(Thank you Roanz, Jeffry, Fox, Nero 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/222/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 56 [The Purpose of the Sanctuary]
The place where Lewes led him was the remote shed where she last invited him for tea.
[Lewes: Anywhere on the bed is fine. I’ll brew us something to drink]
[Subaru: I could brew it if you like? Ram’s trained me pretty well, I think]
[Lewes: While I’d love to see your expertise, it doesn’t look like you’re free at the moment]
Lewes smiled as she pointed out the girl who looked exactly like herself, still tugging on Subaru’s sleeve without any indication of letting go.
While she was probably Lewes’ clone, Subaru wasn’t entirely sure if he should keep calling her that,
[Subaru: Say, why’s Pico still not letting go?]
[Lewes: I don’t know where you got the name Pico from, but, things being as they are, I doubt there’s anything you can do so you should just accept it for now. That’s what happens when you touch things without thinking, you know]
[Subaru: Can’t really argue with that……]
It sounded like Lewes was saying this for his own good, but Subaru still felt a little upset to be blamed for groping things without thinking. Seeing Subaru pouting to indicate his displeasure, Lewes brewed up the tea and came back with the tray in hand.
[Lewes: Here, it’s hot, so let it cool before drinking]
[Subaru: I’m not a little kid anymore… I’m not gonna gulp it down and burn myself]
[Lewes: I have someone around me who never settles down and always has trouble with hot food, so the warning’s gotten to be a habit]
Since Garfiel was the first person Subaru would think of to have trouble with hot food, Lewes was probably talking about him.
Seeing how Garfiel could transform into a giant tiger, the can’t-settle-down and the cat-tongued descriptors were both a match, and having difficulty learning would be in line with Subaru’s preconceptions as well.
Just as Lewes said, the tea was scalding hot. Subaru brought the cup to his lips, took a sip over his parched tongue, and sighed. Come to think of it, this was the first drink he had since Returning by Death and waking up in the Tomb.
[Subaru: Ahh, tastes just like leaves]
[Lewes: Have I just been given an unflattering review, or am I overthinking it]
[Subaru: You’re overthinking it, overthinking it]
Drinking down the rest of the tea, Subaru placed the cup back on the tray with a click.
Lewes casually pulled up a chair beside the bed and sat down facing him.
[Subaru: So, now that we’re settled, let’s start going over the topics]
[Lewes: Hmm. And I have quite a few things I’d like to ask Su-bo as well]
Somewhat relieved by her straightforward reply, Subaru’s mind began to turn.
He had plenty of opportunities to speak with persons of interest like this before, but he still hadn’t gotten any closer to the truth. Part of it was due to intentional concealing of information, but there was another reason before that.
[Subaru: It’s because I haven’t asked the right questions]
The question that would link all the answers into a single thread still eluded him.
And so, all this time, Subaru had been missing the point without realizing it.
Even something as simple as asking what he needed to know from those who knew was out of his reach.
[Subaru: That building…… that facility back there. What exactly is it?]
[Lewes: Hmm…… so that’s the question you’re starting with?]
The first thing that popped into his mind was an inconsequential feint.
A question to gauge just how upfront Lewes intended to be.
Hearing this, Lewes traced her fingers over her chin in a shrewd, seasoned gesture quite ill-suited for her appearance,
[Lewes: If you ask me what that facility is, the answer is that, in a sense, it is the core of the Sanctuary. In other words, it is part of the reason why the Sanctuary exists]
[Subaru: The reason why the Sanctuary exists……!?]
[Lewes: In the first place, Su-bo… who do you think had a need to create the Sanctuary?]
[Subaru: That’d be Rosw……]
Blurting out an almost reflexive answer, Subaru instantly realized that couldn’t be right.
While Roswaal was the current owner and manager of the Sanctuary, the question of who created the Sanctuary was a different story.
[Subaru: The one who created this place…… was the Witch of Greed, Echidona, right?]
[Lewes: Correct. It was the Witch Echidona who created this place. The Witch created the Sanctuary because it was necessary to her. Ultimately, that’s all this place is]
[Subaru: That’s a bit extreme, and skimping way too much in between…… at least give me a few details]
[Lewes: As for its purpose, isn’t the success of her experiments right in front of your eyes?]
Seeing Lewes’ smile as she said this, for a moment, Subaru held his breath.
Lewes’ words were vague, but he understood their meaning.
What she was trying to say was,
[Subaru: The result of this place… was Lewes-san and this girl?]
[Lewes: You are a kind child, Su-bo. Or otherwise, a naive one. ――It’s fine to just say the experimental results]
Subaru hesitated to say this in front of the person herself.
If it was a matter of failing to read the air or simply being obtuse, it’d be a different story. But Subaru was keenly aware that this was not a time for jokes.
[Lewes: There is a girl inside the crystal who looks exactly like me, yes?]
[Subaru: ……Yeah. Exactly identical. So Lewes-san, this girl and her… you guys are triplets, I guess?]
[Lewes: If you’re going to bunch every one of us who looks the same into one big family, calling us triplets would be falling a tad too short]
[Subaru: Just a tad?]
[Lewes: Just a tad]
Lewes’ “tad” might be referring to a missing digit here.
In fact, having seen more than twenty Lewes-clones at once, no one could blame him for thinking this.
Subaru sighed and shook off that thought.
So far, Lewes hadn’t been trying to dodge Subaru’s questions. Perhaps now was the time to stop feeling her out and dive in.
[Subaru: ――The girl in the crystal… what’s her relation to Lewes-san?]
He asked the question directly.
Lewes’ expression was calm. Brushing her fingers through her light-pink hair, she turned a meaningful gaze towards Subaru―― or rather, towards the silent girl at his side.
[Lewes: Not just me. This girl is in the same position as myself]
[Subaru: And the girl in the crystal?]
[Lewes: No, she is different. That girl inside the crystal… is the original]
Unable to instantly take in what he had just been told, Subaru furrowed his brows to show his non-understanding. Standing up from the bed, he chewed over the implications of her words,
[Subaru: The original, would mean that……]
[Lewes: Don’t be in such a hurry. Trawling through memories takes time for the elderly. So get comfortable, and be patient]
[Subaru: Don’t suddenly play the elderly card now. Just looking at this bland flavorless girl beside me I can tell that you’re just trying to add seasoning!]
[Lewes: Hrm, that’s an unfortunate misunderstanding. I consider all the things that make me what I am now, what you might call acquired individuality, to be quite important to me]
[Subaru: Acquired… individuality?]
Hearing something he could not let slide, Subaru repeated the words as a question. Lewes nodded, and with [That’s right], she continued,
[Lewes: Just as you imagined, I am the same as this girl, born as an empty vessel. And through the passing of years, that empty cask was filled to become what I am today]
[Subaru: Wait, waitwaitwait, the story’s moving way too fast. Born? Empty? What’s that supposed to mean? Maybe it’s supposed to be obvious, but what does this have to do with how the girl in the crystal is the original?]
[Lewes: The one inside the crystal is the original. The first Lewes Meyer. All the other Leweses, including myself, are Lewes Meyer’s replicas]
So casually, Lewes told him of her origins. Or actually, Subaru wasn’t even sure if he should continue calling her Lewes.
What Lewes said just now was what Subaru himself vaguely hypothesized upon seeing the Lewes-replicants. He had half-suspected it but could not be entirely convinced, partly because he hated the feeling of knowing that someone he knew was a clone.
If there must be a reason, it would have been Subaru’s own prejudice.
[Lewes: Now that you know I am a replica, does that affect how you see me?]
[Subaru: ……I don’t know. I want to say that it doesn’t. I want to, but……when you put me on the spot like this…]
――He couldn’t say for sure.
Strictly speaking, considering that this is a parallel world, he couldn’t exactly call the Leweses clones, and the way they were created was probably very different from what he imagined.
No doubt, they would have been born through magical rather than scientific means. Such a life shouldn’t be considered superior or inferior: that would have been the appropriate thing to say, but,
[Subaru: I’m not confident enough to say it with a straight face. So I can’t really say I’ll see you the same way]
[Lewes: I suppose I should revise what I said before. Su-bo is kind and naive…… and more than that, overly honest at heart]
Surely, those weren’t words she was happy to hear, but Lewes gave him a satisfied nod nonetheless. While sorting through the emotions in his mind, Subaru turned to the girl sitting beside him――the one he named Pico, who was in the same situation as Lewes.
――Silently holding onto Subaru’s sleeve, Pico was staring blankly across the room. Although her eyes should be seeing the same image as Subaru’s, they harbored nothing that could be considered emotions, and were more like glass beads reflecting the light around her.
Her expression hadn’t changed, and he hadn’t heard her make a single sound.
[Subaru: She’s completely empty inside, is that what you meant……?]
[Lewes: She was born not long ago, a replica who’s only just been given her role. She knows enough to recognize simple instructions, but otherwise, she is no different from a newborn. Although, seeing that she doesn’t cry or need to eat, she is quite a lot less trouble to take care of]
[Subaru: She doesn’t need to eat……?]
[Lewes: Replicating a body isn’t so simple a task. What do you imagine were the principles behind her and my creation?]
I have no idea what Pico is referencing >_<
Let me now if you spotted any typos! ❤
Chapter 56 Live Draft: