Hearing this calm and orderly reply, for a moment, Subaru couldn’t understand.
Chewing them down, swallowing, digesting those words within his mind, and soaking in their contents,
[Subaru: I don’t, understand. In order to avoid fighting the Witch Cult……but why? Don’t tell me you’re allergic to them, or any crap like that!? If you……. if you were there, couldn’t you have taken those bastards out in one shot? Then the victims……]
[Roswaal: I see. It’s tru~e, if I was there, then the ca~sualties from this disturbance would have lessened. I try to have an accurate understanding of my own strength, and I am aware that I am among one of the few most powerful people in this country. It’s safe to say, that if I was there, then the Witch Cult attack this time would have been easily repelled]
[Subaru: If you understand that, then why――!]
[Roswaal: That is, why]
Watching drops saliva flying from Subaru, Roswaal held out a finger to stop him, and then, pointing that same finger toward the ceiling,
[Roswaal: If I had done everything, it would not have Emilia-sama’s achievement, nor would it have been your achievement, now would it? Even if my own reputation was improved, it would have been of no~ use]
What he was saying, Subaru could not understand it at all.
It must have been a joke. Praying, that Roswaal would follow that with some kind of jest, Subaru held his tongue and waited for Roswaal’s next words.
However, looking at Subaru, who had grown silent, Roswaal only tilted his head,
[Roswaal: How could I deny it? After all, it was a disaster that I can be completely certain was going to happen. How could I possibly not use that to the fu~llest?]
[Subaru: Y-you……do you even know, what you’re saying…….?]
[Roswaal: ――? I don’t understand which part Subaru-kun fi~nds to be a problem. What could it be, I wonder. Was it the damage done to Arlam village, was it having had to borrow the strength of the mercenaries and Crusch-sama’s private army to repulse the Witch Cult……or was it about the fact that all these damages could have been avoided?]
Subaru’s voice was trembling, and, as if reading into the inner depths of his heart, Roswaal threw out those words as though it was all a matter of course.
Hearing this reply, Subaru felt a tremor trembling through every organ of his body.
Before, when he had spoken with Puck, when the spirit said in front of the sleeping Rem that “This child sacrificed herself to help Lia”, Subaru had flown into a rage.
And because that happened, Subaru painfully realized that in between his and the Great Spirit’s sensibilities, there was an insurmountable gap that could not be filled in with words. In other words, the rage he felt at that moment made him understand that they had always been two fundamentally different entities.
However, that was not the case for Roswaal. He understood the reason why Subaru was mad, and he knew what Subaru wanted to say――and it was while knowing all of that, that he made this cruel decision.
[Subaru: That was all hindsight, wasn’t it. In a way, I understand what you’re trying to say. In repulsing the Witch Cult’s attack, whoever was in command would receive the credit, and that would have no small an impact on the Royal Selection, I can understand that……and I also understand that if you took care of it yourself it would not have the same effect. But!]
Revealing his teeth, Subaru, with a wild swing of his arm,
[Subaru: How many people do you think died because you weren’t there and didn’t bother to say anything!? Sure, the casualties weren’t catastrophic. But still, the number wasn’t zero. People died. Whether it was our own people, or those bastards from the Witch Cult……]
[Roswaal: Even if I was there, the treatment of the Witch Cultists would not have changed. All of them, would just have been reduced to ash. I’ll accept responsibility for the casualties on our side, but to blame me for the enemy’s losses would be a bit of a stre~tch don’t you think]
[Subaru: ――B-, still, couldn’t there have been a more peaceful…… No, it’s not about that! Every single thing you’ve been saying had been in hindsight! It’s true it went well. Our losses were minimal, the enemies were wiped out. Emilia-tan is safe, the villagers of Arlam were all safely evacuated…..But that was, all just coincidence. Originally th――]
Originally, if Subaru didn’t do anything, the villagers, everyone in the mansion, Emilia…
[Subaru: They should have been dead. This time, if everything didn’t work out perfectly……everyone would have been wretchedly, cruelly, agonizingly…… tortured to death]
Covering his face, Subaru strangled back the tears within his voice.
On the other side of his closed eyelids, once again those scenes of hell that he could never forget emerged.
The village consumed by flames. The cadavers strewn about the ground. The corpses of the children. And Rem’s dead body abandoned on the mansion’s garden. And, at last, the frozen, ending of the World.
――All of that, would have been the indisputable World if Subaru could not overturn it by Returning by Death.
[Subaru: If you were there, none of those thing would have happened……You knew, but still watched them die. How many times, have you killed those people……]
[Roswaal: It’s troubling to be so misunderstood. The ones who attacked were the Witch Cult, no~t me. Besides, the Witch Cult’s attack was stopped by your hands before anything could happen, the victims you spoke of never existed. ――You are only repeating nonsense]
[Subaru: ――Is that so]
Listening to Roswaal’s cold words, Subaru dropped his shoulders and replied in a quiet voice.
Nonsense ――if that’s what he considered them to be, then there was nothing Subaru can say to change that. Return by Death could not be explained to him, nor could Roswaal be blamed for things that never happened in this reality.
The only one who had experienced that hell was Subaru, and the one who exonerated Roswaal of the crime of bringing about that hell, was also Subaru.
[Subaru: ……If I turned out to be still just a useless piece of trash, then what would you have done? To make Emilia King, you want that as much as I do. But the odd were just too one-sided, it’s not even enough to gamble on…… it was far more likely that everything would have ended there]
[Roswaal: However, you overturned such a possibility. ――Are you unsatisfied?]
[Subaru: I am unsatisfied. You don’t seem to be the kind of guy who would leave things to something so uncertain]
There are several kinds of people who gamble. There are those who don’t know whether they will win or lose, and rely entirely on their luck. And there are those who do not wish to be directed by fate, and only when they have assembled the best possible hand, do they at the very last moment leave it to chance.
And then, there are those who pre-arrange everything from beginning to end, and would only run the fixed gambling match where victory was already certain.
[Subaru: You are not the kind who would gamble in the first place. So, why did you do it?]
[Roswaal: ――Because, I believe in you]
When Subaru asked a second time, Roswaal’s voice dropped in pitch as he replied.
Hearing this answer, Subaru couldn’t stop a snicker from leaking from his lips.
[Subaru: So you don’t feel like giving me a serious answer after all]
[Roswaal: Whether you believe my story or not is a another matter, but everything I’ve said is true? Because here, tonight, I’ve decided that I will not li~e to you. The things that I cannot say, I will not say, and if there are things inappropriate for this occasion, I will not mention them. But, what I do say, I swear that they are free of falsehoods]
In response to Subaru’s words that were tinged with a color of disappointment, Roswaal said this in a solemn voice. But, was this something that could be believed? Having already lost all positive impressions of Roswaal in the conversation up to now, Subaru was no longer in a position to accept everything at face value.
In front of Subaru’s sharpening glare, Roswaal rolled his head,
[Roswaal: I will say it again. ――The reason I made this decision, is because I believed in you. I believed, that if you realized the danger Emilia-sama was in, you will strive to establish an alliance with Crusch-sama, and do everything in your power to repel the Witch Cult, and distinguish yourself in doing so]
[Subaru: Even if we pretend for a moment that’s true, just how the hell did you decide to believe in someone like me! What do you know about me! We’ve only known each other for a month, what me looked like I was the kind of man that you can place that kind of faith in?]
Stomping on the floor, Subaru objected to Roswaal’s shameless and flowery words. Pointing out a finger, Subaru shook his head, rejecting what he had just said,
[Subaru: But it couldn’t be. When I last left you, I was absolutely, one-hundred-percent trash. It was only because of what happened afterwards, that the trash got more or less better. But what happened afterwards, no one else knows except me. ――So just what part of me did you believe in!?]
Roswaal closed a single eye, and disturbingly, with the one yellow pupil, stared into Subaru.
As if to shake off that stare, Subaru kicked the floor with all his might.
[Subaru: It’s absurd! Are you really trying to say that you trusted that empty-headed idiot to get everything to work out, and just left your people and everything else behind like it’s some kind of a game, risking your own position and future as the wager? What am I even supposed to say to something that callous!?]
[Roswaal: ……It seems, this is the end of today’s conversa~tion]
Whereas Subaru had laid his anger bare, Roswaal only whispered in a lonely voice.
Upon hearing that whisper, Subaru screamed, lending voice to his inexhaustible vexation.
[Subaru: If you don’t intend speak straightforwardly, it’ll be pointless whatever you say. After this conversation, I don’t intend to believe anything you say anymore]
[Roswaal: It seems your impression of me has taken a dive, that is tru~ly regrettable. ……Even though I don’t think there is a need to confirm it, but regarding our conversation tonight, Emilia-sama…]
[Subaru: I won’t tell her. There isn’t much information to begin with, plus it’s all been embellished, there wouldn’t be any point in telling her. You’ve anticipated this as well, haven’t you. That’s why you’ve been going round and round]
Regardless of Roswaal’s true intentions, the Royal Selection was still ongoing, and creating any more friction between Emilia and Roswaal was not something he wanted to do. Besides, with Emilia now acting as a representative of the villagers of Arlam, Roswaal’s faction needs to remain united.
It gave him spasms to think how he was going along with Roswaal’s intentions, but, challenging the Trials would improve how people saw Emilia. ――And all of that, was controlled within the palms of that man’s hands.
[Roswaal: You understand everything, and the anger you harbour towards me is unbearable…… yet you didn’t flip over the table or anything like that. You re~ally are, just as I expected]
As Roswaal said this to Subaru, who had been grinding his teeth to hold back his vexation, Subaru lifted his head, and saw Roswaal’s face twisting into a truly revolting expression.
[Roswaal: You are, without a doubt, worthy of being my accomplice――no?]
[Subaru: ……You bastard, I hope you die a worthy death]
[Roswaal: I know. Without a doubt, I will be falling into hell. That is why, before that happens, I must extend my utmost brutality over the present world, to the best of my ability]
Sending a sharp glare at Roswaal’s declaration, without a word, Subaru turned around and stormed out of the room.
Any further conversation would have been pointless. If Roswaal had no plans of revealing his true intentions, if there was nothing Subaru could do to break into his thoughts, then nothing could have come of that exchange.
[Subaru: ――You think everything will happen as you expect them to, and everyone will dance to your tune]
Clenching his fist tightly, walking down the street in the night, Subaru prepared his new resolve.
Tomorrow, Roswaal would have Emilia challenge the Trials, to overturn the understanding of the people of the Sanctuary and Arlam village, and their contempt for Half-Elves.
What may arise in that process, how many burdens Emilia will have to endure, were not within that man’s considerations. In the end, no matter how many wounds Emilia will bear, even if her heart was worn to its core, he would only frivolously laugh at the events unfolding in accordance to his will. If that were the case,
[Subaru: I won’t let it happen. That girl…… Emilia, I will protect her]
The Qualification to challenge the Trials―― if the dream he saw in the Tomb was not only a dream, then Subaru would also have been granted that Qualification.
It may have been granted on the whim of a Witch, but with it, he could thwart Roswaal’s plans. All of the pain and tears that have come into existence only because that man cared nothing about those around him, Subaru will put a stop to them here.
[Subaru: ――That, is what I must accomplish in this Sanctuary]
Upwards, across from where he threw up his fist, was the floating, pale-blue moon.
As if to hold onto that far and unreachable light, he closed tight his fist, and, sketching out the form of that cute silver-haired girl within his thoughts, he determined, he will crash head-on into that clown’s devious plans.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Ram: ――Was that, really alright?]
In the room that Subaru had stormed out of, Ram, who had been watching over their conversation, asked this quietly. Hearing this, her master shook his head as if devoid of strength.
[Roswaal: Such a reaction was o~nly to be expected. But even if it was expected, it is a depressing thing, to be gouging at a young man’s heart]
[Ram: You do know there is no need to lie in front of Ram?]
[Roswaal: I’m glad you’re wo~rried about me, but those were my honest thoughts. Why, in Ram’s heart do I really seem like someone who enjoys doing these things?]
Answering by wordlessly averting her eyes from her master, Ram rearranged the bed sheets that had been ruffled in the earlier argument. As she did this, her fingers felt a hardness across her master’s stomach, and she pulled it out of the sheets. (Damnit Tappei!! >_<)
[Ram: Roswaal-sama. This is…]
[Roswaal: Aah, so~rry. If Subaru-kun had seen this, thi~ngs would have gotten quite co~mplicated. But, it would have been too much punishment if I had put this under my butt. If I’m not careful…]
Receiving what she passed back as if it was very precious, Roswaal gently caressed its surface as he took it. Then, he said [No matter what], touching a finger to his chin,
[Roswaal: Emilia-sama’s qualification is now confirmed, and Subaru-kun has been fired up. Tomorrow night, the Trials will begin……Ram, what do you think will ha~ppen?]
[Ram: Roswaal-sama’s considerations are beyond Ram’s ability to guess. ……Roswaal-sama, you know what is going to happen, then?]
[Roswaal: This thing isn’t that conve~nient. Compared to the incomplete ones held by the Witch Cult, it is somewhat superior, but it is nothing more than a poor imitation, and still far from what she desired. The argument with Subaru-kun just now, how much of that do you think happened as described]
Roswaal took a deep breath as if contemplating, and seeing this, Ram slightly raised her brows and then timidly, with hesitation,
[Ram: Then, how much of what you said to Barusu was……]
[Roswaal: Even though there was some acting……most of it was according to my true fe~elings. No no, but of course I knew Subaru-kun would be angry. But while I knew it, I could also add some things that I wa~nted to say as well, isn’t that so]
Roswaal waved his hands to Ram as if to explain himself, and then, with [Anyhow], he continued,
[Roswaal: To be despised by the partner of my heart, it does feel painful to be thought of this way, as if I had only been thinking of myself. Oh how childish I still am, my spi~teful friend]
Roswaal laughed as he spoke.
Wrapped within his arms, preciously, preciously, was a book with black binding.
Roswaal placed his fingertips over the binding of the book, and slowly, and slowly, he continued to trace over it.
Lovingly, and lovingly, slowly, and slowly――
-=Chapter 14 End=-
Everything is setting into motion!!! >_<
Thank you everyone for being so patient for this chapter <3, thank you. I’ll need to catch up with reading all the comments now :3
Chapter 15 Live Draft: https://www.patreon.com/posts/re-zero-arc-4-15-7884912