Arc 7, Chapter 45 – “Konkon”

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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.

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――Tiger at the front gate, wolf at the back gate. [1]

Strictly speaking, his situation was different, but it was a saying that crossed Subaru’s mind.

The fact that it had taken him a while to come up with even that saying really showed the difficulty of Subaru’s circumstances.

Al: [Nearly a hundred enemies!?]

Looking out the back door of the inn, Al’s voice cracked as Taritta told them the startling news.

In response, Taritta nodded quietly saying,

Taritta: [Yes. We’re surrounded. It seems more likely out of caution than hostility…]

Abel: [Sure, merely one or two people would be one thing, but it is difficult to ignore when they number close to a hundred.] 

Keeping his voice low, Abel spoke to Taritta, who shut the back door.

As Taritta lowered her chin at his words, Abel’s gaze turned from her towards Subaru. His black eyes narrowed through the oni mask, his sharp glare pinning down Subaru’s heart.

And then――,

Abel: [――You have problems aside from being surrounded, do you not?]

Subaru: [――Ah.]

Abel: [Against all reason, your limbs have shrunk. Anything could happen.]

Mixed with a faint sigh, Abel spelled that out, having guessed the abnormality with Subaru.

Because of his words, Subaru felt his cheeks become warm with shame. From the knowledge that Abel had been able to notice his disorder, and also from the awareness that he was holding them back.

He would rather even pretend that there was nothing wrong with himself.

However――,

Medium: [Subaru-chin, are you okay?]

The voice of Medium, which had comforted the troubled Subaru just before, made him stop.

Being stubborn in this situation would not solve anything. In addition, not only Subaru, but also his friends, Medium included, would suffer the consequences of his stubbornness.

So――,

Subaru: [Actually, I feel like… My memory’s getting weird. I’m having trouble remembering things that I should remember, and that’s probably not good.]

Al: […That’s why you were so strange a moment ago, huh?]

Subaru swallowed his frustration and frankly spoke to Al, who was struck speechless.

Al, too, must have felt there was something strange about Subaru’s earlier behavior. Talking about the details made him feel uneasy as well.

What had happened to Subaru was no stranger to Al.

Abel: [――. Anything specific?]

Subaru: […I couldn’t remember the name of an important family member. No! Uh, it’s just that it took a while before I could recall it.]

Al: [Bro, this ain’t the time to pretend you’re fine…]

Subaru: [I’m not trying to pretend I’m…]

Subaru was about to reflexively answer, “Fine”, but then he stopped himself, wondering whether he was or not.

He really didn’t want to say it so plainly that he’d forgotten the name of someone so important. Subaru remembered Beatrice, remembered Emilia, and remembered Rem.

He also remembered the friends he had left behind at the mansion.

Subaru: [So it’s not like I was trying to…]

Abel: [Tell me exactly what your condition is.]

Subaru: [Huh?]

Abel: [Have you forgotten? Or does it take you a long time to remember? Which is it?]

Upon being asked this question, Subaru clammed up.

Abel’s question, as he neared one step closer to him, was firm, and had a sharpness that did not allow for lies.

There was a numbing sensation in his brain, and he was unable to pull his consciousness away from the man in front of him. As Subaru fell silent, Abel asked again, “Which is it?”,

Abel: [You cannot see what is occurring in your environs, and now you cannot see what is occurring inside your own head.]

Subaru: [――N-no! It’s not that I forgot, it’s just that I’m having trouble remembering! That’s right, just because I can’t recall quickly, doesn’t mean I forgot!]

Abel: […It takes a while to remember, huh?]

Subaru quickly responded to the cruel inquiry, and Abel quietly accepted his answer.

It was an explanation that Subaru himself didn’t know what to make of. So it was surprising that Abel did not outright dismiss it.

In fact, annoyed with Abel’s behavior, Al intervened with “Hey”,

Al: [What’s the difference? Why’s that a big deal to you in this situation?]

Abel: [There is a big difference. There is a world of difference between forgetting and having difficulty remembering.]

Al: [Huh?]

Al grumbled in displeasure, but Abel did not answer any further.

He looked back at Taritta listening to what was happening outside, leaving the bewildered Subaru and Al to their own thoughts.

Abel: [What is happening outside? They have yet to move, correct?]

Taritta: [For now, they’re just concealing their breath. Even though their encirclement should be complete by now.]

Abel: [Then that signifies we have not met their requirements.]

Taritta: [Requirements, is it…?]

Abel stroked his chin thoughtfully, without responding to Taritta’s puzzled look, and then looked back at Subaru once more.

Unable to keep up with the speed of his thoughts, Subaru flinched as Abel turned back. Closing the distance between him and the one taken aback, Abel put his face close to Subaru’s and asked,

Abel: [――What do we do for those outside to attack us?”

Subaru: [Eh…]

Abel: [Answer. The conditions for those outside to attack us are…]

Subaru: [T-that, even if you ask me…]

The question was repeated through the oni mask, and Subaru caught his breath, tensing up.

“I don’t understand it, even if you ask me”, he thought. At any rate, even if he remembered what had happened before he Returned by Death, it had been such a  sudden and unexpected death that he could not comprehend it at all.

If only he had more information, he’d be able to give Abel a better idea of what to do――.

Abel: [Answer.]

However, Abel trampled on Subaru’s hesitation and confusion, directing him a question. With Subaru unable to answer, the man donning the oni mask grabbed him by his young shoulders in a fit of rage.

Abel: [Answer! Natsuki Subaru!]

Subaru: [I-I don’t know! A-as soon as we go outside, they’ll attack us! That’s all I know!]

Replying upon being threatened, Subaru opened his eyes and clutched his chest.

Once again, he impulsively revealed the information he had obtained through Return by Death. He was afraid that the penalty for violating the Taboo might come back to haunt him. But nothing happened.

Neither the stoppage of time around him, nor the evil hand that made him pay for his stupidity, manifested.

But instead――,

Louis: [Uu!]

Having gotten between Subaru and Abel with a snarl, Louis protected Subaru with her back towards him as she glared directly at Abel, who had adopted a hardline attitude.

Abel’s arm was forced away from Subaru’s shoulder by Louis, sending her a disapproving look. However, Louis was soon joined by a reassuring ally, Medium.

Medium: [Abel-chin! Don’t bully Subaru-chin! I’ll tell An-chan!]

Abel: […What should I do, being told that? In the first place, he just gave me necessary information. ――Going outside is the trigger, huh?]

Abel shrugged his shoulders at Medium’s reproachful glare, without even feeling remorse.

His thoughtful expression caused Medium to say, “Geez!” as she put her hands on her hips, directing her eyes at Subaru rather than Abel.

Medium: [Subaru-chin, are you okay? Abel was scary, wasn’t he~?]

Subaru: [It’s not like I was scared. I was just a little surprised… Yeah.]

Medium: [Really? I hope so. You’re a strong boy, a strong boy, Subaru-chin.]

As she said this, Medium’s hand stroked Subaru’s black hair with gentleness.

The kindness of her touch, and the fact that he was being praised as a “strong boy”, made him feel ashamed once again. But in fact, he couldn’t deny that his racing heart was slowly calming down.

He thought he really was losing it.

The relief he felt at being comforted by Medium aside, more troubling were the unspeakable feelings of reluctance and fear he felt towards Abel.

He couldn’t resist Abel’s will, and so, he kept getting pushed around.

It was like――,

Al: [It’s like a child and an adult. And I’m not just talking about looks.]

Subaru: [Ugh…]

Al’s voice came from beside the downcast face of Subaru, as the latter gripped his chest.

Subaru’s face tightened as he felt he was being judged by Al, whose tone of voice was harsh, still reeling from his earlier conversation with Abel.

Because of his words, “a child and an adult”, Subaru’s doubts were cleared up.

Yes, Al was right, that was the appropriate way to describe it. In fact, the current interaction between Subaru and Abel was similar to the power dynamic between a child and an adult.

Not just in appearances, but also in mind, as if the latter were being pulled along by the former.

Abel: [――Listen. I think I know who we are up against.]

Taritta: [D-do you really…!?]

While Subaru was experiencing an unfathomable sense of dread, Abel spoke in a low voice.

Abel’s words made Taritta’s eyes widen in surprise. It was not only her who was surprised, but also everyone else present. To be more precise, everyone except Louis, who was not following the conversation.

At any rate, Abel got everyone’s attention and nodded with a “Yes”.

Abel: [From the conditions presented by Olbart, and the hundred enemies identified by Taritta… If we exclude those possibilities that cannot be, we can, naturally, narrow down the options.]

Al: [So, what do you think, oh clever Abel-chan? Who’s after us?]

Abel: [――It is Chaosflame]

Al & Medium: [Chaosflame… this city?]

In response to Al and Medium’s question, Abel nodded grimly.

He then looked over at Subaru and the rest, whose expressions showed that they still hadn’t put his answer together, and continued,

Abel: [Chaosflame… That is, the residents of the Demon City. Those standing outside poised to attack, I am sure they are the very people residing in this city.]

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――Abel made a clear statement that the inhabitants of Chaosflame were the enemy.

Subaru: [――――]

At Abel’s declaration, Subaru opened and closed his mouth in disbelief. ――No, not only Subaru, but Al and the others had their own reactions of astonishment as well.

That would be natural. Considering they had suddenly been told that the people of the city had turned against them.

Al: [Are you sure, that can’t be right. What gave you that idea?]

Abel: [It is quite the natural thought. In the first place, there are only a limited number of people capable of mobilizing a force of a hundred men to surround the inn. At this point, there are only two choices… The Emperor’s group, and the Demon City’s forces. However, Chisha is disguised as me. Furthermore, he does not possess the leeway to do what I would not do.]

Al: [So that others won’t find out he’s not Abel-chan. So, what wouldn’t you do?]

Abel: [Brazenly sending my forces to the Demon City.]

Subaru nearly nodded at the conclusive statement, but he couldn’t decide if it was definitive information or not. If a hundred soldiers accompanied the king, would that be too many or too few?

He did not believe it strange at all, if that many were present.

Medium: [I dunno much about it, but how many soldiers are there at Abel-chin’s castle?]

Abel: [Are you inquiring about the number of troops at the Imperial Capital? If so…]

When Medium raised her hand to ask a question, Abel glanced at Subaru. He was unable to understand the meaning of his gaze; Abel touched the forehead of his oni mask, and after a moment of contemplation said, 

Abel: [Some insignificant thirty-thousand. But this talk is not about the forces at his command. Whether or not the Emperor would allow them to accompany him, is the topic of this conversation. And――]

Taritta: [The real Emperor would never do such a thing.]

Abel: [That is what I meant.]

Abel nodded his head. He denied the possibility of the false Emperor making such a careless decision.

Subaru felt that there was a possibility that the other party could have been careless, but he kept his mouth shut. He would not be listened to, even if he had said it.

In any case――,

Abel: [The Emperor declared it forbidden to touch us, and Olbart displayed an approach that adhered to that order. With that case as valid, dispatching a force at us would make no sense.]

Al: […What about a theory like, he didn’t do it himself, or something like that?]

Abel: [Now, I shall ask you, do you believe I would ever allow that line of reasoning?]

Taritta: [I don’t think so.]

Synchronized with Taritta’s answer, Al similarly denied it with a shake of his masked head.

As long as the fake Emperor was disguised as Abel, his lines of thought must be the same as Abel’s as an Emperor. In other words, what Abel would not allow, the fake Emperor could not allow.

And so, the false Emperor would have to continue a pretense of being very narrow-minded.

Abel: [Kafma Irulux would not permit it, even if an attempt was made to reason with him. He is inflexible. And therefore, he is a valuable asset, but I am certain General Second-Class Kafma would not condone this crooked interpretation.]

Subaru: [Kafma… Would that be the straight-laced guy we saw yesterday?]

Abel: [He might be meek towards the Emperor, but he shall opine without hesitation even against a General First-Class. Even Olbart’s cunning shall be unable to bend Kafma’s principles.]

Al: [That lil’ bro’s got that much power?]

Abel: [At one time, he was approached for a promotion to Divine General. For a variety of reasons, he passed up on it.]

As a response to Abel’s answer, Al let out a frustrated “Ugh”.

If this was true, then two Divine General-class people had been present in the Castle yesterday―― Nay, three, since the fake Emperor was one of them.

That may indeed be more reliable manpower compared to bringing in unskilled troops.

Subaru: [But if the false Emperor’s not the enemy, then …]

Naturally, the conjecture that Abel had proposed became more and more realistic.

In other words, the inhabitants of the Demon City of Chaosflame were the ones waiting for them outside, and the leader who had made them move was――

Medium: [Are you saying Yorna-chan’s making them attack us?]

Al: […It’s hard to think of anyone else, isn’t it? There’s no one else who knows about us and has a good reason to target us to begin with.]

Subaru: [――. What does Abel think?]

Someone within the Demon City of Chaosflame who could move its inhabitants as pawns; naturally, the first person that came to mind was Yorna Mishigure, the ruler of the Demon City.

However, was it possible that she, being as unpredictable as Olbart―― No, perhaps even harder to predict, was the mastermind behind the whole situation?

In response to Subaru’s suspicion, Abel tapped his finger on the forehead of his oni mask,

Abel: [That is asinine.]

And his reply was brief.

Subaru: [Asinine? Errr, does that mean you don’t agree? Why?]

Abel: [It would be pride to believe that if you ask, you shall receive an answer for everything. ――The missive.]

Subaru: [The missive?]

Abel replied to Subaru’s question while adding an unnecessary sentence.

The missive was the letter they had delivered to Yorna the previous day. Delivering that letter had been the purpose of the previous day’s visit and was bound to be the reason for the current day’s summons.

Abel had not told them in detail what he had written in the letter, though.

Abel: [In the missive, I wrote that I would reward her with that which she desires.]

Al: [The thing that lady wants… In other words, the position of Empress?]

Medium: [To be your wife?]

Once Abel mentioned the contents of the missive, Al and Medium spoke in quick succession.

As they had been told the prior day, Yorna wanted the Emperor. Not necessarily Abel, but the Emperor’s status.

So if it were true that he had written that he would give Yorna what she coveted, it should be like that.

Subaru: [How the heck did you decide to convey something like that in a letter?]

Abel: [Do not trivialize the problem using your own standards. Whatever it is, she shall achieve what she desires. Hence why we were summoned to the Castle. It is illogical for her to send her forces against us in spite of that.]

Al: [Ahhh~, what if she hates being Abel-chan’s wife so much that she wants to kill him…]

Or perhaps, the letter was so rude that she wanted to kill them.

Subaru thought that there was a very good chance that he would be treating the person he was going to marry in a pompous manner, because he behaved that way in person.

But Abel scoffed at the idea Subaru and the rest had.

Abel: [What she must do, she shall. Emotions are secondary. She is not like Priscilla.]

Al: [I did think that lady was just as troublesome as the Princess!]

Subaru agreed to that. Priscilla and Yorna were both scary.

He was afraid of Priscilla and Yorna both, but he felt that Abel had a point because it had been stated with such conviction. ――Also, he recalled his memories of Yorna from the previous day.

Yorna: [As the Lord of the Demon City, I won’t speak lies in front of my attendants.]

So Yorna had said, her words spoken with a bewitching smile regarding the matter of the letter that Subaru and the others had present her with, a promise that she would not throw it away without reading it.

Subaru and the others fell into the stables afterwards, and then, Tanza, Yorna’s attendant, had declared that Yorna had recognized Subaru and his companions.

At the very least, Subaru did not take her as a woman who would change her previous statements at will.

He did not, so he wished to believe what Abel had said.

Taritta: [In any case, those outside should be getting impatient right about now. What should we do?]

Keeping an eye on the outside, Taritta questioned them about their next move.

Abel had spoken of a trigger for an assault―― as in, the conditions that would make the other party attack them, but, so far, they could only guess that it would be them going outside. But with the other side prepared to attack them, they did not know when they may force their way in.

In addition, Subaru and the rest were in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek.

Subaru: [Even if we know the people outside are coming in, we can’t just not leave, right?]

Al: [Well, unless the old man outplayed our outplaying, and hid in the inn for a second time… Just in case, should we take another look at the room?]

Abel: [I would have considered that if we did not have the clue, “an abyss with a great view”.]

So Abel dismissed him, and Al hung his head in disappointment.

In fact, Subaru’d had the thought that Olbart would be hiding in the first room once more as well. But no matter how much he thought about it, he could not connect it to “an abyss with a great view”. So he had not touched on it.

In the meantime, their group’s course of action was being finalized.

Of course, there was no other choice for them but to make their debut. The question was, what kind of strategy should they use to make that option work?

Abel: [――Taritta, draw their attention.]

Subaru: [Abel!?]

A moment later, Abel gave what seemed to be the cruelest instruction of all.

Hearing this, Taritta’s cheeks hardened,  and Subaru criticized Abel in a shrill voice. But Abel ignored Subaru’s voice, keeping his gaze on Taritta, and continued,

Abel: [Make a great ruckus and capture the attention of those outside. Meanwhile, we shall sneak out.]

Al: [Abel-chan, a better, understandable plan would be…]

Abel: [There is none. This is the best we can muster with the cards in our possession. If you had not been shrunken, we might have been able to find another method.]

Subaru: [That’s going too far!]

Louis: [Auu!]

Abel dismissed Al’s concern for Taritta’s safety.

Along with Subaru snapping at him for his cruelty, Louis voiced her righteous indignation as well. However, as a reaction to Subaru and the others――,

Taritta: [Yes, understood. I’ll draw the attention of the group outside.]

Subaru: [Taritta-san! No matter how you look at it…]

Shaking her head sideways, Taritta was prepared to accept Abel’s reckless instructions.

Subaru wanted to find a better method that could ensure her safety, somehow. However, the only two things that came to Subaru’s mind at this moment were caution and anxiety towards the very dangerous enemies outside.

Abel: [Taritta, hand me that package. We shall need it later.]

Taritta: [Here it is. Once I have their full attention, please take advantage of the opportunity and escape. However, I don’t think I’ll have a chance to give you a signal…]

Abel: [I shall allow Medium to decide that.]

Medium: [Eh, me?]

Abel received the package Taritta was carrying, his slender form shouldering the bag. As Abel continued with the preparations, Medium, having been designated by name, widened her eyes.

Turning to face her, Abel nodded, together with a “Yes”,

Abel: [Shrunken or not, you still have eyes to watch for an opportunity. Out of everyone, you are the most competent.]

Medium: [Hmmm, gotcha. I’ll watch carefully! So be careful, Taritta-chan.]

Taritta: [Yes.]

The discussion was moving along at breakneck pace, leaving Subaru behind.

Putting Abel aside, Taritta and Medium had nerves of steel. Especially Taritta, who was being entrusted with the most dangerous role.

Taritta: [So, I’m off.]

Clutching her bow, Taritta put her hand on the back door. Facing her back, Subaru couldn’t help but shout, “Taritta-san!”,

Subaru: [Um, d-don’t die…!]

Taritta: [――――]

He was disgusted with himself for saying something so obvious and discouraging. If he was unable to offer any useful opinions or winning strategies, he should at least say something that would boost Taritta’s morale.

And yet, all he could offer was a quavering plea. ――But Taritta’s eyes relaxed slightly and, 

Taritta: [Yeah, I’ll see you guys later.]

With a thin smile, Taritta’s body flew outward like a bullet.

Just before that, Abel hurled his final words towards Taritta’s back, as she headed for enemy territory.

Those were――,

Abel: [Taritta, there is no need to hold back. Spare no quarter. ――No matter who they are, no person in this city is easy to kill.]

It was ominous advice, which could not be called either encouragement nor a winning strategy.

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 ――The moment she stepped outside, hostility swelled mightily quickly.

Tasting it on her brown skin, Taritta’s narrowed eyes scanned left to right over the entire area in one go.

For the People of Shudraq, who lived as hunters in the jungle, understanding the terrain and situation at a moment’s notice was an essential skill. Taritta was no exception.

――No, Mizelda, her sister, had entrusted Taritta with the role of chieftain.

Therefore, Taritta must excel in these skills, more so than her fellow Shudraqians. And indeed, she did.

Taritta: [――Ah.]

With a light gasp born at the back of her throat, Taritta assessed the number of hostile forces directed at her.

Around her, there were about a hundred people with the will to fight, but less than twenty of them had seized their hostility onto Taritta, who had rushed out the back door.

In addition, the number of those able to move quickly among them would be even smaller.

First thing would be to get the feet of those who turned around to――,

Taritta: [――No good.]

Her mind flashed back to the advice given by Abel just before she had taken off, to spare no quarter.

Abel was a prideful, good-looking man. He met all the requirements of Mizelda’s taste in men, and Taritta was not good at dealing with him. She was weak to pressure and went along with the flow without resistance. Plus, when confronted with someone with a nature like that of her sister or Abel, she would be rendered unable to express any of her opinions.

That was why Taritta preferred someone who would listen to her. Particularly because she would take time to settle on an opinion, and would reel at being rushed.

From that perspective, Flop, who had stayed behind at Guaral, was quite――,

Taritta: [――Hk, what am I thinking?]

Blushing red with momentary shame, Taritta drew her bowstring as if to vent.

A moment later, arrows were released from the bow―― three, at the same time. Taritta’s archery skills manifested, with each arrow aiming at a different prey.

One flew straight and two flew in a curve, as they cut the wind along the alleyway outside the inn, and pierced their targets.

Three men who had turned to face the rushing Taritta and made an attempt to step towards her, were shot in the neck and chest respectively, instantly robbing them of their fighting power.

Taritta: [Hunting is comfortable.]

It suited Taritta, because she was not required to talk to anyone.

The prey did not expect Taritta to speak, nor did she want to communicate with them. The only dialogue that occurred was that of her arrows and their meeting the enemy.

Even so, the result dubbed life and death need not be produced at the end of a conversation.

???: [――ROHH!]

With a roar, several shadows rushed into the alley, replacing the men who had been shot through.

The first thing that entered Taritta’s field of vision was an oxman; his body so massive that, to gaze upon it all, she had to look up. A man with short, thick horns at the top of his head was ferociously using his frame to charge, all while unleashing a battle cry.

A direct frontal hit would pulverize every bone in Taritta’s thin body.

However, there was no way to escape to her back, or to her side. Even if she jumped upwards, there was a good chance she would be grabbed by the legs.

With that in mind, Taritta lowered herself and darted forward.

Oxman: [Wha――!?]

Perhaps because those actions were unexpected, the oxman’s eyes widened and his throat tightened. Taritta extended her legs towards the oxman’s face and used it as a foothold, punting him in the snout.

Bending her knees to stifle her momentum, Taritta’s body revolved with ease in midair, using the face of the oxman, spewing blood from his nose, as a foothold. Then performing a half-turn, she adopted an upside-down position while airborne.

Taritta: [――――]

As she spun around, she secured a three-sixty-degree view, including the area behind her, which she had not been able to see previously. She was able to assess the shadows of buildings, the rooftops and scaffolding present in the city, and even those attempting to attack her from these positions.

Taritta: [These won’t not be enough arrows.]

As she said this, she pulled out the arrows from the quiver on her back, put them on her bow at a dizzying pace, and repeatedly fired three shots in rapid succession to reduce her enemies.

The number of arrows was disproportionate to the number of enemies she had assessed. With no choice but to cut down the enemies with the highest priority, Taritta used her intuition of many years to target the ones with the most ability.

Ignoring the uncomfortable feeling she felt at the sight of those who entered her field of vision――,

???: [Woaaa――?!]

The raging arrows glided through the air akin to a tempest, and those pierced through were blown away by the impact.

Following Abel’s advice, Taritta attacked about thirty enemies with merciless attacks to the vitals, aiming for everyone’s chest and neck, and the eyes and mouth of those she could, hoping to inflict a fatal wound.

After this first engagement, however, she had already run out of arrows.

The only thing she could do now, to retrieve the arrows that had been utilized, and to continue serving as a decoy as long as possible――,

Taritta: […Well this is, a bit unexpected.]

As she moved to retrieve the arrow from the downed enemy, Taritta stopped in her tracks.

Taritta, as a warrior of Shudraq, had killed countless beasts in her life. Even if the beast’s shape was slightly different, the creature’s feedback to having its vital point pierced could be witnessed at the moment of her bow firing.

And based on that experience, she was confident that she had sowed the lives of those she had shot through.

???: [Guhgu…]

And yet, none of those who groaned and rose to their feet had lost their lives.

Even if they had not flat-out perished, they should have been on the verge of death. However, those that stood up stared at Taritta with eyes that were not bereft of the will to fight, let alone on the verge of death.

In those eyes that gazed at Taritta, a change occurred.

Taritta: [What, in the world is that?]

Taritta frowned and questioned the oxman as he stood up. The man did not reply, but the change that had occurred to him was so alien that it seized her attention.

 ――A scarlet flame was covering his right eye.

Oxman: [――――]

Those whose pupils were ablaze were not restricted to just the oxman.

All those who had fallen after being shot by Taritta regarded her with a scarlet flame in one of their eyes, be it the right or the left one.

Those whose eyes were burning were not restricted to just those who had been shot by Taritta.

Those who had come to the scene later to surround Taritta had scarlet flames in their eyes as well. Flickering flames that burnt, all the while scattering sparks.

And amazingly, flames similar to those burned away and healed the wounds of the oxman.

The kicked and smashed nose of the oxman, and the arrow wounds of those who had been shot through, had all been undone, completely.

Taritta: […A few words were not enough, Abel.]

The scene and Abel’s earlier advice came together, and Taritta let out a sigh.

Although she did not know for certain, her belief was that Abel had thoroughly anticipated this situation. If that were the case, he should have endeavored to make his words more understandable.

And beyond that, her head pounded with the desire for purely convenient thoughts, as she was not good with someone who hurried the conversation forward.

However——,

Taritta: [My role is to be a decoy, not to annihilate the enemy.]

Hence, in terms of focusing on her role, it was safe to say that it was working well.

And then——,

Taritta: […They’re breaking the arrows, it seems.]

The arrows that had shot through them were breaking one after another, as they slipped out of their bodies. The arrowheads that she was supposed to retrieve were lost, and Taritta became unable to use her archery skills.

However, it would be a mistake to think that this would leave her with no options.

Taritta: [Both daggers and throwing stones can be used for hunting.]

As she said this, Taritta dropped low and held the dagger she had tucked inside her formal dress and the bow she had lost the arrows to shoot with together.

Taritta’s battle to fulfil her role had only now begun.

△▼△▼△▼△

Subaru: [——Hk, Taritta-san, awesome…!]

Subaru’s voice trembled as he ran, at the sight of the people whose eyes and wounds were ablaze.

Taritta had been sent out for a fierce struggle, but her skill was far beyond Subaru’s imagination.

In all honesty, it was safe to say that Subaru had underestimated Taritta’s ability to be an effective member of Shudraq, given her reserved and quiet nature as a late bloomer.

Just before, he had also seen how helpless she had been against Olbart.

Of course, because Mizelda had nominated her to be the next Chieftain, he knew there would be no gap in ability between her and Kuna or Holly.

But the precision of her aim, the speed of her shots, and the way she was able to take on an overwhelmingly large number of people made it seem like she could be as good as, or even better than, Mizelda.

Subaru: [But still…]

Even evaluating Taritta to have a high level of skill, it was hard to shake off the strangeness of those attackers.

In the first place, their appearance was strange. After all, none of them wore armor, nor did they have any sort of weapons. They were unarmed.

From the looks of it, they were pretty much the same as many of the people they had been passing by since the previous day, in Chaosflame―― they were just another citizen of the Demon City with an appearance that stood out somewhat.

These citizens had surrounded Subaru and the others, and after being on the other end of Taritta’s transcendental bow-and-arrow technique, they stood up without a hitch despite being mortally wounded.

From a distance, it could be seen that the attackers included women and children, and Taritta must have been disturbed that they were not actually a group of strong warriors.

She had done a great job of attracting attention, and at Medium’s signal, Subaru and the others ran out into the city. But should they really escape, and not back up Taritta?

Unsure of what was the right thing to do, those options kept spinning around and around in Subaru’s mind.

Next to Subaru, Abel, carrying a bag on his back, witnessed the same scene.

Abel: [So indeed, the entire city is covered by the Soul Marriage Technique.]

Al: [Konkon…? Oioi, Abel-chan, the hell’s that?] [2]

Abel: [It is the mechanism of the collective that faces Taritta without backing down.]

Al, who was running in a daze, asked a question to which Abel gave an inadequate answer.

Although Subaru couldn’t quite wrap his head around what was going on, one thing was clear. ――Abel had a clue about the relationship between those burning eyes and the attackers.

Subaru: [Abel! Don’t keep secrets from us! Tell us everything!]

Abel: [――. It is one of the supposedly lost secret arts spoken of in ancient literature. It is called the Soul Marriage Technique; by sharing a part of one’s soul with others, value is added to it.]

Al: [I don’t get it! The fuck’s that supposed to mean?]

Abel: [To put it another way, souls united via the Soul Marriage Technique share a fraction of their power. And in this city, there is merely a single wielder of the Soul Marriage Technique――]

Urged on from both sides by Subaru and Al, Abel gave them the most abridged answer possible.

Despite that, the content was still difficult for Subaru to understand, but, somehow, he managed to pick up its nuance.

In other words――,

Abel: [――It means that everything that composes this Demon City shares the power of Yorna Mishigure. Therefore, this city is a land that shall not fall easily, no matter how many armies you dispatch against it.]

 

 

Translation notes:

[1] A Japanese idiom for a situation in which it is obvious that even if one difficult problem or disaster is solved or avoided, another difficult problem or disaster will be faced, henceforth making it extremely difficult to escape danger.

[2] Konkon is usually an onomatopoeic word used to refer to the cry of a fox, in this case, however, this word is used in the chapter for the technique that Yorna uses to make the citizens of Chaosflame stronger, “Soul Marriage Technique”, read in Japanese as “Konkon Jutsu.” Seeing how Yorna is a fox demi-human, the pun should be obvious. Abel uses the Kanji in writing (魂婚) for Soul Marriage, which is pronounced “konkon”. However, Al doesn’t really get what he’s referring to, hence his reaction, and saying the pronunciation out loud.

13 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 45 – “Konkon””

        1. I must say the peep in logic between chapter 45 and 47 s confusing. Like how is chapter 46 explain that shit lol

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