Chapter 7

"It Is Really Hard Being A Man"

Subaru: [Ouch.]

Subaru frowned at the sharp pain that ran through his fingertips. When he looked, he saw that the tip of his index finger had been thinly split, and a drop of blood was emerging from it. He had been cleaning up the materials scattered on the desk, and it seemed that he had cut his finger doing so.

Subaru: [Damn, I did it. I guess that's my punishment for underestimating the paper technology of another world. ...]

???: [Oh, Suuuuubaru-kun, what happened? Did you get a paper-cut on your finger?]

Subaru: [Yeah, I now know what you mean about me being weaker than paper, Roschi. I just screwed up a little bit, that's all. Can you fix it a little bit with ......?]

Showing his aching fingers, Subaru asked Roswaal, the owner of the room. Roswaal, who was working on paperwork at his desk in his office, put down his quill and checked the wound on Subaru's finger.

Roswaal: [Let’s see. Oh, that looks paaainful. However, a scratch like this is noooo big deal. I'm sure it will heal in no time if you lick it. Or do you want me to lick it for you?]

Subaru: [No, thank you for your concern. I'd rather stick it in Beako's mouth than have Roschi lick it.]

Roswaal: [Haha, that's interesting. It looks like you're getting along great with Beatrice, too.]

Roswaal released Subaru's fingers and squinted at them as he propped his elbows on the desk. When Subaru heard him say that, he shook his head, “Really?”. Subaru and Beatrice had a complicated relationship that was hard to put into words. It was a bit of an exaggeration to say, but Beatrice hadn't been very forthcoming with him.

Subaru: [I'm actively teasing her because it's worth it, but I'm not too sure what she thinks of it.]

Roswaal: [No, no, don't worry about it. Beatrice is such a straightforward girl. If she really wanted to reject you, you wouldn't even be able to get into the forbidden library.]

Subaru: [I see.......]

Roswaal: [In fact, I can't get into the forbidden library at all, you know.]

Subaru: [Really?]

Subaru smiled bitterly at Roswaal, who put his hand on his chest and said so. However, Roswaal, like Subaru, sees Beatrice as a child who is worth teasing. And they've known each other much longer than Subaru.

Roswaal: [So you misjudged your position and its effect is still lingering? Shouldn't yoooou apologize?]

Subaru: [Well, I guess that's not far off. It's been a little too long for me to apologize to Beatrice.]

Roswaal: [I don't think it's a good idea to blame it on time and not apologize, either. ......]

Subaru: [Mmm, this is getting more and more painful to hear.]

Loosening his lips, Roswaal took the quill again that he had put down. Taking it as a sign to get back to work, Subaru shrugged and resumed sorting through the bookshelves. Fortunately, the bleeding on his cut finger seemed to have stopped.

Roswaal: [That finger, if it really hurts, if not Rem or Beatrice, you can ask the Great Spirit-sama to heal it.]

Subaru: [You're not going to heal me, Roschi? Is this Sparta?]

Roswaal: [No, no, that's not the issue. ...I can't use healing magic, you know.]

Subaru: [Oh, really? I thought you were an all-powerful wizard who could do anything.]

Subaru raised his eyebrows lightly at Roswaal's unexpected confession. He could burn down an entire forest of demon beasts with his magical fire, and he could soar into the sky like the wind. When Subaru heard that he was one of the realm’s leading wizards, he assumed that he had mastered all the basic magic. However, Roswaal shook his head at Subaru's words.

Roswaal: [I'm sorry I can't live up to your expectations, but magic is largely dependent on one's natural aptitude. I happen to have been blessed with many magical talents, but still not enough to be able to handle all the magic that exists in this world.]

Subaru: [So, besides healing magic?]

Roswaal: [No, I can use most of them except for healing magic.]

Subaru: [So, you only have one serious flaw!]

Contrary to the heavy preamble, Roswaal's weakness was only the one. Nevertheless, the flaw was the inability to use healing magic, which made this feel like a surprisingly large hole that would be hard to fill.

Subaru: [I feel like it's much more important to be able to heal your own wounds while you're fighting or something.]

Roswaal: [Heh? Subaru-kun, you can think of things like that, too?]

Subaru: [Well, I graduated from power play in elementary school, where you can win by ignoring the effects of buffs and debuffs and just selecting the "fight" command. I'm the type of person who wants to compete with people with abilities, even though I have no abilities.]

Roswaal: [I thought it was supposed to be a difficult story, but it's reaaaally not.]

Although they had only known each other for a few weeks, Roswaal seemed to see the truth in Subaru's light-hearted talk. As Subaru scratched his head and stuck out his tongue at that, Roswaal closed one eye and blinked the blue one at him.

Roswaal: [Actually, you're right, Subaru-kun. You can say that the presence or absence of healing magic changes the battlefield ...... in a way. So it's a more vaaaaluable talent than you might think.]

Subaru: [Is that so? But you can also use Puck, Beako and Rem, right?]

Roswaal: [The former two are special, yes, and as for Rem, I think she has a ...... small talent for it. I've been focusing on developing that talent.]

According to what Roswaal said afterward, the usefulness of healing magic is considered to be one of the most important aspects of magic, and there is even a system of apprenticeship in specialized treatment centers. Rem could have learned it there as well, but she didn't want to leave Ram, so Roswaal directly instructed her.

Roswaal: [So, if you're too deeply immersed in having healing magic, I’m afraid you might become unable to endure pain when you get injured...]

Subaru: [Oh, you mean ...... I'll lose my tolerance for pain? That may be true.]

Just as a person raised in a sterile room would not develop a tolerance to outside viruses and the like, if pain was immediately erased with healing magic, it could be fatal when it could not be relied upon. With that thought in mind, Subaru glanced at the wound on his finger.

Subaru: [All right. It's not a wound worth making a fuss about, so I'll endure this pain as a lesson.]

Roswaal: [It's just a little cut on the tip of your finger, don't be so dramaaaaatic. If it's just a little cut, it won't make any difference if you heal it, so why don't you have Rem heal it?]

Subaru: [A sweet trap that lures people into laziness! ... No, this much is fine. No problem.]

It was a light-hearted suggestion from Roswaal, but it seemed like Subaru had developed some resolve. Subaru already knew from the two incidents in the capital and the mansion that life in this other world was not going to be easy. There's no such thing as unbearable pain. But...

Subaru: [I'll be prepared for the inevitable when it comes.]

Roswaal: [It's just a cut on the tip of yoooour finger, though...]

Roswaal laughs at Subaru's emphasis on the forefinger. However, Subaru's enthusiasm was futile, and when he finished cleaning the office and met up with Rem and the others, Rem noticed the wound and immediately treated it.


Subaru: [Ugghhhhh ......!]

Todd: [Here, bite down on this brace. This is going to hurt!]

As he said this, Todd straightened the fingers of Subaru's left hand and applied a pungent ointment to the three fingers that had by now been discolored to a reddish purple hue. He then quickly applied a splint to the fingers and secured them with a bandage, completing the treatment.

Todd: [The last thing you will need is this potion. It'll relieve some of the pain.]

Todd hands Subaru, who is sweating profusely, a bottle of medicine. The contents were a thick green mucus, but when it's called medicine, it's unavoidable. Subaru makes up his mind and gulps it down.

Subaru: [Yuck! That’s awful! Oh, that heavy liquid was twisting around in my throat. ......!]

Todd: [It's a drug that's famously hard to swallow. But I can assure you that it works great. It's a valuable medicine that's heavily used by the military. It will help your wounds heal faster.]

Subaru drank the medicine down while Todd laughed as Subaru held the empty bottle between his fingers. Wiping his mouth, Subaru bowed his head at Todd's words.

Subaru: [I'm sorry. I don't know why someone like me should receive such a precious remedy.]

Todd: [It's fine. In reality, if I had let these fingers stay like this, they would have started rotting and eventually fall off. And a person bearing the crest of the "Sword Wolf" would be worth getting a favor from, don't you think?]

Subaru lowers his eyebrows and bites his lip in response to Todd's generous answer. Todd, who seemed to be a soldier of the Vollachia Empire, assumed that Subaru's identity was of nobility, thanks to the knife Subaru had received in the forest. Thanks to this, Todd treats him well even though he is a prisoner of war. However, it was for this reason that Subaru felt bad about deceiving him. In addition to that, a certain question was nagging at the back of Subaru's mind. It was...

Subaru: [But then again. At a time like this, if I had some healing magic, I could heal my wounds in a flash.]

While checking the condition of his left hand, Subaru muttered to himself, feigning indifference. Hearing this, Todd raises an eyebrow.

Todd: [Oh? That's another extravagant thing to say. It's not every day you get to see healing magic.]

Subaru: [...You know about it, don’t you?]

Todd: [That's right. It would be convenient to be able to heal wounds and illnesses with the same ease as creating fire and wind. Your left hand would have healed in no time at all.]

Subaru looked down at Todd, who shrugged his shoulders and spoke sadly. He felt both anxious and relieved at the same time that his thoughts were correct.

In the past, before discovering that Roswaal was more than just a flippant, clownish nobleman, Roswaal had told him about the rarity of healing magic. Roswaal said that magic depends on talent and that users of healing magic were precious.

In addition to that information, the healing tent prepared in the camp was lined with bottles of herbs and potions, and a variety of medical, not magic, tools. Todd, who offered to treat Subaru’s wounds, never relied on magic, but on herbs and grafting. Hence, there was no doubt...

Subaru: [Healing magic is rare.]

Todd: [At least, I've never seen it before. From what I've heard, the imperial capital has a lot of mages who can use it. Whatever it is, it's a world away from the average person.]

Subaru: [....]

Todd: [If anything, I'm more surprised to hear the words “healing magic” come out of your mouth. From my point of view, it's not even an option, you know?]

Anything that wasn't familiar to people couldn't even claim to exist on the edge of their thoughts in the first place. That's how unfamiliar healing magic is in the Empire, at least to Todd and his comrades. So Subaru, who had expected such a response, shook his head.

Subaru: [No. As you can see, I'm actually a traveler. I've been traveling around a lot, and that's how I've come across people who use healing magic.]

Todd: [I see, traveling clothes. I did think you were dressed strangely. The heat around here didn't seem to mesh well with the way you were dressed.]

Todd then looked at Subaru from top to bottom. Subaru’s outfit was still the same as the clothes that had been used to protect himself from clouds of sand in the Augria Sand Dunes for the quest to the Pleiades Watchtower. In contrast to the image of a desert, the Augria Sand Dunes were not a hot place, but most of his skin was covered to resist the sandy winds. As such, it had to be said that Subaru was dressed a bit out of season in Vollachia, where the humidity and temperature were high.

Todd: [So, you met healers during your travels and became corrupted by the convenience of them.]

Subaru: [That's a bad way of putting it! Realistically, it is very convenient, but...]

In fact, Subaru has been in need of healing magic several times, quite often, actually. In the beginning, when Subaru was summoned to the other world, it would have been impossible for him to survive the first loop without Beatrice's healing magic. If it wasn't for Beatrice, Subaru would have had to live to this day with his stomach ripped open and his internal organs hanging out.

Subaru: [I don't ever want to fall on my own guts again..]

Todd: [Healing magic, huh?]

Subaru: [...? Todd-san?]

Todd exhales quietly in front of Subaru as he recalls a rather rare experience. When Subaru raises an eyebrow at the change in atmosphere, Todd closes one eye.

Todd: [No. I'm just glad I don’t have that cruel healing magic around me.]

Subaru: [Cruel? ... Why? Rather, isn't it the opposite?]

When Subaru expressed his lack of understanding of Todd's point of view, Todd’s eye remained closed.

Todd: [Because, wounds heal, which means you can’t die. You can't be wounded and retreat. You get healed, and then you're forced to fight again endlessly. That's why healing magic is cruel.]

Subaru: [....]

Todd: [It scares me shitless, man. How much did the person who created healing magic in the first place love to fight? That’s how I see it anyway.]

Hearing Todd's tranquil words, Subaru couldn't say anything back. Subaru knew it was a biased way of thinking. In reality, healing magic is not only used in battle. Healing magic is also a part of daily life, and also serves to save people from accidents and illnesses. However, one aspect of Todd's thinking is also true. Todd treats the wounded on the battlefield and drives them back into battle. ...Since that aspect is true, Subaru can't deny Todd’s fear of it.

Todd: [Sorry, sorry, I got sidetracked. I didn't mean to make you wrinkle your brow like that.]

Todd said to reset the air, looking at Subaru's silence, and Subaru nodded back.

Subaru: [It's fine,]

Todd gave a valuable opinion Subaru hadn't considered. Then Todd turned his attention to the outside of the tent to change the subject.

Todd: [The girl in the cage is a traveling companion, right? So why are you the one being snapped at like that?]

Subaru: [...A misunderstanding, I guess. We used to be pretty cordial, but now things are a bit all over the place and it's completely one sided. Give it some time.]

Todd: [That's fine with me, but it looks pretty painful for you..... However, in that case...]

Without getting too deep into the intricacies between Subaru and Rem, Todd touches his chin and shifts his gaze. At the corner of Todd's eye, there was a right arm that Subaru was consciously ignoring. The one who has been clinging to Subaru's right arm since just now--

Louis: [Ah?]

The one who had been clinging to Subaru's right arm for a while now was Louis, who let out a dumb voice with a blank expression. She was smiling at what fun she was having while clinging to Subaru's right hand, occasionally playing with Subaru's fingers and playing with her hair, doing whatever she wanted.

Todd: [You're right, you're not old enough to have a daughter. What kind of relationship do you have with her?]

Subaru: [I've told you a million times, I don't know her. But as far as I'm concerned, she's not a good girl.]

Todd: [That's a cruel response. ...But the girl in the cage sure seems to care about this kid, you know?]

Subaru: [That's what's so tricky about it.......]

When Todd pointed out the situation again, Subaru sighed at the complexity of it.

Currently, Subaru's feelings for Rem are completely spinning out of control. Rem's cold attitude is due in large part to Subaru's disdain for Louis. But even knowing this, Subaru can't accept Louis. Of course not. She’s a deadly Sin Archbishop, one of pure evil that can never be redeemed.

Subaru: [How did it get to be like this? What the hell are you up to, and what the hell do you want?]

Louis: [Uhh? ah, ah oh.]

When Subaru questioned her, Louis just smiled and gave no answer. It was an abhorrent attitude. Of course, he doesn't want her to be as vicious as she was in the “Corridor of Memories”, but the fact that he can identify her as an enemy will keep his mind from being confused. It would be much better than the current situation, where she acts like an infant, and only Subaru is aware of the danger.

Todd: [Well, she's a traveling companion. Wherever you're going, it's probably a good idea to work on your relationship a bit more.]

Subaru: [...Which one is that advice for?]

Todd: [Adv...? Well, you can take it however you want.]

TL Note: The word “advice” is a foreign word in Japanese, spelled in katakana. Todd does not know what the word advice means.

Twisting his head at the unfamiliar word, Todd replied and then stood up. This is a medical tent, and they probably aren't supposed to stay too long for idle chit-chat. Subaru, with Louis attached to his right hand, followed Todd's lead.

Todd: [Well, now that your wound has been treated, ... can I ask you to do some odd jobs for me?]

Subaru: [Hmm. Yeah, it's less guilt-inducing than being left here with nothing to do. You can tell me whatever you want me to do. I'll take any job that doesn't involve eating shoes.]

Todd: [It seems like Jamal really left a bad impression on you… okay, I got it, I will make sure it doesn’t happen again. Now for the time being...]

As he pondered, Todd glanced at the cluster of black tents.

Subaru: [What's this?]

Todd: [They’re the stockpile for the camp. We’ve been getting all this stuff because we need it, but I'm not very good at keeping up with them. That's where you come in, you're good at organizing things.]

Subaru: [...Did I ever tell you I'm good at organizing?]

Todd: [No? But I was hoping you were good at it. And even if you're not good at it, I'm sure you'll work hard in gratitude for my help..]

Subaru: [......You’ve got a good personality, Todd-san.]

Todd says something quite nasty with a good-natured smile on his face. His cheeks tugged at his words, and Subaru took a quick look at the cluster of black tents. At a glance, there were about twenty tents, but if they were all filled with stockpiles, and if Todd was right and they were all unorganized messes, it would be hard work.

Subaru: [I don't think I will be able to finish this in a day or two.......]

Todd: [Hey, I want it done by the time the supply dragon carriage leaves. Ha ha ha.]

Subaru: [Ha ha ha ......]

In other words, Subaru should move quickly. Considering the wound on his left hand, it's a little more difficult, but it can’t be helped.

Subaru: [Along with today's food, this is to help get Rem back to Emilia-tan's side......]

Louis: [Uuuh!]

As Subaru tightened his fists and was about to challenge the difficult task, Louis raised her voice. Hanging on to his right arm, Subaru frowned scornfully. With a face as if she didn't know what she was doing, the Sin Archbishop put a burden on Subaru's body and soul. She’s a difficult enemy who has become more difficult to deal with than ever before, while being just as vicious.

Subaru: [Just like Shaula, she’s too damn clingy without realizing it.....]

Louis: [Ah uh.]

While dragging Louis, who seemed to be in a good mood, whether he understood why or not, Subaru walked towards the black tent. Unlike Shaula, whom he had finally been able to understand, he was unable to communicate with Louis in the first place. It is impossible for them to understand each other.


Rem: [...So, you were cleaning and organizing their supplies until it got dark?]

Rem, sitting sideways on the ground, greeted Subaru as he returned from his hard day of work. Subaru relaxed at the sight of Rem, and she narrowed her eyes at his reaction.

Rem: [I'm not greeting you.]

Subaru: [Don’t read my mind like that. You were let out of the cage ... right ?]

Rem: [...The people here don’t seem to have any hostility towards me at least…]

She lowered her eyes awkwardly, probably feeling guilty about the encounter that Todd had told Subaru about, regarding the first meeting between Jamal’s squad and Rem. Basically, Rem has a tendency to be mean to people that she hasn’t forgiven. She had eased up considerably after getting to know Subaru, but now that she had lost her memory, her bad habit had come back in full force. Subaru thinks that’s what she was thinking about before.

Subaru: [But it's great that you’re reflecting on it, Rem, you get a gold star.]

Rem: [....What kind of image of me do you have in your head? You praising me doesn’t make me happy. And there’s another problem.]

Rem glared at the smiling Subaru as she met his gaze.

Looking up, Subaru could see the narrow ceiling of the cone shaped tent. Subaru tilts his head with a “What?” as Rem clicked her tongue.

Rem: [Why do we have to share the same tent? I don’t want anything extravagant, but the least you could do is be a little more considerate…]

Subaru: [No, I think was actually done out of consideration for us. I told Mr. Todd that we were companions on a journey, and that's why we're ...... Owww, stop hurting me!]

Rem: [That's selfish!]

As soon as he sat down beside her, Rem violently pinched his side, making his spine squeak. Squeezing harder, Rem sharpened her eyes at Subaru's suffering. However, a small shadow gets in between Rem and Subaru with an “Ah”. It’s...

Rem: [You’re here...]

Louis: [Woo!]

Louis protests against Subaru’s abuse by gripping onto the hand that was pinching Subaru’s waist. Rem, who for some reason has a soft spot for Louis, lets out a sigh of resignation at the girl’s actions, and has no choice but to stop Subaru’s punishment. Instead, she takes Louis into her lap and starts gently stroking her head which she put on her hurt leg.

Subaru: [Tsk.]

Rem: [...Why are you being so silent now? I don’t understand how you can be so ruthless to this girl when she obviously cares about you so much.]

Rem’s reaction to Subaru’s attitude was cold. Subaru had no choice but to observe the movements of Louis, who was lying on Rem's lap, so that he could protect Rem if Louis revealed her true nature.

…Subaru, under Todd's request, began to organize the black tent. As expected, the tidying up of the tent was not something that could be finished quickly. Of course, one of the reasons for this was that Subaru's left hand was partially broken, another reason was that the imperials were even messier than Subaru could’ve ever imagined, and then...

Subaru: [This damn little girl interferes with every bit of my work. No matter how hard I try to tidy up, she just keeps breaking things down and making a mess. Thanks to her, I can't make any progress at all.]

Rem: [I don't know anything, so what can I even do?]

Subaru: [Both of you don’t know anything. But you don’t do any of the things she does. That’s the end of my mathematical proof! QED!]

TL Note: QED is a notation often placed at the end of a mathematical proof to signal its completion

Rem: [You're talking nonsense again!]

Subaru knew that the main cause of Rem’s bad attitude towards him was because of how he treated Louis, and knowing that Louis was the reason he was getting treated badly, how could he treat her nicely? He knows this was just a spiral of hate, but he couldn’t even pretend to get along with Louis. The deeply ingrained disgust he had for her was something he couldn’t just put aside.

Subaru: [...]

Subaru, Rem, and Louis all lay down on the floor, in a big heap. Subaru, Rem, and Louis were the only three in the tent. Todd had given it to Subaru and the others and told them to use it for their stay at the camp. While they had been setting up camp, one of his colleagues had gone into the forest and hadn’t come back out, so Todd laughed and told Subaru they could use the tent as they wished, since the owner wouldn’t be coming back.

Subaru: [That’s not very funny though.]

But even so, having a tent to themselves was helpful. Subaru was worried about leaving Rem in the men’s camp. Todd had said that he would treat them all like guests, but Subaru wasn’t sure how many people would listen to him. Rem had already had a fight with Jamal. If possible, he'd like her to stay by his side so that he could keep an eye on her while he did his chores.

Rem: [Don’t sulk forever, please eat.]

Subaru: [Huh?]

Subaru was on his back, lost in thought, when his vision was blocked by a skewer that Rem held out over his face As he jerked up, Rem turned her face away from him and held out the skewer.

Subaru: [What's this?]

Rem: [A meal. They were being handed out to the people in the camp, so I took them. I still have to practice moving ...... a little bit at a time.]

Saying that, Rem rubbed her leg with her free hand.

Her legs were crippled, and she had no idea how long it would take for them to get back in shape, but while Subaru was worried about her legs, Rem was worried about much more. Surrounded by strangers, with no memory of who she is, Rem was put into a precarious situation. Even if she wanted to go around and find out what was going on, her legs wouldn’t let her move freely.

Rem: [...Can you take it? My hands are getting tired.]

Subaru: [Okay, okay. Um, did you already eat Rem?]

Rem: [Huh? How could I eat when the little girl hasn’t eaten yet? There’s no way I could be that selfish.]

With that, Rem took a covered bowl that she had placed near, removed the cloth that had been covering it, and brought the grilled skewers to Louis’ mouth.

Louis was being spoiled by Rem and took advantage of her generosity. Louis bit into the meat, just like a chick would peck at the food their parents would bring.

Louis: [Mmmm.]

Rem smiled at Louis as she pecked away at her meal. Unable to look away from the scene in front of him, Subaru took a bite of the skewer he was given. He had no idea what meat the skewers were made of, all he saw was that they had been stabbed and grilled. At any rate, the meat was tough and tasteless.

Subaru: [It's just like the food that Emilia-tan and Beako would make. ......]

Rem: [What are you mumbling about ...?]

Subaru: [...?]

Rem took one look at Subaru, who was mumbling about the meal he was eating, but suddenly opened her eyes wide. Subaru raises his eyebrows at her reaction, wondering what was happening. Her blue eyes were fixed on Subaru’s face. Meaning that his face must be the reason for her surprise.

Subaru: [What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you’re only now looking at my face properly, or something like that?]

Rem: [No, that’s not… you’re crying.]

Subaru: [I’m crying?]

Rem: [You are….. tears, they’re flowing. You haven’t noticed?]

Subaru choked up as Rem told him. Then fearfully, he touched his cheek where to his surprise, he felt hot drops on his finger. It wasn’t an outlandish lie, but the truth.

Subaru: [Hey, am I crying?]

Rem: [Yes, you're crying. What's wrong? Did you hit your finger…..?]

Wiping away the tears with his hand, Subaru was confused by his sudden wave of emotions. But it wasn't in his broken fingers that had caused it. It was from something else, maybe, it had been spending some time together with Rem.

Subaru: [...]

The situation was still dire. Subaru was separated from Emilia and the others, he didn't know how to get in touch with them, he was in a place where his identity could get him killed, and was constantly having to fight with Rem, who had no memory of him. To top it off, he was accompanied by the most disgusting Sin Archbishop of all, and their group was being led by the ignorant, incompetent, and reckless Natsuki Subaru. There is no single reason to be optimistic. None.

Subaru: [...I'm talking to you casually, eating with you. That's what made me happy.]

Rem: [...]

Subaru: [I'm sorry, you don't understand me at all. I'm just saying weird things. You’re completely right to think I’m weird…. but I really mean it.]

Gulping, Subaru gave up trying to hold back the tears that wouldn't stop, and stared at Rem, sniffling as he wept openly.

Subaru: [I’ve dreamed of spending time with you like this again.]

Placing the half-eaten skewer on his lap, Subaru tells her that, squeezing his eyes shut. Wiping his flowing tears with his sleeve, only the sound of sniffling echoed in the quiet tent. For a while, they stayed in the awkward atmosphere--

Rem: [...I don’t understand.]

Suddenly, in a small voice followed by a faint exhale, Rem spoke. Wiping away his tears, Subaru choked up, Then he bit back his embarrassment, thinking that Rem was speaking with her usual, cold tone. How would anyone not be uncomfortable with a stranger with his face, a man with a foul odor? Once again he had damaged Rem’s image of him. And this time in an irreparable way.

Rem: [But I'm not going to laugh at your tears. I do think it's weird ...... but not to the point of it being disgusting.]

Subaru: [...What?]

At the unexpected words, Subaru looked up and opened his eyes. In front of Subaru, Rem was still patting Louis' head on her lap, looking away from Subaru, her lips trembling as she chose her words.

Rem: [...Please finish quickly. I'm feeling tired today.]

Subaru: [...Ah.]

Rem quickly said that with her eyes closed, but Subaru was incredibly slow at figuring out what she was talking about. Realizing it had been about the grilled skewer on his lap, he hurriedly bit into it.

Subaru: [Right. It’s good, salty and delicious.]

Rem: [It tastes that way because of your tears….. I can’t enjoy eating because of your body odor. It isn’t fair.]

Subaru: [Well… uh, I’ll think of a way to make it better.]

Rem's tone is cold and piercing. But she didn't tell him to leave or that she didn't want to eat with him. If that was the case, Subaru had no choice but to come up with a plan. If he didn’t, Subaru wouldn’t be able to keep his peace of mind.

Subaru: [......You’re talking about unfairness, but I’ve got something to say too.]

Rem: [Something you want to say? What is it? If it's about your fingers then...]

Subaru: [...It’s about her. You know, the one sleeping on your lap.]

Subaru pointed and frowned at Louis, who was enjoying Rem's lap pillow. When Rem saw this, she narrowed her eyes as if to say, “Here we go again.” However, Subaru was arguing about something different from all the other times.

Subaru: [Rem keeps talking about my body odor ...... which makes me sound really disgusting when you put it this way, but she smells just like me, doesn't she? And you’re just ignoring that?]

The “Witch’s Scent” became more intense every time he used “Return by Death”. But if the smell was related to his Witch factor, then the same smell should be wafting from Louis, The Sin Archbishop of Gluttony. Looking back at Rem’s history with the witch’s cult, that seemed to be the case.

Rem: [...? What are you talking about? Please don't put you and this girl together.]

Subaru: [What...?]

Rem: [I don’t smell any resemblances between you and this girl. Please don’t act bitter and make up crazy things.]

However, Rem’s reply was completely unexpected to Subaru. He stared into Rem’s eyes, but he couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary in them. She wasn’t lying, and she didn’t look as though she was trying to trick him. Which meant that she really didn’t smell the miasma, the “Witch’s Scent” that should be coming from Louis.

Subaru: [No way, can you hide the miasma? No, what would be the point?]

In Subaru's experience so far, not many can smell the miasma, the foul odor of the witch. Even if he excluded Rem, who showed the biggest reaction, only a very limited number of people, such as Beatrice and Ryuzu, have shown a reaction to it. Even the witches themselves didn’t bother hiding their miasma. They were forces that went against the very nature of this world, and yet--

Rem: [Are you done? If you've finished eating, I'd like to get ready for bed, since this girl seems to be almost sleeping already...]

Subaru: [Oh, uh, ......, um, is what you told me really true?]

Rem: [Very much so.]

Crisply, Rem shut down Subaru's question. However, her attitude proved that she wasn’t lying to him.

Subaru: [Rem can’t smell the miasma from Louis…..?]

Subaru wasn’t sure what to make of that information. But he did have the feeling that something terrible was going on, something that wasn’t good for him or Rem.

Rem: [I’m sorry, but could you please put the bowl away? I’ll prepare the beds.]

Subaru: [Oh, okay. And don’t worry, I promise I won’t do anything.]

Rem: [... You saying that only makes me more worried.]

Sent off by a cold voice, Subaru hurriedly left the tent to put away the bowl and skewers that they had finished eating with. In the darkness of the night, campfires could be seen illuminating the camp here and there, and even though most of the soldiers hadn’t been ordered to keep watch, some of them would stay up all throughout the night. He had only ever seen it in manga and games, but preparing for war is a lot of work.

Subaru: [...I can't wait to get out of here.]

Todd is a pleasant person to be around, but he still can't seem to get used to the air of the battlefield. They need to get out of here as soon as possible and find a way to join Emilia and the others. Deciding to do so, Subaru clenched his fists tight and realized.

Subaru: [......Hey, my fingers don't hurt. Did that medicine already finish healing them?]

Looking at the fist he had clenched and the fingers on his left hand, Subaru was surprised at how quick the medicine had acted. There was still some minor discomfort, but the warm sensation that he could feel flow through him was proof that his left hand was good enough to get back to work.

Subaru: [You said that healing magic was rare, but what you do with medicine is more than enough....]

Thinking back to Todd's words, Subaru lightly waved his left hand and walked away. There are many things that he has to think about, including Rem, Louis, and himself. There’s a lot, but he can improve them one by one, one by one.

Just like the fingers on his left hand, one by one, he can move them in the right direction.


???: [...]

And then , watching Subaru and slowly walking, a single shadow left the tent. A man with an eyepatch switched his eyepatch onto the other eye and squinting his remaining eye, clicking his tongue at the slow walker. And then--

???: [He’s getting carried away with himself. That’s bullshit.]

He muttered to himself.