Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
- Cover: jacbrom
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Jumping out from the entrance of the detached building, Subaru stood in front of a man who was giving a faint smile.
That petrification was perhaps the most foolish choice he could have made before that man. However, even for Natsuki Subaru, who had experienced all kinds of hardships, even Death, over and over again, the indescribable eeriness of this man made his mind go blank.
A sense of fear that not even a Sin Archbishop could bestow, and a sensation of being ensnared.
In the face of Todd Fang, Subaru was made to feel that way.
Bewilderment had arisen around Subaru, who stopped reflexively in response to the voice he had heard.
It was Beatrice, as she held hands with him, facing the same opponent as Subaru. Other than her, Tanza and Idra were also casting a dubious gaze upon Subaru, who was standing still.
Although his mind raced to the thought that he should immediately warn them to be cautious, but――,
And, before Subaru could move his trembling lips, Rem shouted in a high-pitched voice.
When he looked, Rem’s pale blue eyes, which had turned back towards Todd by the door―― No, they were directed not towards him, but directly behind him.
It troubled Subaru to take his gaze off Todd and shift his attention to that direction, but once he did, he understood the target of Rem’s shout.
There was a wheelchair-bound woman hiding behind Todd’s back.
The woman peeked at them as she grabbed the hem of Todd’s clothes, with suspicious eyes that overlooked the world beneath curly brown hair; she was a perfect match for the features Rem had described.
That in itself was joyful―― No, the fact that she was beside Todd would mean,
Rem: [Please stay away from her…!]
Rem, who seemed to have come to the same conclusion as Subaru, raised her voice and glared at Todd. Louis, who was always close to her, also growled while looking at Todd, roused by Rem’s fighting spirit.
Despite losing his trademark bandana and letting down his orange hair, Todd’s cruelty and dangerous creativity had probably not been diminished.
Even in this situation, it was not difficult to imagine that he would try to use the woman―― Katya, as a shield to manipulate Subaru and the others into doing his bidding.
Of course, it was obvious from Subaru’s previous hostile encounters with Todd that the outcome of giving in and doing as what was told would ultimately result in Death.
Subaru: […From this point onwards.]
If I were to die, I can’t be sure of how far back I’ll return to.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looked at it, during the entire series of events of intervening in the siege of the Imperial Capital, breaking through the city walls, and riding into the city, Subaru had never once lost his life.
Regardless of whether that was to thank, or to blame, Subaru did not know the starting point of Return by Death.
He was able to meet up with Louis and Beatrice, and was also able to reunite with Rem and Flop.
Honestly, the situation had been going well, almost too well. It was impossible to calculate how many retries it would take to reach this point.
Subaru: [――I’ll do what I must.]
If he had decided whom to save, whom to let survive, and whom to move forward with, Subaru had decided with a steadfast heart to firmly grasp that outcome.
For that reason, he was able to rescue all the gladiators concerned with the Gladiator Island, and fight alongside them as members of the Pleiades Battalion until today. ――He would never give up, no matter what.
Not even if the obstacle he needed to overcome for that purpose was the very embodiment of a fear that caused his heart to freeze over.
Thus, Subaru moistened his dry lips with his tongue, and with a determined action――,
Katya: [P-please wait! You’ve got it wrong! I haven’t been captured, Rem!]
Katya: [Misunderstanding… Yes, it’s a misunderstanding! Todd i-isn’t your enemy!]
Katya tried to move forward, turning the wheels of her wheelchair while loudly insisting that it was a misunderstanding and that Todd was not their enemy. However, Todd put a hand on her thin shoulder, preventing her from moving forward.
Katya, pitching forward with vigor, glared at Todd with teary eyes, and,
Katya: [Wait, what are you doing! You’re putting yourself in danger!]
Todd: [You’re the one in danger. Don’t move forward on your own.]
Katya: [W-who do you think I’m saying this for…!]
Todd: [Of course, it’s for my sake. But that doesn’t mean I can overlook the woman I love putting herself into danger.]
Red-faced and having snapped at him forcefully, Katya was silenced by those words.
That was not because of embarrassment or shame, but mainly because his objection had conveyed that he was concerned about her.
Subaru found it difficult to believe that it was a perfectly honest statement without the intent of deception.
Rem: [Katya-san, could it be, that person is…]
With a small gasp, Rem asked Katya this with a fearful look. Although she did not clearly state the question, the intended point of the question was clear.
Whether it was a sign of her hesitation and anxiety, but Rem had put her slender hand on Louis’s shoulder. In response to this question of Rem, Katya nodded her head while biting her lip.
Katya: [I told you this several times already… He is, you know, my…]
After her initially hesitant declaration, Katya responded clearly to Rem’s question as such.
Rem’s eyes wavered when she was told this, and she clearly was agitated. Subaru was just as shocked as Rem, and was also shaken to his core.
While not having the fondest memories of Todd following the events since their first encounter, the story of his fiancée had left a different impression apart from his insanely cautious and unforgiving nature.
Todd, who had been deployed as an Imperial Soldier to the encampement near the forest where the Shudraqian village was located, frequently spoke of his desire to return to his fiancée.
But after a series of bloody encounters with Todd, his expectations for his humanity had faded, and it became a distant memory that merely lingered in a corner of his mind――.
Subaru: [She really did exist…]
And the words were so incongruous with Todd and his lovely fiancée that he had to let it slip.
Despite probably not even hearing Subaru’s monologue, Rem looked at Todd with suspicion in her stern eyes,
Rem: [Are you really Katya-san’s fiancé?]
Todd: [Yeah, it’s true. Like I said before, it’s an unconventional arrangement. I never thought that Katya and you would be getting along so well during your confinement in the Prime Minister’s mansion.]
Todd: [Don’t look at me like that. Of course, I’m not saying we had a good first encounter or a good relationship either, but this is the situation we’re in. We both have to let go of our grudges, don’t we?]
Shrugging his shoulders at Rem’s silent gaze, Todd spoke up brazenly. Then his gaze turned not to Rem, but to Subaru.
Holding his breath, Subaru met Todd’s gaze. Cold sweat ran down his back.
Todd: [What the kid said is true, right?]
There was no hint of hostility in Todd’s demeanor as he closed one eye and winked at him.
Staying true to his words, Todd had let go of his hostility and caution and was extending a hand, as if it was the obligation of the person proposing to cooperate with each other to get out of this situation.
Flop: [Husband-kun, Wife-san, who is Soldier-kun?]
At the sight of both Subaru and Rem going silent, Flop’s soft face took on a serious look.
In response to his question, Subaru could not speak carelessly, partly due to his current appearance. Instead, Rem continued with “That man”,
Rem: [I’ve had several encounters with him before. And in every one of those times, my life was in danger.”]
While she looked at Katya, Rem tried hard to choose the right words while also telling the truth. Upon hearing this, Katya’s eyes widened and she looked at Todd who stood beside her.
Her lips trembled as she questioned her fiancé from his side.
Katya: [I-is that true? Todd, you, what Rem said…]
Todd: [If it’s about that young lady, it’s true. You said it earlier, that there are some grudges. I’m an army man. Sometimes I have to turn my weapon on someone. That kinda thing, I guess it’s just one of those unwanted situations.]
Rem: [To think it was “unwanted”, you went out of your way to…!]
Todd: [If you mean the Fortress City, it was because I saw your companion as a threat. If you mean the time before that, I was just following orders like any other soldier. I have nothing personal against you.]
As he said this, Todd took the axe worn on his waist. For a moment, a tension ran through Subaru and the others, but Todd, keeping one hand outstretched, heaved it away without getting worked up.
A parabolic arc was drawn as the axe slid across the ground and came under the feet of Subaru and his team.
Louis picked up the axe and alternated between looking at Subaru’s face and Rem’s.
It did not seem to be an axe-shaped bomb, but it appeared to be a pure act of disarmament.
Todd raised his hands and waved at Subaru and the others who had recognized that fact.
Todd: [As you can see, I’m not your enemy. Only, it would be regrettable for all of us if we wasted time glaring at each other like this, right?]
Flop: […Wife-san, I too think we should talk constructively. What do you think?]
Squeezing her own arm, Rem glanced sideways at Subaru.
Only Subaru and Rem were able to share their wariness of Todd and the level of threat that he posed. As for their acquaintances themselves, Louis was also there when Subaru, Flop, and the others were attacked by Todd in the Fortress City, but none of that danger was shown on either of their faces.
Beatrice: [Betty will follow Subaru’s decision, in fact.]
As she held hands with Subaru, Beatrice gave him only the courage to make a choice, without influencing him either way.
She was not alone; both Tanza and Idra left the future to Subaru’s choice. ――Just the fact that these two and Todd were in the same place was enough to make his heart freeze.
If possible, he would have liked to get Todd’s presence far away from them as soon as possible, but――,
Subaru: […Katya-san is Rem’s friend. I want as many of us as possible to get out of here unscathed. We don’t have the time to squabble here, that’s what I think.]
Rem: [――. I, understand, but…]
Subaru hung his head and bit his lip, and Rem also stiffened her cheeks in frustration.
But he also did not know what kind of action Todd would take if he refused him poorly. That was a concern that Rem also shared. Now that he was here, he could not let him go.
It was the same reason one could not leave a bomb unattended, not knowing when it may detonate.
Katya: [D-don’t worry! T-this guy is outrageously tenacious! I’m sure he’ll be useful to help me and all of you escape!]
Todd: [Hey, come on, you shouldn’t compare your fiancé to something like a Zodda bug.]
Seeing Subaru and Rem’s state of unease, Katya clumsily backed Todd. With a wry smile at Katya’s defense, Todd then ran his hand through his own hair, and,
Todd: [Well, since you’ve accepted me, I’ll have to return the favor. Thanks, I’ll also have to prove myself to Katya, who has treated me so gently.]
With that, Todd spoke like a reliable, young man, and ignoring the feelings of Subaru, who had an inescapable sense of tension that made his throat growl, he joined the others.
――There were three reasons why Subaru could not reject Todd Fang’s presence in this situation.
The first was the presence of Katya, Todd’s fiancée.
Having apparently developed a friendly relationship with Rem during her time in the mansion, she appeared to be a good person, despite her sharp-tongued nature, having properly shown Subaru and company that she was not a nefarious sort of person. From all appearances, she did not have the slightest idea of who Todd was at the root of his character; but no matter what Subaru and company accused him of here, betting on whether she would believe her fiancé or them was a poor gamble.
If so, should they choose to part ways with Katya, due to their dislike of Todd?
Comparing her wheelchair to the one Subaru had made for Rem, it was not inferior. Her leaning her weight on it looked so pitiful that he could not leave her behind.
As long as Katya and Todd were intimate to the point of seeming to be one being, it was only logical that they could not refuse Todd.
The second was that Todd’s actions had all been undone in previous attempts, due to Return by Death.
With his ruthless nature and cool-headed judgment, Todd had on numerous occasions cornered Subaru, taking his life―― Not just that, sometimes taking the lives of Subaru’s cherished friends.
Flop, Tanza, Idra, all of whom were accompanying Subaru right now, among others, had once been killed by Todd.
Subaru’s strong feelings of hatred and fear toward Todd were probably due to the fact that Todd had taken the lives of his friends right before his eyes more than any other person Subaru had ever encountered in this world.
However, since these events had not actually occurred as a result of Return by Death, even if Todd were to turn his blade against them, he would not have done any harm beyond that.
Neither the great fire in the Shudraqian forest, nor the unrelenting attacks in the Fortress City, nor the massacre of gladiators on Gladiator Island, none of these had happened. ――It was possible for him to perpetrate them, and just that.
And the third and final reason――,
Todd: [――Aim from the chest up! Anything below the waist will only buy you some time!]
Subaru: [Tsk, Beatrice!]
Beatrice: [Understood, in fact! Minya!]
At the sharp voice’s instruction, Subaru and Beatrice simultaneously held their hands out in front of them.
Ahead of their palms, several pale-faced enemies―― zombies, were knocked down to the ground as the purple arrows were shot at them, causing them to crystallize and sending up a cloud of dust.
Some of them escaped being critically hit, however――,
Subaru: [Sorry, but, even if their torso is in that state…]
Tanza: [Even if the head is intact, it will just be shattered.]
The zombies that were not immediately incapacitated were hit by the heel of Tanza’s falling leg. Their crystallized torsos were shattered, leaving them unable to do anything after their four limbs were blown away.
The head of the zombie rolled away, and without its regeneration process beginning, eventually, the still-intact head lost its color and crumbled away like sand.
Though, it was not as though he did not feel heartache at the sight of it.
Todd: [We’ve probably eliminated the obstacles in the back streets by now. You guys’ magic is working extraordinarily well on these guys, thank you. How much power can you spare?]
Beatrice: […Plenty more, in fact. Ten-thousand or a hundred-thousand to spare, I suppose.]
Todd: [That’s reassuring. But don’t try anything too rash. You guys are my lifeline.]
Being praised for their successful elimination of the group of zombies that was blocking their way left Subaru and Beatrice with mixed feelings.
Unilaterally defeating the zombies was a sound choice, mentally. On the other hand, it was somewhat unpleasant that Todd was the one praising it.
Putting aside the sentiments of Subaru and the others,
Todd: [I had many encounters with those pale-faced guys before I reunited with Katya at the mansion. They didn’t seem to be on either side, the regular army or the rebels, and you can’t communicate with them.]
Flop: [Oh, really? But we seemed to be able to talk to the ones that Husband-kun and the others took down in the mansion, though.]
Todd: [Being able to talk and being able to communicate are similar, but they’re not the same thing at all, are they? They won’t listen to you, and they won’t die if you crush their heads or cut them off. They’re troublesome enemies to deal with.]
Tanza: [Soldiers who do not die… just as Schwartz-sama’s companion told us.]
After being told of the zombies’ formidable characteristics, Flop and Tanza contemplated.
However, they were considering Todd’s opinion, and this was also a highly accurate analysis that Subaru could not ignore.
Todd: [To summarize, they can’t be defeated by honest means. Swords, lances, and other weapons are only a temporary measure. The best way…]
Flop: […Is Husband-kun’s and Dress-chan’s…]
Todd: [I’ve also roasted some of them to charcoal with a Spirit I had in my care, and they didn’t get back up. I haven’t verified if ordinary fire is effectively much like magic fire, though.]
Todd: [Well, in case you’re wondering, it takes longer for them to revive if you hit them above the neck than if you hit them in any other part of the body. The legs regenerate surprisingly quickly, so don’t expect to take away their mobility.]
Even Subaru, who knew his true nature, was impressed by Todd’s willingness to give out such advice.
As soon as the matter of accepting them into the group was settled, Todd generously shared information about the zombies, giving out information as they went along.
Naturally, he, like Subaru and his group, had moved through the Imperial Capital, where numerous zombies roamed, to join up with Katya. Having done so, Todd likely had effective strategies against the zombies and knowledge that would help them escape.
This prospect was the third reason why Subaru had welcomed Todd.
Subaru: [That said, I had no clue how far it went…]
The zombie outbreak occurred shortly after Subaru and his group had climbed over the city walls.
For a moment, Subaru thought that they might have been the ones to trigger the zombie outbreak, but they decided to trample that down and move forward, as it was an unanswerable fear to consider.
Regardless, from the zombie outbreak to the present, even though the time for investigation had supposedly been approximately the same for both Subaru’s group and Todd, the depth of the information Todd had gathered for survival was incredibly ahead.
It was that attitude of his, not just toward zombies, but toward anything, anyone, anywhere, that propelled Todd’s extraordinary decisiveness and ability to get things done.
Rem: [Katya-san, are you alright?]
Katya: [Y-yeah, aside from being a little shaken up by all the strange people… What about you, are you fine?]
Rem: [I’m much more afraid of the likes of Priscilla-sama and Madelyn-san, I don’t have any chance against them.]
Katya: [Those kinds of people have nasty tempers…]
Rem and Katya slowly lagged behind Subaru and his battle group, trying to make their way ahead. Rem was pushing Katya’s wheelchair, and Louis was escorting the defenseless girls as they looked around restlessly.
Because of the poor footing and choice of route to bypass the group of zombies, combined with the speed of the fake Crown Princes led by Idra and the Galewind Horse, the speed of travel was not fast.
Still, steadily, they approached the ramparts of the Imperial Capital.
Flop: [Husband-kun, why the long face? Are you still concerned about Soldier-kun?]
The complicated expression on Subaru’s face, which was both happy and bitter at the same time, was seen through by Flop, who was still watching his surroundings closely.
Being the astute man that he was, Flop could see that Subaru was more wary of Todd than necessary―― at least, more than was necessary with the amount of information he had at this point.
Of course, he could not reveal the fact that Flop had been killed before, because it would run afoul of the rules of Return by Death.
Subaru: [Flop-san, as I said before…]
Flop: [Pay attention to what Soldier-kun is up to, right? I know that, and that’s why Miss Tanza stays with him as much as possible, as you had requested of her.]
Flop: [Although you’ve become smaller and your face younger, your way of thinking has grown more mature and cautious, Husband-kun. You always do your best to worry, and that’s a virtue. But you know, suggesting cross-dressing in order to conquer the Fortress City, I also like that side of you.]
Seeing Flop’s soft and gentle smile, Subaru looked embarrassed and then gave a wry smile.
Even without his current appearance, when compared to his original body, Subaru felt like he realized the older Flop’s proficiency as an older brother. It was no wonder that Medium had so much respect for Flop.
Beatrice: [――Hk, Subaru, look down at our feet, I suppose.]
Subaru: [Our feet… Huh, uwah.]
Once the conversation came to a close, Beatrice led Subaru by the hand, and at their feet―― Soaking the soles of their shoes, they saw water flowing on the inclined ground.
Beyond the Crystal Palace, the reservoir that held large amounts of water had been breached, and the volume of water flowing into the city was beginning to rise in earnest. Their enemy were not only the Imperial Soldiers and the zombies, but the water as well.
If they took too long to withdraw, they would eventually be swallowed by the rising waters――.
Todd: [If we don’t get out of here before that happens, it’s over for all of us.]
Todd, who walked over to them, clearly verbalized Subaru’s sense of crisis.
Subaru stiffened slightly, and whether Todd realized his alarm or not, he pointed the tip of his returned axe toward the Crystal Palace.
Todd: [It looks like General First-Class Moguro doesn’t stand a chance against the Cloud Dragon. It’s only a matter of time before Moguro loses. It’d be better if it were one-on-one, but two-on-one is fatal… After the General First-Class is defeated, how will the enemy proceed?]
Subaru: [How they will proceed, do you have an idea?]
Todd: [The Cloud Dragon aside, the flying dragon rider cooperating with it looks to be a corpse. So far, all the corpses have been attacking as soon as they see us. In other words…]
Subaru: [The zombies are trying to kill the living.]
Todd: [It’s irritating, but that’s how it is.]
Todd tilted his head in contemplation, and Subaru understood what he was trying to say.
The objective of the zombies was to exterminate every last living person they came across. For that reason, if there was a way to kill a lot of people, it would not be surprising that they would choose it.
Were the stone giant clashing against the white Dragon right in front of the castle to lose, the zombies would completely destroy the walls of the reservoir, causing the water to flood without end.
If that happened, Subaru’s group and the people of the Imperial Capital, along with the soldiers of the regular army and the rebel army who were fighting outside, would all be swept away.
Todd: [That’s irritating. But I do like the way you call them zombies. We need some kind of name for them. Let’s just call them zombies from now on.]
Beatrice: [What do you think about those zombies, in fact?]
Suddenly, Beatrice, who had been silent, asked Todd that question.
Todd, muttering the word “zombie” several times to familiarize himself with the word, made a puzzled face at Beatrice’s question,
Todd: [What do I think?]
Beatrice: [So far, the majority of the zombies we’ve encountered were Imperial Soldiers just like you, I suppose. I can tell by their appearance, in fact. How do you feel about killing your own allies…]
Todd: [First, they aren’t my allies. They just wear the same clothes. If they’re dead, they’re not soldiers or anything. They don’t need to be recognized as anything other than troublesome obstacles.]
Todd: [Talking about whose pawns they are and what their goals are, I don’t think that’s important for survival right now. That’s something for the big shots to think about and solve.]
He gave a composed response, and Beatrice silently agreed to end the conversation.
Todd shrugged his shoulders at her attitude and looked at Subaru again,
Todd: [You’ve got a reliable partner, but it would be better for you to talk it out with her if you’re feeling worn out. Contrary to expectations, even just spitting out what’s on your mind can do some good.]
Subaru: […I’ll keep that in mind.]
In response to Subaru’s gloomy answer, Todd left him with the words “Do it”, and proceeded forth.
Acting as a scout for the road ahead, Todd would find the positions of the zombies and make a plan for how to drive them back, to which Subaru and his team would then review and implement in order to secure their escape route. Currently, it was going quite well.
Beatrice: [Subaru, if you’re worn out, you can talk to Betty about anything, I suppose.]
As Beatrice looked into Subaru’s face, he looked to be mentally worn down.
That was partly because he continued to devote strong vigilance towards Todd, and partly because Beatrice’s magic was using his mana.
But the greatest psychological burden of all was taking down the zombies.
It was painful to destroy zombies that could speak and had something close to the will they had during their lifetime.
How much better it would be if, like Todd, he could simply dismiss them as scarecrows blocking the way.
Flop: [I think that’s also one of the virtues of Husband-kun, though.]
Subaru: […I don’t know. Rem’s going to kick my butt for hesitating again.]
Flop: [Wife-san wouldn’t do such a thing.]
Flop: [I don’t think she would.]
Strangely, Flop’s repeated words were persuasive.
Flop had survived in this merciless Empire with neither physical strength nor magic, but with words alone. Perhaps the single greatest weapon he possessed was his humanity.
Subaru: [Thanks to Flop-san, I’m feeling a bit better!]
Flop: [Thank goodness! I’m useless, so if Husband-kun were to get depressed, I wouldn’t be able to find a way to save us! Oops, but…]
Flop: [Thanks to me, I think I may have hurt Dress-chan’s feelings a bit.]
When Flop pointed that out, Subaru turned around and said, “Huh?”. There was Beatrice, holding hands with Subaru and glaring at him with her cute, round eyes.
Subaru’s cheeks stiffened at her reaction, and Beatrice’s cheeks flushed,
Beatrice: [Neglecting Betty when she’s worried about you, lucky you, in fact. There Subaru goes again, immediately befriending a handsome guy and ignoring Betty, I suppose.]
Subaru: [What incredible misinformation! No, I’m not ignoring you at all, okay? In the first place, though guys like Flop-san and Ceci are exceptions, Idra and Weitz are nuanced while not necessarily handsome… Hiain is quite charming, though.]
Beatrice: [There’s no need to make excuses, in fact!]
She suddenly turned her face away from him, and Subaru moaned in pain as if his chest had been brutally gouged out.
Beatrice was also worried about him. Although Flop had phrased his words more skillfully, he felt regret towards Beatrice from the bottom of his heart.
No matter what, after escaping from this place, he had to entirely devote himself to making it up to Beatrice.
Subaru: [For now, all I can do is caress you earnestly with my hand…]
Rem: […What do you think you are doing in a situation like this?]
Subaru was surprised when someone called out to him from behind. Rem, who cast Subaru a dubious look, still had Louis clinging to her waist as she looked around the vicinity warily and said,
Rem: [Even when your form changes, your personality surely doesn’t.]
Subaru: [Oh? Does that mean that you know my nature well enough to understand who I am?]
Rem: [Correction. Now that your body has shrunk, your restraint has become nonexistent compared to before.]
Subaru: [That’s the part I’d really like you to laugh at and let slide, blaming it on the wild nature of a child.]
Even Rem’s harsh opinion was a pleasant stimulus for Subaru, after having been separated from her for some time.
Subconsciously, Subaru tightened his face and appeared to be happy, being careful not to make Rem uneasy.
In addition to that, speaking of someone that he did not want to make anxious,
???: [Hey, is Todd bothering you? Is he properly being of use?]
Katya, pushed in a wheelchair by Rem, hesitantly asked.
Compared to the fake Crown Princes who had been released from confinement and followed Subaru and his group on their own as they retreated, Katya was experiencing a considerable sense of helplessness in not being able to move on her own.
She seemed to be terribly worried about Todd as well as herself, and it was clear that she had a shy affection for Todd, her fiancé.
Seeing Katya’s genuine concern, Subaru turned towards the end of the alley where Todd was headed,
Subaru: [Yeah, he’s being useful. He has a good nose and good eyesight. His precise directions have really helped us avoid trouble.]
Katya: [I-I see. That’s good then…]
Katya, her eyes downcast, patted herself on the chest in relief.
As aggravating as it was, those were not thoughtless words said just to reassure Katya, but a fair assessment of Todd’s work up to that point.
In fact, as a soldier, Todd’s work had been impeccable. His scouting and route selection had contributed greatly to their survival in this current situation of having to flee, even with the hindrance of having to move a large number of people.
Todd did not have an effective way to strike the zombies, but he was outstanding at exposing them to the attacks of Subaru and Beatrice, who did have effective skills. ――Except for Subaru suffering more mental wear due to the higher amount of loss than necessary, there were no disadvantages to Todd’s presence.
――No, Rem, whose interactions with Katya seemed to be complicated, was also under the same mental strain due to Todd’s presence as Subaru.
Subaru: [At this rate…]
Would they really all be able to escape out of the Imperial Capital together without incident?
While Subaru struggled with unanswerable questions about how he wished for things to proceed――,
???: [――Katya, I told you to stay farther back, didn’t I? Don’t catch up to us.]
Todd, who had been away scouting, returned and found Katya with Subaru and the others, and gave caution to his fiancée.
At Todd’s words, an expression of relief for Todd’s safety rose on Katya’s face, then it quickly turned into a look of opposition towards the words, and then her expression changed once again.
She seemed to be a bit worried about Todd’s appearance.
Katya: [Todd, did something happen?]
Todd: […Good grief, she’s so intuitive only at times like these.]
As he said this, Todd ran a hand through his bandana-less hair and revealed what he had seen as he looked toward Subaru and the others.
Todd: [――There’s a rather tough-looking zombie just ahead from here. A member of the Cyclops Tribe, he was probably the one who stood out the most in today’s battle.]
So he spoke.