※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Subaru: Come to think of it, I think I heard of you… a maid who quit a little while ago before I arrived here, right? I came to the mansion about a month ago… so it’s been three months since you left?]
[Frederica: That seems to be right. I had resigned my position due to personal reasons, and I still remember how painfully lonely it felt, leaving here. … But it seems that I was able to return much sooner than I expected]
Covering her mouth with her sleeve, Frederica smiled. As long as she covers her mouth, her beautiful golden hair and her cold, barely passable gaze, would combine into something even resembling feminine beauty. But her mischievous personality and her mouth-full of fangs tend to negate that no matter what.
In the living room of the Roswaal Mansion, Subaru and Frederica have just exchanged some basic information beyond their names. Listening to her self-introduction again, he seemed to recall having heard that name before.
[Subaru: Three months ago, so that means you’re acquainted with Emilia-tan, right?]
[Emilia: Hrmph! That would be correct, yes]
[Subaru: Who says ‘Hrmph’ these days? Also sulking like that is so outdated it’s cute, geez]
To Subaru’s question and gaze, Emilia sat down onto the couch, averting her eyes as if refraining from joining the conversation, though she was obviously still listening intently. She had been acting like this ever since she realized, too late, how Frederica had tricked her. But that aside,
[Subaru: It’s only been two or three days since you returned, right? We left from the village three days ago……four if you count the traveling time. It seems to be quite a coincidence]
[Frederica: I was surprised too when I returned to the mansion to find it empty. Luckily, there was a letter explaining things in the master’s study, so I avoided the worst of the confusion]
[Subar: A letter?]
[Frederica: Yes, from Ram. She was the one who called me back to the mansion, though she was rather haphazard in her communication…. I know it’s indulging her too much to pass it off as her personality, but that’s how I feel]
Through Frederica’s half-awkward smile, Subaru saw the time-worn bond she and Ram must have shared, and all the wonderful days they have passed together. At the same time, erased from her memories, her time spent with Rem must have been just as long.
[Subaru: Could you tell me why Ram called you back?]
[Frederica: I don’t completely understand the reason myself. But Miss Emilia was here at the time, I am sure she would know]
At once, both their gazes poured onto Emilia inquisitively. Even now, Emilia continued to maintain her “I’m still really, really angry,” attitude, turning her face away. But, as she slowly became unable to resist the attention focused on her, she tried to steal a quick glance in their direction. Only, it ended up being a rather obvious glance.
[Subaru: Emilia-tan, cheer up… or, actually, I’m not the one who upset you this time. Frederica, apologize properly would you?]
[Frederica: I ask for your forgiveness, Miss Emilia. What I did a moment ago was not nice and I apologize. I was so happy we could meet again after so long, my bad side just, slipped out]
[Emilia: …You won’t tease me like that anymore?]
[Frederica: No, I will refrain from doing so. For all the world I will never again tease Miss Emilia in that manner again]
Subaru couldn’t quite get rid of the feeling that the wording of Frederica’s apology left some room for interpretation. However, our Goddess Emilia seemed to believe in those words without a second thought, and her up-to-now sulking expression relaxed into one that seemed to say, “I suppose it can’t be helped”.
[Emilia: I understand. I’m not angry anymore. Is that good enough?]
[Frederica: Yes, I am very sorry for before, Miss Emilia. ——Too easy.]
Somehow, only Subaru heard that last part. He jerked his head to look at Frederica, but she was playing dumb. Emilia, who had no idea she was being considered “too easy,” placed a finger to her cheek and said,
[Emilia: So, let’s see. The reason Frederica was called back to the mansion… umm]
[Subaru: Yeah, yeah. Rushing to call back someone you fired would mean there’s some kind of emergency…actually, I think I might have an idea]
There was indeed an emergency, it was only a few days ago that the Mansion and Arlam village were targeted by the Witch Cult. Considering her skill, which had been able to knock Subaru unconscious in an instant, Frederica must be another shady maid of the Roswaal Mansion with some crazy combat abilities. In short, Ram must have called her back to buff the mansion’s defenses during their state of—
[Emilia: It was because Ram’s aptitude for housework is catastrophic, and the mansion ended up in an unimaginable state of disarray. It was only a few days, but it kept getting harder and harder to live in]
[Subaru: That’s actually a very compelling reason!! She really is all talk and no… wait, Ram knows she’s hopeless, she even said so herself! She’s right about that at least, but then she should have put in some effort to improve!! Right!?]
Subaru’s chest felt like it would explode from how compelling that reality was compared to his over-guessing of the situation.
Emilia let out a wry smile at his outburst, and shifted her gaze to the living room— or rather, to the entirety of the mansion, as though she could see through its very walls.
[Emilia: But, since Frederica returned, the mansion really has become quite tidy. I think Ram made the right decision in leaving it to someone capable, rather than make things worse by ignoring it]
[Subaru: Emilia-tan, I don’t think you meant it, but that statement’s like a slap to the face! And, well, I still don’t think that’s a good enough reason for her to give up so easily]
[Frederica: Putting Ram’s assessment aside for the moment, it has been such a long time since I have been given the opportunity to do some really worthwhile work. Luckily, since no one was around, I was able to spend the time on further cleaning the mansion]
Listening to Frederica speak of diligently holding up this household, Subaru held his breath, unable to ignore the pain wrenching in his heart.
For this, was the forces of the world compensating for the eradication of Rem’s existence by the Authority of “Gluttony”.
[Subaru: I guess since Ram can’t run the mansion by herself, the obvious solution was to rely on someone else…]
So Ram had contacted Frederica, who had resigned, asking her to return to the mansion. Without Rem, the Roswaal estate couldn’t continue to function, and so, Rem’s replacement, Frederica, had arrived.
Yet, the only one in the world who knows of this sad truth is Subaru. Ram had only done as necessity demanded, without stopping to think about why she needed Frederica’s help all of a sudden, or just how she had managed to take care of the estate until then. That was all there was to it.
[Subaru: Sorry for being serious all of a sudden but… is it a requirement for all the maids of Roswaal’s Mansion to be so quirky?]
[Frederica: ……? Considering who our master is, what’s the point of even asking that question?]
[Subaru: That’s annoyingly persuasive!]
At this point, all of Subaru’s doubts have been answered. Seeing his response, Frederica nodded her head contentedly, and resuming her perfect posture, stared fixedly at Subaru. Then, casually, in a lowered voice,
[Frederica: By the way, the driver of the dragon carriage outside the mansion has been left out there for over an hour now……is that alright?]
[Subaru: Hmm? Oh, you mean Otto. I see, it’s already been an hour…… Well, I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. I want to hurry and let Patrasche rest in the stable, but you don’t need to pay attention to that Otto guy too much…]
[Otto: For a companion who shared a near-death experience together, that is really quite heartless, Natsuki-san! I never thought I was lower in priority than a ground dragon!]
Right on cue, Otto dramatically opened the doors to the living room. His shoulders hunched up angrily, he was glaring at Subaru while disapprovingly breathing through his nostrils. At his entrance, Subaru slowly stood up, shook his head, and sighed.
[Subaru: No, Otto, you’re mistaken]
[Otto: How am I mistaken? It’s too late to take back your words from a moment ago……]
[Subaru: It’s not that you’re lower in priority than a ground dragon. It’s that you are much, much lower in priority than a ground dragon]
[Otto: That’s twice over! That’s even worse!]
Content with Otto’s response and foot-stomping, Subaru turned his gaze toward the window. That is, toward the front yard where the dragon carriage pulled by Patrasche was parked.
Otto followed his gaze, and seemed to understand its meaning. With a still somewhat bitter face, he spoke,
[Otto: I’ve already put Patrasche in the stables. She is a proud and difficult child, but she didn’t want to cause Natsuki-san any trouble, so she was quite docile]
[Subaru: Hearing that from you, it makes me doubt your Divine Protection of “Animal Whispering”. If she were a woman, Patrasche would have been a total kuudere, even though she’d be soft on the inside. When did this change happen??]
[Otto: How would I know that kind of thing. More importantly……]
As Subaru was still struggling to understand just what made Patrasche so devoted to him, Otto moved the conversation to the other matter regarding the dragon carriage, that is—-
[Otto: What should be done about the girl sleeping in the carriage? I think it’s rather pitiful to leave her shut up in there. If you are busy I could carry her to a room……]
[Subaru: —Don’t you lay a finger on Rem]
There was not a hint of malice in Otto’s proposal. But his own voice was ice cold… Subaru himself was surprised by the razor sharpness of it, when he saw Otto flinch.
It was almost a whisper, the words were low and dark, a reflection of the viscous heaviness of his mind. It was good that this did not reach the ears of the girls, but still, Subaru was deeply disturbed by the abnormality of the sound that had escaped his throat.
I can’t wait for Part 3! Such a beautiful scene coming up!!
Sorry this took till today! At night time I can’t be sure if something is good or bad so I waited until the morning to finish editing!
The entire draft for Chapter 2 was done by Tynkerd, really awesome! Once again most of the dialogues are straight from the draft, it was really good!!
Son Wukong did a reading of Arc 4 Chapter 1! I absolutely love watching your readings! Your every reaction just makes all the effort worth it 🙂
And the giant thanks block is back!
Thank you Jonathan K, Saranyu P, Jonathan B! And Kirt T and Stephen S! and Alberto G! and Jeffrey N! And Jonty J! MattErnest A! Justin F and Oleg Z! And Michael M, and Bentley M, and Micolo C! Zachary K! Marcel O!! Luis R! Guillaume C! Krzysztof C! Martijn T! Sergeev D! Julien/Terence T! Blake L! Macaulay K, Daniel K! Martin S, Vincent M, Brian D, Tim K, Julian H! Flavio T! Lennart W! Mohammed M! William W! David M! Mark M! Dawid K! Otto B! Steve B! Jason B! Alexandre M!! Chris B! Jun P! Philip H! Laurence T! David L! Samir O! Miguel S! Nabil D! Samir O! Mikey Z! Jonathan K! Ayan S! Shane A!
And Jesse A! David S! Ly T! James Q! Alexander P! Jeffrey N! Shahril A! Giraffe! Gabriel D! Devon C, Rafael H, John W!! Son Wukong! Thomas A! John L! Matthew K! Loc V! Ayan S! Shippolover! Spencer N! Alexander! Dustin F! Nope! Hunter G! Aiman Z! Edsel R, Michal Z, Zarko B! Daniel B! Andrew B! Quinn C! Sid K! Tyler Y! Ryan S! Dohmeh! Giullaume A! Michal Z! Piotr H! Ben S! Mark K! Spencer G! Ristelle! Peganuss! Terry F! Aqua D! Nasim D! Xuatz!
And the anonymous guys thank you!