(Thank you Aaron, Brototype, Jyaid, Federico, Bobb, 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/
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[Fortuna: We’re about to have an important talk, so just wait here for a bit, okay?]
[Emilia: Yes, mommy Fortuna]
Emilia obediently replied to Fortuna, who had brought her to the Princess Room and told her to wait there.
Seeing the smile on Emilia’s face as she saw her off, Fortuna couldn’t help but slightly widen her eyes. She patted Emilia’s long silver hair and relinquished a worried sigh.
Before, Emilia would always look a little upset about being left behind in the Princess Room. As much as she tried to hide it, the way she puffed up her blushing cheeks and turned her face away left no doubt that she was pouting.
It’s been a while since she saw that obvious attitude on Emilia’s face, so, naturally, Fortuna was worried.
[Fortuna: ――Hmmn, nevermind]
She stroked her hand through her daughter’s hair as if wanting to ask her something, but, seeing Emilia’s innocent eyes gazing back at her, Fortuna only shook her head, smiling.
Though she still couldn’t help but worry, Fortuna figured she should just be glad that Emilia wasn’t making a fuss. And since there were visitors waiting for her, Fortuna decided to leave well enough alone.
Waving her little hand, Emilia said goodbye to Fortuna as the door closed behind her followed by the sound of the bolt clicking. With the door safely locked, Emilia was left in the Princess Room alone.
――Although lately, that hasn’t been the case.
[Emilia: Okay, you can come out now]
Waiting a whole minute to make sure that Fortuna had left for good, Emilia returned to the center of the room and called out in a whisper.
Naturally, she was the only person in the room, and no one was supposed to answer―― but little specks of pale-blue phosphorescence drifted into the brightly-lit chamber.
Seeing their dull, faint glow, Emilia’s amethyst eyes quivered with joy.
Over the time she spent in the Princess Room, she seemed to have inexplicably acquired the ability to communicate with them. She called them “Fairies”―― though they were actually micro-spirits, and while Emilia’s name for them was close, the nuance was a little bit off.
Regardless, the micro-spirits did not fault young Emilia for her rudeness,
[Emilia: Fairy-san, Fairy-san, thanks for coming today]
The little girl said, thanking them for not letting her be alone. Hearing this, the lights glowed bright, dancing in reply.
Watching the dancing micro-spirits, Emilia intensely recognized their good will towards her.
They were not only here to dispel her loneliness, but to help her to the best of their ability. And whenever Emilia grew too lax while walking around outside, they would promptly warn her before anyone spotted her.
――She had escaped the Princess Room many times after that.
No one seemed to have noticed the gap in the tree roots leading outside, and Emilia continued using it for her escape. At first, she had gotten cuts over body and clothes while trying to force herself through, but now that she’d acquired the knack for it, it was no longer a concern.
Until then, she had to apologize for getting her clothes dirty over and over, and Fortuna had very nearly gotten suspicious. It was really a close call.
[Emilia: She was definitely reeaaally suspicious. But it all worked out in the end. Hhehee]
Emilia puffed up her chest, bragging about her improvements, while the pale-blue lights swirled around her head as if praising her. Soon, she was feeling giddy from the dazzling light show.
Nevertheless, while she had become a regular escapist, her grand adventures outside were all composed of cute little mischiefs. She’d listen in on the adults’ conversations like the first time, eat ripe fruits from the trees without permission, or rearrange the furniture in someone’s home to confuse them, but nothing more than that.
Yet, “Mischief” is a thing which grows with each exploit, and the pure and innocent Emilia was no exception.
[Emilia: Alright. It’s time to head out]
The lights swayed as if in agreement, and, encouraged by her reinforcements, Emilia beautifully escaped the Princess Room.
Opening up the roots that had been loosened by her numerous escapes, she slid her small body into the gap and then pulled herself outside. She rolled down the moment she was free and landed on a bed of leaves which softened the blow.
This was something she had prepared after the lessons she learned from all the tumbling in her previous attempts.
[Emilia: What should I do today?]
Picking off the leaves that had stuck onto her hair, Emilia asked the lights around her. Though she knew they couldn’t answer, seeing them respond with their oscillating brightness assured her that she wasn’t alone.
It was good that she could come outside, but soon, she’ll be running out of things to do. If she kept repeating the same mischief, people will figure out that she was behind it and that she could escape the Princess Room. And if they plug up the hole, it’ll be all over.
[Emilia: Let’s take it slow until things cool off]
Muttering like a wily, crafty criminal, Emilia wandered aimlessly towards the village. Most likely, the adults would be gathering in the village center as usual, conversing with the black-robed figures and receiving their gifts.
