(Thank you Austin, Brototype, Mariusz, Xizhong, Socite, Angrym, Storm 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/255/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 87 [One Oni Outside, Two Clowns Inside]
Two astonished gazes landed on the out-of-breath Subaru who had barged into the room.
As far as he was concerned, both of these two were supposed to be completely foreign to the concept of “being surprised”. And, deriving some small satisfaction from their reactions, the wicked smile on Subaru’s face deepened.
[Roswaal: ――A bet?]
Muttering this, Roswaal narrowed his mismatched eyes.
His face that was usually covered in clown’s makeup was now devoid of any paint. Over the various loops, only once had Subaru seen Roswaal’s real face like this before.
His skin beneath the white cosmetics was pallid, and there was a certain guileless simplicity to his gaze without his eyeliners―― an impression entirely detached from the Roswaal Subaru had known. Before he knew it, the shady, calculating figure behind the painted face had transformed into a clean, upstanding youth as the makeup fell away.
Handsome people are handsome without needing anything extra, Subaru silently remarked as he nodded to Roswaal’s mutter,
[Subaru: Yeah, a bet. Your wish against mine…… Just one shot, winner takes all]
Subaru raised a single finger, magnificently declaring. As if scrutinizing Subaru’s proposal, Roswaal squinted his eyes. But before Roswaal could give his reply, another figure cut in between their line of sight―― it was the pink-haired maid, Ram.
With Roswaal to her back, Ram’s gaze was severe as she faced Subaru. Although, in their day-to-day, Ram tended to scold Subaru every chance she got, and her gaze towards him was always sharp, none of it could compare with what was in her eyes at this moment.
[Ram: Hold it, Barusu. You come barging into the room, and just when I was wondering what you had to say…… you mean to further burden Roswaal-sama in his convalescence? There should be a limit to your insolence]
[Subaru: Considering the circumstances, the “I’m sick and injured” excuse won’t work anymore. That’s got nothing to do with that slick tongue and black heart of his…… so he’ll just have to suck it up until I’m done]
[Subaru: And nothing you say is gonna change that!]
A blend of perilousness and severity flared in Ram’s eyes. But before she could act, Subaru stomped his foot into the floor. Jutting out his finger at Ram, who had cautiously halted,
[Subaru: I’ve got no reason to stop or hesitate. You and I know each other well enough for at least that much, right Roswaal?]
[Subaru: Or has your motivation gone all the way to zero just because something’s deviated from your little diary? How about showing a little backbone and making some effort for your coming selves instead?]
[Roswaal: …….That’s an interesting way of putting it. My coming selves, is it]
Subaru tried to get his meaning across to Roswaal without directly mentioning Return by Death. Although Ram furrowed her brows in confusion, Roswaal seemed to have understood.
With some vigor returning to his lifeless face, Roswaal addressed Ram in front of him,
[Roswaal: Ram. Stand down…… or ra~~ther, could you leave us for a moment?]
[Ram: ……! But, Roswaal-sama]
[Roswaal: It’s fine, it’s fine. Even if we’re alone, Subaru-kun isn’t thoughtless enough to atta~~ck me. And it would be very easy to defeat him anyway. Wou~~ldn’t it?]
[Subaru: Yeah, embarrassing as it is. If we ever get physical, I’m not even confident I can pull him off the bed]
Watching Subaru flapping his empty hands in agreement, Ram gritted her teeth, and once again turned her worried gaze to Roswaal,
[Ram: ――Please don’t strain yourself]
With this, she gave a solemn curtsy and headed for the room’s exit. Just before passing Subaru, she shot him a sideways glare,
[Ram: ――If anything should happen to Roswaal-sama, I will not forgive you]
[Subaru: You should be more worried about him doing something in a self-destructive fit, you know]
Seeing Ram off with a shrug, Subaru watched the door shut behind her before turning back to Roswaal. Roswaal’s expression remained thoughtful as he closed a single eye, catching Subaru in his yellow pupil.
[Roswaal: Again, your expression is consi~~derably different from when we pa~~rted last night. Could something have changed in your heart in these few hours?]
[Subaru: A change of heart… guess you could call it that. I got a talking to, got into a fight with a friend and…… well, it was a bit too one-sided to be a fight, but it was something of a reaffirmation of our friendship]
Touching the cheek that Otto had punched, still faintly red, Subaru thought back on the sensations of that morning.
Despite his scrawny figure, Otto was surprisingly strong. Perhaps, that was because the number of ordeals he’d had to go through was far greater than Subaru’s. Subaru thought he had gotten into quite a few predicaments since coming to this world, but it seems that still wasn’t nearly enough.
[Subaru: Seriously, how vicious is this world……]
[Roswaal: I couldn’t agree more. We~~ll, yesterday I’ve already confirmed that I haven’t co~~rnered you enough, but the fact that you’ve come back so early just shows I wasn’t mistaken]
[Subaru: I was pretty much at my limit though. ……I’m just simple-minded, I guess]
It seems Otto’s words and fist had knocked Subaru’s crooked wits straight.
A terribly crude and simple method. There was nothing more childish than having to have a friend beat you onto the right path, and if it had happened to someone else, Subaru would definitely have derided them for it.
[Subaru: But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. When you find yourself stuck with no way out, it’s pretty nice to have a buddy to help figure things out]
[Roswaal: Naive. Green, immature. ……Ultimately, you can only solve the sufferings of this world yourself. You have no need for such indolent ideas as relying on friends]
[Subaru: Relying on friends, relying on bonds, relying on feelings…… you don’t think it’ll work?]
[Roswaal: It wo~~n’t]
[Subaru: Is that so. ――Then, we’ll just have to see who’s right]
Roswaal’s expression shifted, while Subaru walked up to the bed, snapped his fingers, and pointed straight at Roswaal.
[Subaru: Like I said, let’s make a bet. With our wishes as the chips, one round decides all]
[Roswaal: Very well, let’s he~~ar it then]
Having confirmed that Roswaal wasn’t outright rejecting his proposal, Subaru turned his finger towards the ceiling,
[Subaru: I won’t be following your intentions this time. Not just this time, I’ve no intention of doing it your way, ever…… but, even if I keep insisting that, we’ll never be able to sort out our differences. So let’s set a limit]
[Roswaal: A limit?]
Hearing Roswaal repeat it back, [Yeah], Subaru nodded.
Wetting his lips with his tongue, Subaru stared straight into Roswaal’s eyes,
[Subaru: This loop, I’ll break through everything my way. If I fail…… next one onwards, I’ll do things the way you want me to. That’ll be the limit]
[Roswaal: ――Having the ability to rewind indefinitely, you would abandon your right to keep trying?]
[Subaru: You said it yourself. What you did wasn’t enough to corner me. And I agree. ――If I keep thinking that I can just rewind and get it right next time, everything’ll just end up like that again]
Though of course, he had no intention of rejecting the concept entirely.
In this merciless world, what could Natsuki Subaru possibly do without Return by Death? Subaru wasn’t so shameless as to completely deny all the benefits Return by Death had given him.
But his mindset had changed. If he had done everything he could and died anyway, he would at least resignedly accept it. But if that was not the case, and he died when he could have lived, then,
[Subaru: It would be an insult to all the people who’d cry for me. I won’t do that anymore]
[Roswaal: And so, you would set a limit on yourself…… i~~s it? Though I admit I couldn’t have asked for a more favorable condition, how will you guarantee that you will abide by it?]
[Roswaal: Yes, guarantee. It’s quite impo~~rtant, no? A~~fter all, with your ability to rewind, you can easily pretend this promise ne~~ver happened. If you fail, return to last night, a~~nd simply decide to try another way……]
As Roswaal voiced his doubts, Subaru quietly called his name.
Cut off by that call, and faced with Subaru’s gaze, Roswaal’s eyes slightly widened. Then, Subaru carried on with his tone of voice unchanged,
[Subaru: You think I would do that?]
[Subaru: If you do, then…… this conversation isn’t going to work at all. That’s all there is to it]
Roswaal narrowed his eyes at those words, and lightly raised his hands, sighing.
[Roswaal: No, no~~. Let’s he~~ar the rest of it. I can decide at the end]
[Subaru: ……Then here goes. As I said, we’ll set a limit. I’ll put everything I have into this loop. And if it still doesn’t work, I’ll do as you say. Since, either way…… if this doesn’t work, I doubt anything else will]
[Roswaal: You don’t sound too confident? But, you do have the resolve. ……In tha~~t case, I will respond in kind. Now, you would set a limit on yourself, and make this attempt your last. So what would you requ~~ire from me?]
Roswaal’s tone was beginning to return to normal.
Seeing that the negotiations have reached a degree of mutual understanding, Subaru clapped his hands together,
[Subaru: My demand is simple. If I manage to break through the situation my way this loop, the future will stray from your expectations. When that happens, you’ll probably lose all will to live in a world that has deviated from your Gospel, won’t you…… that mustn’t happen]
[Roswaal: Mustn’t? You mean I mustn’t lose my determination? U~~nfortunately, I have to say that is a rather difficult request. Of course, I could continue to pretend on the su~~rface, but in my heart of hearts, I would……]
[Subaru: You know, Roswaal. I don’t want us to be enemies forever]
Unsure of Subaru’s meaning, Roswaal tilted his head.
Seeing this, Subaru rubbed his finger against his nose, and,
[Subaru: I know you can’t stand a future that deviates from your Gospel and a route that differs from the one you’ve decided on. But even in a future that deviates from your Gospel, I’ll still be busting my ass off to make Emilia King. And I’ll keep relying on the power to rewind to make sure of it. ――Whatever the road we take to get there, the end result won’t stray from your goals]
[Subaru: Roswaal, my demand is simple. If I open a path to the future that’s different from your Gospel’s…… then you will toss the Gospel aside and join me. I’ll make Emilia King. And I need your help for that]
No matter how many unforgivable deeds Roswaal has stained his hands with, his strength will be necessary for Emilia’s goals. Subaru himself still harbored a sense of incomprehension and disgust towards him. And if things were left as they are in this timeline, the consequences of Roswaal’s machinations would be irreparable. ――But Subaru himself will extinguish that possibility and avoid that fatal pitfall.
Hearing Subaru’s proposal, Roswaal let out a long, deep sigh.
Closing his eyes, he sank into thought, stroking his chin as his lips slowly parted,
[Roswaal: So that’s the ultimate compromise you are asking for…… is it]
[Subaru: It’s all pretty convenient, isn’t it. But I like convenient things. Emilia will do her best to become King, I’ll be rooting for her at her side, and you’ll be tagging along for the ride]
[Roswaal: That is a difficult thing you ask of me, when I’ve been doing things one way for such a long, lo~~ng time. If you want to get me to cha~~nge now…… that would necessitate some equally severe conditions on your end, no?]
[Subaru: Yeah, it would]
Roswaal squinted a single eye, while Subaru nodded and held up two of his fingers.
Feeling Roswaal’s gaze focus onto his fingertips, Subaru gave one of his fingers a light wag,
[Subaru: There’re two conditions. Two conditions you said were impossible and could never be done. If I manage to clear those conditions, I win the bet]
[Roswaal: And if those conditions go unfulfilled, the victory is mine. And I will have you discard your humanity]
Speaking in a low, sonorous tone, Roswaal locked his gaze into Subaru’s. At the end of Roswaal’s urging gaze, Subaru briefly gritted his teeth with a nod, and continued,
[Subaru: So, the first condition. ――I will make Garfiel an ally, and bring him outside]
[Subaru: You said his attachment to the Sanctuary means I’ll never be able to bring him out of this place. I agree. But while I agree…… we’ll be needing his strength in the future. Even if we consider the feelings of the people in the Sanctuary, we can’t just leave that stubborn, bratty kid in here forever. So I’ll do what you consider to be undoable and win Garfiel to our side]
[Roswaal: ――And the second?]
The moment he heard the first condition, a dark emotion passed through the depths of Roswaal’s eyes.
But, without remarking on it, he merely asked for the next condition. With a nod, Subaru continued,
[Subaru: ――I will have Emilia pass the Trials. The one to overcome the Trials of the Tomb and liberate the Sanctuary will be Emilia. Not me]
Shouting, Roswaal slammed his palm upon the bed.
A dry thud rang out, as Roswaal’s visage contorted in rage. Squaring his shoulders, he jutted his finger towards Subaru,
[Roswaal: I told you last night. That thing is incapable of passing the Trials. And Garfiel will never abandon his attachment to the Sanctuary!]
[Subaru: Won’t know ’til I try, right?]
[Roswaal: Indeed, you wouldn’t know unless you’ve tried. And isn’t it precisely because you’ve tried so many times that you come to me beaten and defeated!? Your visage, and your very resolve now is proof that those two are not worth the investment of your hopes!]
Practically screaming, Roswaal’s shoulders heaved up and down as he spoke. While he took ragged breath after ragged breath, Subaru only calmly faced him,
[Subaru: You’re getting yourself awfully worked up, aren’t you]
[Subaru: Isn’t it to your advantage that the conditions are so harsh on my end? Makes no sense for you to get angry about its harshness, right?]
[Roswaal: It is a matter of whether such a bet can be established in the first place. When it is not just the balance but the legitimacy that is questionable, the very outcomes of the bet would be compromised. It’s only natural that I am cautious]
Being given conditions that are so stacked against Subaru and so favorable towards himself had made Roswaal wary. But seeing Roswaal’s reaction, Subaru’s cheeks twisted, as a vicious, vicious smile deepened on his face.
[Subaru: Roswaal, you don’t seem to get it]
[Subaru: Are the odds stacked against me? Well yeah, it’s pretty harsh whichever way you look at it. I admit it’s crossed my mind that this’ll help you save some face while you revise that master plan of yours, but…… it’s actually about something else]
In front of the speechless Roswaal, Subaru went on with the smile on his face unchanged,
[Subaru: You said it yourself, Roswaal]
[Subaru: When I’m driven into a corner, I become the strongest card. ――It might not be how you wanted it, but this is the strongest card right here, without a doubt. You still dissatisfied?]
Against Subaru’s cutting words, Roswaal remained silent.
He merely stared fixedly at Subaru as he brought the rhythm of his breathing under control. And, once his breathing had calmed, Roswaal raised a single finger,
[Roswaal: Very well. I will accept the conditions you’ve prese~~nted. ――Break Garfiel out of his spell, and let Emilia-sama liberate the Sanctuary. Once both of these come to pass, I will discard my plans and follow the path you’ve constructed. Let us forge a contract to this end]
A dim light flickered atop Roswaal’s raised finger.
The rainbow-colored concentration of mana looked just like the multi-elemental light Julius had used to destroy Petelgeuse.
[Roswaal: Through our gates, we shall carve this mutual contract into our souls. No matter whom you may deceive, you cannot deceive your own heart. ――A contract carved into the soul transcends distance and time, and persists even across worlds. It should continue to bind you even if you rewind and start anew]
[Subaru: Huh, so you did have something in mind. ……But, that’s more convenient for me anyway. If we’re both bound by contract, that’ll save me having to drag you around kicking and screaming after you’ve lost the bet]
[Roswaal: It doesn’t appear as though you’re taking this lightly…… very well]
Seeing that Subaru was willing to accept the contract, Roswaal said nothing more.
The radiance at his fingertip pressed into the center of Subaru’s chest, and with it, came the sensation of something seeping into his body. Immediately, feeling a wave pulse inside him, opening all the pores of his body, Subaru exhaled a breath.
[Subaru: Aa, hha――]
[Roswaal: And the same will be engraved upon my soul. ――Once Natsuki Subaru’s contract has been fulfilled, Roswaal L Mathers’ contract shall also be fulfilled]
An identical rainbow burst of light pulsed on Roswaal’s chest.
For an instant, the light spread through Roswaal’s entire body, before all returned to normal in the blink of an eye.
[Subaru: So, it’s done?]
[Roswaal: It is done. ……There’s no taking it back now]
Confirming their mutual inability to flee, Subaru quietly gulped down his breath.
There, Roswaal placed a hand to his own chest, and,
[Roswaal: Just as you will try your utmost to fulfill your conditions, I will also move to actualize the Gospel’s writ. You won’t fault me for that, will you?]
[Subaru: ――In five days, the snow will fall again?]
[Roswaal: ……If Emilia-sama does not bring the snowfall, I will likely have to bri~~ng it about myself]
In other words, the time limit is set.
In five days, the Great Rabbit will attack. Emilia will have to liberate the Sanctuary, and Subaru will have to break Garfiel’s spell before then.
[Subaru: If that’s decided, there’s no time to waste. I better get started]
As Subaru moved away from the bed to set about his tasks, Roswaal called to him.
Turning around, he saw Roswaal slightly averting his gaze,
[Roswaal: The Mansion will be the same day. ――Do your best, I’ll be praying for your good fight]
[Subaru: Because if I try to do everything and botch it, next time you’ll get me to do things your way…… right?]
Roswaal answered Subaru’s reply with silence.
At this, Subaru gave him a wry smile, and finished it by pointing his finger at Roswaal,
[Subaru: Roswaal, you’re throwing off your vibe so put the clown makeup back on]
[Roswaal: Hhm, now that you mention it…… this is the first time I’ve received you without makeup on, isn’t it]
[Subaru: In this world, yeah]
Subaru could tell that Roswaal’s eyes widened at his insinuation as he turned away.
Savoring this reaction on his back, Subaru set out his steps,
[Subaru: This is a match between you and me. A couple of clowns tossed around by fate―― so let’s fight it out, fair and square]
With that, he left the room.
The conditions of the bet are in place. ――And so, this is where it begins:
Natsuki Subaru’s final challenge, with the Sanctuary’s liberation as the wager.
-=Chapter 87 End=-
I decided to release this one as a whole chapter, but it’s so hard to edit when it’s this long >_<
Thank you guys for helping me proofread on the live draft!! ❤
Let me know if you see any typos! ❤
Chapter 88 Live Draft: