(Thank you Brototype, Zenith, Tamas, 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/273/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 103 [The Beginning of The Sanctuary, And The Beginning Of The Collapse]
[Theta: The memories are fragmentary, but I did my best to sort out the chronology. I think… that would be more or less how it happened……]
Subaru met Theta’s uncertain words with silence.
For he could only choose silence. The information-load was far too heavy, and he needed to organize it before he could come up with anything to say.
The founding of the Sanctuary, and the era in which the girl named Lewes Meyer still lived―― would have been 400 years ago, when beings called “Witches” roamed free:
And when the “Witch of Greed”, Echidona, still walked this earth.
[Subaru: Honestly, I can’t imagine a time when Echidona was just wandering around the place like a normal person]
[Theta: The Witch-sama’s presence must feel distant to you, Su-bo, because you have never lived through that era. But actually, even for me, I can’t say I truly knew her despite feeling like I’ve spent all that time around her]
[Subaru: Well, if I can talk about stories I’ve just heard like I’ve actually lived through them, that’d be the first sign I’m going senile, you know. But anyway…… did Echidona visit the Sanctuary often?]
[Theta: Those aren’t my real memories, but, judging from the scenes I witnessed and the conversations we had, her visits must’ve been rather frequent]
Unlike Theta, who had seen those memories, all of it still lacked a sense of reality for Subaru who was merely hearing about them second-hand.
And if there was one thing in Theta’s story that was bothering him, it would be――
[Subaru: Beatrice and Roswaal… were in the Sanctuary 400 years ago……?]
[Theta: Beatrice-sama, as I said, was like Echidona-sama’s daughter. And as for Ros-bo, the Ros-bo in my story was the founder of the House of Mathers…… the first-generation Roswaal who had set the rise of the House of Mathers in motion. The name Roswaal was just inherited down the line]
[Subaru: ……Was he close with Beako?]
[Theta: From what I could tell, he had a charming relationship with her]
While listening to Theta’s account, Subaru’s thoughts turned to Beatrice.
Perhaps that girl hadn’t changed a bit in all of four hundred years, and had always been curt and dishonest with her feelings. Even now, four hundred years later, that attitude remained the same.
Never allowing anyone to peek into her world, she continued to hide everything inside that little body of hers.
Thinking of that girl lingering alone in the Forbidden Library, a keen pain sliced across Subaru’s chest.
Pressing a hand to his breast to hold back that pain, Subaru shook his head.
[Subaru: I’m surprised Echidona would bring Beatrice along with her. Judging from our conversations, I didn’t think she felt any kind of maternal love for Beatrice]
[Theta: I’ve never had a chance to meet the Witch-sama myself. But from what I’ve seen of Lewes Meyer’s memories, I feel that there’s a sense of humanity to the great Witch-sama]
[Subaru: Somehow, I kinda agree with you there]
It was indeed quite different from Subaru’s impression of Echidona. Yet, four hundred years and life and death stood between then and now.
Maybe it wouldn’t be too strange if her perspective on life had changed during her time in that Citadel of Dreams.
[Subaru: I thought our break up was pretty final… but I’m still placing my hopes in her, huh……]
Once again, he was reminded of his own hopelessness.
This was different from Rem and Ram. Echidona understood Subaru’s feelings and hopes and knowingly trampled over them all the same. There can be no future in which he’d take her hand now.
[Subaru: Anyway, your stories so far have just been charming reminiscences of the past. That doesn’t sound like the kind of terrible secret you’d go out of your way to hide from everyone]
[Subaru: So, please tell me what came next. What on earth happened in that seemingly idyllic Sanctuary?]
Subaru lowered his voice, asking, as Theta brought her already-cold tea to her lips.
She mumbled [Tastes terrible……] under her breath, and,
[Theta: What happened, is it……?]
[Theta: What happened was collapse and ruin. And then, I learned the true reason the Sanctuary was created]
[Subaru: The true… reason……?]
Subaru unwitting swallowed his breath at those words, while Theta merely nodded.
And, as if once again opening the lid on her memories, she narrowed her eyes.
[Theta: Both the great Witch-sama and the first Roswaal were inside the Sanctuary at the time. Something ominous and strange was approaching, and not just myself, but everyone inside the Sanctuary had sensed this]
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――The air hung taut and heavy, giving Lewes the illusion that her throat was parched.
[Roswaal: We have to get out of this place, now. The preparations aren’t ready. ――If that thing finds the Sanctuary’s location, all our plans will be for naught]
[Roswaal: Sensei! We’re wasting valuable time here! That thing…… that thing’ll be here any moment!]
Anxiously slamming his hand on the table in the little cabin, the slender-faced youth shouted.
An urgent apprehension was carved into that usually temperate and graceful youth’s expression.
Hearing his plea, the Witch Echidona quietly closed her eyes and folded her arms. Faced with her silence, the youth lunged forward, waving his arms to reiterate his petition.
[Roswaal: There’s no time to hesitate! That thing’s power is overwhelming! I’m still not strong enough to protect you, Sensei……! If you ask me to be your shield, I will gladly be your shield. But when we have no means of fighting against that thing, even if I defend you with my life, it’d be completely futile……]
[Echidona: There is a way. ――To a certain extent, I had prepared for this]
Cutting off the youth―― Roswaal’s words, Echidona opened her eyes, staring at the grains of the wooden tabletop.
Hearing this, [Gh……] Roswaal spilled an astounded sigh while Echidona quietly shook her head.
[Echidona: Judging by my repeated inspections of the Sanctuary, I believe the conditions are in place for the Barrier to hold with a high probability of success]
[Roswaal: Th, then……!]
[Echidona: ――But we’re missing the Nexus to activate the Barrier]
For a moment, a flash of hope brightened Roswaal’s expression before it was extinguished by Echidona’s pained voice once more.
[Echidona: The Barrier cannot activate without the Nexus. And without the Barrier, we cannot repel that thing from this place. If we can’t secure a safe haven, we’ll be annihilated as soon as we are found]
[Roswaal: We spent all this time preparing the Sanctuary…… we’ve come so far, and yet…… with just one step away!]
Overwhelmed with vexation, Roswaal slammed his fist on the table.
The legs of the old table creaked as blood seeped from Roswaal’s hand.
Silence descended on the small cabin.
Time slowed to a standstill as a viscous, heavy atmosphere permeated the room.
And it was there, that a girl timidly raised her hand.
[Lewes: Um, would I be any good…… as the Barrier’s Nexus?]
[Lewes: I heard before that this is possible. That I meet the conditions for your Barrier, Echidona-sama. ……And that was why you’ve been paying special attention to me]
[Echidona: ――Did Beatrice tell you this?]
Lewes Meyer nodded in quiet determination with her long, pink hair flowing.
The girl’s face was tense with resolve as she stared straight at the expressionless Echidona.
[Lewes: Beatrice-sama said that you’ve already confirmed that I’m a perfect match. All the mana extraction over these past few months were precisely for this purpose, weren’t they?]
After a brief silence, Echidona drew in her chin and nodded to Lewes’ question.
[Echidona: Indeed, you are very suitable for the Barrier’s construction. It’d be possible to maintain the Barrier if we keep you inside the Sanctuary. That much is well established. With just a little more time to adapt the Sanctuary’s lands to your mana, it would’ve been possible]
[Lewes: In other words, it isn’t possible now?]
[Roswaal: It’s not just a simple Barrier. This Barrier has to be indestructible. We need to proceed with the utmost caution and discretion. Years of effort have gone into gathering half-bloods inside the Sanctuary to provide the conditions for the Barrier. And you… were the decisive lynchpin of this plan. But……]
Trailing off there, Roswaal ruefully gritted his teeth.
Though Lewes didn’t know the details, she could tell that even this ingenious duo of Echidona and Roswaal were helpless in the face of such obstacles.
Is there really nothing they can do?
――There has to be something: that was what Lewes’ brief life-experience told her.
[Lewes: Isn’t there something more drastic we can try?]
[Lewes: ……You saved me, Echidona-sama and Roswaal-sama. Coming to this land, I was given a life where I wouldn’t have to be afraid of being persecuted or shunned, and I was happy. If I could do anything to repay you for the time I was given, I’m certain that’s my life’s purpose]
Little by little, she spilled the contents of her heart.
Watching Lewes squeeze her little white hands even whiter as she spoke, Echidona’s black irises froze, losing all of their warmth. Instead, it was Roswaal, standing beside her, who found himself beset by a torrent of complex emotions.
It wasn’t a call asking Echidona for her decision. Rather, it was a call filled with a slightly different nuance.
Whatever it may have been, it was like the pulling of a trigger:
[Echidona: ――If we crystallize your Od and make it the Nexus of the Sanctuary, we can drastically shorten the process for the land to adapt to your mana. And the Barrier will be complete]
[Lewes: If we do this, will the Sanctuary be saved?]
[Echidona: It’ll give us a chance to survive the violence of the impending threat. If that could buy us some time, I should be able to devise some countermeasures]
Echidona did not give a consolatory answer. She neither made any wishful predictions, nor offered any words of comfort.
But if Echidona judged that it can be, then it certainly can be done.
In other words, by offering her life here, she would be able to protect this place. By sacrificing herself as the repayment of her debt, they will certainly succeed.
[Lewes: ……When do we start?]
[Echidona: ――I’d like to start preparing immediately, if possible. I will ready the anchor for the crystallization process and assemble the spell. As for delaying the approaching threat……]
[Roswaal: Leave that to me. I will do everything in my power to stall it. ……And, Lewes-kun]
Roswaal lifted his face, lined with tragic resolve. Not a hint of weakness or hesitation remained on his expression. He merely stared into Lewes’ determined eyes, and,
[Roswaal: I’m sorry. Please help Sensei and do what I cannot do for her]
[Lewes: Don’t be, Roswaal-sama, you’ve already given me a life of irreplaceable happiness. For that, I have only gratitude, so how can I resent you?]
Holding her hand to her chest, Lewes shook her head.
Roswaal drew in a small breath, and, sighing, he looked to Echidona.
[Roswaal: I’ll be off. Please make the preparations…… and call Beatrice here, Sensei]
[Echidona: ……Maybe it’d be better if Beatrice doesn’t know about this?]
[Roswaal: If we don’t call her here now, she will resent us for the rest of her life, Sensei. ……Although, she probably still will even if we do call her]
[Echidona: Is that right. ……I see. I’ll call her in a moment]
Seeing Echidona’s nod, Roswaal headed out of the cabin. On the way, he placed his hand on Lewes’ shoulder and gave a single, firm squeeze.
The dull pain from his grip conveyed all of Roswaal regrets and reluctance. And, sensing this, Lewes shut her eyes.
She softly whispered.
As the thought of that girl who wasn’t here tenderly tormented Lewes’ heart.
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Ooooooh this is so awesome >_<
Please let me know if you see any typos ❤
Chapter 103 Live Draft: