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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH: JAPANESE WEB NOVEL SOURCE
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Arc 6 – “Hall of Memories”
Chapter 10, “As if a Flash”
ーーJumbled together with the vast land of sand dunes, was a flower meadow with a variety of colours.
It was nighttime, and mysteriously, the light of the stars in the sky of the sand dunes was not visible.
The reason why the look of the sky could not be perceived despite there being no gathering of clouds was that the miasma enshrouding the space above ground covered this vast sea of sand, was the explanation given beforehand.
It was not clear to Subaru, whether the one to give that explanation had been Beatrice, or Emilia or Julius.
But, now, what was clear was, rather than the imperceivable look of the sky, the alarm bell of caution directed from the ground, the ominous bloom of the flower meadow undefeated in front of the darkness of the night.
The vivid, rather venomous flowers were, excessively mismatched in the sea of sand.
Subaru: “The sand dunes’, flower meadow……”
Sensing the unsettling feeling while voicing it as well as he pronounced that word, there, Subaru had already been aware.
Emerging at the back of his mind, was the information gathered in the bar of Mirula. The bartender there, who had lost one of his legs, had spoken of the flower meadows that appear in the sand dunes.
If flower meadows are spotted in the sand dunes, run away at full speed, is what he had said.
ーーBecause those are the turfs, of the ferocious, ugly Witch Beasts, Courtesan Bears.
Subaru: “But, even if you say run away at full speed……”
Pointing out the weakness in those words, the muttering Subaru, while gazing ahead, stepped back.
The flower meadow was the territory of a Witch Beast, that information was beneficial. There was also the mention of immediately running from the, henceforth, ferocious and atrocious Witch Beast. But, if there was a problem, it was its scale.
Keeping their silence, Subaru and the others, who were lined up in a row, held their breaths. In front of the row, having surmounted the menace of 『Sand Time』, broken through the distortion of space, what had appeared was the continuous desert leading to the watchtowerーー those lines of sight, were now filled with the stretching flower meadow.
It was, quite literally, dense enough for there to not be a single spot to step on.
Springing forth all of a sudden in the desert, was the paradise of the flower meadow. There were limits even when it came to shadiness.
It was something that would they would have avoided even without the warning of the bar’s bartender.
That is precisely why, if flying through the sky was an option, then they would have had chosen that and avoided this without any hesitation whatsoever.
Subaru: “Avoiding it, is impossible, you know.”
Murmuring it such that there was no difference between it and a hoarse sigh, Subaru aimed his voice towards Meili.
Under the present conditions, regarding their countermeasures against Witch Beasts, relying on Meili was of an unexpected benefit. What she judged controlled their path, but the complexion of her face, glaring at the flower meadow, was quite pale.
With the formation of cold sweat, blood vanished from her light-complexioned skin. Without the need of any words, she understood the negativity of the emergency, as if having picked it up with her own hands.
Slowly, Patrasche, with her large build, drew closer with unbelievable silence. On her back was Beatrice, seeing the instruction in her eyes saying “Jump on, in fact”, Subaru placed his foot on the saddle, and while doing so, silenced all sound and once again positioned himself on top of the dragon.
Whether it was for continuing ahead, or for returning back, it would not be possible for Subaru’s legs, who would get swallowed by the sand.
Even if their judgements were made through the reins, they would have to rely upon the well walking legs of Patrasche for fast movement.
Meili: “……For now, it seems everyone is sleepi~ng.”
Holding his breath, how much time had it been since Meili’s judgement had been awaited. As if ten seconds had passed, or to him it felt like it’d been nearly an hour, , Meili spilled that out, as if whispering.
Receiving that, Subaru, with energy draining from his shoulders, brought Patrasche closer to the dragon carriage.
Subaru: “That flower meadow is the turf of the Courtesan Bear…… that would be correct, right?”
Julius: “In addition to the received prior information, for now that doesn’t seem to be wrong. But…… it is just that, the scale is larger than what even I had thought.”
Beatrice: “That difference in scale, is addition of something as cute as it being twice or thrice, I suppose.”
Letting out a single sigh, Subaru and the rest, facing each other, exchanged their thoughts.
Julius and Beatrice too, at the great reception surpassing their expectations, were in a state of having lost their voices. The ones inside the dragon carriage, Emilia and the rest, their voices of delight after having broken through 『Sand Time』 too, had come to a halt, as they were showing their faces through the small window, wondering what had occurred.
Emilia: “Subaru, did something happen? The sound of the sand breeze can’t be heard anymore……”
Subaru: “We did a splendid job clearing 『Sand Time』. And, just when I thought we had cleared the first barrier, we’re now standing, expecting the next, second barrier immediately. As you can see.”
Emilia: “As you can see you say…… Ah.”
Seeing the clearly visible flower meadow at a single glance through the small window, Emilia’s throat froze in shock. She had also heard what the bar’s bartender had said. Of course, the information she recollected must also have been the same.
Emilia repeatedly blinked her eyes, and beside her, Anastasia and Ram also showed their faces. The two also gazed at the flower meadow, and grimaced at the cruelty of the trials to reach the tower.
Subaru: “Even after passing through the sand wind and 『Sand Time』, the obstacle this time are the flower meadows, huh. Regarding the territory of these Courtesan Bears, does Anastasia happen to know something?”
Anastasia: “Guidin’ is my business, expectin’ anythin’ more than that’d be a problem. That bein’ said, this seriously is a bit of a problem. What should be done.”
Holding expectations from the opinion of the unexpressed Eridna, she, while shrugging her shoulders, did not seem to possess a plan to overcome the obstacle. Subaru let out a long breath from his nose, and looked at Meili.
Subaru: “Meili, with your physical constitution, you can draw in the Witch Beasts, right? Courtesan Bears too, can’t you pull them out from the flower meadow?”
Meili: “……That’s difficu~lt. If it’s ten, twenty, or even if it’s hundred, I ca~n, but a number more than that and there’ll be some children to whom my instructions won’t rea~ch.”
Subaru: “There’s a limit to the number, huh.”
Meili: “There’s also a limit on the quality~. Even I, can’t tell arou~nd the White Whale or the Great Rabbit. The Courtesan Bear is at that point, it’s compatibility with me is ba~d. Very different from the Shadow Lion.”
Subaru: “Shadow Lion…… Ah, that large one who showed up at the mansion, right.”
Putting a limit to their conversation about old memories, Subaru considered Meili’s opinion and glared at the flower meadow.
Countless, a vast paradise of flowersーー just as expected, even the estimate of the number of Witch Beasts could not be determined. But, it was clear that it was easily more than a hundred, which was Meili’s limit.
Julius: “In the present situation, it could be said that the choices we have are to either 『Continue』 or 『Return』.”
Facing Subaru, who had drowned in silence, the driver Julius said that lifting two of his fingers, and tilting his neck.
Seeing Julius’ fingers, Subaru inhaled.
Subaru: “The choice to return wasn’t there from the beginning, you know. It’ll be a waste after clearing 『Sand Time』 but, with that, nothing of the problem will get solved. Going ahead is meaningless too.”
Julius: “If we get under a different 『Sand Time』, or if we take a different path entirely we may able to challenge the watchtower. Putting a halt to consideration and plugging up its path, isn’t that simply drawing a hasty conclusion?”
The 『Sand Time』 that occured thrice in the day, amongst them lay the correct answer, and that was Julius’ insistence. What Subaru and the others had escaped out from was the 『Sand Time』 of late night. Others were the 『Sand Time』 of morning and afternoon but, was it possible that the place that would be reached through would differ as different 『Sand Times』 were chosen.
No, gesturing that, Subaru shook his head.
Subaru: “For argument’s sake, even if a different path was to be taken, I don’t think it can possibly guarantee the safety of the path all the way to the watchtower. Here are the flower meadows but, there’s the possibility of there being a different obstacle someplace else. Probably, no enjoyable path has been arranged at all.”
Julius: “……Certainly. Slightly, excessive hopeful observation, huh.”
Subaru: “On top of that, possibly, the situation of Meili being there and the turf of the Courtesan Bears. This one is actually the best path, that’s also a possibility, you know?”
Julius: “This time, excessive pessimism, huh. As always, it is your forte to denounce and uplift, isn’t it.”
Subaru: “I don’t remember ever aiming for that. All right then, Meili. What about you?”
Harshly telling Julius, who rounded his eyes at how unfavourable the situation was, Subaru turned towards Meili.
Silent, gazing intently at the flower meadow, Meili, at Subaru’s words, said “Hm……” with her gaze cast downwards.
Meili: “The number is painful, but if you tell me to do it then I’ll try doing i~t. It’s not like I have to listen to everything which all of the animal-san’s have to sa~y.”
Subaru: “You don’t need to for everything, you say……?”
Meili: “For passing through the flower meadow, it would be fine if just the minimum number of Courtesan Bears are quietly gotten rid o~f. If a path is opened up, for the rest I’ll have them obediently sleep. If they’re not attacked then it can be somehow managed with tha~t.”
As if gaining certainty in her thoughts while answering the doubt, strength returned to Meili’s voice.
At the very least, she had a stance of respecting Subaru’s chance of 『Continuing』. That was something to be genuinely grateful for. Subaru nodded to Meili, and then looked at everyone’s faces.
Subaru: “I think we should continue. Regardless of what’s chosen, there can be no return without jumping into the risk. It’s about there being some solution to the problem rather than just running away from it.”
Ram: “Even though you rely on others to attain your own objectives, isn’t that quite something to declare with that mouth.”
Ram fired bitter words at Subaru, who’d suggested to proceed.
Receiving her “typical” words, Subaru let out an “Oh” and raised his thumb.
Subaru: “Ultimately, it’s no mistake that we have to rely on Meili. By any chance, if it ends up being that we have to attack the Witch Beasts, then we’ll have to rely on Emilia-tan or Julius, or Beako. How wicked.”
Subaru: “Oh, also, Patrasche too. My bad, my bad.”
He caressed his beloved dragon’s head, who’d raised her neck up as if discontent at having her name absent as one of the members he could rely on.
Against that pathetic declaration of Subaru’s, Ram, with a frankly astonished expression, shrugged her shoulders.
Ram: “Having self-awareness will be of no help. At best, in that unlikely scenario, fulfill the role of a decoy.”
Subaru: “Hearing that is also pretty nostalgic. You may not remember it though.”
At the words somewhat pertaining to the past, Ram made an anxious face.
Those were words like those in the forest of the Witch Beasts, or on the morning of the day they headed out to the capital for the Royal Selection, which he had been slapped with by Ram. With Rem’s existence disappearing from her memories, and accompanying memories altered, now, where must have the back and forth of that day vanished off to.
Subaru: “Let’s go, to take it back. I don’t want to backtrack for even a second, anymore.”
Emilia: “ーーHm, I guess that’s so. I also think it’s just as Subaru says.”
At Subaru’s decision, who hardened his fist, consented Emilia with a gallant expression.
She touched the pendant on her neck, and stole the feelings of the Spirit sleeping within the Great Magic Stone into her fingers. And, her amethyst eyes earnestly focused on the flower meadow.
Emilia: “Beyond this flower meadow, is the key to precious memories. Let’s go without stopping. For sure, I will make sure to protect everyone.”
Anastasia: “That, isn’t it a bit too uncool coming from a girl?”
At Emilia’s majestic declaration, Anastasia said that as she looked towards Subaru.
Keep quiet, he wanted to return that as response but, the truth is, if it turns out just as how Emilia says, he thought that that would be the best, as there would be nothing to worry about left.
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The distance till the Pleiades Watchtower, gauged with his eyes, had roughly decreased several kilometers.
Before crossing through 『Sand Time』, when they had recklessly proceeded through the Augria Sand Dunes, the supposedly visible distance to the watchtower, seemingly of ten kilometers, had not reduced by even a single one.
Compared to that, this reduction of distance was overwhelming, and it could be said that their arrival was right before their eyes.
Subaru: “But anything and everything, comes after escaping away from this nest of the Courtesan Bears.”
Completely filling their field of vision, the flower meadow, on top of the sea of sand enshrined majesty, strongly abhorrent.
The plants having their roots embedded into the ground, such natural ecology was nowhere here. The slightly floating stems or roots were, not growing from the ground, but from, none other than, the bodies of those repulsive brutes.
Around when they would be escaping the territory of the Courtesan Bears, what Meili had instructed to Subaru and the others was simpleーー to be as silent as possible.
According to her remarks, the Courtesan Bears were currently lying dormant. They would not thoughtlessly wake them up, but in exchange for that, it seems they would not be able to get an idea of the ferocity of the Witch Beasts getting up after continuing to lay down.
Meili: “The bad animal-san’s being active is the most brutal thi~ng. The exterminated White Whale, when appearing immediately after the fog used to be the most enraged and seemed to be most troublesome too~.”
That was the digression Meili spoke of regarding the White Whale.
Thinking about it in accordance with that exposition of hers, the exact moment when Subaru and the rest had encountered the White Whale at the Lifaus Highway. In other words, immediately afterwards it had woken up, it had been the worst timing.
Memories of suffering resuscitated, he painted his own praise for himself for having that desire of his fulfilled.
Regardless of thatーー,
Meili: “Being angry when woken up goes for everyone, humans, animals, and bad animal-san’s. That’s why~, stay co~mpletely quiet. If you can do just that, I’ll somehow manage from my side.”
Abiding by the remarks of Meili, who possessed such strong will, thus commenced the march of the row who’d clamped down their breathing.
Their battle formation was a substitute for the occasion of capturing the sand dunes, the style of the dragon carriage proceeding further. Sitting as the driver, conveying the intents of the Courtesan Bears was Meili, and in accordance with those aims Julius drove the dragon carriage further. Patrasche, on which Subaru had a good grip on, attached and detached to the rear of that dragon carriage and raced in a single line.
Feeling himself bend, Subaru, holding his breath, clutched onto Beatrice’s petite body. Her body temperature could be felt, it seemed that she had stiffened her body and was feeling nervous.
On the side of the dragon carriage, upon the roof of the dragon carriage was present a figure. A figure who need not be suspected, for the familiar silhouette was that of Emilia.
Noticing Subaru’s gaze, Emilia aimed her amethyst eyes towards him and raised her hand.
The reason why Emilia was lying in ambush like that upon the roof, was so that she could move instantly in case an issue of some sort rose. Though Subaru would have liked her to quietly stay within the dragon carriage, but with the support of Julius’ Spirit Arts gone, the only ally capable of long range attacks was Emilia. Though it wasn’t as if Beatrice could not do it if she pushed herself, but with a single large blow, Subaru would exhaust his gas.
It was a part of Subaru’s inferiority complex that, in terms of strength, he had to depend upon others, for protecting him as well, if he was present.
If that wasn’t so, if he did not have to do that, perhaps even Rem wouldーー.
The weakness of thinking in that direction, was always present within Subaru.
With the rise of such uncompromising emotions beyond his control, the back of Beatrice’s head pushed up his jaw. At Subaru’s surprise, Beatrice snorted her nose.
Focus on what is in front of you right now, is what she must have had meant. Looking overhead once again, Emilia, too, had pointed her finger towards Subaru, and he understood that she was urging for similar caution.
Unable to express either compromise or understanding, he exchanged a deep sigh.
The truth was that he wanted to slap his cheek and alter his emotions, but that could put his life at risk, an action that could prove to be deadly.
And, as Subaru’s usual detour of thoughts gave rise to his resolution, the party’s forefront arrived at the flower meadow practically at the same time.
At once, Gyan halted pulling the dragon carriage, and Meili’s faint voice slipped into the creaking sound of the wheels and was thrown towards the flower meadow.
At first, there being no response to Meili’s call, Subaru gritted his molars.
Once again, Meili called out the order.
Even still, indeed, no change was born in the flower meadow. In the vexing duration, Subaru’s stomach lining started to grumble with something similar to itchiness.
With that distortion, the ground, as if truly being stripped off, the flower meadow “arose”.
Without thinking, looking straight at the form of the Witch Beast, Subaru’s throat seized up.
The Witch Beast called the Courtesan Bear, befitting of its name, possessed a figure like that of a bear.
The height of the Courtesan Bear, was perhaps around two meters to three meters. Short legs, in exchange for that, arms long enough to drag on the ground. Its arms visibly concealed under black fur, and claw-like nails growing at the ends, is what he understood.
From the rear to the armpits of that body, the vivid flowers swaying was the sort of impression it projected but, observing that Witch Beast from close proximity, one’s eyes tended to turn towards the front rather than the rear of that body.
Though its physique was concealed by black fur, creeping about that body was not body hair. Closely packed, wrapping the body were the finely jumbled together roots of the flowers. They appeared as if blood vessels that were floating on the skin, the minute roots were covering the body of the Witch Beast.
On the body covered with closely packed roots, the parts which the roots did not reach were abnormally parched, and both the flesh and skin had withered. Its facial features, its cranium had reached the limit of dehydration to the point where it was visibly obvious, and its circular protuberant eyeballs were bloodshot, wielding hatred for everything in this world.
That seemed to be, as if it was slurping the life of the flowers whose roots it had pasted upon its own body.
The Courtesan Bears could not co-exist with the flowers. Clearly, they had taken away the lives of the flowers.
The Witch Beast, which gave off an unbearable feeling of revulsion by merely looking at it, followed Meili’s words with sluggish movement.
Slowly pulling out its body from the ground, as the roots got uprooted from the desert from which nothing could be absorbed, a thousand sounds of snapping limitlessly chained.
For opening up space just so that the dragon carriage could pass, the moving Courtesan Bears reached a hundred in count. And as if knowing no end, their numbers continued to increase.
Faintly, Julius’ sigh was audible, as the dragon carriage resumed proceeding.
Julius, in that state, with his body hair standing up due to the spectacle in front of his sight, must have failed to put up with it. Attached to the rear of the dragon carriage, Subaru and the others as well entered the path bloomed open by the Courtesan Bears.
At exactly that instant, when Subaru’s sense of smell crossed the threshold of the Courtesan Bears’ turf, a violent aroma of flowers could be felt.
It seemed to be different from the stench of the time of confronting the Sand Earthworm, with respective difference in quality from that, the sweet scent jumbled together in the situation did not mean that the sense of violence had changed.
Their nostrils were invaded, their intracerebral gears simply acquired the hallucination of the sweet scent.
Developing serious dizziness, the repulsive stench awakened a headache.
Something so exasperating, that he would not mind the sand gusts at all compared to this. This toxic aroma coiling up within his whole body must be driven away, is what he thought with utter seriousness.
Such wishes of Subaru were fruitless, and in the absence of any flow of wind, the party proceeded towards the interior of the interior of the flower meadow.
As if having noticed something, Beatrice pulled Subaru’s sleeve. Looking at her wondering what had come up, she was incessantly concerned regarding something behind them.
Turning around at that gesture whilst keeping that repulsive premonition in mind, the meaning of Beatrice’s reaction could be understood.
The space in the flowers that opened up in accordance with Meili’s instructions, looking at the passage of the dragon carriage and Patrasche, from the close proximity to that till the very end, the scenery was steadily returning to how it originally was.
Meili’s orders came true, and the dragon carriage being able to pass at this particular point in time according to the instructions had been achieved. Returning to their original positions, and entering into the state of lying dormant, could that be their plans.
Even if they did not intend to return, they were still unable to stop mid-way. Of course, taking a break in the midst of this nest of these Witch Beasts, such jokes needed to be refrained from as well.
The moment immediately after he’d thought that, the dragon carriage’s advance came to a pause.
Looking at the front wondering what had happened, the reason behind the dragon carriage’s halt was explicit. A lone Courtesan Bear, in front of the dragon carriage, got up and stood still, and turned those hollow eyes towards the two drivers.
With that one alone making suspicious movements, the movements of the Courtesan Bears in the vicinity too, started to change. The feet of the Courtesan Bears, who had, till now, stolidly and obediently made way, stopped, and as if tracing the actions of the one staring at the dragon carriage, their gazes accumulated on the dragon carriage.
ーーThis is bad, was the intuitive realisation Subaru had.
Looking back, they had already covered several hundreds of meters since entering the flower meadow. With the pathway behind plugged up, it was clear that they had been surrounded by the Courtesan Bears from all directions. Their numbers were in the hundreds, or possibly even in the thousands. A violent difference in numbers.
Thinking that far, his gaze entwined with that of Emilia’s, who was on top of the roof.
Emilia was looking down onto the Courtesan Bear in front, and was puzzled over what kind of judgement she should deal it. If the outbreak of a fight, just as till now, could be avoided, then clearing the frontward of the dragon carriage with Emilia’s magic, and running through was the optimal way.
However, she did not want to mistake the timing and rush things too fast.
And in front of Subaru and the rest who were puzzled regarding their judgement, the one with utmost composure was Meili.
Putting a finger on her lips, she calmed the indecisive Subaru and the others beforehand. Following afterwards, she pointed the finger she had on her lips towards the front, and scowled at the Courtesan Bear looking at her.
Meili: “Tch tch tch.”
A finger pointing outwards, and a sound, as if flicking her tongue, leaked out of Meili’s lips.
That was a sigh, like what humans made to soothe kittens. If the subject truly was a kitten then it would give a pleasant impression as well, but with the fiendish Witch Beast as the subject, there was no mitigation whatsoever.
However, all of Meili’s fingers jolted at her tongue’s sound, and gradually, the Courtesan Bear’s line of sight shifted, from the two drivers, to Meili alone, and then moved to Meili’s fingers.
Meili: “Tch tch tch…… tch~.”
At the same pace, obtaining certainty that the Courtesan Bear’s focus was on the finger, Meili slowly swung her hand, which had her fingers pointed towards the right of the dragon carriage. Lured to the movement of that arm, the Courtesan Bear, which had brought the dragon carriage to a standstill, turned its face towards that and moved, taking a single step in that direction.
At the Courtesan Bear’s conduct, of distancing itself away from the dragon carriage, a reflexive sigh of relief leaked out of Subaru’s throat.
Emilia or Beatrice too, who had stiffened their bodies up, too, loosened their shoulders in relief. When the one who had caused a standstill moved, the other Courtesan Bears too, tried to return to their own movements of distancing themselves.
At the same pace, the march through the flower meadow resumedーー was how it was supposed to be.
At that moment, the thread of tension snapped, and nobody could be condemned for raising their voice.
Suddenly, in the situation of enduring under compulsion of utmost limits of the stalemate, the thing known as the heart could not stand strong. That goes for humans, and for Ground Dragons as well.
Showered upon with the pressure of losing to the Courtesan Bear, Gyan, gave out a short growl, and stamped its feet on the ground, as if enraged.
Subaru: “Oh shーー ~hk.”
At Gyan’s roar, which abruptly cut off the silence, the Courtesan Bears, which were in a state of lying dormant, reacted altogether at once. The one attempting to distance itself away from the dragon carriage turned back, and that reaction infected the environs as wellーー the Witch Beasts rose, and leapt upon the dragon carriage with their bare fangs.
Emilia: “ーーEl Huma!!”
The mana materialised rapidly, and the spearhead of the formed ice lance penetrated through the Witch Beast’s cranium.
The sharp vanguard of ice pierced through its large mouth, infringing upon its oral cavity and broke through its nape. Its brain churned, the Courtesan Bear, without raising its voice, collapsed backwards as it faced annihilation. Caught up in that vigour, several Courtesan Bears, without pause, toppled sideways.
Shouted Subaru, instantaneously after witnessing the attack by Emilia, who was on top of the dragon carriage.
Concording to that call, Julius operated the reins and the dragon carriage started running fiercely at once. Of course, Patrasche, too, followed that, jumping away from the side of the Witch Beasts standing stock still, and broke off in a savage sprint.
Subaru: “They’recomingthey’recomingthey’recomingthey’recomingthey’recomingthey’recomingthey’recomingーー ing!!”
Delayed by a single beat, the cutthroat, fierce voice tore apart the night of the Augria Sand Dunes.
The vast flower meadow was shredded apart at once, with fangs and unsightly appearances naked, the flock sloth of Courtesan Bears advanced on, aiming for the dragon carriage fiercely plunging its way through.
Beatrice: “Subaru! Firmly grip on or you will get thrown off, in fact!”
The hallucination bathing in strength, was the pressure of the thirst for blood and appetite of the innumerable Courtesan Bears.
With thick arms endowed with claws turned overhead, their merciless attack struck Subaru as well, who was riding the dragon. A direct hit and his body would get torn off easily, with strength that could assuredly force his internal organs to protrude outwards.
However, just when it was on the brink of striking, a bluish-white glimmer cut in between, and pierced through the Witch Beasts.
Emilia: “Hiy! Yah! Alright ~hk! You…… these, Huma~!”
As always, with the Mana forming a whirlpool and her voice coming from her heart, giving the impression that the bluish-white light was performing a boisterous dance in the dark sky, that was the transformation of countless sharp spearheads pointing above the ground into blades of ice.
That was, immediately after the stagnation of a single moment, firing as if having acquired the propulsive force, tearing the craniums, the arms, the torsos, the legs of the Courtesan Bears swarming upon the dragon carriage into shreds, giving rise to spouts of blood.
Subaru: “O~o~o~o~h! As expected of Emilia-tan! I’ve fallen for you again!!”
Emilia: “This is not the time for saying such things, is it! Run!”
Having his life saved by Emilia’s follow-up, Subaru further accelerated Patrasche.
And with the sudden exchange, Emilia was coping with the fight with such composure that it was surprising. In retrospect, even if Emilia had shirked from fighting, it was not as if fighting intimidated her. The tendency to avoid fighting within her was, the indecision that had been erased once that battle had broken out.
Ram: “Barusu, run till you die. If you do not wish to die!”
Subaru: “Yeah, of courseーー eh, Ram!?”
The tough fight being put up by Emilia, the bluish-white light mowed down the frontward of the dragon carriage altogether, and the group of Courtesan Bears, who had taken a roundabout path, were frozen all at once.
Within Gyan’s rush and breaking through the ice sculpture, sitting on the driver’s seat gripping to the reins, was suddenly now Ram, having moved from the passenger compartment. At Ram, who was skillfully handling the reins, driving the earth dragon which was in an agitated state, Subaru peeled open his eyes and let his gaze wander around.
Subaru: “What about Julius!?”
Ram: “Even if there are no means for a long range attack, it seemed it would be unhelpful if he were to be the driver. That’s why.”
At a glance, Ram looked towards the rear at Subaru’s call. Lured to that line of sight and looking backwards, Subaru thoughtlessly felt dumbfounded.
Biting the sand, beside the dragon carriage with its wheels roaring, clinging onto one of those ornaments, waving about the grasped knight sword, was the form of Julius, clearing away the approaching Witch Beasts.
Julius: “Burdening Emilia-sama with responsibilities and such, cannot be done either, you see.”
Subaru: “Was that directed at me!”
Julius: “That would beーー”
Putting a halt to his words there, Julius had his knight sword meet with the claws of the approaching Witch Beasts. The decapitating slash weaved through the gap of those claws, and deeply gorged into the arms of the Courtesan Bears. At the same pace, the dancing tip of the sword pierced through the throats of the Witch Beasts, who let out screams, and as if a flash, it granted death by destroying their brainstem.
That dance, with minimal destruction, was truly debonair.
Successively crushing the Witch Beasts, Julius voiced what remained of his reply to Subaru while dusting away his sword. Subaru made a bitter face at that gesture, tasting reassurance and a sense of defeat.
Simply, having put Emilia in charge of the long range, clearing away the close range was down to Julius. If that structure were to continue, the concern regarding the dragon carriage could be saved for later.
Rather, the problem was, instead of other affairs, but in this course.
Subaru: “Beako, can you go for it?”
Beatrice: “Subaru too, be careful that you don’t run out of gas, I, supposeーー!”
Above Patrasche, raising his body, Subaru held the reins with one hand, and the armed Beatrice with the other, and made her small body stand on top of the dragon.
And steadily clasping each other’s hands, something throbbed in the interior of Subaru’s guts. That something, as if seeming sediment, wielded heat, and slowly streamed from Subaru’s body into Beatrice’s.
The crystals of violet materialised with the chant, and aimed for the Witch Beasts blocking the path ahead of the Ground Dragon’s nose. Accurate aiming, momentary advancement, the outcome visible immediately afterwards.
Raising a sound as that of shattering glass, the magical attack directly struck the Witch Beasts, and the crystals fragmented. However, the following moment, the bodies of the Witch Beasts fragmented similarly as well.
Subaru: “Alright, good going, Beako!”
Beatrice: “But, reckless firing cannot be done, in fact! Cautiously saving…… Minya!”
Subaru: “What about the cautiously saving!?”
Beatrice’s battle strength, depended upon the mana left within Subaru.
In order to oppose the overwhelmingly advancing threat, even Beatrice was unable to compromise much. Tasting the seeming sense of loss, as if his soul was being curtailed with every single attack of magic, Subaru, talkative and composed, abated Beatrice’s nervousness.
Of course, such consideration was clearly visible to Beatrice.
Meili: “A~h, enough enough! Why did it turn out like thi~s! This, could have been taken awa~y!”
And, the one who had been keeping their silence till now, the final ordnance stood up and trod.
A driver, having been sat beside Ram, Meili, with her eyes tearing up, surveyed the swarm of Courtesan Bears crowding around their surroundings while making a red face. And, she pointed a finger towards the Witch Beasts who would not obey her.
Meili: “I’ll give a scolding to the bad, bad animal-san’s! Come, Sand Earthworm!”
Subaru: “ーーNo way!?”
Immediately after Meili pouted and declared like a child, the desert that had been turned up thanks to the rise of Courtesan Bears, and with the underneath of that sand being stirred up subsequently, a big frame rushed out.
Swallowed within the vigour of the gigantic beast pushing its whole body out from the underground, the countless Courtesan Bears dragged within were launched up into the sky. Falling on the sand from a high altitude, the Witch Beasts had their bones broken, and the unfortunate Courtesan Bears directly above that humongous mouth, got chewed up.
Thrusting out while tearing apart the desert, the one laying devastation upon the repulsive flower meadow was that Sand Earthworm.
Wafting the stench, raising a strange voice slashing through twilight, the Sand Earthworm determined the Courtesan Bears clinging onto the dragon carriage as its prey, and leaping with that big frame, minced and destroyed them at once.
Meili: “Go~, Sand Earthworm! Crush everyone, everyo~ne!”
Subaru: “Are you serious, hey! Areyouseriousareyouseriousareyouserious, heyheyhey!”
The weight, capable of creating rumbles in the ground, writhed through the sand sea, and the wails of the Courtesan Bears being crushed by the pressure of the humongous frame echoed. Courtesan Bears too, did not possess a petite build whatsoever, but they could not possibly compete with the figures of Sand Earthworms, whose overall length could be even above ten meters.
The overwhelming masses turned into the outcome of collisions, and the Courtesan Bears got successively turned into corpses.
At the circumstance which was a decisive battle between monsters at this point, Subaru had no words appropriate for it.
Emilia and Beatrice’s magic, Julius’ swordsmanship, Meili’s unusual talent narrowly cleared the way, and the dragon carriage and Patrasche rapidly proceeded through the flower meadow.
Meili: “A~h! The Sand Earthworm i~s!”
Meili’s shriek was heard.
Observing it, the Sand Earthworm, possessed by a great number of Courtesan Bears who had their claws gouged into that humongous frame, was shedding large quantities of bodily fluids from its entire body, and collapsed on the ground.
The outer skin of the slimy and soaking wet Sand Earthworm was not something as sturdy as that of snakes or insects. The skin sustaining the soft body easily fell prey to the claws, and a wail of agonizing death reverberated through the sand sea.
Meili: “Next! Nextne~xt! Keep coming fa~st!”
Once a single giant collapsed, Meili clasped her hands with a pallid face. And, lured to that, once again the sand was uplifted, and a different Sand Earthworm made its appearance.
This time there were six at the same time, however, compared to the first one, they were twice as small, and if they were to get enclosed by the swarm of Courtesan Bears, they would get hunted down in the blink of an eye.
Subaru: “At this pace…… ~hk.”
They would get out-pushed in the amount of violence. With a sense of terrible hopelessness, Subaru desperately looked at his environs in search of something that could help them break out of this deadlock. And, he noticed.
The watchtower that had been so distant, was close enough to be said that it was right before their eyes.
Subaru: “Just a little bit left! If we can follow up to the watchtower at this paceーー”
It was not as if the Witch Beasts would withdraw with this, but it appeared likely that there may lie some fearful power there.
At that moment, it was not as if he had thought something special.
However, if they were to follow up to the watchtower, he felt there may be the strength to break free of the deadlock of this situation.
The spirit of hope was like clinging onto straws. And in reality, that was no mistake.
Subaru: “At this rateーー”
However, that strength was not something so convenient.
It was the iron hammer which rained incessantly without bias upon all insolent comrades approaching the Pleiades Watchtower.
Pushing open his eyes desperately, supporting Beatrice while clinging to Patrasche, Subaru scowled at the watchtower visible in front of him.
Sweat dripping along, the moment he dimly narrowed his eyes, Subaru felt a faint sense of discomfort.
The core of the tower, something was visible there, as if shining.
That, he was unable to resume onto the final word.
ーーThe lustre bolted through the sky, and its aim unchangingly landed a direct hit on Subaru’s cranium.
At that moment, everything above the neck of Natsuki Subaru was blown off by the attack, and evaporated with the same unconsciousness.
There present was nobody who could observe and raise their voice, at the tragic scene of a single moment.
For some reason, those who would have had observed it, and those who would have had screamed at it, had been thoroughly pulled up by the root and branch.
The Earth Ground Dragon which had lost its head, giving rise to a report, collapsed.
Caught up within the vigour of the dragon carriage toppling sideways, the human bodies who had indeed lost their craniums were pulverised, shattered under the pressure, turned into chunks of meat.
Only the pond of blood lay upon the sand, and the parched sand gulped down the blood spilt from the bodies.
Before long, gradually, slowly, the fine particles of sand dragged anything and everything rotting on the sand sea down to their belly, and concealed them.
The flowers of blood, as if the only visage of their journey, bequeathed the vivid colours.
However, even those flowers of deep red, disappeared within the evermore swallowing sand.
ーーHere, the party greeted annihilation.