(Thank you Brototype, Austin, Zenith for helping me with proofreading 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/278/
Caught by perfect traps, he had taken two hits of ultimate-tier magic.
The very fact that he was still alive was a testament to his surprising vitality. His opponent must have expected this and so neglected to show any mercy.
Confirming the damage on Garfiel, Ram relinquished a small sigh. Then, she turned her gaze to Otto behind her, who had watched the entire surprise attack unfold.
[Ram: I already knew this, but you look so pathetic it’s painful to watch]
[Otto: Surely that’s not something you say to someone who had just fought with his whole heart and soul…….]
[Ram: The result is the only thing that matters. Did your efforts succeed or fail? The process you took to get here is secondary…… so I’ll say it again: You look so pathetic it’s painful to watch]
[Otto: Oof, she really is merciless. ……It’s just as Natsuki-san said]
Without showing the slightest appreciation for Otto’s efforts, Ram gave him a wry smile and a little snort instead.
As the result of his fierce battle, Otto did manage to do some damage to Garfiel. Aside from the string of minor traps that only served to aggravate him, that final strike did carry enough force to conceivably defeat Garfiel.
But, if there was one thing Otto miscalculated,
[Ram: It seems you forgot about Garf’s Divine Protection of Earth-Soul]
[Otto: Earth-Soul…… what’s that?]
Hearing that question, Ram let out a small sigh. She shook her head as if appalled, looked down on Otto with a gaze of heartfelt contempt, and then sighed again.
[Otto: How much disappointment are you going to show!? I’m feeling seriously wounded here!]
[Ram: Garf’s Divine Protection of Earth-Soul is just as its name suggests, it is a Divine Protection that bestows him the earth’s blessing. As long as his feet are touching the ground, his body is protected by a shield of resilient soil. ――And even if not for that, Earth Magic has terrible affinity against him. You used an Al-class spell, and it just had to be Dona……]
Pressing her hand to her forehead, Ram closed her eyes and dropped her head.
[Ram: Your luck is so poor that I don’t even feel pity anymore]
[Otto: So my lifelong misfortune finally detonated at this point!? That’s super terrifying! Or actually, Ram-san, if you knew about this beforehand, wouldn’t it have helped a lot more if you told me this beforehand!?]
[Ram: Shouldn’t it be Ram-sama?]
[Otto: Why is everyone trying to kick me to the lowest possible stratum!?]
Ignoring the raving Otto, Ram swished the tip of her wand as she turned back to deal with Garfiel.
He should be unconscious, but his limitless stamina was truly worthy of admiration. Without a doubt, he was the greatest obstacle to the Sanctuary’s liberation. He must be restrained immediately and kept under strict supervision until matters can be――
Ram stopped in her approach, her brows slightly furrowed.
Her pursed lips felt the dry air, her red tongue peeked out for just a glimpse. And,
[Garfiel: ……I’ll be damned. Y’really, truly are a merciless woman, you]
Garfiel lifted his slumped head in response to Ram’s call.
His sharp, opening eyes blazed with fury and hate, and his bared canine fangs were quietly rattling, indicating that his will to fight hadn’t waned.
The surprise attack should have been a perfect success. It couldn’t have possibly gone any better.
And yet, it nevertheless failed to defeat this monster known as Garfiel.
Profuse blood was pouring from his body, yet he hopped to his feet without the faintest suggestion of injury or fatigue. Everything the wind blades had done to him was entirely superficial.
Shallow gashes riddled his skin, and his non-vital areas had taken countless blows, but none of the damage was enough to decisively incapacitate him.
[Garfiel: When y’had me pressed against a tree and sang that chant, I thought I was absolutely done for. My mind was turnin’ with all its might that moment. But I couldn’t come up with a single goddamn answer…… n’ so, I stopped thinkin’]
No longer fussing over his trifling thoughts, he trusted his body to evade for him.
His instincts greedily elected to survive and magnificently operated his body to take minimal damage in that inescapable storm.
This was the fruition of the racial instincts of a war-like lifeform.
Even Ram gave an imperceptible gulp at his remarkable battle-sense behind her deadpan expression.
For Ram, who took pride in always being able to prevail with better judgement even when at a disadvantage in terms of pure ability, it was a rare experience to face an opponent who was her equal.
And the fact that it was Garfiel only contributed to the indescribable emotion rising inside her.
[Garfiel: Say, Ram. Why’re y’takin their side? What’s gone ‘n made y’do that?]
[Garfiel: Y’realize, right? Yer takin’ th’side of the ones plottin’ t’liberate th’Sanctuary. Ain’t that goin’ against that bastard Roswaal’s will? That asshole…… at least, right now, he shouldn’t be wantin’ the Sanctuary t’be liberated]
[Ram: Do you mean to suggest you’ve a better understanding of Roswaal-sama’s will in my presence, Garf? We’ve known each other for a long time, so surely you know this? I will not stand and listen to such insolent drivel]
[Garfiel: I know how stubborn y’are. It’s why I fell in love with ya. And that’s why I just can’t accept this. If y’ain’t givin’ up on idolizin’ Roswaal, why’re y’takin their side? How’d they talk y’into it?]
Listening to Garfiel’s words, Ram closed her eyes.
It was rare to see Ram’s lips tremble like this as if she was suppressing some inexplicable emotion. Garfiel’s eyes widened at this sight, but the expression vanished in only an instant.
[Ram: Ram…… Ram is merely acting in the most meaningful manner for her wish. That is all]
[Garfiel: And yer wish…… is?]
[Ram: To fulfill Roswaal-sama’s most earnest desire, of course. ――And nothing else]
Hearing this answer, Garfiel expelled a deep sigh.
Ram had no interest in discussing this apparent contradiction any further. No one could possibly understand what was going through Ram’s mind. Except perhaps the one man who had read the deepest core of her heart, and convinced her to do this――
[Ram: He truly is an aggravating man, that Barusu. ……Though not even I understand why that is]
Ram harbored an indescribable aggravation towards Subaru.
Perhaps it was a physiological revulsion, or perhaps a disdain fostered over the time they’d spent together, or perhaps a little of both, but Ram had to think that it was ingrained in something deeper.
Almost as if he were a hated enemy who stole from her something precious―― that was the inexplicable emotion Ram felt towards Subaru.
Nevertheless, Ram accepted Subaru’s invitation, for that was just how deeply his proposal shook the core of her heart.
[Ram: Surely you’ve recovered enough to stand?]
[Otto: T-that’s a pretty harsh thing to ask…… I mean, I wouldn’t mind if you could hit me with some healing magic……]
[Ram: Don’t worry. Ram doesn’t know any healing magic. Since there never was a need to remember them]
[Otto: You’re the first maid I’ve met who’s so unconcerned about healing!]
Wailing, Otto strained his trembling legs to stand.
His body was swaying, though his nosebleed had finally stopped. Being able to stand obviously didn’t make him a reliable fighting force in any sense of the word.
But, seeing that his will to fight hadn’t diminished, Garfiel let out an irritated snort.
[Garfiel: Y’…… I thought our last bout would’a taught ya pretty good that y’got no chance against me. Y’used up yer trump card, and don’t y’see me still pr’tty lively? Y’should know when t’give up. It ain’t manly bein’ a sore loser, oy]
[Otto: Too bad, I don’t recall ever abandoning my grimy nature to become some clean-faced kid who’d surrender without a fight. Even if I lose my last cent, as long as I still have my body, I’ll keep going. Or at least, that’s what I imagine a friend of mine would say, right before he starts charging]
[Garfiel: ……Again with that bastard?]
Garfiel clicked his tongue as Otto uttered the word “Friend”.
[Garfiel: How can y’put so much trust in that tall-talkin’ asshole? He’s powerless. He’s weak. He knows how t’work his tongue, and that’s it. How’s a man like that worth helpin’, hah!?]
[Otto: Worth it? You’d have to wonder. I wouldn’t really say that the present Natsuki-san is worth it]
[Otto: But the future, that’s a different story]
Garfiel tilted his head at the unexpected answer, while Otto’s grin deepened.
He had exhausted his stamina and spent all of his tricks, but even now, without the faintest hope remaining, there was not a speck of unease in Otto’s eyes,
[Otto: It’s because I’m a merchant. I don’t think it’s such a bad deal to invest in someone who could greatly benefit me in the future. You see, Natsuki-san is…… someone who, just maybe, might end up doing something huge]
[Otto: But that’s assuming he doesn’t get snuffed out here. So, just what would this sprouting Natsuki-san eventually bloom into, and what kind of a price would it fetch? ……I’ll have to keep picking off the bugs and pruning the leaves to find out]
Such a pain in the ass, Otto thought, as he scratched his head with a wry smile. Listening on the side, Ram expelled a bored sigh,
[Ram: Honestly, I don’t know if anything about Barusu merits that impression. Barusu is weak, useless, and can’t even brew a proper cup of tea or do a single thing right. I agree with Garf there]
[Otto: That’s…… actually that’s a pretty balanced assessment]
[Ram: But, Barusu is a man with strangely good timing when it matters]
Ram asserted, paying no mind to Otto’s timid attempt to support Subaru.
Seeing the two men tilt their heads at the word “Timing”, Ram nodded.
[Ram: Timing. A man with only good timing, that’s what Barusu is]
He’s a man who’s usually useless, who makes you wonder what role he could possibly serve, but this man named Natsuki Subaru has the mysterious tendency to always be there just when you need him.
When Emilia got away from Ram in the Capital, Subaru protected her in Ram’s place.
When he was brought to the Mansion wounded, within days, the Mabeasts’ upheaval followed. And again, it ended with Subaru saving the village’s children after playing his part in eradicating the Mabeasts. He was never the greatest contributor, but his presence certainly helped.
When Emilia returned from the Capital and ominous forces began closing in on the lands around the village, Subaru came with reinforcements and beautifully saved them from danger.
This man named Natsuki Subaru is a man with absurdly good timing.
There is not a single attractive thing about him, nor does he exude the slightest masculine charm. Ram had nothing positive to say about him, and at times she even felt sorry for him, though she couldn’t remember why she felt this way, or what it was that was tugging at her.
Regardless, Natsuki Subaru was just that kind of man.
And that was why this time, Ram――
[Ram: It’s safe to trust in Barusu’s timing. ――Once Barusu thinks he sees a chance and acts on that belief, then that must be the only way to seize victory]
[Otto: Sounds like you put a lot of faith in Natsuki-san, Ram-san]
[Ram: It’s Ram-sama]
[Otto: Is this really the time to be bringing that up!?]
Displeased by the scoffing man beside her, Ram shot him a silencing glare.
They both placed their faith in Subaru’s intentions. And they both agreed to fight at each other’s side, and to say nothing about this to Subaru.
They were aware that they had already bought more than enough time, but――
[Otto: It’s strange, but somehow I still wanna keep going]
[Ram: That’s because the fact that he hasn’t gone down after those traps and that beautiful surprise attack is just insulting. Such impudence is unseemly, Garf. ――We ought to make you remember that]
[Otto: Woa, that was scary. This big sis is super scary. I’m actually starting to wonder if Natsuki-san lied about that sleeping girl being a gentle person…]
Otto muttered his irrelevant observation.
Ram confirmed the grip of the wand in her hand, and concentrated mana at its tip once more.
Facing the two readying for battle, Garfiel kept his silence. He listened to their voices with his head downcast before finally, he took a sluggish step forward.
Sensing that battle would begin again, Otto and Ram’s bodies tensed.
But, in the face of their resolve,
[Garfiel: ――enough, already]
Came a scraping whisper.
Causing Otto and Ram to simultaneously furrow their brows.
[Garfiel: Thinkin’, is too much of a fuckin’ pain――]
Muttered Garfiel in an exhausted voice.
A bestial roar echoed out, shaking the forests of the Sanctuary.
Every creature in the forests trembled and bowed their heads before its dominance.
――For the Ur-Beast had arrived.
-=Chapter 108 End=-
I’m going to live in a different country for the next few months.
It’s the city where I spent half of my childhood, and my grandmother and all my extended family are there.
And as soon as the weather is warmer, I’ll rent a cheap van and set out on another journey.
I can’t wait to be on the road again…
For the last few months, I’ve been so preoccupied with the things that make me unhappy that it was all I could see.
But in reality, I’m surrounded by people who love me, and I’m more fortunate than most in this world. And not least because I have all of you guys with me.
So, thank you ❤
Chapter 109 Live Draft: