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――The most important thing for him, when he asked Old Man Null for a “drug”, was its reliability.
Originally, Old Man Null wasn’t exactly an eager student of medicine.
He was just an amateur who had been allowed access to the healing room after treating a fellow Gladiator and, somehow, he ended up staying there.
So it was obvious, that those on the administrative side of the island would not give Old Man Null, one of the Gladiators, a highly effective drug that could be either poison or medicine.
That was why it was impossible for Old Man Null to concoct a drug―― an immediately effective “strong poison”.
The only thing Old Man Null could make was a deleterious concoction of as many drugs as he could get his hands on, which would kill someone by disrupting the blood flow throughout their body.
If one were to swallow it, they would definitely die after suffering tremendously―― however, its existence, if you thought about it, it was somewhat convenient for Subaru.
Subaru: [After all, my foundation is being a lazy, giant idiot.]
Considering Subaru’s over reliant nature, a poison that killed without causing suffering was out of the question.
He would immediately think about starting over on something trivial and start relying on the poison’s potency. In doing so, Natsuki Subaru would become a monster.
An inhuman monster that didn’t understand human pain or suffering.
Subaru: [No way, absolutely NO!]
Already, the memory and realization of the time when his arms and legs were fully grown were fading away. Even so, Subaru didn’t allow his experience and ideals to be twisted any further.
That change in nature would be a betrayal to everyone who had accepted this Subaru.
I can betray myself, but not everyone, not my family.
While Natsuki Subaru could be postponed, Natsuki Subaru’s ties could not.
Subaru: […Sorry Old Man Null for lying about using it against a Sparka opponent.]
Even if Natsuki Subaru experienced hellish pain, he could not withdraw his outstretched hands.
Because that was that one core that would not bend, even on this Gladiator Island of distant waters.
Though he had tried to put on strong front――,
Subaru: [Gah, guu, gee… hk]
Gritting his teeth to the point they were about to seemingly break, Subaru endured a pain that tore his heart to shreds. ――No, he was not enduring it. The pain he endured had already passed.
He died, he returned, so the suffering from which that death originated was nowhere to be found.
Still, his soul dragged on. That was why, both tears and snot, did not cease trickling out.
Weitz: [Oi, Schwartz…! What’s the matter, all of a sudden…!]
Subaru: [I-I’m fhine…]
Weitz: [How can you be fine… in such an ugly state…!]
Weitz’s voice trembled as Subaru cowered on the spot, his face smeared with various fluids.
He rushed over to raise Subaru up, and without hesitation, wiped his runny nose with his bare hands. Every time, Weitz’s attitude always impressed Subaru.
To be able to act without believing dirty people were dirty, that was an incredibly respectable thing.
Subaru: [Aah, uu…]
Violently wiping away his runny nose and tears, Subaru put his hand to his dazed head.
Little by little, as the past shock of dying faded away, he accepted the slow present of being alive. Switching over to an easygoing consciousness happened generally every time Subaru died from the “drug”.
He had prepared the “poison” behind his molar as a trump card in order to ensure his death, but surprisingly, it did not come into play as Subaru’s cause of death on the Gladiator Island very often.
In the midst of Sparka, the deaths were overwhelmingly caused by the claws and fangs of the Gladiator Beast drawing near.
However, when he was unable to die, or when he was unsure of how to be up to the task in a situation where casualties had been made, he had no choice but to have this “drug” carry out its purpose.
That was, the excruciating anguish Natsuki Subaru had to bear.
Subaru: […Since it’s my fault for screwing up.]
If the person who should somehow be able to do the most failed, what could the rest of them do?
Subaru had a responsibility. The responsibility of having the highest probability to somehow accomplish something.
Although it was not the power he had desired to obtain, if it was Natsuki Subaru, he would be able to master it.
Natsuki Kenichi, because he was the son of that person.
Weitz: [――Hk, what…!?]
Subaru: [The drawbridge… hk]
He pressed his fist against the dirty floor, however, the entire island creaked and shook as he tried to raise himself up.
From Weitz in front of him and the gloomy cold atmosphere, Subaru realized that the place he had died and returned to was the lower stratum of Gladiator Island―― just before the drawbridge had been raised.
Connecting the island and the outside world, the only bridge that stood.
Subaru: [――They’re coming.]
That scene, akin to a painting of hell itself, along with the utmost horrid adversary who painted it.
The person he prayed to never meet again―― Todd had come for a rematch.
Trembling, Subaru hugged his shoulders as fear engulfed him.
As soon as he closed his eyes, what came back to him behind his eyelids was the disastrous scene riddled with corpses. The faces he knew, blood pouring from their eyes and noses, trembling with fear while lying on the ground, that was the utmost horrid memory.
Weitz before him, wiping Subaru’s runny nose, was no exception.
Subaru: [That kind of, never again…]
He must not let it happen, that sense of duty fired up his chest.
However, even though he was so enthusiastic, his thoughts stopped at the question of what to do. How in the world was such a desperate situation even created?
From the Imperial Capital under the name of envoys, entering the Gladiator Island were Todd, and Arakiya.
Just having a Divine General, who had once opposed him, standing in his way was enough to give him a headache, but to have Todd, the human devil, join the fray was the worst possible nightmare.
In the first place, just why were Todd and Arakiya together?
Subaru: […I’m an idiot, I remember. The one who let Arakiya escape after she was captured, it was that guy.]
It could be considerably shocking, but memories related to Todd were surprisingly clear.
Subaru and Todd’s shared fate, the end of that had been in the high-walled city―― Guaral, during the middle of an operation to occupy the City Hall. When Subaru, dressed as a woman, had interacted with him, that had been the end of it.
After that, the rampaging Arakiya was done away with by Priscilla, clad in crimson; then Arakiya, who should have been captured, was released by somebody, somebody who Subaru suspected to be Todd.
If they were together now, it appeared that his guess had not been incorrect.
Subaru: [Damn it, even though you said you wanted to go back to your fiancée, why are you here? If you quietly returned to your home town… that big lying bastard…!]
Even if he groaned about the discrepancy in that promise, it was not like it would make Todd disappear. Though he understood this, he had to let out his pent-up anger at least once.
After doing that, he inhaled a deep breath, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled.
Weitz: [The next, victim of Sparka…?]
Subaru: [Not necessarily. Weitz, can you help me out a little?]
Weitz: [――. Did you forget what I said just now…?]
The tattoo on Weitz’s face contorted as Subaru heard this, feeling the tremors under his feet.
The words Weitz had said at this time. Subaru’s head was in a panic because of the aftermath of the “drug,” but he remembered them because they had a great impact.
Subaru: [Just lending strength, right? So please, lend me your strength.]
Weitz: [As long as you get it, it’s fine…. So, what do ya want me to do…?]
Naturally, they were going to see the next Gladiator candidates come across the drawbridge.
He was thinking that would have been suggested, but Weitz, with his arms crossed, switched quickly. That strong sense of duty, and the rule he once decided for himself which he obstinately abided by, were truly helpful.
With great appreciation for Weitz’s personality――,
Subaru: [Just a little is fine. I need you to stall the people who came to the island just now.]
――Natsuki Subaru’s only weapon, the Authority of Return by Death.
Since coming to the Vollachian Empire, in the midst of surmounting various obstacles, it had clearly been generating malfunctions.
The biggest reason that came to mind, originated from the ongoing “infantilization” assailing Subaru.
Since his body had shrunk like this, Return by Death had been producing complete disorder.
The prime example of that had been those horrible ten seconds on Chaosflame’s Crimson Lapis Castle.
It seemed those endless ten seconds were not for the sake of saving Subaru, but rather had been bestowed for the sake of causing him despair; immediately after that had passed, the situation remained poor even on the Gladiator Island he had been sent to.
It was not to the extent of the ten seconds atop the castle tower, but the grace period granted was now unusually short.
This time too, he was able to go back roughly thirty minutes―― when taking the time limit until everyone on the island would begin to die into consideration, the time became even shorter.
In other words, Subaru had to overwrite this situation in under thirty minutes..
For that purpose――,
Subaru: [First, I need time to think. ――Remember remember remember, what just happened.]
He depended on Weitz, who had powerfully declared he would undertake that request, that request of him to delay the arriving envoys from passing through.
However, he had also said that there would be no strategy involving Weitz himself going on a rampage.
The reason was simple, even if Weitz went on a rampage, should Arakiya be there, he would be stopped in an instant. Furthermore, if Todd was there, Weitz would be mercilessly killed.
Both of those were events Subaru wanted to avoid.
Subaru: [Everyone, they bled from their faces as they died… poison gas? Some sort of magic?]
He was in the middle of revealing that he intended on escaping from Gladiator Island.
Hiain and Weitz, then Idra all collapsed one after the other, Tanza too had been no exception to that. Together, everyone died the same way, he thought probably, there had been no mistake there.
If it meant that the cause of death had been the same, then the other Gladiators who had fallen were also―― that was not right.
Subaru: [The guards, they were also part of those who had died.]
If he properly remembered the events that had occurred, there were really no exceptions in that hell.
Unable to think straight at the time, he had not checked to see if the Gladiator Beasts in the cages were still alive, but at least all the humans, without exception, had died―― that was not right either. There had been exceptions.
Subaru: [Me, and Todd.]
Indeed, without dying, only Subaru and Todd had met face to face on the island.
However, though he did not die, he still felt the pain of almost dying, and just like everyone else, the phenomenon of blood streaming out his face had also occurred within Subaru. Todd, did not seem to be like that.
Since it was difficult to imagine he would be able to casually endure that, it was sure Todd had not been subject to those means of dying.
Subaru: [If it’s poison gas, did Todd take an antidote before coming here or something? If it’s some kind of magic, was it Arakiya who used it…? Come to think of it, Arakiya was nowhere to be found.]
Although he did not have that kind of intention, he had briefly checked the corpses of all his acquaintances.
Tanza and the others who had collapsed in front of him, Orson and the others whom he had saved in the second Sparka, Old Man Null who had been in the healing room, and even the guard he recognized, who had given him an unwelcoming reception.
Everyone, absolutely everyone, had become motionless as blood streamed from their faces.
Subaru: [But, there are just three people I didn’t see.]
――Those were Arakiya and Gustav, then, the fake Cecilus makes it three people.
Of course, Subaru did not remember every Gladiator on the island either, so he could not really declare that all of them had died. However, he could not be certain about those three.
Arakiya was someone on Todd’s side. Since she was an ally of Todd, who was probably the mastermind behind the massacre, it was only natural that she would not have died in the massacre.
However, just what had happened to the other two?
Gustav, the Chief of the island who held the position of Governor, and the fake Cecilus, the enigmatic and suspicious juvenile.
Even on this Gladiator Island, those two were in special positions――.
Indeed, just as he remembered these two special people, a bolt of lightning suddenly ran though Subaru’s mind.
The massacre that had occurred on the island, he suspected that it had been brought about through the means of magic or poison gas, however, while it was a feeble possibility, there was one more thing that came to mind.
That was something which only had a large influence on this Gladiator Island―― it was the “curse rule.”
The Gladiator Island Ginunhive’s Gladiators were shackled by the binds of an unseen impairment.
The curse rule, if disobeyed, would even put one’s life in peril, the prospects of its candidacy were rising.
Subaru: [However, the curse rule was just an empty threat, it shouldn’t actually exist.]
Subaru himself had increased his belief in relation to that through risking his life in a back and forth with Gustav.
He had clearly told Gustav that he was escaping from Gladiator Island, thus displeasing Gustav and defying the will of the Emperor of Vollachia, to whom he swore allegiance.
If there really was a curse rule, Gustav would have used it against him there. If he did not make an example of Subaru with it, the Gladiator Island’s order would crumble.
If he circulated the fact of there being no curse rule, it would be a rather major incident involving the Gladiators rioting.
Subaru: [No matter how much Gustav-san doesn’t want us to die, it wouldn’t be logical to bend on there. So there shouldn’t be a curse rule… No, I’m overthinking it.]
Gustav’s policy of doing as much as he could to keep his Gladiators alive, whether true or not, there were grounds that made it easier to deny the curse rule. There were many, many of those lying around.
It was not just the Gladiators who had died, but also the guards, was it not?
Subaru: [Gustav-san has no reason to kill all the guards… If you put it that way, there’s also no reason for him to kill all the Gladiators out of nowhere.]
The more he thought about it, the more Gustav’s intentions seemed unrelated to the massacre.
If that were the case, narrowing down the reasoning to backtrack to the initial two options, either the mastermind Todd had scattered poison gas, or cooperating with Arakiya, had used some outrageous magic.
However, both of these had the exact same problem.
Subaru: [Why was the effect so weak on just me?]
Excluding Todd, who would have taken precautions beforehand, Subaru had been the only one with trivial symptoms.
What was it about Subaru that had made him alone different from everyone else who had died?
Was it because he was a child? ――No, Tanza had died.
A difference in what he had done before? ――No, Weitz had died.
Did race make a difference? ――No, Hiain and Idra had both died together.
Because he was from another world? Because he had spent time in the Kingdom? Because he had a contractual relationship with a super-cute Spirit? Because he was continuously stalked by a Witch? Because he was “infantilized” into a smaller body? What else, what else what else what else what else, what else was there?
――Only Subaru, what was different from everyone else, something had been.
Subaru: [What is that――]
???: [――Oh, Basu, is something troubling you?]
A voice came from behind Subaru, who had been frantically racking his brain to search for possibilities.
Because it was so sudden, and because he had erased the possibility of the speaker from his mind, Subaru, who had screamed, turned around with eyes wide open.
Behind Subaru, walking with his hands in the sleeves of his kimono, was the fake Cecilus.
Subaru blinked his eyes in surprise several times at that attitude, carefree as always.
Cecilus: [Yes that’s correct, but what’s up with that reaction? You look as if me being here is an earth-shatteringly outrageous development. It’s true that I’m the leading actor of this world, so I can understand why you might feel daunted, but my intention was just to spend my time close to Basu at a distance where I can talk to you and touch you, you know?]
In this way, the fake Cecilus, approaching from in front of him, looked down into Subaru’s face at close enough of a distance that he could almost feel his breath on his face.
At that unchanging attitude and gesture, Subaru involuntarily backed away.
Just then, from the Subaru’s side, the fake Cecilus quietly looked at the view below―― from next to the ascending Subaru, he got a view of the already submerged drawbridge.
Cecilus: [It seems that the Imperial Carriage wasn’t carrying participants for the next Sparka, but even more separate guests. That’s what everyone on the island was talking about.]
Subaru: […Ah, they seem to be emissaries from the Imperial Capital. I don’t know what they came here for though.]
Cecilus: [When it comes to emissaries from the Imperial Capital, I can imagine that they came to inform us about the situation outside, or to make preparations concerning the next show. As you want to leave this place, Basu, wouldn’t that be good news for you?]
Subaru: [――. I’m not gonna deny it.]
Subaru curtly responded to the fake Cecilus, who was looking at the surface of the lake, sheltering his eyes with his hand.
Frankly, this unforeseen encounter with the fake Cecilus had Subaru unsure of how to behave toward him.
He did not believe that the fake Cecilus committed the massacre along with Todd and Arakiya.
But, it was true that he, who supposedly should have been the most feared Gladiator on Gladiator Island, had vanished in the midst of the massacre.
Subaru: [Though for me too, it’s questionable whether my eyes were working properly…]
In such a horrific situation, by no means could he be said to have been mentally stable.
Even so, if someone had competed or battled within the island, it would have been impossible for them to fail to hear it.
That was why, back then, if thought about what had become of the fake Cecilus――,
Subaru: [Did he die somewhere I couldn’t see him, was he not on the island?]
But if he was not on the island, then where and how?
Even at this very moment, while he was talking to the fake Cecilus, the clock was ticking down to the time limit. Until that absurd eventuality, even though the fake Cecilus had no time to spare either.
Cecilus: [You’re not gonna deny it. But your face says that you’re worried about other things, y’know.]
He thought and he thought, but Subaru got nowhere, and the fake Cecilus instinctively picked at his ambiguous words.
It was probably just guesswork, and not something like a reading of Subaru’s expression, speech, or conduct. It was intuition. That he had reeled in the correct interpretation, was something that guys like the fake Cecilus were capable of.
Since a handful of those kinds of monsters were crowding this world, Subaru’s resolve came into question.
That would not lose, that he must not lose, that resolve.
Subaru: [Ceci, something terrible is about to happen on the island. Probably, those guys from the Imperial Capital are responsible. I can’t tell you the details but…]
Cecilus: [Judging from the seriousness of the situation, it would also be horrifying to even put into words… the inescapable situation of that little deer-girl and the people of Basu’s Unit. No, was it more like a certain death kind of feeling?]
Cecilus: [Well, Basu’s striking response has a rather nice mood to it! However, is that so? I’m delighted that there are finally signs of things happening. I was so tired of waiting that I was about to die!]
Laughing with his mouth open, the fake Cecilus cheerfully stomped his feet.
Taken aback by the reaction, which was as if he were warmly welcoming trouble, then, while Subaru bared his teeth, he rushed to shorten the distance between himself and the other party.
Subaru: [Ceci! It’s not a joke! Everyone is in trouble!]
Cecilus: [That is more gravitas! It is wonderful if you’re not joking. I’d welcome it, since it’d be souring to be told that everything was just thinking too much of a made-up story here. Crisis, predicament, and hardship! A great relief!]
Cecilus: [Or could it be, did you truly think I would unconditionally take your side, Basu?]
When Subaru complained that Cecilus could not understand the gravity of the situation, Cecilus lowered his voice. It was just as if the glint in his eyes wanted to say that Subaru was the one who could not understand.
Experiencing the blade-like coldness of those long slit blue eyes, Subaru gulped a breath.
As the fake Cecilus broadly smiled at the silent Subaru,
Cecilus: [――Here, right here.]
Then, assailing Subaru with straightforward words, he did a twirl on the spot and outstretched his hands.
On the mountainside of this Gladiator Island, in order to set the stage as the high ground from where they overlooked the island and half the lake. The fake Cecilus looked up to the sky, opened his mouth wide, and――,
Cecilus: [This is undoubtedly the divide! You had asked if you could unconditionally get me on your side, but allow me to inform you that at this very moment, you can fulfill the conditions.]
Subaru: [Right now, this moment…]
Cecilus: [Yes, yes, that’s right! Basu, you enthrall me through your premonitions! Connecting through our anticipation! Make me laugh through your negotiations! And, you are proving yourself right at the climax!]
Cecilus: [Come along now, oh wolf pierced by the sword! All you Observers who look down upon these harsh and ruthless vast lands, see him clear! In this world, he, who is enthralling me, this very Cecilus Segmunt!]
The spectators present beyond the sky, it seemed that if he was not convinced of that existence, he would not have been able to make that outstanding utterance.
Without exaggeration, it would be natural to doubt the sanity of the fake Cecilus’ eccentric behavior, certainly anyone on this island would avert their eyes and not lend their ears to his conduct, however Subaru had acquired a peculiar confidence.
The fake Cecilus was―― no, Cecilus Segmunt, was the genuine article.
This genuine article of a monster, truly had faith that he could speak to the world, then if the world actually had a mind of its own, then the world had become nailed down to him.
This little monster had been overflowing with that much presence and persuasiveness.
Cecilus: [What was that?]
Subaru: [I’m going to make you my comrade. I’m gonna work you hard, that’s what I’ve decided.]
While being overwhelmed, though it was not the time for it, Subaru helf he hand against his chest and spoke out.
Firmly setting his eyes on the other party, he declared that.
Cecilus: [――That impulsiveness, I don’t dislike it, rather, I quite like it.]
He conceived a smile as he spoke, however this has not been the same carefree smile Cecilus had wore until now, but rather a smile that merely relaxed his lips as he responded to Subaru.
Perhaps it was a sign that Cecilus had undoubtedly recognized Subaru as a challenger.
Immediately following that――,
Cecilus: [――I see.]
Tightening the lips that had just displayed a smile, Cecilus gently stroked his chin with a finger.
The chin that blood had trickled down from his finely shaped nose, and fallen.
Seeing the fresh blood spilling from Cecilus’ nose, Subaru hurriedly looked over the hand railing.
Looking down onto the island, it was not like he could see inside of rooms or into the basement, but even so the extent of what he could see here and there, he understood that there had been the collapsed figures of many people.
The massacre, it had begun.
In the time Subaru had been using to put the situation in order and consider the possibilities carefully.
Death had violently ravaged the people throughout the island, harvesting lives without exception.
Indeed, without exception――.
As he pulled himself away from the railing, while also feeling a sting inside his nose, Subaru worried about Cecilus, who had sat down next to him.
Cecilus rested his back against the railing, perspiring as he slumped down into a crossed legged sitting position.
He had an easygoing attitude, but the blood coming from his nose, which he was holding down with his hand, had not ceased.
Subaru: [A-are you, okay?]
Cecilus: [Well, this sure seems tricky. This is a quite formidable enemy, Basu. Concerning this opponent, does there happen to be any shortcomings you’re aware of?]
Subaru: [Is this the time to be saying that!? You’re bleeding from your nose, and from your eyes too!]
Cecilus: [I see… though I was proud to say that I had never spilled a drop of blood until now.]
Even while they spoke, blood flowed from the sitting Cecilus’ eyes.
Cecilus was becoming so awful that it was hard to watch, but it was frightening that even with the blood pouring out of his nose, his tone of voice had not changed in the slightest.
However, the scariest thing about Cecilus, had not been that.
Subaru: [Aren’t you, afraid of dying…?]
Cecilus: [After all, people die.]
While understanding it had been imminent Death that was drawing ever closer, Cecilus responded without any hesitation.
Without hesitation, without bewilderment, without fear, without anxiety, without nervousness, without regret.
Unlike Subaru, there should have been nothing that lay beyond his death.
Even so, Cecilus had no fear towards the Death that should have been the most feared thing among living beings.
And so, without showing any fear of Death――,
The hand holding his nose down dropped, and as if to conceal the bloodstain, his sleeve enshrouded his arm, and with his back resting against the fence, Cecilus became motionless.
His eyelids were closed and cast down, and without even a twitch, he became unable to move.
Subaru clearly understood what that meant.
As the hand he placed over his coughing mouth was stained with blood, Death had also been drawing near to Subaru.
The same, the very same devastating scene had dominated the Gladiator Island in its entirety.
Slowly dragging his feet, Subaru wandered around the island, searching for survivors.
However, now that even Cecilus was out of the running, as if living up to Subaru’s tattered expectations, there was no occurrence of such an entity appearing.
Subaru: [Tanza, and the others too, and even Old Man Null…]
Everyone, they had all fallen and lost their lives.
Shutting the eyelids on the faces of everyone, which were astonished, and unable to comprehend the events that had occurred, he had been lightly wiping their faces, but was the best that Subaru could do for them.
Subaru: [Sorry, Tanza…]
He had failed. He had made a mistake in the procedure.
He should have also told Tanza and the others about the danger, and had them take some kind of precautions.
When he had converged with Tanza and the others before he ascended to higher ground, if only they had stayed together. If only he was able to finish things without letting her die, she, the anxious girl in this unreliable place, who knew nothing of the situation.
Until he found their bodies, he had not even thought about such an obvious thing.
Having wandered around the island, he had seen that all of the guards were dead as well.
The way they had died was the same as the Gladiators, everyone had bled to death from their faces. Along that way, he went to go see the cages where the Gladiator Beasts were locked up, Subaru saw that they too, had all died.
They had been collapsed in their cages, bleeding from their eyes and noses, having died in the same way that the humans had.
Subaru: […I guess that means I’m more durable.]
In a state of almost dying, he made a joke that the lifeless Gladiator Beasts did not laugh at.
It was hard to breathe because his nose was completely blocked by blood. His eyes had also become moist and misty, and when he wiped them with his fingers it was like a faint red curtain was being raised.
Only to Subaru, was the Death God, slowly approaching him, absolutely disgusting.
To that disgusting Death God, Subaru erected his trembling middle finger.
???: [――Hey you, what are you doing in a place like this?]
In the middle stratum of the island, in the place known as the courtyard, the Death God muttered as he cracked the bones in his neck.
Wearing a black bandana and giving the outward appearance of a friendly young man, was the Death God―― Todd. As he looked at Subaru, who had raised the middle finger towards him, he gradually drew closer.
Todd: [As you can see, I had thought all of the guys on the island had died, but…]
Todd, who had skillfully pulled out a large knife, wore a puzzled face as he looked at Subaru.
In many ways, he was probably thinking he had fallen into an unexplainable situation. Meeting a living person here must have been outside of Todd’s expectations.
The feeling of falling into an ambush, should have also been ominous to Todd.
However, Subaru knew that if he waited here, he would come.
If he could finish this without meeting him, he did not want to meet him, but this was a confrontation he could not avoid no matter what.
There was no one else left alive anymore, and in the time until Subaru died, the only one to have any chance of speaking to him, was this Death God.
The look in his eyes lacked negligence, but there was no hesitation in his approaching steps. It had not so much been an attitude of looking down upon Subaru, but more of an attitude of not viewing Subaru as a problem.
That he was underestimating because it was a child, could not be the case.
Without letting out jokes or metaphors, Subaru was already at the point of death. If one were overly cautious about a helpless child at the point of death, that was not cautiousness, that was cowardice.
Though, Todd could be spoken of as cunning and cautious, not as cowardly.
――Facing him, Subaru, who had let the girl’s Death go by through his stupidity, was thinking.
Even though Todd’s appearance had been just as he had wished, he was not sure if things from now would go as he wished.
Even if he had a chance, Todd was not a person who would give hints easily. He did not have the kindness to give a helpless dying child something to help them die in peace.
If so, against this cold blooded Death God, how could he bring back some form of information?
Maybe, there was just one thing.
Even if he did extremely well, the information he could get was just one thing.
That one thing, he had to make it something worth his while.
Step by step, the distance between Subaru and Todd diminished.
As soon as this distance reached zero, it would not be surprising if the other party silently stabbed Subaru to death. With an anemic head and body, he must draw the correct answer.
It was Todd who committed this massacre on the island. There was no use in asking.
Who is still alive? It would be useless to ask that. There would be no meaning.
Where is Arakiya? As much as he’d like to know, he did not think Todd would answer him. It would be useless.
What happened to Gustav? That, like Arakiya, would be a useless shot.
Then, that which remained, was it the method behind the massacre?
Poison gas, no. Subaru erased that option from his mind.
Halfway up the island mountain, he had happened upon Cecilus at the high ground, Subaru had decided to stay there after all. ――If the answer to the massacre was poison gas, then he would probably be safe with the strong winds of the high ground.
But as it turned out, neither Subaru, nor Cecilus, had escaped the carnage of the massacre. The possibility of poison gas was quite low when those at the exterior of the island had also collapsed.
Then, the other possibility was――,
The magic, of Arakiya. Arakiya, who had appeared together with Todd, used some kind of slaughter magic to annihilate the Gladiator, the guards, and the Gladiator Beasts on the island.
If he could acquire that certainty, then, next time, next time he’ll do it more properly.
If he could, acquire that certainty――.
Cecilus: [――Here, right here.]
That instant, an auditory hallucination dominated Subaru’s mind.
The voice of the star actor, who should no longer be here, yielded a heat within Subaru’s weak thinking.
And then, as if that heat was urging him to do so, he opened his mouth and――,
Subaru: [――THE CURSE RULE!!]
The possibility he had once erased, but could not fully erase, he shouted that in a loud voice to the Death God.
That bloodcurdling voice of Subaru was an inescapable attack, catching hold of the Death God. And then, the instant he heard that shout, the Death God―― Todd had moved.
The hint of suspicion, the bothersome air, just about everything had disappeared, leaving only the intent to kill.
If one were to see it in a sane state, that murderous intent was so thick and dense they would almost faint. With that in his eyes, holding the knife in his hand, Todd leapt at Subaru in a single breath.
The thrust of the cold blade buried it deep into Subaru’s chest.
Without a shred of mercy, the knife clawed through everything vital within his chest and wrenched out with a twist, to ensure that he would never be saved.
The gushing blood spurted up, staining Todd’s blank face with fresh blood.
He had been stabbed and then the blade was yanked out; the force of which flung his body to the hard ground. The blood rushed through his throat with a vigor he had never experienced before, as he spit out a gulp of blood alongside the packaged “drug”.
He bit down, but had failed to tear the envelope. But, this wound did not require the “drug.”
Todd: [From the inside of your mouth, are you sane?]
As he picked up the red-tinged package with his fingers and sniffed it, Todd muttered. Could he tell from the smell alone that the contents were dangerous; or did he guess since it came out of his mouth?
Either way, it did not matter. It was something that Subaru could no longer reach.
Only, only, if there was something he wanted to say, that was.
Subaru: [One, thing.]
The one thing, he had grasped it.
His expression changing, giving it precedence above all else, he hastily killed Subaru.
That was why, Subaru had grasped it.
He grasped it, he grasped it, and then, he had died.
In exchange for dying, he had grasped it.
――That which had been responsible for the killings upon the Gladiator Island Ginunhive, was the “curse rule” that should not have existed.
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