(Thank you Austin, Brototype, Kam, Glavos, Nir Ta, Aaron, Xinzhong 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/252/
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Coming out of Roswaal’s residence, Subaru wandered beneath the moonlight.
[Subaru: ――What do I do?]
Muttering a seemingly impenetrable question, voicing the words that had been repeating over and over in his mind, he was answered by only an echoless silence.
His question reached no one, merely disappearing into the void leaving a lingering emptiness in his throat.
In every sense of the word, he was stuck.
He would have neither Roswaal nor Echidona’s help now.
Collaborating with Echidona was now physically impossible, and collaborating with Roswaal was now sentimentally impossible.
Subaru had conceived of this possibility.
That perhaps Roswaal was Elsa’s employer and the attack on the Mansion was in order to spur Emilia―― or rather, Subaru, towards the Trials.
It was almost as if Elsa knew exactly when Subaru would arrive at the Mansion. And then there was the death of the possible informer, Frederica, combined with Elsa’s knowledge of the hidden passage and the Forbidden Library. All things considered, the only remaining suspects were Ram and Roswaal.
However, Ram’s utter devotion to Roswaal would give her no reason to do anything against Roswaal’s interests, so that left only Roswaal. ――Yet, Subaru had always kept this possibility out of his mind, not because he didn’t want it to be true, but because he thought it couldn’t be.
[Subaru: If Roswaal is Elsa’s employer, then……]
When Emilia’s insignia was stolen the very day Subaru was summoned to this world, was that also on Roswaal’s instructions?
If the Gospel’s texts had foretold of Subaru’s existence, of the existence of the Authority of Return by Death, and of the fact that it would prove indispensable to Emilia’s victory, then the upheavals of that day would all have been necessary to procure Subaru as an ally.
His frantic efforts that day, the three deaths he endured to save Emilia, and Emilia’s smile when he asked her for her name, was all that simply playing into Roswaal’s hands?
[Subaru: If everything was following this prophecy…… then Rem’s existence being stolen, the Sanctuary being entrapped… all of it was according to someone’s plan……?]
In that case, all of Subaru’s desperate struggles would have been nothing more than dancing to the strings that someone else was pulling.
Was abandoning everything besides Emilia really the only way to proceed? Now that all roads were closed, was there truly no other choice?
[Subaru: What am I, stupid? ……No, I am being stupid. This is exactly the kind of brainless thinking that made Roswaal…… if I let the same thing happen to me, I……]
The Gospel is not absolute. No one understood this more than Subaru, who had personally overwritten the prophecies in Petelgeuse’s Gospel.
The future-instructing Gospel is not all-powerful. In fact, every time something deviated from the writ, Roswaal gave up on the world and placed his hopes on the next――
He felt like he hit on something strange just now.
While speculating on Roswaal’s Gospel and carefully going over the events in sequence, Subaru sensed that something was unmistakably amiss. But he just couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
[Subaru: What is it… what….. something’s off. But, what is it……!?]
As if being given an impossible riddle, Subaru searched through the mist for some sliver of light.
Roswaal’s Gospel. Acting in accordance to the writ. Beatrice’ Gospel. The Witch Cult’s Gospel. The cessation of new prophecies following the death of its owner. Blank pages. Outcomes following the prophecy. Outcomes that don’t follow the prophecy―― this ongoing present that is currently deviating from the writ.
[Subaru: Still nothing. ――It’s one step away, but I just can’t reach it…]
Though he felt he was holding all the pieces of the puzzle, they would always scatter before he could form them into any semblance of an image. But it was a tug that he simply couldn’t ignore.
Every time he was stuck like this, it was by piecing together smaller clues into an answer that he found the way out.
This time is no different. If he could just assemble the fragments one by one――
The call of his name pulled Subaru’s consciousness out of the sea of thoughts.
Breaking out of the water’s surface, he found himself standing in the darkness under the pouring moonlight, and saw Emilia gazing at him with her shimmering silver hair swaying.
Unable to hide his surprise at this unexpected encounter and the pain that stabbed at his chest, Subaru raised his hand, and,
[Subaru: Oh, Emilia……tan. What’re you doing out here? It’s pretty late, you know?]
[Emilia: But that’s the same for you too, Subaru. If you stay up too late, you won’t grow any taller]
[Subaru: I… think I’m about finished with puberty, so I’m not super worried about that……]
Emilia came in with a topic that was slightly beside the point as usual. Regaining some of his calmness thanks to her reply, Subaru naturally slid himself to Emilia’s side.
They were in the middle of the Sanctuary, in something of an open plaza. Leaning herself against the mossy stone of a dried-out fountain, Emilia’s silver hair drifted in the night wind as she looked to Subaru beside her.
Gazing into the charm of her melancholy, amethyst eyes sent a sweet, aching pulse into his weakened heart.
[Emilia: I couldn’t fall asleep, so I kind of came out for a walk…… what about you, Subaru?]
[Subaru: ……Nah, it’s the same for me. I’m the kinda guy who can’t sleep if you swap out my pillow, and also Otto snores surprisingly loud]
[Emilia: I’m reeeaally surprised you’re dainty about those kinds of things, Subaru]
Emilia gave a quiet laugh, putting her hand to her lips. Watching her from the side, Subaru reflected that this was the first time he had reunited with Emilia since Returning by Death tonight.
In places unconnected to Subaru, people’s actions generally follow the same path across the loops. Which means, on the night of challenging the First Trial, Emilia would’ve always come out here for a walk, unable to sleep.
Being invited to the tea party, being threatened by Garfiel’s violence, discovering Lewes’ true identity, and learning of Roswaal’s dark machinations―― while Subaru was busy with all of that, Emilia was changing as well.
[Emilia: ……You seem down, Subaru]
[Subaru: Mn, I guess. I’m not, though]
[Emilia: Hmm, liar. If you’re the usual Subaru, you’d be more…… kooky?]
[Subaru: It’s been a while since I heard anyone say “kooky”……]
It’s been a while since they’ve had this kind of exchange, Subaru thought as his cheek softened with relief. [See?], Emilia pointed at Subaru’s cheeks, smiling,
[Emilia: There, you smiled. You always try to smile when you’re in front of me, Subaru, but you couldn’t do it just now]
[Emilia: Did something painful……happen? If you’re worried about something…… if you want to tell me, I’ll listen?]
Having the softening of his once-tense cheeks pointed out and having those words of concern flung at him, Subaru desperately tried to contain the heat building beneath his eyelids.
Her gentle, compassionate words permeated throughout his body. Surrounded on all sides, helpless and stuck, when even the last ray of hope is cut, he almost wanted to cling onto that beloved, tenderly-offered hand.
This wavering conviction, unable to follow through with even the resolve he had only just made, was both pathetic and frustrating.
[Subaru: It’s…… my own problem. I can’t put that burden on you]
[Subaru: Compared to me, you have a lot more on your hands, right? The way you were after the Trial…… are you really alright now?]
[Emilia: Mn, I got you worried. That was unsightly of me, wasn’t it? Sorry. ……I think I ran into a problem I just wasn’t mentally ready for at all]
Subaru looked away, trying to change the topic, while Emilia managed a powerless smile in reply.
She leaned back into the fountain behind her, looking up at the night sky as if to distract herself.
[Emilia: Really…… I wasn’t prepared at all. I’ve gotten this far by running away from so many things that I needed to face, but…]
[Subaru: I don’t see how that’s a bad thing… What’s so wrong with running away from things that you don’t like? Does facing unpleasant things all the time mean that you’ll beat them eventually? And who says you have to beat them? If you run away and find a different path, and then decide to take that path instead…… is that really something people have to fault you for?]
Watching all those words spill from Subaru’s tongue as he rambled, Emilia furrowed her brows. But without noticing her confusion, Subaru only kept going,
[Subaru: Echidona, who put up the Trials, Roswaal who knowingly lured us here, and Garfiel who keeps getting in the way, everyone’s just doing it for themselves. You’re free to do whatever the hell you want but why drag us into it? And then you criticize us for not living up to your expectations…… the hell do you want from us!?]
[Subaru: My head’s about to explode and I’m at my wit’s end. And yet and yet and yet and yet more problems just keep piling up…… and to top it all off, it’s supposed to be all my fault? Don’t make me laugh. Don’t make me laugh. Don’t――]
Just as he was growing dizzy from the surging emotions and inexplicable rage――
――Soft palms wrapped around the back of his head, as he felt his body being pulled downwards. Feeling his head plunging into the softness before him, Subaru inadvertently stopped breathing.
A hot, yet tender touch enveloped Subaru’s face.
Through its warmth, he heard a heartbeat, while his blanked-out consciousness began to realize what was happening―― realize that he was being cradled against Emilia’s breasts.
[Subaru: Aa, aah――?]
[Emilia: Take it slow. Quietly now. Take it slowly, and listen to the sound of my heart]
[Emilia: Leave yourself to the steady rhythm, and quietly breathe in, and out…… and repeat. Once you’re calm, give me a pat on the back. Until then, we can just stay like this]
His spine tingling with pleasure at the sound of the whisper in his ear, Subaru’s breathing accelerated. The shock of his unhinged emotions was blown away, replaced by the torment of all the blood in his body boiling.
How did it become like this? He was listening to the quiet beating of Emilia’s heart, yet his own was about to jump out of his chest.
But even his panicked heartbeat was naturally unravelling alongside Emilia’s breathing as her palms softly caressed the back of his head. Obeying her whispers, he took a deep breath, exhaled, and repeated until his lungs and his heart returned to normal.
Quietly, he tapped Emilia’s back. Her hands on his head moved away at this signal, while Subaru stood up, withstanding his reluctance to part,
[Emilia: Calmed down now?]
Facing her gleaming amethyst eyes, Subaru spilled a small sigh.
Hearing his reply, with [I’m glad], a relieved smile rose on Emilia’s face. Trying his best not to blush from embarrassment, Subaru gave a little shake of his head,
[Subaru: Sorry I lost it there… I really didn’t want to trouble you like this]
[Emilia: I don’t feel troubled at all]
[Subaru: But, you must be going through a lot more than I am… there’s no question about that. ……If I could, I should be saving you from all this…… that’s what I thought]
He had always shown off his cool side in front of Emilia.
But the truth is, he was just an embarrassing, weak, conceited, useless, boastful try-hard who wanted to be at her side.
[Subaru: Nothing ever goes right… in fact I…… spoke with Roswaal just now. About whether there’s a way to free the Sanctuary without the Trials]
[Subaru: Truth is, I thought it’d be best if I took the Trials in your place…… but now, I don’t think I can anymore. So I thought I’d at least find the least painful shortcut, but even that’s not working out. Just… what do I do…… I’m sorry I’m so useless……]
Subaru hung his head. Despite receiving so many chances to repeat through Return by Death, he still failed to find a single solution. Just how pathetic is that?
If he had done just a little better, he could’ve prevented those tragic worlds he saw in the Second Trial from ever coming to be.
And here too, there must be something he could do about this miserable situation――
[Subaru: But, I will find a way. I will make sure you won’t have to get hurt or suffer anymore. So please, trust me…]
Emilia looked up at Subaru with her eyes drenched in tears.
Gazing back at those teary eyes, within his wavering heart, Subaru steeled his resolve to ensure that its most integral part would never falter.
He will defend Emilia, overcome the Sanctuary, save the Mansion, and recover everything.
Though there is not the faintest visible sliver of hope in the road ahead, surely, he――
[Emilia: I’m happy you feel this way. I truly am. ――But, I cannot accept this kindness]
Yet, the resolve he had just supposedly steeled was, by the lips of that girl with unyielding conviction in her eyes, flat-out rejected.
-=Chapter 84 End=-
;-; x 100
I’m a little sick at the moment… sorry this one took so long.
Please let me know if you see any typos! ❤
Chapter 85 Live Draft: