(Thank you Kizarat, Rodolfo, Roanz, Nair, Lucky, Julian, Aaron, Luis 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/227/
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Why. The question groaned in Subaru’s throat as he sucked in a breath.
Looking at the hand that was shaken away, and at his own fingers, grasping at nothing, Subaru turned to Beatrice, and wanted to ask her why.
But no words came, because he could see in Beatrice’s eyes that it was far, far, far―― too late to come back from that.
[Beatrice: Four hundred years…… I’ve been alone, I suppose]
[Beatrice: “That person” who should have come, never came, and I’ve already spent four hundred years alone here]
He couldn’t pull his gaze away from Beatrice’s eyes.
And even calling her name made him hesitate.
[Beatrice: I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about leaving it behind me. Or how many times I prayed I could forget everything. It may have been hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of millions or more, but it’s still not enough……]
In this dim and narrow room, how long had Beatrice spent in this solitude?
Hugging her knees, seated on her step ladder, she went on waiting for someone whose face and name she did not know.
An ocean of books spanning as far as the eyes can see―― even if she read every book in that ocean, she still wouldn’t see her awaited person’s arrival, while the book that should reveal her future had nothing to show her.
How many times had that loneliness murdered this girl’s heart?
[Beatrice: I want to be saved……? I want a way out……?]
[Beatrice: Do you know how many hundreds of times….. those thoughts crossed Betty’s mind? Did you think Betty just gave up without ever considering such things, I suppose?]
Her broken words slowly grew in intensity.
A pressure pushed back on Subaru. His throat was muted, the burning passion of his soul was extinguished in an instant, and his limbs felt as heavy as lead.
Whether it was to approach the girl before him, or to turn and run away, there was nothing he could do.
[Beatrice: Did you think that by reaching a hand into the darkness, you can pull Betty out? Did you think you can give Betty the answer to this endless dead end, I suppose?]
[Beatrice: If you…… can really do it…… then why…… why]
She lowered her head, and her words were interspersed with sobs.
Unable to see Beatrice’s expression, Subaru felt his heart being overwhelmed by a nondescript darkness. He couldn’t feel the ground beneath his feet, as though he had lost the way to Beatrice though she was close enough to touch.
Fear and hesitation overtook him, and through that silence, Beatrice looked up once more.
Glaring into his eyes, she opened her mouth, teeth bared,
[Beatrice: ――Then why did you leave Betty here for four hundred years, all alone!?]
[Beatrice: All alone! Always! Always always always, Betty was alone, waiting for this meaningless time to pass! I was lonely! I was scared! I was abandoned, unable to fulfill my purpose, unable to abide by my promise, unable to even decay with the passage of time…… I must spend an eternity alone here, that much I’ve already realized!]
Huge tears began to fall from her eyes.
The large droplets trickled down her cheeks, and dripped from her chin to the floor. Every drop striking upon the ground was a merciless shock ramming into Subaru’s heart,
[Beatrice: You want to help me!? Save me!? Then why didn’t you come sooner!? Why did you abandon Betty!? If you say those gentle words now, then why didn’t you keep hold of Betty from the start!? Why did you let go!? Why! Why! Why did you leave Betty all alone!?]
Her words were like daggers, like flames, like steel, and each left a wound on Subaru’s heart. In every sense, and in every way, every ounce of pain they carried tore at Subaru.
But Beatrice’s claims were all too unreasonable.
Four hundred years――for the greater part of that time she spent alone Subaru had no say in the matter. Subaru had only met her two months ago, and, going by her standards, he would have been too late no matter how quickly he came to her. If he wanted to protest, he could have simply said that.
But there was no point in protesting, because who could that possibly help?
Whether it was Beatrice or Subaru, it wouldn’t help anyone.
Only now, was Subaru made aware of how he had neglected how much time the girl Beatrice spent waiting.
Four hundred years. ――It was four hundred years.
On the surface, there seemed to be nothing significant about that number.
In fantasy fictions, four hundred years isn’t even that big of a number. There are stories with more ridiculous year counts, even ones that span the entire history of the world. Compared to those, four hundred years is nothing.
But was he an idiot? Was he really an idiot? How hopelessly stupid did he have to be?
In front of a girl who had spent an actual four hundred years alone, kept at a loss as to the purpose of her existence like some unanswerable riddle, how much of it could he possibly fathom from those three simple words? How much could he understand? How much could he feel?
And just how much could Subaru’s flimsy words heal her of her four hundred years of loneliness?
[Beatrice: Asking for help…… wanting things to change…… that wish had already withered in those four hundred years, I suppose……]
[Beatrice: Did you think you were the only person who tried to take Betty away? Betty is a High Spirit. In search of that power, countless humans have endeavored to take Betty from this place]
It was the first he had heard of this. That there had been humans just like Subaru who tried to make Beatrice leave the Forbidden Library. As for whether they succeeded, her presence here was answer enough.
Seeing Beatrice watch him with her feeble gaze, Subaru quickly shook his head,
[Subaru: D-don’t group me along with those guys! I just want to……]
[Beatrice: Like you, there were also those among their number who did not care about Betty’s power, who merely wanted to save a person in front of their eyes…… naive as that may be, I suppose]
[Beatrice: But none of them could bring Betty out of this place. It was only natural, I suppose]
“After all”, Beatrice sighed with a faint, ephemeral smile,
[Beatrice: The contract binding Betty to this place cannot be abolished by such half-baked convictions. The contract that has bound Betty to her task for four hundred years…… is not so easily broken by mere human whims]
[Subaru: Then… what will I have to……]
[Beatrice: ――Put Betty above all else]
The words she said to him were so quiet, and yet so sharp.
So sharp that they were like needles puncturing into Subaru’s eardrums.
[Subaru: Wh, at……?]
[Beatrice: Put Betty above all else. Think first of Betty. Choose Betty over everything. And thus overwrite the contract. Paint it over. And erase it from existence. Take Betty from here. Lead me by the hand. And embrace me]
[Beatrice: That is something you will never be capable of]
That was Beatrice’s true, desperate, and heartfelt wish.
A far too heavy request, and one not easily granted.
[Beatrice: You have already chosen who is foremost in your heart, I suppose. Whether it’s the silver-haired girl, or the blue-haired maid…… either way, you will never cast those two aside and put Betty above them. It simply cannot be]
[Subaru: Emilia…… Rem……]
[Beatrice: The contract is absolute. Absolute, I suppose. Aside from fulfilling its terms, it is impossible to replace a sealed contract without paying the corresponding price. Betty does not believe that the promise has been fulfilled, I suppose. And so, the only way to be released other than by fulfilling the contract is……!]
At the mention of the two girls, it was as if something hard had struck Subaru’s heart.
Whenever he thought of them, Subaru’s heart would pound, scream, and burst into heat. It was already the immutable reply carved into his very soul.
[Beatrice: So, break Betty’s contract…… and destroy this useless body drifting through the meaningless flow of time……]
[Subaru: Your contract…… is it really that important to you? If you hate it so much…… can’t you will yourself to change it……?]
Unable to answer her, he didn’t know what to say to Beatrice.
And so, Subaru took the cowardly approach and chose to divert her question away.
In that instant, a color of disappointment flickered across Beatrice’s pupils. And Subaru immediately realized that he had made a fatal mistake.
[Beatrice: That is…… Betty’s reason to live]
[Subaru: The contract……?]
[Beatrice: Betty was born for this contract, and lives for this contract. It was the task I was given at my birth, a contract I have never fulfilled for as long as I have lived…… and you want me to selfishly break it…… is that what you’re saying, I suppose?]
[Subaru: It’s not selfish at all! You’ve already tried your best for four hundred years, didn’t you!? Who can blame you when you’ve stayed true to your promise for so long!? Who’d have the right to? You’ve already done enough……!]
[Beatrice: And accomplished nothing! If I throw away the purpose of my existence and the reason I was born for, what will I have to live for!? No one will blame me!? Betty will blame herself! The Spirit Beatrice will never forgive such a cowardly way to live!!]
Subaru stomped with his trembling legs and grabbed the small girl by her shoulders, shouting. But the girl looked up and screamed back even louder, breaking away once more. The strength of the frail little girl pushed Subaru’s body backwards.
Powerless. What did she mean? He couldn’t understand what he was seeing.
[Beatrice: To spirits, contracts are absolute! A contract sealed between contractor and spirit is the most important thing there is! It’s the same with Nii-cha! Why else do you think he puts that silver-haired girl above everything else! He places her above everything! He loves her above everything! Between Betty and that girl, he wouldn’t think twice about choosing her! Not even Nii-cha would put Betty first!]
As a fellow spirit, there was no one closer to Beatrice than Puck.
It was a friendship that had developed over four hundred years in each other’s company, one far beyond what human lifespans could possibly manage.
What must Beatrice have thought of Puck? And what did Puck think of Beatrice? Subaru couldn’t be sure.
But Beatrice herself already had the answer to that question.
Beatrice had more than enough time to contemplate the answer.
Panting, her shoulders shuddering, even her neat curls have become disheveled. Enormous tear drops emerged in her large, round eyes, and her trembling lips were still repeating her desperate plea.
So small, she’s only a child, Subaru thought.
How could anyone leave a little girl like this?
[Beatrice: You…… aren’t the person mentioned in the contract. I know that, I suppose……]
[Beatrice: But can you become “that person” for me? Or, if not become that person, then use some other way to save Betty, I suppose?]
His answer never came.
He couldn’t make her some casual promise, or impulsively refuse her.
In the short time he spent here, Subaru had managed to understand just a small portion of the mystery that was Beatrice.
Yet, if he were to truly understand her loneliness, he would have had to pass four hundred years in solitude just like she had.
But something like that was fundamentally impossible for a human. Her distress, her loneliness, and her sorrow were too far beyond Subaru’s reach.
[Beatrice: Betty knows better than anyone just how impossible that is]
[Beatrice: So please, kill Betty. With your own hands. Suicide is a violation of the contract, so a spirit is forbidden to do so, I suppose. So even dying is something I can’t do myself]
[Subaru: But why… me……?]
Reaching out her hands, Beatrice pleaded once more.
Hesitating before her outstretched hands and afraid that he might give in to her request, Subaru covered his face with his palms,
[Subaru: Your death, at the end of four hundred years… why are you leaving it to me……?]
[Beatrice: Why…… I suppose]
Sobbing, whimpering, evading, Beatrice could have slapped down Subaru’s question. But she chose not to.
As if she herself didn’t know the reason, she slightly tilted her head.
And after a small lapse of silence, she slowly nodded.
[Beatrice: ――Yes, I think I know]
[Beatrice: Betty… wants to leave her death to you…… because]
If he listened to her answer, he would have no escape.
Of that, he was certain. He lifted his head. If he doesn’t plug his ears and refuse to listen to her answer, unless he holds a hand over her mouth and prevents her from speaking――
But he was too late. He had noticed it too late. There was no way he could stop it now.
Beatrice’s lips shall announce the answer.
And, in that moment――
[???: Sorry to interrupt when you’re in the middle of your conversation]
Hearing a voice that he should not have heard, a chill ran down Subaru’s spine as he spun around where he stood.
And there, he saw it.
[???: ――What if I were to become “that person” for you, I suppose?]
Holding two blood-drenched Kukri-knives dangling at her side, a jet-black murderer stood at the doorway.
-=Chapter 61 End=-
I seriously have no idea what’ll happen next chapter…
(The amazing fan art is by @D.! This might be my favorite so far)
Let me know if you find any typos! ❤
(Note: In Arc 4 Chapter 4, Frederica referred to Beatrice as a “Great Spirit”, which is the same as Puck. In this chapter, Beatrice referred to herself as a “High Spirit” or “High-Ranking Spirit”)
Chapter 62 Live Draft: