(Thank you Kizarat, Aaron, Rodolfo, Roanz, Relax Gaming, Vimal, Zazorok, ToggleD, 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/
Subaru unconsciously muttered something that no one except those living in the modern age would understand.
A crystal on top of a magic circle, engulfing the room in a pale-blue radiance: That was exactly how Subaru remembered the familiar savepoint-crystals in his video games.
Captivated by the vivid spectacle, the silence in which it happened only adding to its mystique, Subaru held his breath, unable to voice his thoughts.
But, as he stood rigid in front of the mesmerizing sight,
Without paying him any mind, after switching out the magical mineral, the girl began heading out of the room, chucking the inert mineral into what seemed to be a waste pile.
Hearing the footsteps grow distant behind him, Subaru quickly reached out to her shoulder.
[Subaru: Hey, h-hold on…… ah-, touched her]
With the apparent feebleness of her vibe and presence, Subaru had half-expected his hand to simply pass through her, but fortunately, his fingers wrapped around her shoulder and successfully stopped her.
Then, suddenly remembering that she was probably one of those girls who exploded upon contact with the Witch of Envy, Subaru’s caution instantly heightened,
But the girl only quietly looked at Subaru, without showing any signs of exploding.
Somewhat relieved by this fact, Subaru met the gaze of the girl who was still quite intact.
[Subaru: Sorry for interrupting your work, but, I still want to ask… Can you not ignore me this time? I’m in kind of a jam here, you know]
[Subaru: So, what were you doing just now? Why’s that crystal glowing? And do you know anything about the girl inside?]
Nothing was happening RE-TAKE.
No matter how many times he asked, the girl only gazed at him in silence. She wasn’t refusing to answer, but rather, it was as if the choice wasn’t even available to her.
The impression of a “Doll” hadn’t changed at all.
[Subaru: If you could just manage some sort of yes-or-no communication then I’ll have something to work with here……]
But, that wasn’t happening.
Keeping hold of the girl who seemed to be ready to leave as soon as he let her go, Subaru turned to the crystal.
Nothing had changed about the girl inside her dazzling, glowing prison, but something else became clear with the intensified light.
She wasn’t breathing, and it was clear that she had no pulse.
――The body of the girl encased in the crystal lacked all signs of life.
[Subaru: ……Suspended animation… would be an over-optimistic take on it]
Just reheating frozen bodies to return them to life would be difficult enough. Not to mention that this girl’s body was crystallized.
Freeing her would be like a pipe-dream times two.
[Subaru: Once again… I’m so damn useless……]
Defeated by his own sense of powerlessness, Subaru touched his fingers to the surface of the crystal.
He felt its coldness against his fingertips, and wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or enraged that this girl could not feel this chill eat away at her.
And, just as that sentiment scraped across his chest,
The coldness at his fingertips suddenly turned to heat, passing through Subaru’s arm and coursing through his body.
[Subaru: ――O, ou, ouah!?]
What started as a warmth quickly turned to searing heat, scorching his entire body.
The flames running from his fingertips to his organs made Subaru recoil, crying out in pain.
Gripped by the suffocating heat, his screams echoed through the room.
Paying no heed to the filthiness of the floor, Subaru sprawled out onto the ground, convulsing as his eyes flashed between dark and light――and then,
[Subaru: ――Hhh, uh?]
Without so much as a warning, his time in Hell ended as abruptly as it came.
The heat ravaging through his body died away, and Subaru was suddenly released from the storm of agony.
[Subaru: ……wh-what the hell was]
Sitting himself up, Subaru muttered while checking over his hands and feet.
The sudden pain, and its equally abrupt end. He couldn’t understand its cause or its purpose, and it left him only questions and a painful memory.
[Subaru: There’s…nothing. But, if nothing happened, then…]
Why did it hurt so much when he touched the crystal?
Perhaps it was the arcane technology at the base of the crystal. Something like touching inside a machine and getting electrocuted.
Coming to that thought, Subaru suddenly remembered the Lewes-lookalike he had forgotten about while he was distracted by the pain.
Subaru scrambled to his feet, but the suspense fell away when he looked up and saw the girl’s unchanged face. Then, through the unravelling tension,
――He saw the girl kneel down with profound reverence, bowing her head before him.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Seeing the girl on her knees, her head lowered, Subaru wasn’t sure what to do.
If he wasn’t mistaken, that gesture was a display of respect and submission towards him.
[Subaru: W-what’re you doing all of a sudden?]
Having completely ignored him up to now, the sudden, drastic change left Subaru both surprised and skeptical.
Even if she was submitting to him like this, the gap between Subaru and the girl ran deep. Neither of them knew where the other came from, and, considering the circumstances, there was no way to not be suspicious.
In front of the cautious Subaru, the kneeling girl stood up.
Then, she lifted her gaze, as if looking at something behind Subaru’s head. He turned around to see, but there was nothing there.
It was almost like how one would stare into empty space while thinking. And when Subaru turned back to her,
He saw the girl standing within breathing distance, right up against his eyes. Subaru tried to lean back, but the girl reached out her hand and grabbed him by the arm.
[Subaru: ……? You… want me to come with you?]
Saying nothing, the girl tugged on his sleeve, signaling him to follow.
Seeing her nod wordlessly to his question, Subaru only stood there, thinking.
Maybe the reason she was so stubbornly refusing to talk was simply because she couldn’t. But she did seem to understand his question. So maybe, by asking Subaru to follow, she was trying to reply to what he was asking earlier.
[Subaru: Well, can’t get the tiger’s cub without going in the tiger’s den, right?]
[Subaru: It’s a thing from back home. ――Alright, lead on, I’ll follow]
Subaru nodded back, gesturing that he’ll go with her, and the girl started walking, still pulling on his sleeve. Following behind her, Subaru took one last look at the crystal.
――Same as before, the girl continued sleeping inside the pale-blue light.
Pulling him by the sleeve, she led him out of the room, through the corridor, the waiting area, and then, out of the facility.
[Subaru: So it’s not inside, huh. Well, outside’s ok too, but……]
If someone from the Sanctuary saw him, his stealth mission into the facility would be exposed. Although he didn’t really do anything to feel guilty about, considering his current relationship with Garfiel, he’d rather avoid it this loop.
Just as he was worrying about what he should do if the girl starts leading him to the Sanctuary,
[????: ――What’s that, sure’s a complicated expression you got there, Su-bo]
[Subaru: ……Oy oy, what’s with the timing?]
Stepping out of the facility and into the open air, he heard a voice calling out to him.
Turning to the direction of that voice, and seeing the person standing there, Subaru’s lips slackened. Whether it was out of relief, or for some other reason,
[Lewes: I’m sure there’re all sorts of things you want to talk about, but first, how about a change of location?]
[Subaru: Yeah, sounds good. There really are… lots of things we need to talk about]
Subaru shrugged in agreement.
And, in that moment, just what did she see when she looked at him?
――With her back to the moonlight, seeing Subaru standing beside a girl who looked exactly like herself, just what was the original Lewes thinking in that moment?
-=Chapter 55 End=-
Ludum Dare has started but I can’t focus my brain until I get the chapter out first…
The Game Jam lasts until Monday afternoon, I’ll start the next chapter after that!
Chapter 56 Live Draft: