[Garfiel: G’job, y’passed! Went straight through! Th’Half-Witch…… Half-Elf, though I don’t like’em much, you have guts protectin her, I’ll respect that]
[Subaru: It’s good you came around…… But it really hurts! When are you going to stop patting me? Are you trying to kill me!?]
His enthusiasm unabated, Garfiel’s arm dropped, and Subaru moved a bit further away. Seeing this, the punk tilted his neck, then crossed his powerful arms, and,
[Garfiel: So cold. All that stuff is water under th’bridge now, so c’mon and forget it already. When a man acts petty it means his thing is petty too, y’know]
[Subaru: That’s the first time I heard you use an idiom that sounds familiar…… but my thing is totally none of your business! A-n-y-w-a-y!]
Garfiel shook around a little and gestured with his finger. But seeing him lift up his chin looking smug, Subaru threw his words back at him roughly.
[Subaru: You’re Garfiel, and acquainted with Roswaal, right? Even though we had a fright when we came into contact all of a sudden, there’s no more hostility between us now, right?!]
[Garfiel: Will ya quit making a fuss, it’s getting annoying. Don’t panic I won’t eat ya]
[Subaru: Who do you think will believe that after that savage attitude a moment ago haaaah……?]
Sticking his fingers in his ears with irritation, Garfiel responded to Subaru’s objections with a [Y’got a point I guess] as if understanding him. Even though he’s incomprehensible sometimes, it’s a great relief to see that they can communicate with words. And then, having escaped the dire circumstances, Subaru remembered,
[Subaru: Yeah…… Hey this is no time for that! Emilia collapsed all of a sudden, what am I doing talking normally just now]
[Garfiel: Collapsed, y’mean the Half-Elf? Oy, of course she collapsed. Where do you think this is? What you panickin’ about?]
Rushing over to Emilia’s side, he found her still asleep and breathing irregularly, as if in pain. As Subaru was worrying by her side, Garfiel didn’t seem to think much of it, and only shrugged. Noticing his knowing expression, Subaru asked [What do you mean?], which brought an incredulous frown onto Garfiel’s face,
[Garfiel: Y’already heard from Roswaal and Frederica what this place was, right? They must have…… No way, y’don’t know?]
Even as he was just beginning to explain, Subaru shook his head from side to side, and Garfiel clicked his tongue in frustration. Spitting out [Th’pervert bastard……], it was easy to see who that insult was referring to.
[Garfiel: Frederica didn’t say anything either? That’s messed up, before y’know it her personality’ll become like her owner’s. Hopeless]
Shaking his head, Garfiel snorted out in irritation. Then, noticing Subaru’s questioning eyes, he raised up his hand and said [Yeah I gettit I gettit], and,
[Garfiel: It looks pret’bad, but her life’s in no danger. Only, if you don’t want to see any more of that pain on her face, we needa get goin’ right away. I’ll guide you up to th’village]
[Subaru: When we move from here, her consciousness will return?]
[Garfiel: That’s what I been sayin’ isntit. Hurry up, we’re gonna go, oy, how long are ya gonna keep sleepin? Get up]
Even though there wasn’t much explanation, Garfiel didn’t seem intent on explaining further. Turning around without even trying to conceal his thuggish expression, he went out and gave Otto a kick. Receiving the kick, the “still-passed-out” Otto let out a painful yelp [A-uu].
[Garfiel: Yer the driver aren’t yer, son of’a. I’ll set the turned’over carriage upright, and y’drive it up to the village. If yer slow I’ll kick yer ass flying, yeah?]
[Otto: Say, what’s with this situation!? Following what I just heard, I get the feeling I’m just on the losing end of everything!]
Hearing this unacceptable version of things, Otto boiled, suddenly standing up to voice his objection to Garfiel. Considering the beating he got just a few minutes ago, this must have seemed tremendously courageous, and Garfiel, who appeared to share this opinion, turned to look at Subaru,
[Garfiel: Oy. This guy, is he always such an energetic bastard?]
[Otto: If you ask that guy there’s no way you’ll get a proper appraisal so please stop that! Can’t you just make your own observation of what I am! And apologize! Please apologize!!]
[Garfiel: Hah!? The hell, son of’a bitch’s healthy lively all of’a sudden, ya underestimatin’ me? Yeah I beat up a guy that didn’t need a beatin’, get over it!]
[Subaru: Can the two of you shut up! Emilia is still in pain, hurry up and grab the reins! And you, get the dragon carriage upright!]
While the three men were making a commotion, and started cursing at each other on the coachman’s stand… placed aside on the luggage bed, Emilia, who had been unconsciousness up to now, still didn’t wake up. However, a faint frown was stirring up on her pretty face, irritated by the noise,
[Emilia: ……Shut up]
She murmured in a little voice, as if talking in her sleep.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Garfiel: Didn’t introduce m’self did I? Name’s Garfiel…… Ah, just Garfiel ‘s good. The strongest man alive. Need anything, just ask]
[Subaru: Oh, I’m Natsuki Subaru …… Eh? What was that? You said you’re the strongest? Are you saying that sober?]
As the dragon carriage got moving, sitting face-to-face inside, Subaru and Garfiel exchanged their self-introductions. Seeing Subaru suddenly pull back his outstretched hand with an astonished look, Garfiel also took on an incredulous expression,
[Garfiel: Isn’t that what I said? What’s so strange ‘bout that?]
[Subaru: No no, I just never expected to meet someone who’d straight-out say “I’m the strongest man alive”. Even so, isn’t saying that going a bit too far?]
[Garfiel: Y’don’t think I’m fit to be the strongest?]
[Subaru: Well you’re very strong I’ll admit, but if you’re talking about the absolute strongest, how should I say it…… No matter what, I have a guy who always comes to mind]
The form of that red-haired Knight emerged in his thoughts… compared to Garfiel in front of his eyes, Subaru’s mind tried to work it out. From their previous exchange, with just his bare hands, Garfiel was a formidable fighter, and could kick a house flying if he wanted to―― No, he had flipped the carriage upright with a stamp of his foot just now. But would all this be enough to contend with the Sword Saint, after all?
Even with this in mind, Reinhard’s advantage doesn’t seem to disappear, and Subaru himself wasn’t exactly sure why he held that Knight in such special regard.
[Garfiel: Hah, as you like. I’ll correct your mistaken view sooner or later, and prove with my own hands that I’m the strongest. For now, let’s just say “Th’red nosed sea-lion’s afraid o’th’cold”, and think of it like that]
[Subaru: I totally don’t know what you just told me to think about……]
Subaru tilted his neck at that last part, and Garfiel didn’t seem to be planning to explain it, and instead crossed his hands behind his head and relaxed his weight onto the back of his seat. Anyway, their conversation having come to an end, Subaru looked out the window, and brushed his fingers through Emilia’s silver hair as she slept in his lap.
While Emilia has not woken up, her expression had become more restful than before. Just as Garfiel said, moving away from that place seemed to have a positive effect. So then, the next thing on his mind was,
[Subaru: Ah, I didn’t get a chance to properly ask before but, you’re a close acquaintance of Roswaal…… aren’t you?]
[Garfiel: You must’ve heard my reputation, right? I’ll say this one more time then, out of all the people associated with Roswaal, I’m by far the strongest]
[Subaru: That’s not really the point…… But I do remember hearing you are an influential person, though]
Unless brute-force was the only reason he was considered “Influential”? Unlike what Subaru had expected, Garfiel was not much of a supporter in the political sense, but would perhaps be more of a supporter in the muscle-brained sense.
With the Sanctuary not far ahead, picking up someone who he at once needed to be cautious of, and who he could have friendly interactions with, really only added to the headache.
[Subaru: That’s just more questions I’ll need to ask Roswaal at the “Sanctuary” I guess. You know I’m supposed to be solving problems, but it feels like the number of questions just gets more and more as I go, what’s with this?]
Hugging his own head, seeing the difficult road ahead just getting more difficult, Subaru’s expression clouded over. Listening to this, Garfiel made a small click with his tongue, revealing just a small glimpse of his sharp canine teeth,
[Garfiel: “Sanctuary”―― eh]
Sensing some meaning in his murmur, Subaru’s face raised up, and Garfiel gently waved his hand. Then, he stood up, facing the direction ahead, ―― that is, towards direction of the Sanctuary.
[Garfiel: It’s because you’re gulping down Roswaal’s words whole without’a second thought, that you keep callin’ it by that name. Things you don’t know aside, the things he did tell you are all full of shit y’know that right?]
[Subaru: Even though I have the same opinion, it’s not good to gossip behind someone’s back…… Say, did he piss you off or something?]
Garfiel became visibly displeased upon hearing the word “Sanctuary”. Subaru wondered if he misspoke, and waited, but the reaction was more extreme than he anticipated.
That is, Garfiel twisted his mouth into an ironic smile that did not seem to fit,
[Garfiel: Well well, it’s about time the princess-sama wakes up now. Since we’re pretty far from the barrier]
[Subaru: What’s the barrier…… Ah, Emilia-tan?]
Just as he was about to ask his question, Subaru saw Emilia turning over in his lap and called out to her. She opened her eyes faintly, and looked around the inside of the carriage hazily. As though she wasn’t completely awake yet, she stared at Subaru with her violet eyes,
[Emilia: Morning, Shubaru……] *(not a typo :3)
[Subaru: Just waking up is suuuper cute, Emilia-tan, but maybe now’s not a good time. How are you feeling, does your head hurt?]
[Emilia: Ehh, not at all? I don’t feel strange or anything……!]
In the middle of her answer Emilia suddenly became wide awake, and got up so fast that Subaru had to dodge his head backward. After being an inch away from banging their heads together, Subaru looked back at Emilia, who didn’t seem to have noticed how close it came,
[Emilia: A,are you alright, Subaru? I said I will protect you but I passed out……]
[Subaru: I managed it somehow, so there’s no need to worry! We came to an understanding through dialogue. People form ties with each other through conversation, and we took the first step in that regard. Though I ran into some communication problems at first……]
As Emilia was shoving closer and closer, Subaru touched her shoulder to try to calm her, while observing her as he spoke. It seems she could stand and walk, and the movements of her eyes and the color of her complexion, and her words and her voice were all impeccable. Also, super cute. Just like always.
[Garfiel: Right? Just like I said, yeah?]
And, as if waiting for Subaru to settle down, Garfiel laughed. But hearing this, Emilia suddenly jumped up in surprise, protecting Subaru behind her, as if only just now noticing the existence of this new stranger in the carriage.
[Emilia: ――Who are you!? I warn you, I won’t let you lay a single finger on Subaru]
[Subaru: Emilia-tan, it’s alright! Also would you please stop reinforcing my role as the female-lead please! My gauge can’t take much more of it!]
Pulling Emilia out of her combat mode from behind, Subaru turned to Garfiel and introduced him,
[Subaru: That’s Garfiel…… Right after Emilia-tan collapsed, he atta…… I mean came to ride on the carriage. Not that he’s welcome or anything, but he’s coming along until we get to the “Sanctuary”]
[Emilia: ……This is Garfiel? The person Frederica mentioned?]
[Garfiel: Well I am curious what she said about me, but we can put that off till later. Look, we’re coming up to th’village soon]
Hearing Emilia make the exact same comment as Subaru did earlier, Garfiel jerked up his chin without giving them time to organize the situation. He gestured, and ahead of them, the forest was opening up, and the form of the village that was their destination came into view――
[Garfiel: Be welcome, Emilia-sama and her entourage]
He addressed them with proper title ―― however, his words did not contain any of the respect or favor, and had instead been served with more of a color of disdain, and a tinge of darkness.
Without realizing it, Subaru’s gaze had turned severe, and confusion had emerged in Emilia’s. Receiving both their gazes, Garfiel opened his arms wide, his attitude unchanged,
[Garfiel: The place Roswaal calls the “Sanctuary” or whatnot―― where half-wits are gathered to spend their days, in the impasse that is the Experimental Grounds, each to their pitiful ends]
[Subaru: Experimental Grounds……?]
While Subaru and Emilia are each drawn to a different part, Garfiel placed a hand over his mouth covering his canine teeth which were showing, smiling, as if to conceal a terribly complicated feeling.
[Garfiel: But we, the residents, call it “The Witch of Greed’s Gravesite”. Laughable, yeah? Heh…]
Echoes of laughter, as if in self-derision, quietly resounded in the car.
Low, and faint, like a curse, like a blessing, it resounded throughout.
Listening, Subaru only silently worried about the girl next to him.
If a Witch stands in front of her path again, he must be the one to put out the flames… firmly and resolutely, he told himself.
The “Sanctuary” approaches.
――To Natsuki Subaru, and to Emilia, it was to be a place that will alter their paths forever.
-=Arc 4 Chapter 7 End=-
(Image by @HaruSabin: https://twitter.com/HaruSabin)
Sorry I made you guys wait so long! Last week I was feeling really tired, and I took some time to rest. I mostly slept when I felt sleepy during the day and watched a few movies, which I hadn’t had time to do for a while :3
I am feeling better now, and Tynkerd (just told me he’s busy catching up with his school and didn’t get very far on Chapter 8 yet, so I’ll be doing Chapter 8 now T_T), Nicholas is on Chapter 9, and Safin on Chapter 10.
Thank you everyone so much for understanding, and for your lovely comments cheering me up when I’m feeling down. Thank you. 🙂
And thank you James Q, Spencer N, Jeffrey N, Dennis W, Luis P, Son Wukong, Raf H, David S, Thomas A, Michal Z, Peganuss S, Guillaume A, Jun P, Andrew B, Nope, Dustin F, Alexander N, Luc C, John W, anonymous Giraffe, Alexander P, Jesse A, Thong N, Gabriel D, Hunter G, Robbie panda, Xuatz, Terry F, Ristelle, Piotr H, Dohmeh, Tyler Y, Sid K, John L, Alora T, Ashley H, Lolfoollor, T.J. S, Aqua Dragon, Mark K, Ben S, Devon C, Ryan S, Quinn C, Daniel B, Zarko B, Edsel R, Aiman Z, Shippolover, Matthew K, Shahril A! Daniel H!
And Litewin, and Johnathan S :3