(Thank you Tamas, Roanz, Daisuke, Austin, Socite, A S Lord, White Rice, Brototype, Glavos 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/243/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 76 [≠Satella]
――This would be the first time Subaru had ever met face to face with the “Witch” herself like this.
The Witch of Envy, it was a name which he had heard countless times before, and a Witch whose threat he had experienced first-hand during their showdown in that loop inside the Sanctuary.
Defying the rules she had one-sidedly imposed upon him, it wasn’t once or twice that he had tasted the pain of his heart being crushed within her grasp, nor was it easy for him to have any positive impressions of the Witch who possessed Emilia’s body while unleashing destruction upon the Sanctuary.
It was especially so now, after his last conversation with Echidona had spawned within him an aversion to the word “Witch” itself. But,
[Subaru: Right… this one…… is on a whole different level from the other Witches]
Facing the pressure emanating from the Witch standing before him, Subaru squeezed out this hoarse mutter.
It was a slender woman.
Standing languishingly with her arms dangling at her sides, she seemed to be staring at Subaru. Shrouding over her body was a pitch-black dress―― literally woven from the shadows rising from her feet, pulsing, as if in rhythm with her heartbeat.
Though her sleeves were long, he could eerily see her hands from the tips of her pale fingers up to her wrists. Chances were, like the other Witches, the Witch of Envy must be exceedingly beautiful.
But the most vital piece required to confirm this was missing.
[Subaru: Seen it quite a few times now…… but what’s with this?]
An impenetrable shadow covered everything above the Witch’s neck, making visual confirmation impossible.
Unlike the darkness of her dress, the shadow drifted about like a mist, hiding the face of the Witch of Envy from Subaru.
The Witch gave no reaction to the dumbstruck Subaru’s question.
Driven by the surging apprehension scorching inside his heart, sweat emerged on Subaru’s forehead as he looked to the ones around him―― at the other four Witches, watching in absolute silence.
But when he saw the change in their expressions, Subaru was taken aback.
As far as he knew, the relationship between the Witch of Envy and the other Witches was that between a murderer and her victims. To meet their own killer―― Subaru was at least aware of how much mental distress that should bring.
But the expressions on the Witches’ faces were nothing like what Subaru had imagined.
One was a gentle smile, one was a gaze of saddened sympathy, one was of innocent indifference, and lastly――
[Echidona: So you have broken my boundary to get in here. Brazenly trespassing into my Dream Citadel…… always the egotist, aren’t you]
Only one, Echidona, glared at the Witch of Envy with eyes of pure hostility.
Seeing that hatred, or something like it, from none other than Echidona astonished Subaru. Just now, he had voiced his final farewell thinking that she was incapable of such feelings, yet this blatant outpour of emotion made him wonder if he had been mistaken.
Although, realistically speaking, the time for such thoughts had already passed.
Right now, the problem was how to deal with this motionless Witch before his eyes.
[Subaru: But why is she here in the firs……]
[Minerva: Because you made her mad by blabbing about stuff you shouldn’t have? I don’t know what to do with men like you who can’t keep their mouth shut. I can kinda get why she’d be furious]
[Subaru: What, I don’t get it… I mean, are you actually taking her side? I thought you and the Witches were her enemies?]
[Minerva: Enemies, what kind of stupid question is that? ……I’ll show you now and we’ll see if you’re right or wrong]
Narrowing her eyes at Subaru, Minerva swayed her blond hair as she jolted into action.
Cutting in front of the Witch of Envy’s line of sight that was fixed on Subaru, she pushed out her busty chest as she magnificently faced down the Witch. And then,
[Minerva: Can you hear me? It’s me, Minerva? Witch of Wrath Minerva? If you remember me and hear me, say something?]
[Subaru: ――! No, w-wait! As far as I know, talking won’t work with her! If you do anything weird to provoke her……]
[Sekhmet: Just keep quiet and watch, haa]
In Subaru’s eyes, what Minerva was doing could only be called reckless. But just as he tried to stop her, he was interrupted by the hairball sprawling on the ground, Sekhmet.
Subaru turned around, while the magenta-colored hairball that was Sekhmet slightly shifted in size,
[Sekhmet: The time we spent together with that thing, huu… is many times longer than what your short interactions have been, haa. It’s only natural that you’d be worried, huu… but you can leave it to Minerva, haa…… She does things without thinking sometimes, huu. But, that’s probably not the case this time, haa…]
[Minerva: I can hear you, Sekhmet! If you don’t want me to mess up the conversation and get all of us swallowed, then don’t say things that’ll make me mad! I’m all ready to blow here!]
[Sekhmet: When you can get mad at people, huu… just for breathing in front of you, haa… what am I supposed to do, huu]
Even while getting hit with that unflattering critique, Minerva did not take her eyes off of the threat in front of her.
The Witch of Envy also made no reaction to this little back and forth, but only stood there, unmoving, staring through the Witch of Wrath at Subaru.
Indeed, this was definitely a departure from the direct, instinctive reactions the Witch had exhibited up to now.
But all that meant was that she hadn’t taken any hostile actions so far, and whether or not a conversation could be established between them was still a different matter.
All the while, as Sekhmet left the conversation entirely to Minerva, the other two Witches――
[Camilla: Well I-I…… think, if, Minerva-chan, tr-tries her, best…… i-it’ll, turn out, alright…… you know? But if, she…… hu-hurts, Minerva-chan……I-I’ll kill, her]
[Echidona: I don’t doubt it, but as I’ve told you before, your affinity is terrible with that thing. The only one here who can resist it is Sekhmet. ――Do you understand?]
Echidona kept her voice as calm as she could as she pacified the stuttering but belligerent Camilla. Meanwhile, noticing the white-haired Witch’s gaze, the bundle of hair shuddered as if even replying was too much of a nuisance,
[Sekhmet: Even I can’t keep its movements sealed for long, haa. You know that my abilities aren’t suited for that, huu]
[Echidona: Of course I know. That’s why you just have to crush its limbs and snap its neck. Once you disable its movements and stop its breathing, I can abolish it from this space with my own hands]
There was enough hostility in Echidona’s words to make Camilla’s statement seem cute. Though she said it with a casual air, the unconcealable disgust seeping into her voice made it clear that she wasn’t joking.
In front of the Witch of Envy alone, Echidona left no shred of doubt about the certainty of her contempt.
While this perilous conversation was going on behind her, Minerva continued her standoff against the Witch of Envy. In fact, as if trying to keep the Witch of Envy from overhearing the other Witches, she took a step closer.
Subaru gulped down his breath as he watched Minerva’s advance.
While Minerva’s actions simply seemed insane to Subaru, it made even less sense why the Witch of Envy appeared here in the first place.
If this was like the previous times, the Witch of Envy would have shown up because Subaru had violated the taboo. But the Witch’s methods so far had been materializing her arm to clench at his heart and physically appearing in reality to swallow everything into shadow.
Nevermind friendly interactions, the Witch of Envy had never even explained what her intentions were. Her goals were just as mysterious now as they were from the very beginning.
And so, just how the Witch would react to Minerva’s actions was still completely unknown to Subaru.
――If Minerva got swallowed by the shadow, the other three behind her would move instantly.
If Echidona’s expectations for Sekhmet were justified, the Witch of Sloth should be able to crush the Witch of Envy with her Authority, and Echidona would be able to expel the weakened Witch of Envy from this place.
But, if that was the case――
Subaru just couldn’t understand why they weren’t doing it now.
Speaking of strange, the fact that Minerva was tasked with making contact with the Witch of Envy in the first place was very strange.
Camilla only swore to retaliate if something happened, Sekhmet did not seem to want any active hostility, and even Echidona, overflowing with contempt, did not defy Minerva’s wishes by ordering a preemptive strike.
Just what on earth were they thinking――
[Echidona: You look like you’re getting spun around trying to understand us Witches just now]
[Echidona: Although, if our…… I mean, if our thoughts could be seen through so easily, we wouldn’t be called Witches. I’d feel troubled if you took us so lightly] (Dona started using “boku” to refer to herself again)
[Subaru: Cut it out with the fake Bokukko already. ――I just thought if you really wanted to expel the Witch of Envy, now would be the best chance to do it while she’s defenseless]
[Echidona: I see. Is that how you perceive this situation? Oh my…… mn, is that right. Personally, I’m all for what you are proposing. After all, nothing would make me happier than to bash that thing with every Authority I can muster and annihilate it until not even a speck of dust remains, but……]
Cutting off her words there, Echidona narrowed her eyes.
That attitude wasn’t like her at all―― it wasn’t like he really knew her even now, but Subaru nevertheless sensed a certain reluctance that was entirely unlike her as he waited for her next words.
After a short silence, Echidona continued,
[Echidona: Doing everything in my power to eradicate that thing and having the other Witches turn on me would be putting the cart before the horse. Nevermind Minerva, but it’d be a rather terrible bet to make enemies of Sekhmet and Typhon]
[Subaru: I don’t get it. Why would expelling the Witch of Envy make them turn on you? She’s your enemy, the same should go for all of you……]
[Camilla: It’s, not like, that……though……?]
Camilla, who had kept silent up to now, suddenly interrupted Subaru’s question. Without looking at the startled Subaru, Camilla went on watching Minerva’s standoff against the Witch of Envy, and quietly stuttered,
[Camilla: “Envy” is, everyone’s, enemy……that’s… right, but, that thing… and, her……are, different, you know?]
[Subaru: ……what’s that supposed to mean? What’re you guys……]
[Sekhmet: As long as we don’t know… which one that thing over there is, huu… it’s not just that we don’t want to… it’d also be unreasonable… haa…]
[Subaru: Which… one……?]
Sekhmet followed up with her explanation. But hearing it only threw Subaru into even further disarray. What on earth were they talking about? Yet, the answer came from a different direction.
Taking a step forward, Minerva moved closer to the Witch of Envy.
She spread out her arms, assuming a posture of nonresistance, and asked the Witch of Envy,
[Minerva: ――Are you the Witch of Envy? Or are you Satella? Which?]
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Part 2 will be quite long as well! I’ll start on it later tonight!
Let me know if you find any typos! ❤
Chapter 76 Live Draft: