Translator: Cladvibe(AKA Juan) & TranslationChicken(last few pages)
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/178/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 12 [A Souvenir From The Tea Party]
[Echidona: So the space I worked so hard to prepare was destroyed. Such recklessness… it’s just like Minerva. That girl can be a little… too quick to strike]
[Subaru: A little……? I think she got to it almost immediately there. That new-sensation-violent-large-breasted-healing-type-loli-tsundere. That’s way too many character-tropes stuck together you know!]
Turning his perfectly healed right shoulder, Subaru started blowing this at Echidona in front of him.
The sense of pressure coming from the white-haired girl hadn’t changed. But still, her arrangements had not been entirely without effect on him.
[Subaru: Well, I think I’m in the mood for a face-to-face conversation now. Compared to the other Witches, you do seem somewhat more rational…… except Witch of Sloth-san, she may be talking nonsense, but I think we can understand each other]
[Echidona: Well Sekhmet, how should I say this… of all the Witches, she is the oldest and the most rational. But if you make her angry, she won’t leave anything half-way]
[Subaru: “Won’t leave anything half-way”… you mean she’s scary when she gets mad?]
[Echidona: Let’s just say, even if we all teamed up, we’d be no match for her. Even if all the other five Witches fought together, I don’t think we would be able to win against Sekhmet]
Once again sitting in her chair, Echidona explained this, as Subaru cast her a doubtful glance.
The image of the lazy girl with long, reddish-purple hair flashed in his mind. With that lifeless attitude, overflowing with inertia, that person was actually the strongest of all the Witches.
[Subaru: By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask… I get the feeling that you’ve been leaving the Witch of Envy out]
[Echidona: ――Let me just give you one piece of advice when you’re talking to me]
Remembering the Witch whom Echidona had never once named, Subaru asked her this question, to which Echidona only smiled and raised up a single finger.
Subaru stared at her fingertip as she slightly tilted her head,
[Echidona: I think of the other Witches as my friends, and I think they are deserving of my respect. I have a personality with many flaws myself, and having them by my side for so long is an emotional support for me, a salvation. That is why I have been gathering up their souls, without leaving a single one of them behind]
[Subaru: ……I get the feeling that I’ve just heard something that can’t be glossed over, but please go on]
[Echidona: The one who destroyed these Witches, was the “Witch of Envy”. ――Would you yourself be able to smile at the entity that brutally murdered your closest friends?]
Her smile did not change. But its nature had turned.
A surge of fear ran up Subaru’s spine, and by the time he noticed it, he was already nodding in agreement with her words. Seeing this, she said [That is so, isn’t it?] as she pulled in her chin.
[Echidona: My, it seems like the mood has spoiled a little. How about some tea to get rid of the bad taste?]
[Subaru: ……I don’t have the kind of courage to drink that Dona-Tea again. Unless you put some actual tea in there, then I have no intentions of eating or drinking anything in this place]
[Echidona: To be invited to a Witch’s tea party… back in my day, it would’ve been a thing to be envied……. My my, I guess people do change, along with the times]
As if she had already prepared Subaru’s portion, with a look of regret, Echidona filled only her own cup, and raised it to her lips.
But if what she said was true, then that tea would actually be her own body fluids. Then basically, she would be drinking bodily fluids that she herself had produced…
[Subaru: I heard something about rabbits… they eat their own poop and keep going like a perpetual-motion machine or something]
[Echidona: It is kind of humiliating to be lumped together with them…… isn’t it? Unless, this can be taken as a roundabout way to tell me you wish to hear about the Great Rabbit?]
[Subaru: Great Rabbit?]
Subaru tilted his head. It was a word he had heard somewhere before.
Searching within his memories, he remembered where he had heard it. Indeed, it was while he was riding on the back of a galloping Patrasche, down on Lifaus Highway.
[Subaru: They are Mabeasts that line up shoulder to shoulder with the White Whale…… right? The Great Rabbit, and the Black Serpent?]
[Echidona: They’re Daphne’s bad legacy. Even she herself found them a bit too hot to handle. Setting the Black Serpent aside for now, you have heard of the White Whale and the Great Rabbit wreaking havoc all over, have you not?]
[Subaru: By the way, since we’re talking about the White Whale, thanks to my efforts it’s already been slain. Thanks to my efforts, that is]
Pointing a thumb at himself, Subaru inflated his nostrils with a boastful look on his face. And, hearing this, for the very first time, Echidona’s black eyes opened wide with a look of surprise.
[Echidona: Ehh, is that so? That is, impressive. Just by your looks, you don’t seem to have an arm for swords, or a gift for magic…… But you moved those around you quite well indeed]
[Subaru: It’s a pretty depressing feeling when you knew right away that I didn’t defeat it on my own……! How do you know I didn’t just launch at it and kill it?]
[Echidona: Whether it’s the White Whale or the Great Rabbit, it’s hard to imagine that there could be humans who can slay them single-handedly. In my time, the only one who could have done this was Reid]
Once again, Subaru raised his brows at the name he didn’t know. Noticing this, Echidona let out a [Hmm] as she brought a finger to her narrow lips.
[Echidona: Were they not passed on to this Age? I had thought his achievements were quite remarkable. To put it lightly, he was the only one in the world who could cut down twelve fully-grown dragons all by himself]
[Subaru: No, well, it’s just that my understanding of common knowledge, or actually anything related to what people normally know is kind of shallow. That guy sounds pretty incredible though]
[Echidona: ――Reid Astrea. “Sword Saint” was the title given to him, but, is it not around anymore?]
Listening to Echidona’s words, Subaru’s mind steadily put the pieces together.
Astrea――that was Reinhard and Wilhelm’s family name, a name held by the current Sword Saint and Sword Demon, the name of that indomitable clan beloved by the Sword-God.
Then, its first generation must have been Reid Astrea.
[Subaru: Ok, I think I got it. It’s still around, Sword Saints. I don’t know what generation it is now, but the current Sword Saint’s my bro. He’s a monster who probably wouldn’t lose to the ancestor-sama you knew]
[Echidona: That’s quite a way to describe to a friend…… I might say that, but knowing how unconventional Reid is, I can’t blame you. Anyway, now we’re going to talk about the Great Rabbit, I suppose?]
[Subaru: Uhh, nah. It’s not that I’m not interested in the Great Rabbit or the Black Serpent, but…]
As much it as seemed that Echidona had wanted to continue talking and show off her knowledge, Subaru thought he should put a stop to that. There was a mountain of things that he wanted to know, but if he were to digest it all at the same time, his brain probably wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Instead, it might be better to pick out what he really wanted to know, and pursue those topics thoroughly.
In that case, the first of the things he wanted to know was,
[Subaru: So uhh, you are Echidona, the deceased Witch of Greed. Is that right so far?]
[Echidona: I had confirmed that right at the start, hadn’t I? There’s no mistake about it. This place is inside my dreams, and if you wish to leave, you can just say the word]
[Subaru: I appreciate your consideration. So first off, I do have a question……]
Touching a hand to his jaw, he directed his gaze toward the girl with white hair. And being bathed in Subaru’s insolent gaze, she raised her hand to her almost translucent white cheeks and said [What would that be?] as she narrowed one of her eyes.
[Subaru: I think this is something I should have confirmed with you at the very beginning but…… first off, you’re dead where exactly? Aren’t you frolicking about, enjoying your days and being pretty chipper?]
[Echidona: ……Ahh, I see. It’s true I hadn’t explained that at all. We forgot to touch on it, haven’t we? You and me both]
With a clap of her hand, Echidona nodded as if understanding. As she signaled her agreement with her gesture, Subaru only scratched his head wondering what had gotten into him.
With the impact of a Witch showing up, and then the Witches’ class-reunion after that, Subaru had been too shocked to ask this obvious question until now.
[Subaru: Seeing a ghost inside a Tomb, it’d be good if it was that simple. But after being meddled with so much, I don’t think I can just pass it off as all being in my head]
[Echidona: A ghost, I can’t really deny that. After all, I am a spiritual body that has lost its physical body. But now, as to why I’m here like this…… well. It is as a counterforce. That would be the most accurate answer, I suppose]
[Subaru: Counterforce……? What kind of…… no, actually, maybe “against what” would be a better question?]
[Echidona: You are sharp, aren’t you?]
Nodding contently at Subaru’s reaction, Echidona softly clapped her hands. Then, turning up to the air, she signed toward the artificial blue sky with a gesture of her hand.
[Echidona: The one who bound me to this place was Volcanica. The Divine Dragon Volcanica. You’ve probably at least heard of him?]
[Subaru: ……That would be the Dragon who signed the Pact with the rulers of the Kingdom of Lugnica or something, right? I heard that name in the great hall at the Royal Selection]
[Echidona: Yes, that would be the same Volcanica. By that Dragon’s power, I am sealed here in this Grave. And the reason Volcanica did this was, as you correctly inferred, to serve as a counterforce against the “Witch of Envy”]
Echidona’s gaze was calm and intellectual, but when the words “Witch of Envy” weaved from her lips, for an instant, a dangerous emotion flashed across her pupils.
Perhaps that, was the enormity of the chasm between her and the “Witch of Envy”.
[Echidona: Even now, the “Witch of Envy” is imprisoned in the Sealing Stone, but her seal is not unbreakable. Nor is Volcanica’s lifespan eternal, and there is no guarantee that the seal won’t be undone if given the chance. There are also quite a few who believe, that there is no knowing whether every great change in the heavens and the earth might not be chipping away at the Sealing Stone. ――That, is why Volcanica left my existence behind]
[Subaru: As a fighting force to oppose the “Witch of Envy”, if ever she is resurrected……?]
[Echidona: However, I was not the Witch that Volcanica had originally expected to leave behind. If anyone should have remained, it should have been Sekhmet. The problem was that Volcanica himself disputed with Sekhmet. And, it seems, after she beat him to a pulp, he grew rather wary of her]
As if casually gossiping, Echidona lightheartedly glossed over the intertwining fates between the Dragon and the Witch, but Subaru, who had been listening, did not laugh.
He didn’t really think that the grudge between a Dragon and a Witch could be summed up so simply like interpersonal relationships. And besides, he wasn’t entirely sure to what extent he should be believing a story about the “Witch of Sloth” beating the Dragon to a pulp in the first place.
Without knowing what to say, Subaru stayed silent. And in front of him, Echidona continued with an [Anyways]
[Echidona: Myself, the Witch, and the Divine Dragon Volcanica. With the Sword Saint and…… the Sage? For the time being, even if the “Witch of Envy” was resurrected, we should be able to oppose her. At least, that is Volcanica’s faint hope. So there you have it, the context behind why I am now in this disgrace, after my death]
[Subaru: So basically, the one who bound your spirit to this place is the Dragon?]
[Echidona: More accurately, it was at Volcanica’s instruction, that the magic of the Mathers bound me here. If you’ve managed to set foot in here, you must at least know of the Mathers? Or perhaps that family name is no longer around……]
[Subaru: No, the Mathers are still around. Roswaal L. Mathers is the lord of these regions where this Tomb is located. And he’s also my employer, or should I say guardian, or should I say a pervert or something……]
Amazed by the profoundness of that man’s potential involvement with the Witch, Subaru wondered just how he should describe Roswaal to her. But, putting Subaru’s uncertainty aside, Echidona’s finely shaped brows trembled. [Roswaal?], she muttered,
[Echidona: I’m sorry, did you say Roswaal just now?]
[Subaru: Oh? Ah, yeah. Roswaal. What, do you know him?]
[Echidona: It would be strange, if I knew him. After all, I am an existence from 400 years ago. If that was the same person who had existed in that same Age, then this conversation would’ve taken an odd turn indeed]
Subaru agreed with her observations, and just when the image of that clown’s face pouting up his lips was emerging in his mind, Echidona said [Now…], as she raised a finger to her lips.
[Echidona: The Roswaal you are talking about, does he happen to be a someone with long, dark-gray hair? His eyes would be…… yellow, I think, if I remember correctly]
[Subaru: ――Nah, in that case it’s a different guy. The Roswaal I know has blue hair, the same color as my jeans kind of. And his eye color’s different. My guy’s eye colors are mismatched, one’s blue and other’s yellow]
Relieved that the characteristics are different, Subaru sighed, and suddenly thought of something.
Roswaal had told him that the management of this land, the “Sanctuary”, had been passed on for generations. So then, the Pact with Volcanica to seal Echidona here must have been passed on as well.
If this duty was inherited throughout the generations of the clan, then in that case,
[Subaru: Maybe Roswaal’s name was inherited as well. Occasionally we get girls with really manly names this way, that happens a lot in Mangas at least]
[Echidona: To inherit Roswaal? If that were case, it would sound like something of a nightmare]
As if agreeing with Subaru’s theory, Echidona nodded, and shrugged her shoulders, giving off an impression of fatigue. Seeing this unusual change in her attitude, Subaru furrowed his brows. It was then, she said [No…],
[Echidona: The Roswaal I knew, was a person with a bit of an overly-obsessive personality. He was the kind of man who would devote his entire life to fulfill a single purpose, I’m afraid. And if after my death, he had remained unchanged, then……]
[Subaru: Not being satisfied with his own life, he would devote even his descendant’s time too?]
[Echidona: Exactly as you say. Oh my, just thinking of it is a scary thing]
Even as she said this, Echidona’s lips rose into a smile.
In fact, it was exactly like the gaze of a parent who was watching over their naughty child, but surely, Subaru thought, he must be mistaken. Anyhow,
[Subaru: Well, now I understand the reason you’re inside this Tomb, and who’s behind it. For the actual specifics, I’ll ask the modern-version of Roswaal after I wake up from this dream]
[Echidona: You are free to do so. ……So then, are there any other questions?]
[Subaru: Of course there’s more. Next thing I want to ask about is, the Trials. I was told there’ll be Trials taking place inside the Tomb. I’d like to know about its contents. And, if you could also tell me the right answers too please]
[Echidona: Asking for the questions and the answers straight from the examiner, how ruthless you are]
[Subaru: A little craftiness never hurt anyone. There’s no reason not to use shortcuts when you can. I’m the kind of person who likes to play games while reading the walkthroughs, you know]
Because getting killed and having to do it for a second time would be a pain in the ass.
But setting Subaru’s random PLAYER philosophies aside, Echidona closed her eyes as if sinking deep into thought. Then, it was five seconds later when she opened them again,
[Echidona: The Trials, is it?]
[Subaru: Ah, yeah. What kind of Trials is it anyway. If we don’t pass it, a girl who’s really important to me will be in trouble. She won’t be able to leave the Sanctuary even if she feels homesick. And obviously, leaving her behind and going home by myself was not an option]
The Barriers that surround the “Sanctuary”, if something like that was blocking her way out, then Subaru would have no wish to go outside either.
When she passes the Trials, they will go through that Barrier together.
And he will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens. For instance,
[Subaru: Even by cheating!]
[Echidona: I’m sorry to say this after you got so excited but, I know nothing about the Trials. I am not involved in them. Therefore, I don’t know their contents]
[Subaru: The what!]
His momentum suddenly getting derailed, Subaru let out a yelp. Hearing this, Echidona said [Well there’s nothing we can do, is there?] as she shook her head from side to side.
[Echidona: You do know what this place is, don’t you? It is my Tomb, after all? In other words, this is a Tomb which would have been built after my death. And the Trials you spoke of, they take place inside the Tomb? Then the Trials within the Tomb must also have been created after I had died. So there is no way that my deceased self could possibly have had anything to do with them, now is there?]
[Subaru: There’s no way I can understand that kind of rapid-fire logic!]
[Echidona: In any case, I am not the examiner. So I can’t give you answers about the Trials. If anything, it’s me who should ask you about these Trials. Its contents, the types of questions, the selection of its respondents, and of course, the answers to the questions… my curiosity is endless]
In her radiant eyes, the pupils of of the “Witch of Greed” shined with the thirst for knowledge.
Sighing at the sight her straightforward desire, Subaru concluded that he would make no progress speaking with her on the topic of the Trials.
In that case,
[Subaru: Man, then I feel like there’s not much else I want to ask you]
[Echidona: ……Eh? You’re kidding, right? That’s impossible. But I am the “Witch of Greed”, you know? From all corners of the world people have come to me, seeking my knowledge. To be in front of me, with permission to ask anything you wish, you say you have nothing you want to ask me……?]
[Subaru: Well, because you’re already dead and you don’t know much about what’s happened after you died, right? What I want to know is mostly in the present-progressive-tense, so there’s no point in asking someone who doesn’t know……]
[Echidona: Nonono, let’s calm down. It is true that I’m unacquainted the present world, but in exchange, there is almost nothing I do not know about the past. Much has weathered down in 400 years, and no longer remain in anyone’s memory, or history. Isn’t this a chance to learn about them? Just like the conversation with the other Witches earlier. There are things that no longer survive on any record in the entire world]
[Subaru: But, I don’t have much interest in Witches. Even if I learn about them, they’re all already dead, and there are a lot things on my mind right now, so that kind of conversation is not really…]
Seeing Subaru really intending to go home, unsatisfied, Echidona, screwed her face into a scowl. It’s almost like their positions were completely reversed.
But still, as far as Subaru was concerned, it was the truth. The wrongdoings or noble deeds of the Witches of the past, whatever they were… he didn’t really have an interest in such things.
Other than that, what kind of useful information he could get out of Echidona, he really couldn’t think of any off the top of his head…
[Subaru: Wait, now that you mention it, I just thought of one]
[Echidona:Yes yes! Very good, that’s it. I knew it, there are still things. Ask anything you want. As long as it’s something I can answer, I will answer it. Go ahead!]
Already to the point of agitation, Echidona was biting onto Subaru’s question not-half-heartedly.
Even if they’re called Witches, at the root of it all, it was impossible to erase all traces of their worldly instincts. Thinking this, Subaru remembered something about the “Sanctuary”,
[Subaru: The residents of the “Sanctuary” that contains this Tomb, they refer to this place as the Trial or Experimental Grounds. No matter how you look at it, “The Witch of Greed’s Experimental Grounds” sounds pretty important, and then there’s a barrier that doesn’t allow half-bloods to escape, what kind of experiments are you running here? I was hop……]
[Echidona: I can’t say]
[Subaru: ……ing I could ask you that]
However, with a single stroke, Echidona’s expression vanished as she discarded the question.
At that unapproachable attitude, Subaru couldn’t help but fall silent. Seeing Subaru’s reaction, Echidona seemed to have noticed the sharpness of her own words, and made an awkward expression with her face,
[Echidona: I apologize for being so rude. But there are also things I cannot say. I can’t answer that question. It’s not that I cannot say, but that I don’t want to]
[Subaru: ……The term doesn’t give off a good impression, Experimental Grounds. But you don’t seem to be denying it]
[Echidona: I want you to stop there. I do not wish to be held in contempt]
Lowering her eyes, Echidona rejected any further pursuit of the topic.
The Witch with an overwhelming existence, shriveled her shoulders as she asked this of Subaru. Anyone who heard this, would have had no choice but to give up on any further questioning.
Then, what passed through Subaru’s mind instead, was,
[Subaru: Come to think of it, your name…… I had heard it before coming here]
Echidona remained silent. In front of her, Subaru touched his forehead as he reflected on his memories. The name of Echidona, “The Witch of Greed”. Before coming to the “Sanctuary”, that name had stolen Subaru’s ears several times.
[Subaru: …from Puck]
In the loops that started in the Capital, Subaru had been killed by that Great Spirit three times. His most abhorrent and bitter memory was the time the gigantic Puck killed him as he mocked him.
That time, in Petelgeuse and Puck’s conversation, her name had appeared. On the verge of death, Subaru’s consciousness had not understood what it meant, and he had not remembered it again until now.
Hearing Subaru’s mutters as he found this memory, Echidona lifted up her face.
[Echidona: Puck……? You don’t mean, the cat spirit……?]
[Subaru: ――!? Yeah, that’s right. The cat spirit. Do you know Puck?]
[Echidona: It’s not whether I know him…… did he come here? If that’s case, just how much does he remember?]
Echidona seemed shocked to hear this unexpected name, and Subaru was just as shocked to see this reaction from her. Echidona, who had been talking non-stop up to now, suddenly fell silent.
Seeing her ominous attitude, Subaru couldn’t say a thing. And Echidona, as if sinking into thought again, shut her eyes in deep contemplation.
Wondering how would he continue this conversation, Subaru turned up his gaze,
All of sudden, in the bottom of his stomach, a searing heat asserting its own existence drew the entirety of his consciousness.
[Subaru: …uh, ah?]
The tremendous heat felt as if it would burn through his entrails. Groaning, Subaru held his stomach, his legs trembling feebly.
The abrupt, surging pain was beyond anything ordinary. A stomachache would be nothing compared to this mysterious anguish that made him foam at the mouth. Unable to stand, he fell to his knees, and, in the next moment, dropped to the side.
Seeing Subaru like this,
[Echidona: Ah, it’s finally taken effect]
And, admiring the sight with her cold, unfeeling eyes, Echidona gazed down at him.
Slowly, she approached the writhing Subaru, bent down her knees to get closer to his face, and brushed aside the hair over Subaru’s forehead,
[Echidona: When you’re invited to a Witch’s tea party, you shouldn’t be putting everything you’ve been given into your mouth so carelessly. ――You’ve learned a lesson now, haven’t you?]
[Subaru: You, di… you poison me……?]
[Echidona: Out of the question. I told you, didn’t I? What you drank were my body fluids. A part of a fundamentally different existence, a part of a Witch. That, is what you consumed]
Body fluids. Subaru realized he had overlooked the significance of that term in all the conversation that came afterwards. And the consequence, was this state of his current agony.
Opening his eyes, he glared at Echidona. All the friendly attitude of before had long evaporated. Just what did she want to achieve by doing such a thing――
[Echidona: I don’t want you to misunderstand, I didn’t do this out of malice or any ill-will towards you. In fact, I regard your existence quite positively. Letting you drink a part of me is proof of that]
[Subaru: Sp…eak so I can… under…stand……]
[Echidona: To put it simply, I lent you a hand so the dormant Witch Genes inside you could assimilate more easily…… or something along those lines]
[Subaru: Witch, Genes……?]
The incessant heat growing in intensity, Subaru used every last ounce of his strength to repeat that word.
That word too, he had heard several times before.
There was Petelgeuse. And then there was Beatrice.
[Echidona: You killed an agent of the “Witch of Envy”, didn’t you? With that agent’s death, the Witch Gene implanted itself inside you…… However,there seems to be something else inside you as well]
[Subaru: That thing, when it assimilates……what’ll happen?]
[Echidona: Indeed, whatever would happen? Honestly, I am not sure myself. But, compared to carrying around a bomb that blows up who knows when, it’s better to detonate it before it causes anything worse, I think. If we can settle this inside a dream, perhaps it’ll make the undetonated part easier to deal with once you’re outside]
Listening to that indifferent tone, Subaru felt like his consciousness was about to fade, as light and dark flashed before his eyes in sync with the surging of his pain. But even in this state, Subaru slightly raised his arm, and pointed toward Echidona,
[Subaru: Just now, I thought of something……]
[Subaru: You… the way you talk……is, just like Puck. That cat spirit too, doesn’t care about the mood at all, just goes around with that careless air, goes on like there’s nothing……]
Listening to Subaru’s wrenched out words, for an instant, Echidona blinked in surprise.
Then, with an exaggerated expression, as though she had just heard the funniest joke, Echidona held her stomach as she burst out laughing.
[Echidona: Haha! Hahaha! Aaah, that is quite, a good one! You are fascinating. I really think so. Mmm, mha, aaahahahaha! Is that so, me and Puck? Mmmm, you’re quite right. That would be only natural, of course. I’m probably the only one who’d take him as something of a role model]
[Subaru: What, are y――]
Though he wanted to continue his sentence, it was no longer something he could do.
The pain had set his entire body ablaze, yet it would not deprive him of his consciousness. It had felt as though it would continue forever, and there would be no respite from this anguish, but… the end was already nearing.
Though, it was not by overcoming the pain, but rather,
[Echidona: The time for our tryst is almost up, it seems]
Little by little, in Subaru’s eyes, the outlines of the world began to blur.
The blue sky, and the little hill in the green grass-covered fields. The two of them, and the chairs surrounding a white table. All these images blended into one, and together, began to fade.
[Subaru: I thought you said it’ll only end when you want it to end……]
[Echidona: We have reached the limit of the time in the real world. The “Trials” you mentioned, it seems they will begin soon. When it does begin, all the functions of this Tomb will be directed towards it. And it won’t be caring about the lonely ghost anymore]
Saying this in a lighthearted voice, Echidona caressed Subaru’s forehead as he lay on the ground.
Watching him unable to resist, or even to react, she laughed.
[Echidona: Now, to return from a Witch’s tea party. What toll would you like to pay?]
[Subaru: ……Just so you know, I’m broke as hell right now]
[Echidona: Not money. The price is……. ah yes. You are forbidden to speak of this space to anyone else, how about that? You seem to already have another contract just like it too… it is a small price to pay, is it not?]
What is that supposed to mean, there was no time to even ask that question.
Pressing her finger against Subaru’s forehead, she whispered something quietly. Then, sensing a heat coming from the finger that was touching him, in an instant, it spread throughout his entire body. And, incredibly, Subaru was granted an understanding.
Of the terms of the contract, and what must not be infringed upon: thus, the one-sided agreement was sealed.
[Subaru: Doing this, without even asking first……!]
[Echidona: Our conversation, and consolidating the Witch Genes. Compared to that, I think this is a very small price to pay. Also, might as well while we’re at it, I will grant you a gift]
Smiling at the indignant Subaru, another wave of heat passed from her finger to his forehead.
And, the result of this heat was――
[Echidona: I hereby grant you the qualification to participate in the Trials of this Tomb]
[Echidona: With this, you will be able to take this Tomb’s Trials tonight. Whether you wish to take part is up to you. It is fine if you choose not to. But, if you want to, you could choose to take the Trials in place of the girl who is so very important to you. ――What you do with it, you may decide as you like]
The collapse of the world had begun. And little by little, what lay beneath his feet dissolved into darkness.
This time, the true end of the world was drawing near.
Then, in the world that was coming to an end, Subaru, still lying on the ground, looked up at Echidona.
Sealing a contract he did not wish to sign, extorting from him a price he did not wish to pay, the girl who was smiling at him without a care in the world――ah, without a doubt,
[Subaru: ――you, really, are a Witch]
[Echidona: ――Oh, but of course. I’m one evil Sorceress, isn’t that right?]
With that final farewell, Subaru’s consciousness sprang from the dream.
Falling, and falling. Fading, and fading.
Breaking out of the dream, floating upwards,
At last, Subaru’s consciousness―― was released from the Witch’s dreams.
-=Chapter 12 End=-
(Image Source: @Rezero_official)
Whew, it’s finally done! I hope you guys like this whole chapter release! I couldn’t bear splitting up this scene… :3
And thank you for all your comments for my birthday!! I love you all so much!!!! ❤
I’ll have work this weekend, but I expect to finish Chapter 13 around Monday, hopefully!
I will post the Live Draft link for Chapter 13 when I start working on it tomorrow! You can check the Table of Contents for the latest information :3