Machine Translated By :
Japanese to English Checking By:
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality. This is expected to have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality. A proper, higher-quality translation for this chapter is in the works by our team, so if you would prefer to wait for it, then feel free to check back at a later date, keeping an eye out on our social media for updates.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
――He would use what he could, to reclaim the Imperial Throne of Vollachia.
He would not only use the Fortress City of Guaral, but also the People of Shudraq, General Second-Class Zikr Osman, and of course, Natsuki Subaru.
Yes, Abel had just nodded his head in agreement to Subaru’s confirmation.
Priscilla: [――This affair seems to have been settled.]
Priscilla so muttered after seeing the conclusion of the meeting, covering her mouth with her opened fan.
Just as she had stated, the meeting had come to a consensus. The victory conditions were understood by all, their future course of action was decided, and their next destination and goal were set.
Subaru: [If it’s just a select few that are going to Chaosflame, what about the others? Currently, it’s just me, Abel, Taritta-san, and Medium-san…]
Al: [――On that note, can I say one thing?]
Subaru was about to select the final members for their next destination, the Demon City of Chaosflame, when Al butted in.
He raised the hand of his lone arm, then scratching the back of his own neck with said lifted hand.
Al: [Princess, can I step away from your reins for a moment? I wanna stay with bro’s group.]
Al: [Oh, come on, your voice’s cracking, bro. Is it really all that surprising?]
In response to that unexpected proposal, Subaru’s voice cracked, which prompted a quiver from Al’s throat.
But even though he had stated so like it was nothing, Subaru couldn’t just voice his agreement.
Al: [I told you everything, didn’t I? I said I’d help you, bro. Even a doddering old man like me can be useful in some way.]
Subaru: [You… You were that serious?]
Al answered by shrugging his burly shoulders, and Subaru thought back to the talk he’d had with him before joining the meeting, and was surprised at how he had adhered to the conversation they’d had.
It was true that he had encouraged him, it was true that he had raised his spirits, and it was true that he had pushed him onwards.
However, he had not expected him to go as far as seriously saying he would “cooperate”.
Al: [Heh, why are you frozen stiff? Did my offer impress you that much?]
Subaru: […No, shelving away my initial surprise, I haven’t heard anything about you being strong, Al, and with me and Abel, the ratio of men-to-women in our group’s just awful.]
Al: [Sorry if I got your hopes up, but I’m a lot weaker than the amazon nee-chan over there!]
Pointing at Taritta with a snap, Al proudly assured him that he was fairly pathetic.
In fact, Taritta’s ability probably ranked among the best in the People of Shudraq, but after witnessing the battle with a member of the Nine Divine Generals, she was a rather unreliable battle reinforcement.
Subaru: [Still, I’m glad to hear you say that. I’ll accept your sentiment.]
Al: [Ha, don’t worry about it, bro… Huh? Just the sentiment? Are you turning me down gently, perhaps? Are you saying we’re not tied together this time?]
Al had endless questions about Subaru’s response, but there was no mistaking how he took it.
He was really happy about the offer, but this was the Vollachian Empire. In the first place, more so than Flop and Medium, that Al was participating in the war was purely by chance――,
Al: [Yeah, Princess.]
While Subaru made his conclusions, a beautiful voice next to him unexpectedly called out Al’s name.
The owner of the voice was, of course, Priscilla Barielle, who sat proudly at the roundtable. She squinted her crimson eyes and turned her emotionless gaze to Al.
To her own follower Al, who had just announced his next move,
Priscilla: [You were the one who offered to accompany me to the Fortress City, were you not? And now you wish to leave me, and go on an amusement trip with your clownish friend?]
Al: [I don’t think it’s gonna be a carefree trip, but that’s the plan. Or are you gonna miss me, Princess? If you’d like to hug me and hold me back, go right ahead…]
Al’s light-hearted comment was interrupted with a snarky remark, and he sagged down. It looked he hadn’t been expecting much anyway.
While staring at the top of Al’s head through his helmet, Priscilla let out a small breath and said,
Priscilla: [――Dance well, as best you can.]
Al: [Oh, I gotcha. Princess’s the one who shouldn’t be careless just because Schult and I ain’t around. Princess’s beauty is the world’s beauty.]
Priscilla: [I needn’t be told that. Who do you take me for?]
Al: [Of course, you’re the center of the world, my Princess, Priscilla Barielle.]
Al said those pretentious words in a droll tone and bowed frivolously in front of Priscilla. Then he turned around and raised his hand to Subaru, saying “Let’s go”.
Subaru: [What, that exchange made everything final? What about my opinion?]
Al: [What’s with all the reluctance? It’s depressing. Or is it just that I haven’t noticed that I smell like an old man? Like, is it a pain for you to be around me?]
Subaru: [I’m not talking about that. I mean, what gives you the right to decide…?]
Al: [No, of course you’re free to refuse, you know. But how can I refuse? ――It’s the Princess, yeah?]
Al cocked his chin, indicating Priscilla, who was fanning her face.
This regal behavior was the overwhelming basis for Al’s words. To overturn Priscilla’s decision, just how terrifying would that be.
Nevertheless, if it’d lead to uncertainty in the future, refusal was not an option.
Subaru: [Priscilla, I’m…]
Abel: [――I do not mind. He may follow us if need be.]
Subaru: [Abel, damn you, you’re not treating me like a military strategist!]
However, just as Subaru was about to present his opinion to Priscilla, he was shot in the back again.
Subaru glared at Abel, who had interrupted him, and he, too, crossed his arms proudly as he opposed the former. Like Priscilla, he intended to stubbornly fulfill his intentions here as well.
However, Subaru had no choice but to appeal directly to him with the argument that the terms of employment were different.
Subaru: [What’s the point of being a military strategist if my opinions aren’t even taken into account?]
Abel: [Do not be presumptuous. If your opinion were worth listening to, I would listen to it. Nevertheless, I am the one who calls the final shots. I would not entrust it to you.]
Subaru: [Gnnh, are you a nasty boss who takes away the fruits of his workers’ labor…?]
Abel: [Do not force me to repeat myself. ――The results are yours. They must be.]
――The Emperor who had been ousted from his throne had a wise person following him that could not be underestimated.
What Abel wanted was a Subaru with such a reputation. And he was willing to give Subaru credit and exaggerate a bit to get it.
But that was no different than building up a myth.
Subaru: [Being a fake isn’t good enough. It’s got to be the real thing, or I’ll never get back what I lost.]
Abel: [――. If such is the case, then do attempt to convince me and everyone else with your own actions. If you cannot achieve it, it remains as a foolish and delusional remark harboring great ambitions.]
Subaru: [Bastard, I’ll do it. I’ll put any useless loans to good use.]
Biting down hard on his molars, Subaru replied peering into Abel’s cold black eyes.
Even though they were facing the same direction, they did not have a relationship where they could lower their guard around each other. Rather than the difference in the soil they stood on, as in the Kingdom and the Empire, it was something bigger that seemed to be the reason for such a divide.
As long as that was the case, he may disagree with Abel on a crucial point.
And once that happened, Natsuki Subaru――,
Al: […Perhaps he meant me as a useless loan, Princess?]
Priscilla only briefly responded to Al, who slumped his shoulders and muttered that.
――The members of the expedition to the Demon City of Chaosflame had been decided, and the plan was set in motion.
Abel: [Get the soldiers of the Fortress City together by the time I return. I shall send word back soon.]
Zikr: [I will, even if it costs me my life.]
Receiving Abel’s command, Zikr knelt down on one knee and reverently obeyed it.
Zikr, who had unexpectedly found himself in the position of an enemy of the mighty Empire, had no hesitation in his stance, but, naturally, that did not apply to the entirety of the city’s troops.
In order to unify their intentions and bring them together as a single army, the efforts of the Generals would be essential. In that sense, Zikr’s presence was a boon.
Subaru: [Zikr-san, I know this is a lot of work, but…]
Zikr: [No, this is the role that I, as a General, am supposed to play. It is nothing compared to the Bloodless Siege.]
Subaru cast his eyes down at Zikr’s words, who gave a strong and proud smile.
Subaru’s track record was that he had set up a bloodless siege, claimed he could do it, and failed miserably. As a result, he had failed to meet Rem’s expectations and had caused her disappointment.
However, Zikr smiled at Subaru’s work.
Zikr: [Do not be discouraged, you proposed the Bloodless Siege, and His Excellency approved it. And the fact is that I and my subordinates joined your ranks without shedding a single drop of blood.]
Subaru: [Without shedding a drop of blood, that’s…]
An exaggerated expression, yet Subaru choked upon seeing the bandage wrapped around Zikr’s injury. But Zikr’s cheeks relaxed, and then he forcibly peeled off his own bandage.
The bloodstained bandage was removed, revealing the wound on his arm.
Zikr: [For a Soldier, this is merely a scratch. Moreover, you should be proud. Because, as a result of your efforts, the number of Generals and Soldiers fighting for His Excellency has not decreased.]
Zikr: [You are to do your duty. ――Miss Natsumi.]
Subaru knew not if he would be able to respond properly to those words from Zikr.
However, even though Subaru could not give praise to himself outright, he had a newfound fondness for Zikr’s character for finding something to praise, and the fact that he had not allowed his death was an achievement.
???: [――Are you sure you want to go?]
???: [No, that was something ridiculous to say. Forget it.]
And with that, Rem, whose eyes could not hide her fatigue, shook her head.
Rem stood at the entrance of the City Hall with her cane. She was not dressed in traveling gear, but in the light vestment of a healing practitioner scrambling around to help the wounded.
Rem would remain in Guaral.
It was a temporary separation from Subaru, who was on his way to Chaosflame.
Before parting, Subaru smiled at that comment from Rem, who had come to see him off. Even though he knew it was out of concern, he couldn’t help it.
Subaru: [Well, it’s not all been good, but it’s hard on me for you to tell me to forget something about you.]
Rem: [Oh, I didn’t mean to…]
Subaru: [Because everything you’ve given me, whether a strangled neck or a broken finger, is a precious memory that I can’t live without.]
He had not meant to make fun of her, but he ended up being pierced by Rem’s glaciated eyes.
When he thought back to the events that had impacted him since he was sent to Vollachia, it was just that many of the memories that popped into his mind held a powerful pang of pain and suffering.
Of course, there were many, many memories of hope and joy that he had stored deep in his heart, such as the fact that he had been able to come to terms with Rem and that she cared for him.
――But the most painful memories were stored in the same place, too.
Rem: [You’re not nervous… Are you really alright?]
Subaru: [You know, it’s exhausting to be tense all the time… If you’re asking me if I’m okay, I’d say I’ve got a lot on my mind. If I could, I’d stay by your side forever.]
Subaru: [An indifferent reply! No, I’m just glad you’re not ignoring me…]
He was hurt by that casual attitude, but the words Subaru told Rem were his true feelings.
There had been a great deal of last-minute agonizing over leaving Rem in Guaral. To be frank, even at this moment, he wanted to retract his previous statement, grab her by her slim arms, and whisk her away.
How good it would be to have Rem within Natsuki Subaru’s arm’s reach, to protect her from the hardships, fires, and every possible bad thing that could befall her?
Subaru: [In fact, I’d even like to tie you and me together the whole time with an unbreakable cord.]
Rem: [Are you serious…?]
Finally, he wasn’t even able to get her to say “Huh?”.
Of course, he knew that he would’ve been rejected had been serious about it, so he just went for it. It would be best if he could tie himself to Rem all the time, so that he would always know if she was safe and sound.
Depending on the situation, he may have to resort to the power he had awakened at Pleiades Watchtower——,
Subaru: [I’m not sure how to use Cor Leonis, either…]
Subaru’s new Authority, Cor Leonis, which had manifested at Pleiades Watchtower—— it was the ability to vaguely grasp the location and situation of his allies, with Subaru at the center. In addition, Cor Leonis allowed Subaru to take on the burden of his friends and keep them in good health.
Perhaps he could use his power to take the burden of Rem’s crippled legs and let her run around the fields and mountains in high spirits.
He didn’t want Rem to go out of reach by doing that, though.
Rem: [Hey, why do you look so depressed all of a sudden?]
Subaru: [Nothing, I’m just self-loathing here.]
Rem pointed out, and Subaru sighed, holding his own deflated face in his hands.
It occurred to him that Rem’s limp had kept her in a place where she could not get away from Subaru. The fact that she was incapable of escaping was one of the things that kept Subaru and Rem from ending their relationship.
The fact that Rem was not in perfect shape made him think that he was lucky.
Subaru: [This is why Rem can’t trust me.]
Subaru was always thinking only of himself.
He wished to be gentler. He desired to be kind, smart, and strong. He had been working hard for the sake of everyone, and now that he had taken another good look at himself in the Tower, it was still not enough.
――He could not retrieve the Natsuki Subaru that Rem believed in.
Subaru: [Sorry. I was getting a little sentimental.]
Rem: [Sentchi-what, now?]
Subaru: [Don’t worry about it. It’s an expression that’s only understood by Al and… my hometown.]
Rem frowned slightly as Subaru shrugged his shoulders and replied. However, she rubbed her eyes and erased the wrinkles, as if to put off the feelings growing inside her.
There must be a lot of conflicts within Rem. Even the fact that she had come out to see him off like this must have been something she had put a lot of thought into.
Subaru: [I’m not going to be away for long, because I won’t be able to stand it without you.]
Rem: […There you go doing that again.]
Subaru: [Ugh, I mean it though… If it makes you feel uncomfortable, I’ll restrain myself as much as I can.]
Rem: [You’re not going to try to stop, are you?]
Subaru’s shoulders slumped in remorse as he was met with a stare.
Of course, he did not want to offend Rem nor to make her uncomfortable. But that would not stop his strong feelings for Rem from overflowing.
No matter what Subaru, who had disappointed Rem, said.
Subaru: [Good luck, and I’ll be back soon. I’ll bring back good news.]
Rem: […Yes, I’m looking forward to Abel-san, Medium-san and Taritta-san.]
Subaru: [Setting aside Al, what about me?]
Subaru asked, just to be sure, but the temperature of Rem’s gaze remained unchanged.
However, Subaru must have looked very miserable with that answer, because Rem fell silent for a while, then let out a small breath as if giving up, and stated,
Rem: [It’d be a lot better if I were to talk about believing or not believing in you.]
Subaru: [You’re not talking about believing or not believing…]
Rem: [As usual the evil smell still hasn’t faded, but that’s not the problem.]
Subaru: [That’s not the problem…?]
Rem’s pale-blue eyes continue to do so, a glint of disbelief in them that would not vanish.
They were going to be separated from each other, even if merely temporarily. Her distrust—— even though he was aware that its origin had been Subaru’s blunder in Guaral, he wished to get rid of it, even if but a tad.
Not so much for Subaru’s own sake, but for the sake of Rem’s feelings as she waited in the city.
Subaru: [Tell you what, Rem, I’ll do the best I can. How can I help you get rid of your anxiety, or whatever it is?]
Rem: […Well, why are you still dressed like that then?]
Subaru looked down at himself as Rem spoke so with scornful eyes.
A wig with long sable hair, white powder to hide flaws, an outfit carefully designed to hide his body’s contours, and ornaments that were not overly flamboyant——,
Subaru: [Is there something strange about it…?]
Rem: [One of the strange things is that there’s nothing strange about it, and one of the strange things is that you’re still dressed like that even when you’re leaving the Fortress City. What defense do you have for that?]
Subaru: [No, that’s why I explained to you that this is something that needs to be done!]
While watching the temperature of Rem’s eyes plummet, Subaru let out a sound like a shriek as he continued his Natsumi Schwartz shtick.
It was completely unexpected that this outfit was playing a role in her disbelief, but as he had relayed to Rem, there was a good reason for this.
Subaru: [Rem, I already told you yesterday, we’re people from a neighboring country. And if my real name gets out, I’m going to be in danger across this country. That’s why I need it. I can’t be the real me, I must be Natsumi Schwartz…!]
Rem: [Huh, I see.]
Subaru: [A reply that doesn’t dispel your disbelief at all!]
The temperature of Rem’s eyes did not change, and in fact, she grew ever more distrustful.
However, this was a countermeasure devised in earnest after weighing up Subaru’s situation and the role he had been assigned.
――The name “Natsuki Subaru”, could not be permitted to gain a reputation in the Vollachian Empire.
Natsuki Subaru was already Emilia’s knight, a major figure in the Kingdom of Lugunica. In other words, what he was doing now would undeniably count as impressive interference in the internal affairs of a neighboring country.
Subaru: [Interfering in another country’s internal affairs isn’t about being impressive or whatever.]
Whatever the case, the important point was that the consequences of Subaru’s actions, and the responsibility for them, did not rest with Subaru alone. ――Bluntly, it might cause trouble for Emilia.
As her knight, Subaru, who had sworn to help her on her way to becoming the Monarch, could never allow her to be dragged down like that.
Subaru: [That’s where Natsumi Schwartz comes in. It doesn’t matter how well-known Natsumi becomes. Natsumi will just be a beautiful black-haired girl who suddenly appeared in the Vollachian Empire.]
Rem: [Are you finished?]
Subaru: [Not yet, no! Also, I wager that … Natsumi Schwartz’s name will leave a chance for my friends in Lugunica to notice me.]
Rather, that was the main reason for assuming the pseudonym of “Natsumi Schwartz”.
This instance in the Vollachia Empire did not mark the first time that Subaru had dressed up as a woman and called himself “Natsumi Schwartz”. There had been a time when he’d dressed up as a woman not as a sideshow at Roswaal’s mansion―― but out of necessity, and his true identity had been known to everyone except Emilia.
The alias he had given at that time had been the same one. In other words, in the future, if Subaru’s existence became renowned in the Empire as Abel had hoped, and if the name that spread were to be that of “Natsumi Schwartz,” Emilia and the gang may have the opportunity to know that Subaru and the others have been sent to the Empire.
Subaru: [I’m dressed like this out of necessity.]
Rem: [――. ――――. ――――――――. I understand.]
It took quite a while, but he was relieved that Rem understood his approach.
Anyway, that was the reason why Subaru’s crossdressing would be maintained for a little while longer. He did not want to undermine Rem’s trust by having it prolong itself, but that would depend on the situation.
Subaru: [Rem, if you have a problem, talk to Flop-san or Zikr-san. If it’s too difficult for a man, Mizelda-san and the others are there. Don’t keep it all to yourself.]
Rem: [It doesn’t make sense for you to say that, but I’ll consider it… You as well, please try not to bother Abel-san or Medium-san.]
Subaru: [I’ll just watch my back.]
Medium and Taritta aside, Subaru was not going to shy away from burdening Abel.
Once in a while, Abel should have his cool demeanor broken, struggle, and break a sweat.
Once they had said their goodbyes and passed a few words of caution, it was time to depart.
Repressing the difficulty of leaving before the journey――,
Subaru: [Rem, where’s that girl?]
Rem: [You mean Louis-chan? I think she’s with Utakata right now…]
Subaru: [I see.]
Rem: […You don’t want me to go and get her, do you?]
The tone of her voice dropped, and Rem gave him a questioning look.
The tone of her voice was not pleasant, though she knew Subaru’s intentions. Rather, the tone was one of deep-seated irritation and bitterness.
Since the battles at the City Hall, Subaru’s suspicions about Louis had remained unchanged, despite the fact that they’d had very little contact in their hectic schedule. In fact, his suspicions were never cleared up.
Even though she seemed to have a soft spot for Rem and Utakata, and was getting along well with the Shudraqians and the others, there was no telling when and where she might reveal her true nature.
In that sense, he was worried about leaving Louis behind.
It was just that――,
Rem: [You’ve already been keeping your eyes away from her for the entire duration of the mission to take down Guaral already, right?]
Rem: [After all this time, it’s still at this.]
Upon being told that by Rem, Subaru had no words to reply.
If Louis was going to take any action, she had already possessed several chances to do so. So it was probably useless to keep on being wary of Louis.
Subaru: [For the time being, I’ve already told Kuna and the others that they should remain vigilant.]
A minute whisper of a word, and having caught it, Subaru mulled over it for a moment.
The reason why he had not disclosed Louis’s true nature and dangerous powers to Rem in the first place, was because she had no basis whatsoever to believe Subaru’s story. To lose Rem’s trust and alienate her by telling her about Louis’s situation was not within his wishes.
But what about now?
Their relationship had improved and she listened to him, albeit coldly. Maybe now she would not be so dismissive when he talked about Louis’ true nature.
Subaru: […No, don’t do anything stupid.]
Subaru shook his head and rejected the idea that had faintly popped into his head.
She might believe him, but even then it would be pointless. Thus far, Louis had not revealed her true colors. It was hard to believe that she would give away her true nature as soon as he talked to Rem. The situation would remain the same.
It would only make Subaru feel better, but in turn, it would increase Rem’s anxiety.
There was no need to do that.
Rem: […What’s with that face?]
Subaru: [Yeah, I was just hoping that only good fortune rains down on Rem’s life.]
Rem’s line of sight became narrower, as Subaru attempted to keep the warmth welling up inside him at bay.
However, if he tried to say something, the conversation would go on and on and on and on.
???: [――Bro! It’s high time we left.]
So said Al, leaning against the carriage, waving his lone hand.
Behind him was a carriage and a single horse-like creature boasting a body as sizable as the carriage―― a creature called a Galewind Horse, which was said to pull them along their journey.
Rem: [I’ve heard that it’s a rare animal in Vollachia, it seems it’s only given to Generals…]
Subaru: [Zikr-san lent it to me. She’s actually female, so he’s consistent…]
Rem tilted her head, seemingly unconvinced by Subaru’s words.
This was how Rem reacted to Subaru’s words, for better or worse. Such happy circumstances would have to be put on hold for a while.
Al: [Oiii, bro?]
Rem: [Um, Al-san is calling for you.]
Subaru: [Yeah, I know. I’m aware of that…]
Subaru: [The soles of my shoes think it’s hard to leave your side and lift off the ground… Ouch, ouch, ouch!]
The tip of the cane poked his back, and the sole of the shoe that should have been attached to the ground, left it. He was forced to take two or three more steps forward, opening the distance between him and Rem.
The distance between them became real.
Subaru: [Rem, I’ve told you many times…]
Rem: [I’ll be careful. I’ll also be vigilant. If I’m in trouble, I’ll turn to someone else. Goodbye.]
Subaru’s shoulders slumped and he wilted as he was told goodbye in a harsh fashion. Directing her eyes towards him, Rem sighed deeply and said,
Rem: [Take care, and have a good trip. I’ll be waiting for your return.]
Rem: [I’m not going to disappear all of a sudden… There are people other than you I trust.]
She added onto it, and Subaru reflected on it carefully.
Then he shook his head several times, even as Rem frowned in disgust, and,
Subaru: [——I’m off!]
And with a big wave of his hand, he was sent off by Rem.
The carriage was moving away, passing through the main gate of the Fortress City and disappearing into the distance.
The carriage was headed southeast of the city, to the Demon City of Chaosflame, where one of the most powerful people in the Empire was based, and the focus was on whether or not they could persuade that person to join them.
To be honest, if it meant recruiting someone, the choice to take Subaru with them was questionable.
???: […I am certain that anyone would agree that you are putting in effort.]
With her cane, Rem squinted at the tracks of the carriage, which was no longer visible.
Subaru had been in a joking mood up until the moment they parted. He had made all sorts of excuses, but all Rem could think of was that he did not want to stop dressing as a woman.
Of course, it did not signify that she believed all of the excuses to be lies.
???: [They have parted. The city shall be a little more airy once the boisterous ones have left. I am not sure however, if they shall be bringing back good news, or Abel’s head.]
Suddenly, a voice called out from behind Rem as she stood there.
Without even needing to turn around, a beautiful woman who made a vivid impression in red stepped out beside her—— Priscilla, wearing a luxurious dress and sparingly exposing her violent beauty.
Rem had not held a conversation with her since the latter had saved her life from Arakiya’s rampage, during her assault on the City Hall.
So with her suddenly speaking to Rem, her confusion and bewilderment grew stronger.
Rem: […Thank you very much.]
Priscilla: [Hmm, what is this gratitude in regard to?]
Rem: [For what happened yesterday, at the City Hall. I was saved from that woman, Arakiya. Not only me, but everyone else as well. Thanks to you.]
Priscilla: [I saved many lives you say? In my opinion, the credit for saving their lives goes to you. You used your talent and skills to save those who were dying. It was not my intention to show mercy to them. Do not take the liberty of twisting mine actions.]
Rem: [I didn’t mean to…]
Rem thought to herself as she tried to say that she did not.
It was a bad habit to prematurely judge the thoughts and actions of others and their intentions, and try to fit them into one’s own mold. She remembered many times of such a thing, not pertaining only to Priscilla.
Considering her lost memories, she had only been alive for about two weeks.
Priscilla: [So, you will not state anything in riposte? That too, is an extremely dull decision, is it not?]
Rem: […I’m sorry. I thought you were right. But I guess you can’t twist the fact that I’m grateful to you, either?]
Speaking with interest, Priscilla pulled out a fan from her cleavage. Then opening it with a rapport, she hid her own shapely lips.
However, in her unconcealed eyes, there was a light of pleasure and opportunity that could not be concealed.
Priscilla: [I had heard that you had lost yourself, but… How dare you speak back to me?]
Rem: [Lost myself isn’t quite the right expression. Just because I can’t remember, doesn’t mean it’s gone.]
Placing a hand on her chest, Rem defended herself from Priscilla’s words.
If she had indeed disappeared, it would be no different from a dream unreachable by anyone. But Rem’s lost memories were not gone. They were not in Rem, but in Subaru, who was desperately trying to attain them again.
If what he had stated was true, she had a twin sister.
She wondered if there was any trace of the person she had been before she lost her memories in that sister, or if there was any trace of her in the friends that Subaru had talked about, in the people she had not yet seen.
If Rem could be satisfied with the fact that everything in her was gone, and that everything was building up from where there was nothing, then——,
Rem: [——Were I able to do that, my heart wouldn’t be aching so much.]
Rem: [All the time, every second, I’m reminded of it. Every time I look into his eyes, I know I’m betraying his expectations.]
Of course, Subaru probably did not mean to do that.
The stench was so thick and intense to the point it was difficult to even regard him—— and whenever she peeked at it, his face was always desperate.
And that desperation was directed at the version of herself that had disappeared, not the Rem that remained.
Rem: [How selfish of me. I’m disgusted with myself…]
So she could not tell him that she was relieved to be apart, she found it difficult to tell him, who wished to not be separated from her.
And not only was she relieved, but also had this disgusting feeling.
Priscilla: [——What had you stated to be your name?]
Priscilla: [Your name. Surely you shall not tell me you have likewise lost your name? But then again, you are not nameless, you are certainly called by your name. I am quite certain it is…]
Priscilla raised her gaze slightly, searching the void for an answer to her question.
Perhaps she would remember Rem’s name. Even in the short time she had been present here, Rem could sense that she was a very intelligent person.
At the same time, she was also a very mean person.
Rem: [――It’s Rem.]
And before Priscilla could say the wrong name on purpose, Rem said it herself.
Even though her memories had vanished, and there was no sign of them returning, and even though she was separated from the people who knew her in the past, at least the name she had been called and recognized for the past two weeks was real.
Priscilla muttered shortly after hearing that answer.
She then closed her fan with a snap, and lifted Rem’s chin with the tip of the closed fan ever so gently. Pierced by the crimson eyes up in front of her, Rem’s throat was scorched by that heated gaze.
But even though she was unable to word it, she stared back with intent in her eyes.
Priscilla: [Rem, I shall be keeping you by my side for a while.]
Rem: […By your side?]
Priscilla: [You may have the background and ambition, but not the ability. Your ugly healing magic shall be rehabilitated by me in moderation. Then it shall become something you may lay your eyes upon.]
Rem: [——! You’re going to teach me how to heal?]
Priscilla: [Nonsense. I hold no background in the healing arts. I only have an eye for beauty. I shall know what you are lacking when I see it.]
The answer that came back was not the one Rem had expected, but in a way it was either more than she expected, or very far from what she had expected.
However, if Rem’s only current skill—— the healing magic able to heal others, could then be utilized, it was worth relying on Priscilla’s words.
If only she had more power, she thought. It was something she regretted not having.
Rem: [But, Priscilla-san, aren’t you returning to your base?]
Priscilla: [I shan’t. I have also attached that Al fellow to Abel. It shall not be long before we see whether the conditions I have imposed on him can be met. I shall wait here. There will be some inconveniences, but… I shall summon Schult to resolve them.]
Rem: [Ha, haa…]
Rem was unaware of what was tugging at her heartstrings, but Priscilla had settled on staying in Guaral. Either way, it would be helpful to have her as a mentor.
There were still many people in this city in need of Rem’s poor healing skills. She could not leave the city without tending to them.
Priscilla: [Now, with that decided, prepare a room for me. I shall allow Schult to take care of the details, but we require a place to spend today and tomorrow.]
Rem: [I understand. I’ll have it ready for you right away.]
Priscilla gave orders as if she owned the place, but Rem didn’t feel like disobeying, so she obeyed.
Priscilla had a way of making others obey her, but Rem herself had no resistance to being ordered to do what needed to be done.
With a flurry of steps and a cane in hand, she returned to the City Hall and thought that she should consult with Zikr about Priscilla’s stay and the arrangements for her room.
The People of Shudraq were not used to city life as well, and so she felt bad that she had to rely on Zikr for so many things.
However, he was a man who would refuse or label something impossible, if solicited by a woman.
???: [Ah, Ree, there you are.]
Inside the City Hall, on the way to the office where Zikr would be, she ran into a girl looking out of the corridor window—— Utakata.
Upon noticing Rem’s appearance, Utakata smiled at her with a friendly face. Rem could not avoid smiling in return, her cheeks relaxing.
Rem: [I’m sorry, I’ve been kind of busy.]
Utakata: [Uu is fine, composed even. I’m more worried about Taa. She’s been wobbling around.]
Rem: [Taritta-san, right…]
Newly appointed as Chieftain, Taritta was accompanying Subaru and the others on their journey.
Even in the eyes of the young Utakata, Taritta must have looked shaky, almost crushed by her sudden assignment. Still, it was admirable of her to seek her own way out, and take the first step to gain confidence.
While Rem had remained crouched in place, whining that she had nothing, the people around her continued to move forward, leaving Rem behind.
She definitely did not wish to curse the world with her whining and drag everyone down alongside her.
Rem: [Taritta-san will be fine. So, Utakata-chan, the others, and I, will protect the place to which Taritta-san will come back.]
Utakata: [Mhm, got it! Ree, you’re dependable.]
Rem: [I wonder. When you say that, I feel a little more confident.]
Rem’s cheeks relaxed slightly at Utakata’s unpretentious words.
Then suddenly, Rem noticed something strange and looked around. Utakata, standing in the aisle looking out the window, was alone. And there was no one else around.
It still seemed like an inappropriate environment for a child to be walking around on their lonesome, but she wasn’t trying to blame her for not being with an adult. ――Rather, it was something more fundamental.
Rem: [Are you alone, Utakata-chan? Where’s Louis-chan?]
Although she had been left to her own devices for a long time, Louis had grown quite fond of Utakata.
They were friends of the same age and seemed to have a comfortable relationship, which was why Utakata being alone was such a conspicuously uncomfortable situation.
Of course, she was probably overthinking this, but――,
Rem: [Isn’t Louis-chan with you?]
Utakata: [Yes! Lou already left.]
Rem went stiff upon hearing Utakata’s words, the former’s head tilted back.
Stopping her thoughts from going blank for a moment, Rem did her best to use her brain to ascertain the truth of Utakata’s words.
Louis was not with her, so the meaning of Utakata’s words was――
Utakata: [Mm, she’s gone! Uu helped her get into the carriage.]
And the brave and courageous Shudraq girl puffed up her chest with pride, speaking those words to Rem, in a completely nonchalant manner.