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This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality. This may have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality.
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Breathing deeply, she ran as if flying, doing her best to not shake the head of the girl held in her arms.
A caravan of wagons had arrived on the south side of the city, and the moment Emilia had overheard that so many had arrived from the Demon City Chaosflame, her silver hair had danced in anticipation of her long-awaited reunion.
Emilia: [Very soon, we’ll meet Subaru, Beatrice…!]
The girl she held in her arms, who had been asleep with closed eyelids―― Beatrice.
In order to wake up the girl, who had been sleeping for a long time to avoid exhausting her mana, it was absolutely necessary for her to make contact with Subaru, whom she had a contract with, so that she could receive her mana supply from him.
Subaru also needed Beatrice to take his mana or he would be in trouble, so the two were truly intertwined with the same fate.
Their relationship, which usually appeared to be one in which they always got along endearingly, hand in hand, meant serious trouble now that Subaru had been flung off into the Empire and separated from them.
Subaru and Beatrice had to be reunited as soon as possible.
Emilia herself wanted to make sure Subaru was safe as soon as possible, even if only by one second.
She hadn’t felt this restless since Puck unilaterally violated the contract and disappeared on his own accord―― no, it was more than that.
Puck may have been fine on his own, but Subaru was not.
Someone who was able to understand Subaru should be there for him.
Emilia: [Ughhh, I’m sorry!]
Opening her eyes, Emilia took a shortcut to the front of the City Hall.
Although she should have entered through the doorway and then climbed the stairs to the top, her impatience was such that she instead formed a pillar made of ice. Riding atop the ice formation rising from the ground, Emilia, holding Beatrice, rose all at once to the top of the building.
It startled the guards and the townspeople, but she couldn’t resist.
???: [Huh, Emily?]
When the ice elevator reached the top floor’s height, Emilia jumped from there to the building.
When she landed and looked up, she saw that a decent number of people had already gathered in City Hall, and everyone seemed surprised by Emilia’s sudden appearance.
In the midst of all this, it was Mizelda, a girl with a prosthetic leg who left a strong visual impression, and also the one that brought together the People of Shudraq, who accepted Emilia’s appearance with a sense of ease.
She poked the floor with the tip of her wooden leg and looked at the icey pillar behind Emilia, then,
Mizelda: [You use magic very conveniently. You are so different from us.]
Emilia: [Mhm, I was in a reaally big hurry, so I went to… Oh, I’m sorry I startled you! I’ll dispel it in a second!]
At Mizelda’s impressed reaction, Emilia hurriedly dissolved the ice into mana.
In the Kingdom, it was rather common to do various things with magic, but in the Empire, it seemed as if there were not so many magic users. Considering how many people were said to want to fight in the Empire, it felt weird.
Mizelda: [Most of the time, if you hit them before they use magic, it’s the end for them.]
Emilia: [I do know that. But that’s only if you’re close by, not far away.]
Mizelda: [When you’re far away, that’s when my bow comes in. Taritta is better with the bow than I am, though.]
At the smiling Mizelda, Emilia returned a smile, with a “that’s right”.
The name “Taritta”, which she heard several times, must have been the name of Mizelda’s little sister. Taritta, who was apparently Mizelda’s pride and joy, had been with the group that left Guaral for the Demon City in the southeast――,
Emilia: [――! That’s right. The people who went south are back, right?]
For a moment, her mind drifted elsewhere, but that was the reason Emilia had rushed over in such a big hurry using her magic in the first place.
Holding Beatrice closer to her chest, Emilia surveyed the hall on the top floor.
The fact that there were people in unusual travel clothes amongst the crowd proved that the group who had arrived at the Fortress City while traveling by horse and carriage were here.
In the midst of it all――,
Emilia: [Subaru, are you there!? We’re all here to pick you up! Otto and Petra-san… Lady Petra will be here soon!]
She looked around, searching for the long-awaited black-haired boy in the crowd.
When Emilia heard at the house in which they had been staying that a carriage had arrived, she picked Beatrice up in her arms and hurried to City Hall ahead of Petra and Otto.
They also would be running to City Hall to meet Subaru in a big hurry.
Knowing she felt the same way as those two, but still running ahead while gasping for breath, Emilia knew she was unjust. Even so, she wanted to meet Subaru as soon as possible.
Beatrice was the same too, but Emilia had her own reasons to see Subaru――,
Emilia: [――Hk, Subaru!]
Suddenly, her shoulder having been tapped from behind, Emilia reacted as if she had been flipped.
It was so sudden that the person who had tapped her on the shoulder became startled and widened their eyes. However, the surprised person in front of her was not Subaru.
Emilia: [Frederica… You got here first. Um, well.]
It was kind of awkward, and Emilia didn’t know what expression to put on her face.
Of course, Frederica was also worried about Subaru, so it was no surprise that she arrived at City Hall first.
Emilia: [Well, did you get to talk to Subaru? Look, I want to take Beatrice to see him. I, too, would like to talk to Subaru, but Beatrice first…]
Frederica: [――. There is something I must tell you.]
Frederica lowered the corners of her beautiful emerald green eyes and spoke in a somber voice to Emilia, who was sweating and talking as if looking for excuses.
She did not know why Frederica had such an attitude.
Emilia: [Ah, Garfiel…]
Upon looking, it was not only Frederica, but also Garfiel who had arrived at City Hall earlier. When Petra and the others arrived a little later, all of Emilia’s companions who had come to Guaral would be present.
All of them would greet the previously separated Subaru.
Or so Emilia was hoping, but――,
Frederica: [Unfortunately, Subaru-sama has been lost again, in the Demon City of Chaosflame… Subaru-sama was not among those who returned via carriage.]
Thus, Frederica painfully conveyed such a heartbreaking report.
???: [What’dya mean Big bro and Rem-chan were taken away!?]
Widening her big round eyes, the girl shouted as she stomped her feet with a pitter-patter.
She was a golden-haired girl with a strange hairstyle of braids, ties, and various knots. The girl, who appeared twelve or thirteen years old, was taking a look at the adults around her with a face filled with bewilderment.
Gathered in the spacious room of the uppermost floor of the Fortress City of Guaral’s City Hall, were those who had been assigned various roles within the commotion of this city, or rather, this Empire.
In the middle of such turmoil, Otto Suwen felt like hugging his head due to the fact that they had somehow been caught up in it.
Although, this was in front of the people who hoisted flags depicting a wolf pierced by a sword. Believing that it would be unthinkable to show such a weak attitude, he kept his expression stiffened.
Strange-hair Girl: [I’ve come back and now the city’s a mess, the walls are missing as well, it’s a disaster! Among other things, Big bro and Rem-chan aren’t here, I’m startled and I feel dizzy!]
???: [Aa, uu!]
Just as she said this, the girl’s eyeballs and head spun round and round as she frustratedly stomped. And to her side was a separate girl of about the same age, in order to follow suit, this young girl with blonde hair began to groan.
The adults looked puzzled and perplexed by the girls’ two-person appeal.
The situation called for someone to take the lead, but Otto was wondering whether he should step in as he felt overwhelmed by a mysterious unease that prevented him from moving.
Otto: […Um, have I seen this groaning girl somewhere?]
Next to the girl who took the initiative to speak, Otto could not help but feel that the girl who did not utter a meaningful word was somehow familiar to him.
Although Otto was generally careful not to forget people with whom he had exchanged words, his memory of times when he drank too much were vague. Since he started working in the Emilia Camp, he tried to avoid getting so drunk that he would lose his memory, but he wondered whether this was a child he came across in an inebriated mood.
Strange-hair Girl: [Hey, how’s Big bro and Rem-chan doing? Does anyone know…]
Zikr: [――Before I go any further, may I make one thing clear, young lady?]
Strange-hair Girl: [Hmm? What’s that, Zikr-chin?]
While Otto was lost in thought, it was Zikr, the city’s representative, who approached the girl.
Otto had already exchanged words with him many times, and he regarded him as a trustworthy partner. Just the fact that he was someone he could communicate with in the Empire made him a rare find.
Zikr raised his thick eyebrows and looked at the girl from top to bottom,
Zikr: [If there is no mistake in my perception, is this young lady definitely Miss Medium?]
Medium: [Huh? Of course, what’s wrong? You can tell just by seeing.]
The girl with her hands on her hips and her chest puffed out―― she was called Medium, and next to her, who nodded her head, the girl he could not remember had taken the same posture.
At these words, Zikr looked at the person next to Medium with a troubled countenance.
Zikr: [――Lord Abel, this is…]
Abel: [It is due to Olbart Dunkelkenn’s technique. The reason why her reply was off the mark was because of her original education, not because of this condition.]
Zikr: [I see. General First-Class Olbart’s technique …I’m so glad you’re unharmed.]
Medium: [If you can call this unharmed, then yeah.]
After hearing the explanation, Zikr gently put his hand on his chin and looked as if pondering. Having clarified this for Zikr, Abel calmly folded his arms and glanced at Medium.
Abel: [The ones that stayed behind are astonished. To see that you have shrunk, that is.]
Medium: [Me? …Ah! I see! Sorry, sorry everyone! I was so used to being shrunk, but now I’m tiny! Together with Subaru-chin!]
With a small body, Medium raised her hand and explained her situation. Even having heard that, Otto couldn’t come to grips with it at all, but the original imperial group seemed somewhat convinced.
This side, while confused and unable to deny that they did not know enough, thought that, more importantly, there was something in what she just said that Otto and his friends couldn’t miss.
And at the same time, a faint whisper was uttered, probably with the same meaning.
It was the girl with a downcast face next to Medium who put a tone into the sound that was clearly differentiated from the groan that had come before. And the one who emitted the sound that had the same connotation as that of the girl was,
Emilia: [Are you worried about Subaru, too?]
Yes, it was Emilia who lowered her eyebrows at the girl’s appearance.
Emilia, with Beatrice sleeping in her arms, was one of those who was particularly disappointed to hear that Subaru was not in the group returning from Demon City.
Compared to her and Petra, it would be presumptuous to call Otto’s feelings disappointment. But it wasn’t because he had a premonition that it might not be so easy to meet again.
In any case――,
Louis: [Uu, aau.]
Emilia: [No, I don’t think it’s your fault. I’m reaaally disappointed that Subaru isn’t here, but this is no time to mope around. Subaru has been through so much more.]
Emilia: [You’re worried about me? Thank you. I know you’ve been through a lot, too.]
The depressed looking girl and Emilia were communicating with each other in this way.
The words spilling out of the girl’s mouth had no clear meaning, but Emilia looked her in the eyes and exchanged words as if she understood what they meant.
That in itself attested to the heartbroken Emilia’s determination, and it was an exchange that Otto couldn’t help but feel relieved about. However――,
Abel: [――I never expected that Natsuki Subaru’s companions would come all the way here to visit.]
It was a voice that blew through the hall like a cold, dry wind.
Emilia lifted her gaze and turned towards the person who had spoken with that voice―― the man with the Oni mask on his face who had just exchanged words with Zikr and Medium.
Emilia’s amethyst eyes narrowed at the sight of the dark-haired man with the Oni mask covering his face.
Emilia: [Are you a friend of Subaru, too?]
Abel: [I have no friends. Nor does he think of me in that way. Our relationship is one where we are together while working towards a goal.]
Emilia: [So, you’re a comrade. He called you Abel, could you be the person Zikr-san was talking about earlier?]
The man’s response was stiff and sharp, but Emilia was unfazed and turned to Zikr. In response to her question, Zikr straightened his back while stating, “Yes.”.
Zikr: [This is the one who is in the position to lead us, Lord Abel. I was only entrusted with the city under his direction.]
Abel: [Speaking of which, there certainly has been a lot of wear and tear.]
Zikr: […For that, I am truly ashamed.]
With a grimace, Zikr bowed deeply to the man―Abel―over the damage the city had suffered.
Instead of dissatisfaction with unreasonable reprimands, Zikr’s bitter face was filled with remorse at his own inability to do his job.
Otto, who was present at the actual scene, thought that Zikr and everyone else in the city did their best to prevent it from being completely destroyed, but――,
Medium: [Abel-chin, don’t say mean things like that! Everyone tried their hardest!]
Abel: [Even so, are you not angry as well, having had your brother taken away from you?]
Medium: [Big bro worked so hard he was taken! If Big bro hadn’t been taken away, we would’ve been in big trouble! That’s my Big bro! Even taken away, Big bro is so cool!]
It was Medium who took a vigorous swipe at Abel’s statement.
Judging from the flow of the conversation, her brother is probably the male peddler who was kidnapped with Rem. Mizelda had told me that he was a gentle and friendly lady-killer.
According to other stories by Kuna and Holly, that man and Rem both being taken was the decisive factor causing the enemy, a member of the “Nine Divine Generals”, to withdraw the flying dragons.
In other words, Medium’s remarks about her brother were not far off the mark.
Abel, who had just returned from Demon City, had no way of knowing about this situation――,
Abel: [Disregard what I previously said. From the beginning, you were dealing with Madelyn Eschart and a group of flying dragons. You deserve recognition for your work in a situation where the city may have needed to be abandoned.]
Zikr: [――! I am honored.]
The words that continued without hesitation were not the result of being struck by Medium’s persuasion.
From the start, these words were already prepared to be said to Zikr. From the very beginning, he had no intention of blaming him for the damage suffered by Guaral.
Medium: […Abel-chin, your personality is awful!]
Medium and the girl attacked Abel from both sides as he stood with his arms crossed. Abel gave a short rebuke as the two of them clung to him, pulling his sleeves and poking him in the waist.
One could get a rough idea of their relationship over there――,
???: [――So? When are we going to progress on this?]
Meanwhile, the woman who had been quietly watching the developments finally moved her lips.
It was a fox-eared beauty with a presence terribly out of place and an excessively glamorous personality―― in a sense, a person who, just by being there, one could not help but be aware of; like Emilia, who had uncommon beauty and Abel, whose eccentric Oni mask was eye-catching.
It was obvious even if not explicitly stated.
She was the reason why Abel and Medium left the walled city for the Demon City, Chaosflame.
???: [General First-Class Yorna Mishigure.]
Who muttered these words?
Perhaps someone in the room called out the name. However since no one voiced a correction, it was self-evident that it was correct.
She is the ruler of the Demon City, Chaosflame, and a member of the “Nine Divine Generals”, the most powerful military officers in the Empire.
Having her on their side will be a major boon that would shake up the state of this broad Empire.
The journey on which Subaru went missing was originally intended to recruit her.
Zikr: [General First-Class Yorna, first of all, I would like to thank you for your visit. I am Zikr Osman, a General Second-Class of the Vollachian Empire.]
Yorna: [I have heard your name along the way. In person, you seem to be a good-looking man as Medium and Taritta said.]
Zikr: [Miss Medium and Miss Taritta?]
Zikr, who had begun speaking sternly, blinked at Yorna’s response.
This was not the time for this, but his gaze turned to Medium and another tall woman. The brown-skinned woman in male attire, she was probably Taritta, the topic of discussion.
The two responded to Zikr’s gaze with a smile and a nod. Zikr, who was known as the “Womanizer” for his gentle, manly behavior, may have been embarrassed but he seemed very happy.
With a cough, he cleared his throat as if to calm his emotions,
Zikr: [So, would General First-Class Yorna be willing to fight alongside Lord Abel?]
Yorna: [You may think of it that way. I have my own agenda, but my interests… are aligned with Abel’s.]
Abel: [It is settled. There is no issue in the pact with Yorna Mishigure.]
Yorna wore a luxurious kimono and held a golden kiseru in her hand. Although her previous reputation gave the impression that she was quite a worrisome woman, her demeanor was calm and collected.
Otto’s group had heard that Chaosflame had been severely damaged.
That is why a huge caravan of carriages arrived at Guaral, and why they had to accommodate such a large number of people at once.
And in the midst of all the devastation that the Demon City suffered――,
???: [――Subaru was sent somewhere.]
It was Emilia, with a voice that sounded like a silver bell, who broke into the conversation.
Entering the story from a different angle, Abel’s gaze through the Oni mask turned towards Emilia. Emilia didn’t flinch, despite the obvious unwelcoming gaze.
Beatrice was in her arms, Petra and Frederica stood quietly by her side, and Garfiel had a stern look on his face. Otto may have contributed a little to that as well.
Indeed, Emilia’s statement may just be some noise to them.
However, they had their own circumstances. It would be a problem if the conversation proceeded while ignoring them, who had rushed across the border to reach there.
Emilia: [Once more, let’s start over from the beginning. ――I am Emily, and you are Abel, right? Subaru’s friend… No, his comrade.]
Abel: [――. Yes.]
Emilia: [Subaru had gone to another city with you… Well, to Yorna-san’s and then something terrible happened and you got separated. Is that right?]
Yorna: [Yes, that’s right. Something terrible doesn’t quite cut it, though.]
Both Abel and Yorna nodded at Emilia, which raised her well-shaped eyebrows as she confirmed what had just been described. After receiving their reactions, especially Yorna’s words, Emilia accepted them with an open heart and said, “That’s right.”.
From the perspective of the parties involved, the superficial words of an outsider could be offensive, and Emilia, too, was careful to choose her words with care, knowing that her words fell into that category.
Emilia: [You couldn’t say where Subaru got whisked away to after getting separated from the rest of the group. Even though everyone searched, you could not find him, and there were many people without homes. So, that is why you came back to this city like this and we are discussing this here… Is that right?]
Abel: [There is nothing to correct. Still, that was a tragedy of that magnitude. Considering the scale of it, it’s hard to believe that the missing person is safe――]
Emilia: [――Subaru is fine. That’s for sure.]
Emilia interrupted Abel, speaking up in a low but powerful voice.
The trust in her voice made Abel’s black eyes narrow through the Oni mask. Abel’s eyes, tinged with deep thought, sought the basis of Emilia’s remark.
Sure enough, Abel took a pause and then asked Emilia, “What makes you so sure?”.
Abel: [You do not know the details of what transpired within the Demon City. Under such circumstances, disappearing when one wrong move could cost him his life ――How can you be so sure that he would survive in that situation?]
So far, all Otto and the others had heard were the news of the destruction of Chaosflame and the rumor that it was caused by an unbelievable calamity.
The genuineness of Abel’s words was unknown, and it was impossible to gauge the extent to which he had dramatized the facts. But Otto could be sure that it was not a meaningless bluff.
At the same time, there was a small hitch in the way he spoke.
Abel’s tone was cold, but he could sense his intention to learn more about them. ――No, it was more about finding out about Subaru through Otto and the others.
He seemed to think that Subaru was hiding something from him. If it was about Subaru’s position within the kingdom, they could not carelessly hand over that information.
Otto: [Emily, this is…]
Emilia: [I believe in Subaru, and I believe that Subaru is going to do his best until we get there to get him. No matter how hard things are.]
Fearing leading questions, Otto tried to control the conversation, but Emilia had answered ahead of him. However, it was a statement of trust based on idealism, not a concrete basis.
It was not what Otto feared, nor was it what Abel wanted. So, naturally, Abel was disappointed and lowered his gaze.
Abel: [This is all wishful thinking without any persuasive evidence. Disappointing that this is your rationale.]
Emilia: [Yeah? I think it’s reaaally nice and important for people to believe in me. I feel safe when I can trust someone, and it gives me strength when they trust me. Are you different?]
Abel: [After all, feelings are just feelings. It can hardly be the deciding factor beyond that.]
Emilia’s eyes wavered at Abel’s answer, shaking his head and closing one eye.
Otto missed the opportunity to interject, but that was enough for him to understand that the two were water and oil. That is to say, such was the difference between Emilia, who believed in the value of the heart, and Abel, who did not.
This rift was likely to be a difference in outlook on life and was not likely to be easily bridged.
Abel: [――No one can say for sure whether Natsuki Subaru is alive or dead. Just because he has always avoided death by a hair’s breadth, there is no guarantee it will be the same this time.]
That affirmation seemed to have been Abel’s conclusion in this conversation.
As Emilia heard that and her lips pursed together,
Emilia: [Do you mean Subaru――]
She quickly looked at Abel and was about to say something.
But, one girl straightened up faster than she could proceed with her words. It was the little girl in Emilia’s arms, who had her eyes closed.
Beatrice: [If you need confirmation that Subaru is alive, Betty has it, in fact.]
Embraced within her chest, Beatrice opened her eyes, which had a characteristic pattern to them. Emilia, whose eyes widened, immediately called to her, to which Frederica hurriedly added the honorific title.
Whether or not it was enough to disguise things, Beatrice’s words had a certain effect in attracting Abel’s attention and the attention of others who did not know what was going on.
Abel: [Why is it that you have the certainty of Natsuki Subaru’s being alive or dead?]
Beatrice: [It’s a simple matter, I suppose. It’s because Betty and Subaru are connected by the soul, in fact!]
Yorna: [――Ah, so that’s how it is. If this and that child are deeply connected, I can see the logic behind that.]
Emilia: [Ye-es, they are in a contractual relationship. That’s why…]
Abel: [This girl is in her debilitated state? That makes sense.]
Despite the lack of a clear explanation, Abel and Yorna were able to figure out the situation.
Revealing the fact that Beatrice was a Spirit was not good for Otto and the others, who had entered the Empire under false identities, but the two in question had likely already realized it.
It was hard to imagine, however, that Abel and his group, whose purpose was to rebel against the Emperor in the Imperial Capital, would do anything about them on the grounds that they have violated the decree of the Empire.
Otto: [If you are convinced, then you understand. Apart from Natsuki-san’s comfort and location, we do have means to confirm whether he is alive or dead. Since Beatrice-sama says so, we can be certain that no matter where… Natsuki-san is alive in the place where he was sent to.]
Yorna: [――Is that so? Then perhaps Tanza will be a little better off.]
Yorna’s eyebrows lowered slightly at Otto’s additional words.
She whispered these words, which seemed to be a person’s name. Someone who lost their life from the way they spoke. ――It would seem that this, too, was not unconnected with the destruction of the Demon City.
To delve into this, though, one would have had to be prepared to venture into Yorna’s world.
Petra: [Um, can we backtrack a bit?]
Suddenly, not wanting to miss the momentary silence, Petra raised her hand and asked for the right to speak; Emilia carelessly called out to her again, and Frederica immediately came to her aid.
With Petra standing proudly beside her, she drew the attention of a group of adults who were strangers to her.
Petra: [Earlier, Medium-chan said that she was made tiny. Is that true?]
Medium: [Ah, yes, it’s true! I used to be really tall! About the same height as that blonde boy over there… Umm, no, it was about the same height as that woman!]
Garfiel: [First, why did ya write off my amazin’ self?]
Frederica: [I know what you mean. Although, I am not too happy to hear about my height, either.]
Having been pointed out by Medium, Garfiel and Frederica each responded in turn.
However, Medium’s story was probably true, as no one had refuted it. It’s hard to believe, but apparently something mysterious happened to cause a person’s body to shrink.
Perhaps that meant――
Petra: [Has Subaru been made tiny, too?]
Petra asked in a serious, slightly firm voice.
That was a big question that Otto and the others could not afford to ignore. It would have been difficult enough just to meet up with Subaru, who was sent to the Empire, but they were not expecting a situation in which his body would be shrunken.
Otto, feeling like praying that he had heard wrong, was convinced, however, that his prayer had never been and would never be fully heard.
Not knowing Otto’s feelings, Medium nodded her head lightly and said, “That’s right.”.
Medium: [Subaru-chin is just like me! Maybe a little smaller? Anyway, they made him so tiny! But I heard that Subaru-chin and Yorna-chan beat up Gramps together, so Subaru-chin is amazing!]
Emilia: [Yes, Subaru is amazing!]
Petra: [Yes, Medium-chan is right.]
Beatrice: [Naturally, I suppose. He’s Betty’s partner, in fact!]
While the content itself was difficult to welcome, Medium’s unhesitating praise was music to the ears. In fact, Emilia, Petra, and Beatrice were in a good mood after hearing the praise for Subaru.
Neither Garfiel, Frederica, nor Otto felt bad. They did not, but as that praise was accompanied by unwelcome information, Otto became rather concerned.
Otto: [If Natsuki-san is also shrunken… I guess, he became a child? Not tired of just dressing up as a woman, now he’s becoming a child… infantilized? What a restless person…]
Frederica: [Indeed, pestering Subaru-sama for having a partner is regrettable but… But I’m worried, I can’t let him meet with Clind.]
Otto: [That’s one thing, but I’m sure there are other concerns that are more important…]
By what means was such a phenomenon caused?
Since this event was so far removed from reality, there were concerns about whether or not it could be reversed, and if so, whether or not there would be any after effects. In the worst case scenario, there was even a possibility that Subaru would return to the Kingdom of Lugunica as Emilia’s knight while remaining small.
Emilia: [Well, in terms of ability, it’s not much different, anyway.]
Subaru would indeed be outraged were he to hear this, but if they could find him, then this would be acceptable as tolerable damage.
If he could grow up properly from then on, he wouldn’t have too many problems with his relationship with Emilia, a half-elf. She would be able to wait until he got older.
Otto: [I should not… Maybe I am a little out of my depth too.]
It seemed like the order of priorities for concern was in disarray.
For the time being, it was a setback that they could not meet up with Subaru, but thanks to Beatrice, they were now certain about his survival.
Now, with Zikr and the others―― No, if the representative was Abel, they should decide if they wanted to continue this line of cooperation with them or not.
Garfiel: [――Beatrice-sama? Why do ya look so outta it?]
With a hand on his chin, about to consider the options, Otto casually directed his attention to the words uttered by Garfiel.
Garfiel’s gaze turned to Beatrice in Emilia’s arms. She woke up, but wanting to avoid exhaustion, she remained in Emilia’s arms, with her good mood from the earlier praise of Subaru being short-lived, as her eyes widened.
What her trembling eyes were looking at was not Medium.
There was another girl, snuggled up beside her as if they were sisters. Beatrice stared at her, not even having heard her name yet.
Beatrice: […Why are you here, I suppose.]
Beatrice: [Answer, in fact! No, do not do anything unnecessary, I suppose!]
Immediately after asking the question in a trembling voice, Beatrice’s voice rose as her expression changed.
At the sound, the little girl who had her head tilted, jumped in surprise, and naturally, Otto and the others were surprised by Beatrice’s reaction.
Otto: [Be-Beatrice… sama, what’s wrong? You suddenly yelled at that girl…]
Beatrice: [Yelling is the reasonable thing to do, in fact! Otto! Did you not realize it, I suppose?]
Otto: [Me? What do… ah.]
Faced with that reprimand, something asserted itself in the back of the bewildered Otto’s mind.
At first, when he saw the girl, it was a nagging, nebulous feeling that had been there from the start, but that gradually became clearer and clearer because of Beatrice’s attitude.
Yes, Otto had recognized this girl. It was a sense of ――déjà vu that should not have existed in the Empire, a place he was visiting for the first time.
Otto: [Unbelievable, she is…]
Otto stared at the girl, as a startling possibility surfaced in his mind.
The possibility that drifted in the air was something that seemed to be placed in the corner of Otto’s hazy memory. At that time, Otto’s leg had been sliced open, and he was slipping in and out of consciousness from the pain and blood loss.
So, although he didn’t see clearly who it was that had done it――
Emilia: [Beatrice, Otto-kun, what is it? Both of you, just looking at that girl…]
Confused by the reaction of Otto and Beatrice, Emilia addresses her without honorifics, but no one complemented her words. And then, that was no longer needed.
That was because there was no reason for the confusion to stay as confusion any longer.
Beatrice: [――It’s Gluttony, in fact.]
Emilia’s eyes widen as Beatrice speaks up in a calm, but hard tone of voice.
However, it was not only Emilia who froze, but everyone else who heard her voice, and it was at this moment that Beatrice’s voice had the attention of everyone in the room.
Therefore, everyone overheard the identity of this little girl.
Beatrice: [That girl is, the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony… a girl named Louis Arneb, I suppose.] 
――The moment Beatrice’s words were uttered, an atmosphere of volatility overtook the room.
Garfiel: [You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me. A Sin Archbishop? What the hell do ya think you’re doin’?]
Understandably, shock, horror, and confusion spread as Beatrice’s words echoed.
That was what the young girl had said. Ordinarily, no adult with sound judgment would accept a thing like that without hesitation. However, that was not the case for Otto and the others.
Naturally Otto, who vaguely recognized the girl’s―― Louis’s appearance, as well the members of the camp who believed Beatrice would not tell a lie, immediately accepted it as a fact.
Accordingly, Garfiel had stepped forward, cracking his knuckles and baring his fangs.
Immediately, Garfiel narrowed the pupils of his green eyes and glared at Louis.
Garfiel: [On top of that, it’s Gluttony? Isn’t that the one who’s been hoggin’ the top spot on our amazin’ selves’ list of bastards to beat up? Is this the Imperial Way!?]
Medium: [W-Wait! That’s not right! Louis-chan isn’t a bad girl!]
Blocking Garfiel’s view, Medium spread her arms to protect Louis.
Her wish to protect the girl behind her was commendable, but it was exceedingly unlikely that she could stop Garfiel’s wrath. In the first place――,
Otto: [You say she is not a bad girl, but are you being serious? Just so you know, both of my legs were painfully gouged by her. I still have some garish scars, should I show them to you?]
Medium: [That wasn’t… L-Louis-chan, maybe it was a different girl…]
Otto: [Sorry but, she had clearly introduced herself as such. There were victims other than me… undoubtedly, an incalculable number of them. Some were our friends, and the friends of our allies.]
Medium: [B, but, but but…!]
With her eyes tearing up, Medium desperately searched for some words of rebuttal.
However, whether her intelligence was as childlike as she looked, or even if it was only her appearance that had shrunk, Otto intended to shut down this war of words.
In any case, it was impossible for anyone in the world to defend a Sin Archbishop.
Sin Archbishops and Witch Cultists were abominations of such a degree.
That’s why Emilia, identical in appearance to the Witch of Envy who was the cause of it all, was unable to escape ridicule for her impossible dream.
Medium: [Maybe, Louis-chan was like that before… but Louis-chan is different now!]
Garfiel: [Different from before? What the hell are ya basin’ that on?]
Medium: [Because! She was friends with Big bro, Subaru-chin, and Rem-chan! I’ve been with her this whole time… and she hasn’t done a single bad thing! She didn’t!]
Otto: [――With Natsuki-san?]
Medium’s desperate, futile resistance, shouting as she frantically searched for words, had hit his ears with something strange that was too large to ignore.
Subaru had acted together with Louis. ――Surely it was not because he had not known who Louis was. Subaru should have quickly guessed Louis’s true identity.
Petra: [Otto-san, Subaru couldn’t have gone as far as losing his memory or something right?]
Otto: [For a moment, that fear washed over me, but from what I’ve heard from Mizelda-san and Zikr-san, I think that is not much of a concern.]
To Petra’s anxious words, Otto dismissed his anxieties due to the evidence put forth for consideration.
If it were the case that he had worked together with the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis, who was here; a situation where Subaru had been robbed of his “memories” was certainly scary.
Since he remembered Subaru, there was probably no concern that his “name” had been eaten; but whether his “memories” had been was a question of Subaru’s own personal symptoms.
Emilia: [――The stories of Subaru we’ve heard in this city are still of the Subaru we know. So there’s no need to worry about that, Petra-chan… Petra-sama.]
Petra: [Thank you, Emily.]
At the words of Emilia, who had reached the same conclusion, Petra also finally showed an expression of relief.
Though that was the reasoning for why they could say Subaru’s “memories” had not been eaten, it was hard to say it was a basis for making a decision on how to deal with Louis who was here now.
Of course, there was no denying the question of why Subaru had not done anything about Louis one way or the other, but――,
Otto: [Since it’s Natsuki-san, it probably was not a matter of getting his hands on a young-looking girlfriend or something like that. ――Is it possible he was concerned about the Authority’s nullification requirements?]
Frederica: [We’ve talked about it before. Even if we defeat the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, we don’t have any definite proof that everything that was lost would come back.]
Otto: [It is troublesome, but if that’s the case then it is understandable why he did not act rashly.]
As Garfiel had said, crushing the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony was an ardent wish of theirs, as well as the Royal Candidates, and also for the world, that was hard to let go.
However, this was not because of a simple desire for revenge; their primary goal was the restoration of the damage Gluttony had wrought.
If taking Louis’s life would return the victims of her Authority to how they were before, there would not be a problem.
However, what would they do if the victims were not restored? Subaru might have been wary that if they acted rashly, the way to return the victims to normal may be permanently lost.
Garfiel: [――I know what you’re thinking Ottobro. But that doesn’t mean we hafta let the pipsqueak go free.]
Despite understanding Otto’s thoughts, Garfiel arrogantly declared that.
In truth, he was right. Even though he was afraid that taking her life would eliminate the possibility, it was hard to believe taking her into custody would cause any problems.
Rather, the danger of leaving a Sin Archbishop alone was likely far greater.
Therefore in times like these, Garfiel, who tended to make snap decisions, was reliable.
Bit by bit, Garfiel closed the gap in order to pin down the dangerous Sin Archbishop. At Garfiel’s approach, Louis shrank her small body down with an “Uu.”.
Medium: [Abel-chin! Say something!]
Protecting Louis behind her and facing off against Garfiel, Medium called for Abel.
Abel, who had not interjected during this course of events, turned his attention to Medium’s appeal.
Abel: [What do you want me to say? Handling this is your business.]
Medium: [But, I can’t persuade them well!]
Abel: [Don’t foist the responsibility of your vice on me. After all, it is unneeded.]
Medium’s eyes wavered as she was told it was unnecessary.
Perhaps Abel’s cruel way of speaking had given her the impression that he had forsaken Louis. However, in truth that had not been the case.
Abel had said there was no need for himself to get involved.
Garfiel: [M, My amazin’ self’s not goin’ to go easy on ya even if you’re a woman!]
???: [That’s splendid. Since otherwise, you might end up using my beauty as an excuse for your shoddiness.]
In front of Garfiel, who had paused, Yorna had stepped in directly between them and stood leisurely.
Wearing thick soles on top of being tall to begin with, Yorna looked down on Garfiel, kiseru in hand. Returning her gaze head on, Garfiel fiercely bared his fangs.
Yorna would defend Louis, and had declared her intention to do so.
Since she had originally come to Guaral from the Demon City alongside Louis, they had known she had no intention of eliminating her, but that in itself was hard to believe.
Otto: [I will say it again, but she is a Sin Archbishop. Surely you’re not saying that the horrors of the Witch Cult are not known in the Vollachian Empire?]
Yorna: [We know the deeds of those ruffians, and their repulsiveness. Naturally, we also know the malice of those calling themselves Sin Archbishops.]
Otto: [I hear the wounds of the Fortress City of Garkla still have not healed.]
The large Imperial city had been destroyed in a rampage of Greed, a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult.
The offender, Greed, was defeated in Pristella, but it was common knowledge throughout the world that there was no choice about where the Witch Cult would rampage. Naturally, in the Empire as well.
In spite of that, the fact was that they had left Louis at large.
Otto: [Do you think you can win them over? I have to say that is imprudent.]
Abel: [If something is useful, I shall consider how to use it. It is you people that are severely mistaken in thinking that all would take your side.]
Abel dodged Otto’s questioning, and effortlessly pointed that out condescendingly.
As he had said, the reaction of those gathered on the top floor of City Hall was mixed. Of course there were those who appeared disgusted and hostile upon hearing that Louis was a Sin Archbishop. However, like Medium and Yorna, a considerable number of them showed reluctance towards eliminating Louis.
Mizelda: [――I’ll say this: Subaru and Rem are both our friends. Since they were the ones who brought Louis with them, they are the only two who have the right to decide Louis’s fate.]
Mizelda: [Of course, if the Chieftain disagrees then I will yield.]
With eyes conveying a strong sense of purpose, and having cast a piercing gaze that way, Mizelda would try to take the side protecting Louis. Frederica, who had had many opportunities to exchange words with her at City Hall, gasped under that strong gaze.
Mizelda was the representative of the Shudraq, and the other Shudraqians would follow her. ――No, more accurately, they would follow the Chieftain who had returned to the city.
The target of Mizelda’s words and gaze was the woman dressed formally in black, who had been entrusted with the decision. Taritta, the new Chieftain of the Shudraq was asked by her older sister, “What should we do?”.
Taritta: [My opinion is the same as Sister’s. However, this decision wasn’t because Sister said so, as I am protecting Louis for my own reasons. Since I owe Louis a debt of gratitude.]
Mizelda: [Ha, I see.]
At Taritta’s clear answer, Mizelda relaxed her lips and nodded.
Otto’s side did not know what these sisters’ relationship was like, but it seemed like Mizelda had happily accepted Taritta’s assertion.
However, they did not have the luxury to consider that heartwarming.
Beatrice: [A Sin Archbishop, on top of that someone like Gluttony; turning a blind eye cannot be done, in fact. Will you all cool your heads, I suppose?]
From Emilia’s arms, Beatrice’s words were filled with strength.
She had come this far by suppressing her exhaustion, but in an emergency it was necessary for her to display her abilities. Like Subaru, not hesitating in such situations was a bad habit of Beatrice’s.
Emilia: [That’s no good, everyone calm down! Fighting like this――]
While the spirits of Beatrice and Garfiel, alongside those of Yorna and the Shudraq, had risen in preparation for battle; Emilia tried to stop the dispute with a heartbroken look on her face.
In fact, if it came to seriously stopping the dispute through brute force, Emilia was the one with the ability best suited for doing so.
If she were to use her immense mana to freeze Guaral, Otto would aim to secure Louis in the meantime. At worst, they would cut ties with everyone in Guaral.
Emilia: [Is more dangerous than turning a blind eye to a Sin Archbishop――]
That was when Otto watched for an unguarded moment.
???: [――What is the matter, you plebeians, have you not yet fought enough? That is quite hot-blooded, is it not?]
Suddenly, a powerful new voice shook the atmosphere within the large chamber of City Hall.
It belonged to a woman whose shoes clacked loudly as she leisurely came up the stairs. Some time ago, Otto had said that Emilia, Abel, and Yorna had presences that were impossible to ignore, but the owner of that voice too, was cloaked in an air which did not match that impression.
With the hem of her blood-red dress swaying, a beautiful woman leisurely appeared.
She had fair skin and orange hair, and had boldly adorned herself with numerous ornaments, but even the glitter of those jewels lost out to her natural beauty―― Priscilla Barielle.
In the Fortress City of Guaral, the final person who had an influential voice had appeared.
Following behind her as she walked unhurriedly, was her attendant Schult, whose small, humble movements drew attention, as well as Al, with his unforgettably eccentric appearance.
Together with Abel, Medium, and the others, Al was also one of the people who had headed to Chaosflame with Subaru. On his way back, he had gone to meet up with Priscilla, and now it seemed they were entering in together.
Originally there was supposed to be one more person, Heinkel, who was nowhere to be seen, but that was a minor detail.
More importantly, from Otto’s point of view, a being had joined in who seemed like she would make this volatile atmosphere even worse.
Fickle and powerful, Priscilla carried such a presence that was impossible to predict as to which side she would choose.
Rather, it almost seemed like it would be better if they could just conclude she was an enemy.
Priscilla: [I made my way here after hearing that Abel and the others had returned, but I had not expected this kind of atmosphere so soon. Even if the city is this devastated, it seems a starved dog cannot choose where it barks.]
Emilia: [Priscilla! Everyone is reaaally tense right now! Don’t say strange things.]
Priscilla: [Nonsense. If I had not come, you would have made it snow once again. Let me tell you, no matter how chilly you make it, I shall not stop baring my shoulders. Still, it does get cold.]
Emilia: [I’m sorry about that, but…]
Emilia had an absurd exchange with Priscilla as she entered, then apologized.
However, the reason the end of that sentence had lost its strength was not because of Emilia’s remorse.
It was because the high-pitched clatter of a hard object falling had reverberated throughout the large chamber.
Suddenly, Medium turned her head and murmured, looking up at the woman standing just in front of her. Her blue eyes stared at the single kiseru that had fallen at Yorna’s feet.
Yorna had been fiddling with it in her hands, a fine item that did not seem cheap.
With a groan, Louis, who was at the center of the conversation, picked up the fallen kiseru. However, Yorna did not accept the picked up kiseru when it was offered to her.
Instead, Yorna’s gaze was solely on Priscilla; the presence that had just set foot into the large hall.
Staring at Priscilla, Yorna’s eyes widened.
Yorna, who usually seemed imperturbable and unflappable, was astonished.
Her painted crimson lips were wide open, trembling.
Yorna: [Pr, Prisca…?]
She called Priscilla that. ――A different name that didn’t sound familiar.
Frozen in shock, the wide-eyed Yorna addressed Priscilla by that similar but different name. Three people present responded to that name.
One was Zikr, another was Abel, and the last one, needless to say, was Priscilla.
Zikr looked at Yorna speculatively, Abel contemplatively, and Priscilla scornfully.
Priscilla: [What, you? Why do you behave like that towards me… no.]
Priscilla looked back at Yorna with her crimson eyes, not concealing her displeasure.
Without pause, her sharp tongue seemed ready to strike her, but right before; she stopped short. Priscilla again gazed intently at Yorna.
Yorna’s blue eyes and Priscilla’s blood-red eyes had locked with one another, and a moment of silence passed.
Then Priscilla let out an “Ahh” like an exhale,
Priscilla: [――If I think about it, you are indeed mine dear mother, aren’t you?]
Like that, a remark which would give rise to an explosion distinct from the already volatile situation, had been stated matter-of-factly.
 Some of you might be confused as to why Beatrice recognizes Louis from Pristella in this scene. Putting it simply, this follows the Light Novel canon. Explaining more thoroughly, then: in the Web Novel version, in Arc 5 Chapter 70, when Louis uses Solar Eclipse to take over Ley’s body, she transforms into a “giant man, with a grim countenance” (all this takes place after Otto’s had his knees injured by Ley). However, in the Light Novel version, Louis takes over after Ley is hit by Meteor, transforming into the same “giant man, with a grim countenance”, injures Otto, and then transforms into her own appearance. Hence why Beatrice can recognize her near instantly, and Otto takes a while being that he was in a world of pain at the time.