Time stopped, or at least that is how one would describe the current situation.
A young girl stood at the entrance of the alleyway. She was beautiful. She had braided silver hair that reached all the way to her waist and a pair of bluish purple eyes that were looking in their direction. Her delicate features had a mix of voluptuousness and childishness, and somehow, she possessed an air of nobility that gave off a dangerous charm.
She was about a head shorter than Subaru, so about 160cm tall. Her white themed clothing did not have any fancy accessories, but rather it was the clothing’s simplicity that caught one’s attention. The only thing that stood out was the white coat over her, which was embroidered with a symbol of a hawk-like bird giving it a majestic impression.
However, even the clothing was no more than a supplement to highlight the existence that was the girl.
“I will not overlook anymore of this outrage. —stop right there.”
The voice, like a silver bell, resounded gently in his ears, causing Subaru to forget the situation he was currently in. He was completely overwhelmed by the presence of the silver-haired girl, and that same feeling spread to the other men as well.
“Ah…… You, what exactly…….”
“I’ll still be able to forgive you now. I was careless as well. So please, return what you have stolen.”
“Oi, the thing you’re wearing looks expensive. Could it be that you’re a noble…? Eh? What we have stolen?”
“Please, it’s a very important. If it was something other than that, I’d gladly give it up, but I absolutely can’t if it’s that. Please. You’re a good boy so please hand it over nicely.”
The girl was even making it sound as if it was a deal.
However, an inexplicable feeling of oppression had started to rise around us. Something that is hard to put into words was happening.
‘Wa, wait! I… I think we’re talking about different things here.”
“…… What do you mean?”
The man pointed at Subaru whom he was kicking, and said, “Y—You aren’t here to…… save him right?”
“…… You guys are a weird bunch. Having a dispute amongst yourselves? I’m not heartened by the fact that it’s three against one…… though, since you asked me about my relations to any of this, I guess I’d have to say I have none.”
One could feel a hint of irritation present in her voice. It was as if she thought the man was trying to change the topic.
The men, who remembered about the impatience in the young girl’s attitude, each tried desperately to explain the situation.
“Please hold on! If your objective isn’t about him, then we’re unrelated! It was that kid just now, wasn’t it?”
“You said it was stolen didn’t you? The wall! She kicked off the wall and ran across the roof!”
“All the way, all the way there! In that direction! If she’s running at that speed she should have already passed through three streets!”
In the continuous stream of words from the men, the gaze of the young girl shifted to Subaru, looking for truth in their words. Without thinking, Subaru too nodded.
“Hmmm…… It doesn’t seem like it’s a lie. Well then, so the girl who stole it is down this street? I’ll have to hurry.”
Turning her back on Subaru, the young girl headed towards the end of the alley. The men were obviously relieved.
Faced with the reality of being abandoned, Subaru stared in sh—
“Even though it’s of a separate matter, it’s not something I can overlook.”
Turning around, the young girl turned her palm towards them—from her palm, shot out a wildly dancing ball of light.
The sound of a hard ball hitting flesh echoed throughout, and the men let out a cry of pain before being knocked off their feet.
Then, Subaru heard a whizz, and a fist-sized ball of ice landed next to him. That materialized ball of ice, which ignored the seasons and laws of physics, vaporized instantly as though being swallowed up by the atmosphere.
The word most appropriate to explain this phenomenon immediately came out from his mouth. Though there wasn’t any incantation, it was without a doubt created and shot out from the girl’s palm.
Seeing it first hand, there was something he immediately realized. “It has less of an illusionary feel to it than I imagined…… it’s more of a disappointing realistic feel.” Even though he imagined it to be something like flashes of light or bursts of energy, the real thing instantly generates a crude lump of ice, deals physical damage, and then instantly disappears. Nothing more.
“You…… did us good back there.”
Putting aside Subaru’s thoughts about magic, the men, who took a real hit from the ice ball, stood up.
Two were only able to stand on unsteady feet. The other, who was hit in a bad spot, was still passed out. However, the fact that their comrade got done in only managed to intensify their rage.
The knife guy and the man who held a blunt weapon resembling a club took up battle stances.
“Since it has come to this, I don’t care whether the opponent is a magic user or a noble. My rage ain’t gonna quell. We’ll surround and murder you! Are you actually thinking you can win against the two of us? Huh!?” said the knife guy while holding one hand against his face, which had blood dripping from his nostrils.
In the face of such jeers, the young girl closed an eye.
“That’s true, it may be hard if it’s two against one.”
“—so, we’ll be on equal grounds if it’s two against two I presume?”
As if it was a follow up to the girl’s words, a gender neutral high pitched voice broke in from the street’s atmosphere.
Subaru, surprised, looked around. The men too, looked around in confusion because there wasn’t anyone where the voice came from. Neither at the entrance of the alley nor in it.
And then, as if to show something to the bewildered Subaru and co., the young girl reached out with her left arm.
With her palm facing upwards, ‘It’ was atop her white fingertips
“If I’m looked at with such high expectations… how do I put it? … I’ll feel awkward.” ‘It’ said while covering its face embarrassingly with its paws. It was a cat the size of a palm sitting upright.
It had grey fur and droopy ears. Based on Subaru’s knowledge, it looked closest to a breed of cat known as the American shorthair (1) apart from the fact that it had a pink nose and a tail the length of its body.
Looking at the palm sized cat, the face of the knife guy turned pale and screamed.
“—Y, you’re a spirit mage!”
“That’s right. If you are to step down now, I won’t chase you. Hurry up and decide. I’m in a hurry.”
In response to the young girl’s words, the men hurriedly carried their fallen comrade on their shoulders and headed towards the end of the alley. On the way, as they passed the young girl, one of them clicked their tongue just loud enough so that she could hear.
“I’ll remember your face. You shitty bitch. The next time I see you around here I won’t let you off this easily.”
“If you do anything to this girl, your entire family line, including you, will be cursed you know; although, by the time that happens you’ll most likely be dead”
Despite being the best threat the hoodlum could muster, it paled in comparison to the cat’s lighthearted retort.
Though the cat said it with a frivolous attitude, the faces of the men turned the palest they had been yet. This time, without a word, they escaped into the crowd.
The gangsters disappeared, and only Subaru, the young girl, and her cat were left in the alley
Anyway, I have to say a word of thanks thought Subaru as he forgot that his body was in pain and tried to move his torso.
“—Don’t move,” said the silver-haired girl in a cold voice, without a hint of emotion.
A heavy sense of caution could be seen in the girl’s eyes. Even though she understood that Subaru was of no relation to the men, it did not serve as a reason for her to trust him. Those were the eyes she was making.
Although those were the eyes that were looking at him, Subaru’s reaction to them was slightly different.
The bluish purple eyes of the young girl were looking in his direction. They were so beautiful; he was almost entranced by it.
Just being looked at, Subaru, who had zero experience with beautiful girls, unconsciously averted his eyes and his face reddened.
Looking at Subaru’s behavior, the young silver hair girl let out an unrestrained laugh.
“See? He averted his eyes because he had a guilty conscience. It seems I was right.”
“I wonder about that… Just from that guy-like reaction alone, I’d think the amount of trouble he can give is likely to be zero.”
“Be quiet Pack. —You, you do know about the girl who stole the emblem from me don’t you?” asked the girl as she shut the small cat up.
Even that face which was brimming with self-confidence was pretty. However—
“Sorry for getting your hopes up, but I have no idea of even trivial stuff like this.”
“Eh? No, no way!”
Her self-confidence was completely stripped from her face, and Subaru was able to catch a glimpse of the young girl’s natural expression.
The high and mighty attitude she had up till now had disappeared, and the panicking young girl and the cat on her palm looked at each other.
“Wh… wh… what should I do? Don’t tell me we really just went on a wild goose chase……?”
“Though we’re still on it as we speak, I think it’d be better if we hurry. The culprit made an extremely quick escape so she most probably had some strange divine protection.”
“Mmm, why do you make it sound as if it’s not your problem, Pack?”
“Well, you were the one who said it’d be useless if I interfered. Oh, and what are you gonna do with the boy?”
As if they just remembered, the two returned the topic of the conversation to Subaru who forced a smile. It was as if the young girl went “—Ah!” and finally realized Subaru’s existence and situation.
“Just being saved by you is enough. You’re in a hurry aren’t you? It’d be better the faster you pursue,” lied Subaru as he stood up
—Though if you’d like I could help you. How about it, miss?
Was what Subaru intended to say while pushing up his hair with his teeth shining but—
Subaru’s head suddenly felt disorientated and his hand which was about to reach the wall missed, and just like that, Subaru fell face first onto the floor.
“Ah—it seems I was too late to tell you not to strain yourself and stand up.”
The warning from the small cat came one step too late. The result from falling in such an unexpected manner was a sharp pain that took Subaru’s consciousness to a faraway land.
“—So, what should we do?”
“It’s none of my concern right? It’s not something you can die from. Just leave him.”
From his far flown consciousness, Subaru could slightly make out the conversation of the two.
As expected of a fantasy world. It has a rather extreme opinion on the topic of sympathy.
A negative way of thinking was that if this goes on, Subaru would be left alone in the back alley. A positive way of thinking was that since he was about to die, being able to keep his life was more than enough.
Thinking about these two perspectives, Subaru’s consciousness gradually drifted—
At the instant he was about to lose his consciousness, he saw the silver haired young girl turn around, red-faced.
“—I definitely, definitely won’t save you or anything!”
—The fantasy in another world where even an angry face looked extremely cute.
With that final thought, this time, Subaru’s consciousness fell into darkness.
1) American shorthair cat