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ーー『Rem』, the girl who has been called that is currently confused and in turmoil.
Tightly, she tries squeezing the iron bars in front of her eyes, putting in all her strength. However, she can’t make the iron cage creak, nor bend.
Although, she couldn’t come up with a way to escape even had she made a bend in the bars.
There were enough people about this area for it to be called encampment, and with the presence of each of their corresponding military strength, she could not simply catch them off guard.
Not to mention, how she couldn’t put any strength into her lower half.
She couldn’t sneak away from their eyes like this, and search for the one she was split fromーーfor that girl.
「My legs don’t seem like they’re paralyzed……」
Rem mutters so as she lowers her hips with a plop onto the iron cage’s cold floor while rubbing her own legs.
Touching them with her hands like this, she still has a sense of touch in them. Since she also felt pain when she tried pinching them, it’s not like her legs are paralyzed.
Simply, it was hard for her to communicate the will to move her legs, you could say they were slow to react.
It was like that in the forest as well, she had to grab onto something to force herself to stand up, she thinks that if she had something like a cane she could walk given a bit of time.
That said, it’s not like she’ll always have walls or a cane at hand to grab onto either. Her outlook was dark. Will her legs ever be able to move properly again? Or will she stay this way forever, or worseーー
「No good, no good. I’m thinking way too much about the bad.」
Shrugging off the previous bad thoughts by shaking her head side to side, Rem admonished herself.
In all honesty, although she was in a situation where she had no basis at all for being positive, when all is said and done, she mustn’t decide how bad a future that hasn’t arrived would be.
Viewing things with woe and anxiety makes you liable to cast the real future in a dark shadow.
That is the truth that Rem learned in this small span of time, that transpired since she woke up having lost her『Memories』.
「And that person chased us wherever we went……」
Saying that, the one Rem recalled was a black haired boy with an evil glare.
His voice which could be said to be coaxing her, as well as his attitude and demeanor, like he was softening her up, were suspiciously cold, but the reason Rem was extremely suspicious of him, was that stench that reeked of evil wrapped around him.
Without exaggerating, she could affirm the stench was an evil one that turned her noseーー To the point that it was unbelievable that the person in question did not even seem to realize it, but Rem rejected it instinctively.
To put it plainly, when that stench wafts around him, not a word coming from that boy reaches Rem’s heart. As if anyone would believe the words of a monster with the smell of bloody murder lingering around them, covered head to toe in blood saying「I’m not dangerous」.
An extreme example, that was how that boy’s appearance and demeanor looked to Rem.
She tried speaking that name which the boy called himself time and time again.
She’s strangely bothered by the feeling that name gives off. From Rem’s little knowledge, she can’t quite tell which one is the name and which one is the surname.
Since no one else had called him by his name, even that was ambiguous to Rem.
Leaving her back to the cage’s walls, Rem observed her surroundings while taking a deep breath.
Firstly, The place Rem was in was a military encampment somewhereーーSince there was a unified flag raised, it probably indicates how it belongs to some country or organization, that kind of place.
With only men in the encampment they should number around a hundred, it might be conjecture from the number of tents, but she thinks she can’t be off by too much. Their fighting strength should be about as expected.
Though the men Rem had knocked out when she woke up by the riverbank weren’t very strong.
「Except for that Eyepatch man……」
There weren’t even 10 of them gathered, however that Eyepatch man commanding them was exceptionally strong.
Of course, Rem couldn’t move her legs, and her being less than perfect condition was big, however even if she had been in perfect condition for argument’s sake she’s unsure whether she could have stood up to him or not.
As a result, Rem was unceremoniously pinned down, she was dragged to the camp together with the girl and Subaru, and just like that they were made captive.
After that, whether they’d concluded that she would not speak, or they’d judged her to be a dangerous person, she was put in a cage. Currently she’d been separated from Subaru and that girl.
As expected she was worried if theyーーespecially that girl, were safe or not. Her head was hurt and bleeding, thus she worried if she’d been given the proper first aid or not. Subaru is fine enough.
Him being in the same encampment is something she doesn’t doubt from his stench, given that she can tell it’s there, even from a distance.
「……In the end, who am I, where am I, and what should I even do?」
Even thinking about this, that and whatever, Rem’s suspicions reach the bottom of a dead end.
It’s the plain obviousーーWorrying about what’s in front of you is a privilege only the people who have the necessary foothold to stop and look at what’s in front of them have.
In that sense, Rem doesn’t even have the proper preparations done to begin problem-solving.
Like that, She once again tried uttering her nameーーNo, that word.
Countless times, Natsuki Subaru had called her that. It regrettably doesn’t seem like there’s anyone to be found who knows her other than him. The violent people in this encampment, and of course that girl she was with weren’t much for conversation partners.
Therefore, what she can confirm herself about her current self is, the name『Rem』that she was called by, and the feeling of disgust from the depths of her instincts for the stench enveloping Natsuki Subaru.
「For the time being, let’s set aside the name Rem. It doesn’t feel right to me」
She did have the expectation that with time, perhaps if you happened to have some chance encounter, memories could dramatically be brought back.
It seemed like in her own case, even when seeing the people she had something to do with and her own name, she couldn’t expect that dramatic appearance.
Although, she’s definitely thought quite a lot about the possibility that this name 『Rem』is from someone she has absolutely nothing to do with, and that Natsuki Subaru is a complete fiend, just like the evil stench wrapping him indicates.
That’s right, the possibility that Natsuki Subaru is an utter fiend was high.
At the grass field and at the forest, and at the cliff’s edge afterwards before they jumped into the river, in all of those places Natsuki Subaru’s face and voice, remembering their desperate state, makes Rem’s heart creak terribly.
There was no point in believing, she could have thrown out those careless words that she couldn’t bear to listen to.
And yet why, did his voice and words, the feeling of his arms around her, still not leave her.
「……Because that person, kept acting like he knew me」
It was a connection, for she who had nothing to cling to, that just made her think she didn’t know when to let go.
Rem admonishes herself, and once again tightly grips the iron bars using her strength.
Is that girl safe? What is Natsuki Subaru doing?
Those vague thoughts were the only things her empty, unsure self was certain of.
「ーーh! Hold it there! What will you do with him!?」
As she briefly tried to stop the men dragging Natsuki Subaru away, her complaint was abruptly denied, and so he ended up being dragged away.
Stuck in the iron cage, she can’t even be granted the chance to voice her opinion on that matter. It was just, seeing Natsuki Subaru being dragged away, Rem’s chest was dominated by righteous indignation.
ーーNatsuki Subaru was in terrible shape.
Running through the forest covered in mud, being chased both by the hunter and giant snake, then finally having to experience barely surviving jumping into a river, it was a matter of course that he’d be in rough shape. However, seeing him again after being separate from him, the bruise marks on him and injuries on his shoulders had increased at some point.
The fingers in his left hand that were broken by Rem were obviously painful. However it was clear from how his other injuries hadn’t been given the proper aid that his treatment hasn’t been the best.
「 Is it not almost like he’s a slave like that……?」
Watching Natsuki Subaru with his hands restrained, surrounded by some imposing men, in this vulnerable state wasn’t something you could do calmly. Even Rem who did not hold a good impression of him, couldn’t help but object at that miserable state of his.
Even if, say, more and more of that evil scent had increased while he was out of sight.
「What are they going to do to that person like that, and that girl too……?」
Thinking that, Rem’s chest was wracked by anxiety.
Her relationship with the men in the encampment, having turned to the worst case from the beginning, definitely couldn’t be said to be on the road for the better.
Even wishing they treat her gentlemanly, could only be said to be awfully convenient.
「If it came to itーー」
She thinks that at that time, she’d rather bravely take her own life.
If she’s going to be disgraced while kept ignorant, it’d be much better to choose death, still without any attachments. Death before disgrace, that thought felt obvious to her.
If this was the voice of her inner self, she must have been this way before losing her memories. Then in that case, even if with just that single shred of faith she’d go and cross the river of deathーー、
『So long as you’re breathing, talking, and looking around with those eyes, then all’s fine』
Again, Natsuki Subaru’s voice echoed in Rem’s head.
She was about to accept suicide as if natural and yet, his words come directly to force Rem’s decision. Impudent, and so carefreely.
Who the hell does he think he is? Her anger against that man who’d been dragged away intensified.
Like this, it was almost like she was acting exactly like he wanted. Perhaps he left her these words to stop her should Rem ever find herself about to choose death.
The only ones who could do that, were those who possess strength beyond human comprehension.
Where could that scrawny powerless boy, have that kind of strength.
Closing her eyes, she tries to clear away that thought from her head.
However, no matter how much she tries to shake it off, or brush it off, it doesn’t disappear.
Why, because inside of her empty self that hasn’t been awake for even half a day since she lost her memories, all there is, is that boy, Natsuki Subaru.
Whether she likes it or not, if she wants to have another look at herself, she has no choice but to face Natsuki Subaru.
More and more, that makes Rem suffer, so rather than thatーー、
「Maybe I should break the fingers from his right hand as well」
Thinking that, Rem closed her eyes while pulling her legs closer.
She forgets the fact that she was about to bravely choose suicide just a moment ago, and instead bravely, acknowledges the discomfort she feels towards Natsuki Subaru that can’t be put to words, and closes her eyes.
Once Natsuki Subaru is back, that’s when she’ll face her problems once again.
That’s why at least, just for now, keeping herself calm, she’ll leave her problems for later.
ーーHowever, Natsuki Subaru didn’t come back after half a day.
In fact, the men who dragged Natsuki Subaru awayーーThe two called Todd and Jamal disappeared into the forest with about 20 men.
Though it’s the result of what she pieced together from what she overheard while the encampment suddenly became boisterous, she thinks she didn’t get it too wrong for the most part.
「Yes, it’s alright. You have nothing to worry about, so just stay quiet please」
Perhaps noticing the atmosphere around her filling with trepidation, the girl resting her head in Rem’s lap groaned.
Fortunately, it seems the men were not so inhuman, the girl she’d been separated from received proper treatment for the injury on her forehead, and was delivered back to Rem.
That said, their treatment still did not change and they remained imprisoned, so it was dubious whether this could be called a gentlemanly approach. Although, even that approach could turn out to be far stricter.
While soothing the girl, she silently pumps herself up.
If something were to happen, and she couldn’t act fast, she’d be at a complete loss. She instinctively understood that this mentality was unmistakably necessary to survive.
In that case, there was truth in that thought Rem has, however there was also meaninglessness to it.
At first, what Rem sensed was a faint, off-putting smell.
It was different from the one she sensed from Subaru, however, it was still a smell of the wicked kind. One that she absolutely never wanted to get used to smelling, said plainly, it was the scent of blood.
What’s more, it’s not a small quantity that’s being spilled, it’s quite a bit. A deep stench of life and death.
She was about to alert her surroundings to that, however the other party’s movements were far faster. Like they were completely out of her league, it was a perfect『Ambush』.
Thus, a voice like a scream rang out, and it spread in the next moment.
The encampment turned to pandemonium, the death throes of the men every which way reverberate all throughout.
「What is…… What is happening!?」
Having woken up, in the shocked Rem’s arms, the girl began crying while covering her face.
She could feel how this wasn’t a trivial matter. Looking at the girl’s reaction, Rem decided to begin moving like she had decided toーー She grasped the bar of the cage which had taken load after load from the front, put her entire body’s strength into it, and forcefully twisted off that single bar.
「We can’t stay here. Can you come with me?」
Using the bar she twisted off as a cane, Rem pulled on the crying girl’s arm. The girl didn’t stop crying nor did she respond, yet she also didn’t brush off Rem’s hand.
That’s fine. If she ran right now, Rem couldn’t currently keep up.
Flames have already spread to every place in the encampment, marked by the presence of mayhem and combat.
Therefore, what Rem needed to chose was their own safety and nothing moreーー,
「ーーI found you yeees. Definitely this girl is the girl I was looking for yeees.」
When Rem was about to take the girl, and escape this battlefield, a carefree female voice struck her eardrums. But, despite the mood in her voice, Rem gasped at the speed of the hand that reached for her.
She immediately tried to swipe it away, but she grabbed her held out wrist, and was pulled in instead. And just like that, she was picked up, and lifted into the air.
「P- please let me- let me go……」
「Worry and struggle not, you’re safe yeees. Mask-kun said to take you with me yeees」
「Who is that!? P-please stop!」
She twisted her body around flailing, but that womanーーBrown skinned, with hair dyed yellow, was unyielding. Rem couldn’t pull her off using the strength of her arms, her opponent’s strength was monstrous, that went beyond that.
「My my, you’re together with this girl too yeees? Then, you can come along yeees.」
The girl is trying to face the woman carrying Rem around with her powerless arms but she doesn’t seem to mind her. Just like that, the two of them, can only submit to the woman’s whims.
Why? That question that she did not know who she should ask, reverberated in futility.
An answer would come neither from the woman, nor the girl.
However, the answer to the『Why』 which Rem held, would come after this.
After being dragged away, and meeting with that boy in a near death state who rushed towards RemーーWith Natsuki Subaru, it would come from his mouth.