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???: [Chaosflame has been destroyed by a big, a very big disaster. The evacuation of the residents should have been completed by Yorna-sama, but as for anything beyond that…]
The ends of her gentle eyebrows lowered; with downcast eyes, the girl’s voice was filled with sadness.
He had always thought of her as a child who did not reveal many emotions; in fact, even now her expression could not quite be called one of sadness. However, he believed that anyone who did not consider this as sadness was an idiot.
Subaru was not very smart, but he did not want to continue being an idiot. Therefore, he decided to seriously accept what she—— what Tanza had said, and sympathize with her pain.
???: [Hahaaa, a disaster that’d destroy the Demon City’d be quite the big deal, wouldn’t it? While I’m like this, locked up on an island, the world’s going through loads of crazy developments. Goodness, I’ll need to keep this in mind so that I don’t get a late start, it’d be totally uncalled for!]
Subaru: [Ceci, can you shut up for a second?]
Cecilus: [Huh? Did I do something wrong again?]
The personage who completely disregarded Subaru’s inner feelings and Tanza’s heartache as he proceeded to talk, the fake Cecilus, received a stare as he tilted his head to the side, a confused look on his face.
Subaru was amazed and astonished and amazed by that attitude which never changed no matter what, both before and after the Sparka.
This was compounded upon thinking of the dozens of times Cecilus had tried to cold-heartedly listen to Subaru’s final request.
Subaru: […And despite that, it’d all been for nothing had Ceci not woken up Tanza at the end.]
Cecilus: [Ah, there’s no need to feel indebted over that. The moment you cornered it that far, it was Basu’s victory, the final push was something like a bonus. Besides, whether this girl would wake up or not was a gamble!]
Tanza: [I apologize for worrying you.]
The fake Cecilus was immodestly humble to the bitter-looking Subaru. Hearing that, Tanza slightly bowed her head, and beside her, the one she had saved, Subaru, was at a loss for words.
——Subaru had been able to surmount Sparka, the dangerous welcoming ceremony of the Gladiator Island.
After repeating that challenge that now felt distant over and over again, somehow or another, Subaru and his team had attained victory by cutting off the lion’s head. Yet, he was obliged to say that it would have been difficult without the cooperation from Tanza and the fake Cecilus.
Had the fake Cecilus not woken up Tanza at the end, and had Tanza not lopped off the lion’s head with the sword stuck in its neck——,
Subaru: [I don’t know how many more times we would’ve failed.]
Of course, the option to give up did not exist, because that had been a constant struggle that could not be stopped until they were successful. Even so, whether they had the willpower to do so or not, would have greatly influenced the outcome.
And it was quite possible that, if the situation arose, they would not have survived in their entirety.
Had it turned out that way, he would have regretted it forever.
Subaru: [Weitz, Hiain and Idra, we all persevered together.]
Cooperating as one had been extremely difficult, but they would not have survived had even one of them not participated.
The fact that all of them had survived was the best-case scenario for Subaru. It was a great confidence boost for him, to have been able to do something typical of a leader.
With this, he had the confidence to say he was the son of Natsuki Kenichi with pride.
Subaru: [Oh, sorry, sorry, I got lost in my thoughts for a bit. So well, um, about Chaosflame…]
Tanza: [——. Yes. I wish to get back as soon as possible to help with the reconstruction.]
Subaru: […Yeah, that’s right. I want to get back and reunite with everyone as well.]
Returning to the original topic, with her face downcast, Tanza looked very pitiful.
It was only natural that she would worry about her family and hometown, and Subaru too, held those very feelings. Even more so having heard about the turmoil Chaosflame had gone through without him knowing.
He was worried about whether or not everyone he was separated from―― Louis in particular, had been found by the unkind Abel.
He thought that if Yorna was with her, she would surely protect Louis.
The forlorn Tanza was now back in the kimono outfit that he had seen in the Demon City as well.
Subaru had slept for a whole day after the Sparka was over, according to what he was told. At the time he woke up in the healing room, he was told by a toothless old man who claimed to be a healer that there was nothing wrong with his physical health, but he would feel drained and heavy mentally.
However, he could not afford to calmly be at a loss.
Subaru: [What about the other three… Weitz and the others? Has everyone already woken up?]
Tanza: [As far as those three go, they have already woken up and returned to their room. It seems that they are all sharing a room. Schwartz-sama and I are also sharing a room, as well as…]
Cecilus: [Yes, yes, that’d be me. You see, it’s the room Basu first woke up in, but that’s where our bedroom is going to be. I’m also glad that people that can share a room with me finally came. Well, rather than saying that you came here, it’s more like I pulled you up here by myself!]
Tanza: [Pulled up…?]
Subaru: [Don’t worry about it too much. It’s just a tale of me and Tanza falling in the lake after all.]
Come to think of it, he had a faint memory of swimming frantically and trying not to drown.
Whether he had swam through in just one go or drowned several times was quite vague, but it was not that important, so thinking about it would be futile.
Either way, he was relieved after hearing that the other three were also safe. Although it was unavoidable, he had learned a lot about their various circumstances in the midst of the Sparka event.
A coward, a scaredy-cat and a fraud. Though not very commendable personalities, they too had their reasons for being cowardly, timid, and fraudulent.
Subaru: [Yes, it’s just like I’m Superman, eh?]
Cecilus: [Oh my, your face sure is overflowing with an abundance of confidence. I think it even raises your level of manliness and gives it a pleasant feeling. To be so swept up in the situation that you worry about this and that, that’s the behavior of a minor actor or a member of the masses! Basu needs to stand tall!]
Subaru: [I don’t plan on going along with Ceci’s drama-geek mind, but I think so too.]
In the first place, it was not good to dwell on things too much.
Though for some reason, Subaru up to now had been far too passive regarding many things.
No matter what, taking a passive response would just cause the opponent to get overconfident. Whether it be a hated opponent, or fate itself, it was the same. And recently, fate had been getting a little too cocky.
Subaru: [From now on, I’ll be more proactive in moving towards achieving my goals with avarice.]
For now, Subaru’s goal was to escape the island.
Escape the Gladiator Island, and return to Chaosflame together with Tanza. Of course, the ultimate goal was to leave the Empire and return to everyone in the Kingdom, however——,
Subaru: [You’ll fall if you’re preoccupied with big goals, after all. Even for summer homework, you’ve got to finish them one at a time. You can’t write a whole diary all at once.]
Despite what he seemed, Subaru was the type of person who did his homework diligently during summer and winter vacations.
Sometimes there were classmates who would come to school after the vacations without having done their homework, but he never fully understood the nerve they had, nor what they were thinking in pulling that off.
Though somehow, feeling like he had lost in terms of the idea and courage was a bit frustrating.
Subaru: [But I did the homework, so I’m the superior one…]
Tanza: [——Then, Schwartz-sama, may I have a moment?]
Tanza timidly called out to Subaru, who had placed his hand on his chin, watering himself with self-esteem.
Directing Subaru’s gaze to herself, she indicated the fake Cecilus beside her with her hand. And, sitting on the bed, watching as he dangled his legs with a carefree look on his face,
Tanza: [This one here is an ally, but… Um, Cecilus Segmunt-sama is…]
Subaru: [Hmm, yeah, he’s a boy-who-cried-wolf, he keeps insisting on that.]
Cecilus: [A-ha-ha, they do say I am insistent, y’know! And what do you mean by boy-who-cried-wolf? If it means I’m a werewolf, could you please stop with that bad-mouthing? Sure, I may say some incomprehensible things, but it’s only enough to make me dangerously attractive, right?] 
Subaru: [Sorry, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.]
Showered by questions, Subaru spontaneously let that slip, and clutched his own chest.
When he closed his eyes, he could recall the face of a lovely young girl, and along with that, the faces of everyone who was precious to him. Still, he was certainly aware that the drawer of those recollections was becoming harder to pull out.
This situation could not be allowed to continue for much longer.
Subaru: [Aside from Ceci’s flippant comments, what has gotten you so worried, Tanza? A General of the Empire and a celebrity, is it any wonder that there might be a kid with the nerve to pose as him?]
Tanza: [That may be so, but… Well, I saw Cecilus-sama once before, and I was thinking he looked a lot like him…]
Subaru: [You’ve seen him before? Ceci?]
Tanza: [I have seen Cecilus Segmunt-sama. He was once sent in to assassinate Yorna-sama.]
Tanza explained that she had only seen the real Cecilus.
Hearing this recollection, Subaru also remembered the story he had heard before. As he recalled it, Yorna would every-so-often raise a rebellion against the Emperor, and so time and time again a suppression force would be sent in.
However, now that he knew about Yorna’s personality, from Subaru’s perspective, that became quite an unexpected impression.
Subaru: [To try to kill Yorna-san, he must’ve been a really terrible guy…]
Tanza: [That is correct. Cecilus-sama is an atrocious fiend… No, that is not what is important; I am just curious about the fact that, although this Cecilus-sama here and that Cecilus-sama have an age difference, they are like two peas in a pod.]
Subaru: [Exactly alike, just with an age difference?]
Tanza: [Yes. ——Perhaps he is a sibling of Cecilus-sama.]
Hearing what Tanza, who had seen both Ceciluses, spoke of that Cecilus and this fake Cecilus, Subaru fixedly stared at the latter.
He had not considered that possibility. Or rather, it was natural that he had not considered it. Subaru did not know the real Cecilus, so he could not judge whether they were similar or not.
However, it was fortunate that he had a partner who knew the real one. Giving up, the lying fake Cecilus submissively admitted to the lies he himself had told——,
Cecilus: [Nono, that’s not correct. I’m an only child, so I don’t have a sibling that looks exactly like me! Of course, it’s possible that my dad made me a younger brother after we separated, but if we’re going by the current flow of the conversation, then he’d be my older brother, wouldn’t he?]
Subaru: [That’s right, but you don’t know when to give up, do you…]
Cecilus: [How very upsetting! But there’s a basis for it, y’know! My basis is that both of those, having an older brother or a younger brother, would be odd.]
He crossed his arms and leaned back as Subaru and Tanza fixedly stared at him. The basis for the fake Cecilus’s offended face, just how persuasive could it be?
For now, in response to Subaru and Tanza, who were eager to listen, prompting him with their eyes,
Cecilus: [The basis is simple. My existence.]
Subaru: [What do you mean?]
Cecilus: [If I had an older brother, then my dad would’ve gotten him killed when he had me! And if I had a younger brother, then it’d be strange if my father hadn’t gotten me killed! In other words, considering I’m alive, there’s no way that an older or younger brother of mine could exist! How’s that?]
Subaru: […What do you mean?]
It was a theory that did not make sense to him at all, even though he said it with vigor as though it was self-evident.
By his description, it sounded like the fake Cecilus’s father was under some kind of curse to not have more than one child. Whether that was true or false, he felt like a guy who would rather abide by the curse.
As for Subaru, he would like to think that the liar fake Cecilus had piled more lies upon lies.
Subaru: [With him being so brazen about it until now, I’m starting to feel like it’s true. What do you think, Tanza?]
Tanza: […I would… like to be in accordance with Schwartz-sama’s notion.]
Subaru: [Hmm, that’s a serious responsibility.]
Being relied upon by the reserved Tanza, Subaru put a slender finger to his small chin and pondered.
The fake Cecilus tilted his head as if wondering why they were unable understand him; and yet even if they were to ask him about his family environment, it seemed that no answer would be obtained.
The only thing that mattered here was whether they believed the fake Cecilus or not.
If they did not believe him, it would be the same as it had been thus far; they would just treat the fake Cecilus as a mere boy-who-cried-wolf.
But if they were to believe the fake Cecilus in that he had no siblings, that only left Tanza’s testimony on how very much alike the fake Cecilus and the real Cecilus she spoke of were.
And if he were to fully believe her testimony and the fake Cecilus’s own awareness——,
Subaru: [I’m afraid to ask this, Ceci, but perhaps your body has been shrunk?]
It was a prospect he wished to deny if possible, but it was a prospect he could not afford to ignore.
If it had been a pre-shrunken, grown-up Subaru that was here, he might have hesitated to ask so many questions after having put on airs. However, since the Subaru here was a post-shrunken, underdeveloped Subaru, harboring doubts for a long time did not suit him.
Sometimes he would carelessly ask questions with the intention of apologizing were he to offend them by asking.
At that specific question, the fake Cecilus slightly widened his eyes in surprise,
Cecilus: [Are you saying I’ve shrunken? A-ha-ha, you sure say some interesting things, Basu! If there was such an interesting thing as the human body shrinking, wouldn’t that be super fun!?]
Laughing hysterically, the fake Cecilus pat Subaru on the shoulder in a good mood as he spoke those words.
Subaru was very much lost in his remarks as he frowned.
Subaru: [Just, what is it then…?]
Was he playing dumb or not? And if he was playing dumb, was he doing it consciously or unconsciously?
Subaru himself felt that his memories were falling out in large drops due to effects of the infantilization, so it was possible that the fake Cecilus had forgotten all sorts of things for that very reason.
But when compared to Subaru, who still remembered many things, the fake Cecilus had even forgotten that he had been shrunken.
Was such a thing even possible?
If the fake Cecilus had been infantilized the same way Subaru had, was this fake Cecilus’s state of mind how Subaru would end up?
Subaru: [T-that shitty old man… ! I mean, did Ceci also get smaller because of Olbart-san…!?]
If that were the case, then that would be a major incident—— it would become a major incident among the Nine Divine Generals.
The fact that this was also the work of Olbart was a situation that he did not want to think about. But then again, he also did not want to think that anyone other than Olbart was capable of utilizing such an absurd technique.
Naturally, he was tempted to think that Olbart was also the one who had shrunken this fake Cecilus.
Subaru: [Wait wait, in other words, Ceci isn’t a fake, but the real deal, so Olbart-san was the one who made the real Ceci smaller, and Ceci’s, like, the ruins of what I’ll become in the end?]
Tanza: [S-Schwartz-sama, are you alright? You seem to be quite confused…]
Subaru: […I’m fine. I’m incredibly confused, but it’s all coming together incredibly nicely.]
The situation was narrowed down to approximately two possibilities in Subaru’s mind, although hearing only the thoughts that leaked out of his mouth would sound rather disorganized.
One was that the fake Cecilus was an infantilized version of the real Cecilus Segmunt, dubbed “The Shitty Old Man Olbart” theory.
And the other was that, taking advantage of resembling the real Cecilus, he was true to his nature as a boy-who-cried-wolf and sublimated a lie, dubbed “The Shitty Brat Fake Cecilus” theory.
Subaru: [The shitty brat one and the shitty old man one, let’s keep both of them in the back of our minds as we strategize.]
Cecilus: [Hoho, that sounds somewhat interesting. May I ask you to tell me more about it?]
Subaru: [No dice. I don’t think it’d make sense to talk to you about it, Ceci.]
Cecilus: [A-ha-ha! What a cold attitude! That’s a rather self-centered thought, but I don’t dislike that way of going about things, rather, I quite like it.]
Rather than being angry at the cruelty, the fake Cecilus—— provisionally, but still the fake Cecilus, that reaction of his was helpful in many ways.
There were already so many things to worry about, so it was valuable to have someone that he did not have to worry about.
Subaru: [For the time being, Tanza, you should also shelve everything about Ceci. Because whether he’s real or fake, the fact that he’s unreliable won’t change.]
Tanza: […Yes, that is correct. Since he is the one who tried to cause harm to Yorna-sama, I personally hold no favorable impressions towards him.]
Subaru: [Thank you for being straightforward and honest. Now…]
Having thus reached some sort of conclusion, Subaru switched gears.
Now that they were awake, they were also done occupying the beds in the healing room. They would be heading to the room Tanza had been talking about earlier, the room that had been assigned to these three.
But, before that——,
Subaru: [I’d like to feed my very empty stomach. You see, my stomach’s been whining miserably for a while now.]
So, rubbing his belly, Subaru made a shameless demand of the island he was imprisoned on.
――There was a saying that went, “You can’t fight a war on an empty stomach”.
Beyond this point, the obstacles which Subaru and his Unit would face would all be in the vein of battles. In order to fight them, Subaru’s group must be in perfect physical and mental condition, otherwise, in case they were unable to act when push comes to shove, they would be in trouble.
To operate without sparing time for sleep, one should avoid making such a decision so rashly.
Subaru: [Seems to me that before I shrank, since I had more physical strength than I do now, I used to do those kinds of rash things often. I’ll likely get my due desserts if I misunderstand that.]
Such being the case, they wanted to treasure all the eating and sleeping time they could get.
Somehow, it seemed that due to fatigue from the Sparka, he had slept for a whole day; he accepted that as a sufficient rest, and now intended to find a chance to regain his physical strength.
Hence, now that it was time to eat, the fake Cecilus guided them to where they would receive their meals――,
???: […Eat, Schwartz, yer share’s this.]
With a thud, a large platter was placed before his eyes, and Subaru stared in wonder at the sight of the meat on the bone served on that platter.
When Subaru looked up to see what was going on, the brows on the man’s tattoo-riddled face scrunched as if to say “What?”. Though he was making that face, Subaru was actually the one who wanted to say “What?”.
What exactly was he supposed to do when something of this sort was done to him without any explanation?
???: [Weitz, say what you like, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Look, Schwartz is frozen stiff.]
???: [Ha, are ya tryna say that we ain’t got anythin’ to worry about, huh? To begin with, there’s no need to pile up a mountain of meat for this midget. We’ll split it between us… Owww!]
Weitz: [It’s the portion we’d discussed and settled on for him… And if yer gonna ignore that, why don’t’cha try and convince me…]
As he said this, the tattooed man prodded the lizardman on his side with the fork in his hand. Screaming, the lizardman fled to the other side of the table.
Sighing at that sight, the rust-haired man looked at Subaru with a shrug of his shoulders.
???: [Sorry for all the racket, Schwartz. How’s your body?]
Subaru: […It feels okay. Same there?]
???: [We’re not badly hurt either. Thanks to… you.]
After rephrasing this, the rust-haired man―― Idra, bowed his head slightly toward Subaru.
It was not just Idra. The squabbling tattooed man and lizardman, Weitz and Hiain, raising their hands in surrender, both agreed with Idra by nodding their heads in Subaru’s direction.
Currently, Subaru was in a corner of one of the island’s areas that were open to gladiators, a large hall with tables and chairs, generally used as a dining space.
As soon as he appeared in the hall, Subaru had been immediately grabbed by three people who had come into his sight, and was suddenly brought to one of the tables, being presented with the platter in front of him.
Frankly, it was a dizzying, bizarre situation, and yet,
Subaru: [By any chance, did you save this for me?]
Hiain: [Ahh? What else could it be? Ungrateful brat… Owww!]
Weitz: [Don’t say that like yer taking credit for it, I’ll beat’cha up…]
Hiain: [I didn’t say that, and I’m grateful for what you did, damn it!]
Pointing to the pile of meat on the bone, Subaru had asked a question, resulting in the ensuing altercation.
This could not be called a very smart way to show it, but it seemed to be a sign of appreciation. For a feast like this to be served, Subaru became quite unsure about the way the gladiators were treated.
Subaru: [It’s like, even though you make them kill each other, you let them have their fill of food…?]
???: [Technically, it’s not killing each other, it’s a deathmatch, y’know. Also, Gustav-san’s policy is that should a gladiator die, it should only happen in the gladiatorial arena. Letting them die anywhere other than there’d only prove the incompetence of the management. So you can relax and enjoy your time here.]
Next to Subaru, who tilted his head, sat the fake Cecilus, who had pulled out a chair with great enthusiasm.
Subaru thought he would reach for his plate, given his brazenness, but surprisingly, he did not. Instead, he filled a chipped cup from a jug and took a sip of water.
Tanza: [Everyone believes that Schwartz-sama has done service of utmost greatness. Therefore, we have decided to prepare a treat.]
Subaru: [Tanza… Everyone, is that right?]
Tanza sat in the chair opposite the fake Cecilus, with Subaru in between. While in surprise at Tanza’s words, Subaru looked at the group of three of which Idra was a part of.
Idra nodded deeply at that gaze and said, “Yeah”,
Idra: [As I said before, it’s thanks to you that all of us are safe still. The night we survived the first Sparka, we were treated to a feast for the Unit, and I thought it’d be strange if you didn’t get your share of it.]
Weitz: [For the record, I’m the one who suggested it…]
Hiain: [Heh, tho’ I wasn’t gonna leave any for the brat!]
In turn, they told him why the platter of food had been saved for him. But at the words left behind by Hiain, Tanza next to him tilted her head,
Tanza: [I wonder if that is so. As I recall, I believe it was Hiain-sama who first said that he was uncomfortable eating with only those present.]
Hiain: [Huuuh!? I didn’t say that tho’! I dunno anythin’ ‘bout that tho’! Hey, you lil’ bitch, I won’t tolerate ya sayin’ unreliable shit like that!]
Idra: [Cut that out, Hiain. You can’t beat Tanza. That girl beheaded the Guiltilaw.]
Tanza: [I did indeed behead it.]
As Idra stopped him with a hand, Tanza bowed, and Hiain, unable to retort, concluded it with a “Guh”, and gave up his assault by turning his reptilian face away.
So this was a token of appreciation from all of them, including the not-so-honest lizardman.
Subaru: [I’m grateful, I won’t be shy at all about taking this meal then!]
Cecilus: [Oh, you’re a really gluttonous eater! The way you show your generous acceptance’s also terribly excellent, y’know.]
Weitz: [Don’t overdo it and get a stomachache…]
Subaru: [Don’t worry. I may look like this, but I used to be a famous school food fighter who ate up all the school lunches of those who were absent.] 
Getting milk from the kids who would not drink it was a piece of cake, and he also brushed his teeth before breakfast; that was Natsuki Subaru’s school food fighter battle style. 
The meat was cold and tough, but its generous seasoning was not that bad, so he couldn’t complain. Above all, it was a treat that everyone had saved for Subaru, and that was the best spice of all.
Yet, as he watched Subaru bite the meat off the bone like that, Weitz turned his pattern-covered face to the side and said, “No…”,
Weitz: [Don’t get any creepy misunderstandings… Not like I’m worried ’bout’cha…]
Subaru: [――? So you’re regretting the piece of meat you gave me now, or something?]
Weitz: [That’s not it either… It’s the deathmatchs…]
Weitz’s words were low and hushed, but the words resonated very profoundly with Subaru.
That very instant, Subaru almost dropped the meat from his hand, but fingers from the fake Cecilus caught it from the side and quickly stuck it in Subaru’s mouth.
Cecilus: [Relaxrelaxrelax you’re going to choke. Besides, Tattoo-san over there was a little lacking in his words just now. Don’t worry, there won’t be a deathmatch anytime soon.]
Subaru: [Uggu… Is… that right?]
Tanza: [Indeed. Currently, we have not received any notice of that so far. However, we do not know at what time we will be informed of a deathmatch, it seems.]
After finishing off all the meat, leaving only the bone, and pecking the remnants on his plate, he looked at Weitz. Listening to what the fake Cecilus and Tanza had to add, Weitz nodded.
Weitz: [That’s what I said…]
Subaru: [No you didn’t! I thought they were going to make us kill each other soon!]
Idra: [It’s not that harsh a place, indeed. I heard it used to be handled in the way Schwartz was concerned about, until the Island Chief was replaced and the policy changed.]
Subaru: [Before the changeover… So since Gustav-san took over?]
Idra nodded in response to the question, as Subaru reached for the next piece of meat.
In his mind, as he was reminded of Gustav’s intense face, which did not reveal any emotion at all, Subaru puzzled over what kind of person he was.
He was ruthless enough to suddenly throw Subaru into Sparka as soon as he took a look at the latter after waking up.
He had thought he would be very much something like the violent rules of the cruel Vollachian Empire in person, but from the extent of what he heard, it was not like the gladiators were being forced into seemingly deadly battles straight away.
Subaru: [Or maybe they just like to do it slowly rather than all at once?]
Cecilus: [You can see that I’m not just a “do on a whim” kind of person. In fact, if Basu hadn’t woken up, probably only these three here would be in the Unit facing the Sparka. If that’d happened, you’d probably have a much darker look on your face at this dinner party!]
Hiain: [T-that ain’t funny, you know! In the first place, why the hell are you even here!?]
The fake Cecilus laughed at Subaru’s words, followed by Hiain pointing and barking back in his face.
Indeed, if one were to ask, it was true. The fake Cecilus was the one who had helped Subaru and Tanza get ashore on the island, but that was the only connection between them.
Idra: [I’ve heard that every Gladiator here joins a Unit for Sparka at some point or another. After that, depending on their success, they may break up the Unit depending on their performance, but your Unit is…]
Cecilus: [Ah, if you’re worried about my Unit, don’t. Everyone except for me has died, and fortunately I’m already a gladiator who gets allocated solo deathmatches.]
Cecilus: [I mean, I’m the strongest! No one can beat me, so you don’t have to worry about me at all, a-ha-ha!]
Subaru and everyone else clammed up as the fake Cecilus slapped his knee.
However, Subaru and Tanza’s reasons for keeping quiet were surely different from the reasons for the other three men. For that matter, both Subaru and Tanza’s were also a bit different at the core.
Idra and others would probably consider the words of the fake Cecilus as a huge lie, while Tanza was suspecting that the fake Cecilus was actually related to the real Cecilus Segmunt.
Then there was Subaru; who was thinking that he may be the shrunken Cecilus Segmunt, which, if true, then the fake Cecilus may still be the strongest even in this state.
If so, it would be very advantageous to have the fake Cecilus on their side――,
Cecilus: [――You shouldn’t do that, Basu. Looking at your opponent with such greedy eyes’ll have you be scorned.]
Cecilus: [A person with the attributes to stand on top and in front, they shouldn’t have that sorta avaricious, pleading look in their eyes. It’s not smart in any way, shape, or form, so you should stop it! If you want to impress me, don’t use words. Use actions, resolve, and a treasured signature catchphrase.]
Saying this, the fake Cecilus advised Subaru, by taking two of the bones from his plate and crossing them in front of his face, forming them into an X symbol.
Having been told something so astute that it was as if the fake Cecilus had read his mind, Subaru gulped down his saliva.
Subaru: […You said it wasn’t about words, but if a signature catchphrase is needed, then you need words too, right.]
Cecilus: [Heyyy, that’s true! That was quite sloppy! Just what has struck me, out of all people!?]
With wide-open eyes, the fake Cecilus leaned heavily against the back of his chair and then leaned forward as if being pushed forward. Subaru stiffened as his face suddenly got close to him; seeing that, the fake Cecilus shaped his whole face into a massive grin.
Cecilus: [Well then, sorry for interrupting you. I’ve also got a lotta matters to attend to, people to talk to, and ways to pass the time, so I’ll leave you here for now. Don’t worry, I’ll be in the other room next to you, so if there’s anything you still need to talk about, you’ll have to go there!]
Subaru: [Ah, um, roger that.]
Cecilus: [Rawjur? I don’t know what that is, but it sounds rather gallant! Well then, roger that!]
While making a slight misinterpretation, the fake Cecilus raised his hand and ran off before there was time to stop him.
Although there had been no reason to stop him, Subaru was shocked at the lightning-fast speed with which he had left.
In actuality, he wasn’t so much of a hindrance that he could be called an obstacle; as he just wanted to have someone around who knew the ins and outs of the Gladiator Island.
Subaru: [Well, it gets tiring hearing him speak roughly five times the amount of information I actually want.]
Tanza: [Schwartz-sama, please continue your meal.]
Subaru: [Ah, yeah, that’s right. I’ve got to get my strength back.]
No matter what Gustav was thinking, he had no intention of staying quiet until the next deathmatch was assigned.
In the first place, he had no intention of staying here as a gladiator for very long. His goal was to take Tanza and get off the island today or tomorrow.
Worst-case scenario, they could become hostile to Gustav.
However, if they did that――,
Hiain: [What’s up, Schwartz?]
Subaru: [Umm, I was just wondering if you guys were worried. Can you do this without me?]
Hiain: [Ah? The hell ya talkin’ ’bout? Ya’re not thinkin’ of runnin’ away, are ya? If that’s the case then return the meat, the meat!]
Hiain opened his big mouth to yell at the anxious-looking Subaru.
Although they had every right to be angry, Subaru had people who were more important to him than they were. Should he consider leaving with not only Tanza, but also the other three together?
Subaru: […Rather, maybe everyone on the Island could escape?]
Subaru: [Ah, sorrysorry, I was just talking to myself. As you’d expect, that was just some rambling.]
It was a troubling idea that he couldn’t let other people hear carelessly, even if he was just talking to himself under his breath.
However, Weitz, Idra, Hiain, and of course Subaru and Tanza had been forced to come to the Gladiator Island despite the fact that they did not want to participate in the deathmatches here.
If that was the case for the other people as well, then surprisingly, perhaps Subaru’s idea was not as ridiculous as one might think.
And, just as Subaru was thinking that.
???: [So you’ve finally woken up, kid.]
???: [That Sparka the other day, that was a helluva big deal, ya know!]
???: [I screwed up by not goin’ to watch it. I only got to hear rumors about this and that afterwards, man.]
People gathered around Subaru as he reached for the meat on his plate.
The men who spoke to Subaru in such a friendly manner were all men who looked like they had a reason for being there―― even without a detailed explanation, he was sure they were all gladiators.
Newcomers to the great hall and those who had been watching Subaru and his comrades from a distance both gathered there, creating a bit of a buzz around Subaru.
Subaru: [Uhm, you all are?]
???: [Can’t you tell just by lookin’? We’re your precursors on this island. You guys had quite the hectic and not-at-all borin’ Sparka!!]
The men started laughing around Subaru, whose eyes widened in surprise.
Only, they didn’t say it in a mocking tone, but in a genuinely complimentary way. Incidentally, while being surrounded by them, Idra had a forced smile, Hiain looked uncomfortable, and Weitz sulked silently.
Gladiator: [That girl’s entrance at the end was a sight to behold. She’s a lot stronger than she looks.]
Tanza: [Thank you very much. It is all thanks to the grace of those who love me.]
Gladiator: [Oh? I see. I don’t quite get it, but that was a good deathmatch!]
Not getting too deep into what the bowing Tanza said, were the perfectly open-minded large men. While they talked about how Subaru and his team fought in Sparka with their every gesture,
Gladiator: [However, it’s a big deal. That Gladiator Beast… That shadow lion’s taken out a lot of Units.]
Another Gladiator: [If you guys’d been taken out, I think the total number of Units knocked out by that thing would’ve been ten. The recent Sparkas continue to be rough.]
Gladiator: [That’s surely what Governor Gustav wants. Once you’re welcomed as a Gladiator, you’re gonna be treated well, as the entrance’s the toughest part… The next shows’re gonna be scary.]
There was no shortage of topics to discuss as they raucously talked about the situation on Ginunhive. Subaru nodded along, urging each of them to continue while he collected information on the island.
It seemed that ever since Gustav had become the Island Chief, the policy had also become much different from before after all. Also, that lion seemed to be rather strong, and Subaru and the others who won were now rated highly.
Subaru: [I see, so it was worth all the hard work on our part… Shows, you say?]
Gladiator: [Yeah, we have regular shows here where nobles from all over the Empire get together and make a spectacle out of our deathmatches. Sparka and daily deathmatches are all trainin’ for the real deal!]
Gladiator: [Dyin’ during practice won’t be any good. The Governor knows that. If you work hard, you won’t get any reprimands… Ah, there’s an exception.]
Subaru: [An exception?]
Subaru tilted his head at the sight of the strong, muscular man with a fierce look stroking his nose as if he’d had trouble saying that.
He was silent for a moment, then sighed deeply and continued,
Strong Gladiator: [I hate to tell you this ’cause you get along so well with him, but don’t associate with that guy.]
Subaru: [And that guy, would be…?]
Thinking of the strong man’s phrasing and the one absent, there was only one person who fell under this category.
Subaru continued with a “Could it be..?”,
Subaru: [You don’t mean Ceci? If anything, he’s following me…]
Strong Gladiator: [Yeah, he seems to have taken a likin’ to you, but how much can you count on that? ――He came here only twenty days ago.]
Strong Gladiator: [At his first Sparka, he did nothing and watched as his Unit was annihilated, and once his allies were gone, he killed the Gladiator Beast with his bare hands, effortlessly!]
Strong Gladiator: [After that, every time he was assigned a deathmatch, he had the nerve to cheer his opponent on ’til all others were dead. And, for some reason, he calls himself by the name of General First-Class Cecilus Segmunt.]
As he spoke, the strong man looked at the entrance to the hall with a mixture of heartfelt suspicion on his face and in his voice. The entrance that the fake Cecilus―― Cecilus Segmunt, had exited through just a moment before.
And it was not just the strong face speaking directly to Subaru that possessed such eyes.
Save for Subaru’s Unit comrades, who did not know of him, the same held true for everyone present.
He was a man who was friendly to Subaru, who had displayed his incomprehensibly narrative-driven brain to the point of having him fed up, who had tried asking Subaru, when he was dying, about his final will and testament, and who was fiercely disliked by the Gladiators, who were living side-by-side with death.
Strong Gladiator: [――Governor Gustav and that Death God are the central figures in the current Gladiator Island’s irregularities.]
 The Japanese phrase for boy-who-cried-wolf is オオカミ少年 which is lit. Wolf Boy, hence why Cecilus interprets this as Subaru calling him a werewolf
 The term フードファイタ is an English loan word in Japanese saying “Food Fighter”, however, the actual meaning of the word is that of “Competitive Eater”
 The expression 朝飯前 directly means “before breakfast”, but is used to express the idea of something being easy, akin to phrases like “child’s play” and “piece of cake”. The pun in this sentence is that Subaru refers to something that is easy, then uses the same term to say he does something before breakfast…