Arc 7, Chapter 76 – “Chance Meetings at the Imperial Capital”

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It was while Rem was strolling through the mansion where she was held under house arrest, that she noticed a certain woman.

In the heights of the battle at the Fortress City of Guaral, in order to treat a wounded Flop O’Connell, Rem had been abducted from the city along with him―― taken, to the Imperial Capital, and placed under house arrest in what was probably one of the most magnificent mansions in the city.

However, while it was called house arrest, Rem still possessed relatively ample freedom.

She was not confined to cramped rooms or prisons, nor was she subjected to excessive violence or verbal abuse. While it could have hardly been called tranquil, it was possible for one to say that the treatment she got was mild.

Food was prepared for every mealtime, and a time for bathing was also available. In some ways, it was definitely a better place to live than in the village of the People of Shudraq.

However, even though she was not imprisoned, she still could not go outside the mansion, as the Soldiers responsible for security―― the private army of Berstetz Fondalfon, kept watch, reminding her of her limitations.

In any case, leaving aside the topic of whether she was more free than not, the situation at hand was not one she wished for.

Naturally, she had made Kuna and Holly experience some inadequacy, and it would not be surprising if she were now the object of Priscilla’s indignation, having left as she pleased.

Above all, how would the people that had left for the east react upon their return?

Louis, Medium, and the boy named Natsuki Subaru――.

???: [――Ah.]

And, it was while Rem was lost in her own thoughts that brought her heartache, that she heard a painfully feeble voice.

Upon turning her face toward the direction of the voice, she saw an unfamiliar figure in the garden in the center of the mansion―― one likely used more as a courtyard for the purpose of mounting and dismounting flying dragons, than for preserving a lush green landscape.

Although she had not met all of the Soldiers and servants working in the mansion, she could tell at a glance that the person was neither of these.

For the reason, was because that very person did not walk on their own feet, and sat in a chair with wheels attached.

???: [Kuh, ugh…]

She was a fair-skinned woman with unruly dark-brown hair, which was parted in two on either side of her head. Her long-lashed blue eyes flickered, and then she put strength into her slender shoulders and leaned forward.

What those trembling arms were putting strength into was the wheeled chair she was sitting in―― specifically, the wheels of her wheelchair. They possessed large rims, which the person sitting in the chair could turn by hand to move forwards or backwards.

However, it seemed one of the wheels had got caught in a ditch in the corner of the path and, unable to get out, she had been stuck there.

???: [――――]

Biting on her thin lips with force, the woman strenuously tried time after time to turn the wheel.

Still, her slender arms did not provide the necessary strength, and the wheel just wiggled back and forth fruitlessly. If she were to raise her voice and call for help, someone would have rushed to her, and yet she did not.

She did not want to rely on anyone. Rem felt a sense of kinship with such obstinacy. Of course, she did not know due to what emotional state she was like that, but――,

Rem: [――I’ll help you.]

???: [Ah…]

Unable to leave her be, Rem walked over to the woman stuck in the ditch, and called out to her from behind.

Immediately rolling her eyes, the woman looked over her shoulder and gasped at Rem’s presence. But soon her look became one of embarassment, chewing on her lips as she went silent.

Rem, once again feeling a sense of kinship to her reaction, placed her hand on the back of the wheelchair.

The back of the wheelchair had handles on either side, so that a person standing behind could push it. And so, putting her hands there, and pushing it,

Rem: [One, two aaand three!]

Rem put her strength into it, the wheel bounced with a bang, and the wheelchair escaped from the ditch in which it was stuck.

Using her hands, the woman stopped the wheelchair which had moved slightly forward with too much momentum, then abruptly spun the wheels on the spot and looked back toward Rem.

And then――,

???: […Who asked you, to do that.]

And what came, was a very particular greeting.

Rem: [――――]

Reflexively, Rem’s eyes went wide and blinked in surprise, as she was taken aback by the woman’s words.

Meanwhile, the woman averted her eyes from Rem, chewing on her lips,

???: [I would’ve been fine without help for something that trivial. I mean, what do you think you’re doing, when you need a cane yourself? Y-you should rather worry about yourself.]

Rem: [Ummm… Thank you for your concern.]

???: [I’m not worried or anything! Are your ears perhaps not working properly? If not, then I guess the problem’s in your head, yes it’s rather in your head.]

Rem belatedly realized that those stammered words were apparently meant to be a cutting remark.

Her tone was harsh, but since the subtle sense that she was not accustomed to such speech hung in the air, she lacked the talent to deal damage with such sarcasm.

Frankly speaking, from Rem’s point of view, after encountering Priscilla, the difference in the potency of this woman and Priscilla, was about the same as that between a puppy and Mizelda.

???: [N-now, get lost. I don’t have the free time to be concerned about… about you.]

Rem: [If you don’t have any free time, does that mean you have some role to fulfill?]

???: [A role…! Y-yes, that’s right. I have a proper role. Unlike you…]

After having been asked a question in return by Rem, the woman answered, her cheeks stiffening. As she answered, she scrunched up her thin eyebrows and looked Rem over top to bottom as if scrutinizing her.

Then, she brought her right thumb to her mouth, chomped at it ever-so-slightly, and, 

???: […A face I haven’t seen, and a presence I hadn’t noticed. Who are you?]

Rem: [――. My name is Rem. Because of some circumstances, I was abducted to this mansion.]

???: [Abducted…]

Rem: [Yes. Hmm, may I ask for your name?]

In order to approach the woman biting her nails and muttering, Rem asked for her name.

She thought that, perhaps, the likelihood of receiving an unfriendly rejection was higher.

???: [――Katya.]

However, surprisingly without reserves, she―― Katya had introduced herself as such.

Rem did not know if it was due to some ulterior motive, or if she had named herself reflexively while she was lost in thought, but Katya seemingly deliberated as she continued to bite her nails.

Katya: [By abducted, do you mean that you’re a hostage too?]

Rem: [Hostage… That may very well be the case. It does not seem appropriate to request that I play such a role…]

Unmistakably, Subaru was probably the only one that would worry non-stop over Rem’s disappearance.

Of course, she felt the Shudraqians and the O’Connell siblings would be anxious as well, and Priscilla might at least move an eyebrow, but that would not affect the overall situation.

Rem’s existence would only affect the overall situation, when Subaru affected the overall situation.

However――,

Rem: [I wouldn’t expect that person to go that far.]

To Rem, it did not seem likely that he could do it, nor did she think that he should.

In a short time, she had been shown, time and time again for a short period, a figure resisting and resisting earnestly with their lack of ability as he was tormented by absurdity. His figure, as he kept on shouldering the burden of having to do everything by himself.

Rem could not stand it at all. It was not because she disliked or hated him.

It was still difficult to verbalize why that was, though.

Rem: [――――]

Katya: […Hey, don’t just go silent on me?]

Rem: [Ah, sorry. I was just lost in thought… Katya, what are you to Berstetz?]

Called out to by Katya, whose eyes had sharpened, Rem apologized for her silence, then posed a question.

Since she was in this mansion, there was no doubt that Katya also had some connection to Berstetz. However, it was difficult to imagine their relationship.

If she were someone with fighting strength like what Madelyn possessed, or if she were to look like an Imperial Soldier, the relationship would be obvious, but Katya’s appearance made it difficult to establish any sort of connection.

If there was anything that came to mind――,

Rem: [Berstetz’s daughter or grandchild, perhaps?]

Katya: [A relative of Prime Minister-sama? Oh, stop it you. In the first place, Berstetz-sama isn’t married, and supposedly doesn’t have a family. I’m not that big of a deal.]

Rem: [Is that so? That’s surprising.]

“Surprising?”, Katya said as she tilted her head, but Rem shook her head as to gloss over her words’ true meaning.

Once before, at the time Berstetz and Rem had met face-to-face, he had explained the reason for his own rebellion against the Emperor―― that was, his distrust of an Emperor that would not produce an heir. From Berstetz’s standpoint as someone working for the nation, the Emperor’s actions would seem like a dishonorable dereliction of duty.

Rem had been satisfied with that logic, even if it was difficult for her to sympathize, having been dragged into it.

However, the fact that Berstetz had started a rebellion for such a reason was unconvincing when he himself, just like the Emperor, did not have a family.

Of course, she believed Berstetz had his own reasons.

Rem: [But, if you’re not either of those, why are you in the mansion?]

Katya: […You’re an unperceptive woman. I asked if you were also hostage.]

Rem: [――. Does that mean, that you’re a hostage as well, Katya-san?]

With Rem returning with a question, Katya begrudgingly nodded, the bitter look on her face unchanging.

Katya, too, was being held captive in the mansion as someone’s hostage. ――Slightly surprised at that fact, Rem spun around and surveyed the mansion.

A spacious mansion amidst the Imperial Capital, a mansion enveloped in a majestic atmosphere.

However, there were probably many other secrets lying within, of which Rem and Katya, as well as the injured Flop, were a part of.

Having confronted Berstetz directly, Rem recognized the old man as someone of great intellectual stature, a formidable wall standing in the way of Abel’s attempt to regain the imperial throne.

However, Rem’s imagination and speculation would probably never be able to wholly gauge just how dreadful Berstetz could be, should he be willing to scheme and target his enemy’s weaknesses.

Rem: [Your family must surely be very worried about you having been taken hostage.]

Katya: […I wouldn’t be so sure about that. To him, I might be nothing more than a replaceable tool. I-if I get in the way, he’ll drop me like a hot potato.]

Averting her gaze, so spat out Katya.

Even though her speech had not faltered, Rem could tell that those seemingly hateful words were not her true feelings. She had a clue as to what lay behind Katya’s attitude.

Rem: [――――]

After all, that was the same shade of obstinacy belonging to none other than Rem.

She did not know what kind of person Katya would curse and keep at a distance. However, this complaint was more for the sake of convincing herself rather than it was for Rem to hear.

It was a lie told because she did not want herself to have too much faith in or too high expectations for that person.

It was a lie precisely because she did not want to admit that the other person thought her irreplaceable, nor that the other person was irreplaceable to her.

It was a lie specifically to deceive “herself”. Not anyone else.

Rem: [Katya-san, would you like to talk some more?]

Katya: [W-what… Doing something so selfish, to Prime Minister-sama…]

Rem: [I don’t think he’ll be angry. If he does get angry, then tell him I forced you to do it.]

Katya: [But, it isn’t actually like th… Ah, wait!]

With trembling lips, Katya attempted to reject Rem. Quickly moving around behind Katya, Rem tucked her cane under her arm and gently gripped the handle of her wheelchair.

While pushing the wheelchair, Rem could support her own body in addition to the other person’s. With this, she would not fall even without the cane, and surprisingly, it was not a terrible position.

Katya: [J-just doing as you please… As if I would…]

Rem: [In which direction is your room, Katya-san? My room is on the west side.]

Katya: […O-on the opposite side, the east side.]

Rem: [Understood. Well then, let’s head that way.]

Hearing Katya’s feeble reply, Rem pushed the wheelchair and started walking. Only at the start was there a slight resistance, but Katya soon detached her fingers from the wheel, and went along for the ride.

She was aware that she was being a bit forceful in moving the conversation forward, but Rem was anything but hesitant in pushing it.

In honest truth, she did not possess any ulterior motives, such as befriending Katya to make visible a way out of this deadlock, or her holding knowledge of an important secret to the mansion.

Probably, Katya’s presence would not be useful in moving the situation along.

Faintly so, she understood that the reason why Berstetz, who held Rem and Katya’s beings hostage, had no family himself, was so that he would have no weaknesses.

And yet, there were several reasons why Rem was trying to come to terms with Katya in this way, but――,

Rem: [――There are so many things I have to know.]

After having become a captive, she had the belief and resolve that she could not be the kind of weak person who would only spread the seeds of anxiety and worry in the people who knew her.

Therefore, Rem would make every effort. Even if she did not know how to, she would do things her own way.

Priscilla: [――No one can escape from who they are. Strive to remember my words, be diligent.]

There were more pressing things to do than to repudiate her own helplessness.

Indeed, for the sake of putting into practice the words of that person, to not remain at a standstill.

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――Flop slowly opened his eyelids, having felt the presence of someone else in the room.

Flop: [――――]

Shaking off the restless hand of drowsiness that entangled him, Flop’s consciousness returned to reality.

In the view of his now-open eyes, a clean white ceiling was visible, and he quickly came to the understanding that he was in the room of the mansion where he was being held captive.

He was way past the point of panicking because of this realization. It also did not catch him off-guard anymore, and, as a result, he did not make himself experience pain by suddenly moving his body because of his surprise. 

But still, it was still too early to say that he was acclimated to the situation, considering there was still some feeling of uneasiness left.

Flop: [As a merchant, I can’t help but be impatient, being bedridden for days like this, alright.]

He was a peddler whose efforts on a given day determined how much money he had at its end.

He could hardly call it his strong suit, but having an elaborate business plan was the shortcut to success. And even if he did not succeed, he still needed to earn even just a little bit.

Thus, being tied to a bed in this manner, agitated and distressed him despite the quite leisurely position he found himself in.

Wondering how Medium would react if she knew he was being held captive, only made it worse.

In any case––,

Flop: [I can hardly ask Wife-san to bring me to perfect condition at this very moment. What an irritating situation.] [1]

In order to treat Flop’s injuries, Rem was also being held captive in the mansion.

For Subaru’s sake, as well as the others who worried for her, Rem had to be brought home safely at any cost, but her situation was far from being secure.

Rem’s current position, that of being Flop’s healer, would become quite uncertain once Flop made a complete recovery. 

He had hoped that Rem would not immediately be disposed of, as someone who no longer had any use.

Flop: [I guess you could say that depends exactly on your mood, Miss Madelyn.]

Having collected and organized his thoughts, Flop proceeded to cast this particular subject of conversation towards the room’s entrance.

Flop had been awakened by the presence of a certain someone. The other person’s voice could not be heard, but it was obvious that someone was in the room and there were only two people who usually visited him.

Only two; whether it be Rem who came to treat him, or Madelyn who appeared more frequently.

Leaving aside Rem, who had been given unexpected freedom within the mansion; around Madelyn, Flop had to be somewhat careful.

Despite her childish appearance, she had tremendous physical strength and could easily rip and tear through Flop with her claws. In addition, she was a proud member of the dragonkin―― someone who Flop, despite having been through many different paths in life, had no idea how to deal with.

Besides, Flop did not want to mislead Madelyn, nor deceive her with lies, even though she would possibly scold him for being blind to the situation.

Even Flop had not gone through life without telling a lie. He was proud of the fact that he had relied on the power of words more than anyone else in the Empire, precisely because of his apparent lack of strength.

Being that, the reason as to why he wished to avoid doing anything that would make Madelyn believe he was trying to win her over, was that she genuinely cared about Flop’s precious “close friend”.

He imagined a particular ”close friend” of his would be appalled at his seemingly stupid way of life.

Flop: [That’s the way I live my life, nothing I can do about it.]

Flop was spending his time at the mansion with the determination to take the offensive.

Therefore, engaging Madelyn in a battle devoid of lies, in which he would make full use of his conversational arts and power of his speech so that her interest would not be exhausted―― was something he expected to happen on this day.

But it was not to be. Since――,

Flop: [Miss Madelyn? I thought you might be here to ask me to continue our conversation from yesterday. What was the surprising thing Balleroy said the first time Carillion flew in the sky? I cut off the conversation at that point where――]

???: [――While that sounds like an interesting topic, it shan’t be the one discussed now.]

Flop: [――――]

Flop, who was lying on his bed, talking to the person who was supposedly there, fell in silence upon being answered by a voice different from the one he had expected.

Flop had assumed it was Madelyn at the entrance, but the answer was returned through the voice of a man. A voice he had heard before.

It was only his small pride, but Flop would never forget a voice having heard it once.

Even if it came from a corner of a busy market, Flop could recognize it. Which was why he had not mistaken the voice.

However, after hearing the voice in question, Flop’s feelings became complex to the extreme.

After all, his relationship with said party had changed quite drastically, at least as far as Flop was concerned.

Flop: [Village Chief-kun… No, perhaps I should say, His Excellency the Emperor-kun?]

???: [You rephrase yourself, and yet you came to that? Either way, it seems there is no substitute for the profane name you have dubbed me with.]

Calling out quietly, Flop strained his trembling arms and sat up on the bed. He still felt a faint numbness in his upper body and a tightness in his skin, but it was not unbearable.

Then raising his gaze, he finally caught sight of a figure standing at the entrance to the room.

Standing there was a young man with black hair, fair skin, and sharp eyes.

His attire was dominated by vermilion and his slender figure matched what he had seen many times before. His face, his eyes, his nose, everything was familiar.

Abel―― No, Vincent Vollachia.

That was the name of the current Emperor of the Sacred Vollachian Empire, the rebellious wolf who had been driven from his throne, presently seeking to reclaim it.

Having been called disrespectful by the very man behind it all himself, Flop smiled and bowed his head.

Flop: [Excuse me, perhaps I should rephrase. No, perhaps I should also change my speech in general. How embarrassing, would you mind if I start over from the beginning?]

Vincent: [No need. Starting over shan’t make up for the deeds you have committed. More importantly, are you a citizen resolved to pledge allegiance and devotion to the Emperor of Vollachia?]

Flop: [I wonder. His Excellency is the Emperor of the country in which I live. Since the reign of His Excellency Vincent Vollachia, disputes, including skirmishes between tribes, have decreased dramatically. I’d say I’m grateful for a country that has become a better place to live.]

Vincent: [That is a very suggestive way of putting it. You dare play with idle words in front of the Emperor?]

The Emperor shrugged his slender shoulders and slowly stepped forward.

Flop’s eyes widened as the figure became more clearly visible up close. For all intents and purposes, the figure was that of the very Abel he was already acquainted with.

But he knew that the man in front of him was not that Abel.

Flop: [I’m very embarrassed by my lack of knowledge, but you really have made a good likeness of him, haven’t you? It’d need to be that good to befit the role of a body double, I guess.]

Vincent: [If you continue to speak so frivolously, I shall have no choice but to muzzle you. It is naught more than the wish of the Flying Dragon General, Madelyn Eschart, that has provided you shelter here. But where shall the scales tip towards, the General’s wishes or mine whims?]

Flop: [I’ll accept your advice to take care in my words. However, I cannot promise that I’ll be able to put it into practice! My feelings are very mixed, after all! I’d very much like to remark further on that face of yours!]

Vincent: [――――]

Being pointed at with a snap, the other party remained silent after that loud insistence from Flop.

Flop was at a loss on how to address the other party―― the one who was not Abel, who, for the sake of convenience, he had decided to call Vincent.

Flop knew that Vincent was a false Emperor, a man who had plotted to usurp the throne. However, Flop did not possess any reason to denounce him per-se.

If Flop and Abel were bound by a firm friendship, having built a relationship in which they would be willing to speak out on each other’s behalf at every such event, then it would only be natural, but that was not the case.

Rather, Flop and Abel’s relationship was more complicated as well.

Flop: [Unfortunately, the person I really want to give my remarks to is someone else, someone who’s got the same face as you. But still, it truly looks very much alike… I helped Husband-kun do Village Chief-kun’s makeup, it looks just like his bare face.]

Vincent: [――. The matter of the Fortress City has reached my ears, so you were a part of that scheme too? I can only imagine that you have all tried to besmirch the Emperor’s rule in some ungodly fashion. It was an act of barbarism, and one beyond measure.]

Flop: [Is that so? It was a fun venture. And most importantly, there were no casualties.]

Vincent: [That is just a justification based solely upon the results.]

Flop’s cheeks relaxed, and he thought about the plan for the fortified city that he, Subaru, and Abel had collaborated on.

It was a plan that Flop had found astonishing, but it was the funniest of all the plots in which Flop had ever been involved.

Everyone involved in that operation had certainly wished for its success.

Flop: [Miss Taritta and Miss Kuna did, and I did, as well. ――That’s why I can’t unravel it.]

Vincent: [――――]

Flop: [Mister-kun, His Excellency the Emperor-kun… I wonder why he, who I still don’t know how to call, was ousted from the Imperial Throne and put in that position.] [2]

Flop looked at Vincent, cutting him off, “More to the point”.

He looked towards the usurper of the throne, whose expression did not even waver, his face a mirror image of the Emperor’s.

Flop: [Just why did you and your people have to make our rock-solid Empire quake, why did you have to raise this disturbance?]

Vincent: [――. You are quite the talkative man, are you not?]

Flop: [It’s a tool of the trade. I’m a merchant. Also, my dear sister often compliments me on my good looks. That’s another tool of the trade.]

Vincent: [I see. In that case――]

Flop had a toothy grin on his face; Vincent nodded at his words, composed, before suddenly grabbing Flop’s face with his outstretched hand and pulling him closer.

Forced to lean forward, his wounds sore, Flop moaned out a “Muggh”. However, Vincent paid no heed to his cries of pain, but stared at Flop closely.

Vincent: [I can take your face and mouth right here and now to atone for your disrespect.]

His voice slid coldly into Flop’s eardrums with an intimidating quality that went down from his head to his body and froze his heart.

For a person who would not shut his mouth like Flop, disrespect towards the Emperor was considered to be unforgivable, yet Vincent’s reply was level-headed with a hint of resentment.

Even as he contemplated what it meant――,

Flop: […If you mean that I should watch my mouth, it might make more sense to take away my voice.]

Once again, Flop looked back at Vincent with an ugly look on his face, which was still being gripped, giving an answer that was likely to provoke him and make him even angrier.

For a moment, Vincent’s dark eyes narrowed at Flop’s answer, but the emotion that passed within was swept away without being expressed overtly.

Vincent batted one of his eyes shut, letting go of Flop’s face. His look was one which Abel, whom Vincent mimicked, used to do often when observing other people.

Vincent: [I made it clear that it was to be understood which of these is more important, mine whims or Madelyn Eschart’s wishes. However, then there would be no avoiding her defection nor rebellion. Is the attitude you have one of reading this far?]

Flop: [Huh? Oh, ah, I see. Miss Madelyn would get angry for sure if I die. That’s not good for you either… I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but surely…]

Vincent: [――――]

Flop: [If I, as a prisoner, had risked my life to try and get one over on His Excellency the Emperor-kun, I could’ve at least encouraged Miss Madelyn’s defection. ――Unfortunately though, I can’t do that now.]

At Vincent’s suggestion, Flop reassessed the value of his life.

With Madelyn’s interests now focused on himself, if Flop’s life were to be taken away unnecessarily, it would be difficult to tame the bestial danger she would pose.

If Madelyn were to defect from Vincent, the rebellious Abel side would have an advantage.

It was understandable that Vincent would suspect that he was provoking him due to that.

Vincent: [I hear that you will not yield to any threats and that you will not hesitate to risk your life. It is just as Berstetz said, you seem to be some kind of ill-begotten misfortune.]

Flop: [It seems that I’ve been put in such a position unknowingly. Now, what do you think, Fake Emperor-kun? I’m very difficult to deal with!]

Vincent: [I hear there was a healer girl who was brought here with you. If you care about that girl’s well-being, you shall refrain from unnecessary words and behavior, and remain quiet.]

Flop: [I’ve been completely shut down!]

With Rem being used as a shield, Flop suddenly had no more moves to make.

But there was probably no helping it; he had to get Rem back home safely, no matter what it took.

Besides――,

Flop: [I myself can’t decide what I should do.]

Ultimately, one could say Flop’s position had become the same as Madelyn’s.

Should he, like Madelyn, join the rebellion she was part of, and then plot viciously to eliminate Abel, whom they had ousted, and slowly make him pay for his crimes?

A merchant whose only merit was that his little sister complimented him on his goodness.

Vincent: [Even without Madelyn Eschart, Berstetz shall not do you any harm. Bear in mind what your position is and make sure you spend your time here without stirring up any discord.]

Vincent declared that with his eyes fixed upon the silent Flop.

From what he said, Flop understood that he was trying to end this face-to-face meeting. That Vincent had determined there was nothing to be gained out of Flop, or that he had served the purpose of this discussion, and having thought as much――,

Flop: [Fake Emperor-kun, why did you come to this room?]

Vincent: [――――]

Flop: [It’s hard for me to imagine, having never rebelled, but still trying my best to realize the power of my imagination here, I reckon the position of His Excellency the Emperor must be rather busy. Even though things are already tough, when there are people like His Excellency the Emperor-kun, who keep acting wildly without giving up, it’s no wonder your business knows no bounds.]

Flop was not saying that his usual peddling was easy, but when there were loads of products that fit exactly with the buyer’s needs, one’s business was incomparable to the usual.

The position of the Fake Emperor would never be held secure while the real Emperor was still alive and well.

Under such circumstances, why had Vincent bothered to specifically visit Flop?

Well――,

Flop: [Perhaps you were wondering how His Excellency the Emperor-kun was doing and wanted to hear it from me?]

Vincent: [Hypothetically, if I were a usurper, as your nonsensical nickname implies, it would be in poor taste, would it not? I would be attempting to find out what happened to the person I had ousted from the ones in that person’s vicinity.]

Flop: [The importance of gathering information is not so different in commerce or in battle, I guess. If we assume that, I don’t think it’s in bad taste to try to find out what’s going on with your opponent.]

Vincent: [――. Even if that were the case, you are misguided. I have seen with my own eyes how that person is doing without needing to hear it from your mouth. We even exchanged a few words.]

Flop: [Is that so…]

A painful evasion after having hit the mark.

Flop took Vincent’s answer as not having been such a frivolous statement.

What the circumstances were that he saw Abel in person and exchanged words with him, Flop had no room but to imagine, but he could not believe it to be an outright lie.

Although he was also concerned about Medium, Taritta, and Subaru, who were supposed to be by Abel’s side, it seemed unlikely that he would be able to get an answer by digging deeper into the matter.

At the very least, he could not have done anything to Abel when meeting him face-to-face.

If he could have, it would not have been odd for him to have declared victory immediately. He found it hard to believe that he was tasteless enough to bother to come to do that; however, it would have been equally tasteless for him to continue this discussion while withholding that fact, and it did not seem to be either.

In other words, Vincent was not here to converse with Flop.

If so, there was only one possibility that came to mind.

Flop: [If you didn’t want to ask me something, is it because you had something you wanted to tell me, maybe?]

Vincent: [Troublesome, I believe that was Berstetz’s evaluation of your position, however, even if you look at it from my point of view, your way of being is one that falls into the troublesome category.]

Flop: [Am I to take that as a compliment? It’s more positive for my mentality to think so, so I’ll just take it as such.]

Flop reckoned his words were what made Vincent stop in his tracks as he was about to take his leave.

Flop: [――――]

Frankly, Flop did not know whether stopping Vincent in his tracks here was good or bad for him.

If Vincent’s plan were fulfilled and the usurpation of the Imperial Throne were brought to completion, Abel would surely be forced out from his position in the Empire, but also in this world.

Was that what he really wished?

Was that what he wished for the person who was involved in the death of his precious “close friend”, Balleroy Temeglyph? Was that what he wished for the person who had taken everything away from him, for him to lose his life?

Flop: [Until now, I never knew what I wanted…]

Trying to think if there ever was a time, Flop quickly reconsidered his thoughts.

He did not need to recall anything. Before he had met Balleroy and the others, he had spent all his time trying to protect Medium and had no desire for anything else.

He was the same as he had been then. Then, the answer and the way he arrived at it was the same as then, too.

???: “You guys can choose what you wanna do.

He remembered that blunt voice pushing Flop’s back like that.

So, rather than being swept away without knowing anything, Flop wanted to choose to set out walking knowing something.

Flop: [Can I ask you something, Fake Emperor-kun? What is it that you have come to tell?]

Flop asked him point-blank, interrupting the Fake Emperor busy in his usurpation of the Imperial Throne.

In response to his question, Vincent’s lips curved with a slightly different impression than the man Flop knew, and spoke.

That it was――,

Vincent: [――The Great Disaster, regarding the reason for the destruction it brings.]

 

 

Translation notes:

[1] Because of the many different ways Flop addresses a certain character in this scene, we have decided to review the way we translate his ways to refer to Subaru, Rem, Louis and Abel. These changes have already been applied to previous chapters’ translations as well. The changes are as follows:

  • Subaru: “Mister” changed to “Husband-kun”, “Sir” changed to “Husband-san” (latter only on Chapter 23)
  • Rem: “Missus” changed to “Wife-san”
  • Louis: “Niece-y” changed to “Niece-chan”
  • Abel: “Mr. Chief” changed to “Village Chief-kun”

[2] Flop is flip-flopping a whole lot on what to call Abel and Vincent. Here, it so happens that he uses the same name for Abel, as he does for Subaru, “旦那くん”. The term “旦那” has two connotations: it is used by wives to refer to their husbands (such as Regulus’s wives, who called him “旦那様”, in context “Husband-sama”), but also by people to refer to someone of higher standing (such as Frederica towards Roswaal, who also uses “旦那様”, in context “Master-sama”).

31 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 76 – “Chance Meetings at the Imperial Capital””

  1. I still do not like flop that seeing as he flat out put his sister in great danger because of his ideology. When he told Madelyn how to take revenge on Abel fulling knowing he is traveling with his sister and Madelyn is not know her careful and clean kills. No she just jumps in and kills everyone. As Flop should know we don’t even know how many people she killed this before hand. I wish the story would acknowledge the fact that flop is putting his sister in danger.

    1. I’m pretty sure Flop is aware of this but it’s his honest nature that is perpetuating his apparent naivety. He’s honestly the most justice aligned character in that he compromises himself for his integrity. While it likely come back to bite him it is also a strength that is currently protecting him. I believe his sincerity will play a large role in moving powerful players to his side.

      I like Flop, he’s pretty much a foil to Todd in every way. Do I think he’s kind of stupid? Yes, but watching him tear apart the fake Vincent was so satisfying.

      1. Flop seems to have the highest “luck” attribute in the series other than maybe Priscilla.

        So he can be a justice idiot, but it works. He is am interesting foil to the other characters.

    2. While I do agree that it was not particularly wise of Flop to give all of that information to Madelyn.. I have to disagree that it will place his sister in any more danger then she is already in. As there was already a decent chance that Madelyn would be sent to fight Abel again.

      Meanwhile Madelyn didn’t kill Flop for example. I’m sure that Madelyn will be able to tell who Medium is if she meets her at this point. Given what she heard from Flop, Madelyn won’t hurt Medium now where as before she could have become collateral damage.

    3. when did he tell how to take revenge on abel ? it sure didnt happen this chapter so when did it happen ? or i just missed it ? read in phone so maybe had some problems ?

  2. The reason for the great disaster is because you keep dragging his ass through your miserable dump-pile of a conflict fake Emperor.

    The biggest plot twist of all would be if Abel was the real usurper. Frankly I’ve never dropped that possibilty since we were so easily convinced of his identity- that and we still know too little about the fake Vincent. Either way the fake Vincent just seems unremarkable by comparison. Maybe because we simply only see his insane and generally ruthless cohorts.

    If his goal is to get Flop to turn traitor it’s an effective strategy albeit obnoxious, but definitely misguided. I’m guessing he just wants to shake Flop’s foundation and create inner turmoil so that he’s no longer as useful of a piece. It’s hard to say what else his motive could be here.

    All I know is that these star reading folk feel like they’re bigger players than they appeared- and I’m annoyed by the mystery of their movement and their apparent omnipotence. I can’t get a read on their objective but I can’t help but suspect their involvement given the way things have been moving.

    Either way, truly interested to see how Flop and Rem can further shake things up from within the enemy territory. Taking hostages is really so cowardly for the Empire of the apparent strongest. I won’t deny that it increases their threat level. Thanks for the chapter translation team, I really can’t wait for the next!

    1. Abel can’t be an usurper. Berstetz already told Rem their reason for ousting Abel from the throne. And I think Priscilla would be able to tell if Abel were fake or not.

      1. We already know Abel has the “yang sword”. The fake has never shown it. So he’s pretty much real unless there is a third Abel.

        I still think Subaru will strike a deal with Priscilla to stick her on the throne in exchange for some sort of help with Emilia.

          1. Abel has not been shown using the Yang Sword yet, but in the conversation with Olbart at Chaosflame he says that Olbart has not had a chance to kill “the emperor” because of the Yang Sword

            1. Knot said what Abel has Yang sword. But he never used it, so it’s wrong. Meaning Abel may be Chisha… It’ll be a bit of a poor writing choise considering relationsips with Barusu will become kind of fake… But might happen

  3. Oh, I completely forgot Berstez mentioned that. I actually wonder if Priscilla would know? I really wanna see what’s going on in fake Vincent’s head, must be exhausting to constantly pretend to be the emperor.

  4. I’m still really confused on how people look at Flop and Otto and go “These two are the same character”

    1. Though it’s weird they would bother having a hostage for him ? is he that valuable ? from his rank as private first class (even thoguh jamal said he would be promoted if he wasn’t an asshole) he would have best become a general third class . so i really wonder why they are that concerned about having him do the mission other than to keep a known antagonist in the plot.
      well, with how the power scale goes back and forth without much reason sometime it wouldn’t be strange if they somehow buff him to being as strong as a divine general to explain why they really need him in the mission and keep him in the story.

    2. That implies Todd would act any different if Katya wasn’t being kept as a hostage. Todd’s safety is his main concern, he would never sacrifice that for her sake which is why he always go for the kill. Only reason he “loves” her is because she’s too weak to be a threat to him.

  5. Wow, we got a new chapter quicker than I expected. Glad to see more of Rem, and that she’s thinking of Subaru.

    Can’t say I give a rat’s ass about Flop, though. Or any Vollachian character.

  6. So, Subaru now has al’s authority of pride, but again his is broken, just like sloth and greed. And has gotten Cici as a follower, basically making him pretty op to finally have his own world class swordsman in his command deck.
    Todd is gonna come back with Vincent and recognize rem, after seeing his partner. And since in this loop suberu had acted like she was worthless to him its gonna take 2 chapters for todd to realize he has a hostage. Idk how they are going to fix the child Cici and subawu issue. But I hope its good.

    1. No, he has his original authority again, that’s how he saved his crew on the island.
      The issue was that Satella didn’t know where he was and that somehow messed up his authority.

  7. I’m just imagining these scenes where Flop and Rem just have long pauses followed by random utterances. Every character we follow seems to have 3 paragraphs of internal monologue and then say the last sentence out loud. I have no idea how the people they talk to can keep up. lol

    Sample with monologue removed:

    Katya: [A relative of Prime Minister-sama? Oh, stop it you. In the first place, Berstetz-sama isn’t married, and supposedly doesn’t have a family. I’m not that big of a deal.]

    Rem: [Is that so? That’s surprising.]

    Rem: [But, if you’re not either of those, why are you in the mansion?]

    Katya: […You’re an unperceptive woman. I asked if you were also hostage.]

    The “you’re not either of those” makes no sense if you can’t hear Rem’s thoughts between those two lines, but Katya doesn’t react to that at all. I guess everyone just has God-tier intuition.

    1. What do you mean it doesn’t make sense? Katya literally said that she wasn’t married to Berstetz or was a family member. Of course you’d then ask why she was there.

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