(Thank you Aaron, Roanz, Kizarat for helping with the proofreading! <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/210/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 45 [Conditions For The Tea Party]
Eyes tightly shut, Subaru clenched his teeth in anticipation of the impending fingers of shocking pain.
But this anguished determination was,
Despite pronouncing the words, none of the changes came to Subaru’s body.
Lifting his head, Subaru quickly felt his chest to confirm that nothing was out of the ordinary. Directly in front of him, Echidona was still sitting with her legs crossed just as she was a few seconds ago, and only her eyebrows slightly twitched on her perfect features.
Frantically looking her over, he saw that nothing had changed about the girl who was looking back at him. Her breathing, her demeanor: everything was the same as before. But, expecting the worst, his eyes locked onto the center of her chest, shrouded in her funerary dress,
[Echidona: Although I don’t know if they live up to your expectations, personally I’m not very confident in my chest size, you know. I guess if they were the size of Sekhmet’s or Minerva’s, they’d probably be a huge burden on my back and shoulders…… but from a curiosity standpoint, I still find it regrettable]
[Subaru: ……That’s totally not the reason why I’m ogling! No, more importantly…]
Hearing Echidona’s statement like it was a matter-of-course, Subaru shot back as if his brain went blank. Then, holding a palm to his mouth, desperately trying to stifle the emotions in his trembling voice,
[Subaru: When…… when I die, I rewind time, and do the world over again. I can Return by Death]
[Echidona: I heard you. And before I heard, I read it too. I see, it’s quite a rare situation indeed]
Carefree as ever, as if having completely accepted the facts of Subaru’s statement, Echidona nodded.
But, to Subaru, this attitude was nothing short of thunder striking on a clear day.
――At the end of his last syllable as he pronounced the words, no matter how much he reminded his heart to stay strong, his determination would easily have been destroyed under the unrelenting punishment of the Witch’s hand.
The pain that would result whenever he trespassed on the forbidden, dealt either to Subaru’s heart or the heart of the person he was confessing to, had always been the unshakable trauma binding his heart.
That was why, to Subaru, even the act of “Attempting” was out of the question. If not for Echidona’s push on his back, Subaru would not have possessed the final resolve to follow through.
He had done so with such momentous determination. And yet, it was so easily――
[Subaru: Why didn’t the hand come out……?]
[Echidona: You sound almost disappointed that it didn’t. In that case, could it be that you regret having missed an opportunity to kill me? I’m hurt]
[Subaru: I obviously wasn’t banking on that sort of……!]
[Echidona: Yes, I know. Are you feeling so cornered that you can’t even take a little joke?]
Ignoring Subaru’s emotions wavering under the shock, Echidona simply went on at her own pace. Unable to hold back his frustration, Subaru clicked his tongue and shot her a sharp glare,
[Subaru: Then answer me clearly. You… heard me say “Return by Death” several times now, and the hand that was supposed to…… the Witch’s hand won’t be coming? Am I right in thinking that?]
[Echidona: So you already understand that hand belongs to the Witch. ……Yes, that is correct. This is my dream, and my Citadel. A fantasy seen in my death. No one may enter here without my permission]
[Subaru: You’re sure of that?]
[Echidona: You certainly are cautious. ――Yes, I’m sure. The only Witches whose existences are permitted here are Greed, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Wrath, and Sloth. There is no place for Envy here]
Seeing Subaru insisting on making sure, Echidona replied.
Hearing this, for a moment Subaru forgot to breathe. A short while passed as he sat silently in his chair, limp and powerless. His shoulders dropped, his face stooped, and he let out a long, long sigh,
[Subaru: is that, so…….that so…… is, that so……]
Covering his face with his palm, Subaru repeated the same words under his breath. Over, and over.
As if just to make sure. As if unwilling to let it go. As if clinging onto it.
After all, whether it was being freed from the Witch’s fingers or finally spilling the forbidden words stowed deep inside his chest, all of it was a first since he arrived in this Parallel World.
[Echidona: That is certainly a profound expression you’re making]
Watching Subaru being tossed by waves of emotions, Echidona’s delicate lips softened as she spoke. Passing her fingers through her pure white hair,
[Echidona: Was that how much it has been tormenting you? Then again, having this kind of obsessive love directed at you, I guess it’s only inevitable]
[Subaru: Sorry… I got a bit carried away there. I’m fine now. …….Yeah, I’m fine now. I’m fine now, so let’s keep going. There’s still a mountain of things I want to talk to you about]
The constraint on speaking of “Return by Death” did not activate.
It took a considerable amount time just to come to terms with that fact, but even now that he had accepted it, his heart was still no less turbulent.
The burden he had carried up to now, the burden he was still carrying, the sense of liberation of finally being able to say it out loud―― was like a light of hope injected into this stifling deadlock. But,
[Echidona: There’s something you seem to be misunderstanding]
[Echidona: It is true that the Witch’s hand cannot intervene inside my Citadel. So I do understand your heart’s jubilation at finally being able to reveal the secret that you were barred from revealing up to now. But…… as to whether I should listen to your problems and just so conveniently offer my help and advice, that would be a separate question entirely, wouldn’t it?]
Subaru’s excitement was instantly doused like he was splashed by a bucket of cold water.
In front of the silenced Subaru, Echidona made an expression as if her statement was only a matter of course. Faced with this unexpected response, Subaru couldn’t hide the confusion and discouragement on his face
His gaze wavered as unintelligible sounds of [a] and [u] leaked from his mouth.
Just when he thought he saw the light and felt the sense of liberation in anticipation of breaking through the impasse, he let it slip right through his fingers. What should he do now? He had no idea at this point,
[Echidona: If you keep making that face like an abandoned child, I’ll feel troubled, you know. Besides, I wasn’t going to ask for anything too difficult of you]
Saying this, she tilted her head with a troubled look and lightly tapped three taps on the white table with her extended finger. Drawn by the sound, Subaru’s gaze landed on the place where her tapping finger was pointing. ――It was the cup he hadn’t touched since he got here.
[Echidona: You were invited to a Witch’s tea party. If you intend to carry on a lively conversation over tea, shouldn’t you show that you’ve accepted my invitation first?]
[Subaru: …….I…’m not sure what you’re]
[Echidona: I thought it couldn’t be any clearer than that? I even pointed this out at the beginning, you know]
With that reminder, Subaru remembered that Echidona did voice her complaint about Subaru not getting into the mood of the tea party and refusing to even look at his tea.
Realizing that this was her revenge, Subaru sustained major damage to his heart, and,
[Subaru: Damn it! Understood!]
Snatching up the cup from the table, he drank down the swirling amber-colored liquid in a single gulp. Despite having been left there for quite some time, its warmth was still just right. Perhaps, that was only to be expected of the offerings of a Witch’s tea party.
Having gulped it down faster than he could taste it, Subaru roughly wiped his dripping mouth with his sleeve,
[Subaru: There! I drank it! Now do you feel like accepting me as a member of the tea party?]
[Echidona: You drank up my bodily fluid with such vigour…… OH, I’m going to blush]
[Subaru: UueGHhh I forgot――!!]
And Subaru was caught on the same Dona-Tea trap he had stepped on at their first tea party.
Cheerfully watching Subaru as he held his hand to his mouth trying not to vomit, a delicate, lovely smile was inscribed onto Echidona’s cheeks, as if to say [You are accepted],
[Echidona: For your inquiry of “Why”, you are qualified, and the doors of this tea party are open to you. And, by drinking the tea offered by a Witch, you are accepted as an honored guest. As the host of this tea party, I am obliged to welcome you. ――Now, you may ask away]
Echidona lightly clapped, with brimming curiosity blazing radiantly in her eyes.
[Echidona: After all, to agonize the mind in search of an answer is the greatest of bliss to me]
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Chapter 45 Live Draft: