(Thank you Austin, Brototype 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/248/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 80 [A Rough Tongue]
――He woke to the sensation of something rough brushing against his cheek.
His returning consciousness was wracked by a pervading sense of exhaustion, and his body felt so heavy that it might’ve been lead rather than blood running through his veins.
Prying open his dry, sticking lips to inhale, sharp pain and the taste of blood seeped into his mouth, while, inside his utterly-parched oral cavity, his tongue scampered about, seeking moisture from the liquid blood.
His limbs were sluggish, and his feverish head was barely functioning.
He lacked even the strength to force apart his eyelids, only managing to open them by rolling his heavy eyeballs.
[Subaru: ……it’s you]
The moment color entered his vision, Subaru’s eyes picked up a different hue of black than the darkness beneath his eyelids.
Exhaling breaths carrying the characteristic scent of living lifeforms, the creature had been consolingly licking Subaru while he slept.
It had a lustrous black body, its form slender and refined. Although sharp, there was a certain charm about its reptilian eyes, and its knife-like fangs could send one to eternal rest with only a single bite―― reaching out a red tongue from between those fangs to lick Subaru on the cheeks, it was Subaru’s beloved dragon, Patrasche.
Seeing that the awakened Subaru had noticed her presence, Patrasche stopped her licking and sat down, waiting for his words. Apparently, the surprisingly dexterous dragon could bend her knees to sit down on the spot.
Seeing Patrasche before him, Subaru realized that he was sitting with his legs splayed on the ground and his back leaning against something hard. He tilted back his head to find a moss-covered stone wall behind him, and that he had woken near the entrance of the Tomb.
[Subaru: But, I was inside…… why am I outside……?]
The established precedent was that he’d wake up from the Dream Citadel to find himself inside the Tomb.
If someone had gone in and pulled the unconscious Subaru out, then that’d be a different story, but the only two people in the Sanctuary who could enter the Tomb were Emilia and Garfiel.
The notion that either of them could have dragged Subaru outside wasn’t terribly convincing.
[Subaru: Then again, I doubt I crawled out of there myself, so……]
“Who”, he was about to mutter, when he was interrupted by the echo of another voice.
The voice came from behind Patrasche, from an approaching figure in the distance, dragging his feet and out of breath.
[???: OーY! P-Patrasche-chan, wait…… hold on……! Hhha, hhha…… I-if you really run away, it’ll spell disaster for m…… huh?]
The grey-haired young man―― Otto, stopped still with an expression of sheer relief at the sight of Patrasche. After he caught his breath, Otto tilted his head as he noticed Subaru beside her.
[Otto: Is that you, Natsuki-san? What’re you doing out here?]
[Subaru: Can’t you see? I’m moon-bathing. More like what’re you doing out here? Depending on your answer, I’ll see about turning you in to Garfiel]
[Otto: I don’t know why you’d automatically assume I’m doing something devious, but me being out here at this hour with sweat dripping down my brows isn’t entirely unrelated to you, Natsuki-san]
Seeing that it was Otto, Subaru jokingly glossed matters over as usual. Otto slumped his shoulders at Subaru’s reply and shook his head as if saying “good grief”.
[Subaru: It’s not unrelated to me?]
[Otto: There was a big commotion, so I went to the stables to see what’s going on, and there I found Patrasche-chan kicking up a great fuss. I thought maybe she’s stressed out from being cooped up for so many days, so I unlatched the gates hoping to take her for a little stroll and……POW]
Making a big clap with his hands, Otto squinted at the dignified Patrasche. But Patrasche simply ignored him, keeping her gaze on Subaru.
[Otto: Why do I feel like I’m being completely disregarded… ugh nevermind. So anyway, she knocked me flying and dashed straight out of the stable. I was disoriented for a little while, but then I really panicked when I realized what serious trouble I’d be in as the one who let her escape… so that brings us to here]
[Subaru: And since she’s come to me, you can relax now, huh]
[Otto: Yeah, no kidding. Natsuki-san, did you leave some kind of instruction for Patrasche-chan?]
[Subaru: Never had the time. I didn’t even come to see her that much except to give her food……]
[Otto: Well that explains why she’s so worried… You should’ve seen the way she rushed out of there]
“Worry”, hearing this word in Otto’s muttering, Subaru’s rebuttal suddenly clogged in his throat.
No way, the thought surged into his mind as he looked down at his body in search of evidence. And there, he found it.
On the right-shoulder of his jacket there were dented teeth-marks mingled with traces of saliva. The middle of Subaru’s back was also plastered with dust as though he had been dragged over the ground.
Her round pupils focused on Subaru.
Seeing the dragon silently waiting for her master’s words, Subaru inadvertently held his breath.
[Subaru: Did you… drag me out of the Tomb?]
Of course, there was no way for Patrasche to answer back with words. But, looking at Patrasche after seeing the dirt on his own body, Subaru noticed that her black skin was littered with lacerations.
Coated in resilient scales, it would be no easy task to damage the ground dragon’s skin even with the appropriate tools. But it seemed to Subaru that these wounds were inflicted from the inside.
Then, he remembered.
――The Tomb would use its powers to expel those unqualified to take the Trials.
The wounds that confined Roswaal to his residence were inflicted the same way. When anyone without qualification trespasses inside, the Tomb would mercilessly bare its fangs―― which means,
[Subaru: Did you seriously… get yourself hurt to pull me out……?]
[Subaru: Why would you… do something so stupid…… for me it’s just waking up and walking out of there…… that’s it. You didn’t have to get all flustered and hurt yourself pulling me out……]
The gashes carved into her skin were deep enough that the red flesh beneath her black scales was showing through, and just the sight of blood seeping from the gaps made Subaru want to wince in pain.
Patrasche’s persistence in pulling Subaru outside in spite of her wounds―― was, quite frankly, pointless.
Unable to understand the meaning of Patrasche’s actions, Subaru dropped his gaze while the ground dragon brought her snout closer. Subaru, still sitting there with his legs powerlessly splayed out, felt its tough surface brushing over and over against the back of his neck.
The unspoken understanding he thought existed between them was in fact a one-way road, and their relationship was actually just him being cared for in various contexts.
[Otto: Huh? What is it? You two look like you’re having a nice moment, so I was thinking I should just leave so I don’t get in the way……]
[Subaru: Can you… please ask Patrasche why she’s helping me?]
Ooooh we’ll get to talk to best girl Patrasche! >_<
(Also Otto is back!)
Let me know if you see any typos! ❤
Chapter 80 Live Draft: