Ever since that conversation, the discussion inside the carriage went smoothly .
After all, they’ve been waiting for the larger half of a day to talk . And since there was a lot they had to talk about, they had only just enough time to do it .
Sharing everything about the past few days with Emilia, eventually Otto joined their conversation as well, and even took part in their planning for the future .
To sum everything up,
[Subaru: Basically, if we don’t meet with Roswaal then we can’t plan anything, right?]
After all that, the conclusion was the same as the starting point of the conversation .
Roswaal is the only person who understands the full capacities and powers of Emilia’s Faction, so nothing can proceed without him .
[Subaru: Well, if Ram, who went to the Sanctuary, met Roswaal, we could naturally get him to return to the Mansion . But I’d slap him in the face first, before we have a good talk with him]
[Otto: You’re very aggressive toward your employer, huh, Natsuki-san?]
[Subaru: I think I have a right to do that after all he did! He’d deserve every bit of it!]
Thinking back on the mess Roswaal left for Subaru to clean up, this is more or less an appropriate response . In fact, Emilia didn’t seem to have any intention of stopping Subaru, as if permitting him to do it “just this one time” .
As their discussion was summed up and the topic turned toward matters of the Roswaal domain, their dragon carriage left the forests and entered the village
—they instantly realized something was wrong .
The village that Subaru had gotten so used to seeing, seemed just as desolate and dreary as right after the battle with Betelgeuse . But there was not even any sign of the soldiers of the Expedition that stayed behind .
To put it simply, it seems none of the villagers had returned .
[Otto: I don’t see anyone, Natsuki-san . It doesn’t look like the area was devastated or anything, it just looks like nobody is here]
Getting off the dragon carriage, Otto voiced his thoughts as he looked around the village with several of the returning villagers . Even Subaru, who looked around with a different group, came to the same conclusion .
In the somber silence, memories of past loops — where the villagers were slaughtered, massacred by Betelgeuse’ fingers, all of a sudden struck Subaru like a nightmare returning . But he was sure that he was just overthinking it .
But then, that raises the other question
[Subaru: Ram said from here to the Sanctuary is only around 7 to 8 hours… but then why are they later than us, if we stayed in the Capital for three days?]
[Otto: They might not know that we took down the Witch Cult, so maybe they’re being cautious?]
[Subaru: Roswaal abandoning his lands? I assume if Roswaal fought “Sloth” face-to-face, Roswaal would probably win . Even if it isn’t “Sloth”‘s style to fight head-on, Roswaal should have at least come here to scout]
Roswaal, who can even fly, could easily return to his territory . If he intended to, he could scout the perimeters of the Mansion for any remaining threats, and ensure the land was safe to return to . But he didn’t .
[Subaru: Either he’s being overly cautious or…]
[Emilia: Something happened in the Sanctuary?]
Both Subaru and Emilia’s opinions matched, and looking at each other, they nodded . No matter what, they have to find out what the situation in the Sanctuary is .
Their concerns aside, the villagers had worries of their own .
After all, about 60% of the villagers had headed for the Sanctuary . Those that returned from the Capital: the children who resolved to accompany Emilia, their parents, and the young men’s militia that went with them, only comprised about 40% of the villagers . Without the rest, the functioning of the village is severely affected .
Besides, the people’s minds tend to always turn to the worst .
[Subaru: No matter what, we have to do something… For now, let’s head back to the Mansion . I want to settle Rem down as well . Plus Otto, you don’t have anywhere to stay after all, so come to the Mansion with us]
[Otto: What!? To trouble the ma-Margrave for lodging!? If I have to be in such a heck of a situation, I would rather sleep in the dragon carriage!]
[Subaru: Shut up, you’re already involved . Better get used to it because I’ll use you until you die off!]
Ignoring Otto’s objections, Subaru said goodbye to the villagers and told Patrasche to head for the Mansion .
In a distance of 15 minutes on foot, and 5 minutes by carriage, lies the nostalgic Mansion of Roswaal .
Last time, he didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate the sight, so when he looked up at it again, this time, there was something emotional about it all .
[Subaru: Well, nothing seems to have changed . …Ram and the others don’t seem to have returned, either]
[Emilia: But, Beatrice must still be inside . I hope she knows where the Sanctuary is]
[Subaru: Wha- really? Crap… I thought Emilia-tan would know where the Sanctuary is . Then how do we confirm if Roswaal’s alright?]
The fundamental objective of their plan collapsing, Subaru furrowed his brows at the looming darkness ahead .
Emilia’s beautiful face also showed the colors of grief . Otto, unable to join in the conversation, only looked up, enchanted by the great Mansion and its surroundings, as if driving through a dream .
[Subaru: Tch . Crap . Well, we just have to hope Beatrice knows something about it]
[Otto: Hey, why were you clicking your tongue while staring right at me?]
[Subaru: Tch . It’s your self-consciousness . No one cares about you as much as you think]
[Otto: Wow that’s a terrible comment!]
Ignoring the partially depressed Otto, Subaru parked the dragon carriage in the front yard, and headed straight to the entrance .
First, get Beatrice, then, scout the Mansion, then, secure a bed for Rem, then think of future plans again—
[Subaru: I’m back, Roswaal’s Mansion! Here comes my nostalgic h…]
Saying that, pushing open the grand door, Subaru’s voice clogged up .
Because he was met by a completely different sight than expected .
The entrance hall was spread with gorgeous carpets, in the corners of the stairs leading to the upper floor were expensive looking vases filled with colorful flowers .
From the ceiling, hung beautiful crystal lamps that could be called the chandeliers of this Parallel World .
The familiar entrance hall, was very much different from what he expected .
For instead of what he expected—
[Subaru: It’s not even vandalized…… it’s actually arranged!?]
The mats were straightened nicely without a single crease, and the flowers in the vases in the corners of the stairs were blooming vibrantly; the chandeliers were delicately taken care of and were shining graciously, even more than usual .
Stunned by this surreal scene, Subaru lost his words and stood still .
Because of his excessive amazement, his reactions were all too late .
[Subaru: —Who is it!?]
A small, weak, almost inaudible sound, and Subaru frantically shot his glance toward its direction .
But, when noticed the Shadow, it was already too late .
The Shadow had already ran behind him and then—
Subaru saw it . From right behind him, as if eclipsing the moon, the shadow engulfed him whole .
In that shadow… a mouth filled with white fangs, as if of a beast, were clear in back of his eyes .
—And in the next moment, before he could even realize… Subaru’s consciousness, and his world, had been dragged to darkness .