(Thank you Aaron, Zenith, Austin, 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/269/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 100 [Memories Buried In Dust]
――Blindly searching like this wasn’t going to get them anywhere.
That was the conclusion Subaru came to after looking for Lewes all over the village and straining his cardio and respiratory functions to the point that his lungs were aching.
[Subaru: ――Hha, ha, haa]
Holding his knees, he heaved his shoulders up and down to pump oxygen into his lungs.
The mental fatigue that had accumulated over the past few days flooded back all at once, and his limbs felt heavy as if they’d been injected with lead. Even breathing was difficult.
[Otto: Natsuki-san, you alright? But seriously, you ran out of steam way too quickly, you know]
[Subaru: Sh-shut up…… I, just suddenly remembered…… I was still undergoing medical treatment when all these things came up, and my exhaustion’s just about reaching its peak……]
[Otto: Okay okay, I get that you’re a sore loser, you just sit here and rest a while. Give your body a break and take some time to think. I’ll go fetch some water]
Seeing the exhausted Subaru, Otto spilled a small sigh, pointed to the shade of a tree, and left him there.
Watching Otto leave while scowling at his own patheticness, Subaru sat down under the tree and focused on restoring his breathing.
Almost an hour had passed since he parted with Garfiel and started searching for Lewes Theta.
He and Otto’s two-man human-wave tactic hadn’t yielded any results so far. Yet, just like with Emilia, they couldn’t exactly go around recruiting helpers.
As the representative of the Sanctuary, Lewes abandoning her duties and going AWOL wasn’t something the Sanctuary’s residents and refugees should be allowed to hear. Garfiel must’ve had the same considerations when he went on to search for her alone.
If Subaru was honest about his feelings, he was more worried about Emilia’s safety than Lewes’.
He doubted she would do anything rash, but knowing how lost and lonely she must be feeling, he couldn’t help but want to rush to her side and console her.
But the cruel reality was just as he told Otto: finding Lewes was more urgent. There was no room to be sentimental about this.
Still, Subaru hoped that Ram’s separate efforts could manage to find Emilia.
[Subaru: Kinda feels like I’m conceding something to Roswaal, though]
Ram clearly belonged to Roswaal’s faction. She was only searching for Emilia out of concern for Roswaal’s reputation, not to help Subaru or Otto. It was just that her present efforts to serve Roswaal happened to be aligned with Subaru’s.
The optimal flow would be for Subaru and Otto to find Lewes then go on to find Emilia. If Subaru could nail both of those conversations back to back, that would be best.
But ideals were ideals. Only empty rhetoric. Counting chickens before they’ve hatched, etc.
[Subaru: At this rate, we’ll run out of time before we find either of them. That’s the worst case and absolutely cannot be allowed to happen. ……But, we have to do something……]
Panicking wasn’t going to help.
Instead of standing still, thinking, wouldn’t it be more reliable to just comb through every corner of the Sanctuary?
[Subaru: If doing that would find them then Garfiel would’ve gotten to them first. It’s been an hour already. That guy can move twice as fast as me and Otto, so if he hasn’t found her yet, that means……]
――Lewes was trying to elude them so that even Garfiel couldn’t find her.
At this thought, Subaru felt a tug in his mind as he held his breath.
Something was off. Lewes was trying to elude Garfiel. That much was right. But, that’s not right at all. Why would Lewes want to run from Garfiel?
Wasn’t Lewes Theta running because she wanted to avoid confronting Subaru? Subaru figured she didn’t want to answer his questions about the Trial and decided to go into hiding until her rotation ended.
But that wouldn’t make any sense.
If Theta really just wanted to avoid talking to Subaru, all she had to do was communicate her desire to Garfiel.
Garfiel wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate Subaru if given a clear reason to. And if Garfiel decided to attack him, Subaru would have no means of fighting back.
If Theta truly wanted to keep her past hidden, she could have incited Garfiel to do this.
So why hadn’t she done this, and why wouldn’t she do this――?
[Subaru: She’s running… because she wants to be chased……?]
[???: Well surely the whole point of running is to not get caught. So what’re you talking about?]
Subaru was holding his chin, muttering, when someone else butted in. Looking up, it was a perplexed Otto handing him a pitcher full of water,
[Otto: I can understand getting a little overwhelmed with all the things to think about. The time I had to stay awake for four days straight going around doing business negotiations, I felt pretty unhinged by the last day too]
[Subaru: Setting aside that story of your past hardships for another time, it’s not like I’m going crazy. ……I’m not… I don’t think]
[Otto: You’re sounding less and less confident about that]
Accepting the pitcher, Subaru held the spout to his mouth and poured. Relishing the cool sensation sliding down his throat, he organized his tangled words,
[Subaru: What’s your take on why Lewes-san disappeared?]
[Otto: ……Well, she probably wants to avoid an inconvenient conversation, I’m guessing? If she runs into you today, she’ll have to talk whether she wants to or not…… but, considering how she can’t leave this place, I can’t deny that it feels like a stopgap measure]
[Subaru: Exactly, it’s a stopgap. But if she really wanted to solve the fundamental problem, you know how she could easily do it?]
[Otto: ――You mean Garfiel?]
Otto effortlessly deduced the conclusion Subaru had come to from the few hints given. Furrowing his brows, he crossed his arms as if in thought,
[Otto: Right, by that line of reasoning…… then maybe Lewes-san doesn’t want Garfiel to know about her disagreements with you?]
[Subaru: Still, Garfiel is already suspecting that we have something to do with it. When he said that nothing ever went wrong in the Sanctuary until we came along and set it off, I didn’t know what to say]
Garfiel had hit it right on the mark.
Either way, Garfiel had found the indirect cause of Lewes disappearance. And there was no way Lewes could have failed to consider how Garfiel would react to her disappearance.
[Subaru: Which means, there are only two conceivable possibilities]
[Otto: Either she wants to avoid both Natsuki-san and Garfiel and decided to go into hiding, or…]
[Subaru: Knowing that we’ll be looking for her, she’s waiting to be found……?]
If it was the former, then Subaru and Otto might as well give up here. If petite Lewes really wanted to hide, she could easily hold out for half a day. The only one who’d have a chance of finding her would be the sharp-nosed and agile Garfiel.
But, if it was the latter, then Subaru and Otto’s chances against Garfiel were fifty-fifty.
In that case, Lewes must certainly have made her arrangements accordingly.
――There must be another way to find her besides blindly searching.
[Subaru: We should search somewhere related to Lewes-san]
[Otto: But we’ve already searched her home…… and her actual home was where Emilia-sama went missing, so that doesn’t……]
[Subaru: Yes, right. I doubt she would’ve went to Roswaal, and the Experimental Grounds…… was probably the first place Garfiel looked. Which means……]
If Theta had to choose a place that Subaru and Garfiel would have an equal chance of finding, one which Garfiel wouldn’t immediately investigate――
――If such a place existed, it would be,
[Subaru: ……Otto, I think I got it]
[Otto: R-really? You got it from our little exchange just now? You sure you aren’t jumping the gun here?]
[Subaru: Don’t know why you’re being so negative on me, the likelihood is pretty high. In fact, if this isn’t it, then it’ll be time to throw in the towel]
Nodding to the stumped-looking Otto, Subaru drank down the remaining water in a single gulp. He wiped off his lips, stood up from the ground, and gazed in the direction of the place he had in mind.
If Theta was there, then she wasn’t running away. She was simply waiting in the spot most appropriate for this conversation.
Waiting for Subaru, or perhaps waiting for Garfiel.
[Subaru: Don’t realize it just yet, Garfiel. ――Let me wrap up this interview with your guardian first]
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It’s the 100th chapter!!
Thank you guys so much for coming this far with me… let’s keep going for another 100 and another 100 more!! ❤
I’ll start on the next part in a couple of hours!
Chapter 100 Live Draft: