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/276/
Long story short, Otto had gotten himself involved in someone else’s love-scandal.
On the night of the powerful man’s daughter’s birthday party, the girl’s boyfriend came storming in, roaring about her being with another man. His crosshairs immediately landed on Otto, who had been talking with her only moments earlier.
Otto protested that he was honestly just asking her for the time, but the red-faced man lashing him with “Zodda Bug Boy” would hear none of it.
And when Otto heard his long-buried past suddenly dug up, even he lost his composure.
So, in order to completely clear his name, Otto unsealed his Divine Protection, and, after listening to nearly every creature in town, he learned that the girl in question had been with seven different men that night and triumphantly told her hapless boyfriend: “Looks like you were the eighth!”.
After the man gave him a thorough beating, the girl who had her romantic trysts exposed hired an assassin, and Otto was forced to flee the town of his birth. Relying on his father’s connections, he wound up working for an acquaintance’s merchant company.
There, once he had learned the trade―― Otto Suwen set out on his own as a travelling merchant at the age of sixteen.
Otto’s journey as a travelling merchant could only be described as an uninterrupted series of misfortunes.
His affinity for bad luck hadn’t diminished over the years. He’d be hit with bad weather whenever he transported fragile cargo, attacked by mountain bandits whenever he took shortcuts through the hills, and, whenever he camped with other merchants, Otto would be the only one swarmed by blood-sucking insects.
The only reason Otto managed to survive these calamities was because his exceptional business ability counterbalanced his tragically poor luck.
He wasn’t making big profits, but he wasn’t suffering debilitating losses either. With an uncanny sense of balance known as the bane of merchants, he managed to break exactly even as four years passed in the blink of an eye, and Otto was now twenty.
The fact that he never lost heart nor turned back was thanks to Furufu, the ground dragon he’d known since he was little, whom he brought along when he was expelled from his hometown.
Honestly, Otto did have some complicated feelings about Furufu, who was the reason his brothers found out his Divine Protection of Anima Whispering in the first place. But, for the present Otto, Furufu was nothing less than his cherished and inseparable family.
For whatever reason, other merchants tended to shy away from teaming up with Otto, so he spent many sleepless nights speaking with Furufu to keep his loneliness at bay.
“Let me sleep already”, Furufu would say, but Otto’s imploring always got him to stay awake for a little longer.
Perhaps it was only natural that other merchants stayed well away when they saw Otto braying with his ground dragon by his fire in the dead of night.
While to a bystander, those days might seem rather uneventful, for Otto, it was a constant life and death struggle. Then one day, there came a turning point.
――He misjudged a business opportunity and utterly screwed up.
This time, Otto decided to peddle oil. It was almost winter and oil would sell for an outrageously high price up north in Gusteko, or so he heard from a red-faced man with a beard and an eyepatch. So Otto traded all his metal wares for oil and triumphantly set his sights on Gusteko―― when a sudden breakdown in diplomatic relations utterly destroyed any hope of selling his goods.
And to rub salt into his wounded heart, he quickly found out that the metal wares that he had previously struggled to sell were fetching exorbitant prices in the Capital.
Realizing that he’d been duped, Otto sensed that his travelling merchant’s life was in peril.
Unless he could find a way to reverse his circumstances, he’d have no choice but to sell Furufu. Not only that―― he might even have to go crying back to his family.
Otto could never allow that to happen.
It had been over five years since he last saw his family, but his love for them had not faded in the least. The fact that he could live his present life, as difficult as it may be, was all owing to his family, who never abandoned him as a child.
In the first ten years of his life, Otto had already given them a lifetime’s worth of trouble. So for those ten years of kindness, he was determined to spend the rest of his life to repay them.
It was only right that debts should be repaid. After all, Otto Suwen was a merchant’s son.
――And so, when a trader he knew told him of an opportunity to make a quick profit, Otto took it.
This job wouldn’t involve any merchandise, only his ground dragon’s legwork. Someone was hiring dragon carriages to transport a large number of people from one place to another.
Without a second thought, Otto activated his Divine Protection of Anima Whispering and told Furufu to rush there at full speed before anyone else.
Zooming through shoddy roads, travelling along unmarked paths, and ignoring Furufu’s protests of “Let’s stop already, young master”, Otto managed to be the first to arrive.
[???: My my my…… just where are you going in such a hurry…… DESU!?]
A bunch of guys with deranged eyes tied him up and rolled him up in a mat, and it was then that Otto realized that his misfortunes had truly, truly reached its peak.
He was separated from Furufu, stripped of his belongings, tossed into a cold cavern, and left there to wait for his joke of a life to be brought to an end.
Who could possibly understand the depth of the despair that submerged Otto’s heart back then? Surely, no one.
In hopes of finding some way to escape from their evil clutches, Otto completely released the restraints on his Divine Protection of Anima Whispering as his last resort. But he was greeted by a soul-crushing silence―― for despite unleashing the full power of his Divine Protection of Anima Whispering and expecting to be met with the hell of early childhood:
That nostalgic, loathsome cacophony did not come.
The insects and small creatures that were supposed to be dwelling in these forests and caves were all hiding from that same evil presence―― while Otto, who had prepared for hell, had his heart shattered by a very different hell instead.
His eyes lost their vigour, and all strength drained from his body. He knew that it was all over.
There was nothing he could do, and this cold cavern would be his end.
The despair was too great for tears. And, it was when he had grown numb to the passage of those empty hours, that Otto Suwen’s fate was unexpectedly saved.
[????: What the! Those Witch Cult nutjobs really don’t discriminate, huh! Wouldn’a expected any less, though!]
A booming voice reverberated through the cave, bringing Otto out of his trance and jolting him back to reality.
Lifting his head, he feebly called for help. And it was a large, dog-faced beastman with a heavy Kararagi accent who heard his pleas.
Hh, huh…… I, I’m crying?
Before he knew it, teardrops were rolling from his eyes.
D-damn it…… what, what is this, why…… why am…… I……
Without understanding why, the irrepressible tears kept flowing as a senseless scream engulfed his mind.
――Now that he was released from the despair that had dried up his tears, perhaps it was only natural that he would be crying.
I-I’m so glad…… I didn’t die……
He hadn’t achieved anything yet.
He hadn’t repaid a single one of his debts.
If he had died there, his life would have ended without having had the slightest meaning.
And it was because he survived, that he now realized that fact.
――Every time Otto cried, he felt his life begin again.
His first birth-wail was when he was born into this world.
His second birth-wail was when he recognized his family’s love and found the whereabouts of his own heart.
And the third, was when he understood the meaning of his life after he had all but resolved to die――
――Otto Suwen screamed his third birth-wail that day.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
[Otto: ――It’s not like anyone asked me to buy time like this…]
Single-mindedly driving his overtaxed feet into the ground step after step, a wry smile rose on Otto’s face.
As much as he wanted to forget those memories of his unsightly bawling, every memory in which he was crying was far too important, and he couldn’t forget them even if he tried.
[Otto: But I’ll repay my debts, no matter what. ――Because I’m a merchant, after all]
――That youth who saved his life:
Otto Suwen owed Natsuki Subaru a debt that must be repaid.
For saving his life, Otto would move heaven and earth to repay him.
It was only natural for a merchant to think this way.
And, more importantly――
[Otto: ――Because he’s my friend!!]
Both as a merchant and an independent human being, Otto ordered himself to stay true here and now.
It was a battle he was unlikely to win.
Nevertheless, against all odds, Otto Suwen chose to wager his very existence on Natsuki Subaru’s victory.
That was the will of his merchant soul, and a testament to their friendship.
――Far off in the distance, from the direction of the abandoned carriages, Otto heard the raging roars of a beast.
Sensing that the true battle had now begun, Otto unleashed his Divine Protection―― and, offering himself to that all-familiar hell, intent on giving this fight his all, he ran.
-=Chapter 106 End=-
(The incredible fan art is by KaburimonoKabu!)
(*Note: I omitted a few lines in the cave in order to match what happened in Ep.24 of the Anime*)
I just woke up. I’ll work on the next one now ❤
Chapter 107 Live Draft: