(Thank you Kizarat, Roanz, Rodolfo, Nero, Thomas, Bagel, Lucky, Ben, Relaxing Gaming, Chris, Fox, Luis, Moose, Wolverine 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/226/
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――The instant he asked that question, Beatrice collapsed like a puppet that had lost its strings.
The girl’s knees fell to the floor, and with the sound of scattering paper, the pages of the Gospel in Beatrice’s arms scattered across the tiles.
The book she had so often carried with her, opened who knows how many times to run her fingers through it, now exploded from its binding at the impact of the drop as if the repetitive routine had worn away its integrity, spreading out like a white carpet over the surface of the floor.
[Subaru: The Gospel……wh?]
Watching several pages land at his feet, Subaru bent down and picked them up without thinking. Petelgeuse’s Gospel flashed across his mind with the image of its pages buried under small, dense scrawlings as if infected by the madness of its owner.
That was his impression before he picked up these pages―― but the moment he examined them before his eyes, that impression evaporated like a mist. Because,
[Subaru: What……th? They’re blank……?]
Turning them front and back, there was nothing recorded on the pages in his hands.
Frantically, he picked up the other pages at his feet, but there was nothing written on them either. He began to wonder whether the pages of the empty latter half had just happened to land near him, but,
[Subaru: No, how’s that possible…]
Crouching down, Subaru looked over each of the pages scattered around Beatrice, and realized it.
Of all the pages covering the floor around her, not a single one of them had a word recorded on it.
Of the hundreds upon hundreds of fallen pages, what were the chances of them all landing on their blank side?
[Subaru: It’s supposed to be a Gospel…… why’s there nothing on it?]
Rather than believe in a miracle where only the blank sides landed facing up, it would be far more reasonable to conclude that the pages were simply blank to begin with.
Yet, following from that reasonable conclusion, Subaru was struck by an another, all too unreasonable fact.
[Subaru: This is supposed to be one of only two complete Gospels, why’s there no future recorded in here? Is it because only the owner can read it? Maybe it’s not like Petelgeuse’s?]
Maybe it was a difference between the perfect and imperfect Gospels, but Subaru had only ever had an imperfect version for reference. The texts on that book were visible even to someone who wasn’t its owner. It had been in Subaru’s keeping ever since it lost its owner, and fortunately, there hadn’t been any new entries appearing.
Consequently, Subaru had been under the impression that the Gospel’s texts would be visible to anyone, regardless of who the owner was.
[Beatrice: It has been so…… so long]
[Beatrice: How many years it has been… since that Gospel stopped showing Betty the future……]
Collapsed on the floor with her face downcast, Beatrice quietly whispered.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”, Subaru barely managed to control his urge to ask her while anxiously waiting for her next words.
Beatrice hunched forward and pressed her hands into the scattered pages, and clenched them until they crumpled. Her fingers were trembling, and her voice was interspersed with sobs.
[Beatrice: The role given to Betty is to watch over the Library of Knowledge. Until the day comes when we meet again, I will guard this place…… I suppose]
[Subaru: Library of Knowledge…… is that, here?]
Subaru stood up and looked over the countless bookshelves that filled the room. All the books stored here, a few of which he himself had flipped through, Subaru had always assumed to have belonged to the House of Mathers, but,
[Subaru: All the books here… are Echidona’s?]
[Beatrice: She was fond of…… gathering knowledge]
[Subaru: To the point where she’s calling herself a Witch, I guess]
She went so far as to call herself the “Incarnation of the Thirst for Knowledge”. Boasting of her desire for all the knowledge in the world, it was just what one would expect from someone bearing the name of “Greed”. The countless volumes collected on these shelves must just have been the result of her efforts.
And Beatrice would be the librarian of Echidona’s shelter of knowledge.
[Beatrice: From the sound of it…… you’ve been in the Tomb, I suppose]
[Subaru: Yeah, I have. I got treated badly and had a pretty painful experience…… but now I’m glad I went. Having Echidona as a confidant is kind of a double-edged sword, you know]
Even though she was the only person he could mention his Return by Deaths to, when he did, he had invited the wrath of the Witch of Envy. Since doing so again would mean another certain death, he intended to avoid it if he could. Though he would repeat it if he must.
[Subaru: ……Just now, you said the Gospel hasn’t shown you the future in years?]
[Beatrice: That is, the truth]
[Subaru: I’m not doubting you. No, I mean, I still am, but. Because, right? Otherwise, when you…… if there’s nothing written on the Gospel……]
――Then all those times she saved him, she had chosen to help Subaru.
In the loop before last, in the moments before their parting, Subaru had first learned of her Gospel’s existence, and it shocked him to no small degree.
He had been made to believe that Beatrice’s every action and every thought had been because it was recorded in the Gospel and her own feelings had no say in the matter.
And so, in spite of the distress of the girl before his eyes, somehow, he was more relieved to know that there was something real inside her.
To know that Beatrice’s actions were reflections of her own heart―― though he couldn’t understand why, he felt relieved nonetheless.
Even without knowing the reason, all along, Subaru had felt it.
Beatrice had been kind to him for no discernable reason at all, and he didn’t know what he could have done to make her feel this way.
[Subaru: Why…… did you help me? It wasn’t written in the Gospel, right? You could have just left me there]
He knew that it was an unfair and roundabout question.
Placing all the burden of answering on Beatrice, Subaru knew that he was only caring about what he wanted. He knew, and he chose this cowardly approach anyway.
Subaru just wanted to ask Beatrice, plain and simple.
――Do you think of me as your friend?
[Beatrice: Betty…… helped…… you, because……]
[Subaru: Yes. You’ve helped me so many times. You healed me when I was on the brink of death, you cured me from the Wolgarm’s curse, and when I was so ridden with curses that there was no doubt that I was going to die, you told me the truth]
And there were so many, many more occasions beyond that.
In the loops beginning in the Mansion, when Rem was murdered and no one in the Mansion trusted Subaru, only Beatrice and Emilia chose to save him.
In the time he spent being tormented by loneliness and fear, Beatrice alone kept her promise to him. It was a kindness from a lost world that remained only inside Subaru’s heart, one he could not allow himself to forget.
[Subaru: If you didn’t do it for your Gospel, then……]
[Beatrice: ――In the end, I was told……]
Tossing all the other questions aside, the only thing Subaru wanted to know was whether Beatrice considered him a friend.
Was she someone he could trust with all that he was―― now that Rem was gone, and Emilia’s weaknesses were laid bare before him, could Beatrice take their place?
In a sense, it was an all too selfish request.
[Beatrice: ……that one day, “that person” will visit Betty’s library. And I must protect the library until then]
[Subaru: ……that person?]
[Beatrice: So I was told, I suppose. Until “that person” comes, Betty must keep watch over the library. Whether you are “that person” or not, Betty isn’t sure]
Subaru’s eyes flared with passion as he looked to Beatrice, but her melancholy words soon made them lose their lustre as his brows furrowed with uncertainty.
He couldn’t understand what Beatrice was saying. Impossible to understand. It was impossible, and yet――he had a feeling that he must stop her from saying what she was about to say next.
[Beatrice: Betty doesn’t know… whether you’re “that person” or not…… but]
[Subaru: Wait, Beatrice. We’re both getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Let’s just calm down and……]
[Beatrice: Whether you’re “that person”, or not…… it doesn’t matter, I suppose]
Beatrice lifted her downcast face.
Her two drill curls swayed with her movements. As if at a loss, as if hesitating, it was as if her heart was reflected within Subaru’s.
An ominous premonition tightened in Subaru’s chest, impossible to wipe away,
[Beatrice: Even if you’re not “that person”, I don’t care anymore. So…]
[Beatrice: Please kill Betty, and end this contract once and for all, I suppose. Bring an end to the end of the end. Betty wants to be released]
Tears welled up in Beatrice’s eyes, and a feeble smile appeared on her lips,
[Beatrice: You, will become “that person”――]
-=Chapter 60 End=-
If anyone knows the source of the thumbnail image, please let me know!The amazing thumbnail fan art is by @Halan! (Thanks Supok1937 for finding the source!)
And let me know if you spot any typos ❤
Chapter 61 Live Draft: