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/260/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 91 [False Sleep]
Listening to Emilia’s tearful wish, Subaru felt his entire body stabbed by pangs of remorse. The guilt of digging up her painful memories to the point that he made her cry tormented his heart to no end.
From Emilia’s faltering words, he could sense the love and gratitude she felt for the people she had lived with inside Elior Forest. Yet, it all changed on the day the snow first fell, when her fond memories were replaced by their voices, full of hatred and malice.
Subaru couldn’t possibly know what they really thought, trapped inside the ice. But regardless, Emilia’s days of warmth and happiness had been sealed along with them inside that thick, unmelting ice.
[Subaru: ……But why did they say those things to you? From what you just told me… it’d only make sense if the one who froze the forest in ice was…… you. But, were you really powerful enough to do something that incredible when you were that little?]
[Emilia: ――I don’t know. Back then, I knew far less of the world than I do now. I knew nothing of what I could or couldn’t do, and I was always imposing on everyone’s kindness. But…… without Puck, I doubt I have the power to freeze an entire forest by myself, even now]
[Subaru: But if you had Puck… you could do it?]
At Subaru’s question, Emilia wordlessly nodded.
Her half-hearted affirmation was probably because she was afraid Subaru would mistake her for the culprit behind the freezing of the forest. But that wasn’t what Subaru was thinking at all.
Not because he was biased, but because of a simple matter of sequence.
[Subaru: You don’t have to look so worried, I’m not gonna misunderstand. You met Puck way after the Forest had already been frozen…… by almost a hundred years, right? The freezing and you meeting Puck is totally in the wrong order]
[Emilia: M-mn…… yes, but……]
Sensing her unease, Subaru gave her his conclusion. Receiving this, Emilia nodded, though her expression was too tense to be called relieved.
Resisting the urge to furrow his brows at her reaction, Subaru strained himself to keep his expression composed in front of her as he folded his arms.
――He had a vague feeling that something was off even while he was listening to Emilia’s story. But it was here, in this instant, that he felt this sense of incongruity more intensely than ever.
It’s only natural. Natsuki Subaru had never delved into Emilia’s past or inner thoughts before this, but had been content merely to coddle her and love her for the surface of her character like he would a child.
And so, this is Subaru’s Trial―― the one which he must start from.
Now that Subaru had lost his qualification to challenge the Trials of the Tomb, this will be the Trial that will determine whether he has the right to stand before Emilia, and to support her at her side.
[Subaru: I understand what kind of scene you saw in the Trial now. ……So, if we flip this around, what do you think you’ll have to do to beat it?]
[Emilia: That’s…… um, it’s……]
Emilia’s gaze wandered. Not because she was hesitating whether to answer, but because it was so vague that she was struggling to find the words.
Emilia had no clear insights about how to break through the Trial. On her very first attempt, she was abruptly presented with a long-held quandary, and now she was being asked to give a perfect answer.
But, in the first place, the First Trial only requires the challenger to give an answer to the past they’ve been avoiding―― do this, and they will pass the Trial, that’s what Echidona had told him.
Affirm it, or deny it, either would suffice as an answer.
Emilia had already accepted the sad memory of being rejected by all those who had been kind to her. So, does that mean she’d have to get over it in order to pass the Trial?
To get over something you’ve left behind in your past―― how does one do such a thing?
Subaru had no clear answers to give her. But, having overcome the First Trial and experienced the Second, there were some things that Subaru did know. Just through the few interactions he’d had with the character named Echidona, he did know this:
――Chances are, the Trial would not present its challenger with an impossible problem.
That’s only natural, considering its creator, Echidona’s, goals.
What Echidona desires are the “Results” to sate her curiosity, a treasure which shines the brightest when attained through the passing of a Trial. At least, that should be what that Witch is thinking.
In this case, the result would be whether the challenger affirms or denies their past.
In other words, Emilia should already have everything she needs to pass the Trial. If she could just figure out what the conditions are and give her reply, that would be her solution. So then, the obstacle here isn’t the Trial itself, but――
[Subaru: If you keep challenging without having an answer… it’s always going to turn out the same way]
[Emilia: ――So, what do you think, Subaru?]
[Emilia: Having heard my story…… about my Trial and my past…… what do you think? Do you have any ideas on how to beat it? I’m still wondering what I should do……]
Last night after her Trial, Emilia must’ve spent the whole night asking herself this question instead of sleeping.
It must’ve been like this, trapped in this vortex of soul-abrading thoughts, that she passed out in the end.
[Subaru: Emilia… earlier you said that you wanted to melt the ice and thank everyone…]
[Subaru: But why do you feel this way?]
Emilia had been cruelly treated by those people who were closest to her.
So for what reason would she want to save those men and women, trapped beneath the ice?
[Subaru: Your last memories of them were how they cursed and rejected you, right? After those cruel and hateful things they said to you…… why do you still want to help them?]
[Emilia: ――Subaru… if I said a bunch of awful things to you now, would you no longer want to help me?]
He fell speechless.
Emilia’s amethyst eyes were gazing at Subaru, full of sincerity, and the indecisive weakness in her pupils had vanished as she answered.
[Emilia: Yes, my last memories of everyone was painful…… but just because that was what happened at the end, that doesn’t invalidate all the time we’ve spent together. We’ve shared many good memories, too]
[Emilia: I don’t want to forget those, while only remembering how they hurt me…… I want to save everyone so we can laugh and smile together again……. I know it’s greedy of me, but that’s how I feel…]
Saying this, Emilia held her hands to her lips as she peeked at Subaru’s reaction.
She looked as though she had just accidentally voiced some ugly part of herself and was afraid of being despised for it.
Perceiving Emilia’s unease, Subaru thought to himself,
――She’s just the kind of person who couldn’t go without finding that wish greedy, huh.
[Subaru: Nothing, I was just thinking… that you’re completely right]
Even if they only wanted to hurt her in the end, that didn’t mean all the bonds and memories they’ve shared had disappeared.
Rem and Ram had both killed Subaru in the past, but that didn’t stop him from striving his best to save them, and it was those same feelings that had kept him going during those loops starting from the Capital.
What Emilia felt was just what Subaru himself had felt―― that’s all.
But just when he felt this sense of relief, Subaru noticed the greatest incongruity yet.
Just how could he have overlooked such an astoundingly obvious discrepancy?
Seeing Subaru staring at her with his face frozen stiff, Emilia’s eyes wavered with confusion. Yet, despite realizing that he was worrying her, Subaru still couldn’t pull himself together. Because,
――Inside Emilia’s heart, she had already reached her answer to her past.
Deep in Great Elior Forest, the Elven tribe she had once spent her days together with are sleeping, frozen in ice. In that remembered past, on the day the forest was buried by snow, Emilia had endured all the malice of the people she had trusted, and yet, she proclaimed without hesitation that she wanted to save them, and thank them.
That is the decisive answer to the past she had tried to avoid.
If Subaru’s resolve to admit his stupidity and say goodbye to his parents in his past met the conditions for passing the First Trial, then Emilia’s determination here should be deemed just as worthy.
And yet, the Trial refused to recognize that she had fulfilled its conditions.
Perhaps, it was because Subaru had woken her and interrupted the Trial. But even in the previous loops after the first night, when Subaru wasn’t there to wake her, never once had she passed the Trial.
Was Emilia’s answer just not suited for the Trial that was given to her?
[Subaru: But, that’s…….]
If Echidona is the one ruling on the Trials, could the worthiness of the answer simply depend on the Witch’s mood at the time? Yet, Echidona herself had declared that it doesn’t matter what answer she is given, but merely that she receives an answer.
It’s unlike her to reject an answer given by a challenger. Yet, assuming that’s true―― it did occur to Subaru that maybe, for whatever reason, she was rejecting only Emilia’s answer.
It tormented his heart to consider it.
Because to consider it would be to recognize the possibility that “Only Emilia can never break through the Trials”.
[Subaru: As if I could just accept that…… I’m begging you, Echidona…]
I’ve just arrived in Thunder Bay, Ontario!
I successfully managed to translate in a moving vehicle today ❤
I’m feeling about dead right now, though… @_@
Please let me know if you spot any typos!
Chapter 91 Live Draft:
(I’m saving mobile data right now, I might not update the draft until the next part is almost done)