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/279/
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Chapter 109 [The Wrong Choice]
[Otto: Just like we discussed, the villagers will evacuate while I distract Garfiel. Natsuki-san said not to worry too much about buying time, but I’m feeling a little more greedy than that…… so, can I count on your help?]
After parting with Subaru, and before setting out with the two bait carriages, Otto spoke with Ram in a corner of the village.
Ram crossed her arms at Otto’s rather unconfident query, then leaned into a wall and closed her eyes. Met with her silence, Otto tried to suppress his impatient agitation at the urgency of the imminent battle,
[Otto: Uhm, sorry, but…… we really don’t have much time……]
[Ram: Impatient men are repulsive. As I said before, it would depend on the conditions]
Opening a single eye, Ram promptly rebuffed Otto’s imploring gaze.
This “before” she mentioned was referring to three days ago: the night Subaru challenged Roswaal to a bet, and Otto asked Ram to fight alongside him.
Roswaal had asked Ram to leave the room so he and Subaru could be alone.
And as Ram came out of the building, Otto was waiting for her outside. He had accurately predicted that Roswaal would ask her to leave before discussing the crucial matters of the Gospel, and so he managed to catch her in a moment when she was free.
Simply put, three days ago, Ram and Otto had been no more than shallow acquaintances.
They could count their interactions on a single hand, and Ram hadn’t a shred of interest in any man except for Roswaal. Other than the familiar faces from Roswaal’s Mansion, Lewes and Garfiel were probably the only people she talked to in the Sanctuary.
And so, when Otto called out to Ram, and she looked at him as if she was looking at a pebble on the side of the road, he had to start by building their cordial relations from scratch.
[Otto: Greetings, uhm…… Ram-san. It sure is a nice night out]
[Ram: ――Ah, I was wondering who you were. So you’re that lackey who follows Barusu around everywhere. I wasn’t used to seeing you without him, so I had some trouble identifying what creature you were]
[Otto: I’m not even human anymore!? The fact that you have that impression seriously hurts! Although, well, I can kind of understand why I’d be treated like Natsuki-san’s accessory……]
[Ram: A man who accepts being anyone’s accessory is worthless. Begone]
[Otto: So harsh!?]
Ram’s unapproachable attitude swiftly tore Otto’s friendly overture to pieces.
Without showing the slightest interest in Otto, Ram leaned against the side of the door and crossed her arms.
[Otto: So uh… do you have a minute to talk?]
[Ram: Regardless of whether I’ll remember it, but haven’t you even considered starting a conversation by presenting your name? Regardless of whether I’ll remember it]
[Otto: Why’d you remind me twice that you might not remember it? Hhaah…… my name is Otto Suwen. I’m just a humble travelling merchant, but I’d appreciate it if you could memorize my face and name]
[Ram: That would depend on how interesting this talk is]
Otto despondently gave his name, while Ram refused to concede any of her domineering attitude.
Although she indicated that she was willing to listen, she would immediately put a stop to it should it turn out to be pointless. Otto pumped himself up once more and decided to broach it from a different angle,
[Otto: This would be related to what Natsuki-san and the Margrave are currently discussing, but…… Ram-san. Would you be interested in helping Nastuki-san and myself release the Sanctuary from its Barrier?]
[Ram: ――That’s enough. Ram’s only desire is to fulfill Roswaal-sama’s most earnest wish. For as long as I respect Roswaal-sama’s will, liberating the Sanctuary that way would be pointless]
[Otto: But that’s assuming everything proceeds as the Margrave intended…… correct? Ram-san, are you aware that events have already diverged from that path?]
It was Otto who proposed, at the end of his conversation with Subaru, that they drag Ram in as an ally.
Subaru was overwhelmingly reluctant about it, but, going from what he said, Otto judged that it was a bet with good chances of victory.
Opening her eyes, Ram’s emotionless, pink irises fell on Otto.
She uncrossed her arms as the fingers of her lowered right hand grazed against what must’ve been her wand beneath her skirt.
How he chooses his next words would decide whether or not he incurs her wrath in the form of her wind blades.
Holding his breath and wetting his lips with his tongue, Otto showed the same fearless smile as he would when making a challenging business deal.
The stiffness of his body disappeared as his accelerated pulse fell to a more comfortable pace.
Now, just as always, it was time to stand firm.
[Otto: Events have diverged from the Margrave’s plans―― and for the first time, you have a chance to realize your true wish. And I believe Natsuki-san and I can help you with that]
Ram’s fingers wavered, hesitating―― and then left her wand. Seeing this, Otto determined that his sales pitch was nothing to be scoffed at.
After she’s heard Otto’s proposal and learned the details of his plan, Ram presented several conditions.
Honestly, revealing their entire plan to Ram was a rather huge gamble for Otto and Subaru. If they misjudged their proposal’s impact on Ram’s heart, then all their plans would be leaked to Roswaal. But there was enough value in getting Ram on their side to take this risk.
Ram laid out several conditions in exchange for her cooperation, and, finding them entirely reasonable, Otto accepted.
Otto didn’t mention the details of her terms to Subaru. Because he needed her maximum cooperation, and it was necessary to keep some of the actions he had to take secret.
If Otto had told him, Subaru would have stopped them. If Subaru gave in to his emotions and ruled out this plan, it would’ve meant leaving the rest of their fate to chance.
[Ram: You have an unfortunate personality, you know that? I have no idea what you do for a living, but you’d make a terrible merchant]
[Otto: You totally remember I was a travelling merchant, right!?]
Ram remarked with a snort at Otto’s secret determination, as a pained wail echoed throughout the Sanctuary.
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――Faced with the pressure of the beast’s overwhelming aura, Otto was surprised that his body wasn’t trembling.
The abhorrent figure looming before him was a colossal monster four meters in length.
Crooked, razor fangs extended like sabres from its enormous mouth as its claws curved in brutal crescents like life-reaping scythes of Death. Every strand of golden fur coating its body was a wire thick enough to tangle any mortal blade that struck it.
Only the glint in its eyes, golden as its fur, retained vestiges of what it was before its transformation. But the lack of commonality between now and what was there only moments before made all of it seem unreal.
It was Garfiel, after he’d shed his human body for the form of a ferocious tiger.
Vile smelling breaths escaped his throat in growls, exuding a pressure enough to freeze the hearts of every creature in the forest.
Consciously forcing his lips to smile, Otto wished he could say something, anything, to lighten the mood.
But no voice escaped his frozen throat, and even his supposedly smiling cheeks ignored him and remained rigid.
And, belatedly, Otto realized why he wasn’t trembling.
――It was not because he wasn’t afraid. Rather, it was because, in the face of certain “Death”, Otto’s body had given up on improving his chance of survival.
After all, trembling in the face of fear is the body’s mechanism to ignite its instinct to survive.
It is the soul screaming to the body: “Do not give up!”―― but, in a situation where this would be entirely pointless, it was only natural that his body wouldn’t tremble.
He had heard about it. And he had imagined it.
He knew that Garfiel possessed both beastman and human blood alike, and that he could transform into a monster.
But reality surpassed Otto’s flimsy imagination and manifested a creature so far beyond human understanding that it devoured his spirit to its core.
To think that, in the presence of such a creature, he could have uttered something so foolish as “We bought enough time, but why don’t we try and beat him?”. Of course he shouldn’t try to beat him. As if he stood a chance.
[Ram: Garf transformed…… we’ve met all the conditions now]
Muttered the small girl beside him, her voice entirely unchanged in the face of the overwhelming presence before her.
He hadn’t even the mind to ask “What conditions?”. But, with a movement so mechanical that his neck creaked as it turned, Otto looked to the girl―― to Ram.
Ram’s lips relaxed slightly, and, for the first time, she showed Otto something like a smile.
[Ram: Garf made a mistake by picking this obvious choice. ――We’ve won this fight]
You damn sure about that? Otto quipped in his mind, forgetting his usual politeness.
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I’m packing my bags and I’ll be leaving in two days!
I’ll try to get as much done as I can before then!
Let me know if you see any typos ❤
Chapter 109 Live Draft: