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/242/
[Echidona: ……Mn, that’s correct. Contracts require compensation. Just as I will offer you the knowledge you seek, you will present me with the compensation I desire]
[Subaru: Of course. Right. ――So, what do you want from me? If I contract with you, what will I need to give you?]
From here on, whenever he gets stuck in a hopeless deadlock and needs Echidona’s help, what will he need to pay?
To his question, Echidona’s cheeks softened into a smile.
[Echidona: Nothing you need to be so wary about. What I want from you is not so hard to give. In fact, since the compensation I seek is neither material, nor immaterially precious, you could say that mine is more than a fair offer]
[Subaru: ――And what is it… that you want?]
[Echidona: It’s simple. ――What you feel, what you think, what lingers within your heart, what you know, what you do, what you create, and all of the fruits called “The Unknown” born from your very existence, I want to savour… always]
Echidona’s face blushed, like that of a young maiden with a crush.
The fruits called “The Unknown”―― that poetic phrasing made Subaru furrow his brows.
[Subaru: The hell’s… that? You want me to hand over my feelings, my memories, my recollections, is that what you mean? In that case……]
[Echidona: Didn’t I tell you? It’s nothing so troubling. I just want to witness the sights you see, the melodies you hear, the stories you weave, all from a special box seat. All I want is to experience it. To be in a position to know the “The Unknowns” you create. With that, and that alone, I will be satisfied]
To dispel Subaru’s concerns, Echidona clearly stated her demands.
It was simply to watch Subaru walk his path. To see the same sights he sees. To know feel he feels, know he knows, and witness the results of his actions.
The Incarnation of the Thirst for Knowledge, the Witch bearing the crown of Greed, wanted only that.
[Subaru: You aren’t, lying to me, are you?]
[Echidona: Lying about the terms of a contract would be absurd. As for myself, I pledge that I will never do anything to betray those words. I swear this on my life]
Placing her hand on her chest, [Though, I am already dead], Echidona concluded with a quip.
Subaru could sense no deception in her words or behavior. Or perhaps, it was because he wanted to believe her.
[Subaru: Minerva. Since Echidona’s already said that… I think I’ll……]
[???: I-it’s all…… true, but…… she hasn’t, told you every, thing, has she?]
Just as Subaru asked Minerva to release him from her hold, this time, he heard another person’s voice addressing him. It was a voice he had heard only ten-odd minutes ago―― a voice for which Subaru had absolutely no positive feelings for.
[Subaru: Camilla…… Witch of Lust!]
[Camilla: Do.. n’t…… look at me… with those scary eyes. I, I’m…… not even, doing any, thing…… aw, awful……]
[Subaru: The scary eyes are inborn. I’m not trying to make an especially intense expression or anything]
With Subaru still held against the ground, in front of him stood Echidona and behind him was Minerva, the three of them forming a straight line, while, sitting on the grass a short distance away, was a pink-haired girl―― Camilla.
She timidly hid her face from Subaru’s gaze, and only now and then peeked over. Her attitude was irritating as always, but by consciously keeping his attention off of her, he managed to avoid being “Captivated to a life-threatening degree”.
Then, he asked again,
[Subaru: But anyway, what were you talking about? I won’t complain about more Witches showing up at this point, but if there’s anyth……]
[Camilla: E-Echidona-chan is…… hiding lots and lots of things, you know……? She, isn’t lying, but…… she’s hiding lots, and lots……]
[Subaru: Hiding.. what……?]
Pondering over Camilla’s words, Subaru imploringly looked towards Echidona. While Echidona turned to the suddenly-appeared Camilla and narrowed one of her eyes,
[Echidona: And I was wondering why you came out all of a sudden, so it’s to bad-mouth me is it? Actually, how is it that he’s caught your eye? Unlike Minerva, I don’t see a reason why you’d get all cozy with him. I thought you didn’t like him]
[Camilla: A, r-reason, like…… Minerva-chan? No, I don’t have, any…… thing like, that. But, Echidona-chan, you…… tr-tricked, me…… didn’t you?]
Speaking in a frail and stuttering voice, Camilla looked down as she responded to Echidona’s methodical statements. However, unlike the frailty of her voice, the actual contents of her words implied no weakness or compromise.
Camilla puttered her fidgety gaze around, glancing several times at Echidona,
[Camilla: I-I don’t like……him, but, you tr-tricked, me…… E-Echidona-chan, so I’m, not, on your side any, anymore, you know? People, who trick, me, hate, me…… do, mean things to me, I…… I will never forgive]
――Those last words alone were spoken with incredible clarity.
It was such that, for a moment, Subaru couldn’t process the fact that those words had come from the girl beside him.
So utterly detached that voice was from his impression of this girl up to now.
Wordlessly, yet determined and unwaveringly, Camilla stared at Echidona.
In her eyes there churned an indescribable emotion―― a whirlpool of something dark and grudging, unforgiving of the one who had offended her with their transgression.
A pure mass of narcissism―― the description suddenly scraped across Subaru’s mind.
[Echidona: While it may’ve been a necessary measure, doing something contrary to Camilla’s desires was a mistake on my part. There is nothing more unenviable than making an enemy of you, Camilla]
[Camilla: E-everyone, is, on my side…… so, it, won’t be pleasant, to have me, hate, you……you know? You can, a-apologize, but, I won’t, forgive, you……]
Camilla wasn’t just an equal balance of timidness and rebellion.
Her personality was so introverted that she was too timid to even properly communicate with others―― but that had very little to do with the intensity of her retribution against those who wronged her.
[Subaru: What’ve you all been…… what’ve you all been talking about!?]
Finally disrupting the perilous atmosphere between the Witches, Subaru broke his silence and blurted out.
Feeling the gazes of all three Witches falling on him, Subaru frantically turned his neck, and,
[Subaru: How long are you gonna leave me out of the conversation!? I, I’m the one who has to choose here! Say it in a way I can understand! Echidona, what’re you hiding!? And you two, what is it you know that’s making you want to stop me!?]
[Minerva: Putting you in this mentally feeble state so that you’d grab onto any offered hand without thinking…… it’s all her careful planning that’s lured you here!]
[Echidona: You make me sound like a villain. Won’t that make him misunderstand? If we seal this contract, I will certainly help him, and guide him to the optimal destination he desires. My only request is to see what he sees, hear what he hears, and learn what he learns in the process. Not a single one of the things I said was false]
Minerva blasted back at the protesting Subaru, her voice trembling in rage. All the while, Echidona remained calm as always.
Listening to the pristine clarity of Echidona’s voice, Subaru began sensing that something was awry. Having overcome the state of heated delirium up to now, he once again scrutinized over Echidona’s words. Over her attitude, and why the other two Witches tried to stop him.
What was out of place? She didn’t say anything strange. Both of the other two Witches acknowledged that she wasn’t lying. So then, where was the problem――?
[Echidona: I will repeat, Natsuki Subaru. If you choose me, choose to seal this contract with me―― I will without fail lead you to the place you desire…]
[????: ――“In the end”, would be the necessary disclaimer to this promise, right? Haa…]
Just as Echidona reached out her hand to Subaru, a listless voice covered over her words.
Looking up, he saw a monster made of magenta hair who had appeared opposite Camilla―― sitting on the ground, buried in her own long hair, it was the Witch of Sloth.
The increasing number of Witches didn’t surprise Subaru anymore. But, what Subaru did pick up was,
[Subaru: In the, end……?]
[Sekhmet: I’m sure Echidona, huu… is certain to fulfill the contract, haa. But, so long as she maintains the fact, huuu… that she intends to fulfill the contract, haa. She can probably do whatever she likes in the process, huu]
[Subaru: Do, whatever she――]
Tying together Sekhmet’s intermittent, huffing words with the sense of awriness he had felt earlier, a single explanation emerged in Subaru’s mind.
But that explanation was simply too hard to accept. His face stiffening in shock, Subaru looked towards Echidona, who had closed her eyes, and,
[Subaru: Echidona, if I contract with you…… you will definitely lead me to the optimal future, that’s what you’re saying?]
[Echidona: Yes, it is. That is a fact. Without a doubt, I will carry out this contract to the end. With my knowledge and your ability, we will certainly be able to achieve it]
Yes, surely, the contract will be properly fulfilled.
There were no lies in Echidona’s words. If Subaru cooperates with her, they will certainly be able to save everyone and reach that perfect future. However,
[Subaru: As you guide me towards the optimal future―― will we be taking the optimal path?]
[Subaru: Will you truly be doing everything in your power to bring me to the place I desire?]
[Subaru: Why’re… you saying nothing. Answer me, Echidona…… no…… WITCH OF GREED!]
Lifting his head, Subaru screamed at the top of his lungs.
Though still held against the ground with his joints locked in place, Subaru paid it no heed as he single-mindedly glared at Echidona.
(The amazing thumbnail is by @r_ashrrr!!)
Oooooh Dona is going full-evil now… >_<
Let me know if you see any typos!! ❤
Chapter 75 Live Draft: