Arc 6 – Chapter 43, “The Tower of the Living”

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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

JAPANESE WEB NOVEL SOURCE.

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Translated by :

  • Ice_Occultism, /u/Ice_Occultism

Proofread by:

  • Furuta, /u/GracedHarperd
  • Wintry, /u/WintryOne
  • Azeem, /u/Azeem_45

Fan Art Created by :

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――Think

Think, think, think, think, think, think, he must think.

Natsuki Subaru kept thinking as he wrapped his arms around her whole body, which was lined by hard, rough scales. The things that had happened in his own body, the ridiculous events inside the tower, the people who were attempting to kill him, the people who were attempting to kill ones other than himself, distinguishing between friends and foe, and――.

[Beatrice: Subaru, is that enough, in fact? Have you calmed down, I suppose?]

[Subaru: ――――]

Subaru turned his head slowly towards the voice he had heard from behind him, which had interrupted his thoughts. Beatrice, the one who had called out to him, was sitting upon the ivy bed. The girl, who seemed to be making a pouty face was dangling her feet. Her hand was connected with Emilia’s who sat beside her. She was glaring at Subaru. ――Seeing that look, Subaru’s face stiffened a little.

[Emilia: Heeey, Beatrice. Don’t speak like that. I guess Subaru felt surprised when he woke up. I think it’s inevitable that he’d go hug Patrasche.]

However, Emilia smiled as she denied Subaru’s misguided thoughts. Hearing her point this out, Beatrice proceeded to suddenly turn away from Subaru and Emilia.

[Beatrice: It doesn’t mean I am angry, in fact. It’s not just to do with your sudden awakening, I suppose. Betty and Emilia were also worried for Subaru; the Earth Dragon isn’t the only one that worries about you, in fact.]

[Emilia: Hehe, yeah, I was really worried about you.]

Stroking Beatrice’s head with her still facing away from them, Emilia looked at Subaru and raised her eyebrows. Subaru held his breath as he looked into Emilia’s amethyst eyes. His chest gave a sharp pang to the deep, deep affection in her look.

He was reminded. They were hoping in “Natsuki Subaru”, the one that was here. He would feel uneasy were he not able to shoulder that burden. But, However…,

[Subaru: ――Errr, I am sorry to worry you all. I’m sorry, I heavily apologise. It is not like me to hug a girl that is half-asleep and this even, is a thing to hide my embarrassment.]

Relaxing his stiffened face, Subaru replied, whilst easing his face into a smile. To that answer, Beatrice and Emilia exchanged looks, and,

[Emilia: But… Patrasche is a girl as well you know?]

[Subaru: Eeeh!? Hey, wait, Patrasche is quite the special entry, or rather, the sort of target which we are bonded by different sorts of bonds, or rather, the top seed in an unconditional second round entry.]

[Beatrice: Hmph, that is unpardonable, I suppose. I don’t get why you’re only giving special treatment to that earth dragon. I would like an explanation, I suppose.]

[Subaru: Hey, don’t try to stand in the same ring as her! That Earth Dragon…]

Subaru returned his answer whilst looking carefully at Beatrice and Emilia’s reaction, as Beatrice’s face was growing ever more in displeasure. Receiving his answer, it seemed that the two of them did not feel like anything was out of place. Feeling relieved about that, Subaru turned his head to look towards the lizard―― No, Patrasche, he had been stroking.

[Subaru: Truly, only you are a special one, Patrasche.]

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[Emilia: So, Subaru, are you really feeling okay?]

[Subaru: Ah, yes, yes, I am okay, I am okay, no problemo at all. I’m sorry for worrying you all. I think perhaps the exhaustion got to me, and as things are rather the case with that, I must have accidentally fallen asleep.]

[Emilia: Yeah… but you’ll tell us if you are tired, right? Because, you can take it easy.]

Emilia brought this reminder to Subaru who had answered in tune whilst rotating his arms. Subaru answered back to those words with a lackadaisical “OKAY, Captain!” whilst immersing himself in full thought.

Subaru led Beatrice and Emilia now, and kept walking through the fourth floor of the tower. They were going to the fourth floor hall, their purpose was to dine―― In brief, the three of them were walking with their bodies not holding any urgent issues.

This time Subaru was determined to take a different approach from last time. That is… he would not confide to Emilia and the others about his amnesia.

[――――]

In other words, the situation would require Subaru to act as if he were impersonating another. Wetting his parched lips with his tongue as his strain exacerbated, Subaru had kept observing how things were around Emilia and the others.

Subaru had still not figured out what kind of character the “Natsuki Subaru” for the others was. It should be impossible to do something like tracing a stranger in such circumstances, but by all rights it should be a different story to “Impersonate Himself” in conditions that would otherwise not be established.

No matter where he went, “Natsuki Subaru” is simply just Natsuki Subaru.

Even if he had spent a year in this parallel world, Subaru knew that the fundamentals of human nature would remain unchanged in himself. Then, if he just paid heed to the relationship afterwards, then he should be able to trace the same sort of character to a good enough extent. And then, whilst tracing “Natsuki Subaru”, he would see what would happen now.

What happened in this tower? Who would kill him? And who was killed by who.

For now, Subaru would verify the likelihood of  the trigger that drove him to his own “death” by hiding his amnesia. In other words, would his opponent kill him because of his amnesia, or did it have nothing to do with that? Be that as it may, in all honesty, he didn’t have much expectations. Subaru’s lost memories―― it’s hard to imagine the situation with our without some troubles cropping up. However, of course there are exceptions.

[Subaru: The case in which the criminal would be a guy who would be troubled if my memories were to come back.]

Subaru remembered seeing it in a movie before. Eyewitnesses who had witnessed the murder scene lost their memory due to some sort of shock. The criminal who could observe the scene would be in trouble if their memories were to return. That’s why in the movie the criminal tried to kill the witnesses as well. It can definitely be thought that a similar situation was occurring to Subaru currently. Foremost, the circumstances in which Subaru had lost his memories were unclear――,

[Subaru: Emilia, did you find me collapsed in the third floor the library?]

[Emilia: Yeah, that’s right. You were on the floor of the library… Beatrice and I carried you to the Green Room in a great hurry.]

[Beatrice: Well, since it was Emilia that carried you, Betty was just there to help out behind her, in fact.]

Subaru gazed at Emilia’s slender arms as he received Beatrice’s supplementary explanation, laced with a sigh. If he were to settle down and think properly about it, it was a mystery to Subaru how these two people had carried him all the way back from the library to the Green Room. Beatrice didn’t give a single fragment of indication that she was suited to do any heavy lifting, and from what he had been told at face value, he was also wondering how this Emilia that believed in a fake had carried Subaru so easily.

[Emilia: What’s wrong?]

[Subaru: Eerrrr, nothing. Well, in any case, you were a great help. I’ve said it many times, but sorry to have troubled you.]

[Emilia: Not sorry, A thank you would be nicer.]

Bowing his head in apology, Emilia placed her palm on Subaru’s forehead as he tried to lower it. Subaru’s eyes widened at the touch of Emilia’s smooth fingers, hastily muttering out an: “I guess you’re right”.

As Subaru had thought so far, the feeling of distance between him and Emilia was a little too strong; therefore, he did not hesitate and let her touch him. Come to think of it, when Subaru had woken up, he had also placed his hands around her neck. Nevertheless, she was looking at Subaru with a peaceful expression.

[Subaru: No matter what kind of livelihood, I will always feel a great sense of distance with this girl…]

Or perhaps, Emilia, contrary to her awfully well-prepared appearance, was just all too used to strangeness? Surely, she is gentle to everyone as well, and probably she didn’t feel any barriers between anyone as a result of brought up and loved.

She was likely a girl who had been sheltered as a child, unaffected by any significant hardship–– If someone isn’t burdened with even one regret, then they can believe in only the virtue of others, and keep your eyes all the time prim and beautiful. ――Or… was even that all just an act?

[――――]

Whilst looking at Emilia and Beatrice side by side, Subaru was deeply immersed within his thoughts. Simply, when he deconstructed it down to the bare-bones, when it came to Subaru’s last moments and tragedy in the tower within the last loop, the suspects most worth keeping an eye on were Emilia and Beatrice.

Subaru had seen the corpses of Shaula, Echidna, Ram, Julius and Meili. He had been saved by Patrasche and brought out of the lurching tower; however he had had his head lopped off by someone standing behind him, and lost his life. ――He had yet to see Beatrice or Emilia die.

Of course, even if the two of them had conspired together, then he didn’t know if the possibility of the killing of the five people still remained. Subaru’s diagnosis was that it was difficult. But, if for argument’s sake, another person existed―― if the number had increased to three, then the story probably changed.

[???: Next. Try and guess, hero.]

Subaru had no memory of the unknown voice which had spoken those words at the end. In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the swirl of confusion, in the midst of despairing of wanting the end to come already, he had heard this voice. That, a third person cooperating with Emilia and Beatrice―― could that be the identity of an unseen third person that carried Subaru from the library to the Green Room? That’s why these two were spouting out such codswallop――,

[Emilia: Uh, Subaru, you are going too far.]

[Subaru: Huh?]

Apparently, Subaru had walked past the room whilst he was immersed in his own thoughts. Emilia had stopped in front of the room and had placed her arm on Subaru’s shoulder to prevent him from walking too far. In an instant, Subaru felt a peculiarly uncomfortable, and he looked at Emilia’s arm which had grabbed his shoulder. And then, he took her hand and shook it.

[Beatrice: Subaru? What on earth are you doing, I suppose?]

[Subaru: Ah, just a little experiment… Emilia, won’t you do a contest of strength with me?]

[Emilia: Eeh, but I think we’d better have it stop from being dangerous…]

There had been no sense of resistance when he had shook her hand itself, and Emilia had shown a sense of denial to the contest of strength. Seeing this behaviour, Subaru became more convinced and strongly said: “I ask this of you.” If Emilia’s arm indeed did not have the strength to carry Subaru, then his deduction from before would give him a fairly strong guarantee. So now, Emilia should not think that she is suspected. He would need to make best use of this advantage, a chance like this only existed right now.

[Subaru: I ask this of you, because it’s of utmost necessity.]

[Emilia: … Since Subaru sounds quite serious, it must be quite the important thing, right?]

Receiving Subaru’s supplication, the worried Emilia pursed her lips, and gave a nod with a determined look. Seeing that, Subaru clenched his fist with all his heart, saying: “Ready”. If after, he proved her weakness, then Subaru’s deduction would progress far further.

[Beatrice: Well, do something different like an arm-pull match instead so that it doesn’t become dangerous, in fact. is that okay, I suppose?]

[Subaru: Ah, that’s OK!]

[Emilia: Okay, got it!]

In accordance to Beatrice’s instructions, Subaru and Emilia shook hands, and made some space between them. They took each other’s right arm, and then the two of them stared into each other’s eyes.

And then――,

[Beatrice: Ready, go, in fact!] (TL: Note, interesting note maybe? Beatrice says this using Engrish. Probably something she picked from Subaru.)

On Beatrice’s signal, Subaru pulled Emilia’s arm with all his might.

[Subaru : Ooooooh!!]

His grip strength could crush apples, his grip strength could keep swinging a Kendo sword even with no target, his grip strength could keep on doing push-ups. The strength of a man against that of a woman’s–– he poured all of this into this battle.

――Yet, Emilia’s arm did not move an inch.

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Subaru’s deduction in which he doubted Beatrice and Emilia was set back to square one.

However, Subaru had only confirmed that Emilia and the others had carried him without the help of a third party. It didn’t mean that the suspicions of the two girls had been cleared away. Subaru had still yet to have seen the two girls’ corpses. The tower’s mass killings―― that situation’s criminal being different was something that was still not decided.

[Subaru: After all, is it purely the guy who came out in the end the one who is the criminal?]

They had certainly killed Subaru. But was that guy a criminal insofar to have carried out everyone’s mass-murders by those hands? As well as the shadows which had engulfed the tower? All the ones killed were each killed in different ways.  What becomes of that explanation. The ways they had died in was easy to understand merely from glimpsing. Echidna had suffered damage from a single stroke from something sharp. Julius had had several wounds piled up on him. And hadn’t Meili died from blood-loss?

There was no doubt that everyone had died in different manners, fighting someone. That should be it, but.

[???: So what the hell was that prank about?]

A voice called out as if amazed to Subaru who was deep in thought. That voice was Ram’s, who was finishing preparing breakfast. As she set up the table with water and preserved food, she demanded an explanation on the contest of strength with Emilia―― Subaru’s experiment which he had carried out.

The contest of strength which had been for determining proof of Subaru’s deduction had its curtain closed by the shape of his defeat to Emilia. It was Ram joining up with them in front of the hall which had given an impetus for its end. When she saw Subaru’s struggles, red in face, she had put an end to things with a curt: “Are you stupid?”

[Emilia: I was asked by Subaru, I don’t quite understand why but I am sure it had some reaaaallly important meaning to it. Isn’t that right, Subaru?]

[Ram: Is that so? The reason given to Ram, all I could see was wanting to hold Emilia-sama’s hand.]

[Subaru: You’re overthinking it! If you want, next time do you want to do a contest of strength with me!?]

[Ram: Disgusting]

[Subaru: Why!?]

Ram spoke her awfully cruel impression of him to Emilia who had tried to stick up for him. If he tried to dispel it, in an instant his position would get considerably worse. An undoubtedly vicious cycle.

[Ram: Hah!]

Giving a scornful laugh, Ram diverted her attention back to setting the table. Seeing her retreating figure, Subaru was secretly relieved that it seemed as if his current behaviour was did not give off anything that would feel out of place. It seemed as if he hadn’t yet taken an attitude which separated him from the “Natsuki Subaru” known by the girls.This made him feel relieved, and also amazed. Doing this, he mustn’t tip his awareness towards a different bearing, not even by a little――

[Subaru: Urp-!]

In an instant Subaru bore the vomiting sensation that suddenly welled up in him. Subaru put his hand to his mouth. Its cause was Ram who was diligently working with her back turned towards them. ――The girl’s retreating figure caused him to keep blinking with the manner of death scorching his eyelids.

Ram had received a blow from behind, in which part of her stomach had been blown apart, killing her.  The shadow of her death were coated with regret and anger, distorting and cursing her pitiful facial expression. A lamentation was etched into her soul which would attempt to tear any who witnessed it from limb to limb.  The owner of that corpse moved right before his eyes, and certainly was alive.

In all honesty, from the moment he first came across her at the hall, he had been desperate to accept a contradiction between reality and that uncomfortable feeling. He felt more or less relieved that he could use the lapse of dizziness he had experienced as an excuse thanks to his exertions  in the contest of strength with Emilia just before.

But, he had overlooked Ram’s facial expression.

[――――]

Grinding his teeth together, Subaru directs his awareness into getting back strong self-control. From then on, all of the people related to the tower one by one filed into the hall. He mustn’t overlook each of their expressions. ――Because that in itself would be the key to breaking the situation.

[???: Wooooah, what a nice smeeell~! A meal fit for a king in this refreshing morning! IIIII sure know I’mm living for this~!]

The first one of them showed up in the hall whilst saying out this stuff noisily. A beautiful woman whose long black braided hair was swinging about, who was unabashedly exposing most of her huge breasts―― Shaula showed up in the hall still with her head definitely attacked to her body.

She was looking at the meal which had been prepared by Ram, but, then she noticed Subaru within the room, and she spoke:

[Shaula: Master! Good morning! Did you sleep well yesterday~?]

All of a sudden, her facial expression lit up, and she rushed over towards where he was with the vigour of say, a puppy. And then, grabbing Subaru’s arm, she tightly embraced his chest.

[Subaru: Uh……]

[Shaula: By the way, IIII slept incredibly well! After such a long time, I had dreams and such from the former days~. Meeee and Master, and mother, and then and theen]

[Subaru: Aah, I getcha… wait. I will give a good listen to the story about your dream sometime… But, did you happen to see me this morning?]

[Shaula: Eeeeh, again with the awfully weightless questions? How typical of Master!]

Disentangling himself somehow from her arms which had embraced him, Subaru inquired this as he escaped from Shaula. In response to that, Shaula gave a cheerful laugh.

[Shaula: SHOUJIKI (TL Note: Seems to be a reference to this), what Master sees is no big deal! Just like the olden days, to me you’re always the sexiest guy! It’s a marriage proposal awaited for 400 years!]

[Subaru: Talk about patience. ……Generally speaking for that joke it’d be good if it is nothing.]

[Shaula: ――? Is that so? If so, I dooon’t mind as well~]

Without a desired response, Subaru withdrew his doubts regarding Shaula whilst sensing some relief mingled with some traces of discouragement. And, as he did,  the next suspect, Meili showed up in the room.

[Meili: *Yaawn*…. Good morning. I’m feeling sleepy this morning to~o]

The girl who came through the entrance gave a sweet yawn, covering her mouth with her hand. Even so, she had taken great care to upkeep her personal appearance, and he certainly admired the little girl’s sense of beauty. Greatly different to Subaru who was just content in ruffling his hair up, and washing his face. In any case――

[Subaru: Good morning, Meili! You overslept this morning, huh?]

[Meili: When slowing down and thinking about it, I feel like I have no reason to get up at the same time as Onee-san and the others. This tower doesn’t really have anything to do with me.]

[Beatrice: A girl whose proposing such ill-natured things, in fact. In general, unless Betty and the others complete the trials so to leave the tower, then you can’t leave this tower either, I suppose.]

[Meili: Well, that is true… but…]

Having a bone to pick with her yawning excuses, Meili pursed her lips at Beatrice’s opinion. As she said that, she shifted her attention to Shaula and Subaru who were near the wall. She gave a wave, accompanied by a smile. Seeing that, Subaru raised his eyebrow, and then he returned the wave.

[Subaru: Am I overthinking it as usual in having doubting even as far as a dead child…?]

[Shaula: Master, when troubled, you return back to the basis. Staring with from how you jab.]

[Subaru: ….What is that teaching?]

[Shaula: It’s Master’s teachings.]

[Subaru: It’s no wonder I thought it was useless.]

Listening to this monologue, Subaru dodged Shaula’s frivolities as he shuddered in his heart. In any case, he couldn’t get a response he desired even from Meili. Then, the only things which remained were just two more people who could test to see whether this plan was at all fruitful――

[??? : ――Good morning.]

With that, the last two people missing entered the room together. Echidna and Julius. Echidna, who was wrapped in a white fox scarf walked into the hall with Julius beside her. They each in turn greet Emilia, Ram and the others, and exchange words of good morning. Meanwhile.

[――]

Julius who had been walking behind Echidna saw Subaru standing near the back of the room, and his face stiffened. He suddenly averted his eyes and drove Subaru out of his awareness.

[Subaru: ――You?]

Julius’ reaction was quite close to one Subaru was seeking. And, as no one other person had shown such a reaction, it was very likely that he had no choice but to say that it was him who had displayed the most blunt reaction.

[Subaru: Shaula…, I have a small favour to ask you.]

Subaru faintly muttered this. The remains of hatred as if boiled with the flames of anger that would not extinguish were there.

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――The breakfast at the hall started and ended with the meeting regarding the explanation that Echidna = Anastasia.

As he made his face into something like as if hearing it for the first time to the surprised reactions of Emilia and the others, Subaru was impressed with the way the world had went ahead like so when he hadn’t talked about his amnesia. So far, mistaking what is reality and not had been piling up, and Subaru almost can’t comprehend his own special characteristics which make him “Return by Death.” However, just the same as time leaps that are often in fiction, the problems which do not involve Subaru will proceed the same as usual. He understood that changes in the affected problems were born.

In other words, up until the last time he had been involved in the core of their discussions due to his “amnesia”. The reality in which the individual called Echidna lodging in the body of the young girl called Anastasia had by no means been delved deeply into during their talks.

Even this time around, there would be no such thing like finding the problem’s solution or something that would reveal new facts. The changes are considered to occur only in Subaru’s actions. If he wanted to dramatically advance the situation, Subaru would need to proactively do stuff.

Therefore――

[Subaru: ――Julius, I’d like to have a couple of words with you]

Breakfast ended, and as they all tried to file out of the hall, Subaru called out to Julius so that he’d stop.Julius stopped in his tracks at that call, turning his head to look at Subaru. Subaru craned his neck up to look at him when they were facing each other, as Julius was quite tall. However, if he were to lose to that intimidating presence, Subaru would stick his chest out all the more as he and Julius glared at each other. Perceiving his disposition, Julius spilled a weary sigh from his thin lips, and said,

[Julius: What is it? Shouldn’t you rest until noon, as Emilia-sama suggested?]

Julius’ words were something he had gotten from Emilia’s proposal back at breakfast. Apparently, it seemed that Emilia had been worried about unseen fatigue wearing everyone down, and had taken up the opinion that Subaru had been exhausted and had slept in the library because of it.

In fact, although this wasn’t in Subaru’s memories, this party had just managed to cross the desert a few days ago. Though Subaru had failed to cross the desert in just a few steps, it would have probably relatively difficult to fulfill that. This too could be said to be a change caused from Subaru’s speech. Even trivial words sometimes can derail that day’s schedule. He must take care in what he says and does.

With that in his chest, Subaru would confront Julius head-on. And, tucking his chin in response to his words, he said.

[Subaru: I want to talk about last night.]

The effect of these words was immediate.

[――――]

Receiving Subaru’s words, great emotions floated in his yellow eyes. Seeing the immediate effect his response had brought, Subaru deepened his belief in his own deduction.

[Subaru: Come. Let’s change location.]

[Julius: ――All right.]

Julius followed along with a look of resignation at Subaru’s invitation, which he gave whilst jerking his chin. Just like that, Subaru led Julius and brought him to a suitable place for conversation in a room on the fourth floor. Naturally, it was a secret talk in which others couldn’t be allowed to but in.

[Subaru: Well,  I wonder where shall I start from…]

Inside this cramped room, Subaru turned his head around, and confronted Julius. There was a slight feeling of tension, but he didn’t want to make a mistake such as revealing that. The thought that he should to some extent stand emotionally superior allowed him to show his boldness. On the other hand, the way Julius looked was complex, reading what lay in heart was difficult. But, it seemed to be something that mustn’t be a feeling of composure, that had persisted from the place of breakfast before.

[Subaru: First of all, about last night]

To start things off, Subaru abruptly cut to the main point in an introductory manner. Currently, he has the emotional upper hand, but his opponent has an overwhelming advantage with what he knows. In the first place, Subaru didn’t really know all too much about what had transpired the night before. Nevertheless, perhaps last night, Subaru and Julius must have done something in the library. As a result of that “Something”, Subaru thought that perhaps he had lost his memories because of that.

[Julius: About last… night]

Repeating Subaru’s words, Julius closed his eyes, which were bordered by long eyelashes. Subaru consciously kept breathing out deep, long breaths as he stood in front of the handsome man. He mustn’t be overwhelmed.  At least, it’s that his feeling was to not lose.

[Julius: When it comes to that talk, we said it was a thing that ended at that place. At least, that’s what I was thinking, but is it different for you?]

[Subaru: ――. Aaah, not quite.  I mustn’t have grasped it.]

Seeing Julius join in the talk, Subaru replied in turn. Julius’ voice was devoid of any intonation, and so to speak he was careful so that he didn’t reveal more emotions than necessary. Of course, when it came to Subaru receiving that, he chose the option of snapping at it.

[Julius: Grasped it…? I see, well, that sounds just like you. In short, you’re saying you want me to postpone the feelings I hold, and solve the issues of your own self, is that? Isn’t that… a little too selfish?]

[Subaru: That’s a little off, and that’s not what we’re talking about. I’m certainly not happy with it, but are you trying to look happy about it? We’re both walking around with anger in our hearts, and you’re saying I have to look like nothing’s wrong? You think I could do that?]

[Julius: …Well then, exactly what other option is there?]

Julius had been quietly keeping a check on his emotions. But, little by little, emotion started to flow out from his voice. Subaru could feel Julius staring at him, with a furious gaze, Subaru of course was still unaware of the details behind Julius’ outburst.

What choice did Subaru want to hear? What kind of choice had Julius taken regarding Subaru with him holding such fury? And when it came to Subaru, how did he let Julius choose that choice.

[Julius: My feelings are as I said last night, and I am not going to keep mentioning it, since I hadn’t even noticed  you and Anastasia-sama… and your connivery with Echidna.]

[Subaru: Me and my connivery with Echidna…?]

