The first day of conquering the Augria Sand Dunes finished immediately after sunset.
Once it became midnight, the “Sand Time” would arrive, which was a time when it’d blow the longest, happening three times a day. If they unreasonably advanced in the sand filled with miasma, it’d ruin their bodies, and they might lose their path.
If they couldn’t even see the sign of the Pleiades watchtower, then it would be wise to sit back, regaining their strength at night and spending the night to restore their energy for tomorrow.
[Subaru: Maybe I should’ve asked earlier, but will the mabeast countermeasures work when we’re sleeping too?]
[Meili: Of coourse. Having your butt chewed by animals you brought is such a stupid thought that it’s not even fuunny.]
Subaru knew a few of the Augria Sand Dunes’ menaces, or rather, he was quite unsure of them. Meili was proud as she smiled at Subaru’s fear.
She appeared to be in a good mood ever since the earthworm incident, perhaps because of how she had proved her worth. Subaru understood that getting her in a good mood had benefits to their lives’ safety, so from hereon out, he wanted to be serious about dealing with that too.
Anyways, it was night.
Subaru and the others positioned themselves at an easily seen sandy plain in the middle of the sand dunes, and they started the sand protection preparations. Having said that, they didn’t have to make very many preparations.
Putting aside how the responsibility weighed on one person, the method really was simple.
[Subaru: Alright, Emilia-tan. Sorry for always relying on you, but please!]
[Emilia: Okay, make sure to move away a bit. ――Take this!]
Emilia let out a flat yell and used her magic just like when she raised the ice tower. Then, an ice wall formed on the east side of the halted dragon carriage, which would act as defense against the sand wind, shutting out the sand entirely.
If there was no worry about the ice melting, then it’d also protect them against petty mabeasts. It looked and felt cold, but after they’d close their eyes, it would work well enough.
[Julius: I can’t help feeling uncomfortable because of how we’re always being spoiled by Emilia-sama’s powers.]
[Emilia: It’s fine. I said it before, didn’t I? Subaru and Julius will be the ones doing their best when we move. Also, I’ve said this too, but I am in reeaally good condition.]
[Subaru: Seems like you’d usually start to feel sick. I feel like it’s dangerous in that way.]
Emilia looks at the ice wall, and she flexes at Julius as he sighed. Subaru sees Emilia’s soft, white upper arm at the side, and he thought about how he should pay attention to Emilia’s condition.
The sand dunes’ air that had miasma drifting about really did have a particular “heaviness” to it.
That heaviness was vaguely working on Subaru’s body, and it seemed to also have an effect on Beatrice and Julius being taciturn. It may also be related to Anastasia and Ram being quiet inside the dragon carriage.
On other hand, Emilia and Meili seemed to be in condition, Meili being the same as before.
He didn’t think they had common traits, but he had to watch out for any more extreme effects appearing, although the truth is that he wanted to quickly get out of the sand dunes.
[Julius: Impatience is forbidden, although I do not understand why you want to rush over the path.]
Julius looks up at the eastern sky blocked by ice, and he calls out to Subaru, who kept silent. Subaru felt like he saw through him, so he snorted his nose and turned away from the ice wall. Then, Patrasche came near Subaru, and she pushed her nose on his shoulder.
Subaru felt her doing it over and over, and he gave a bitter smile.
[Subaru: So, are you going to try and calm me down, too?]
[Beatrice: It’s not like I want to. It’s not like the initiative has been taken, either, I suppose.]
Beatrice pushes his back, and she turns away, although previously she had been looking up at him meaningfully.
Subaru scratches his head, thinking about how her irritation was obvious. After Emilia saw that, she also looked at Subaru with kind eyes. When their eyes met, she waved her small hand at him.
Subaru suddenly feels embarrassed, and he clapped his hands.
[Subaru: Alright, a place to sleep has been secured thanks to Emilia, so let’s get ready for tomorrow. The “Sand Time” ends at dawn, so until then let’s……]
[Emilia: Before that, Ram needs to be healed.]
[Subaru: Ah, true. That’s right. Okay, then I’ll be depending on Emilia-tan and Beako for that.]
Subaru tries to quickly pour out topics, and he gets stopped by Emilia, as she tried to follow the daily routine. Emilia and Beatrice nod at Subaru’s anticipations, and the healing began with the men being put outside.
Also, as for why Subaru and Julius were put outside while the healing began――
One could tell that the healing had started because of the voice that could be heard faintly, although it came from over the door.
It was Ram’s enthusiastically shaking voice that sounded like she was enduring pain. A faint light rises inside the dragon carriage, and the healing takes place through the mana that combined four attributes.
Mana pours into the wound from having lost her horn. On one hand, Ram’s situation was pitiful, as she received her healing, and it really did feel like something erotic somehow.
That’s why they refused to have the men with them during healing, ever since it was witnessed the first day.
[Subaru: I don’t get why Roswaal thought of making you do that repeatedly.]
[Julius: In a way, it’s definitely an honorable role. Ram is charming and pretty. However, when I think about the obvious matter of who she has eyes for, I honestly can’t be pleased with it.]
[Subaru: Roswaal should know that too, why these kind of things are being done. ……Is this when you wonder why Ram is doing that much?]
[Julius: There are things you cannot plan about people’s relationships from outside, even more so when it’s a relationship between a man and a woman. To speak of extremes, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that my first meeting with you was a good one. Or at least, I didn’t think I’d do something equivalent of going on a journey where my life would be at risk.]
[Subaru: ……..Well, I guess so.]
Hearing the lovely voice from the back made Subaru’s face faintly turn red as he scratched his nose.
Julius had a nonchalant face, but it was a very strong stimulus to the naive teenager. But still, they couldn’t get sniffed out by dangerous mabeasts. It couldn’t be helped. It was necessary.
[Anastasia: You look quiiiiite conflicted, Natsuki-kun.]
When Subaru was quietly listening carefully, the breath that blew against his ears made him jump. He loses his posture, and tumbles onto the sand. He saw Anastasia come around to him from the other side of the dragon carriage. Julius, who had been watching out for Subaru’s panicking, grins at Anastasia, and he looks at him tumble.
[Julius: You got a little too surprised. It’s as if you were thinking of something evil.]
[Subaru: Huh? It’s not like I was thinking of something evil or anything, you know? Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Not at all. Not one bit. So, what do you need, Anastasia-san? I’ll listen to anything!]
[Anastasia: You are really bad at fooling people, aren’t you. Well, it’s fine. Natsuki-kun may have been interested in what was going in side, but I have something important to talk to you about.]
Subaru shakes off the dark disdain in Julius’ eyes, and he gives a thumbs up to Anastasia. Anastasia smiles wryly at that reaction, and she steps over the sand as she says
[Anastasia: Wow, it’s hard to walk. You and Julius seem fine, eh.]
[Julius: I’ve trained, although I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was for this specific occasion.]
[Subaru: When you feel unsure of your footsteps, don’t walk slow in attempts to check them, leave it up to the firmness of your shoes’ soles, and take relatively hard steps. This is the Clind method.]
It was the basis of the rough road running style he learned from the all purpose butler Clind when he was learning parkour.
Anastasia gave an admiring nod at those words, and after that, she lowered the neck of her robe, and the lower part of her face showed. She takes a deep breath.
[Anastasia: I don’t understand, but it seems breathing gets hard to do. This is when I’d like to quickly go to somewhere safe from the sand wind and breathe as much as I want.]
[Subaru: Agreed. Then, I’d like to take a bath. My head is already smeared with sand.]
It was also him understanding the reason as to why people at desert areas would wear turbans on their heads.
The counter measure for sand, heat, and cold that the people living on rigorous land had made sense, although that was inevitable. Subaru also had cloth moderately rolled up, but it couldn’t withstand these type of conditions.
[Anastasia: A bath sounds good, yeah. It would be nice if the “Sage”‘s home has a bath.]
[Subaru: ……Of course, I don’t know that much. Is it like that?]
[Anastasia: Even if Echidna knew how to get there, it’s not like I’ve ever been in it.]
Anastasia pulls down the neck of her robe even more, and she shows the scarf that she always wore. Eridna being the journey’s guide was a major premise this time.
There was no point in doubting her, but he wanted to work out the details.
[Subaru: I can assume that you’re going to tell me important things hereon out, right?]
[Anastasia: Of course.]
[Julius: I will listen gladly.]
Anastasia sticks out her thin chest, and Subaru and Julius get ready to listen. Anastasia accepts, and she looks back at the dragon carriage pompously as she said
[Anastasia: We’ll be staying the night inside the carriage starting today……..but you two boys need to sleep sleep at the front seat. Can’t have you getting carried away with the women and children in a small room, after all.]
[Subaru: That’s enough of that!]
[Anastasia: Hey, I just thought I’d loosen the tension…….ah, oh well.]
It was too late and unthinkable to stay in the same room in the first place. His own courage and this person’s wariness were enough for him to understand that.
Anyhow, Subaru screaming his inner thoughts was put aside, and Anastasia went into the main topic.
[Anastasia: We’ve moved forward aiming for the watchtower today…….but was it challenging?]
[Subaru: Even if you ask that……to be honest, the results weren’t anything special.]
Subaru puzzles at her question, and he reflects on the day.
They arrived at the Augria Sand Dunes during noon, letting the morning’s “Sand Time” pass by, and after that, they spent nearly half the day moving. They passed the “Sand Time” that happened during the afternoon, and it was now sunset. As for the results that were had up to this point, they would be――
[Subaru: The tower being perfect as a sign, and the mark for the way back that I requested of Emilia-tan. Also, Meili was more effective than I thought. Those were the results, I guess?]
[Julius: The countermeasures for the “Sand Time” were perfect with previous preparations and Subaru’s quick thinking. But, the question is the Pleiades watchtower, and why we can’t see the route up to there…..perhaps.]
[Subaru: Can’t see the route?]
Subaru frowns at Julius, him having taken over speaking, and at the differing conclusion. Julius sighs at Subaru as he says “You didn’t realize that?”.
[Julius: It is true that we’ve gotten this far in our journey, even without any deficiencies. I’m also in agreement with the opinion that we cannot let ourselves get out of shape.]
[Subaru: Don’t beat around the bush. It’s a bad habit. Say it more directly.]
[Julius: Then I will make it concise. ――Subaru, did you not notice the tower’s disaster?]
Julius asks him a question quietly, and Subaru gulped.
After that, the watchtower――he saw through the other side of the ice wall, and he stared at the mighty majesty that asserted itself lightly, even in the night.
Even after Julius pointed out a disaster, Subaru could not understand the watchtower’s abnormality. Nothing should’ve been different about the tower that he had been staring at the whole day, compared to how it was when they had arrived to the sand dunes.
――Nothing should have been different.
[Julius: Seems like you’ve figured it out. That tower clearly isn’t getting closer, nor is it getting any farther. We’ve been aiming at that tower, walking towards it this whole time…..but the distance isn’t closing.]
Just like Julius pointed out, Subaru finally understood that abnormality.
The faraway looking Pleiades watchtower continued to be there, with a size that made it feel like it’d be impossible to miss it, without change. There was no sort of change in how you’d see it.
[Subaru: No way……]
[Julius: Subaru, I understand your frustration. However, we have to keep our heads up and……]
[Subaru: So, going through all that trouble today, being smeared with sand, and the distance we walked were all a waste!? Conquering this place is such a pain in the ass!]
Subaru kicks the sand at his feet, raising his voice, and Julius was at a loss for words. Subaru squats on the ground in front of Julius, him being disturbed, and he scoops out sand with his palm as he pouted.
[Subaru: Hey hey hey hey, you serious? I’ve suddenly become tired after finding that out. Saying that those efforts were a waste seriously just sucks ass. Wow, this is the worst.]
[Anastasia: You have weaker mental fortitude than I thought.]
[Subaru: What are you looking at!? Don’t you see me suffering this much!? I’m extremely depressed, and I feel extremely awful. You should’ve said something earlier when you noticed it!]
[Julius: I thought to not say anything until I was sure. I didn’t want to discourage you.]
[Subaru: This is how you people……]
He throws away the sand he scooped up, and he stood up while clapping his hands. Subaru glares at Julius from below, who seemed to be looking down, and he acted indignant.
[Subaru: Can you stop thinking like that? It’s not like I’ll get mad when you talk about something that came to your mind! Rather, we might find a clue from it. Do you guys have a “I’ll just keep this inside of me” sort of mentality? Has that really made the situation better at all? Not once have I thought that I should have kept quiet!]
[Julius: Ah, ahhh, sorry.]
[Subaru: Speak up immediately, even if it’s something trivial. This is something that Ram said too, someone who is a disabled character in our conquering of this place. Does it need to be said to everyone?]
When Subaru became dumbfounded by the incompleteness of the three Ts: told, tell, talk about, Julius also made a reflective look. Once Subaru ruled over the “Best Knight”, which rarely would happen, he picked out “good enough” from the many inconveniences, and he turned to Anastasia.
[Subaru: So, I guess it’s safe to assume you know what’s up with this phenomenon.]
[Anastasia: I thought about the insufficient explanation…..or rather, I also felt confident about my suspicions all day. It would help if you thought of it like that.]
[Subaru: Start from when you had those suspicions. That’s all. So, what’s going on?]
Subaru sticks his tongue out at Anastasia, who said her excuses before talking, and he prompted her to continue. When he did, Anastasia said “Please don’t get surprised when you hear this” as a preface and
[Anastasia: About these sand dunes and the sandy plain between the watchtower, the space is distorted.]
[Subaru: The space is distorted……?]
[Anastasia: In other words, the land isn’t connected, unlike what you see. If we continue walking with it being like this, weeell, we proooobably wouldn’t reach it, no matter how long we walked.]
Anastasia nonchalantly clarifies the truth of the impact, and Subaru could not close his mouth. The Anastasia who was equivalent to Eridna should’ve known it from the beginning, considering how it sounded as if that matter was being told from Eridna.
[Subaru: So I guess that’s why Reinhard and all the other challengers couldn’t reach it.]
[Anastasia: The destination itself can be seen there. If the distance could be closed…..if they were able to frantically escape the mabeasts den along the way, it could be seen even more, and they probably could not help but want to go further.]
For some reason, he thinks of the adventurers’ regret from breaking down halfway after having their goal in front of them.
It was the obstacle that obstructed the people that aimed for the watchtower, and the obstacle that even Reinhard gave up on. The distorted space and the end of the sand sea that actually couldn’t be reached――perhaps those were the tricks.
[Subaru: How do you defeat that?]
[Anastasia: ……Aren’t you kinda missing the point by asking about defeating and not defeating it? This is a trap of nature created by the miasma. There’s nooo type of unnatural power going on here.]
[Subaru: A trap of nature!? This!?]
It was an extremely rare set up trap, which had a nature that he felt didn’t have anything but an intent to kill with how it was.
The frequently seen mirages at deserts, and the snow covered roads that continued on the cliffs of heavy snow areas. Thinking about it generally, humans could get killed by things like bottomless swamps and being pulled in by rising tides.
However, as you’d expect, this watchtower was――
[Subaru: This is a trap made by nature? That’s an exaggeration, isn’t it?]
[Julius: Well, the Pleiades watchtower was built at a place where the phenomenon happens. If you think about it that way, it’s not unnatural. Also, it makes sense.]
[Subaru: It makes sense? In what way?]
[Julius: You cannot forget. Yes the sand dunes lead to the watchtower, but you can’t forget that the thing is not just a tower that is ahead of the sand dunes. Why do you think the watchtower is there in the first place?]
Julius chides Subaru, as he was talking in a rude tone, and he urges him to think. He immediately had an answer come to mind for his question. The watchtower they were aiming for was a seal of the “Witches’ Shrine”.
And assuming that the sand dunes’ unsurpassed trap was the witch cult’s deterrence to revive the “Witch of Jealousy”, it was probably extremely effective.
He wouldn’t stubbornly put the blame on that.
[Subaru: …….! Fine. Anyway, forget the details about why that tower was built there. I’m concerned about something else. It’s how we’re going to break through that distorted space.]
[Anastasia: You do know that we can’t remove the source of it, right? This is the type of soil we’re on.]
[Subaru: That’s OK. I’ve understood the terrain and the product. Next, let’s look for a weakness. Since you volunteered to be a guide, that would be natural, right? To find a loophole.]
[Anastasia: There’s no way there isn’t one. ……Putting it as something like a loophole is sketchy, though.]
Anastasia smiles wryly at Subaru, who continued to pressure her, and she showed a pompous sort of attitude. After that, she nods at Subaru and Julius, who gazed at her, and she said it.
[Anastasia: During that “Sand Time”, there should be a moment when the space connected to the watchtower collapses. We’ll go through there, and we’ll enter the real sand sea. That’s the condition of breaking through, you see.]
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
――They had consecutive, very difficult situations with their attack on the sand dunes that started the next day.
The conditions for Anastasia’s discovered path to the watchtower all had to be intact. In other words, most of their traveling would become white space until “Sand Time”, and meanwhile, they had expectations of it being unmanageable.
However, that anxiety was
[Anastasia: Even when it’s “Sand Time”, reaching the opening will depend on luck. Thinking about it that way, staying at one place doesn’t sound like a bad idea.]
[Meili: Also, if we alwaays stay at one place, the animals around it might remember our smell. I’ll be fine, buut if by any chance you lose me or something, then they’ll chase you everywhere.]
It was Anastasia and Meili’s opinions of how to survive without problems.
The former opinion was a bit unreliable, but the latter opinion was about how their life was on the line. It wasn’t something he wanted to think about too much, but turning away from danger would be mere cowardice. Daring to truly be brave, facing fears, and still fighting was something invaluable.
[Subaru: Right, Emilia-tan?]
[Emilia: ――? Yeah, right.]
[Subaru: Emilia-sama. You shouldn’t take it so seriously. This is the time to make a face for a stupid occasion.]
He talked with the face inside the dragon carriage periodically, but his motivation didn’t go down, even after hearing that yesterday’s traveling was a waste.
They had quite a lot of flexibility with things like the food and water made at Milra. He wanted to believe that there was nothing to worry about, since the miasma’s effect was mitigated by Emilia and Beatrice’s spirit techniques.
[Subaru: Actually, I’m getting stressed out from not knowing how many days we’ll have to work.]
[Beatrice: Subaru, spit out the gravel in your mouth without swallowing. Even if it’s not a lot, it’s sand that has miasma, I suppose. If you deal with it improperly, you’ll have a painful experience later.]
Beatrice became completely used to the feeling of tasting sand in her mouth, and she warned Subaru, who wasn’t being very cautious. When Beatrice brought out the water container from her pocket, who was in Subaru’s arms just like always when they’d ride dragons, she said
[Beatrice: Look, I’ll rinse your mouth, I suppose. I’ll at least clean the inside of your mouth, the part that can’t be bathed in water.]
[Subaru: Yeah yeah……come to think of it, you’re clean even without taking a bath.]
[Beatrice: That’s because most of my body is made up of mana, I suppose. Of course, I always seem clean. Me being pretty anywhere at any time is a given, I suppose.]
[Subaru: Yeah yeah, cute cute.]
Beatrice pouted at Subaru’s apathetic response, but he patted her head, and he played with her drills pushed into her robe. She had it braided today.
[Subaru: Oh, we’ve discovered a group of mabeasts again. They only seem like mere animals when they surround us like that.]
[Meili: If they go away from me and come close, people like Onii-san will get bitten at once. It’s strange, but aall the animals around here stare at Onii-san.]
He brings Patrasche near the dragon carriage, and he looks at the group of mabeasts that gathered at a place deviating from their path horizontally. Just like Meili said, she had looked at Subaru with a curious expression, and she murmured “Weeird”.
It seemed liked the girl did not know about Subaru’s “Witch Scent” that he had. Subaru thought about it having the same nature as the miasma, but it seemed like he wouldn’t be able to understand the true essence of it. Anyhow, even if that scent faded from Subaru, it seemed like the nature of it luring the mabeasts did not disappear.
[Subaru: Oh, Could that be a nostalgic mabeast? Ram, take a look!]
[Ram: It’s really discomforting how you talk about that like it’s a part of my memories. They’re nothing but painful memories to me, as well as to you, Barusu.]
The group of madogs that were looking at them from afar were the same disastrous mabeasts that attacked the former Roswaal residence. Ram acted harsh towards Subaru, who got enthusiastic unintentionally.
[Subaru: Don’t say that. If I were to depict what they are to me, you, and Rem, I’d say that they built the bridges between us. If they weren’t there, maybe I wouldn’t even be here right now. When you think about that, we don’t have a bad relationship with the……..wait, it is bad! It’s shit!]
[Ram: Stop killing your own enthusiasm by yourself. Watching you makes me feel pity, listening to you makes me feel miserable, and just thinking about it makes me feel miserable.]
The stress caused by the mabeasts a year ago revived. Ram sighs at Subaru, him heating up, and when she quickly shut the dragon carriage’s window, the conversation ended.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t be helped. That incident from a year ago inside of Ram when Rem lost herself, and when Subaru helped fix it was being repainted. It was obscure to her on how the mabeasts were conquered without Rem, but it seemed she didn’t feel uncomfortable with that amnesia.
If the memory of Rem was revived inside of Ram, then the missing parts would be filled, and topics would mesh well too. He’d think about it when the time would come, although he felt like he’d only get insulted.
[Subaru: Wooow! “Sand Time” is dangerous! “Sand Time” is ridiculous”! Sand wind is dangerous!]
[Emilia: I―I made some ice as soon as I could, but if it’s no good, then tell me, okay?]
[Subaru: It’s already pretty bad! The almighty ice theory is collapsing!]
The crucial “Sand Time” arrived. They jumped towards the sand wind, looked for the space’s distortion connected to the tower, and rushed in, but they were getting hit overwhelmingly by the sand’s fury more than they thought.
It was a particular miscalculation, but the ice wall had performed powerfully to support their venture, and it was a complete defeat of it.
[Subaru: It’s an ice wall, and yet the absurd sand is sticking onto it, so I can’t see what’s in front of me at all! Or rather, receiving wind with a wide area of ice when the wind is so strong is beyond suicidal!]
[Emilia: Eh!? What!? Subaru, did you say something!? I can’t hear you at all!]
[Subaru: The wind is so strong, and this is beyond suicidal!]
[Emilia: Eh!? You want to die!? No, you can’t! Don’t lose courage!]
[Subaru: I didn’t say…….Guwaaaa!! Sand violently got in my eyee!]
[Emilia: Eh!? Say something!? Say it again! Subaru? Subaru――!]
[Subaru: Say it again, such a spartan act is…….guwaaaa!!]
The sand wind that became a gale was already close to being a sandstorm.
They were serious, challenging people, but their interaction sounded like a comedy act.
Even holding the ice board they kept in mind to protect themselves against the thin sand was nothing but suicidal, as they were getting blown against head on by the wind.
However, that strategy’s situation becoming a bottleneck to them was――
[Subaru: Keep going! Hang in there, Gyan! We can only rely on your horsepower]
The earth dragon received the sand wind head on, and it was being assaulted in it. It had already gotten through a few days in the days of conquering the sand dunes. The developed bond became its name, and it appeared.
To put it briefly, the Gyrus earth dragon pulling the dragon carriage was named “Gyan”.
Gyan’s tenacity held the key to break through the sand wind. Anyway, the dragon carriage that the girls were on did not have any way to diminish the wind.
As a result, they could only rely on Gyan’s power, having it pull the dragon carriage with strength that wasn’t weaker than the wind.
[Julius: Doing nothing but forcing earth dragons isn’t my thing……but we need you now.]
[Meili: Heey, hang in theere! I don’t wanna go back to the unending sandy plain again!]
Julius cheered on Gyras, him holding onto the bridle, as well as Meili, who sat next to him.
They could believe in that underlying strength, throwing words at Gyras, precisely because they were the ones closest to viewing its tenacity.
Emilia and the others couldn’t even open the small window in the wind, but you could bet that they were praying with worry inside the dragon carriage too.
As one countermeasure for the sand, Emilia had to tamper with the dragon carriage somewhat with ice. Even though a board of ice was stuck onto the front and it protected against sand, it could not handle the fierce attacks of wind.
Thus, Subaru’s last resort that he brought out was a molding between things like the formation of a swing that warded off the wind, and a sharp form――he imagined a spear that would pierce fiercely into the sand wind.
[Subaru: It’s a remodel of a mini four-wheel drive. Reducing its weight to make it light would be fatal, so I couldn’t do that, but I did what I could. Alright, go, Gungir――go through it!]
Gyan stepped forward with fierce footsteps to respond to Subaru’s shout. The dragon carriage that became a spear bites and tears on the wind closing in on it head on, and it escapes, moving forward, and forward.
Before long, the dragon carriage crowned with that name of a spear of a god stuck itself into the scar of the bitten and torn wind. It gouges out the sand’s tyranny, and then it breaks through――.
The moment they escaped the sand wind, what swept over Subaru was extremely sharp silence.
The wind that had made such an intense amount of noise close to their ears, the sand that struck them to shave their whole bodies, and the miasma that excited activity from the mabeasts all vanished as if it was all an illusion.
The “Sand Time” certainly had a sudden ending, but it was even more resonating.
The vigor of the wind with sand gradually weakened, and before long, it slowly disappeared as if from being pulled in by waves, and nothing but the smell of the peculiar sand was left.
However, that was not limited to this time. In other words, that was proof of this “Sand Time”‘s ending being a special case.
Subaru turns around while feeling thirsty.
When he did, he saw Julius and the others, who escaped the sand wind and were dumbfounded, just like himself. Of course, him being there meant that Gyan and the dragon carriage were there too.
Subaru called out to him, and Julius gave him an acknowledging gesture with his chin, him having been stiffened up. After that, they both raised their hands at each other, unsure of who did it first, clenched their fists, and showed admiration for each other for breaking through the “Sand Time”.
To Julius’ side, Meili wipes the sand off her body, and she saw him thanking Gyras. Gyras certainly was this journey’s MVP.
It was shown gratitude freely, appreciated, and it had to be rewarded――but
[Subaru: Leave that for later! We broke through! We did it! We d――]
[Beatrice: God! You’re always, always being so loud right in my ears――!!]
Subaru showed his joy, and his chin gets pushed up by the bottom of Beatrice’s palm that came from below.
The excellent blow makes Subaru’s head spin. He topples over from Patrasche like that, and he falls defenselessly onto the sand. Subaru’s head gets buried in sand, getting a large amount of sand in his mouth, and he lashes out at Beatrice, as she immediately got up.
[Subaru: Why’d you do that to me out of the blue!? What’s up with you, people were trying to be joyful! You scared me and made me swallow a bunch of sand!]
[Beatrice: Getting excited by yourself even while holding onto me annoys me! I don’t understand things like downshifts, off-roads, gene shifts, burning souls and all that, I suppose! I was hearing shrills this whooooole time!]
Beatrice turned to Subaru, and she complained to him vehemently while being mounted on Patrasche.
Subaru had various things to say, but he certainly could not deny the feeling that he got a bit excited and he shouted the list of appropriate terms. What was a Gugnir?
[Subaru: Ahem. ……A―anyways, we broke through the “Sand Time” safely. First, let’s celebrate that. Come on, Banzai!]
[Beatrice: ……Banzai, I suppose.]
Putting aside Beatrice’s sulky attitude, they certainly did break through the sand obstacle.
He pats Patrasche’s neck, as she did her best, and he showed his thanks for the braveness of the loving dragon that didn’t show tiredness on her gallant face.
After that, Subaru rushed up to the dragon carriage, and as a way to share his delight――
[Subaru: Ah? What’s wrong? You can be a little more glad too……]
[Meili: Be quiet.]
Meili stops Subaru, him trotting, and her sharp words jump at him as she turned around and looked his way.
What was included in them was a clear warning about danger.
――Subaru wasn’t enough of a fool to mistake what that meant.
In response to Subaru, him keeping silent, Meili nodded while putting a finger on her mouth, and she slowly, slowly pointed towards the front with her free hand.
Subaru, Julius, and Beatrice get lured by that movement, and they look forward.
They got through the “Sand Time”‘s sand wind, and the distorted sand sea up to the watchtower was cleared.
Thus, the watchtower’s silhouette that rose up before them was evidently very clear in comparison to how it had been up until now.
He was able to think about the definite distance up to the mark that was created again.
[Subaru: …….What is that?]
Colorful flower beds were spread in front of them to fill the sandy soil that continued to the watchtower.