ALL CREDITS TO WINTRYONE FOR TRANSLATION
Translated 魔獣 as ‘monster’ this time, instead of ‘mabeast’. ‘monster’ might be a better translation, but loses the connotation that it’s a beast created by the witch.
The ‘centaur’ antagonist in this section has a horn in place of the human head, and a large mouth in it’s torso.
Bathed in the illumination of the newborn orange lightsource ahead of him, Subaru locked eyes with the monster in the distance. Their eyes didn’t actually meet, through, so saying they locked eyes wasn’t quite right.
However, the monster’s attention was clearly focused this way. The monster had no way to track them except by sound, so why was it able to find them in the middle of it’s own roar —
“It’s own… roar…”
“Barusu, the echo…”
As the question and answer came together in Subaru’s mind, Ram, who was still pulling the string, finally called to him and made a sound.
At the moment they both came to the same conclusion, the centaur kicked the sand.
It’s hooves kicked the surface of the sand, and the monster, which was so large they had to look upwards at it, flew lightly through the chilly sky. The heat of it’s blazing mane increased as it moved, and all at once was streaking towards Subaru’s group.
The human torso attached to the horse’s body raised it’s arms, and pulled away pieces of it’s own flaming mane. While held in it’s hands, those pieces changed into balls of fire, and after the blink of an eye, became explosive flaming bullets.
At this point, avoiding a fight with the centaur was no longer possible.
Discarding the plan to move with as little noise as possible, Subaru slapped Patrasche’s haunches, ordering her to run immediately to the corridor.
Subaru’s group was currently in the exact center of the cave, far from both the corridor they entered from, and the one they were moving towards; a position so advantageous for the centaur that it seemed likely this had been the monster’s plan.
“Was it one step ahead of us…!?”
Subaru’s mind froze in amazement, but the monster didn’t let up. Hurling the fireballs as it created them, the centaur blew clouds of sand into the air around it’s fleeing targets, as if playing with them.
The monster had expected that they would run straight for the corridor. Having said that, even if they tried running a zigzag course to confuse it, it’s hearing captured every sound, and wouldn’t fall for such a trick.
Grazing their lowered heads, the fireballs were thrown one after another.
Out of sight, the monster ran circles around them as they fled, not letting up with it’s explosive barrage, hurling bursts of sand into the air.
The heatwave of an explosion at his feet lifted Subaru easily into the air, and sent him flying.
He quickly protected his head with both arms, but the rush of hot air burned the inside of his nose and throat. Breathing was painful, and with the inside of his nose scorched, he temporarily lost his sense of smell.
He rolled on the ground from the agony in the center of his face, then raised his teary-eyed face.
The mouth in the centaur’s torso was open wide, and the toothy maw was emitting an ear-splitting noise, almost looking like it was laughing. No, it was actually laughing.
Laughing at the weak human plaything, that couldn’t even win a battle of wits with a monster.
Hatred boiled in him, and gave Subaru the strength to stand.
Compared to suspicions and mistrust, what a wonderfully healthy feeling it was to hate the vermin that opposed him. As he was swallowed up in a blackness of distilled fury, Subaru snorted at the monster that looked so pleased with itself.
Acting like it had won was laughable.
How could a lowly miasma-hating monster think it could ever hope to beat Subaru Natsuki?
Putting a hand to his waist, he took his whip.
Letting his hand remember the feel of the handle, he lightly flicked the sand with the end of the whip; the centaur immediately stopped it’s roaring laughter, and intently turned it’s ears towards the crack of the whip.
Most likely, it was the first time it had ever heard that sound.
However, that wasn’t Subaru’s real plan. The whip was nothing more than a diversion.
In response to the monster’s violence, a roiling, seething black emotion formed in Subaru’s heart.
Given direction, it turned into strength to tear the centaur limb from limb. Using it this way made him look like a one-trick pony, but he didn’t care. It was a trick that would work on anyone.
Swinging the whip above his head, he let the monster listen to the sound of it splitting the air.
Taking care not to alert the centaur, which was paying close attention to the first sound, the invisible magic hand advanced like it was slipping through the darkness, infiltrating the monster’s shadow, aiming for the horn atop it’s human torso.
Between the human body and the horse body, he couldn’t tell which one had vital organs. With it’s head being a horn, if there was a brain stuffed inside it or not was a mystery. Despite that, there’s had to be a vital organ of some kind inside. With that decided, he would crush the horn in the palm of his invisible hand.
If the loss of the horn happened to made the monster obedient, he’d simply have it kill itself. That would be much more pleasant…
“…!? Gu… agh… Gah!?”
With that thought, it happened just as he was about to carry out his plan.
Focusing on the centaur, his ‘unseen hand’ reaching for it’s head, Subaru’s own head was filled with a burst of unimaginable pain. Feeling as though something had stripped away his scalp and was drilling directly into his skull, his eyes rolled back and yellow foam frothed from his lips as he fell to his knees.
Bringing both hands to his head as he knelt, he struck himself on the side of the head to try and fight off the pain. Rubbing his head, holding his head, nothing else helped with the pain. To fight the pain, he tried to inflict a sharper, stronger pain. He struck himself again, and again, but no matter how hard he hit himself, he couldn’t overcome the pain.
He rolled on the sand while his head felt like a hell full of thorns piercing his brain, and nearly fainting from pain, he ended up swallowing sand without understanding why.
“It hurts! Augh! It hurts it hurts it hurts! It hurts!”
He shouted like he was spitting blood.
With a mouth full of sand, chewing it with his back teeth, Subaru thrashed on the ground, fighting against the mysterious pain to keep it from blocking his throat. He couldn’t fight it, he was losing.
Of course, Invisible Providence had vanished instantly.
With that dispersed, he had no way of affecting the centaur. The monster, as though disappointed with his lack of resistance, prepared to turn him into a smoking corpse.
A huge ball of flame drove away the chill in the air as the explosive head warmed the world around them.
Just like that, Subaru Natsuki would be changed into charcoal…
At the last moment, a jet-black ground dragon charged in fiercely, tearing away the monster’s arm.
With a body color that blended into the darkness, the ground dragon had soundlessly approached the monster, and landed a biting attack. Losing it’s balance along with it’s arm, the monster dropped the fireball it had raised above it’s own head.
In other words, the heat of the fireball the monster had created exploded at it’s own feet, and the point-blank blast wave blew it into the air.
As it was thrown away by the explosion, blood dripped from the centaur’s wounded arm, and it fell over on it’s back. Without sparing it a glance, Patrasche sprinted over the sand, and, holding Subaru’s clothing with her teeth as he thrashed in pain, she immediately began a sprinting retreat.
Held by Patrasche’s teeth near his waist, swinging left and right as he dangled, tormented by poor circulation and the continuing headache, Subaru looked behind him.
Behind Patrasche, the centaur unsteadily rose to it’s feet.
The wound on it’s human torso foamed, and the left arm that had been bitten off grew back in an instant. It’s monstrous regeneration ability was at work on it’s other injuries as well. The wounds all over it’s body, inflicted by the explosion moments ago, closed one after another. The centaur returned to full health in a matter of seconds.
With that done, there was nothing left to slow it down.
Screaming viciously at Patrasche, who had struck it by surprise, the centaur sped up to pursue the madly fleeing ground dragon, and it’s mane blazed brighter as it leapt.
Patrasche’s running ability was impressive in even the worst terrain, but the centaur’s was in it’s own habitat, and it’s acceleration was a step ahead. Along with their difference in size, Patrasche was weighed down by Subaru, and the monster was soon running side by side with her.
A burning fireball appeared in the monster’s hand, but this one was stretched tall. Looking closer, the fireball changed in the monster’s hand to a long-handled weapon, and in the blink of an eye, it had become a spear, covered from end to end in flame.
Raising the flaming spear, the centaur drove the tip towards Patrasche. The black ground dragon ducked as the spear approached, almost diving into the sand to avoid the attack and using that as an opening to speed up further.
However, just when it looked like they could get away, the monster’s hoof drove straight into the ground dragon’s torso from the side. The force of the attack passed through her hard skin, and she cried out as the impact smashed into her guts. Even then, she refused to drop Subaru, still dangling from her teeth. The heat he could feel near his waist was from the blood Patrasche was coughing up from her internal injuries.
That was the only sign she was badly injured.
However, she still wouldn’t let Subaru go, and Subaru had no way to care for his loyal dragon’s wounds. All he had was the seemingly eternal torture of the unending pain in his head.
A second strike from the flaming spear was aimed at Patrasche, who was clearly slowing down. However, before it reached the ground dragon’s body, it was interrupted from two different directions.
From one side came an invisible blade of wind, from the other was a convergence of white-hot rays of heat.
Both of the incantations came from familiar voices, but that was all Subaru could say for sure.
Both spells landed direct hits on the monster, blowing holes through it’s body and cutting through the human torso at an angle… those wounds, too, closed instantly.
“Barusu…! Oh, fine, if you’re dead, you should say so!”
“That’s a nasty one, that monster… I won’t be able ta do much ta that thing.”
Even though it sounded normal, one girl’s voice carried a trace of desperation.
On the other hand, despite being in a desperate situation, one girl’s voice lacked any sense of stress.
Feeling his loyal dragon’s breathing and blood on his skin, Subaru was on the verge of falling unconscious. If he was going to go through this much pain and torment, maybe dying wasn’t so…
“Don’t you dare die, Barusu! Rem would cry!”
That voice, shouted right in his ear, cut through the pain and reached his brain.
What the voice awakened was a hatred no less than the one he held for the monster.
They had forgotten.
Not a single one of them remembered that girl.
…Don’t talk about Rem and I like you know anything about it.
Releasing his feelings of anger towards the monster passing through the edge of his tear-stained vision, Subaru struck at it with a pitch-black magical hand in an outburst of rage.
Partway there, another raging pain tore at his skull – before he was swallowed by it and lost consciousness, Subaru’s ‘Unseen Hand’ hit the monster’s spear head-on, breaking it as a token act of defiance.
…That was all the resistance he could muster.
The reward for his angry counterattack was another burst of furious pain.
The centaur planted it’s front legs in the sandy ground and pivoted on them, turning itself around forcefully, and then it’s rear legs lashed out like a catapult.
It’s solid rock-like hooves kicked sand into the air as they sped towards Subaru’s group – himself, Patrasche, and Ram and Anastasia who were likely nearby as well, intending to tear through them all at once.
In an explosion of leg strength sufficient to bring down part of the cave, everyone was sent flying different directions by the wave of sand. Subaru was even torn away from Patrasche’s jaw, rolling helplessly on top of the sand, and thrown by the aftermath of the impact against a destroyed, burned body.
A headache that couldn’t be described, and a body trampled by the centaur’s kick.
Assaulted by continuous pain from the inside and out, Subaru could no longer hold on to consciousness. Somehow, as he rolled loosely on the sand, he could feel the approaching darkness of death.
Destruction, annihilation, futile death, death in battle.
Heartless words like that roamed the back of his mind, but…
In a situation where his lungs had forgotten to even breathe, Subaru saw someone standing in front of him.
It was a small, delicate shadow. In a world with too little light, he couldn’t see it clearly. Even then, it was a familiar shape that he knew immediately. It was Ram. She was wobbling as she stood.
She had both arms outstretched, to protect Subaru.
Stop it. It’s stupid, impossible, useless…
He tried to say it, but his throat would no longer listen to him, as though it was filled with sand. …No, it actually was filled with sand. Because of the sand he’d stupidly swallowed trying to fight the pain in his head, Subaru could no longer even speak clearly.
With all his strength, Subaru managed a weak cry.
Despite all the pent-up dissatisfaction and anger he’d felt towards Ram and his other friends, that surely they must have known about.
“…Rem would… cry.”.
Ram made only that quiet response to Subaru’s words.
For the little sister she couldn’t remember, for the person most dear to that unremembered sister, Ram stood.
What pushed her to go that far, Subaru couldn’t understand.
He couldn’t understand that, but there was one thing he did understand.
At this rate, Ram was going to die. Subaru would die too. There was no way to avoid it.
The centaur bellowed, swinging both it’s arms and creating a blazing sword in each of them. They didn’t really look like swords, though, so perhaps it had meant to make hammers or axes.
Regardless, they were both weapons wrapped in flame. It stood on the verge of using them to cut Ram’s much smaller frame into pieces, and roast Subaru as well.
“…come, come on. There’s must be…something.”
Staring death in the face, Subaru reached down through the depths of his pain.
Fighting against the relentless pain was like diving deep into himself. Looking outside himself – to Ram, Patrasche, or Anastasia – was unrealistic.
Even if it would be derided as a dream or delusion, Subaru looked inside himself for something, anything. This unrealistic approach was the most realistic hope he had left.
Diving inside, reaching into the murky depths of his body, pulling aside the writhing black thoughts, Subaru looked inside himself for anything that could help. Not the ‘Unseen Hand’ he had overused. Something different, something, something new, some way to pull through this mess.
His last-ditch search yielded…
nothing, and Subaru watched as the monster in front of him raised it’s swords.
The flames crossed above the monster’s head, and after a moment’s pause, descended towards Ram. Burning the very air, the oncoming slashes would heartlessly cut a burning path through the girl’s slender body, burn her away, leave nothing of the path she had walked, the memories she had held, or anything at all except black charcoal…
At that scene, Subaru cried out against his own powerlessness.
The next moment, white light unleashed with awesome speed blew away the monster’s upper body.