(Thank you Aaron, Austin, Roanz, White Rice, Brototype, Federico, Julian, Jeffry, James, for helping me proofread 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/246/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 79 [The Ending Of The Dream]
The moment he realized that oxygen was passing through his windpipe, with massive coughs, Subaru expelled the remaining blood clotting in his throat.
Still collapsed face-up on the ground, pant after pant, he gasped for the nourishment of life.
There was no time to think about how wretched he looked now.
Although, he was well aware of how miserable it was to unhesitatingly cling to the first chance of rescue right after biting off his own tongue to die.
[Subaru: …does my…….]
[Subaru: Does my life… have any value……? Besides dying…… without dying over and over…… do I even have any other value……?]
Return by Death, and save everyone from the depths of despair.
He had believed that paying with his life to attain this outcome was Natsuki Subaru’s only value.
But, would it be alright to think otherwise?
[Subaru: Is it alright… to think that this person that I am… has any value besides Return by Death? To think that…… the people I care about…… care about me… as well?]
[Minerva: ……The hell would I know]
Minerva looked away and shot down Subaru’s whimpering question.
Having lost her right arm and both her legs, she used her left arm to shuffle away from Subaru. Then, aiming her face at her right shoulder―― she bit down. Immediately, Minerva’s missing right arm regenerated from droplets of light.
Opening and closing her restored right fist, Minerva proceeded to punching her legs―― both missing from the thigh down, which, just like her arm, were formed anew.
Her already short skirt had been shaved even shorter and her right arm was now entirely exposed, but, other than her rather precarious costume, the Witch of Wrath Minerva was restored to perfect condition.
She stood up on her brand new legs, crossing her arms in a pose that propped up her ample breasts, and looked down on Subaru. Then,
[Minerva: I couldn’t care less whether you have value or not. But she really wants you to live…… and you’ve seen it in the Second Trial too, haven’t you?]
[Subaru: ……but the Second Trial… were my mistakes… and my sins……]
[Minerva: Are you stupid? That wasn’t about making you take responsibility for the worlds you messed up in. That was to show you how sad everyone is as the result of your mistakes. ――Isn’t that the answer you wanted?]
He remembered it.
The voice that was crying. The voice stifling its regret. The voice gently sending him off as always.
The whisper of love from someone who believed in him. And the words that began everything which would become Subaru’s will to fight.
None of which he was supposed to have in his life.
Having nothing, deprived of even what he should have had, Subaru was summoned to this world.
To prove his own value, he could only fight on. And in order to protect all that he held dear, he’d have to proceed down that lonely road.
I thought that I’ve only ever been receiving from others, but is it alright to think otherwise?
Would they cry, for me?
Would they lament their own powerlessness, for me?
Would they want to see that future together with me?
When we get there, those people that I love, would they give me a place to stand smiling at their side?
He wasn’t sure if he’d have that place.
But surely, if he chose to stubbornly walk that road alone, at the end, that place would not be there for him.
His heart, which would have been turned to steel so he could fight with an unshakable will, would have no tenderness left to smile.
And so, was it really alright to believe?
Either procure that future for the ones he loved at the cost of his own heart.
Or desperately defend his own heart at the cost of the way ahead.
Aside from those two choices, was there another, greedier option?
In that future, alongside everyone he held dear, could Natsuki Subaru also hope to have preserved himself as well?
[Satella: ――You can]
Shedding only tears, those had been Subaru’s unvoiced thoughts.
But the timing of that answer was so perfect that it was as if those words had been communicated in sound.
Still lying on the ground, Subaru moved his head to look beyond Minerva―― towards the face of the girl who had collapsed to her knees on the grass, smiling without wiping away her tears.
He still couldn’t see her face.
A veil of darkness was concealing it, such that even now, Subaru couldn’t determine her expression. Yet, somehow he knew that she was smiling.
Echidona had told him. The reason Subaru couldn’t see her face was because he couldn’t accept her. The fact that she was smiling came through, but his subconscious was insisting that he didn’t see it.
[Satella: You saved me. And so, you are allowed to be saved as well. I want you… to be saved]
Acutely aware of Satella’s words and voice seeping into his fractured heart, Subaru buried his face in his arms. It must be a mess from all the tears, and there was already no way he could look more pathetic at this point. But still, he didn’t want anyone to see it.
Even after lashing her with that merciless abuse, how was it that he could still feel relieved to hear Satella’s words? And how could he possibly let them see how much his expression had calmed?
Yet, it was also Satella’s inexplicable words of “Love” that had told Subaru the true meaning of the Trial.
[Echidona: ……I’m surprised Minerva managed to break through Typhon and Sekhmet’s obstruction, but, personally, what surprised me even more is you two]
Setting the face-burying Subaru aside, Echidona quietly murmured.
After looking at the regenerated Minerva, Echidona turned her gaze elsewhere―― towards the pitch-black coffin pinning Typhon to the ground with its claws, and the coffin’s owner, Daphne, facing down Sekhmet.
Hearing Echidona’s words, Daphne let out a throaty cackle. She opened the lower half of her bondage and stepped barefoot onto the grass, poking out her tongue,
[Daphne: I’m definitely the best counter to Ty-Ty there is~… Centipede Coffin has no head to think with… with that as Daphne’s arms and legs~ Ty-Ty’s authority won’t work on me…]
[Typhon: UUuu~, Phinnie~ cut it out~~! Hnnn~! UUuu~!]
[Sekhmet: So, haa… You’ve shown your true colors to keep me in check? Huu. I’m not Echidona, haa. Why bother pulling this on me? Huu… Unlike Minerva, I don’t see why you’d want to get involved, haa]
Sekhmet roughly scratched her overabundant hair. With Typhon practically taken hostage, even Sekhmet couldn’t act carelessly here.
Hearing Sekhmet’s question, Daphne swayed her short pigtails and smiled [Weeeell~],
[Daphne: Subaruun~, he’s made some pretty big boasts to Daphne~. Something about killing the White Whale, and then the Great Rabbit next~? So~ I was thinking~ I want him to at least live long enough to take them on~]
[Echidona: That’s an interesting perspective. If he sets his mind to it, he would certainly achieve it. You realize this, don’t you? ……Or, do you actually want the Great Rabbit to be destroyed?]
[Daphne: Makes no difference~? The moment it split away from Daphne~, its belly has nothing to do with Daphne’s belly anymore~. Whether it gets destroyed or not won’t really bother me~…… but I am interested to see how the Great Rabbit representing Daphne’s insatiable hunger would come to an end~]
“After all”, Daphne went on,
[Daphne: If to end is to be satisfied~……that would be a happiness completely unknown to me~]
Constantly tormented by endless hunger, to Daphne, its fulfillment would eternally be an unreachable dream.
The Great Rabbit was a reflection of her interminable hunger, and perhaps, even an extension of herself. ――Although, Daphne herself completely lacked this sense of intimacy with it.
If the Great Rabbit could meet a different end than what she had received, could it be called fulfillment? Was there ever a hope for her to be satisfied? With this rare display of interest in something other than food, she smiled.
Hearing Daphne’s answer, Echidona gave a satisfied nod, and turned her head yet again. Not to Subaru, Satella, or Minerva. Nor Daphne nor Sekhmet nor Typhon, but to someone who, like Echidona herself, had stayed somewhere isolated from the fray.
Looking at the Witch of Lust Camilla, Echidona softly stroked her own white hair,
[Echidona: And what about you, Camilla? Did you have a reason like Daphne?]
[Camilla: I-is, there……something you’re trying to… say? E-Echidona…chan……?]
[Echidona: It’s simple. ――You called to his consciousness when he was on the brink of death, just when it was about to be extinguished. Possessing the Authority of “The Faceless Goddess”, you must have known what the result would be]
[Echidona: Your call would have held every significance for him. You must have known this. And so I’m asking. You don’t seem to have any fondness for him? So why did you?]
Listening to Echidona’s question, Camilla held her hands to her lips as her eyes puttered about. She glanced towards Daphne and Minerva, as if hoping for someone other than herself to come and back her up.
But there was no Witch on site who would be seduced by the all-beloved Camilla.
Helpless, Camilla began biting her fingernails, looking at Echidona with watery eyes.
[Camilla: There, was…… no, rea..son? He, rejected…… E-Echidona-chan’s temptations, so, I’m, already, satisfied…… and, everyone, started, fighting for some, reason…… but, that has nothing, to do with, me…… only…]
[Camilla: L-Love, is, a pretty big……deal, you know? It’d be, wrong, to…… ig…ignore it. He, doesn’t…… want to, see it, but, there, is Love, there…… and when, it’s, there…… I won’t allow it, to be denied. And, I…… absolutely despise taking without giving]
Hearing only the last part spoken with terrifying clarity, Echidona shrugged.
The Witch of Greed gave a wry smile, before looking to each of the other Witches in turn,
[Echidona: Sekhmet and Typhon respected his will and intervened, while Minerva valued life and healed him. Daphne helped prolong his life so she could see his will to fight, and Camilla used her Authority to inform him of the love he was refusing to see. ――And so, everyone here, for their own varying reasons, has decided to help Natsuki Subaru]
Listening to Echidona’s appraisal of their actions, all the Witches’ expressions changed.
Pride tilted her head, Sloth spilled a languid sigh, Wrath snorted and folded her arms, Gluttony munched on one of her coffin’s extended legs and smiled, while Lust unhappily scowled.
And, taking all this into her sight, Greed held a hand to her jaw,
[Echidona: It’s, truly fascinating. ――Don’t you agree?]
Echidona’s lips softened as a blissful smile rose on her face.
Her words were aimed at the one directly in front of her―― at Subaru, wavering as he stood up.
Having wiped away his tear tracks with his sleeve, only now finally managing to stand, Subaru did not respond to Echidona’s question.
He merely watched her with his lustreless gaze, then looked over the other Witches. And,
[Subaru: Just what…… are you people]
[Subaru: Curiosity. Sympathy. Pity. Duty. Expectation. Disgust. ……None of your reasons for helping me makes any sense to me. I guess I can see why you’re called Witches]
[Echidona: Since you’re back to throwing insults, perhaps that means you’ve recovered your strength?]
[Subaru: ……I don’t know]
Echidona squinted a single eye while Subaru pressed a hand to his chest and muttered.
Those few spilled words perfectly encompassed all of Subaru’s present feelings.
[Subaru: I was supposed to have decided… what I have to do. The things I have to do haven’t changed. That much is certain. That’s certain…]
“But”, he went on, more to himself than to anyone else,
[Subaru: I had already decided that this was the only way. That’s what I chose…… what I’ve resolved to choose. And yet, here, the Trial shattered all of that]
The Second Trial, the presents that were not to be―― stuck the consequences of his actions right in his face as the reality that he could no longer use “Resolve” to appease tore his heart to shreds.
Being forced to witness all that, Subaru would have tried to put it behind him, and to push through with that resolve. In fact, that was what should have happened.
[Subaru: But when I learned of your reasons for helping me, and then having Satella appear right after…… my head is a total mess. All of you… can you stop doing these things on your own? What I ask myself to do is my own business. And yet, you’ve……]
At this point, how was he supposed to start clinging to the life he had already decided to treat as expendable?
At this point, how was he supposed to start valuing the life that was meant to be used to its utmost?
At this point, what could he possibly do with the knowledge that he was being loved?
[Subaru: I have…… no idea… what to do anymore]
“You can’t protect anyone if you can’t die!”, Subaru’s rationality was screaming.
“There’s someone who’ll be saddened if you hurt yourself like this”, Subaru’s memories were telling him.
People will suffer if he doesn’t die, and people will suffer if he does.
[Echidona: ――I will present you this question once again, Natsuki Subaru]
As Subaru shook his head in indecision, Echidona lowered her tone and said.
Looking up, he saw Echidona raise a single finger in front of him.
Seeing herself reflected within Subaru’s eyes, she slowly nodded,
[Echidona: Should you enlist my help, you will, without fail, reach the future where everyone you wish to save will be saved. There will be no more need for worry. In more extreme terms, I will solve all the problems you’ll face in your stead. All you’ll need to do is focus on implementing those solutions, and on overcoming those obstacles. If this constant burden is too painful for you, you have the option of leaving it all to me. I won’t fault you for it, and, in a sense, I’d welcome it. And so, I present you this question once again]
[Echidona: Lost and without knowing where to go, will you let me guide your hand? I will, without fail, bring you to that future. This, I promise you]
Saying this gently, Echidona reached out her hand to Subaru.
(The incredible art is by @HaruSabin!)
Dona is being Dona again >_<
I was tempted to cut this one into smaller parts, but I think it’s better this way ❤
Let me know if you find any typos!
Chapter 79 Live Draft: