Arc 7, Chapter 85 – “Fhrend”

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???: [A rather gloomy atmosphere has spread within the mansion over the past few days, don’t you think?]

Rem quietly muttered at the tingling sense of tension in the air.

The dry air and cold winds brought in from outside seemed to be mixed with faint human anxiety and irritation surging up on the battlefield.

Although it was only for a short time, Rem had roughly experienced what it means to be on a battlefield on a few occasions.

If one yielded to that feeling, the tension they experienced on their skin would increase day by day, waiting for the moment to collapse. Even the soldiers guarding the mansion appeared to be gradually losing their composure.

That being said, that too was probably due to the influence of the current circumstances.

Rem: [I heard that the rebel army has the upper hand… Now rebellions are taking place in various parts of the Empire. The Imperial Army has been so busy dealing with them that they haven’t been able to respond proactively.]

Ironically, what had ended up triggering those rebels’ simultaneous uprisings was the battle at the Fortress City of Guaral, which also caused the abduction of Rem and many others ――The Imperial Army’s all-out offensive, including the Nine Divine Generals, had been narrowly staved off by the hodgepodge rebel army.

The rebel army――It was a conflicting way of referring to them for Rem who knew the fact that Abel, the one leading them, was the real Emperor, but she had heard that the resistance forces were continuing to grow.

There even was a rumor praising an indomitable city which splendidly repelled the merciless attack led by the Flying Dragon General, further boosting the belief that there was naught to fear from an Imperial Army helplessly driven away.

Rem: [It could perhaps be said that they’re not lying, but…]

From Rem’s perspective as someone involved, the commander of the flying dragons Madelyn did not retreat for strategic reasons, and it was questionable to conclude that a city damaged to such an extent was the winner.

Of course, from the rebel army’s point of view, a victory was still a victory, and there was also no reason to pass up the perfect opportunity to spread their agenda. Because of it, insurgents​ from all over the place have been joining the surging rebellion.

Strategically, there was nothing strange about it. ――Indeed, nothing strange at all.

There were also other reasons why the rebels have been in high spirits.

Rem: [――――]

One other reason besides the narrow victory of the Fortress City that explains the unprecedented success of the rebel’s uprising, being that the ruler of the Demon City of Chaosflame, General First-Class Yorna Mishigure, has joined the cause.

The defection of this capricious General First-Class known for her exceptional capabilities had sparked the rebel’s momentum.

And that in particular was Abel’s plan from the start, as well as the plan of Natsuki Subaru who went with him.

Rem: […He could’ve just been following along, and there’s the possibility he wasn’t useful at all.]

What proportion of these events have been set in motion by Subaru?

After mentioning the possibility that he had not been useful for anything, Rem herself admitted how unconvincing those words were. Hypothetically, if he had actually been useless, then it was only because all of Subaru’s words and actions had been blocked off.

And since she could not imagine Subaru keeping his mouth shut and not acting in the slightest, he probably accomplished at least something. ――Or even convince a General First-Class to change sides.

Then again, she is probably overthinking it.

Rem: [Do I…?]

An undeniable premonition made her ask herself that question.

The rebels had risen up simultaneously, and the foundations of the Empire were shaking unlike ever before. Winds filled with the scent of blood and steel were blowing in the Imperial Capital as well, even reaching Rem and the others who had been taken captive.

To what extent had Abel possibly foreseen this situation?

Rem: [Was even the initial self-directed hostility part of his calculations?]

He had probably even calculated the spread of the rebellion and that the fake Emperor would assemble his forces in the Imperial Capital following the successive outcry of the rebels.

Even Subaru was simply used as a pawn by Abel to realize his greater plan.

Subaru probably had not been told the full details of the plan to begin with. In the end, Subaru was nothing more than a pawn to be used for Abel’s goals. ――Not that she was not aware of the reason for it.

She was shameless to feign ignorance of such a deception.

Rem: [――――]

At this rate, would the small rebellion sparked off in the village of the People of Shudraq engulf the entirety of the Empire and turn into a political upheaval for the history books?

If so, how would Abel and Subaru, who were at the center of it, end up being spoken of?

And in the midst of it all, just what exactly should she accomplish――.

???: [――Hey.]

Rem: [Ah…]

???: [What are you spacing off for? Y-You’re the one that said you wanted to do it. Properly, yes, properly take responsibility and do so until the end.]

With those words, Rem snapped back to reality from being lost in thoughts with wide open eyes.

At her first glance, Rem noticed a woman playing with her dark brown hair――Katya. She had been staring sternly at Rem through the mirror on the dressing table in front of her.

Her unruly hair was tangled around Rem’s fingertips. That was only natural, as Rem had been right in the middle of doing Katya’s hair.

Rem: [Sorry. I was thinking about something.]

Katya: [You don’t need to tell me, of course everyone always has something on their mind, haven’t they? Don’t report every single thing like it is an excuse.]

Rem: [――――]

Katya: [――Ah, not that I am saying you shouldn’t, but.]

Thinking she might have gone too far, Katya awkwardly corrected herself.

The apologetic Rem inadvertently ended up feeling delighted at the attitude of the puppy-eyed girl.

Katya Aurélie――A woman held captive in Prime Minister Berstetz’s mansion and, just like Rem, was under house arrest.

Unlike Rem, who had been brought along as a healer for a wounded Flop and put under house arrest by a concerned Berstetz, it seemed she was here because of different circumstances.

It was not like they exchanged the details of their respective circumstances, but compared to their meeting, even being able to talk like this meant they considerably warmed up to each other. Katya was the kind of person that would snap at the slightest remark, and double the distance to someone going through the trouble of getting close to her.

Katya: […What’s with that expression? It is quite irritating.]

Rem: [Sorry. Even now, I also haven’t properly gotten used to seeing it either. It’s almost like it’s from a stranger.]

Katya: [C-Could you not say scary things? After hearing the story about you losing your memories, I can no longer tell when you are serious, it’s scary!]

Staring gloomingly at the mirror, Katya brought her own finger to her mouth and bit at it.

Whenever something goes awry, Katya had the habit of biting her nails like that. Rem had only known her for a short while, but for better or worse, she would often resort to that when feeling on the edge.

Biting her nails, Katya’s reproachful gaze was reflected in the mirror as she glared at herself and Rem standing behind her. Behind the woman sitting in the wheelchair, Rem was still staring at her reflection in the mirror on the dressing table.

After all, what she had told Katya was an exaggeration.

Even Rem, without her “memories”, had long since accepted that this was not the expression of a stranger, but her own. She could ill afford to snap at everything she sees and touches.

If she starts doubting the kindness of Louis, the People of Shudraq, Medium, Flop, Priscilla or Schult, wouldn’t nothing be left her but an empty self?

Since she knew that, wasn’t it about time for the very first person to lend her a helping hand to――.

Katya: […You’re good at doing hair.]

Rem: [Eh?]

Katya: [Like I said, you’re quite good at doing hair. Maybe, before you forgot everything, you were doing this as your job… but there’s no way, right?. I-I said something stupid. Forget about it. Just forget it. Forget it.]

Looking away from her reflection in the mirror, Katya blushed at the sight of Rem absent-mindedly doing her hair. Before she even noticed, Rem had finished doing her hair and her skill was clearly worthy of praise.

Using both hands to softly hold the pigtails steady, hanging down on either side of her head, Katya glared at Rem, her lips trembling.

Katya: [You’re spacing off again… I-If I’m such a boring person to talk to. Then! Please don’t and look, yes, look to someone else!]

Rem: [No, everyone else in the mansion is in the middle of working.]

Katya: [Then, am I just someone loafing around? And then, coming to me of all people…]

Rem: [It’s not like that. Please don’t put me in the spot like that.]

Katya: [Which one of us…!]

 Turning the wheel of her wheelchair, Katya fled to the back of the room. There, biting her nails and glaring upward, she was as ferocious as a cat whose territory had been violated.

Rem’s unclear attitude made Katya uneasy.

Rem: [Katya-san, I am sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn’t come to Katya-san’s room because she was the only one free in the mansion.]

Katya: [Then, then, what are you saying?! Why did you come to me…]

Rem: [That is…]

Asked for an appropriate reason, Rem thought for a moment.

Just as she had answered to Katya, Rem did not take her position lightly enough to seek out someone to kill time in this situation. However, after a little contact, she realized that Katya was not a particularly important person, nor did she hold any of the Empire’s secrets.

From Rem’s point of view, who was in a hurry to do something, there was no doubt that there was little to be gained by interacting with her.

Still, Rem actively tried to get involved with Katya because――,

Katya: [Wha, why? Tell me! If you won’t say…]

Rem: [I think it’s because Katya-san and I are fhrends.] [1]

Katya: [――――]

Rem: [Katya-san?]

She seriously tried to look inwards and search for words that seemed to fit, but all that came out were hazy thoughts.

Rem did not have much of a calculating mind when it came to Katya. So, she could not give Katya a reason why she wanted to be there.

Rem would be in trouble if she could not convince Katya.

Katya: [Fhrend… Who the hell is Fhrend!]

Rem: [Huh? Ah, that’s not someone’s name. Fhrend means friend.]

Katya: [Fhrend… Oh, like a, friend…?]

Katya looked wide-eyed in astonishment, as if she had heard an unbelievable word. Katya’s reaction made Rem suddenly think that referring to her as a friend was too familiar.

To begin with, the relationship with Katya was one that Rem was forcing on her.

It may have been a bit thoughtless to call two people friends when they got to know each other while being unwillingly placed under house arrest in Berstetz’s mansion.

Rem: [I’m sorry, that was self-serving. It’d be better to say “fellow house arrestee” or “house arrest companions”…]

Katya: [Fr-friend!]

Rem: [Yes?]

Katya: [I said we’re friends. Yeah, I said it… We’re not particularly good friends, but still…]

Putting both hands on her face, Katya said so while looking away.

When Rem blinked at those words, Katya exhaled “Ah.”,

Katya: [But if you don’t like it, you know, you can stop anytime?]

Rem: [I understand. Then…]

Katya: [You, you want to stop?]

Rem: [I don’t want to stop. No, I mean that Katya-san and I are friends.]

Unexpectedly, Rem nodded, hoping that the person in question agreed. Katya’s eyes widened, then she pulled her hair down, bit her nails, and muttered, “Yes.”.

Rem had analyzed that she bit her nails when feeling anxious, but since she just did it right in front of her just now, Rem was wondering whether she offended or scared her.

However, she didn’t look upset, so Rem decided to reconsider why she was biting her nails.

Including that hard-to-understand part, Rem felt that Katya was someone who could not be left alone. Rem did not know much either. However, this would be enough to meet the requirements of a friend.

Katya: […Despite that, you, that is…]

Rem: [That is?]

Katya: [Yes, umm, that! …You seem to know a lot about the rebellion out there.]

Katya, who had been biting her nails and closing her eyes, changed the subject as if she suddenly remembered.

For a moment, Rem was confused as to what she was saying, but quickly realized that she had just been lost in thought while doing Katya’s hair.

Rem: [I’m not sure if I know enough about it to say I’m well informed, but I have an interest in it because I was originally brought in from a battleground. Is it different for you, Katya-san?]

Katya: […Not exactly, no. However, I don’t want to think about it too much. My older brother… My stupid brother died, and I hate war.]

Rem: [――Oh.]

Dropping her gaze, Katya muttered while intertwining the fingers of both hands in her lap.

The death of Katya’s brother was not news to Rem. He must have been very important to Katya. She often spoke of her dead brother like this.

The most recent part of Abel’s rebellion resulted in the death of Katya’s brother. Perhaps his death was not unrelated to the battle in which Rem was involved.

Rem would also hate fighting if someone close to her died. Even now, she wished that there was no conflict.

Rem: [Still, even if I block my ears, it won’t go away. I was told that Katya-san’s fiancée is also on the battlefield. I’m sure you’re worried.]

Katya: [Not him…! H-He won’t die no matter what. However.]

Rem: [You thought the same of your brother, right?]

Katya: [――――]

Perhaps it was something that could not be avoided if you were born into this Empire, especially if you were born into an aristocratic family.

Her brother died in battle, and her fiancé also went off to war. Rem had mixed feelings about going into battle as an Imperial Soldier. ――Abel would show no mercy to his enemies.

The same was true even if the soldiers were formerly supposed to be his subordinates.

Rem: [It’s strange…]

To begin with, Rem was not inspired by, nor in agreement with, Abel’s philosophy.

Originally, she was taken prisoner in the Imperial camp, and Subaru enlisted the help of Abel and the People of Shudraq to take her out of there. In order to pay off that debt, Subaru cooperated with them――Rem also acted with them in an effort to make amends, but there should have been no obligation to do so.

Yes, it should not have happened, but it was already in the past.

Rem: [For Louis-chan, Priscilla-san, Mizelda-san’s group, Flop-san, and so on…]

One could say that the people related to Rem were either taking care of or looking after each other.

Such people shared the same path as Abel. Before she knew it, Rem had a hard time closing off her heart from it. But such things did not concern either the hostile Imperial Soldiers or Katya.

If Katya knew the reality of Rem’s situation, would she forgive Rem?

Katya: [――――]

Due to Katya grieving the loss of her dear brother, Rem did not have the courage to open her heart to her.

Katya: […You?]

Rem: [Ah, no, it’s nothing. If I seem to know the details of what’s going on outside, I think it’s because of the people who have recently gathered at various places.]

Katya: [At various places… Ah, those guys.]

Hearing Rem’s story, Katya’s voice lowered a notch and her eyes grew stern.

That unsettled reaction by Katya was understandable. To begin with, Katya was shy and distrustful of people, and it took a lot of effort for Rem to approach her.

From her point of view, it was unwelcome to have more and more people in the mansion. And even more so with the flags of rebellion gathering from all over the country.

Katya: [Do you really think there are so many of them? Among them, His Excellency the Emperor’s…]

Rem: [――Illegitimate child]

Rem: […I’ve already been found out, so I have nothing to hide.]

 Cutting off Rem’s reply, Katya made an uncomfortable face.

Another redundant word, she seemed to think, but Rem paid it no mind. More than that, the meaning of the word was far too captivating.

In Berstetz Fondalfon’s mansion, in a separate part of the mansion where Rem had also been under house arrest, a large number of youths from the battlefields throughout the Empire had been assembled.

――All of them were teenage boys, a trait shared by the “black-haired crown prince”.

Katya: [There were all these stories about how strange it was that His Excellency doesn’t have a son, well, there was…]

Muttering this in a hushed voice, Katya reminded Rem of the time when she met Berstetz one-on-one right after she was brought to the mansion.

Berstetz, who ousted Abel from his throne and replaced him with a false emperor, was claiming that Abel resigned from his role as Emperor as the reason for his treason.

Their neglected role was the lack of an heir to the throne.

Katya: [His Excellency never took a queen, and …all the previous emperors have had many spouses and children …so it falls to them to select the next Emperor.]

Rem: [That is the conventional practice to do so. And yet, Abel-san, …No, Emperor Vincent did not abide by that. Then there were rumors of a “black-haired Crown Prince”.]

Katya: [It seems that you are saying that the Empire cannot be left in the hands of His Excellency. Utterly ridiculous.]

Rem: [Ridiculous, you say?]

Rem raised an eyebrow at Katya, who muttered with heartfelt hatred while looking downward.

It seemed like Katya’s rebellious remarks stemmed from her anger towards the people who started the war rather than her irritation at the causes of the war.

Rem: [Katya-san, what is your judgment about Emperor Vincent?]

Katya: [I, I would never do anything so presumptuous as judging His Excellency the Emperor! …But, in an Empire where the strong dominate, there is no place for someone like me, and …in peaceful times, there is not really a difference between the two. So it was comfortable.]

Rem: [Comfortable, or…]

Rem’s eyes were downcast as Katya stammered and faltered as she revealed her feelings.

It did not seem like Abel’s capabilities were lacking, and Berstetz said that he would not have contemplated rebellion if it had not been for the heirship matter. In fact, the Empire had been at peace for so long that there were probably more than a few with opinions like Katya’s.

While there was no fighting, there would be fewer people risking their lives.

Katya’s brother died as soon as the fighting started, and her fiancé was dragged off to the battlefield. From Katya’s perspective, it would be difficult to have a good impression of the war.

However――,

Rem: [I don’t think there’s a real “Crown Prince” to be found in that far-off place.]

Whether or not Abel really had a child, Rem had come to that conclusion.

Hearing Rem’s answer, Katya asked in a hushed voice, “Why?”. Rem averted her gaze by turning her head towards that far-off person.

Rem: [A “Crown Prince” held captive in a far-off place that is participating in various rebellions around the country …Or that’s what he is claiming at least.]

Katya: [That, that’s what I’m hearing too, but …but can it be?]

Rem: [If you asked me, a self-proclaimed son of His Excellency the Emperor instigating a rebellion, and promptly getting himself captured does not sound like a well thought out situation.]

Katya had difficulties ascertaining such a thing with certainty. There were just too many circumstances and bits of information she could not talk about.

Not only was the “Crown Prince” taken prisoner at these battlefields, he was also taken alive so people from all these far-off places could verify his identity and come together to report about the situation.

Since Rem already knew the character of Abel, the real Emperor, he would be more cautious when it came to his child. At least, she did not think he would be that foolish.

In the first place, shouldn’t supporters of the rebels side cooperate with Abel since he is their leader?

Considering that father and son would be working together to oust the fake Emperor, it was hard to believe that this effortlessly captured “Crown Prince” was actually real.

Rem: [Of course, there is no way to be sure…]

Rem did not say that their thoughts and impressions were absolute, either.

Even Abel was not almighty.  Surely there was a scenario where he could be captured and rendered unable to act by some unforeseen mistake. However, being defeated in battle and taken prisoner was a different story.

If there was a calculated plan to include getting captured, she might consider it, but it was not clear that one of the “Crown Princes” in the separate house had planned to do so.

Katya: [I, I am by no means confident, but what are you to, …His Excellency the Emperor?]

Rem: [――. I have never met him. I think the man himself would even insist on it. I am just wondering if many people out there would share my opinion on this far-off “Crown Prince”.]

Katya: [You mean this full on conspiracy? What’s even the point of such a dreadful thing…]

Rem: […It’s probably just a good way to recruit people.]

Using the Emperor’s biological son as a propaganda move would be the best possible pretext to claim the throne.

From what she had heard, there were no instances in the Vollachian Empire in which the Imperial throne had been superseded by usurpation. However, the logic of the Empire does not forbid usurping the Imperial throne.

If one seized the Imperial Capital, took the throne, and beheaded the Emperor, that person would become the next Emperor.

It was very convenient to support the next Emperor candidate as a pretext for gathering the necessary manpower to carry out such a plan.

Rem: [In addition, the “Crown Prince” has never been seen publicly, and we don’t know anything about him except that he has black hair and black eyes, first come, so people are free to make up claims for their own benefits.]

Katya: […Um, who are the people who started saying that?]

Rem: [I guess it means they’re part of the rebellion…]

Katya’s question made her think about the people around the captive “Crown Princes”, rather than himself. These so-called  “comrades” would not get away scot-free if the “Crown Prince” had been taken from them.

There was only one destination for those who defy the Emperor.

Katya: [They use you, they get taken advantage of, and then they get killed or arrested for it. …such stupid people.]

Rem: [Katya-san…]

Katya: [Wha, what? Did I say something wrong? Or did you just say you’re a hostage too? Are you saying that they are better than me?]

Katya’s voice faltered as if she was having a tantrum, causing her eyes to tear up.

Perhaps the reason why she insists on being different from those far-off people in such an exceedingly malevolent way was because she came to realize how much she has in common with them contrary to her belief.

Katya often cursed herself for her own inadequacies, because the awareness of her captivity and the remorse she felt were a burden for the ones around her ――first of all her fiancé.

Rem: [――――]

Because Rem knew how she felt, she was at a loss for words.

She would be called a fraud if she was to oppose, and any words of understanding would be met with insults for being arrogant. At this point, she was not convinced that they had grown close enough for her to relieve Katya’s heart without causing an argument.

Pondering about what she should say, Rem gripped her cane in frustration.

And then――,

???: [――You are awfully noisy, missy.]

Rem: [――――]

With those words, a terribly cold voice echoed through the room, and Rem and Katya held their breath. ――No, Rem may have been able to settle for this, but not Katya.

Shocked, Katya faced her wide-eyed gaze behind Rem to the room’s window that looked out onto the courtyard. The voice had come in from the window, so in other words, the person speaking was there.

Katya made direct eye contact with the other person, and had ended up completely frozen in place.

Katya: [Ah, uh…]

???: [Enough of your grating voice. Quit being an eyesore. It is a mark of disrespect before this dragon.]

Wide-eyed after having let out a ragged breath, Katya was struck by a cold voice. As if her whole body was being gripped tightly by that voice, Katya’s throat had not even been able to properly respond.

At the sight of Katya trembling violently, Rem bit her lip and turned to look back.

There――,

Rem: [――Madelyn-san]

Madelyn: [Healer-girl, what are you doing here? You should be fulfilling your duties. Did you get carried away in the absence of this dragon?]

Rem: [That was not my intention.]

With the focus of that strict voice directed towards herself, this time Rem was the one feeling intimidated. However, Rem shielded Katya behind her from that gaze and faced the other party directly.

Standing in the courtyard, outside the window of the room, was a petite girl in lovely clothes and two black horns growing out of her head――Madelyn Eschart.

She was one of the Nine Divine Generals, and the person responsible for bringing Rem to this mansion. When she returned after leaving the mansion on Berstetz or Vincent’s demands time and again, Rem was surprised at the appearance of the girl. 

It was not about her appearing. Because of her fierce appearance.

Madelyn stood confidently in the courtyard, her appearance stained with sticky black blood. 

Rem: [Is that blood? Are you injured?]

Madelyn: [Don’t change the subject. I, the dragon, surely told you to heal that man’s wounds.]

Rem: [I’m not changing it. Flop-san’s wounds are being properly handled one step at a time. More importantly, please answer me. That blood is…]

Madelyn: [――. It’s not this dragon’s blood. This is the blood splatter of victims.]

With an annoyed frown, Madelyn pulled at her clothes and answered Rem’s question. The crispy sound it made was probably because the dried blood had already stuck her clothes to her skin.

Rem caught her breath upon being told that that large amount of blood was that of victims. In just what way could you have hurt someone else, or perhaps how many people would you have had to hurt to be bathed in that much blood?

Rem: [Have you been fighting?]

Madelyn: [A fight is something done with an opponent you recognize as an equal. Do you think there is anything that could stand on equal footing with this dragon? What this dragon has been doing is hunting. Hunting with bothersome limitations.]

Rem: [Bothersome…]

Madelyn: [Let those with black-hair live. Kill the rest.]

Rem could not respond carelessly to Madelyn’s direct manner of speaking.

However, she was able to understand that Madelyn bore the duty of bringing back the “Crown Princes” from various battlefields in order to be held prisoner in a separate building. .

As expected, Berstez was probably the one who ordered the securing of the “Crown Prince”.

Given the original purpose for bringing about the rebellion, if Abel truly had an illegitimate child, that fundamental reason itself would end up being lost.

Rem did not know whether Berstetz feared that or welcomed it.

She did not know, but――,

Rem: [If he’s saying to capture, and not to kill…l]

If a real “Crown Prince” was found, she had a feeling that the old man would die satisfied.

That was a supposition that chilled Rem’s heart.

In any case――,

Rem: [So, did you return to stick another “Crown Prince” in the separate building again? Or, to make sure I was not slacking as Flop-san’s healer?]

Madelyn: [Chattering, does this dragon have a reason to chat with you? You, don’t get carried away. At this stage, even without you, the Imperial City has plenty of healers…]

Rem: [Will those healers be able to keep a secret? If the Prime Minister hasn’t appointed them, finding such a person will be very difficult.]

Madelyn: [――You, don’t get carried away.]

Rem, unintentionally forceful in her reply, was not trying to be pushy. Madelyn stepped up to the window and narrowed the pupils of her golden eyes, as if she had been offended by it.

At the sight of this fierce, chilling presence, Rem felt a slight shiver run down her spine.

Katya: [I-Idiot! Don’t say anything you don’t have to! It, it’s not true at all!]

And then, with squeaking wheels, Katya came rushing out in a great hurry.

Katya, with her pale face turning more white, turned to face Madelyn who was looking through the window, her throat quivering beneath her gaze.

Katya: [Y-you don’t have to take anything she says seriously, don’t worry… don’t worry about it! Sh-she just doesn’t know anything, because she forgot everything, she’s an idiot.]

Rem: [K-Katya-san…]

Katya: [She’s an idiot, but it’s better if she’s here, so, st-stop it. …Um, properly! I’ll let you do your job properly. And she’ll fix that blonde hair, too…]

Rem quietly gulped at Katya’s frantic choice of words. Madelyn’s eyes narrowed at Katya’s vigor, and she stared at her.

Then, wondering what to do in the case there was an outrageously dangerous expression on her face, Rem waited for Madelyn’s next move, ready to protect Katya with her body.

And then――,

Madelyn: [――Do not defy this dragon, such a weak thing like you. There will be no next time.]

Katya: [Eek!]

Madelyn placed her hand on the window sill and squeezed it as she spoke indifferently. With a violent sound, Katya’s throat caught as the masonry was crushed with a light touch.

However, despite finding Katya’s attitude to be inexcusable, Madelyn seemed to have decided to let it slide――,

Rem: [Please correct what you said, calling Katya-san a weak thing. A weak person would not have chided you like that.]

Katya: [S-Stop! Stop, idiot! Die! Idiot! Stop!]

Rem: [Katya-san! But…]

Katya: [No buts! Just stop! Die! Stop!]

Katya collided into Rem, who was walking with her cane and had tried turning around to face Madelyn. Since she was frail, it was a weak ramming attack, and even Rem could easily stop it, but since Katya looked desperate after that as she extended her arms, naturally Rem could not shake herself free.

As for Rem, she had wanted Madelyn to retract her excessively condescending statement about Katya, but if Katya frantically stopped her like that, there was nothing she could do.

Madelyn snorted and turned her back on Rem, who had thus abandoned her direct appeal.

Madelyn: [Watch your mouth, girl. I’ll seriously arrange for a replacement healer.]

Rem: [Please wait. Where are you going?]

Madelyn: [To that man’s place. This dragon has something to discuss with that man.]

Rem: [If you are going to Flop-san’s place, please go after you’ve washed off the blood and changed your clothes. Since he is injured, you need to also take heed of his state of mind. Please take this into consideration.]

Madelyn: [You…]

Without hesitating, Rem declared that to her back when she was about to leave. There Madelyn once again made an unpleasant face, and Katya said, “Die!”, as she pulled on Rem’s sleeve.

However, Rem could not die, and she could not let Flop die.

Covered in blood as she was, it would be extremely filthy and unsanitary. No matter the common sense of the dragonkin or the Empire, on that alone Rem would not compromise.

Rem: [Take a bath.]

Madelyn: […Got it.]

Rem: [Please also change your clothes. We have lots of cute clothes to change into properly…]

Madelyn: [I said I got it! Persistent girl!]

Baring her fangs and raising her voice, the overpowerment in Madelyn’s scream struck Rem, and incidentally Katya, like the wind and made them catch their breaths. 

Still, Madelyn also probably understood that she should not go against Rem’s instructions. That was Flop’s major achievement for having successfully won her over.

Some day, would he be able to get Madelyn to change sides in that way?

Madelyn: [Don’t look at this dragon with insolent eyes, girl. ――Everything you scheme is futile.]

Rem: [I don’t think you can say it’s futile. No matter what you do.]

Madelyn: [That’s not what I mean. I’m saying there’s no time to do anything.]

Rem: [No time?]

Tilting her head, Rem narrowed her eyes and tried to search for the true meaning of Madelyn’s words.

However, there was no need for her to search for the true meaning. Madelyn should have hated Rem, but even still, perhaps because of the dragonkin’s pride and way of life, she hated things like lying and deceiving.

Therefore she properly explained clearly the meaning of the words she had said.

She had said.

Madelyn: [The decisive opportunity to settle things with those who defy the Emperor is near. It was for that purpose that this dragon was called back. ――Your role also ends there.]

So she spoke.

△▼△▼△▼△

With that, leaving behind these seemingly hopeless words, Madelyn departed from the garden.

Since she did not head straight for Flop’s room, she presumably would follow Rem’s advice to bathe and change her clothes, and from there she would pay a visit to his room. 

Flop would be welcoming of that in itself, and if he was not going to be hurt, then Rem had no reason to stop her. 

However――,

Rem: [――The decisive battle, with the rebel army.]

Katya: [Sh-she didn’t say where though…]

Rem: [――――]

While biting her nails and still worrying about the movements outside the window of Madelyn, who had gone away, Katya was harboring the same apprehensions that Rem was. 

The concern she had was about the decisive battle between the Imperial Army and the Rebel Army――Specifically, the time and the place.

From Madelyn’s words, she indicated that it was not far off. But where would the location be? Was there somewhere suitable for an all-out confrontation?

With rebels rising up all over the Empire and battlefields scattered here and there, if you could prepare to take down such an opponent in one fell swoop, it would be――.

Katya: […Sheesh, they really are just idiots. You too. You’re a big idiot!]

Rem: [Katya-san…]

Katya: [Th-that was a Divine General, a dragonkin who can’t be communicated with, right!? And yet, that kind of behavior could have resulted in death! If you want to be stupid, go ahead and die on your own! Die, you idiot!]

Katya blamed Rem in a tearful voice, replacing the anxiety of waiting with the frustration of the immediate situation.

Unlike Rem, who had settled her resolve, Katya had been pushed too much. In fact, if Katya had not intervened, it was quite possible that Madelyn’s anger could lead to Rem getting hurt, if not killed.

Rem: [My apologies, thank you. But I couldn’t keep quiet after she said bad things about Katya…]

Katya: [L-like I care! I’m used to being told what to do! And yet, that kind of idiot…]

Rem: [It is ridiculous to get used to being told what to do. So no matter how many times you say it, I would argue the same way again in the same situation.]

It was not a good feeling to hear Katya belittling herself. Still, humiliation had its due reason and consideration. Though, Rem could not bear to see blades turned on a complete stranger. 

――I think it’s selfish to look back at myself, though.

Rem: [That’s what I think, so I….]

She knew it was selfish, but she did not want to cease having a voice.

Katya’s eyes blinked repeatedly and her mouth fluttered at Rem’s answer.

Then she glared at Rem with sharp, teary eyes and bit her nails.

Kayta: [L-like I care… Things like your matters, like I care! S-stop it. Just stop. We’re not friends. For me, I’ll just stop…!]

Rem: [No, I should have the choice whether to stop. I refuse.]

Katya: [Such a one-sided conversation!]

Rem smiled wryly as Katya retorted to her, with her throat choking up.

While softening the tightness in her chest slightly, Rem thought.

――The decisive battle of which Madelyn spoke, if that is so close at hand.

Rem: […I wonder, just what can I do?]

In her empty self with nothing contained therein, was it even possible for something to resound?

That was the only thing which continued to make Rem’s heart pound so badly. 


[1] – Refer to Arc 4, Chapter 39 for the translation choice.

20 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 85 – “Fhrend””

  1. [SPOILER]

    Finally!! It Took A Lot Of Time(And Many Chapters) But Subaru Is Finally Here (CH-97). I Was Waiting For Subaru To Arrive Since Ch-76 And Meet With Emilia And Others. Where Emilia’s Fraction Is Worried About Subaru, That He Can’t Do Anything Alone, Specially In His State And Rem Thinking His Involvement Won’t Change the Situation In A Significant Way……..Man If Only They Knew. BTW I Just Hovered The Raw Untranslated Chapters Just to See whether It Includes Subaru Or Not, So I Don’t Know The Story Leading Up To That. Still Waitng For WTC To Translate The Chapters. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK guys!!! <3 <3

    1. Damn, is there really no Subaru this entire Volume? Side character conversations and fights are fine but I think it will start getting boring if we need to wait another 12 chapters for Subaru 😮

  2. Awesome as always

    Small typo here:

    Rem had analyzed that she bit her nails when feeling anxious, but since she just did it right in front of her just now, Rem was wondering whether she offendedoffend or scared her.

  3. Arc 4 Chapter 39 excerpt regarding Fhrend:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Otto: “—Is it truly so strange to help a friend?”

    —For an instant, not comprehending what he heard, time inside Subaru stops. Several seconds pass before time starts again. But even so, Subaru does not really understand the meaning of those words. What did Otto just say? Fhrend? What was this fhrend, again? There was a person like that around here?

    Otto: “Wh-why is his face frozen in surprise, this man.”

    Subaru: “No, the name of some guy I don’t know suddenly came up and I can’t follow the conversation. So, this Mr. Fhrend, he was, uhh?”

    Otto: “I don’t know what conclusion you just reached, but it is completely wrong! Not fhrend, friend! A pal!”

    Subaru: “Pals!? Who and who are!?”

    Otto: “Me! And you are!”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Oh man I miss Otto and Subaru together.

    But the interactions between Katya and Rem were awesome. There hasn’t been a character quite like Katya yet in Re:Zero. She’s been in like 2 chapters and is already one of my favorite characters from Arc 7.

      1. My pleasure! Thank you WCT for providing high quality translations. I am fine with whatever pace you guys can manage as you try to keep up with Tappei’s insane output. Keep up the great work!

    1. This just makes me wonder how rem is using Subarus failed interpretation of the word friend in a sentence when she wasn’t even conscious or present for that conversation

      1. They say in the end note that it is a translation choice. So I assume that means that Rem does not necessarily say “fhrend”, just that the misunderstanding between otto and subaru from arc 4 ch39 happens again here with Katya and Rem, and as a cute little homage to that chapter, they decided to use the same translation. I am not sure if the Japanese word that otto said back in arc 4 ch39 is the same as the one said by katya in this chapter.

        Hence, my understanding is that Rem is not refering to the conversation between otto and subaru in any way. It’s just that the word “fhrend” said by katya is the same word used by otto, or at least close enough so that the translator was fine with using the same translation.

  4. Ah, the day of Rem with her own circle of friends is coming true, can you feel it? The character development that will bloom from these two!!!

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