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/193/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 27 [Whisper]
――For Subaru, it was a sound of rage that invoked a strong sense of Deja-vu.
[Subaru: The Witch’s… scent……]
This would be the second time Subaru had been treated as an enemy because of it.
Having picked up a scent that Subaru himself couldn’t smell, the hatred within Garfiel’s eyes seemed as if they were glaring at the very murderer of his parents.
Subaru already knew the sharpness of that gaze, and that same torrent of hostility.
The Witch’s stench. The Criminal’s lingering scent. And a man ensnared by the Witch.
Those were the words she once lashed upon him right before she took his life, so far had their relationship deteriorated.
[Garfiel: What y’lookin’ all stupid for? Got hit where it hurts and forgot how t’talk?]
In front of a shocked Subaru shaken into speechlessness, Garfiel had put his inexhaustible rage into words. Even after limply dropping his arms, Garfiel did not lower his guard.
Watching Subaru’s every move, even the small sense of familiarity that was supposedly between them―― was already nowhere to be found.
[Subaru: Um, about the Witch’s stench……]
[Subaru: The stench that’s floating around my body, it was after I came out of the Tomb―― after the Trial, that it started floating around, right?]
[Garfiel: ……Yeah. Didn’t even mind it before that, but soon as y’came back from the Trial it’s suddenly reekin’ up the place. I don’t know what y’did inside, but I ain’t a nice enough guy to trust a bastard smellin’ like that]
Seeing Garfiel nodding in affirmation to his question, Subaru let out a short sigh and closed his eyes.
Then it’s confirmed―― the Witch’s stench clinging onto Subaru becomes stronger immediately after Return by Death.
He had suspected it before, but he had always subconsciously avoided this conclusion. Only now, did Subaru finally accept that piece of the answer.
――The one returning Natsuki Subaru from death, was the Witch.
He didn’t know why. There shouldn’t be any connection. But, incredibly, he could understand it, and accept it.
It was like the sensation of hesitating to place down the one final piece that would complete the puzzle, and then, finally doing so, seeing the complete picture at last.
[Subaru: Just what, do you have to do with me…… Until I came to this world, I hadn’t even encountered a single paranormal phenomenon in my life. And after I got here I never even got a chance to meet the Witch-sama that everyone keeps talking about…… In fact, I died within six hours of being summoned here]
Subaru was given the special characteristic of “Return by Death” upon being invited to this world.
If that was connected to the Witch, then the summoning itself must have been connected to the Witch as well. Up to this point, he had never once asked why, but――
[Subaru: In the end, I can’t ignore it anymore, huh……]
[Garfiel: What’re y’mutterin’ about? I ain’t got the time t’worry about this crap, so go straight back to sleepin’ in the Cathedral. Don’t come botherin’ me with this bullshit again]
[Subaru: ……You’re letting me go? Going by what you said, I’m a suspicious bastard with the Witch’s stench floating all over me, right? It’s the middle of the night, and there’s just us here… sounds just like the perfect situation for either a late night tryst or quietly killing someone off, doesn’t it?]
[Garfiel: Hah. I ain’t a patient guy and it’s not that I didn’t think about it…… Right now chewin’ yer head to shreds’ easy, but then what? When the Half-Witch find out yer dead there’ll be even more trouble, even I can see that much]
Seeing Subaru tilting his head, unable to understand his intentions, Garfiel continued [But],
[Garfiel: I wouldn’t want you goin’ near the Tomb and get yerself stinkin’ even more. Right now only I got a sharp enough nose to notice it…… but who knows when the old hag and others’in this shithole’ll start noticin’ it too? And there’re the even more troublin’ guys]
[Subaru: Even more troubling……]
[Garfiel: Y’have an idea or two who, don’t ya? Y’didn’t just start reekin’of that stench today. When they smell that stench, those assholes will wanna come]
Listening to Garfiel clacking his fangs saying this, Subaru held his breath as a flood of thoughts came racing through his mind.
Seeing that reaction, Garfiel snorted, and, with a wave of his arm as if swatting away an insect,
[Garfiel: So get outta here. I won’t do anythin’ this time. Tomorrow onwards, you stay nice and quiet and I won’t have to do nothin’ either. But don’t let me find you comin’ near the Tomb or gettin’ involved with me or Granny. Won’t be a nice experience for either of us’if that happens]
[Subaru: Mutual non-interference, huh. I don’t bother you and you won’t bother me. That’s pretty generous]
[Garfiel: “Makin’ it out alive after steppin’ on Gringham’s tale”, yeah? Now get th’hell outta my sight before I change my mind. I rather not make Ram hate me if I can]
Uttering the name of the girl he liked, Garfiel announced this as though he was prepared to do the worst. The menacing hostility emanating from within him was only barely held in check by self restraint, that much was clear.
Though Subaru still wanted to argue, and continue this debate,
――It’d be best to retreat for now.
Coming to this conclusion, he exhaled and dropped his shoulders, and took a step back.
Seeing Subaru no longer intent on going any further, Garfiel’s own posture noticeably shifted as well. Closing one eye, and exhaling a deep breath from his nostrils, he sat himself down in the middle of the path to the Tomb. Crossing his arms, he looked up at Subaru,
[Garfiel: Good. Don’t do anythin’ unnecessary now. ――I’ll be here from today ‘til the end of the Trials. Tomorrow, the day after, or the one a’fer that, day and noon and night, I got no intention of lettin’ you in. I’ll leave it at that, so remember it good]
[Subaru: If you don’t want Ram to hate you, you might wanna go back for a bath from time to time]
[Garfiel: Before I start stinkin’ as bad as you, you better do everythin’ you can to get Emilia-sama to pass the Trials. ――Now get outta my sight]
Garfel closed his eyes, and it seemed he was serious about spending the night here.
At first glance, there appeared to be openings all over. If he withdrew from here, and circled around through another part of the forest, perhaps it’s not impossible to sneak into the Tomb, but,
[Subaru: Better not…]
Garfiel’s probably guarded against that as well.
As long as Subaru stayed within sight, Garfiel will only restrain him with words. But if Subaru did something to trample on this consideration, Garfiel will no longer be so lenient.
Right now, Subaru would have no chance against an opponent who could throw Patrasche along with the carriage, nor was there a way to get past his beast-like sense of smell.
[Subaru: This is the tea-party coming back to haunt me, isn’t it……]
Putting a hand against his forehead, he regretted the way he handled the good fortune of having a Witch in front of him to chat with. Although, he couldn’t have asked her about any of this at the time, so he couldn’t blame himself too much.
[Subaru: At least, there’s nothing else I can do tonight. I must find some other way……]
Without getting past Garfiel, there was no way to reach the Tomb. If Subaru cannot reach the Tomb, then there will be no other option except to have Emilia take the Trials.
As far as Subaru can tell, it would be impossible for her to pass the Trials in three days. And if he cannot take any action within three days, then,
[Subaru: Elsa will attack the Mansion. And the chance to repel her will slip away]
Even if it meant seeking help from a Witch, Subaru had hoped to find some kind of sidepath by speaking to Echidona. But Garfiel had blocked that.
The alternative, of attempting to take the Trials without seeking Echidona’s advice, was also blocked.
Coming to this point, Subaru realized that the situation had come to dead end.
[Subaru: Oy, oy, oy…….isn’t this situation just plain bad?]
Lacking the strength to force his way through Garfiel, Subaru will need to be crafty as well as articulate in order to reach the Trials, or otherwise, he must find some other way to move Garfiel away from this place. But it would be impossible to do this alone.
[Subaru: And even if I try to recruit allies…… neither Ram or Otto are on my side on this one]
Considering its significance to the Royal Selection, those two had judged that it would be best to let Emilia take the Trials. Of course, if only they saw how much Emilia would be worn out over the next two days, perhaps their opinions would change, but,
[Subaru: Then we won’t make it back in time for the attack. Isn’t there something…… anything I can do?]
The time difference, between the time needed to make everyone see the difficulty of having Emilia pass the Trials and the timing of the imminent danger only Subaru knew about, was far too great. And if Subaru continued to insist on taking the Trials himself, it would only be interpreted as his lack of confidence in Emilia.
It gouged at his heart to think what Emilia might feel about this. It was not that he didn’t believe in her. Rather, if time permitted it, Subaru believed beyond a doubt that she will accomplish the task that was given to her. Yet,
――Even knowing that her task is too heavy for her to bear, how can you still think so?
Deep down, a low, dark whisper made Subaru halt his steps.
Occasionally, he’d hear whispers like this. An obscure, dark part of himself mocking, laughing at him from behind for foolishly reaching for such hopes.
[Subaru: The Trials will keep eating away at her. And even so, for the sake of the expectations of those around her and to fulfill her own wish, she will carry on, no matter how much it hurts her. That’s how it will be]
――Disregard her wounds and move forward until it is overcome, is that really what you want?
She will hold in her pain, her tears, and her sobs, and keep on walking, and in the end, the path will surely open, and her wish will come true. Was that what he believed?
――There are wounds that don’t need to be opened, memories that don’t need to be faced, and pasts that don’t need to be atoned for.
[Subaru: She believes she had done something wrong, and that she must do something to make it right. That’s why she is facing her past, and why she is suffering, isn’t it……]
――But why must that time be now? Isn’t this the worst possible timing?
Is it truly necessary to face one’s past?
Must all committed sins be atoned for? And is redemption something that can be forced?
The past she didn’t want anyone else to know, if it wasn’t for the Trials, Subaru would never have forced her to reveal it.
One day, with time, perhaps she will come to terms with it, and then there will be a chance to overcome that past.
But did it have to be now? Was this really the right time for that?
Would an answer she found through the obsessive notion that she must do something to atone truly carry a significance which she could be proud of?
[Subaru: At least, I think I’m glad I faced my past. I managed to pass, and even though I know it’s just self-satisfaction, the way I am standing here now is an answer to that question]
――But that’s because you were already prepared to face your past, wasn’t it?
Even while he hated himself, there was a girl who loved him and accepted him.
It was because she was there, because of what she did for him, that Subaru was able to reveal that unsightly side of himself to his parents, peel open that ugliness inside him, and at last lift up his face to say his farewells.
――Right now, is Emilia prepared for that?
Having touched only a fragment of the weight of her past, just how much strength had Subaru’s words and actions lent her up to now?
A shallow worldview, some insignificant efforts, and his empty proclamations of love. Just how much support could they have truly given her?
[Subaru: ……Just what… can I even do for you?]
He liked Emilia. He fell in love with her. He wanted to go on being in love with her, he thought.
He wanted her to like him. He wanted her to fall in love with him. And he wanted her to go on being in love with him, he thought, too.
That’s why, he wanted to make her happy. To become her strength. And to take all the pain, and bitterness, and sorrow in her stead.
Even if he could not bear it, even if she would not let him, he wanted to be her support.
――Like the girl who brought him back and made him stand, Subaru wanted to do for Emilia what Rem had done for him.
Like Rem, who loved him with the entirety of her being, in the same way, Subaru wanted to become Emilia’s support.
Only this way, could Subaru truly fulfill the first promise he made to Rem. And so, right now, what Subaru must do was,
[Subaru: The time you need to stand, and the resolve to carry it through, all that I could do for you…… leave them to me, alright?]
Rolling his hand into a fist, Subaru straightened out exactly what he must do, and, letting out a small sigh, he edged up his lips into a smile.
Wait, what he was going to do hadn’t changed at all.
[Subaru: I will do everything I can for her―― after all that headache it just comes down to those few words, huh. Well, you gotta have some self-awareness about what you’re gonna do, right?]
For now, the question was how to solve the unavoidable problems at hand and overcome obstacles that accompanied them. And, after clearing them, concoct some shocking, ingenious plan to open this whole situation up.
Time waits for no one. And the limit was drawing near. But he couldn’t afford to jump to the wrong conclusions now. He had already made that mistake too many times before.
[Subaru: Nothing will get better if I just turn my head down when things are bad. At least everything will only get worse as time goes by. I know that all too well, unfortunately]
Leaving it all to time and hoping it will solve itself was absolutely out of the question.
For Subaru, this is the unforgiving way of the world, and it was for this very reason that all his struggling, writhing, and resisting had meaning.
[Subaru: The situation is at its worst. Time is running out. And there’s still a mountain of things I don’t understand, but]
That’s nothing special, it is same for anyone, but even so, the fact that he had been granted the chance to do it all over again makes all the difference.
[Subaru: Don’t doubt it for a second. Natsuki Subaru’s courage will save you, Emilia――!]
One way or another, let’s power through this with all we’ve got.
-=Chapter 27 End=-
Chapter 27 is a half-lengthed chapter, so I thought I’d release it together
Please let me know if you find any typos!
Chapter 28 Live Draft:
Next Chapter(Part 1/3): https://translationchicken.com/2017/05/27/rezero-arc-4-chapter-28-a-conversation-over-tea/