Chapter 14 – Re:Do Return (Part 2)
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Chapter 14: Re:Do Return (Part 2)


Right after the fallout of what happened after the events of the demon ambush on Crusch’s camp, and hesitantly trying to accept the fact that he had been an anime character all along despite Subaru’s trepid abnegation to it. Subaru and Rem had set off on a course to one of the local restaurants that Subaru’s dad had taken him to in his past life after giving in to their natural urges. Carl’s Jr was a rather famous American burger joint that had expanded their franchise to Japan. While it was nothing compared to the quality that was one of the renown ramen shops in Akihabara that was located only about another block from where they were headed. Nor was it as massive of a franchise in comparison to McDonalds, it was still the closest restaurant at their convenience. It had offered enough articles to sate their appetite and had allowed Rem to slowly adapt to this world with food that she was somewhat familiar with. Although, quite frankly, her mind had wandered off as she had endlessly scouted out the alien-like structures and alleys around her for escape routes in case if something goes awry.

Once Subaru had finally stood in front of the establishment, he had puffed up his chest with a beaming smile and confidentially surveyed the place with his hands on his hips. Rem was caught off guard Subaru’s sudden inclination, but the aroma emitting from the restaurant had overwhelmed her senses to the point where her mouth nearly savored at the smell of it. ‘What’s that potent smell? It smells like beef cooked in tallow but with a hint of spices to it. Is this one of Subaru-kun’s other-worldly cuisines?

“Subaru-kun, what is this place?” Rem had casually inquired, as Subaru had flared up at the question. His otaku persona had materialized as he enthusiastically flicked his hands in erratic motions.

“Ahh, for all intents and purposes. This place happens to be called a burger joint. While it’s not a culinary revolution in our society, it just happened to have made its way over to my country of Japan quite a while ago. Since you cannot read any of our world’s languages, the sign being flaunted right there says Carl’s Junior, they serve pretty tasty burgers for the right price. Although, the prices in Akihabara can be rather inflated so I don’t know what to expect.” Subaru had explained, as Rem had listened intently with an open mind to the topic. There were still a plethora of other questions that Rem wanted to ask about Subaru’s world, but she had nodded along catholically trying to wrap her head around the alternate world she had been introduced to.

“So is it kind of like a tavern, like those found in Lugnica? Restaurants in Lugnica were usually tied to the nobility since they were exclusively ran by family dynasties to cater to other nobles.” Rem had concluded, although one of her gripes about most taverns food menus is that none of the purchases seemed to be all that appetizing. Subaru had raised an eyebrow, before nodding in agreement at the question.

“I think you’ve hit the nail on head on everything except for the beer part. But trust me, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this restaurant. Besides, that cart journey and all this walking has really made me hungry. Without further ado, lets not make our efforts go to waste, shall we?” Subaru had suggested lending out a hand, as Rem had blithely heeded the invitation as they both headed head first into the establishment.

The restaurant had been packed to the tee once they had entered the fray, suggesting that it had been peak hours or ‘good hours’ as the franchise had advertised it. People within the interior had moved about like clockwork, both employees and customers. Most of the walls within the compound had been fixed with wooden paneling and various other furnishings that were painted over with a black color. The employee work area been adorned with a brick aesthetic, screaming cultural significance for the restaurant. Most of the tables and counters had also been closely packed together due to the small accommodation. At the sight of this, Subaru had second thoughts about coming into the restaurants as he stood along with Rem in single file line as sweat formed on his forehead.

‘Maybe it was a bad idea to come to this restaurant at this hour...’ Subaru had contemplated, as a reoccurring thought had crossed his mind about his social tendencies. ‘Oh to hell with it, I’m here with Rem already! As far as I know, no one in this establishment would know who I am anyways.’

Subaru couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as they had filed into the store, they had been met with multiple gazes varying from admiration to lust. Mostly directed towards Rem. While it was not uncommon for cosplayers to roam the streets of Akihabara for business purposes. The sheer baby-faced beauty emanating from Rem’s complexion had predominately surpassed any of the others they had come across on the way here. Rem had initially shuffled about uncomfortably, but ultimately maintained her steadfast composure. Her hero had been with her after-all. Slightly clinging to Subaru, the duo had ultimately reached the counter to a slightly timid college-aged male tending the register.

“Good afternoon, what can I get for the two of you?” The cashier had politely greeted as Subaru has snapped out of his self absorbed thoughts at that particular moment.

“… Ahh, sorry about that. Is there anything in particular you want Rem judging from the pictures?” Subaru had proposed, as Rem had fixed her gaze on him in an adamant demeanor.

“I’ll have whatever Subaru-kun is having.” Rem had indicated, much to Subaru’s chagrin at that particular moment. A blush had crawled on his face at the superficial yet straightforward invitation.

“… Right… Anyways, can I get 2 orders of your chicken club sandwiches with onion rings? One with extra bacon please, and with 2 cups of water?” Subaru had hastily added, as Rem had surveyed the people around her. The cashier had nodded in approval as he had exchanged with Subaru, handing him an order number tag. Once he had purchased their food, Subaru had spotted an empty table by the far rightmost corner of the restaurant. Satisfied with their outcome, Subaru had ambled meekly towards the seating as Rem had followed closely behind him, weaving their way through the gregarious crowd. Once properly seated, Rem sat in wait for Subaru to return with the drinks that he insisted on getting. She had dished out a simple question once Subaru had returned to their table.

“Subaru-kun, there is something I wanted to ask for quite a while now.” Rem had opened up, as Subaru had pivoted his head towards her and heeded her question. “How come you were able to speak our language despite not being a resident of our country?”

“Hmmm, I want to say that it’s a coincidence but since I firmly believe that all things happen with good reason. I’d say that the red string of fate had tied us to each other. Although quite frankly, I feel like there’s more to it than that. It must because whoever summoned me wanted to least allow me to communicate with you guys.” Subaru had determined, as Rem had thought back on their first fated meeting in the Roswaal estate. The clueless and helpless idiot that he was at the time who lacked any sort of skills yet persisted to seek out her attention. It only been after he had selfishly saved her from the malbeast infestation in the forest after a certain puppy with a certain curse had afflicted the villagers in the Roswaal domain. Along with… A dreadful thought had crossed her mind that sent chills up her spine. ‘Huh? Why can’t I remember who it was that saved me along with Subaru…?’ Rem had desperately contemplated as a migraine had overwhelmed her.

Subaru had not noticed Rem morbid facial expression until her ragged breath could be heard as she shuddered uncontrollably with dilated pupils.

“Rem! What’s wrong?!” Subaru had jolted and quickly tended to Rem, instinctively touching her forehead in case of a potential fever. Tears had cascaded down her eyes as she despairingly tried to remember her inconclusive memories. She had woefully glanced up at Subaru’s pleading eyes, as she collapsed in her seat. Some of the people around them had begun to take notice of the melodramatic scene between the two, dismissing it as a couple fight.

“My memories… It feels like someone had replaced a blank slate with some of my memories, wretched into the very fiber of my being...” She had uttered to herself softly before drifting off into contemplative thought. “Subaru, who was the person that had accompanied us to the woods to fight off the swarm of malbeasts?”

“What are you talking about? Who else could it have been other than your twin sister Ram?” Subaru had piped up indiscreetly, before a memory had flashed before him. ‘Wait a minute, this seems awfully familiar.’ Falteringly, he had glanced as the ire that Rem was undergoing as she had desperately reiterated the name under her own breath. Yet, no matter how hard she had tried, it had been a futile effort. Her heart ached at the name she had uttered, as if it was a sense of familiar intimacy.

“Let me ask you another question, where was I born?” Rem had pleadingly sought, as her mind had retched at the unsettling feelings that had overcome her. Subaru was despairingly stuck at a loss at the unseen development that had lead to this. Answering her with the only appropriate answer that there was to offer.

“The Oni Village that both you and your sister had grown up in. Your sister, Ram, had told me the tale about your childhood that lead up to the Witch Cultist’s attack on your village. It was only after Ros-chi had offered to take you under his wing in which the both of you had found a purpose for living again.” Subaru had added with resolution, as Rem had intensively ingested the conclusive information. “Ahh, I almost forgot. You’re the only who can use your horn powers. Ram had hers destroyed at a young age because of the witch’s cult.”

“… I see… It’s all to much for me to take in right now.” Rem had ultimately concluded, sighing at the capitulation that Subaru had revealed before proceeding to wipe away her tears. Subaru on the other hand had groaned in frustration at not only the events that had unfolded, but also because of the privy nature of the surrounding people around them. Especially the intimidating glares that had come from a pair of two older women across the restaurant.

“Maybe it’s best for us just to make our order take-out after all. You are clearly not in the mood to be dealing with the people around us and neither am I.” Subaru had suggested rather aggravatingly as he stood abruptly from his seat and stomped over to the front counter. Only one thought had run across his mind as he made his way up to the counter haphazardly. ‘Is the White Whale responsible for this? If that’s the case, than would return by death solve the problem? No, I can’t carelessly throw my life away without even knowing if I’ll loop or not.’ Subaru had mulled to himself as he though out out his options.

Once he had finally arrived, he had casually asked in a slightly jeering but jovial demeanor about having their order changed to take-out instead. The employee working at the serving station had casually obliged, going about their way to put the onion rings in the takeout bags that they had left on the serving tray. They had too many things to deal with besides hearing the complaints of overbearing customers who changed their minds at the drop of the dime. Once they had strode out of the store, Subaru had instantly pulled Rem along with him into a secluded alley near the backside of Carl’s Junior. Rem had winched at the sudden shift in his personality, yet deep down she had known that it was for her sake. Once they were out of sight from the leering crowds, Subaru had collapsed against the wall into a ball of defeat, placing the takeout bag next to him.

“Subaru-kun...” Rem had uttered conservatively as Subaru had planted his face into his hands wallowing in his own despair. She had understood that Subaru had been through so much yet she couldn’t do anything to stop it. Her memories, despite how precious they are, had been nothing in comparison to seeing Subaru falling into the pit of despair the way he had. It had made her feel pathetic.

“Damn it all… No matter how much try I set things right, I always find myself in a never-ending cycle of mishaps, fuck ups, and tragedy… Even after all the sugar coated things I had said back then to assure that everything was going to be all right. I still can’t help but feel like the pretentious arrogant useless piece of shit that I was and still am. I’m so pathetic, it’s comedic...” Subaru had muttered to himself angrily, as Rem had attentively knelt right next to him with an empathetic gaze.

“… When you first strode head long in the woods to save me. I couldn't help but think, why? Why would you push yourself so far for a stranger who at the time you had known so little about.” Rem had articulated, as Subaru had gazed up at her beckoning. “Back before I had met you, I had subjected myself to always being inferior to the people around me. I would constantly lie to myself to appease to people and tried to keep my head up high even in the most arduous of tasks. But deep down, I just couldn’t but feel like there was something missing in the shallow pit of my disparaging life. It had made me grow envious of the people around me, at the fact that they had a sense of belonging in society. When Lord Mathers had adopted me to work in his mansion, there was only one conclusion that I drawn out of it. That he had some sort of hidden agenda planned out for me. Because of that, I started to grow cold, distant, and ironically egotistical as well, caring for no one besides Lord Roswaal, Lady Emilia upon Lord Roswaal’s request, and myself. While the missing memories of mine would certainly help fill the gaps to my disoriented state, judging by the way I had spoke of myself. It certainly couldn’t be far off from the truth. And with time, I had grown to hate the very fiber of my being.”

“Rem...” Subaru had vented out, slightly galvanized at her outburst. He had understood that Rem had her own set of issues that she had dealt with, everyone did. Yet here he was complaining as if he were the only victim being dragged down by the collar that was life.

“So when you had come to Roswaal-sama’s mansion, I figured that you might have been another one of those conniving men that would frequently venture to and fro with his own set of agenda, or a witch cultist. Yet for some inexplicable reason, I had also feel a sense of attachment to you. Whether it’s the smell of the witch that was emanating from you, or your endearing bravado that you could tackle any task that was thrown at you. It had all intertwined into the person that made you, the person I had single-handedly fallen in love with. So when I saw you charging straight into the fray when I was in a state of disarray with such amiable courage, I had reconsidered my stance that maybe you weren’t as selfish as the rest of the gluttonous masses that compose society.” Rem had concluded, as Subaru had defiantly shook his head at the notion.

“That’s wrong Rem, that’s very wrong… I’m a very selfish, self-centered piece of shit of a man who only does things to make myself feel better...” Subaru had indicated, as Rem had clasp his hands with her own.

“And that’s alright to be selfish, but you’ve also shown that you are a kind, compassionate, gallant, and charitable man that devotes himself to the people he truly cares about. That enough had shown me the light to my shadow that was my despair. When I saw you charge head-first into battle against the White Whale with your head up high, it had assured me that you were doing these things for not only Emilia-sama’s sake, but for the sake of others including me as well. Because that’s the person that makes you who you are, the Hero in my dreams. So don’t these small things bring you down. Instead, redirect your efforts to a just cause and focus on seeing the means to the end of that front.” Rem had suggested, as Subaru had composed himself after attentively listening to Rem’s stance on their current issue. Wiping down his tears, he had beamed a smile who Rem had shared in return.

“You’re right, now I’ve gotten back to my world already. Maybe it’s time to set things straight once and for all.” Subaru had adamantly proposed, gesturing Rem over to sit next to him in order to indulge on their sandwich takeout before it got cold. His mood had drastically improved thanks to Rem, but he didn’t know for how long. “Oh nice, it’s still piping hot and juicy…”

Rem on the other hand, had assessed the delicate composition that made up the sandwich within her hands. “Tomata, Lettuce, Fermented Cow’s Milk, an unknown sauce, bacon, and from I can assume is the meat patty.”

“That’s the base of the sandwich, it’s essentially chicken ground up in a pulp and spread out into a patty covered in a breading before being fried in oil. The unknown sauce is called mayonnaise, it goes great with the sandwich. I’ve made that stuff in the past as well but I have yet to show you how it’s made.” Subaru had explained, as Rem had lifted the sandwich up to her face.

“It seems a little too oily in comparison to the food in Lugnica… Here, let me try to soak some of the oils up with my handkerchief.” Rem had indicated, before bring out a sky blue handkerchief to the patty. Subaru had raised an eyebrow at the uncanny display before proceed to bite out of his own burger. ‘She’s a little too picky when it comes to her food. Although, I could have sworn that these things tasted better back then...’ He had mused, reminiscing about the time the times he had spent with his father before certain things had unfolded that lead him to his NEET-lifestyle. Rem had ultimately dosed away with the ‘excessive’ oils and had folded it over neatly before placing it back into the pocket of her dress. Satisfied with her outcome, she had sequentially took a bite out her own sandwich as her eyes had beamed up at the sheer amount of mouth-watering flavor that had poured out of it.

“That settles it, this will go into my portfolio of recipes to cook for Subaru-kun once he makes me his wife.” Rem had muttered to herself blithely, falling on deaf ears for Subaru. Subaru had re-rolled the events that had unfolded throughout the last two or so hours, contemplating their next decisive course of action in order to try to get back Rem’s memories. Rem on the other hand, had gestured over to the onion rings that were still within the takeout bag. “Subaru-kun, those are…?”

“Ahhh, those little round things are called onion rings. They’re basically slice onions straight across and seperate the outer layers from all the rest. Then they bread it up, and fry it up as well.” Subaru had explained, as Rem had pondered about all the other things Subaru’s ‘world’ had to offer when it came to culinary. Rem had also proceeded to try out the onion rings for herself as they had thoroughly finished up the rest of their meal. Subaru had let out a sigh of nostalgia once he had finished, closely followed by Rem a few minutes later. Cleaning up after themselves by stuffing the rest of the wrappers in the bag, they had gotten up and made their way back out onto the main street. The droves of people had meet their eyes once again as they continued on their way towards the net-cafe, Subaru throwing away their trash into a near by trash bin. A cultural custom for convenience and sanitation, something that was not always found or enforced in Lugnica. However, little did they know that someone was closely tailing them obscurely by a few paces. To their convenience, Subaru had claimed that he had known a shortcut that lead straight around to the net-cafe. Taking the initiative, they had sneakily closed in on the duo’s proximity and brandished out silenced pistols. Catching the duo off guard as Rem had taken a battle stance.

“One wrong move and I’ll shoot...” The one of the covert operatives had announced, as he had pinned Subaru’s arm to his upper back, taking him hostage. Subaru had grunted out in pain as reality had despairingly set in that they had been discovered, and were most likely going to be sent to a lab somewhere. He had then proceeded to tackle Subaru straight towards the ground, binding his hands up with a plastic wire.

“Subaru-kun!” Rem had cried out, as she secretly tried to flare up her gate, only for it to not respond. ‘Huh? What’s going on, why isn’t my gate working?’ Rem had thought, panic ensuing.

“Woah little lady, I recommend that you stand down and come along quietly if you don’t want to your little friend to get hurt.” Another figure had emerged into the alley, also armed with a silenced military grade weapon (AS-VAL). He had then proceeded to say something in what Subaru had believed to have been the Russian language into an ear-piece. Rem on the other hand, had not been so lenient as she had desperately rushed the armed combatant after pulling out her hidden morning star from a hidden layer within her maid outfit.

“No one hurts allies to the Roswaal estate under my watch!”

“Rem, wait! Don-” Subaru had struggled to voice out only for a bullet-crack to pierce his ears. He had looked up to see what had occurred, immediately regretting it as a bullet wound had opened up on the left side of her abdomen as dubious rage had over come him.

“Rem, no!!” Subaru had cried out, as the man who had apprehended him had started to drive to his knee into his back, as he gasped out in pain. ‘This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening!’ Subaru had reiterated in his mind, as he had wept weakly at his inability to save her.

Rem on the other hand, had collapsed onto her right side, as she had weakly glared up at the armed gunman who shot her, who had averted his gaze in shame. The apparent leader had once again vocalized something in apparent Russian once again, before the grunts had made their way over to Rem who was crying out in pain. They had subsequently proceeded to bind her arms well while on her stomach, before forcing her on her right side. Once they had cleared the area, the leader had uttered something again before one of them had departed out of the alley, as the man who had apprehended had started applying pressure to her wound. ‘Wait, are they trying to save her after shooting her?

“We were authorized to use lethal force to take you in, although I don’t understand how you would be useful to them dead.” The leader had announced in a broken accent as Subaru had glared up in enmity, tears pouring from his eyes.

“Screw you! All we wanted to do is live our life in peace. We are not lab rats!” Subaru had let out weakly, enraged that the man had the audacity to disrupt the duo’s day for whatever agenda these men had.

“A noble cause... However, you have no choice in the matter. A rather prominent group of individuals has requested us to capture you dead or alive by any means necessary. I’m just doing my job to put food on the table.” The leader had retorted, as Subaru had groaned out in defeat.

“Even if it means getting your hands dirty?” Subaru had exclaimed, baffled by his repugnant response. The esteemed leader had nodded at the notion, as his line of work had a record body-count a mile high.

“That’s right...” The leader had verbalized, as Subaru had fell into despair seeing that it was no use trying to negotiate with the gunman.

“Damn it, damn it all!” Subaru had known that there was only one option left on the table to get them out of this mess. ‘If I try to attack them, and shoot me dead. Would I be able to use Return by Death?’ Subaru had gulped at his only viable option. ‘If this fails, then Rem would be subjected to torture for the rest of her life! I can’t accept that.’ Realizing that there was only thing that he needed to do even if it cost him his life, he had signaled his muscles to start moving. However, just as he had willed himself to push himself to his limit, time had froze around him to a standstill, as he fell into a literal spiral of darkness. A collage of memories had bombarded him left and right as he made his way down the continuous slope of nothingness. Each canvas had showed him visages of people he had grown bonds with, both the good and the bad.

What the hell? These are my memories! What’s happening right now? Is this the Witch’s doing?’ He had desperately thought as he cursorily glanced around the empty chasm. He had felt his soul being jousted out of his body before a benign yet somber feeling had arouse from him. A sudden booming somatic yet robotic voice had echoed within his mind in proclamation as Subaru felt his soul essence being bound to to the myriad of memory murals around him as his ‘ethereal’ body had stood upon a marble platform of some sorts.

[Necessary conditions met… Initiation sequence confirmed... Acquiring complimentary quantitative data for arbitrary extraction from the vessel of the subject’s memories. Complete… Loading up necessary compiled data to relay options window in order to execute (Compendium of Retrospection), complete. Extracting mitigated factors to console the subject’s state of disarray, initiated.]

“What in the world...” Subaru had muttered out-loud, as a sudden flurry of brilliant particles had descended from the heavens above. They had danced about vibrantly as they had weaved into what appeared to be an options menu of sorts. Subaru eyes had skimmed the game-like options menu in complete disarray.

[Do you wish to initiate Compendium of Retrospection to leap back through time and restart the cycle? A necessary sacrifice must be made in order for the requested process to complete upon death. Click on the drop-down menu for more details.]

[Yes] [Cancel]

Subaru had read the through the disclosure repeatedly as he had contemplated what to do next. ‘Judging by what this game-like options menu reads, this power seems to be some sort of variant to Return by Death. So that aspect still hasn’t gone away even if after being introduced to this world. Wait, a drop-down menu?

[Compendium of Retrospection is a blessing offered by the Goddess of Creation Qenja to a qualified Champion. Upon mere introduction in the user’s soul, the user will be destined to undergo a debilitating trial which tests the user’s resilience to even the most paramount of labors. There are 3 conditions that must be met to initiate the Compendium of Retrospection prior to death.

* The severity of the circumstance revolving around the user.

* The user’s willingness to sacrifice themselves for the sake of someone they cherish.

* The user’s willingness to see something through to the end, no matter how arduously they push themselves.

Upon initiation, the user will be required to forfeit their memory a cherished person they hold dear to their hearts each time they perish. It is up to the user’s resolve to see it through to the end.]

Subaru had fixed his gaze upon the ability window for what seemed to be an eternity as he constantly panned over a certain set of words appalled. The power had turned more akin to a curse to him than ever before. ‘Sacrifice my memory of someone dear to me… To hell with that, there’s no fucking way I’ll ever accept something like that. Cancel!” Subaru had abnegated the window as he slammed his fist against the [Cancel] option, which almost immediately brought him back to reality. However, he had only a split second to deter himself from his previous struggle as the gunman had dug his knee into his back, after feeling previous resistance coming from Subaru.

“You’ll never get away with this...You hear?” Subaru had weakly cried out, as the gunman had grown annoyed by the boy’s uncooperative resilience. The other combatants had continued to patch up Rem’s gunshot wound, as she herself seemed to struggle against them, despite how futile it was.

“Shut the fuck up...” The gunman had glowered at him. Ultimately, the leader had beckoned for them to pick them up after saying something in their foreign language. “Get up now...”

“Fuck you!” Subaru had shrilled out, his angry tears continued stream down his face as theirs captors had started dragging them away. ‘What do I do now? I failed to protect Rem due to my own selfishness, and cowardliness. Now we’re about to become their guinea pigs as well. Mom, Dad, it seems like I was ultimately a useless son in the end.

By the time the duo had been dragged out by the alley, they were shoved into the back of a Rental Truck with tinted windows as two of the gunmen had accompanied them before they set off towards their extraction point in an undisclosed abandoned factory after a 40 minute drive as they kept Rem stabilized with their military-grade medical field kit. Subaru had scowled in rage as they had stripped Rem of her maid outfit before putting her in a hospital gown of some sorts. She had initially resisted their all her might despite the searing pain but they had injected a sedative into her neck which caused her to pass out. Just before arriving, they had gagged both of their mouths and blinded-folded them. The feeling of treading in uncharted waters had successfully sent chills up both of their spines. The captors had opened the back compartment of the truck once again and started to drag them out as a helicopter could be heard overhead. The gunmen had started throwing out orders to an anonymous group of individuals before they had scattered about as the helicopter started to descend onto a rooftop.

However, just before it could land, a beam of light bright enough to be seen even through Subaru’s blindfold had pierced straight through the hull of the helicopter. Effectively destroying it as it crashed into a fiery ball of flames that sent a smoke column rising sky high into the air. Both Rem and Subaru had caught wind of it, baffled by the sight since their blindfold had seemed to slip after they were thrown onto the ground. In the midst of the confusion, multiple gunmen had directed their gunfire towards an unknown origin that dashed off the ledge of a rooftop in a fiery mist of pink energy. The figure nearly seemed to have phrased through the air as it moved with lightning quick speeds effectively neutralizing each of the gunmen one by one in intricate movements. Once it had taken care of all the targets, the figure had nearly teleported straight in front of the duo, as they stared at the now seemingly feminine figure donning a white robe with some kind with an insignia on the back of it.

“Good grief, I just barely arrived on time, and you two have already caused more trouble than what was necessary...” The apparent young sweet voice had pitched out unemotionally, as she had started to cut the bindings off of Rem and Subaru. Subaru had lifted himself off the ground while rubbing his sore wrist like an injured puppy after the entire scuffle that had taken place. He had set a firm gaze on what had apparently had been the second most beautiful girl he had ever laid his eyes on, with Emilia coming in first of course. She had featured vibrantly beautiful pink hair with sapphire eyes that had pierced his soul. Yet there were two distinct features that stuck out to him the most. It was antler-like features that had protruded out of her skull at the front along with oak like arms that had served as weapons. The girl had proceeded to make her way over Rem as she had scanned the area for any other hostiles.

“You’re a wood elf, right?” Subaru had ushered out, loud enough for the girl to hear him as a slight blush had crawled on his face. The girl had directed her gaze over to him almost instantaneously with an earnest gaze.

“Not quite, a dryad to be exact…” She had replied bluntly as she started removing the binds off of Rem before applying her hand over her bullet wound. In a small chant, radiant, seemingly magical energy had started to transfer into Rem’s being as the small piece of lead was forcefully cast out her body. “They didn’t even bother removing the bullet after patching up her wound? Just how careless can you be? Well, they were probably waiting to get to an operating bay to extract it anyways since it can lead to infections.” The unnamed dryad had chastised to herself, slightly annoyed by how these men had treated her clients.

“Ummm, thank you for saving us, I guess? Although, it kind of feels like I’ve lost my sense of manliness because I couldn’t even protect one girl.” Subaru had added solemnly, as the girl had stared at him bemused. The girl had reminded him of Rem when they had first meet, putting an awkward barrier between the two. She had ultimately uttered out something after a long pause.

“It’s good to know that at least you care for them at the end of the day.” She had expressed stoically, yet endearingly, a small smile had dawned on her face. “There’s no need to beat yourself over it since there was probably not much you could do in your circumstances.”

Suddenly, their attention was drawn towards a piercing squeal of tires coming around, towards the abandoned factory, as a large truck with tinted windows had barreled through into viewing. Gunmen donning tactical gear had quickly deployed off of the truck and had started make their way towards the trio.

“They’ve already called for reinforcements? They sure are resilient...” The girl had uttered to herself, pausing in between the statements. She had gravitated over towards the duo who had stood perplexed at the sudden turn of events. “Since the two of you seemingly haven’t woken up your [Corpus of Sorcery] yet, I can only assume that you won’t have much to fight back with, unless if you pick up the weapons off of those bodies I had put down earlier.” The girl had pointed towards the ashen corpses that were emanated a burning, yet putrid coppery smell. Rem had gasp as she had laid her eyes upon all the corpses that had surrounded her. Subaru on the other hand, had gazed defiantly at the pink haired girl.

“I’ll choose to fight with you.” Subaru had adamantly announced as Rem had inevitably obliged as well.

“Suit yourself, however if things get hairy... I want the two you to make a beeline towards this location that I have marked on the map I will give to you guys. I’ll let you know if you guys can’t stick around anymore. Since one of them is a mage...” The pinkette had announced as her sapphire eyes fixed their gazes on Subaru’s being. Subaru had gulped at the request before complying, as there was an apparent enemy mage that had could potentially pose a problem for them.

“Right on...” Subaru had obeyed before scurrying off towards one of the corpses and picking up a rifle (SIG SG 550) of some sorts. He had originally wanted to give one to Rem, but since she probably did not have a general idea of how to use them, he had decided to bare them himself. Ultimately, they had sat in wait in an obscure position as the Pinkette had stood out in the open as the militants approached her.

“Well if it isn’t the little bitch who had given my PMC an ass kicking a little over 2 decades ago.” The oldest, largest and the most apparent leader of the group had sneered at the pinkette as she had stood unemotionally. He had growled something out in spite in his language before gesturing over to this comrades to take battle stances.

“It seems like you’ve learned nothing from Serbia...” The girl had stated, slightly exasperated by the reunion between the two of them.

“So you claim, how about we have a little dance then? If I win, you will tell me where they are, right before I put a bullet in your skull of course...” The behemoth of a man had proposed while grinning wickedly, he had literally thrown his combat glove in between the two of them in a sign of wanting to duel. The girl had stared at the gesture inquisitively, before seemingly obliging to the request by a nod of the head.

“We’ll see which of our winds is the strongest then, by settling this matter once and for all.” She had replied, as she had readied herself in a combat stance in a much anticipated fight. Her hair had started moving about in erratic weaves as they had formed into a variety of weapons. The other gunmen had also readied their weapons as well as they had ducked behind a various assortment of cover around them.


(Disturbed - Decadence starts playing)