Chapter 15

“The Things You Want To Protect”

???: "..!"

In that moment, a strong thud sounded, and animals kicked up dust and ran off into the distance. They were similar to the deer Subaru had seen grazing in the shade of the forest when he had last been to the plains. They were given the name Black Deer because of their majestic antlers and body covered in black fur, and it was another animal that seemed alien to this world, but actually came from the Kingdom of Lugnica.

In the middle of the scattering herd, a lone black deer was left behind, lying down on the grass. The black deer's body had been pierced by a thick arrow, and it's heart was destroyed by the impact of the shot. The twitching and trembling of its limbs were spasms that would slowly come to a stop. Either way...

Holly: “Meat, I got you, nooo!”

Kuna: “...Just meat? You should at least be able to call it a black deer.”

Holly: “Huh? What did you say just now? Kuna’s voice was too quiet so I couldn’t hear you properly, nooo.”

It was Holly, the one who had shot the deer, who cheered loudly. She had a cheerful smile on her face, but she hadn’t heard the murmurs of the girl beside her, and tilted her head with a curious look on her face.But when Kuna saw that, her lips twitched.

Kuna: “It’s nothing! Drain the blood! Hurry up, dammit!”

Holly: “Aw, I want to wait though, nooo!!”

As Kuna walked away, Holly quickly hurried after her, but before reaching her, she stopped and turned around.

Holly: “We’ve done so much, so we’re gonna take a little break. Is that okay with you, Subaruuu, nooo?”

Subaru: “... Oh, yeah. I’m totally fine with that, it’s fine.”

Subaru replied to Holly’s suggestion of taking a break, sweating buckets. Hearing his response, Holly yelled out “Thank goodness, nooo!” and chased after Kuna. Seeing her run away, Subaru slowly kneeled down on the spot. Behind Subaru, who was completely exhausted, was Rem. As she was being carried on his back, she let out a small sigh.

Rem: "... Stubborn."

She muttered that to herself quietly so that Subaru could not hear.

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

Subaru: "No, seriously, I took a bit of a licking. If I wasn't the eldest, I'd be whining. I can stand it because I'm the oldest, but I couldn't if I was the second oldest or the youngest."

As he gathered up the dead branches he had collected, Subaru made his excuses while standing in the cool breeze. Rem listened to them with blank eyes, and Louis with a fascinated look on her face, unsure of what he was thinking. Nevertheless, Rem sighed in exasperation at the display.

Rem: "I don't understand what you mean. To begin with, what does sibling status have to do with perseverance?"

Subaru: "Now that's something I’d expect you to not understand, but I feel like there’s somewhat of a correlation between patience and sibling status. You know how they say that the eldest son is raised strictly by his parents, while the youngest is spoiled?"

Rem: "I don't know if that is necessarily true. It shouldn’t apply to you if you were an only child, right?"

Subaru: "In that case, you would have to be raised strictly while being spoiled. Which is exactly my situation because I'm the first-born and the youngest, a man who fits the characteristics of an only child."

As he considered the closeness of his parents, it was quite strange that Subaru had no siblings. He is aware that he had his father and mother's love all to himself, so he can't help but wonder what would have happened if he had brothers and sisters, but it doesn't change reality.

Subaru: "Besides, it does not necessarily mean that I have no brothers and sisters since I left…"

Rem: "..."

Louis: “Aauaa.”

While Subaru was imagining horrible things, Louis was playing in Rem's lap, who had her eyes down. The backpack was fixed to Subaru's back while moving, but it can be lowered to the ground to be used as a chair. Thanks to this, he doesn't have to force himself to put down and pick up Rem. However, Rem may feel ashamed of the situation where she was left in the hands of Subaru, but it was a humiliation that she would have to experience for the time being.

TL Note: The backpack that Subaru is using is called a 背負子 in Japanese. Imagine a slightly modified version of the one in pictured in the link designed to accommodate caring Rem around.

Rem: "Siblings......."

Subaru: "Hmm?"

Rem: "Did I have a family ...that was born before or after me?"

Subaru: "Oh..."

Suddenly, Subaru choked up when Rem asked him that. When he looked up, Rem was combing her fingers through Louis' hair and tending to her, her blue eyes fixed on Subaru. He didn't understand the emotions flickering in that pale light. Perhaps Rem herself didn't understand them well either. It's just...

Subaru: "This is the first time you've tried to ask me about your memories."

Rem: "Where am I? Who are you? Who am I? What are your intentions? How dare you? ...Even up to now, I’ve asked these questions countless times..."

Subaru: "Not those negative ones. And I don’t think you’ve told me ‘How dare you?’ yet..."

Although he let out a forced smile at Rem's prickly manner of speaking, Subaru felt a faint sense of relief. As he had told Rem, this was the first time she had questioned Subaru about anything in a positive way. Subaru sees it as an advance in their relationship.

To tell the truth, Subaru had been anxious the whole way here since they left the Shudrak village. At any rate, Rem, who had been so hostile and suspicious of Subaru, did not reject Subaru's proposal to go to the town for a few days.

To be frank, he had thought that the biggest obstacle to leaving the Shudrak village was Rem's stubbornness, as she refused to listen to Subaru's words. To think that Rem would be so cooperative and not go against Subaru's plan. ...Instead of believing in miracles, he was wondering what kind of a disaster this could be a sign of.

But at this point in time, Rem was cooperative, and didn't even trouble Subaru by telling him to do anything excessive while on his backpack. In fact, she had even tried to reduce the burden on Subaru by criticizing Louis for moving around too much and trying to interfere with the march.

Subaru: "..."

Rem: "What is it? You don’t feel like talking about it? Is that it?"

Subaru: "No, no, quite the opposite. You’re jumping to conclusions there. It's just, you see, my relationship with Rem has been strained, hasn't it?"

Rem: "Even now it is, and it's not strained, it's stiff."

Subaru: "I was hoping that the stiffness has eased a bit!"

Subaru's heart was hurt once more by the look in Rem's eyes, as if she were looking at something filthy. He scratched his cheek with a finger, preserving the wound as a gift from Rem.

Subaru: "I don't know everything about Rem, either. But I know more about Rem than Rem does now. If you have questions, I'm willing to answer as many as I can. But...."

Rem: "Believing you or not, is up to me..."

Subaru: "Mhm."

Subaru nodded briefly and glanced at Rem. She was combing Louis' hair with her fingers, her eyebrows raised thoughtfully. A moment later, Rem looked back into Subaru's eyes again.

Rem: "I don't understand."

Subaru: "You don't understand ...yourself?"

Rem: "It's about you… I don't know what kind of person you are at all. Because what I feel and what I see doesn't seem to match."

She pulled her lips together tightly, and Rem's gaze wore a cold rage. It's not that they've grown apart, it's just that the situation now has taken on a more serious tone. In an attempt to evaluate Subaru, the serious look in Rem's eyes intensified. It was a sign that she thought Subaru's humanity was at least worth examining.

Subaru: " ...Compared to when you treated me like evil incarnate without giving me a chance to explain, this is a huge leap forward."

Rem: "Even now, I think there's a paper-thin line between you and evil incarnate… However, I think that it’d be okay if we put a thin sheet of paper between us."

Subaru: "..."

The brief comment she added felt like a concessionary handshake from Rem. With a sense of relief, Subaru grasped the proffered invisible hand and shook it back. Rem looked at Subaru suspiciously as he shook hands with an invisible hand in midair. In any case...

Subaru: "So, now that a thin sheet of paper has been inserted into the thin-as-ice relationship between you and me... what do you want to do? Is there anything you want to ask me?"

Rem: "... Please let me think about it a bit more."

Subaru was ready to open his heart, but Rem shook her head when she heard him. Rem was not yet prepared, or more precisely, Rem was not ready to trust Subaru. Rem may be worried that if she listens to him now, when she can't trust Subaru, that the information might be too worrisome for her. To be honest, he’d be lying if he said he wasn't frustrated by Rem's concern.

Subaru: "...Okay. I'll wait till you're ready."

Rem: "...Please don't say that like it's someone else's problem. I think you can say that it depends on your daily behavior."

Subaru: "I see... So in other words, the sooner I earn Rem's favor and trust, the sooner the route will open up for me."

Rem: "I don't understand what you said, but I do understand that you said something unpleasant."

To Subaru’s understanding, the sound of Rem's frustration was building up again, and he quietly put his hand on his chin. And then, below from where Subaru and the others who were having this conversation...

Holly: "Sorry to keep you waiting, nooo. We've finished taking care of the black deer, nooo."

Holly came back with a big smile on her face. She was pleased to have a dismembered black deer on the end of a branch she carried on her shoulder. Behind the happy Holly, was Kuna, who seemed to have been working hard on the dismembering. She looked tired.

Kuna: "Why do I have to do everything myself...?"

Holly: "But, Kuna can do it better than I can, nooo. If the meat I've taken the trouble to get is ruined, even if I eat and eat, I’ll still be hungry, nooo..."

Kuna: "Why not? You should eat what you can eat and keep it in your stomach, Fushigi-chan!"

TL Note: "不思議ちゃん" means weirdo or "eccentric young person" mainly for girls. We decided to use a romanji version, Fushigi-chan, of the word for this translation

Kuna yelled at the carefree Holly, but Holly laughed it off. Holly then looked at the bundle of fallen branches that Subaru had been collecting.

Holly: "Oh, you've done a good job collecting them. I'm impressed, nooo."

Subaru: "I can't hunt. So I'll at least do this… Can you let me study how you light a fire?"

Holly: "Study? I've never heard that word before, nooo."

Kuna: "It probably means to have you teach him..."

Holly's head twisted, but she smiled happily as Kuna pointed out the meaning of the word.

Holly: "Is that so, noooo?."

Then, Holly took out some small black stones from her hand bag and quickly matched them together in such a way that Subaru was able to see them, easily setting fire to the branch with the resulting sparks.

Subaru: "Oh, wow, that's amazing. That's some craftsmanship."

Holly: "It's a flint, nooo. Once you get the hang of it, it's a no-brainer, nooo. Subaru you try it too, nooo."

Subaru: "You're going to let me try? Well, I'll borrow it for a little ..."

Holly handed him the flint, and Subaru tried to imitate Holly's movements. The first, second, and third times ended in failure, but when he tried for a fourth time, it finally produced a spark. Now, if he could do the same thing on a branch…

Subaru: "I got it."

Holly: "Well done, nooo! Now you can grill and eat the meat you find whenever you want, nooo!"

Kuna: "Don't take this woman seriously, she's talking about animals before they become meat."

Subaru feels a small sense of accomplishment, under the extremes of both Holly’s and Kuna’s evaluation. Keeping both of them in mind, Subaru watched the meat of the black deer roast on the campfire, and then broached the subject.

Subaru: "Anyway, when we found the herd of deer, Holly's quick work was amazing. By the time I noticed them, she had already shot an arrow."

Holly: "It is all thanks to Kuna for finding the herd, nooo. Thanks to her, we have fresh meat, nooo"

Kuna: "All I said was that there was a herd. Any Shudrak can shoot a bow, let alone shoot one fast."

Holly: "Except for Kuna, nooo."

Kuna: "Ugh."

Kuna's expression tightened bitterly, as if Holley had hit a nerve. Rem's eyes widened at Kuna's reaction, and looking at her she asked...

Rem: "Is that so? That is unexpected. I had heard from Mizelda-san that Kuna-san has good eyesight, so..."

Kuna: "... Even if you have good eyes, you can't do anything if your skills are poor."

Holly: "With her bow skills, Kuna would lose to Utakata too, cute nooo."

Kuna: "Shut up!"

Having been judged as weaker than Utakata, Kuna struck Holy in the stomach with her fist. However, Holly’s plump body easily repelled the blow. Rem smiled at their exchange, but Subaru had mixed feelings when he heard about Utakata's archery skills.

After all, Subaru had once lost his life to Utakata's poisoned arrow. In terms of power, Utakata's strength may not be enough to kill Subaru, but if the arrowhead was coated with poison, there would be no shortage of killing power. Poison would not be very welcome in the context of hunting and catching prey, though.

Subaru: "Besides..."

Running a finger over his mouth, Subaru thought a bit about the strong bow. It was the Hunter who had attacked Subaru and Rem in the forest before they were captured by the Imperial soldiers. A masterful archer who once protected Subaru and his companions from a demon beast, and once killed Subaru. The identity of the hunter had yet to be revealed. Therefore, when Holly shot the black deer, it raised Subaru's blood pressure. However, when he heard about the Shudrak’s bow handling...

Subaru: "...One of the Shudrak, is it worth thinking about?"

At that point, Subaru and his companions were suspicious disruptors who had entered the forest. It might not be unreasonable to consider Subaru, who was shouting and looking for Rem, as a suspicious and harmful enemy, and try to eliminate him. The same thing is true for the subsequent battle with the demon beast. In the first place, the hunter protected Subaru and his companions from the demon beast. It's not a very good explanation for them being enemies.

Rem: "Holly-san and Kuna-san are good friends, aren't they?"

While Subaru was deep in thought, Rem began talking with Holly. Rem talked about Holly and Kuna, the two young People of Shudrak who were accompanying Subaru and his companions. However, only Holly laughed when she was told that they got along well, while Kuna made a disgusted face and even stuck out her tongue, with a "Ugh”.

Rem: "What's with that reaction and face? Neither of which a beautiful girl should be doing."

Kuna: "I'm just reminding you that we have a rotten relationship. She keeps on giving me trouble..."

Holly: "Hahaha, Kuna is a worrywart, nooo"

Kuna: "Whose … fault … is … that!"

A furious Kuna grabbed Holly and shook her shoulders languidly. However, the difference in size between the two of them was huge, and Holly, who was almost twice as massive as the slender Kuna, was not fazed. In the end, it was Kuna, who was just too tired to do what she wanted, slumped her shoulders and gritted her teeth in frustration with a, "Damn”.

Holly: "Kuna and I were born on the same day, nooo. We're like neighbors, like sisters, nooo"

Kuna: "No, I don't want a younger sister or an older sister like you..."

Holly: "Ah, anytime now would be a good time to start cooking, nooo."

Kuna: "Listen to me!”

Kuna's resistance to Holly, who was going at her own pace, echoed in vain. The way Kuna was being pushed around was reminiscent of a struggling military officer.

Subaru: “Kuna’s strands of hair are dyed green, wearing a color that gives off an impression. Even though it doesn’t appear so on the surface, she has a strong self-assertive personality.”

If Kuna had heard it, she would have said, "What's with this groundless accusation?!" But she couldn't have heard him, so he dismissed it as an auditory hallucination. However, as he watched Holly and Kuna arguing about the cooking of the meat, he glimpsed Rem lower her eyes slightly and heard her mutter...

Rem: “... Having someone to talk to so openly like that..."

Subaru: "... Ah, Rem, can I say just one little thing?"

What was contained in the murmur was a sincere and clear envy. For Rem, who has no memory, the people around her, including Subaru, are like invaders coming from the darkness, and there was no time when she can truly feel at ease. He didn’t know if this would be the cure for her tense mind, but...

Rem: "What is it?"

Subaru: "I know I said I'd keep quiet until I thought you wanted to hear it, but I'll wet my pants over just one thing."

Rem: "..."

Subaru: "You have a sister, you know. She's your twin sister, and she cares about you deeply. ...So you'll never be alone, no matter where you are."

Hearing Subaru's words, Rem's round eyes opened even wider. After telling her, Subaru asked himself if he should have held that information back, but he quickly decided to tell himself that his decision was the right one.

Rem had just said that she would wait until she could trust Subaru, he could have been called out for his action before the tip of his tongue was even dry. Not only was Rem anxious, but Subaru was also at his limit.

At least he could tell her about Ram's existence. He was sure that she was still worrying about her sister's safety from the distant land of Lugunica, and that she could feel Rem's presence through her Synesthesia.

Subaru: "I don't know, but if you close your eyes and think about it, you might be able to feel it. It is called Twin Synaesthesia."

Rem: "Synesthesia..."

Somewhat hesitantly, Rem put her hand on her chest and closed her eyes. Still and still, Rem's consciousness began to reach out toward the dark night sea, seeking the presence of her twin sister, the half of herself that was born on the same day, by the same mother. However...

Rem: "...Nothing, I can't feel it."

Subaru: "Right, huh… I guess it's hard if you can't visualize it.."

Shaking her head loosely, Rem reported the failure of her Synesthesia. For a moment, Subaru wondered if something had happened to Ram that prevented them from connecting, but then he decided that it was the distance, both physical and mental, that laid between them. To be honest, he felt quite regretful because a lot of things could have turned around in one fell swoop if Synesthesia had been successfully connected, but there was nothing to show from it.

It was Rem who was most frustrated. For now, at least, he has to support Rem's frustration...

??? : "...Ah."

Rem: "Uh?"

But while Subaru was choosing words of comfort, a faint breath escaped from Rem's lips.

The reason for this was the hand on Rem's chest, and Louis' hand on top of it. Louis had laid her head on Rem's lap, and laid her hand on top of Rem’s hand, as if she was worried about Rem from right below. At Louis' gesture, Rem loosened her lips softly and said...

Rem: "Thank you. I'll be fine."

Louis: "Ah."

Rem smiled stoutly, and Louis copied Rem’s smile. Seeing the heartwarming atmosphere between the two, Subaru bit his back teeth for being late to the party and for having his role sidelined.

Subaru: "Damn… I knew it, this means you are my enemy...!"

Rem: "Why would she be? Don't you think you’re being childish?"

Seeing Subaru glare at Louis, Rem misjudged him again. Unaware of this, and under Subaru’s gaze, Louis happily flapped her arms and legs. And while Subaru was having a difficult time with their relationship...

Holly: "It's cooked, nooo!"

Kuna: "It's still raw!"

...Are what the two people, in the already established relationship, shouted at each other.

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

...After the passing of a total of four days, the group arrived safely in Guaral.

Subaru: "That's Guaral... It's protected by some imposing walls, huh?"

From a distance, they could see a fortified city surrounded by high walls.

The scene in front of him was very different from what he had imagined when he was told about the nearby city, and Subaru was left feeling two different emotions: Surprised at having his expectations let down, but also a sense of relief.

Subaru: “The atmosphere of the city seems tense… Are they expecting giants to come attack them or something??”

Kuna: “You mean the Tribe of the Giants? If so, I heard they died out a long time ago.”

Subaru: “Is that so? Then the old man I know might be the last of the Tribe of the Giants…”

At Kuna’s serious answer, Subaru’s reaction to its absurdity spilled out. He was astonished to hear that Rom-jii, the only giant Subaru knew of, is in such a position where coming across him is that rare. However, he had heard from Rem that the Demon Tribe also suffered from a severe decline in population, so maybe the survival of a species is rough in this world too.

TL Note: "-Jii" (-爺) is a suffix added which means "old man," usually in a more casual setting

Subaru: “I haven't run into any elves other than Emilia-tan, there might be very few elves left in this world too.”

It’s a common fact in fantasy stories that elves are a species with a long lifespan, but because they have low fertility rates, they can’t increase their numbers much. In addition to that, there is also fear of the Witch of Envy, so half-elves are abhorred. Naturally, it is possible to see that sort of mentality being applied to pure-blooded elves as well, since they are necessary for half-elves to be born.

Subaru: “I can’t help but think of Emilia-tan when she’s not here. Dammit I haven’t seen Beako in a while either, I think I’m starting to have a serious Emila-C and Beatromin deficiency.”

For both of his nutritional deficiencies, the prescription is close contact with Emilia and Beatrice. On a serious note, the emotional exhaustion of being in a constant state of anxiety and tension was extremely overwhelming, so being able to hear their voices would be the most reassuring thing to Subaru who was in severe need of relief.

Subaru: “I miss the voices of Ram, Petra, Frederica and everyone else… I would even take Roswaal’s voice at this point.”

Rem: “Um, can you stop with the pointless mumbling?”

Subaru: “Oh, sorry.”

Subaru’s sad monologue spilled out, and was overhead by Rem on his back. For the duration of the trip, Subaru successfully carried Rem on his back without having to rely on the others. On the first two days he hadn’t been able to find the proper way to carry her and wasted a lot of energy, but from the third day, he was able to properly pace himself and balance her, which helped them move considerably faster.

Subaru: “There’s no one superior to me when it comes to carrying Rem on my back now.”

Rem: “Please don’t compete for such a shameful thing. Also, Holly and Kuna are...”

Since they were back-to-back, Subaru had to turn around to look at the people pointed out by Rem. When he turned around, he saw both Holly and Kuna. Next to Kuna, who was scratching her head in a lazy fashion, Holly took a step toward Subaru and Rem.

Holly: “Well, now that we got you two to town safely, I guess this is goodbye, nooo.”

Subaru: “Oh… you two aren’t going into the town?”

Holly: “There’s no reason for us to go in. Our job was to escort you.”

Subaru: “I see... You guys really helped us out, you know. ”

It was an abrupt farewell, but Subaru reminded himself that it was the normal way of doing things here. The two of them had only tagged along as a favor from the People of Shudrak. They had helped him out so much during his journey that Subaru felt like he was being spoiled.

Holly, with her hunting skills and cheerful personality, made the trip more comfortable. Kuna's earnestness and unexpected knowledge made her a reliable companion.

After parting ways with the both of them, Subaru was now traveling with Rem or rather, with Rem and Louis. In both the Imperial camp and the Shudrak settlement, there had been someone else with them, but this time, that wasn’t the case.

Kuna: “...Oh, stop it with that pathetic face.”

Subaru: “Sorry… wait, what do you mean by pathetic face? … Whoa?!”

Then, seeing Subaru’s dark eyes filled with anxiety towards the future, Kuna held something out to him. Catching the package in his hands, Subaru had to lean forwards because of its weight. The package handed to Subaru was a white, long and narrow bundle. That was what Holly had carried during the entire trip as well. He had surely thought it was something women would need on a journey.

Subaru: “Come to think of it, it seems like you never opened it even once...This is?”

Holly: “It’s Subaru’s, nooo. The chief told me to make sure to keep it until we got to town, and give it to you then, nooo.”

Subaru: “So this is mine...when we get to town?”

Subaru furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, unsure exactly what Holly meant. Kuna however, roughly urged him.

Kuna “Oh just open it!”.

Listening to Kuna, Subaru lowers his backpack to the ground and opens the white package. And inside the package…

Subaru: "Oh..."

Rem: “Is this a… horn?”

In Subaru’s arms, he held a large white mass that spanned an armful. Rem muttered at the sight of it and Subaru realized what he really had in his hands, a demon beast horn. It looked familiar to him. He had seen it twice before, with the first time being during the Lifeblood Ritual.

Subaru: “Are you giving me the Elgina’s horn?”

Holly: "That’s right, nooo. It was you who broke it, so it belongs to you, nooo."

Kuna: "It's valuable. Because of its size, you can sell it for a lot of money.”

Subaru: "...!"

When he was told about how it could be sold for a high price, Subaru let out a gasp at their plan. To put it simply, Holly and Kuna were telling them to exchange the demon beast horn for money that Subaru could use to return to the Kingdom of Lugnica. They had been carrying that as luggage for that purpose, without saying so.

Subaru: “It seems to be quite heavy?”

Kuna: “But you’ve been carrying Rem on your back for a long time, haven’t you?”

Holly: “And besides, I’m very strong, so it was easy for me, nooo.”

As Subaru’s voice trembled at their expectations, both Kuna and Holly gave him a blank look. Subaru was literally speechless at their thoughtfulness.

Subaru: "..."

They helped him along his journey and even gave him something with monetary value to help him get back home. In spite of that, Subaru was leaving them behind to return to his kingdom, while Holly and Kuna would return to the Shudrak to join Abel in his fight to reclaim his place on the throne. Along the way, many people would live and die.

Subaru: "I'm ..."

Kuna: "...Don’t think about stupid things."

Subaru: "..."

Kuna: "You fight to protect the things that are important to you. We’re the same.”

Subaru was about to speak impulsively, but Kuna stopped him sharply. She glared at him in her usual relaxed, annoyed way.

Kuna was always acting frustrated and annoyed with Holly. Nonetheless, she never once showed any signs of leaving Shudrak or hating Holly. As a member of Shudrak, she took it as a given that she would fight alongside Abel.

...This was a sign that she had a clear idea of what she wanted to protect.

Kuna: "Quit dawdling. I have good eyesight. If you do something stupid, I can see it right away.”

Holly: "Like Kuna told you, if you don't stop I’ll make you go “waBANG!” with a bow and arrow, nooo!"

Subaru: "...Ahh wow, that's very scary."

Subaru understood from their words that they were gently telling him it was time to go. If he did anything impulsive here, he would be disrespecting the kindness of the two, or rather, all of the People of Shudrak. He couldn’t do that to the women who called him a comrade.

Subaru: “Thank you, I’ll use this damn thing to pay for my journey. Thank you both for taking good care of us!”

Taking their feelings into consideration, Subaru swallowed down the feelings that welled up in him. In response, Holly and Kuna nodded to him, with their own differing attitudes.

Rem: "Thank you for this journey, Holly-san and Kuna-san. I won’t forget how the both of you and the People of Shudrak have helped me.”

Kuna: "You'd better. You seem to forget a lot of things, don't you?"

Holly: "I think you’re overexaggerating, nooo.”

Rem got off of the backpack to say goodbye to the two of them. Surprisingly, Louis also showed signs of not wanting to leave Holly and Kuna. In particular, she seemed to be getting along very well with Holly, who never held back in pampering her, and for a while, Louis clung to Holly’s stomach, not wanting to leave her.

Kuna: "Goodbye, Subaru, don’t forget, I’m watching you."

Holly: "Yes, nooo!"

Subaru: "Ah! Thank you, truly! Thank you!"

Subaru, along with Rem and Louis, turned their backs to the two girls and went on their way.

The demon beast horn was put back into it’s package and out on Louis’ back so that she could carry it. It was a hard decision for Subaru, who felt skeptical about the idea, but it looked like Holly’s words had affected Louis since she was being careful with the package and followed behind Subaru quietly.

Rem: “That girl seems to be observant of many things, you know.”

Subaru: “... She’s a bundle of curiosity, I know.”

Subaru replied bitterly to what Rem told him from his back.

Louis Arneb, the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony which devours all life, trying to search for the most suitable life for herself. At best, she was an inquirer, at worst, she was an omnivore. Therefore, Subaru's impression would not be changed by a slightly auspicious appearance. He shouldn’t expect that to change.

Subaru: "Let's go."

Feeling the sigh of Rem on his back, Subaru started walking. Behind him, Louis' footsteps could also be heard.

When they were first thrust into the Vollachia Empire, it was just the three of them. At last, in a way that they can all be said to be facing the same direction, the three of them moved forward.

Then, they passed through the gates of the fortified city of Guaral.