened in shock. Right there was...
Soundly asleep and with an innocent face, the exposed Louis was right there. She was on the left side of Subaru and fell asleep on the same mat, in the same sheets. The corners of her wide-open mouth were drooling. Looking at her improper appearance, Subaru finally came to a realization.
It turns out that when he woke up, that slimy feeling on Subaru’s chest and face originated from...
Subaru let out an inaudible shriek.
???: "Oh, Subaru! You seemed to have woken up with no issues."
Subaru was greeted by Mizelda, who showed her face at the plaza after showing Rem around. The young Chieftain of the People of Shudrak, with her black hair, dyed red, walked towards Subaru as he emerged from the hut, and then checked him out from top to bottom. Subaru chuckled lightly at her bluntness, or rather, at her overwhelmingly pleasant attitude.
Subaru: "Thanks to you, I somehow made it back alive, and it seems like even Mizelda-san was concerned about me."
Mizelda: "Don't worry about it. when you die, your soul will join your heroic brethren in the heavens, and your remains will be left here, just for us to mourn. In any case, I’m glad your soul is here to stay."
Mizelda crossed her strong arms and puffed out her sizable brown chest. Her simple words struck a chord within Subaru and his heart was moved. If he was being honest, he had been prepared to die again when he was captured by the People of Shudrak and put into the cage. To the still moved Subaru, Mizelda narrowed her eyes, and said…
Mizelda: "By the way, it's a pity you already have partners in Rem and Louis, can’t you make room for one more?"
Rem, next to Subaru, raised her voice at Mizelda's somewhat mischievous question. Rem’s expression turned grim as she held onto her new wooden cane, with her legs still wobbling. Louis had only just woken up from her sleep and was clinging to Rem’s arm. When she heard Rem’s loud voice, her eyes widened in surprise. Stroking Louis’ blonde hair, Rem once again called out, “Mizelda-san!”
Rem: "You overestimate our relationship. I don’t trust nor sympathize with this man."
Mizelda: "Then you don't mind if I take him?"
Rem: "Yes, of course. You can have him."
Subaru: "That doesn’t take my feelings into account at all!"
With a stern attitude, Rem agreed to trade away Subaru. Subaru hurriedly put a stop to it, only for Louis to shout along with him as she followed Subaru’s momentum. Hearing this, Mizelda laughed and said, “I’m just kidding, just kidding,” but Subaru couldn’t help but be amazed at her carefree attitude.
What happened immediately after the Lifeblood Ritual is quite vague for Subaru. But still, Mizelda’s attitude towards him didn’t seem to be an illusion.
Subaru: "So, somehow, our relationship got better since our first meeting. That’s good to see, but..."
Mizelda: "Mm, you don’t look well. Is something wrong? I can cut off the parts that hurt if you want, okay?"
Subaru: "I feel like you’re being serious right now, so I’ll keep quiet."
Her offer was probably not a joke, but more of a serious offer. If Subaru were to accidentally say “Yes, please”, he might not be able to go back on his choice. Anyway...
Subaru: "Last time I was here, I didn't have time to take a look around."
As he said this, Subaru looked at the village of the People of Shudrak. The village was located deep in the vast forest, where their civilization level looked like it had stopped advancing, including the hut where Subaru had woken up. It was the scene that gave off the impression of an indigenous tribe living in a jungle. They were like the Amazons, who lived with few men and survived by hunting, had no sign of modern civilization in their village, making it look like a truly uncivilized land.
Subaru: "There are only a few of them, so they can live by going on the hunt every day...but I..."
Subaru bit his lip and muttered as his eyebrows raised in pain. The mute Rem gazed at Subaru's profile intently. Subaru isn’t able to read what she’s thinking behind her blue eyes. The fact that he couldn’t get a read on what she was thinking scared him. Even when Mizelda smiled at him, Subaru couldn't easily return her smile. So, in order to get out of the awkward situation...
Subaru: "Mizelda, I want to speak with you. ...And I think I need to speak with that guy as well."
Mizelda: "...I see. Well, you’re right on time. He's probably at the congregation hall with Talitha and the others right now."
Hearing Subaru's words, Mizelda nodded and cocked her chin.
She pointed to a large building near the back of the plaza, the congregation hall, or at least that’s what she called it. It was a place that seemed to live up to its name. Setting aside whether or not it was the most elegant in the village, it was the largest building and seems to have been assigned that role.
Subaru: "...Let's go."
With his destination in sight, Subaru turned his feet in that direction. Subaru held out his hand to Rem, but she refused it, showing that she would walk on her own with Louis in tow. He laughed at Rem's unchanging response and at the same time tightened his expression. They walked through the entrance of the congregation hall and went inside.
There, they saw...
???: "You’re finally awake. Lucky you, Natsuki Subaru."
They were greeted by a masked man, sitting atop his knees on the bare floor of the congregation hall.
At the center of the congregation hall, within the Shudrak surrounding the fire, was a lone man standing out among the crowd. At the man's greeting, Subaru's cheeks stiffened and he was at a loss for words.
Vincent: "What's wrong? You're not going to tell me that you lost your voice as compensation for barely surviving, are you? However, that might have been a reasonable price to pay."
Subaru: "No, I didn't lose my voice. I didn't lose it, but I’m at a loss for words. ...What’s the deal with the mask?"
With that, Subaru pointed at the face of the man who had an irreverent manner of speaking. Covering the man's face, which Suabru’s finger pointed towards, was something painted red and white, resembling an Oni Mask. However, since the Oni Tribe exists as a species in this world, it is not actually an oni mask. The man was just wearing a scary looking imitation that had an angry expression on it.
The man responded to Subaru's words with a bored "Oh."
Vincent: "It was gifted to me. From the beginning, and in the future as well, I intend to keep my face hidden. I’d say it’s just right. Plus, it was a bother to re-wrap my face every time I washed it. "
Subaru: "If it gets dirty it seems like it’ll get it itchy... wait, that’s not what I came here to talk about!"
Subaru's cheeks distorted at the man's nonchalant attitude, and he stepped ahead till he was right in front of him. Talitha, who was seated in the circle with the man, tried to stop him, saying, "Hey!" But...
Vincent: "Talitha, stop it. This person seems to have business with me."
Vincent: "If I say it's fine, it's fine. What other words do you need?"
At none other than that man, Talitha shook her head and backed down as she was commanded. In such a short time, he seems to have won the trust of the People of Shudrak. ...No, controlling would be a better way to describe his demeanor. Talitha's attitude was not one of fear or trust, but one of deep respect. The same was true, in no small part, of the other Shudrak surrounding the room. Subaru can't even imagine what kind of methods he used.
Subaru: "At any rate, I'd like to talk to you privately. ...Vincent Abellux."
Subaru said this, standing in front and looking down at the seated man. He didn't know how the man's expression changed when he spoke to him, as he couldn't see his face behind the mask. However, there was a faint illusion that the atmosphere in the meeting place had tightened and the temperature had dropped. The pressure was so oppressive that it almost took his breath away, but Subaru endured it with all his spirit. And then…
Vincent: “This is the first time, so I shall allow it since you’re in a daze, but don’t make me tell you the same thing again. If you do, know that there will be no third time. I suggest you refrain from thoughtlessly using my name.”
Subaru: "....And what if I refuse?"
Vincent: "Then you will be punished accordingly. I know plenty of ways to make you scream."
The man stood up on the spot and glared straight at Subaru. Judging from the aura, atmosphere, and feel of the remark, there were no lies within the man’s words. There is no possibility that he is bluffing. Even with the trouble it would cause, and the limited means, the man will surely enact the necessary punishment he mentioned.
Subaru: "You're a sick guy..."
Vincent: "In that case, why don't you try seeing if you can say it a third time?"
