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――The incomprehensible situation overwhelmed Natsuki Subaru’s small brain.
The situation was that shocking, it couldn’t be said in any other way.
Without being aware of his death, Subaru had returned to the time of the rule bantering with Olbart―― even if he did not want to admit it, he had to.
Subaru had lost his life, and had Returned by Death back to this moment.
Subaru: […It was in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek, in which death shouldn’t happen.]
Covering his mouth with his small palm, Subaru struggled desperately to recall what had happened.
The game of “hide-and-seek” with Olbart had begun, and, overcoming the monstrous old man’s predisposition for wickedness, within the first room―― there, he had succeeded in finding the shinobi hidden “behind their eyelids”.
Going off that momentum, Subaru and the others had stepped out of the inn to identify the next hiding place of the mysterious old man. And then, suddenly, the world went dark.
The next thing he knew, he was back in this place.
Abel: [――If we are to take up on your offer, we shall need to be clear about some matters.]
Olbart: [Oh, whaddya mean?]
Abel: [You yourself have said so. If you wish to give us a higher chance at victory, you should not leave too much room for pointless exertions―― What is desired from one another must be made clear.]
Olbart: [――. Kakakakka.]
While Subaru was having those thoughts, the negotiations with Olbart continued on to the next step one their own.
The next step in the conversation between Abel and Olbart would be the selection of the game, and after that was the premise of the rules. In other words――,
Abel: [―—Hide-and-seek it is.]
And so, Abel once again declared that.
――After that, the terms of the “hide-and-seek” game were exchanged with Olbart.
It also ended up being exactly as Subaru knew it would be. No new conditions were added, and no necessary details were cut. Inevitably, it stayed the same.
Subaru: [Just to be completely sure, you’re only hiding, Olbart-san. You’re not going to sneak around and try to attack us…]
Olbart: [Oh, com’on now, you’re worryin’ too much, boy. Lemme tell ya, what I wanna test ya on’s yer quick thinkin’ and cleverness. If I wanted ta test yer strength, I could’ve done so yesterday at the castle tower.]
Olbart’s words had the intention to reassure him, but he could not accept them as honest ones.
As a matter of fact, there was no doubt that Subaru had lost his life and Returned by Death. And the most immediate threat to Subaru’s group was none other than the one in front of them, Olbart.
Had he perhaps broken the rule that forbid him from interfering, and targeted Subaru and the others?
Olbart: [Good grief, you’re suspectin’ me plenty, aren’t’cha?]
Al: [You’re in no position to be trusted, old man. That’s rather impertinent of you.]
Olbart: [Kakakakka! That’s a good point. We got along so well eight years ago, and now you’re so cold.]
Having sensed a strong sense of caution in Subaru’s silence, Olbart shrugged. After that, he gave a toothy grin at Al’s remark, followed up by a smug retort.
Naturally, Al seemed to be dissatisfied with the way Olbart was talking to him, and fell silent.
Abel: [Olbart, this goes without saying, but there your hiding place is senseless if we cannot physically reach it. Do not attempt any of your petty tricks.]
Olbart: [I gotcha, I gotcha. They’re a wee bunch, aren’t they? I wouldn’t’ve done it even if ya hadn’t told me.]
Abel pointed out the same thing Subaru had in the previous loop. With Olbart’s agreement on that, the start of the game was declared again.
In other words, the hint for the first hiding place would be presented.
Al: [So, where are you gonna hide first, old man?]
Olbart: [First of all, a tryout… Near this inn, I’m gonna hide “behind the eyelids”.]
For a moment, Subaru felt an unpleasant tension in his heart, but it ended up being unneeded.
He feared that Olbart would designate a hiding place different from last time’s, but that did not happen. After that, the flow of events was followed to a T, including the fact that Taritta and Al resisted the urge to pounce on Olbart, his dignified back turned to them. They could not do anything other than just seeing him off.
Al: [What’s up, bro? You’re looking a little pale.]
Taritta lowered her bow at Abel’s instruction, and in between studying her profile, Al called out to him. Those statements followed a slightly different flow compared to the previous loop.
Originally, he would have complained about the frustration of competing against Olbart, but this time he seemed to be concerned about Subaru’s complexion―― Or rather, it seemed to be concerned about Subaru’s lack of talking.
That was only natural. Subaru himself was still confused and disoriented.
Since he himself was unable to recover from that sudden Return by Death and its psychological shock.
Subaru: [No, my bad. During that talk, I suddenly felt… really tired.]
Al: [Oioi, get a grip, please. Mine and Medium-chan’s abilities were halved because we were shrunken, but unlike ours, your strong points should still be intact despite being small, right bro?]
Subaru: [My strengths…]
Medium: [Of course! The great thing about Subaru-chin’s that he’s smart! Big bro’s amazing, but isn’t Subaru-chin amazing too? It’s all fine and dandy even if your boobies are small!]
Following Al’s encouragement, Medium also joined in with good spirits.
While holding Louis in her arms, she patted her chest, her own breasts now gone. Observing the state of those two, Subaru then let out a long sigh.
Those two people who had encouraged him were right.
There were almost no situations in which Subaru would be physically useful to begin with, regardless of whether he had been made smaller. Because of that, Subaru was the one least affected by having been made smaller.
This was not the time for Subaru to be dragging out his mental exhaustion on and on.
Subaru: […I’ve told you already, don’t look at me like that. If you’re going to show off the full effect of the oni mask, that “cognitive disruption” feature alone should be enough.]
Abel: [You have regained some of your good judgment. But you have surprised me beyond my expectations. I took you as a fool on whom the effects of this mask had gone unnoticed for certain.]
Subaru: […I wouldn’t have been surprised if you were just wearing the mask because of your eccentric behavior though.]
Encouraged by Al and Medium, Subaru raised his face and sent a retort straight back to Abel.
Abel, who had been patronizing him and regarded him as a useless man, saw that Subaru had regained the strength to raise his head, which seemingly made him refrain to use any further sarcasm.
The fact that he felt this was a concession led one to believe that Abel’s communication skills were not up to snuff, but there was no time to discuss it at this point.
Al: [So. I know he said he was gonna do a tryout first, but there are a lotta possible hiding places just around the inn, man. Bro, do you or Abel-chan have some kinda plan?]
With the purpose of moving the state of affairs along, Al turned his focus to Subaru and Abel.
As an answer to this, Subaru could present Olbart’s first hiding place―― the very room they were talking in at the moment was where the old man would return to, in fact.
Given that the hint left by Olbart was the same, there was no need to worry about that having changed.
The problem was that after they found Olbart, they would have to go outside the inn.
Subaru: [It’s not a plan per say, but I can guess where “behind the eyelids” is referring to.]
Al: [Oh, seriously? That’s awesome, bro.]
Subaru: […It’s just that there’s a good chance that another problem’s turned up besides this “behind the eyelids”.]
Some sort of threat had assailed Subaru―― No, not just Subaru, it had affected their entire group. And it was necessary to share it with Al, Abel, and the others who were unaware of it.
However, Subaru himself had gotten so little information that he did not have many reliable ideas to share. If there was something could say with certainty, that would be――,
Subaru: [The agreement we made with Olbart-san… that he would not interfere, is there any chance that he’d break it?]
Abel: [Oh? Oh? Are you trying to say that, since the beginning, he was planning on violating the preconditions?]
Subaru: [Yeah, I’m thinking it’s possible…]
Abel: [――No, that is impossible.]
Due to the fact that he had been attacked as soon as he left the inn, Subaru tried to draw the attention of his friends to Olbart. However, that was denied by a very adamant Abel.
Once Subaru’s eyes widened at his reaction, Abel folded his thin arms, and,
Abel: [Olbart would have nothing to gain with such a deed. Henceforth, that is impossible.]
Subaru: [B-but Olbart-san had even been thinking about killing the Emperor! Even you said you had not imagined that at all… If so!]
Abel: [What you speak of, is the fact that the notion of posthumous fame is something I do not possess. But I do comprehend that such a thing does exist. And that there are those who desire it. However, this and that are two different stories.]
Being shot with a sharp gaze through the oni mask, Subaru felt like his internal organs had been paralyzed by fear.
It was not as if Abel was emitting a special energy, one sharper than before. In spite of this, the feeling of being targeted did not disappear, and Subaru’s breathing was disturbed.
While Subaru was struggling with this feeling, Abel continued with “May I?”.
Abel: [It is as you yourself have spotted, and as per the rebuttal to that masked clown, there is no reason for Olbart Dunkelkenn to harm us himself. If his target is the Emperor’s head, then he shall desire the intelligence I possess desperately. There is no basis for any such hypothesis whatsoever.]
