Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
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As blood was gushing from his gouged shoulder and thigh, the rough breaths filled with a feverish heat and his blood-drained complexion made it evident that the countdown to his death was ticking.
Unless he received treatment immediately, his life would be in danger, as the countdown could not be stopped.
However, if healing magic were to be cast, he would definitely be saved. It was an absolutely treatable injury.
Subaru: [Even so, why…]
Next to the pulverized mill, amidst the lingering smell of burnt wood from the remaining embers, Subaru faced off against an “enemy” in the increasingly flooded, even if slowly, Imperial Capital.
And yet, it was someone who no longer could be called an “enemy”, Todd Fang.
――Calling Todd an “enemy” was not something Subaru wanted to do anymore.
Ever since their very first meeting, Todd had continuously subjected him to all sorts of grief. Subaru had been targeted and killed numerous times, with death and fear etched into his memories that fostered a deep-seated grudge.
Each time Subaru had dealt with Todd’s attacks, and Returned by Death, he had ultimately undone each and every tragedy that occurred.
The forest that the People of Shudraq lived in had been burned down, leading to their annihilation. In the surprise attack on the Fortress City of Guaral, Flop had been killed numerous times. During the operation to capture the City Hall of Guaral, Subaru had experienced the feeling of walking on a tightrope that had been set ablaze.
The pinnacle of it all had been the massacre on the Gladiator Island, on Ginunhive, where Tanza, Idra, Hiain, Weitz, Gustav, Old Man Null, and many other companions on the island had all been killed. However, Subaru had even managed to overturn that outcome.
Subaru had no intention of pretending like Todd’s actions had never happened.
It was just that through Subaru’s struggles of protecting what was dear to him by Returning by Death, these actions by Todd had gradually been erased.
The reason why Subaru regarded Todd as an enemy was something that existed only within Subaru’s mind.
And finally, now that an unprecedented disaster had struck the Imperial Capital and they were forced to retreat, Todd showed a willingness to cooperate with Subaru and the others to protect his fiancée.
Indeed, without Todd’s cooperation, it would have been difficult to find effective countermeasures against the overflow of zombies, and it would have taken numerous retries to achieve an outcome where everyone escaped.
The same was true for the battle with that zombie, with the one-eyed warrior.
In order to defeat that twisted enemy who had transformed into a monster, Subaru had also required Todd’s cooperation. They both knew that without each other, their lives would be at risk.
That was why they had needed just one more step.
If only he had taken one more step, Subaru could have walked alongside Todd while bottling up his conflicting emotions.
Todd: [Don’t speak so hypocritically. You averted this just now because you also had a slight hunch. It’s not like you reacted to my intent to kill, you were just wary the whole time, right?]
Todd closed his bloodshot right eye as Subaru spoke with a trembling voice.
With a face that seemed like he was dealing with an unreasonable child, Todd’s gaze fell on the axe floating in the air―― or that was how it would have appeared to him as the weapon was grabbed by a black hand.
In Subaru’s mind, the axe was synonymous with Todd.
Subaru had experienced being struck in the head with Todd’s axe more than once or twice. Even though he had taken it away from Todd’s hand, just seeing it at the corner of his vision was enough to make Subaru’s teeth grind in unease.
Todd had hit the nail on the head. Subaru had been wary of him all along.
So, once he had turned his back on the injured Todd, Subaru had activated Invisible Providence to protect his head, as that would have been the surest way to kill him in case he was targeted.
However, he had certainly not wished for it to happen.
Nothing that occurred should have ever happened.
In that case――,
Todd: [My bad, my bad. I fell right for your trap.]
Subaru: [That’s not true…]
Todd: [We’re separated from the others, so right after we took care of the enemy, I thought that was my chance but… You’re quite the actor.]
Subaru: [You’re wrong…]
Todd: [Did you plan to blow me up with that explosion earlier? If that was the case, it’s too bad that your aim was off.]
Subaru: [No! I really wanted to cooperate with you…!]
Todd: [――Spare me with your lies.]
Subaru’s throat gulped as Todd’s cold voice hit.
With one eye closed, Todd looked into Subaru’s eyes with a gaze devoid of heat and humidity. His gaze did not contain any hint of evaluating Subaru, which it had just moments ago.
Todd had already finished appraising Subaru, and that was why he was like this now.
Todd: [You should get it deep down as well. We just can’t understand each other.]
Todd: [I am outwardly suspicious of others, and you believe others to a fault. No matter how many words we exchange, our values are different.]
Slowly changing position, Todd cautiously watched Subaru, especially his axe that floated in the air. Subaru also bit his lip and glared at Todd with sorrow over the hovering axe.
They could not understand each other, Todd had said. Subaru continued to wonder if that was really the case.
He wondered if there really was no way to make it work.
Subaru: [If you kill me here, how will you handle the zombies and…]
Todd: [You don’t know when to quit. As long as I get out of the Imperial Capital, it’s all good. Thanks to your help, we were able to get Katya to the city walls. After that, I’m better off without you.]
Subaru: [Why! I have no intention to hurt Katya-san! I didn’t even intend to fight you! And yet!]
Todd: [――But you were willing to choose whether to save Katya or not, right?]
Todd, standing in front of Subaru, who was raising his voice, said one cold comment.
Subaru’s cheeks hardened as he felt like he had been doused with cold water by Todd’s words.
He had no idea what he had meant.
To begin with, that was at odds with what Subaru was claiming. There was no need to choose as Subaru had no intention of harming Katya in the first place, so such an accusation was misplaced.
And yet, Subaru’s thoughts were frozen.
――Todd did not miss that moment.
Todd: [――I won’t beg for your forgiveness.]
Slipping through the opening of Subaru stumbling over his words, Todd lowered his stance and lunged at him.
The feeling of the shrinking distance between the two sides was so great that every cell in Subaru’s body screamed. Subaru immediately commanded his Unseen Hand, which was extended in the air, to throw the axe he had seized back at Todd.
Subaru: [Gyah, gaaah!!?]
Instantly, Subaru’s vision was dyed bright red by a burning sensation that pierced his right thigh.
A knife was sticking out of Subaru’s right thigh.
It had been in Todd’s hand just a moment ago. Right before he leapt, he had thrown it into Subaru’s thigh while Subaru was unable to think, and he unfortunately took the brunt of it.
Then, while he was distracted by the pain, the Unseen Hand that was supposed to have thrown the axe was disrupted―― the floating axe was snatched back, and Todd’s forward kick smashed into Subaru’s chest.
Subaru’s body fell backward with a cry of pain, unable to put weight on his stabbed leg. His back was struck, the back of his head was struck, thus his scattered thoughts became even more fragmented.
His legs, chest, head, back, and then, the blade of the axe falling in front of him――.
He frantically shouted and forced the black hand to stop the axe in the midst of swinging down.
The overused Unseen Hand protruded from Subaru’s chest to stop the axe that approached the tip of his nose, and he mobilized his own two hands to keep the trembling blade from falling, resisting the murderous intent with his three arms.
Then Todd, holding the axe, also pushed in with all his might to force down the jostling blade.
His leg that was stabbed hurt. His chest where he was kicked hurt. His back where he was hit hurt. His head hurt as well. If this axe were to go through his face, it would hurt more than all of that and would furthermore hurt to the point of death.
Todd: [You’re, too tenacious…! Give up and die already…!]
Subaru: [No, way… Absolutely, no way…!]
With his hand on the ridge of the axe, Todd used his full weight to try and kill Subaru.
Subaru resisted with his three arms, the Unseen Hand included, but the child’s two hands and Authority, which had little advantage other than being invisible, could not push Todd away.
From the outside, it would appear to be a very absurd and miserable deathmatch.
The battle between Subaru and Todd was crude and unceremonious at such a critical juncture in the battle for the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, where a multitude of soldiers and warriors competed with their well-honed skills and weapons.
They had no trained skills, no special weapons, nor trump cards that could overpower others.
By the standards of the Vollachian Empire, this was a low-level battle of life and death―― The decisive battle between Natsuki Subaru and Todd Fang, two people who could not understand each other.
Todd: [You’re too damn inconsistent! Your eyes say that you’re willing to die at any moment, you’re willing to put other people’s lives on a scale selfishly, but when it comes to this, you’re desperate to resist. It’s creepy!]
Subaru: [Don’t say, something so unreasonable…! Like hell I think I’m ready to die whenever. I’ve also never put anyone’s life, on a scale…! I don’t want to die!]
Todd’s eyes, chilled with a black, murderous intent, were about to freeze Subaru’s racing heart. While the grinding struggle of the blade of the axe that was locked between the two continued, their fierce battle could not go on forever.
Subaru: [Guh, geh…]
Subaru stifled a grunt in the back of his throat as blood trickled from his earlobes.
It was the backlash due to the heavy use of the Authority of Unseen Hand. This was a screaming warning signal from Subaru’s eroding body. However, he had no choice but to rely on it. Otherwise, the falling blade would cleave Subaru’s face in two.
Todd: [That strange trick seems to be nearing its limits.]
The ghastly look on Subaru’s face and the outpouring of blood helped Todd understand the repercussions of using the Unseen Hand. He knew that if he kept on going at this pace, Subaru would reach his limit first.
Before that happened, no matter what it took―― that was what he thought at that moment.
Subaru and Todd, vying for the deadly axe, were momentarily distracted by a tremendous roar.
It was something far away from the center of the Imperial Capital, far away from Subaru and his companions―― the reservoir at the edge of the city, beyond the Crystal Palace, which held back a large amount of water, had reached its limit and was starting to crumble.
With a roar, cracks burst open through the entire retaining wall, and a tremendous amount of water surged into the Imperial Capital. It was like a giant wave was advancing into a world without any oceans and as the surging waves swept through the Imperial Capital, the aftermath reached all the way to Subaru and Todd’s deadly exchange.
Subaru: [Uh, ahhhh――!!]
For a brief moment, Todd’s attention was diverted to the roaring sound, and Subaru gathered all the strength he could muster.
As his body laid on the ground, forgetting the pain of the knife buried in his leg for the moment, he turned over onto his side and pulled the axe blade with all the might of his Unseen Hand so it struck the ground next to his head.
Even Todd, who had been putting all his strength into the axe, could not defy such momentum. The axe dropped right next to Subaru’s head and Todd fell to the ground with it.
Subaru: [Haa, haa… phew.]
Subaru continued to roll sideways with his momentum, as to create distance between him and Todd and the axe.
The knife in his leg repeatedly struck the ground and caused him severe pain. He cried as he rolled over, enduring the agony since getting away was more important to him.
Eventually, after what felt like ten or twenty rolls, Subaru’s body hit the remnants of a building, forcing him to stop. There, he somehow managed to get up onto his arms, bleeding from his cut forehead―― and then he spotted it.
Todd: […This guy is just utterly infuriating.]
Todd rose to his knees, mumbling in anger. As he turned to face the distanced Subaru, he noticed the axe deeply embedded in his left shoulder.
When Subaru had managed to avoid the axe in his desperate attempt, Todd had fallen on top of it.
The blade of the axe was buried deep, splitting his collarbone so far that it looked like it had reached his heart, but Todd, wiping his mouth and spitting out blood, showed none of the weakness of a dying man.
It was like he was almost too tough.
His body had been cut in various places due to his role as a decoy for the zombies, he had received collateral damage from the dust explosion, and to top it all off, he had an axe sticking out of his body, but he did not seem to be concerned about it.
The reason for Todd’s nonchalance finally became clear to Subaru.
Todd: [――You noticed it? My bad, my bad.]
There was a clear irritation in Todd’s tone that lacked frivolity or leeway.
It was a voice full of excessive anger at himself rather than at his opponent for his own failure of letting something be seen that no one ever was meant to see and that he never wanted to reveal either.
While fully displaying his anger, Todd violently ripped the axe out of his own shoulder. The badly mangled-wound spurted blood just once strongly―― then stopped bleeding right away.
That ability to recover was something that would have evolved in a species in order to prevent negative effects of injuries from being too great while in combat or while hunting. It was the kind of recoverability that Subaru had witnessed several times in this other world.
Although there was no discernible difference from Subaru in terms of appearance, there was definitely different blood flowing in his veins.
He was demi-human. And――,
Subaru: [――Are you, half-beastman?]
Todd: [Correct. But that’s not all of it by itself.]
In front of the puzzled Subaru, Todd narrowed his eyes and affirmed only half of his suspicions. Todd answered Subaru’s question with half an answer.
His cheeks contorted inhumanely, his eyes lit up with blood-colored fury――,
Todd: [――I’m a werewolf.]
――In this world, there were certain things that were considered abhorrent just by their mere existence.
Half-elves stood out pre-eminently among such abhorred beings, possessing the disadvantage of being tied to the Witch who had once nearly destroyed the world. That reputation was shared across all countries.
Elsewhere, hairless demi-humans were considered to be an unlucky thing in the Kararagi City-States; and, in the Holy Kingdom of Gusteko, the closer the hair and eyes approached to black, the more alienated one would be, as they would be considered to be disliked by the Spirits.
Similarly, within the Vollachian Empire, where various demi-human races coexisted, there were two races whose existence was frowned upon―― the molepeople and the wolfpeople.
In ancient times, these two races, the molepeople and the wolfpeople, were said to have been condemned for betraying the most beloved woman in the Vollachian Empire and putting her to death, a crime for which they would never be forgiven.
As a result, the molepeople had abandoned their homeland and escaped out of the country by digging into the earth. And, the wolfpeople who did not know how to escape, had been hunted down to the point of extinction.
The wrath of this Empire extended to neighboring lands, and if any molepeople or wolfpeople were to be found in another country, they would be deported across the border to the Empire to be executed. This was the history of the molepeople and wolfpeople―― Hunts, as they were commonly called.
In modern times, it was said that the molepeople used their abilities to burrow under the earth to hide from the outside world. As for the surviving wolfpeople, they disguised their origins as dogpeople in order to hide their true identities, and only one person in the world―― Halibel, the Admirer, the strongest in the Kararagi City-States, did publicly advocate himself as a wolfperson.
An Empire that relentlessly hunted wolfpeople, whose national crest was ironically a wolf pierced by swords.
The Sword Wolf was the most revered symbol in the Empire, whereas the wolf that ran away for fear of being pierced by a sword was the most despised.
Therefore, in this world, both the existence of wolfpeople and half-beastmen of wolfpeople blood―― “werewolves”, continued to bear a curse that could never be forgiven.
Subaru: [Wear… wulf…]
Subaru was absolutely stunned upon that declaration of Todd’s, twirling the axe he had pulled from his own shoulder in his hand.
Knowing about the little-known secret of Todd, who was someone who had often clashed with him, and not knowing which emotion to feel, positive or negative, was one thing, but what he felt more than anything else was fear.
It had been an instinctive aversion to the sound that had reached his ears, “werewolf”.
――Subaru had no knowledge of the history of the ostracization of werewolves in this world.
He knew nothing of the fact that both wolfpeople and molepeople were abhorred in the Empire, that the reason for this was the betrayal of a woman named Iris, that her true identity was Yorna Mishigure, or that her beloved Emperor was not Vincent Vollachia.
He knew nothing of any of the underlying circumstances.
Even without knowing anything about them, Subaru’s soul understood. ――How alien the existence of werewolves was in this world.
Todd: [That look of surprise is a little different than I expected. You looked surprised that I was half-beastman, but not surprised that I’m a werewolf.]
Todd looked at the silent Subaru and furrowed his eyebrows with a face that looked as if he was throwing away his expectations.
Todd: [But now we can do this without any strange reservations, right? Werewolves are meant to be hung. It’s a curse that runs in their blood. You too――]
Subaru: [Why, does it come to this? I’ve never…]
He could not say that he had never thought about killing Todd.
But this was not because of Todd’s blood or his origins, but because his own actions were incompatible with Subaru’s, and he had no choice but to clash with him.
And yet, the way Todd spoke now――,
Subaru: [Don’t act like your blood is the reason you became my enemy.]
Subaru: [You ran into me, many times, because it was a problem between you and me! Not because of what you are or because your blood provoked me!]
Gritting his molars, Subaru pressed his fist into the ground and raised himself up.
The intense pain from the knife in his leg raced through his body at great speed, but it also clarified his consciousness, it clarified the anger seething in his chest.
Subaru: [And you have the nerve of saying it’s because you’re a werewolf or something of the sort, because that’s what’s convenient for you…!]
Todd: [Oioi, it’s convenient for me? I won’t listen to this, coming from you…]
Subaru: [Shut the hell up! Why, why are you like this!?]
Not a single thing had gone Subaru’s way; when he had positive feelings, it would cause negative actions, and when he had positive thoughts, it would cause negative problems.
After helping Katya, saving Rem and Flop, and joining forces to defeat that formidable zombie, he had now tried to kill Subaru, rebuking his thoughts, and to top that off, he was a werewolf.
Subaru: [Why, why!?]
Todd: [Don’t go off and talk about the circumstances of people’s birth. It’s just how it is. My mother might have slept with a dog. Come to think of it, there was always a big dog living in the back of the house, maybe that was my dad?]
Subaru: [No, I’m not the one talking about it! You’re the one who’s talking about your birth!]
Subaru: [I’m not the one who’s looking at you like that…!]
Subaru had no idea what kind of life Todd had experienced as a werewolf.
Nor did he even want to know. If he knew, he would probably search for a reason to forgive Todd. Therefore, he did not want to know. Subaru did not want to forgive Todd for some unavoidable reason.
That was why――,
Subaru: [――I’ve made up my mind.]
Subaru muttered, his voice strained, his head jumbled with anger and pain.
Hearing Subaru’s muttering, Todd’s eyes narrowed. Even without words, the silence prompted him to wonder what he had decided to do.
So prompted, Subaru announced his decision.
Subaru: [I’m not going to kill you. It’s not going to go the way you want.]
At Subaru’s quiet declaration, Todd had nothing to say in return.
However, he did not remain silent. ――He laughed.
Todd: [Ha, hahaha, ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!]
Ruffling his hair with the hand not holding the axe, Todd opened his mouth and laughed. Not caring that his hair and forehead were being stained with blood, Todd opened his mouth wide and burst out in laughter.
Then, after laughing for a while, he gently shook his head,
Todd: [You’re a monster. Much more so than that zombie.]
More clearly than ever, he glared at Subaru with emotion visible in his eyes.
Subaru understood what it was, the emotion that was hidden behind that black murderous intent; this was the first time it was revealed. Many times before, he had seen it in the mirror.
It was fear. ――It was the fear of incomprehensible things that brought Death.
Todd: [Lack of self-awareness is a bad trait. You’re choosing between lives. Who to save, who to let die, you’re deciding as you please. You show favor towards those who butter you up, but don’t care about those who don’t. Me, I wouldn’t hesitate to butter anyone up, but…]
Todd: [How could I go along with someone who decides who lives or dies based on his own fickle whims?]
――That was Todd Fang’s ultimatum.
Having spat that out, Todd’s bones creaked as his form changed.
The wounds peeking through the tears of his Imperial Soldier’s uniform closed, his skin was covered with animal hair that matched the color of the hair atop his head. His nose protruded and his mouth grew wide as if it were ripping open, newly-grown white teeth began to sharpen, transforming his appearance into that of a ferocious beast.
He looked just as he had declared. A werewolf.
He stood on two legs, handled his weapon with two arms, and would bite the life out of his opponent with his ferocious fangs. He had transformed into that type of existence―― no, his true nature had been revealed.
Briefly, Todd stepped toward Subaru once again with that intention in his words.
His steps were large, and he kicked the ground with his hind legs with speed such that it exploded. His aim was to kill Subaru, the object of his unknown fear, was to not permit the survival of an opponent privy to his true identity.
Subaru’s fighting spirit exploded as he realized this.
Subaru: [――Invisible Providence.]
Todd, now a werewolf, leapt at Subaru with an axe in his hand.
Before the axe could reach him, Subaru picked up debris with the black arm that extended from his chest, and knocked the axe away to the other side, past Todd’s head.
But even if his axe was gone, Todd now had another weapon, his fangs.
Subaru had also utilized the Unseen Hand to block the axe, thus being unable to rely on his Authority to block Todd’s fangs.
Instead, Subaru pulled out the knife stuck in his leg with his own hand.
Subaru: [Gih, gaaah!!]
Screaming from the intense pain that he had never gotten used to, Subaru held the knife he had pulled out in both hands, and he clamped it in the gap between Todd’s fangs as he bit down on it.
The closing, sharp fangs were stopped by the knife, and Subaru’s face was pushed down again as drool spilled from the knife-biting werewolf’s mouth, dripping onto his cheeks.
Like that, his fangs pushed forward, closing in on Subaru’s neck.
While desperately trying to hold him back, Subaru screamed in pain.
Subaru: [I’m… not going to kill you…!]
He screamed as he was about to be killed, just before the tips of their fangs gouged into his neck.
The one who was about to take a life was being chastised by the one whose life was about to be taken.
As things stood he would be overcome, even though his head about to be bitten off thus being dispossessed of his life, even though he was about to return to somewhere during the battle.
Feeling grief, resentment towards the world for reasons unknown to Subaru, the man known as Todd――.
And it happened at that very moment.
???: [――That’s enough.]
The sound of that voice caught Subaru by surprise, plucking resoundingly at his soul.
Every one of the beast’s breaths, every little rumble of the earth, every bit of ongoing chaos in various parts of the Imperial Capital, it all was a noisy hell, in which every sound rampaged as it pleased.
Even in such a world, nothing could impede that voice.
It was as if the very existence of Natsuki Subaru had been created to resonate with that voice.
Immediately after, as Todd’s body pressed down on Subaru’s, trying to bring his fangs down to end his life, it was blown away by a tremendous impact, slamming him from the side.
Right before Subaru, Todd, having become a werewolf, was propelled into open view; and reflected in the former’s eyes were shining, gleaming shards of raining ice. And what had scattered them was a hammer fashioned from ice.
With a full-power blow using a sizable ice hammer, Todd had been sent flying.
And the one who had swung that ice hammer with both hands, making her long, silver hair dance, was a girl in a white outfit with a stunningly beautiful figure――,
Subaru’s mouth unconsciously moved to trace the name that had suddenly flashed through his mind.
The girl looked back, her amethyst eyes blinked, and they met Subaru’s black ones. Subaru, captivated by the beauty of her eyes, involuntarily gasped.
Emilia: [You there, come here!]
He had forgotten to breathe, or perhaps he had been holding his breath, but it was forcibly interrupted.
White fingers, reaching out with great strength, pulled Subaru’s body up into her arms with a strength that one could not have imagined from her appearance. Without hesitation, the girl, Emilia, picked up Subaru who was muddied with blood, bending her knees with an “Alright”,
With a shout, Emilia jumped and kicked the wall of a nearby building, and leapt even higher onto the roof of a building. Subaru, wrapped in her embrace, was dumbfounded, but he soon understood.
Below them, the street below the building where Emilia had landed with Subaru in her arms was swept away at a tremendous pace by a muddy stream, engulfing everything in sight.
Emilia: [That was dangerous… You almost got swallowed by the water.]
At that overwhelming sight, Emilia patted her chest in relief.
Emilia’s reaction did not convey much urgency or sense of tragedy, though the despairing scene was overwhelming as both the ruins of the grain mill that had been blown up by the dust explosion and the street where Todd had dragged the zombie around until the grain mill was prepared were engulfed in the flash flood alongside one another.
Had she been been a little slower, Subaru would have been swallowed by the current, just as Emilia had said. If that had happened, there was no way he could have survived――,
Emilia: [――Hk, who was that guy!?]
Todd, who had been on the verge of biting Subaru to death, had been sent flying by Emilia.
Supposing Todd had failed to escape, would he have been swallowed by the flash flood as well? If he had been swallowed by the force of the water, there would have been no way for Todd to have survived that strong of water.
Forgetting the pain in his leg, Subaru quickly looked around and searched for Todd in the muddy streets of the Imperial Capital that had been swallowed up by the murky water. Subaru did not even know the answer to the question of whether he wanted Todd to be found or not.
Emilia: [Hey, relax! Who are you looking for… Oh! Looking closer, I see that you’re badly hurt! I need to get you treated right away…]
As Subaru looked around frantically, Emilia noticed the wound on Subaru’s leg, and moved to sit him down on the edge of the rooftop,
Emilia: [Hold on! A user of healing magic will be here soon…]
Subaru: [There’s no time for that! Leave me alone, and…]
Emilia: [You’re the one who needs to get on your feet…]
Emilia raised an eyebrow at Subaru as he tried to stand up, brushing off her words of advice. However, her scolding was interrupted before it reached its conclusion.
Her large, amethyst eyes opened wide, and he could see the scene behind him reflected in her beautiful eyes.
As Subaru sat on the edge of the rooftop, the werewolf came out from behind him as it broke the water and opened its gaping mouth to bite Subaru’s nape.
Either the bite would pull him into the water, or it would mercilessly clamp down on his jugular. It was a moment that even Emilia, right in front of him, would not be able to stop in time.
Todd’s dogged determination defied even the flash flood, attempting to gnaw Subaru’s life away.
At that moment――,
???: [――Don’t touch…]
The sound of a strong wind rattled as he heard footsteps treading on the rooftop.
Neither the exhausted Subaru, nor the too-distant Emilia, could stop Todd’s attack.
Instead, it was a girl with angry, pale-blue eyes who leapt in.
At the same time as that yell, an axe was unleashed, swung with all its might.
Subaru had knocked away the axe as the werewolf pounced towards him. Somehow, it had landed in the hands of the girl, and returned to its owner, who was trying to bite Subaru.
A second strike, overlapping with the wound on his left shoulder where the axe had once deeply pierced, occurred. The impact threw off the werewolf’s momentum, and his huge body was knocked away, thrown into the muddy waters.
With a loud splash and a column of water, this time, the werewolf―― Todd Fang, sank below the surface.
???: [Haa, haa, haa…]
The girl who had swung the axe, breathing heavily with her shoulders heaving, held Subaru’s head to her chest. As she did so, she dropped the axe from her trembling hands into the water and knelt down on the spot.
Then, the pale-blue eyes of the girl―― of Rem met with the black eyes of Subaru.
Rem: [It… seems like you’re fine.]
Subaru: [I’m not really fine, but…]
Subaru replied in a wavering tone to Rem as he lowered the corners of his eyes with a faint sense of relief.
Then, he looked behind him for Todd, who had been thrown into the water by Rem’s blow. ――He was nowhere to be found. There was no way he could be found, and even if he were to be found.
With frustration and bitterness welling up inside him, Subaru put his hand on his chest.
Subaru and Todd could not understand each other in any way. What Subaru had wanted him to understand, and that Todd had not wished to be understood, none of it.
That was what frustrated him. It was so frustrating and disappointing.
With that feeling of helpless frustration――,
Emilia: [Rem! Thank goodness. Heal this boy’s wounds! Then, quickly, to Subaru…]
Rem: [Wait a minute! This is the child! This boy is him! This is the one that calls himself Natsuki Subaru…]
Emilia: [Huh! That kid is Subaru!? But he’s so cute…?]
Slowly, little-by-little, Subaru’s strength slipped away on the edge of the rooftop, and right in front of him, the two women who had helped him―― Emilia and Rem, were shouting this and that about Subaru.
Then, with those two in front of him, the thought of how long it had been since he last had seen them talking to each other passed through his mind, and faded――.
Subaru: [Todd, you goddamn idiot…]
With this sense of frustration and defeat as the final straw, Subaru’s consciousness abruptly faded.