The Promised Morning is Far Away
“Soooo, how did Subaru do?”
It was at night—the sun had already set in the western sky, replaced by a waxing crescent moon—when a secret report was being made.
The room was large, and in the center of it was a couch and table for welcoming guests. At the back was an ebony desk and a leather chair for the master of the room.
The desk was strewn with papers and quills, a still-steaming cup beside them giving off a slight, soft aroma.
It was a room in the center of the upper floor of the manor that could be judged as being an office at first glance.
Sitting in a leather chair, the one who’d kicked things off was a soft-looking man with long indigo-colored hair and blue and yellow eyes—Roswaal.
Though he’d asked it with something akin to a whisper, there was no doubt that it had reached the other party. And why wouldn’t it have? The person he was having a secret conversation with was sitting close to him. She was sitting sideways on his lap, making her petite body even smaller as she did so.
“It has been five days since that spiel…no, four and a half days. Isn’t it about tiiime you saw something?” asked Roswaal.
“Let’s see. —He’s no good.”
The one whose ears were being whispered into and was submissively allowing her pink hair to be stroked was Ram. Only her and Roswaal were in the room. Her twin sister, who was like her other half, was not there.
That was simply because it wasn’t Rem, but Ram, who was Subaru’s instructor. Roswaal looked surprised by her unequivocal rebuke, then broke into a fit of giggles. He even coughed a little.
“Ahaaa, I see,” Roswaal said. “So he’s no good.”
“Barusu can’t really do anything,” replied Ram. “He can’t cook, makes a mockery of cleaning, and starts breathing heavily when I have him do the laundry. I can’t trust him with any of them.”
“That’s quite teeerrible for a servant, especially the last one.”
Guess it can’t be helped since he is of that age, Roswaal thought, smiling wryly. Ram looked up at her master as she thought about what happened over the past four days. Whenever she recalled those short, yet rich, moments, even an outsider would be able to tell that her beautiful face became strained as the mask of indifference fell away.
“It’s rare to see such an expression on you,” Roswaal commented. “Is he that bad?”
“He is absolutely no good,” Ram replied. “It isn’t that he is bad at them, it’s as if he doesn’t know how to do those things. He must have been brought up very well, but he lacks etiquette if that’s the case.”
“Oh, and I heard a bit about it that you gooot questioned a lot.”
“His questions were also puzzling. I don’t know what to do with him.”
Ram gave examples of some of the questions to Roswaal, who had raised an eyebrow. He paid close attention to each of them.
“Hmmm.” He put his hand on his chin, looking like he was pondering. “Indeed, the things Lady Emilia likes are a mystery.”
“Master Roswaal, Master Roswaal, that pose of yours resembles Barusu’s.”
“Mmmmm, thaaat’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating…to think that I have fallen behind in the arena of being a freak, pervert, and oddball.”
Ram sighed, trying not to be noticed by her frowning master, and was seriously thinking about what he had just said. She then changed her position in his arms and nuzzled herself closer. She fell deeper into his arms, then closed her eyes to savor his warmth, a large palm gently stroking her pink hair.
“Well then, Ram, let us get serious now. —So, what do you think about the possibility of him being a spy?” Roswaal continued without changing his tone, a smile still on his face. His question didn’t specify who, but Ram knew who he was talking about.
Ram kept her eyes shut and recalled the face of a man, though not of the one whose warmth she was feeling. “I can’t deny the possibility, but the chances of that are slim.”
“Hmmmm, why do you think so?”
“For good or for bad…more like for bad…he stands out a lot. The way he infiltrated this manor and the things he did after that…and in the first place, he himself stands out like a sore thumb.” Her answers came out in a stammering, yet coherent manner.
Despite Ram’s reply coming in the negative, Roswaal smiled gently, as if he was satisfied with it. It was the smile of a master that said: I understand. And though he hadn’t directed that smile at her, Ram felt her cheeks getting hot.
“Well, that makes sense. And if that’s the case, then he truly is a third party with good intentions.”
The chair creaked as he shifted his position on it. He had been facing his desk till now but was now facing the opposite side—towards the large window, where he could see the moon shining brightly.
He squinted his bicolored eyes, and the sight below made him smile as he spoke. “Buuut, it seems like he dooesn’t know when to give up.”
The view from the window was of the manor’s garden. It was surrounded by a slightly taller fence and trees. The garden was not visible from the outside, but it could clearly be seen from the manor’s window.
In a corner of the garden lit up by the moonlight, a silver-haired girl and a boy with black hair could be seen talking.
The boy was talking to the girl one-sidedly, as usual. But the girl listening to him didn’t look displeased at all.
“The sight makes me smile,” said Roswaal. “It’s the kind of passion I don’t have anymore.”
“It makes women happy to be approached that much,” replied Ram, even though it might have just been Roswaal talking to himself.
Upon opening her eyes, Ram noticed that her master was looking down at her from up-close.
Her lips quivered gently, her moist eyes meeting Roswaal’s. But he continued talking anyway. “Do you think highly of Subaru by any chance?”
“…He is no good, but I don’t think he’s bad. He’s not bad when it comes to learning household chores, since he’s simply not familiar with them.”
Ram’s eyes showed dissatisfaction. Roswaal laughed vaguely at her slightly cold answer, then gently brushed her cheek with the hand that had been combing through her hair.
Roswaal had answered the expectations of the girl whose eyes were fluttering in euphoria. He then quietly closed his eyes and thought about her answer.
It’s unusual for Ram to compliment someone. She did say that Subaru will improve if he gets the chance to learn things, though. It seems like the black-haired boy must be very much to their liking.
And that was making Roswaal happy.
“Considering my position, I neeed to be an obstacle for him,” muttered Roswaal while looking down at the garden with his yellow eye.
“Both of them are kids,” Ram replied, “so nothing will happen even if they are left on their own.”
“You are right about that.”
Faint laughter resonated in the office as the curtains of the window that overlooked the meeting of the girl and boy were drawn back.
—Not even the moon could see what happened in the office after that.
It was at the time when the moon was proudly shining in the center of the sky and Subaru was in high spirits.
He smoothed out the wrinkles on the butler suit he was wearing and looked at the window to check his appearance again.
It’s been four days since I started wearing this—long enough for me to get used to it.
“Not too shabby, not too shabby at all, me. I’m fine, I can do this. They say people look fifty percent more handsome than usual in the mirror after taking a bath. I feel like I’m experiencing that phenomenon now.”
Whether I look 50% better objectively or not is a mystery, but telling that to yourself over and over is quite important.
With the aura of a good-looking guy, he took a deep breath and stepped forward.
Stepping on the low-cut grass of the garden, he walked towards a green corner of it—a place surrounded by tall trees, garnering most of the moonlight.
There sat a young girl, surrounded by a pale light, her silver hair shimmering in the moonlight.
A pale blue glow—a phenomenon similar to the light of fireflies—was surrounding the girl, and Subaru knew what they were: spirits.
Even taking that fact in consideration, the wondrous sight had a devilish charm that would not let go of the observer’s heart.
Subaru stopped and gasped. The girl, who had been whispering with her eyes closed, abruptly opened her eyes as if noticing his presence. The two amethyst jewels caught sight of him walking towards her.
Subaru’s heart slightly palpated after getting spotted before he was able to call out to her. He held his hand up, trying not to show how restless he felt.
“Su-Sup. What a coincidence! Who’da thunk that we’d meet up here like this?”
“You interrupt my routine every morning, so how can you say that? And how can this be a ‘coincidence’… Don’t we live under the same roof?”
The flow of the conversation went from Subaru not being able to hide his restlessness to Emilia replying with a sigh, which wasn’t unusual.
Subaru took a sharp breath in the face of her attitude and said, “You can do this!” to himself to raise his spirits again. “Hearing ‘we live under the same roof’ really makes me horny.”
“You say that sometimes, but what does ‘horny’ mean? It sounds really, really creepy.”
Emilia hugged her shoulders and shivered as if she had felt a chill. Seeing her reaction, Subaru grinned and casually sat right next to her. The distance between them was three fists, and that iffy distance between them was a sign of him being a wuss.
It seemed like Emilia had gotten used to Subaru sitting next to her like that, so she didn’t point it out. Given that he had been sitting next to her during her morning routine and at meals, it was no wonder she no longer had any energy to do so.
Subaru was pumping his fist inwardly at her unspoken acceptance. Therefore, his voice henceforth naturally oozed with uncontrollable joy. “So, so, what are you doing? What are you doing?”
“You are like a child… It’s just an extension of my morning routine. I can meet most of the spirits in the morning, but there are a few that I can only meet during Darksun.”
Understanding what she meant, Subaru responded with a nod. Darksun was an expression of time specific to this world, which went from approximately six in the evening to six in the morning for a total of 12 hours. On the contrary, the time from six in the morning to six in the evening was called Brightsun. They were used instead of the AM and PM used in Subaru’s world.
On a side note, a day was 24 hours and almost as long as it was in his world. The time when people were active was the same, so Subaru was relieved that his internal clock hadn’t gotten disturbed.
The time had further classifications, but Subaru hadn’t learned much about it yet. This was because his senior, who had a harsh training policy, had given more priority to teaching him about job-related skills than stuff like that. It seems like she really wants to make things easy for herself.
His bottled-up feelings about his grueling four days of training spilled out internally. But as he was doing so, Emilia continued to talk with the friends she could only talk to during Darksun.
A friend that you can only meet during the night has a bit of a bewitching ring to it.
Subaru felt weirdly embarrassed and rubbed his nose. As he continued to watch the quiet conversation between Emilia and the spirits, he muttered, “They look like will-o’-wisps.”
The spirits, who had been calm until then, began moving swiftly, surrounding Subaru’s face—soon after, he suddenly felt a sharp pain. “Buwah! Ow, ow, ow! It feels like I’m being poked with toothpicks!”
“Don’t make them angry by saying something insensitive like that!” Emilia exclaimed. “They aren’t listening to me anymore.”
Bearing an indifferent attitude towards Subaru as he was being attacked by the spirits, it seemed like Emilia shared their feelings. However, she showed her virtue when she said, “It can’t be helped,” and cast healing magic on him, still in pain after the spirits had ceased their assault.
A pale glow alleviated Subaru’s pain, and once he finished rolling around on the ground, he looked up at Emilia. As he laid there, she continued her wondrous meeting with the spirits right in front of him.
Suddenly, Subaru noticed that he was gazing at the beautiful girl and spirits in awe. This is what had made him feel embarrassed before, leading to him making a snide remark, but when he cleared his mind, it didn’t look all that special.
His embarrassment faded away into nothingness.
I just need to empty my mind and look at it nonchalantly.
“It isn’t a fun thing to watch, is it?” muttered Emilia, perhaps because it was so unusual to see Subaru being so quiet.
Subaru sat up and gently waved his hand in denial at the slightly sorry tone of the girl surrounded by spirits. “No, there’s no way I could get bored when I’m with you, Emilia-tan.”
His straightforward answer made Emilia blush and choke on her words. Subaru looked at her and recalled what he had just said, making him redden up to the tips of his ears.
He had spoken from the heart, so it just sort of came out, but he hadn’t been prepared for that.
A sudden silence fell between them. Subaru was embarrassed, so he deliberately made some noise. “Aah, aah,” he began. “And you see, we haven’t had a chance to sit down and have a laid-back chat in a few days, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. You were busy learning how to do chores around the manor. Yes, you were giving it your all… Yeah, you worked really…hard…”
“Your supportive words make me so happy and miserable. It makes me want to cry.”
He’d dug his own grave with the conversation he started to change the atmosphere, but now he was tweeting his sorrow.
Subaru started drawing circles on the ground after realizing how pitiful he was. Emilia’s hand wandered about in the air, an awkward look on her face as she wondered how she could comfort him.
Subaru’s reputation after starting his new life as a servant a few days ago was that of someone who was good for nothing. Even if there had been some sort of favoritism and they looked past his faults, or he had bribed his higher-ups with a lot of money, things wouldn’t have changed.
Cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Subaru had none of these domestic skills, which were essential for a servant at a manor, and had to acquire them.
At present, the three skills mentioned above were all C-grade.
“I only got an S when I put a button on a loose apron.”
“You really are dexterous when it comes to that one thing.”
“I wanted to grow up to be different and quirky rather than simple and boring.”
It’s the result of being brought up in a household where ‘anything goes.’ I think it’s crazy that I managed to develop my sewing skills in all that.
“Oh, but I am confident about my bed-making skills. I dreamed of being a hotel worker when I was in the first year of high school. I used up half of my summer vacation to practice.”
“Is that the reason why my bedsheets have been reaally tight for the past three days…?”
“I made your bed with all of the love and energy I could muster.”
What happened was that he had been so moved when he saw it that he put in a great deal of effort into making her bed, to the point where Ram got taken aback by it.
“This is the room where Emilia-tan sleeps and this is the bed she sleeps in. And these are the sheets and blanket she gets wrapped into! Muhaaa!”
The amount of energy he’d put into it was so extraordinary that Ram had to give him a time limit when it came to making Emilia’s bed.
“Oh, I see. I’m glad there’s something you can be confident in.”
Emilia smiled happily at the fact that there was a chore that Subaru could do with confidence, oblivious of what had happened during that.
Subaru kept quiet, not saying a word. He was crying tears of blood while his consciousness was being stabbed again and again. “Besides…” said Emilia to Subaru before continuing. “It’s admirable that you have been able to keep up with your other work without giving up. Ram and Rem were praising you in secret. Did you know that?”
“Are you for real! My seniors get all soft when I’m not looking at them, huh. They really are doing ‘Tsunderation’. But they aren’t doing it right if they don’t do it in front of me!”
If tsundering is done wrong, then it can be mistaken as someone being spiteful. It’s not really something I can recommend if the person on the receiving end is a noob. It would be a double-edged sword in that case.
However, Subaru wasn’t an amateur and knew what a tsundere was from his vast romantic experiences (in dating sims,) so no one stood a chance if they tsundered in front of him.
But the only thing they seem to be interested in is that perverted noble.
“Well, the only one I am interested in is Emilia-tan, so we’re even.”
He shrugged his shoulders and tried to act like it didn’t bother him, but since he was too embarrassed to say it out loud, it had only come out as a whisper. Thus, it seemed like it hadn’t reached Emilia, either. She tilted her head with a bit of a confused look on her face and then changed the topic.
“But isn’t it hard working that hard every day?”
“It’s super hard and is seriously painful. I want to choose between your arm, chest, and lap and sleep on them.”
“I see, I see.”
Emilia casually dismissed Subaru’s remarks and then proceeded to extend her slender arm, making the pale blue spirits gather around it.
It looked as if her white arm was the thing that was glowing. After witnessing that sight, Subaru was awestruck, letting out a dumb sound.
She smiled wryly at that and spoke. “You seem fine since you can still joke like that.”
“Please sleep with me if I’m about to break.”
“I’ll think about it… Saying that kind of thing scares me, so I’ll say no.”
“I failed at making you say it!!”
Subaru held his head and fell on the lawn. He sighed while feeling the coolness of the grass as he looked up at the starry sky. A sudden gust of wind shifted his short bangs, making him reflexively look up at the moon.
“—Isn’t the moon pretty?” he asked.
“Yeah, because it’s out of your reach,” Emilia replied.
Her unintentional comment shot down the expression of love he’d taken from classic literature. Emilia hastily rushed towards Subaru, who was holding his chest and moaning in pain. And then…
“Ah…” Emilia was shocked after she approached him. He was on the ground looking up at her. She looked at his chest with her amethyst eyes—and saw the hand placed there to express his pain.
His mistakes had kept piling up, and as a result, his left hand was covered in bandages.
“Oh, wait. This is lame. Effort is something you need to hide.” Subaru hid his hand behind him, trying to conceal his embarrassment. He touched his head with his right hand and stuck out his tongue as if saying: My bad. “Tee-hee.”
But Emilia’s expression stayed serious.
Subaru was wondering what to do as he waited for Emilia’s response, but then she lowered her gaze slightly and spoke. “Everyone, is really, working hard.”
To Subaru, it sounded like she was admonishing herself. Upon hearing her say that, he let out an “Aah,” understanding what she’d meant.
It wasn’t just Subaru who was learning things from scratch at Roswaal Manor. Emilia was also in the middle of learning various things that a candidate to be queen needed to know.
It was the difference between a mere servant and a Queen. The level and number of things that needed to be learned by a Queen were far greater. The pressure she was feeling from all that must have been so great that it would be rude to even compare the two.
It would get tiring sometimes to carry such a heavy burden. She may have problems she can’t share with others.
Emilia suddenly extended her hand towards Subaru before he was able to react. Her hand took hold of the hand of the arm he had hidden behind him and brought it in front of her eyes. She looked at his hands covered in wounds, then narrowed her eyes painfully after looking at it and asked, “Should I cast, a healing spell?”
Her question was so gentle. The warmth I felt during one of her treatments is something that can’t be described with words, Subaru thought, as his new, freshly born wounds were crying out for the first time. It feels like the wounds are complaining and giving off a faint, tingling heat when I focus on them, but…
“No, it’s fine. You don’t need to treat them.”
“Hmmm, it’s hard to explain, but…it’s like, they are proof that I made an effort,” answered Subaru with a grin as he pulled his hand away.
He clenched his worn-out fist in front of the beauty whose eyes were wide open in surprise. “It sounds unusual, but I don’t dislike making an effort. If I didn’t like it, then I wouldn’t have trained every day. The feeling of being able to do something that you couldn’t do before is a pleasant sensation.”
He moved his hips with the rhythm, spun around, then stood up. Emilia panicked since it forced her to suddenly look up at him.
Then Subaru pointed his finger at her. “It’s really hard and super painful, you know? But it’s kinda enjoyable. Ram and Rem are really strict teachers, that loli gets mad at me, and Rosy doesn’t say much, so his presence is pretty much non-existent.”
“Roswaal would fly into a rage if you said that to him.”
“Fly into a rage? Who says that in this day and age…”
In response to getting interrupted, Subaru bent backward and shot himself back into his original position like a spring-loaded toy with his hand held out in front of him, putting Emilia on hold. Then he spoke. “Well, solving problems one-by-one is the way to go. There’s no way I’d survive here otherwise… And if I have to do something, it’s better to have fun doing it, anyway.”
In my original world, it was fine if I could live an easy life, but a life of peace and calm isn’t something you can just wish for here.
If that were the case, then Subaru wished for it to be fun. It was him showing his stubbornness to the existence that had unreasonably thrown him into this world.
Upon hearing Subaru’s words of determination, Emilia froze in place, as if her time had stopped. She just kept opening and closing her eyes, and then her serious expression faded away. “Yeah, you are, right. I think so, too. Aah, Subaru, you idiot.”
“Hey, what? That wasn’t the reaction I was expecting! Isn’t this the part where you fall for me again!?”
“I haven’t fallen for you toooo begin with. You are such a dummy… I am, too.”
Subaru was using his body to form the Japanese kanji for ‘life’, and the last part of her sentence had not reached him.
Emilia was smiling as if some of the pressure she’d been feeling had been lifted. Subaru was enraptured as he gazed at her smile, unable to say a single word.
She’s turning into an existence that words like ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’ can’t even begin to describe. Yes, she’s an… “E.R.G (Emilia-tan’s Really a Goddess.)”
“I was thanking you, but you are joking around as usual.”
As if a little mad, Emilia gave Subaru’s forehead a little poke, making him take a few steps back with his hand held to his forehead. His gesture was somewhat passionate, and it wasn’t just her imagination. She burst into delightful laughter after seeing his reaction.
“Nevertheless… I know you are working hard, but what did you do to get your hand injured that badly?”
“Oh, this one is easy. This evening, I got bit by a small animal that was playing with the kids in the village when I was helping Ram out with the groceries.”
“Wasn’t it a result of your hard work!?”
“It’s more like the bigger wound is more eye-catching than the others…though I’m not the type to be hated by animals that much.”
In his world, he wasn’t the type of person that small animals would direct killing intent towards. He wouldn’t have called himself a pioneer of the Fluffists if that were the case.
However, his trait, which had manifested itself involuntarily back in his world and made kids either like him or treat him lightly, was still active here.
“Those brats… They kicked, punched, and wiped their runny noses on me. That was the worst, damn it. I’ll make them pay tomorrow, mark my words…”
“You look like you are good at taking care of kids, Subaru.”
“That’s a misunderstanding, Emilia-tan. I’m planning on taming them now and ‘plucking the fruit’ once they’ve ‘ripened’. This is my Hikaru Genjification Plan.”
“You don’t need to act mean; you can just be honest and accept it.”
Not taking him seriously, Emilia said, “Well then,” then looked up at the sky and straightened her posture. “I’ll be returning to my room. What are your plans?”
“I need to sleep next to you, so I’ll head back, too.”
“That part of your job can wait until your skills as a servant have improved.”
“Woooaah, my desires are expanding!” howled Subaru while raising both arms up in the air. Emilia looked at him with a wry smile. He then twisted his waist and turned back. “Oh, wait. If it’s fine with you, would you like to go with me to get revenge on the kids…no wait, on a date…no, to see a cute little animal?”
“You corrected yourself several times, didn’t you…? But yeah, I…” muttered Emilia, having trouble continuing her sentence.
Subaru tilted his head at her reaction. That’s not the reaction of someone who doesn’t want to go out. If that’s the case, then… “Cou-Could it be that you’re embarrassed about your friends starting rumors about us going out…or something like that?”
“I’m not going to turn someone down by saying something so horrible!” Emilia exclaimed, putting a hand on her hip to show that she was angry. It was almost as if steam was coming out of her ears. After finishing her gesture, she looked down once again. “I don’t mind, and I’m curious about small animals, too…”
“Then let’s go!”
“But I might cause you trouble if I go with you…”
“Alright then, let’s go!”
“…Are you even listening?”
“I am listening! Do you really think I’d miss a single word that comes out of your mouth!?”
“I hate you so much, Subaru!”
“Aaaaa! Aaaaa! What just happened!? IIIII caaaan’t heaaar yoouuu!!” Subaru covered his ears and ran around to block out the sound.
Emilia laughed, as if taken aback by Subaru’s boldness in immediately contradicting himself.
“Guess it can’t be helped then,” she said. “But only after I am done with my current studies and after you are done with your chores around the manor. That’s the condition.”
Having made Emilia promise to go on a date with him, Subaru clenched his fist and raised it in victory.
Seeing how easily Subaru’s mood could change, Emilia shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “Speaking of which, why are you still dressed like that after finishing your work?”
“Oh, I just figured I hadn’t heard what you thought about it. So how is it? Doesn’t this suit me?”
“Yeah, let’s see. You seem like you are really good at your job.”
“I feel like I’ll get crushed by the burden of your expectations!”
I’ll note down here that there was a conversation like that.
After picking a door at random, Subaru peered inside and casually spoke. “Yooo, loli, are you getting enough sleep? You’ll stunt your growth and forever be a pipsqueak if you stay up too late, you know.”
“…He has been breaking my Door Crossing like it’s nothing,” said Beatrice in a resentful tone.
He saw a girl sitting on a wooden step ladder in the back of the library, glaring at him. She was holding a thick, halfway-open book in her hands.
“You’ll end up wearing thick glasses that look like the bottom of a glass milk bottle if you read manga at night in the dark. And you’ll end up failing the entrance exam again and again of the university you want to go to.”
“This incomprehensible nonsense again… Shall I turn you into stone if you act stupid, I wonder?”
“Sure, sure. I got you, I got you. Well, then go to bed already, good night.” He waved his hand roughly and proceeded to close the door.
“Wait.” Hearing that before he closed the door, Subaru halted his hand and looked back. He saw Beatrice leaning over a bit.
“Were you here to ask for something, I suppose?” she asked.
“Nope, not really,” replied Subaru. “I figured I’d come say hi since I was on my way to bed. I was going to give up after opening three doors, but I got it right on the first try.”
“This boy… What kind of a hunch does he have?”
Beatrice seemed tired as she pulled on one of her vertical rolls. Once she let go of it, it sprang back like a spring. It made Subaru’s mischievous heart tingle a bit.
“Can I do that too?” he asked.
“Only Bubby is allowed to touch Betty, in fact. Betty has had enough, so go away already, I suppose.”
“What’s up with that attitude? You were the one who stopped me. Ha, I don’t mind it at all though! I’m in a good mood, so I’ll forgive you!”
After showing off how good he felt, he left the room, putting a scowl on Beatrice’s face. However, as the door was about to close, he felt like he heard a tinge of loneliness in her voice. “—That has nothing to do with Betty, I suppose.”
And that concerned him a bit.
“Eh, guess I gotta open the door again to ask her what’s the matter.”
The other side of the opened door was different; it had turned back into a simple guest room.
He felt slightly hesitant, but he didn’t feel like walking around searching for the right door. He needed to wake up early tomorrow and finish his chores as fast as he could.
“I need to go to the village and make up some excuses to get the kids out of the picture. Wait no, I need to do some research to find a place with a good view and figure out where the flower garden is… Preparation, that’s the most important thing when it comes to all kinds of war! They say your victory or defeat is decided before the fighting starts. I can do this,” said Subaru as he puffed his nostrils, his chest full of anticipation for the next day.
He skipped towards the room designated to him: a private room for servants. And then he took off and threw away the butler suit he was wearing and quickly changed into his tracksuit.
“This fits me the most when it comes to sleeping. The only thing that worries me is that it’s the only tracksuit I have… I wonder if Rosy will cast a duplication spell on it if I ask him to.”
Now it’s a rare, one-of-a-kind item in this world. It’s pretty important since it can be worn as casual clothing, but it needs to be treated with the utmost care.
If it starts falling apart, I can just get over it by saying that clothes can’t be worn forever. It’ll be sad to lose something that reminds me of my old world, but there’s no point in looking back at things.
“And that’s why I’ll live hoping for a better tomorrow, gee-hee-hee.”
Subaru grinned vulgarly and dove into the bed he had made. After being met with softness, he crawled under the covers, completely ready to hit the hay.
However, since he was too excited for the next day, he remained wide-awake, unable to fall asleep no matter what.
“Shit, you gotta be kidding me, body! Are you going to trample on my hopes for tomorrow!? Damn it, so my greatest foe was myself…”
Jesus. Subaru glared at the ceiling and sighed. But I have a trick for sleepless nights like this.
Subaru smiled provocatively at his restless body. “Take this, my secret trick—One fluffy Puck, two fluffy Pucks!”
A first-class Fluffist can imagine the furball he wants to pet and have a virtual petting session that feels like the real thing.
The gray, fluffy cat appeared inside Subaru’s head, and it increased in number with each passing second. Eventually, Subaru’s entire body was covered in furballs. His body was taken away to the far-off utopia, Avalon, a place of bliss and non-being.
“One hundred sixty…three…fluffy…Pucks…fluffy fluffy,” muttered Subaru as his consciousness drifted into the land of dreams.
While imagining Shangri-La, he petted within his consciousness until he could pet no further—and then the lights went out.
It feels like my consciousness is rising to the surface from the ocean’s depths. This is the second time I’m saying this.
As Subaru opened his eyelids, the sunlight burnt his eyes. He then woke his slightly sluggish body up.
My head feels a bit groggy. Maybe I’m still a little tired. I did just start a brand-new job, so something like this had a possibility of happening…
…But today isn’t the day to be saying such weak things.
Upon waking up, Subaru, who was someone who’d wake up in a good mood, immediately began going over the promise he’d made with Emilia the night before.
“Yeah, Subaru Natsuki—you will be a man today!”
He gave a thumbs-up to no one in particular, flashed his teeth, and struck his usual pose.
It was the day of promised victory. Rising up from bed was supposed to be the beginning of his wonderful day, but its beginning was thrown on its head by the twins looking at him in surprise.
Subaru covered his face and pressed it against the blanket, then swung his body in embarrassment. “Whaat iiis uuup wiiiith youuu guuuys! Sooo you were there all along! It’s embarrassing! You guys should’ve at least let me know you were there! Woah, woah, woooah, it’s really embarrassing!”
He floundered around, trying to banish his embarrassment.
As usual, the twins’ expressions didn’t change much in response to Subaru.
Being pointed at and laughed at don’t feel all that good, but their reaction didn’t feel good, either. It’s like I failed at making a joke.
“No, wait a second. That reaction would hurt even a guy like me. You guys witnessed my delicate side, so can’t you be a bit more… You know what I’m trying to say, right!?”
The twins looked at each other after hearing Subaru’s desperate plea.
I was expecting to hear the usual cold, indifferent words from them… Well, that doesn’t sound so good, either.
It was the moment Subaru thought that when they spoke up:
“Sister, Sister, he greeted us in a very friendly manner.”
“Rem, Rem, he greeted us in quite a frank manner.”
Something’s off. Those were the words that crossed Subaru’s mind.
Their indifferent manner of speaking was the same as usual—but something felt off about it.
“Hmmm, what? Isn’t something weird? Bosses, what happened to you guys? Even if y’all are pulling a prank on me, this isn’t the right time to do it.”
While saying that, he started realizing what was off.
—It’s their eyes.
The gaze directed towards Subaru—had lost the frankness it had till last night. It was as if they were looking at a stranger.
And the nail in the coffin was…
“Sister, Sister, it seems like the guest is a little confused.”
“Rem, Rem, it seems like the guest has gone crazy.”
—Subaru was rendered speechless after being called a ‘guest’.
Despite the graceful ring it had, the words were sharp and fierce, and it tore deep into Subaru’s heart. Feeling as if the pain were real, he grabbed his chest.
I don’t get it. Their reactions are as if…
“Both of you…your joke isn’t funny. Don…’t…say…something…like…”
He wanted to block their gaze that looked at him like he was a stranger, so he immediately lifted his left hand up and covered his eyes. However, at that moment, he witnessed something decisive.
—The first bandage had disappeared from his left hand.
The tips of his fingers that had turned coarse due to doing the laundry and dishes, the back of his hand that he had cut because he wasn’t used to using knives, the bite mark on his hand left by a small animal while he was playing with the kids—all of them were gone without a trace.
Subaru had to accept reality after seeing all that. Suddenly feeling something hot deep inside his eyes, he pressed the blanket for a different reason than before.
He didn’t want anyone to see his current face no matter what. He didn’t want anyone else to see it.
He didn’t want to cry while being looked at like a stranger by the people he loved. People he could have loved. People that he would have definitely loved.
“Why…did I go back!?” he wailed. While pressing his face against the blanket and baring his fangs, he howled with rage at the incomprehensible unreasonableness.
—At that moment, the loop that had tormented Subaru greatly consumed him into its whirl once more.
For the second time, the first day began.