This entry covers part of the tenth volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous entry, the protagonist went through his humiliating first time with the hundreds of years old child librarian Beatrice.
GPT-3 is a cutting-edge language processing algorithm used in the premium version of the online site AI Dungeon.
You must have finished cleaning your shameful mess in Beatrice’s library around three in the morning. When you finally returned to your bedroom, you needed to sleep enough so your mana would recharge. Around the time that people wake up to live like normal human beings, part human beings Emilia and Frederica knocked on your locked door so you could join them, but you had to bother explaining that you were fine, that you had been learning some magic with Beatrice but that you fucked up, and that they needed to let you rest. You finally emerged to the world around six in the afternoon, feeling completely out of synch for wasting most of a day.
You get out of the mansion through one of the many secondary doors, and breathe the fresh air of this day that is coming to an end. You spot Frederica in the distance, as she’s trimming some hedges near the main road that leads to the gate.
“So, how did your first magic lesson go?”, Puck says. He appears by your side and flies in a pirouette until he hovers near your face. “It’s hard to imagine you managed to cast any spell when you’ve seemed out of it ever since we returned to the mansion.”
You take another deep breath for a completely different reason.
“What, weren’t you attending my disgraceful lesson, flying while invisible and laughing at how much I botched that whole shooting mana thing, maybe while touching yourself?”
“I had things to do, important things, like scaring the hell out of some rats in a bin. But given your downcast eyes, I’m guessing you managed to disappoint our patient librarian.”
“Thankfully for you, your slothful nature as a great spirit prevents you from knowing how it feels to shoot your load before you even get to take off your pants, metaphorically speaking.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell Emilia. I fear that knowing such a detail might make her wonder whether her current infatuation is a sane path to pursue.”
You look to the side.
“Maybe you should tell her, then”, you mutter. “It’d make my life easier.”
“It’s not my place to tell anyone anything, much less my adoptive daughter Emi, when it would break her heart. Are you seriously still thinking about resisting her advances? Didn’t we speak about this at length while you were crying, back at Crusch Karsten’s den…?”
“I don’t remember speaking to you about anything. And I’m already married.”
Puck shakes his head.
“Ah, pretending to be Wilhelm, are we. While admiring that old guy could rub some of his savoir faire on you, his inability to move on from losing his wife is something to pity. As physically strong as he remains, psychologically he’s as weak as they come.”
You glare at the little cunt.
“If you are insulting me by proxy, I wouldn’t consider weak someone who defeated a great spirit in his mind. Imitate Petelgeuse if you want, try to possess me, see how that goes for you.”
A shiver makes Puck tremble from head to toe, and he retreats a bit.
“I assure you, kid, that of the few things I fear in this world, getting trapped in your mind is the most horrifying prospect.”
Your glare softens as you sigh deeply.
“So, what is it that you wanted?”
“To give you a heads up, so you don’t react like the unstable madman that you are when Emilia approaches you later on. She intends to employ her precious time giving you your first lesson to teach you how to read and write, something that you should have gone through as a child. You better appreciate her attentions. After all, she’s one of the sweetest, most beautiful gals in the world, and you are you.”
Although you can’t take Puck’s words as anything less than an attack, you are grateful that Emilia will bother teaching you such basic stuff. You figure that she has spent most of the day in her office, going through numerous official documents related to her wild attempt to become the next queen of this fantasy place. The poor girl must be stressed out, and spending time teaching you while simultaneously believing she’s romancing you is a nice way for her to relax.
When you finally sit next to Emilia in front of her office desk, with both your suppers waiting at the sides of her desk so you will eat them while you learn, you hadn’t considered that Emilia would step up her romancing game now that you’ve all returned home. She’s wearing a silky nightgown that shows both her bare shoulders and also a generous amount of cleavage. Although the half-elf’s tits aren’t on Priscilla’s level, or Rem’s level for that matter, or Frederica’s, she looks amazing. Her smooth, unblemished skin demands you to caress it, and whatever stuff she’s perfumed herself with is affecting your brain like an aphrodisiac. You are tingling all over, even occasionally in your crotch, although you keep shifting around to prevent it. Given that you are blushing profusely, and feeling your heart speed up, she must have noticed by now that you are avoiding to stare at her otherworldly gorgeous face, those big purple eyes, and her moist lips that demand yours.
As she nudges your shoulder with hers, she keeps finding excuses to touch your hand with her warm fingertips. The flirting itself must be exciting this naive girl, for whom the only person she could trust before you returned to her life was a completely untrustworthy would be mass murderer.
You do try to focus on tracing the few dozen characters of this fantasy world script. You have already seen most of them written around in the capital and on documents that people you knew were holding, while you wished silently that they never asked you to read it along with them, or for them. Thankfully those characters are relatively simple, closer to Western script than to Japanese. You figure that it won’t take a long time to become fluent with them, as long as you keep practicing. After all, you aren’t in school, and you are truly attempting to learn something useful.
Emilia has brought a few books of fairy tales that she cherishes from her own childhood, and she’s eager to share them with you. Her silver hair rests on your neck as she leans closer and reads softly word by word, asking you from time to time to pronounce some of the words made out of characters you have retained. It’s getting harder and harder to think when most of your blood is flowing downwards. You take bites of your cold supper to distract yourself.
You fall into daydreams that steal away your focus to the extent that Emilia had to snap you out of it, although kindly, a few times. You remember this very same Emilia trembling and crying her eyes out in the village’s plaza, when that villager with the wart was berating her for having caused, in his eyes, the death of his whole family. At her core, the half-elf seemed mostly shy and timid, and you are partly proud of how she’s blossoming by pursuing you, although it’s making your head spin and feel guilty as fuck. If Rem could see you now she would vomit, and possibly extract her custom flail from whatever magical pocket of her servant outfit she kept her weapon in.
The lesson comes to a point in which you can pronounce entire words by yourself as you follow the sentences on the book. The foreign-sounding syllables end up transforming into comprehensible words that for you sound like regular Japanese. It doesn’t make any sense.
The two of you, although Puck has decided to perch on your head, end up sitting on the carpeted floor, backs against the bed frame as the books lie open on your lap. It must be around two in the morning. The moonlight shines through the window, and the lantern’s glow has long since dimmed. Your eyes start to feel heavy.
“We should give up for tonight, Subaru…”, Emilia says softly.
You must have fallen asleep for a moment. You look over to see Emilia rubbing her eyes. You no longer feel Puck’s weight on your head, so maybe he’s gone through his spirit version of falling sleep.
“Yeah, you’re right… We can continue tomorrow night, or in the morning even. Although I’ve thought about waking up early from now on. I better take up on Wilhelm’s advice and swing for a while whatever sword I find somewhere around here. You are going to bed already, I’m guessing. Good for you that Roswaal, or some more thoughtful ancestor of his, put beds even in the offices.”
You realize you have spoken quickly out of nervousness. Like back during the carriage trip to the mansion, waking up next to the half-elf makes you feel as if you are cheating.
After you stand up and pat your legs absentmindedly, Emilia stands up enough so she can sit on the bed. She lifts her gaze towards you.
“You are going straight to sleep as well, aren’t you, Subaru?”
“Yeah… Listen, Emilia, thank you so much for teaching me both tonight and other nights to come. You have no idea how much not knowing how to read hinders my life, although thinking about it for a few seconds would make it obvious. And also thank you for allowing me to return home. I must admit, though, that you look so gorgeous that it was making it quite hard for me to concentrate on the lesson.”
Emilia laughs, and then keeps smiling at you so warmly that it makes you shiver.
“You look gorgeous as well, Subaru.”
Emilia blushes a bit, which is when you realize that she expects you to make a move on her. For a moment your brain pictures you sitting next to the half-elf, caressing her silky hair, Emilia turning her face slowly towards you while separating her moist lips and looking down at your mouth. You feel your palms sweating and heat going through your body. The thought of betraying Rem even in your imagination makes your throat tighten.
“You do know, don’t you?”, Emilia says with a sad voice.
You realize you must have stood there acting weird for too long. Emilia has lowered her gaze to her lap, and is holding her hands on top of the silky skirt of her nightgown, near her bare knees.
“Yes, I do, but it’s not that easy, and… well…” You have no excuses. You are only just realizing yourself of how selfish you are. “I’m in love with Rem. I can’t just betray her like that.”
Emilia’s face darkens, but is still looking down. She inhales deeply and exhales slowly. When she lifts her head, she looks at you with a tearful expression.
“What am I going to do, Subaru? Never have I met a man who could make me feel the way you make me feel, and yet you won’t even make a move. I can’t stop my…” She quits midway through that sentence, and lifts her hand to her heart. “And you fought so much to save me, to save all of us…”
She starts tearing up, and before you know it you sit next to her and hug her. She embraces you tightly, and her tears fall on your hand, which is placed on her back. The two of you stay like that for a while.
“You don’t need to feel sorry, Subaru”, she murmurs, trying to sound calm. “I won’t blame you for not loving me… My one wish is that we can be friends.”
“I do love you, Emilia. Just not the same way I love my Rem.”
“That’s fine. I just… I don’t want to lose you. We’ve been through so much already, and I don’t want you to think I’m some clingy girl who would hold a grudge against you for not reciprocating my feelings.”
“If that’s a real concern of yours, I assure you that I will belong to your side until the day I die. Until my final death, I mean. If that ever happens.”
You wake up shortly after sunrise the next day, even though you went to bed late. As you lie on your wide bed with your eyes open, you tell yourself that no way you are going through the trouble of standing up, taking a shower, dressing yourself, getting a sword and wandering to some appropriate spot of the huge yard to imitate Wilhelm’s routine. However, you figure that you’ve vanquished greater evils than finding the motivation to start training, so you jump out of bed. Shortly after you snatch a fancy sword, probably a family legacy, stored in a display case near the dining room, and you head out to the yard. The early morning’s air freshens your lungs while the mighty rays of the sun brighten your mood. You stand near a gazebo slightly hidden near some rows of hedges, and after you take a deep breath and you tell yourself that you aren’t doing something stupid, you imitate Wilhelm’s swings.
After a while the muscles in your arms and in your back get hotter, and you feel stronger. You figure that if you do this for a week, your strength will begin to go up. Your body will adapt to the exercises, and maybe you’ll soak in some of Wilhelm’s aura of murderous heroism.
In between your grunts, some of them exaggerated, you realize you are hearing the sound of something like scissors trimming the nearby hedges. You get uncomfortable. A couple of minutes later Frederica pops up from behind one of the wall-like hedges. She’s already smiling, unsurprised to find you here, so you figure she has been spying on your graceful, manly movements for a while. She’s wearing gloves and holding some sharp scissor-like thing you can’t name, and she’s gathered most of her voluminous, light blonde hair in a hair tie. She seems so zestful and awake at this hour that in comparison you feel as if your body must be operating on a quarter of her reserves of energy.
“I didn’t take you for such a determined warrior, Mr. Natsuki.”
Her voice sounded friendly, but the comment still annoys you.
“Morning, lioness. Turns out there are many fascinating things you don’t know about me.”
She smiles broadly, to the extent that the sun glistens on her predatory teeth, and you get the impression she wasn’t paying attention to what you said. Even though you haven’t stopped swinging and you are standing quite close to the gazebo, Frederica skillfully moves in front of you.
“Are you looking for someone to spar with?”, she asks.
“I didn’t take you for the sword fighting type.”
“I haven’t for a long time, since I was a child… Does swinging like that improve your skills, when you lack an opponent?”
You stop at the end of your current swing, and after thinking about it for a moment, you shrug.
“You know, I have no fucking clue. A guy I admire and whom I witnessed murdering a few very dangerous people did this every morning, and unless he was fighting his inner demons… Shit, he might have been.”
Frederica’s smile has not faded one bit. If she was someone else, you would have been creeped out, but you can sense that this girl is as easy-going as they come, yet still intelligent.
“I think you should continue your training… Maybe you should try to find an opponent?”
“Then it would be a sparring match.”
“We could also wrestle for a bit.”
Your brain freezes mid-swing, and your legs break out of your stance. When you recover your footing, you hold on to your sword as if to give yourself confidence. After a shiver runs down your spine, you concentrate on the glints of sunlight that brighten your blade, so you stop your mind from finishing the pictures it was drawing.
“I… I would say yes, Frederica, and I would also say yes. However, any wrestling match between us would consist on you pinning me down immediately with your superior German body, me losing most of my strength because I would feel your bountiful attributes compressing against me, and in turn you would find yourself occasionally poked by my rock-hard erection. So unless you are into that…”
Frederica laughs loudly while closing her eyes tight, and a moment later she hides her mouth with her hand. Her shoulders shake. When she lowers her hand, she’s still displaying her triangled teeth.
“Too bad lady Emilia wouldn’t like that one bit, would she?”, she asks with a giggly voice.
She then leaves, disappearing behind some hedges. You stand there trembling as your heart beats quickly, and it takes you a bit of deep breathing to even attempt to return to swinging your sword. That damn teasing, exceedingly hot lioness.
Otto looks like he’s living the life. Despite your horror stories, he has used the bathhouse, which would admittedly feel really good if it wasn’t because you were permanently scarred there, and the merchant now also knows the joys of lounging half naked on an outdoor reclining chair while a precocious, skimpily dressed twelve-year-old serves him drinks, joys that in your previous world were usually reserved to the one-percenters.
When you walk up to Otto’s side and he notices you, he grins and greets you cheerfully. He takes a sip from his drink.
“I have to say, these drink aren’t as strong as that part beast servant claimed, but this all feels pretty damn cushy.”
“When you’re done with your absolute power trip there, maybe you and I could go down to the village to secure some food supplies. We might run through our reserves before the end of the week.”
“Oh, of course. Always thinking about the future, that’s Mr. Natsuki!”
“That’s me, I guess.”
“I heard from the ladies that you received your first magic lesson from the mansion’s librarian. I tried to check out the place, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.”
“And you likely won’t. It’s protected by a spell. However, unless you want your back to break, you’d rather steer clear of the librarian. She’s a great spirit with a short fuse. After I botched casting my first spell, she had me cleaning the bookshelves for hours.”
Otto looks down and he seems suddenly worried, a huge contrast with his previous attitude. He then takes another sip.
“But you did learn something, didn’t you?”
“Technically I would be able to cast the one spell she taught me, and like the madman with a hammer than I am I see all of you as nails for this recently acquired ability of mine, but Beatrice, that librarian, told me that I have damaged by gate by shooting all of my gooey essence at once. Until she gives me the thumbs up to try again, I should forget that I am a mighty magician.”
Regarding your recently activated magic senses, though, you don’t know whether to be worried or excited about Beatrice’s likely accurate discovery that you have two superpowers. Why would you have a new one? And why hasn’t it become obvious already? As you lied in bed, you explored the threads of control that you recognized regarding which parts of your body you can move to any degree, something you had become acutely aware of when Petelgeuse tried to steal your body, but you didn’t find anything new. Maybe you need to practice more until you recognize and strengthen that new muscle. However, you already know that it is witch-given. Did Satella grant you another blessing slash curse deliberately? Either way, you’re a freak.
Half an hour later you and Otto get together with the two servants in the kitchen area. Frederica is speaking about which supplies you should attempt to gather in the village. When Otto suggests that you both should bring a written list, Frederica shoots you a knowing yet considerate look, and hurries to begin writing the list herself. Ram must have told her you can’t read so Frederica, as a servant, knew with what she shouldn’t inconvenience you, and you figure that Petra has found out about it as well. You glance at Otto. You had asked Emilia to teach you how to read back at the carriage, but you don’t know how clearly the merchant could hear from the driver’s seat, nor how loud you both were speaking at that moment. You find this secrecy humiliating. There are far worse things in life, you know it damn well, than being illiterate.
“Emilia is teaching me how to read and write,” you say, “and she turned out to be talented at making somewhat idiotic people learn stuff. So in a short while I won’t burden you girls with this task on top of the many others you take care of.”
Frederica is addled for a moment, but she smiles softly. Her eyes tell you that she understands you wanted to free her both from having to hide your weakness.
“That’s very kind of you,” the lioness says, bowing her head a bit to you.
“Well, I mean, you both deserve a break every now and then. And maybe you could teach me how to prepare some of those… soups or whatever it is you make.”
Otto has arched an eyebrow and is looking down at the table as if thinking about your interaction.
“Care to share your thoughts, Otto?”, you say.
“To be honest, the question that sparked in my mind was how would a general organize such an operation as the one I got myself tangled in, when he doesn’t know how to read nor write.”
“For starters, I did tell you that me being a general was a historical anomaly. I can almost assure you that you will never witness me leading another operation like that, and not precisely because we intend to kill you and bury you in the garden. How come I have managed to get by in this fantasy world despite being illiterate? I have an excellent memory and good sense of orientation. Nah, just kidding. I have managed to survive because I can rely on awesome people who do stuff I can’t do.”
Otto, still looking down at the table, smiles a bit.
“Good to know that you can lead an army to victory by trusting your subordinates and really knowing how the whole system works.”
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I really know anything, but I will continue relying on others’ talents as soon as when we reach the village, because you’ll likely have to deal with the local vendors yourself.”
“Alright then, sounds like a solid plan.”
Both servants look towards the door, and you realize that Emilia has entered the kitchen, seemingly attracted by the lively conversation. The half-elf eyes you all shyly as if she feels left out.
“Is something going on…?”
“Oh!”, Otto blurts out. “We’re just preparing to leave for the village. You’re welcome to join, lady Emilia!”
“Th-thank you… but I’m not sure if my face will be welcome there…”
Otto frowns a bit as he looks at her directly in the eyes.
“Of course it will! You have done nothing wrong!”
“… You didn’t hear?”
Emilia closes her eyes and sighs.
“The village… The villagers think I’m a witch.”
Otto opens his mouth to insist, but you interrupt him.
“Yeah, I don’t know what kind of atmosphere we are going to find down there, with seemingly only a quarter or fewer of the villagers remaining after Ram took quite a few with her to Sanctuary, and we already know that some are pissed, although maybe just at me. If you don’t want to come, that’s alright, Emilia. Do you want us to bring you something, though?”
“Yes, some fruit would be nice. Some appas maybe…”
Shortly after you and Otto are following the main road out of the mansion’s grounds, when the merchant points to his carriage.
“Let’s find your ground dragon, Mr. Natsuki. I have a carriage, so we might as well use it.”
You nod, and call out Patrasche’s name. She soon lumbers out from behind some hedges alongside the road and obeys your calls to approach the carriage.
“Ain’t she the cutest girl you’ve ever seen?”, you say to the merchant as you pat the ground dragon’s scaly flank.
“She’s certainly a good deal less scary than the bigger ones”, Otto says. “I mean, she doesn’t even have big teeth or anything. Not to disparage your loyal ground dragon, though, but she doesn’t hold a candle to lady Emilia!”
While he says this, he looks over at the carriage with a starry gleam in his eyes, which makes him miss the glance that Patrasche shoots at him. You smile and pat the merchant’s back.
Once you reach the village, Otto parks on one side of the main plaza, where you recall that one of the frontlines of both Crusch’s soldiers and the Iron Fang’s mercenaries had battled to the death against the tide of cultists. Maybe due to the lack of hoses in this fantasy world, some patches of the dirt remain dyed reddish-black, as if the liters of blood had become mixed permanently with the ground. Most of the two-story houses facing the plaza have been ruined, and a few have collapsed entirely. Nobody has cleared the rubble piled up, although some villagers have extracted or dislodged some furniture from the damaged houses, which is gathered near their front walls as if waiting for some waste collector to carry them away.
When you and Otto climb down from the driver’s seat, you are gazed upon by a few villagers. All of them are either in their twenties or early thirties, and have the expected weary but determined look in their eyes. They are all dressed in worn yet still colorful clothing. Some whisper to each other, and others avert their eyes.
Otto leans towards you.
“Mr. Natsuki, they could hardly be more suspicious. They behave as if they had been insulted.”
“I don’t know where they could have gotten that idea. But let’s forget about these fuckers and hit whatever passes for grocery stores around these miserable parts.”
You and Otto wander around until you find a building with something similar to a storefront. The man in his thirties that was chopping meat inside doesn’t look pleased with your arrival, particularly when he recognizes you as the one who convinced them to evacuate the village, but after you exchange some of Roswaal’s spare change, the guy relaxes as if life has returned to normal. You repeat this routine in two other stores until you’ve found most of the items that Frederica requested, including a bunch of appas for Emilia, but you and Otto quickly lose your determination to find out what corner of the village could sell the remaining items, because the quality and amount of onlookers have upgraded from people you casually passed by to a bunch of people following you both. You walk briskly with your groceries towards the carriage parked in the village’s plaza. You hear some mumbling on your way, but try not to pay attention.
As Otto loads the groceries on the back of the carriage and you pat Patrasche’s head, you suddenly hear a yell from behind.
“Are you just going to leave without addressing us!?”
You turn around and see a group of people, about seven or eight, catching up to you both. While they aren’t the biggest bunch of dudes you’ve faced, they do look particularly angry.
“Yeah, you’re that bastard aren’t you? The one who ordered everyone to evacuate!”
One of the villagers, a guy in his mid twenties with a conspicuous sewn wound on his bare arm, has a firm grip on a rock.
“I am that bastard, yeah”, you say calmly. “Do you have something to say?”
The guy who addressed you frowns and looks back to his friends, who all seem to be encouraging him. Patrasche growls a bit.
“Look at our houses! That one near the corner is mine, and the whole second floor collapsed during the fight, crushing most of my stuff on the first floor! I’m occupying now one of the vacant houses, and I don’t even know if it belongs to someone who got killed by that cult, or to any of the villagers that left with that scary, grumpy, pink-haired servant girl!”
“What about me?” Another villager, with a big bushy beard, speaks up. “My house collapsed as well, and I lost my business with it. We all did!”
“Yeah! What about us!?”
Otto places a hand on your shoulder, and Patrasche growls.
“Mr. Natsuki, I don’t think we should…”, Otto says with a trembling voice.
You wave him off and turn back to the villagers.
“Well, I hope you get them houses fixed soon. It’s not right to live in other people’s abodes, or on the streets. You don’t even have proper pavement in your village, its just a bunch of dirt! I would be pissed too.”
“That’s what you should tell us! When will you rebuild them!? We need to return to our normal lives! And we have lost many if not most of our possessions as well!”
One of the villagers who you hadn’t noticed, and who has been silent this whole time, a young girl around seventeen, steps forward.
“They’re right, mister noble. We have lost everything, and now we’re forced to live a life we didn’t choose!”
You shake your head.
“Do I look like a construction worker? Why the hell would I be in charge of rebuilding your shit? Just because I told you to evacuate to avoid getting massacred by that cult?”
Some of the villagers look at each other. The guy with a bushy beard frowns in confusion and raises his voice.
“You work for the lord! Don’t pretend that you don’t! He’s responsible for our security, and the village was almost destroyed when those cultists attacked! We lost so many people! And where are the ones that we sent with that pink-haired servant!? We haven’t heard anything from them!”
“Ah, you think I represent that clown. Listen, Roswaal is missing. He was missing already when the Witch’s Cult almost Apocalypsed the world, and he hasn’t returned yet. We can’t locate him nor find out what happened.”
A few villagers complain at the same time, but the bearded guy interrupts them by speaking louder.
“We don’t care! We’re not stupid! You work for the man who destroyed our lives and homes, you have to help us!”
Before you answer, the girl continues with a conciliatory tone.
“The lord abandoned us during the assault, and now we don’t know when we will be able to return to our own homes. We can get by because the cultists didn’t burn our farms nor kill our animals, but we feel that we haven’t been supported in any way!”
You have grown angry, but not at these idiots for bothering you, but at Roswaal. If he hasn’t returned because some trouble in that Sanctuary place restrained him there, if he simply chose to stay away, you don’t think you will be able to let that pass. It’s not just that he abandoned the villagers as well as his own employees, but that he forced you to deal with the aftermath of his indolence. Crusch would have faced the tide of cultists and sliced many of them in half, and then she would have organized the reconstruction the next day. She would have sent some of her staff to feed the villagers if necessary.
“Let me tell you something”, you say with a raspy voice. “That motherfucking clown abandoned us too. His own people. We knew the cult was coming to murder our friend and kill everybody at your village, and that Roswaal just left. I had to break my back and inflict an unhealthy amount of mental scars upon myself so I could bring over a couple of armies so as few people as possible got killed. And after we managed to survive that nightmare, the clown hasn’t returned yet. We can’t get to where he’s supposed to be, because he hasn’t told us the location. You guys have the right to be angry. I would personally beat that lazy piece of shit up if I got the chance.”
The sheer honesty of your words causes them to reassess you. A guy murmurs that you are right, that he saw you during the battle as you were fighting. Their expressions shift, and some look back with a bit of remorse in their eyes.
“I didn’t expect such a statement from someone like you”, one of them says, a guy who had kept quiet.
You suddenly realize that you can’t just wait, even if just because these people won’t stop bothering you about whatever Roswaal does or doesn’t. The clown should answer for himself.
The guy with the bushy beard has kept frowning since the confrontation started, and doesn’t seem to have any intention to calm down.
“You can dismiss our complaints easily because you live at that huge mansion! You enjoy every kind of luxury! What would you know about losing your home, finding out that most of your stuff has gotten destroyed? And plenty of the villagers that have survived have lost family members!”
“I lost my home and my family too”, you say with a hollow voice.
Your words as well as your tone throw the guy off for a moment, but he ends up shaking his head.
“No! You’re different, because you had that mansion to run back to! You stay there enjoying the good life! If you really understood how we feel, you wouldn’t be able to dismiss our concerns this easily.”
Before you recover from your sudden gloom, another guy, who had hidden himself behind a larger man, contributes to the conversation for the first time.
“M-Maybe we should take the mansion for ourselves!”
Otto mutters something with a trembling voice, and out of the corner of your eye you notice him shuffling towards your back, maybe to the carriage.
A weasely looking kid in his early twenties encourages the previous idiot’s idea by shouting that they should burn things down, in general. To be fair to most of the crowd, they insist on shushing those two.
You sigh deeply.
“Again with the burning stuff down. Good luck. Everybody who tries to assault the mansion will die, the same way we took care of the Witch’s Cult. Roswaal might be an indolent clown, but he hires his maids for their combination of hotness and murderous abilities. Our resident lioness alone would be able to handle all of you pitchfork-wielding motherfuckers.”
The crowd seem dumbfounded by your outburst. You climb to the driver’s seat calmly, and when Otto unfreezes, still wide-eyed, he does the same and grabs the reins. Patrasche keeps glaring at the crowd and showing her teeth.
“We will locate the clown and make him pay, in many ways. If Ram is still alive, every villager who left must be hanging out with our bitchy servant. No way she let them die if she’s still standing. Now get out of the way.”
Otto snaps the reins, and the carriage rolls forward. The villagers stare at you as you leave. You assume they didn’t move out of fear of Patrasche or perhaps a mixture of embarrassment and confusion.
One of the villagers snaps out of it enough to shout at you in particular.
“A-And I don’t fuck goats! That’s a dirty thing to do!”
You turn towards him and reply loudly.
“You avoid fucking goats because of the unhygienic aspect of it, huh? I wouldn’t care if you fucked all your barn animals. We all have our fetishes.”
Once Patrasche is already pulling uphill, Otto looks over his shoulder, and when he realizes that the village has disappeared behind a bend on the road, he slumps his shoulders and lets out a deep sigh. He holds his trembling left hand in front of his face, which is slowly regaining its color.
“Mr. Natsuki, you are cold as steel! You weren’t fazed by those rough looking men becoming more and more hostile! That’s a general for you. No wonder even such a bunch of unruly half-beast mercenaries followed you!”
“The Iron Fang is a professional mercenary band. And again, you are too fixated on my role in that operation!”
“That’s how I was introduced to you! My very first impression! Goodness, my heart… You looked as if you could have vanquished those villagers single-handedly if they had attacked you.”
You pat him on the shoulder a couple times.
“No, I wouldn’t have been able to do shit. I suppose that my natural confidence helps, but the fact is that dying doesn’t bother me.”
Your cold words cause him to flinch.
“You mean that you don’t value your life? Well, I do fear death, and you were almost welcoming it! Wait, don’t tell me that you are suicidal!”
“You are going to accuse me of that too?”
“Other people have already brought it up!? Mr. Natsuki… Is this about your unfortunately comatose girlfriend?”
You rub your eyes. You feel tired all of a sudden.
“Sorry, Otto. It’s just that after you have lost your dick and still survived with your sanity relatively intact, few things can truly bother you.”
Otto lets out a noise of distress. He shoots a glance at your crotch, but he then straightens his back and stares forward as his face whitens again.
“You have been castrated”, he states with a thin voice. “By the gods… I can’t… I don’t know what to say about that. Now I understand why it affected you so much to face your lord’s member from so close. It reminded you of your nightmarish trauma!”
You turn towards him on your seat and shake your hand dismissively.
“Hey, don’t go claiming shit like that! I lost my dick, yes, but I recovered it since. It’s all good.”
Otto alternates between following the ascending road and trying to read your expression.
“I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that a camp with such competent magic users would be able to reattach a cut-off penis, but I don’t believe for a second that everything returned to normality!”
“You don’t believe it!? Let me show you then!”
You lift your ass off the seat to pull down your pants and underwear enough. It’s chilly. Otto raises his palm next to his face as a screen so he won’t see your crotch even involuntarily.
“No! I’m sorry I doubted your words, Mr. Natsuki!”
“No way! You don’t tell a guy that his dick don’t work no more and then not expect him to prove otherwise!”
“Stop it, please! We will end up crashing!”
Note from December 2020:
I’m taking my sweet time with this first act of the fourth arc, but there’s plenty more to set up than in the original novels or the anime adaptation due to how the retelling has diverged from the original events. I’m loving the dynamic with the new cast members, particularly with the German lioness, but I miss Crusch’s crew.