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/
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With the streaming blood dyeing her vision true-red, Ram’s frantic steps barely managed to keep her body from collapsing.
Sharp, piercing pain flashed just above her brow―― at the very center of her forehead. Clicking her tongue, she rued the throbbing ache emanating from the faint-white scar.
Behind her, Otto’s broken voice shrieked. So annoying.
Ram didn’t need anyone to tell her how much the situation had deteriorated. It wasn’t that any of Garfiel’s attacks had hit her. Against those thoughtless, wide-open swings, it’d actually be harder to try to get hit. Those screams are annoying. Wanna hit him.
Expelling a short breath, Ram’s unsteady feet kicked off of the ground.
Immediately, the tiger’s claws gouged into the earth where she’d just been standing. Clods of dirt sprang up like a shotgun blast, mingling with vivid red droplets as Ram spun, dancing to evade.
She was clearly on borrowed time, but somehow, she could still move. Sighting an opening, she kicked the tiger’s jaw from below, sending the beast wailing in pain as she followed with another kick from her other leg. She rode on the momentum to backflip out of harm’s way, but the instant she landed, her stance immediately crumbled.
Literally by a hair’s breadth, Ram evaded the claws late enough for them to shear off a tuft of her hair, sending strands of pink dancing through the air.
It was pure coincidence that she dodged that strike. If her feet hadn’t just happened to slip, Ram’s head would’ve doubtlessly exploded like a red fruit.
Tasting the closeness of death, feeling something indescribable rushing up her spine, Ram’s red lips opened into a grin as she snarled.
The exhilaration of battle. The scar on her forehead throbbed, sending something between pain and an itch flooding down her entire body.
Her broken horn. Her proof of being an Oni. In order to release her full potential, Ram needed her horn to draw mana from the inexhaustible supply within the atmosphere around her. After losing that organ, her body could not unleash even a tenth of its true power.
She knew beforehand that she’d be punished for overtaxing her body like this.
Still, she had thought that if the conditions were right and she manages to end the fight quickly, there was no reason she’d lose. And yet,
[Ram: ――You’ve gotten stronger, Garf]
Ram’s murmur was overflowing with an emotion she rarely showed to others.
Naturally, Otto had never seen it, and even Subaru only saw it on a few occasions. It was the kind of emotion she’d show to her only family, the one who had vanished from her memory.
With the tender smile still etched upon her lips, her lunging fist mercilessly smashed into the tiger’s face.
She felt its tough skin bouncing off of her knuckles. Her fist, having lost its firmness, directly felt the recoil of the impact, breaking the bones in her hand. It felt good. She was fighting. She was living. The exhilaration of killing and being killed flooded her with overwhelming euphoria. More, more. There’s more after this. There is yet another dimension to reach.
Her right hand shattered, no longer capable of forming a fist. The tiger with its crushed face bellowed. Breath like a windstorm pressed towards her as her left hand sliced through the wind and gouged into the thin hide on the tiger’s neck. Blood spouted, her fingers tore out chunks of flesh as more blood spouted forth. Gory specks sprayed onto her white cheeks as she savored the intoxicating taste of iron on her tongue.
If her shattered right hand was useless, then she’ll choke him with her arms. One arm wasn’t nearly enough to wrap around the neck far wider than her own body. Soaring, grappling, throwing in her legs as well to strangle the beast’s arteries, she dodged the claws closing in to swipe her away. Shifting with all her weight, one of her fingers snapped. The shriek felt good, like she was back home.
[Ram: Bh, phh, agh]
The dance was so much fun, yet the haziness of her head was too aggravating. The blood streaming from her forehead showed no signs of stopping, and it began to overflow from her nose and mouth as well.
She was past her limit, and her body was beginning to break. Her nerves were controlling her body based on its full potential, but, with no mana to sustain it, her body was gradually failing to keep up. Ram continued to move at blazing speeds, still evading Garfiel’s claws. So overwhelming was her combat ability that not even a single strike could graze her. But the wicked hands of collapse continued gorging upon her body, and the end would come before any claws or fangs could reach her.
[Ram: ――hg, phh]
After pausing for a deep breath, overflowing liquid burst from her mouth.
Clots of blood splashed to the ground, and, as if it’d been Ram’s very life force, her body instantly lost its strength.
Her shoulders slumped, her legs collapsed. The beast would surely not overlook this moment. Its beaten and enraged visage bared its fangs as it swung its paw towards Ram’s slender body.
[Otto: Uwaaaah! DONA!!]
Alongside that throat-tearing chant, a wall of earth shot up from the ground.
It cut into the space between Ram and the tiger’s paw, dulling the attack’s force for just an instant before immediately being smashed to dust.
But in that single instant, a hand dragged Ram’s body back and, with all its strength, flung her backwards.
――Somehow, she had a feeling that this was the second time she’d been thrown like this.
Soaring through the air, she stared at the sky in a daze as that out-of-place sentiment popped into her mind. The impact of crashing back-first into the ground robbed her of her breath, but she swiftly raised her head to register the situation.
There, in front of her, in the spot where she’d just been tossed from, now stood Otto who should’ve been cowering on the side. It seems he saw that Ram was in danger and threw himself in.
But even so, surely, there is nothing he can do――
The beast, enraged by this powerless creature who had intruded into its battle with Ram, blasted the pale-faced youth with a forest-shaking roar. If he froze here, he would surely become food for those fangs. At this juncture demanding immediate action, Otto clenched his hands into fists, stomped his foot into the ground, and――
――From his slender throat came a roar exactly like the beast’s.
This was the Divine Protection of Anima Whispering Ram had heard so much about. Otto had always boasted that as long as it was an intelligent life form, whether it was a dragon or a critter, or even an insect, he could speak with it. It seems to also allow him to communicate with Garfiel who’d transformed into this irrational beast.
Ram couldn’t tell what Otto must’ve heard from Garfiel’s roar.
And she couldn’t tell what Garfiel thought of Otto’s reply.
But this exchange of roars did create a brief delay before the beast resorted to its claws and fangs.
That opening was more than enough for Ram to understand Otto’s true reason for throwing her.
[Otto: ――WWRRR! Aaukh! That’s, my throat’s limit……!]
Struggling to sustain the literally blood-spewing shriek, Otto held his throat as he coughed.
With the conversation at an end, the tiger lifted its paw, aiming to annihilate Otto with a single strike. Otto raised his hands before him, and with a determined expression, he unleashed the desperate scream,
[Otto: EL DONAAA!!]
A thick wall of earth spread out in front of Otto, and, without waiting to watch it rise, he turned and began sprinting backwards. The tiger’s paw crashed through the wall behind him, sweeping up a whirling plume of dust as it closed in on Otto’s fleeing figure―― a direct hit knocked the wiry body flying like a dead twig, plunging nonstop through the bushes and trees.
Whether he lives or dies would depend entirely on Otto’s fortitude.
Ram paid no attention to the results of his decision and actions. She determined that to pay it no heed was the most appropriate way to repay Otto for what he had done.
[Ram: Garf. ――You made a mistake by transforming after all]
Ram announced to the tiger who was turning to attack her next.
Leaning against a tree, freed from the exhilaration of bloodlust, Ram’s head steadily cleared. Gripping her wand in her barely-operational left hand, she aimed its tip at Garfiel.
Mana began to shift.
[Ram: If you had even a speck of sense left, you wouldn’t have overlooked me]
The tiger warily scrunched its nose.
But did nothing further. It had no idea what was coming.
The eyes of that senseless beast did not understand what it meant that Ram was “Standing in a mass of white light”.
To the residents of this forest, this man, who transformed into a monster and ravaged the earth, the trees, and the forest in its attempts to strike Ram, was a violent and irredeemable villain――
[Ram: I’m not bungling this the way he did]
Realizing something, the tiger stooped low and charged towards Ram.
But it was too late.
[Ram: ――Al Fula]
Mana from the rage of the forest’s residents converged at the tip of Ram’s wand, exploding into a burst of light.
――And the battle for the Sanctuary’s forests was over.
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Getting the feeling that he’d just heard a beast’s roar, Subaru stopped and glanced behind him.
[Subaru: Nah, no way]
It’s way too early for that, Subaru naively decided.
It had been perhaps twenty minutes since he asked Otto to buy time and left him. It was doubtful whether Otto had even departed with the carriages yet, and there was no way the situation could’ve progressed that far.
He figured his anxiety must be making him hallucinate, but that was actually the more terrifying thought. Just how subconsciously anxious was he?
[Subaru: Gotta believe, gotta believe. Otto’s doing his best to buy time. He did say he’ll spill everything once Garfiel catches him…… and we didn’t tell the Arlam villagers anything they didn’t need to know, so they shouldn’t become targets]
Each time Garfiel attacked Subaru or the villagers as they tried to leave, Subaru had confronted Garfiel about the Lewes clones beforehand. Which means, by Subaru’s speculation, Garfiel didn’t want the truth about the Lewes clones to be leaked outside.
Subaru didn’t know what the underlying reason for this would be, but it seems Garfiel could not be at ease until he has eradicated everyone who knew that fact. The loop where he slaughtered all the villagers except Subaru was probably the result of his inability to determine whether Subaru had divulged it to any of his fellow escapees.
Whether Garfiel would believe him when he says he never told them would be yet another gamble, but somehow, Subaru had a mysterious conviction that if he sincerely emphasized that fact, Garfiel would accept it.
Garfiel doesn’t seem to be the type who could handle complicated concepts very well, so Subaru figured he would just have to present him with something he wouldn’t need to think too hard about.
[Subaru: And if Otto’s right, then we’ve got Ram on our side. Worst case, as long as he’s not cornered, he shouldn’t lay his hands on her……]
If there was anything to worry about, it’s that Ram would provoke Garfiel more than necessary.
The two have known each other for a long time, and they share a past of which Subaru knew nothing about. If something fractures between them because of that shared past, it could lead to unimaginable consequences.
But the reason Ram had agreed to help them was so that Roswaal would keep living in a world that had diverged from his Gospel, and she would tirelessly work to forge that path. Or at least, that was how Subaru interpreted it, and he figured she needed his and Otto’s help to achieve it.
Even if she wasn’t impressed by Otto’s sales-pitch, she’d surely go along with it.
[Subaru: I believe in you, Big Sister-sama! No matter how useless Otto is, please work with him!]
Clapping his palms together, Subaru prayed his utmost for their safety.
Unaware that the two had gone off and made a decision to skirt the boundaries of life and death, Subaru concluded his prayer, and,
[Subaru: Well then, time for me to do my part]
Tugging his own cheeks to psych himself up, Subaru gave his head a shake and resumed his stride.
The moment his foot stepped inside the gaping entrance, the unpleasant feeling of free-falling through the air―― and of his guts floating upwards assaulted him.
Holding his hand to his mouth, Subaru forced back the surging nausea as he pressed onward.
That unshakable floating sensation made every step he took feel like the phantom step at the end of a staircase. His organs churned as his blood seemed to flow backwards, and it was as if the air was slathering its tongue around his eyeballs.
Savoring the sense of rejection as if the entire world was refusing Natsuki Subaru, he drew deep breath after deep breath, his face pale, pressing his hands to the wall as he dragged his feet forward.
[Subaru: Don’t… be so cold…… I’ll… feel hurt, you know……]
Having anticipated this, Subaru had emptied his stomach beforehand. Nevertheless, this gut-wrenching nausea caused stomach acid to surge to his mouth.
Subaru pushed the feeling down and forced his eyes to open as he desperately crept step after step through the darkness.
[Subaru: Ah, thank goodness. ――I’ve finally found you]
Having made his way to the end of the short distance that felt like an eternity, Subaru’s shoulders slumped in relief.
In front of him, leaning against the ancient wall of the dusty corridor, the girl sitting there hugging her knees looked up at him with an astonished expression.
[???: su… baru?]
Though her voice was faltering, the fact that she called his name filled him with satisfaction.
Then, Subaru bent down beside the girl on the ground, and――
[Subaru: Say―― let’s talk, Emilia-tan]
Using the same icebreaker from back then when he couldn’t bear to face his mistakes, this time, it was Subaru who spoke the words.
-=Chapter 109 End=-
I met a girl. She’s really smart. I think I’m in love…
I’m starting on the next one now, please let me know if you spot any typos! ❤
Hey guys, I thought I should give a status update…
I got a date with a really cute girl >_<!!! (It’s the one I mentioned above)
But more importantly, I’m still working hard on Chapter 110. It is almost twice as long as an average chapter and
I’m splitting it in two parts, so it’ll take a couple of days more. I don’t want to release it until I’m satisfied with it, so thank you guys for being patient ❤
***Feb.12th: I’ll release the whole chapter tonight once I’m completely satisfied with it. I’ll take another nap first so I’m not hallucinating words everywhere. I’ve been sick with the flu for over a week and this chapter was literally killing me. If it’d been any other chapter I should have released it in parts, but this is one of the most important chapters of this arc and I don’t want to compromise it.***