“―What’s the matter? Why’d you suddenly space out?”
A middle-aged man with stern features called out to him, and he absentmindedly responded as such. This response caused the man’s already creased brow to wrinkle up even further as he scowled.
“I’m asking a question here! Are you going to buy the appa or not?”
“The appa! You wanna eat it, right? You came here saying that and then your eyes suddenly went blank which was quite the shock. Anyway, how about it?”
He was very muscular and had a scarred face, but in his palm was a lovely red fruit. He mentally compared the man’s face with the apple-like fruit he was holding out,
“Ah, you see, I’m completely broke.”
“… Seriously, you’re just browsing? Get outta here! I’m running a business here, I don’t have time for window shoppers.”
The man shooed him away and he obediently left.
He― Natsuki Subaru examined his surroundings and,
“Eh? Eh? ―What’s going on here?”
In his confusion, all he could do was toss out that question directed at no one in particular.
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The main street was crowded as usual, except for the occasional passage of a lizard-drawn carriage, the road was filled to the brim with pedestrians.
The sun was still high. The temperature wasn’t quite what he’d call hot, but looking at the humanoid wolf walking by― Should he call it a werewolf? Looking at its fur, thoughts such as “Sure must be hot, huh?” floated across his mind. They did, but,
“This ain’t the time to be acting like some sightseeing country bumpkin. Umm, what is this?!”
He grabbed his head and twisted his waist. As he performed this full-bodied pose displaying his distress, a number of curious gazes were directed at him.
These gazes felt extremely familiar to him. Just a few hours ago, there were several people staring at him in much the same way― Or rather, in the exact same way.
“Right, several hours ago… It should have been.”
As he said this he looked around again, and then up at the sky after which he tilted his head.
The sun was still high. As far as Subaru remembered, the sun had just been setting.
This feeling wasn’t unfamiliar to him either.
When he first came to this world, he saw night turn to day. So that much wasn’t new, but there was one clear difference this time.
“My wound… Is gone.”
He whispered as he rolled up his jersey and confirmed his abdomen’s condition.
He had been torn up by what he assumed was a huge blade, spraying blood and viscera all over the place, and yet there were no signs of this having happened to him. Since he had no scars, there were obviously no traces of blood on his jersey either.
In fact, his well-used jersey didn’t even have any dust or dirt stains. The convenience store bag in his hand was in good condition, and his pocket still had his phone and wallet. He was back at square one, in every sense.
―It felt like he was going crazy.
“Just being summoned here was already too much for me, what’s going on now…”
As far as his missing wound was concerned, he’d already seen what Satella was capable of so he wasn’t confused on that front.
However, he’d clearly sustained a fatal wound in the loot house. It was so bad he was sure he had died when he lost consciousness.
If even an injury like that could be healed, it seemed to him that this world’s magic could even revive the dead.
“Guess the value of life drops quite a bit then… Wait, who was that back then?”
Realizing that he could see something in his hazy memories. Subaru fervently tried to remember what had happened right before he lost consciousness.
Right, he was dying with his gut split open. There was a woman’s voice, he thought.
He’d come across a corpse in the loot house, and then he was attacked by the presumed killer. And as he was on the verge of death―
“That’s right, Satella!”
The silver haired girl had ended up entering the loot house to check on him.
Having remembered what he’d done, Subaru was filled with regret. She had clearly warned him not to try anything on his own, that he should immediately call to her if anything happened.
Those words weren’t merely out of worry for him. They surely also meant that he should inform her if the situation seemed dangerous.
And yet when it came down to it, Subaru failed to even raise his voice. As a result, not only did he fail to escape himself, even Satella got wrapped up in the tragedy.
As he drowned in his own blood in that darkness, he definitely saw the assailant cut her down.
She collapsed into that sea of blood the same as him, and stopped moving before he did―
“Damn it… Didn’t he say he was leaving her to me?!”
He remembered the words Puck said to him right before he disappeared.
Those weren’t words spoken lightly. Subaru himself didn’t take them seriously enough, and as a result things went exactly the way Puck had feared.
Despite all the warnings, Subaru had completely failed to notice anything and missed his chance.
His present situation was the end result of this.
Tossed out onto the streets totally unaware of what was going on, he didn’t even know if they were safe. He was now at a complete loss.
“Am I some kind of moron… No, I’m definitely a moron. I don’t have time to hang around sulking. For now, I’d better look for them…”
The two might even be dead― Subaru shook his head to rid himself of this terrible thought.
He was completely useless, with not even a single redeeming feature. He’d even say he was nothing more than a waste that simply converted oxygen into carbon dioxide, and yet he’d survived.
That being the case, he couldn’t imagine that that magic using super kind, super helpful, not quite upfront about her feelings and yet so virtuous beauty and that aloof and mysterious oddball of a spirit had died.
Or rather, he didn’t want to imagine it.
“Anyway, for now I’ll…”
―Head to the loot house, Subaru decided.
Since that was where he’d lost consciousness, he might be able to find some hints there.
Once he put his mind to something he’d immediately start doing it. Here too the speed of his decision-making shined. “I’m not going to school anymore” was usually the sort of decision he was making in his old world, but right now it would prove useful for him to move quickly and without doubt.
However, his determination was―
“Yo, kiddo. Let’s have some fun.”
Three men blocked his way out of the alley, clearly intending to give him a hard time.
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“Oi, what’s with that dumb look on your face?”
“He probably doesn’t understand what’s going on here. What say we go ahead and teach him?”
Witnessing his lack of reaction to their threats, the men’s lips warped as if sneering at him. To Subaru, this was almost like watching a comedy.
There were three of them. One couldn’t say they were well dressed even as flattery, and their poor upbringing and vulgar character were clearly evident on their faces, they were basically walking stereotypes.
Their scars seemed to show their combat experience, and their general disposition was evidently inclined to violence.
Subaru clearly remembered all of this. After all, these guys were,
“You lot… Perhaps you’ve gone and hit your heads somewhere?”
The reason he was able to meet Satella and Puck just a few hours ago.
These guys were basically your typical mobs, but since this was a 3D world he doubted it was reusing characters. So maybe they were different people with the same appearance,
“Could there really be three other guys with the same looks running around playing bandit?”
Maybe if it was just one, but there were three of them. It was absurd to think that they’d even party up the same way. In other words, they had to be the same guys he remembered.
“You’ve hit your heads or… Perhaps this is revenge for your instant defeat? Guess that sort of thing doesn’t change even in another world. You didn’t bring your pals, you want a fair rematch or something?”
In the real world, when you took someone down they’d bring their buddies to exact their revenge. In the end, you’d have to face wave after wave of enemies no matter how many you beat and would ultimately die to an absurdly strong foe, getting a game over. This sort of thing happened very frequently.
Considering the chain of suffering this pattern creates, perhaps these fellows ought to be commended for relying on their own strength instead of calling others.
Either way, he couldn’t help but think they were barking up the wrong tree if they were targeting him.
“Well, I understand you’d want to go for the weak one, so I can’t criticize you for it. But right now isn’t convenient for me, or should I say…”
“What’s this guy talking about? Maybe he’s lost it?”
The men mocked Subaru as he looked for a way to amicably resolve things through discussion.
Naturally, this irritated Subaru. The only reason he was trying to settle things peacefully was because he was in a hurry, in truth he was rather short-tempered under ordinary circumstances.
But even so, considering how serious the situation was, he was prepared to deal with a little scorn, but,
“Alright, kiddo. Hand over everything you’ve got and maybe we’ll let you go.”
“Yeah, sure sure. Everything I’ve got, right? I’m in a hurry, so let’s leave it at that.”
“Now act like a dog! Crawl around on all fours and beg for help.”
“Don’t get carried away, you bastards!”
They started getting too cocky, and Subaru’s patience ran out.
The men were shaken by his sudden burst of rage. As they stood there dumbfounded, Subaru targeted the one in the middle.
He was the man with the knife who had successfully stopped Subaru last time. Naturally, he would probably be just as quick to draw the knife as before. Therefore,
“I’ll start with you! I hate bastards who don’t value life! Die!!”
He put his entire body weight behind his palm as it crashed into the man’s jaw. He then immediately drove his left arm into the man’s undefended torso, slamming him against the wall and knocking him out instantly.
It was the work of an instant and the other men were slow to react, Subaru then knocked one of them down with a leg sweep. He then took advantage of this opening to target the final man, and dove into him.
Having tackled him, Subaru lifted him and threw him against the wall with all his strength. The man groaned at the impact as Subaru finished him off with a kick, but when turned around the man started getting back up.
“Tch… You bastard.”
“Come on, it’s one on one now. I’ve already taken down the guys with the knife and the nata, what are you going to do?”
The adrenaline pumping through Subaru’s veins gave him confidence, this seemed to overwhelm the man and his expression changed. In truth, he was the guy who had been knocked out by Satella in their previous confrontation. He was the only one whose weaponry Subaru wasn’t able to confirm, but judging by that reaction just now he didn’t have anything lethal on him.
“If it’s a fist fight you want, I’m not about to just kneel for you, you know.”
“Don’t screw around, you bastard. Aah! Don’t look down on me, brat!!”
Subaru provoked him by beckoning with his hand, and the man responded by rushing at him with spittle flying out of his mouth.
As the man attempted to grab him, Subaru welcomed his approach with his fist. His aim was true, and his fist sunk into the man’s chest, but the man wildly charged him and forced him against the wall. However,
Subaru grabbed the man’s wrists and forced him to let go by exerting force even greater than his. Seeing the shock evident in the man’s expression, Subaru’s evil-eyed face warped into a fiendish smile.
“Don’t underestimate me just because I’m a shut-in. I swung a wooden sword every day for no reason and as a result my grip strength is over 70 kilos. I can bench 80 too.”
He had once ruined the atmosphere at a family gathering by crushing an apple with his bare hand, an incident from his dark past. His life as a shut-in consisted of daily training that he never neglected. His strength was such that if he were facing an opponent of similar size, he would only lose under exceptional circumstances.
The man howled as his wrists were crushed, and the moment his grip loosened Subaru’s knee flew into him. The impact on his abdomen caused the man to crumple into a く shape. Subaru then quickly got behind him,
“Don’t blame me if you die. I’ve always wanted to try this, an overhead throw onto hard ground!”
He wrapped his arms around the man’s waist and violently threw him overhead as he leaned back. It was similar to a suplex in pro wrestling, but he’d maliciously let go midway. The man was helpless as his head collided with the wall, and he went completely still when his body collapsed to the ground.
Confirming the two men were down, Subaru went to the man he took down first, the man with the knife.
The man hadn’t taken much damage and though he seemed to be fainting with agony, he suddenly tried to pull his knife on Subaru when he approached. Subaru mercessily stomped on his face when he tried this, knocking him out instantly.
“Hmph, that was easy! In this world, evil never wins!”
Striking a triumphant pose, Natsuki Subaru celebrated his victory all by himself. He was relieved to know that all his aimless training wasn’t a waste. Anyway,
“The situation hasn’t changed at all. I got held up a bit, but I’d better hurry to the loot cellar.”
Once he’d confirmed that the men weren’t dead, Subaru left the alley.
A number of pedestrians seemed rather surprised to see him emerge unharmed, Subauru noticed them gasping as if they’d expected another outcome. Made him want to yell that if they saw what was going on, they should have reported it.
Of course, shy as he was, Subaru couldn’t do anything of the sort and he ended up jogging away from the area.