(Thank you Brototype, Bobb, Lucky, Angrym, Federico, Glavos, Austin, Aaron, Luis, Soriosh, Daisuke 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/264/
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――Subaru’s battle inside the Sanctuary has now entered its third day.
The deadline of his contract with Roswaal is on the sixth day. But since by the sixth day the calamities simultaneously threatening the Sanctuary and the Mansion will be unstoppable, his actual deadline is the night of the fifth day.
Which means, tonight included, Emilia has only three chances left to challenge the Trials.
However, the first of those three scant opportunities――
[Subaru: Tonight’s probably gonna be a bust]
After learning of her loss of Puck and crying through the morning, by the time she fainted from exhaustion it was already almost noon. Her sleep was so deep that she wasn’t showing the slightest indication of waking.
Even if she could wake up before nightfall, how much more time would she need before she could face the reality that Puck was gone? ――The bond she had with Puck wasn’t so shallow that it could be processed away in a few hours.
Just when they had no time to spare, a problem like this showed up that could only be solved with time. As pointless as it was to curse the Gods’ malicious designs, Subaru cursed it anyway.
[Subaru: Seeing her cry so much from losing you…… I’m actually a little jealous, but I still hate you a hundred times more, Puck]
With the little grey cat briefly popping into his mind, Subaru shook his head and looked forward once more.
For now, there was nothing he could do for the sleeping Emilia. The very best he could try would be to hold her hand. If it could protect her from her nightmares, then he would gladly do it for as long as necessary.
But, just like how Emilia had no time to spare, neither did Subaru.
He hasn’t gotten everything in place for the bet yet.
His plan involved several uncertain factors to begin with, and even after assembling all potential resources and bolstering his hand to its absolute limit, his chances would still only stand at fifty-fifty. Or rather, even that was probably optimistic.
[Subaru: And so, I’m banking a lot on this conversation, Lewes-san]
[???: And I have some high expectations of you too, Su-bo. ……The two before me have told me a great deal about you, after all]
With the sound of gravel crunching underfoot, a small figure―― Lewes, appeared at the door of their meeting place.
Making a sour face quite unbefitting of her youthful features, she looked around the locale Subaru had selected, and then, with [Although……],
[Lewes: Choosing this place for our meeting…… you can be pretty unkind, Su-bo]
[Subaru: I figured it’d be a good choice if we don’t want to be interrupted. If we met in front of the crystal, I might be too distracted to talk. And no matter how many times I go back there, I don’t think I can ever get used to that smell]
He pinched his nose, expressing his disdain for the Experimental Grounds’ nose-wrenching stench. Lewes did mention that it was her home, but she most likely also shared his sentiment. Giving a small chuckle at Subaru’s words, admitting [You might be right], Lewes nodded.
[Lewes: But I can’t say I’m pleased that you chose Gar-bo’s secret base as the substitute. If you wanted somewhere secret…… there should’ve been plenty of other options]
[Subaru: But if it’s in the village, we don’t know who’s gonna be listening in. Garfiel and Frederica’s childhood house, though…… it might be a little mean, but I’m sure you’d be just as troubled as I’d be if someone were to overhear us?]
[Lewes: No doubt]
Subaru shrugged, seeking her agreement, while Lewes nodded with a slight grin. With this, Lewes stepped into the small, shoddy cabin made out of scraps and dilapidated wood.
[Subaru: Sorry I didn’t prepare a comfy sofa beforehand. Despite my profound consideration for the elderly, it pains me that I don’t even have a chair to offer you]
[Lewes: Goodness, so you’re going to make me stand here and talk? Taking the whip to the elderly, kids today really aren’t what they used to be]
[Subaru: Ogh, that line really sounded like an old person just now. You don’t miss a beat on the elderly appeal, huh]
Subaru wryly smiled at the sight of Lewes knocking on her perfectly straight back as if it were creaking all over. Then, Subaru invited her into the center of the small cabin while he crossed his arms and leaned against a wall.
[Subaru: Actually, as far as I’m concerned, just going on gossiping with a cute girl doesn’t sound too bad]
[Lewes: Humbug. I’m a tad too advanced in the years to be called a girl, don’t you think?]
[Subaru: If we’re talking about age, my main heroine’s quite a bit my senior, too. Her apparent age and mental age don’t line up with her real age at all, so I only kinda found out recently]
Actual age: ~100 years. Apparent age: 18. Mental age: 14.
Emilia’s genre is so deliciously complicated that Subaru could never get tired of flaunting that fact. At first he thought she’s a Loli-Granny, but turns out she’s a Granny-Loli.
Now Subaru could finally understand why Emilia seemed so immature, timid, and idealistic for her appearance yet tended to say such granny-like things.
[Subaru: And for Emilia’s sake too, I want to do everything I can. ――So, I’ll be asking you all kinds of things, Lewes Sigma-san]
[Lewes: Sig…… what?]
[Subaru: Sorry, just something I came up with. It can get kinda confusing if I call all four of you Lewes-san, so I conveniently labeled you Alpha, Beta, Sigma, Theta to keep track]
Hearing Subaru’s explanation, Lewes placed her hand to her lips in thought.
Subaru furrowed his brows at the reaction that couldn’t exactly be called displeased, and, seeing that she wasn’t raising any objections, he held up a single finger,
[Subaru: Anyway, I’m glad we finally got a chance to talk. After all, considering your position, Sig…… today’s Lewes-san, I figured you might not have wanted to talk]
[Lewes: Sigma’s fine if you’re having trouble. Seeing how you want to refer to us as individuals, it’s only fitting that you call us different things… Though there’s never been a need for that until now]
[Subaru: Really? Then I’ll happily oblige. If you want a cuter name, though, I could work something out with the other three as well]
[Lewes: ――No, Sigma’s fine. In fact, please just use Sigma]
Lewes revised her answer with a slight change in nuance.
Blinking at that response, Subaru figured that Lewes wasn’t interested in continuing with that topic. [Now], Lewes continued, changing the subject,
[Sigma: I’m pretty sure I already know, but…… what would you like to talk about, Su-bo? How much do you know about the circumstances the Sanctuary’s wrapped up in?]
[Subaru: Well, I guess I want to know everything I don’t know already…… but, for now, I want to know what you saw in the Tomb, Sigma-san. I heard from Alpha-san the day before that there were two Lewes-sans who challenged the Trials. Sigma-san is one of them, correct?]
[Sigma: Correct. I am one of the two Leweses to have entered the Tomb. But that said, I only went in once, and briefly…… it was nothing more than stepping inside to bring Gar-bo out after he ignored the agreement and went in the Tomb]
What Lewes Sigma was relating was just what Subaru had heard from Frederica before.
Hoping to liberate the Sanctuary, Garfiel entered the Tomb, but when he didn’t come back, his sister went to ask Lewes for help. The Lewes Frederica went to must have been Sigma, who was standing before him now.
[Subaru: It was just stepping inside…… but, you must have seen something after you went in, right? Like, your…… your past, maybe]
[Subaru: If the Tomb totally hates you like it hates Roswaal, your body would’ve been repulsed the moment you went inside. Roswaal almost exploded, and Patrasche got riddled with wounds when she went in to drag me out. So going in there without qualification must’ve required just as much resolve as someone challenging the Trial]
[Sigma: It’s entirely possible that I was prepared to be wounded when I went in, isn’t it?]
[Subaru: That would’ve made a beautiful story…… but then how do you explain the fact that Sigma-san is opposed to liberating the Sanctuary? That doesn’t make much sense]
It was information she had never confessed to―― neither Lewes Sigma or Theta had ever openly expressed opposition to liberating the Sanctuary. But Sigma chose to react with silence without denying it.
And, in practice, her silence was equivalent to affirmation.
[Subaru: You saw your past inside the Tomb. And because of that, you’ve come to abhor the possibility of liberating the Sanctuary. So, what exactly did you see?]
[Subaru: In terms of possibilities… you saw the circumstances of your birth, maybe? It could be when you were born from the crystal, or it could even be……]
[Sigma: Lewes Meyer’s past, you mean?]
Before Subaru could finish, Sigma struck the core of the matter.
Wordlessly, Subaru tightened his lips, silently acknowledging that continuation.
Going by the name of Lewes Meyer ever since they were born, these four Lewes replicants have taken up the role of the representative of the Sanctuary. If there was anything in their past worth regretting, Subaru imagined it would have to be before this life―― before they became the Leweses they were now.
And he could now see from Sigma’s reaction that he wasn’t mistaken in this thought.
[Subaru: If the past you saw was the past of the original Lewes-san inside the crystal…… I can imagine why you’d be afraid, Sigma-san. The reason she was sealed inside the crystal must also be the reason behind this, right?]
The one who sealed Lewes Meyer inside the crystal was the Witch of Greed, Echidona.
Remembering the “Event” of being sealed by the Witch should have been more than enough to make Sigma give up on the Trials. But,
[Sigma: My my, Su-bo, just how much do you know?]
[Sigma: What happened to the Lewes Meyer inside the crystal is known to only a few select people in the Sanctuary. And I highly doubt that any of those who knew would have revealed it to you, Su-bo]
There was a certain hesitation on the side of Sigma’s expression. Without turning her gaze to the speechless Subaru, Sigma looked up to the ceiling.
[Sigma: I don’t think even Ros-bo, or the other Lewes who knows about the Tomb…… would have told you. So just where did you hear this from, Su-bo?]
Subaru wasn’t sure how he should respond.
It was a rather basic question, but far from simple.
A tingle ran up the back of his neck as he sensed the shift in the air. It was the perilous atmosphere that Subaru had experienced many times before―― and although the matter wasn’t life-and-death, it was a “Moment” which would determine the outcomes of the fatal reckonings afterwards.
It was a sensation reminiscent of the scene in Crusch’s Mansion when he asked her for her help in the battle against the White Whale.
In other words, the outcome of the exchange this instant will tilt the entire future of the Sanctuary.
Falling into silence once more, Subaru painstakingly contemplated his response.
The answer Sigma requested of him will shape everything that comes after.
Subaru was never good at reading other people’s emotions. In fact, he was overwhelmingly ignorant of the subtleties. So it wasn’t just turning a few gears in his head, but a mental task requiring setting every brain cell aflame just for him to reach the level of a normal person.
In this case, the answer Subaru chose to give was――
[Subaru: I heard it from Echidona. In the Tomb]
[Sigma: ――From the Witch-sama?]
Hearing the name of the Witch, Sigma’s expression slightly tensed.
Over the time he’d spent in the Sanctuary, Subaru had come to painfully understand the heavy significance of Echidona’s name. Roswaal hated hearing her being referred to as “Witch of Greed”, while Garfiel and Lewes both avoided calling her “Echidona”.
Echidona’s name was most likely a taboo to them. And as for whether it was in a good or a bad sense, it would certainly depend on what kind of shock they had experienced in their past.
He was taking a chance on how she would react when he violated the taboo, but Subaru had made his choice.
[Subaru: Well, my qualification’s revoked now, but I was qualified to challenge the Trials at one point. So I know a thing or two about what it’s like inside the Trial. Same goes for what Echidona’s planning, why she created the Sanctuary, and why she made replicants like Sigma-san]
[Sigma: ……I did have a feeling you knew too much to have heard it from Ros-bo]
[Subaru: And that’s why I know a bit more about some things than you were expecting, Sigma-san. Now that I’ve told you all I know, I was kinda hoping it would help you decide what to reveal or withhold from me]
[Sigma: Always the flatterer]
Sigma wryly smiled at Subaru’s backpedaling statement. Then, she placed her small palm to her forehead and exhaled a long sigh.
It was the necessary ritual for her to make up her mind.
[Sigma: Since you already know the Witch-sama’s connection to the Sanctuary and about me and Lewes Meyer, it’d probably be strange if I kept hiding it from you……]
[Subaru: So then……]
[Sigma: Don’t rush. I understand how you feel, Su-bo…… but it’s not that simple. ――What you want to ask me is “What did Lewes see inside the Trial”, correct?]
Subaru was about to confirm with a “Yes” when a subtle sense of awryness led him to hold his words.
Sigma said “Lewes” rather than “I” just now. But just when Subaru furrowed his brows, contemplating her true intentions, Sigma simultaneously muttered [Sharp one],
[Sigma: If the question was about “The past I saw in the Tomb”, my answer would be “I don’t know”. After all, I did not take the Trial inside the Tomb. Although I was certainly the one who returned from the Tomb]
[Subaru: ……and what… does that mean?]
[Sigma: It’s simple. Don’t you think it strange, Su-bo? There should only have been one chance for Lewes to enter the Tomb to bring Gar-bo out. And yet, there were two Lewes Meyer replicants who had entered the Tomb. The number of chances and people don’t match up at all]
Only when it was pointed out for him did Subaru realize what an idiot he had been. Indeed, she was completely right. There were two Leweses who entered the Tomb, yet only one chance to enter―― there could only be one explanation to eliminate this contradiction.
[Subaru: The Lewes-san who went in… is not the Lewes-san who came out……]
[Sigma: Precisely. According to your arrangement…… the Lewes who came out would be Lewes Sigma, myself. And the Lewes who went in, that would be Lewes Theta. The one who saw her past was Lewes Theta, while I merely brought Gar-bo outside. As for my stance, rather than being opposed to the Sanctuary’s liberation, the process of elimination should leave me at neutral]
And so, she looked to the near-dejected Subaru and continued.
[Sigma: ――If there is anything I can tell you, it would be what Gar-bo had been so desperately hiding. The past that child saw… or fragments of it, anyway]
-=Chapter 95 End=-
I finally got home!!! ;-;
After 20,483 Kilometers and 41 days without a shower, it’s so nice to be back home and sleep in a comfy bed again…
I will definitely do my best to pump out more chapters this month! ❤
Chapter 96 Live Draft: