[Ram: ……You didn’t impose any burdens on Roswaal-sama, I hope?]
The first thing that greeted Subaru as he came out of the bedroom were these words of interrogation and Ram’s sharpened stare.
The pink-haired girl was about half a head shorter than Subaru, but on matters that concerned Roswaal, her intimidating presence would make her body appear twice as big as it actually is. In any case, Subaru started shriveling under the immense pressure.
[Subaru: We just calmly talked about some stuff, that’s all. There were no collar-grabs or wrestling throws or anything, don’t worry]
[Ram: What an optimistic Barusu. Setting foot inside the Tomb, only to be rejected, do you realize how cruel that was to Roswaal-sama…… You don’t even understand that much, and have the audacity to be a smartass about it?]
Ram didn’t conceal her displeasure as she blasted back at Subaru for his response. Seeing her priorities clearly laid out, Subaru couldn’t help but smile wryly, and,
[Subaru: Well he was gonna go to sleep, so I kinda got kicked out…… I already said what I had to say, so it’s fine]
[Ram: Is it. ……At least, if Roswaal-sama makes the request, I think Lewes-sama will probably accept. But as for Garf…… I don’t know how he will react]
[Subaru: If he’s gonna grumble, then we’ll have to rely on your seduction skills. You just have to strike a cute pose and…… you know how to do that, right?]
[Ram: Isn’t Ram cute already?]
[Subaru: No I mean, well, if it’s just the outer appearance then it’s pretty cute……]
After all, aside from the hair color, she looked exactly like Rem. Very very cute. The only problem was that the cuteness and Ram’s fresh-personality kind of managed to cancel each other out.
[Subaru: But to go after you, Garfel sure has some bizarre tastes. No, or, maybe it’s just hard to tell from the appearance…… kind of like the puffer fish, you kn-OWOWOW!]
[Ram: I am pretty sure that wasn’t a compliment, so this is how I am responding, Barusu]
Stomping on Subaru’s toes with her heel to her heart’s content while watching tears jerking out of his eyes, Ram huffed through her nose. Then, she stood in front of the door to Roswaal’s bedroom, and,
[Ram: Ram will change Roswaal-sama’s bandages, and then rest for the night. I suppose Barusu will sleep in the Cathedral like yesterday? Even a Barusu should be able to remember a simple location, I assume?]
[Subaru: My sense of direction’s surprisingly good, you know. Besides, it’s the biggest building here. Although having no street lights is kind of a pain]
The Sanctuary was an undeveloped area that relied on starlight to light the way at night. But still, on clear nights, the light descending from a star-filled sky was often enough to keep the darkness at bay. Unfortunately, it’s cloudy today.
Looking out the window, aside from the sprinkles of glimmering lights from the village houses, all the rest was completely dark.
He felt just a little, tiny unease about the road back home.
[Subaru: Getting lost and wandering into the forest and getting a random encounter with a BEAST and then going into BADEND―― probably won’t happen, right? It’s ok, it’s ok]
[Ram: The possibility of that happening was very low to begin with, but after you said that out loud it seems to have slightly increased. Alright. Barusu, the Cathedral is directly to the right hand side after you leave the building]
[Subaru: O~k got it! So it’s the chopstick-hand side, right? Although there doesn’t seem to be a chopstick-culture in this world]
Since the dining culture here mainly consists of silverwares like knives and forks and spoons, Subaru’s remark just now obviously made no sense to Ram. Anyways, thinking about whether he should try shaving down some trees and start mass producing chopsticks here if he ever gets the chance,
[Subaru: Anyways, I’ll head back to the Cathedral…… since it’s still uncertain whether they can return to the village, just so we don’t get their hopes up, maybe it’d be best if we don’t mention that we’re negotiating for their release yet?]
[Ram: Agreed. If we hold the talks tomorrow…… it would still be at least the day after tomorrow before they could leave. In the meantime, how to deal with Echidona’s Tomb is what we need to think about]
Inadvertently, just as he was about to say some last words on his way out of the house, Subaru suddenly froze in place. The abrupt halt sent a surprised look onto Ram’s face, but Subaru, who had turned around to look at her, seemed even more confused than she was. Then,
[Subaru: ……what did you say just now?]
He asked in a raspy voice. Hearing Subaru’s question, Ram, still not any less surprised, tried to remember what she just said, and,
[Ram: The Tomb is what we need to think about?]
[Subaru: No, before that]
[Ram: Isn’t Ram cute already?]
[Subaru: Went back too far! ……You said Echidona’s Tomb, right?]
Feeling stupid after missing the right answer twice in a row, Subaru gave up and answered the question himself. Seeing Ram nodding reluctantly, Subaru pressed his hand against his forehead. ――With terrifying speed, the memories flooded back into his consciousness.
It was the name of the Witch of Greed, that white-haired girl in funerary dress, the self-proclaimed Incarnation of the Thirst for Knowledge, and the most important Bokukko-stereotype in this Parallel World. And above all,
[Subaru: What the hell were you trying to do…… messing with other people’s memories……]
The entity who had done her work on Subaru’s memories so that no one else could learn of her secrets.
At the end of the tea party, before the impending Trials, she had forcibly extracted an oath from Subaru. But if that was the price he had to pay to receive the Qualifications, then he would willingly accept it.
[Subaru: Whether it was bugged or that was how it’s supposed to work…… either way, the restriction’s lifted!]
The restriction that Echidona was supposed to have placed on Subaru was lifted, and his memories were unbound.
Within his mind, the encounter with the Witches, the tea party, and his meeting with Echidona in school-uniform in his old classroom in the Original World, all of them, one by one, returned to him. And, having remembered, Subaru’s thoughts arrived on a possible a way to break open the deadlock on the Sanctuary. It would be akin to a forbidden move, but,
[Subaru: If the Cathedral’s on the chopstick-hand side, then the Tomb’s on the bowl-hand side――!]
[Subaru: I better not keep you up too late! It won’t be good to put too much strain on a guy who just recovered from a major illness!]
Waving up his hand in response to Ram’s call from behind, Subaru charged out of the building and into the night. Not to the bed inside the Cathedral, but to the Tomb he had left only two hours ago.
Timewise, even if he went to the Tomb, there was very little chance that he’d be able to confirm his idea. But while the chance may be low, he couldn’t resist trying it out. At least, if it couldn’t be done on this night, he’d know.
[Subaru: After taking the first Trial, all sorts of annoying things just popped one after another. So invite me to another tea party, Witch…… no, Echidona!]
Flying down the streets of the Sanctuary, lit only by the dim natural lights of the night, Subaru ran on.
The icy wind, the muddy ground, the sweat on his brow, and his panting breaths―― all these sensations pressed his exhausted body onward. And, when he arrived,
[Garfiel: Yo…… thought you’d be comin’]
Blocking Subaru’s path was the youth with short blonde hair―― Garfiel, standing guard in front of the Tomb.
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This part was finished yesterday but I was wondering whether I should combine it with part 4. But then it’s just too good of a cliffhanger >_<
So uh… take that cliffhanger! Mwahahaha
I’ll finish up part 4 now!
Chapter 26 Live Draft: