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/173/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 7 [The Experimental Grounds]
The moment the punk pressed his foot into the ground, Subaru felt the illusion as if the world had tilted.
Of course, in reality, such a thing could not possibly happen. Even the largest human could not hope to disturb the foundations of the world with a simple stamp of the foot, and the sheer weight of the earth would not budge so easily.
So, the tilting of the world can only be Subaru’s illusion.
What had actually happened, was that starting from the point where Garfiel’s placed down his foot, a wave spread out in the ground, and like flipping a piece of tatami, it tossed the dragon carriage into the air as it passed.
[Subaru: Impossible―― Uwah!?]
Like on the end of a see-saw, the sensation of upward momentum reached its peak, and then, as if floating, the dragon carriage glided through the air. Along with the ground dragons Patrasche and Furufu, just about exceeding one ton in weight combined, they were all blown flying. Inside the carriage, Subaru only held Emilia close within in his embrace.
Then, just like that, the dragon carriage slammed onto the ground, the sheer force of the impact sent its entire frame, inside and out, gnashing and creaking against itself. It was a high-quality dragon carriage. Its luxury did not stop at its glamorous appearance, for its quality was evidenced both in terms of comfort and durability, and this was demonstrated perfectly by the fact that it managed to avert total destruction just now. But still, in the half rolled over dragon carriage, there was no way to immediately escape.
In other words, since escape is no longer an option, the only choice remaining is to stand and fight.
[Subaru: Damn it, what was th――]
Shaking his head, which was still hanging out of the window to the coachman’s platform, Subaru held a hand to his aching forehead. He had struck his head on the way down, but fortunately, other than the pain, there was no lesion or bleeding. Suddenly remembering, he looked down, and saw, lying in his arms, Emilia was unharmed.
A surge of relief washed over him, but this emotion was soon replaced by the anxiety of being reminded that the culprit who caused this was still outside.
Quickly lifting up his head, the dreaded sight that met Subaru’s gaze was——
Screeching, fangs bared, the enormous jet-black ground dragon leapt toward the scrawny figure.
Making use of the loosened connection to the dragon carriage, with a twist of her body, Patrasche broke free and with rapid movements she set off against the assailant for a counter-attack.
With pointed fangs as sharp as blades, the power of her jaw can slice through human flesh and crush through bone and still have strength to spare. With speed like the wind, she aimed for Garfiel’s neck, about to tear it to shred without a single question asked.
[Garfiel: Excitin’ choice. Good groun’dragon…… No, yer a good girl, aren’t ya. Hell, “the sound o’breaking bones’ a sign o’love” astheysay]
Lodged in her closing jaws, was the front end of an outstretched arm that should by all accounts have been completely shredded.
Garfiel had held out his right arm against Patrasche’s bite. And the ground dragon, zeroing in on the target, chomped down on the wrist, ripping the forearm arm clean off, and then fell upon the torso… or at least, that was what should have happened.
But instead, Patrasche froze in place. Not only her body, but even her jaw clamping on the arm lodged inside stopped moving completely.
Was some special ability being used, or was it caused by magic?
This question turned in Subaru’s mind, but soon, Garfiel’s action answered his doubts. Expanding the muscles of his lodged arm, it completely overpowered the force of Patrasche’s jaw, stretching it open wider and wider.
[Garfiel: G’job, you. Got goin’ right away, and still not givin’ up, even better. Y’passed!]
The jet-black ground dragon lowered her body, still clenching with her mouth she twisted her waist. The strength of her jaw sealed on the man’s right wrist, she swung her tail whooshing upwards to swipe him flying. Subaru took a blow from her tail once, but, watching Patrasche’s movements now, it’s immediately obvious how much she had been holding back that time.
Literally putting her whole body behind the blow, she directed all her hostility into striking the body that was left completely open. But even so, it was casually stopped in its tracks by Garfiel’s left hand.
A dry cracking sound rang out, and after the shock dissipated, all that remained was a hand grabbing onto the end of a tail. His right hand in her jaws, his left hand holding her tail, Garfiel smiled, revealing his beast-like fangs.
[Garfiel: Won’t hurt ya. Sleep tight]
Making a wide swing with his arm, like some kind of joke, the circular trajectory of its motion carried Patrasche’s massive body gliding through the air. Then, all of a sudden laterally spinning with an inconceivable sensation of weightlessness, Patrasche’s eyes filled with confusion as she was gently tossed to the ground.
Her massive body barely bounced as it landed, and then silence: Patrasche had been defeated. In front of this scene, Subaru’s parched throat let out a groan of disbelief,
[Subaru: H, he threw Patrasche?]
[Garfiel: Such’a loyal nature. Tossed y’out gently, shouldn’t hurt. Let’s finish this before ya get up!]
Disregarding the stunned Subaru, Garfiel lifted up his face and hopped onto the coachman’s stand. Lying on the slanted coachman’s stand was Otto, in a broken-looking posture, and he tried to stand up as the attacker leaped over.
[Otto: Guh…… but, don’t underestimate me! I am a traveling merchant you know! I am totally prepared for getting mugged by thugs on the road during my business. So come on, but if you rather not fall victim to the “Suwen-Family-Ryu-Thug-Repulsion-Technique” I suggest you surrender now…… Hoowah!]
[Garfiel: Shut up, ham. What d’ya think yer doin with yer weakass skills, takin me on? Go take’a nap]
Right after striking a fighting pose, full of spirit, Otto instantly crumbled when Garfiel, suddenly coming up to him, gave him a flick in the forehead.
The flick —— or more accurately, the close-range middle finger strike, with what sounded like tremendous force, sent Otto’s wiry body flying off of the coachman’s platform. Holding his forehead in what looked like agony, he passed out without a word. Regardless of whether he was dead or alive, he was no longer an obstacle.
[Garfiel: Now, by th’looks of it, yer the only one left]
Snorting, the punk turned with a sharp look that could cut a man in half, murmuring.
Standing on the coachman’s platform, the distance between him and Subaru was only about four paces —— but considering the way he had instantly closed his distance with Otto, there might as well be no distance between them at all.
Gasping down his breath, Subaru racked his brain but could not think of a single plan to break through. The only fighting force that might have been able to resist this man, Emilia, was still unconscious after her inexplicable collapse. But no matter what happens, he must protect her.
[Garfiel: “Flip it this way or that yer skin’s still blue”, I don’t wanna hear it――!]
With the sound of a light tap on the floor, in the blink of an eye, Garfiel’s short figure appeared in front of Subaru’s face. Above, the raised arm had its five fingers spread open, and it was easy to imagine the future where the claws would swing down, ripping his stunned body apart.
And in the face of that future where his limbs would be ripped apart, there was only one thing Subaru could think to do: to prevent the damage from reaching Emilia in his arms, and to protect her with his life.
——A few seconds passed, or perhaps it was longer.
His eyes tightly shut, shielding Emilia with his entire body, the time Subaru spent waiting for the shock to come dragged on to the point of confusion. Then, hesitantly opening his eyes, he found the five fingers spread out motionless in front of his face. Behind it, there was a perplexed look in the punk’s eyes.
Keeping his gaze on Subaru, who could not help but hold his breath, he twisted his own head from side to side, making loud cracking noises with the bones in his neck.
[Garfiel: Instead of striking back y’prioritized protectin’ the girl, the hell was that. After yer dead she’ll be next anyway. Wasn’t that a terrible decision?]
Being hit with a sound argument that he really didn’t want to hear, Subaru, going through all sorts of reasons, couldn’t come up with a reply. The silence making him even more displeased, Garfiel waved his sharp-clawed hand.
[Garfiel: Well, yer too slow anyway. Make a move or not, there probably wasn’t much hope. You’re all pretty useless either way]
[Subaru: Y, you are……]
Remarking on their ineptitude, Garfiel gave out his merciless assessment. And as Subaru was trying to move his frozen throat, attempting to squeeze out a question, Garfiel’s vicious-looking face twisted up with displeasure, and moved in even closer to Subaru’s face.
[Garfiel: You’re whisperin, gotta speak up. C’mon]
[Subaru: You are Garfiel…… correct? You are acquainted with Roswaal and Frederica?]
Confirming Subaru’s word, for the first time, Garfiel’s expression lost its aggression. Looking astounded, like a carnivorous beast that had lost the scent of blood, for an instant, he seemed almost cute and tame, but, immediately concealing it again with a bitter expression,
[Garfiel: Why d’ya know that name …… No, wait. That woman you’re holdin’, is the silver haired…… Half-Witch?]
[Subaru: She’s a Half-Elf. Don’t you dare use that name in front of her]
[Garfiel: ——Hyah. Whatsthiswhatsthis, y’got some spirit got allofasudden]
Glancing down at Emilia, Subaru suddenly exploded back at the utterance of that derogatory name. The fear of moments before all disappeared in the face of pure rage, and Garfiel, hearing this, clicked his fangs together noisily, full of glee.
[Garfiel: Say, isntshe that rumored Emilia-sama? Now, a “Half-Witch” showing up around here could only have everything to do with Roswaal]
[Subaru: Son of a……]
Ignoring Subaru’s previous words, Garfiel said “Half-Witch” again with special emphasis. Hearing this, Subaru stood up, but was immediately stopped by Garfiel’s hand.
[Garfiel: “The dumbass who bites on molten iron only gets hurt” right. You don have a chance against me. Look at the difference in strength eh? ――I don’t want you to get hurt, y’know?]
Making a fist with his outstretched hand, he cracked his knuckle-bones as a warning. Their respective strengths are obvious, without knowing his intentions, it’s better not to make things any worse by resisting. To press down his anger and wait for another chance to get his revenge, would be the wisest course of action.
[Subaru: …Eat shit]
[Subaru: I don’t want to get hurt. And you’ll beat me up pretty easily I guess. But. ――I can’t stand by while you continue to say things that will make this girl sad]
Gently laying Emilia down on the luggage stand, lightly touching the hair on her forehead, Subaru stood up staring at Garfiel at a distance so close that their foreheads almost touched. A distance within each other’s breaths, a distance within each other’s reach.
[Subaru: Take back that bullshit name… and never use it again]
[Garfiel: ……You want me to do what you say? But you don’t got what it takes, do you? Your face, your gut, your shin, you want them all to get wrecked, yeah?]
[Subaru: Go ahead and try. But don’t expect me to go down for free, though… If you punch my face I’ll bite you, if you strike my gut I’ll grab you, if you hit my shin I’ll spit on you, and I will be paying you back tooth for tooth]
Responding to intimidation with intimidation, Subaru was carried up by the surge passion burning in his chest. In front of him, the hostile aura quietly emanating from Garfiel sent shivers circling all over his body. Quite literally, Subaru could be flicked away in a second if Garfiel wanted to. Judging from his offense and defense so far, this was all too obvious.
Of the strongest people Subaru had met in this Parallel World up to now, Garfiel might easily hold a place among them. Perhaps without reaching the level of Reinhardt at the pinnacle, he could, nevertheless, conceivably take on Wilhelm or Julius.
So even as Subaru’s words took back a little bit of ground, the probability of him actually retaliating was really equal to zero.
But still, Subaru and Garfiel stared squarely into each other’s eyes.
Even knowing he will lose, he refused to back down… because the reason he cannot back down was just behind him…
…It was an unexpected voice that sounded completely out of place.
In the middle of their standoff, Garfiel’s laugh leaked out, cutting into the space between them. Subaru let out a confused groan, and Garfiel responded with his action,
[Garfiel: Hiyahahaha! Yer prettygood with words eh. Y’reallydiditdidntyer!]
[Subaru: Wha…… Ow! Hey, wha wait, ow, st-, ow that really hurts!]
Breaking out into a wide laugh that shook his shoulders, Garfiel heartily patted Subaru in the shoulder. But even without the slightest hint of hostility or intention to attack, and even as he was holding back, the gesture, purely seeking friendly contact, was nevertheless cutting down Subaru’s health points in large chunks at a time.
(Image by @sisumayo https://twitter.com/sisumayo/)
I hope this chapter was ok! I ended up staying up until 9am this morning to get it good enough before I have to spend time on my studies in the next few days.
Tynkerd is working on Chapter 8 right now, and should be done around the time when I finish part 2/2 in a few days!
***Note 2016 Dec 23rd: “Trial Grounds” is too easily confused with “Trials”, so it’s changed to “Experimental Grounds”***