(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/
Otto possessed the Divine Protection of Anima Whispering, which allowed him to speak with animals, bugs, and various other life forms. Naturally, that meant he could communicate with Patrasche as well.
What was Patrasche thinking when she pulled Subaru outside in spite of her injuries? ――What could be laying at the root of her actions unsettled him to no end.
But Otto frowned at Subaru’s request, looking reluctant.
[Otto: Honestly, I’d rather not, Natsuki-san]
[Subaru: Don’t say that, just please]
[Otto: From what I can guess from your mutterings to Patrasche-chan… Natsuki-san, you were just inside the Tomb taking the Trial, right? After this morning, I’d already vaguely suspected that you’re qualified for the Trials, but, from the looks of it… you failed?]
[Subaru: ……Yeah, pretty much]
Though the intensity of his interactions with the Witches had muddled his memory, in this loop, Subaru had yet to tell the others about taking the First Trial. After revealing it only to Garfiel, he re-entered the Tomb to the Second Trial and the Witches’ tea party.
The Trial wasn’t the only reason he was so distraught, but Subaru saw no reason to correct Otto’s misunderstanding and merely nodded his head.
Hearing this, Otto slumped his shoulders and let out an astonished sigh.
[Otto: I can imagine several reasons why you did that…… but what you did was stupid, Natsuki-san. You got yourself hurt inside, and on top of that you worried your dragon and got us where we are now. Patrasche-chan has a keen intuition, and she must’ve sensed that something’s happened to you. That’s why she knocked me out of the way and rushed over…… and her wounds couldn’t have been unrelated, either]
Otto followed the same train of thought to reach the same conclusion.
Subaru had figured as much. But the question was why did Patrasche go so far for him? That was what he wanted Otto to ask her.
[Otto: What. What’s with that look? You mean you’re actually serious about what you said?]
[Subaru: How about we flip this. Do I really look like I’m in a state to be joking right now?]
[Otto: I’m sure you’ll find a way to tell terrible jokes even when you’re ragged and torn, Natsuki-san. In this case, I would’ve been happier if you were joking. ――You really don’t know?]
Before Subaru could refute that quiet question, he found himself overwhelmed by Otto’s gaze.
It was almost a look of disbelief, as if Otto was looking down at Subaru like he was an idiot. So, was there something huge Subaru had overlooked, or what?
But finding no answers, Subaru only fidgeted, furrowing his brows and looking confused. Sweat rose on his forehead from the anxiety, but still nothing came to mind.
Seeing this, Otto sighed once again,
[Otto: My Divine Protection isn’t as all-powerful as you think, Natsuki-san. While it can communicate ideas, that doesn’t mean it can do translations. Even if what you say makes sense to me, I can’t act as an intermediary and convey it to someone else, there’s a tricky problem of nuance]
[Otto: That look’s totally saying “Do it anyway”. Well, I can do it, but…… I don’t really… see the… point…]
Drooping his head, muttering in dissatisfaction, Otto nonetheless gave in to Subaru’s request.
Otto approached Patrasche, who was still rubbing against Subaru with her snout, and gently stroked her jet-black back,
The sound that came out of Otto’s opened mouth was scraping and shrill.
Bearing no resemblance to human speech, it was the product of the Divine Protection of Anima Whispering, which was converting his words into a cry that ground dragons could understand.
Patrasche lifted her head and answered in a similar screech. Hearing this, Otto opened his mouth again, and they went on exchanging these screeches, until,
[Otto: That’s about it, but…… uumnnn, it’s kind of hard to find the proper words to communicate this. The way dragons express emotions is different from humans as well, so how do I explain this from only what I can understand……]
[Subaru: Stop playing around. Just tell me, please]
[Otto: It’s not that I’m playing around…… ugh, this is really problematic! I mean, it’s really going to require an insane amount of consideration to get this right]
Scratching his head, Otto looked up several times as he deliberated, only to lower his head again to continue thinking while Subaru started impatiently fidgeting. Then, Otto sighed, and,
[Otto: Alright, here it is. I’ve chosen the words that… probably… will be the closest I can manage]
[Subaru: Right…… so what did Patrasche say?]
[Otto: Mmmnn, it would be something like “Well don’t make me say it out loud”]
Subaru’s eyes widened as Otto embarrassedly scratched his cheek.
Subaru waited a bit longer to see if Otto had anything else to say, but it didn’t seem like any more words were coming. Seeing the dumbfounded Subaru, [Well], Otto went on,
[Otto: Patrasche-chan said “Well don’t make me say it out loud”. And in my opinion, that sounds about right]
[Subaru: Don’t make me say…… what…..?]
[Otto: Whichever way you take it, that’s what it means. If I have to supplement it with my own opinion, it would be “Do I really have to tell you for you to understand this?”. Something like that]
Seeing Subaru’s confusion deepen, Otto held up a finger with [You listening?],
[Otto: When you don’t know whether someone is in danger, but you couldn’t bear standing still and rush out, paying no heed to your own injuries as you lend them your hand, then you stay at their side until they wake up, and finally give them a relieved smile when they wake―― I think whether it’s a human or a dragon, when they do something like that for another person, it’s pretty obvious what they’re thinking]
[Otto: So even if you’re not Patrasche-chan, you should know what “Don’t make me say it” means. If you still can’t tell from her attitude, then you’re just way too daft. You’re really lucky, aren’t you?]
Hearing Otto’s exasperated question, Subaru realized just how stupid he was.
He looked at Patrasche, still sitting at his side, and found her staring at him with the same relieved gaze. As if noticing the shift in his mind, she wagged her long tail and stood up,
Once again, she brought her snout over, and Subaru’s hand naturally moved to pat it.
Stroking his palm over her hard, craggy hide, Subaru’s voice was trembling,
[Subaru: So, um…… you, like me, huh]
[Subaru: You love me… that’s why you’re here for me… huh]
Something that had weighed on his chest suddenly dropped with a thunk.
Patrasche growled in reply, then violently rubbed her snout inside his palms as if to hide her embarrassment. Subaru furrowed his brows at the sensation scraping his skin, and, when he opened his mouth,
[Subaru: Ou.. a……]
A droplet of heat rolled down his cheek.
It was a teardrop. For before he knew it, the tears that had abruptly welled up in his eyes overflowed. Quickly wiping it with his hand, it was too late to hide it. Otto already saw it.
[Otto: Are you… crying because you realized your ground dragon is attached to you… Natsuki-san…….]
[Subaru: Nonono…… that’s not what this is…… the timing’s just lined up too well…… ugh, just when I thought it didn’t feel real, the answer suddenly flew into my mind when I wasn’t prepared……]
The unfair timing of this revelation caused even more emotions to come flooding in even as Subaru desperately tried to restrain them.
Back at the Witches’ tea party, Subaru had realized that he didn’t want to die. And that just as much as he wanted to protect those he loved, he also wanted to be there alongside them in the end.
As for whether he was worthy enough for them to care about him, that was more difficult to say, and so he swore that he would find out.
And now, there was Patrasche’s unconditional loyalty.
Being hit with something like this before he had done anything, what was he supposed to do?
The answer to the question he had been agonizing over, Patrasche had just given it to him alongside his awakening.
At least to Patrasche, Subaru was precious enough that, when she sensed he was in a nightmare, she rushed there to pull him out even though it meant injuring herself to do it.
[Subaru: Didn’t think I’d be getting this lesson from you. ――Thank you, Patrasche]
Answering the loyalty she was directing at him, Subaru filled his strokes with sentiment as he patted Patrasche. And, standing still, Patrasche resolutely stretched out her neck to savor his touch. All the while, she was swaying her tail in indication of her happiness.
[Otto: Now that you’ve reconfirmed your bond with Patrasche-chan, are you alright, Natsuki-san?]
[Subaru: Yeah, that helped a lot, thank you. ……Am I alright?]
[Otto: I mean physically and mentally. The Trial must’ve been really hard on you, right? You looked like you were almost crying from loneliness, and Emilia-sama was the same way]
Just when Subaru was about to refute Otto’s observation, he realized just how frail he must have been, and did not say anything. Instead, his thoughts turned to Emilia,
[Subaru: It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. But I think it was easier on me than it was on Emilia. More importantly, since you were worried about me…… does that mean you love me too?]
[Otto: Can you please refrain from turning it into something repulsive!? There’re lines you shouldn’t cross even if you’re feeling lonely! Is Patrasche-chan not enough for you that now you have to ask that question to anyone you meet?]
[Subaru: Can’t I? Honestly, right now I’m right on the fence about whether or not to give myself validation here, so I’d like to get one more encouraging message please]
[Otto: Right, right, good to see you’re back to your usual self…… My worries for you were purely out of consideration for our future cooperation, I hope you don’t misunderstand]
Scowling at the warning signs of Subaru’s returning eccentricity, Otto threw up his arms, saying this.
“Future cooperation” was a rather pretentious way to put it, but for Otto, who would like to clearly maintain his standing as a merchant, this was a necessary thing to say.
[Otto: My acquaintance with you, Natsuki-san, is purely to preserve cordial relations with Margrave Mathers. Should any problems arise on that front, or if it starts to looks like my life is in danger, I’ll be scurrying away as fast as my legs can take me. I’d like you to remember that]
Making that rather unfeeling statement, what Otto said was not so much heartless as it was already the implicit understanding between them. The fact that Otto kept going out of his way to say it only showed that he was a kind person at heart, late as it is to mention this.
[Subaru: Right, yeah. You’d…… actually, no]
Just as Subaru was about to accept Otto’s realist remark with a nod, he stopped.
Listening to him just now, a sense of awryness scraped across his chest.
Then, arriving at the answer instantly, [haa] Subaru sighed.
[Otto: ……What is it?]
[Subaru: I just remembered. Yeah, remembered… remembered]
Nodding several times in front of the confused-looking Otto, Subaru held his hand to his head and tilted back his neck.
Subaru and Otto had operated together many times in these loops inside the Sanctuary. Each time, Subaru had seen him.
And because Subaru had seen him,
[Subaru: You’ll scurry away at the first sign of danger…… huh]
[Otto: Yeah, you bet. It’s obvious, isn’t it? There’s no reason for me to extend my concerns to you or anyone else. Where there’s life, there’s hope, as they say……]
[Subaru: You wouldn’t run]
As Otto tried to take a realist’s stance by assuming this frivolous tone, Subaru muttered.
Seeing Otto’s eyes widen, Subaru looked at him straight on, and said,
[Subaru: ――You wouldn’t leave me and run, Otto]
Otto had snuck into a hidden building guarded by a violence-ready Garfiel to help Subaru.
And he had resisted the beastified Garfiel alongside the villagers to stop it from devouring Subaru.
Even as he dressed himself in heartless words and pretended to be a bad person, Subaru knew that he wasn’t.
[Subaru: Otto. ――You’re my friend]
-=Chapter 80 End=-
It’s good to see Subaru getting help from now on
Let me know if you find any typos! ❤
Chapter 81 Live Draft: