Arc 5, Interlude I – “The Couple’s Requirements”


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  • Phantaminum

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Garfiel felt as though there were far too many unanswered questions. In his chest, laid simultaneous feelings of satisfaction and unfulfillment.

It was not in his nature to think. It would be far better if he could move simply through instinct, without a single, solidified thought in his mind. Perhaps this was Garfiel’s punishment for thinking too much.

Kurgan: “Magnificent.”

Garfiel did not know how to respond to the legendary hero’s final words.

In the end, Garfiel felt incomplete, as that moment had a sentimentality to it that made him want to cry.

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Garfiel lightly kicked the ground, sending him sliding into a nearby collapsed building.

Forcing his body to twist and turn, Garfiel noticed that the building had already been thoroughly looted and ransacked. He could not recall this building being involved in the Battle of Pristella, which meant that this scene was, most likely, the result of pragmatic thieves taking advantage of the citizens’ distress and confusion.

Garfiel: “As expected, there’s not much left of their smell left.”

Sniffling, Garfiel looked around the room. Here and there were revolting traces, marks of blood and some damage to the walls, but strangely, neither vestiges of visceral scenes nor the pungent odor of blood remained.

Garfiel: “――Eh?”

Unable to find anything of significance, Garfiel began to get up to leave, then stopping in his tracks. Off in a corner of the room, a small object had caught his eye.

As he walked towards the object, he realized it was simply a small doll. It easily fit into the palm of his hand, yet miraculously considering the place, the doll was neither dirty nor broken.

Garfiel: “――”

Garfiel picked up the doll, and while he was lightly dusting it off, he looked around for its owner. Despite knowing full well that the owner should not be present. It was merely a doll, so even if it were missing, it would not make a difference――

Garfiel: “Tch.”

Letting out a sound with his tongue, Garfiel shoved the doll inside his pocket and left the building. He leapt out of a shattered window and nimbly descended to the ground, holding his fingers and feet against the wall of the building.

Garfiel: “Hey! I’m back!”

???: “Really, bro, that’s amazing.”

Noticing Garfiel’s descent via the side, several people gathered around him. They all had expressions of anxiety and anticipation on their faces, and he found it excruciating to not be able to answer any of their questions.

Rescuer: “Bro, how was it inside?”

Garfiel: “Sorry, but nothin’ to be found. There’s no one left in there, and I couldn’t find anythin’ we were lookin’ for.”

Rescuer: “Really…”

As he landed with knees bending, he replied to a person who had rushed to him. For a moment, the man frowned at Garfiel’s answer, but he quickly nodded with a reassured face.

Rescuer: “Well, the fact there was no one inside means that we can put this building aside and focus on other areas. Thanks for all your help, bro. The staircase collapsed, so we couldn’t even check inside.”

Garfiel: “Standin’ by and watchin’ ya guys do all that dangerous work’s a no-go. Your guts to climb a wall with a rope are pretty admirable ‘n all, but it’s all for naught if ya fall and go splat!”

Rescuer: “That’s what I’m talking about! You’re a lifesaver!”

The man happily patted Garfiel on the shoulder, and raised his hand to say a final “Thank you”, before heading to the next building. Garfiel watched as the man and a few collaborators headed off, and pondered on what he should do next. When,

Garfiel: “――Hmm.”

???: “――――”

What had caught Garfiel’s eye was a small figure, looking up at the building he had just emerged from.

A teary-eyed girl quietly held her mother’s plump hand. When the mother told her daughter what was going on, she looked down towards the ground and shook her head over and over again.

He did not know what they were talking about, but he knew that this environment was not safe for families. Garfiel moved to try to convince them to leave the area, and then, he suddenly realized something.

Garfiel “――――”

Sniffing the air, he noticed something familiar.

Garfiel reached into his pocket for the doll he had just picked up from the building. He lifted it up and sniffed it, and sure enough, it held a faint resemblance to the scent in the air.

Garfiel: “Is this thing what you’re lookin’ for, perhaps?”

Little Girl: “――!”

Garfiel walked up to the two, and gently held out the doll.

The girl, who was initially surprised to be approached, opened her eyes wide upon noticing the doll. The girl’s hands slowly reached out to grab the doll, and her crying intensified.

Little Girl’s Mother: “Thank you. My daughter had been looking for that doll…”

Garfiel: “Ya don’t need to worry ‘bout it. My amazin’ self’s just happened to find it.”

The mother thanked him and he shook his head, denying her praise.

In fact, Garfiel did not believe that he had done much at all. What was a happy event for the girl who was in search for her doll, was a minor trifle when compared to the scale of human lives, and human hearts.

What was required of Garfiel now was a larger role, and――

Garfiel: “I dunno what it is.”

Muttering, he absent-mindedly stroked the head of the girl holding the doll. He then lifted his palm from the little girl’s head, who stared at him.

Little Girl: “――?”

Garfiel: “It’s nothin’. Don’t lose it again.”

Her luck was not going to last long enough for her to find it again.

Thinking this, Garfiel Tinzel gently smiled at the girl, as if to show off his fangs.

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Three days had already passed since the turmoil had ended in the Watergate City of Pristella.

As a result of the Witch Cult’s attack, the city had been left with many scars, both large and deep.

These scars were caused by the Authorities of the Sin Archbishops of Lust and Gluttony. The problem of the mutated residents and of the Nameless people, was a particularly large issue. The solution to this matter was expected to be found from the Sage Shaula.

Garfiel, who did not attend the meeting, was not certain about the details. He was sure that they would be able to find a way to make it work. However, he was moved by the mention of the Sage, one of the Three Great Heroes inscribed upon the history of the Kingdom of Lugunica.

It was Garfiel’s nature to want to know the stories of amazing people, be they legends, folklore, or heroes who had left their mark on history.

Naturally, his knowledge included the Three Great Heroes. He strongly admired the Divine Dragon, the Sword Saint, and the Sage, but he was particularly conscious of his interest in the Sage.

This was because, of the Three Heroes, there was hardly any information available on Sage Shaula.

In the Dragon Kingdom of Lugunica, the existence of the Divine Dragon was revered and told as a popular fairy tale. The title of Sword Saint had been passed down for generations and remained a legend even in present times. Compared to those two, the stories surrounding the Sage were lacking.

What kind of appearance, what kind of origins, what kind of claims did they have to their name?

Everything from their personality to their history was vague. It was public knowledge that they stayed in the Pleiades Watchtower, wishing for world peace while watching over the Witch’s Shrine, but Garfiel was not sure of the truthfulness of those claims.

So, of course, he would have offered to accompany them on the journey to visit the Sage. There was no way Garfiel would want to miss that kind of opportunity.

However, considering the purpose of that journey, it was probably best for him not to express his interest in going. He would have asked Garfiel to accompany him if necessary, that much was certain.

This time however, Garfiel could not think of partaking on that journey in the first place. Perhaps, because Garfiel had too many regrets about this city.

Garfiel: “The Captain’s must’ve been aware of my worries.”

His current task was to protect Otto while they both recovered from the injuries they suffered during the battles.

Subaru: “There’s no guarantee that the Sin Archbishops won’t come back to attack this city. If that happens, you’ll be the only one strong enough to defend it.”

Subaru: “Don’t force anything onto Otto. And don’t do anything crazy with him, either. It might be useless to say this, but…”

Subaru: “Don’t look so worried. Just wait for the good news―― Well, I’ll be off.”

Before leaving on his next journey, he had left those words behind for Garfiel.

As Garfiel saw off Subaru and Emilia leaving the city, he pretended to be okay on the surface, but on the inside, his confidence had taken a great hit.

In the end, for various reasons, it was decided that Garfiel needed time to recover, and so, he was left behind.

If Subaru deemed it necessary, he would have brought Garfiel, even if he were badly injured. Garfiel held enough trust in Subaru to help him, even if he was in tatters and dying. It was a good thing that was not the case, because that would mean…

Garfiel: “My amazin’ self’s not gonna be of any use to ya―― Captain, it’s gonna be rough.”

Natsuki Subaru, a master of psychological warfare in his own right, had seen through Garfiel’s guise. He belated realized that his innermost thoughts had been noticed; no wonder he had been left behind.

Garfiel: “Well, what should I do… I just can’t seem to find the answer.”

Garfiel was aware that he was stamping his feet in frustration. He had a rough idea as to why he was doing it.

However, Garfiel was not aware of what the right thing to do was. That was why Garfiel’s legs remained immobile.

Garfiel: “――――”

So, with that in mind, Garfiel decided that the least he could do was help in the city’s recovery.

Both of Garfiel’s arms had been severely injured during his battle with Kurgan. Luckily, they were showing signs of recovery, perhaps to near-perfect state, thanks to his Divine Protection of Earth Spirits, and the application of his own healing magic.

In his current condition, it was not possible for him to fight in an all-out battle, but it was possible for him to help clear debris and use his nimbleness to get to places others were not capable of reaching.

However, Garfiel knew that this was merely an act of escapism.

As long as he moved his body, working for someone else, he would not have to realize that his feet were not moving. People would not think that he was standing in place.

Garfiel was doing this because he had noticed his weak self.

――What Garfiel Tinzel did not know, in fact, was that Natsuki Subaru had realized some time ago that such acts were all in the name of covering up one’s own weakness.

Drawing a comparison to Natsuki Subaru, who had been aware of it and nevertheless turned away, Garfiel was very much attempting to confront himself, all by his lonesome.

He did not know that, without even a single word being spoken, Subaru had figured out that Garfiel would overcome it.

Garfiel did not know, but――

???: “Oh! Garf! Awesome energy! Mimi loves high places, Garf!”

Subaru knew that there were many people who could make Garfiel realize that, too.

That was why, Garfiel was not the stupid bastard he thought he was.

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Mimi: “Fufufufufufuun, fufufufufufuun

Garfiel: “You’re in good spirits, aren’t’cha?”

As Mimi walked next to him, Garfiel let out a sigh.

Mimi had come to invite Garfiel to lunch during the city’s reconstruction efforts. Initially, what Garfiel really wanted to do was to move his body to shake off his worries. But in the end, Garfiel was forced to go along, as he was unable to think of an excuse to refuse the girl’s pushy invitation.

Mimi: “Hmm, you feel the same way, Garf? Mimi thought so too! But you know, both Hetaro and Tivey can be so annoying when they’re quiet. The Captain’s also missing a hand, so he’s more of a Vice-Captain now?”

Hearing Garfiel’s sigh, Mimi swooped in with a bright face. With her cat ears twitching, she stretched out her chest, and thrusted out her fist with a “shush”.

Garfiel: “Don’t carried away so quickly!”

Mimi: “Pheeew!”

With agile movement of her fists and waist, her nimbleness caused Garfiel some apprehension.

Mimi was lifted off the ground, and started meowing like a cat. As soon as she made eye contact with Garfiel, she began laughing with a joyful look on her face. Seeing the carefree look on Mimi’s face, Garfiel felt somewhat asinine for worrying about her.

Garfiel: “I’m sure you’re goin’ through a lot of trouble, but ya don’t seem worn down at all.”

Mimi: “Fufufu~, Mimi can’t show you any weakness! Mimi guesses that’s what Mimi’s selling point is, she’s a tough giiirl~! Did you fall in love? Did you fall in love?”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love.”

Mimi: “Is that sooo~.”

Mimi swayed back and forth without showing any disappointment. She was not very heavy, but it would not be a good idea to keep swinging her around in case it became too violent in addition.

With Mimi’s hand in his own, Garfiel walked towards the eatery he had been assigned to. Incidentally, Kiritaka had guaranteed food and shelter to those who had helped protect the city.

However, since there was a shortage of manpower and goods in many parts of the city, Garfiel did not intend to take advantage of his graciousness. It was what Subaru would often dub as a “win-win situation”.

Garfiel: “Hey midget, how’s yer stomach?”

Mimi: “Hmm~, Mimi’s hungry! Comecomecomeon, let’s eat!”

Garfiel: “Not yer appetite, yer wounds.”

Mimi: “Ohhh~, that’s it! Yeah, maybe they’re feeling good? Mimi’s wounds are nothing to worry about. But Hetaro and Tivey don’t feel alriiight~? Mimi’s wounds were quite tiring, so the two of them can’t be helpeeed~.”

Crossing her short arms, Mimi nodded with a huff and a snort.

During battle, Mimi had shielded Garfiel and as a consequence suffered a deep and incredibly dangerous injury. A serious, life-threatening wound had been carved on her body, one that even healing magic could never seal.

That which had kept Mimi barely alive had been her two younger brothers, who, together with Mimi, were triplets. Due to the effect of the Divine Protection of Trisection, in which the siblings would share their wounds and fatigue, the two brothers took on the burden of the older sister, and the three of them survived, despite the extreme exhaustion.

After that, it was just a matter of resting and waiting for healing magic to take its course. It was ironic, however, that the sister of the three siblings recovered much faster than her two younger brothers.

It was terrible of their sister to appraise them like that, after all they had done.

Garfiel: “Yer brothers don’t deserve that either. Ya should be more grateful, don’t’cha think?”

Mimi: “I understand that too~. I know what Garf wants to say, but Mimi’s still the older sister. Hetaro and Tivey need to be angry at heeer~.”

Garfiel: “Ah?”

Mimi: “Mimi’s so happy, but Mimi doesn’t want both of them to die because of her. Life’s important! Very important! Those two lives are special! So, don’t waste your money on Mimi! The lady said she couldn’t waste her moneeey~!”

Garfiel: “――――”

While in Garfiel’s grasp, Mimi wagged her tail in order to balance. The girl crossed her arms and made an unusually difficult face. Garfiel, in turn, rolled his eyes at the girl’s words.

He was expecting another incomprehensible theory to pop up.

Garfiel: “Surprisingly, you’re thinkin’ straight.”

Mimi: “Naturally! Gorgeous Mimi’s smart! Brave! The superior article! Did you fall in love? Did you fall in love?”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love.”

Mimi: “Aww, disappointing.”

While being shaken, Mimi giggled at Garfiel’s answer. Faced with such an open-minded smile, Garfiel scratched his cheek and sighed.

Garfiel: “But then ya couldn’t say the same thing to yer younger brothers!”

Mimi: “Hmm?”

Garfiel: “If my sister was dyin’ ‘n the means to save her were there, I’d try. So that she could get angry later.”

Mimi: “Hmmm.”

Of course, Garfiel understood Mimi’s reasoning.

If someone you loved risked their life to save you, it would be a joyful thing, yet terrible at the same time. Garfiel could not say that he wanted his loved ones to die for him. Garfiel had a feeling he would never be able to say that, even if it took him the rest of his life.

He suddenly wondered what Ram would do. Garfiel believed Ram would accept the idea of dying with or for the person she loves. The person she was looking towards was that bastard, though. Which inevitably meant that the other party in the arrangement would be that bastard.

Mimi: “Hmmm! But they’re still dummiiies~! After all, Mimi’s very angry. It’s decided!

Garfiel: “Really?”

Mimi: “Don’t say «Thank you» and be peshy about it. Mimi’s sure Hetaro and Tivey know that Mimi would say that, so if they know that and still did it, then Mimi’s sorry. Mimi can’t help it that they love her so much!”

Garfiel: “――――”

Mimi: “Maybe dying together means you want to live together, right? So, if that’s the case, your sister will just be your sister, and Hetaro and Tivey are just going to be Hetaro and Tivey.”

Clearly, Mimi had found her answer to the devotion of her two younger brothers. It was an answer that seemed rather simple, so much that it might seem unaffectionate, but it still resonated within Garfiel.

As if a finger had been mindlessly thrust into the labyrinth of heart and prodded around, he felt a disgusting feeling forming in his chest. It was very much like that which had settled deep inside him, was once again spreading throughout his body.

Garfiel: “Then…”

Garfiel tried to use words to best address this feeling that was building up inside him. Glaring at the dangling Mimi, Garfiel bit down on his regenerated sharp teeth.

Garfiel: “Then why did’cha protect me back then? Ya got injured, ya could’ve died…”

To be struck like that, to be hurt in such a way, so much that she might have died; how could she have done that when his own mind was scrambled by the powerful events that had taken place?

Why would she do that for Garfiel, a stranger whom she had met only a few days previously, if she was angry that her two brothers would do the same thing for her?

Garfiel did not possess the words to express his thanks to Mimi for saving his life.

Mimi: “Well, that’s because Mimi’s in love with Garf. Mimi’s so embaaarrassed~.”

Garfiel: “――! It’s only been a few days, right!”

At Mimi’s words, Garfiel bit his lower lip, as Mimi stroked her head in embarrassment.

Yes, only a few days had passed. There was no need for Garfiel to take Mimi’s love declaration seriously. How Garfiel would respond to this confession was not important. What was important, was the strength and depth of those feelings. Only a few days had passed, so what?

He had been thinking about Ram for seven years―― about half his life. That was how long he had been in love with that girl. For all those years that he had been in love with her, he had been rebuked by her, but he had never given up on her. He wanted her, he pined for her, he expressed his love for her in word and deed both.

That was why――

Garfiel: “You’ve only known me fer a short while, so why did…”

――You risk your life for me?

Even though Mimi’s two younger brothers loved her so much that they risked their lives for her own, how could Mimi direct such love towards Garfiel?

Mimi: “It’s like Roshi used to say!”

Garfiel: “…Huh?”

Mimi: “Pair of Jokers[1]!”

Garfiel raised an eyebrow in suspicion at the unfamiliar words. Mimi suddenly turned around and let go of Garfiel’s hand, then landing on the ground. Rolling forwards and leaping in front of Garfiel, she then pointed at him with both of her hands.

And then,

Mimi: “The pair will be together for years, decades, even centuries, right?”

Garfiel: “Hundreds of years is too special of an example…”

Mimi: “If the thought is eternity, hundreds of years will be nothing! Although they’ll be together for a long time, they’ll probably have lots of fights over food, right?”

Garfiel: “――――”

The scale of their disagreement felt small, but Garfiel listened quietly. He did not want her to get too excited and open her wounds. He would let Mimi do what she wanted to do, and then Garfiel could try to calm her down――

Mimi: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner who would enjoy fighting? It’s also said that you can usually tell who you should be with at first sight!”

Garfiel: “Ya can tell at a glance…”

Mimi: “Mimi, when she took a glance at Garf, she got thinking! The fact we just got together is like a margin of error for if we’ve been together for hundreds of years, right? It’s forward advance! Yeah, just like the lady told me about! Advance! And then, collecting interest!”

Garfiel: “Ah…”

Garfiel was taken aback by Mimi’s heart-pounding words.

He did not know what she meant by “advance” or “collecting with interest”. What did it mean? Like borrowing on a bond with a partner, that would last hundreds of years?

Was that the reason why she had done what she had? Was that her argument?

Garfiel: “…But ya could’ve died.”

Mimi: “Hmm~?”

Garfiel: “If you’re dead, I don’t owe ya anythin’. And yet…”

Mimi: “Aaaand~? Garf, is your head okaaay~?”

As Garfiel painfully stuttered, Mimi tapped his head with her finger. Garfiel was astonished to be told this by someone he would prefer not to tell him this, if possible. Mimi then crossed her arms, and,

Mimi: “If we could’ve died together, doesn’t that mean we could live togetheeer~? Mimi and Garf are both alive, so why are you complaining about iiit~? Going baaald~?”

Garfiel: “――――”

Mimi: “Oh? Garf, did you just laugh? Heyyy~, did you laaaugh~?”

In Mimi’s round eyes, she could see Garfiel’s fangs click. The interval between the clicking of Garfiel’s fangs gradually narrowed, and the clicking soon turned into laughter.

Mimi: “Oh! Garf has a big smile! What’s funny?”

Garfiel: “Oy, you’re funny. Ah, shit, damn it!”

Mimi: “Mimi is! Well, Mimi doesn’t blame you. The lady usually says that when Mimi’s around, there’s no choice but to laaaugh~.”

Mimi’s attitude of not understanding caused Garfiel to laugh more and more. No, it was not Mimi who didn’t understand. It was Garfiel himself who didn’t understand.

It was probably the most important thing to Mimi, but she just was unable to put it into words. What was clear to Mimi, was not so clear to Garfiel. Maybe that was why, right now, Garfiel was so frustrated.

Garfiel: “…But ya know what? The reason yer two brothers risked their lives for ya is because they want to live together with’cha, yeah?”

Mimi: “Mimi’s fine! Hetaro and Tivey aren’t fine! That’s what I’m sayiiing~!”

Garfiel: “What do ya mean?”

Mimi, who wielded the jurisdiction that came with being a sister, never stopped smiling until the bitter end.

Looking back on it, Garfiel felt that Fredrica, on occasion, had also been reckless with her position as his sister. Well, that was only natural. A sister was forced to love her brother.

Mimi: “Hmmm~, Garf, you’re looking good now, Mimi will compliment you!”

Garfiel: “Yeah, yeah.”

Mimi: “Did you fall in love with Mimi after she complimented you? Did you fall in love?”

Garfiel: “Ain’t fallen in love.”

Mimi: “Is that soo~. But Mimi’s in love. Rest assured!”

Garfiel: “…Oh. Thank ya.”

Mimi lined up next to Garfiel as they walked, smiling as if she were about to pounce on him. When Garfiel stroked her head, Mimi’s tail twitched and began to sway happily from side-to-side.

So far, Garfiel was not convinced by Mimi’s attitude about the consequences of her self-sacrifice. Garfiel’s convictions and Mimi’s convictions were far too different to have a consensus. However, Mimi was already convinced, at least judging from her words.

Garfiel’s answer had yet to resolve any of the lingering questions that appeared as ripples in the Watergate City.

However, Garfiel now felt as if a ray of light now existed.

The light that illuminated the path to the answer that Garfiel sought.

Mimi: “We’ve arrived at the diner! Garf! Mimi, comecomecomeooon~!”

Garfiel: “Hey, don’t open yer wounds back up!”

Mimi quickly rushed into the building, and Garfiel followed her in dismay.

The dining space was not very large, but at the moment, it was packed with people involved in the reconstruction process. Since it was lunchtime, it was hard to find a vacant seat.

Mimi: “Garf! Over here! This spot’s empty! Can we sare this tabble[2], pleeease~!”

???: “«Sare this tabble», ah, you’re sharing the table. I understand.”

Mimi, who ran around the store energetically, had quickly secured a seat for two people.

As Garfiel headed to the back of the store, he saw that two of the four seats at a table were empty. Seeing Mimi sitting down with her tail wagging, Garfiel also arrived at the seat. He then attempted to warn the people sitting in front of him, as a noisy Mimi would probably annoy them.

Garfiel: “Oh.”

???: “This is an odd coincidence, Garfiel-dono.”

Garfiel came face-to-face with a grey-haired old man―― Wilhelm, seated opposite of him. Facing the quiet eyes of the old swordsman, Garfiel gasped faintly.

Many of Garfiel Tinzel’s regrets remained in the Watergate City.

The second of the solutions, and an encounter that was not unrelated, occurred here.


Translation notes:

[1] Literally, the Katakana for Jokers, “ジョ―カ―”, is used. However, there is also “条件”, meaning “requirement”, which is pronounced identically.

[2] Her line is “アイセキ”, but the correct way to write this is “相席”, meaning “sharing a table with someone you don’t know”. They’re pronounced similarly, however. And yes, the verb’s that specific.

9 thoughts on “Arc 5, Interlude I – “The Couple’s Requirements””

  1. Please Dear God don’t let this ship happen. It’s awful. And it removes the likeliest person to take Ram’s attention off Roswaal.

    I’m really thinking Tappei has genuinely lost his mind.

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