(Thank you Kizarat, Aaron, Rodolfo, Roanz, Relax Gaming, Vimal, 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/221/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 55 [The Girl In The Crystal]
――Subaru was so transfixed by the girl sealed inside the crystal that he forgot to breathe.
Such was the haunting, heart-rending beauty before his eyes.
Encased in the translucent, faint-blue crystal was a girl sitting with legs folded.
Frozen――may be an apt description, but unlike ice, which melts and releases whatever was inside, a crystal would remain eternally sealed until it was shattered.
But surely, if this crystal were to be shattered, so would the body of the girl sealed inside.
The words slipping from his lips carried a tinge of rage.
Subaru was calm, but he certainly felt anger.
There was no way to safely release the girl from the crystal. He didn’t know what whoever did this might be planning, or what relation that person might have to this girl. He didn’t know, but he couldn’t stop it from tearing at his heart.
[Subaru: This is Lewes-san…… isn’t she?]
He stepped into the room. ――And, contrary to his memories of last time, there was no giant hole in the floor. Instead, settled in its place was the crystal.
It was a tall crystal, set on a metallic base which was the only equipment not in a state of disrepair in the otherwise ruined facility, shining like it was fresh out of a factory.
Opposite the crystal were several tables lined up in a row, and Subaru realized that they were the same ones that were toppled and scattered over the room in the previous world.
Same as last time, there were no lights in the room, but the faint glow of the moss on the walls ensured a certain degree of visibility.
Instruments reminiscent of medical equipment that he had seen scattered against the wall were now in perfect condition. Sifting out these differences in his memories, Subaru arrived at the conclusion,
[Subaru: Six days from now, this place will have been destroyed, in a way that no one could figure out what was going on in here]
It would be inconvenient if anyone found out about this place.
Sometime between now and the Great Rabbit’s attack, the key components of this facility would be destroyed and its rubble buried into the darkness.
But this time, Subaru arrived before that could happen.
[Subaru: And sure enough, the most likely candidate…… is Garfiel]
What made Subaru search here in the first place was his sense of unease towards Garfiel’s suspicious behavior.
Determined to protect the Sanctuary and with his unmistakable affection for Lewes, there must be some reason unbeknownst to Subaru why Garfiel would be doing this.
Simply put, there weren’t many people whose strength could match Garfiel’s, so, considering the extreme difficulty of actually destroying the facility, there was reason to believe it was Garfiel.
The question that remained would be――
[Subaru: What is this facility actually used for?]
Although the room was fortunately intact, Subaru’s inspection yielded no obvious results. Aside from a girl who looked exactly like Lewes encased inside a crystal fixed to the room, nothing stood out and caught Subaru’s attention.
In the back of the room, on the wall beyond the row of tables, Subaru saw the ventilation shaft that he had crawled through last time. Passing through it should land him back in the waiting room.
[Subaru: ……It’s pretty late at this point, but what’s with the weird layout? All this can’t just be for one big room plus a waiting room]
Contrary to the layout of the rooms inside, the exterior of the facility looked a lot larger than this.
The more he tried to match his mental map with what he saw outside, the stronger the sense of incongruity became. ――There was enough space to conceal a whole other room.
Cutting across the room, Subaru walked up to the wall beneath the ventilation shaft and began tapping to feel its surface. The moss-covered wall felt more like an animal’s fur than actual moss.
His knocks did not produce a sound, and, aside from lighting the room, they seemed to be also serving another purpose. Location-wise, if there was a mystery room, it would be on the other side of this wall.
[Subaru: Considering how far I had to crawl, there should be a room half the size of this one. Unless there’s some kind of rotating wall… there’d be no way to get into that room from here……]
In that case, the entrance might be in the waiting room.
Last time, Subaru didn’t have a chance to search every corner of the facility. Nor did he care to look for any hidden doors when he passed through the narrow waiting room this time.
In fact, he was so preoccupied with the girl inside the crystal that he had neglected the waiting room entirely. ――On that thought, he turned around,
When he came eye-to-eye with the person who had entered the room.
Meeting gazes with those emotionless eyes, he let a sound escape from his throat.
The silhouette’s round pupils stared back at Subaru――it was a girl wrapped in white cloth with long, pink hair.
A figure who looked exactly like Lewes, but without any of the aura of the girl he knew. In fact, it gave off no aura at all.
Like empty space, it simply stood there. In other words,
[Subaru: Ah, Lewes-san’s……]
Clone. The word flickered across his mind, but he hesitated before applying it to the girl. “Clone” was just a title that Subaru had imagined. The truth is, he had no idea where the girls actually came from and felt a little guilty calling her that.
[Subaru: But then……]
Having no other name to call her with, he was stuck.
Watching Subaru fall into silence, the girl stood there quietly as well. Her expression did not move, and even whether she was breathing was suspect.
Subaru hesitated to make the first sound, while the doll only waited to be addressed.
――Seeing her quietly standing there, at last, Subaru made up his mind to open his mouth.
[Subaru: Y….. you, uh. Can you understand what I’m saying?]
[Subaru: What’s your name? Can I ask what you’re doing here? Actually, what is this place, anyway?]
[Subaru: ……Sanctuary, Garfiel, Lewes. You know those words?]
Three questions were met with three bouts of silence.
He thought the questions might have prompted her expression to change, but her face didn’t move a muscle to any of the questions he asked. As if she was simply incapable of expression.
Nothing was happening――he was out of ideas.
But, just as Subaru was scratching his head, the girl suddenly moved.
The abrupt movement startled him, but the girl’s pace was relaxed.
Same as when he entered the room, the girl stepped through the waiting room door and walked to the center of the room with unhurried steps―― until she was in front of the crystal.
The girl inside the crystal looked exactly identical to the girl approaching it.
Standing before the girl sealed in unwaking slumber, the unfettered girl bent over and reached for the lower part of the crystal’s supporting base.
The lower part of the base opened with a clank, and Subaru’s eyes widened. There seemed to be a flap on the lower section of the base that opened into some kind of storage space inside.
The girl squatted down and began working away, blocking his view of the interior as he stretched his neck. Shifting around trying to see, Subaru decided to step closer and confirm its contents once and for all, when,
An intense, putrid stench pierced his nostrils as Subaru covered his face, recoiling.
The shocking odor corroded the membranes inside his nose, and the sensation of smelling it was closer to pain than shock. His eyes teared up as he was overtaken by the pressure of his stomach’s contents rushing to his throat.
Stench――it was the same putrid stench he remembered permeating the facility the last time he was here. Like some chemical concoction, suspected to contain substances harmful to the human body.
Subaru was sure that it must have come from the collapsed hole in the ground, but,
[Subaru: It was actually coming from inside that base……and the whole area around that crystal]
Holding his nose, Subaru came to this conclusion as he drew closer with teary eyes.
It felt as though the stench was seeping into his pupils as the sight of the oblivious girl buried in her work sent shivers down his spine. Then, as he peeked down at her hands from the side, his eyes shot wide open.
――Inside the base, the girl’s hands were fiddling around with an internal segment carved with incomprehensible patterns with magical minerals installed in various places.
The minerals were faintly glowing from their stores of internal Mana, but one of them seemed to have used up its stores and lost its light. The girl carefully removed it, and inserted a replacement in its place.
The complex patterns reminded him of what he saw in that last loop.
Magic circles――a staple technology of the parallel world fantasy genre, was somehow inexplicably absent from this world. And that was precisely why it left such an impression when he did eventually encounter one and made him wonder just what function it may have served.
[Subaru: Seeing how the minerals are linked up…… it kind of looks like an electrical circuit. If the magic circle is the mechanical part and the magic minerals are like the batteries……]
Subaru couldn’t help but be amazed by the sight.
Magical science, or should he call it arcane technology?
While Subaru occupied himself with such thoughts, the girl seemed to have finished her work, having extracted the spent mineral and closed the metal flap.
And, within seconds, Subaru felt a tingling sensation on his skin.
――There was a subtle vibration in the atmosphere.
[Subaru: It’s like…… when magic is being used]
Magic of tremendous force and magnitude―― like during the battle with the White Whale, and when Julius activated Nect in their fight against Petelgeuse.
Most likely, it was some kind of interference in the atmospheric mana, and his body was perceiving the corresponding shift in his own mana.
In this case, it was obvious what the mana was reacting to.
Before his eyes, he saw the crystal’s faint glow rapidly intensify.
Translucent and blue, the crystal’s radiance compounded in the darkness of the room as the girl’s body grew ever more distinct.
And there, the magic circle inside the base, along with the crystal supported above, illuminated the room with blinding, pale-blue light.
December 1st-3rd is the Ludum Dare Gamejam so I’ll be out for 3 days making a small game.
I’ll try to finish the chapter tonight and tomorrow before it starts.
Let me know if you see typos ❤
Chapter 55 Live Draft: