He leaped into her waist, and embraced her small body as they fell toward the ground.
The instant before he hit the floor, he felt as though steel had singed the hair on the back of his head which made him shudder. But he forced himself to ignore it due to the weight in his arms, and tried to create some distance as they tumbled.
He got on his knees and turned around to find Elsa standing still with an expression of surprise. He felt as if he’d gotten one over on her, and donned a twitching smile at his triumph.
His smile almost made her retaliate, but she switched to defending against the rapid-fire icicles coming from behind her. Thankful for Not-Satella’s aid, he looked down into his chest,
“Are you okay?! It was a desperate situation, so please overlook it if I touched anything I shouldn’t have!”
“I’d have thanked you if you didn’t say that.― Wait, why?”
“No clue! My body just moved on its own! It’s seriously a miracle! Make miracle! If I had to say, it’s because I’m repaying a favor, although you probably don’t know what I’m talking about! You don’t!”[T/N: Subaru says ‘Make miracle’ in English]
He released Felt and clenched his fist, congratulating himself for somehow doing a good job.
In the second world, Felt had saved him from Elsa. He was able to repay her for that. But that was a meaningless memory in this world, and now both Felt and Subaru had fallen before her blade.
―But even so, the kindness he received wouldn’t just disappear. And if he could move now, he obviously had to see things through.
“Alright, I can move. Did that brush with death suddenly strengthen my resolve? Bravado is still bravery, recklessness is still courage. I’ll do it, it’s time to do it, gotta do it, have to do it, aren’t I gonna do it?!”
“Listen up, listen me. Listen closely, Felt. I’m going to start buying time just like Rom did before he fell in battle. I’ll create an opening one way or another, use that to run away. Run straight out of the entrance with all you’ve got, don’t look back. It’s what you call an escape, got it?”[T/N: Subaru says ‘listen me’ and ‘escape’ in English]
“―! Absolutely not! Are you really telling me to just turn tail and run?!”
Her red eyes looked up at him as if glaring, and he accepted the challenge and brought his face close.
He immediately noticed when for a moment, his strong will caused Felt’s expression to falter.
“That’s exactly right, turn around, tuck your tail in, and run. To be honest, that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to stay in this violent hellscape a moment longer than I have to.”
He patted her blonde hair with all his might and then took a breath, “But,”
“You’re fifteen, and I’m eighteen. So you’re probably the youngest one here. Therefore, we obviously have to choose whatever option gives you the best chance of survival. It’s obvious!”
“W-What are you… Don’t screw around, you were cowering in fear just moments ago.”
“That was then! This is now! I’m not cowering now, so it’s fine! Or rather, I’ll have to do this before the fear paralyzes me again. That’s how it is, so run!”
Subaru pushed on her forehead to silence any further objection, and then started warming up as he stood up. Rom’s club had also fallen out of his hand and tumbled nearby.
He picked it up with great effort, despite its extreme weight, he could still swing it.
“I can probably keep her in check with at least one good strike… Looks like I was right to swing that pointlessly large bamboo sword every day. To think it was all for this moment, not bad, me.”
He sang his own praises as he swung the club, and then held his breath as he waited for the right time.
Felt looked like she still had something to say as she held her breath behind him, but he didn’t have the time to deal with her indecision right now. Their chances of survival were probably dropping with every second.
There wasn’t any sign of sluggishness in Elsa’s movements as she danced through the ice. To begin with, Subaru couldn’t even begin to understand whether or not she was open considering his complete lack of actual combat experience.
Therefore, the instant Elsa’s view was blocked as she cut down a particularly large icicle, he forgot to even breathe as he brought the club down.
It seemed the desperate situation had increased his strength, he swung the club even faster than expected.
It was a blow that could split a human head like a watermelon if he scored a direct hit, but,
“Your aim was excellent. But unfortunately, you exuded too much killing intent, it made your attack obvious.”
“Killing intent?! I have no idea how I’m supposed to control that!”
Although he’d attacked from right behind her, Elsa slammed the back of her blade into the club, altering its trajectory to avoid it. As Subaru whined about the failure of his surprise attack, he bared his fangs,
“Now! Go, Felt―!!”
As if jolted by his shout, Felt’s small body dashed forward, riding wind itself.
She’d reached her top speed in a single step. She ran through the room so fast the human eye couldn’t track her, moving past the scattered icicles and frozen floor as her body headed toward the entrance.
“You think I’ll let her?”
To stop her, Elsa drew a knife and threw it from right beside her.
Perhaps as revenge for Felt’s interference earlier, the plain looking knife was going to plunge straight into her back as she ran. But,
“You’ll have to let her go!!”
Kicking up a nearby table, Subaru blocked the knife’s path.
His reflexive reaction produced results, the knife ended up piercing the table and thus could not reach its target. Subaru couldn’t help but internally applaud his miraculous feat,
“Awesome! But my toes hurt more than expected…Bubugaru?!”
A long leg kicked him in the side of his head, interrupting his praise midway and causing him to crash into a wall.
The impact was to his shoulder so his head was fine, but this unexpected force halted his thoughts. The pain finally set in, and he once again tasted blood in his mouth.
“How unusual, I feel just a little annoyed.”
“Well, that’s just great! Hahaa, That. Is. What. You. Get! I made you lose one! Now, let me enjoy your whining, you loser!”
Putting on a show of courage as he got back up, he relentlessly provoked Elsa to draw her attention.
He didn’t think it was a very reliable plan considering her personality, but as if reading his mind, her smile deepened and she completely disregarded Felt.
“Alright, I’ll play along. In exchange, don’t bore me with your dancing.”
“Let me warn you, you’d better be prepared if you wanna dance with me. I’m rather unrefined, so I’ll end up stomping all over your feet.”
He ended up taking some mental damage when he remembered how he couldn’t dance with the girl he liked at a certain folk dance.
He spat out the blood gathering in his mouth, and fixed his grip on the club he was holding.
He wouldn’t have very many chances to use it. So instead of thinking about using it like Rom or whatever, he focused completely on meeting Elsa head on as she approached.
“Don’t forget about me!”
As Elsa focused on the opponent in front of her, she was suddenly assailed by some ice from behind.
She swung her blade without even turning around and deflected the attack. Her senses transcended human understanding, even Subaru couldn’t crack jokes at this point.
“I’m tired of that game, though… Do you think you can still entertain me?”
She asked in a low voice, her smile the color of blood.
This smile sent a chill down Subaru’s spine, he then glanced at Not-Satella. When their eyes met, he gave her a slight nod,
“If you have some kind of hidden power or something, now would be a good time to use it.”
“… I do have a trump card, but if I use it I’ll be the only one left.”
“I’ve got this! I can still do it! It’s too early to use your trump card! Why give up so soon?! The fight is still even! Let’s do this, me!”
Subaru waved his limbs around to show he was in good health, trying desperately to stop her from giving up on everything. His frantic expression caused Not-Satella’s lips to relax even though they were in the midst of battle.
“I’m not going to use it. Not while you’re still trying so hard. Let’s struggle all we can― Running to daddy is my last resort.”
Her resigned expression as she said this caused something to light up within Subaru.
He thought it was rather unlike him to have this sort of sentiment well up from within.
It wasn’t like him, he wasn’t that kind of person at all.
He was always apathetic toward his surroundings, he was unaffected by whatever went on around him, no matter what sort of problem arose, he would never choose to face it earnestly, instead he would just casually wait around for it to fade away, like a cloud or something.
Pinning his hopes on others or having others place their hopes in him, he thought he didn’t care about any of that.
―Just now, he ended up hoping. And because of this hope, he was disappointed.
He had only ever seen her look tense or brooding as she looked for a certain something, so he wanted to see her smile.
But to think that this expression that looked like she was giving up, like she had resigned herself to whatever was going to happen, would be the first ‘smile’ he received from her, there was no way he would allow that.
“That doesn’t count…”
“Ignore what I just said! It’s all nonsense! I’m seriously fired up here!! I’m going to do this, damn it! I definitely won’t let you use that trump card!!”
He thrust his finger out, and announced this to both Not-Satella and Elsa.
He stomped his feet and sent spittle flying as he howled in excitement.
“Don’t make that sort of face, you’re wasting your beauty! And you, you damned sadist of the year, read the mood! Don’t make her look like that! You’re wasting your beauty too!”
“… Seems you have a little too much energy.”
“Because you haven’t managed to spill a single person’s blood! But this club, ‘Kotetsu’, has been lusting for your blood all evening! Fm! Fmm!”
He swung his club on the spot, like a bat.
Pulled by its weight, Subaru staggered around flustered as Elsa pointed her knife at him.
“That’s enough fooling around. It’s about time we started dancing, do try to keep up.”
“You too, don’t think this will be over too quickly. Don’t underestimate me, I’ll toss you with my right and slam you with my left!”
As Elsa leaned forward slightly, Subaru pointed his club at her as if he was announcing a homerun.
Because of this unnecessary gesture, he wasn’t able to respond in time when she leaped at him. He readied the club in a panic, and prepared to strike the slender figure flying toward him.
There was a strong wind as he swung from the side, this attack would blow Elsa’s head off.
He put everything he had into this merciless swing, prepared for the horrific sight it would create. It wouldn’t be strange if a direct hit turned part of her into mincemeat.
“As if I could beat her by showing mercy!”
The urgency of the situation meant Subaru couldn’t even think about holding back.
In response to this lethal blow, Elsa lowered her stance even further with practiced movements and continued to approach if slithering on the ground as she avoided his attack.
“You damned spider woman―!”
“Well, you are trapped in my web.”
Seeing the blade reaching up to him, Subaru immediately threw himself backward. However, he still couldn’t escape the blade’s range.
In an instant so short you’d miss it if you blinked, the memory of the first time he stood up on his own two legs flashed through his mind, his parents clapped and exclaimed ‘This kid might be a genius’.
“Damn it, looking at my current situation after that flashback, there couldn’t possibly be a more pathetic memory―!!”
The embarrassment this memory caused made his knees shoot up.
He hadn’t been aiming for anything, but Elsa ended up taking a direct hit to her torso as she slipped toward him.
She let out an erotic moan of pain and her blade’s path was thrown off slightly. There,
“An ice shield― Nice cover!!”
“I’m not very good at forming it where I want to. ― I almost ended up creating an ice sculpture there.”
“You mean her, not me, right?!”
A block of ice appeared near his face and stopped the blade, Subaru immediately spoke his thanks as he retreated, and Satella stated this as she wiped her forehead.
She then dodged his question and started firing another barrage of ice at Elsa to keep her in check.
“You insects are starting to become an annoyance…”
“Hey now, don’t go underestimating insects. You might be allergic to our bite!”
“You’re acting pretty cocky now that you’re in a safe spot.”
Elsa was focused on dodging the hail of ice, and Subaru was attempting to break her focus with his taunts.
He would have loved to slip behind her to attack, but if he carelessly stepped into that barrage he would probably be taken out by his own ally.
That was probably why Not-Satella had restrained her attack while he was fighting.
This was the level of teamwork you could expect from an impromptu team formed on the spot.
“However, the two worked together to overcome this trial and their bond deepened. Before they knew it, trust had turned into love and their burning passion could no longer be stopped…”
“I have no clue what you’re whispering over there, but it’s clearly something compleeeetely irrelevant.”
“To think of another girl while you’ve got a woman right in front of you, how very boorish.”
“They both hated it?!”
Elsa somehow kept her composure even in the midst of these rapidfire attacks.
Subaru continued to watch as Elsa deflected the ice, he would occasionally cut in with an attack of his own and then immediately retreat, he kept repeating this cycle as he thought.
Their steadily worsening situation hadn’t changed, it was obvious that Elsa could easily take out Subaru just like she did to Rom if she felt like it.
It only seemed like he was able to put up a fight because she possessed an overwhelming advantage in ability and was making light of him. The fact that Subaru’s fear would not let him step any further into lethal range was another reason.
If Subaru had more courage than brains, she’d probably end this equilibrium in a single swing.
Nonetheless, it didn’t seem his cowardice could prove useful for much longer.
The severity of her slashes was gradually increasing, and Subaru was steadily accumulating cuts as he failed to evade in time.
There were cuts on his arms, his calf, under his armpit, and even a shallow one on his neck, his gray jersey was starting to turn red as his blood stained it.
“Getting cut hurts! It hurts real bad! Even wounds of this level could make me cry!”
“―No good after all, huh.”
“Ah, sorry! I lied! Please ignore that! Don’t give up, don’t use that trump card! I can still do this! I’m completely fine, I’ve got this!”
He waved his hands to show Not-Satella he was fine, and then immediately performed a spinning kick.
He had aimed to catch Elsa off guard with an attack completely different from the pattern he established with the club. But,
“Right, got you.”
She easily avoided his kick, and then grabbed his leg before it could pass by. She raised her kukri knife aiming to chop off his entire leg. The force would easily tear through his leg in one stroke, its speed and sharpness were more than enough.
The shock from the blood loss and pain of having his thigh severed would kill him― He could see the words BAD END 4 appear before him.
“Nuooo! Whatever is within me, burn up―!!”
He immediately tried to raise the club to block, but the weight meant he couldn’t lift it in time while standing on one leg.
Not-Satella screamed in despair as the merciless slash reached his leg.
The premonition of horrible pain and fresh blood caused him to quite literally scream up blood―
Piercing the roof, a blazing inferno descended into the loot house.
The flame’s dreadful aura swept through the room and even halted Elsa’s brutal act.
Subaru stumbled backward when his leg was released and ended up falling on his butt.
And before him, within the swirling dust and smoke, he saw a crimson glow.
“It seems things were rather risky just now, but I’m glad I made it in time.”
The flame wavered as it stepped forward.
In its path was Elsa, who had retreated quite some distance. She adjusted her grip on the kukri knife as she faced the being before her, losing her composure for the first time.
Before this overwhelming sense of intimidation, she no longer had the leeway to enjoy herself.
Its dignified presence froze Subaru’s, Not-Satella’s, and even Elsa’s expressions.
Even with all their eyes on it, its handsome features did not waver.
The young man only had a single-minded sense of justice in his sky-blue eyes as his lips formed a slight smile.
“Now, it’s about time we finished this―!”
Brushing his crimson hair upward, the handsome youth loudly declared this.