Arc 7, Chapter 51 – “The Demon City’s Mistress”

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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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A placid breeze bathed in light gently caressed Subaru’s bangs.

While savoring the ticklish feeling, Subaru felt the touch of a girl’s hand linked with his, and the breath of the tall, beautiful woman standing to his back.

The location they were in was the top of the Crimson Lapis Castle, above the large room on the top floor. He stepped onto the roof tiles of the Castle, the “place closest to the sky”, from which he could now view Chaosflame.

Subaru had led them to the place closest to an “abyss with a great view”.

Subaru: [Olbart-san, I think you’re a real jerk.]

The hand not linked with Louis’s beside him, the one that Subaru was pointing with, was being directed at a small old man sitting on the edge of the Castle’s roof.

Sitting cross-legged, spinning around on his rear, the monstrous old man―― Olbart, put his mouth to the gourd in his hand, gulping down the alcohol within.

And――,

Olbart: [No way, boy. You’re not hungry, are ya?]

Subaru: […H-hungry?]

Olbart: [Yeah, that’s right, ya hungry? After all, ya just woke up and had no time ta eat, did’cha? Yer hunger’s got a lot ta do with both yer brain and yer body’s functionin’, ya know.]

While saying that and setting down his gourd, Olbart pulled out another package from his pocket. Before a slightly alarmed Subaru, Olbart gave a small “kakaka”, and unwrapped the package.

Wrapped in the package was a black, round object the size of a golf ball.

Subaru: [That’s…]

Olbart: [It’s called a ration ball, it’s portable food for us shinobi. One of these’ll last’cha a day and keep yer head and body in shape. Tastes awful, tho’.] [1]

Plucking a ration ball from its wrapper with his fingers, Olbart waved it about as to show it off.

From the way it looked, it felt like it was emergency food made without taste in mind. It might be nutritious, but Subaru didn’t think he’d want to eat it.

Olbart rolled it around in his palm, and said,

Olbart: [I’ve been a shinobi since I was young, so naturally, I’ve been familiar with this since I was a wee lad. And every time I ate it while workin’, I thought ta myself, “Like the great ol’ men of my village, I wish I could just retire and not eat this stuff anymore”.]

Subaru: […Then, why not do just that? Olbart-san, you said you’re the head honcho of the shinobi village, aren’t you a big shot?]

Olbart: [Oh, you’re right. What I’m sayin’ is that, right now, I’m better and stronger than the ol’ men who used ta work me to death all willy-nilly… But somehow, I’m still eatin’ this stuff.]

With that, Olbart threw the ration ball that he’d been rolling in his palm into his mouth. He chewed and gulped down on his provisions, which the monstrous old man had described as not good.

After that, he opened his mouth to show that he’d eaten it all. Then,

Olbart: [After all, ya can’t break a habit, that’s what I’m sayin’. This mess of food I put together without regard ta taste or appearance’s the best food for me. Doesn’t hearin’ this make ya cry? No? Kakakakka!]

Olbart showed a toothy grin, causing Subaru to remember something eerie.

Unsure of what he was trying to tell him with the current conversation, Subaru thought this seemed to be something unrelated to his childish youth. However, it seemed it shouldn’t be ignored in its entirety.

He felt that maybe it was Olbart’s way of praising or complimenting him.

Yorna: [――Old Man Olbart, this is my castle, do you recall?]

After the conversation died down, Yorna Mishigure, the Empress of the Demon City, having come to the roof of the Castle along with Subaru and Louis, spoke up at last.

Staring into Yorna’s blue eyes, Olbart stopped laughing and said, “Yeah”,

Olbart: [Of course, I know that. To be looked down on by the Lord of the Castle while sittin’ on her castle’s a nice feelin’. Doin’ what’cha love’s the secret to a long life.]

Yorna: [That’s quite the indulgent hobby for a man of your stature. I would’ve never thought you’d do something like this.]

Olbart: [Ho, how’s that so?]

Yorna: [It’s only natural, isn’t it? ――It’d be insane to know this secret of longevity and still shorten your own lifespan.]

Subaru could feel the heat from Yorna, who smiled seductively while putting her sleeve gently over her mouth. Yorna’s anger was contained in her gentle gesture, and of course it was Olbart who it was directed to.

Olbart must have noticed Yorna’s anger, but the monstrous old man remained seated on his haunches, throwing the next ration ball into his mouth from the package open on his lap.

Olbart: [So, why are ya three gettin’ along again? A foxgirl and two lil’ kids aren’t friends in any way.]

Yorna: [Unfortunately, unlike the Vicious Old Man Olbart here, I have no taste for teasing children and no reason to torture them. When it comes to children, it’s only natural that I’d treat them with courtesy. What’s more――]

Cutting off her words there, Yorna twirled the golden kiseru around her finger. Then pointing the tip of the kiseru, the part from which smoke trailed, at Olbart, she continued.

Yorna: [If I hear that Old Man Olbart has misled these children and deceived my attendant… as the mistress of this city, I’ll do what I must.]

Olbart: [Hoho, ho.]

Gently stroking his chin, Olbart’s amused eyes turned to Subaru and Louis.

Subaru nodded deeply, sensing the intent of his gaze.

Subaru: [I’m sorry, but I had to tell on you. It’s not really a foul under Olbart-san’s rules. You had us get attacked too anyway.]

Olbart: [Kakakakka! You’re never at a loss for words, boy. But that’s the right answer. I’m the one who sicced ‘em on ya, so ta whine ‘bout it if it’s done ta me’d be pretty pathetic. But…]

Subaru: [But?]

Olbart: [Good work comin’ up with that when yer mind’s gotta be havin’ trouble keepin’ up as well. Are ya mayhaps from the Vollachian Royal Family? You’re a match for ‘em in underhandedness.]

Subaru: [Don’t say such scary things…]

Considering only the hair color of Subaru and the current Emperor, Abel, they had a lot in common, but there were too many differences in other areas. Their facial structure and the length of their legs were proof of this.

In the first place, to say that his personality was as bad as that of those of the Vollachian Royal Family would be slander.

For example――,

Subaru: [I always say thank you when someone does something nice for me.]

Yorna: [And with a smile and a loud voice too. That’s what a child should be like. I’m going to tell Tanza to follow your example. Anyway――]

Parting her lips, Yorna gave her evaluation of Subaru’s naughtiness, then lowered the tone of her voice. After that her eyes narrowed, and the harmonious atmosphere came to an end.

Because――,

Yorna: [I can’t rebuke my faithful servant without her being here to respond to me. Now, where did you hide her, Old Man Olbart?]

Yorna’s question was the main reason why she’d come along.

Olbart: [――――]

Feeling Yorna’s tense pressure and its aftershocks directed at Olbart, Subaru firmly bit his lip and checked the sound of his own beating heart.

――Yorna had found Subaru downstairs, just inside the Castle, and after getting to know Yorna’s personality, which he did not the previous day, Subaru had taken another big gamble.

He told Yorna as much as he could about their situation and the “hide-and-seek” game that was happening here in Chaosflame.

Of course, Subaru did not mention Abel’s true identity, and he didn’t tell anyone that he and the others had been “infantilized” by Olbart. What was important was that Subaru and his friends were playing “hide-and-seek” with Olbart, and that Tanza was helping the latter.

In order to appeal to her as sincerely as possible and clear up her suspicions as she listened patiently, Subaru had decided to prepare himself to face the situation with all his might, and confided in Yorna about the situation.

And after hearing Subaru’s appeal, Yorna thought it over for a while――,

Yorna: [――I’m not a woman who can determine whether the words of a desperate child are true or false.]

Giving that answer, she then accompanied Subaru and Louis to the top of the Crimson Lapis Castle.

Subaru: [Honestly, I didn’t think she was someone I could talk to so much, but…]

Louis: [Auau.]

Subaru: [Yeah, I know.]

Hearing Subaru’s murmur, Louis shook the hand she was holding and pursed her lips.

In response, Subaru told himself that this was a stroke of luck that had come about from a bunch of coincidences turning up. If any of those factors were missing, this situation couldn’t have been created.

That he had separated from Abel and his sinister designs.

That he had reached the Crimson Lapis Castle with the help of Ubilk’s “counsel”.

That he had been found by Yorna personally rather than by a guard.

That he had been together with Louis, not Al nor Medium.

And finally, that Subaru, the one most affected by the “infantilization”, had taken a gamble.

The main reason why Yorna had listened to Subaru’s words was because she’d seen no lie in them, and took them as a serious appeal from a child.

Just as there were grown-ups who wouldn’t take children’s words seriously and laughed them away.

Other adults would take them seriously because those words came from children, and because of that they would try to meet their expectations.

Subaru had not expected one of the Nine Divine Generals of the bloodthirsty Vollachian Empire to be one of the latter.

Subaru: [Who was it again that said Yorna-san’s crazy…]

Perhaps an argument would be that she was treated that way because she didn’t approve of Vollachia’s mantra of “survival of the fittest”.

At the very least, Subaru had no choice aside from thinking she did not, after being treated so nicely.

Yorna: [Old Man Olbart, I have two requests for you.]

As she said this, Yorna gently held up two fingers.

Subaru couldn’t say anything to step into the conversation between the transcendental beings that disregarded him. All he could do was to be aware of the touch of Louis’s hand so that he could move if something happened.

The only way to escape from the rooftop area would be to teleport downstairs.

Olbart: [Those demands of yers, let’s hear ‘em for the time bein’.]

Yorna: [First, you must return Tanza to me.]

Olbart: [Oh, com’on, that’s a bit unreasonable. I’m sure that girl’s got her own ideas. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t’ve planned somethin’ without tellin’ ya, Your Highness.]

Yorna: [――Silence.]

Olbart admitted that he had an idea where Tanza was somewhere in the middle there, but his mocking voice was cut short by a single, sharp word from Yorna.

The serene power of that word was enough to change the atmosphere.

In fact, even Subaru, who wasn’t the one the word was directed at, held his breath.

So Yorna, having silenced Olbart’s chatter, brought the kiseru she was toying with in her hand to her mouth and slowly filled her lungs with purple smoke.

Yorna: [Unfortunately, I’ve got no intention of hearing Tanza’s complaints or thoughts from anyone other than from her own mouth. And I don’t think I’d be able to bear to hear it after I’ve traced them to the tongue of the Vicious Old Man.]

Olbart: [Kakaka, seems no one likes me here.]

Yorna: [I’m sure down inside you know quite well why would that be, don’t you?]

Yorna smiled aggressively and tilted her head, her hair ornaments swaying noisily. Even the kanzashi stuck in her luxuriously-tied hair and her adorned beauty seemed to Subaru to be Yorna’s weapons.

――People of high status wished to be feared.

Yorna had been the one to tell Subaru about this idea. Maybe it was not only about scaring people, but also about making them feel her beauty.

Yorna: [One more thing, the game you’re playing with these children, you must stop it.]

Olbart: [A game, huh? It’s a game, but a serious one.]

Yorna: [As I said yesterday in the presence of His Excellency the Emperor. ――I’d like the messengers to be left alone and, regardless of what His Excellency might do or say, they’ll be protected by me.]

――She would not let anyone touch Subaru’s group.

Unexpectedly, Yorna’s decision had been conveyed by Tanza’s own mouth. And as Yorna herself intended to abide by that decision, she was angered that her wish had been broken.

In conclusion――,

Yorna: [Within this Demon City, you wish to make an enemy of me?]

Olbart: [Ohh, scary, scary. You’re a scary lass… Oh, in a way, I didn’t interfere with anyone, let’s say that’s my excuse.]

Yorna: [That is your interpretation, isn’t it, Old Man Olbart? ――Whose town do you believe this is, anyway? Do you think I’m a woman so open-minded that I’d laugh and pardon it?]

Subaru felt the air boiling, his entire body covered in goosebumps.

He got that Yorna was getting worked up as she reached the second half of her words. Of course, Yorna was not one to lack the self-discipline as to show that in her tone of voice and facial expressions.

But he understood. Because Subaru had seen many really angry people.

When people were truly angry, with their lives on the line, their emotions would flare. And that much would be visible by just being by their side. There was very, very raw anger there.

Louis: [Uu…]

Feeling similar to Subaru, Louis gave a small growl due to the alarming atmosphere spreading.

On their way here, Louis might have proactively attacked the people who were chasing them, but the two people here were Yorna and Olbart―― people who were entirely different in strength from their pursuers.

It was an animal instinct, she probably knew that she couldn’t win if she fought. Maybe she was worried about Subaru getting involved in the fight――,

Subaru: [――Hk, Olbart-san!]

For a moment, Subaru felt his thoughts about Louis begin to soften, but he shook them off. With that momentum spurring him on, he called out Olbart’s name as he and Yorna continued their stand-off.

Olbart, still sitting on the roof, deftly kept one eye focused on Yorna and the other on Subaru.

Subaru: [H-how are you doing that…?]

Olbart: [Kakakakka! Body control’s the foundation of the shinobi. Ya can’t be a shinobi unless ya can do different things with yer right hand and left hand, and yer right foot and left foot. What of it?]

Subaru: [Huh?]

Olbart: [Ya called me just now. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m in the middle of the riskiest situation of my life. Ya shouldn’t be sparin’ attention to that.]

It seemed that, even though he hadn’t changed his laidback attitude, Olbart was perfectly aware that this was a critical juncture. If that was really the case, then Subaru was grateful that he’d spare him the attention.

Subaru placed a hand on his chest, took a few deep breaths, and said,

Subaru: [Oh, why don’t we call it even?]

Olbart: […Mhm?]

Olbart, upon hearing Subaru’s suggestion, opened his left eye wide. Drawing the attention of a single eyeball, Subaru raised his voice in frustration, “Like I said!”,

Subaru: [We’re even, we’re even! Olbart-san, you tried to do something against the rules, and I told Yorna-san. Both are just as bad as each other, that’s why we should…]

Olbart: [Quietly admit we’re both at fault and leave it at, that‘s what ya wanna say?]

Subaru: [Oh yeah, yesyes! See, not bad, huh? We’ll give Olbart-san what he wants, and that’ll solve our problems!]

What Olbart desired was a secret of the Emperor, which was in Abel’s possession.

Subaru didn’t know the specifics, but if he could hand it over, it would make it easier to have Olbart withdraw. Originally, the “hide-and-seek” game was something like a test of wits, to see if the information could be believed.

Subaru: [We agreed on doing it three times, and we’ve only found you twice so far… Take it easy on us, though, we managed to get up to the top of the Castle.]

Olbart: [Hmmm… By the way, you’re the one who figured out this was my hidin’ place? Not that other one, the oni-masked young’un?]

Subaru: [Y-Yeah, that’s right. An idea about the “abyss with a great view” happened to come up in my mind… There was another spot I was thinking of too, though.]

Perhaps Abel and the others were on their way there.

Even if they weren’t right now, sooner or later, Abel’s group would get to the answer and come to the Crimson Lapis Castle. Subaru had cheated with Louis’s teleport skill and Ubilk’s “counsel”.

However, it might be easier to persuade Abel and the others about how to deal with Louis if they pulled off this achievement here. If it proved itself to be difficult, they could try to get Yorna on their side.

How Yorna would react once she found out about Louis’s true identity was unknown, though.

Subaru: [Anyway! I wonder, Olbart-san. If you’d be willing to listen to my… No, to our suggestion.]

Shaking his head and pushing away any negative thoughts, Subaru looked at Olbart.

The reason why Subaru had used “our”, plural, was because he needed Yorna’s cooperation in this proposal of reconciliation. If Yorna said she wouldn’t forgive Olbart for luring Tanza into a devious scheme, Subaru’s proposal, thought up with utmost effort, would be in vain.

However――,

Yorna: [――――]

With one eye closed and the kiseru in her mouth, Yorna did not object to anything. Subaru thought the fact she hadn’t opposed it meant that she respected his opinion.

Subaru was extremely, extremely grateful. He wanted to thank her so much.

He wished to not waste the trust and kindness that Yorna had entrusted to him.

Subaru: [Olbart-san.]

Once again, Subaru called out Olbart’s name, hoping for a compromise.

In response to Subaru’s hopeful black eyes, Olbart picked up the gourd he’d settled down, using his fingers. Putting his mouth to the gourd, he slurped down every last drop of the alcohol therein,

Olbart: [Ya know, boy. I dunno if that’s somethin’ only the current you could come up with, or if it’s somethin’ even the past you would’ve come up with…]

Subaru: [――――]

Olbart: [――I don’t like the idea of throwin’ away a game I’ve set in motion halfway thro’. ――This geezer’s a stubborn man, ya know?]

The monstrous old man laughed, and with that, he crushed the gourd in his hand, shattering it to pieces that fell onto the floor.

With a peal the debris danced, causing Subaru to gasp.

Immediately afterwards――,

Yorna: [An old man who won’t take the hand offered by a child, will mourn his own stubbornness.]

Yorna’s long legs swung down as she rushed forth, and with a roar, the tower of the Crimson Lapis Castle split in two.

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Her foot, wearing a thick-soled geta, was raised up high, then slammed straight down at tremendous speed. [2]

A moment later, the castle tower, being hit directly by her heel, bent, cracked, shattered and, after a beat, burst open with a thunderous roar as if it had exploded.

As the blown-off roof tiles flew up in the air and a thick cloud of smoke rose, Yorna, having dished out that immense strike, turned around at the epicenter of the explosion, the hem of her kimono waving gallantly.

In a single breath, Yorna had performed a jump and an axe kick in sequence, the consequence of their immense calamitous force being the partial destruction of the Castle.

A single strike by Yorna’s heel had literally caused the keep to collapse, ruining the beautiful scenery of the Crimson Lapis Castle.

Subaru: [Whoaaaa――!?]

Seeing that sublime destructive power, Subaru crouched down with his head in his hands.

He’d not been caught in the destruction of the exploding castle by the skin of his teeth, but the incredible tremors nearly sent him tumbling off the roof.

However, Louis held him by the arm, stopping that from happening.

Louis: [Uau!]

Subaru: [Shit! Why’s this happening…!]

He was pulled up by the tight grip on his arm, as he sat up, Subaru screamed with tears in his eyes.

The dancing cloud of dust had gone into his eyes, and because of that he had teary-eyes. Definitely not because that blockhead Olbart had rejected his proposal.

That also, was also rough obviously――,

Subaru: [Yorna-san!!]

Yorna: [Stay back, don’t get swallowed up in this. I’m not very good at holding back, I’m afraid. ――Nevertheless.]

Yorna, without looking back, responded to Subaru’s call from behind her.

Cutting off her words there, Yorna pulled her stuck foot off the roof, brushed the dirt from the hem of her kimono, and looked up high――,

Yorna: [As expected, he’s a nimble one.]

Directly above Yorna, flying in a whirling motion, blending in with the billowing smoke and debris, was a small shadow―― Olbart’s figure.

Basking in Yorna’s gaze, Olbart let out a “Ha!” with a toothy grin, and said,

Olbart: [Thought we were supposed ta leave each other alone… So, anythin’ goes now, right?]

Yorna: [I’m surprised you believe you can beat me in this city. If you’ve gone senile, then I recommend you relinquish your seat in the Nine Divine Generals to the younger generation.]

Olbart: [Kakakakka! Nah, no can do. I’m gonna be the longest livin’ member of the Nine Divine Generals.]

One of them in midair and the other atop the roof, their lines of sight intersected, the pair exchanging their intentions to attack, and prepared themselves to go against each other.

Yorna put the kiseru to her mouth, and Olbart flipped around in midair―― she exhaled a plume of purple smoke, into which Olbart kicked the sky and dove with the speed of an arrow.

Olbart: [――Hk!]

His eyes blazing, Olbart’s sidekick collided head-on with the purple smoke Yorna had spread before her.

The smoke from the kiseru, which should be both weightless and not solid, received Olbart’s foot and scattered the impact with a motion as if it was bending.

Seeing this, Olbart’s smile grew,

Olbart: [Ooshyaaaa――!!]

His short legs spun at high speed, and ten, twenty kicks were unleashed with fierce vigor.

The purple smoke diffused the impact of one, two blows, but one after another the force of the kicks scattered it; at last, once the smoke finally cleared, it could no longer serve as a shield or armor.

Of course, that even just this could be done in the first place was completely nonsensical――,

Olbart: [Interestin’ thing ya got there. Don’t have that written down in my book of techniques.]

Yorna: [My regrets. It’s a secret technique that can’t be imitated by shinobi who can’t love anyone.]

The moment Olbart broke through the smoke, the figure of Yorna appeared beside him.

Leaping into the air, Yorna waved the fancy-looking kiseru in her hand, aiming for the back of Olbart’s unguarded head.

It was too long and light to be considered a blunt weapon, however Olbart blocked it with an extremely rapid swing of his arm―― or rather, with the kunai held in his arm. [3]

Along with a shrill screech, the kunai that Olbart had concealed in his sleeve shattered.

It must have been fashioned from appropriate materials of course, yet the kunai was broken and Yorna’s kiseru was undamaged. What in the world was Yorna’s kiseru made of?

Olbart: [Kakaka, the elderly should be treated with kindness. Don’t’cha dare harass me, lass.]

Yorna: [I don’t deny that there are elders who should be treated with kindness. But, Old Man Olbart, you can’t possibly be one of them. That being the case…]

Olbart: [Oh well, I’ll just treat myself with kindness then.]

While exchanging banter, they hurled lethal attacks back and forth at each other.

Yorna’s slender arms and long legs delivered blows that, despite their beautiful appearance, were mighty enough to bring down even castle walls.

In comparison, Olbart’s attacks were not as flashy, and were generally fending off Yorna’s attacks and throwing in a little interference in between.

However――,

Olbart: [Ya don’t need the power to collapse a castle to kill someone. Ultimately, one long needle ta the forehead’ll kill ya.]

Yorna: [If so, give it a try.]

Promptly after Yorna’s quiet provocation, Olbart’s cunning expression melted into the sky. ――No, he began moving at tremendous speed, too fast for the eye of a run-of-the-mill human to follow.

There was a famous boxer of yesteryear who was said to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, and that was exactly what Olbart’s battle style was, the half-demolished castle tower as his stage. [4]

If one had to pick a more apt description for him, saying that he was combining flight like that of a fighter jet and a shot like that of a sniper rifle, might be more accurate.

Yorna: [You’re a personage who flies about quite a lot. You’re too roguish for your years.]

Perhaps due to Olbart’s leg strength, the tiles he stepped on detonated and, in the following moment, Olbart’s figure materialized from somewhere else and dealt a blow to Yorna.

Yorna made good use of her superhuman reflexes to either catch it with her kiseru or dodge it. Both of them were transcendental beings, so much so that the fierce battle made Subaru forget to breathe.

Louis: [Au…!]

Next to Subaru, Louis, who was watching the same spectacle, made herself smaller, curling up her body.

At the beginning of the battle, at a time he could not bear the continued state of the situation, he had been anxious about Louis jumping out.

But, the battle between Yorna and Olbart was no longer of that caliber.

Whichever side won, there would be an enormous amount of devastation.

That too, was an outcome far from ideal for Subaru.

Subaru: [But what can I do? There’s nothing I can do to stop it…!]

With such a flashy battle, and considering the castle tower was being smashed up so violently, people everywhere in the city were most likely aware that something was going on at the Castle.

If so, it was possible that the people of the city, who loved Yorna, would come in droves, or that Olbart’s comrades, the false Emperor and his entourage, would make a move.

If that happened, it would be the beginning of a major war in the whole city.

That’s not what Subaru wanted.

Even if they had come to invite Yorna to enter the great conflict for Abel’s return to the throne, what tragedy would result from a battle brought about without enough preparations?

Olbart: [Shiiihaaaa!!]

Raising a shrill cry, both feet of the spinning monstrous old man pierced the roof in front of Yorna. Immediately after, a shock traveled through the roof, causing an eruption beneath Yorna’s feet and sending her body soaring high into the sky, resulting in a swap of their initial positions, between the one in midair and the one on the ground.

Olbart: [――――]

As Yorna rose up into the air, shuriken thrown by Olbart came at her from all sides.

Subaru had no idea of when he had thrown them. Perhaps he had hurled them after Yorna was tossed in the air, or maybe he’d known that she would be flung there beforehand; but either way, there was no escape.

Up in the air, a shuriken made a brutal wound on Yorna’s soft, fair skin―― No,

Yorna: [You must understand. I am the ruler of this town, the leader of the Demon City.]

As Yorna responded, all around her, the revolving blades of the shurikens were stopped in their tracks.

They were not halted by Yorna, who could move at extraordinary speed. Yorna didn’t even have to move. What had stopped the shuriken were pieces of roofing tiles that shot upwards.

It was not due to an enormous stroke of luck.

Because, no matter how lucky a person was, more than ten shuriken coming at a person from all directions being blocked by tiles could not happen by chance alone.

Yorna gave a gentle shake of her arms, Subaru and Olbart both holding that within their line of sight, gawking at the scene.

Then, as her arms moved, the tiles that had blocked the shuriken swam in the air and then stopped in midair, forming a spiral staircase around her.

Leisurely, Yorna’s thick soles used the tiles as steps, making her way down to the castle tower.

That scene was a display of illusions or perhaps psychokinesis. Of course, it could be called magic in other words, but it differed slightly from the magic Subaru knew.

Neither fire nor ice nor wind nor earth were being manipulated, the building parts themselves were.

Olbart: [Kah, you’re a real pain in the ass, ya know that? So that’s the magic trick Cecilus and Araki were talkin’ ‘bout? How’d’cha do that?]

Yorna: [I told you so. It’s a secret technique that can’t be done by shinobi who can’t love anyone… I’m a woman who takes good care of things, despite my appearance.]

With a smile, Yorna held the kiseru between her lips, then struck her now-free hands with a clap-clap.

As if on cue, a change occurred in the half-demolished castle keep. ――No, it was no simple change. It was a magic technique, one that distorted reality like a dream.

Subaru: [T-this is…]

The roof distorting beneath his feet, Louis hugged Subaru’s arm as he gulped. While supporting her body, an aberrant event happened under Subaru’s nose, as the half-demolished castle keep was restored before his eyes.

Little-by-little, the building repaired itself like a sped-up video of a wound being healed.

Combining Abel’s guess about Yorna being a user of the Soul Marriage Technique and her words from earlier, a theory came to Subaru’s mind about what happened.

It sounded very, very stupid, but Yorna Mishigure――,

Subaru: [S-she’s using the same Soul Marriage Technique on the castle as well…?]

Indeed, he could not help but at a loss of words by the ability showcase of the ruler of the Demon City, a being literally out of this world.

 

 

Translation note:

[1] Ration balls, or hyorogan (兵糧丸), is a portable preserved food that is said to have been eaten by ninjas from the Sengoku Period to the Edo Period in Japan.

[2] Geta are traditional Japanese sandals that resemble flip-flops, which consist of a wooden platform raised by two or three “teeth”. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geta_(footwear).

[3] Kunai are a Japanese tool that was originally used as a gardening and masonry tool, but is commonly associated to ninjas as a multi-use weapon. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunai.

[4] A reference to the iconic quote of the legendary boxer Mohammed Ali. The quote has a continuation, however: “his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see”. And well, that’s exactly what Olbart did here, can’t hit someone if they “melt into the sky”.

15 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 51 – “The Demon City’s Mistress””

  1. This is a epic battle going on here! Gosh if this really works out…Yorna was the trump card hidden all along!

    I’ll wait until the end of the this part before I judge her fully.

  2. On the one hand, this seems to have short circuited the negotiations and everything else completely in Subaru and Abel’s favor. No more dancing around, Yorna is now officially on their side.

    On the other hand, they need Olbart to undo the infantilization. Kinda going to be hard for him to do that if Yorna smashes him into paste. Interesting to see where this goes.

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