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At that instant, there was a thud and a loud cry, and animals kicked the ground and fled.
On their way through the prairie, they had happened to come across a small forest. Amidst the shade of the trees, animals resembling deer had been eating grass. They were called black deer because of their impressive antlers and black fur. They also inhabited the Kingdom of Lugunica, and could be said to be one of the major animals of this parallel world.
In the center of the herd, from where they had fled from the sound and impact, one black deer had been left behind, collapsed atop the grass.
A thick arrow had pierced the black deer’s ribs, its heart destroyed by a single shot.
Its four limbs twitched and quivered in post-mortem convulsion, but, before long, that too stopped.
In any event――,
???: [I brought down the meat~! ]
????: […“Meat”. You could say black deer at least.]
???: [Huh? What did you say just now~? Kuna’s voice is soft, I can’t really hear you~]
The one who’d drawn the heavy bow and raised a cheer was Holly.
She wore a sunny smile, and the young girl beside her, Kuna, had muttered inaudibly, causing Holly to begin tilting her head to the side with a curious expression.
But, seeing that Kuna pouted her lips,
Kuna: [It was nothing! Drain the blood! Quickly now!]
Holly: [Ah, please wait~!]
Holly started lumbering to Kuna’s side, rushing after her. But before she got there, Holly stopped walking, let out an “Oh”, and spun around to look back.
There, before Holly’s eyes, was the figure of their companion――,
Holly: [It’s a lot, so we’re gonna go take a short break. Subaru, you wanna take one too~?]
Subaru: […Um, uhh, not particularly, I’m totally fine, but sure.]
Pouring sweat like a waterfall, Subaru answered Holly’s proposal of a break.
Looking at Subaru, Holly said “I’m glad”, and ran back to Kuna’s side. Watching them leave, Subaru slowly fell to his knees on the spot.
Behind the totally exhausted Subaru, being carried in a wooden backpack, Rem took a small breath,
And muttered too softly to be heard by Subaru.
Subaru: [Man, that really took a lot outta me. I was able to withstand it because I’m the eldest son. But I wouldn’t be able to do it if I were the second son or the youngest.]
Putting together the twigs he’d collected, Subaru gave his explanation in a cool breeze.
Rem listened with an unamused look, and Louis listened with a blank expression, one that made it unclear what she was thinking. Nonetheless, Rem let out a short sigh, like she was exasperated with the matter.
Rem: [I do not understand what you mean. To begin with, is there a connection between having siblings and one’s perseverance?]
Subaru: [Now it’s kind of a dumb cliche, but I feel like there’s a correlation between one’s sibling status and relative fortitude. Like, they say the firstborn son is raised strictly by his parents, and the youngest child is spoiled, right?]
Rem: [I don’t know if that could be called “right”. Doesn’t that not apply in the case of an only child?]
Subaru: [In that case, you end up getting spoiled while being raised strictly… Naturally, since I’m an only child, that means the special characteristics of the eldest and youngest son both apply to me.]
Considering his parents’ closeness, Subaru not having any siblings was quite the mystery.
Since he was aware he’d had his mom and dad’s love all to himself, he couldn’t help but wonder what having siblings would have been like, but that didn’t change the reality of it.
Subaru: [Besides, it’s not certain that I don’t have younger siblings now that I’m not there…]
While Subaru was imagining terrible things, Rem looked down, towards Louis, who was being playful on her lap.
While on the move, the wooden rack would be secured to Subaru’s back, but when placed on the ground, it could also serve as a chair. It was an item with exceptional potential.
Thanks to that, going through the trouble of picking Rem up or setting her down could be done without much hassle.
Although Rem probably thought the circumstances requiring her to keep asking Subaru for help were shameful, for the time being, she had to get through and accept that disgrace.
Subaru: [Uh huh?]
Rem: [Family born before me, or born after… Did I have any?]
Rem inquired abruptly, and Subaru reflexively held his breath.
With a start he raised his head, while Rem was minding Louis’s hair threading her fingers, those blue pupils of hers turned toward Subaru.
In them a faint light flickered, with emotions he did not understand. He thought that perhaps Rem herself did not quite know those either.
Subaru: [It’s the first time. That you’ve tried asking me about your memories.]
Rem: [Where are we, who are you, who am I, what will you do, how dare you… I think I have asked a number of questions up until now.]
Subaru: [I’m not talking about that kind of negative stuff. Also, I thought you hadn’t yet said how dare you…]
He gave a strained grin to Rem’s prickly objection, however, it provided meager relief.
As he had told Rem, this was the first time she had asked him anything in a positive sense. Subaru perceived that as progress in their relationship.
Frankly, since their departure from the Shudraq village, all through their journey up till now, Subaru had been continuously uneasy.
After all, Rem had laid bare her hostility and suspicions towards Subaru, but despite that, she had not rejected his proposal to head toward the town for a few days because of those.
To put it bluntly, he had thought the greatest obstacle to leaving the Shudraq village would be Rem’s stubborn unwillingness to listen to Subaru’s words.
Without opposing Subaru’s plan, Rem had been cooperative. ――Rather than believing it to be a miracle, he had wondered what the heck kind of a calamity it heralded.
But not only was Rem being cooperative at present, she had not even troubled Subaru with various, excessive questions while being carried in the wooden carrier. Instead, she had chided Louis for shifting restlessly and hindering the march, and tried to lessen Subaru’s burden.
Rem: [What is it? You don’t feel like talking, is that it?]
Subaru: [No, no, not at all. You’re jumping to the wrong conclusion. Just, look, our relationship has been pretty strained right?]
Rem: [It still is now, though it is not strained, it is unfriendly.]
Subaru: [I thought the unfriendliness had softened a bit!]
Rem’s eyes looked at him with disgust, and Subaru’s heart was wounded once again. But, being careful to protect the injury he had just gotten from Rem, he scratched his cheek with his fingers.
Subaru: [I don’t know everything about you either. But, I know more about you than you do now. If there’s anything you want to ask, I’ll answer as much as I can. But…]
Rem: [Whether or not to believe you is up to me…]
Subaru gave a short nod, and with a glance examined Rem’s appearance.
She was carding her fingers through Louis’s hair, and frowning as if in deep thought. After a short moment, Rem once again met Subaru’s eyes and said,
Rem: [I do not know.]
Subaru: [You don’t know… about yourself?]
Rem: [About you. …What in the world kind of person are you, I do not understand it at all. Because what I sense and what I see do not match.]
Her lips pursed tightly, Rem’s icy look was tinged with heat.
It was not that the distance between their hearts had increased, it was that the level of seriousness had risen. As Rem evaluated Subaru, the earnestness in those eyes increased.
It was evidence that at least she thought Subaru’s humanity was worthy of investigation.
Subaru: [Compared to when you treated me like an incarnation of evil without giving me a chance to explain, this feels like a Great Leap Forward.]
Rem: [I still think there is a paper thin difference between you and evil incarnate… However, it is just that we have reached a point where it seems fine to insert one thin sheet of paper.]
The few words she added felt like a conciliatory handshake from Rem.
With relief, Subaru reached out to grasp that invisible handshake. Rem made a distrustful face at Subaru, who shook an invisible hand in midair.
In any case――,
Subaru: [Well, our thin ice relationship has reached a place of having a thin sheet of paper inserted… How about it? Anything you want to ask?]
Rem: […Please let me think a bit more.]
Unprepared to have a heart-to-heart with Subaru, Rem shook her head and requested that.
Rem’s way of preparation―― More accurately, Rem had yet to prepare herself to believe Subaru.
Right now, it was possible she was worried about listening to his story, in a situation where she was unable to completely trust Subaru, and the information being too much to handle.
Honestly, he would be lying if he said that he did not feel impatient about Rem worrying like that but,
Subaru: [――Gotcha. I’ll wait for you to be ready.]
Rem: […Please do not say it like that, like it is someone else’s problem. Since you could say that it also depends on your daily behavior, I think.]
Subaru: [I see… In other words, the only way to gain early access to that route is if I earn Rem likeability and credibility points like crazy?]
Rem: [I do not understand the meaning, but I understand what you said is unpleasant.]
Putting his hand on his chin, Subaru could see that Rem’s displeasure was accumulating once again.
As that conversation unfolded, from below the two of them――,
Holly: [Sorry to keep you waiting~. We had fun taking apart the black deer and we’re done~.]
Like that, Holly returned with a face-splitting grin.
She took great delight in the dismembered black deer, hung from a branch she carried on her shoulder. Behind the chipper Holly was the tired face of Kuna, who seemed to have worked hard at the job of dismemberment.
Kuna: [Why did I have to do everything myself…]
Holly: [Because, Kuna can do it better~. If the meat got ruined, even if I eat and eat my tummy’d still end up especially empty~]
Kuna: [Why?! If you eat something, seriously keep it in your stomach, you weirdo!]
Kuna yelled at the easy-going Holly, but the latter laughed it off.
Holly then set her eyes on the bundle of dried branches Subaru had collected.
Holly: [Oh, you properly gathered them~. I’m impressed, I’m impressed~.]
Subaru: [I can’t do any hunting. I’ll at least do this much… Can you instruct me on how to start a fire?]
Holly: [Instruct? Never heard of that word before~.]
Kuna: [Obviously it means to teach…]
Holly tilted her head in contemplation, replying to Kuna with a giggle and a “Does it~?”.
Next, Holly brought out a small, black stone from her luggage. Allowing Subaru to witness it, she struck the stone quickly and used the sparks produced to easily light the branches on fire.
Subaru: [Woa, woahhhhhh, awesome. That’s some artisanship.]
Holly: [It’s a fire starter stone~. It’s easy-peasy once you get the hang of it~. Subaru, you try too~.]
Subaru: [You’re letting me try? Okay, I’ll just borrow this…]
Holly casually threw the fire starter stone to Subaru. He attempted to imitate Holly’s actions from earlier, and as a result, he failed three times, but on his fourth try, he finally was able to produce sparks.
All he had to do now was to do the same thing over the dried branches――,
Subaru: [It lit up!]
Holly: [Well done~! Now if any meat pops out, it can be cooked and eaten anytime~!]
Kuna: [The meat she’s talking about are the animals before becoming meat, so don’t take her for her word.]
Towards Subaru, who had gained a small sense of accomplishment, Holly and Kuna appraised him from opposite extremes.
Accepting both of those in his heart, Subaru gazed at the black deer’s meat roasting over the campfire. He brought up a new topic, saying “By the way,”
Subaru: [Back when we found the herd of deers, Holly’s speed was amazing. By the time I realised, you had already shot an arrow.]
Holly: [It’s because Kuna found the herd~. Because of her we could get fresh meat~.]
Kuna: [The only thing I did was say that the herd was there… Leaving aside firing quickly, anyone in Shudraq can shoot a bow and arrow.]
Holly: [Except Kuna, you know~.]
Having been prodded on a sensitive topic, Kuna’s expression turned into a scowl.
Rem widened her eyes in surprise to Kuna’s reaction.
Rem: [Really? That is unexpected. Kuna’s eyes are good, is what I heard from Mizelda so…]
Kuna: [… Even if my eyes are good, if my arms are bad then there’s no point.]
Holly: [Kuna, who loses even to Utakata in archery. It’s cute~.]
Having been rated as below Utakata, Kuna used her hand to strike Holly in the stomach as if using a dagger. However, Holly’s plump body simply bounced the strike back.
Rem watched the seemingly practiced interaction between the two with a smile, but hearing about Utakata’s archery put Subaru in a conflicted state of mind.
Because, Subaru was someone who had once lost his life to Utakata’s poisoned arrow.
In terms of strength, Utakata was not strong enough to kill Subaru. Even so, if poison were to be used, for example, on an arrowhead, there would not be a great handicap in killing power.
When it came to hunting and prey though, the use of poison was probably not highly regarded.
Subaru: [And also…]
Putting his fingers on his lips, Subaru pondered about the wielder of a heavily drawn bow.
This was about the Hunter who had attacked Subaru and Rem in the jungle, before being caught by the Imperial Soldier’s camp. The bow master who had protected Subaru and Rem from the Witchbeast once, and murdered Subaru the other.
The true identity of the Hunter had yet to be discovered.
That was why, when Holly had shot the black deer, Subaru went pale.
Except, after hearing the talk about the People of Shudraq’s archery skills――,
Subaru: [――It’s someone from Shudraq? Is doubting anyone else wasted thinking?]
At that time, Subaru’s group was a suspicious disturbance that had entered the jungle.
Subaru was shouting while searching for Rem. So it was not impossible to think that someone had concluded that Subaru was a suspicious enemy seeking to bring harm, and as a result, decided to eliminate him as a threat. It was most likely the same for the confrontation with the Witchbeast afterwards.
Actually, the Hunter had in fact protected Subaru’s group from the Witchbeast. ―― The reasoning to declare that the Hunter was definitely an enemy was weak.
Rem: [Holly-san and Kuna-san are good friends, aren’t they.]
While Subaru was sunken in thought, Rem had struck up a conversation with Holly and Kuna.
Rem was talking about Holly and Kuna――the ones who were accompanying Subaru’s group, the young duo from the People of Shudraq.
However, the only one who laughed upon being told they were good friends was Holly. Kuna, on the other hand, scrunched up her face in disgust and stuck her tongue out with an unflattering sound.
Subaru: [What’s with that reaction and face? Pretty girls aren’t supposed to do both of those, you know?]
Kuna: [I just remembered that as much as I hate it, we can’t be separated. I’ve been left to suffer over and over…]
Holly: [Ahahaha, Kuna’s a worrier.]
Kuna: [Who’s. Fault. Is. That!]
A furious Kuna grabbed Holly’s shoulder and harshly shook her. However, the difference in physique between the two was too great, and Holly, who had about double the mass of Kuna and her slender physique, did not budge an inch.
In the end, Kuna realised she would only tire herself out and drooped her shoulders. She ground her teeth, frustratedly saying “Dammit”.
Holly: [Me and Kuna were born on the same day~. We’re neighbours and kinda like sisters~.]
Kuna: [Someone like you, I’d refuse as a sister. Older or younger.]
Holly: [Ah, the roast’s starting to become a nice colour~.]
Kuna: [Listen to me!]
Towards Holly, who entirely directed her own pace, Kuna’s one-way resistance reverberated emptily and in vain.
Witnessing this scene, Subaru thought that the sight of Kuna being at the mercy of Holly somewhat resembled a certain fussy, violent internal affairs officer.
Subaru: [Kuna’s dyed her hair green, so the colour theme overlaps… Even in situations he’s missing in, that guy asserts himself quite strongly.]
If that person were listening, he would say something like “That false accusation is a positive trait, you know!?” However, since he wasn’t present, Subaru disposed of that thought as an auditory hallucination.
Rem looked at Holly and Kuna, who were arguing about the roasted meat’s colour with a small smile. Subaru heard her mutter “I’m jealous.”
Rem: [Someone you can honestly talk with just like that…]
Subaru: [… Ahhhh, Rem, can I just say one thing?]
There was a certain and earnest envy packed into Rem’s mutterance.
For the amnesiac Rem, the environment around her, including Subaru, must feel like an invader from the darkness. She could not feel truly at ease at any moment.
He did not know whether he had the skill to soothe her strained heart but――,
Rem: [What is it?]
Subaru: [I said I was going to keep my mouth shut until you wanted to ask about it but, I’ll spill about one thing.]
Subaru: [You have an older sister. Your older twin, who holds you dear from the bottom of her heart… So, no matter where you are, you’ll never be alone.]
Hearing Subaru’s words, Rem’s already wide eyes, opened further in surprise.
After saying that, Subaru wondered if he should have been more patient, but he immediately told himself that this was the correct decision.
Rem had just said that she would wait until she could trust Subaru. It could not be helped if she disparaged him next.
Subaru understood Rem’s anxiety, but, nevertheless, he was at his limit too.
At the very least, he could let her know about Ram’s existence.
Ram, who was probably, even now, worried about her younger sister, all the way from the far lands of Lugunica. ――The Ram who was feeling Rem through Synesthesia.
Subaru: [I don’t understand it but, if you close your eyes and try to imagine it, you might be able to feel it. That’s what’s called a twin’s Synesthesia.]
Somewhat hesitating, Rem timidly placed her hand on her chest and closed her eyes.
Staying still, seeking her other half, born on the same day and from the same mother――seeking the existence of her older twin, Rem’s consciousness started to extend its hand through a sea of black night.
Rem: [… I cannot feel anything.]
Subaru: [Is that, so… I guess it’s pretty difficult if you can’t visualise it.]
Shaking her head slowly, Rem reported on the failure of her Synesthesia.
For a moment, he worried something had happened to Ram that made it unable to connect with her. However, he judged that the distance― both physical and mental, was the bigger problem.
Frankly, in a situation where the Synesthesia had indeed connected, a lot of things would turn for the better at once. It was pretty disappointing, but he could not let that show on the outside.
The most frustrated one here was Rem.
For now, he had to console Rem’s feelings of frustration and――
However, while Subaru was choosing his words of comfort, a slight sigh escaped from Rem’s lips.
The reason for that was Louis’s hand, which was placed on top of Rem’s resting hand. Louis, while resting her head on Rem’s lap, was concerned about Rem, overlapping her hands with her own from underneath.
Rem softly curled her lips up at Louis’s actions.
Rem: [Thank you. I’m okay.]
Rem put on a brave smile, and Louis cheerfully laughed upon seeing it.
Looking at their heartwarming scene, Subaru grit his teeth. He realised he was too late and his role had been snatched from him.
Subaru: [Dammit… I knew it! You’re still my enemy aren’t you..!?]
Rem: [Again, why does it end up that way? Do you not think it is childish?]
Looking at Subaru, who was glaring at Louis, Rem again lost faith in Subaru.
Ignorant to the situation, Louis, the recipient of Subaru’s glare, gleefully flailed her arms and legs up and down.
And then, the ones who took no notice of the stiff atmosphere between Subaru’s group――,
Holly: [It’s done~!]
Kuna: [It’s still raw!!]
The duo who had an already established relationship raised their voices.
――Subaru’s group had arrived safely at Guaral, having taken four days in total,
Subaru: [So that’s Guaral… It’s protected by fine-looking walls.]
A fortress city, surrounded by towering walls, that could be seen from a distance.
He was astonished that his prediction had missed its mark, and felt like he had been hit by a stroke of luck. Subaru was experiencing two sensations, as there was a disparity between the sight of the city and what he had imagined after hearing that it was the “nearest town”.
Subaru: [The city feels pretty rugged… Is a giant gonna come over or what?] 
Kuna: [Giants? I heard they were nearly wiped out, quite a while ago.]
Subaru: [Really? I wonder if the old fart I know is the last giant, then…]
Subaru muttered out a purposeless comment in response to Kuna’s serious-minded reply.
It was surprising to know that Rom-ji, the only giant that Subaru knew, was in such a rare position. Although, he had heard of the oni race being extremely scarce in numbers from Rem, so perhaps the struggle for survival between races was unforgiving, even in this world.
Subaru: [Thinking about it calmly, I’ve never met anyone related to elves aside from Emilia-tan, so maybe there aren’t many elves out there, either.]
As a cliché of the fantasy genre, it was common for long-lived species to have low fertility in exchange for a long lifespan, therefore being unable to increase their numbers easily.
In addition to that, because of the fear directed towards the Witch of Envy, half-elves were a target of hatred, in this world. That was the real state of things. Naturally, Subaru could think of the possibility that pure-blooded elves were also pressured by those conventions, as they were the foundation of the births of half-elves.
Subaru: [I think about Emilia-tan in a place where she’s absent. Dammit, I haven’t been able to meet Beako for a while as well. I feel like my Emiliase and Beatromin deficiency is becoming severe.]
The prescribed medicine for both cases of malnutrition would be coming into contact with Emilia and Beatrice.
In all seriousness, the mental fatigue that resulted from being continuously worried or tense was substantial, so just hearing the voices of Emilia and Beatrice, who both contributed to Subaru’s peace of mind, would make him feel more relaxed.
Subaru: [I miss Ram, Petra, Frederica, and the others’ voices… Hell, in a situation like this, I’m fine with even Roswaal’s voice.]
Rem: [Excuse me, can you give me a break with your meaningless emotional conflict?]
Subaru: [Ah, my bad.]
Rem chided him for his overflowing soliloquy while remaining on his back.
Subaru had splendidly managed to carry Rem on the wooden rack for the duration of the journey, without entrusting her to anyone else. He had not learned the ropes on how to carry things during the first and second day, and his waste of stamina had been quite prominent. However, he had gotten the hang of his pacing and sense of balance from the third day onwards, so he had been able to make a lot of progress while walking.
Subaru: [When it comes to carrying Rem on one’s back, I’m second to none by now.]
Rem: [Don’t try to compete over such an undignified thing. Also, those two are…]
Subaru and Rem were positioned back-to-back, so Rem would be pointing towards somewhere behind him. As he turned around, obeying her words, there were Holly and Kuna.
And then, next to Kuna, who was lazily scratching her head, Holly took one step towards Subaru and Rem,
Holly: [Well, I guess this is goodbye since you arrived safely～.]
Subaru: [Ah… You two won’t enter the city…?]
Kuna: [It’s meaningless for us to enter. Our role is to escort you two.]
Subaru: [I see… You two really helped us out a lot.]
With the abrupt farewell, Subaru admonished himself, thinking this would obviously happen.
Kuna and Holly had only followed them out of the kindness of the People of Shudraq. He felt that he was dependent on them, because they had saved him multiple times during his travels.
Holly, who had cleared the atmosphere with her hunting skills and cheery personality.
Kuna, who possessed unexpectedly extensive knowledge and an earnest will to provide answers to Subaru’s questions, had been reliable.
Parting ways with the two of them, Subaru would be traveling with Rem, this time for sure ― no, it would be a three-person-journey with Rem and Louis.
There had been someone else at the Empire’s encampment, as well as the Shudraqian village, but this time, it was different.
Kuna: […Jeez, stop making such a miserable face.]
Subaru: [My bad. By “miserable face”, do you mean… woah!?]
Gazing at Subaru’s black eyes that had previously wavered with uneasiness, Kuna shoved something towards him.
Subaru instinctively caught the item in his hand, and teetered forward from its unexpected weight. A long and thin white wrapping was given to him. It was the object which Holly had been carrying on her back, for the whole duration of the journey.
During the trip, he had assumed that it was an item essential to Holly and Kuna.
Subaru: [Now that I think about it, I feel like you never opened this… What’s this?]
Holly: [It’s yours~. The chieftain told us to give it to you, once you arrived properly at the town~.]
Subaru: [It’s mine, and once I arrived at the town…?]
Unable to grasp the true meaning behind Holly’s words, Subaru knitted his brows out of uncertainty. However, Kuna had prompted him roughly with a, “Just open it.”
Receiving her words, Subaru lowered the wooden rack on his back to the ground, and opened the white wrapping.
Inside, there was――,
Rem: [Is this… a horn?]
A white lump laid in Subaru’s arms, as large as his arms could hold. What Rem had murmured after looking at it had told him it was a horn ― a Witchbeast’s horn at that.
Subaru recognized it. He had seen it twice, and he had taken a good look at it during the Lifeblood Ritual.
Subaru: [Is this the Elgina’s horn, by any chance?]
Holly: [Yep~. You were the one who broke it off, so it’s yours~.]
Kuna: [It’s a valuable item. With that size, it’ll fetch a high price.]
Having been told that the horn would fetch a high price, Subaru held his breath at Holly and Kuna’s thoughtful arrangements.
In other words, they were telling him to exchange the Witchbeast’s horn for traveling expenses, so that Subaru’s group could go back to the Kingdom of Lugunica.
The two had carried the baggage for that purpose, without specifying said purpose.
Subaru: [It must’ve been pretty heavy…]
Kuna: [You were carrying Rem on your back for the whole time.]
Holly: [Besides, besides! I’m very strong~. So, it was no problem at all~.]
Both Kuna and Holly had faces looking like they had only done something trivial, while Subaru’s voice was trembling because of the two’s ulterior motives.
Their thoughtfulness had rendered him completely speechless, word for word.
They had helped him on the way to Guaral, and even secured traveling expenses for Subaru’s group.
Despite all that, Subaru would part ways with them, and go back to his country. ――Holly and Kuna would reunite with their Shudraqian allies, and join the battle to retake the Imperial Capital alongside Abel.
Whilst yielding the life or death of many along the way――,
Kuna: [――Don’t think about anything stupid.]
Kuna: [You gotta fight to protect the ones you wanna protect. It’s the same for us.]
Although impulsive words nearly found their way out of Subaru’s mouth, Kuna had sharply put a stop to those.
Kuna directed an annoyed glare at Subaru, all while emanating her usual feeling of listlessness.
She had a lot of complaints, and always seemed irritated towards Holly. However, she had never separated herself from the Shudraqians, nor had she ever given any indication that she disliked Holly.
As a member of the Shudraqians, she thought it was only natural for her to fight together with Abel.
――That must be proof that she had already chosen the “ones she wanted to protect” in her words.
Kuna: [Don’t keep idling around. I have good eyesight. If you do something stupid, then I can see it straight away.]
Holly: [And if Kuna tells me about it, then I can go kaboom with my bow and arrow~!]
Subaru: […Yeah, that’s scary.]
From their words, Subaru understood that he had been gently pushed away.
If he acted out of impulse here, then he would disregard their ― no, the People of Shudraq’s kindness. He could not do such a thing for the women who had referred to him as their comrade.
Subaru: [I’ll gratefully make good use of it for our journey. Thanks for taking care of us, you two!]
Comprehending Kuna and Holly’s intentions, Subaru swallowed the thoughts that surged forward.
Receiving it, albeit their respective attitudes, they nodded.
Rem: [Thank you for accompanying us, Holly-san and Kuna-san. I won’t forget my gratitude towards you two, as well as to every person of the People of Shudraq.]
Kuna: [Please do that. You’ve apparently forgotten a lot of things, so…]
Holly: [I think you’re going too far with that~.]
Wanting to at least bid them farewell, Rem had climbed down the wooden frame and seemed to be reluctant to part ways with them.
Louis also showing her unwillingness to leave Holly and Kuna was something unexpected. She had gotten close to Holly in particular, who was outspoken and unreserved with her interactions. Louis clung on to Holly’s stomach for a while, refusing to separate herself from her.
Kuna: [Bye, Subaru. Don’t forget, I’ll be watching.]
Subaru: [Yeah! Thank you so much! Thank you!]
Turning their backs towards the two waving their hands in an exaggerated manner, Subaru’s group resumed their three-person-journey.
Subaru had placed back the horn he was given into its wrapping, and left it in Louis’s care by making her carry it on her back. Subaru had made that agonizing decision because his hands were occupied, but perhaps Holly and Kuna’s words had been effective, as Louis was trying to ensure the wrapping would not drop, following Subaru and Rem quietly.
Rem: [It means she also pays attention to a lot of things.]
Subaru: […I know she’s a ball of curiosity.]
Rem pointed it out while on his back, with Subaru replying to her with a bitter feeling.
The Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis Arneb, had devoured myriad lives, in an attempt to find the life most suited for herself. She would be an inquirer if framed in a positive light, or an omnivore if framed negatively.
That was why, even if Louis had shown a slightly admirable side of herself, Subaru’s impression of her would not change.
It would not change.
Subaru: [Let’s go.]
Hearing Rem’s sigh behind him, Subaru began walking.
He also heard Louis’s footsteps as if she were following him.
There were only three of them, just as how it had been back then, when they had been first plunged into the Vollachian Empire.
Finally seeming as if they were all facing the same direction, they moved on.
And then, they passed through the gates of the Fortress City ― Guaral.
 – This is a reference to Attack on Titan. The Re: Zero tribe “giant” and “titan” from attack on titan use the same word, 巨人.