Al: "...Oi, wait? Is anyone listening? I'm in serious trouble here!"
The tension in the air was shaken by a dumb voice, but that didn't relieve the tension of the situation. If anything, the tension between Abel and Priscilla kept escalating, and even Subaru, standing on the fringes, was unable to make a move.
If he made a bad move, he would risk the wrath of Priscilla, the ruler of the now half-destroyed hall. Out of fear, he was hesitant to point out that Al was on the verge of falling to his death. The only way to break this statement was for Abel or Priscilla to speak…
???: "...Don't move."
However, it wasn't either of them that changed that predicament. The unexpected voice came from the staircase that connected the hall to the lower floor. Subaru glanced over to see a new figure looking at Priscilla, an arrow notched in their bow, aimed straight at her. It was Talitha, whose strong eyes were filled with intense hostility.
Under Abel and Mizelda’s direction, she had left City Hall before Arakiya’s assault, but had now returned. Naturally, seeing the upper floors of the city hall in pieces, Talitha would have inferred that the enemy had attacked. The problem was that she had no idea what that specifically entailed. With the heavy atmosphere, and Priscilla looking down at Subaru and Abel, there was no doubt in her mind that Priscilla was the one who was the source of all this destruction.
Talitha: "Move, and I'll shoot you in the head."
Priscilla: "Oh, my head? It's already bad enough you couldn't even get to your ally in time."
Talitha's cheeks tightened at the unnecessary provocation, and Priscilla turned to her with grace. With an overwhelmingly dignified attitude, Priscilla dismissed the threat of being shot. In fact, Priscilla made a point of walking straight up to Talitha.
Abel: "That's enough."
However, Abel stopped Priscilla from taking any further steps. Quietly, Priscilla's crimson gaze turned to Abel again. Abel, who was down on one knee, met her gaze firmly.
Abel: "Talitha can be more resourceful than you think. Don’t take her lightly.”
Priscilla: "If you say so, but do you think I’ll turn a blind eye to her disrespect?"
Abel: "I'm sure you can’t. But Priscilla… how many times have you pulled out your Yang Sword?"
Beside the unexpected evaluation of Talitha, Abel's question struck Priscilla. Subaru, however, couldn’t understand the question’s intent. She was holding the Yang Sword... a treasured sword of dazzling crimson, that held an indisputable amount of power. However, now that she had defeated Arakiya, she had it sheathed at her side. Of course, she would pull it out again if she needed to, but…
Abel: "Talitha, put the arrow down. She's not your enemy."
Without waiting for Priscilla's response, Abel continued to tell Talitha to drop her weapon. However, she wasn’t convinced. With the arrow still drawn, Talitha persisted.
Talitha: "Yes …. but that woman is clearly dangerous."
Abel: "I understand what you’re saying. But she’s not the one you should be looking for right now."
Abel's gaze shifted to the side as he told Talitha, who didn’t lower her guard. The gesture guided her gaze, and, while keeping Priscilla in sight on the corner of her vision, she turned her attention in that direction and gasped.
Talitha: "Oh, Sister…!"
As her eyes were ushered, Talitha saw Mizelda undergoing treatment from Rem.
With half of her body scorched by the flames, and a branch piercing her abdomen, Mizelda was badly injured. Although Rem was doing her best to patch her up, the pain was unbearable.
Rem: "Talitha-san, please call out to her. Call out…!"
Talitha: "Sister, Sister…!!!!"
Instantly, the previous atmosphere fizzled out and Talitha rushed over to Mizelda. She grabbed her sister's hand and began to call out "Sister" over and over again, just as Rem had asked. So once again, there was nothing that could keep Priscilla in check.
The standoff between Abel and Priscilla resumed. or so it seemed.
Priscilla: "Commoner. You, pull that person up. He'll spoil the fun with all his noise."
And with that, Priscilla pointed her chin towards the broken balcony. She had ordered Subaru to save Al, who was doing his best to hold on for dear life. Subaru gasped as she gave the order without a care in the world. Of course, he couldn't say anything except yes to her request, unless he wanted to take the risk of ruining Priscilla's mood. Above all...
Priscilla: "I'll see to that man myself. What, I'm not going to let him die. Don’t fret to much"
Pointing to Abel, Priscilla's mention of Subaru's concerns also gave some encouragement. It wasn't because he had enough of a trusting relationship with Priscilla to believe her outright on that statement, but because he knew that she wouldn’t back down from what she said.
Abel: "Staring at each other isn’t going to get us anywhere. For the time being, you should do what she says."
Subaru: "…Alright. I'm not your subordinate, though."
Abel added that as Subaru pondered over Priscilla's words. Subaru didn't like the fact that he was being directed by Abel to do something. Leaving that thought for another time, Subaru immediately went to rescue Al, who was trapped, hanging off a light fixture over the edge of City Hall.
His mind was a jumble of different factors as he did so: the safety of Mizelda and the People of Shudrak, the future of Guaral, and the relationship between Abel and Priscilla. Subaru bit down with his back teeth hard and put those thoughts aside for the moment, concentrating on what was in front of him.
Just as Rem was desperately trying to save the life in front of her, Subaru too, was trying to get as close to the Bloodless Siege that he envisioned as possible.
Al, who had been bathing in the exterior light of City Hall, was much harder to rescue than expected.
To begin with, Al only had one arm, the other being lost from his time in this other world. As his lone arm was currently occupied, busy hanging by a thread, his options were limited.
Al: "So this is what it means to have a hand full… No, it’s more like I’d even take a cat’s help at this point. Which one do you think it is, Bro?"
Subaru: "Shut up! If you're wanting help, don't demotivate me!"
Replying to the out-of-place tease, Subaru ripped the curtain Abel was hanging from before, made a loop at the end, and guided it to Al. The loop was then threaded around Al's torso to secure him in place, and he was ready to be pulled up. Then he tugged at the curtain to pull the dangling and swaying middle-aged man out from his predicament.
Al: "…And up, up. Whew, barely escaped death there. You saved me."
There were a few close calls, but Subaru finally succeeded in pulling Al back up. After crawling the rest of the way up with Subaru’s help, Al patted his chest and sat on the floor of the wrecked hall. Looking over at him, Subaru wiped the sweat from his forehead, having completed his task. He then turned to the person who had helped him rescue Al, Medium.
Subaru: "Thanks, Medium-san, that would’ve been pretty tough on my own."
Medium: "It's ok, it's ok! Also, I'm sorry that I collapsed at such a critical moment before!"
Laughing cheerfully despite her battered appearance, Medium apologized. She apologized for not being able to help during the fight with Arakiya, but her apology was far from necessary. In the first place, both Medium and Flop weren’t in a position where they needed to be involved in this battle.
Medium: "Both An-chan and I haven't been diligent enough! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
Subaru: "No, it's not your fault, Medium-san! You couldn't move because you were protecting Flop, Utakata and... Louis.”
Hesitating with his words, Subaru praised Medium's achievement.
When the tornado that was Arakiya blew through the hall, Medium protected Flop, who was right beside her, as well as Utakata and Louis, who she was carrying on both shoulders. As a result, she hit her head and was too stunned to move. But thanks to her efforts, the three of them were safe, and Medium was spared further damage.
Medium: "Hmm, it makes me happy that you say so, Natsumi-chan. But it's no good. I'm An-chan’s bodyguard, so I have to do my job properly!"
Medium: "Next time! Next time, I won't be so pathetic! Look forward to seeing that from me and An-chan tomorrow, Natsumi-chan!"
Subaru: "Yes. It's reassuring to hear you say that. But I don't think the two of you should…”
Subaru tried to continue, saying that they didn't have to go along with him. However, the slurring of his words was easily drowned out by how bright as the sun she was when she exclaimed "Ah!", rounding her eyes in amazement.
Medium: "I'll go over there and help An-chan! It'll be hard for him to carry the injured!”
Subaru: "Oh, yeah..."
Medium: "Okay, Natsumi-chan, I'll see you later! I'm glad that the masked person didn't fall!"
With a big wave of her hand, Medium ran off restlessly. She began to help Flop among others with the injured, and to carry and treat the injured People of Shudrak and Imperial soldiers alike. The O'Connell siblings didn’t even receive a word of appreciation, as Subaru felt more and more indebted to them. He wondered if one day he would be able to repay the favor he had been given.
Al: "That was a big, cute young girl. As expected of Bro, you're living it up across the border, aren't you?"
Subaru: "I shudder cause I don't have any idea what ‘living it up’ means, though I agree, Medium-san is a big, cute person. More importantly…."
Al: "Hmm? What’s up, Bro?"
Subaru glared at Al, who casually cracked his neck and returned the glance with his usual lighthearted demeanor. Subaru then suppressed his anger towards Priscilla, forcing it back down like a rising hunger. It's only natural. Subaru's suspicions and questions had been on the back burner for a while now.
Al: "Don't look so angry. You're ruining your makeup and wig."
Subaru: "I'm sorry, but my makeup and wig have already been trashed due to a last minute firestorm. Don’t get it wrong, the real Natsumi Schwartz is much prettier."
Al: "Natsumi Schwartz, was it?"
When Al heard Subaru's fake name, he cleared his throat with a rumble and laughed meaningfully. When Subaru questioned his attitude, he shook his head.
Al: "No, no. I'm just impressed with your pseudonym. I didn't know Bro had crossdressing as a hobby."
Subaru: "Don't be silly, I'll fill you in on the correct information about Natsumi next time. But more importantly, answer me. ...Why are you and Priscilla here?"
Subaru: "It was a big help to us, but there is something I don't understand at all. It's not just why you’re in Guaral. It's also why you're in the Empire to begin with?”
In response to Subaru's serious question, Al closed his mouth softly and fell silent. It was an inexplicable intervention, no matter how much Subaru thought about it. It just didn’t make sense for Priscilla and Al to be in the Empire with complete impunity. Of course, from their point of view, the same could be said for Subaru and the others.
Subaru: "Let’s put that aside for now. The sooner I learn, the better though."
Al: "That's a novel idea. But that's not what Bro really wants to hear."
Al: "It doesn't matter why me and the Princess are in the empire. What Bro really wants to know is the way back… from this scary and dangerous country, to his familiar home. Ain’t that right?"
Subaru fell silent this time. The question Al posed had hit a sore spot. The way to return from the Empire to the Kingdom: that’s the information Subaru was seeking the most right now. He had his doubts. There were questions, as well as a nagging sense that he was being treated unreasonably. But wasn't it more important to solve the largest problem right now?
Subaru: "Then you have the answer to that question…? A way to get back to the Kingdom of Lugunica, beyond the borders of the Empire…?"
Al: ""No, I'm sorry. I don't know, I was just trying to get your hopes up."
Al: "Wait, wait, don't be mad! To be precise, I'm talking about how difficult it is to get out of the Empire right now. It's hard enough to get in, let alone trying to escape."
Subaru was frustrated by the way his emotions were being played with in the palm of Al’s hand. As usual, Al refused to show his true feelings. Does Subaru also look like that from other people’s perspectives? If that's the case,then it would be something for Subaru to reflect on. In any case…
Subaru: "You can get in, but you can't get out… And the reason for that is…"
Al: "Oh, come on, I don't have to tell you that. It means that there are people who don't want a situation where a certain someone could easily leave the country."
Subaru: "...Does that mean you know Abel's true identity too?"
In response to Al's comment, Subaru naturally arrived at that conclusion.
He'd heard before that the Vollachia Empire had strict border control, but if the emigration ban was being strengthened under the conditions that Al mentioned, then the reason for that was none other than the existence of Abel... no, the Emperor of Vollachia, Vincent Vollachia.
In order to prevent Abel from escaping to another country, border security was being tightened. All that meant was that in order for Subaru and the others to return to the Kingdom of Lugnica, they would need to overcome some major obstacles.
Subaru: "Al, if you have more information than we do…"
Al: "Oops, I'll have to keep my mouth shut about this. I don't want the Princess to get mad at me for blabbering about unnecessary things. If there's something you want to talk about, talk to the Princess. However…"
He put his right hand on the metal clasp of his helmet, as a moment later, it made a gentle click. He then continued.
Al: "I can't guarantee that the Princess will be honest about it, though, can I?"
Al: "Princess, I'm back. How's the discussion going over there?"
Priscilla: "How’s it going you ask? We’re not getting anywhere. I've been listening to everyone that’s woken up, one by one."
Al, who waved his hand in an easygoing manner, had only been asking about the progress. Meanwhile, his cheek was being poked by Priscilla’s finger as she responded. The upper part of the building had been destroyed during Arakiya’s attack, but the solid foundation was still strong, and fortunately, the contents of City Hall were still intact. Thanks to this, they were able to use the conference hall for important discussions, no relocation necessary.
It had a large round table, which Abel and Priscilla were seated on opposite sides of. In addition, Zikr and his imperial soldiers, as well as Kuna and the People of Shudrak were present. All of them were relatively injured, yet not incredibly so, and if Priscilla's words were true, they had probably been questioned.
Kuna: "Yo, you okay, Natsumi?"
Subaru: "Kuna, I'm glad you're awake. Are you hurt?"
Kuna: "Holly's big frame came in handy. To be honest, I don't feel comfortable in this place, so I want to get the hell out…"
Subaru noticed Kuna’s pained face as he joined them at the round table. Looking at the rest of the Shudrak, Subaru could guess the reason for Kuna's bitter face. To put it bluntly, she was the one who represented them all right now.
Kuna: "Talitha can't leave the Chief's side and there's no point in letting Holly do the talk. But why put me in this role…"
Subaru: "No, I think you’re the right person for the job, because you watch your surroundings carefully and keep a level head. So, how are the discussions going?"
Kuna: "Well, I think we've got a pretty good idea of what's going on. I believe we're about to start the so-called discussion."
Kuna answered while shrugging her shoulders, and Subaru nodded saying “I see”. Soon after, he was at a loss as to where he should be in the room. In the first place, Subaru's position in this group wasn’t very clear. Although he was the one who planned the operation for the fall of Guaral, it wasn’t a successful one because of Arakiya and Priscilla’s intrusion.
???: "Miss Natsumi, if you’re in trouble, how about you sit next to me?"
And so Zikr stood quickly and pulled a chair out in front of Subaru, who had been lost in thought. Small and stocky, Zikr looked at Subaru and smiled like a gentleman. At his grin, Subaru pointed to himself.
Subaru: "Um, I'm sure you've noticed this already, but you know I'm just crossdressing, right?"
Zikr: "If you are posing as a woman, then I am also posing as a man. My idea of a man is to behave like a gentleman with a woman, regardless of who's posing as what."
Subaru: "So this is the Womanizer…!"
Instead of using womanizer as a derogatory term, womanizer was used as a term of respect that had a different thought process behind it. Subaru was embarrassed to be dressed in women's clothing, but he took Zikr's advice and proceeded to sit down in the chair that had been pulled out for him. In addition to that, Subaru said, "Excuse me," as he took his seat.
Subaru: "Also, thank you for protecting me upstairs, I would’ve been in danger if Zikr-san hadn't done it."
Zikr: "No, it was just a matter of my body moving in the spur of the moment. I don't know if I could repeat that feat next time. I'm a coward, after all."
Upon hearing Subaru's thank you, Zikr proudly referred to himself as a coward. This was because General Zikr was remembered this way by the Emperor to whom he had sworn allegiance. And Abel, the aforementioned Emperor who was held in such high esteem by the worthy Zikr...
Abel: "The citadel city of Guaral has fallen, and the commander of the garrisoned troops, Second Class General Zikr Osman, has shifted to our side, complimenting the forces of the People of Shudrak of Buddheim Forest."
Priscilla: "That's not enough. While I’ve heard of the bravery of the People of Shudrak, we’re still far too weak to take the Empire on."
Abel: "No doubt. Priscilla, where are your men?"
Priscilla: "I don't have my private army in the empire. Aside from that, the only people I can call my army are that clown in the iron helmet, a drunken swordsman, and a pipsqueak whose only qualification is that he’s got a cute face."
While Subaru was in the room talking with Kuna, Abel and Priscilla were having their own discussion. The two of them looked at each other thoughtfully as they gauged the other's strength and circumstances, but Subaru intervened with a "Wait a minute". He had been pushed around completely and he didn't want to be left behind again.
Priscilla: "What's the matter, commoner? You're still here?"
Subaru: "I'm here, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's a hell of a thing to look at me now and not be impressed. The last time she saw this, Beako had nightmares for a good bit."
Priscilla: "I would have given you a compliment on your attire. Surely you don’t think you're going to get a reward for pulling Al up with a dirty cloth, right?"
Subaru: "I don't expect that! No, I kind of do. I'm hoping that you'll at least listen to me a little bit."
Priscilla's eyes narrowed at Subaru, who was leaning forward with his hands on the round table, as if she was trying to judge him, but Subaru wasn’t afraid. Unlike before, Kuna and Zikr were here. When he said that, though, he felt like he made a pathetic bulwark.
Subaru: "Anyway, why’re you even here? I can't get anywhere asking Al. Let’s hear it clearly from your mouth."
Priscilla: "That's an annoying question. ...I'm here to talk to that guy, Vincent Abellux."
Jutting her chin in his direction, Priscilla replied as if this were something obvious. In response, Abel, who sat comfortably crossed arms, closed one eye, while the other swirled with complicated emotions. It was a bewildering look that could’ve been joy, anger, sorrow, pleasure, or something else, something inexplicable that didn’t belong to any of those feelings.
Subaru: "Talk to Abel…? But how did you know where Abel was?"
Priscilla: "The Emperor's throne in the Imperial city of Lupghana has a device that allows him to teleport elsewhere. If you notice any potential political change, you can escape to the east through it. ...To the tomb where Emperors have been buried for generations."
Subaru: "The Emperors’ tomb?"
Priscilla: "That's where the mechanism would take him. I'm sure I'm right, Vincent… No, it's more convenient to call you Abel now."
Priscilla's eyes blazed red as she turned the conversation away from Subaru to Abel. Exhaling under her burning gaze, Abel nodded.
Abel: "Yes, you can call me Abel now. At least, I'm not qualified to call myself Emperor now that the throne has been taken from me."
Priscilla: "Exceptional, law-abiding, and foolishly honest… In any case, you think too softly. It seems that during your time sitting on the Emperor's throne, you’ve forgotten how to stand up."
Abel: "Look at me, and tell me I've forgotten how to stand up."
Priscilla's unrelenting taunting did not deter Abel’s swarthiness. At that moment, their gazes clashed feverishly, and the air in the conference room even smelled of rising heat. As it was, it seemed inevitable that the discussion would break down and spew fire...
???: "Well, well, calm down, both of you. There's nothing to be gained by getting into trouble, right?"
However, there was a man who had the audacity needed to poke at a powder keg on the verge of explosion while puffing on a cigarette. It was Al who easily stepped into the uncomfortable atmosphere with what must have been a wry smile.. Instead of sitting down, he remained standing, under the combined smoldering glare of both Abel and Priscilla.
Al: "You look like this, but you have a cute side too, Princess. As soon as she found out that she had to rush to Guaral, she spurred her flying dragon at full speed, almost enough to exhaust him. That's how much she was looking forward to seeing you, you know."
Priscilla: "Such foolishness."
Al went behind Priscilla as he spoke and tried to defend her humanity, but his master didn't take his thoughts to heart and slammed her fan into his stomach with fierce force. Al yelped and fell to one knee on the spot, his body bent into a crooked shape.
Priscilla: "You have no right to think that you can speak for me. When did you become so full of yourself? Know your place, clown."
Al: "It's a good sign you’re being so difficult… But you're really here to help, aren't you?"
Priscilla's crimson eyes narrowed as she revealed her displeasure at Al's words. But the fact that she didn't explicitly deny it vocally was a sign that Al's words were right on target.
Subaru: "Priscilla came to help Abel...?"
It seemed so unreal that Subaru couldn't shake the feeling of discomfort. Of course, looking at the results alone, there couldn’t be any doubt that Priscilla helped Abel, Subaru and the others. However, her nature, as Subaru knew it, prevented him from being convinced.
Was fighting to protect someone, even if it had the benefit of defeating an enemy she didn’t like, really something that could fit the person known as Priscilla Barielle?
Priscilla: "You have a gleam in your eyes that suggests unpleasant thoughts. Do you want them to be gouged, commoner?"
Subaru: "Don't look people in the eye and tell them something so scary. To be honest, I'm not sure how much I believe you…"
Priscilla: "In any case Abel, I understood that you reached the east using the mechanism on the throne. If that's the case, did you expect me to join up with the People of Shudrak and come to this fortified city?"
Subaru: "Come to the…?"
While Priscilla was admittedly exceptionally perceptive, Subaru found it difficult to fathom the circumstances that Abel had so readily accepted. Certainly, the given conditions seemed to satisfy the speculation though.
Al: "Don't get it wrong, Bro. The smart guys here are convinced. If we keep it together here, we can avoid trouble we don't want to deal with."
Subaru: "And you're okay with that…?"
Al: "Good or bad, we'll just have to suck it up. Even if you try to fight, you'll lose. ...Because me and the Princess are going to win anyway."
Al, who walked towards him on his knees, assured Subaru with a whisper.
To be honest, it was surprising for Subaru to hear Al assure him that they would win. Originally, Al had a tendency to draw an appropriate line in the sand, rather than being humble. In fact, the other knights of candidates for the Royal Selection were all well-known and talented, and neither Subaru nor Al were special enough to be overconfident among them. This was why Subaru felt a certain amount of sympathy for Al.
That was why his assertion here was so surprising to Subaru. Even though he seemed to be unchanging and unconcerned, a change was coming. This was because of his master-servant relationship with Priscilla and the accompanying battle of the Royal Selection.
Subaru: "But I can only speak highly of those who have a chance of winning, even if it's only by a hundred millionth of a percent. In that respect, this Arakiya girl was in a class of her own. I couldn’t see any way to win."
Al: "…That's right, the Nine Divine Generals are the strongest members of the Empire. In the Kingdom of Lugnica, they would be equivalent to Reinhard or Julius."
If you were to select the strongest members within the Kingdom of Lugnica, you would probably find that most of them would be knights Not to mention Reinhard and Julius, but it might also include Marcos, the captain of the Royal Guards, and Roswaal, the Court Mage. Subaru also would like to add Wilhelm and Garfiel to the list and have an all-star lineup to face the Nine Divine Generals.
Subaru: "No that’s not important, no matter how many times you say Nine Divine Generals, it's hard to believe that someone would be able to match Reinhard…"
Abel: "I’m afraid there is."
When Subaru tried to gauge the strength of the Nine Divine Generals as the most important opponent to be wary of, Abel said something that made him doubt his ears. What did he just say? ...That there was a being that can rival Reinhard?
Subaru: "Are you saying that there are other bugged characters, just like Reinhard?"
Zikr: "I'm not familiar with this ‘bugged’ word, but if you mean comparable, I'd have to agree. The Nine Divine Generals have a One above Arakiya."
Subaru: "The One' of the Nine Divine Generals is...?"
Zikr: "Cecilus Segmunt."
Next to Subaru, who opened his mouth with a gulp, Zikr quietly said those two words. Subaru understood that it was a person's name, and that it was the name of the One in question. The person with that name was the strongest of the empire, the pride of Vollachia, a bugged character.
Abel: "The Blue Lightning of Vollachia, as he is called, is a swordsman of the highest class, ranked alongside the Sword Saint of Lugunica, the Admirer of Kararagi, and the Mad Prince of Gusteko."
Subaru: "Umm… I remember hearing that nickname before… So you're serious?"
Abel: "If you were to antagonize him, you would lose your head in the blink of an eye. That's the kind of man he is."
Abel, who had his arms crossed, nodded in response to Subaru's question, as his cheeks tightened. In this situation, there was no reason for Abel or Zikr to tell a lie or a joke. In other words, what they had spoken must be the simple truth.
Cecilus Segmunt, the strongest man in the Empire, who was as skilled as Reinhard. Subaru felt a chill run down his spine as he wondered just how dangerous and fierce this superclass swordsman was. It was a battle of vast differences in strength. If you are outnumbered and outclassed in quality, how could you possibly hope to win?
Al: "… However, if you think about it that way, there's still some hope. The fact that I was able to beat Arakiya, who holds the rank of Two here, was a big gain for us."
Despite the heavy mood of Subaru and the others, Al said this with a cheerful voice.
It was a very positive opinion, and it was true that he was not in an agreeable mood. However, taking in Al's spirit, Subaru exhaled, "That's right".
If they only look at the negative side of things, they won't be able to make any progress. In fact, Subaru and his team were able to conquer the fortified city with minimal damage. They even managed to add Priscilla and Al as reinforcements, although it’s hard to say whether they are friend or foe.
He was sure Rem would do her best to heal the injured Shudrak, and Mizelda would return to the front lines. They could expect to see more of her relaxed, stoic demeanor, and all around combat ability. So...
Subaru: "Al’s right, it's great that we were able to defeat one of the Nine Divine Generals... and a powerful one at that. I'm sure she's got some information, considering her position."
Al: "Yeah, you could say that! That's brilliant, Bro. Information is more valuable than gold during a war. Since she was left alive, let’s hear what she has to say."
Subaru: "Right. We've got a good lead on something…"
Subaru forced himself to get in the mood, and Al matched him. At that rate, the subject of the conversation changed toward the acquisition of information from Arakiya, who had been successfully captured alive.
???: "Wait, Subaru and Iron-Mask. I'm going to have to disagree with you on that."
But then Kuna, who was participating as the representative of Shudrak, intervened. As Subaru and Al turned to see what was going on, Kuna stroked her own green-dyed hair, and said...
Kuna: "That woman is dangerous. You never know what she'll do if she sees an opening. It's definitely better to kill her as soon as possible."
Subaru: "I understand that, but that's too short-sighted. Killing her is not…"
Kuna: "The chief already ended up badly hurt. I don't care what Subaru says, we and the others need to execute her."
Kuna mentioned Arakiya’s execution upfront, and glared at Subaru with stubborn insistence.
When she pointed out Mizelda's condition, Subaru had no choice but to keep his mouth shut. Her safety was left to Rem, but even if her wounds healed, the fact that she had been injured would not disappear. If the Shudrak couldn’t forgive her for that, then Arakiya would have to pay for it.
While searching for a response to Kuna, Subaru glanced at Priscilla. He wanted to see what kind of reaction Priscilla would have to Kuna's insistence on executing Arakiya, as she seemed to have an unusual relationship with her. However...
Priscilla: "I've already decided on my attitude towards Arakiya, and it was me who cut the back of that thing. Are those black eyes on your face only a decoration?"
Priscilla: "I have no intention to say anything for the sake of Arakiya. If her fate ends here, it will be part of her own path… Although it would be a shame."
Subaru: "… I don't understand you at all."
Subaru shook his head at Priscilla, who spoke simply as she weighed the value of Arakiya's life. At the end of the day, their relationship seemed to be sour, but judging by Arakiya's attitude, it could have been intimate. Yet, Priscilla's attitude was terribly disconnected. As an outsider, Subaru had no idea what their relationship was like.
Subaru: "But if you die, it's all over. Life doesn't come back."
Priscilla: "Do you dare to teach the value of life to me? Do you think that I can misjudge the value of another's life?"
Subaru: "You're not omnipotent. Even you can make mistakes."
Directly facing Priscilla, Subaru answered without a pause. As soon as he said that, the air in the room became tense.
Kuna and Zikr gasped, while Al could be seen putting his hand on his helmet. Subaru, too, was aware that he had said something foolish in a spur-of-the-moment manner. It was a pattern that he realized after he thought about it, that he could lose his life if he said this to Priscilla.
The next moment, he might be beheaded by that treasured shining crimson sword. But even so...
Subaru: "I'm not wrong. You can be wrong."
Again and again, Subaru repeated the statement that could cost him his life. A moment later, in front of Subaru. Priscilla's eyes narrowed with a cold glare. And then, the scorching death that would make Subaru pay for his indiscretion...
Priscilla: "Even I can make a mistake, is that so? It's a hard thing to do."
It never came.
Subaru's eyes widened in surprise, and he exhaled as he had clenched his lungs. Taking one look at Subaru, Priscilla opened her fan noisily and directed her gaze past Subaru and towards Kuna.
Priscilla: "Before we cut off that thing's head, it would be best to find a use for it."
Kuna: "What, are you trying to tell us what to do? You're an outsider."
Priscilla: "If you want to ignore my advice, you can."
Withdrawing her opinion, Priscilla's gaze stroked over Kuna's slender body as if it were attempting to burn her. Hugging herself involuntarily, Kuna understood the pressure she felt from that gaze. Unfortunately, Priscilla and Kuna were at different levels.
Al: "Honestly, I was scared. But now we're on the same page!"
As if to break the tense atmosphere, Al clapped his hands forcefully over the round table. Having thus attracted everyone’s attention, he looked at Subaru through his steel helmet and said…
Al: "It's good news that Bro didn't die, but it's also good news that the world didn't lose the cute exotic girl. That said, when she wakes up, we'll talk..."
???: "That big no, noo!"
Al was just about to summarize their opinions of what to do with Arakiya, when he heard the sound of hurried and panicked footsteps. It was Holly, her large body twisting around the entrance of the room, as she burst inside the conference hall with a flurry of footsteps and a panicked voice.
Her body and breath bounced as she drew everyone's attention. The reason for the panicking was...
Holly: "A couple of Imperial soldiers rode in, and the Nine Divine General we captured has escaped, noo!"