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Medium: “The place where big bro and I were was a really bad place.”
That was what Medium had said in her usual tone, as they surrounded a campfire at night.
Always bright and cheerful, Medium never cared to keep her voice down. What had come out from her mouth, was the story of the orphanage in which Flop and her used to be previously.
From Flop, too, it had been heard that the two of them had grown up in poor conditions.
The siblings had grown up while being beaten every day, in a facility that took in orphans. Flop had stated that they resented a world where unfortunate adults would beat up unfortunate children, and that they had vowed to take revenge, as well.
Medium: [I don’t get everything big bro says ‘cause it’s too difficult for me. But when he’s walking around with such big steps and his chest puffed out, I wanna help him.]
Subaru: [Even if it’s revenge against the world?]
Medium: [Yes, yes! Though, I dunno how he’s gonna do it.]
With a bashful smile, Medium plunked down cross-legged, taking Louis into her lap then brushing the girl’s hair from behind.
The reason she had spoken about the orphanage in the first place, was because of her skill in dealing with children.
He was surprised that Medium, who, if he may say so, gave the impression that she did everything in a relatively rough manner, was taking such good care of Louis.
So, he asked her about her familiarity, which led them to the previous point.
Medium: [Because there were other children in the facility besides big bro and me, you know. Some of them were smaller than me, and it wasn’t much fun, so I wanted to at least let their hair grow.]
Subaru: [So because of that, you’re good with the little ones. It makes sense, since you’re very good at taking care of people.]
Medium: [Uhehe, you think so? Well, if that’s the case, I’m glad I could help.]
Medium’s beautiful blonde hair glimmered, illuminated by the red glow of the bonfire. Louis, to her front, had hair the same color. The two of them were so intimate they appeared to be sisters.
If Flora was considered and not Flop, one could say that there were three beautiful sisters.
Subaru: […I shouldn’t have thought of imposing such a liability onto you and Flop-san.]
Medium: [――? Natsumi-chan, did you say something?]
Subaru: [No, it’s nothing. It’s just that I really feel that Medium-san’s been a great help to me.]
Setting aside the improper connection between the O’Connell siblings and Louis, it was a statement that seemed to have been wasted under false pretenses, but that was how he truly felt.
There was a great deal of help from the presence of Medium and Flop being there, both militarily and emotionally.
Had it not been for Flop and her, Subaru and the others’ march through the Empire would have been much bleaker.
Subaru: [In that respect, shouldn’t you be more grateful?]
Narrowing his eyes as he said it, Subaru tried to lure a response out of Abel, who was sticking right by the bonfire.
Surprisingly, Abel had not made his quick return to the carriage for rest after dinner, instead remaining, in silence. However, it did not appear that his attention had been focused on the chit-chat, or on Subaru’s words that were merely sarcastic and teasing.
Abel: [Medium, where are you and your brother from?]
However, though not in response to Subaru’s words, Abel posed a question to Medium.
The content of the question was based on the conversation that had just taken place.
Caught off-guard, Medium’s large eyes widened to their fullest and her mouth dropped open. It seemed she was surprised that Abel had started a conversation with her, and that he was listening.
Medium: [Abel-chin, you know my name?]
Apparently, those were not the sole reasons for her surprise.
Anyhow, Abel let out a small sigh at Medium, the latter having utilized a way of addressing him equally as disrespectful as what Al had used, one that could displease His Majesty the Emperor.
Abel: [Remembering names is a trivial task. Cease such trifling admiration. Answer my question. Where are you and Flop from? Who was the head representative of that facility?]
Medium: [Representative? You mean the director? I don’t remember his name, but me and big bro were in a little town called Averyk.]
Abel: [Averyk… That’s a town to the west. I shall remember that.]
Medium: [――? You’re gonna remember it? What for?]
Abel: [It shall be dealt with accordingly. Whether I do it directly or not.]
Abel’s answer was succinct, but his true intentions were lost on Medium.
A question mark appeared on Medium’s face, and her expression was like her head had been stuffed full of questions. And Abel, unkind as he was, did not attempt to try and dispel the mystery.
Subaru, for his part, did not quite get the whole idea, but,
Subaru: [So you want to listen to the people’s frank opinions and immediately apply them to national politics?]
Abel: [I am not that laudable. I have told you. ――It is a matter of definite punishment or reward.]
Achievements should be rewarded, and foolishness punished.
That was Abel’s creed as a ruler, and it seemed to be an unmovable way of being.
Thinking back to the Lifeblood Ritual at the Shudraqian Village, he had desperately appealed to Subaru as the latter was on the verge of death, to tell him of his wish. Behind that desperation laid the same belief.
Subaru: [――You’re the kind of person who can’t stand it when other people come up empty-handed, aren’t you?]
Abel: [Many are dropped into this world as have-nots. What they grasp in their hands and what they die with, is their life. There should be no thing such as letting go of something one has earned.]
Subaru: [Hearing that from the Emperor’s mouth having been born as a have-not’s unpleasant.]
Most people were have-nots, and had no choice but to struggle on, lamenting their incompetence and inability. They knew that life was like that, but could not tolerate being told that from the standpoint of those who are blessed.
However, Abel did not even regard Subaru, who took this as irony.
Abel: [――I am no exception.]
Subaru: [――? What do you mean?]
Abel: [With the position, comes a certain amount of responsibility. If one carries a burden that they cannot bear, then those who are crushed are no more than fools. Character and pride can only be honed by daily self-awareness.]
In response to Subaru’s question, Abel’s gaze slowly turned toward him.
He observed Subaru sitting next to the bonfire, and directed his sight to his dark hair and clothes, as if to examine them.
Abel: [False and contrived identities shall eventually be exposed. You seem to be quite adept at disguising yourself, but it shall take some effort to mend it once it comes off.]
Abel: [I do not interfere with other people’s interests as long as they produce results. I do not mean to contradict that statement, to see a false image as a pillar of support is something I cannot tolerate. Eventually, the entire foundation shall tilt.]
Abel’s eyes, bathed in a feverish breeze, were as clear as a cold night.
The words he had chosen had no room for consideration or understanding by others. Therefore, the true meaning of his words was not even half-understood by Subaru.
The only thing that remained, was the pain of having had his heart insulted so callously.
Abel: […I have spoken too much. I shall be leaving the rest to you.]
After saying that, Abel stood up and disappeared into the carriage.
The thick door closed with a thud. The only people now remaining around the fire were Subaru, Medium, and Louis, who was oblivious to the topic at hand.
Subaru: […What’s with that guy?]
Then, making a bitter face as he held his own mouth, Subaru blurted out those words.
It was as if he was a sore loser of a villainess, wasn’t it? The iron-blooded female military strategist, Natsumi Schwartz, was much tougher and more supple.
That was Subaru’s never-ending desire for a heart of steel, and the image of the strongest woman in its possession.
Medium: [Natsumi-chan, are you okay?]
Medium’s hand gently stroked Subaru’s conflict-laden head.
Medium moved dexterously next to him, sitting on her haunches not letting her buttocks touch the ground. Her hands were proportionate to her height, large enough to grasp Subaru’s head with ease.
Her large palm gently, and softly, wrapped around Subaru’s heart.
Subaru: [Yes, I’m fine. I mean, that guy was so insinuating… Did you understand what he was trying to say, Medium-san?]
Medium: [Hmmm, not at all! But I could see that Natsumi-chan looked like she was in pain, so this is the least I could do.]
Subaru: [That’s not true…]
Medium: [It’s okay, it’s okay, I know! I’m in charge of using my big body to do my best and leave the hard stuff to big bro and everyone else.]
Medium smiled pleasantly and continued to pat Subaru’s head, her face not showing any lie.
Even though she was aware of her shortcomings, she did not permit it to bother her and had a sunny disposition, something she had in common with the people Subaru admired.
Subaru: [You’re very mature, aren’t you, Medium-san?]
Medium: [No one’s ever told me that before! Although I’ve been told things like, that I’m a good older sister, or that I eat a lot without having any issues after.]
Subaru: [Those are other nice things about you, Medium-san.]
Because he was unable to express his gratitude and admiration even with all his words, Subaru was frustrated. However, Medium merrily accepted Subaru’s hollow words of praise.
Louis, curled up in her lap, was happy, like she was being carried along by her cheerfulness.
It was a moment so peaceful that, to Subaru, it felt as if he’d been cut off from all hardship and anxiety.
He ended up imagining it as such, so peaceful was this time.
Time flowed protractedly, as he gazed at the flickering flames of the fire.
The world was so quiet, with the crackling sound of burning chips of wood popping.
Subaru used to hate this kind of idle time. When spending it in a daze, he would feel tormented and driven by an unfathomable sense of urgency.
He wondered if he was allowed to spend his time aimlessly, as if he were in a stupor.
An unidentified black shadow would creep up behind him, crossing their arms around his shoulders in an intimate manner, persistently hounding Subaru.
Keeping this nightmare away was impossible, even if he plugged his ears and closed his eyes―― to escape from it, Natsuki Subaru had attempted everything.
At times, he would be praised for his versatility and guile.
But all of that, was just an excuse to escape from responsibility and guilt.
Natsuki Subaru was papier-mâché, the result of a series of excuses――,
Subaru: [――I’m just a little relieved that it didn’t end up being just an excuse.]
???: [Is that so…]
After listening to Subaru’s story, Taritta nodded her head.
On the other side of the flickering flames, Taritta’s face was lit up red as she knelt on the ground. The shimmering radiance of the flames appeared to suit her brown skin quite well.
And to mention something suiting, so did her outfit that concealed her identity as a Shudraqian.
Taritta, having removed the white patterns on her body and being dressed like a civilized person, coupled with her tall and well-proportionate body, looked like a beautiful woman dressed in men’s clothes.
However, as she stood guard as a night watchman, she had taken off her jacket and rolled up her sleeves, giving the impression that she was more wild than smart.
In the slight silence that fell, Taritta was lost in thought.
She had pestered Subaru into speaking of his personal circumstances―― of his original world; he had made the darker and heavier parts of his life ambiguous, but how had it affected Taritta?
It had all begun when Taritta saw Subaru cleaning his nails and asked, “Where did you learn to wear makeup?”.
Using makeup and crossdressing, were not that big of a deal to him.
Subaru had spent his junior high-school year in disarray, and had taken up the challenge as a bit of entertainment to make a spectacular comeback in his high-school life to come.
Subaru: [I’m a bit of a meticulous person, so if I’m going to do something… I want to be thorough and not embarrassed to present it.]
As would be the case in any field, the efforts of many predecessors were involved in the development of arts.
Subaru’s high-school life ended as a result of his attempt to show that he was not embarrassed of it. Since then, he had made up his mind that he would never dress as a woman again, but here he was.
One’d never know what would be useful in life until it was over. ――In Subaru’s case, who would not die even if he died, that rang especially true.
Subaru: [Oh, that’s not funny――]
Taritta: […Natsumi’s attitude, I’m jealous of it.]
Taritta: [Wh-why are you so surprised…?]
Subaru: [Oh, no, it isn’t something I’ve been told very often…]
It was a rather serious shock, and it took Taritta by surprise.
However, the shock in Subaru’s mind, as he pressed his fake breasts, did not go away. Objectively speaking, Subaru did not feel that his position was worthy of jealousy.
It was partly from his own perspective, but ever since he came to this other world―― and, in retrospect, even before that, his life had been a series of failures and disappointments.
To be honest, had it not been for his encounter with Emilia, he doubted he would have had the chance to turn things around.
Subaru believed that all his encounters and happiness had been given to him by Emilia, who had tried to save him from being beaten up by some thugs in that alley.
――The memory of that moment no longer was present in Emilia’s mind, though.
Taritta: [I’ve always grown up hiding behind Sister. Sister’s as we all know her to be, so no one doubted she’d eventually become the Chieftain. Neither did I.]
Falteringly, Taritta began to talk about herself.
At first, Subaru had intended to stop her if she started talking about something she did not want to speak about, as a response to his confession. She had inquired him about the source of his makeup and crossdressing skills, and Subaru had told her about himself, which were his own problems. He had no intention of forcing her to do so.
However, upon noticing Taritta’s moist eyes and trembling voice, her visage downcast, he halted.
She was talking because she wished to, that was what Subaru felt.
Taritta: [Sister and I are three years apart in age. But the reason why I feel Sister’s so big isn’t because of the three years difference. That’s right, isn’t it?]
Taritta: [What Sister could do when she was ten, I couldn’t do when I was the same age. It wasn’t a difference in age, it was a difference in something different. What that is, I don’t know.]
Every word that Taritta spoke pierced through Subaru’s heart.
It was a story he had heard somewhere, yet, simultaneously, it was a story he had never disclosed to anyone.
An inferiority complex towards her outstanding elder sister, something Rem had been harboring.
An inferiority complex towards the person he yearned to be like, something Subaru had been tormented by.
Taritta: [Why did my sister make me the Chieftain? I just can’t see myself in that role.]
???: [――He’s that guy’s child, after all.]
The disappointment in oneself. The feeling of guilt regarding the expectations of someone dear.
Nearly overwhelmed by these feelings, Taritta had embarked along on this journey. Mizelda, the former Chieftain, had pledged to assist Abel on his journey with the goal of reclaiming the throne.
Perhaps it was a journey for Taritta to reflect and acknowledge herself, and at the same time, a way to escape the burden of expectations that had fallen upon her.
Taritta: [During this journey, I have to find an answer. No, I need to harden my resolve.]
Subaru: [Resolve… Is that resolve to take over as Chieftain?]
Subaru’s question was met with a nod from Taritta’s thin chin.
It would be unfitting to say she had arrived at an answer, but to say she had readied herself to a fitting fate was possible. ――The duty of being the tribe’s next Chieftain had been entrusted to her by Mizelda, he could understand that was the way she considered it.
Taritta believed that taking over as Chieftain was inevitable.
She believed that she had no right to reject it. That it was the duty of a sister who had been appointed by her elder sister, and that she must lead the next generation of the clan――.
Subaru: [Even if you run away…]
Subaru: [Even if you run away, I think it’d be fine. I wouldn’t blame you for that.]
The astonished expression on Taritta’s face conveyed to him that she had not expected to hear such words.
Though that had been the flow of the conversation, Taritta had confided in him her innermost thoughts. Her situation, the insecurities, the responsibility she carried on her thin shoulders, could be seen.
He could also see that she was extremely responsible and self-punishing, and that she was struggling to cope with it.
Or perhaps Taritta had wished that Subaru would tell her to “get a grip” here, to encourage her to make a decision that she could not make herself. Perhaps she wanted him to advise her that there was no such thing as a lack of self-confidence in the sight of Subaru proudly and unashamedly wearing women’s clothes.
But what Subaru had told her, had betrayed her expectations.
Subaru: [If you can’t bear it, if you think there’s someone better suited than you, we won’t blame you if you pack up and leave the carriage. At least, I won’t.]
Taritta: [B-but, if I’m gone, our strength will be…]
Subaru: [Of course, I’m worried about that. But I’ll do whatever I can.]
Subaru inwardly ridiculed himself for saying such selfish things, though he did not display it.
If he heard this exchange, Abel would be discontent. As Taritta had said, she was a valuable military asset to their faction, which lacked in strength.
That could be attributed to both their faction as a whole, as well as to the group on this journey.
Of all things, he wondered whether it’d be fine to let them go.
Taritta: [You’re saying I’m not needed…]
Subaru: [No, that’s a big mistake. I also want Taritta-san to be with us in terms of both personality and strength. But that’d be selfish of me, wouldn’t it?]
Subaru: [Because I’d be telling you to numb your feelings, so that I can live.]
Being an experienced and kindred spirit, Subaru could not force Taritta to do that.
Subaru, who had been given the opportunity to exit that dark place previously, had declared to Taritta, who was older and possibly more experienced than Subaru in this matter, much like if they were senior and junior.
――You cannot be someone else.
No matter if they were a blood relative or just someone close. No matter the degree one had longed for them, envied them, or scorched them into their heart. You cannot be someone else.
Subaru: [We can’t be anyone but our own “self”.]
He could not be anything other than himself, and he had to at least become something he could like, something he could be comfortable with, something he could be confident in.
Like a butterfly that would hatch after repeated disappointments, discouragements, and a small sense of accomplishment.
Subaru: […It’s unpleasant, isn’t it?]
So whispered Subaru, in a voice so quiet that Taritta had been unable to hear him.
What he was recalling as he spoke, was the ideal that Abel had conveyed to him a few hours prior, around the same bonfire. What many of the have-nots were clutching at, living with, in their empty hands, he had wondered.
The essence of what he had stated, seemed to overlap with what Subaru was attempting to say.
Listening to Subaru’s story, Taritta’s eyes swayed, her hesitation becoming even stronger.
It was up for Taritta to decide which way her hesitation would lead her, but he knew that he should respect whatever she chose.
Subaru had run away from the expectations placed on him and the guilt of not living up to them.
He even suspected that his being summoned to this other world had been an act of consideration by someone who had taken in his desires to escape.
Of course, that was the reason as to why he had been unable of saying goodbye to his parents, his real parents――,
Subaru: [You know, the fact that I was able to escape was salvation.]
At the very least, had he stayed locked in his room, always trapped between expectations and guilt, Natsuki Subaru would not have been able to catch up with his current emotions.
He would still be Subaru, his hands full with himself and no opportunity to strain his own heart, or to do something for someone else, or to give something to someone else.
There was nothing wrong with running away until one was ready to fight.
This should be a world in which everyone could choose not to fight.
Taritta: [Confidence and determination…]
Taritta: [I’m lacking in confidence and determination. But that’s not all…]
Hearing Subaru’s story, which came from his own experience, Taritta muttered, her lips trembling.
It had been so small that it seemed to have been drowned out by the sound of the crackling bonfire. Or perhaps she was filled with acute emotion, more so than when she had recounted the tale of her own powerlessness.
Taritta: [If I make a big mistake, how could I… Make up for it?]
Subaru: [Mistakes and making up for it… Taritta-san?]
The question was repeated and Taritta let out a small “Ah”.
Her eyes widened, and Subaru could see the regret in them. In the same way she had spoken of making a mistake before, her regret for what she had ended up telling Subaru peeked through.
It seemed like Taritta had been burdened with a lot of guilt regarding that big mistake.
Not only the helplessness of comparing herself to her sister, but also the existence of her sister seemed to be a factor that prevented her from making her own decision.
Taritta: [The strange things I said… Please, forget them.]
What followed in the end, was the conclusion that her untold story could not be told.
He could tell by Taritta’s voice and expression that she had not arrived at an answer, but Subaru interpreted it as a sign that he could not force her to talk.
If only he could be there for her when she eventually felt the need to vent――,
???: [――Bro, time for a shift change.]
Upon Subaru’s conclusion, a voice called out from the carriage.
It was Al, twisting his thick neck as he slowly walked over to the campfire. The time for Subaru’s shift was over, as the night watch was supposed to change every three hours.
Subaru: [I’m not happy that Abel and Louis are out of the rotation, but…]
Al: [Stop it, stop it. It’d be a terrible thing if we get executed for having Abel-chan work the night shift once he returns to the throne.]
Subaru: [If you’re on about grudges, I don’t think I’d be able to decide how many of my heads should be lined up for that.]
Al: [If you’re aware of it, please control it. Because it’ll make me nervous to be around you.]
Overhearing Subaru’s rambling, Al made a reasonable complaint.
Nevertheless, he would continue complaining about Abel’s attitude going forward. The reason why Abel was so arrogant and tyrannical was because no one had ever spoken up.
While he remained as a fugitive with no real power, to correct that character as much as possible was needed.
Subaru: [Otherwise, even if he returns with our help, another rebellion will soon ensue, and he’ll lose his head that time.]
Al: [Yeah, I’ll leave that to you. As you can see from the Princess, I’m basically a laissez-faire kinda guy.]
With a fluttering wave of his hand, Al threw out the idea of getting Subaru to change his mind.
Sighing at Al’s unreliability, Subaru turned to face Taritta again. “Taritta-san,” he called out to her as she gazed at the fire, lost in thought,
Subaru: [I’ll leave you to it. If you find Al’s sexual harassment or silly jokes unbearable to listen to, please let me know immediately.]
Taritta: [Sexual hara……?]
Al: [I’m not gonna act the same as I do with the Princess! It’s a matter of distance and intimacy, and TPO.] 
Subaru: [That’s something I’m not good at.]
Taritta replied in a faint voice, while Al loudly proclaimed his innocence.
After comparing the two, Subaru stood up and whispered to Al as he brushed off the dirt on his hem and buttocks.
Subaru: [Perhaps Taritta-san’ll ask you for some life advice. If she does, please guide her as an experienced leader.]
Al: [“Experienced leader” seems to be the opposite of my description, doesn’t it? I can’t be responsible for other people’s lives, as I’ve been actively running away from such things.]
Subaru: [This is your chance to overcome your weaknesses. It’s the same with peppirs.]
Emilia and Beatrice, who were not fans of peppirs as well, were also trying their best to overcome their dislikes in various ways, without losing their bold challenging spirit.
The two of them had yet a single battle together, but Subaru believed that as long as they kept fighting, one day they would be able to win.
Subaru: [So, please do your best, Al.]
Al: [Is it just me, or that doesn’t resonate that much…?]
At least, what he had just said met the conditions to inspire Subaru, so he concluded that the problem was with Al, who was not affected by it.
Taritta: [Natsumi, see you… tomorrow.]
Subaru: [――Yeah, see you tomorrow.]
Taritta called out to Subaru, who handed over the shift to Al and turned to head back to the carriage.
That feeble yet certain promise of tomorrow, gave Subaru hope that she would accept Subaru’s words, and that they would meet face-to-face the following day.
Running away was not a bad thing. There was power to be gained as a result of running away.
But there were also people who would steel themselves to fight instead of running away, and were able to overcome it.
Subaru hoped that was the case with Taritta.
Back at the carriage, Subaru was greeted by the tranquil air of the dark interior.
The interior of the carriage was divided by a simple curtain, separating the sleeping quarters for men and women in the front and back. The men were at the front, the women at the back, but the group currently sleeping was surprisingly quiet.
Abel, Medium, and Louis were the three resting right now, and how quietly Medium and Louis were slumbering, Abel notwithstanding, seemed to him relatively surprising.
Upon questioning them about their sleeping patterns, knowing that it was against etiquette, Medium had cheerfully replied, “If you snore too loudly, people will know where you are”.
It was not until some time later, that Subaru realized that it had been during her travels as a peddler, or during her days in the facility that had been stated to have been in poor condition.
A skill acquired out of necessity.
In that sense, it might also be the reason as to why Abel slept quietly.
Subaru: […You look odious, even when you’re asleep. Perhaps I should doodle on you.]
???: [――What, you are staring at me quite rudely.]
In the middle of the allotted space in the carriage, Abel was sleeping. Upon peeking at his slumbering face, Subaru was startled by the sudden voice. He almost let out an instinctive scream, but Subaru managed to restrain it, instead saying, “You’re awake?”.
Subaru: […Since we’re keeping watch, I’d hoped you could at least enjoy the benefits of it.]
Abel: [It is the custom of the Vollachian Royal Family to sleep with one eye open. I am no exception to that rule.]
Subaru: [With one eye open, this isn’t a movie… Eh, you serious?]
Abel: [Why should I crack a stupid joke with you?]
Subaru’s breath hitched after Abel’s retort, the latter unconcerned, one eye open as he had declared.
The light in his dark eyes proved that his earlier words had been no deception.
There was an old movie that talked of an assassin with the habit of sleeping with one eye open.
Apparently, the structures of the human brain made performing this difficult, but seeing Abel doing it as a matter-of-fact in front of him, made Subaru realize that it was not impossible.
But that was not the same thing as being convinced.
Subaru: [Why don’t you sleep properly? Do you think we’re going to hurt you in your sleep?]
Abel: [If there is a small chance, then it is a possibility. You cannot lose your life for lack of attention.]
Subaru: [Lack of attention…!]
Hearing that detached reply, Subaru’s voice trembled and he pointed out the window.
All that could be seen through the carriage window was the light of a campfire some distance away. Two people, Al and Taritta, stood on night watch, on the lookout for any looming danger.
Of course, it was also for their own safety, but――,
Subaru: [――Who the hell do you think they’re doing that for?]
Subaru: [After all this time, you still can’t even close both eyes in front of us?]
Natsumi Schwartz’s skin peeled away, revealing Natsuki Subaru from their contorted expression.
Faced with this, Abel’s clear expression did not waver. As he had done in the past, Abel blinked alternately with his right and left eyes.
Even the number of blinks was minimal, which was the same reason as to why he could not sleep with both eyes closed.
The time they had risked their lives together in the Lifeblood Ritual, when they infiltrated Guaral dressed as dancers, and when they boarded the carriage and headed for their destination, were no different.
Subaru sympathized with the people who had to be on-guard, in a situation where failure was not an option.
So, why would Abel not make an effort to loosen up before entering a place that could be hostile territory, at least?
At Subaru’s raised eyebrow, Abel closed one eye. ――A single eye.
He closed a single eye, folded his arms, leaned his back against the seat, and snorted.
Abel: [Do not consider any ideas about distorting my way of being. Mind your place.]
Abel: [The Demon City is close by. You must do your part. I desire no more, nor shall I allow it.]
Subaru clicked his tongue as he was confronted with an untenable disconnection.
There had been times when he thought he could be able to make some progress, but it was still no use.
Subaru: [Oh, yeah… Oh, yeah! I’m going to snore so hard.]
He raised his voice in annoyance, but Abel did not respond.
Subaru frowned in bitterness as he settled into a seat as far away from Abel as possible, loosened his clothes, and laid down, with care not to damage his wig.
He thought about keeping himself awake as an act of rebellion against Abel, but Subaru was unsure what would be the point of doing so, or whether sleeping or staying awake would be the right thing to do; and so, his consciousness went blank.
The carriage ride continued with various problems, anxieties, and relationship values in the air.
――The arrival at the Demon City of Chaosflame was just around the corner.
 Loan-word abbreviation meaning “(appropriate) time, place and occasion”.