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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
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Translated by :
- Ice_Occultism, /u/Ice_Occultism
- Jaerek, /u/Jaerek
- Furuta, /u/GracedHarperd
- Ringo, /u/Ringo_17
Fan Art Created by :
PDF Link + Disclaimers:
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Repeatedly, over and over, a scorching heat fills his very being.
His skull, his limbs, his torso, his organs, his flesh and blood. Every single thing in his body is crushed, smashed, twisted and broken. His mind is set alight by the anguish, it’s as if every single one of his nerve-endings were being plucked right now, his soul is on fire, burning away. The screams he let out were racked with fever and delirium.
Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain pain pain pain pain pain pain painpainpainpainpainpainpainpain. He is in pain.
There was only pain. There’s just pain. The world around him was filled with pain. Even just thinking this causes more pain to cloud over him.
His thoughts, his very existence are painted with pain. Anxiety, confusion, nervousness, sorrow, anger, despair, all of these emotions are meaningless in front of pain.
They are meaningless, yes, they are meaningless.
Thoughts, actions, pondering, opinions, hopes, memories – they are all equally meaningless. Those very things are worthless, broken, crushed and lost in the end.
Only the endless pain inscribed within his soul makes him aware of his existence. Then suddenly, the never ending pain… starts to fade…
He wakes up screaming. It wasn’t too long ago that his screams had been drowned by the blood in his crushed throat.
[Subaru: AAAAAAAAAAAAH!! AHHHHHHHHH!!]
Whilst shouting, he tries to protect his body from being crushed using his arms and legs. His arms should be broken, completely unusable – he moves his legs. Although his legs move, he loses his balance as his body is still overwhelmed by the sensation of weightlessness and he falls and hits the floor.
He tries to speak, yet nothing resembling speech came out. He rolls onto the floor. The feeling of the floor was strange; he felt a sensation which was like that one of a rope against his body. He opens his throat, which was screaming for oxygen, and immediately feels a pungent pain strike it, resulting in a coughing fit. Unable to bear it, he vomits. His stomach had been mostly empty. Foul smelling watery chunks of vomit are spewed out of his acrid mouth onto the floor.
[Subaru: Blurgh, Bgh! Gh, ghrgh! Gbruuuugh!]
Coughing violently, and spitting out a bit of bile, tears and snot cake his crumpled face. Cowering and covering his face, he places his forehead against the floor and started to rock backwards and forwards. Repeating this motion, he finally notices it.
… That overwhelming pain which he had suffered as his body had been crushed had vanished.
[Subaru: … ah?]
He had been surprised by how suddenly his pain had vanished, that he hadn’t until now realised that someone was gently patting his back.
[???: Is everything better now?]
Reflected in his tear-encrusted eyes he could see the person who had been patting his back. Even with his blurry vision, the image of the girl was quite vivid; she had beautiful silver hair and amethyst eyes – on her face was an expression of worry whilst she patted his back. She started to talk:
He twisted his body and shook off the white hand that had been touching his back. As he did so, a trace of surprise flitted across the girl’s eyes who had until then been patting him. But the one here whose soul had been more seriously damaged was him.
His back. She had been touching his back.
Even now, even before, someone had touched his back, and after that… agony…
He jumped back, in an attempt to escape her – he felt the hair on his back standing on end. However, his legs crumpled beneath him and he fell flat on his backside. As he fell, his blow was softened by a rough, black presence underneath him.
Looking down, he sees the eyes of the reptilian creature staring back at him and he reacts in fright. Looking at its sharp, long fangs that lined up its mouth, he suddenly realizes that they could easily be used as a weapon to crush him.
Again, he screams. He tries to escape forward this time. In front of his eyes now, he could see someone’s leg; he doesn’t dare to look up and instead rolls away sideways from her small shadow.
With a high-pitched shrill, her chiming voice frantically cries out something, but the meaning does not reach him as he covers his ears up. Immediately, he headed towards the gap which lay in between the foliage of the room. With his legs shaking, he leapt out of the room. Stepping into the stone passageway and without stopping his body crashes into the stone wall. Despite this, he continues to run. His sight was dyed red, in his mind he heard an echo of his bones breaking.
His bumped right arm moves as normal. He pounds at the wall to check whether it really does move as normal. He feels pain again. He screams again. Steadying himself against the wall, he broke out into a tottering run.
[Subaru: Ha… hff… *puff*… *pant*]
He was out of breath, drooling from his mouth, with sweat dripping from his forehead – he continued running down the passageway as fast as he could. Behind, he felt as if someone was following him, and many times he resisted the urge to look behind him. If he had looked back, and decided that someone was following him, it would have been too much to bear the thought that his heart was about to burst.
He feels as if his heart is about to rupture, as if the blood within his body was rotting, and as if his body was about to shatter from its feet, like a glass sculpture. Whether it’s a premonition or the truth, there is one thing that is clear – the absolute, unwavering fact that if this went on, he would die.
People are born to be ruined. Every second you grow older, every second you head towards eventual death, every second you fall towards the end. Though, he isn’t applying this metaphorical meaning of “Death” to himself right now. “Death” was approaching him with a steady gait. Indiscriminately, he would be cornered against a wall and laughed at as he struggled to escape from here.
He ran, he ran away. He ran away anyway. “Death” was following him. He would be killed. He would be killed. In this way, he would be killed. Although he had already been killed, he was going to be killed again. Or, given such sheer agony, could it be possible to not die from it? Was that a mystery of life? That’s rather sickening. The mysterious and beautiful way of saying it was disproportionate. It was a sickening and ugly obsession. 1
Rather, shouldn’t he be dead…?
The beating of his heart felt like an explosion that shook his eardrums; his sight was flickering on and off. Even how he breathed resembled how a baby would take its first breaths. It was completely absurd how he looked like when escaping from his fear of death. Yet, as comical as it is, there is no laughter. Everything to him was something that would cause him fear.
[*All around him*: ………………………]
He was losing track of where he was running through, all of the stone passageways he had been going through looked the same to him. If there was one thing he understood, it was that he should not go back from where he came from. Though, if he continued to escape in this directionless fashion he would gradually lose his way. If he lost his way, someone would catch him. If someone were to catch him, he would lose his life. Why, why his life? Such a question now was useless.
He had no time to wonder whether to go towards the left or towards the right. Whilst escaping from “Death” which may catch up even at this very moment, he places his right hand on the wall as he frantically pants for air, completely out of breath.
It felt like he was drowning. It’s as if he was struggling to break above the water’s surface even though here on the ground there is no water anywhere.
Drowning, drowning, struggling as he drowns, heading towards the water’s surface, kicking and struggling, kicking and struggling, kicking and struggling, floundering, floundering, floundering, sooner or later –
[???: YOU, the hell you doin’ here so early in the morning, OY!]
He felt his feet stop as he sensed a monstrously huge presence right in front of his eyes… No, his feet weren’t the only thing that had stopped.
His breathing had stopped, his noisy heartbeat had stopped, and his knees which had been trembling with fear and fatigue had stopped. It felt like all of his vital signs had stopped. He felt as if his whole body had been grasped by the scruff of his neck.
–– Before his eyes there stood a giant-like being, as if it was an illusion. But after a few seconds, he slowly began to understand, that even though he was tall there was no chance that the person upon the stage had the constitution that would allow him to jump over someone. At the same time, it was also a fact that this living, human being had such a ghastly, fierce expression on his face.
[???: Yer alone? Yer just a lone small fry that’s not even worth talking to. Small fry! Yer not even a person, but a critter? A critter that’s not even worth considering. Go fetch those people ya were with yesterday, and that sexy girl. Are you listening, hey! You, OY, YOU.] 2
The figure that was standing still in front of him was rambling on. He showed the signs of being an extremely violent person, and his manner of speaking felt really vulgar, as if each word was being beaten into him.
His breathing which had stopped before, as well as his silenced heartbeat and his trembling knees suddenly started up again.
–– He had entered inside of the ferocious beast’s cage, the very place where he mustn’t tread.
He desperately wanted to run away. He had ran along the stone corridors and tried to keep away from any places he had found familiar. He had followed a stairway which he had found within a strange room which had led him upstairs. Maybe he had been told about the staircase yesterday, or was it something like yesterday, maybe some few hours ago? It was all but lost to oblivion.
He went up the long, long, long, long, incredibly long stairway, short of breath, up he went, and then… Then, when he reached the end he had found himself being glared at by a most terrible beast.
[???: Are ya even listening to me?]
Suddenly, his breath was knocked out of him and just before his eyes he noticed he was looking right at the other person’s face. He had long, red hair, with a black eye patch covering his left eye. He wore a kimono that exposed one of his shoulders and part of his chest. White linen cloths were wrapped around his exposed chest. Just underneath his nose, this man was jabbing at him a thin, wooden stick. Though the tip of it wasn’t at all sharp, he still thinks what is thrusted before him was “Death” too. 3
[???: Hey, don’t ya fucking ignore me.]
[Subaru: Wha, ah, eh?]
Without hesitating, he had obeyed his instincts and had tried to escape him. But the moment he had tried to run back out of the room, he had crashed straight into the man’s chest. The man had then pushed him down using his wooden stick. The back of his head bumped against the floor, bright flashes flew around his vision. Tears of pain started to flow out of his eyes. The pain of bumping against the floor, the pain of his head banging against the floor… it reminded him of the crushing pain he had felt when he had crashed down the stairs.
[Subaru: aa, aaa, aaaaaaaaah…]
[???: OYOY, c’mon are ya crying? Why’d ya start crying? Did you fight with yer boyfriend downstairs? Are ya crying because I defeated you?]
[???: Good grief, I can’t stand this bastard, OY!]
Whilst lying flat on his back, tears had started to pour out of his eyes as he slowly relived the horror he had experienced. Looking at this spectacle, the long haired man roughly scratched his head. He crouched down beside his head, and,
[???: C’mon, tell me what happened. I want you to listen to me, to what I ask you.]
[Subaru: … uh, ah?]
[???: You ran all the way to this place. Ya really fucked yourself over.]
He spoke those words with a sigh. The meaning of them was incomprehensible to him, and he simply reacts by blinking rapidly. Just then, for a moment, he’d thought that this being of unparalleled atrocity had shown a trace of emotion. In his vision blurred by tears, the face of the man looking down in his direction gradually became clearer―
[???: No matter what ya say, yer a fool!]
[Subaru: Gh- gha- aaaaAAAAAA!?]
–– With a cruel appearance, reminiscent of a bloodthirsty shark, the man had shoved the wooden stick right into his chest. He had slid in between his ribs the pointed end of the stick. He poked around and tickled the delicate internal organs behind his bones as if he was making sport of it. Sheer agony pierced his entire body, making him feel like wanting to vomit up blood.
[???: What!? Ya were running away! Even worse, what were ya tryna do, fucking running away from me. Do you want to fucking die?]
[Subaru: Gh… Gah… Aaagh… Gghhhgya]
[???: Isn’t this the sort of relationship where we get along by talking to each other? If it ends up culminating into this, I absolutely won’t discriminate against people who treat me like that in this place. I honestly feel like killing you. I’m not messing about here. So…,] 4
With evident irritation and hostility, the degree of his anger increases with every word he says. The hands of the man that was fiddling with his organs had a certain delicateness to them, and boasted exceptional precision. He had been taught the importance and value of his organs with sharp, unbearable pain.
Even if the man had been someone who was on edge and had the tendency to let his emotions get the best of him, or if his arms had been something other than precise and gentle, his guts would’ve exploded a long time ago.
It was a terrible skill that he had. He had been blessed with the violence and the power to oppress this overwhelming talent. With that skill combined, he had performed this act of barbarity.
[???: Beat it small fry.]
The poking sensation in his guts faded away, and was quickly followed by the man’s foot violently kicking his side. Rather than having kicked him with the side of his foot, he had punted him like as if he was a football. His body spins and tumbles around mid-air, and emerges out of the large room he had been in. However, what was welcoming him as he was flying out of the room was…
[Subaru: NO WAAAAAaaaay……]
He was tumbling down the stairs. Having immediately realized what was happening, he instinctively dug his nails into the floor. With a terrible screeching noise, the nails of his right hand, belonging to his middle and ring fingers were torn off their root. The nerves behind them became exposed and red blood wet the floor, but somehow he managed to stop himself from falling down.
[Subaru: GH, GHHHHH…..!]
Immediately following the brief moment of relief, as he somehow escaped the fall, he was assaulted by a sensation of scorching heat at the base of his nails. If he looked at the hand with the sharp pain, he’d see his fingernails torn off like the open lid of a box; the nail on his little finger was also coming loose as well. Seeing this pain spurs his brain into overdrive.
[Subaru: It hurts… it hurts, it hurts, it hurts…]
Grasping his left hand with his right one, whose nails had been torn off, he applied pressure to ease the pain, even if a little. Coming in drops, the blood flowing from his wounds flow down his wrists, and leave behind a trail of blood on the stairs. He picks himself up from the floor.
There is no courage in him to look back behind him anymore. There was no sign that anyone else was aware that this ferocious beast, existed in this place. If he were to take a glance, now for sure there was no mistaking that he hadn’t fell down the stairs this time. He had stopped himself from experiencing the worst situation, but had now settled into the second worst case. So, what was he going do to do now?
He wonders how he had found himself in this place. He thinks back to how he had walked here, how he had forgotten to escape, how the sound of his heartbeat was swallowed by fear and paralysis. It was a complete mystery how he had survived.
Though he should have been smashed up, he was here. Though he should have been engulfed by scorching heat and vanished, he was still here.
It would have been nice if everything had been a dream or an illusion or the likes of that.
[Subaru: Precognitive… dreams…]
He had assumed that was what he had been experiencing. The spectacle he had seen, the people that he had talked to, the conversations that had proceeded exactly as he remembered them, the events that should have occurred… because they had seen them with his very own eyes. He is trying to think of a theory to why this had happened. He had originally thought up the precognitive dreams theory up without as much of a second thought.
He hadn’t known that the way he would be rewarded for such impudence and shallow thinking would have been experiencing such intense pain.
Noticing that he had crouched down on the spot, he can see drops of blood dripping down from him and soaking the stone staircase beneath him with a hue of red.
A feeling of wasted effort, a feeling of loss, a feeling of dismay… generally speaking, a lot of negative thoughts were spinning around his head. Even if he investigated the conclusions which were spinning around in his head, he would find that they would all result in the same thought – He doesn’t know why he had experienced such things.
Just a few hours ago, he was comfortably living his boring daily life. There was no danger there, at the worst, he was worrying about his future. There was no one around threatening him, there were no real swords used to fight each other.
–– He had just been in a place where he at most he only needed to face his mother and father’s gaze.
He wonders what had gone wrong. He had continued to be an inconvenience to his mother and father. He had continued to disappoint them. He hadn’t been a good son. And thus, he had tasted the pain of death. Nevertheless he had been driven to a situation now in which he hadn’t died. The nails which had been peeled off were hurting him, he had been tortured by a strange man, he had been left all alone on this stairway… was he crying?
In retrospect, if he had thought about it…
[Subaru: … I should have at least said “See you later.”]
It had been a life full of regret. Everything had gone wrong, resulting in only failure. If he thought back on it, the things he wanted to redo had once seemed impossible to have been done with his own hands and feet. For the first time it had occurred to him that…
—When I left home, I heard mom’s voice saying “Take care” and I didn’t reply to it. Why?
—I didn’t wash the cups left in the kitchen sink.
[Subaru: Gh, ff…]
I didn’t wash the cups. I didn’t care to wash the brown stains that were stuck to them after drinking that hot cocoa. If I’d responded to mom’s voice, if I’d started a conversation with her, I might’ve been told to wash those cups.
I ignored my mom’s words because I didn’t want to wash the cups. I didn’t say anything. I left the house without saying anything and went to the convenience store and spent money that I did not earn. Then I noticed that I had ended up here.
I didn’t say anything to mom or dad, I didn’t wash the cups, and then I ended up here.
Without washing the cups, without even saying a word to my kind-hearted mother, I may die in this place. I will die, having always caused trouble, without giving anything back, without even washing some cups.
Die, I’ll die. I will die. I will most definitely die. If I fall from that height, there’ll be no saving me. I will definitely die.
[Subaru: …I’ll, die.]
I’ll die. Everything that lives eventually dies, and I am going to die here. Alone in this place. Without my mother or father, surrounded by complete strangers, I’ll end up becoming a filthy, bloody lump and die.
[Subaru: I’ll die. I’ll die. I’ll… die. Die, die, die…]
He muttered this. As he muttered so, with wonder, he saw something appearing in the distance. It was just a temporary peace of mind. He was distracted. When you say something, nothing will dramatically change.
“Death” will not change. His fate had caught up with him here, he would stand firm and face it. Just now, it appeared to be taking the shape of a person. A dark shadow rose up, laughing at him as if it were mocking him. That face, which was stuck to the dark shadow was a face which seemed familiar. Whose face was it that he recognised in this place? Thinking this, he notices…
“Death” was right up against his face, laughing as it pointed and shook its finger at him.
[Subaru: Don’t laugh.]
He glared at the shadow, and said this with a dark hatred. The shadow continued to smile. It hadn’t stopped pointing its finger at him.
[Subaru: Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh at me! Don’t laugh at me, hey…!]
Standing up and grinding his teeth he approaches the shadow that was standing against the wall. The shadow still continued to smile. It still hadn’t stopped pointing its finger at him.
[Subaru: Quit laughing. I will die. But not to you. You will not kill me.]
The facial expression of the embodiment of “Death” changed for the first time. He had done his own thing and hadn’t acted compliantly to it and now it seemed to have gotten angry. It seemed like this was the shadow’s weak point, it is here that he will launch an incessant onslaught against it.
[Subaru: I will not be killed by you. I will die. It’s certain that I will die! I will die! I’m dead! I’m already dead! I died and came back here, but I–] 5
––won’t be killed by you.
In that moment he had tried to clearly speak those words out loud.
His lips had stopped moving to his will. The next thing he noticed was that his eyes which had been glaring at the shadow seemed frozen, and the sensation of being completely separated from his body. Why, even his ability to question it had been sealed, he had simply just succumbed to this sudden transformation in his body.
He can’t move. His body… No, it isn’t his body that had stopped moving. It was the world around him. The black shadow that had stood in front of him had also stopped moving, its distorted expression of anger remained frozen on its face.
In this world where he couldn’t move, there was only one thing that moved. And that was –
[???: – I love you.]
– It perhaps looked like a woman shrouded by black darkness.
Darkness, it was a woman with slender limbs whose whole body was entirely dyed in black. He doesn’t know whether this woman’s figure was made of darkness itself or whether it was a woman that was dressed in black. He wasn’t certain which one it was – it didn’t seem to make any sense to choose one. In any case, it was a woman shrouded in black darkness. It was as if she was wearing a black wedding dress, with a black veil that made it impossible to see both into it and out from it. This black veil completely concealed her face.
[???: – I love you.]
However, the words which emerged from the lips of the woman who was shrouded in darkness contained an unimaginably strong emotion. If you were to concentrate every single one of your emotions into one single phrase, you would have inevitably spoken words of such effect exactly as she had done.
In those words there was quality, there was quantity, there was the sensation of time passed, there was weight, there was worth, and that was just the general concept. He doesn’t know approximately how many people have uttered “I love you” in the world – but if you were to take all of those “I love you’s” and put them together then it would surely be akin to this woman’s “I love you”.
And slowly, the woman who had been gently whispering her words of love moved her black arm towards his chest. Slender fingers pass through his chest, his skin, his flesh, right through his bones and caress his beating heart.
Several minutes, dozens of minutes, he doesn’t know how much time had passed. His heart had been made aware of her presence ever since she had awakened it – but, in that moment he hadn’t ever thought that he found her presence annoying. Because –
[???: – I love you.]
She had caressed his heart with the same passion that was found in her whispers. But suddenly, a great shock passed through him, his body, fearing pain, was completely succumbed by it. His body being crushed by his fall, his soul burning and being scorched out of existence, even the pain of his guilty heart when he had thought back to his mother – all of those pains seemed insignificant compared to this pain.
He wants her to let him scream. If he could shout himself hoarse, he could alleviate the pain a little. Rather than be faced only with pain, he was able to escape some of the pain by thinking of things other than the pain he was in. Now he can’t do that. He can only face his pain.
[???: – I love you.]
Her love will not let go of his heart. It’s like as if she had an everlasting desire to not allow him to turn his attention to things other than herself.
–– It was as if she was envious of everything around him. [Subaru: – Hhhhk]
He had been suddenly set free.
Gasping, he collapses on the spot. With tears overflowing from his eyes, he couldn’t keep hold of his continence. He feels a warm, wet feeling around his crotch, and urine starts to drip down the stairway. The dark shadow that had stopped, continued to point at the shameful sight in front of it, and was laughing loudly.
As he watched the figure that was laughing he realizes that he had been deceived. Since he had displayed behaviour which had indicated weakness, he had been deceived into stepping on the tiger’s tail that shouldn’t be stepped on.
He couldn’t continue his words. He was holding his head, completely at his wits end. Blood was still flowing from his wounds where his fingernails had been ripped off. Even his tears and the urine that was dripping from him seemed like punishment for his weakness and stupidity.
–– Just kill me.
He voices this out inside his head. As for when he had been killed, was he really “killed”?
He hears the sounds of footsteps going up the stairs, and the sounds of anxious voices running up to where he was. He continues to cry like a foolish child, smeared in his own filth and disappointment.
The ruins of Natsuki Subaru kept on crying. 6
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-  Very tough to translate, in his delirium he probably thinks Emilia is “Death” incarnate following him and he’s terrified if she catches up she will kill him. Then he starts to spout “philosophy” about dying, I probably botched parts of this up
-  This is the first time I see a Reid dialogue translated, he is quite vulgar (or at least he thinks himself above everyone, constantly referring to people via the vulgar ) He frequently says this at the end of his sentences, which for now I haven’t adapted verbatim because it sounded a little weird in English. In my head he almost sounds a bit like a Yakuza villain or even like Kenny Ackermann with the way he keeps saying OY. If anyone has a better stylistic suggestion let me know.
-  Tappei doesn’t use the kanji for chopsticks like he did in Ch. 29, hence why I am using the literal translation. I don’t think Subaru realised he was holding a chopstick.
-  Probably have a fair amount of mistakes in the Reid dialogues, if anyone wants to help improve them, let me know. Had to unfortunately skip a tiny bit which I had no clue on.
-  Wow! So, the author makes it very unclear who this shadow who Subaru views as “Death” is, I think intentionally. It could be Satella, but it could also be Emilia who he referred to as “Death” earlier. It could even be a hallucination or something else altogether. Just a note that he activated his taboo to a similar extent that he did in Anime Episode 24 where he said: “I can return by death to –” Though, don’t take my thoughts or the translation as the gospel!
-  Editor opinion: About the shadow, my personal thoughts are either it was Satella (I don’t know, I actually doubt it, but it could be and then she froze time), it was Emilia (then she ran off to get the others without Subaru even paying attention cause in his mind she’s just a shadow) or it was just a hallucination… or thanks to /u/Jaerek his theory-craft was that it could be that “Natsuki Subaru”. I like that theory a lot, but that doesn’t mean it’s true of course!
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