Arc 7, Chapter 25 – “A Reunion Akin to Scorching Blood”

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――There was a girl of “crimson”, like a vivid, scorching flame, richly scented in blood.

Amidst the sudden battlefield, upon the upper levels of City Hall, this violent beauty dominated the desolate scene while holding a radiant treasured sword.

With her dazzling orange hair, a luxurious blood-colored dress, and feminine figure, the person grasping that sword was one whose back exuded strength.

Subaru: [――――]

Staring at her in exasperation, Subaru’s thoughts were stirred into confusion as stood with arms open wide.

Momentarily forgetting the pain that coursed through his entire body and the need to breathe, a single word bounced chaotically in his empty head, “Why”.

Why, was she here.

Why, had she saved Subaru.

Why, was she able to face Arakiya with such calm.

Why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, he could not stop wondering why.

Overwhelmed by endless questions, Subaru felt like time itself had halted. Then, as if to ridicule the motionless Subaru, the woman of “crimson” gave a snort and――,

Priscilla: [What an idiotic visage. Have your eyes been scorched by my nobility?]

Subaru: [――What, do you have eyes in the back of your head?]

Priscilla: [Nonsense. Does it appear like I have such a deformity? I can tell a foolish commoner’s expression just by their respiration.]

Still with nary even a glance back, came a proud retort of the woman―― of Priscilla Barielle.

Whilst gazing at the women who should not be present, Subaru did not have any words to refute the preposterous notion that she would be capable of knowing his expression just by his breathing.

The situation slowly progressed in front of Subaru, who could only be stunned and dumbfounded.

Priscilla: [Well.]

After taking a short breath, Priscilla looked around as she continued to firmly wield the ornate crimson sword.

She recognized that the City Hall had been completely transformed by the sudden intruder’s rampage.

Even accounting for the injured People of Shudraq and the comatose Zikr, the only ones who could move, albeit barely, were Subaru, Rem right behind him, and Abel, atop the balcony.

And the one who was the cause of all this――,

Priscilla: [――Arakiya.]

Arakiya: [――――]

Narrowing her crimson eyes, Priscilla focused on the other girl quietly.

The one who maintained her silence under such circumstances was the brown-skinned, silver-haired demi-human―― The Imperial General First-Class, ranked Second, Arakiya.

She had been said to be the second strongest person in the Vollachia Empire. Her abilities had showcased this well. She met Priscilla’s gaze, brimming with strong will, head-on, with her red right eye that remained uncovered by her eyepatch―― Nay, actually, she did not.

Arakiya: [Prin… cess…?]

Until now, Arakiya had given the impression of an otherworldly presence, imposing a solid world of her own. However, under Priscilla’s stare, that world collapsed in a single beat.

Instead, what emerged was intense agitation and equally great joy.

Arakiya: [Princess, Princess, Princess… Hk.]

The dangerous atmosphere fizzled out, while Arakiya uttered those words over and over again, as if to confirm it.

Almost as if she were a lost child reunited with their parents, or a small brother and sister trying to regain their bond; one could see the obsession of the weak trying to cling onto the strong.

――The relationship between Priscilla and Arakiya was unknown to the others.

Odd as the sight was, Subaru could not figure out the reason why Priscilla would need to come to this place, and could only guess that there was an unusual past between the two.

It could be this past relationship had broken Arakiya’s fighting spirit, who was by far the most dangerous being in this place.

Arakiya: [――Hk.]

Lowering the thin tree branch in her grip, Arakiya, overcome by emotion, tried to step forward. It seemed as if she were about to jump straight into Priscilla’s chest.

Perhaps she desired to follow the passion welling up in her heart, and embrace Priscilla.

However――,

Arakiya: [Princ–―]

Priscilla: [Silence.]

But that did not come to pass.

A short, fierce command was accompanied by a flash. As Arakiya was about to take a step forward, a red glow swept across, just mere centimetres from the toes of her bare feet, and glaring flames flared up to prevent her from advancing further.

Arakiya: [――――]

At best, the flames contained the power of a bonfire, which went up to her shins.

They were not great enough to hamper Arakiya’s long legs from stepping over them. She easily could―― yet despite that, she was unable to move, almost as if she faced an insurmountable wall.

As they stood, Priscilla continued to stare coldly at Arakiya, whose eyes widened at the unexpected action.

Priscilla: [Arakiya, why do you wish to come to me now?]

Arakiya: [Wha…?]

Priscilla: [Did you believe that I would be so excited to reunite with you as to welcome you into my arms? If such is the case, I cannot help but be amazed at your optimism.]

Priscilla’s words were tinged with contempt and disgust, completely blocking Arakiya from approaching.

Arakiya must have understood that there was distance between them. Her eye trembled in astonishment, as she desperately attempted to find the best answer to Priscilla’s words.

But――,

Arakiya: [P-Prisca-sama…]

Priscilla: [Prisca is dead. ――Have you not changed after all this time, even after obtaining your newfound position?]

Arakiya: [――Hk.]

Priscilla: [How dull. It has been a long time since I have last gazed at the soil of my homeland, but it is difficult to feel anything when it has grown so emaciated.]

Priscilla was unable to dismiss the fact that she was deeply disappointed.

To be honest, he lacked enough understanding of her position in this situation to even begin to guess what Priscilla was thinking. Even so, Subaru knew that her heartless words had shaken Arakiya to the core, insofar as making her shed blood.

It was a deep wound. One of being disrespected by a person with whom she had formed an important bond.

Arakiya’s eye wavered upon being labeled a disappointment. She could have cowered at the verbal wound; however, instead of faltering, she instead reflected a fierce look from her exposed red eye.

Not anger, but a glimmer of determination and resolve.

Arakiya: […I don’t care what the Princess thinks of me. Even though it’s painful. But I’ve made up my mind.]

Priscilla: [――. Ho, so you have made up your mind? Can you regain my interest then? Try telling me what you have decided.]

In response to Arakiya’s quiet appeal, Priscilla threw out a provocative statement, whether she intended to or not. In turn, Arakiya looked up and yelled, “I will!”

As she howled, Arakiya flexed her slender knees,

Arakiya: [I will regain the Princess’s rightful place! In the Empire! And to do that…]

The aim of Arakiya’s outburst was not directed at Priscilla, who was only half listening.

The gaze of her one eye strayed from Priscilla, heading toward Abel, still perched on the balcony as these events unfolded. He became the target of her shifting emotions.

Arakiya: [You’re a liar, Your Excellency, and for that, I shall―― Tch!]

Her eye blazing with passionate fury, Arakiya’s slender body leapt high in the air. Ignoring the barrier of fire between her and Priscilla, she vaulted forward, her destination being Abel on the balcony.

Her leaping prowess was extraordinary. However, it was not that surprising, considering she held the title of the second strongest in the Empire.

The main problem was that, aside from Priscilla, there was nobody who had the means to stop her.

Subaru: [Shit, Abel’s going to…! Priscilla!]

Priscilla: [Do not raise such a fuss. Why are you acting so familiar, you foolish commoner? With whose permission did you call me by my name?]

Subaru: [This isn’t the time to…]

Priscilla: [――I said, do not raise a fuss.]

With her ornate sword lowered in one hand, Priscilla ignored Subaru’s pleas.

After this threat, which made Priscilla’s next actions unreadable, Arakiya’s form surged like an arrow, approaching Abel in the breathless Subaru’s vision.

Abel: [――――]

Abel was leaning onto the railing of the half-destroyed balcony, blood pouring from his forehead.

He had not displayed any signs of dismay at Priscilla’s sudden intrusion, and was still standing firm, regarding Arakiya with his intense black eyes.

It was a known fact that he was not a particularly skilled fighter. His lone uninjured arm, of course, was not strong enough to take on one of the strongest in the Empire. Therefore, Subaru did not know why he refused to fall into despair.

Without knowing――,

Subaru: [Abel――!!]

He knew it was pointless, yet nevertheless he tried to dash toward him. But his legs lost their strength at the first step. Having fallen on his knees, Subaru could only reach out as Arakiya approached Abel.

――The very next moment, a chain of events beyond Subaru’s comprehension occurred.

Abel: [――――]

Abel stomped hard on the balcony floor, keeping his eyes on the enclosing Arakiya. Immediately after doing so, cracks spread further across the half-destroyed balcony, and the place he took as his foothold collapsed instantaneously.

Naturally, Abel, being on top of it, fell helplessly―― so he thought, but that was not what happened.

Abel’s body instead remained suspended in midair. His outstretched right hand had grasped the curtain, which hung from the top floor.

Abel had hidden a lifeline beneath his hand, that he had up against the railing, and then he had intentionally collapsed the place he was standing on.

Perhaps, had the enemy been small fry, the strategy could have been to have them swallowed by the collapse and consequently fall downstairs all at once.

However, the opponent was one of the Nine Divine Generals. Furthermore, she was also ranked Second among them.

Arakiya: [What fun….!]

Swinging like a pendulum, Abel held on for dear life to the curtain, as Arakiya bared her fangs.

Although she had lost the foothold necessary to land after her leap, Arakiya’s strength came not only from her enhanced physical abilities, but also from her superhuman powers.

Her legs flickered like glowing embers, and from her knees down, her body transformed into flames, her posture flexed in midair like that of a missile with jets blowing from her legs.

The flames that had immolated Mizelda, the fierce tornado that had blown away the common soldiers, the crude craftwork that had supported a collapsing pillar, the gale that had disarmed Rem, and finally the transformation of a part of her own body into flames.

From all these past events, they had become painfully aware of the endless versatility of Arakiya’s abilities.

Arakiya: [Your Excellency, die――!]

At this rate, a branch with unknown power was going to strike Abel. Hanging from the drape, Abel was unable to maintain his position and spun around.

It was unclear if the branch was going to stab him, if it was going to release magic, or if it was going to create some sort of other supernatural effect. ――It was unknown, yet regardless of what it would do, Abel was going to be shattered into pieces.

That certainty alone made the pupils of Subaru’s dark eyes narrow with impatience and urgency.

And yet――

???: [――Oh damn, bro. I didn’t even know that it was you ‘til I heard your voice just now.]

Instantly, a figure intervened between the demonic Arakiya and the suspended Abel.

From beside Rem, who was knocked down, a figure ran over the pillar that Arakiya had caught, and threw an attack from the side, aiming for the branch that she held. The strike of the broad Blue Dragon Sword was blocked by the branch, its swing produced by a flick of Arakiya’s wrist, but the resulting momentum sent her flying.

After the person’s surprise attack was parried without any difficulty, they let out a “Daaah!”, and angrily stomped the ground.

???: [Shit, my arm hurts! Don’t effortlessly parry a strike someone put their all into, it’s gonna make them depressed.]

His whine and waving of his aching arm concluded the chaotic series of events. That person was, once again, outside the scope of Subaru’s imagination.

It was a man who sported a jet-black helmet, dressed in a bandit-like fashion from the waist down. The man, who looked like a brigand or a thief, was characterized by his missing left arm, while his thick right arm held the Blue Dragon Sword.

It was a man he knew. In fact, this was the first person he should have thought of, if Priscilla was here.

He was――,

Subaru: [――Al?]

Al: [Hey, bro! Didn’t think I’d run into you on the other side of the border. I’d like to share my thoughts on your attire and this strange reunion…]

Priscilla’s knight―― or rather, servant, Al, tilted his head and raised his voice in an out-of-place greeting.

He responded to Subaru in the same aloof tone as usual, while prohibiting Arakiya’s advance, still floating in the air with her legs morphed into flame.

In this case, Subaru did not know if he should be more impressed by Al’s ability to block Arakiya’s attack with just one strike, or by the durability of the tree branch which had clashed straight-on with the Blue Dragon Sword and came out unscathed.

Al: [You can be surprised, man. After all, it wasn’t like this was something done in one shot.]

Arakiya: [Get out of the way! I can’t kill His Excellency like this!]

Al: [I’ve come all this way to interfere, how can I get out of the way now? I can’t just stand here and let my head fall off my body. But…]

Arakiya howled in anger, and Al looked at her from the front without hesitation.

Arakiya’s outfit was overly revealing, but Al did not look at her with lewd intentions. His gaze only contained feelings of nostalgia and deep emotion.

In fact, Al let out an admiring sigh.

Al: [Haa~. You’ve really grown up. I always knew you’d be beautiful.]

Arakiya: […Who are you?]

Al: [You saying that, it really hurts! Even though we’re friends who trusted each other with their lives!]

When Al called out to her as if she was a familiar face, she raised her eyebrows in suspicion. In order to keep her at a distance, Al kicked up a piece of the broken floor at her slender body.

Looking over Al’s work, Priscilla called out to him.

Priscilla: [Al. You know what I desire, I brought you here, not Schult. Do your job.]

Al: [I’m doing it! Do I look like I’m having fun with this cutie? If I’m not careful, I’ll be ripped to shreds in ten seconds, okay?]

Priscilla: [Taking a look at the situation, you certainly have not accomplished much.]

Al: [It’s better than being ripped to shreds, isn’t it? Whoa!]

Al, whose concentration was disturbed by the impatient remarks of his master, was nearly killed by Arakiya’s blow.

Flying in the air, Arakiya circled more freely than a bird, and Al desperately parried the attacks from her branch being launched one after another.

Arakiya: [You’re in the way…!]

Al: [It really hurts an old man’s heart to hear a girl your age say that.]

Abel continued to hang, and Al continued to protect him.

Glaring down at both of them, Arakiya’s eyes became angrier, and every inch of her body was filled with fighting spirit. Still, the reason she would not unleash the fearsome ranged attack she had initially showed was――,

Subaru: [Priscilla…]

Princess, that was what Arakiya had called Priscilla.

Priscilla’s attitude was nothing but cold and disconnected, but not towards Arakiya. That was the only reason as to why she had not created even more destruction.

Therefore, if anyone could alter this stalemate, that person would be Priscilla, who kept the floating Arakiya in check.

Subaru: [――――]

Priscilla: [Do not regard me with those clingy eyes, foolish commoner. I may praise you for your feigned good looks, but wishing to utilize them to make me stir would be irreverent.]

Subaru: [Guh… Hk!]

Subaru, on his knees, turned around, but Priscilla was far too arrogant to take him seriously.

Instead, it was Rem, who had been sheltered by Subaru’s back till now, who moved. She pursed her lips, stepping in front of Priscilla with a perilous gait.

And then――,

Rem: [Please, I beg you. Please, lend us your strength.]

Priscilla: [――. Hmm, what an auspicious thing to say. I would state you to be more polite than this foolish commoner.]

Rem: [Then…!]

Priscilla: [Do not get too carried away. And just, observe. Already, the provisions to shift the state of affairs are underway.]

Rem’s plea, and the possibility of Priscilla’s disapproval, sent a chill down Subaru’s spine.

However, Priscilla did not lose her temper; instead, she indicated to the battlefield with a slight turn of her head.

Rem followed her gaze with a surprised “Eh?”, and Subaru followed suit.

In that battlefield atop the balcony, were it left unchecked, Abel and Al could be slaughtered by Arakiya in seconds. And in fact, the risk of such a thing increased with every passing second.

Al: [Da! Ga! Ao! Guah! Ubaa!]

Arakiya danced in the sky with her legs ablaze, and Al managed to block her attacks, though his movements were terribly clumsy and unrefined, resulting in him being repeatedly pushed back with one blow after another.

But the succession of miracles would not be everlasting. The damage from the accumulated strikes began to show on Al’s body, and as soon as his reaction began to be visibly delayed, his upper body was shaken by a huge blow.

With that, Al lost his stance and was defenseless against the next attack, and at that moment――,

Arakiya: [――Hk!?]

Arakiya tried to kick the air, yet her body unnaturally swayed, causing her to lose some control.

Even to the run-of-the-mill layman, this was no ordinary sort of offensive motion, as demonstrated by the eyes wide in astoundment and choked out cry of distress.

Arakiya: [――――]

All of them had been startled by the change that had afflicted Arakiya.

The two people who had not been caught off-guard were Priscilla, who was looking at the situation leisurely, and the one who had instigated it, who was supposed to be in the middle of a fierce battle――,

???: [――Attack!]

The order slammed into the air with a mixture of a burning and dusty smell.

It had come from Abel, suspended in midair, whose voice was more stern than angry, more ostentatious than arrogant. The man, still hanging from the curtain, shouted at the opportunity that arose in the battle overhead.

It was as if he had known this moment would come.

Al: [You can tell me what happened later!!]

In response to Abel’s command, Al flew.

In an awkward leap and twist, the Blue Dragon Sword drew a parabolic line and mercilessly slammed into the slender body of Arakiya bereft of mercy―― no, there was mercy.

The wrist holding the Blue Dragon Sword twisted, and the blunt side, not the blade, headed for Arakiya.

Priscilla: [Fool.]

Perceiving that non-lethal trick, Priscilla curtly remarked.

Her eyes, boundlessly arrogant, had correctly foreseen the situation.

Arakiya: [Stay back…!]

At the moment of collision, there was a dull sound that made Subaru want to turn his eyes away.

Al’s powerful blow flew into Arakiya just as he had intended, and she took it head-on with her raised left arm. Her elbow snapped in the opposite direction, broken bones pierced her brown skin, and blood sprayed.

It was a painful blow, but not a fatal one.

Behind his jet-black helmet, there was a low growl from Al, and an indication that his cheeks were surprisingly tense.

A moment later, Arakiya’s thin foot struck him in the neck from the side, sending him crashing to the floor with a fierce impact. His bouncing body was blown away, and went straight out of the collapsed balcony.

Al: [Dohhh, AHHHHH―― HK!?]

An ugly scream tailed off, and so, Al’s figure disappeared from sight.

He was safe, of course, but now the obstacle between Abel and Arakiya had vanished.

Arakiya extinguished the flames from her legs and planted her feet on the floor. This time, she was going to pluck the life out of Abel’s body.

――Suddenly, a black shadow leaped furiously at Arakiya’s back.

???: [GRAAAAAAAAAAH…!!]

A shadow blew away the rubble and rushed at Arakiya with a fierce yell. It was a being that grasped a large knife in a backhand grip, and launched an offensive wielding its hunting instinct.

For a moment, the sheer spirit of the shadow’s surprise attack almost overwhelmed Subaru’s understanding of its true identity.

Her tall, well-built body, wounded and burnt black, her black hair dyed red, and the white pattern on her skin indicating her as one of the People of Shudraq―― Subaru then shouted.

Subaru: [Mizelda-san!!]

Mizelda: [TCHAAAAAAAH!!]

Without answering Subaru’s call, Mizelda continued to roar as if she was spitting up blood.

Mizelda had been the victim of the first strike from Arakiya’s intrusion. And with her whole body still in a pitiful state due to the burns it had sustained, she continued to attack as if burning away her very own life.

The relentless blade she wielded was aimed at Arakiya’s vitals.

Unlike Al, Mizelda had no mercy or compassion to give to her prey at the last minute. Seeing the way she fought, Subaru belatedly realized that she was the target of Abel’s order from before.

Abel had foreseen Arakiya’s slump, and inspired the dying Mizelda to fight harder.

Subaru could not imagine how much thought had gone into performing this divine calculation, under such sudden and seemingly unrecoverable circumstances.

But still, this extra step was not enough.

Mizelda: [――――]

Despite Mizelda’s struggle, she still remained in bad shape, and Arakiya’s expert ability would easily be able to deal with her.

Frowning in annoyance, Arakiya easily blocked many of Mizelda’s attacks with some rough swings of her branch, while the latter burnt through the dying drops of her life.

No longer was there any point in mentioning the strength of that branch.

The impact of the cleaving branch drove Mizelda’s knife out of her hand, and a moment later, the branch was thrust into Mizelda’s unarmored torso.

Her well-developed abs of steel were pierced with a sickening sound, without much resistance.

It bored through Mizelda’s body, shredding vital internal organs and forcing the mighty amazoness’s body nearer towards death――,

Arakiya: [Now, finally…]

Mizelda: [――Where are you looking?]

It happened the moment when Arakiya’s attention shifted from the interloper she thought she had eliminated.

Mizelda’s eyes glistened as she froze in place, blood bubbling at the corners of her mouth. She gave a fierce smile, red blood staining her white teeth, and grabbed Arakiya’s right hand that held the branch with both of hers.

She gripped it more and more tightly, then made herself immobile.

Mizelda: [――――]

The moment of stagnation that was created was, or was to be, the final opportunity.

But there was no one on their side, including Subaru, who could take advantage of the moment created by Abel’s wisdom and Mizelda’s dedication.

The People of Shudraq, led by the struggling chieftain, had yet to recover from that last raging storm, and neither had Subaru, who could barely stay conscious.

Even Rem, who had broken off a pillar, was unable to reach the two due to her weak legs.

Without everyone working as one, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was lost.

However――,

Priscilla: [――You may hold your head aloft, oni girl. It was your plea that brought about this swing of mine.]

However, even though Subaru’s allies was incapable to reach out, that was not the same for the third force on the battlefield.

Priscilla: [――――]

Priscilla, who had a bird’s eye view of the battle, closed the distance with a single step and aimed for Arakiya’s unprotected back.

For a moment, Arakiya was aware of the presence behind her and moved to engage it. She wanted to throw Mizelda’s tall body, which was grabbing her arm, and slam it into the enemy behind her.

But she could not do that. ――She could not do it, because she could see who that presence belonged to.

Arakiya: [Prin――]

Arakiya, who had been unable to break her obsession with Priscilla from beginning to end, was struck by a flash of the crimson sword.

With a bang, her gushing blood was incinerated by the flames, and Arakiya’s body shook terribly.

Priscilla: [I did tell you, Arakiya. ――That you should have prepared your resolve for the time you met me next.]

A promise made in the past, the true meaning of which no one else had the right to intrude on.

The only thing they knew, was that Priscilla’s merciless blow was the answer to that promise, and also the answer to Arakiya’s unbreakable longing.

Arakiya: [――――]

Arakiya’s body collapsed on the floor as the treasured crimson sword collided with her back.

Mizelda, who had grabbed her arm and was blocking her movement, was also caught up in it. The two of them fell in a tangle, throwing their arms and legs out like sluggish ragdolls.

Mizelda: [――――]

The situation, which had been moving at a dizzying pace, as the air that seemed to be stirred endlessly with swords and flames, was suddenly engulfed in silence. Subaru felt as if time had stood still.

It was as if the mere movement of one breath or one step would ruin everything, and it would all fall apart like a dream.

Rem: [――Mizelda-san!]

It was Rem’s tense voice that shattered the stillness of that moment.

With faltering arms, she crawled across the floor and hurried to Mizelda, who was lying folded up against Arakiya.

Mizelda’s whole body had been scorched all over, blown away by a gale of wind, and even pierced through the stomach.

Rem, kneeling beside her, gasped, and with a desperate expression, placed her hands on Mizelda’s body and tried to hold her together with a pale light of healing magic.

Abel: [Is this really the situation to be gawking? Give me a hand.]

Subaru: [――Ah.]

Abel’s voice reached Subaru’s ears, stunned immobile after seeing Rem in action.

Abel was still unable to climb up from his suspended position. Shaking his head, Subaru hurried towards the former balcony and looked down at the empty space below them.

Abel, hanging by his right arm with a curtain wrapped around him, pierced Subaru with his eyes.

Abel: [You survived. You really have the luck of the devil, do you not?]

Subaru: […Looks like you’ve got plenty of bark left in that hateful mouth of yours.]

Subaru’s cheeks twisted at Abel’s inability to stop talking, then he grabbed the curtain and pulled him up.

To be honest, if Subaru was a mess, then so was Abel, being drawn up. The former wished to stretch his limbs out and let go of his consciousness right now, but he could not do that.

Subaru: [It’s not just Mizelda-san…]

A large number of injured people had fallen victim to Arakiya’s rampage.

In an environment where those who could use healing magic were rare, non-magical first aid was necessary. There was no time to pass out.

To fall here would be to allow oneself to be lost.

That should not be allowed to happen.

For that reason――,

Subaru: [Hurry up and get up here…]

Clenching his molars, he pulled the curtain and grabbed Abel’s hand once he came within reach. Relying on the feeling of Abel’s tight grip, he managed to pull the man who was taller than him up.

Abel, upon his return to solid ground, gasped slightly before Subaru fell on his ass.

Abel: [That was a great deed. I commend you.]

Subaru: [Shut up…]

Rejecting the praise that did not show a shred of sincerity, Subaru clucked his tongue softly.

As it was, he was about to get up to start carrying out the other wounded――,

Priscilla: [――Do not move on your own, foolish commoner. Who do you take as ruler of this place?]

Subaru: [――――]

Subaru, who was on his buttocks, and Abel, who was on his knees, closed their mouths in unison.

What intimidated them without a word, with her arms crossed as to emphasize her voluptuous chest, were those crimson beauty’s―― Priscilla’s, eyes and voice.

They were acquaintances, not strangers.

But if one asked him if they had a good relationship, he would hesitate to nod in assent. This was not only because they belonged to opposing camps in the Royal Selection, but also because of Priscilla’s temperament.

Pompous and uncompromising, Priscilla could be a powerful ally were she willing to cooperate, and an unpredictable bomb if she was not.

In the battle of the Watergate City of Pristella, she had been a reliable ally. On the other hand, what about this time?

Was it okay to consider her as an ally after she lent a hand fighting off Arakiya?

In any case――,

Abel: [While I resent it, you are the one in control of this situation, Prisca Benedict.]

In place of Subaru, rendered immobile and mute, it was Abel who opened his mouth in place of Subaru.

With one knee on the floor, Abel called Priscilla by a different name, and it sounded like the one Arakiya had said before collapsing.

Priscilla gave a tiny snort at being called that,

Priscilla: [Unfortunately, Prisca Benedict was defeated in battle and died in vain. How could one who is beneath the grave speak like this?]

Abel: […I see. Then who are you, and what do you call yourself?]

Priscilla: [Priscilla Barielle. That is mine name. You shall do well to remember it, Vincent Abellux.]

Priscilla’s and Abel’s gazes met as she answered his question in a dignified manner.

A storm of pressured glances, like either fire or lightning, passed between them. Subaru, standing beside them, was caught in the middle and had to turn his head slightly to avoid being blown away.

Priscilla, who knew Abel’s name, and Abel, who called Priscilla by a different name.

Subaru gulped quietly, foreseeing the alarming relationship between the two.

Such a brutal atmosphere――,

Al: [――Hey, can anyone help me out here? I’m almost at the end of my rope.]

The only sound in the air was Al’s pathetic plea for help, as he hung from a crystal light fixture below the balcony’s edge.

7 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 25 – “A Reunion Akin to Scorching Blood””

  1. I hope Mizelda will heal thanks to Rui’s abilities!
    And now will the dream of the conqueror be estinguished?

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