Although he wasn’t exactly trying to make the flowers of love bloom, her cold attitude still made Subaru feel like he was coming away empty handed. But, the fact that he could not ask what he should have asked, was, understandably, because he was afraid.
[Subaru: At a time like this, am I still too much of a coward to say Rem’s name… even though I want to… even…]
He was terrified of the confirmation.
Having already heard it from Emilia and Petra that they cannot remember Rem, now, to ask her own sister whether she has forgotten her existence too?
But, having come here, the fact that she did not ask about Rem’s absence, already meant that there was no point in asking anymore.
[Subaru: Can’t help but cave-in to her either way. Then let’s follow Ram for now, Emilia-tan. ——What’s wrong?]
Subaru turned to Emilia, who had kept her silence up to now. Ever since stepping off the carriage, she had not opened her mouth, but only looked around at her surroundings anxiously. Noticing Subaru’s call, she let out a [No…] slightly shaking her head.
[Emilia: It’s just, I can’t seem to calm down. How should I say it, there’s a strange feeling…… it’s not something I can put into words]
[Subaru: Can’t calm down, huh. For me, a shy loner who’s reluctant to even leave the house, all this is like a new world you know? Everyone gets this feeling I think…… In fact, I don’t particularly hate it myself]
Looking around along with Emilia, everything looked very much like the image of a run-down village. Perhaps, compared to Arlam village, the houses appeared older, and in a greater state of disrepair, but these were merely relative, insignificant details.
Nevertheless, the place was not without a certain sense of incongruity about it. Although what that incongruity was, Subaru wasn’t quite sure either.
[Subaru: But we don’t have much choice even if we keep our guards up, Emilia-tan. Ram and Ros-chi are both here, so at least we shouldn’t be in any danger, I think]
[Emilia: It’s not that I’m keeping my guard up…… No, I’m ok now. But really, if only I could talk to Puck…]
The crystal stone at her chest——touching the green stone beneath her neck, Emilia called out anxiously to the name of the spirit sealed within. The absence of the great spirit that always stayed by her side obviously brought her anxiety to no end.
And to see her so fragile, Subaru despised himself for not being the existence that she can rely on.
[Subaru: Let’s go. No matter what happens, leave it to your #2 shield]
Without thinking, he grabbed the hand that was touching the crystal, and turned his face away as he said this. Then, holding her hand like this, before she could even say no, he swung out his stride. And naturally, Emilia only followed behind his forceful attitude.
Having done so without any consideration, just the thought of his embarrassing act made fire fly out of every pore of his face. But, much more than thought, he had chosen to follow his emotion, and merely hoped that this was not seen as strange.
Only, unlike Subaru’s heart, which was about to jump out of his chest, Emilia slightly nodded, and did not let go of his hand.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
It was the only house in the Sanctuary that preserved some semblance of a proper shape.
Constructed out of stone, the single storey building was around the size of a single-family house of the original world. Its rooms arranged in a simple layout, one could almost imagine living an equally simple and cozy life here.
Although compared to the Roswaal Mansion and the Crusch Mansion, having grown accustomed to a certain standard of living, Subaru found it rather cramped. But, of course, in time, with a little bourgeois-spirit, he could easily grow used to living in such a place.
For this, was the impression of the place of their meeting.
[Roswaal: Yaaaa~~~, Emilia-sama and Subaru-kun. I~~ get the feeling that this is quite the long-awaited reunion, do~~n’t you think hmm?]
With a carefree smile, and waving his hand at them, this was how Roswaal greeted them as they saw each other again.
After parting in the capital, this was the first time Subaru met face to face with Roswaal. And as they had not seen each other in the previous loops, it had actually been over a month. Considering all the pent-up resentment accumulated during that time, he had wanted to do nothing less than to punch him across the face at the earliest opportunity, but,
[Roswaal: Fi~~~rst of all, more than anything, it’s so~ good to see you safe, Emilia-sama. Ram’s already told me about the problems around the Ma~nsion. If anything should have happened to you, I would surely have lost the will to go on li~~ving]
[Subaru: If that’s what you feel, you should have at least made some better preparations…… Actually, more importantly, what the hell happened to you? What is this!?]
Even as Roswaal seemed relieved to see Emilia safe, Subaru and Emilia were beside themselves with consternation. For all the countless things they had wanted to say, had all of a sudden vanished like a parting mist when they saw Roswaal.
Lying on the bed… all manner of wounds that cannot be overlooked littered his body, as blood seeped through the bandages constricting his figure into a pitifully painful posture.
At Subaru’s question and Emilia’s silent gaze, Roswaal used his left arm, which was relatively less injured, to gently pull up the eye-patch that was covering his left eye.
[Roswaal: Aaa~~~yaaa~~, a~~re you asking about these? I~~ am only a man, a~~fter all. Being seen in this pitiful state wounds my self-esteem, so if you could please understand my desire to re~~st a little]
[Emilia: That’s not good enough, is it. What really happened, Roswaal? Getting wounded like this…… and how did you, of all people]
Not distracted by his jest, Emilia retorted as she extended a trembling finger towards him, hesitating whether to touch the body ridden with wounds. Seeing her do this, Roswaal smiled bitterly, and turned his right eye up to the ceiling, [Well then…] he whispered,
[Roswaal: Whe~~re should I~~ begin hm? We~ll, I guess you could say my injuries were sustained for something of a matter of honor, and out of regard for propriety, I had no~~ choice]
[Emilia: Stop trying to get away with these roundabout words. I am asking you seriously, Roswaal, so answer me seriously in return]
[Roswaal: ……My~ it seem Emilia-sama is in an especially bad mood. Bu~~t, considering where we are, there’s no avo~iding it perhaps]
Even Subaru felt that something was out of place when he heard Emilia’s relentless, inquisitive tone, and it was at the same moment, that Roswaal pointed this out. Emilia slightly angled up her eyebrows, but, realizing that what he had pointed out was true, she lightly bit her lip.
[Emilia: My head is all a mess, I can’t calm down at all. What is this place? Even though it’s called the “Sanctuary”, I don’t think that’s what it is at all. Then this place is……]
[Roswaal: “A Witch’s Grave”, that’s an easier name to acce~~pt, no?]
The tone of Roswaal’s voice dropped as he pronounced these words. The same words from Garfiel being uttered in Roswaal’s mouth, the phrase suddenly took on a sense of some heavy and sonorous meaning.
Swiftly, Emilia shot her gaze toward Subaru. Seeing the complex tangle of emotions in her eyes, Subaru lowered his chin in a nod, in tune with her unease.
[Subaru: Hold on, let’s get everything we want to ask in order first. If we go on like this, the conversation is only going to drift all over, and we won’t get a single conclusion out of him]
[Roswaal: Ooh~ yaaa? In the short time we haven’t se~en each other, you’ve gotten quite good at se~ttling accounts, no? Subaru-kun, just wha~t could have brought on this change in your state of mi~nd?]
[Subaru: If we’re going to get into that it’ll take a really long time, so I’ll leave the bragging for after we’ve heard everything we want to know. Ah, right, there was just this one thing…]
Staring at Roswaal’s mocking smile, Subaru lifted up a finger,
[Subaru: We’ve established the alliance with Crush-san, but you must have already heard it from Ram… you’re glad you left me behind, aren’t you?]
[Roswaal: ――Ve~ry glad. A~~fter all, I was right to have picked you up]
Seeing Roswaal relax the corner of his lips with satisfaction, Subaru sighed and closed his eyes. Subaru had anticipated this, but the fact remains, his actions were exactly as Roswaal planned. Even if he had already allowed himself to be used, it still wasn’t fun to hear the confirmation.
Anyway, Subaru arranged his next thought,
[Subaru: Firstly then, the villagers of Arlam village. Since Ram is safe, they must be fine as well, and all evacuated safely, right?]
[Roswaal: You can rest assu~~red. Perhaps my current state doesn’t give me much credibility but, I sti~~ll know my respo~nsibilities as Lord. Such thing as to risk my life to protect my subjects, I too have that resolve. I’ve seen to it that everyone’s sheltered in the village’s cathedral]
[Subaru: Cathedral… Ah, we can get back to that later, so the next thing is……]
He was relieved to confirm the villagers’ safety. Since Subaru had only made the decision to evacuate along with the preparations beforehand, whether they were safe in the end was the final concern left over from the previous loops. ――Because no matter what, a part of that could no longer be redone.
Relaxing his shoulders, Subaru gave Emilia a look. And receiving it, she inclined her head, drawing back her slender chin,
[Emilia: Then, tell me about this place. You call it Sanctuary, but Garfiel calls it “The Witch of Greed’s Gravesite”. Just which one is true?]
[Roswaal: Both are true, Emilia-sama. This is the site of the once-Witch of Greed’s ――Echidna’s final resting place. And to me personally, it is a place that should called Sanctuary]
Hearing his answer, Subaru and Emilia’s throats simultaneously clogged up.
Roswaal spoke quietly, and all of the clownish demeanor he had been using until now had vanished from his voice. Precisely because of this, for the first time, his words carried an unmistakable flavor of honesty.
Drawing in a deep breath, Emilia blinked a few times, and continued once more,
[Emilia: The Witch of Greed……was another Witch who was annihilated by the Witch of Envy, wasn’t she]
[Roswaal: E~n, that is right. No matter where you look in the history of the current world, nothing remains of her name anymore. Only, except in the memories of those who knew her…]
[Subaru: Wait wait wait, but what you just said makes no sense]
Subaru interrupted Roswaal’s solemn words with a quick wave of his hand. Roswaal narrowed his single eye, gazing into Subaru, who was little by little succumbing to the pressure of his aura.
[Subaru: If I remember correctly, the Witch of Greed……was defeated by the Witch of Envy 400 years ago. This place being the final resting place of a Witch from 400 years ago might be understandable…… but what you’re saying is that you knew her in person, but that’s just…]
[Roswaal: I~~ know this myself, but I~~’m afraid I can’t say. Because this is passed down verbally through generation after generations of the Mathers family……only to the heir of Roswaal]
[Emilia: Passed down verbally…… then the head of the Mathers family of long ago was once connected to the Witch of Greed?]
Suddenly, hearing the name brought up, Emilia’s eyes opened wide. Roswaal turned his gaze towards her, and, as if to confirm once more, quietly whispered, [Echidna],
[Roswaal: Ple~ase, call her by name when referring to her. A title like “The Witch of Greed”, no matter you how say it, carries an evil impression about it, do~~n’t you think? And it’s so long, too…]
[Emilia: …I see. So then, Echidna met her end in this village, and this village has then been managed by the Mathers family for generation after generation…… is that right?]
[Roswaal: E~n, that is correct. Though managing implies more hands on work tha~n there is. Echidna’s influence remains thickly here, and without the proper steps, it’d be impossible to set foot in here. The fact that you were able to enter…… must have been thanks to Frederica’s assistance, isn’t that so?]
Receiving a nod of affirmation in return, a sense of understanding emerged in Roswaal’s eyes. Seeing this, Subaru pursued the topic,
[Subaru: I understand this is Echidna’s grave, and under your management. But what I don’t understand is its purpose, and why you and the villagers haven’t returned yet]
[Roswaal: I may have just said some strange things, bu~~t you seem to have accepted them quite rea~dily. The fact that this is a Witch’s Gravesite, I~~ had really wanted to keep that a secret…]
[Subaru: Maybe if it was the Witch of Envy, but I really have no idea what the Witch named Echidna had done. Just the word “Witch” immediately gives the impression of some kind of villain. But then it’s the same thing with “Half-Elf”, and who could have guessed that Emilia-tan is so cute just from that word?]
[Emilia: ……D, d-don’t say irrelevant things like that. Surprise-attacks are off limits you know!]
Hearing the pick-up line casually inserted into the end of that otherwise serious sentence, Emilia, whose face had turned bright red, lightly yanked at the side of Subaru’s waist. Subaru smiled wryly at her totally cute retaliation, but then, he noticed Roswaal in the corner of his eyes giving off a rather annoying laugh [Oho~],
[Roswaal: In the sho~~rt time you’ve spent apart, you’ve grown quite a bit closer, ha~ven’t you. After leaving with that fight in the Capital, I was wondering just what would happen, but it seems now it’s even better than befo~~re]
[Subaru: That’s the love received at the end of a long and arduous journey, you know! There’s a mountain of things I can brag about, but let’s leave that for after you’ve finished answering our questions. So, what is the purpose of this place, and why haven’t you returned]
[Roswaal: It seems you aren’t the naive child anymore, and has become quite dependable indeed. So~~ then, the re~ason the villagers and I have not returned…… simply put, we can’t return even if we wa~~nted to]
[Subaru: Can’t return even if you wanted to?]
Unable to understand his answer, Subaru furrowed his brows.
Roswaal nodded, and smiling at the question mark emerging on Subaru’s face, said,
[Roswaal: Because right now, every o~~ne of us, and the residents of this village included, are all in a state of house-arrest. A~~~nd, from the moment you entered here, it seems you two are also in the sa~~me situation]
-=Arc 4 Chapter 8 End=-
*Note: Roswaal’s weird way of speaking is usually dragging a vowel of a word at the beginning and end of his sentences, while in between he speaks quite fluently. You can watch his scene in Episode 4 of the anime to hear what it sounds like :3*
It’s around term-end right now, and Tynkerd is busy with his studies, and Nicholas is quite busy as well. My final exams are coming in the next two weeks too, sorry the releases might be a bit slow until after the semester is done!
Nicholas has already sent me the draft for Chapter 9 Part 1/2! Following one of your suggestions, later I might try posting the draft on Patreon while I’m in the process of editing it.
I’ll be linking it in the Table of Contents later!
And thank you so much James Q, Spencer N, Jeffrey N, Dennis W, Luis P, Son Wukong, Raf H, David S, Thomas A, Michal Z, Peganuss S, Guillaume A, Jun P, Andrew B, Nope, Dustin F, Alexander N, Luc C, John W, anonymous Giraffe, Alexander P, Jesse A, Thong N, Gabriel D, Hunter G, Robbie panda, Xuatz, Terry F, Ristelle, Piotr H, Dohmeh, Tyler Y, Sid K, John L, Alora T, Ashley H, Lolfoollor, T.J. S, Aqua Dragon, Mark K, Ben S, Devon C, Ryan S, Quinn C, Daniel B, Zarko B, Edsel R, Aiman Z, Shippolover, Matthew K, Shahril A! Daniel H!
and Andrew, John B, Will, NJRoss, Ben R!
And Litewin, and Johnathan S! :3