Subaru: "...No, I'm not going to do that. I'm not here to argue with you. ...Abel.".
There was no point in being stubborn, so Subaru backed off first. For the time being, he decided to follow the advice of the man in the mask and call him Abel for the time being. At Subaru's decision, Abel drew back his chin.
Abel: "That was wise. If you hadn't backed off, there would have been blood on my hands."
Subaru: "Go ahead, say it. For what it's worth, if you and I had gone at it, I think it would have been a very close match."
Abel: "Then you'd better look behind you."
Abel said this to Subaru, who took it as a provocation and wrinkled his nose. As he turned around in response to those words, Subaru's shoulders trembled with an "ue." There was Rem, whose cold eyes were watching the two men argue.
Subaru: "Oh, uh, Rem-san? Your face is..."
Rem: "No? It's just that you've been asleep for three days after almost dying, and with your petty stubbornness, you didn't seem to take care of your body. If you keep that up, wouldn’t it have been better if you’d gone ahead and died in the field?"
Subaru: "I'm sorry, my bad, it won't happen again!"
Overwhelmed by Rem's cold gaze, Subaru desperately apologized. In the end, he couldn't break Rem's sour expression, but suddenly, Subaru came to a realization. The reason why he was able to survive that near-death experience was most likely due to healing magic, unless there was a special medicine. If that's the case, then the one who did it must be...
Abel: "I'll have to talk to you about that treatment as well."
Abel seemed to be able to read his mind from the way Subaru gasped for breath. He then shrugged lightly and turned his head towards Mizelda.
Abel: "Mizelda, take everyone out of here. It will be just me and him."
Mizelda: "Good grief, how selfish you are. If you weren't such a lady-killer, I'd be angry with you."
Talitha: "Sister, please get angry with lady-killers too…"
As Mizelda readily complied with Abel's instructions, Talitha's shoulders slumped at the sight of her sister. Given how things were just before this, Talitha isn’t very convincing.
Once Mizelda, the chief, is persuaded to leave, the other Shudrak do not stay. They all headed out of the meeting hall, in droves. The question is whether or not the wave will include Rem and, while they’re at it, Louis.
Abel: "It wouldn't be convenient for you to have that woman around to discuss what you want, would it?"
Subaru held his breath at Abel's remark, wondering if he could see through the reason for his hesitation. But in the end, his words were right. He doesn't want Rem to hear the following discussion.
Subaru: "Rem, can you please go out with the others? ...I don't know how long it’ll take, but I don’t plan to spend too much time."
Rem: "The way you say it, it sounds as if I'm being selfish."
Subaru: "I didn't mean it like that. ...Well, can you stay out?"
Rem: "....And what if I refuse?"
Subaru, who had thought he had his hands full with Abel, was taken aback by Rem's words. He immediately understood that it was a dig at the earlier exchange between Subaru and Abel. Subaru was weak to Rem's insistence on staying. If he could, he would give Rem anything she wants or desires. However...
Subaru: "... I don't want you to hear this."
Rem: "I can also force you to give up and stay here, you know."
Subaru: "If that's the case... if that’s the case, it’s cheating but, I'll run and get away."
Because of Rem’s slow speed with her cane, she would not be able to catch up if Subaru ran. That's clearly the only point where Subaru can beat Rem right now. He can't think of anything else, and he must admit it's a bit pathetic.
Louis growled as she pulled on Rem's arm in front of the struggling Subaru. Apparently, she was trying to take Rem out of the meeting place. Watching Louis, Rem gave a small laugh and said...
Rem: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to worry you. I just wanted to be a little snarky with this stinky person."
Subaru: "Stinky person..."
That one phrase stabbed deeper and sharper than any snark, but it was okay for now. As Louis urged her, Rem simply said, "Well then" and walked out of the meeting place with Louis, cane in hand.
Subaru scratched his cheek as he watched her leave, not looking back. It was difficult to decide if Rem was not really paying attention to Subaru or if she was just saying that out of concern. Of course, he'd be happier if it was the latter.
Subaru: "I started with the worst first impression. I don't set any high hopes, that's my lifestyle..."
Abel: "What foolish patience and hubris. ...Sit, I'll listen to what you have to say."
And so, as it was just the two of them in the congregation hall, Subaru sat down cross-legged on the ground as Abel told him to do. In front of him, Abel sat on the ground the same way, knees up, looking at him through his mask. With a burning bonfire in the middle, the two faced each other through the flames.
Subaru: "The first thing I want to ask you is, from where was it a dream and where was it real?"
Abel: "Ha. That's a question that no one but you could possibly know. What do you want me to say? Would you be satisfied if I told you that everything was a dream and things went on peacefully?"
Subaru: "There was a girl named Utakata, which is confusingly similar to Bubbles..."
TL Note: Utakata can be translated to bubbles.
Among the People of Shudrak, there was one young girl, she should have been Utakata. Being named Bubbles was confusing, but that's not the essence of Abel's words. ...No, Subaru can say that he knew the essence of the situation, right now he attempted to escape it by cracking jokes... And Abel would not let Subaru's weakness go unnoticed.
Abel: "I will not stand for your cowardice, Natsuki Subaru."
Subaru: "...Yeah, I know. ...Well, that attack on the Imperial camp, was that real?"
Abel: "Of course it was. The Imperial camp deployed outside the Buddheim forest was destroyed by the power of the Shudrak. What you saw was no illusion."
...Abel once again told him that what he saw was real. Hearing this, a heavy weight was placed deep in Subaru's chest. He bit his lip tightly and waited for his consciousness to turn white with the pain. Such a convenient escape is not allowed for Natsuki Subaru.
Subaru: "...I understand the story. You led the People of Shudrak to attack the Imperial encampment. And you drove the Imperials away. That's what happened."
Abel: "Yes. But that explanation is not fully sufficient. I'll supplement it myself."
Abel: "Under my command, the Shudrak destroyed the enemy position. And that's without any damage on our side."
Subaru: "...In other words, you're bragging about how great your skills in command are?"
Abel: "No, that’s not it. ...This is your achievement."
Abel shook his head as he said that, to which Subaru widened his eyes in surprise with an, "Ah?"
It was an unexpected, singular word. Abel's recognition of Subaru's supposed achievement left him confused. Subaru can't think of any reason why he should be praised in the first place. What... what in the hell is he talking about…
Abel: "Don't you understand? The reason why Shudrak and I were able to be victorious without a scratch was because we were able to know the details of our opponent's formation. You, of all people, were the one to tell us."
As Abel spoke with his knees propped up and his hand holding his chin, Subaru’s thoughts came to a standstill. It was far beyond unexpected, words that struck a blow from completely out of nowhere. Unable to grasp the meaning of this, Subaru's mouth opened and closed several times...
Abel: "The more you know about your opponent's position and manpower, the more effective your strategy will be. In fact, we won the battle without taking any damage. That's your contribution. I even let you take your reward."
Abel: "We successfully rescued your woman. I reward hard work. There is no way to reward the dead. I thought I'd do it while you were still breathing, but... you're a man with the luck of the devil."
Even upon being told he has the devil’s luck, Subaru was taken aback.. Perhaps, to Abel, it was a compliment or an accolade of sorts. But, unfortunately, Subaru was not equipped to receive that, nor was it rooted in his culture to accept it. That's not surprising...Why should he be happy that he was used as a tool of war?
Subaru: "Why was I talking about the encampment...?"
Abel: "It's a side effect of the herbs. After the Lifeblood Ritual, you were on the verge of death. I had to keep you alive until I could assault the encampment and rescue your woman. The effects of the potion I gave you for that purpose kept your head in a daze. Consequently..."
Subaru: "I flippantly answered what I was asked...?"
Horrified, Subaru clasped his face in his hands, his voice trembling. Indeed, Subaru had a general idea of what was going on in the encampment. He had once spent several days in the camp as a servant. He knew where everything was and how many people were there. He knew where the weapons and tools were, and he knew that if they attacked there first, they would have an overwhelming advantage. He understands now, but what does it matter if he understands?
Subaru: "Medicine, you gotta be joking! You can't use something like that without permission! You..."
Abel: "But without it, you would have died without ever seeing her again. In other words, the woman's healing magic would never have reached you. There is no reason for me to be shouted at for keeping those on death’s door alive."
Subaru: "Oh, of course there is......! I... I didn't want to be a part of a war! So many people are dead, and, ...... and you!"
Abel: "You're mistaken."
Abel says this to Subaru, who is breathing hard and ready to denounce injustice. Pierced by the cold tone of his voice, Subaru's cheeks tightened.
Subaru: "Mistaken huh? What am I mistaken about?"
Abel: "Let's say you weren't drugged out of your mind. Even so, you would have needed the power of the Shudrak to rescue your woman. Naturally, you would have done your best to spit out all the knowledge you had. ...In that case, you would have told me about the encampment's formation."
Subaru: "Ah, uh..."
Abel: "You get the idea. The result would still be the same. Whether you are dying or not, in the end, your knowledge would reveal the secrets of the encampment, leading to the Imperials’ deaths."
With what Abel pointed out, Subaru tried to find a way to defend himself. But he was right, and Subaru naturally had an idea of the flow of events that would occur.
In fact, if he had survived the Lifeblood Ritual in a better condition, if he had come up with a plan to help Rem, Subaru would have told them about the Imperial positions. He would have told them about the deployment and manpower, and used it as a basis to come up with a plan to help save Rem.
Subaru: "But in that case, I'm part of the strategy meeting. I would have definitely opposed any operation that would result in the death of people. That’s why..."
Abel: "You think you could convince me? Could you have persuaded a group of strangers with no means other than to kill, to find a better way to rescue your woman without dying?"
Subaru: "That, is..."
Abel: "I'll tell you. ...That's called a fantasy."
Pierced by Abel's words, Subaru's soul bled and screamed.
He wanted to scream that Abel was wrong and to deny his claim. However, the words that came out were nothing but baseless sentiments that couldn’t break through his mask or change his facial expression.
They see things differently. Their way of life is different. The difference in their views of life and death separates Subaru from Abel and the People of Shudrak. And that wall could not be broken down nor broken through.
At least, not in the short time it would take for Rem to be lost. Subaru himself had become convinced of this.
Subaru: "...Even so, I wouldn’t have wanted to give up."
Abel: "Instead of you not giving up, someone else will die. It may be a stranger who has no relation to you. Or it could be someone who is half your size. To stop and ponder is to allow it to happen."
As Subaru grits his teeth and curses this unforgivable reality, Abel continues to chastise him. In exchange for his fierceness, Abel may have brought about results. But how can he have the right to select the lives that will be lost instead?
Subaru: "Who the hell are you? Do you think you're a god or something…?"
Abel: "Nonsense. I'm not a god or a hero. I’m certainly not some wicked spectator looking down on this world. ...I'm a king. A king amongst kings."
Abel: "The people call that which stands at the summit an Emperor. ...That is me."
Abel declares this boldly, with his hand hitting his chest. Behind the mask, Subaru cannot see his hidden expression. However, he could see Abel's true face, which he had seen only once, with a fearless smile on his face and his eyes blazing.
The Emperor, Subaru forgot to even gasp at the mention of it. With an excessive amount of pomp and circumstance, he proved his own existence through words alone. And to the frozen Subaru, Abel... Vincent Abellux, continued with the same majesty in his voice.
Abel: "The Sacred Vollachia Empire's seventy-seventh Emperor, that is who I am."
Abel: "Although, now, I've been ousted from the crown and dropped from my position."