(Thank you Roanz, Loris, Kizarat, Soriosh for help with 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/212/
In the end, the only one within the Witch of Envy’s considerations was Subaru himself.
As long as Subaru could overcome the fate of Death, everything else was trivial. She believed that no matter how hopeless the situation became, given infinite retries, Subaru would find a way to survive. Or rather, even if it was hopeless, Subaru would not be allowed to give up.
Because all the conditions of Return by Death were held in the Witch of Envy’s hands.
[Subaru: Alright…… if you got such a thing for me, then I’ve made up my mind as well]
[Subaru: This gift of Return by Death you’ve given me…… I’ll use it to the end. And at the end, I’ll meet you without having lost a single thing dear to me. Yeah, it’s decided. Already decided. I’ll make sure of it. I’m the greatest in the world at betraying people’s expectations, you know]
If Return by Death was subject to the Witch’s will, then Subaru’s will would decide how it was to be used.
So, he will pile it up, overcome it, and move forward while holding onto everything.
If the Witch’s love would only save Subaru, then Subaru would save everything else.
Only with this, could Natsuki Subaru take a first shot back at the Witch.
[Subaru: Changing the circumstances…… means to break through the problems of the Sanctuary and the problems at the Mansion. If all those are cleared, then regardless of how many victims are sacrificed, the return point of Return by Death will be updated. In other words, holding onto everything while overcoming the problems is the absolute condition]
[Echidona: It may be strange for me to say this, but isn’t that quite an arduous task to take on? You certainly seem to have accepted it easily]
[Subaru: I was just saying something I’ve already been vaguely thinking about out loud. Rather than break me, it’s got my motivation all fired up. My rebellious heart’s all ablaze, you know]
Hearing Subaru’s declaration, Echidona fell speechless.
Taking some small satisfaction in seeing the Witch at a loss for words, Subaru clicked the bones in his neck, and,
[Subaru: There’s nothing else I wanted to ask about Return by Death. Anyways, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks]
[Echidona: ……I’ve also sated my curiosity through a valuable conversation. So let’s call it even. Besides, as opposed to flaunting my knowledge, this was more of me voicing my speculations]
[Subaru: Then, this next one should be properly relying on that knowledge of yours]
Since her knowledge didn’t extend to the topic of Return by Death, there were still many ambiguities involved. But this would not be the case for Subaru’s next question.
This one, he must hear it loud and clear from her own mouth.
[Subaru: This time I Returned by Death…… do you know how I died?]
[Echidona: I haven’t read that part, so no, I don’t. And while I am incredibly interested in discussing the experiences of your various deaths…… you don’t seem to be in the mood right now]
[Subaru: It’s kind of hard to be boasting of wounds and deaths and heroic feats without some alcohol. But since all we got here is Dona-tea, that hope’s pretty much out the window]
[Echidona: That is unfortunate. ……From the looks of your body outside, your death must have been accompanied by considerable mental and physical anguish…… in the end]
It was probably considerate of her to have avoided describing how he died.
Sensing that consideration, Subaru somewhat relaxed his cheeks, before immediately stiffening again with [Aah yeah], nodding,
[Subaru: Just remembering it gives me the shivers…… this time, I was eaten alive]
[Subaru: And it was by these stupid, tiny little palm-sized rabbits. Omnivores and hungry, apparently. They… ate up my whole body without leaving a scrap]
Although he was understating it with his phrasing, there was no way to properly describe that miserable end with words.
The memory of his whole body being devoured, of his flesh, bones and blood being violated by pointed teeth still insisted on pain in the depths of Subaru’s mind.
Forcibly pushing this down, Subaru somehow managed to keep himself calm. Seeing this, Echidona pressed the back of her hand against her lips,
[Echidona: …….So you encountered the Great Rabbit, I see]
[Subaru: Great Rabbit?]
[Echidona: “Great” not as in “Size”, but in “Multitude”. That meaning was lost in communication over the ages. It is one of the Witch of Gluttony, Daphne’s, inauspicious legacies―― one of three]
[Subaru: The Great Rabbit is……]
Once, he had heard it from Julius. And here, the name of the Mabeast was uttered again by Echidona.
White Whale, Black Serpent, and Great Rabbit. Each and every one were Mabeasts that threatened the world since 400 years ago and subjects of the Witch of Gluttony, Daphne.
[Subaru: Just when I thought I got the White Whale down the Great Rabbit shows up, give me a break…..]
[Echidona: If your adversary is the Great Rabbit, then you are up against a terrible enemy]
In front of Subaru, who was holding his head, Echidona’s expression darkened at the knowledge of the threat which he was facing. Subaru was beginning to feel some apprehension at the sight of her expression,
[Subaru: I felt the same anxiety when I was facing the White Whale…… so which one is worse?]
[Echidona: In terms of pure combat strength, the White Whale is by far the greater of the two. But in terms of which one is harder to destroy, then it is without doubt the Great Rabbit]
[Subaru: Hard to destroy……]
Subaru thought that, just like with the White Whale, there must be a way to slay it. But seeing this reaction from Subaru, Echidona raised up a single finger [Are you listening?],
[Echidona: You may think that it is no different from a regular Mabeast, or that it is simply a little more troublesome]
[Subaru: No, I mean, I’ve at least figured out that they’re not the cute little bastards they look like……]
[Echidona: More accurately, the existence of the Great Rabbit is closer to that of a natural disaster. Always acting as a drove, they move for none other than the instinct of their insatiable appetite. All living creatures are their food, and they set out to do nothing except to devour every last morsel of their feed. Where the Great Rabbit passes, only unpopulated fields remain. Crops and fruits are untouched. The only things they devour are the living]
Listening to Echidona’s description of the Great Rabbit, Subaru gasped and swallowed back a breath.
Watching her stern expression, Subaru realized that she was not exaggerating.
A Sanctuary devoid of people, and the sea of little rabbits that devoured him.
If that was the Great Rabbit, then the fact that the Sanctuary was empty could only be because they had all been eaten by the Mabeast.
Emilia, Ram, Lewes, Roswaal, and even Garfiel who had transformed into a giant tiger.
Locusts―― the word suddenly surfaced in Subaru’s mind.
The phenomenon where a mass outbreak of locusts appears. More specifically, a mass of grasshoppers morphing into locusts, devouring fields of crops into nothing, leaving devastation and famine in its wake.
The Great Rabbit’s behavior was very close to the locusts Subaru knew.
Although, unlike locusts, the Great Rabbit ate living creatures, and so their inexhaustible hunger threatened life far more directly than the locusts.
[Subaru: Can’t we find a way to defeat them?]
[Echidona: Individually, their strengths are not significant, but do not forget that they move in droves. Killing any number of single individuals is completely meaningless, and as soon as they catch sight of prey, they will not stop until it is dead and devoured. They are “Hunger” itself]
[Subaru: Wait wait wait. Yeah but……if the rabbits move in droves, shouldn’t there be a BOSS leading it or something? If we just kill the boss, won’t the whole thing collapse?]
According to the general rules of the human world, killing the leader is usually enough to make a group scatter. Although, in terms of the animal world, the second in command might just take over when that happens.
Then again, Subaru didn’t know much about the natural behavior of Mabeasts, so all he could do was rely on the one who was knowledgeable in this field, Echidona. But there, she shook her head,
[Echidona: You seem to have misunderstood something. The Great Rabbit has no concept of “Bosses”. They are driven only by the instinct of “Hunger”. They consume other life to sate their own hunger, and know no other structure. They reproduce by dividing, and when there is no prey, they cannibalize each other to endure their hunger. There is no sense of companionship between them]
[Subaru: Cannibalize…… wh, why on earth were these monsters created in the first place!?]
[Echidona: Why, that is something only the person who created them would know. At least, Daphne herself isn’t as insistent on her appetite as her rabbits are]
Subaru couldn’t help but shiver at the dreadful nature of those rabbits.
Certainly, by instinct, it is the natural order of all living organisms to consume other life to sustain their own. On this point, there is no difference between humans or animals, or Mabeasts, for that matter.
But, to multiply by dividing themselves without mating or raising their young, and even worse, rather than just dividing to increase their number, the fact that they sate their hunger by consuming individuals spawned from themselves was unnatural to the extreme.
It may just be that the Great Rabbit was the organism to end all living organisms.
[Subaru: Hypothetically…… uh, if I had to destroy the Great Rabbit, what do you think I should do?]
[Echidona: To be honest, I think that question is like asking “How do you evaporate all the raindrops in a pouring rain?”]
“It’s impossible to accomplish,” must be what she meant.
Hearing Echidona’s answer, Subaru held a hand to his forehead, dizzied by the enormity of the hurdle of defeating the Great Rabbit.
[Subaru: If we can kill all of them, then the Great Rabbit will be destroyed, right?]
[Echidona: Yet, that would be far too reckless of a thing to attempt. As far as I know, the only people capable of doing this were Reid Astrea and Sekhmet. Reid could use his overwhelming swordsmanship to slay it to the last one. As for Sekhmet…… with the issue of their affinity, she could destroy them in a second]
[Subaru: I heard they were real monsters… those two……]
Last time, the memory of Sekhmet sitting there hugging her knees surfaced in his mind.
At least, from what Subaru had seen, his impression of her was someone who found everything to be a bother, a Witch entirely appropriate for the title of “Sloth”.
Recalling his encounter with Sekhmet, a light lit up in Subaru’s head.
Although it was faint, and fleeting, it was enough to light the way out of the dead-end he was in. More importantly, this was something he absolutely couldn’t do without Echidona’s help.
[Echidona: What is it? Such a serious expression. ……No, we mustn’t. You are living, and I am dead. This crossing of our fates is only a transitory fantasy, a fleeting dream. So even if you stare at me with such passionate eyes, I……]
[Subaru: No no sorry to put it to you when you’re all worked up but that’s totally not what I was thinking! Seriously, totally not at all!]
Staggering a bit at seeing Echidona looking somewhat disappointed, Subaru quickly veered the conversation back on topic. That is,
[Subaru: Echidona, I want to meet the Witch of Gluttony――Daphne]
[Subaru: Last time on your tea party, I met the Witches of Pride, Wrath, and Sloth. But that time you did say you kept the fragments of the five other Witches safe]
[Echidona: ……collected them, yes. The traces of who they were in life are indeed kept within me. If I release them from this vessel I am, then it would be possible for them to manifest. It is possible, but…]
Hearing Subaru’s proposal, Echidona furrowed her brows, looking troubled.
Her gaze wandered and even her words grew indistinct, until she looked to Subaru once again,
[Echidona: I really think it would be best if you abandon the idea of meeting Daphne]
[Subaru: Why is that? I know Witches can be a handful, I’ve already gotten a pretty intimate taste of that so I think I’m prepared for it. No matter what happens, I won’t complain or anything]
[Echidona: Before we get to complaints, in my opinion, I think your affinity with Daphne would be extremely terrible. You could even say that it is the worst there can be. Even if you meet her, chances are, you wouldn’t be able to discuss anything useful……]
[Subaru: Won’t know until I try. Trial and error, as you like to say, right?]
Actions in pursuit of answers. Echidona always said she approved of such endeavors.
Hearing Subaru’s words, with an [u…] Echidona showed an expression as if she had just been stabbed in a sore spot. Seeing this from her, Subaru went on, [Besides], scratching his head,
[Subaru: You’re the one who said I don’t have to worry for my life while I’m in here. Not that I’m being optimistic, but, at least, if I don’t have to worry about dying, I figured there’s no harm in taking on the challenge]
[Echidona: Well I never said your mind won’t break and you won’t end up a cripple]
[Subaru: I’ll trust you to pull me back before that happens. So please, Echidona? I’m number one in the world when it comes to relying on others, you know?]
Throwing out a joke along with words of trust, Subaru sparkled his teeth and shot her a thumbs-up.
Seeing Subaru’s frivolous-to-the-end attitude, the colors of resistance gradually faded from Echidona’s eyes,
[Echidona: ……alright. I will let you meet Daphne]
[Subaru: Ohoo, thankyouthankyou]
[Echidona: But, I must warn you. Do not, under any circumstances, undo her bondage. And you are forbidden to make contact with her body. In fact, please avoid making eye contact if possible]
[Subaru: What kind of a creep am I to have to be told to follow all that!]
Besides, there were some words mixed in there that just couldn’t be ignored.
But just as Subaru was about to ask―― Echidona had already completed her preparations.
Just as last time, Echidona had summoned a Witch without any preliminary motion or foreshadowing.
When he blinked and opened his eyes, there was already someone else occupying the space where she had been.
It was all just like last time.
[Subaru: Oy oy……isn’t this just……]
Faced with what had appeared before his eyes, Subaru whispered as his cheeks stiffened.
In front of his eyes, was the Witch of Gluttony, Daphne.
――Set inside a coffin, her entire body restrained by bondage and her eyes sealed behind a thick black blindfold, was the girl who was a Witch.
-=Chapter 46 End=-
Dona ❤ >_<
I’ll also post an image of Daphne after I finish releasing!
Chapter 47 Live Draft: