(Thank you Jeffry, Roanz, Aaron, Soriosh, Jack, Federico for helping me with proofreading on the Live Draft !! <3)
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/208/
The great tiger let out a painful wail as the impact bent its body into a V, choking the air from its lungs. Then, swinging her body, Patrasche slammed her tail into the tiger’s eyes, temporarily robbing it of its vision.
Immediately turning around, Patrasche picked up Subaru with her mouth and attempted once more to escape into the wind――
His call was interrupted by a sound of tearing flesh.
Dangling by his waist from Patrasche’s mouth, Subaru was suddenly thrown into the ground ahead. When he looked back, Subaru saw that Patrasche’s tail was caught in the great beast’s fangs. Her body which weighed over 400 kilograms was being flailed about like a paper toy.
Patrasche screeched in pain. Her flesh ripped as blood sprayed out, and the instant her tail was severed from its root, blood spouted down, dyeing half of Subaru in red.
Helplessly tossed into the air, Patrasche tumbled to the ground. Witnessing her wretched state, with panting breaths, Subaru turned and glared at the giant tiger.
Harboring utmost hatred in his single eye, Subaru faced down the enemy whom he once might have called friend,
With only single-minded hostility, he called to that name.
There was no answer. Perhaps beastification had robbed it of its human vocal organ. For within the mighty tiger’s throat as it extended out its paw, there was no hatred, or murder, or any words, for that matter.
There was only instinct transformed into action.
――To snap his neck, or to crush his head in its jaw.
No matter what kind of pain, or how wretched his end, Subaru was ready to accept “Death”.
He would swallow down all the suffering, make it his food, and turn it into his reason to obtain that perfect future.
[Subaru: You think you’ll be around in that future……?]
With his gaze fixed on the steadily approaching claw, Subaru conveyed his hateful final words.
And then, closing his left eye, he shut his sight into darkness.
Left with only the regret of Patrasche’s sacrifice, and his inability to save her――
Although Subaru was ready to accept the coming end, its visit did not come. Surprised, he furrowed his brows as irritation began to rise at the tardiness of the arrival of “Death”. Finally, he opened his eye,
In front of him, behind the sharp claw that was supposed to have ripped Subaru to shreds, he saw the expression on the beast’s face. The reason Subaru’s throat let out a stupid groan, was because the beast’s face, the face that was supposed to be pouring all its bloodlust onto Subaru, was instead turned towards a completely different direction.
The great beast had taken its gaze off of Subaru, and was instead looking towards something to Subaru’s left. Turning to follow its gaze, Subaru saw something fly over and bounce off the beast before rolling onto the ground. ――A rock.
Completely ordinary, it was just a rock about the size that would fit in the palm of a hand. Tracing back the course of the projectile, he saw the silhouette of a person standing at the edge of the treeline.
With short hair, a skinny face, and scrawny limbs, it was a man with no distinctive or noteworthy qualities whatsoever, but Subaru knew him.
He was one of the Arlam villagers, a member of the youth militia, one of the refugees who had taken refuge in the Sanctuary, someone who was aboard one of the toppled carriages, and now, he was there, staggering with blood flowing down his forehead.
Sluggishly, he bent down, picked up the nearest rock, and with feeble movements, he threw it at the beast. Of course, the force was next to nothing. But,
[Youth: Get.. away from Su..baru-sama. You… monster……]
Wrenching out his voice in midst groans of pain, he nonetheless asserted his will.
The moment those words struck him, Subaru suddenly felt a quiver running through his body. Losing his voice as it reached the tips of his fingers, not knowing what to say, Subaru watched in silence.
Then, came rocks, boards, sticks, and shoes, thrown at the monster’s body from all directions.
What he was seeing was the people who should have been broken under the overwhelming pressure emanating from the beast putting up a clumsy, weak, and almost surreal resistance.
What are they doing? Subaru thought, astounded.
What is the point of doing something like that? Did they think they could do something to the beast? Would it penetrate its fur and hide, and do any damage to the flesh beneath? That’s not even possible. It won’t even leave a scratch. It’s only futile resistance.
Hugging their heads and running away should have been the wisest choice.
They should have all boarded any still-functional dragon carriages and immediately fled this place. Either escape into the Sanctuary, or break through the forest. They should have taken an action that left them at least a small chance of staying alive. And yet, why were they――
[Subaru: Everyone, what’re you doing!? Hurry, run away……]
[Old Man: Subaru-sama! You won’t convince us just like that!]
Subaru waved his arms, desperately trying to convey his intentions, but his words were cut short.
The one who shouted back was an old man with limbs like dried twigs, who, swinging up one arm with all his might, threw a branch that struck directly on the beast’s snout. Then, panting, he looked over to Subaru,
[Old Man: If we ran for our lives and abandoned our benefactor, how could we ever show our face in front of our kids again? Besides, you came here in order to help us……]
[Old Man: If you die here, then we’ll die here as well. That’s the least we’ll be willing to accept, and that’s what everyone’s already agreed on]
Stunned, Subaru’s face stiffened.
Seeing Subaru’s astonished expression, for some reason, a gentle smile rose up on the man’s face. It was just way too out of place, a bright smile that almost made one forget about the threat that was before them.
The attack resumed. Everyone struck at once at the murderous beast――Garfiel, with a hail of stones. But its power was just as weak as before. Far from causing him to flinch, it wasn’t even enough to scratch an itch.
Slowly raising his massive body, Garfiel began to move. Ignoring Subaru at the forest’s edge, who was only waiting to be torn apart―― it turned to the youth who had thrown the first stone.
The beast and the youth faced one another. In front of the overwhelming pressure, the youth lost his voice, but, with only the act of drawing his short sword from its sheath on his hip, he asserted his will,
[Youth: Then, eat this――!]
Placing all his force behind the thrust, the youth drove it between Garfiel’s brows―― and, in the next instant, with a shrill sound, the blade snapped in two.
Perhaps because the golden fur possessed considerable resilience, the crudely made blade failed to penetrate it.
Then, as the youth completed his final defiance, the beast raised its paw,
Subaru screamed. But even so, in the face of the inevitable, it was nothing but empty noise.
Accompanied by the sound of crushing flesh, the youth’s scrawny body was crushed from head to toe into a pulp under the force of the impact. Blood sprayed like a fountain from the gaps of Garfiel’s claws, and when he lifted the paw once more, left in its wake was nothing but a swirling, dark red puddle of gore.
This time, a scream of pure wrath rose in his throat.
With a screech that could slice through metal, Subaru scrambled off the ground and threw himself directly at the monster’s back. But the attack was snuffed out by a light rise of the beast’s hind-paw. His momentum was met by the paw, and, just like that, Subaru’s was kicked into the air like a rubber ball, sending his back crashing into the trunk of a large tree――his entire body cracked in the sound of shattering bones.
[Subaru: GA, AAAagh――!?]
Rolling onto the ground, giant clots of blood surging up his aching throat spilled from his mouth. His body was unresponsive. His right arm, beginning from the shoulder, was twisted into a strange angle. His spine, having sustained that impact, completely lost its shape. Weak, and frail, nothing had changed at all.
The beast, barking, leaped into the fray of refugees around him, flaunting fangs and claws. Blood danced, shrieks resounded, and Subaru knew that lives were being extinguished in a place he could not see.
Someone was screaming. A bestial scream. Bestial, and yet in the voice of a human. Confusion ran through the beast. Whose scream was it? What was it roaring for? Trapped within his own failures, Subaru did not know the answer.
[O??o: ――Natsuki-san! Please stay alive!]
His name was called. It was the voice of someone he knew, but his mind’s attempt to match the voice to a name was obstructed by the pain. His thoughts flashed and dimmed, the world grew out of focus, and even his own emotions were vague. He could no longer tell what was a dream and what was real. Hatred and pain scattered all else into the wind.
He mustn’t fall asleep here. He must stand up. Stand up, stand up, if anyone is going to die, you have to be the one to die first.
[Subaru: …don..’t die……ev..ryone……just me, dying…… is more than enough……!]
Spewing blood while wrenching out these words, Subaru desperately tried to push himself off the ground. His right arm already useless, he frantically crawled with his left. A red curtain had been drawn over his left field of vision, and Subaru knew that it was the blood flowing from his forehead. Roughly scraping his eyelids against his shoulder, he clenched his teeth as if to crush his molars, and turned up his face.
The carnage spanned out before him.
Every swing of the beast’s arm sent men flying, blood spraying, extinguishing the flames of life.
No matter how courageous and desperate their resolve, their resistance fell uselessly against the beast. Its golden fur was stained only with their blood, and their deaths had no meaning at all.
Mere defiance, only to be blown away like dust. Not the slightest meaning at all.
If there was only a single “Death” that could be meaningful, it was Subaru’s.
[Subaru: Stop it, stop it, stop it stop it stop it…… please, stop……!]
If you are going to kill, kill me first.
He was the target to begin with. There was no reason to hurt those brave, kind people, no reason to take their lives.
Or, rather, wasn’t their deaths just another consequence of Subaru’s stupidity? If so, then isn’t it just too――
[Subaru: ――ug, ah!?]
Subaru felt his body being picked up, as his face dropped down towards the ground.
Dangling helplessly from his back, Subaru was lifted off the ground by Patrasche, who was bleeding profusely from her wounds. Despite only barely clinging onto life after Garfiel’s merciless strike, she had crawled to Subaru’s side.
Witnessing her pitiful state, Subaru could not hold back what was welling up in the back of his eye from flowing out,
[Subaru: No, it’s alright…… that’s enough. You’ve done enough, Patrasche……]
Softly calling to her, Subaru reached out his hand to Patrasche’s blood-soaked jaw. But she shook her head at Subaru’s voice, as if trying to say [It’s not over yet, you know]. Then, tugging her muzzle under Subaru’s stomach, she lifted the helpless Subaru onto her back.
Subaru groaned in surprise. And with this, Patrasche set out her steps. The steadiness of her strides made one wonder just how she still had strength left within her.
No doubt, she was using up the last strengths of her life.
But even with the last ounce of life force she could muster, straining herself to the end, her speed was nothing compared to what she was usually capable of. And so, it was far from enough to escape the pursuing fangs.
The beast’s teeth sank into Patrasche’s hind leg as she shrieked with pain. Once again, Subaru was thrown into the air. But, floating weightlessly through space, just as he was prepared to crash to the ground, Patrasche reached out her neck and caught him in her jaw.
And, in the same motion, with all her might, she used her head to throw him as far as she could into the depths of the trees.
Subaru knew that it was all Patrasche could have done to put him as far from harm’s way as she could.
At the same time, he realized it. Why, after parting with Ram, she had taken the shortcuts through the forest to rejoin with the train of refugees.
――Patrasche had sensed the existence of the beast.
And because she sensed it, in order to increase the chance of Subaru’s survival, if only by a little, she fled towards the place where there were the largest number of other preys. All to protect Subaru.
Slamming onto the ground, Subaru’s body bounced once, then twice. And after wailing at the third bounce―― weightlessness overtook his body once again.
A steep slope opened into a ravine, and Subaru’s body rolled straight downward. Without even the strength to cry out, scraped by branches and gravel, tossed from bounce to bounce, Subaru’s body tumbled and fell,
Sliding in somersaults, his vision swirling and swaying, Subaru caught a glimpse of what was above him.
There, he witnessed a sight he had no wish to see.
The great tiger held Patrasche’s body in its jaws, and clenched down with unimaginable force. Its fangs tore into her flesh, and in a mass of spraying blood, her body was crushed in two.
Unable to even cry out in death, the loyal dragon sacrificed her last for Subaru.
His throat burned. His throat was tearing. Rage was boiling his brain and it felt like his blood was catching fire.
Bouncing, tumbling, sliding, rolling, scraping, Subaru went on falling.
――Rebounding high into the air, he felt weightless once again.
Crashing to the ground, his consciousness was swallowed into the impact.
His body did not stop falling. But all awareness had already separated from his flesh.
――Only a resentful voice, which refused to disappear, swirled and churned within his chest.
-=Chapter 42 End=-
Best girl Patrasche… ;-;
I had to go cry in a corner while translating the last part…
Chapter 43 Live Draft: