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――The most important thing for him when asking Old Man Null for a “drug”, had been its reliability.
For starters, 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 had 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 did not understand human pain or suffering.
Subaru: [No way, definitely NO!]
Already, the memory and realization of the time when his arms and legs were fully grown were both fading away. Even so, Subaru would not allow his experience and ideals to be twisted any further.
That change in nature would be a betrayal to everyone who had accepted Subaru as he was.
He could betray himself, but not everyone, not his family.
While Natsuki Subaru could be set side, Natsuki Subaru’s ties could not.
Subaru: […Sorry, Old Man Null, for lying about using it against a Sparka opponent.]
Even if Natsuki Subaru were to experience hellish pain, he could not withdraw his outstretched hands.
Because that was that one tenet that would not bend, even on this Gladiator Island of isolating waters.
Though he had tried to put on a strong front――,
Subaru: [Gah, guh, geh… hk]
Gritting his teeth to the point they were seemingly about to break, Subaru endured pain that tore his heart to shreds. ――No, he was not enduring it. The pain to endure had already passed.
He had died, he had 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 ya 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 hoist Subaru up, and without hesitation, wiped his runny nose with his bare hands. Every time, Weitz’s attitude would impress Subaru, always.
To be able to act without believing dirty people were dirty, that was an incredibly respectable thing.
Subaru: [Ahh, uh…]
Violently wiping away his runny nose and tears, Subaru put his hand to his dazed head.
Little-by-little, as the shock of dying in the past 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 had not come into play as Subaru’s cause of death on the Gladiator Island very often.
The overwhelming majority of his deaths during Sparka had been caused by the claws and fangs of the Gladiator Beast drawing near to him.
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 be able to, somehow, 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 that power was not one he had desired to obtain, provided it was Natsuki Subaru, he would be able to master it.
Because he was that person’s son, Natsuki Kenichi’s son.
Weitz: [――Hk, what…!?]
Subaru: [The drawbridge…!]
He pressed his fist against the dirty floor and, as he tried to raise himself up, the entire island creaked and shook.
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 the 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.
Once more, he would face a person he even prayed to never meet again―― he would have a rematch with Todd.
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?
Hailing from the Imperial Capital, under the name of envoys, and 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.
The end of Subaru and Todd’s shared fate had been in the high-walled city―― in Guaral, during an operation to occupy the City Hall. The end of it had been when Subaru, dressed as a woman, had interacted with him.
After that, the rampaging Arakiya was done away with by Priscilla, clad in crimson; then Arakiya, who had supposedly been captured, had been released by somebody, somebody who Subaru had suspected to be Todd.
If they were together now, it appeared that his guess had not been incorrect.
Subaru: [Damnit, even though you said you wanted to go back to your fiancée, why are you here? Had you just returned to your hometown quietly… That big lying bastard…!]
Even if he groaned about things differing from what he had promised, 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 victims for Sparka…?]
Subaru: [Not necessarily. Weitz, can you help me out a little?]
Weitz: [――. Did’cha forget what I said just now…?]
The tattoo on Weitz’s face contorted as Subaru heard this, feeling the tremors under his feet.
At this time, Weitz had spoken some words. Subaru’s head was in a panic because of the aftermath of the “drug”, but he remembered them because they’d had a great impact.
Subaru: [Just lending strength, right? So please, lend me your strength.]
Weitz: [As long as ya get it, it’s fine…. So, what do ya want me to do…?]
Naturally, they were going to see the next candidates for gladiator come across the drawbridge.
He was thinking that would probably be his proposal, but Weitz, with his arms crossed, switched quickly. That strong sense of duty, and the rule he had 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.
Ever since coming to the Vollachian Empire, and all while surmounting various obstacles, it had clearly been malfunctioning.
The biggest reason that came to mind was that the ongoing “infantilization” assailing Subaru was its origin.
Because his body had shrunk like it had, Return by Death had yielded behavior that was completely abnormal.
A prime example of that, were those horrible ten seconds on Chaosflame’s Crimson Lapis Castle.
It seemed those endless ten seconds had not been for the sake of saving Subaru, but rather 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 as bad as those ten seconds atop the castle tower, but the grace period granted now was unusually short.
This time too, he had been able to return roughly thirty minutes to the past―― when taking the time limit until everyone on the Island would begin to die into consideration, that time would become 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 was depending on Weitz’s benevolence, who had vigorously declared he would undertake that request 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 were present, Weitz would be killed without mercy.
Both of those, were events Subaru wanted to avoid.
Subaru: [As they died, everyone was bleeding from their faces… Poison gas? Some sort of magic?]
He was in the middle of revealing that he intended to escape from the Gladiator Island.
Hiain, Weitz and Idra had all collapsed one after the other, and Tanza, too, had been no exception to that. Everyone died the same way, together, so he thought that probably there was no mistaking it.
If that meant the cause of death had been the same, then the other gladiators who had fallen had also―― That was not it.
Subaru: [The guards, they were also part of those who had died.]
Remembering the events that had occurred properly, there really were 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 it, either. There had been exceptions.
Subaru: [Me, and Todd.]
Indeed, only Subaru and Todd had met face-to-face on the Island without dying.
However, though Subaru had not died, he had still felt the pain of being near death, and just like everyone else, the phenomenon of blood streaming out his face had also occurred to him. That did not seem to apply to Todd.
Since it was difficult to imagine he would be able to endure that nonchalantly, it was certain that 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’d had no intentions of the sort, 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 in the healing room, and even the guard he recognized, who had treated him coldly and harshly.
Everyone, absolutely everyone, had become motionless with blood streaming from their faces.
Subaru: [But, there are just three people I didn’t see.]
――Those were Arakiya and Gustav, alongside the fake Cecilus, making 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 Todd’s ally, 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 holding the position of Governor, and the fake Cecilus, the enigmatic and suspicious juvenile.
Even on this Gladiator Island, those two held 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 a feeble possibility, there was one more thing that came to mind.
Something which possessed a large influence on the Gladiator Island only―― 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 that, by risking his life in a back-and-forth with Gustav.
He had been clear in telling Gustav that he was escaping from the Gladiator Island, thus displeasing him and defying the will of the Vollachian Emperor, to whom Gustav swore allegiance.
If a curse rule truly were to exist, Gustav would have used it against him right there and then. If he did not make an example of Subaru with it, the Gladiator Island’s order would crumble.
Had he circulated the fact of there being no curse rule, there would be a rather major incident involving a riot from the gladiators.
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’s existence. There were many, many of those lying around.
The guards had also died, not just the gladiators, was it not?
Subaru: [Gustav-san’s got 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 made use of some outrageous magic.
However, both of these had the exact same problem.
Subaru: [Why was I the only one on whom the effect was so weak?]
Excluding Todd, who would have taken precautions beforehand, Subaru had been the only one with mild 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.
Was it because of his behavior being different from theirs just before? ――No, Weitz had died.
Was it because race made a difference? ――No, Hiain and Idra had both died together.
Was it 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 the Witch? Because he had been “infantilized” into a smaller body? What else, what else what else what else what else, what else was there?
――Only Subaru was different from everyone else, just what was that something?
???: [――Oh, Basu, something troubling you?]
A voice came from behind Subaru, who had been frantically racking his brain in search of possibilities.
Because it was so sudden, and because he had erased the possibility of the speaker from his mind, Subaru, squealing, 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 of his, carefree as always.
Cecilus: [Yes that’s correct, but what’s up with that reaction? You look as if me being here is an outrageous, world-shattering 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, y’know?]
In this way, the fake Cecilus, approaching from his front, looked down into Subaru’s face at a distance close enough that he could almost feel his breath on his face.
And with that unchanging attitude and gesture, Subaru involuntarily backed away.
Just then, from Subaru’s side, the fake Cecilus quietly looked at the view below―― from Subaru’s side as he ascended, the fake Cecilus gazed at the already-submerged drawbridge.
Cecilus: [It seems that the carriage wasn’t carrying participants for the next Sparka, but rather more distinct guests. It’s what everyone on the Island’s 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 going to deny it.]
Subaru gave a curt response to the fake Cecilus as the latter looked at the surface of the lake, sheltering his eyes with his hand.
Frankly, this unforeseen encounter with the fake Cecilus had made Subaru unsure on how to behave toward him.
He did not believe that the fake Cecilus had committed the massacre alongside Todd and Arakiya.
But, it was true that he, who was supposedly the most feared gladiator on the Gladiator Island, had vanished in the midst of the massacre.
Subaru: [Though, 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 quarreled or battled within the Island, it would have been impossible for him to fail to hear it.
That was why, if he were to think about what had become of the fake Cecilus back then――,
Subaru: [Did he die somewhere I couldn’t see him, or was he not on the Island?]
But if he had not been 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 towards the time limit. Until that absurd eventuality, even though the fake Cecilus had no time to spare either.
Cecilus: [You’re not going to deny it. But your face says that you’re worried about other things, y’know.]
He thought and thought, yet 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. Reeling in the correct interpretation was something that people 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 he would not lose, that he must not lose, that resolve.
Subaru: [Ceci, something terrible’s 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 how serious your atmosphere is, it’d be too horrifying to even put into words as well… That little deergirl and the people of Basu’s Unit are in a predicament. No, is it more like a certain-death-kinda feeling?]
Cecilus: [Weeell, Basu’s response has a splendid feeling to it, how nice! However, is that really 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 his reaction, which was as if he were warmly welcoming trouble, then, while baring his teeth, Subaru rushed to shorten the distance between themselves.
Subaru: [Ceci! It’s not a joke! Everyone’s in trouble!]
Cecilus: [More gravitas! It’s wonderful if you’re not joking. I’d welcome it, since it’d be souring to be told that everything here was just you thinking too much, a made-up story. Crisis, predicament, and hardship, such great relief!]
Cecilus: [Or could it be, that you truly thought I’d take your side unconditionally, 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 blade-like coldness from those long-slitted blue eyes, Subaru swallowed 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 the Gladiator Island, in order to set the high ground from where they overlooked the Island and half the lake as the stage. The fake Cecilus looked up to the sky, opened his mouth wide, and――,
Cecilus: [This is undoubtedly the divide! You’d asked if you could get me on your side unconditionally, but allow me to inform you that, at this very moment, you’re able to fulfill those conditions.]
Subaru: [Right now, this moment…]
Cecilus: [Yes, yes, that’s right! Basu, you enthrall me through your premonitions! Connect with me through anticipation! Make me laugh through your negotiations! And, you’re 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!]
It seemed that if he were not convinced of those existences, of spectators present beyond the heavens, 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’s given his 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.
That the fake Cecilus was―― No, that Cecilus Segmunt was the real deal.
This bonafide monster truly held faith that he could speak to the world, and that if the world truly possessed a mind of its own, then it would be unable to take its eyes off him.
This little monster had been overflowing with that much presence and cogency.
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 put his hand against his chest and spoke out.
Firmly setting his eyes on the other person, 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 had not been the same carefree smile Cecilus had wore until now, but rather a smile of merely relaxing his lips as he responded to Subaru.
Perhaps it was a sign that Cecilus had undoubtedly recognized Subaru as a contender.
Immediately following that――,
Cecilus: [――I see.]
Tightening the lips that had just displayed a smile, Cecilus gently stroked his chin with a finger.
His chin, onto which blood had trickled down from his finely shaped nose, then from which it fell.
Seeing fresh blood spilling from Cecilus’s nose, Subaru hurriedly looked over the hand railing.
It was not like he could see inside of rooms or into the basement by looking down onto the Island, but even so, from what he could see here and there, he understood that there many figures, collapsed, belonging to many people.
The massacre, had begun.
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, Subaru also felt a sting inside his nose, but he was more worried about Cecilus, who had sat down next to him.
Cecilus rested his back against the railing, perspiring as he slumped down into a cross-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… Even though I was proud to say that I’d never spilled a drop of blood ’til now.]
Even as they spoke, blood flowed from the sitting Cecilus’s eyes.
Cecilus’s state was becoming so awful that it was hard to look at it, 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: [People die, after all.]
While understanding that what was drawing ever closer to him was imminent Death, Cecilus responded without any hesitation.
Without hesitation, without bewilderment, without fear, without anxiety, without nervousness, without regret.
Unlike Subaru, no place should lay beyond his death.
Even so, Cecilus held no fear towards Death, supposedly 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.
The hand he placed over his coughing mouth was stained with blood; Death had been looming closer to Subaru as well.
The same, the very same devastating scene 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…]
Every single one of them had collapsed, and lost their lives.
Shutting the eyelids on everyone’s astonished faces, as they were unable to comprehend the events that had occurred, and cleaning their faces somewhat, was the best that Subaru could do for them.
Subaru: [Sorry, Tanza…]
He had failed. He had erred in his procedure.
He should have told Tanza and the others about the danger as well, he should have had them take some kind of precautions.
If only they had stayed together, after converging with Tanza and the others and before ascending to the vantage point. If only he had been able to make her at ease and not let her die. That girl, who was anxious about this place in which she could not rely on anyone, 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 the guards were dead as well.
The way they had died was the same as the gladiators; everyone had bled to death, blood coming out from their faces. Along that way, he had gone go see the cages where the Gladiator Beasts were locked up, and there Subaru saw that all of them, too, had died.
They had collapsed in their cages, bleeding from their eyes and noses, having died in the same way the humans had.
Subaru: […I guess that means I’m more durable.]
While near death, he made a joke that the lifeless Gladiator Beasts did not laugh at.
It was difficult to breathe because his nose was completely blocked by blood. His eyes had also become moist and misty, and upon wiping them with his fingers, it was like a faint red curtain would cover them.
Towards Subaru, and Subaru only, slowly approached an absolutely disgusting Death God.
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’d thought every guy on the Island had died, but…]
Todd skillfully pulled out a large knife, wearing a puzzled face as he looked at Subaru.
In many ways, he was probably thinking he had gotten into an unexplainable situation. Meeting a living person here must have been outside of Todd’s expectations.
The feeling of falling into an ambush, certainly had 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 would rather have that, 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 was not so much an attitude of looking down upon Subaru, but more of an attitude of not viewing Subaru as a problem.
That he was underestimating Subaru because he 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 to be overly cautious towards a helpless child about to die, that would not be cautiousness, but rather 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 had appeared 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 for the other party to stab Subaru and bring him death mutely. With his head and body lacking oxygen, he had to draw the correct answer.
It was Todd who committed this massacre on the Island. There was no use in asking.
Who was still alive? It would be useless to ask that. There would be no meaning.
Where was Arakiya? As much as he would like to know that, he did not think Todd would answer him. It would be useless.
What had happened to Gustav? That, like Arakiya, would be a useless shot.
Then, what remained, was it the method behind the massacre?
Poison gas, was not it. Subaru had erased that option from his mind.
Halfway up the Island’s mountain, Subaru had happened upon Cecilus at the vantage point, and had decided to stay there after all. ――If the answer to the massacre were to be poison gas, then he would have been safe with the strong winds of the vantage point, probably.
But as it turned out, neither Subaru nor Cecilus had escaped the carnage of the massacre. The possibility of poison gas was quite low, considering those outside and on the Island had also collapsed.
Then, the other possibility was――,
Magic, from Arakiya. Arakiya, who had appeared together with Todd, had utilized some kind of slaughter magic to annihilate the gladiators, the guards, and the Gladiator Beasts on the Island.
If he could acquire that certainty, then, next time, next time he would go about things in actual proper fashion.
If he could, acquire that certainty――.
???: [――Here, right here.]
That instant, an auditory hallucination dominated Subaru’s mind.
The voice of the star actor, who should no longer be among them, 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, albeit unable to do it fully; he shouted it in a loud voice toward the Death God.
That bloodcurdling voice from Subaru was an inescapable attack, one which seized hold of the Death God. And then, the instant he heard that shout, the Death God―― Todd, moved.
The hint of suspicion, the bothersome air, just about everything 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 and a knife in his hand, Todd leapt at Subaru in a single breath’s time.
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 was wrenched out with a twist, to ensure that he would never be saved.
A gush of blood spurted, staining Todd’s blank face with fresh blood.
He had been stabbed, and then, the blade had been yanked out; the force of that had flung his body onto 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 had bit down, but 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 had he guessed because it had come out of Subaru’s 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 would be.
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 had grasped it, he had grasped it, and then, 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 supposedly did not exist.
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