(Thank you Roanz, Rodolfo, Kizarat, Vimal, Nair, Ben, Bagel, Ahbahl, Fox, Nero, Relax Gaming 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/223/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 57 [An Experiment In Immortality]
The stuff of fables throughout all of time, and an ideal which any living being would have at some point considered.
Never aging, never crumbling, outside the reach of reincarnation, a “Self” which persists in perpetuity. Despite violating the very principles of life, how many have been enraptured by that pinnacle of existence.
Repeating the word under his breath, Subaru almost broke out laughing at such unrealistic ambition. But instead, his cheeks stiffened, and couldn’t even manage a proper smile.
While half of him wanted to laugh it off as something ludicrous, the other half shuddered at the knowledge that the Witch’s experiments were far from fiction.
[Subaru: That’s quite a common aspiration for the likes of a Witch. Immortality or whatever…… that just gives off the impression of a puny little person who’s scared of dying, you know]
[Lewes: Whether being afraid of death makes a person puny would depend on who you ask. At least, the Witch of Greed isn’t so resigned towards the idea. It is natural to fear death, and to seek ways to overcome it…… though most of the time, they fail due to a lack of ability, and end as no more than fantasies]
[Subaru: Except, Echidona does have the ability. She might’ve even thought of all sorts of ways to do it. I wouldn’t put it past that clever brain of hers]
Looking at Pico, sitting beside him, Subaru bit down on his lips feeling an emotion he couldn’t put into words.
Pico didn’t react to his gaze, but simply continued to sit there silently as if in some sort of idle-mode.
Seeing this, [haa…], Subaru sighed,
[Subaru: Right. It’s like there’s nothing inside…… no personality or anything]
[Lewes: Her state is like that of a marionette. The epitome of a perfectly-prepared vessel. All that’s left is to fill her with whatever the Witch desires]
[Subaru: But how’s all this coming along? Not saying I know the theory behind it, but I think I have a rough idea of what she’s trying to do]
That is, to download her own knowledge and memories into the empty vessel.
If it was only a matter of data, Subaru wouldn’t have felt so repulsed.
But the subject in question was a person’s identity. More than that, it was a person whom Subaru knew, on the inside and out.
[Subaru: Taking her own memories and injecting them into an empty body. Assuming it succeeds, she could just repeat the process when one dies. It really would be like a kind of immortality. But……]
Passing on one’s personalities and memories would certainly be akin to overcoming “Death”.
After all, as long as the data that comprises the person is kept safe, even if the container is destroyed, it could be revived in another vessel.
By making copies of herself and copies of empty bodies―― Echidona would indeed be immortal, at least in theory.
[Subaru: People usually panic when they meet parallel-world versions of themselves and get stuck with a sense of obligation that they absolutely have to eliminate the other]
[Subaru: Guess it’s because they can’t stand the feeling of seeing themselves outside of themselves. Just thinking about it, I can already see the icky situation awaiting her in the future… Hey, Lewes-san]
[Subaru: By making so many Lewes Meyer bodies…… and then filling them with her personalities, she’s not only perpetuating herself, but also making multiple copies of herself, right?]
Theoretically, that should also be possible.
From a purely theoretical standpoint, when the goal is to perpetuate oneself indefinitely, the more backups there are, the better.
If even Subaru thought of that, there was no way the Witch hadn’t thought of it too.
[Subaru: Wonder what it feels like, to have other back-ups prepared. Even if you fail, there’s a sort of “Insurance” ready and waiting. What do you make of that, Lewes-san?]
[Lewes: ……I doubt I’ll ever understand it. I am not too knowledgeable on the techniques of extracting personalities, but, just speaking for myself, losing my only body would mean the end of what I am. In that sense, I am no different from Su-bo in that I’d have no recourse from the loss of my body]
[Subaru: Is that right. Yeah…… yeah, of course]
Subaru couldn’t help but let out a dry smile at Lewes’ statement. Lewes furrowed her brows at Subaru’s reaction, but there was no way she could possibly know what his reaction actually meant.
[Subaru: Right, that explains it. Yeah… now I kinda understand why it feels like there’s no space between us…]
Subaru spilled a sigh as the white-haired Witch surfaced in his mind.
Preparing copies of herself, transferring her personality to achieve near-immortality. By doing so, her life was virtually “assured”.
[Subaru: In that case, how is that any different from me?]
He couldn’t bring himself to despise her for it.
Instead, it was a sense of closeness that surged up inside. Although calling it “closeness” might give rise to some questionable emotions, there was also the dark sense of elation to have found someone who shared his situation.
Echidona, who used her own methods to achieve a piece of immortality.
And Subaru, played on the palms of the Witch’s hands, returning from death, striving for the destined future.
Both rebelling against the law which stated that there can only be one “Life”.
In that sense, Subaru thought,
――Isn’t Echidona the only person who could possibly understand me?
Or, at the very least, understand his mentality.
[Subaru: ……I think I understand Lewes-san’s position now. And what Echidona was aiming for. So other than that, there’s something else I wanted to ask…… Were Echidona’s plans successful?]
[Lewes: Her plans……]
[Subaru: Even I can see that she’s readied the empty vessels. All that’s left is to write herself into them. So, was she successful in copying herself? I mean……]
――Is Echidona currently alive somewhere in this world?
Subaru didn’t say the question out loud.
But, understanding what he was trying to ask, Lewes closed her eyes and shook her head to Subaru’s hopeful gaze.
Slowly, she shook her head.
[Lewes: No, regrettably not…… the Witch’s plans were not successful. There is no body of Lewes Meyer in existence which carries the Witch’s personalities, tying her to the world of the living]
[Subaru: …why’s that? She couldn’t suck the memories out of her head and download it into the body?]
[Lewes: I don’t know what “down-load” is, but the actual technique for extracting her personality was complete. As for why it failed, there is another reason]
[Subaru: Another reason……?]
[Lewes: It’s quite simple. There is a limit to how much content a vessel can hold before they begin to overflow. If just one part flows over, the rest could no longer be considered the original existence]
Hearing the word “vessel”, Subaru looked at Lewes, and then at Pico.
Gazing at their tiny bodies,
[Subaru: Vessel…… it’s probably not a problem with the body size, right?]
[Lewes: It is the size of the soul, you could say. People have souls of sizes that befit their existence. The vessel of the girl Lewes Meyer isn’t large enough to contain the soul of the Witch Echidona]
[Subaru: But……how could you be sure?]
[Lewes: When she failed to inject her knowledge into the first of the replicants, the problem with the size of the vessel was already self-evident. But, by that time, Lewes Meyer’s body was already sealed within the crystal, and the mechanism to replicate her body was already in motion…… and so, though unable to fulfill their original purpose, the vessels continued to be born, one after another]
Subaru couldn’t help but be surprised by the lack of foresight.
It was certainly uncharacteristic of Echidona to make this kind of a mistake. And failing to do anything about the ever-increasing number of Lewes afterwards just didn’t sound like her at all.
[Subaru: So then, what happened to the first replicant? She couldn’t hold everything, but she still inherited a part of the Witch’s memories, right? It may be partial, but she’s still more or less a copy of the Witch]
[Lewes: When you continue pouring liquid into an already full vessel, who is to say which parts are kept and which parts are left out? As long as it doesn’t affect daily life, the loss of specific, trivial memories could still be salvageable, but what if more crucial portions are lost? The person would no longer be the same]
Listening to her roundabout explanation, Subaru imagined what the first Lewes=Echidona must have been like. Whatever she was, she must have strayed far from the Witch’s expectations,
[Lewes: The story goes that the first of the replicants was completely broken mentally, and since she inherited a part of the Witch’s power, she was also quite dangerous and troublesome to deal with. It took a great amount of effort to dispose of her, I hear]
[Subaru: Disposed of……huh]
[Lewes: Of course, the Witch wasn’t so irresponsible as to abandon everything after a single failure. After disposing of the first replicant, I hear that she went to great pains to think of a way to alter the volume of a soul so she could transfer herself into the next one]
[Subaru: Sounds like she was really putting her heart and soul into it…]
What Echidona must have considered was to convert the data into a different medium to compress its volume, and perhaps enlarging the storage space on the receiving end by eliminating any unnecessary content.
The fact that Subaru could see this was thanks to his familiarity with computers and the concept of data, but with no such foundations beforehand, not to mention that she was dealing with “Souls”, it must be beyond incredible for Echidona to have thought of this.
Hearing about the loss of the first replicant, Subaru was honestly quite disappointed. But the fact that Echidona immediately moved onto another approach lifted his hopes once again.
However, seeing Subaru’s reaction, Lewes continued, [But],
[Lewes: While she did find a new method, the Witch was never able to test it]
[Subaru: W-why not? Might be weird for me to say this, but aren’t the grounds for the experiment all ready to go? Even now, we still got a bunch of Lewes Meyer copies……]
[Lewes: Before the experiment could continue, the Witch of Envy had begun making her move]
[Lewes: The Witch of Envy devoured half the world, and consumed all the other six Witches in the process. The Witch of Greed was no exception. And so, a Witch’s plan to attain immortality was cut short by the hands of another Witch]
Subaru had an inkling about the fates of the other six Witches.
Echidona had told him in her Citadel of dreams, as well as let him personally meet them―― though they were only lingering, ephemeral fragments of what the Witch of Envy had erased from the world.
Having failed to attain immortality, continuing to preserve their fragments in this world was perhaps Echidona’s final act of rebellion.
[Subaru: ……so what happened to the Sanctuary after the Witch was gone?]
[Lewes: In the first place, this land was under the management of Ros-bo’s family, the House of Mathers. I don’t know what kind of contract was sealed between the Witch and the House of Mathers, but it has continued to this day, and the Sanctuary is currently under Ros-bo’s care and management. That said, all Ros-bo’s really doing is ensuring a flow of supplies enough to ward off ruin, and occasionally bringing in some children who meet the Sanctuary’s criteria]
[Subaru: And everything else is left in the care of Lewes-san… you said earlier that your individual personality was acquired little by little……]
[Lewes: Though I am one of the replicants, I was the third to be born. In order to fulfill the task of managing the Sanctuary and the ever-increasing number of Lewes Meyers, I was implanted with a certain degree of personality at birth. And even now, I am carrying out that duty]
It’s exam week! But I’m excited to be free in a couple days!
+It’s also my birthday next week ❤
Please let me know if you find any missing words while reading!
Chapter 57 Live Draft: