THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Casting down her eyes, Frederica said this of her younger brother .
Instilled within those words was something at once affectionate and terribly complicated . Perhaps, this was only a common sentiment to have towards close family members .[Subaru: He can physically pass through the Barrier, but he won’t do it because of his mental issues…… is that essentially what you’re saying?] [Frederica: The fact is that he refused when I, his older sister, requested this of him . He had followed me all the way to the edge of the Barrier, but in the end, he chose to stay inside to be with Grandmother rather than to go with me] [Subaru: Grandmother…… you mean Lewes-san?] [Frederica: That child may be rude and foul-mouthed, but he genuinely adores Grandmother . As long as her long-cherished dream has not been fulfilled, he will never leave the Sanctuary]
Even though he kept calling her “Old Hag” and “Granny”, Garfiel obviously held an extraordinarily deep affection toward Lewes . Subaru once called him a tsundere, and that description was quite accurate in a way .
In any case, this knowledge wouldn’t help the situation very much .[Subaru: In the end, it still doesn’t change the fact that passing the Trials and liberating the Sanctuary are the key conditions . It’s about as disappointing as disappointing gets] [Frederica: I’m sorry I could not meet your expectations…… . If there is anything else you wish to ask…] [Subaru: As long as it’s within your ability to answer, right?] [Frederica: My apologies]
At Frederica’s concise affirmation, Subaru sighed through his nose and lined up the questions in his mind . But, considering the flow of the conversation so far, most likely,[Subaru: Would Roswaal’s true intentions be an alright topic to ask?] [Frederica: The Master intends to support Emilia-sama and make her the next King of Lugnica . That much I can assert without any doubt on the matter] [Subaru: I was asking for his true intentions . I’m sure even you would agree that many of Roswaal’s actions are going against what you just said?] [Frederica: His methods are indirect and mysterious . I think neither I nor Ram would deny this]
Saying this with the implication that she and Ram had shared this opinion of Roswaal’s actions between them, Frederica’s face took on a pained expression .
Although she had accepted Subaru’s doubts as only natural, she was nonetheless forbidden to provide him with the key to resolving them . In the end,[Subaru: You can’t tell me more without permission from Roswaal himself, huh] [Frederica: I am truly sorry . But only know this…… the Master is Emilia-sama and Subaru-sama’s ally . As long as the two of you possess the intention to prevail in the Royal Selection, that much is assured] [Subaru: It totally bothers me how you worded that……but it’s fine . Nevermind about Roswaal for now . So far, I feel like I can trust you, Frederica . But if it ever turns out you’ve fallen head over heels for Roswaal like Ram, I’ll have to seriously rethink our relationship]
Subaru liked Ram as an individual, but that did not mean he could place absolute trust in her . It was a complicated relationship . At least, Subaru knew that Roswaal held an unshakable, highest place in her heart, and, since Subaru cannot completely trust Roswaal, at the moment, he had no choice but to withhold his judgment of Ram as well .[Subaru: If you can’t tell me Roswaal’s true intentions…… can you tell me what it means when they call the Sanctuary the Experimental Grounds? I heard Garfiel calling it that] [Frederica: Experimental Grounds――is it] [Subaru: Also a pile of impacted shit for those who have nowhere to go, he called it that too . After our talk about the Demihumans, I can kind of imagine the part about nowhere to go . So Roswaal has a Demihuman fetish or whatever you call that and he’s gathering Half-Bloods who have nowhere to go to live there . But…]
Just the words “Experimental Grounds” gave off a sense of unease, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the gathered Half-Bloods had been kidnapped in a way . Who knows why Roswaal was doing this? In other words, Emilia may have allied herself with someone she shouldn’t have allied with .[Subaru: To begin with, even if it’s not the Witch of Envy, if people found out his family was in charge of a facility related to a Witch, the consequences could be huge . I heard that there are no surviving records of this, but the fact is, the Tomb is still right there] [Frederica: The meaning of the word “Witch” has since taken on an ominous connotation . Even the Master’s contractual relationship with the Witch of Greed would certainly not be deemed appropriate by those around him . This concern is precisely in line with Subaru-sama’s considerations, I believe] [Subaru: I’m glad we can agree that the Sanctuary’s existence is problematic . Now, wouldn’t a title like the “Experimental Grounds” just make that problem even worse?] [Frederica:……Originally, that place was a hidden village where Half-Bloods are gathered so the Witch of Greed may conduct a certain experiment . It is unclear what negotiations took place at the time between the Witch and the owner of the land, the House of Mathers, but because of that contract, succeeding generations of the House of Mathers have managed and maintained the Sanctuary]
Nodding his head, Subaru took in the contents of Frederica’s words and sorted the information in his mind . He had already gathered as much from connecting the pieces of information implied by the various people in the Sanctuary . Then, the question would be,[Subaru: What kind of experiments was the Witch running with Half-Bloods, and why is Roswaal continuing to keep the contract even after the Witch’s death……?] [Frederica: The reason for the latter should be simple . The contract most likely contains the clause: “Until the time of the release of the Sanctuary, to adhere to the Oath to the Witch” . Unless people are periodically brought into the Sanctuary, the preconditions for the contract’s fulfillment would not exist] [Subaru: So then, he’s now turning that around to create a hidden refuge for Half-Bloods? By the sound of that, one might even get the impression that Roswaal was running some kind of charity project]
Since discrimination against Half-Bloods was still a fact, it was necessary to ensure that there was a place where they could live in peace . If Roswaal was indeed fulfilling that role, then Subaru may have to revise his evaluation of him . But,[Subaru: It doesn’t seem like all of the Half-Bloods want to stay there . In fact, the ones following Lewes-san who want the Sanctuary to be liberated are in the majority, aren’t they?] [Frederica:……The general prejudice against Demihumans has indeed greatly faded . Compared to our blood, the reason my brother and I entered the Sanctuary was more because we simply had nowhere else to live . One day, the Sanctuary will be released . ――That is why, I…]
Firmly closing her eyes, Frederica cut off her words . Watching her, Subaru fell silent, and only after some time had passed, did he hesitatingly speak again,[Subaru: I might just be imagining this… . . but, was the reason why Frederica left the Sanctuary because of your concerns about what comes after the Sanctuary is released?] [Frederica: ……What makes you think so?] [Subaru: If you ask me why… your face always seems a little saddened when you talk about the Sanctuary . But you left your home in spite of this, whether it was for yourself or for others . Then…]
Scratching his cheek, Subaru saw in the back of his mind the tough facade of the golden short haired youth . Like the kindhearted girl in front of his eyes, that man was all words and wouldn’t reveal his true feelings at all .[Subaru: If you’re anything like your little brother when it comes to hiding your true feelings, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some embarrassing reason behind why you left . I’m guessing you…… probably left to create some place for the people to go once the Sanctuary is liberated, somewhere they wouldn’t have to be afraid, am I right? Of course, you’re working here to repay your debt of gratitude to Roswaal, but that’s not all, is it? ……That’s kinda what I’m guessing]
Realizing that he was taking huge leaps of logic in his rapid-fire speculation, Subaru held back his embarrassment and stole a glance at Frederica . If she laughed it off, then it would’ve just been Subaru getting way ahead of himself, but,[Frederica: When the time comes for the New World to open its doors to them……I hope to be the one to guide them through it]
Muttering this quietly, a smile rose onto Frederica’s face .
It was not a mocking smile at an outlandish guess, but a smile of a sense of liberation of having unburdened her heart to another after having seen clearly into herself .[Frederica: I was raised by that place, but now I want to forge an environment that will foster a desire in the others to leave that place . If I can help even just a little in creating such an environment, then my…… undesired birth must have had meaning] [Subaru: Undesired, that’s…] [Frederica: There is no need to console me . It is as it is . I cannot imagine that my mother grew heavy with me while desiring to do so . The fact is, mother abandoned my little brother and me in the Sanctuary and left . That was her answer……but I do not wish my story to end with only that answer, and that is the reason I am here now]
It was a question to which Frederica had already reached an answer .
Having only glimpsed the surface, Subaru could not possibly affect her with his sympathy . Embracing the answer she had arrived at herself, she would face the endless choices to come with only that answer as her guide .
――“She is strong”, he sincerely thought . It was a conviction strong enough to be admired .[Subaru:……Does Garfiel know how you truly feel? If he knows and still didn’t come with you, then…] [Frederica: My little brother is the only person to whom I have told everything . But even so, he would not come with me……for that was the choice he had made . Rather than leaving to procure something difficult to obtain, my little brother chose to remain to protect something easy to lose . We siblings have each chosen a separate path… the story is simply that] [Subaru: Protect……protect, huh . Just by his outer appearance, I’d never have guessed he was the kind of character who’d make that choice . Well, it’s not like people’s hearts can be understood by just looking from the outside anyway]
Rubbing his jaw, Subaru tilted his cup and drank down all the tea inside in a single gulp before holding back a hiccup . Wiping his lips with the back of his hand, he began again with [Come to think of it],[Subaru: We seem to have wandered off-topic, so let’s get back to it . About the name “Experimental Grounds” . Can you talk about what kind of experiments they were running?……Or, do you know its contents?] [Frederica: Unfortunately, I know neither their contents nor their purpose . In fact, from the moment the Witch of Greed died, the continuation of the experiments became impossible . Only the facility remains, and the House of Mathers merely maintains it] [Subaru: That’s even more incomprehensible . I personally understand now how important it is to keep promises, but what’s even the point of continuing to keep it when the other side has already been dead for 400 years?] [Frederica: At least, if it weren’t for the Master’s family upholding that promise, I doubt my brother and I would have passed our childhoods in peace] [Subaru: Ah……that’s…… I didn’t think of that . Sorry]
Seeing Subaru sincerely apologizing, Frederica couldn’t hold in her giggle .
Then, she emptied her cup as well and collected the finished cup from Subaru before standing up from her seat,[Frederica: We have gone on talking for quite a long while now . Let us save the rest for another time . What do you plan to do next, Subaru-sama?] [Subaru: I only tagged along to bring the villagers back home in the first place . Now that I’ve asked what I wanted to ask, I should be heading back…… That said, it would be a bit difficult to do that today, so I’ll head back tomorrow morning, I guess] [Frederica: Is that so . In that case, I imagine Petra will be in high spirits tonight and tomorrow morning . But considering how distracted she will get, it’s difficult to tell whether that would be a good thing or not] [Subaru: More than anything, it’s nice to see Petra’s education progressing nicely… Now, where is Petra, anyway?] [Frederica: Right now, I believe she would be back in the village greeting everyone that’s returned . I instructed her to do so]
As expected, Frederica must have seen through her intentions before she even asked .
Watching her back as she carried off the clattering teacups, Subaru stood up from his chair as well, and counted on his fingers all the remaining things he had to do .
What he managed to hear from Frederica had been only half of what he wanted to hear . But even so, it had given him enough to move forward with his speculations .
All that was left now, was to find the final person who might still know more .[Subaru: It’ll probably take a while, but it’s time to try combing through this Mansion for now……]
At the thought of the heavy labor ahead of him, Subaru slumped his shoulders .
Catching a brief glimpse of Subaru’s back as she left the room, Frederica whispered in a quiet voice,[Frederica: I know neither their contents nor their purpose…… but, I do know the result of the Experimental Grounds . When you find out, when you come to understand…… what would you think then, I wonder?]
But the contents of her whisper did not reach Subaru, who was now deep in thought .
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Everyone in Mansion knew that Beatrice’s “Door Crossing” was a pain to deal with, but Subaru only truly got a sense of this after returning from the Capital .
His natural intuitive ability to pick from a multitude of choices―― or, more accurately, his ability to go with his gut, was one of the few things about himself that Subaru was rather proud of .
Subaru’s special characteristic of managing to select the right option without any hints and for no particular reason was, in a way, just as annoying as his other special characteristic “Can’t read the mood,” and had made no small contribution to his chances of encountering Beatrice .
Ever since coming back from the Capital, that intuition hadn’t been working properly .[Subaru: That’s odd . That should’ve been every door in the Mansion……]
That was the last one . Closing the final bathroom door where he had placed all his hopes, Subaru expressed his disappointment at the result by tilting his head with a sigh .
Since returning from the Capital, he had just been consistently failing at the “Guess where Beako is” quiz . Considering how his hit-rate was almost 100% before, he couldn’t exactly blame this on a bad streak . At this point, Subaru had to admit that there was nothing else he could do .[Subaru: Gees, she must be seriously trying to avoid me]
If Beatrice really put her mind to it, no one could bypass her “Door Crossing,” Ram once told him this . Yet somehow, Subaru had always managed to defy this common sense . And after a while, Subaru had developed a sense of superiority over Beatrice―― In this case, it was not so much that he was able to bypass her “Door Crossing,” but that he had a greater advantage over Beatrice than anyone else in the Mansion .[Subaru: Even though we parted ways like that, I didn’t think you’d go full-Hikikomori because of it…… If you won’t even show me your face, I can’t bicker or apologize or anything]
Subaru had no idea what he might’ve said that would make her so adamantly refuse to see him . He had no idea, and if he continued being physically cut off like this, he would go on having no idea . And he hated that .
Regardless of what he wanted to learn from her, and regardless of all the pressing issues tying him down, all Subaru wanted now was to see her and talk to her .
It’d be alright even it meant getting scolded, or being looked down upon like a small idiot . But those carefree days are lost . And, only now realizing this, Subaru found he couldn’t bear it at all . Although he knew this was a selfish thought .[Subaru: Puck and Beako, they won’t even let out a peep when it comes down to the critical moment]
Whether it was Puck, still hiding out somewhere, or Beatrice, withdrawing into her own space, they both went missing when Emilia and Subaru needed them most .
Can’t be counted on at all when there’s trouble, they were almost as bad as the Kami-samas up in the sky .
But the situation was far too urgent to be soaking in hurt feelings . Knowing that Elsa was closing in on the Mansion, but having no means of repelling her, his highest priority now was to evacuate everyone at the Mansion .
No matter how he thought about it, Elsa probably had no reason to extend her murdering blades to the unrelated Arlam village . So protecting the lives of those at the Mansion was the most important task at hand .
Bringing Rem and Petra out wouldn’t be difficult . If he appealed to Frederica’s sense of professionalism, he should be able to persuade her . The problem was Beatrice who wouldn’t see him .
Before, in the loops starting inside the Capital, Subaru had already failed to get her to leave the Mansion . That time, he gave up trying to convince her to abandon the Mansion because he knew that the Witch Cult’s target wasn’t the Mansion .
But this time was different . Elsa will be invading the Mansion, and will not hesitate to put everyone to the blade . Even if her target, Emilia, was missing, she would probably set her mind to opening every bowel in the Mansion .
Although he had no idea what Beatrice’s actual combat strength was, Elsa had been able to hold her own in a pitched battle against the strength of Puck and Emilia combined, and Subaru imagined that she might even be able to match the strength of Wilhelm .
If Beatrice and Elsa ever came into direct contact, Subaru couldn’t envision Beatrice winning against her .[Subaru: Maybe I’m just being way too over-cautious when it comes to Elsa……But after getting killed by someone three times it should be pretty natural to feel this way . ――Oh]
Rubbing at the phantom pain in his stomach while walking along the hallway, Subaru’s legs suddenly stopped . His eyes were fixed on a conspicuously expensive-looking door, to the room at the center of the uppermost floor of the Mansion―― Roswaal’s office .
Subaru was aware that it’d be bad manners to set foot into the Master’s room while the Master was away, but,[Subaru: Right, there was something in this room that I needed to check out]
Saying this, he opened the door and entered without much pomp .
Naturally, the scene that opened before him as he stepped into the office was no different from when he was opening every door in the Mansion . Since Roswaal himself hadn’t returned, the room still maintained the same orderliness from the time Subaru made Otto organize it .
The original mess of documents and bookshelves had all been neatly arranged by Otto, and there was now a pristine impression to the room as if it had just been thoroughly cleaned . Subaru looked it over before walking to the back of the room, where two bookshelves stood side by side beside the ebony desk .[Subaru: Behind this bookshelf… is a hidden passage, huh]
Twice, he had already confirmed the existence of this hidden passage―― it was probably serving as an escape path in case of emergencies, but as for how to activate it and where the passageway led to, these were all unknown to Subaru .[Subaru: It was activated when Elsa attacked, so I think it definitely lets you escape somewhere…… although the last time I went in I froze to death]
That memory ended as he was frozen into an ice sculpture alongside the Witch Cultists who had gotten on the wrong side of Puck . He remembered his fingers breaking off and his limbs shattering, and dying almost painlessly, but so much about it was hazy that recalling it did not bring him anything more than a shudder . But death was still death . He had no intention of taking it lightly . In any case,[Subaru: Unless I find out where this escape route leads, I won’t know what to do if worst comes to worst . It might even come out somewhere in the Mansion…… Though I’m guessing that’s probably not the case]
If ensuring safety was the highest priority, confirming the escape route would be an indispensable step . Most likely, it led somewhere into the mountains behind the Mansion . And, considering how escape tunnels usually work, if there are some emergency provisions on the way that’d be even better .[Subaru: Just to be sure, I’ll take a quick look…… but, as much as I want to…]
Where’s the gimmick that activates this thing, anyway?
In the meantime, he tried dragging on the bookshelf with all his might to get it to move, but the solidly packed bookshelf wouldn’t budge at all from the strength of Subaru’s arm . Maybe if he took out all the books and left just the shelf he might be able to move it a little then, but,[Subaru: No way there’s time for that in a real emergency… there must be a switch to activate it somewhere]
On that thought, Subaru started fishing into the back of the bookshelves, but didn’t find any secret mechanisms . Although, when Subaru pulled out the second-to-last drawer, he was stunned for a second by the hoard of gemstones stuffed inside .[Subaru: Time to give up, huh…… unless, maybe it’s not even in the room?] [???: What’s not in the room?] [Subaru: Well naturally, it’d be a hidden switch-thingey or something . I wanna see the hidden passage on the other side of the bookshelves but there’s no way to do that unless I find it] [???: Oh, the escape path . That’s this statue here]
Petra tugged on the downcast Subaru’s sleeves, and Subaru, looking towards the direction she was pointing at, nodded his head up and down with [Ehhhh],[Subaru: Placed in the corner of the room, looks like nothing but a normal statue…… could this be the gimmick?]
It was a little statue of a person seated in a chair, small enough to be placed on a table . To see something like this in an otherwise unadorned room was indeed somewhat peculiar, but Petra bravely walked up to it without any signs of fear, and,
With a small sound, the statue’s head twisted .
Like it was going to be detached, the statue’s head turned a hundred and eighty degrees . Watching the man’s neckbone being brutally snapped, Subaru winced his brows . And, the next moment,
“Ooo, ooo, ooo――”
The sound of a heavy object sliding across the floor reverberated throughout the room . Turning around, Subaru saw the bookshelves parting, revealing a pitch black entrance wide enough for a single person to pass through .
Seeing the mission-objective excape path making its appearance at last, Subaru lightly balled up his fists and struck out a victory pose .[Subaru: That’s it that’s it that’s it! That’s what I’m looking for! I’m saved!] [Petra: Huhuu~, I helped, didn’t I~ . Big-sister-sama Frederica told me about this before, it’s an escape path in case of emergencies, told me to remember it and all] [Subaru: Oho, thank you thank you . Now I’ll just…… Petra, when did you get here!?] [Petra: You just noticed now!?]
Petra blended into the flow of things so perfectly that it took a while before the contemplative Subaru noticed that she was there . At Subaru’s unacceptable response, Petra pouted up her lips,[Petra: After I ran all the way back, and even helped you out……Subaru-sama, I think that was kinda mean] [Subaru: No no, I only noticed halfway through that I was talking with someone when I’m supposed to be alone . And then I was too excited to see the OBJECTIVE COMPLETE and that’s why I was a bit late to notice you . Sorrysorry]
The little girl turned her face away as if stating that she was still angry, and Subaru lightly patted her head while apologizing . Then, turning his eyes to the escape passage again,[Subaru: By the way, Petra, did Frederica ever tell you where this thing leads?] [Petra: Yep . Big-sister-sama Frederica said it leads to a small cabin in the mountains in the back . There’s another barrier there that’s different from the Boundaries against the Mabeasts, so it can’t be found from the outside] [Subaru: I see . So it’s a hidden passage after all . But I better go check it out with my own eyes]
Then it was confirmed that the passageway came out in the mountains, but that would also mean that the tunnel could serve as both an escape route and an invasion route . Subaru rolled up his sleeves, and, pumping himself full of spirit, stepped towards the entrance . And Petra’s quiet footsteps followed behind him .[Subaru: Oh, you’re coming too, Petra?] [Petra: Can’t I?] [Subaru: It’s not that you can’t, but there’s probably not going to be anything interesting, you know . I’m only going in since I’m curious where it leads to, and after that I’ll be coming right back] [Petra: It’s my break time right now, so I’m free to do what I want . So you won’t mind if I come?]
Tugging on the hems of his shirt, Petra looked up at Subaru with puppy-like eyes . Not having the heart to leave behind her like this, Subaru sighed and gave out a wry smile, and,[Subaru: We really are just going there and coming right back, you know . You sure are curious, Petra] [Petra: If I wasn’t curious I wouldn’t be here, so…… I’m glad I’m curious]
Hearing Petra’s reply, he wasn’t really sure what she was trying to say . Nonetheless, smoothing it over with a smile, Subaru took her outstretched hand and stepped into the passageway .
The dark hidden-passage gave way to a spiraling staircase, while the materials of the walls themselves glowed with a pale blue light . Although they wouldn’t be losing sight of the path downstairs, seeing that the tunnel was leading underground, Subaru looked back,[Subaru: This stairway is pretty long and dark, be careful not to slip] [Petra: If I slip will you save me?] [Subaru: I’ll have to hug you while tumbling all the way down the stairs, you know…… if I end up in a coma and can never walk again that’ll be a way too miserable sight] [Petra: If that happens, I’ll take care of Subaru-sama for the rest of your whole life] [Subaru: I’m glad, but the process is way too terrifying!]
With this exchange, Subaru took the lead as the two of them began heading down the stairs . A cold wind swept up from below, sending thoughts of a non-existent Puck into Subaru’s mind as a chill ran up his spine .
It was not that he was afraid of the non-existent future of a frozen death, but,[Subaru: It’s no fun being so quiet while going down, and Petra might be getting scared, so let’s talk about something] [Petra: Subaru-sama, you know your palm is getting kind of sweaty?] [Subaru: Petra must be getting scared so let’s talk about something! How was everyone at the village!?]
Seeing Subaru intent on sticking to the concerned-for-a-little-girl narrative, Petra cast him a compassionate gaze and went along with it . And so, carrying on the miscellaneous conversation this way to keep the silence at bay, they continued down the stairs for several more minutes――when the staircase ended, and they arrived at the familiar narrow passage .
Further down the passage, there will be a door, and beyond that door would be an un-experienced zone to Subaru .[Subaru: Just by the feels of it, we should still be right underneath the Mansion . If this path leads
all the way to the back mountains, it must be a quite a long tunnel] [Petra: Escape route, escape path, tunnel, can’t we call it one thing?] [Subaru: You’re right… Then, since the wind might as well be coming all the way from Mexico, let’s call it SANTIUNNEL] [Petra: Ah, careful don’t trip, there’s a bump there]
Just like this, Petra beautifully ignored Subaru’s random comment . Seeing her Anti-Subaru capabilities improve so much in such a short period of time, Subaru felt both pleased and a little lonely .
Maintaining this nostalgic sentiment as they continued through the passageway, they soon arrived at a slightly wider area . Straight ahead, a door emerged out of the darkness, confirming that this was the room . Back then, it was here that the frozen figures of the Witch Cultists lined up in this claustrophobic space, but naturally, there was no trace of that this time . Confirming this, Subaru spilled a quiet sigh of relief .[Subaru: This should go without saying, but, it’s good that no TRAUMA SWITCHES got triggered, huh . Anyways, so far we should be about a third of the way to the mountain cabin, right?] [Petra: The wind’s so cold…… it must be from the other side of the door]
While Subaru was busy feeling relieved, beside him, Petra was eagerly waiting with anticipation for the NEW STAGE on the opposite side of the door . With [Yeah], Subaru nodded in agreement,[Subaru: Last time I touched the door I got an instant GAME OVER . So everything after that point is still completely unknown…… well, guess we’ll make it up as we go]
Having made up this resolve, Subaru unceremoniously placed his hand on the door .
And then, pushing it open, he felt an icy wind washing over his face, flooding into the small room――[Subaru: ――ah?]
Simultaneous with that quiet sound, Subaru noticed that something had scraped across his belly .
Looking down, he stared at the left side of his waist that had taken the impact . A string of something out-of-place was dangling out of it, and to prove that this had happened recently, the bottom end of it was still quivering .
――Watching, as little by little blood seeped into his clothes, Subaru’s throat froze .[Petra: Yyaa――h!?]
In place of the choked-up Subaru, Petra, who noticed the same wound, shrieked at the top of her voice . Its high-pitched sound echoed through the corridor, lashing upon Subaru’s eardrums .
In the instant the pain caught up, still not understanding what had happened, Subaru’s mind swam with all its might, trying to think of something to do .
Petra’s shriek trailed off . The echoing corridor was deprived of sound until only her noise could be heard . In a world where he should not be hearing anything, Subaru heard that sound .
Of footsteps, and a knife being pulled out of its sheath――[Elsa: Now, let’s fulfill that promise――]
Licking her lips with a red tongue, it was the voice of a murdering monster trembling at the premonition of slaughter .