“I see, I understand what’s going on here.”
Tilting her glass of milk, the woman licked the remnants off her lip.
She’d introduced herself as Elsa, and her every movement was sensual, even as Felt was explaining things she’d cast some flirtatious glances Subaru’s way which caused his heart to pound.
“You’ve got a fine personality, I don’t dislike it. ― So, how much is the young man over there offering?”
Ten holy gold coins, that was how much she had offered.
If Subaru was to compete with her, it was only natural to assume he’d put up more.
Subaru decided that he shouldn’t just sit and watch, so he once again used his phone to take a photo. The flash filled the room and Elsa’s appearance was displayed on the screen.
His actions caused her to frown a bit, but beyond this Elsa had no reaction.
He showed her the screen,
“What I’m offering is this meteor. It’s likely so rare it’s the only one of its kind. According to the muscly old man over there, it definitely wouldn’t go for less than twenty holy gold coins.”
She looked at the version of herself shown on the screen, and nodded in understanding.
Subaru was going for an exchange of items, and he wasn’t bluffing was probably the impression she had.
She extracted a small leather pouch from her bosom― That was most likely where she kept the holy gold coins she was supposed to pay with.
She set it down on the table. The sound of the coins clanging around gave the impression that its contents were rather heavy.
Felt’s eyes pupils like a cat’s, and Rom rebuked her for this. As Subaru waited for her next move, she linked her fair fingers atop the table.
“The truth is I was given a little extra by my employer. So that if you were hesitant, I could consider raising my offer.”
“Employer… Meaning, just like Felt you were ordered to obtain the insignia too?”
“That’s how it is. The one who desires it is my employer… Could you perhaps be in the same business?”
Elsa seemed to hold some doubt toward Subaru, who intended to trade a meteor for the insignia.
Even though she asked him this, he didn’t really understand her profession in the first place.
Since she was ordered to get something for her employer, maybe she was something like a delivery girl? Regardless,
“Being in the same business as me would mean being unemployed.”
“Well, this jobless guy just outbid you by quite the margin. So, just how much did your master send you with?”
Felt addressed Elsa provocatively and in response she silently opened up her pouch.
As she overturned it, holy gold coins that glittered a dazzling silver poured out.
The overlapping sounds of metal falling caused Felt’s eyes to shine, and even Rom ended up making some noise.
By contrast, Subaru was instead focused on counting how many there were rather than their shininess.
If he wasn’t wrong―
“This is all my employer gave me. There were certain that this would be enough, but… Does it not quite suffice?”
Her question was directed behind Felt, toward Rom.
Rom counted the coins, and then looked down at Subaru’s uneasy expression and smiled.
“You don’t have to be such a baby about it. It’s not very manly… Twenty certainly is quite the sum, but didn’t I tell you yours was worth at least that?”
His large, rugged hands violently ruffled Subaru’s hair.
Subaru was still somewhat drunk, so being shaken like this caused him to feel absolutely horrible, but,
“It looks to me like Subaru has the advantage here. Sorry about your master, but you’d better take your coins back.”
That horrible feeling changed into absolute ecstasy when Rom said this as he pushed her coins back to her.
Felt threw her hands up without objection, and Elsa didn’t seem particularly disappointed as she shrugged. Subaru suddenly shot up into a pose of triumph, a reaction that seemed out of place.
“What?! It’s fine, isn’t it?! I was happy! In a certain sense, I’ve finally achieved my original goal! A little celebration is warranted, right?!”
“It’s not like anybody’s even saying anything, you’re getting too worked up. I’m happy so long as I make a bit of profit.”
“And I don’t imagine my employer will mind too much if I return without the insignia, so I haven’t much reason to persist.”
As Felt teased Subaru whose face had gone red, Elsa seemed rather unconcerned as she stood up.
It’s not like he was hoping to hear her lament her loss or anything, but the fact that she didn’t seem to care at all about failing did nag at him.
“Ah, sorry, Elsa. They might be mad at you, huh?”
“There’s no helping it. It’s not as if the fault was mine, they simply tried to get away with paying too little.”
“For twenty holy gold coins to be too little, that’s pretty tough.”
“Anyway, hasn’t my luck been crazy good?! Could it finally be my time?!”
Unlike the men who were sympathizing with Elsa, Felt’s attitude seemed as though she was completely unable to read the mood.
At any rate, it looked like he’d finally completed the trade that was giving him so much trouble.
Meaning that he was another step closer to his hope of repaying Satella, who had saved him when he first came to this world.
Technically speaking, he should probably tell Satella about Felt who had stolen her insignia, or Elsa who had ordered it, but in the end the only damages were Satella’s emotional state and Subaru’s phone.
He’d only spoken to them briefly, but Subaru didn’t have the heart to have them tossed in cells.
Surely this was the limit of opportunism.
“Well now, this didn’t exactly end well for me, but I’ll be taking my leave now.”
They all looked at her as she stood up.
Finishing up the last bit of milk, she once again erotically licked the rest off her lip, and then she turned to Subaru as if she’d just remembered something.
It felt as if her deep black gaze was wrapping around his heart, binding it.
“―Incidentally, what exactly do you intend to do with that insignia?”
Her tone seemed somewhat low and cold as she asked this.
The sweet sound of her voice on his eardrums was persuasive, as if forbidding him from lying.
“… Ah, I’m returning it to its owner.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, Subaru realized his mistake.
He’d just announced that he’d be returning the stolen item to the person it was stolen from, and he’d done so in front of the girl who stole it and the woman who ordered it.
That was no different from declaring he was an enemy,
“―So you’re involved too.”
―And it was more than enough to make him the target of Elsa’s cold killing intent.
He suddenly felt an impact to his side.
The force on his waist caused him to fall to the side, and he couldn’t do anything to brace himself as he hit the ground in an unsightly fashion.
Pain and a collision, his vision spun until he hit the ground, after which he raised his head to see Felt seemingly clinging to him.
“Are you a moron?! Run away, you wanna die?!”
―Hell are you doing, he tried to shout, but it was drowned out by Felt’s angry yelling.
Subaru’s surprise was evident on his face, from his low vantage point he could see Elsa who was still standing, looking his way.
“Ah, I missed.”
She said, tilting her head in curiosity.
In her hand was a weapon that didn’t quite fit her, one that had a dull gleam.
-A Kukri knife, as far as Subaru knew, that was what you called such a knife.
A knife about thirty centimeters long, with its body bent into a く shape, a member of a class of knives commonly known as Uchizori. He’d heard that the weight of the tip was such that it would tear a victim apart like an axe.
Even having brandished her knife, her smile hadn’t changed.
Judging by her stance, she had just swung that blade. If that was the case, Felt had saved him by jumping into him since he was in its path.
His fate was decided in an instant, moreover he hadn’t even realized what was happening, confronted by this fact, the fear set in far too late.
His warning bells were going off, and his heart was like an alarm as it pumped blood. The heartbeats he was hearing almost made it seem like his whole body was a heart, and he couldn’t stop the trembling in the arm that was supporting his body.
Despite his pathetic behavior, the situation continued.
Rom charged Elsa with a roar.
He was wielding the club he hadn’t let go of even during the negotiations, and was now trying to smash Elsa’s skull with it.
The speed at which he swung it down was extraordinary.
It surely weighed at least ten kilos, and yet he was swinging it like it was a twig, a feat that was a testament to the giants’ strength.
The club slammed into the ground, and the impact felt as though the whole building was shaking.
The shattered floor’s wood and the stolen goods scattered around were sent flying by this. As Subaru lay on the ground, a battle transcending common sense took place before him.
“This is my first deathmatch with a giant.”
“Keep talking, girl. ―I’ll smash you to pieces and feed you to giant rats!”
The club he was swinging to the side certainly had the destructive power he was talking about.
Its speed and power were such that any ordinary defense would be ripped apart like paper.
There wasn’t much room to move around, and if one were cornered by these blows they would be finished.
But on the other side, Elsa’s skill was also at a transcendent level.
Still holding her kukri knife with one hand, Elsa’s silhouette seemed to slip right past his maelstrom of attacks.
She advanced even as he unleashed attacks that would surely be lethal if they landed, dodging them by a hair. She was practically toying with him as she dodged around.
Subaru’s instincts told him this was bad.
This is really bad, something within him desperately echoed like an alarm.
“It’s okay. Rom couldn’t possibly lose! I’ve never in my life seen him lose, not even once!”
Subaru could only murmur with his lips shaking, and Felt responded with a shout showing her trust, as if trying to convince herself.
Her words showed trust that had built up over many years, trust that couldn’t be broken so easily.
Even as they joked around with each other the two clearly respected one another, a relationship borne of the long time they’d spent together.
But unlike Felt, Subaru wasn’t optimistic in the slightest.
This wasn’t one of the tussles she’d seen until now, this was a deathmatch.
Before his worries could take shape, there was a change in the battle before them.
Rom had kicked up a table as he roared. That was where they had been conducting their negotiations, its wood shattered into pieces, the fragments completely covering Elsa.
It was a curtain of splintered wood.
Aiming at her, Rom swung his club with all his strength.
He was swinging with such force that even a car would most likely end up smashed. However,
A sorrowful scream left Felt’s throat.
And then Subaru saw the result.
Rom’s right arm had been blown away, club still in hand, and was now spinning around.
His huge and burly arm had been ripped from his shoulder and flew through the air, spraying blood everywhere as it slammed into the wall.
The rain of blood that filled the room covered Felt and Subaru from head to toe. But they hadn’t the leeway to turn their attention to this fresh blood.
“I’ll at least take you down with―”
With his right arm gone, Rom’s shoulder was spraying blood like a hose.
He sprang forward with his huge body, making no attempt to reduce the bleeding as he aimed at Elsa with his other arm.
The wood fragments from the table had fallen to the ground, and there stood Elsa still holding the position of her swing.
Before she could turn her knife back around, Rom’s giant body would crush her.
But his fleeting last stand,
“I forgot to say this earlier― Thanks for the milk.”
Was stopped by the broken glass she’d brandished in her other hand.