Al: [Ah, I’m with Abel-chan, bro. The old man’s been ordered by the Emperor to leave us alone. If he was gonna break that promise, whether he does it inside or outside of the inn doesn’t matter. Right?]
Subaru: [Uhh, does it…?]
Subaru: [Oh! No, you’re right! Yeah, I think so too. That’s for sure.]
Abel and Al’s continued talk caused Subaru’s comprehension to fall behind for a few seconds.
However, once explained in a solid argument, it was something that Subaru could agree with.
Abel and the others were unaware of it, but Olbart had a history of killing Subaru and the others.
Nevertheless, Olbart’s act was one that was driven by a logical train of thought for him, so Subaru was able to agree with the general argument presented by them. In that place, the only thing that had gone wrong had been the timing.
With that as the basis―― that Subaru and the others had been killed as soon as they had left the inn was certainly strange according to the game rules Olbart had agreed to.
According to Al, if Olbart intended to kill them no matter what, it would have been better to murder them before they even left the inn, so that it would not be seen. Maybe he had a desire to kill them in a public place, but that would not make sense either.
Perhaps, though, he thought Subaru’s group would be in for a more painful surprise were he to kill them once they obtained some peace of mind due to his intent to not kill them.
Subaru: [If that was the case, then he’d make more of an appearance, right?]
If Olbart was aiming to disrupt Subaru and the others’ moods because of the badness of his character, would not he want to see their disappointment and despair with his own eyes?
Aside from that, he could not think of any reason for Olbart to kill everyone outside the inn.
Subaru: [What’s this supposed to mean…?]
Medium: [Hey, hey, Subaru-chin, what are you worried about? Are you worried about going outside?]
Then, Medium peered into Subaru’s face, who had fallen silent in his haste to sort out the situation.
Right in front of him was a pair of round blue eyes, and Subaru involuntarily turned away with a “Whoa!”. As an immediate reaction to his own, Medium let out a “Wow!”, and quickly grabbed his hand.
Medium: [There there, Subaru-chin, calm down, calm down.]
Medium then pulled his hand, and held Subaru’s head to her chest.
As she slowly stroked his back, he could feel the beating of her heart on his forehead and cheeks. Her heart beat in a steady rhythm, tenderly smashing Subaru’s frozen consciousness.
Medium: [When my head gets all messed up, I ask big bro to do this for me too~. Big bro also used to have people do this for him.]
Subaru: […It calms me down, I can feel it.]
Medium: [Yeahyeah, good! So, we can stay like this and you can tell me what’s going on, ok? What’s Subaru-chin worried about outside?]
Medium’s voice, coming down from directly above him, did not rush Subaru to answer.
Subaru wished to be spoiled by Medium’s generosity and kindness that did not change even though she had been made younger. But he knew that the current time would not allow that.
So, as a trade-off, while having his head held by Medium like that, with difficulty he developed a thought.
Subaru: [It’s just that… I feel, like there’s a dangerous situation, outside the inn…]
Medium: [Is it dangerous out there?]
Subaru: [Yeah, that’s right. I think, someone’s trying, to kill us…]
Nodding her head, Medium listened to Subaru’s overly vague idea. To be honest, even he could notice that the statement was too unconvincing and unfounded.
Without being able to better word himself, he would never be able to convince Abel and Al, Medium regardless. Like, as an example――,
Subaru: [Actually, if we go outside the in, that’s where we die――]
――At that moment, the world stood still.
The clear, audible pulse of Medium faded into eternity, and her face and breathing, which were right in front of him, went out of reach.
Anything and everything, was faraway.
Color was lost, sound was lost, the flow of time was lost, the freedom to move was lost.
He could not move. He did not move. He was not moved. He was not allowed to move.
And then, with his voice, his breathing and even his eyes prohibited of freewill, something repulsive, terrifying, frightening slowly loomed towards the edge of Subaru’s consciousness.
Why, was he violating the Taboo; as if it were lamenting that, the sable shadow crept closer towards him.
Why, did he forget this; slender dark-pigmented fingers slid into his chest without effort.
Why, would he repeat this so many times; the voice of the Witch arrived, blotting out anything and everything.
???: [I love you.]
A voice that had not been heard in a very, very long time, dragged Subaru to hell.
His heart was gripped, and a tremendous pain tore Subaru’s motionless body to shreds. It tormented him. It violated him. Humiliated him. ――Marked him, so he would never forget it again.
Suddenly, sound, color, the flow of time returned, and he felt the fierce flow of blood throughout his body.
His head remained pressed against Medium’s chest, but what he picked up was not her tender heartbeat, but the resumption of his own blood flow and his own unusual, frightened, racing heartbeat.
The Witch’s anger at having broken the Taboo was immense, to the point of losing his voice, to the point of breaking his understanding, to the point of violating his soul. Subaru cursed himself.
Why, had he put himself through so much pain and suffering, he wondered.
By no means, could he confide in others about Return by Death.
He could not even inadvertently speak of it in something like an analogy.
If he attempted to convey those intentions of his to anyone, that dark-colored evil hand―― that of the Witch of Envy, would overcome any obstacle and reach for Subaru’s heart.
Not to mention――,
Subaru: [That was a close one…]
Muttering so, Subaru checked the presence of the one holding him, Medium, and that of the ones surrounding him, Abel, Al, Taritta and Louis.
The feeling of heat rising in the corner of his eyes was one of relief that they had not been harmed. ――The confession of Return by Death carried alongside a risk utmost feared by Subaru.
That was, the possibility that the evil hand would lay harm on someone other than Subaru and that, unlike the threat Subaru faced, it would not dispel its power until it severed their thread of life.
If that possibility were not actualized, and the only one to suffer were Subaru, that would be the next best outcome.
Of course, it was undeniable that the optimal would have been if Subaru had not been subjected to any pain.
Subaru: [Medium, san… Thank you, I’m okay now.]
Medium: [Really? Like, you look even more pained than before…]
Subaru: [If I’m the only one feeling miserable, that’d seriously be the best thing in this situation.]
Raising his face towards her, Subaru was released from Medium’s embrace. Although Medium looked somewhat hesitant about it, she was unable to say anything more at Subaru’s insistence.
As much as her concern was appreciated, the situation did not allow for it. And without exaggeration, the fact remained that Medium had helped a lot.
Subaru: [I’m sorry if I sound weird and unsettling. But I really feel it’s… dangerous outside. So.]
Al: [Don’t go out there, you say? But then we wouldn’t play the game with Olbart. Of course, there’s always the option of not playing the game with him.]
Abel: [In that case, we shall have no choice but to cancel our negotiations with Yorna Mishigure. This trip has been a long one, and you, the clown, and Medium have all shrunk as a result.]
Al: [Well, some people might desire the result of being rejuvenated for the rest of their lives, you know?]
He followed up Abel’s cold-hearted statement with an impotent tease; Al’s point, however, was squarely contradicted by Olbart’s statement.
Albeit the details were unknown, it seemed that the “infantilization” that had befallen Subaru and the others had some disadvantages. It was not just simple rejuvenation, it seemed.
In other words, this “infantilization” was, without a doubt, a bomb.
Al: [In any case, I can’t stay small. Since we chose not to surround the old man and beat him, we gotta win the game of hide-and-seek.]
Subaru: [I know. I’m not going to forfeit the game. It’s just that it’s really dangerous out there. So…]
Abel: [And so?]
Subaru: [Well, I want to be careful if we go out there. Also, I want you to believe me when I say very strange things.]
Subaru appealed, looking straight ahead and up at the man standing before him.
He could see Abel’s eyes narrowing through the oni mask at the off-hand remark. He could tell that Al was also subtly baffled, as well.
Certainly he was not persuasive, and he lacked the trial-and-error of trying to persuade them.
Taritta: [Nevertheless, Subaru does speak some truth. We’ve been caught in an enemy trap, and this is a place that should be considered enemy territory. So, there’s no harm in raising our guard.]
Medium: [Yesyes, I agree with Taritta-chan! Let’s be careful! If I get any smaller, I won’t be able to stop Louis-chan.]
However, Taritta and Medium agreed with Subaru’s opinion. It was unclear what Louis’s intentions were as of her shout at the end, but it appeared that there had been no hostility towards Subaru there.
Taritta and the others who were in tune with him were not talking about anything difficult. They were just trying to increase their own awareness of the need to be careful, because there was no such thing as too much caution.
Subaru could not think of any reason for Abel’s reluctance, aside from the fact Abel just didn’t like him.
Subaru: [If you don’t accept it, well then, I’ll show you some proof.]
Abel: [Proof, is it?]
Subaru: [Proof that my ideas shouldn’t be ignored. I’ll tell you where Olbart-san is. I’ll tell you where he’s hiding, where that “behind the eyelids” is.]
Abel: [Do you believe that to be enough of a bargaining chip? One way or another, you must reveal it. It is you who shall suffer the disadvantage of concealing it.]
However, stubborn as he was, Abel refuted Subaru’s opinion, which provoked a spontaneous groan from the latter, lost for words. Before he could say anything else, Al interrupted with “Now now”,
Al: [Abel-chan, bro said he’s gonna give us something to base a decision out of. In fact, what he said was so outta nowhere, that I can’t get rid of the question mark over my head. But it’s not the first time he’s said something outrageous. Right?]
Al: [If you ain’t listening to bro’s opinion here, there’s no point in bringing him along. And if you’re still gonna say you’ll disrespect him, well, then you’re just gonna ruin my mood too.]
As Al tried to cover Subaru with his back they changed positions, Al’s voice, as he confronted Abel, dropped in tone.
Even though it was a deep voice at the level of a young boy, it was low enough to change the mood. Abel’s gaze, looking down on him, also turned cold, causing Subaru to gulp.
Abel’s relationship with Al was much more fragile than Subaru had expected, although he had not paid much attention to it so far.
Originally, Al had accompanied Subaru to the Demon City with the intention of going along with him. And, like Subaru, he was a human being belonging to the Kingdom of Lugunica, so he was not too concerned about Abel’s return to the throne.
In blunt terms, it was the desire of Al’s master, Priscilla.
Therefore, Al personally had no reason to support either Abel’s cause or Abel himself.
Here it was manifesting itself as a distinct crack in their relationship.
Physically, Al had shrunk to a ten-year-old him, but could Abel really beat Al? Al’s true capabilities in this state were unknown to him, and there was no benefit in letting this stare-off continue for long.
Subaru: [Stop fighting! All right, I lost! I give up!]
Wrapping around his protector, Al, to put himself in front, Subaru raised his voice.
There was nothing good to be gained here in a disagreement among allies. It would be much better for Subaru to become the bad guy, than to continue such a useless struggle.
Besides, either way, he had been able to warn them.
Taritta, Medium, and even Al must have heard Subaru’s plea. They would be very careful once they left the inn.
The problem would be, when death loomed in a way that made caution scarce.
At that point, Subaru would have to put his body on the line and do something about it.
Subaru: [We can’t be wasting time here! Everyone, ready up!]
Abel: [――. So, where do you believe “behind the eyelids” is?]
At any rate, Subaru insisted that they should avoid wasting time in this place. Abel finally responded positively to Subaru’s words.
The fact that this alone led to relief spoke volumes about the flawed people skills His Excellency the Emperor had.
Anyway, Subaru decided to answer with honesty.
Olbart’s first hiding place, that would be――,
Olbart: [Next time, I’ll be sure to hide a lil’ better!]
Al: [Wait, old man…! Shit, he’s gone!]
Opening the room’s window, Olbart jumped out of the inn.
Al hurriedly followed the nimble-footed old man, but by the time he reached the window, the skilled shinobi had long since disappeared into the hustle and bustle of the city.
The speed with which he escaped was peerless, you could only be amazed by it or utterly frustrated.
Taritta: [Subaru, that man’s next hiding place…]
Medium: [Hmhm, Subaru-chin, did you understand? Do you know what it is?]
Everything has developed as it had before; with Subaru having found Olbart’s first hiding place without trouble, Taritta and Medium both looked at him with expectation.
However, unfortunately, the second hiding place―― the answer to “abyss with a great view”, was unknown.
He was unable to give them a suitable answer, and Medium and the others slumped their shoulders, although they collected themselves again, following the same flow as last time.
Al: [So, how’s it going, Abel-chan? Bro did a great job guessing right where that old man was, didn’t he?]
Abel: [He deserves credit for his accomplishments.]
Al: […That’s all?]
Abel: [As usual, we have no time to spare. We must uncover Olbart’s whereabouts twice more. What else is there?]
Al: […Is that so.]
Perhaps because of the earlier conversation, Al, prodding Abel, drooped his shoulders due to the latter’s answer.
Al’s sentiment was nice, but that Abel would react like so was predictable. Subaru did not recall getting any comments on the results or anything in particular from Abel the last time around.
In fact, it was difficult to imagine him praising others, not just Subaru, honestly.
This time, it was just another act that did not betray Abel’s character.
Taritta: [“With a great view” means it’s probably considered a high place, no?]
Medium: [“But an abyss” is a hole, right? If it’s a hole, wouldn’t it be in the ground?]
Subaru: [I think you’re both on the right track. To answer that question… Abel, I believe you wanted to go to a place with a lot of people?]
Taritta and Medium speculated on Olbart’s next hiding place.
To move that discussion forward, Subaru wanted to implement the plan from Abel that had not come to pass in the previous loop. As per his memories, Abel had originally planned to go to a crowded tavern.
As soon as they left the inn, a sudden “death” had befallen Subaru and the others amidst the street.
Putting it in another way, the moment in question was fast approaching.
Subaru: [Oi, Abel?]
Abel: [――. Your thoughts are not erroneous. A location with many people coming and going… It would also be preferable to be in a place with a lot of people.]
Al: [A place where people come and go…]
Subaru: [A place to drink… A tavern, was it?]
The conversation proceeded at a brisk pace, and Abel nodded in agreement once Subaru used that word.
And so, once they were all settled on leaving the inn and head for a tavern――,
Abel: [We shall avoid the front, and leave using the inn’s backdoor.]
And it was Abel, of all people, to speak so.
Subaru let out a dumbfounded “What?” to that change in opinions. Al and Taritta raised their eyes, as well.
Medium: [Huh? Abel-chin, does that mean you believe what Subaru-chin said?]
Abel: [There is nothing better than staying vigilant. Now that we have pinpointed Olbart’s whereabouts, there is room for consideration. What I am saying is nothing more, yes?]
Subaru: […You, really are a piece of work.]
To those words laced with resentment from Subaru, Abel merely responded with a snort from his nose.
However, his haughty attitude aside, Abel’s decision was helpful to Subaru. Subaru was similarly hoping to somehow lead everyone to the backdoor.
Al: [I think, that means he has the intention to properly give you credit, bro.]
Subaru: […Looks like it. Rather, that’s the way it’s always been.]
Somehow, he also doubted Abel’s attitude of “definite punishment or reward”.
If he could understand that aspect, it should help him to get a rough idea of a way to deal with Abel; Subaru himself was already supposed to start grasping him this way.
It was as if he were learning how to deal with Abel all over again.
Al: [But I’m still stunned that you were able to guess the old man’s location. I dunno how you did it. ――It’s like, you read a strategy guide for this.]
Subaru: [A strategy guide, that sounds so damn nostalgic. Well, it’d be useful to have something like that, but that’s not remotely it. That was just experience coming into play.]
Al: [Experience? Of playing hide-and-seek?]
Subaru: [It’s similar, you know. Like before… Like before?]
As he responded to his achievement of finding Olbart being probed, Subaru’s thoughts ground to a halt.
One of the reasons as to why Subaru had been able to tell that Olbart was hiding in the starting room, was because that was a typical development for the kind of behavior a person like him would have.
Still, someone must have done something similar to that predictable event before Olbart.
So, Subaru should remember it clearly.
Al: [Forgetting things? Forgetfulness’s something old people do. Funny that, contrary to what you’d expect, although you’re young now, you’re forgetful too, bro.]
Al: [That’s it, isn’t it? If it was someone else, it was someone close to you, bro. It shouldn’t be the silver-haired girl, maybe the loli that was always with you…]
Al’s shoulders trembled as Subaru looked up and gave a powerful shout.
But Subaru had no time to deal with Al’s surprise. Of course not.
Subaru: [Stop joking…]
No matter what he made of it, it was strange.
It was Beatrice, Beatrice. Subaru’s partner, a Great Spirit both pretty and sweet. The clue to finding Olbart had been the first prank she played on Subaru.
If there was anyone that could take credit for that, it should be earned by Subaru and Beatrice.
And yet, it was impossible that he’d just let that slip away.
It was something that shouldn’t have happened.
Taritta: [Subaru, Al, please come here!]
Suddenly, Taritta’s sharp voice called out to the stunned Subaru.
Looking up at her in reflex, he saw Taritta at the back door of the inn, peeking out the crack of the slightly-open door to the outside. Her face, seen from the side, had a look of intense alarm.
The reason for this alertness was probably nothing other than the death that had struck Subaru and the others――,
Taritta: [――We’re already surrounded. There’s probably close to a hundred of them.]