Compared to the time when they first met Rarashik, the science-like room they had returned to had one thing different about it .
“W-what’s the deal with this thing?” (Hiiro)
Hiiro, looking at the strange object that was right in front of him, asked with a furrowed brow .
(It’s white and small and looks like a rabbit…isn’t this?) (Hiiro)
“Oo, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Shishou’s < > . ” (Arnold)
“< >? You mean this thing? ’ (Hiiro)
Hiiro involuntarily cast a suspicious gaze . No matter how you looked at it, what was in front of him looked exactly like the snow rabbit that children would make on snowy days . As it was bouncing energetically, it seemed impossible not to be surprised .
“More importantly, was that warning real?” (Rarashik)
When Rarashik asked the < >, it responded in affirmation as it faintly shook its head up and down .
“No way…what in the world…it couldn’t be that the irregular case would actually…?” (Rarashik)
Rarashik put a hand on her chin . Arnold acted as the representative of those in the dark as he spoke .
“A-ano, Shishou? What exactly…?” (Arnold)
“…………… . . ” (Rarashik)
“…………… . . ” (Rarashik)
Not matter what Arnold said, there was no response . Rarashik just remained there, frozen in a thinking posture as if her time had been stopped .
Arnold scratched his head as he looked toward Hiiro for a response . However, Hiiro just shrugged his shoulders as he leaned against a wall . Arnold had no choice but to wait for Rarashik to break out of her trance . Therefore, Arnold placed the unconscious Miur in bed .
After waiting for a short time, the [< >] starting bouncing on top of Rarashik’s head . As if that attack stimulated something in her brain, Rarashik finally redirected her gaze towards the others .
“Ah, Shishou?” (Arnold)
Rarashik let a about a big sigh . Not knowing why she displayed such a depressed attitude, Hiiro and his group looked at each other with their heads tilted to the side in confusion .
“Shishou? What in the world just happened?” (Arnold)
When Arnold asked a second time, it looked like they would finally get an explanation . Furthermore, the contents of the answer was startling .
“…The army is returning” (Rarashik)
“…hee~the army is, huh? I didn’t know that… . wait a minute, S-S-S-S-SERIOUSLY!?” (Arnold)
Arnold had replied with great force . However, the contents of the answer was so astonishing that his brain skipped, causing his comprehension time to lag .
The King’s army should be in the middle of a war right now . Furthermore, they only started the war three days ago . It was a battle that would determine the fate of two powerful races . There was no way that the war would end in only three days . He had passed off Rarashik’s words as a joke . However, she had a serious expression on her face .
“Seriously . My < > thoroughly investigated it . ” (Rarashik)
Saying thus, Rarashik placed her hand on the head of her < >
“W-wait, you say investigated…huh? You mean the war, right?” (Arnold)
“Aa . ” (Rarashik)
“The war that just started 3 days ago?” (Arnold)
“Probably . ” (Rarashik)
“Yet, the King’s army is returning just now?” (Arnold)
“Aa . ” (Rarashik)
“…even if we lost, isn’t that too fast? No, even if they were victorious, it would be just as unbelievable . ” (Arnold)
It was just as Arnold assumed . Even if they lost, they would just gather the [Gabranth]’s elite and replenish their forces at the border . Numbers are a significant factor in war . They were not a force that could be completely subdued within 3 days .
The same thing could be said for the foe [Evila] . Behind their front lines was their home territory . Even if the [Gabranth] had obtained victory, they would wind up having to face the full force of the [Evila] . Completely invade within three days was impossible .
“Eto…are you sure the report isn’t false?” (Arnold)
It was understandable for Arnold to think that . However, Rarashik just shaked her head .
“No, I asked this child to monitor the fate of the war . I also ordered him to sound an alarm if the king withdrew from the battlefield . ” (Rarashik)
While explaining thus, Rarashik pointed to a red button installed in the wall . Certainly, a red button did exist there .
“Then…it’s really true?” (Arnold)
“That seems to be the case . If you want the details, this child can saw it all so if we listen then maybe we can understand what happened . ” (Rarashik)
“Is the King’s army already in the country?” (Arnold)
“No, they haven’t arrived yet . However, we’re talking about that person so coming back shouldn’t really be…” (Rarashik)
As the two of them made a difficult expression as they thought about the current situation, Hiiro, who was listening silently, opened his mouth .
“Oi, more importantly, what’s a < >?” (Hiiro)
No matter the circumstances, he was really the same, self-paced Hiiro .
“Y-you’re unbelievable! The war just ended, you know, the war has! Instead of saying ‘more importantly’, be surprised a little, huh?” (Arnold)
Anyone would have shared Arnold’s sentiments . However, Hiiro sullenly wrinkled his forehead and looked at him with displeasure .
“I don’t give a damn about the war . Frankly, I’m more interested about the Jelly-like fellow . ” (Hiiro)
(E: Punipuni is an expression that describes something soft and jelly like . Often used when referring to pudding or people with chubby cheeks . Or at least, that’s the best explanation I can come up with . )
Hiiro has met the [Pheom] before . He even directly spoke with the Fairy Queen . It’s precisely because of this that Hiiro held considerable interest in the existence known as Spirits . That is why he was interested in the small existence of the < > . Furthermore, he felt some sort of affinity with its shape .
“Y-you really are… . ” (Arnold)
Although Arnold, who was amazed Hiiro’s nonchalant attitude, stared at him with a half-open eyes, Rarashik could only look at him with a blank expression . Then, as her stiff mouth began to relax…
“Nahaha! You’re definitely an interesting person, boya~!” (Rarashik)
…she let loose a boisterous voice as she laughed .
“To think that someone would have no interest in this abnormal situation! Better yet, that person is the same as us, a Gabranth! Nahahahaha” (Rarashik)
‘No, he’s not a Gabranth though…’ is what Arnold almost said without thinking . However, he managed to somehow stop himself .
Rarashik was laughing so hard that there were tears coming from her eyes . She rubbed her eyes lightly before she raised both hands towards the < > on top of her head, holding it between them .
“Alright, I’ll tell you . This child is my < >, Yuki-chan . ” (Rarashik)
‘So it’s not food?’ is what Hiiro thought but didn’t say it out loud . In this world, it did look like snow was present . However, there was no way of telling whether their way of playing with snow was the same as Japan .
“So why’s it here? In fact, can you even make a < > work?” (Hiiro)
“Nn~ Boya, even though you’re a Gabranth, you don’t know this? That reminds me, you don’t seem to have a nameless bracelet…are you really an adventurer, boya?” (Rarashik)
Hiiro was at a loss as to how he should respond . Hiiro was simply not a [Gabranth] . He only used < > to disguise himself, not to equip himself with a < > . From what he heard Arnold tell him, all Gabranth Adventurers wear a bracelet in order to draw its powers when in combat .
Not possessing the bracelet would mean he would be unable to use the < > skill, severely limiting his battle potential . Arnold glanced at Hiiro, fidgeting as he also tried to come up with a response .
“Nn? No, a while back you used that strange skill, right?…boya, what in the world… . ” (Rarashik)
Hiiro remembered when he was seen using his < > .
“Also, you’re of the same race as the little miss, right? You don’t possess a bracelet that she has, you’re able to use a strange skill . On top of that, your knowledge of the < > is severely limited…”
Hiiro was gradually being cornered . Seeing that, Arnold was unable to further witness the situation . However, Hiiro’s attitude did not change . It was the same, nonchalant demeanor as usual .
“Don’t return a question with a question . If you intend to pry further, you don’t mind if I go, right?” (Hiiro)
As Hiiro indifferently made his response, he narrowed his eyes as he met Rarashik’s stare . Thinking that Rarashik had been angered, Arnold shivered . However, the first to break the staring contest was Rarashik .
“Ha~, it can’t be helped . Even though my curious heart is aching, I guess I should leave the questions for later . Besides, since you seem to be insisting that I finish off my earlier explanation, I’ll stop asking you questions . ” (Rarashik)
“Aa, although asking Ossan about it is fine with me . ” (Hiiro)
“Aaaa~aaaa~, I really wanna know . Hey boya, want to become my experiment subject?”
“I refuse . ” (Hiiro)
“Uu~, even though such an existence has sparked my curiosity~” (Rarashik)
Rarashik hugged her shoulders with both hands, wriggling about with her cheeks flushed . “What a disturbing little girl’ is what flashed through Hiiro’s mind .
“Meh, it can’t be helped . No one would agree to anything a stranger asked of them . ” (Rarashik)
“Putting that aside, are you going to talk or not?” (Hiiro)
Putting on a displeased face, Rarashik spoke .
“I got it, I got it . I’ll tell you, alright? Listen up, this [< >] is a different existence compared to those that live naturally in this world . ” (Rarashik)
“…what do you mean?” (Hiiro)
“I’m assuming that you already know that when you awaken the bracelet, you’ll form a contract with a [< >] which will grant the bracely a name . ”
“Arnold contracted with the < > which made his bracelet a < >, whereas the little miss formed a contract with the < >, creating a < > . However, even if we say we form a contract, the < > contracted are not those that are normally present in this world . The < > is contracted are those that lay dormant within the contractor . ” (Rarashik) (E: This was a bit tough . Basically, it’s something like a familiar that sleeps within the one who made the contract . )
“Yeah . The Ganbranth were originally an existence formed by beasts that became integrated with [< >s] . ” (Rarashik)
If what she said was true . The Ganbranth could be considered as < > that obtained a bigger frame .
“Well, it seems that a long time ago we were called < > . Of course, that was when we didn’t have a humanoid form like we do now . As time passed, we slowly evolved into a form that made living easier . It’s a little ironic that we ended up with a humanoid form, though . ” (Rarashik)
It is true that taking a human form is more convenient than living in an animal form . In human form, one is able to freely use their arms and legs independently . With it, the production of tools and objects in the country should more efficient as well .
“But at the same time, the Grabranths’ < > also became weaker . I don’t know if it was a drawback caused by our changing forms, however, our bodies seem to have lost the ability to use magic . At the same time, however, our physical power and vitality have contrarily increased . ” (Rarashik)
“I see, so the reason for the Gabranth’s beast-like Flexibility, Athletic Ability, and Vitality was because they were exchanged for control over the power of the < > . ” (Hiiro)
“Aa . Even though I say our < > power became weaker, that doesn’t mean we are unable to use it . Us Gabranth have the power of the < > slumbering within ourselves . ” (Rarashik)
Saying so, Rarashik pounded her chest as she pointed towards it with her thumb .
“I see, so the < > is a trigger to awaken that hidden power, right?” (Hiiro)
“Oo~, you’re pretty sharp, huh . That’s exactly right . Although it doesn’t have a very strong effect so it has to be in contact with the body . ” (Rarashik)
“So it’s basically used like a booster then?” (Hiiro)
Honestly, Hiiro thought that the inventor of this bracelet was amazing . She seems just like her father, however, this could be considered the invention of the century .
“Booster, huh? Well, you’re not wrong . It is something that draws out the user’s < > and then amplifies it to the limit . ” (Rarashik)
“This < > that we draw power from is basically our own power, right? In which case, wouldn’t it mean that we are making a contract with ourselves?” (Hiiro)
“Well, to put it bluntly, the < > . is another you . It’s a soul from the past that has been passed down ceaselessly between generations . We call them the < > . ” (Rarashik)
“So when you make a contract with this < >?” (Hiiro)
“Aa, the Yuki you see before you is a manifestation of the < > phenomenon . Well in actuality, only a few Gabranth are able to manifest their < > phenomenon . ” (Arnold)
Hiiro looked at Arnold who, seeing Hiiro’s gaze, immediately stiffened his cheeks .
“E-either way, I still can’t use < > . ” (Arnold)
Arnold sulked, dropping his shoulders in disappointment . At that moment, Hiiro remembered that the < > skill < > that he saw on her the status screen .
(That’s the skill used to summon this thing, huh…) (Hiiro)
Hiiro contemplated as he stared at the cute rabbit Yuki . That snow rabbit was adorably rocking its head from side to side .
(But to think that the Gabranth’s roots were the < >… this has gotten very interesting . )
It was a good idea to learn about this right here, right now . Since he was pretending to be a Gabranth, if he wasn’t able to answer something that should be obvious to a Gabranth, it would raise the suspicion and draw the public’s attention . That’s why Hiiro determined it would be best to obtain this information now .
At that moment, Muir began to wake up . Arnold rushed to Muir’s bedside .