Meanwhile, mommy Fortuna would be chatting with the tall man, whom Emilia had heard being called “Romanée-Conti”, or, by her mother, “Geuse”. Emilia secretly decided to go with Geuse.
But while she found their adult-conversations fascinating at first, after repeatedly eavesdropping on them, it eventually lost its freshness and Emilia was growing tired of it.
Fortuna and Geuse would talk about all sorts of topics that went over Emilia’s head. The only reason she still frequently listened was in the hopes that they would bring up her mother and father like they did the first time so she could hear a little more about them.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so far.
She could sneak into one of Geuse’s wagons?
If Emilia slipped her little body in between the crates on one of those covered wagons, they could stow her outside the forest, just like that.
She had never seen Geuse’s friends check the wagons before leaving. But, even with the fairies’ help, it’d be impossible to sneak in unnoticed.
Thinking along those lines and realizing that it wouldn’t work, she gave up.
After all, leaving the forest would be the worst possible way she could break her promise to Fortuna.
――She absolutely mustn’t leave the forest. There’re things outside that would be scary for Emilia, and it’d be too dangerous before she turns into an adult. At least, that was what she’d always been told.
Even though she was already breaking the rules, she wasn’t about to break all of them. Perhaps that too was young Emilia’s virtue showing through.
And so, the plan to hide in the wagon and get stowed away was scrapped in the drafting phase. Instead, she figured she’d find some other way to learn more about her parents.
[Emilia: ――Hup, hup]
In the time she spent thinking, she had reached the village square where the adults and Geuse’s companions were meeting. Emilia nimbly darted up a nearby tree, laid flat on her belly, and perked up her ears.
As always, Fortuna and Geuse were happily chatting off to the side while the others unloaded the cargo. Except today, Fortuna’s expression was especially warm,
[Fortuna: Emilia’s been cheerful lately, and reeaaally full of energy. I just wish she’d stop getting mud all over her clothes]
[Geuse: My my…… it’s good to hear that she’s doing well. We could bring some more clothes for her if you wish. It’ll be winter soon outside the forest, and we’ll have lots of out-of-season clothes to spare]
[Fortuna: We’re always imposing on you, I’m sorry to further burden you like this. ……But would that include clothes for adults as well?]
[Geuse: Yes, certainly. I’m sure you’ll look very nice in them, Fortuna-sama]
Geuse said with a tender expression, while a complicated hue rose on Fortuna’s face. She scratched her cheeks, as if embarrassed,
[Fortuna: ……Now where did you learn to speak like that? We’ve known each other for ages, but since when did you start telling jokes?]
[Geuse: It was just the first thing that came to mind. Did I say something strange just now?]
[Fortuna: I know you’re not one to tell lies, which only makes this even more impossible……]
Fortuna pressed her hand to her forehead, looking baffled. But the unmistakable smile on her lips proved that she wasn’t upset.
Actually, far from being upset, she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their exchange.
For some reason, seeing her mother like this was making Emilia feel all icky inside.
Fortuna’s expression was usually stern, and she rarely showed her gentle side in front of people other than Emilia.
But now, it was like something important to her mother was being stolen, and that stinks.
[Emilia: Hrmph, stupid Geuse]
She lashed out at her one-sided acquaintance. Puffing up her cheeks, Emilia decided that if Geuse doesn’t say something interesting soon, she’s going to pull some mischief on his wagons today.
Maybe clog the wheels with cloth or pour oil all over the cargo bed.
Such were Emilia’s oaths of petty revenge, but these dramatic retributions would never come to pass.
[Geuse: ――Now, is the seal still safe?]
Lowering his voice, Geuse asked Fortuna the usual question. Fortuna replied with a nod, and said,
[Fortuna: Nothing’s changed. Every single time, you ask me this, you know]
[Geuse: That is my duty, after all. Besides, it’s time. While this problem may be cyclical, there have been especially many moonless nights this year, so the circulation of mana has been scarce. I’m worried this might have a negative impact on the seal deep in the forest…… and I can’t help but feel anxious]
[Fortuna: The moon, huh…… right, I see. So that’s why the micro-spirits in the forest have been acting strange lately. ……I understand. Afterwards, I will go check on the seal myself to make sure it hasn’t come loose]
[Geuse: Then I’ll leave it to you]
Saying this, Geuse bowed low, while Fortuna turned him a serious gaze and nodded.
Eavesdropping on their exchange, Emilia muttered [Deep in the forest……] under her breath.
Emilia had already explored the village in its entirety. And naturally, she had conquered every corner of the forest that Fortuna had allowed her to play in. Although she never said it out loud, she saw the forest as her own backyard.
Yet, Emilia knew nothing about this place “Deep in the forest” that they had mentioned. She figured it must be somewhere in the depths of the forest where entry is forbidden―― another one of those things they had specifically hidden from her. The more she thought of it like that, the more dissatisfied she became.
Before she knew it, all her pent-up dissatisfaction was about to boil over.
As usual, she didn’t learn anything useful about her parents, and her exciting grand adventures outside the Princess Room were becoming routine and stale. Worse, the same adults who talked their tongues off about the things Emilia mustn’t do were lying and keeping secrets behind her back. So many examples of this had surfaced in so short a time.
――Maybe it’s time she got back at them a little.
Who could blame Emilia for thinking this?
Back then, no one ever chastised Emilia’s budding mischievous spirit and only allowed it to swell and grow, which only hastened the coming of “That time”.
And that was why, so many years later, the only person left to blame Emilia was Emilia herself. She would endlessly fault herself for her own stupidity back then, though it would not be enough to lighten the weight of her sin.
――But that belated regret did not reach the young Emilia.
While Emilia was rolling up her sleeves in her misdirected gusto, Geuse and Fortuna’s conversation had come to an end. After unloading all the goods without a hitch, Geuse’s group bowed farewell as the adults saluted their departure.
Seeing this, Emilia swiftly flew down from the tree branch and rushed back to the Princess Room. Quickly squeezing through the gap in the roots and into the hollow, Emilia hurriedly set about composing her alibi.
She made some quick drawings, changed her dolls’ clothes, and gobbled up her sweets.
Once all that was done, she swiped off the sweat on her forehead and heard Fortuna’s voice outside the door.
[Fortuna: Emilia, sorry you had to wait. Have you been a good girl today?]
[Emilia: H…… h-have I been a good girl? I have. Mhm, yep, I have]
Convinced that she was fooling Fortuna with her expert performance, a satisfied expression rose on Emilia’s face. But, seeing Emilia like this, Fortuna quietly squinted her eyes, giving her a look.
Getting a bad feeling about that sharp gaze locking onto her, Emilia figured any misstep here would only deepen her suspicion,
[Emilia: Wh-what is it, mommy Fortuna? Even if you stare at me like that, I didn’t do anything? I just ate some sweets, drew some pictures, and played with my doll a little. I didn’t go outside at all. Really]
[Fortuna: ――Is that so… well alright]
It seems Fortuna was completely deceived by Emilia’s acting. Although she felt guilty about lying to her mother, Emilia reminded herself not to be bothered by it too much and focus on plotting her ruthless revenge instead.
Fortuna and Geuse were talking about a “Seal” deep in the forest. As far as Emilia could remember, a “Seal” should be a place used for hiding something.
That is, for hiding something that’ll be trouble if it got out.
――And so, the manner of Emilia’s revenge on Fortuna and the adults was decided.
She will find the location of this “Seal” deep in the forest, and whenever Fortuna or anyone else wants to scold her, she could use it in her rebuttal as her bargaining chip.
If they ever catch her slipping out of the Princess Room, the location of the Seal would be her trump card.
Emilia was so excited about her ingenious plan that she completely failed to notice the irony of trying to escape the guilt of leaving her room by sullying her hands with something even worse.
Holding her mother’s hand, they left the Princess Room. Once she had brought Emilia home, Fortuna said she had some things to do. Going by her conversation with Geuse, Fortuna must be going to check the “Seal”.
[Emilia: ――I’m counting on you guys]
Emilia winked to the pale-blue lights, bidding them to follow her mother.
A glimpse of Emilia’s later beauty that could enchant a person with a smile alone had already begun to bud on the little girl’s cheeks.
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This was the second time Subaru visited this place, but the first in this loop.
The lonely building stood atop a small hill. It wasn’t especially run-down, but was more like an average home with no notable characteristics.
Comprised of a bedroom and a living room, there was a basic kitchen in the lounge area, much like a small apartment unit in Subaru’s original world. It was enough for a single person to comfortably live in, but it must’ve been cramped for an adult and two kids.
That was the sentiment Subaru held as he ruminated on the significance of this building.
Standing outside the door, he gave it a few knocks. Then, after a brief silence, he heard [Come in] from inside and was relieved to know that he was right.
But he immediately put away that sense of relief as he placed his hand on the knob and opened the door.
The faint fragrance of old wood grazed his nostrils. And, feeling the lukewarm air meeting his skin, Subaru stepped inside,
[???: It took you longer than I thought]
In the back of the room, there sat a figure on the austere bed. Apparently, they were just getting a refill of tea, pouring boiling water into their cup.
That was probably the reason behind the dampness pervading the room. Subaru confirmed that there were three cups on the table―― but only one was filled,
[Subaru: So I’m the first guest to arrive?]
[Lewes: That’s right. You’re the first, Su-bo. Hope you like your tea a bit strong]
[Subaru: Doesn’t really matter. Weak or strong, leaves just taste like leaves]
[Lewes: A comment like that makes me wonder why I even bother brewing for you. Now I understand what Ram’s always grumbling about]
Wryly smiling at Subaru, Lewes―― Theta took an empty cup and proceeded to fill it with boiling water. After throwing in some tea leaves to soak, she pushed it over to Subaru,
[Theta: Here, you must be thirsty. Go on, drink up]
[Subaru: I think if I down the whole cup like this, my remaining HP is gonna drop straight to zero. But… thanks]
Theta furrowed her brows, a bit confused by his joke, while Subaru blew on his tea to cool it before bringing it to his lips for a sip. The thick flavor of grass passed over his tongue and down his throat.
No matter what they’re called or who brewed them, leaves are still just leaves.
[Subaru: I couldn’t even get used to Rem’s tea…… my body really doesn’t take well to this stuff, seriously]
[Theta: I should’ve guessed… well that settles it. I’m never gonna brew tea for you again]
Watching Subaru scrunch up his face and stick out his tongue, Theta gulped down her cup of tea in a single breath. Then, giving her own hair a few pats through her dangling sleeves, she plonked herself back on the bed and faced Subaru once again,
[Theta: I was hoping to lighten the mood a bit before our talk, but didn’t think we’d end up with more disagreements]
[Subaru: When you put stuff from the side stories into the main text, readers who happened to skip them will get confused so let’s have no more of that. Switch gears switch gears, let’s just get to our conversation]
[Theta: You say these things like it’s no effort at all……]
Giving an astounded sigh, Theta held her little palms to her forehead. Then, her gaze passed through Subaru, as if to stare beyond the door,
[Theta: Setting that aside…… so it was you, Su-bo. I thought as much. Rather than Gar-bo, chances were, either you’d come here alone, or neither of you would think of this place before my rotation ended]
[Subaru: ……The odds were pretty stacked against Garfiel, huh. If that guy hears what you just said, he’ll probably be wailing]
[Theta: Wailing, bawling, is that all it’ll be? ……I was imagining a more serious reaction. If Garfiel finds me here, that is. But I’m not too worried about that]
With a lonely smile on her face, Theta looked towards the living room wall.
Subaru followed her gaze and saw the metal shields hanging there, gleaming with their silvery sheen―― the two shields crossed over each other, adorning the wall just as he had seen them last time.
When they were little, the siblings Garfiel and Frederica would play ramming at each other with those shields, filling each dent and crevice with memories―― simply put, this was Garfiel and Frederica’s childhood home.
Subaru couldn’t quite understand why Theta chose this place for their final conversation.
But he did remember from a previous loop that this place held a special significance for both Lewes and Garfiel.
Banking on that memory, Subaru came here and found Theta waiting for him, just as he thought.
[Theta: It’s good you came alone, Su-bo. After all, this isn’t something I’d want people to hear]
[Subaru: Yeah, I left Otto behind. Didn’t think I should bring him along for what we’re about to discuss here]
While the statement sounded like he was leaving a warrior behind for a fight that was out of his league, that wasn’t Subaru’s intention at all. It was just that Lewes’ past was a subject that would necessarily involve the Witch. It was enough for Subaru to have to bear this alone.
And so, he had tasked Otto with another role.
[Subaru: Theta-san, is it safe to say that you’re the only Lewes-san who’s been inside the Tomb?]
[Subaru: Ah, my bad. I’ve been calling you that for convenience’s sake. Yesterday was Sigma-san, and the other two are Alpha and Beta. If you don’t like it, I’ll stop……]
[Theta: ……No, it’s fine. I see, so that’s what it meant. Aah, I see, I see…… surprisingly, I don’t dislike it]
Muttering [They-ta, they-ta] over and over under her breath, Theta’s face softened as if embarrassed. She closed her eyes, and, after several seconds of silence, opened them again,
[Theta: What I’m about to tell you is everything I have seen of the Sanctuary’s creation…… and a part of the events leading up to Lewes Meyer being sealed inside the crystal]
[Theta: As for what you’ll think once you’ve heard it, and what you’ll want to ask me…… as one of the four representative Leweses of the Sanctuary, I will leave that up to fate]
Declaring this grave responsibility, Theta smiled as Subaru held his breath,
[Theta: Is your heart up to the challenge?]
-=Chapter 100 End=-
(The thumbnail art is by Zaetti!)
Thank you guys for being patient ❤
Part 2 is quite long and part 3 is only half of that so I decided to release them together.
Let me know if you spot any typos!
I’ll start on the next chapter tonight!
Chapter 101 Live Draft: