Human Translated By:
- Negimiso (Parts 1.2, 1.4)
Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
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???: [Huh? What did you say?]
???: [I shall not repeat myself three times. ――As far as I can ascertain since I took the seat of the Emperor, I can match the faces and names of all of the Imperial citizens.]
???: [Are you an idiot!?]
With folded arms and a mysterious look, Abel’s absurd answer caused Subaru’s voice to flip.
The setting took place within a dragon carriage, en route from the Fortified City of Garkla towards the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, now turned into the stronghold of the undead.
There were three dragon carriages consisting of the Kingdom affiliates, Empire affiliates, necessary provisions, etc. This was the division of the assault team called the “Rescue the Vollachian Empire from destruction squad”. At present, Subaru had purposefully boarded the dragon carriage designated for the Empire affiliates.
His reason for doing so was not an act of betrayal towards the Kingdom but rather was driven by his desire to know―― the reason the Emperor, Abel, had joined the assault team.
Naturally, considering the important fight for the survival of Vollachia, it was only natural for Abel to take a prominent position on the battlefield. However, having experienced numerous unfavorable situations alongside Abel, it could be said that while he had wisdom, he lacked combat prowess.
There was no compelling reason for him to accompany them when only pure military power would be called upon in the future.
Subaru never would have thought that even Abel would be under Vollachia’s influence, so if he was going along with them, there must have been a reason to overturn that. However, there was a possibility that he did not want to disclose the reason in front of the Kingdom’s people, so Subaru had taken the initiative to board this carriage.
Without beating around the bush, Subaru asked, “What will your role be?”――,
Subaru: [Matching the faces and names of all of the citizens…]
Subaru’s mouth was left wide open at such an absurd and aberrant statement. Seeing how outrageously surprised Subaru was, Abel furrowed his brows in displeasure.
Vincent: [Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean every single citizen of the Empire. Just like the People of Shudraq who continue to dwell in the forest, the identities of those who remain discreet and unexposed are impossible to grasp. As such, it is futile to try to fully grasp all of the citizens in the Empire.]
Subaru: [What are you angry at, that’s already dumb enough!? Because essentially, that means you remember all your subordinates, the Imperial Soldiers, right?]
Vincent: [It is necessary.]
He put it concisely, but it was not the typical way an ordinary person would think.
Of course, one would not consider Abel to be an ordinary person, and the fact that he could match the faces and names of all the Imperial citizens was meaningful in the current situation.
Vincent: [For that girl to remove the yoke of the undead, their names are required.]
With Abel’s indifferent words, Subaru became concerned for Spica, who was seated at the edge of the dragon carriage.
Due to her situation, Spica could not be left unattended, hence why she, like Subaru, had boarded this dragon carriage. At the moment, she was sitting quietly, being comforted by both Medium as well as Beatrice, who steadfastly stayed by Subaru’s side.
In order to fully utilize Spica’s Authority, Abel’s abnormality―― his remarkable memory came in handy.
――Star Eating had too many unclear aspects regarding its manifestation.
When she had succeeded in using her Star Eating on Lamia Godwin, a royal family descendant, it seemed Spica did not eat her Name, as no one had forgotten her. Nevertheless, the alignment of face and Name appeared to be the key to that Authority.
Therefore, they had no choice but to rely on the method that had worked once.
Subaru: [Still, it pisses me off that your excessively foolish memory is useful for that purpose…]
???: [Schwartz-sama, that is a false accusation, is it not? Even if the person you are dealing with is the ruthless Emperor, who often treats Yorna-sama coldly.]
Subaru: [Is that your advice for this guy? Or your dissatisfaction towards my facade?]
???: [Of course, my advice to Schwartz-sama, is it not?]
Tanza, the girl clad in a kimono, answered calmly and turned her face away from Abel’s gaze.
She was part of the assault team, and it appeared that she had some thoughts regarding Abel that revolved around Yorna, the main reason for her involvement in this battle.
From what he had heard, Abel had been persistently rejecting Yorna’s proposals of marriage. Hence, Tanza had no reason to have any favorable opinions regarding Abel, but rather negative ones, considering his cold treatment towards the Demon City.
Vincent: [I shall tell you this, what Yorna Mishigure desired was not me, but instead the former Emperor.]
Subaru: [Oh, is that so? Like your father or something?]
Vincent: [Farther back than that. If you wish to know more, you should question that person directly. The opportunity for that is still available, at least for now. Am I not correct, girl?]
Tanza: [――Yes. Even now, I can still feel the presence of Yorna-sama.]
Upon Abel’s words, Tanza gently placed her hand over her own eye and quietly replied.
Her words were not wishful thinking, but rather a clear conviction derived from the benefit of Yorna’s power, which she had been entrusted with. As long as that power was present, Yorna’s survival was assured.
However, the uncertainty of the situation in the Imperial Capital made it frustrating.
Not only about Yorna, but also regarding Priscilla, whose whereabouts were unknown, and Al, who had stayed behind to help her, along with the concerns about Cecilus, who had wandered off on his own.
Subaru: [Even so, thinking about it that way… doesn’t it show an excessive imbalance in strength?]
Struggling to contain his overflowing feelings, Subaru voiced what he had been concerned about, once again recalling the composition of the “rescue from destruction squad”.
Abel closed an eye at what he said, and Tanza tilted her head to the side instead.
Tanza: [An imbalance in fighting strength?]
Subaru: [Yeah, because we have myself, Beako, Emilia-tan, Spica and Roswaal, and also our up-and-coming Garfiel, don’t we?]
Beatrice: [Did you just brag about Betty, I suppose?]
Subaru: [Yep, I did. Love you, lovely Beako.]
Beatrice: [Betty loves you too, in fact.]
After confirming their love for one another with Beatrice, who had chipped in to the conversation, Subaru raised a finger.
Outside of this dragon carriage, the carriage running behind them had Emilia and the others boarded on it.
Subaru: [Halibel-san over there is also the secret weapon that Anastasia-san sent with us. This is supposed to be a battle for the Empire, but the room’s full of external collaborators.]
Obviously, it was not as if the assault team was formed without any of the Empire’s people.
However, on the head of the list was Abel, who had made it clear in detail that his smartassery transcended the limits of any human, and then Medium, who came along as a companion after negotiating with him. Adding on, there was also Jamal, triumphantly taking on the job of the driver, who had been promoted to a General for some reason, as well as selected to be a bodyguard. The citizens from the Empire on the team consisted of these three.
The two of Medium and Jamal were unmistakably categorized as those with a high power level even among the people of the Empire, but it could not be said that they were stronger than Garfiel.
Subaru: [Tanza’s also mine, so it’s like she’s basically on our side, right?]
Subaru: [Huh? I thought you were gonna get mad and hit me right away, but this is a letdown… The time lag!]
Tanza: [Please do not say such self-centered things.]
Subaru shouted as he paid the price for the joke he uttered, having been slapped with a force that exceeded his preparedness in accepting the outcome. He instinctively squatted down with teary eyes, but Tanza simply looked down on him with a cold stare.
He knew he went too far, but she seemed way too angry, even for that.
???: [Kakakakka! They’re tellin’ ya, Your Excellency. That they can’t see how serious the Empire is ‘bout it. If they put it that way, it can’t really be helped, can it?]
Subaru: [Yeah, yeah, it can’t be helped even if we… Ubyaaaah!?]
Beatrice: [Subaru!? What’s wrong, I suppose!?]
Just as he was about to nod to the unexpected raspy voice, a scream ripped itself out of Subaru’s throat.
As Beatrice rushed to his side in a hurry, Subaru jumped back in a tumble and clung onto her. Within the sights of Beatrice and Subaru, wrapped up in each other’s embrace, stood a small shadow that was hunched over.
Appearing out of nowhere was the elusive Vicious Old Man, Olbart Dunkelkenn――,
Beatrice: [Subaru, calm down, in fact. It’s just a tiny elderly man that suddenly appeared, I suppose.]
Subaru: [If a tiny elderly man suddenly appeared, that’s either Olbart-san or a Japanese horror movie! Things they have in common are that they’re both scary! Dangerous! And crazy!]
Olbart: [Whoa, you’re yappin’ quite the stuff there, boy. Seems like you’re lil’ as always, but how’ve ya been?]
Subaru: [Whose fault do you think it is that I’m little! I’m doing great! How about you!?]
Olbart: [I’m just peachy, too. Kinda lost my right hand, though.]
Olbart said, waving his right arm as the folded part of his sleeve flapped about. Having been shown his fluttering sleeve, Subaru fell silent, feeling as if he would not be able to say anything without making the situation awkward.
What a devious trick it was, coming from this insane old man, trying to garner sympathy by showing his injury.
Subaru: [But, I fell into his trap, just like that…!]
Vincent: [Stow away your inner conflict for another time. ――So, you have heard the details, Olbart Dunkelkenn.]
Ignoring Subaru, who had Beatrice caressing his head that he gripped in his hands while he agonized over his thoughts, Abel called for Olbart. The fiendish elder gave a nod to the call with a “Well,”
Olbart: [The spellcaster that’s controllin’ ‘em dead folks is in the Imperial Capital, so we’re gonna go n’ kill ‘em, right? I can imagine that Goz cryin’ like a lil’ kid after being left behind by Your Excellency. Ain’t he a poor guy?]
Vincent: [There is a role that only one is able to fulfill. Of course, that is equally true for you.]
Olbart: [I’m an old geezer who’s over ninety, ya know? Workin’ me ta tha bone even with all that… Ya don’t have enough kindness.]
Vincent: [If you wish for a discussion regarding your retirement, you may request for one after this emergency has been expedited. Furthermore, I shall tell you this, but…]
Olbart’s easygoing attitude did not waver even in the face of Abel, the Emperor. Overlooking the eerie elder’s terrifically irreverent behavior, Abel added on one more thing to the end of his sentence.
As Olbart raised his brows with a, “Hm?” at the prefatory note,
Vincent: [I do not expect we shall see any more of your bad habits for the rest of your life.]
Vincent: [Therefore, I command you. Do your duty without pretense, Olbart Dunkelkenn.]
Olbart’s lips pursed in response to Abel’s brief but clearly intended words.
Rather, it was a reference to Subaru’s considerable concerns about Olbart and a preemptive gamble to check them.
If Olbart were to become agitated here, there was no one in their dragon carriage who could stop him.
However, Olbart went silent for a moment, then tapping his lower back with his remaining left hand,
Olbart: [Good grief, I don’t like young’uns ‘cause they have a lot of growth potential. I can’t believe the world is not kind to old folks, including His Excellency.]
Vincent: [I am very magnanimous.]
Olbart laughed as if he had just heard the biggest joke of the century.
Subaru’s shoulders finally relaxed as he sensed that this was the end of the quiet contest between Abel and Olbart.
Regardless of the humor of Abel’s joke, they avoided a confrontation between the two.
Tanza: [Then… will Olbart-sama be joining us at the Imperial Capital?]
Tanza was apparently experiencing the same nervousness as Subaru. Her voice hardened slightly, and as Olbart’s eyes narrowed under his bushy eyebrows in response to her question,
Olbart: [It’s a request from His Excellency, and I don’t like tha idea of bein’ told what ta do by a kid. A country that doesn’t play its cards right when it’s in danger is no laughin’ matter. Besides…]
Olbart: [Those other guys are still in the Empire, too. At least Moguro and that bastard Ceci are.]
Tanza: […Yorna-sama, too.]
The temporary partnership in the Demon City―― Although he did not know the finer details, it was between Olbart, who had infantilized him and some of the others, and Tanza, who were working together out of a mutual interest.
The two had a complicated relationship, but they put their differences aside for the time being.
Of those named, the being called Moguro and Subaru were not acquainted with each other, but at least Yorna was someone who could be trusted in terms of ability and personality, and Cecilus was competent enough to make up for his personality. If Olbart joined them, the Empire’s capabilities would certainly be enhanced.
Subaru: [But we also have Halibel-san here, so even with Ceci and the others, we have a slight advantage… or rather, Ceci is also one of my comrades.]
Vincent: [You think you can put a collar on that thing? If so, your understanding of him is limited.]
Olbart: [Oh, that Halibel guy’s here. He’s tha only shinobi in tha world stronger than me, and I seriously hate him.]
They each respectively had something they wanted to say about the two strongest people, who were held as cards in their arsenal.
In any case, Abel’s reasons for coming along and his stance, as well as the Imperial side’s military strength, were settled with Olbart joining the group; Subaru’s doubts were also resolved for the time being―― Although there were still some topics to be explored, such as the matter of Medium’s nomination as a candidate for Empress Consort.
Subaru: [I’ll leave the subject of Medium-san for when I get back. Also, what Rem said――]
As Subaru felt Beatrice’s soft hand in his, he remembered Rem’s parting words to him from inside the fortress as they were about to depart.
Her statement could be taken, in the most positive way possible, as a wish for Subaru’s safe return.
Subaru: [I’ll probably get really chastised when I get back, but until that happens, I’ll take it as a positive that Rem is worried about me.]
Beatrice: [B-Betty thinks she has shown worry for you without the need for such a debasing mentality, has she not, in fact?]
Tanza: [I, also, took it that way…]
Subaru: [Oi oi, it can’t be helped, but you two don’t know Rem. Well, there’s a little bit of that to it because Rem is kind, but the majority of it is anger at me… No, no, stay positive, positive…!]
Subaru almost inadvertently undid the suggestion he placed on himself and had to reassert the positive thought spell he had cast on himself.
Beatrice and Tanza looked at Subaru with apparent pity, but the expression of their gazes had no effect on Subaru, as he had reapplied his magic. Bam, he bounced back.
Jamal: [――Your Excellency, we are almost at the relay point, and the dragon carriage will stop for a while.]
Just as Subaru was mentally regrouping, the small window of the dragon carriage opened, and Jamal’s report came in as he peeked inside the car from the driver’s bench.
Jamal, who was on watch around the moving dragon carriage, was startled to see Olbart, who was not supposed to be there, beside Abel, who was nodding in agreement with the report. Olbart waved his hand back pleasantly in response, in the worst way possible.
Anyway, once he arrived at the reported relay point, Subaru, having his doubts resolved, would return to the dragon carriage with Emilia and the others on the Kingdom side. But first, Subaru decided to call out “Oi” to Jamal through the small window.
Subaru: [I just happened to hear about it, but you said you’re gonna die for Katya-san?]
Jamal: [Huh? What about it, brat?]
Subaru: [No, I’m just saying it makes no sense. Katya-san’s been really sad after her fiancé had gone. Can’t you imagine how she’s gonna feel if her family also dies?]
Hearing that Jamal had confidently told Katya he would “go and die a courageous, splendid death”, it made Subaru question his sanity, and he also felt lightheaded from the severe problem that was the Vollachian way of thinking.
It was why he wanted to make Jamal retract his announcement, and he also planned to make him swear and reaffirm that he would return alive to Katya’s side.
However, Jamal blew out a disgruntled snort at Subaru’s words,
Jamal: [Look here, brat. Quit talking rubbish.]
Subaru: [Rubbish? What’s so “rubbish” about it?]
Jamal: [Katya crying because of my death? I don’t care about that. What’s important is how useful I am to His Excellency and the country when I die, and whether there’ll be a reward for it.]
Subaru: [See, you guys disregard your lives because of honor and all that stuff…]
Jamal: [What a thick-headed brat! She can’t even stand up or bear any children! If that guy, Todd, ain’t here, then there’s no man that would take her as a wife! Katya needs the money to live!]
As Subaru attempted to stand his ground, Jamal spat at him with a raised voice.
Just like that, Jamal’s gaze skipped over Subaru and was aimed towards Abel, who was behind him,
Jamal: [Right now, I’m a General Third-Class. If I can be of use to His Excellency in this, then I can look forward to being treated as a General Second-Class when I die. That way, Katya can live in peace. I’m able to do my job as her big brother if I’m dead, more than if I stay alive!]
Subaru’s breath involuntarily caught in his throat at the intensity of Jamal’s line of thought.
Medium lowered the corners of her eyebrows out of worry, glancing at the silent Subaru. However, her actions ended there, and she did not object to Jamal’s logic. Such a thing did not only extend to Medium. It was the same for Abel and Olbart.
Jamal’s opinion made sense. From the viewpoint of the people of the Empire, it was a shared belief.
It was only Beatrice who had the consideration to stand shoulder to shoulder with him, moving half a step to cuddle up with him.
――No, Spica had also gently placed her hand on his back, making an effort to support him.
Subaru’s words were ignorant of the Empire’s realities, making up an emotionally charged argument against Jamal’s logic.
But, the things that Jamal had said, and the fact that Abel and the others would not say anything, was wrong. If a reward would be granted for his death and it would ensure Katya’s livelihood, Jamal could instead live, live, survive, achieve a successful career, and then guarantee Katya’s livelihood with his pay.
Subaru: [It’s possible, if the salary Abel pays to his Generals isn’t itty-bitty peanuts. ――I’ve decided, Jamal.]
Jamal: [What? Ya got anything else to…]
Subaru: [That future plan of yours… I’m definitely going to stop it from happening. ――You won’t die, ever.]
Biting down hard on his molars, Subaru made a declaration in that manner, as if he was also stating a challenge.
The moment Subaru’s surroundings heard his words, Abel let out a brief sniff, and Olbart bared a gleeful grin along with a snickering laugh. Tanza hugged her own arms around herself, and Medium widened her eyes before nodding.
And then, Beatrice and Spica lined up next to Subaru, gazing at Jamal.
As the line of three kids stared at him, Jamal narrowed his left eye that was not under his eyepatch,
Jamal: [Y’know, you’re one freaky brat.]
Subaru: [Your friend also told me that. ――I won’t quit, though.]
One last interaction was exchanged between them before the small window was closed, and Jamal returned to his role of staying vigilant of his surroundings in order to stop the dragon carriage at the way-point.
Subaru shut his eyes after seeing him out, then came to an honest face-to-face with his own heart.
He understood that Jamal had his own ideas. And, that it was one way of thinking considered to be correct in the Empire.
Bearing that in mind, such a mindset can go and eat shit, was what Subaru thought.
Subaru: [Trying to save something else by dying… That’s just――]
Nothing more than a heart-wrenching method, one that even Abel could not endure.
That was why Natsuki Subaru had to continue rejecting such a method, no matter what.
Contrary to the speed of the hurried dragon carriage, the Imperial Capital in question was far away, and it was terribly frustrating. The more he thought about what was transpiring over there, the more he felt a burning need to arrive there as soon as possible.
Hurry up, hurry up! Subaru continued to yearn, his patience smoldering away.
――The scene abruptly shifted to an unsettling situation under the same sky.
Dark clouds loomed, almost like the weather was foreshadowing the Empire’s impending demise.
Because of the vast amount of water gushing from the destroyed retaining wall, the inside of its star-shaped defense barriers was flooded and forced the inhabitants to flee, turning the Imperial Capital of Lupugana truly into a city of the undead.
With the resurrected dead roaming around, the survivors continued to struggle trying to hide their breath in fear of being found―― Among them were not only those who hid and cowered, but also fierce individuals who sought to secure their lives by fighting.
However, many who wielded weapons would soon regret their careless decisions.
Once the battle began, it meant an unending competition against the endless resurrecting undead, comparing their dwindling life force to those who had already exhausted theirs, so they should not have any prospect of winning.
Ironically, the bravest would end up losing their lives, joining the ranks of the undead in search of the next living being.
The Imperial Capital had now become a spiraling city of the dead, where the undead beckoned more of the undead, and turned into a manifestation of hell, where the despair of this world reached an impasse.
???: [――As rare as this situation is to behold, it is not so much interesting but rather troublesome once you get used to the sight. If only there was a bit more competition to return to the stage once more! Then perhaps one could anticipate a few more highlights.]
While saying that, the boy’s tied-back blue hair swayed in the moist breeze steeped in a foul smell.
The boy with a distinctive appearance in his traditional Japanese outfit and zori looked around, and made such remarks while shading the tops of his eyes with his hands.
His lively complexion and blue eyes were those of the living, deviating notably from the most evident features of the undead.
However, his perspective, taking in the chaos of the drastically changed Imperial Capital, was, in some ways, an opinion that was more detached from the living than the typical undead.
Depending on the person, a true transcendent being might be defined as being allowed to have the selfishness to render the distinction between the living and the dead meaningless.
In any case, the boy’s eyes gleamed with a certain brightness that seemed cheerful and yet insane―― Not insanity born from a complete lack of fear regarding the current situation.
Rather, because he had never experienced fear once since his birth, he harbored a gleam that could be described as insane.
Boy: [Well, repainting the battlefield by single-handedly and systematically cutting down any visible enemies all by myself seems like a legendary display of supremacy only I could achieve, but…]
With a gaze that would instill fear in others, the young man lowered his hand, stopped gazing into the distance, and twisted his head.
Boy: [I wonder why? It doesn’t feel like it would lead to a very favorable outcome!]
Throwing his hands up, extending them to the sky, the boy openly admitted his feelings.
With his abilities, the boy could single-handedly cut down the majority of the undead infesting the Imperial Capital, without exaggeration. Yet, the boy refrained from doing so. And so he was agonizing over his inability to put the reason why this decision eluded him into words.
To the multitude of people suffering in the Imperial Capital, it was a concern that veered far off course, a luxury so off-course that might lead to exasperation. A concern that only the boy could comprehend, one that held no meaning to anyone else, yet carried significant weight for him.
Groaning in acknowledgment of this, the boy, then sighing in a troubled manner,
Boy: [I can’t seem to explain it well. What do you think about that?]
???: [Well, I don’t quite understand, but…]
???: [Is this really a conversation we should be having before you drag me up…?]
The boy squatted down, peering below.
Within his sight was a man in an iron helmet holding onto the edge of a tall rooftop building he had chosen as his perch, trying desperately not to fall off.
He supported his entire body weight with one hand, but there was no other option. He was one-armed, rendering it impossible for him to support himself with both hands.
Nevertheless, looking down at the man in such a perilous situation, the boy―― Cecilus smiled.
Cecilus: [That is no good, Al-san. Since I have no clue who or what you are, I can’t decide whether or not I should let you be a part of my future history!]
Beneath the smiling Cecilus, the dangling man―― Al let out a strained sound from his throat.
The Imperial Capital had now become a spiraling city of the dead, where the undead beckoned more of the undead, and turned into a manifestation of hell――,
Al: [Oh, dammit, this is seriously the worst…]
At the very least, in this moment, this singular scene had devolved into a situation where the living without any need for conflict questioned the whereabouts of life.