The town nearest to the Augria Sand Dunes truly was a deserted inn town.
The town had a suitable structure, but of course, it was considerably smaller than places like Watergate City Priestella, Industrial City Costool, and the Lugnica kingdom.
The kingdom had maintenance everywhere for the main roads laid out inside. The dragon carriage had a steady trip on the way to Milra, but that final destination of the east end was as lacking as it could’ve been.

[Emilia: But perhaps that just can’t be helped. Looking at a map, from here on there’s only the Augria Sand Dunes towards east………and there’s the kingdom’s biggest forest towards south, right? We’re far away from the five cities, and we also know that there isn’t much pedestrian traffic.]

Emilia lets out that impression while looking around the town, walking besides Subaru.
She had a white robe that covered her head. Her beautiful silver hair and looks were slightly concealed. A beautiful girl like Emilia appearing at a rural area would strike the townspeople’s sense of beauty――that was Subaru joking, but she did also have a high class position. This is why she showed slight consideration not just for her appearance, but for avoiding the trouble involved with her lineage as well.

That being said, those weren’t the only reasons as to why her head and her mouth were concealed.
The other reason to conceal oneself was because of the special “disastrous” effect of the sand wind.

[Subaru: It cant expand east or south, and on top of that, this sand breeze is guaranteed. That’s rough.]

Emilia stood at the downwind, and Subaru also pulls up the cloth he had worn on his face, who stood at the upwind side to act as slight resistance to the wind as he murmured those words while hiding his face. When he moved his tongue, he felt sand rubbing between his teeth, and it made him feel quite sick.

This sandy wind came flowing into the town as if it was blowing down from the eastern sand dunes.
It seemed that the sand wind would blow against the town continuously on days of strong wind. It was imperative to have fashion defensive to sand like this to walk around the town.

[Emilia: ――? Subaru, what’s wrong?]

[Subaru: It’s nothing. I was just thinking about how this turned out different than what I imagined when I heard that it was a desert.]

Emilia tilted her head at Subaru as he looked at himself with a side glance.
Her bare body was concealed to the utmost limit, as she had her body covered from head to toe in a cloak. Subaru’s idea was basically that beautiful girls should please the eyes of people around them with various outfits. However, they couldn’t be eye candy with outfits of defense this high.
Speaking of the desert, he’d think of a dancer-like outfit to protect against the sunlight――what was it called?

[Subaru: Nevertheless, perhaps we should’ve listened to the innkeeper’s advice.]

[Emilia: It’s “sand time” right now, right? There’s no one on the road, after all.]

The wind wasn’t very strong, but the sand was turning into small dust, perhaps because it was light. In this yellow, hazy field of vision, nobody besides Subaru and Emilia could be seen on the road of the overlooking town.
The townspeople used to this environment shut themselves inside during the “sand time” when the sand wind would blow, and they the buildings would even have their windows and doors closed.
In truth, the type of view they had within the sand wind was a given, and it also took a lot of effort to breathe. It was so bad that the innkeeper stopped them and said that they shouldn’t go out during “sand time”.
However, there was a reason why they disregarded the innkeeper that stopped them and went outside.

[Subaru: This is how it is in the town. The sand wind at the sand dunes isn’t like this, right?]

[Emilia: …….No, don’t think so.]

It wasn’t a dry run, but they purposely went out during “sand time” in order to prepare themselves mentally.
The circumstances of the path of the sand dunes, which had sand wind blowing and had sand at every direction, also weren’t this bad outside of “sand time”. They were distant from the sand dunes, and they couldn’t see well in this town with compact buildings.
They had to prepare themselves at once for the severeness of the sand dunes’ path.

[Emilia: Anyways, how about we enter a shop somewhere? Since we’ll turn into blocks of sand at this rate.]

What Emilia pointed towards to while swiping away the dust the sand that followed her was the building at the other side of the road. The place that appeared to be a bar or something seemed to be a temporary refuge shelter.
It felt like the other stores were uninviting, but the entrance was open at least.

They hurried over to that building just like Emilia suggested.
They removed as much dirt as they could from the door, and after that, they slowly entered the bar.

[Shopkeeper: ……Welcome, in the sand wind.]

When they entered the bar, the shopkeeper at the other side of the counter polishing a glass looked at them and greeted them with a low voice. He sounded unwelcoming with his low voice probably because with a single glance he noticed that Subaru and Emilia were smeared with sand.
They did remove as much sand off themselves as they could, but there was still a huge amount of it sticking onto them. They scattered the sand and set foot into the store, although they did feel bad about it.

[Shopkeeper: What would you like to order?]

[Subaru: Cold milk.]

[Emilia: Hot milk.]


In response to the two people who sat down at the counter and said their orders, the shopkeeper squinted his eyes and didn’t say anything.
Incidentally, Subaru ordered cold milk, while Emilia ordered hot milk.

[Subaru: Doesn’t feel very prospering……is business terrible during the sand time?]

Subaru takes off the hood he covered himself with, and he asks the shopkeeper that question while tasting the milk he was brought. The unsociable shopkeeper responds with an “Aahhh” and says

[Shopkeeper: Even at the best of times, the traffic of people is low for this town. Running a shop during sunrise is just like a hobby.]

[Subaru: I see. Then as outsiders and customers we must be regulars eh.]

[Shopkeeper: Not sure about that, even if you drink milk at the bar and appear to be regulars. Here, this is yours, Miss.]

[Emilia: Wow, thanks.]

The shopkeeper holds out the hot milk to her. Emilia grabs onto the ceramic and takes a breath. The girl blowing on the milk sees Subaru bending forward onto the counter.

[Subaru: There’s no other customers, so you have a little free time now right? Mind hearing me out for a bit?]

[Shopkeeper: Even if I did, it’s taboo to start talking to someone in the middle of working while, saying that they have time. ……..What would you outsiders like to know?]

[Subaru: Frankly speaking, I’d like to know about the Augria Sand Dunes.]

Subaru raises his finger and confronts him with the details of his question. Once he did, the shopkeeper that heard it had his expression break down for the first time.
The calm shopkeeper with short gray hair squinted his eyes dubiously under his dark eyebrows. After that, he compared Subaru and Emilia and let out a slight sigh.

[Shopkeeper: I don’t know what kind of joke this is, but don’t bother going if you’re gonna treat it like a picnic. You’ll just end up dying.]

[Subaru: Hey hey, what are you saying? Do we really look like we’re fooling around to you?]

[Shopkeeper: What else did my warning just now seem to you? That place is a sand sea of death where everyone who goes never comes back and dies. It’s not a place to have a date with a woman.]

[Subaru: I certainly do think that the suspension bridge effect is a valid approach, but I’m not that cornered. Emilia-tan, you tell him too.]

[Emilia: blow blow, Hot……eh? What was that? Sorry, I wasn’t listening.]

[Subaru: Behold: the ways of E・M・T.]

[Shopkeeper: I’m gonna give you some useful advice. Go home before you die.]

The shopkeeper looks at Subaru and Emilia’s interactions, and the faith he had in them got worse and worse.
That being said, it wasn’t like the shopkeeper was saying this out of spite. He actually did know about the danger of the Augra Sand Dunes from its reputation. However――

[Subaru: We don’t have the option to leave. We only have the path to move forward. On top of that, the only thing we can do is pick the safest path possible. You understand, right?]

[Shopkeeper: You’re the ones who don’t understand. Listen up. Those sand dunes are hopeless. The witch’s miasma drifts about in the mabeast den, and you can’t get close to the farsighted tower.]

The shopkeeper started to talk about the threats of the Sand Dunes while being irritated by Subaru’s persistent behavior. He points at the window that was closed to prevent sand from coming in and curled his lips as he pointed towards the east side of the town.

[Shopkeeper: Every year there are people like you guys who recklessly try to go to the sand dunes. They aim for the sage’s tower at the sand sea………but no one has reached it. Nothing would be better than them coming back alive, but the majority either completely dry up at the sand sea, or they become mabeast food.]

[Subaru: Has no one really reached it before?]

[Shopkeeper: I believe the tower at the sand sea was built hundreds of years ago. The number of idiots that have tried to go there hasn’t decreased. If a person did reach it there’s no way he/she wouldn’t have introduced themselves. Don’t you know? That one guy would end up achieving failure even as a “Sword Saint”.]


Conquering the Pleiades watchtower was a failed challenge even for Reinhard.
He’s been told about it from Reinhard himself, and he’s also talked about the abnormally high difficulty of conquering the watchtower.
But even then, the people who had to overcome it were Subaru’s current group.

[Subaru: Of course, we won’t do something stupid like tackling it without any plans. That’s why we’re gathering information. Doing that in a bar is a basic step, don’t you think?]

[Shopkeeper: Is it really? Why do it at a place where you drink sake?]

[Subaru: If you ask me to explain in detail, I probably can’t, but isn’t it because everyone will get talkative after drinking alcohol, and then they’ll end up pouring out various rumors?]

[Shopkeeper: So basically idle gossip. It is unacceptable to go in there without any plans, but leaning towards inane plans is bad too.]

[Subaru: Guehh! Your reasoning is piercing!]

Subaru gets knocked down head on by reason and sinks instantly as he drinks his milk.
Usually whenever Subaru talked with proper adults, the pace would be overwhelming for him. The shopkeeper also was used to talking with people that would challenge the sand dunes recklessly. In reality, it wasn’t as if Subaru’s challenging of the sand dunes was reckless, but the shopkeeper he was facing that didn’t know more than the reality treated him the same way as everyone else.
At this rate they would end up returning without gaining a single clue and――

[Shopkeeper: Anyways, for you to even bring a girl to a hell like that is…….]

[Emilia: I’m sorry Mr. Shopkeeper. You’ve been showing care for us, and yet Subaru is doing nothing but complaining.]

Just when Subaru was about to give in to the stalemate, Emilia stopped the shopkeeper that started to preach. The shopkeeper widens his eyes at Emilia’s words that started with an apology.
Emilia quickly bowed her head upon seeing the shopkeeper’s reaction.

[Emilia: Thank you for all the help you’ve given even though we aren’t even acquaintances.]

[Shopkeeper: I’m sorry too for nagging. However, I still stand firm with my points. I come across youngsters like you constantly.]

[Emilia: Are there really that many people that have tried to see the “Sage”?]

[Shopkeeper: Well, there’s really not that many people that have strong spirit to meet the “Sage”. The majority of people trying to conquer the Augria Sand Dunes want to be honored. Sure there are people who say they’ll obtain wisdom from the sage given that things go well, but saying that they’ll get a reward by reaching the tower is also deceit.]

The shopkeeper dropped his shoulders and sighed with what you could call a fed up look.
Just like he said, he’s probably seen off many people that were challenging the Priestella watchtower. Perhaps he looked kind-hearted even with how his face looked. It seemed like he could feel shame.

[Emilia: Does that also mean that people haven’t seen the “sage”……..?]

[Shopkeeper: Never heard of anyone getting that far. According to rumors, the sage is still looking overlooking from the top of the tower and she punishes insolent people……..but it’s not like I’ve witnessed it. I can’t help thinking that the sand dunes themselves are a trap for hunting prey and hang bait.]

[Emilia: You mentioned the witch’s miasma. What is that?]

[Shopkeeper: It’s the same thing as I said. A mabeast den is ahead…….In the kingdom, there are multifarious mabeast races at various places. But, at those sand dunes, there are all kinds of cases]

The shopkeeper quietened his voice, but he was making rhymes, perhaps getting carried away with the fun.
When Emilia gulped, the shopkeeper looked into the distance.

[Shopkeeper: Speckled king dogs and black wing cats have a cute side. The endemic one horned mabeasts and the sand earth worms are beasts that are only seen here. Also, if there’s a flower garden on the sandy soil, that’s the oiran bear’s hunting place.]

[Emilia: Oiran bears…..]

[Shopkeeper: It actually seems that they’re only found at Kararagi. They’re mabeasts that have bloomed flowers all throughout their body. Once you get fooled by their appearance and you get near them, they’ll slurp on your guts.]

[Subaru: Mabeasts sure are……nasty………]

Who was it that told him about mabeasts whose purpose was to kill humans?
The shopkeeper snorted his nose at him as if saying “Told you so”, as Subaru frowned while listening attentively.

[Shopkeeper: But the danger you have to watch out for the most, even more than the mabeasts, is the miasma. Yes there are dangers like the sand wind and environmental changes, but your biggest concern should be the miasma.]

[Subaru: That miasma isn’t something you recognize intuitively, eh.]

Subaru puzzled at the shopkeeper who lost his voice again.
Subaru heard the word miasma many times before, and he could even imagine what it was like based off the impression the word gave off. Basically it had bad effects on the body and your mind, and it evidently seemed to be bad air for the body.
He felt like it was different from a noxious gas, but perhaps it was something close to it.

[Emilia: Ummm, Subaru. If described, a miasma would be called mana that is polluted by bad things. You can’t see it with your eyes, but it’s something that’s everywhere, don’t you know?]

[Subaru: Eh…so mana is miasma?]

Emilia’s points surprised Subaru. The explanation was easy to understand, but the implications were a bit different from what Subaru had imagined.
Mana truly did have an extremely big amount of influential power for magic users and spirits. However, if they just lived their lives and simply used equestrian dragons to move, then mana wasn’t really a big deal.
But, Emilia slowly shook her head as if she had predicted Subaru’s disappointed spirit.

[Emilia: You can’t take miasma lightly. Normal mana is something that’s pure, has no color and no directivity. But miasma…….just from taking in the the mana polluted by bad things via gate, it corrupts creatures inside. Considering how gate is an organ that naturally takes in mana, that’s something that can’t be avoided.]

[Subaru: Can’t have your breathing permanently stop, after all.]

[Shopkeeper: The lady’s interpretation is correct, but the miasma drifting about at the sand dunes is even worse. ――The miasma over there even ruins food and drinks for creatures.]

[Subaru: You mean food becomes unedible?]

[Shopkeeper: I mean that once you eat it, the miasma’s pollution advances. You’ll go crazy just from taking even a little bit of it with through your gate. Try taking it in directly through the stomach. The pollution will swallow you whole.]

[Subaru: What happens then? It won’t stop just because of me going insane?]

[Shopkeeper: People commonly say that you’ll die in madness. To tell you the truth………well, I can’t deny it.]

The succinctly speaking shopkeeper shaking his head had a pale look.
He probably had seen it before, although he didn’t speak of it directly. He had seen people’s last moments of getting violated by the miasma as they went crazy, arriving at their death.

[Shopkeeper: It would be far better for you guys to not go over there. Do that.]

[Emilia:――Thank you for the milk. Thanks for the talk too.]

Emilia drinks up her hot milk and expresses her gratitude towards the shopkeeper that started to conclude the conversation.
The shopkeeper was probably aware of how they started to gently get information out of the conversation in the middle of it as well. He also continued to speak until now and tried to change Subaru and Emilia’s plans.
He simply felt sad for them. But even then, Subaru and the others would still go towards the same place.

[Emilia: I paid. Subaru let’s go.]

[Subaru: Alright……..lets go then.]

Emilia places the silver coin she took out onto the counter and pulled onto Subaru’s sleeve. She gave him way too much for two cups of milk, but it did also include a tip for the information and his care.
They got up, said their thanks to the shopkeeper, and started to exit the shop.

[Shopkeeper: ――It’s been like this here for about a year, but people now notice that there are birds that fly towards the sand dunes.]


They covered themselves with their robes again, preparing themselves for the sand wind, and a voice called out to them from behind. When they turned back, the shopkeeper turned his back on them, and continued speaking as if having a monologue while he wiped a glass.

[Shopkeeper: The people that saw them say that they fly towards the tower, and it spread as a joke. I don’t have any evidence for this, but………]

That was the point when the shopkeeper stopped his sentence and put down the glass.
And then he said

[Shopkeeper: If you ever become uncertain, try looking for a bird. If you’re lucky, it might lead you towards the tower.]


[Shopkeeper: Though you’d obviously already have the worst luck once you become uncertain at the sand dunes.]

Subaru and Emilia left the shop without having anything to say.
When they went outside, they noticed that the sand wind was considerably weak. Emilia confirms that she could see better now to some extant in comparison to when they entered the bar, and she looked back at Subaru.

[Emilia: For now, let’s return to the inn and meet up with everyone else, since Anastasia and the others might also be back now.]

[Subaru: Yeah, sounds good. I’m also interested in what results they got too.]

He stands in front of Emilia, who covered her faced again, and started to walk while acting as protection from the wind
And then once they reached a point where they could no longer see the bar, Emilia murmured quietly.

[Emilia: The store person from before was missing a leg.]

[Subaru: …….I didn’t notice.]

[Emilia: I don’t know where he was injured…….but I wonder if it was because of “that”.]

Subaru also knew what Emilia wanted to say from her thoughtful words.
The shopkeeper nicely and warmly expressed his strong feelings on the dangers of the sand dunes to the two strange travelers.

If that was a warning based off his experiences, then the people that shook off that care and headed towards the sand dunes were cruel. That’s how it felt like,

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

[Anastasia: Looks like Natsuki-kun and Emilia-san have returned safely.]

They came back to the inn. The person that greeted Subaru and Emilia was someone who should have been outside just like they were. It was Anastasia.
Anastasia changed from her outside clothes, and she had a gorgeous and elegant smile as she sat down on the bed.

The inn the group was staying at was a first class Milura inn.
It was still unfair to compare it to Priestella’s “Hagoromo Inn of the Water”, but there was no way to understand it other than reasoning it was because of the qualitative difference cities had.

[Subaru: Where’s Julius?]

[Anastasia: After he sent me to the inn, he said that he’d look around the town for a bit. I think he’s probably not used to having sand in his eyes. Just like you guys. How was it?]

[Subaru: I really do wish we had goggles to protect against dust. They’re like transparent glass, and they cover the face around here like protection. Can we not make them?]

Subaru gets reminded of underwater goggles and asks about them while pointing around his eyes. Anastasia tilts her head at those words and said “I see” as she nodded.

[Anastasia: We have to worry about things like glasswork and its durability, but it is something worth considering……..perhaps. Sand wind time isn’t a matter unrelated to Kararagi, so it might be a useful idea.]

[Subaru: I’m not trying to talk about patents far into the future. If we don’t have those things…..well as long as we don’t use them during “sand time”, I don’t think there’d be any deficiencies.]

[Emilia: It seems like the bigger concerns are the mabeasts and the miasma as oppose to the sand. Beatrice and I can try dealing with the miasma with lesser spirits……but we’ll have to depend on Meili for the mabeasts.]

Emilia said those words and looked towards the room next door on the other side of the wall.
As of right now, Beatrice should be monitoring Meili in that room. He wanted to be sentimental and wanted to believe Meili wouldn’t betray them, but a previous offence is a previous offence. It wasn’t like they could just easily have trust in her. They couldn’t say with complete confidence that her connection with her mother had been cut, and her mother forbidding her to speak also wasn’t an impossibility.

[Subaru: So we’ll be relying on Anastasia to guide us. That’s risky.]

[Emilia: Although it’d be valid to call it the usual.]

[Subaru: You’re not wrong.]

Subaru smiled at Emilia’s rare interruption and then looked at Anastasia. She was sitting up straight on the bed and continued the conversation by saying “But well”.

[Anastasia: Stay calm until we actually accomplish the goals we went out for. The dragon carriage’s wheel adjustments and how we’ll deal with entering the sand dunes will be left up to me as needed, after all.]

[Emilia: Right……sorry. We’re kinda having you do everything.]

[Anastasia: It’s alright it’s alright, since in return, I’ll be counting on Emilia-san in regards to fighting power.]

Anastasia calmly waved her hand.
The goals she spoke of――one of them was tuning the dragon carriage they’d enter the sand dunes with. Usually you’d assume that the dragon carriage would only travel along a maintained main road, or at least a road. However, the road this time was mostly a sand road, so a common dragon carriage couldn’t move along it well.
They had an option of leaving the dragon carriage and riding the dragons――but there were a lot of woman and children. Considering how there was also an unconscious Rem, the option wasn’t realistic.
Thus, it was necessary to adjust the dragon carriage to suit it for desert areas, and it was also necessary to make some changes to the earth dragons.

[Subaru: Can’t leave Patrasche behind. Leaving her behind would be ridiculous.]

[Emilia: That girl is reeeally smart. If you talk about leaving her behind, it might bite Subaru……..]

That actually could happen, so he couldn’t give a response. Plus, he couldn’t leave her behind.

[Emilia: So how about traveling without the dragon carriage……]

[Anastasia: This isn’t as serious as a negotiation. I did only say you should calm down and you did listen, after all.]

She showed a caring smile, but Subaru sensed that it was different from what it looked like, so he started to get some of the chills.

There was the dragon carriage and another matter to be taken care of. Simply put, it was the rite of passage to deal with the sand dunes.
I.E., if the royal selection candidates Emilia and Anastasia became untraceable in the Augria Sand Dunes, who would be responsible? That was how it was.

As of now, you truly could say that these two had the most important positions to the kingdom. If those two unexpectedly got into something serious like being buried in the Augria Sand dunes, naturally it would be unclear who’d be responsible, and you could expect strenuous efforts to be made.
The Augria Sand Dunes――never mind someone who’d manage the sand dunes themselves, a feudal lord dropping in at the end and governing the Milra outskirts would not have a bearable weight of responsibility.

Thus, Anastasia went to the feudal lords’ inferiors beforehand to write a few lines and convince them with a point “No matter what happens, that’s the candidate’s own responsibility”.

[Anastasia: But still, they might be blamed for not stopping me…….my life isn’t just my own. It’s a big responsibility, don’t you think?]

[Emilia: That’s been true from the start. It’s not because of things like the selection or the candidates. If we meet the “sage” and don’t find ways to regain various things, there will be a lot of people that can’t be saved. It’s not something sudden to say.]

[Anastasia: You sure are being as dependable as you can.]

Anastasia looked back at Emilia, who made that declaration, in what appeared to be a happy way in some respects. After that, she tilted her head and looked at Subaru as she said “So?”.

[Anastasia: Did you guys have any results from your stroll? There’s no way you guys actually went out to simply get used to having sand in your eyes, right?]

[Subaru: Well, it’s not like we went out in the middle of sand wind and dressed up. We listened to someone informed for a little bit.]

[Emilia: The store person being informed was just a coincidence, though.]

[Subaru: My foresight is on point for choosing that bar.]

[Emilia: I have a feeling that I was the one who chose the shop…….]

Anyhow, whatever the flow of events was and whose achievement it was were irrelevant information.
Anastasia also made a pondering look when they talked about the previous bar.

[Anastasia: Catching sight of a bird……..hmm.]

[Subaru: Really, that’s what you’re curious about?]

[Anastasia: Well the other parts are just things like challenging the Augria Sand Dunes and half steps of common knowledge. Anyways, the very interesting part is that difference. Birds and such seemed to be the most sensitive to wind mixed with miasma.]

[Emilia: Now that you say it, that is true……]

In response to Anastasia’s words, Emilia went into deep thought while feeling her hair. When Subaru looked at Emilia pondering with a side glance, he looked gently brought his face close towards Anastasia.

[Subaru: ――There’s no way you actually do have something in mind, right?]

[Anastasia: Nothing special has come to mind. However, that really was something very interesting to me.]


[Anastasia: Don’t make a doubtful face like that. Look, you’ll make her get suspicious.]

He could see Eridna’s true feelings on her face slightly, but saying that would do nothing but cause her to withdraw. Fortunately, Emilia didn’t see the interaction just now as she was in deep thought. But, in Subaru’s heart, for some reason it felt like he was an adulterer frantically hiding his cheating.

[Subaru: When should we leave?]

[Anastasia: We should leave early, right? The worrying conversation about the dragon carriage isn’t settled yet………perhaps we should leave immediately after we supply just the luggage we’ll load.]

[Subaru: Tomorrow would be too quick, how about around the day after?]

[Anastasia: Guess we’ll go with that.]

When Anastasia said that and came into agreement, Emilia also gave an acknowledging nod.
After that, she looked towards the room’s window that was shut tight so that sand wouldn’t get in, and she squinted.

What Emilia was looking at with her bluish purple eyes was the view of the east on the other side of the window.
She saw a very long shadow that stood conspicuously tall with an extensive height that appeared to be taller than stores and houses.

[Emilia: Pleiades watchtower]

She stood alone and called out to that structure with the tone of a silver bell.
The tower of destination was so high that she could even look up at it from Milura.

――Was it even possible to miss seeing something that big?

Subaru had that question ever since he began to see the Pleiades watchtower along the way before they arrived at Milura.
What would someone do and what mistakes would they make to not be able to find a landmark like that?
But, on the other hand, the bartender’s warning also pierced him when he thought like that.

[Subaru: Having no plans is out of the question, and an inane plan is a poor plan, eh.]

Whatever the case may be, they didn’t have an option to back out from the challenge.
That is exactly why they chose means that only would let them have a chance, means that would only increase their chances.
They should be different than the adventurers the shopkeeper spoke of that were unprepared by having inane plans. That’s what he believed.

That’s why Subaru didn’t realize it. He wouldn’t realize it.

――No matter what happens, backing out from the challenge wasn’t an option.

He didn’t realize that at this point, he was already shutting himself off from the first path.