Translators: Nicholas, Safin, Tynkerd
ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
JAPANESE WEB NOVEL SOURCE: HTTP://NCODE.SYOSETU.COM/N2267BE/171/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 5 [The Emilia-Faction]
Just as Frederica declared, it was two days later when they set out for the Sanctuary.
In between her duties at the mansion, Frederica had been teaching Patrasche in the stables about the location of the Sanctuary. Since she was responsible for most of the work at the mansion, Subaru suggested she could lighten her workload if she just told him the location of the “Sanctuary” directly, but
[Frederica: My apologies, but the location of the Sanctuary is of great importance to our master. As a mere servant, I cannot act rashly in this matter. I would have prefered to not even teach it to the ground dragon if I could avoid it]
So she politely refused to teach him.
Although it didn’t sit well with him, complaining about Roswaal’s over-cautiousness wouldn’t get him any closer to the Sanctuary. And considering how things were unravelling, Subaru had no choice but to submit to Frederica’s judgments.
And so, Subaru spent two uneventful days hanging out with the villagers, and, returning to the role of a servant, performing some of the menial tasks at the mansion.
All the while, pursing up her lips in annoyance that Puck still wouldn’t come out, Emilia, who also had nothing to do, would timidly follow Subaru to the village and make an effort to reduce the distance between the villagers and herself. And also, reading all sorts of books and texts Subaru couldn’t understand, she spent her time building her knowledge.
As they each spent their two days in their respective ways, there were a few changes that occurred.
The first was,
[Otto: Aaah! Why is everything dumped in a heap!? Documents that need to be prioritized, documents that can be discarded as soon as they’ve been read, and documents that aren’t even worth reading, when they aren’t sorted properly it ends up like this……!]
Scratching his head violently while grumbling, Otto sorted the documents around him at an incredible speed. Quickly looking over a document and roughly grasping its contents, he tossed it into one of the giant sorted piles on the table, then onto the next, and the next, he continued to separate and organize. Watching Otto’s eyes and hands flicker here and there, turning his head from side to side so quickly one would almost expect to see flames shooting out, across the table, Subaru, resting his chin in his hands, sighed in amazement,
[Subaru: Haa, that’s amazing! If it was me, even if they were printed out neatly it’ll still be gibberish to me…]
[Otto: It’s not as if I’m trying to understand them. I’m only separating them into documents relating to finances, relating to petitions, and various other types efficiently first. If only each document was sorted when they first came in…… But, looking at this arrangement, it’s organized in a way that only the man himself could understand, I’m afraid]
It was unheard of, that Subaru should find himself feeling a sense admiration for Otto, who was glaring at the mountain of documents looking rather appalled. Hearing him speak of the documents’ owner —— Roswaal’s face emerged in Subaru’s mind, and he couldn’t help but feel that, despite being blurted out casually, Otto’s theory was probably spot on.
It’s a frightening thought, to think Roswaal would be so capable that he could see some kind of logic to this giant pile of documents. But the problem was, that since no one else could understand it, without him here, there was no choice but to sort them all from scratch.
[Otto: Ok, it’s in broad categories now. Next, is to arrange them in chronological order… But before that, maybe I should separate them more into processed and unprocessed first…]
[Subaru: I don’t know whether I should call you meticulous or obsessive compulsive, but Otto, you’re definitely a Type-A, aren’t you]
[Otto: What’s a /taɪp eɪ/? That doesn’t sound like anything good at all]
Seeing Otto stare at him, Subaru waved his hand from side to side without bothering to explain. It’s not like he actually believed that blood type had anything to do with one’s personality, aside from being useful as a half-assed conversation topic.
Incidentally, Subaru is Type-B ——or rather, the entire Natsuki-family is Type-B. Whenever this was mentioned to someone, the reply they get would always be [I knew it], and so it wasn’t a very pleasant subject for them.
[Otto: Wait, now that I think about it…]
[Subaru: What’s that, why did you stop? You were going at such a great pace, keep going]
[Otto: As someone who cares about efficiency, I don’t really mind doing this, but isn’t this situation a bit odd? Why am I, a travelling merchant, standing in the Margrave’s office with sweat all over my forehead working so hard to sort through his documents? Isn’t my position a bit odd here?]
[Subaru: That took you pretty long to notice, didn’t it?]
Seeing Otto only just now noticing all this, Subaru lowered his head and laughed deviously. The reason Otto was performing this menial task—— rearranging documents pertaining to the Margrave’s affairs no less, was all entwined with Subaru’s schemes…
That is, to secure useful talents for the Emilia-faction in the Roswaal-camp.
In the present situation, as Subaru sees it, Emilia’s position in the Royal Selection isn’t good at all. As her Knight, or at least as someone generally recognized as such, he was instrumental in repulsing the Witch Cult and slaying the White Whale, but, compared to the abysmal negativity still surrounding Emilia’s situation, just how much of an effect did all this have is still a question.
Compared to each of the other camps, Emilia was behind before the race had even begun. Further increasing the difficulty of her position was the fact that her key supporter, Roswaal’s true intentions are still utterly indiscernible. Although he was publicly backing her, so far, Roswaal’s performance as her patron could only be described with the word “failed”.
He failed to prepare a single countermeasure against the Witch Cult even though he should have foreseen it from a mile away, and now, after having overcome that threat, they don’t even have a way to contact him. If he could just come out and announce whether he is an ally or enemy already… either way, he is certainly a troubling existence.
On top of that, the people surrounding Roswaal all tended to keep their mouths shut when it comes to their master’s true intentions. Revering Roswaal above all else with unquestioning devotion, Ram’s behaviour was only to be expected, and Frederica, with her strong dedication to her role as a servant, would not say anything either. Even Puck and Beatrice would not break their silence on the matter to Subaru and Emilia.
In other words, there was not a single person Emilia could safely confide in.
Of course, Subaru wanted to become that person to her, and was in fact acting in a way befitting such an existence, but Subaru’s reach was too short, even compared to an average person. He was sadly aware of the fact that he was not a man who could reach her every itch, and by himself alone, he could not wipe away her every discomfort, and this bothered him to no end.
So then, the one who caught Subaru’s eye was the man going back and forth between Arlam village and the mansion, the one who would smack his lips after dinner and tea saying things like “Aaaa, having no ambition and getting settled down like this would surely make anyone rot” while smiling relaxedly… Otto.
[Subaru: In other words, the “if there aren’t any allies around, why not start cultivating some now” battle plan]
[Otto: I find what you suddenly said somewhat disturbing, but what does that have to do with me!?]
[Subaru: Hmm, I dunno… Maybe… Ah, Otto-san. You still haven’t sorted the documents over here]
[Otto: Oh, sorry. Let’s see, the mining locations for arcane minerals and the quantities of their reserves and this…… AREN’T THESE THE KIND OF DOCUMENTS OUTSIDERS ABSOLUTELY SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO SEE!?]
[Subaru: Aah, you saw… I see, you saw them… Aaah, ok, ok. Yeah, well, I’ll to do my best to explain it to Roswaal, so don’t worry, ok?]
[Otto: It’s amazing how nothing in that sentence puts me at ease!]
While Otto was complaining and trying to hold the documents he’d just been given as far away from his eyes as possible, Subaru just grinned, acting like he was only some innocent observer. Seeing Subaru’s attitude, Otto’s face took on a look of horror, and he said, with his lips shaking,
[Otto: I don’t want to believe it, but are you really trying to make me disappear by showing me documents no outsider should see, and then not coming to my defense when there’s trouble? Just to trample over the terms of our agreement?]
[Subaru: Of course not! The payment for your cargo and the favor you asked, I intend to fulfil all of them. And on top of that, I’m going to drag you even further into this, until you’re in so deep that you won’t be able to run away]
[Otto: Do you really have to be so twisted!? I’m just a little traveling merchant, I don’t know why you are trying to put so much weight on my shoulders, but please stop it!!]
With a face that looked completely overwhelmed, Otto tried to object. Hearing this, Subaru felt he might have gone a little too far, so nodding his head lightly and changing up his expression, he mumbled [my bad] softly,
[Subaru: I went a bit too far there. I have so many different things filling up my plate, and I’m in such a hurry to sort out all these tangled threads, that I didn’t even think to ask you how you felt about it, sorry]
[Otto: Ah, no, if you become so reasonable all of a sudden, I’ll feel disoriented. ……Uh, I wonder if I can ask, but… What makes you expect so much from me?]
Seeing Subaru suddenly talking to him so normally, Otto got a bit confused, but he basically accepted this, and asked him this question.
After all, from his perspective, he had only known Subaru very recently, and there wasn’t really anything to justify much trust between them. Of course, even for Subaru, their relationship wasn’t a very strong one.
They had some contact in the previous loops, so now he had a slightly favorable impression of him, but that was all.
But if so, then why was he drawn to Otto like this?
[Subaru: Honestly, it’s not like I have any particular reason to be interested in you or anything. It’s not like I value you as an individual… so it has mostly to do with you meeting the criteria]
[Otto: That’s awfully frank! ――I guess I can understand… but what was the criteria?]
[Subaru: The fact that you’re completely unrelated to any of the factions in the Royal Selection. And being good at weighing gains and losses, and your ability to negotiate and gather support are obviously valuable qualities. And, most importantly, you don’t seem to discriminate against Emilia for being a half-elf, or see her in a different way because of it]
Hearing these three reasons, Otto stared at him without saying a word.
Considering the situation Subaru and the others had found themselves in, these are all conditions that cannot be neglected. And up to now, as Subaru judged, this man: Otto Suwen, was the only person to have met all of them.
Otto, still without a word, was waiting for Subaru.
Unlike when they were bantering just moments earlier, his eyes were lit with a calm, calculating brightness, flickering as if trying to peer into Subaru’s mind.
Subaru understood he was being evaluated. Nor was he trying to hide. He had been evaluating Otto to begin with, so of course this is only fair, but…
[Subaru: Also, and this is just my personal opinion…]
[Otto: ——Let’s hear it]
[Subaru: I feel like I can get along with you. Frankly, even though there is nothing better than gaining more allies for Emilia-tan, it’s an extra bonus if we can get along. Ah, and also because you don’t have any feelings for Emilia-tan as a woman. Because if it ever comes to that, even if we were lifelong friends I’ll have to cut you down……!]
[Otto: You’d kill your love rivals!?]
[Subaru: If I had any rivals, I’ll have zero confidence in me being able to win! Don’t you underestimate my self-loathing! In my life up to this point, the number of people who actually like me can be counted with a single hand, you know!]
Specifically, his parents, Rem, Wilhelm, Emilia, and with some reservations, Julius and Reinhart… and that’s about it. Actually, come to think of it, the count went past one hand just now.
Receiving this kind of appraisal after coming into this Parallel World… perhaps he was actually becoming more respectable after all. Even though he couldn’t see any of it in the mirror.
[Otto: Geez, you really are a refreshingly straightforward person. But, without any kind of reservations when sitting across a merchant on the negotiation table, you might as well be a sitting duck, you know?]
[Subaru: If this were a negotiating table even I might try to hustle you a little, but it’s not a merchant and a duck sitting here, it’s just me and you, right? But, if that’s how you see things, I’ll go change my equipment and my attitude…]
[Otto: After having just praised me for my aptitude as a merchant, you go and say something like that? That idiom about how your tongue hasn’t even dried before changing your words applies perfectly here! ……What is it with you?]
With a bothered-looking expression, Otto sighed, and all signs of the suspenseful and guarded attitude of moments ago disappeared from his face. He took a quick glance at Subaru, who was trying to look indifferent, and said,
[Otto: I don’t know why I’m saying this here but, Natsuki-san, I have a goal too… It’s not something so grand that I could brag about to other people, but it is a dream nonetheless]
[Subaru: I think a man’s dreams can either be so ridiculous that they need to be ludicrously exaggerated, or so ridiculous that they have to be kept inside and never told to anyone, those are the only two kinds there are, I feel, but are you going to tell me yours?]
[Otto: The fact that I agree with you is really unpleasant… Anyway, you see, I was born the second son of a fairly successful merchant family. Ever since I was little, I was brought up in an affluent environment, though when it came time for me to become independent, I didn’t receive much support]
Subaru didn’t know how many similarities there would be between the sibling situations of this world and the world where he came from, but at least the same basics of passing on titles and inheritance seemed to apply here as well ——specifically, that it would be passed on to the eldest son.
In that case, as Subaru had expected of a fantasy-world set in the middle ages, Otto, having been born as the second son, only had a choice of either becoming his elder brother’s assistant, or aiming for independence by himself.
[Otto: While helping my brother manage his business, I learned the fundamentals of the trade, and managed to save up enough money to set out on my own. With that money, I bought Furufu, my ground dragon, as well as a wagon to go with him, and… Well, I also had the Divine Protection I was born with, so all in all, it went pretty smoothly, I think.
[Subaru: By Divine Protection, you mean the Divine Protection of “Anima Whispering”, right? Being able to talk to different kinds of animals, depending on how you use it, I guess you could make quite a crazy profit from it]
[Otto: But it’s not as useful as you make it sound… There are quite a few inconvenient problems that comes with it that Natsuki-san hadn’t thought of. In any case, it was followed by several years of me plugging away and barely scraping by, but in that time, something of a dream had sprouted inside my mind…]
Continuing with his story after delving into how he became independent, Otto once again brought up the word “dream”. Hearing that, for no particular reason, Subaru sat up properly, as if to listen attentively. Receiving this attention, Otto smiled warmly, and started off with [It’s a pretty common dream, you know],
[Otto: Any merchant who’s been a traveling merchant will have this dream. ――It’s to own a place of my own, just like having my own castle, to have my own shop… to settle down there and do business there. If I could have this in some big city, it’ll probably be the greatest happiness a merchant can hope for]
[Subaru: That’s your dream, Otto?]
[Otto: It’s a pretty boring thing to hope for… But after having traveled and traveled, in the end, all I want is just to have the same thing I had when I was growing up. But, well, I guess you could say, that environment had been the symbol of happiness for me]
Scratching his cheeks in embarrassment, Otto spoke faster and faster to try to cover it up. Subaru took in Otto’s answer, and, wondering whether he would get a favourable reply, he leaned back, and dropped all his weight into his chair.
But, aloof to Subaru’s concern, with a [That’s why], Otto continued on,
[Otto: A chance to make a big shot like the Margrave indebted to me… as the second son of a trader family, as a traveling merchant, and as a great merchant of future to come, I can’t possibly let such an opportunity pass me by. Especially considering I’d be selling a favor to someone who might become the future King of this country, it’s a business opportunity so huge that even if I redo my entire life I won’t be able to find the likes of it again, isn’t it?]
[Subaru: Ok, so you’ll join us then. Thanks, I’m glad. I knew you’d make the right choice, Otto. Now keep sorting the documents]
[Otto: What!? That was a pretty good speech just now wasn’t it?? Isn’t that reaction too lacking!?]
[Subaru: I feel like letting it make an impression on me would mean that I lose somehow… Well anyway, the moment you touched these documents that no outsiders are allowed to see, there was already no way out for you. Kekkekeke!]
[Otto: No matter how I look at you, you’re still a terrible person!]
At the end of this long conversation, it seemed as though nothing had actually changed, and Otto didn’t receive much compensation for his newfound determination.
But even while teasing Otto like this, deep down, Subaru was thankful for it…… Though these words will never come out of his mouth.
[Otto: But I have to say this first, unlike Natsuki-san who supports Emilia-sama unconditionally, I’m only cooperating because of the present circumstances. If the Margrave and Emilia-sama ever fight amongst themselves inside the faction, I’ll need to weigh the gains and losses before choosing a side. So please don’t mistake me for a full-fledged ally]
[Subaru: If you’re weighing Emilia-tan and Roswaal on a balance scale, you’re completely in my hands. I will slowly and surely feed you all of Emilia-tan’s good qualities, so don’t you worry. —You heard everything loud and clear just now, right?]
Brushing aside Otto’s long-winded excuse, at the end his last sentence, Subaru turned his face and his words toward a completely different direction. Seeing Subaru do this, Otto, stunned with a dumbfounded expression on his face, turned his gaze to where Subaru was looking. And there,
[Yep… I mean, Yes. I heard it properly, Subaru-sama.]
With a lovely smile, the girl in maid’s uniform swung her chestnut-colored hair, standing there at the door.
Of the changes that took place in the Mansion during these two days, this was the second.
With only Frederica, (Subaru was also helping, but his ability as a servant was half-assed at best, and his health still hasn’t fully recovered yet) managing everything at the mansion alone was physically impossible. So Frederica, understanding this, went down to the village personally to recruit some help, and that’s where this girl jumped in with open arms — Petra Leyté.
Being a resident of Arlam village, and being among those who evacuated to the Capital, she had safely returned with them. But since most of the other villagers had not yet returned, it must have been an unsettling time for her.
But still, when Frederica came to recruit a new maid for the mansion, she instantly jumped in. And as there were no other candidates who were interested, she was picked up, and was now working in the Mansion in temporary employment.
[Subaru: You are still so small, but you’re leaving your parents and coming here to work as a maid, you’re amazing, Petra]
[Petra: I’m already twelve, so I’m an adult who can work now… Actually, I am just an adult. Subaru-sama could you treat me like one please?]
[Subaru: I will consider it, if you say it politely, after you get the “temporary” part removed from your “temporary employment” and after you get an official certificate from Frederica. Until then, I’ll always treat you like a cute little girl~]
When he patted her head clumsily as she squirmed around, the girl, with her neatly arranged hair all messed up, let out a quiet [Eeek―], and clung onto him tightly. It was a completely different reaction than what he expected, but it was certainly a lot better than being abused and spat on.
In any case, she was at an age where she wants to be older than she is and stand up on tiptoes. Petra, with her surprisingly strong character, and her own way of growing up, her aptitude for being a maid was really quite high. Although she didn’t meet all the points, in cleaning up the Mansion and preparing food with Frederica’s support, she has already surpassed Subaru in ability.
….Well, Subaru is really useless.
So, from outside the door of the Master’s office, she had been pricking up her ears to listen in on the conversation inside. She was, of course, acting on Subaru’s instructions, and needless to say, it was all part of his scheme to lure out Otto’s commitment and cut off his escape.
Noticing all this, Otto’s face turning red, he glared at Subaru,
[Otto: It was a s-set-up—— !?]
[Subaru: It’s nothing to be concerned about. With a third person involved, your statements earlier are now legitimate official record. It was an emotional, heartrending manipulation in order to secure witness testimony for the jury later…… so think of it like that]
[Otto: What is so emotionally heartrending about a man talking about “manipulation”!?]
Hugging his own head, Otto, finally understanding there was now nowhere to run, shouted at them in a half-crying state, but it was too late. Giving Otto a grin, Subaru held up his thumb to Petra, who was standing at the door.
[Subaru: Good job, Petra! But won’t you get scolded by Frederica, using time on something like this?]
[Petra: Right now, I’m spending my time sweeping the corridor. Using even more time to sweep the corridor in front of the the Margrave’s office, I wouldn’t be scolded.]
[Subaru: You’re very shrewd~. Even a small girl is a woman, after all……]
Listening only to the second half of Subaru deeply emotive words, Petra cheerfully loosened her cheeks. Seeing her predictably unchanging reactions and attitudes, it was true that there was something in there that warmed Subaru’s heart.
Petra, like Otto, is another ally who is not under the influence of Roswaal.
Compared to Otto, there was not much she could do for Emilia, and her significance and influence is probably even less than Subaru’s. But, she is not afraid of Emilia. On the road to the Capital City during their evacuation, she wholeheartedly remained at Emilia side. Subaru would not forget that, and, probably, Emilia would never forget either.
Her being there, perhaps there will be a time when Emilia will be saved by that existence.
[Subaru: It never hurts to have more allies. What you can do isn’t a problem… What is important is what you are willing to do, and what you will strive to able to do for that person. After all, if I am counting the number of things I can do, it’ll look really bad for me…]
His merits and his deficiencies, Subaru could probably count with his fingers and figure out that he had more deficiencies. But even so, he wants to be her ally, and so he has to use the few things he does have to their full potential, and keep on going, one way or another.
With a to-hell-with-it attitude, with nothing to stop him, embracing this over-optimistic explanation,
[Subaru: We are definitely small, but let’s do our best from now on. This is what we are, the very first members of the Emilia-faction!]
Making a fist and punching it out into the air, Subaru made his declaration.
Seeing that, Petra and Otto, having been left out, looked at each other’s faces, and
[Otto: I never said that I’m a part of that faction, right? Please don’t misunderstand, okay?]
[Petra: I want to be an ally of big sister too, but I don’t want to lose to her in what’s important…]
Otto looked appalled, holding his head. Petra, joining her hands behind her back, looked down and muttered hesitatingly.
But still, in the end, they succeeded in matching up their fist bumps, so that there could be no doubt remaining in any bystander’s mind that they totally knew what they were doing.
——The two days before setting out toward the Sanctuary, even though it was only a tiny step forward, there was something real in all of that, and, thinking this, the wait had already come to an end.
-=Chapter 5 End=-
***Note: “Anima Whispering” is more accurate than “Animal Whispering” which we were using before. Otto’s Divine Protection, “言霊”, means literally “word-spirit”, and allows him to communicate with living things. So it’s like “Life-force Whispering” ***
It’s so nice to have time to properly work on the translations again! This chapter felt a bit shorter, but it’s still 4400 words!
P.S. Otto finally got a screenshot lol!
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