Work Header

(Re:63) Arc 3: "Everybody’s looking for something"

Chapter Text

The blue haired oni sat a little tense in the carriage. Being a luxurious carriage, it could hardly be called cramped, but of course, like any carriage, it still kept its passengers intimately close, regardless of the fact that the only other person inside the carriage sat in the opposite corner, their elbow in the window, chin on their hand. Naturally, it wasn’t Rem’s place to judge Roswaal-sama’s associates, and for that reason she tried to silence her harshest thoughts towards the pampered cat opposite her, though just a little. Her sense of duty as a maid began and ended with her sister. If there wasn’t the slightest chance that it may cause trouble to her beloved Nee-sama down the line, she’d give a stern talking to to the self absorbed person who treated her Subaru so rudely.

The aged gentleman at the front guiding the land dragon spoke down into the passenger compartment pulled aside the small window separating the interior of the carriage with the exterior where he was seated.

“If I may, has Ferris-sama seen to all matters as envoy?” the gentleman asked.

“What do you think of me old man Wil?” groaned Ferris, turning to the little window. “Do you seriously believe I’d mess up a single detail when tasked by Crusch-sama?” Ferris sighed, then perked their head up and looked at Rem with a sly smile. “By the by, don’t think poorly of the mysterious way in which the old myan speaks, darling. He isn’t like that because he’s trying to conceal something, he’s just stuck up like that.”

Rem clutched her briefcase close to her chest. “Wilhelm-sama behaves like an exceptional gentleman, Rem wouldn’t think lowly of him even if he had such motives.” she stated, allowing herself a slight emphasis.

“Ooh, I should be the one with claws!” Ferris laughed, stretching their arms above their head. “Say, what’s with that briefcase?” the cat added finally when done stretching, pointing at Rem.

“Rem was tasked with making arrangements for loding for Roswaal-sama’s estate. The required payments and such reside in this briefcase.” Rem stated articulately, as one reciting a practiced speech would, devoid of any sense of intimacy towards the rude knight.

“Seems like a big briefcase to serve as a purse.” Ferris noted with a grin, leaning forward, reaching out with an index finger slowly towards the case, making Rem fold her arms around it and pull it even closer.

“Ferris-sama, perhaps it would be best not to intrude on our guest’s privacy?” Wilhelm’s voice echoed down from the cabby's seat.

“I’m just making conversation with the young thing!” Felt protested, but leant back in their chair and crossed both legs and arms. “It’s nyot like there’s a lot to do until we get back to the capital.”

There was indeed more in the briefcase than just payment for the lodgings to be paid in advance. Rem had also taken some extra currency, though that too would have more appropriately fit in a purse. The purpose of the briefcase she retrieved from the attic was rather to hold something that in spite of her better judgement, she considered far more important than anything of Roswaal-sama’s concern. She wasn’t entirely certain its purpose would be fulfilled either in taking it with herself, however, she had to try and see.

“You know, if you can’t stand talking to people, at least you could let them talk to each other.” Ferris sighed, looking nowhere in particular.

“If I were to assume that the comment was aimed at myself, I must say Ferris-sama, there is a grave misunderstanding.” Wilhelm noted.

“Hooh? When’s the last time—” Ferris began annoyedly, before stopping and a grin appearing on their face. “Actually, you did seem pretty chatty with Subaru-nyan.”

“The young lady and I had a brief conversation, yes.” Wilhelm stated measuredly.

“And since when does the Sword Devil enjoy conversing with random servants?” Felt asked, looking to the small window, though Wilhelm wasn’t visible through it.

“It simply felt appropriate to give courtesy to a fine young lady that risked her life for the sake of another without any bindings of duty.” Wilhelm said simply.

Rem turned her eyes down at the precious briefcase in her arms and sighed with content.

“Subaru-kun is truly wonderful.” she heard herself speak aloud without realizing.

“Oh?” Ferris voiced with interest, turning to Rem. “Have they already made such an impact in these few weeks?”

Rem looked at the cat distrustfully. It was truly none of their business, though perhaps, if there is a hint of righteousness in them, they could see how wrong it was to behave towards Subaru like that, if they knew who she was.

“Subaru-kun’s incredibly kind, and has an uncommon concern for everyone around her.” Rem declared. “She isn’t to be treated lightly. She had even saved Rem!”

The cat’s eyes narrowed and they leant forward a bit once more, squinting at Rem examining before their eyes went wide.

“You’re serious! Saved you?!” Ferris exclaimed with a strange smirk, turning to the window. “Did I miss something old man Wil? Is she actually incredibly strong?”

Wilhelm didn’t answer right away, Rem had no doubt that being a gentleman, he was measuring his words given the present company.

“I wouldn’t say as such.” Wilhelm stated. “She appears in prowess to be an entirely ordinary person, no different than any one may walk past in the streets of the capital.” the gentleman spoke. “Although—”

Rem could see Ferris’ ears flutter at that last word, as Wilhelm stopped.

“Come on nyow old man! Although what?” Ferris asked, their tail flapping left and right behind them excitedly.

“There was a curious quality in her eyes.” the gentleman said, as the cat’s voice resonated with curiosity. “I’ve seen a great many people, some who had never experienced death, some who came close to it, it can be seen in their eyes.” Wilhelm explained. “In her eyes however, I didn’t see someone who brushed against death, having pulled back from the edge.” His voice grew slightly tenser. “Her eyes were as though she had gone beyond that edge and came back, and not just once. I’ve never seen such a person.”

Rem hugged her briefcase and hung her head, an ever present ache she had acquired some time ago cutting at her heart with renewed energy at the words.

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Ferris sighed, slumping back in their seat. “You know, this is why it’s hard for people to talk to you, old man. Even when you say something, only a bunch of nonsense comes out.”

A short silence fell on the carriage, broken only by the sound of the land dragon clawing its feet against the ground and the wheels bumping against the small imperfection of the road.

‘Just get back to the village safely.’ echoed Subaru’s words in the maid’s mind and heart alike, filled with infinite kindness. She wished more than anything to have been able to see Subaru’s eyes at that moment, though of course, the girl wouldn’t let her. What could Rem have seen then?

“If it isn’t all nonsense though,” Ferris spoke up. “Then I can’t imagine that girl will have an easy life, or a long one.” they said, without much compassion, glaring up to the small window. “Catching the attention of the Sword Devil Wilhelm van Astrea, is perhaps as bad as catching that of the Witch.”