(Thank you Federico, Glavos, Austin, Aaron, Luis, Soriosh, Daisuke for helping me catch typos 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/264/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 95 [Sigma]
[Ram: Barusu. Have you made any progress with your nefarious plotting?]
Leaving Emilia after she had cried herself to sleep, Subaru ran into Ram as soon as he exited the building.
With his hand still on the door, Subaru squinted his eyes at Ram, who was apparently waiting for him to come out.
[Subaru: “Nefarious plotting” sounds super disreputable and kinda scary so could you please cut that out?]
[Ram: Two grown men skulking around obviously planning something, what else would you call it? Since Roswaal-sama has given his consent, I won’t say anything about that merchant doing as he pleases around the Sanctuary, but……]
The “Merchant” Ram was talking about was probably Otto.
Although they were both living inside the Sanctuary, Ram, who spent most of her time tending to Roswaal, only had very brief interactions with Otto. Waiting for Emilia to come back from the Trials must have been some of the only opportunities they’ve had to talk to each other.
As for Otto, he was really only here because Subaru brought him along. So, without having much information in regards to his personality, he was no doubt lacking in credibility as far as Ram was concerned.
And even for Subaru, personality aside, Otto’s competence as a travelling merchant was still up for debate. Just from his meeting with Roswaal, it was obvious that he was more suited for the role of a straight-man than a merchant.
Nevertheless, it was true that Roswaal had given Otto permission to stay in the Sanctuary. Unable to openly expel him, Ram’s opinion of Otto had always been harsh.
[Subaru: Well, that’s something he’ll have to work hard towards on his own. I won’t try to change your mind about that]
[Ram: That doesn’t sound like something a friend should say. When he’s so intent on helping you, shouldn’t you at least make some effort to repay him, Barusu?]
[Subaru: Friend…… huh. I mean, I won’t say anything to contradict that, but, does it look like we’re friends to you?]
[Ram: When you’ve abandoned all restraint and are interacting with such familiarity…… do you mean to suggest that you’re not? If that’s just how you interact with anyone regardless of your relationship, that’s quite a horrifying thought]
Ram hugged her shoulders and made a show of shuddering. At her words and her reaction, Subaru’s cheeks slightly softened as he chuckled from the depths of his throat.
As if creeped out by Subaru’s stifled laugh, Ram backed up a step while still holding her shoulders, putting some distance between them,
[Ram: Now, Barusu, I’ll repeat my question. ――Have you made any progress with your nefarious plotting?]
[Subaru: Well you…… could say it’s slowly coming along, but there’re still some kinks to work out]
Regardless of the details, her true intentions were obvious.
This was Ram, a card in the hand of Subaru’s contracted opponent, Roswaal. Although Subaru wasn’t sure to what extent he could trust her, chances were, she was carrying out the task of acting as the eyes and ears of the bedridden Roswaal.
So it was inevitable that she would take an interest in their movements. As for the way she was grilling him directly on the matter, that was just the kind of thing Ram would do.
[Subaru: And what about you? You came here for Emilia, right? You shouldn’t be wasting time talking to me]
[Ram: Since Barusu already came out, you must’ve made sure that she’d fallen asleep, correct? Falling asleep after so much bawling, she won’t wake up anytime soon]
[Subaru: ……That’s a pretty harsh opinion]
[Ram: It’s a frank and objective opinion. You should keep that in mind for reference]
Tossing out that blunt remark, Ram stared at the side of Subaru’s lowered face.
Feeling the pressure of her gaze, Subaru pressed back a sigh inside his chest.
――The termination of Emilia and Puck’s contract had happened about two and a half hours ago.
Despite having discussed the matter with Puck beforehand and having prepared himself for the confusion, grief, and shock that would strike Emilia in its wake, when he actually saw her there, the regret he felt was indescribable.
As if having lost the only lynchpin holding her together, Emilia was half-crazed and wailing.
Her beautiful silver hair was a mess, her nails had scratched her fair skin, and she was indiscriminately hurling all the objects around her, laying her emotions bare like a child in the middle of a tantrum.
It was fortune amidst misfortune that she didn’t have the option of using magic in her rampage, both for herself and for those around her.
In any case, knowing what was going to happen, Subaru had been waiting outside, and when he heard her shrieking, he flew in and took her tightly into his arms.
Then, for the two and a half hours afterwards, he alone tended to her faltering cries, laments, and her frail acts of destruction, until at last he had set her in bed and left.
Just when he wanted to ask Ram to help change Emilia’s clothes and wipe down her body, he ran into her right outside the door. Perhaps she was thinking the same thing and had been waiting for him to come out. When he saw her there with her water bucket and towel, Subaru certainly felt some sense of relief.
While Subaru was occupied with such thoughts, Ram quietly whispered,
[Ram: Barusu. ――Are you really putting your hopes in her?]
[Ram: Just looking at Emilia-sama’s state up until last night, it’s obvious she doesn’t have what it takes to overcome the Trials. And right when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, this happened. So the Great Spirit-sama has left Emilia-sama’s side?]
[Subaru: ……So you know that too, huh]
[Ram: When it’s being screamed, repeatedly, so loud that you can clearly hear it from outside the building, even an idiot could figure it out. And if Barusu could figure it out, then Ram could figure it out. Isn’t that obvious?]
[Subaru: I’m getting the feeling that I’m being equated to an idiot here, but I can’t dispute what you’re saying. Emilia’s situation has just worsened, there’s no getting around that fact…]
Honestly, Ram’s voiced concerns precisely mirrored Subaru’s own anxieties.
Though he didn’t go so far as to swallow Puck’s words whole, Subaru did agree to his proposal. That was the truth.
Puck’s claim that his existence was what was stopping Emilia from facing her genuine past, the more-than-minor changes between the loops and Subaru’s misgivings about Roswaal’s Gospel, Beatrice’s screams, Emilia’s testimonies, and Puck’s existence――
All of these factors combined led Subaru to accept Puck’s proposal, condemning Emilia into that prison of solitude. The result was that, for the first time in her life, she was truly and unequivocally alone.
In order to escape it, what she needed was time and opportunity.
Yet she had neither of those things right now. Her circumstances would not give her any reprieve to sort out her feelings, and the strength to jumpstart the process existed only within herself.
It was up to Emilia to find her way out. Ram understood this, and did not believe that any such change was coming.
Aside from that last part, Subaru agreed with Ram completely.
[Subaru: Even so, I’m still placing my hopes in her, and I still believe in her]
[Ram: ……That’s an optimistic expression. And what are you basing your high hopes on, exactly?]
[Subaru: I’ve decided to believe in what I feel I should believe in, that’s all. And thanks to the “Friend” who’s trying so hard to help me and the dragon who’s always saving me…… I’ve come to believe in myself a little more]
[Ram: And what does that have to do with believing in Emilia-sama……]
[Subaru: Since I’ve already come to believe in myself, what’s so wrong with believing in the one I have a crush on? I like Emilia, and I want to become her strength. I like her, partly because she’s super pretty and all…… but the real reason… is something else]
Looking back at Ram’s suspicious gaze, Subaru shrugged.
The first time Subaru began having feelings for Emilia was when he was first summoned to this parallel world―― left hopeless and with nothing to cling to, she was the first person who was kind to him.
She saved his life, and over the time he’d spent with her, Subaru came to know the girl named Emilia and began wanting to help her. Part of it was justified as wanting to repay a debt, but, at the time, even Subaru wasn’t fully aware of the truth behind it.
And then he lost her, and when he passed through Return by Death and rewound the world, the shared memories of their meeting were gone. But still, Subaru changed the future and saved her from the fate of death.
Everything that happened at the Mansion, at the Capital, and in the battles against the Witch Cult―― all of it had started from the passion of that very first feeling which continued to burn at his back every step of the way.
She saved him in the Capital.
She saved him in the Mansion when he was about to crumble.
And for saving his life and his heart, he had wanted to repay her, but, in his conceit, he only wounded her.
In the time they’d spent apart, a mutual gap developed between them. But, given the chance to reflect on his actions, he stood up once more.
Felling the White Whale, defeating Petelgeuse, and fighting on even now, what was it all for?
Having realized his deep connection to the Witch, having let go of his past and bid his parents farewell, why was he still striving, spurred on by incomprehensible powers even now?
[Subaru: It’s because I love her]
[Subaru: The girl I fell in love with… is persevering, stubborn, not honest with her feelings at all, and won’t admit that she wants to cry even when she does…… the kind of girl who wouldn’t hesitate to risk her life for someone else’s]
[Ram: You’re the one convincing yourself of that, Barusu. Yes, Emilia-sama has a tendency to put others before herself…… but that’s just her way of safeguarding her own heart, isn’t it? It’s a mechanism to protect herself from the contempt of those around her, isn’t it? You fell for it through and through, so doesn’t it bother you that you’re being used?]
Hearing her lengthy question answered with a single syllable, Ram was left speechless.
Feeling some satisfaction at this rare reaction, Subaru looked back at the building behind him.
His thoughts turned to Emilia, presently asleep in her bed.
[Subaru: I don’t mind being used as she pleases. And even if, deep down, she thinks of me as a tool that won’t break no matter how much I’m used, I’m fine with that]
[Ram: You don’t mind being treated as a tool?]
[Subaru: It’s not that. It’s because as long as she has a use for me, it means she still has the will to keep standing and move forward… and that makes me glad. As long as she still has the strength to lift her head…… I will do anything I can to help her. So she can use me however she likes]
At Subaru’s proclamation, Ram narrowed her eyes in displeasure.
It was a rather fresh experience for Subaru to see this from a girl who so seldom showed emotion. To unhesitatingly accept being used as a tool, that’s almost like how she herself――
[Subaru: And here I thought you of all people would understand]
[Ram: ――What makes you think that?]
[Subaru: I just figured, from what I’ve seen of your attitude and behavior up to now…… you aren’t much different yourself. I thought you’d understand when other people feel the same way]
[Ram: When you’re projecting your own unresolved issues onto other people, you’ll think everyone feels the same way you do. Especially when you realize that the other person has resolved the issues you yourself couldn’t resolve]
Throwing back that rapid-fire retort, Ram looked away, as if embarrassed by what she had just said. Then, she let out a small sigh and waved for Subaru to move away from the door,
[Ram: Well, enough. If you want to be a tool, then be a tool and do your utmost for your master. Meanwhile, Ram will conduct herself as Ram sees fit. That is Ram’s freedom, is it not?]
[Subaru: Yeah. You do what you want. ――It’s just]
As Ram passed beside him and put her hand to the door, Subaru called to the back of her head. Ram stopped and turned him a glance, nodding as if prompting him to continue,
[Subaru: I’m not devoting myself to Emilia without expecting anything in return, you know]
[Subaru: There are things that I’m trying to get from Emilia. Things that I want, that wouldn’t be obtainable without Emilia’s help. Earlier, I said I’m fine with her using me, but…… I’m definitely planning on using her as well]
It’s a bad way of putting it, but interacting with people with motives in mind is inevitable.
Ultimately, the future Subaru desired was one which everyone here would reach. In other words, by the time Subaru reached that future, he would have to have used every single one of them to the fullest.
He wanted to be used by Emilia. Just like how, to reach his perfect future, he would use Emilia, hold her close, and never let go.
Without a word, Ram turned away and walked into the house.
But just before the closing door completely concealed her small figure from behind――
[Subaru: Things have already diverged from the Gospel’s writ. ――In this world, Roswaal’s already free]
No answer came to confirm whether she had heard those final words.
With the sound of the door closing, Subaru was now cut off from everything that was happening inside.
That said, it was highly improbable that Emilia would wake up and get rough with Ram. This was partly because he judged that, having cried herself to sleep, Emilia shouldn’t have the energy to do anything of the sort. But more importantly, it was because it would take much, much longer before her body would be ready to wake up.
[Subaru: Tomorrow’s my big day. The day after’s a spare…… either way, it’s cutting it close]
At the end of his time limit, Roswaal will bring about the snowfall, and the Great Rabbit will come. It will spell the end of the Sanctuary. This loop will end in failure, and, most importantly, Subaru will be bound by his contract.
In accordance with his contract with Roswaal L Mathers, Natsuki Subaru will be forced to sacrifice all else to save the one thing most important to him.
――And, at that thought, Subaru wondered why he only realized it this late.
[Subaru: Fighting for the one future that I couldn’t give up on… that’s what I’m already doing, isn’t it]
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
I’m in a Walmart sponging off their Wifi >_<
And there’s less than 10% left on my battery so I’ll be quick!
I’m in Rapid City, South Dakota! After spending two days in Washington DC I briefly went down to Richmond and began my long journey home!
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History totally rocked, and in Richmond I managed to catch the Napoleon exibit in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and saw Napoleon’s hat ;-;
Napoleon’s frigging hat!!!
I’ll post some pictures when I can get some signal on my cell phone maybe in the next part ok got to go
Please let me know if you see any typos! ❤
Chapter 95 Live Draft: