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/177/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 11 [Prideful Slothful Wrath]
In the space where even his footing was uncertain, before an emptiness where falling meant inevitable death, there was nothing to distract his attention away from there.
For in this moment, the only subject occupying Subaru’s consciousness was the girl in front of his eyes ―― the Witch with white-hair and white-skin, black clothes and black eyes.
That sense of overwhelming presence, of menace, that transcendent entity was of an entirely different level than all other living things.
All of Subaru’s insignificant existence, his eyes, his heart, and his soul, were being toyed and tangled upon the tips of those unseen fingers.
In the face of truly inescapable horror, people often seal-in emotions such as these.
Unable to breathe. Unable to feel his own heartbeat. Not even the breaking of a cold sweat, or even a blink, could proceed without her permission. There, was absolute isolation.
[Echidona: Oh dear, I may have overdone it with the intimidation. Even back then, whenever I take an interest in something, I’d end up running my mouth too much. A Witch’s nature is a troublesome thing]
Suddenly, still seated in her chair, Echidona seemed to notice how her speech had overheated and took up some self reflection. But still, he could not recover from the traumatizing darkness emanating from the Witch in front of his eyes.
No, the sense of oppression he had intentionally ignored up to now, now that he truly recognized it, would not leave his mind again.
The friendly exchange between them had evaporated. Subaru could no longer see the girl in front of his eyes as a girl anymore. For her true nature was that of a Witch.
[Echidona: When I was alive, this sort of thing happens every once in awhile. It was just like this when the royalty of the various nations came to me, seeking to borrow my wisdom……But I suppose you can no longer look at me without being guarded now]
“My my”, shaking her head as if trying to say, Echidona gazed into Subaru with her black pupils. Shaken by the sight of his own expressionless reflection in the black of her eyes, Subaru wavered, and just the same moment, she smiled.
[Echidona: In that case, maybe you’ll like this idea?]
An abrupt change came.
Smiling, she whispered something to Subaru as he furrowed his brows to show his non-understanding. Then, watching as her smile dissolved into the darkness, Subaru gasped, and the moment he blinked――
[Little Girl: Whatcha lo~okin at~?]
[Little Girl: Well stop sta~ring at me~]
Swinging her legs around as she said this, the little girl sitting in front of Subaru puffed up her cheeks in a pout.
With dark-green hair coming down to her shoulders, it was a little girl with apple-red cheeks. Her hazel-colored skin in her white one-piece dress matched adorably, and her childish cuteness unreservedly scattered everywhere around her. And, particularly distinctive, there was a blue flower-shaped hair clip on her hair.
No matter how you look at it, it was a harmless, innocent little girl――now sitting in the place where Echidona had just been, staring back at Subaru.
[Subaru: Ah, eh, huh? W-wait. E-Echidona……? Where the hell did she go?]
[Little Girl: Dona? Dona must somewhere around here but~ , who are you supposed to be~?]
[Subaru: M-me? My name’s Natsuki Subaru. I wasn’t invited here or anything, I’m just someone who got lost, drank some tea, and was heading back…… but then the owner of the house suddenly disappeared which left me in a pretty difficult situation……]
[Little Girl: Ehh~. Then~, I’ll call you Baru~]
It’s hard to feel hostility toward something so cute, and even though it didn’t quite fit the situation, Subaru gave this frank self-introduction. Hearing this, the little girl smiled happily, which made Subaru’s heart all warm inside despite the circumstances.
Regardless of how messed up things had become, the moment Echidona disappeared it was as if the pressure had been released. If he calmly considers all this, perhaps the little girl before his eyes was just like him, having been kidnapped from who knows where.
One way or another, maybe now he’d be able to escape with this little girl’s help――even though he wasn’t too sure how much strength she could lend him. He raised up his face and,
[Subaru: Ok, anyways let’s think of a plan to get out of here while the big bad ghost isn’t home. But considering there’s not many places to step on… first, maybe just tell me your name, little missy……]
[Little Girl: Say, Baru~, are you a bad man~?]
[Subaru: if you could tell me that then at least……Wha?]
Reaching out his hand, intending to sparkle his teeth, Subaru furrowed his brows.
The little girl in front of him swung her legs, which weren’t long enough to reach floor, and she rocked back and forth in her chair while childishly muttering [Be~cau~se~] impatiently pursing up her lips,
[Little Girl: I’m asking~ are you a bad man, or not a bad man~. So are you~?]
[Subaru: By their very nature, all humans are creatures who sacrifice other things to survive. Therefore, perhaps from the moment we are born into this world, we are sinners. But, even so, we still live our lives. Knowing that even as we are sacrificing, something more valuable can be built upon that sacrifice…… Even though I think this kind of philosophical discussion isn’t really something a little girl can understand, is that what you mean?]
[Little Girl: Um~, I heard it but I don’t really understand~. Well~, ok~, if I just check~]
Toward Subaru, who looked confused, the little girl looked even more confused.
Saying this, she held tight onto Subaru’s extended hand. From the small palm completely wrapped up inside Subaru’s, he felt a tactile softness that was unique to the hand of a little girl. And feeling this gave him a renewed resolve, that no matter happens, he will bring her safely out of this place.
[Subaru: Even though I’ve been around Petra, I’m still surprised I’m so fond of kids. I used to think they’re too noisy and all but……]
[Little girl: ――onlythroughpainandsufferingcantheguiltyberedeemed]
Suddenly, the little girl quickly muttered something in a whisper.
Unable to understand, Subaru’s raised up one of his brows, and felt a light impact. As if his arm had been lightly tugged, there was then a strangely liberating sensation, as if being released from a heavy burden.
Wondering what had happened, Subaru turned his head to look all around him.
Everything was just like it was before, and nothing changed in the world. The space that permitted Subaru and the little girl to sit facing each other was still without wind or sound or sensation of any kind.
Sitting in the chair in front of him, was still only the little girl swinging her legs.
Only, in her hand, she was holding a man’s severed arm――
[Little Girl: Doesn’t hurt so~, you’re not a bad man~, I’m so relieved~]
Noticing the abnormal turn of events, Subaru looked at his own right arm――at the right side of his body where is arm should be, he saw the reality of the exposed cross-section of his shoulder where his arm had been twisted off.
Pain, blood, none of it was there before he noticed it. The bone and arteries wrapped in pink meat all exposed in the cross section reminded him of the edible meat lined up in a butcher’s shop.
That is, aside from the unacceptable surreal reality that it was happening to his own right shoulder.
[Subaru: Oo, aaaAAAAAA!!!! A-arm……my arm aaaAAA!?]
[Little Girl: It doesn’t hurt right~, don’t yell so loud~. If you flail around too much we won’t be able to put it back~]
[Subaru: Y-yo-youu!? Ripping someone’s arm off, what, what the hell are you saying! G-give it back! Give it back!]
Holding the exposed cross-section of his right arm shrieking, Subaru jumped right at the snorting little girl with a demon-possessed look on his face. Yanking his right arm back from her hands, he hurriedly tried to stick it back on.
Not that a severed arm can be reattached by sticking it on, but such a thing didn’t really occur to Subaru at this moment.
The moment he heard something being uttered from the little girl’s mouth, Subaru’s posture collapsed. Rather, more accurately, the legs that were supposed to step onto the floor shattered like fine glass-craft from the knee downward.
Losing his right arm and both his knees, Subaru’s body fell forward from the momentum. And receiving him, was the lap of the little girl still sitting in her chair.
The little girl gently received the falling Subaru, and like a mother holding her beloved child, she caressed the terrified Subaru in her arms.
[Little Girl: You aren’t a bad man at all~, but you still think of yourself as a sinner. You are a gentle~ and good child~. Poor~ thing~, you must~ be in pain~]
[Subaru: J-just…….w-wha what……a-are you……]
His right shoulder and his shattered legs did not bring him pain. Nor were they bleeding.
Incomprehensible. An unacceptable existence. The existence of the little girl before him, the one a moment ago he had thought was a subject of protection, was now despairingly distant from that impression.
Hearing Subaru’s question, the little girl tilted her head,
[Typhon: Typhon is the “Witch of Pride” you know~]
The impactful statement once again stopped Subaru’s thoughts in their tracks.
Be it anger or horror, these concepts were completely blown away.
Just a moment ago, Subaru had been in front of the Witch of Greed Echidona. Then why was he now suddenly faced with the Witch of Pride?
Witches who should have already been annihilated, and died long ago――,
[Woman: ――Huuu. Guess it’s my turn. Haaa, can’t get out of it]
A languid voice came from above him, while Subaru’s petrified throat was still trying its best to groan.
Subaru had only blinked his eyes. The color of the world did not change, and his arm and his legs are still missing. But even so,、
[Woman: Haaa, so heavy. Shouldn’t you be a bit lighter without the arm and legs? Huuu, that’s a man for you…… man or woman, wouldn’t existence itself be better off as one big useless blob?]
The one Subaru’s body was leaning against had changed from the little girl named Typhon to a different woman entirely.
The woman this time had strange magenta-colored hair: a beautiful girl with a lazy impression. Her skin and lips were sickly pale. Her downcast, half-closed eyes gave off a sleepy or, rather, generally unenergetic impression, and, as if even breathing was a chore, a depressing atmosphere loured around her
And although she was wearing loose black robes, obvious stains and rips littered all across the fabric as if birds had walked all over it.
Looking down at the silent Subaru, she sighed lethargically.
[Woman: Haaa, you’re pretty unlucky too. Being played around by Echidona, then Typhon and me……Huuu, meeting three Witches one after another, haa, only that dummy Flugel or that stick-swinging Reid have done something like that before]
[Subaru: You’re, a Witch……as well? Just like the little girl just now, and Echidona……]
[Sekhmet: Haa, I’m Sekhmet. Huuu, it’s such a bother but you could call me the Witch of Sloth, or not if you don’t want. Haa, not that I’m asking you to call me one way or another it’s so confusing anyway. Huuuu, I get tired from talking so can I just stay quiet from now on?]
[Subaru: Oh give me a break. I’m gonna lose my mind here. If no one tells me soon, I can’t even be sure of my own reality anymore. Please, just tell me what’s going on right now]
Subaru used his only surviving left hand to grab hold of her robe, and raised up his head to look at Sekhmet. Sekhmet seemed to find that gaze a bit bothersome, and sighed, then turned down her eyes same as before,
[Sekhmet: Your right arm, haaa, and your knees are gone. Huuu, it was Typhon wasn’t it? It’s because that child doesn’t understand other people’s pain. Haaa, she’s still that innocent and merciless child like before. Huu, the poor child. Haaaa]
[Subaru: My, arm and legs……th-they can grow back right?]
[Sekhmet: Huuu, for me that’s really…… aaa, but that’s alright, haa. It’s pretty bothersome for me too, huu, I’ll leave it for the child after me and go back to sleep. Haaa breathing’s such a bother. If I could take in a lifetime’s worth of air all into the lungs at once, then I won’t have to breathe again for the rest of my life, don’t you think? Haaa]
[Subaru: If you do that your lungs will explode and we’ll die right? But compared to that, my situation here……]
Still in her languid demeanor, Sekhmet’s off-beat proposition puffed Subaru’s head full of smoke. As if trying to say “please take this seriously”, Subaru tried to plead to her.
[Girl: ――Just now, did you say you wanted to die in front of me?]
He heard a murderous voice saying.
At this point, although it’s no longer the first time Subaru had been surprised today, he still couldn’t react with anything other than being stunned stiff.
Again, the person in front of his eyes changed. The Witch flaunting the full, dense head of hair had disappeared, and replacing her was,
[Girl: ――Tch! W-where are you staring at, where!]
Trying to look up from the soft lap at the other person’s face, Subaru’s vision was blocked by large protruding breasts that were obscuring her face.
The sensation of the lap that was bearing the weight of his body, unlike Typhon’s and Sekhmet’s, now had a meatier feel to it, and honestly seemed to be full of the dynamism of a feminine body.
While literally experiencing this with his entire body, Subaru was suddenly lifted up by its owner’s arm. ――with a single hand, Subaru’s body had been easily hoisted up, even though his weight was still no less than an average adult woman’s, even after losing his arm and both his legs.
[Girl: Look at the other person’s eyes when you’re addressing them, eyes! Really, men are always like this, unbelievable!]
Saying this as her anger was puffing out, it was a beautiful girl with swaying golden hair. Starting with a short skirt, she was wearing loosely fitting clothes over her body, and her stature while sitting down seemed on the short side. But even so, her large breast gave her a full-bodied impression, and gave the whole situation a somewhat titillating atmosphere… well, only the totally healthy kind, of course.
Then, glaring at the hoisted-up Subaru with rage-filled eyes, she brushed aside her hair in front of the frightened Subaru,
[Girl: Missing your right arm. Missing your legs from the knees down. Not bleeding or in pain…… looks like you’ve been punished by Typhon! That child……she did something so inconsiderate again, it’s just going too far!]
Looking at Subaru’s painless wounds, her blue eyes were clouded over by intense emotions.
With impulsive words, and an indignant attitude, her every act was instilled with passion, and all the while she was behaving like this, there were tears pooling faintly in her eyes.
[Subaru: A-are you crying……?]
[Girl: Not crying! Just angry! That’s right, I’m just angry! At Typhon who caused all these wounds and just left you here! At the world that made that child do such an outrageous thing! And at all the people fighting and harming one another making this world hell, at the senselessness of it all!]
Her furious voice cried out, with such power that it messed up her hair as she pronounced this.
Then, lifting up her arm, she suddenly tossed the dangling Subaru up into the air.
[Girl: So I absolutely will not permit it! Pain! Conflict! Wounds! How can I remain idle in front such things――!!]
The next moment, with a speed that broke the wind, the girl dashed out and struck her fist straight into Subaru. His face being suddenly injected with such incredible speed and power, Subaru’s body was quite literally blown away like a leaf. But,
Expecting to continue being blown away for quite some time, he suddenly arrived at the end of the world.
Echidona had actually trapped Subaru within a world of limited space, so after being launched flying by the power-packed punch, he had only managed to fly for a short distance. The impact against the invisible wall rolling through his entire body, having gone splat in the middle of the air, Subaru turned his eyes back around. And there,
[Girl: ――All will be well! Don’t ever think of turning back!]
Leaping, as if in pursuit, the girl rained punches onto Subaru’s body while it was still in the middle of its falling animation-sequence.
The endless flurry of punches striking into every inch of his body, Subaru’s flesh was sandwiched between the wall and her fists. The sounds of impacts ceaselessly penetrating Subaru’s body, its power went through him and into the walls, and began shaking the very world to its core.
Kneaded by the impacts, knocked up and down left and right, Subaru could no longer tell which was which as his mind turned blank. In the field of his vision, through the dance of the incoming fists, perhaps no longer wishing to conceal it, there was the face of the girl covered in a flood of tears. Droplets glimmering as they scattered through the air, just when Subaru wanted to complain “I’m the one who should be crying here…”, his face was already turned away by a punch.
Not knowing when the incessant hell would end―― it suddenly ended unexpectedly.
[Girl: Let my fists revive the world! Let my anger cleanse the world! My Wrath, and my healing fists are my reply――!]
The next moment, the world shattered.
The wall that Subaru had been stuck onto, under the impacts of the girl’s rain of fists―― after sensing an unbearable sensation through his clothes, Subaru felt the wall behind him shatter into dust.
In that instant, Subaru felt a sense of liberation.
When the rain of fists stopped, he felt something soft. Subaru noticed that he was lying on the ground, in the grassland of the previous world where they had their tea.
Sitting himself up, he looked all around in a stupor. Landing gallanty beside him, the girl brushed her blonde hair as she shot Subaru a stare.
[Girl: Right arm!]
[Subaru: Eh!? O-ok!]
Being suddenly called, Subaru raised up his arm, and that’s when he noticed.
The arm that had been ripped off of his shoulders was now back and perfectly well, all the way to his fingertips.
[Subaru: Oooo things are looking up. I can stand and walk! Look I can do a moonwalk now!]
Just to be sure, Subaru jumped up and started doing a moonwalk for good measure. Watching Subaru sliding across the grass, the girl held her elbow and nodded contently. And it was at that moment, when the swaying of her prominent bust burned itself into his memory.
[Subaru: Y-you saved me, thank you. But, considering the flow of things, you are……?]
[Minerva: I am the “Witch of Wrath” Minerva! Not that I call myself that!]
[Subaru: You called yourself that just now!]
[Minerva: Don’t, that was no big deal! I will not allow anyone to be hurt in front of my eyes, nor tolerate to see a person wounded! It’s not a deed to be passed on for posterity or anything!]
[Subaru: You’ve totally just marked your own actions as some incredible accomplishment there! You’re not really hearing what other people are saying are you? It’s really hard to communicate with someone like that!]
Flailing his only recently-healed arms around to demonstrate his befuddlement, seeing this, Minerva just quickly turned her back to him.
[Minerva: In any case, now that the wounds are healed, there is nothing more for me to do here! Don’t get so much as a bug bite now! That’s a promise with a Witch!]
[Subaru: Even if I go live in a sterilized room that’s not possible is it!? And don’t make promises on behalf of other people! Promise with a Witch or something, wouldn’t breaking it mean some severe punishment!?]
[Minerva: It’s no such thing. But if it ever comes to that……I will heal everyone]
[Subaru: Don’t say that like you’re going to go around murdering everyone, it’s really scary!]
But the fact remains, Subaru’s body was completely healed.
Her crude healing methods――in this case, true to the description, he actually was healed at the end of all that. Beating someone up in order to heal them, to think that a phenomenon so inconceivable could possibly exist… It’s almost like in those old tv-series.
Then, the girl who was gallantly walking away turned around.
Her white hair swinging with her motion, and her black dress spreading upward charmingly, all filled into Subaru’s eyes. She was tilting her head to the side, quite happily gazing back at him.
[Echidona: To prove that I’m relatively harmless, I let you meet some of the other Witches. So what do you think? If your attitude could warm up to me a bit now, then waking them up from their sleep would all be worth it]
Summing up his painful experience up to now, was the Witch Echidona.
Seeing her in front of him, Subaru drew in a deep, long breath, before lifting up his head,
[Subaru: You, really are every bit a Witch…… No human would think like that at all]
And, just uttering these words took up the last bit of his strength.
-=Chapter 11 End=-
(Witches fan art by @yuzouni)
(And the thumbnail image is by @HaruSabin!)
This chapter is a bit shorter so I’ll release it all together.
Subaru’s conversation with Echidona will be coming in Chapter 12, so I hope I don’t make you guys wait too long! But Tuesday Dec 20th is my birthday so I might take a little time off :3
…or not >_<
Chapter 12 Live Draft:
And Son Wukong is continuing his Live-Reaction reading of Re:Zero again! I’ll try to catch the next one live if I can :3