(Thank you Austin, Brototype, White Rice 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/250/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 82 [Mutual Deception]
[Subaru: Right, so I’m not just imagining this……]
Touching his hand to the crystal before him and sensing no signs of anything happening, Subaru pressed his forehead against the cold crystal and sighed.
The girl sleeping inside the crystal――the original Lewes Meyer, made no reaction to Subaru’s lament. Although the lack of reply from that eternally sleeping girl was more or less expected, the lack of reaction in the general sense wasn’t.
[Subaru: I’ve been disqualified… so even if I touch the crystal, the Command Authority won’t transfer to me, huh……]
The Command Authority over Lewes Meyer’s clones was a power only an Apostle of Greed could wield.
Having rejected Echidona, Subaru was revoked of his qualification to challenge the Trials of her Tomb. Apparently, he had been deemed unworthy of that role.
Standing inside the facility’s stagnant, sickening air, Subaru held his head as he saw his glimmer of hope fading.
The worst case, the absolute worst case before he confirmed this, was that it was the trauma from the Second Trial that made him hesitate to step inside the Tomb. If that was the reason behind it, then it was only a problem with Subaru’s mental state. If he just forced himself to try again and again, he would eventually be able to bend his whimpering heart to his will.
But if it was something outside of his control, then there was nothing to be done.
Being unable to enter the Tomb also meant that he wouldn’t be able to negotiate directly with Echidona to regain his qualification.
Even before that, considering their last parting, would any of the Witches even want to see Subaru again? ――Probably not, would be his instinctive understanding.
Realizing this, Subaru understood that clearing the Trials himself was now out of the question, and the task of liberating the Sanctuary must be entrusted to someone else.
[Subaru: Emilia… will have to do it…… then?]
Voicing the possibility that he was most afraid of, a heartfelt desire to curse Echidona’s insidious designs swelled up inside him.
Echidona could read Subaru’s memories. Only she could observe the repeating worlds the same way Subaru did. And so, Echidona must know about Emilia, and how her heart and mind had been broken from continually challenging the Trials alone.
Echidona must also have known how desperately, and to what lengths Subaru would go to avoid that outcome.
Was the Witch of Greed forcing this hardship on Subaru and Emilia, knowing this?
[Subaru: What do I do, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do what do I do what do I do what do I do what do I do……]
His thoughts blazing and his mind growing white-hot, Subaru searched for a solution. But even as he taxed the burning synapses of his brain, not a single answer appeared to replace that extinguished glimmer of hope.
The situation was on a one-way road downwards, and the number of people he could rely on was diminishing.
A person who knew the situation he was in, who could pleasantly listen to his words with understanding.
Someone who could accept the things he must leave unsaid, and converse with him regardless.
Nothing would come of mulling over it alone. And he couldn’t rely on Echidona anymore.
Which means, there now was only one person left whom he could share his problems with.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Roswaal: I~~ certainly wasn’t expecting you to be visiting so late at ni~~ght]
[Subaru: ……right, but why do I get the feeling you got everything ready and had been waiting for me? You haven’t snuffed out the light to sleep, and looks like you just lit the fire, too]
[Roswaal: Aaha, so ha~~rsh. But, well, you’re not wro~~ng in the least]
Sitting up on the bed leaning against his pillow, Roswaal welcomed Subaru with a smile. While most of the lights in Roswaal’s residence were extinguished, the candle burning on his little bedside table had just been changed, its amber light swaying as it illuminated the room.
The entrancing, flickering candle-flame cast an eerie shadow over Roswaal’s pallid face. Taking this into his sight, Subaru swallowed a small breath as he prepared for the conversation to come.
If Subaru’s understanding was correct, then this conversation with Roswaal would――
[Roswaal: A~~nd so? You’ve come to me in the middle of the night for a reason? Co~~uld it be, that you are here to win me over with impa~~ssioned confessions of your longings?]
[Subaru: ……Confession… I wouldn’t call it that. Roswaal, is there a way to release the Sanctuary without passing the Trials?]
At that sentence alone, Roswaal’s smile curdled, taking on a lurid, ghastly chill.
In fact, the slit of the clown’s smiling lips stretched wide. Stroking his long blue hair, he nodded several times, gazing into Subaru with his single yellow pupil,
[Roswaal: Subaru-kun. ――Which attempt are you currently on?]
That question took the reins of the conversation by implying that they both knew the thereabouts of what the other knew.
With it, Roswaal would confirm the fact that Subaru could indeed Return by Death, and Subaru would know that Roswaal was in a position to know this.
And so, Subaru must present concessions while amending Roswaal’s information.
With a short sigh, Subaru gave a purposefully emphasized shrug.
[Subaru: Sorry, but it’s too stupidly many to count at this point. I can’t remember how many times we’ve probed each other like this, either]
[Roswaal: I…… see. U~~ndersto~~od. If you’re putting it that way…… I’ll have to take your word for it, I suppose?]
[Subaru: So, how about it?]
Averting his gaze, Subaru tried to hurry the conversation along.
However, he did not overlook the fact that his words had made Roswaal’s cheeks stiffen, or that he had seized the initiative with his opening move.
――While Roswaal knew that Subaru was looping, unlike Subaru, he cannot retain memories from the previous loops.
This was something Subaru had learned in the loop where Roswaal revealed his knowledge of Return by Death. It was there, that Subaru learned of Roswaal’s incomprehensible resolve where, despite knowing that his death will be the end, he still sought to use Subaru’s Return by Death to attain his desired outcome.
Even now, Subaru couldn’t help but find that way of thinking disgusting and repugnant, but――
[Subaru: I’m in the middle of some trial and error right now. So I’d appreciate your help]
Saying it with a kind of self-derision, Subaru was giving off the illusion that he was “Acting in accordance to Roswaal’s intentions”.
At this stage, Roswaal certainly knew more about the secrets of the Sanctuary than Subaru. It was unclear how much Roswaal’s Gospel documented what would happen next, and it’d be no easy task to find out, but, recalling Roswaal’s mutters as he sighted the Great Rabbit, Subaru deduced that it wasn’t detailed to that extent.
Which means, as long as he chooses his words carefully, there was a good chance Subaru could deceive Roswaal while extracting information from him.
[Roswaal: And part of that trial and error involves freeing the Sanctuary without challenging the Trials…… is it? I~~f so, that’s ra~~ther faint-hearted. With the Authority in your possession, an infinite number of attempts should certainly make it possible for you to overcome any hardship. I don’t know how many times you have tried…… but to give up in search of another me~~thod… is surely a sign of i~~nsufficient resolve?]
[Subaru: I don’t consider stubbornly betting everything on overcoming the Trials to be a clever way of doing things. Better to choose a smoother method if there is one, that’s all. It’d be silly to put style over substance here. The important thing is the fact that we escape from this place and that the credit goes to Emilia…… am I wrong, Roswaal?]
Keeping his face calm and collected, one by one, Subaru scrutinized his own words in real time as he spoke. The task of weaving and checking each word moments before they rolled off his tongue was straining his nerves to the limit, but, without doing so, he would stand no chance of deceiving Roswaal.
His argument was cold hard logic―― most likely, this was the Subaru that Roswaal wanted to see.
There was no doubt that Roswaal wanted to make Emilia King, and have Subaru help make it so. Besides, Subaru imagined that the more ruthless the suggestion, the more it’d be to Roswaal’s tastes.
And, sure enough,
[Roswaal: I~~ see…… that is indeed an a~~nswer to my liking]
Roswaal smiled with satisfaction at Subaru’s reply.
Seeing the color of depravity deepen on the clown’s painted face, Subaru bit down on the insides of his cheeks while doing his best to keep his untroubled expression.
Roswaal’s disturbing gaze suggested that he regarded Subaru to be of the same breed as himself. That is to say, Roswaal was considering Subaru to be the same as his own degenerate self. ――A biological disgust swelled inside him at the thought of it.
But the more Subaru tried to think of a difference between them, the more apparent his own crookedness became.
[Roswaal: Whi~~le I am certainly delighted to see the changes in your thinking, to answer your question would prove ra~~ther difficult. There is no precedent. After all, the Barrier has never been broken since it was placed there. I wouldn’t imagine there is a crack somewhere, since, considering who installed it, it’d be best to abandon all optimistic hopes for su~~ch oversights]
[Subaru: It’s Echidona’s Barrier……]
[Roswaal: E~~xactly. The Sanctuary’s Tomb is her gravestone, and the Barrier is something she erected in her lifetime to keep the half-bloods for her experiments from escaping. ……A~~lthough, I’m sure you’ve already disco~~vered that much]
[Subaru: Well, obviously. Just saying, I already know about Lewes Meyer in the facility in the woods. That and the clones, and how Garfiel has the Command Authority]
[Roswaal: Aha~~a, that do~~es speed things up]
While Roswaal gradually disclosed information, Subaru was also carefully revealing his cards. Hearing this, Roswaal closed his single eye, sighing as if in thought.
[Roswaal: The liberation of the Sanctuary is an indispensible achievement if Emilia-sama is to become King. If she si~~desteps it, the people of the Sanctuary and the villagers of Arlam will not see it as such]
[Subaru: As long as we can get them outside for now, we can easily smooth that part over later. Besides, this isn’t the only chance for her to gather achievements. It’s actually pretty bad timing, in fact, so if we pick another time to……]
[Roswaal: Another time? Wh~~y are you back to saying this?]
Seeing Roswaal’s eye widen in bewilderment, Subaru realized that he had misspoken.
Having scoured himself away and confirmed his resolve over countless loops―― that was the Subaru he was performing here.
In that Subaru’s ruthless thinking, there was no reason he would pass up an opportunity to pick up an achievement right in front of him.
Without letting his regret show on his expression, before Roswaal’s doubts could deepen, [Just think about it], Subaru continued,
[Subaru: As you already know, I’m willing to stop at nothing to make Emilia the King. So don’t take this the wrong way, but, considering how I can rehearse the future and come back with all the information, liberating the Sanctuary is pretty insignificant and doesn’t really involve a lot of people. We could be putting our efforts into more important stuff like the White Whale and the Witch Cult instead. ――This place just isn’t worth the effort]
[Roswaal: ……No~~ no, liberating the Sanctuary is necessary. Let me make this clear: that point is beyond compromise. You see, I still have some inevitable doubts about your po~~wers]
Subaru tilted his head as the conversation took a strange turn. Seeing this, [Indeed], Roswaal nodded.
[Roswaal: I~~ cannot confirm with my own eyes what your Autho~~rity can do. It is also possible that I am not convinced by your excu~~ses. Though na~~turally, once the results are in, I would have no choice but to acce~~pt it]
[Roswaal: I can say with all certainty that to make Emilia-sama King, my power…… and the support of the House of Mathers is i~~ndispensable. Liberating the Sanctuary is what will make me believe that your ability to assist Emilia-sama is genuine, and only then, can there be a positive relationship between us…… I would like you to understa~~nd this]
Roswaal narrowed his single eye, as Subaru fell speechless at the soundness of his argument.
Everything Roswaal said was true, and Subaru could think of no effective rebuttal.
Emilia needs someone to back her if she is to stand on that stage as a Royal Selection candidate, and no one of influence besides Roswaal would be willing to do so. All Subaru could do was to accept this as the reality of things, there was no other way.
Following his orders so as not to displease his patron would be the correct course of action. Roswaal’s views were sound, and the urgency of the situation was undeniable.
But, even while being swayed by those waves of reason, Subaru still felt like there was something off about it.
It just sounded as if Roswaal was far too fixated on the point of liberating the Sanctuary.
[Subaru: This is slightly off-topic, but……]
[Roswaal: Hm? Wha~~t is it?]
Seeing Subaru raise a single finger to draw his attention, Roswaal tilted his head.
Locking his gaze onto his single, mismatched eye, Subaru spoke.
[Subaru: Is there a reason you’re so obsessed with liberating the Sanctuary no matter what?]
Roswaal met that question with only silence.
Silence, as his smile deepened and his yellow eye pierced into Subaru’s.
――Subaru could sense it on his very skin that the mood of the conversation was changing.
-=Chapter 82 End=-
Ooooo I’m excited now >_<
Let me know if you find any typos! ❤
Chapter 83 Live Draft: