(Thank you Austin, Brototype, 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/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 85 [With Words, With Feelings, With Fists]
For a moment, unable to understand what he had just been told, Subaru only let out an astonished groan.
His eyes widened and his mouth gaped open, while Emilia watched him as she formed her thoughts into words.
[Emilia: I’m happy that you feel this way about me, say these things to me, and do all these things for me. It makes me feel so safe, and I rely on you so, so much. ……But I can’t let you search for escape routes for me]
[Subaru: N-no it’s…… it’s not such a one-sided issue!]
[Emilia: I’m the one who decided to take this challenge. There is somewhere I need to go, a door I need to pass through to get there, and right now, I need to do my best to pass through it. I don’t want to make any excuses]
Subaru tightened his lips as he was struck by Emilia’s determined eyes.
Her resolute visage was overflowing with strong-willed radiance. It was not the face of a weak little girl who would stop still in her tracks without Subaru there to pull her along.
But, why? With his heart buried in questions, Subaru shook his head.
[Subaru: Emilia, I think your resolve is amazing. But the Trial is not suited for you. To go in there with no plan when the chances of winning are so…… slim, I don’t think it’s noble or anything]
[Emilia: ……The chances do feel slim, I guess]
Emilia wryly smiled at Subaru’s matter-of-fact statement. The fact that her eyebrows drooped a little was only because she recognized that those were Subaru’s honest thoughts.
And Subaru himself felt like a horribly deficient human being for not immediately finding the right words to comfort her.
[Subaru: Can we at least wait until I find some clues? If I can just have some time, I…… can make the whole thing easier for you. Then you won’t have to worry about……]
[Emilia: No, you can’t, Subaru. Somehow, I just know. ――That there are no shortcuts or back alleys to get through the Tomb’s Trials]
[Emilia: It’s strange. But I just know it. Even with time, unless I steadily prepare myself for the challenge, the result will always be the same. I know that]
He had no words to refute her.
Though he didn’t know the exact details behind the Trials, he did agree with Emilia about these feelings.
Repeatedly challenging the Trial will not soften or intensify its contents nor its nature. The same conditions and the same contents will be there to welcome its challenger. Keeping its own properties constant, only changes in the challenger’s heart would result in different outcomes―― as would be just to Echidona’s tastes.
Seeing right through his attempts to console her, Emilia’s understanding of the Trials was more than Subaru had imagined.
Yet even so, just as Subaru frantically tried to connect his words,
[Emilia: Say, Subaru. ――Why do you want to help me?]
It was a question that carried tremendous significance the last time it was asked.
How desperately had Subaru struggled in order to answer her? How much hardship had he overcome just to tell her?
And that was why, being asked the same question now, Subaru could answer without the slightest hesitation.
[Subaru: I want to help you… because I love you. ――Because I love everything about you]
[Emilia: ――Mn. Yes, I know. Subaru, you love me]
[Emilia: And it makes me reeaally happy that you do. It makes me feel reeaally safe. And makes me want to reeaally depend on you. And just having you watch me like this, I feel like I can reeaally try my hardest]
Holding her hands to her chest, her cheeks slightly blushing, Emilia closed her eyes.
As if instilled with all of her emotions at once, [And so], she continued,
[Emilia: Don’t get stuck thinking that you have to do something. I can do my best just by having you watch me. If you want to do something, if you’ll indulge my selfishness, then I want you to stay by my side. And be there behind me to support me]
[Emilia: With your hand on my back when I’m faltering, I know I can stand back up again. And when I’m wavering, I want you at my side, Subaru]
[Emilia: Thank you… for walking ahead of me, moving away the stones, smoothing out the path, cutting away the branches, and then guiding me by the hand. But, I think, if you always do that for me, I’ll just be a burden to you. While I’ll be all fudged up inside]
[Subaru: Who says, “fudged”…… anym…]
He tried to say his usual line, but the words wouldn’t come.
Subaru could no longer restrain the emotions swelling inside his chest. Just what is that indescribable, incomprehensible sensation? So as not to lose himself in that undeniable emotion, Subaru gritted his teeth as he continued facing Emilia.
[Emilia: I’ve only ever taken, and taken, and taken from you…… so, this time, I want to do something different. It bothers me that every time I fail I’m making you and everyone else worry…… to make sure that doesn’t happen again, I’ll try my best to overcome it as soon as possible]
In front of Subaru, who had fallen speechless, a subtle, courageous smile rose on Emilia’s face.
[Emilia: So please stay by my side, and watch over me as I try my best. ――That’s all I ask of you, Subaru]
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Slicing through the wind, straining his legs as he ran, his heart would not stop pounding.
Every perilous footfall sprinting down that slope sent branches cutting painfully across his cheeks, and, tripping countless times, he nevertheless continued frantically running.
Expelling a soundless shriek, stretching his throat to the point of tearing, he gazed up into the night through the gaps between the obscuring foliage, into the cloudless sky, into the pale, radiant moon amid the shimmering stars, and screamed.
――As if to spew out all the foolish foolishness inside him, and to empty himself of everything.
――Emilia’s last, resolute smile remained seared into the back of his eyes.
That smile, her proclaimed resolve, and his own mistaken conceit. He finally understood that sweltering impulse scorching the insides of his chest.
And because he understood it, he could not bear to stay another second. Instead, after parting from Emilia, Subaru rushed into the forest, running aimlessly like an animal.
Not permitting him to stand still, not allowing him to escape into sleep, that emotion which would burst into flames just at the thought of Emilia―― that emotion was called “Shame”.
Shame dominated Subaru’s entirety, forbidding him to stop.
Overwhelming idiot. Truly, truly, a hopeless, irredeemable idiot.
When Roswaal disparaged Emilia and called her a “thing”, Subaru had flown into a rage. He bared his teeth, screaming, proclaiming that he would not allow Roswaal to insult her.
But then, when he met Emilia right after, when he told her everything that he wanted to do for her, and was rejected, that was when he realized it:
――The one most guilty of doubting Emilia’s resolve, determination, and strength was Subaru himself.
Thinking that he had to protect her, not wanting her to feel sadness or pain――
With that as his excuse, he had racked his brain trying to keep Emilia from any hardship. Challenging the Trials in her stead, then seeking shortcuts when that failed, and when even that was hopeless―― worst case, if he could just do something about the Great Rabbits responsible for the time-limit on the Sanctuary: All along, Subaru had occupied his mind trying to find a way to solve everything without Emilia having to take the Trials.
But while Subaru was obsessed with this self-satisfied desire to protect her and devising plans to shelter her, Emilia was steeling her resolve and determination in those nights she spent alone, choosing not to flee, but to face the Trials head on.
All she wanted was for Subaru to support her in that resolve.
Yet, it was none other than Natsuki Subaru who dismissed her from the start.
The instant he realized it, that unbearable feeling of shame pounced at Subaru’s head.
Giving Emilia some unconvincing reply when she needed his response, he gave the worried girl a wave and left, practically fleeing. Then, his legs carried him into the forest, where he was now.
In the Capital, it was with the same selfish conceit that Subaru had wounded Emilia.
Paying no mind to Emilia’s considerations or resolve, thinking only of his new-found Authority, Subaru gave her no explanation for his selfish behavior and allowed it to open the rift between them.
It was because that happened, and because he confirmed his feelings for her and how he was going to express it, that Subaru was able to stand here now.
――But he was wrong yet again.
Taking on wounds in Emilia’s place, shouldering the burdens in Emilia’s stead, clearing the path for Emilia’s sake.
Even if he boasted of it to Emilia, he never showed it off to anyone else. At least, it seemed to be an improvement compared to what it was before―― but in reality, nothing had changed at all.
He had just gotten better at hiding his wounds.
He had just muted the arrogant self-aggrandizement flaunting his injuries.
But he was still imposing his selfishness on Emilia, screaming that he was right.
[Subaru: I…… I……gh]
Out of breath and panting as he ran, when he looked up again, a thick branch struck him on the forehead. Bending backwards in pain, he felt his footing fall away into empty space.
Collapsing sideways, tumbling over the dirt and leaf covered surface, Subaru came to lie sprawled out over the ground.
With the frigid soil that would suck all the warmth from his body at his back, drawing ragged breaths, Subaru laid there gazing straight above. Through the gaps between the trees, he could glimpse the night’s sky.
In this world without street lights, in the prickling, clean air, the stars were brilliantly shining. Under the full expanse of that starry sky, surrounded by constellations he did not know, Subaru felt himself dissolve into a vortex of his own smallness, of the uncertainty of his future, of his tangible dread, and of his disheveled emotions.
Struck by a sudden exhaustion, he could no longer keep himself conscious.
This tumultuous time left not only his body weighed down by fatigue, but also his mind, encumbered by the countless travails, steadily drawing him into darkness.
Return by Death. The Witches’ tea party. Roswaal’s intentions. His conceited self, and Emilia, who had resolved to stand up on her own.
Engrossed in those thoughts, just what would Subaru have to――
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Thank you guys so much for being so patient, I’m feeling a lot better now! ❤
I finished this one last night but it’s an important scene and I wasn’t sure if it was good enough.
Please let me know if you spot any typos!
Chapter 85 Live Draft: