(Thank you Aaron, S Alal, Roanz, Daisuke, Brandon, Bobb 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/265/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 96 [Red-Painted Lips]
[Subaru: Fragments… of the past Garfiel saw……]
[Sigma: Just as it sounds, they are no more than fragments. It was me who carried him out of the Tomb while he muttered, delirious and sobbing. And so I know the rough outlines]
Swallowing his breath, Subaru turned to Sigma.
Garfiel’s past―― was not what he had expected to talk about with Sigma, but it was nonetheless one of the issues Subaru needed to sort out.
Though it was out of order, he had no complaints about getting this information now.
[Subaru: Can you tell me? What did that gu…… what did Garfiel see in his past that made him want to give up on freeing the Sanctuary? What could he have seen to have made him so opposed to letting the residents go outside?]
[Sigma: ――What that child saw… was his mother’s farewell]
[Subaru: Her, farewell?]
Subaru felt something gouge at his chest.
Garfiel’s parting with his mother―― that doesn’t sound unrelated to Subaru’s own Trial at all.
But unlike Subaru, who could look back on his parting with a happy heart, Garfiel’s probably wasn’t so pleasant. And that must be why he was so obsessively bound to the Sanctuary.
[Sigma: Su-bo, do you know about that child’s mother?]
[Subaru: ……I heard a little from Frederica before. Their mother was an ordinary human, and the half-bloods…… well, a lot of things happened, and those two were born… so she left them in the Sanctuary]
[Sigma: Heartlessly, she left by herself to find her own happiness…… that’s the gist of what it was]
Filling in the part that Subaru had trouble voicing, a fleeting smile rose on Sigma’s face.
Her supplementary information was just what Frederica had told Subaru about her mother―― about her turbulent life and the unfortunate series of events that led them here.
If he remembered correctly, Frederica and Garfiel each took one of their parent’s surnames. Frederica took her father’s, Baumann. While Garfiel took his mother’s, Tinsel.
[Subaru: But, Frederica said their mother left them when they were still very little…… even if he saw his memories from back then, just how vivid could those memories have been?]
[Sigma: Have you forgotten that the Trial was created by Echidona, who holds the Book of Wisdom? Rather than from the vague, unreliable memories that remain, it shapes the world using the person’s original memories. ……It shouldn’t have been much different from the scene he saw as a young child]
Without any basis to refute her, Subaru pondered about Sigma’s words.
Indeed, by drawing from Subaru’s memories, Echidona was able to recreate the town and the school from Subaru’s original universe, none of which existed in this world.
When it comes to having one’s deepest memories tapped into, Subaru himself had experienced it first hand.
[Subaru: Right. I guess that makes sense. But the problem is…… when Garfiel saw the scene of his parting with his mother again, why did it hurt him so much that he broke down crying?]
[Subaru: It might sound harsh, but she left him when he was still very little, so he’s spent far more time without his mother than with her. Getting stuck on something that’s already long passed just doesn’t sound like him at……]
[Sigma: Su-bo, do you really think a wound from being abandoned by your mother as a child could be so shallow?]
Pointing out to Subaru what he had trouble understanding, Sigma’s words cut like a knife.
Feeling his throat struck by those words, Subaru unwittingly fell silent. And, seeing this, Sigma lowered her grieving gaze.
[Sigma: Of course, his sister Frederica and I were aware of how large a thorn had been lodged into that child’s heart. But Gar-bo might not have been aware of it himself until the past he saw in his Trial brought it to the surface. ……I think his excessive conservatism is precisely because of that]
[Subaru: ……But, why? So that guy’s rejection of liberating the Sanctuary and his fears of the outside world are all because of his negative feelings towards his mother…… for choosing the outside world over him?]
[Sigma: It’s more like hatred of the outside world. Hatred of the world that stole his mother but left him behind. And as much as he wanted to go after her, the Barrier barred the rest of us from coming with him. Between his mother and the Sanctuary’s residents, both of which are irreplaceable to him, it was far too cruel a choice]
[Subaru: Does he maybe hate his mother? The mother who deserted him and went into the outside world alone?]
For Subaru, who had never been abandoned by his parents, it was a pain he could not understand.
No matter how shamelessly he abandoned himself, no matter how worthless he showed them he was, they never once considered giving up on him.
He was saved by that warmth, yet that same warmth tormented him even now.
[Sigma: Well, who could say……]
Sigma avoided giving an immediate answer.
Her gaze wandered, as if in search of her words, before she spilled a small sigh.
[Sigma: I’ve never been able to ask him what he truly felt about his mother. I was a coward, after all. Every time I wanted to ask…… I thought of that child crying in the Tomb, and I just couldn’t say the words]
[Sigma: And yet, even after that child learned of his past, he’d still say Garfiel Tinsel whenever he was asked for his name. I think he does this so he doesn’t forget]
[Subaru: Doesn’t forget……]
Giving a nod to Subaru’s words, Sigma lovingly looked over the crummy shed that Garfiel, with his own hands, had worked so hard to build.
[Sigma: It’s so he doesn’t forget the emotion he felt when he saw his past. ――Whether it was anger, or grief, I’m not sure even now]
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Otto: You look terrible, Natsuki-san. You know that?]
Spotting Subaru in the center of the village, Otto called out with a wry smile.
Hearing that unsparing remark, Subaru shrugged his shoulders and looked towards him.
[Subaru: I could say the same about you. It’s been half a day since I saw you and you’re already covered in mud. Still tumbling around in woods at your age, aren’t you a bit old for that?]
[Otto: It’s not like I was trying to get covered in mud!]
[Subaru: Don’t shout, it’s rattling my sleep-deprived brain. Speaking of sleep deprivation, you’ve got some circles under your eyes as well. Going frolicking in mud when you should be sleeping…… could it be that you’re struck with the urge to rectify as many regrets as you can in the limited time you have left?]
[Otto: Could you stop sticking me with that kind of outdated popular-fiction plotline!?]
From Otto’s objections, it sounds like this world has had its fad of fictions about terminally-ill patients trying to live their last days to the fullest as well. Just more useless knowledge to add to the collection.
In fact, once this is all over, it might be quite profitable to import all sorts of stories from his original world into this one. That said, [Anyway], Subaru continued,
[Subaru: Enough of joking around for now…… so how’re things actually going?]
[Otto: I can’t deny that it was a lot harder without you there, Natsuki-san…… but still, I think it’s safe to call it a success. You can go ahead and praise me now]
[Subaru: Good job good job, you’re my only hope, go for it!]
[Otto: What’s with those uninspired encouragements! I can feel the air drying up!]
Watching Otto flap his arms up and down, Subaru secretly acknowledged his endless gratitude for his help. But since it’d be way too embarrassing to say it out loud, Subaru was determined to take that secret to his grave.
[Subaru: Well, good to hear those preparations are coming along. By the way, how’re things progressing on the other front? Think it’ll be usable?]
[Otto: That one…… is a bit tricky with the limited timeframe that we have. There’s simply not enough time. I guess if I cut into my sleeping hours, I might be able to manage it by the day after tomorrow, but……]
[Subaru: You’ll cut into your sleeping hours for me? Your diligence leaves me speechless]
[Otto: Nnghaah! Can of worms……!]
Hugging his head, Otto lamented his slip of the tongue. But, even if Subaru hadn’t insisted on it, Otto would probably still have chosen to forsake his sleep in order to make up for the needed time.
It was precisely because of this sincerity that Subaru trusted him as a friend.
Without ever realizing how thankful Subaru actually felt, with [So then], Otto wiped off his anguished expression and turned to Subaru,
[Otto: Has the stage been set on your end, Natsuki-san? Honestly, considering the trouble with Emilia-sama, I’ve been wondering if I should be packing my bags and scuttling away in the night]
[Subaru: I’m confident I can get all the missing pieces together. It’s still a bit worrying, though, not knowing what the final picture will look like]
[Otto: A-are we going to be alright? There isn’t much time left……]
[Subaru: If I can’t fill in the pieces before the time limit, we’ll just have to make up for it with love, courage, and friendship. At least, going from the books I’ve read, it’ll definitely work out somehow]
[Otto: You know, Natsuki-san. While I did say I was willing to go against the odds, that’s assuming there’s a fighting chance, but taking on a bet with zero chance of winning isn’t just idiotic, it’s more like courting death……]
Otto went on mumbling, but Subaru started walking without paying him much mind. Reluctantly, Otto followed and matched his steps.
Not too worried about fanning Otto’s anxiety, Subaru headed towards the building where Roswaal was waiting―― while not necessary, he thought he ought to update him on their progress thus far.
Having concluded his conversation with Lewes Sigma, Subaru had learned fragments of Garfiel’s past.
Even though Sigma had no further information to give him, she did clarify her disinterest in the Sanctuary’s liberation, Garfiel’s rejection of his past, and the fact that she switched with Theta during the chaotic situation in the Tomb.
According to the replicants’ rotation schedule, Theta should show up tomorrow.
What Theta saw in the Trial must have been the memories of Lewes Meyer’s interactions with Echidona, but just what could she have seen to have made her so averse to liberating the Sanctuary?
Only by knowing this could he understand the reason for Theta’s obstinance. And, once he does, he could finally work to remove the existence that had been feeding Garfiel his instructions and get a chance to talk to him without setting off his rage.
Despite Garfiel’s rough and reckless facade, his nature wasn’t irrational nor wholly inclined to violence. At least, that was Subaru’s impression.
If he really was irrational and approved of solving every problem with brute force, he simply had to eliminate everything potentially threatening to the Sanctuary.
Without Puck at Emilia’s side and with Roswaal below his full capacity, no one present had the power to contend with a beastified Garfiel.
Garfiel was now without a doubt the most powerful force within the Sanctuary, and if he chose to bare his fangs and attack, he could have solved everything with violence alone.
Yet he didn’t do this, precisely because, beneath the surface, his nature was still willing to search for a rational solution.
[Subaru: Basically, we’re taking advantage of his softness to plot behind his back…… huh. Almost makes us sound like the bad guys]
[Otto: I don’t have a problem with using anything we can get our hands on, but I agree that we aren’t exactly fairy tale protagonists here]
Picking up on Subaru’s mutters, the self-professed scoundrel B shrugged to his accomplice, scoundrel A. Hearing this, scoundrel A was sincerely gladdened by that sentiment from B.
In any case, Garfiel was the convergence point of the many problems surrounding the Sanctuary. If they could successfully persuade him, it would be the same as solving the entire B-side of their problems.
And as for the A-side, that would be the Trials―― and Emilia.
[Subaru: I’ll have to go see her one more time after this]
It was already well into the evening, and night-time lights have lit up across the Sanctuary. The sun had sunken halfway down the western sky, coloring the world in a sunset hue of orange and violet.
Night was approaching, and, assuming nothing happens, the time to challenge the Trial would soon arrive.
But Subaru had yet to hear any report of Emilia waking.
Even if she could wake in time for the Trials, considering the time she would need in order to sort through her emotions, no doubt the challenge would have to be passed up for tonight.
In fact, if worst comes to worst, she might even miss the challenge on Subaru’s critical day tomorrow.
Even Puck, who served as the trigger of Emilia’s collapse, spoke only of the extent of her initial shock, but nothing of how long it would take for her to recover.
[Subaru: I know it depends on how well I support her after she wakes up, but…… since I can’t know how much damage she’s taken, I can’t help but feel like I’m just letting it lie]
[Otto: Do you think you’ll be able to console her… or something to that effect? I’m just an outsider, so I can’t really say anything]
[Subaru: For the moment, all I know is that she’s so confused that she can barely recognize the people around her. It’s the first time I’ve seen her throw a child-like tantrum like this. If you’re asking me if I can do it or not…… honestly, I can only try]
[Otto: So we’re still walking on a tightrope, then……]
Hearing Subaru’s unassuring answer, Otto sighed, but made no move to flee. Realizing that he was making Otto join him in his near-hopeless fight, Subaru genuinely wanted to apologize.
Nevertheless, the fact that Otto did not abandon him even now was truly a saving grace for Subaru.
[Otto: If that’s the situation for Emilia-sama, how are things going with Garfiel? Have you acquired the bargaining material to soften him up a bit?]
[Subaru: I’m pretty sure I got the key piece we need, yeah. The problem is I’ll still need some time before I can get him to the negotiation table]
How he deals with Garfiel will depend on how his conversation goes with Theta tomorrow. Whatever happens in his talk with Theta―― he would have to base his strategy upon that.
As frustrating as it was that his only option would be to repeat whatever information she gives him.
For now, there was no choice but to keep walking those tightropes one after the other.
[Subaru: ――We’re here. You’re going in with me this time]
Subaru said to Otto beside him as they arrived in front of Roswaal’s residence. Otto made an uncomfortable face at Subaru’s words, but,
[Otto: Ehhh, well, alright. I guess there’s no reason for me stay outside this time. If I go in with you…… auaaagh, isn’t that the same as declaring war on the Margrave!? You sure my head will still be on my body after all this is over?]
[Subaru: Don’t worry. If your head goes flying, my head’ll go flying or get turned to rabbit food. I’m never gonna let you die alone!]
[Otto: There’s nothing reassuring about that at all!]
Seeing Subaru shoot him a thumbs up, Otto wailed in reply.
And as they went on bantering outside the building’s doorway, the door opened from the inside―― revealing a maid, casting them a cold stare.
[Ram: What’re you two chattering about so loudly right outside the door so late in the day? People will come to doubt your master, Roswaal-sama’s integrity. Conduct yourselves with more dignity]
[Subaru: Sorry…… but, what’re you doing here? You left Emilia by herself?]
Apologizing to Ram’s scathing criticism, Subaru pointed out the strangeness of her presence. Giving a small sigh, Ram shrugged with feigned bafflement, and,
[Ram: You needn’t worry, I’m going back now. Since you were coming to visit, I was called here to help Roswaal-sama prepare. ――What a nuisance you are, placing this burden on Emilia-sama]
[Subaru: Did you just spin that around so it’s my fault? ……And what did Roswaal need to prepare for, anyway? He can’t get out of the bed so there’s not much to be done, right?]
While Subaru knew that Roswaal actually could get out from the bed and was in fact healthy enough to kick Garfiel’s head to pieces, he was pretending he doesn’t know for now.
Seeing this, Ram squinted one of her eyes with an annoyed [Enough] before walking right through the space between Subaru and Otto.
[Ram: Roswaal-sama is waiting, so hurry inside. Take care not to trouble Roswaal-sama by dragging the conversation on for too long. ……After you’re done, promptly come take my place at Emilia’s side]
[Subaru: Busy lady. I’m surprised you’re that worried about Roswaal when he’s pretty much healthy at this point. I still hope you could prioritize Emilia a little more. If she finds herself alone when she wakes up, she’ll……]
[Ram: The one she should find at her side when she wakes up cannot be Ram. Don’t you even understand that much?]
This time, Ram gave the dumbstruck Subaru a genuine gaze of someone looking at an idiot before walking away. Silently watching her back as she left, Subaru felt Otto give him a light jab with his elbow.
[Otto: Unless you were intentionally trying to make her mad just now, that was a pretty terrible exchange, you know]
[Subaru: ……Yeah I know. I was just wondering what her reaction would be]
[Otto: You’re rotten through and through, you know that?]
Shoving Otto’s elbow away, Subaru went in the open door. Otto followed behind him, and together, they headed to the innermost room in the building. Lightly knocking on the door,
[Subaru: Roswaal, it’s me. Can I come in?]
[Roswaal: Oo~oya, you’re here. Do~~ come in do~~ come in]
The clown’s voice from beyond the door―― restored to its usual intonation, slightly surprised Subaru as he opened the door.
[Subaru: Aah, so that’s what it was]
Seeing Roswaal on the bed, Subaru faintly nodded as if understanding something.
That must be the “Preparation” Ram had mentioned.
At the comprehending Subaru’s side, Otto made a “Hgk” sound when he saw Roswaal’s face. It must be the first time he’s seen his face like this, after all.
[Roswaal: Ta~~king the time to come report on your pro~~gress, how commendable. I am rather fo~~nd of that part abo~~ut you]
Snickering in his clownish, drawn-out tone with the long-absent make-up back on his face, Roswaal spread out his arms, welcoming their arrival.
-=Chapter 96 End=-
So hyped for Otto+Roswaal!
Those two never met on-screen before…
I’m not healthy at all right now…
I feel much better when I woke up this morning and the brain fog’s gone away, but hopefully it lasts >_<
Please let me know if you find any typos! ❤
Chapter 97 Live Draft: