Miasma, Subaru furrowed his brows at the appearance of this word, as if searching for a memory of something he had heard before. Indeed, he had heard that word from――
[Subaru: The story of the Witch of Envy… The place where she was sealed, is covered in that Miasma, or something……]
[Roswaal: Yo~gu, you know about that, don’t you. We~ll, it is a very fa~mous story. Even now, the Sealing Stone Temple where the Witch of Envy is sleeping is covered in Miasma so thick that it distorts everything in one’s view. If that Miasma rejects those who do not meet her Tomb’s conditions, the Miasma invades the minds of anyone it touches, annihilates their flesh, and corrupts their soul, a phenomenon of true and genuine malice. Even the faithful adherents of the Witch Cult who seek to revive the Witch of Envy, are not able to approach it, or so the sto~ry goes]
[Subaru: Even the Witch Cult guys can’t go in huh……Then again, of course they can’t. If they can just walk right in and plonk the seal off with everyone watching they’ll win, won’t they]
The Witch’s resurrection――he remembered Petelgeuse, screaming that supreme objective.
Even that madman, single-mindedly crying out his conceited love, could take no direct actions to actually save the Witch. It was probably out of consideration of the fact that his true form was a spirit also meant that he would be powerless in the face of the Miasma.
[Roswaal: A~nyhow, because of that, the Witch’s Seal is made unapproachable by the Witch’s own Miasma. And on top of that, if one wishes to approach the Temple, one would have to be sneak past the watchful eyes of the Sage Shaula in the Wa~tchtower]
[Subaru: I’ve heard of that name, the Sage Shaula. That’s the second Sage I know of… Flugel, and then there’s Shaula]
How did they come to be called by this title, Subaru wondered. Perhaps there was something about them that was different from everyone else? Seeing Subaru’s doubts, Roswaal lightly smiled,
[Roswaal: Flugel, you mean, tha~t big-tree Flugel? Whi~~le it’s true he’s also called a Sage, comparing him with Sage Shaula wo~uld be a little harsh]
[Subaru: Why’s that? They’re both Sages, you shouldn’t be playing Sage favourites. I owe Flugel-san quite a bit you know, so don’t go insulting Flugel-san in front of me now]
No matter what, that Sage lent him a pretty big hand when they were battling the White Whale.
Flugel-san probably never imagined that 400 years later the tree he planted would come in handy for defeating monsters. Whether he’d be happy about it though would be a different matter.
[Subaru: With a tree that huge, the broken off part could probably used for all sorts of things……well, there’s a chance it got blown up by the time bomb though?] ***In the WN Subaru woke up in a dragon carriage on the way to the Capital, instead of a grassfield like in the Anime, so he didn’t see what happened to the tree
[Roswaal: I~ get the feeling that’s not the only bro~ken thing we’ll need to de~al with. Anyway……Emilia-sama]
Shifting his gaze from Subaru, who had been holding his chin in his hand, Roswaal turned to Emilia, as he this quiet call. Hearing this, Emilia lifted her face, and answered [En],
[Roswaal: To return to the topic at hand, more than anything, it is go~od that you are Qualified. That means Emilia-sama may take the Trials of the Tomb. In that case, there is just one thing I have to ask]
Solemn and low, the mischievous tone had vanished from Roswaal’s voice. Taking this in, Emilia also looked back with a serious gaze, watching him in return,
[Roswaal: Simply put―― Are you willing to accept the Trials?]
As the short question fell into the room, Emilia’s pressed together her lips and became silent.
Of course, this was only natural. Whether she had the Qualification to take the Trials had already been confirmed. So naturally, it would be followed by this next question. But,
[Subaru: Before she answers, I just want to ask. The Trials, are they something that she absolutely must take?]
Before Emilia could voice her answer, one step ahead of her, Subaru raised his hand. Hearing this question, at Roswaal’s side, a dangerous emotion settled within Ram’s pupils, but Roswaal lifted a hand to stop her.
[Roswaal: I thought this was so~mething you would a~sk. Without taking the Trials, those with Qualification will not be able to leave the Sanctuary. This much, you must have already heard from Ga~rfiel?]
[Subaru: So I’ve heard. But, that’s not really a reason Emilia-tan must take it, is it? The Gravesite of the Witch of Greed is a foul place, there’s no knowing what kind of dangerous things could happen in there. Sending an important Royal Selection candidate, Emilia-tan into such a place, just what are you thinking?]
[Roswaal: O~mu. We~ll, as fair arguments go, it is a fair a~rgument. If we simply needed someone to take the Trials the~n, there are others who are qualified…… If that was all, it’d be just as well if Garfiel di~d it]
[Garfiel: Hah? Me? I’m good with that. I’d challenge the Trials and break right through, it’ll be like “Barubarumoa-right-right-left” and I’m passed yeah?]
Like stirring water, Garfiel gestured toward himself with his thumb with a smile that bared his teeth. Seeing how Garfiel only seemed to have heard the second half of what was said, Subaru ignored his simple-minded remarks and tried to focus on the more reliable aspects of his statement.
Actually, it would be nice if the Trials was something anyone can beat, because then there would be no need for Emilia to do it. Then, it’d be nice if someone qualified and more dependable could challenge it.
――In the worst case, having been granted Qualification to challenge the Trials, it’d also be fine if Subaru did it.
[???: ――Nyaa, that’d be a lil problematic]
It was a sudden voice from the entrance of the house that didn’t belong to anyone present.
With his back to the door, Subaru jerked around his head in surprise as he heard the unfamiliar voice. Now taking Subaru’s gaze, Garfiel, who was leaning against a wall beside the door, slightly waved his hand in front of his face.
[Garfiel: Wasn’ me, ‘s that old hag over there]
Saying so, he gestured with the hand he was waving with toward his side. Setting his sight there, Subaru saw beside Garfiel’s scrawny body an even smaller shadow standing there.
[???: Who’s an old hag. Never at a loss for words, what a rotten kid I’ve raised]
With pink, long drooping hair, a tiny little girl said with a very grown-up attitude.
With perfectly formed features, it was a little girl with a cute face. Her age seemed to be around Petra’s, about 11 or 12 years old. Her pink hair had waves in them, and its soft texture gave off a light and fluffy impression. Wearing a loose, white robe that grew larger the lower down it got, with long dangling sleeves that left no place for her hands to come out, she had an impish look about her.
Above all, judging from the way she was addressing Garfiel…
[Subaru: Even though I always thought it would show up one day, I didn’t think it’d show up here, the Loli-Granny……!]
[???: Wha’s that, I get the feeling I’ve just been called something totally against my will, or is that just me?]
[Emilia: Umm, I often hear Subaru use “Loli” on Beatrice……so it means “little”, right?]
Seeing Subaru’s astonishment, the little girl looked up at him with a displeased expression on her face.
Just from Emilia’s mumbles, her modern day knowledge was proof of how high her experience-points in her interactions with Subaru had been. Listening to this, Subaru raised up a finger.
[Subaru: Yep, Emilia-tan’s correct. More specifically though, it means little children outside of my conquest-range. Combining this Loli together with Granny, we have what looks like a little girl on the outside but containing a granny within, completing a miraculous COLLABORATION! Even though I don’t really go for Lolis in the first place, I do understand the subtleties of the Gap-Moe!]
[Subaru: A girl who’s usually like an awe-inspiring older sister but in some places really childish and lacking some really common knowledge or just straight-up being easy to trick would also be considered Gap-Moe!]
Listening to Subaru’s string of words in rapid succession, Emilia, with [So there are girls like that……], brought a finger to her lips with an expression as if she was taking this in. While Emilia being unaware of how the characteristics were referring to herself was unbearably adorable, the other person being addressed by these words was looking annoyed,
[???: Then? I don’t know what this Loli is, and what’s with you keep calling me granny granny? For a first meeting, you’re a guy who’s even ruder than Ros-bo here] *-bo is like when an granny refers to a grandson with endearment
[Subaru: Oooo, that was rude of me, Mademoiselle. My name is Natsuki Subaru! Currently a heart-throb Mabeast-Hunter. Well, even though it usually isn’t me dealing the last-hits]
High-spiritedly announcing his name with a thumbs-up, the self-introduction tapered off a bit toward the end. And then, extending a hand toward the girl with the distrustful face, [And you are?] he prompted,
[Subaru: Now that I’ve told you my name I hope you can introduce yourself as well. A simple PROFILE, interests x special abilities. Mentioning some of your CHARM-POINTs as well would be great] *With words like “charm-points”, Subaru is speaking English
[Lewes: ……Lewes Meyer. In a way, I am a representative of this Sanctuary]
Listening to Subaru’s jests, the Loli-Granny――the one who called herself Lewes, extended a finger through her sloppy sleeves and scratched herself on her forehead,
[Lewes: I didn’t notice it when you were sleeping, but more than just rude you’re a poor lil rascal. I get the feeling like I shouldn’t have bothered lending you the bed]
[Subaru: The bed, the one I was sleeping on just now?]
[Emilia: Yes, that was Lewes-san’s house. It was close to the Tomb, so Garfiel carried you there…… really, thank you so much for earlier]
Then, seeing Emilia lowering her head, Lewes shook her head slowly. Judging from that exchange, the two of them seemed to have already met while Subaru was unconscious.
Either way, it was true that she had helped him out.
[Subaru: I didn’t know it was like that, sorry for the rude things I said. The bed, lending it to me helped me a great deal. I’ve been late to say this, really really sorry!]
[Lewes: …….Wha was that, scared me. Gar-bo never apologizes straightforwardly like that. Natsuki……Subaru, was it? It’ll be Su-bo then]
[Subaru: That sounds a bit like the beginning of a Weather Forecast, but that’s ok. In turn, let me call you Lewes-san then] *ヤン坊マー坊天気予報 “Yan-bo Ma-bo Weather Forecast” was a cartoon shown before weather forecasts in Japan that ran from 1959-2014
After he had expressed his thanks, Lewes’s annoyed expression was cancelled. As they peacefully decided on what to call each other, Subaru continued with [So then…]
[Subaru: So Lewes-san, just now you said there’d be a problem, what was it? Garfiel taking the Trials would be problematic?]
[Lewes: You sure changed your tone quickly. Aah, that. It’d be a problem, quite a big one. Basically, if those who originate from the Sanctuary challenge the Trials, it would violate the Contract] ***聖域の出身者 is like “someone with a background of the Sanctuary”, it’s meant to be vague here
[Subaru: Contracts again……]
With all the Contracts and Pacts popping up, restricting this and that, Subaru shot a sickened look at Roswaal. And, receiving that look, Roswaal shrugged,
[Roswaal: U~~nfortunately, this Contract has nothing to do with the Mathers family…… well I shouldn’t say no~thing to do with, but we were no~t the main culprit. I~~ mean, my family had something of a suppo~rting role in it]
[Subaru: Your defense statement is all good, now cough it up. The detailed contents of the Contract, in three sentences]
[Roswaal: So stri~ct. We~ll to put it simply, the condition for the liberation of the inhabitants of the Sanctuary is to pass the Trials, but the Trials may only be challenged by someone from the o~utside who possess the Qu~alifications. Tha~t is to say, the situation right now is……]
[Emilia: I am the only one who can do it, is that right?]
Understanding at the end of Roswaal’s explanation, Emilia finished off his words. Roswaal nodded in confirmation, and turned to look toward Lewes.
[Roswaal: I~n fact, this is the understanding of the inha~bitants of the Sanctuary. They expect that Emilia-sama would challenge the Trials, and hope that Emilia-sama could overco~me it]
[Emilia: I don’t want you to think I am hesitating when I ask this…… but, hypothetically, if someone other than me challenges the Trials, what would happen?]
Emilia’s violet pupils turned to Garfiel, and asked this hypothetical question. And, it was Lewes who replied, saying [As for that],
[Lewes: Up to now, at least for as long as I have been alive, no one has ever challenged the Trials. So there is no way to say. Residents or outsiders alike, no one has yet challenged it]
[Subaru: No one, up to now? I’m afraid to ask but, Lewes-san… how old are you?]
Judging from the common setting of Loli-Grannies, the answer to Subaru’s question just now could be something really scary. But actually, Lewes said [Not like that], and then, as if looking toward something far away,
[Lewes: At least I don’t know of the time when this place was first created. But at most, I think, it would be a hundred and ten-odd years]
[Subaru: Too much! At least, that’s the oldest out of everyone I’ve met so far]
Well, if you put Spirits and the spiritual-bodied Witch aside.
Taking in that side note, Subaru turned a worried look at Emilia. But even under that gaze, the tinge of darkness in Emilia’s expression did not leave her.
[Emilia: In any case, I understand now. Either way, if I don’t pass the Trials I won’t be able to leave the Sanctuary. So I will accept]
[Subaru: Emilia-tan’s heroic look when making a resolve is super-captivating, but maybe it’s better if we look into some more cautious strategies? Find some shortcuts or loopholes first, and it won’t be too late to do the challenge then, I think]
[Emilia: You shouldn’t pour water on someone just when they’ve got so pumped up and all, it’s reeeaaaally inappropriate I think]
But, while Subaru was just trying to place her far away from any possibility of danger, Emilia pouted up her lips with a look of disapproval. And receiving her reproachful gaze,
[Subaru: Come to think of it, isn’t there something fishy about how we got taken along for a ride like this? I can’t get rid of the feeling that something’s off, actually. This whole situation just seems too well set-up, like everything along the road’s been arranged and now even the traffic police is in on it]
[Emilia: I totally can’t understand that. Subaru says some reeeaaally befuddling things sometimes]
[Subaru: I haven’t heard anyone say befuddle in a while……]
Seeing Emilia sharpen her gaze at the customary exchange between them, Subaru hurriedly flapped his hands around saying [No no no],
[Subaru: Nevermind that part, I meant I got a really strong feeling that this whole situation has been prearranged somehow. The half-bloods not being able to leave, and then nominating Emilia-tan to step-up and all. And then to say that it’s all already understood and agreed upon]
[Emilia: Prearranged, by who?]
[Subaru: Who, it could only be one person]
At Emilia’s question, right then and there Subaru did a sudden spin. And at the end of the rotation his finger pointed toward…
[Subaru: You, wasn’t it?]
[Garfiel: Huh? Me?]
[Subaru: Ah, wrong one, sorry, turned too far. This one this one —— You, wasn’t it, Roswaal]
[Roswaal: Nothing could have been slo~ppier]
Smiling bitterly, Roswaal gave his assessment of Subaru’s movements. But immediately he closed a single eye, and projected Subaru within his yellow pupil,
[Roswaal: Ho~wever, your observation is good as usual. It’s true, I had ho~ped for this situation and bro~ught it about. Of course, I didn’t have a hand in the sta~ge itself, though]
[Subaru: I get the feeling, I understand now]
Raising up his brows at Roswaal’s words, Subaru seemed to have grasped his intentions. Kept out of the conversation, Emilia showed a confused expression, and tried to listen for what was happening behind it all.
[Subaru: First, I think it’s odd that Roswaal got injured. In the first place, you must have known that you weren’t Qualified for the Trials. This should be obvious considering this place is managed by the Mathers family, and that you are acquainted with Garfiel]
[Roswaal: That is……right. En, correct]
[Subaru: If that’s the case, Roswaal would know what would happen to him after he is rejected from the Tomb. In spite of this, why did Roswaal go in? Was it rage against the world for no particular reason? Or has he finally reached the limits of holding back his Masochist tendencies? Even though both of these are pretty persuasive, I don’t think it was either of them]
[Roswaal: O~~ay O~~ay. Is that the kind of impre~ssion Subaru-kun ha~s of me?]
Seeing Roswaal intentionally ignoring the main point with that reaction, Subaru lifted up a finger with [In other words],
[Subaru: Getting wounded like this was in accordance with Roswaals intentions, and had some kind of significance. And that significance would probably… be connected to the Royal Selection, I think]
[Subaru: But I was hoping to ask… The villagers of Arlam village, they are gathered in some kind of a Cathedral right now, right?]
Subaru suddenly changed the topic, and turned to Ram, who was standing beside Roswaal. Keeping her silence, she lightly drew in her chin in a nod, and then,
[Ram: En, yes. The villagers are gathered in the Cathedral….. being confined by the residents of the Sanctuary]
[Subaru: Is that so, confined. Earlier, our conversation got cut off because we had to go visit the Tomb, but…… just what kind of confinement is it. And why was it necessary for the Sanctuary guys to place Roswaal along with all the villagers under house arrest?]
The one Subaru turned to next, was Gafiel, who was still leaning against the wall. His eyes narrowed, and grew sharpened at Subaru’s question, and followed it with [It’s obvious ain’t it]
[Garfiel: Telling ya, this here ain’t us grabbin onto a way out’a troubled times. But we ain’t exactly in a good mood when the Lord-sama and his tag-alongs just comes like it’s fine to set our problems aside and use this place as they like y’know?]
[Subaru: By your problems you mean of course……]
[Lewes: That it is impossible for us to leave this Sanctuary for the outside world]
Continuing from Subaru’s words, Lewes finished his sentence. A dark and burdened expression unbefitting of her youthful face descended, as she cast down her eyes, and continued in a thin voice,
[Lewes: As I have said before, I have been alive for a hundred and some-decades. But, never once have I gone outside this Sanctuary. Anyhow, adhering to this contract since the time of my birth, I have been bound by this land. And precisely for that reason, it was half giving up……and half refusing to let go of hope] *The first time, Lewes’s age was百十数年 meaning 110-119, and in this sentence Lewes said百数十年 meaning 110-199. This may have been intentional, so I will keep it same as the Japanese
[Garfiel: Granny’d like to get to see the outside world for a bit. Th’others too. Just to get chance to, it’s something worth biting onto yeah? Having the weakened Lord-sama, and villagers that we could take as hostages falling into our hands, ’s gotten pretty convenient]
With Lewes and Garfiel’s words, the atmosphere in the room suddenly turned.
In short, they have just told Subaru the reason for the confinement―― that is, confessed the motive of their crime. The aspect that Subaru had not noticed up to now, was that the relationship between him, and them, had been that of a prisoner, and jailor. A relationship between the victim, and the perpetrator.
[Subaru: So it’s, like that. You guys, are holding the villagers hostage……in order to free yourselves from the Sanctuary]
[Lewes: You can think of it any way you like. And then, the one who can fulfill that condition is……]
In an instant, Lewes’s words clouded over, as she looked toward Emilia.
Taking in the meaning of that look, Emilia once again realized her position.
[Emilia: Me. ――That’s what you mean isn’t it?]
Understanding the flow of the situation, Emilia closed her eyes once more. And when, after several seconds, she opened them again, there were no longer any confused emotions in her eyes. There was only resolve, for she had made her decision.
[Emilia: The villagers, you haven’t done anything terrible to them, have you?]
[Garfiel: ‘Course not. If I treat them roughly I’d be taking my anger out on them. I’d rather die before I do something like that, sorry]
Just like that, Emilia’s ability to place others before herself was beyond estimation. Even after deciding to face the unknown dangers of the Trials, she was already worrying about the villagers and the others.
It was her strength, and her fragileness, when she is like this, that made Subaru so drawn to her.
[Roswaal: That’s an unsatisfied look on your face, i~~sn’t it?]
[Subaru: ……That should be obvious. In the end, we still got taken along for the ride. Since we didn’t notice it when we got on, now that we have noticed it we still have no choice but to keep riding]
Grinding his teeth holding in his vexation, Subaru put up a smiling look to bicker with Roswaal. But then, quietly remembering, he turned back again,
[Subaru: I forgot to mention, the reason you got wounded]
[Roswaal: En en, go on. I won’t be marking you on it]
[Subaru: PERFORMANCE. Or rather, it was an opening gambit]
Seeing Subaru scratching his neck as he said this, Roswaal’s expression slightly congealed. This reaction was all taken in by Subaru’s single open eye.
[Subaru: Being placed in a state of confinement, the people of Arlam village probably didn’t take it well. Naturally, they must have objected. So I think you had to show that something was being done. Being the Lord, it would’ve been great if you could just go nuts and chase Garfiel away or something…… But the people of the Sanctuary are your subject as well. So you couldn’t really do that]
[Roswaal: Fumu. So, wha~t happened then?]
[Subaru: You could only swallow Garfiel and the residents’ condition. That is, liberating the half-bloods of the Sanctuary. But this couldn’t be done without Emilia-tan’s assistance. Yet, the villagers and the residents wouldn’t just accept that. So, the rest is simple―― You challenge the Trials, showing that you’ve accepted their requests, and that you intend to liberate them from their confinements]
[Subaru: I don’t know how well you could have predicted how much damage you would take from the Miasma, but if you predicted it wouldn’t kill you, then it’s not really that much of a gamble. The greater the damage you take, the more serious it looks and the more sympathy you get. And, it sets up the expectations for the final act that will be coming after you]
So in the end, everything about Roswaal getting wounded had been a performance to further his intentions.
As their lord, the magnitude of Roswaal’s power was well known to his subjects and the villagers of Arlam. If the Trials can injure a person like him so severely, what will they think of a person who then appears and overcame such a trial to save them?
[Subaru: That, was what I imagine happened judging from my impression of your malicious prejudiced opportunism, so how’s that for an answer sheet?]
[Roswaal: ――Ee~ya~~, I~’m surprised. That was actually, really, re~ally astonishing. It’s only been a few days, bu~t just wh~at on earth has happened to yo~u]
Roswaal laughed from the depths of his throat at Subaru’s words, showering praises at him.
And, clapping his hands, with a smile clear as day pasted over his face,
[Roswaal: I~~mpressive indeed. Almost a perfect a~nswer. I can’t imagine how you could have read this far. A~fter all, I was right to have pi~cked you up]
[Subaru: The sky~~. I’m going to puke]
Seeing the thankful-looking Roswaal, as his deductions was being confirmed, Subaru looked away unable to hide the revulsion in his chest.
At Roswaal’s intentions, at himself who had read into those intentions, at the fact that those intentions were for Emilia’s benefit… and, the thought that, somewhere deep down, he himself approved of it, was all too revolting.
Oblivious to Subaru and Roswaal’s skullduggery, Emilia was still occupied with Lewes and Garfiel and the topic about the Trials.
Watching her from behind, Subaru was determined that he would not let her hear these words, no matter what.
It would be enough if she just looked ahead.
Pristine, and noble, he would not want her to know of the dark intentions behind her.
If Subaru had to cover himself in mud so she could be showered with praise, it would be all be worth it.
In the Royal Selection, she hasn’t done anything of note so far, and had no solid footing to stand on.
If her Royal Selection begins at this Sanctuary, he will do everything in his power to aid her.
With renewed determination, and firm resolve, Subaru decided.
Then, as he was clenching up his fists, behind Subaru, entrusting all his weight onto the bed,
[Roswaal: ……Almost, correct. Though that wasn’t the only reason I e~ntered the Tomb]
Quietly whispering, it was in a voice that only the peach-colored haired maid beside the bed could hear, and, listening, only she alone cast down her pained gaze in reaction.
-=Chapter 13 End=-
Sorry this one took so long, I ended up spending a lot of time with my family over the Christmas and New Years holidays. Thank you guys for being so wonderful and patient while there hasn’t been a release! ❤
….And “going to eat” definitely means “I’ll come back tomorrow” now >_<
Matthew has already finished the draft for Chapter 14, here’s the link!
Chapter 14 Live Draft: https://www.patreon.com/posts/re-zero-arc-4-14-7722127