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[Ram: ――She’s settled down and is resting now]
Seeing Subaru looking at her with an inquisitive gaze as she came out of the room, Ram returned a gaze as if looking at a poorly trained dog, and said this.
Without even a comment about her demeaning gaze, Subaru quietly replied [Is that so]. Seeing him this way, Ram let out a small sigh,
[Ram: That face isn’t like you, Barusu. Your face is usually sloppy to begin with, but if you cast that shadow on it, it will become even less tolerable to look at]
[Subaru: Sloppy or whatever is none of your business……But, I’m sorry I got you worried]
[Ram: ……You’re just a Barusu, when did you start getting so good at noticing other people’s worries?]
Seeing Ram look as if she was genuinely surprised, Subaru stuck out his tongue and withheld his earlier gratitude for now. He had said the first half of that with his eyes squeezed shut just to blast back at Ram, but the second half had been his true feelings.
Taking his eyes off of Ram, Subaru looked behind her――at the door to the room Ram had just come out of. Beyond it, right now, Emilia must be sleeping.
[Subaru: Still, sorry this happened two days in a row, Lewes-san. It must have caused you trouble too]
[Lewes: There’s no need to worry about causing me trouble. It was because of our selfish wish that she had to take the Trials in the first place]
Turning his head around, Lewes’ even voice answered Subaru from behind.
Outside the bedroom, the room they were currently in could be considered a living room of sorts. Other than these two rooms, there was only another room for the library, and the three together made up Lewes’ home.
Subaru couldn’t help but feel that it was an awfully modest life for someone who was practically the village chief of the Sanctuary. But then again, looking at the little girl sipping on tea in the corner of the room, it was probably more than enough space for her to live in.
[Garfiel: Hah, look at’ya, granny, lookin’ out for ‘em. Honestly for me, all feels like “Th’presumptuous Gounzun got no place t’live”]
[Subaru: I still have absolutely no idea what feeling you’re talking about……but, at least the fact that it isn’t good got across]
Seated across from Lewes, also gulping down tea from a teacup, Garfiel bared his teeth as he said this. It was another incomprehensible idiom――but judging from the current situation, Subaru guessed it was probably something about disappointment. And, picking up the intention behind Garfiel’s words,
[Subaru: Just so you know, if you’re planning to badmouth Emilia, you’ll have to make an appointment through me first. And only if I approve it, as her Manager and all]
[Garfiel: I ain’t interested in badmouthin’ people behind their backs. Not th’kinda prick who’d do that. If I got somethin I wanna say, I say it to their face. Or I’d just use my fists, yeah?]
Waving his other hand that wasn’t holding the teacup, Garfiel brushed off Subaru’s provocation with a vicious-looking smile. That attitude didn’t reduce Subaru’s tension in the slightest, and it was at this point when the person who had stayed silent up to now――Otto, raised his hand with a [So um…]
[Otto: In that case, can I just ask what exactly happened? I honestly don’t want to get involved too much, but I would really prefer if things don’t go down this perilous direction, so I think I better act as an arbiter to help move things along]
[Subaru: Oh right, my bad. In fact, you’re perfect for the job. After all, you don’t have any deep relationships with anyone present, you barely have anything to do with what’s going on here and you’re pretty much a minor comic relief character who isn’t carrying out any responsibilities in particular at the moment. I’ll let you take it from here]
[Otto: What’s with that rock-pulverizing review!? Is that something you’re supposed to say when you’re letting someone else take over!?]
As Otto started shrieking at Subaru’s description, Subaru held a finger to his lips in a gesture to say “Not too loud”. Seeing this, Otto hurriedly closed his mouth. Still not quite settled down, he shook his head,
[Otto: Aah~, even though I’m still not ok with that, let’s move on for now. First thing I want to ask you, Natsuki-san, is what happened after you went in the Tomb?]
[Subaru: Even if you ask me what happened……]
Starting off like this, Subaru brought a hand to his chin and looked up at the ceiling.
In his mind, he went over all the things that had happened inside the Tomb――The Trial, and the strange way Emilia had behaved afterward: the sight of her inconsolable crying, apologizing, as if muttering in her sleep, and calling the name of that Spirit.
[Subaru: The Trials were definitely going on inside the Tomb. After I ran in after Emilia, the same thing happened to me. Basically, I got through the Trial without any problems, but Emilia seems to have encountered some difficulties. It looked like she was in too much pain, so I called out to her……and after she woke up and regained consciousness, she became like this]
[Otto: Nonononononononono, wait a minute]
Flapping his hands up and down to stop Subaru’s rapid-fire answer, Otto stared at him with a baffled expression. Subaru stared back at him with a face that seemed to say “what”, when Otto started going [Nononono] again,
[Otto: I almost kept nodding when you just casually glossed over the part that totally needed an explanation…… Natsuki-san, you took the Trials as well?]
[Subaru: Ah, uh-huh, yeah, I took it. A friend signed me up, what can I do]
[Otto: But, Natsuki-san couldn’t possibly have any friends, please take this more seriously]
[Subaru: There are some things that are totally not ok to say to people!]
Subaru started staring daggers at Otto as a declaration of war when an arm suddenly came in between them. Moving the two apart, Ram looked up at Subaru,
[Ram: Then, Barusu, you have passed the Trial. Is that correct?]
[Subaru: Ah, yeah. That’s right. I got forcibly dragged in when I went inside. It wasn’t really on a level where I could say no]
[Ram: How you started it is irrelevant. The more important question is……did Barusu already pass the Trials]
Ram placed a finger to her lips and closed her eyes in thought. Then, looking toward Lewes,
[Ram: That’s what our household’s scullery boy said, do you sense any changes? If the Trials really are over, the seal on the Sanctuary should be lifted]
[Lewes: ……No, my body didn’t feel anything in particular. If we actually try going outside the Sanctuary, though, that might be a different story.
[Ram: Is that so. Then it should be simple. Would you please come with Ram, we could check if it’s alright to leave the Sanctuary. If we can, then……]
[Subaru: Oyoyoy, don’t get carried away. You’re jumping to conclusions here. Yeah I didn’t explain it well enough, but that kind of split-second decisions is just overdoing it here]
Just as Ram was about to pull Lewes away, Subaru quickly caught her by the shoulder, saying this. The pink haired girl’s brows creased with displeasure as she turned around, and with [What is it?], she immediately recovered her expression.
[Ram: If you have successfully brought an end to the Trials, we must check whether the residents have been liberated in accordance with the Pact. If Barusu’s words are true, by tomorrow, the villagers of Arlam would be able to return to the village, and Roswaal-sama’s wounds could be better addressed inside the Mansion……]
[Subaru: After your true motivation slipped out at the end there I can see why you’re so eager to get going……sorry I got your hopes up, but we can’t leave the Sanctuary yet. The Trials still hasn’t completely ended]
After being told this, Ram’s eyes opened just slightly wider. Then she looked away, thinking over the meaning of Subaru’s words, and as if having arrived at the only possible conclusion, she nodded,
[Ram: You lied to me, prepare to die]
[Subaru: That conclusion and sentencing was way too fast!!]
Immediately pulling out a small cane, Ram was ready to perform summary execution. Holding up both his hands to surrender, Subaru frantically shook his head,
[Subaru: Besides I wasn’t lying! I did pass the first Trial! But there are still two more Trials left! There are three Trials in total, so unfortunately Lewes-san and everyone else are still not released yet]
[Ram: Even this kind of irresponsible remark should have a limit…… just how do you know this?]
[Subaru: Because, I heard it from the one who came up with the Trials, the――]
“Witch”, was the word Subaru was about to say when he felt a chill running through his entire body.
Petrified, his limbs felt heavy as if they had been burdened with lead, his thoughts dulled as if his brain was being drowned in mud, and his arteries froze as if they had been injected with ice.
All the while, within Subaru’s mind, there was nothing but an idiotic blank void.
The contents of the Trial, and the fact that two more Trials were awaiting him: he knew that someone had told him. That it was a Witch. But,
[Subaru: What was that person like, I can’t remember at all……]
Pressing his temples, Subaru couldn’t believe the gap in his memory.
He could remember all of the conversations with his parents, the heat of his tears, and the warmth of every word he had left behind on their parting.
But his memories of the Witch who tied all these other memories together were abruptly missing like a gaping hole.
Seeing Subaru closing his mouth and standing there dumbstruck, Ram, who was just about ready to dish out destruction, got out of her battle stance. Putting the cane she had pulled out back onto her hip, she shot a glance at the silenced Subaru, and sighed. And, watching her from the side,
[Garfiel: Aeh? Just when things were gettin’ interestin, ain’t ya gonna keep goin? After so long, was just thinkin when I’d get to see Ram violent again]
[Ram: As if the graceful and gentle Ram could possibly do such brutish things. Besides, I more or less understood based on Barusu’s attitude just now, so there’s no need for that]
[Subaru: Understood… what?]
Lightly brushing off Garfiel’s joke, Ram didn’t seem to pay him any mind. But, hearing Subaru’s question, Ram slightly tilted her head.
[Ram: That Barusu wasn’t lying, that’s all. If we can accept your words as credible, then that’s good enough for now. Barusu, go on answering Otto’s questions]
[Subaru: Ah, aah…….alright but]
It was still a bit hard to wrap his head around it, but in front of Ram’s forceful attitude, Subaru could only nod his head. And Otto, who had been watching their exchange, lightly cleared his throat with [In that case],
[Otto: Even though we got derailed for a bit, let’s get back on topic. The details of the Trials could be set aside for now……Do you have any idea what could’ve made Emilia-sama so distraught?]
[Subaru: ……I do. It’s probably to do with the content of the Trial. Even though the details of the Trial I took and the one Emilia took are different, I think the main theme is same]
[Otto: The contents……Um, would it be alright to ask about those?]
Otto seemed concerned, but Subaru held up a palm gesturing that it’s fine. Seeing Ram and Garfiel turning their eyes towards him as well, Subaru nodded,
[Subaru: The first Trial is to face your past. Basically, it’s to come face to face with your past attachments and regrets, and come to some sort of resolution]
[Otto: I, I see…… and that’s why the details would be different]
Obviously, everyone had a different past.
So, depending on the person, this Trial could be difficult or simple. Subaru just happened to hit the mark, whereas Emilia had taken a critical setback――
[Subaru: No, if we take the Qualifications into account, then the contents of the Trials are obviously just plain malicious]
After all, Subaru’s Qualification was specially granted, while the Half-Bloods were born with them. Even though he didn’t know the true purpose of the Trials, the stories behind the Half-Bloods would have been determined by the various conditions and restraints attached to their birth.
They would have been persecuted by other races as well as their own, been terrorized and shunned, and if the Halves who would have had to endure such conditions were selected to take the Trials, then, of course, the Tomb would easily find their most painful pasts to test them.
[Subaru: To gather a bunch of guys here who would certainly have trouble passing the Trials. That really is blackhearted]
[Otto: Right now, even if we keep calling the examiner names for being mean, we won’t really get anywhere. More importantly……it will be hard to bring it up to her, the reason why Emilia-sama is so distraught, that is]
Otto mumbled as he turned his eyes toward the bedroom where Emilia was sleeping. Watching him, everyone more or less understood what he was trying to say, and, deep down, Subaru appreciated Otto’s unspoken consideration.
――Emilia’s appearance resembled the description of the Witch of Envy in so many ways on top being a Half-Elf. From that alone one should be able to infer some sense of the baseless scorn and persecution she must have endured.
And naturally, having never actually been in her position, what Subaru and the others were able to imagine could only be barely scratching the surface.
And that is why they could not bring up this topic lightly. One could say that Otto’s judgment was awfully humane, or, on the other hand, that his personality was fatally unsuited for a merchant.
[Subaru: Even though you can never, ever, become a great merchant, you have my gratitude]
[Otto: Why are you just shattering my dreams all of a sudden!?]
[Subaru: I’m usually too embarrassed to straight-up express my gratitude without spiking it with a joke, try to understand]
[Otto: How about you try to understand how deeply my heart just got wounded!!]
With Otto blasting that out while stomping on the floor, everyone else in the room put their fingers up to their lips gesturing “Not too loud!”. Seeing this, Otto hurriedly blocked his own mouth, but it was too late.
At first, there was a just small sound.
In the house that fell completely silent after Otto shut himself up, the sound of small steps striking upon the floor grew louder, and louder. Everyone turned their gazes toward the direction of the sound――toward the direction of the bedroom.
And before anyone could open their mouths, the door opened, and,
[Emilia: Um……I’m sorry I, caused you guys trouble]
(***This was only the second time Ram was mentioned using a cane for combat. I did some research and the first time was near the end of Arc 3, where Ram used a “small cane” to threaten Subaru when he brought the Crusch+Anastasia army to the estate. This was after Rem had been attacked and forgotten, so Ram obtaining this cane may be somehow connected to Rem’s existence being erased?***)
(***After searching the text via google, in a later chapter the cane is described as small and used for chanting magic.)
I hadn’t read the rest of the chapter yet… I wonder if Emilia remembers anything… >_<!
Chapter 21 Live Draft: