Arc 6, Chapter 3 – “The Little Girl’s Cell”

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  • Phantaminum

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???: “How did your talk with Master go?”

Subaru: “You could say that it went the same as usual, and that he irritated me more than usual. You get the point.”

???: “Well, I understand what you mean.”

Subaru’s group had left the parlor, and Frederica had been entrusted with guiding them towards the mansion’s east wing.

This scary-faced woman with her beautiful, long blonde hair and courteously-worn maid outfit, finally exchanged polite greetings with Anastasia and Julius as one of the mansion’s honest maids―― and then spoke to Subaru, who was walking away discouraged.

Frederica: “Was Garf useful in your journey and in the city? For him to get heavily injured to the point of not being able to come back, even when I told him specific instructions… I am worried about him causing trouble for Emilia-sama and the others.”

Emilia: “No, don’t worry about it. Garfiel worked reaaally hard, after all. He’s resting along with Otto-kun right now, without causing any trouble… Well, I’m not so sure about the «without causing any trouble» part. I hope that’s not what’s happening. But anyways, we did request that they rest.”

Frederica: “My apologies for having my foolish younger brother cause you trouble.”

Emilia didn’t finish her follow-up much due to the fact she half-doubted it, while Frederica offered her apologies.

Anyhow, Garfiel’s behavior worried Petra, Ram, Roswaal, and Frederica, but his mentality had changed in some way or another during the incident at Pristella―― one could say that he had matured. No doubt about it.

To begin with, for a fifteen-year-old boy, Garfiel’s strength was already outstanding.

Even considering just how fierce the battles with the Bowel Hunter and the Eight Arms had been, he was still far from being able to boast himself as the strongest. But even then, he certainly possessed a level of strength that contended with not just the Emilia Camp’s, but the whole continent’s top ranks as well.

His biggest problem? Perhaps his immature mentality, still. Once that mental frailness were overcome however, he would go a level beyond.

Well, there was still a ways to go. That was something that shouldn’t be rushed. Steadily and assuredly becoming stronger, stepping firmly on each step of the stairs before moving on to the next stage, was the appropriate way a fifteen-year-old should mature.

And in addition――

Subaru: “There’s another reason for him not coming back right away this time.”

Emilia: “Is it Mimi?”

Subaru: “There’s that too, but.”

Emilia cut into the conversation as if through sharp hearing, and he smiled wryly.

Even Emilia, someone whose knowledge of romantic relationships between men and women, seemed to be curious about the love affairs of other people to some extent. She was very interested in Garfiel and Mimi’s relationship.

Of course, Garfiel should feel something for Mimi, who had risked her own life to guard his, and she was not shy in proclaiming her affection for him both before and after the battle.

Frankly speaking, there was no man out there who would not waver upon being struck with affection from a girl he didn’t hate. Subaru too, was also no exception. He was unable to say anything about that phenomenon, considering he was one that had experienced it before.

He would have to wait and see how Garfiel would respond to Mimi’s feelings, considering the fact that his fondness for Ram was clear.

But that was a concern different from the one Garfiel had left in the city of Pristella.

Frederica: “――Subaru-sama? Do you need to ask me something?”

Subaru: “No, nothing in particular. It wouldn’t be right for me to talk about this matter.”

He looked at Frederica’s profile with a profound look, and was questioned about its meaning.

Taking Garfiel’s true feelings in mind, Subaru dodged her question. At Pristella, a family that Garfiel worried about―― a family of golden hair and green eyes, traits that would remind anyone of Frederica and Garfiel, who were brother and sister.

Garfiel’s relationship with that family was like his relationship with Frederica. It was certain that relationship was something Garfiel wished to report to his family, Frederica and Ryuzu, himself.

Subaru: “So I won’t say anything. Natsuki Subaru will leave it at that in a choukou suteki[1] way.”

Emilia: “Oh, speaking of Garfiel, at Pristella there were some children that were reaaally friendly with him, and they were…”

Subaru: “Emilia-tan, Emilia tan, you’re gonna make my monologue go to waste!”

His mediation was about to go to waste, so Subaru literally covered Emilia’s mouth to stop her from talking. The synergy would be scary if he were to leave it as it was, so he decided that he would make the time to properly explain the gist of the setting later to Emilia.

Subaru waved his hand with a forced smile at Frederica, whose face became more and more puzzled.

Frederica: “Sorry to interrupt you guys while you’re happily heating up your intimacy, but do you have any idea of where you guys are headed?”

Subaru: “Oh, that place called the Confinement Room. That person we talked about before’s there.”

Julius: “Hmm, that person, huh―― I wonder if the conversation will go well.”

Subaru: “It’s something that hasn’t been done before, so, dunno. Anyways, I’ll at least try asking to make sure.”

Julius responded to Subaru’s explanation by going into deep thought, his face complex as he follows the latter’s back.

In reality, Subaru was also aware of the many problems this proposal had in store. However, if all went well, then they would lower the risk of their journey by a considerable amount.

Emilia: “Also that girl’s rather fond of Subaru, so shouldn’t it be fine?”

Subaru: “That girl’s fonder of Garfiel than she is of me. Maybe she likes him more because he’s feline… Hm, we’ve arrived.”

While he was replying to Emilia’s optimistic words with a strained smile, Frederica stopped walking. Subaru and Emilia too halted their movements, having entered somewhere with a view and atmosphere distinctively alien in the mansion.

The floor layout was roughly identical to that of the previous Roswaal mansion, however, the basement part of the eastern wing―― this was the only place that was starkly different.

In the central building of the mansion, there was the main center wing that concentrated the facilities needed for daily life. The west wing contained multi-purpose facilities, such as the maids’ rooms and the guest’s rooms. And then there was the eastern wing, a place that acted as a storehouse/safe for the history and heritage of the ancient Mathers bloodline, such as books.

However, the only place that was different was the eastern wing’s basement. There was a clear goal set for the cold, stone room in the basement of the noble mansion.

Anastasia: “Quite the unpleasant atmosphere floatin’ ‘round this place, huh.”

Anastasia snorted her nose, complementing her brief comment on the different atmosphere.

There was no denial to her view on the mood, so it was indeed a clear assessment that everyone agreed with. The atmosphere that drifted about in this level of the mansion could not be described in any way other than “unpleasant”.

Anastasia: “It’s still different from Miasma it seems, but my body ain’t feelin’ too good ‘bout it for sure.”

Julius: “The matter of the building’s structure and this facility’s purpose in the first place… It may be completely unrelated to that, but I do believe that this structure was ultimately erected due to the presence inside.”

Anastasia and Julius looked down at the continuous stairs leading down to the basement of the mansion filled with darkness, as they exchange these words.

The Confinement Room had already been brought to their attention. It seemed that both of them had correctly imagined the sort of establishment that existed in the basement. Or were as close to the right answer as possible.

Frederica: “Well then. I shall be guiding you all, now. Please be careful to avoid having your feet slip.”

With those words, Frederica led them down the stairs. Subaru and the rest followed her tall back, headed for the basement. Julius’s face indicated that he had steeled himself for what laid ahead.

The footsteps they made while walking down the stone stairs resounded very clearly throughout the space they were in. A cold breeze blew upwards from the basement, causing his bangs to shake slightly, which got on his nerves incomprehensibly.

Frederica: “I am going to open it.”

Having descended towards the basement, they were blocked by an iron door standing right in front of them. The door had many solid locks installed onto it. Frederica released several of them, one by one.

The key to the door made a sound, the locks were undone, and then the door opened with a creaking noise. Beyond that gate, a stone pathway laid in front, with yet another door to be found deep inside this place, at the back.

Frederica: “The person you are looking for is beyond this door.”

Frederica stepped to the side of the door, making way for them to enter, and then bowed. They gave acknowledging gestures with a nod of their chin in response, and the four people headed straight towards the door, with Subaru in the lead.

――The door at the deepest part of the basement had no lock.

He reached for the doorknob. If he were to push it open, they would surely meet what was inside.

Upon having come in contact with the door, Subaru looked back with baited breath.

Everyone: “――――”

Emilia, Julius, and Anastasia all stared at Subaru’s actions. The three nodded their heads at Subaru, and he took a deep breath, then putting strength into the hand that gripped the knob.

And with a sound, the door was pushed open――

???: “Roaar, roaaar! I’m gonnaaaa~ eaaat~ yooou~!”

???: “Kyaaa~, help me, nooo~.”

???: “Hehehehe. Nobody will come to save you even if you cry for help.”

With the door’s opening, a lovely voice was heard as the pathway became bathed in light.

On the other side of the open door, a lone girl was to be seen inside the room, a multitude of dolls placed around her. Her back faced the others, as she continued to play with the dolls in her hands.

She changed into an imitative voice, though it was unclear just what exactly she was imitating. Nonetheless, she was pretty into it.

???: “Nope, he’s coming. Because he promised to come to me if I was in trouble, after all… Hmm?”

Holding a doll representing a little doll, the child stood up, having suddenly noticed something. Looking back timidly, she sees Subaru and the others standing still at the entrance dumbfounded, and then opened her round, large eyes.

She had braided, light-brown hair, and had simple but lovely facial features.

Subaru: “Sup, how are you?”

Addressing her, Subaru raised his hand, as if nothing had happened at all.

???: “O-onii-san, you idiooot! At least knock before you come iiin!”

Unsurprisingly, he was yelled at as a result of his little prank.

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Subaru: “So yeah, this is the prisoner of this mansion. Meili here will advise us regarding to Witchbeasts.”

Meili: “I’ve been disgraced, onii-san hurt my feelings… Sniffle sniffle…”

Subaru introduced the depressed girl, who was crouching at a corner of the room, surrounded by stuffed toys―― Meili, Julius shook his head, putting his fingers between his eyebrows.

While keeping the girl at the corner of his vision, he spoke this as if blaming Subaru, who had gotten carried away.

Julius: “It was a bit clumsy of me to not have gotten more information about this beforehand… But the poorness of your character is showing. It is inexcusable that you pull these pranks at every opportunity.”

Subaru: “I don’t think I’m playing around that much, though… Or well, I do agree that it’s in bad taste. Also, she really was someone dangerous before, you know?”

Julius appeared to have misgivings of Subaru’s justifications. Ignoring those all-suspecting men, Emilia and Anastasia lined up and spoke out to Meili.

Emilia: “Sorry, Meili. We’ll scold Subaru later for this, so don’t worry.”

Anastasia: “My, what a cute girl, ain’t she? Beatrice-chan, Petra-chan, ain’t this quite tellin’ of Natsuki-kun’s tastes?”

Subaru: “That’s a ridiculous opinion of me. Mind saying something more fitting!? I thought to gather people, and not specifically lolis!”

There was suddenly some sense of grounding to his nickname “Lolimancer”, so he wished she wouldn’t say such frightening things.

Putting that aside, Meili hadn’t listened to Emilia and her words either, as she was indignant in earnest. In that sense, there was an imbalance in that she possessed child-like sensitivity.

Subaru: “Meili.”

Meili: “Can’t hear you.”

Subaru: “Meili, come on.”

Meili: “I don’t care.”

This was the situation. She was a nuisance, having entered a mode in which she’d refuse to listen.

Thus, Subaru decided to hurry up and bring out the last resort as quickly as possible. Subaru reached around his back, and then showed Meili the ace up his sleeve.

Subaru: “Look Meili. It’s a present, take it. It’s a new stuffed toy, Darepanda[2].”

Meili: “――! Wow! It’s cuteee!”

What Subaru presented Meili with was this stuffed toy, one that he had fixed up during the dragon carriage trip back from the city of Pristella.

As someone who had improved his skills in domestic assistance this past year, Natsuki Subaru’s sewing skills had become twice as good as before. He could now produce stuffed toys, and if he so wished, he could maybe even create women’s clothes now.

Anyhow, this new stuffed toy was an innovative work, that had merged the panda theme with a “lazy from the heat” taste. He more-or-less felt like he had seen something akin to it before, but since that was something from beyond this world it wouldn’t be a big deal, so whatever.

And so, he presented the new piece that had this and that to it, and Meili accepted it with glimmering eyes.

Meili: “Cute! It’s a new animal! Wonder what I should name it… Okay, I’ve got it! I’ll call this one Big Panda!”

Subaru: “I see you’ve named it what it literally is.”

Putting aside her naming sense, she was extremely skilled at understanding the essence of things.

Hugging the stuffed panda in a loving way, she looked at Subaru and the others with a face that indicated that her mood had been salvaged.

Meili: “By the way, welcome back onii-san, onee-san. Looks like you guys have been away for quite a bit, huh. Petra-chan missed you, you know?”

Subaru: “We were gone for a whole month, after all. And we’re going to be away for a while again, so I don’t really wanna think about how it’ll probably anger Petra, but…”

Meili: “Petra-chan does love onii-san, after all… Hm, new people?”

As she was lining up her scattered plush toys onto shelves, Meili suddenly noticed Julius and Anastasia, which showed on her face. Julius became surprised at that change in mood, but Anastasia simply gave a nod with a composed look.

Anastasia: “Compared to Mimi, it’s like the feelin’ of bein’ manipulated’s just the surface.”

Julius: “…Now that you say it, I agree. Let us give our thanks to Mimi.”

Master and servant display a strange scene of agreement, and after that Julius’s eyes swiftly dart around the room. After briefly taking a look at that underground space,

Julius: “Nevertheless, I had assumed that it would be a harsh environment after hearing that it was a Confinement Room… But contrary to my expectations, it seems to be a peaceful place to spend time in.”

Emilia: “The person in here is a little girl, so it’s not like we wanted to torment her…But, she can’t go outside either, so it’s complicated.”

Emilia lowered her eyebrows, her visage complex.

Just like she had stated, the Confinement Room―― or rather, Meili’s living space, to put it bluntly, gave off a very lenient feeling for a place of incarceration.

It did seem cold precisely because of the stone pathway, but there colorful wallpaper and carpet decorated this girl’s room, and she was free to do whatever she pleased with how she wasn’t even restrained. On the shelves, there were countless stuffed toys that had been crafted by Subaru’s hands, along with many books and play equipment.

She was being given food, and there wasn’t any problem with bathing or going to the bathroom. In short, it was a place where a Hikikomori[3] could live in peace. It was so comfy that even Subaru wanted to be confined in it. However――

Julius: “It seems that there is a peculiar air, similar to Miasma, leaking endlessly.”

Anastasia: “It also seems to be comin’ from that girl… is that it?”

In response to Anastasia and the others’ look, Meili nodded with a smile on her face.

She had an honest smile, but something emanated from that girl, so dreadful and disgusting that it could not be hidden. That was the biggest reason as to why Meili had been confined here, and was not released.

Subaru: “I did talk about it on the dragon carriage, but this girl actually aimed for Emilia and us others before… Hmmm, so she’s like a killer-for-hire. Guess you could put it like that, right?”

Julius: “I feel that is wrong already at that point, but please, continue.”

Subaru: “Feels like you’re implying something with the way you say that… Anyways, she’s a professional killer. So, as for what Meili’s small body can do, in short, she can manipulate Witchbeasts. She is a Beastmaster.”

Meili: “Yep, me and the bad animal-sans get along preeetty well.”

Meili said that with an “Ahem” as she puffed up with pride, but the contents of her words were shocking.

Witchbeasts were harmful threats to mankind and were never friendly with humans in the first place. It seemed that there was one exception, an arrangement in which Witchbeasts would obey the person who had broken their horn, but――

Subaru: “In Meili’s case, the presence of the horn is irrelevant. I’m not too good with that theory so even if I explain it you wouldn’t understand.”

Meili: “From what Mama said, I play the same role as a Witchbeast’s horn. Sooo, I can be friendly with the Witchbeasts.”

Fulfilling the role of a Witchbeast’s horn―― the meaning of that was obscure.

That being said, it seemed like there had never been any type of research done on the ecology of Witchbeasts. Of course, there was the possibility there were people who hunted Witchbeasts for a living, but even if they held information about their traits, they would not be looking at them from a research point of view most likely.

Emilia: “Initially, Meili came to attack us with one more person. Garfiel defeated that person, and this girl was caught. Ever since then, this girl’s always been sheltered by this mansion.”

Anastasia: “Why did ya do that much? No matter what’cha say, if she was an enemy before, ya should’ve dealt with her quickly… Or wait, it doesn’t seem like this child can be dealt with.”

Emilia: “…There’s no way we can even think of killing her. But at the same time, we can’t expel her either. Because this girl says that if she gets released…”

Meili: “Mama’ll get mad at me. Elsa died, and I failed, so she’ll definitely kill me if she finds me. So, staying here is the safest option.”

Meili answered with a calm tone, but it seemed like her expression had become clouded.

Meili had lost Elsa, who she worked with, and had failed in carrying out her task. Their guardians were most likely something like professional killer managers, and their failures would definitely never be allowed.

Banishing her, would mean she would receive punishment―― those would be her own personal affairs, and even though Subaru and the others were completely unrelated to that,

Subaru: “It certainly is a nightmare to deal with.”

Julius: “This is not the first time Emilia-sama’s and your ideations have been brought up. It was out of line for us outsiders to utter such nonsensical things… Incidentally, who is this Mama of hers?”

Subaru: “We don’t know. Any other thing besides this mother’s name, Mama, is an unknown. Based on what Meili said, she doesn’t even know what her face looks like. What kind of family environment is this?”

But, considering the professional killer business, perhaps that grim way of life was unavoidable. It seemed difficult to figure out who this mother was based off the content of Meili’s statements, so they could shake off anxiety about the future.

Subaru: “That Roswaal bastard was also useless after Elsa died, since there was no one like an intermediary.”

Julius: “Did you say something?”

Subaru: “Just talking to myself.”

The Insignia incident that occurred on the very first day, the day Subaru had been summoned, in the Royal Capital, had been orchestrated by Roswaal. Of course, Elsa, who had attempted to reap Emilia’s life, was also the one who he had commissioned to do so. Considering the flow of events of that request, it should have been easy to draw that conclusion.

However, the intermediary of that communication line had perished somehow, and it seemed that they were unable to contact the person. If Roswaal’s words were anything to be trusted, Elsa and Meili’s subsequent attack was unrelated to his intentions[4]―― This was where this Mother or whatever had become a concern.

Subaru: “Anyhow, that’s our relationship with Meili. This girl’s here out of necessity. It’s not to spoil her, at least for now.”

Meili: “Considering that, Subaru and everyone are being a little too nice.”

Subaru: “In regards to that, it’s our dreamy good virtues taking over!”

Because after all, it was painful seeing this small, youthful girl being confined to a cold basement. It was not something they could just decide to forget, and if they attempted tried to disregard it, they would end up getting bad dreams.

So, it’s not like he had any grudge against her, and so he was better off being in a good mood with her.

Anastasia: “…Wouldn’t’cha normally have a grudge against her?”

Subaru: “…Should I?”

Anastasia: “I mean, didn’t’cha say that she tried to kill you? So…”

Subaru: “There’s a thing such as idle malicious intent, although a crime is a crime regardless of age.”

In response to Anastasia’s question, Subaru went into thought while scratching his cheek. Once he took a peek at Meili to the side, Subaru noticed that she was looking at himself with unreadable emotions in her eyes.

He wasn’t really concerned about her, but he spoke his thoughts honestly.

Subaru: “If someone orders a person who doesn’t know any better to commit a crime, then the person who made the order should be blamed. Even more so if it’s a kid. If they’re capable of thinking for themselves and do it regardless, I think there’s no difference. «An eye for an eye», I think the Hammurabi Code is nothing but negative.”

Anastasia: “That’s some lip service. Then do ya think the people this girl has murdered would agree with that that?”

Subaru: “I don’t think so, they’re free to want revenge on Meili. As for myself, had I died, even I don’t think I’d state my forgiveness like I did now.”

In the end, Subaru’s opinions and thoughts would change depending on first impressions.

If he were told things such as that he wasn’t right in the head, or that he was being ruled over by his emotions, then so be it. Actually, that was probably true.

Subaru: “Back when I was a kid, my parents and other adults would take responsibility for me. So, I thought that if the kids near me do something that they can’t take responsibility for, how about I take them up instead? That’s all.”

Anastasia: “…A valuable opinion, thanks.”

Anastasia cut off Subaru’s words, as she had lost interest halfway.

Of course, he felt like that was a typical reaction, so his feelings hadn’t been hurt. In an organization where clean judgement was not taken into consideration, then any crime would be judged to as a crime, regardless of age.

A grace period, however, was given because this camp a lenient one. Subaru didn’t dislike that atmosphere and environment.

Julius: “I…”

Subaru: “――Hm?”

Julius: “I believe what Subaru is saying makes sense.”

Subaru: “…Thanks.”

He had not been expecting completely positive reactions, but words such as those were akin to salvation for him.

Then turning to Meili, who had been forgotten even though the conversation had her as the topic, Subaru matched his eyesight with hers.

Subaru: “I have something that I need your help with. Mind coming along with me?”

Meili: “…Okaay. I’ll go with Onii-san.”

Meili quietly nodded at Subaru’s request.

Subaru, nor anyone else, pointed out how they felt like they could witness slight tears from the girl who had hidden her face with the panda in her embrace.

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Meili: “I’ve only been to the Augria Sand Dunes twice.”

Subaru and the others’ explanation ended, and Meili said those words while fiddling with her braided hair. She closed her eyes as if looking back at her memories before resuming,

Meili: “I visited to replenish the Witchbeasts in my control. There are lots of Witchbeasts there, so a lot of progress was made, but…”

Subaru: “But?”

Meili: “Onii-san, are you really going there? Everyone besides me will probably die, you know…?”

It seemed that their actions were seen as reckless, in the eyes of this girl who was devoid of morals. The Beastmaster’s opinion carried quite some weight in regards to just how much they were striving for.

Subaru: “I really want to use the expertise of those with experience as a reference, but the idea that we’ll die if we go’s been thrown around a lot already, so it’s a bit late for that. Also, if it’s just like a maze in the desert, then we have preparations to break out of it.”

Anastasia: “Yes, that’d be me.”

Anastasia waved her hand, emphasizing her role as a guide.

However, avoiding getting lost on the path in this endeavor to conquer the desert to get to the Watchtower was only worth thirty points―― failure would be inevitable with this score. Or rather, as long as they remained unable to find an answer worth a perfect score, they would probably have difficulty getting out alive.

The three problems were the Desert Labyrinth, the Witchbeast Den, and the Sage’s Eye”.

The Desert Labyrinth would work out with Anastasia being Eridna, and as for the counter for the Witchbeast Den, this is what they wanted to prepare a measure for.

That was why he wished to hear more details from Meili, but――

Subaru: “How should I put it… Don’t you know any way to avoid the Witchbeasts? Or on the contrary, ways to lure them away from us?”

Meili: “Onii-san, if you run on by yourself, a looot of them will definitely chase you, you know?”

Subaru: “I’ve already done that a few times and they were painful experiences.”

It had happened once a year ago at the mansion, and once again a little after that by the Whale on the plain. He felt like it was about time to stop this.

Of course, he wasn’t reluctant to do it if there was no other measure to take, but Subaru wanted to avoid being the only one left behind in the middle of the desert if possible.

Meili: “If onii-san doesn’t want to do it, then maybe you could prepare a lot of decoys for it. All Witchbeasts jump at living things over normal food, so maybe something like that.”

Emilia: “That’s definitely a no! I’m against it! I am against it!”

Subaru: “You don’t have to disagree so frantically. Nobody will be chosen, so it’s fine.”

That being said, it seemed like no useful opinions were coming up.

Or at least, as far as the Witchbeasts’ ecology was concerned, with Meili, someone who was better at handling them than anyone else, incapable of coming up with an effective plan, they were helpless.

Subaru: “Yep, guess we’ll have to beat the Witchbeasts that come at us one-by-one. Gonna expect a lot from Emilia-tan and Julius.”

Julius: “I am wondering about your self-appraisal, considering how you were not included there… But do you think it’s possible?”

Julius reacted to Subaru’s proposal by asking Meili about its feasibility. Upon hearing that, Meili looked at Emilia and Julius in turn, and,

Meili: “Probably not. Can onee-san use magic for about a week without rest?”

Subaru: “You want us to have something like a final fight in a trench!?”

Emilia: “I-I’ll try…?”

Subaru: “You don’t have to! This is the flow of an unreasonable conversation! Emilia-tan’s hair and skin will dry up, so let’s not! Okay, rejected!”

It seemed like the plan to break through by force already had some unreasonable details to it.

Just how much of that scenario Meili had actually seen was unknown, but if there no such thing as childish exaggeration in her statements, then they could never perform the unreasonable.

Emilia: “How about smearing Witchbeast blood on the dragon carriage and fooling the other Witchbeasts’ sense of smell?”

Subaru: “No, the ground dragons won’t be able to fool them, and there’s the possibility that the Witchbeasts won’t band together. Something like hiring guards… How about hiring a big army for this, much like what was done for the White Whale?”

Julius: “That will not be possible either. That was done before by other people who challenged the Pleiades Watchtower. Even though it was not as big as an army, it was still a big group. Feel free to guess the result. How about breaking the horn of a powerful Witchbeast and use it to fend off other Witchbeasts?”

Subaru: “If it’s not as overwhelming as the Whale, then we’ll be overrun by their numbers. It ‘d be nice if avoiding them were simple, such as using something like insect repellent spray.”

Subaru’s odor―― or rather, the Witch’s Lingering Scent, was a spray that brought insects towards him, so he was useless.

Roswaal was the one responsible for constantly managing the barrier that separated Arlam Village from the Witchbeasts’ habitat. Something like creating a barrier around people, one that moved together with them―― It seemed like that sort of thing was not possible.

Subaru: “Perhaps we should have Roswaal hold onto us, and attack from the sky.”

Julius: “If we could slip by the Sage’s Eye, then that may have been an option.”

Subaru: “Ahh, damn, right. We have to consider the Sage too.”

His unrealistic viewpoint was denied by a realistic one.

Even if they could evade the Witchbeasts and the desert, there was still the Sage to worry about. Just how had nobody ever been able to slip by this person, it was honestly the only thing they were completely in the dark on how to handle.

Subaru: “If we could at least narrow it down to one problem…”

Meili: “――Geeez, I guess I’ve got no choice.”

Subaru: “Oh?”

Subaru and the others all sat in a circle in the room, getting headaches from thinking about the way out of this conundrum, and then, finally, Meili spoke. She stood up, shaking her small head at Subaru and the others.

Meili: “I can go with you guys. If I’m there, the Witchbeasts won’t care what you do. You’ll be free to keep away from them, make them pets, make them kill each other, or make them eat the Sage person.”

Subaru: “We won’t do the second half! Or anyways…”

He opened his eyes wide at that fairly extreme remark, but the proposal shocked him even more.

Not only was Meili being cooperative, but she was willing to go out on her own, an opinion he thought she would never express.

Subaru: “Aren’t you scared to go outside? Is that alright?”

Meili: “It’s not like I’ll be found by Mama right after I leave the mansion, you know? I’m scared of being found, but I can’t just stay in here my whole life.”

He was surprised with Meili being conscious of the fact that, sooner or later, she would have to leave.

But, that may have been natural. He had been taking turns checking on her whenever the chance presented itself, but even then, the time that girl spent confined in her room by herself was multitudes larger. Certainly, she had had so much time to think, that the silence would become scary.

Being confined in a room, alone, was both relaxing and terrifying. And even if those sensations evoked lethargy in her, one day, her heart would be tortured suddenly.

Emilia: “Subaru…”

And while Subaru was feeling unusual sympathy for Meili’s heart, Emilia gently pulled on his sleeve. Subaru knew what she was thinking, as he agreed with it as well.

Subaru: “This isn’t just a fun walk outside. We have a guide, we’ll be crossing the desert, and even though we have you, we’ll have to get through the Witchbeast Den. To make matters worse, some scary Sage guy might be on the watchout too.”

Meili: “Isn’t it nice taking a walk after a while?”

With those bullish words, Meili replied to Subaru. Just how much of it was a bluff was unbeknownst to him, and likewise, just how much of it was her telling the truth was too, but――

Emilia: “She is the trump card for the Witchbeasts, right?”

Subaru: “Ahh, yeah that’s right. We’ll be counting on you, Meili.”

Meili: “I’ll try my best even if you don’t.”

Emilia and Subaru exchanged gazes with each other, and then nodded to Meili. The girl, the receptor of their words spoke as if she would push herself beyond her own utmost abilities, and hugged the panda tightly.

And so, this became a single step forward towards accomplishing their journey, at which Julius folded his arms, some words spilling from his, his face one of admiration at the result he had just witnessed.

Julius: “I really wish that I would not utter these words, but persuading little girls really is one of your strong points… Although, I do not believe that this is not a good ability to be renowned for.”

Subaru: “It’s because you guys are steadily treating me like a little girl user[5]! I’ll have you know that Meili isn’t as small as a little girl! She’s not a little girl!”

Subaru pointed at the room’s entrance in frustration in response to Julius’s useless words. Right as he did however, the door was opened, and a person showed up on the other side of the door,

???: “――I was wondering what was so noisy, only to find out that it was just Subaru making a racket again, I suppose.”

Having finished her private talk with Roswaal, yet another little girl had joined them. Another fuzz was made again, but that was an incident to be put aside as something not worth bringing up, so that will be left as that.

Translation Notes:

[1] – Engrish flip. Means “super/ultra cool” (超高素敵), originally “ウルトラク―ル” (ultra cool).

[2] – Translation note from Remonwater: “A reference to Tarepanda, meaning «lazy panda». For more information, see here.”

[3] – Meaning NEET, aka shut-ins that never leave their room.

[4] – This is the correct translation of “その後のエルザとメィリィの襲撃は”, but if you might recall, Elsa was indeed commissioned by Roswaal to act during Arc 4, while Meili was not. That is the big mystery here. This is a bit clearer in the Light Novel version of this scene.

[5] – Works better than Lolimancer here. Obviously, if you haven’t caught it by now, the literal translation of Subaru’s title is “Little Girl User” (幼女使い). Lolimancer is just too much of a community staple, and it sounds so nice too!

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