“You truuuuly are mysterious. Having come to the residence of Roswaal L. Mathers in the Kingdom of Lugunica, yet not knowing the circumstances? And somehow making it through the kingdom’s exaaamination process upon entering the country?”
“Aaaah weeeeell, I guess I’m something like an illegal immigrant in a sense, huh.”
By the time he’d realized it, he had entered this country, but was there anything wrong with that? That was pretty much how he felt.
Subaru’s casual response surprised Emilia, and then she glared at him with righteous indignation, as if scolding a young child. “You’re unbelievable. Have you ever thought about what would happen if we reported this to the authorities after saying such a thing so easily? You could be carted off to jail without warning and turned into mincemeat there.”
“Nobody uses mincemeat these days.”
“This is no laughing matter. Hey, Subaru. Are you really ok? Is everyone where you come from like this? Or do you just stand out?”
Subaru, feeling sorry because Emilia was feeling truly worried about him, scratched his head and reflected on his own behavior. “Err, it’s just that I have a bit of a bad memory. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I would be most grateful if you could fill me in on this matter.”
“It seems like you come from a good family based on how you’re using words like that, but…”
Subaru’s social life would have been completely screwed if he used proper language in a very halfhearted manner, such as this instance, when going out and interacting with others. And Emilia seemed like someone who was easy to fool, which made him worry about her. “Could it be…? Could it be that you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of these things as well, Emilia-tan? Right now, your sentences were a mess with humble language and respectful language jumbled up together.”
“Err… I can’t really deny it,” Emilia replied, shrinking into herself after hearing Subaru’s observation. Seeing her like that was rather surprising for him, since he thought she looked like she was knowledgeable on everything, but it was not the withering girl who followed up from that, but the silent Roswaal, who’d been sitting in the seat of honor.
“I doooo understand what you have pointed out, howeeeeever, Lady Emilia is currently studying such things.”
“Studying, huh,” said Subaru. “Wait a sec, is it connected to what we were talking about earlier?”
“Ahaaaa. How excellent. Quite thoughtful, aren’t you. And iiiit is because of that thoughtfulness that you can spill out such thooooughtless-sounding statements.”
“It’s just common sense to think while you live. Even if your limbs feel heavy, and snot drips from your nose, and the contents of your stomach spill out, a person has a responsibility to think, right?”
“Such a distuuuurbing example. It’s almost as if you have experienced these things youuurself…”
Those words were, of course, based on things he had actually experienced himself.
Perhaps due to Subaru’s words leaving a deep impression on him, Roswaal held out his hand, which the maids placed his notebook and pen in.
After quickly putting down the things that had just occurred, Roswaal once more turned to face Subaru. “Veeery goooood. Iiit’s great how you’re just brimming with ideas.”
“How many times do you write in that notebook in a single day? How many volumes have you written in your life?”
“As far as that question is conceeeerned, it is a sacrament of the House of Mathers. Too baaad, but I’m not telling.”
Subaru wearily averted his eyes at the sight of the refined older man who suddenly acted with a bit of an attitude.
Subaru was increasingly perplexed about what to do about someone who had a stronger character than himself. Coming in at just the right time was Emilia, who cleared her throat in an attempt to steer the conversation back onto the original topic.
“Now then, let’s get back on track. Subaru, do you know what’s currently going on in this country—in the Kingdom of Lugunica?”
“I totally have no idea what’s going on here. Not even a little.”
“It’s refreshing to hear you saying that without any hesitation to that extent. The way you’ve been acting until now has done nothing but surprise me, Subaru. Stuff like that was reaaally making me worried about you.” Getting over her astonishment, Emilia began to look at him as if he were a child.
He wasn’t trying to execute a plan to arouse her mother-hen-like instincts or anything, but in consequence, it seemed like the growing distance between their hearts was like one between a Mother and Child.
Trying to somehow reconcile their widening difference in age, Subaru pestered her with a “So what! So what!”.
“You’re such a baby. Umm, martial law is currently being enacted in Lugunica. And it is especially strict when it comes to going in and out of the country.”
“Martial law… That doesn’t sound very good.”
“—Aaahaaa, it doesn’t sound very goooood, indeed. —In any case, the Kingdom of Lugunica currently lacks a king.” Roswaal ended up answering for her. Scrutinizing what he had just said, Subaru gulped silently, having figured out the significance of those words.
He glanced at the expressions of Emilia and the twins, and then Beatrice and Puck. They didn’t appear to be shaken up about it at all, which meant this fact was common knowledge here. On top of that, he felt cautious at the fact that he, someone equivalent to an outsider, was informed of such a thing, but…
“No need to worry! This grave truth is already well-known by the public, you see.”
“Oh, that’s good. Well, I figured you guys would go, ‘We won’t let you make it out alive’, because I just learned a secret that would threaten your positions or something.”
“That’s just sad if it were to happen, since we were the ones who revealed it… Anyways, the whole nation is preeetty unstable right now,” Emilia interjected.
“This is where the martial law thing comes iiiin. In such a situation where there is no ruler, it wouldn’t be desirable to carry sources of conflict into other countries, nor would it be good to do the opposite.”
I see, thought Subaru as he grasped what had just been said.
A kingdom without a king would be a lethal blow to its operations. Whether they died from an illness or otherwise, the country was shaken to its core by the sudden Death of a king.
“Mmmm, wait a second. Isn’t it usually the case that everything gets solved when the children of the king take over? Or like, they’ll have a regent with them if they’re too young?”
“Oh-ho, it seems that you can keep up with this conversation. Anyhow, that iiis usually the case. Howeeever, something happened half a year ago. It has been said that at the same time His Majesty passed away, a disease ran rampant within the castle…”
As Roswaal told it, it was announced that the epidemic was one that only affected a particular bloodline. And so, the king and his descendants that had lived in the royal castle perished.
“Then it’s true that there’s no king, huh? And if that’s truly the case, then what’s gonna happen to the country, then? If there is no royal bloodline, then what are you gonna do, start a democracy and elect a prime minister?”
“I dooo not understand the second half of what you said, but currently, the country is managed by a Council of Elders who oversee its affairs. It was formed from distinguished families who have left their mark in the kingdom’s history. Iiiit won’t have much of an effect on the operation of the government itself.”
After pausing for a moment, he let out an “However—” and with a stiffened expression, said, “—A kingdom must have a king.”
“Yeah, of course.”
Even if the person at the top didn’t manage anything and was just a mere figurehead, no organization came into existence without someone heading it. Even more so for something like a country.
Even in Japan, where a lot of importance was placed on democracy, a prime minister existed at the top. That applied even if the position came with heavy responsibility and was frequently replaced by another person.
“Then, since the kingdom lacks a king, a new one needs to be selected. But the bloodline was pretty much destroyed. So a new king needs to be selected in a way that everyone finds acceptable.”
“—Really, you’re such a strange boy, Subaru. Even without knowing anything, you can come up with such things, can’t you? I feel like you’re something like a clever fool.”
“Don’t praise me like that! I’m not used to being praised, so if you praise me like that, I think I might just fall in love with you!” Subaru turned his gaze away from Emilia and said that over his shoulder so that he might hide his embarrassment.
He slapped his reddening face, so as to justify why it was like that, then turned towards Roswaal. After organizing his thoughts, he raised his finger up at him. “I see. I think I’ve got the gist of it now. In other words, the country has no king and is in a bit of a rut trying to select a new one. Your relations with other countries are diminishing in significance and you’re basically in a state of mini isolation. So a mysterious foreigner like me showing up is—totally suspicious!!”
“Fuuuurthermore, by coming into contact with Lady Emilia, you have become associated with the House of Mathers. If they were one with a hasty disposition, that’s all they would need to…” With his eyes closed, Roswaal mimicked a guillotine by ‘cutting’ his neck with his hand, as if it were a blade. Giving that gesture a sidelong glance, Subaru broke into a cold sweat due to having an ominous feeling.
“H-Hey! I think I can imagine what’s going on from the pervert’s words just now! Looking at the House of Mathers, I feel like it has such a fine lineage. Perhaps you’re connected to the Council of Elders, or maybe even a possibility of something more than that—!?” Based on the current flow of the conversation, that was the best guess Subaru could make.
The way he was telling the story, as if he was relishing each big reveal he made, the way he crafted the flow of the story just now… It hardly seemed like what someone looking upon the situation from the outside would say.
Therefore, it would only be natural for him to think that the lord of such a large manor, who most certainly came from a fine lineage, would be associated with such things. With such thoughts in mind… “As an apology for my i-insolence, I would like to ask for your forgiveness by offering my whittle finger… at least my whittle finger to you.”
“For you who has such a frightening imagination, there is good news. You can be at eaaase, alright? I am nooot associated with the Council of Elders, nor am I in a position to be involved with the kingdom’s throne at present, you seeee. —Riiight, Lady Emilia?”
With Subaru’s finger presented on the table, Roswaal chuckled as if he’d just heard a great joke. He then looked at Emilia for her approval, who responded with silence while she frowned.
Subaru was about to explode at Roswaal due to his suggestive behavior in that moment, but suddenly felt that something was off and put a stop to such thoughts.
He had been really curious about something since awhile back.
“Why is…the lord of this manor calling Emilia-tan lady?”
The person who held the highest position in the household was always paid the greatest amount of respect.
Subaru turned his gaze to Roswaal to make sure of it, and his budding anxiety quickly began to bloom into a flower of complete dread. And—
“Is it not naturaaaal to address someone of higher rank than I with reeespect?” With his hands folded on top of the table, Roswaal uttered that with a gleeful smile.
Dumbfounded, Subaru froze with his mouth agape. He looked at Emilia so robotically that one could hear the sound of gears turning. The girl then sighed with resignation. “I don’t want you to think that I was trying to trick you or anything, alright?”
“—Err, that is to say, Emilia-tan, you’re…?”
Subaru had yet to be discouraged from using the ‘tan’ nickname he’d given her.
As if striking the finishing blow on him, who wanted to deny such a reality, she continued, “Currently, my title is Royal Candidate, one of those seeking to become the 42nd ruler of the Kingdom of Lugunica. With the backing of Margrave Roswaal, that is.”
Her words alarmed Subaru so much that he felt like the hurdle had risen to the height of a space elevator.
—The person I grew attracted to ended up being a queen.
A sentence like that crossed his mind. Well, she was technically a queen candidate.
“A phrase like ‘queen candidate’ has such an erotic feeling to it.”
“I reaaaally don’t know what that’s all about, but I’m talking seriously.”
“Waaaah, such a cold gaze is making me tingle… As one would expect from a queen. Don’t look at me as if I’m a lowly pig!”
“I’m not looking at you in such a horrible way, okay? I wish you wouldn’t say things like that, Subaru!”
Subaru threw himself down onto the table, trembling a bit, the rebuke of the very close-by beauty causing him to writhe in agony. So that he could hide his facial expression, he laid face-down on the table, but his heart was actually pounding hard, expressing his true feelings.
In any case, he didn’t want Emilia to see the pathetic look he had on his face now.
The Queen Candidate… If he were to be frank, other than the stuff he was familiar with in games and manga, he had no idea how a despotic world where kings ruled at the top worked.
Nevertheless, when it came to the potential ruler of a nation, he knew that such a person was one that was far-removed from the masses.
Not to mention that Subaru didn’t even have a family register in this world. To put it in a nutshell, he was in a position to be discredited from even being placed into the same category as the masses.
Not to mention his audacious feelings of love being quickly shot down, but knowing Emilia’s status on top of her being beautiful really knocked him down a notch.
He had no doubt that it was like climbing to the top of a space elevator with his bare hands.
“Oh Jesus, say it ain’t so! My path of love is surprisingly full of roadblocks, if I do say so myself. Romeo, who loves Juliet, surely feels for me!”
“Hold on, are you okay, Subaru? You became silent all the sudden, so…”
When he raised his teary-eyed face, Emilia was reflected in his blurred field of vision. It seemed like she was looking down at him with concern with her amethyst eyes.
Her skin was as white as untainted snow, and the sound she emitted from her thin pink lips was as lovely as a silver bell.
It felt like she was an existence that seemed oh so distant, someone he couldn’t reach no matter how far he went.
Unable to take it anymore, Subaru tightly embraced the girl, who was right beside him.
“Wooooow, so petite. And sooo soffft, too. Oh, this smell is just amazing.”
For a moment, it didn’t register in Emilia’s mind that she had been embraced.
Subaru then relished in the sensation of holding her closely and embracing her to his heart’s content.
Subaru didn’t have a lot of experience when it came to interpersonal relationships, and absolutely zero experience with hugging a girl. He thought it was too bad that he hadn’t had enough time to enjoy it when he was protecting Felt at the Stolen Goods Warehouse, not to mention she was too skinny for it to count.
Whatever the case may be, Emilia, who belatedly became aware of what was going on, turned beet red and started struggling. “Wai… What!? What’s wrong!?”
“Er, it’s just that the fact you appeared in front of me suddenly brought out my bestial instincts, making it hard to resist. When I calmed down and thought about it, I realized I’d never be able to accomplish my goal from the get-go, so I thought, ‘I’ll never be able to reach it, so why bother!’.”
“I reaalllly have noooo ideaaaa what you’re talking about!”
“Weeell, hold on a sec. Allow me to calm down and analyze myself. —I mean, I thought about whether or not to reach out to you when you looked at me before, so I had an idea of making sure that I could reach you or not, and then out of my spinal reflex, my boy characteristics were activated, which then caused my libido to start going into overdrive, thus leading to me embracing you, and then after that, I concluded that I wasn’t gonna die or anything, so I thought I’d just keep enjoying this as much as I could, oh, and it was a pretty happy thing for me and fit the bill, but an unhappy surprise for Emilia-tan, I guess… and that’s it.”
“Even when you explain it in detail, I still have nooo idea what you mean!”
Subaru rambled on and on and on to drag it out, then Emilia, who was struggling in his arms, finally thrusted him away.
Subaru felt so lonely now that she had broken away from his embrace. Emilia, on the other hand, was getting red in the face and then pointed at him with tearful eyes. “Don’t just go and hug a girl sooo suddenly! It wasn’t really a big deal because I was the one you were hugging, but a normal girl would take it seriously, okay?”
“I didn’t really do it on purpose, though? Yes, I must’ve moved according to someone else’s command. Wait, could it be that you charmed me with magic, Emilia-tan…? You’re such an evil woman!”
“There nooooo way I did that. You’re laying the blame on me! And stop raising your thumb!”
His emboldening thumbs-up having been turned down, Subaru dejectedly lowered his right hand.
But it was true that his body had been stirred on because of his spinal reflex. And the words he’d said after that weren’t a lie, either, but he would be so embarrassed that he’d want to die if he said that out loud.
—The truth is, your eyes have stolen my heart.
“Ah, it’s embarrassing! If I heard you say that, I couldn’t help but say, ‘That’s so amazing! Hold me tight!’.”
“Myyyy ohhhh myyy, you really aren’t afraid of aaanything at all, are you?” Whilst Subaru was holding his cheeks with his hands, saying, “oh stoooop it,” hips swaying, Roswaal, spectating their conversation from the side, said that while looking like he was trying to hold back his laughter.
Emilia, still red in the face, very sternly glared at him because of the way he was speaking. With tears in his eyes because of laughing so much, Roswaal wiped them away and feigned ignorance. “She is a candidate to be the future queen, is she nooot? Peeeeerhaps she will long-remember this great disrespect towards her, and when the time comes that she takes up the throne, she will enact her judgment upon you, and…”
“Are you telling me to regret the happy things that’re happening right now, because no one knows what the future holds? Don’t underestimate a victim of a pressure-free education that advocates for instant gratification!”
With his middle finger up, Subaru rudely declared that. And with his free hand pointed at Emilia, said, “Even if Emilia-tan is a candidate to be the future queen, she’s just a girl at the moment. And I’m just a man. You don’t have any right to complain about whether the casual relationship between a man and a woman breaks down or not! That’s why…!”
With one foot on the chair and his fist clenched tightly, Subaru proudly made a declaration. “…Even if I were put to death tomorrow, I would still hug Emilia-tan tightly, sniff her hair, and use that as nourishment to keep on living—!”
The inside of the dining room was filled to the brim with deep silence due to Subaru’s declaration, which made him sound anguished.
Everyone was at a loss for words at Subaru’s fierce attitude. Gulping, they all took in the words of his extremely wild and boastful declaration. And then—
“Sorry for interrupting your breakfast. Then, let us return to our meal. Let us gather and enjoy ourselves once more, and forget about the quarrel just now…”
“You’re churning out quite an exaggerated mantra to accompany a mere perverted remark.” As Subaru pushed his hair back, putting on airs, trying to clear up the air in the room with his momentum, his intention of doing so was abruptly put to an end. The one who had done so was Beatrice, sitting in a distant seat, looking his way as if she were totally bored. Exhibiting bad manners, she placed Puck on the dining table and brushed his grey fur. “In the end, you were only fooled by that little girl’s beauty, simple as that, in fact. How could you ramble on and on about her for so long, I suppose…?”
“You… really are my natural enemy, huh…” Subaru’s shoulders slumped at Beatrice’s words of exasperation, muttering that in response.
Beginning with Beatrice snorting at that, the other participants began returning to their senses one after the other.
In other words, the vilification of Subaru for his sexual harassment earlier was about to begin.