An unexpected fact had leapt out, and this time it was Subaru who had been caught unawares. By the information he had at the present, Subaru was supposed to be part of a group with Emilia at the top. Julius and Echidna―― in their situation, he had been in a master and servant sort of role with Anastasia who was the original owner of Echidna’s body. He also heard that they were in an opposing sort of relationship with the girls, if he looked at the big picture. But, he had said Subaru had been conniving with Echidna.

[Julius: I know you did not have bad intentions doing that. Even if it’s Echidna, I can’t say it’s enough, but we spoke. She can be trusted… No, there is no other way but to trust her.]

[Subaru: … ]

[Julius: I have nothing except for pursuing that possibility in order to save Anastasia-sama. …..Even if we get her back, and even if that lady doesn’t remember me.]

Julius uttered these words, an awfully lonely tone of voice tinging his expression.

Subaru had heard about his circumstances as well. Just like Ram’s sleeping younger sister, and many people from many different towns, Julius too was afflicted by this. He had been told that they had faced an awful experience similar to a curse in which they are forgotten by others. Even if Echidna returned control to the rightful owner of the body, it would be highly unlikely that Anastasia would remember her knight, Julius.

Even so――

[Julius: ――I haven’t changed what I’ve set out to do, I don’t know what on earth you want to drag out from me, but let me tell you just this beforehand.]

[Subaru: What is it?]

[Julius: For goodness sake, please do not make me miserable in front of you again.]

As soon as Subaru heard Julius’s feeble voice, no words escaped him.

[――――]

However, in the back of his chest, there was just a feeling of discomposure. Subaru kept silent.  Julius took a look at Subaru, loosening his lips so that he could let out a faint sigh,

[Julius: It seems apparent this will be a barren exchange from here.]

Saying that, Julius turned to face away from Subaru and was about to leave the room. Then, just before leaving the room, Julius stopped just once. And whilst still not turning his head, he said:

[Julius: Last night’s talk that was said left me quite shocked. ――What ought I do, if you were to speak an apology?]

[Subaru: If I were to apologise…?]

[Julius: Back then, I wonder how I would’ve replied back to you. Though even that is something I don’t know anymore.]

Julius left the room, leaving behind the echo of self-derision in that mutter. After making sure that he wasn’t in sight, Subaru let out a long sigh. He suddenly felt exhausted, as if a great stone had been placed on his back. He was sweating copiously. He felt like he had become a vehemently detestable person.

[Shaula: ――Master, was that okay with you?]

Shaula showed up and peered into the room. Subaru let out a “Hah” seeing her quite indifferent manner. And then, placing his hand to his forehead, he nodded his head with a: “It was okay.”

[Subaru: In that state he is in, perhaps Julius didn’t have anything to do with the library. …But the distrust in myself sure grew still a little bit stronger.]

[Shaula: I don’t really get it, but was I useful for you Master?]

[Subaru: ――. Aah, indeed. Thanks to you, I was able to face Julius, and get some peace of mind.]

[Shaula: Hehehehe, That’s good~ Then, then, then, Master, Master…]

Shaula was delighted, she was making her body squirm, and her cheeks were blushed in red. She was making her way towards Subaru. And then, she nervously stretched her hands out,

[Shaula: I want a really tight hug as a reward!]

[Subaru: No way!]

[Shaula: Eeeeeeh!?  How mean! Master, didn’t you say you’d listen to what I’d say if I didn’t deviate from the reward level!?]

[Subaru: That wish goes far beyond my pure, and innocent heart…]

Subaru bluntly rejected Shaula’s excessive hopes and dreams for close skin-to-skin contact. Nonetheless, it was true that Shaula had been lying in wait, giving him enough composure in his heart to confront Julius.

When he had called out to Julius, Subaru had kept Shaula in wait in the adjoining room as backup. The reason he had chosen her was because between all of the other girls, she seemed to have the best athleticism, as well as that she seemed to listen to favours due to her likeability of Subaru. It was as a result of calculation that she seemed willing to help him without asking too many questions.

Other than that, from amongst the suspects, the girl, whose dead body he had found first, was the least likely to pose a danger from all of them.

In any case――,

[Subaru: My thoughts that it was Julius who was the opponent who stole my memories at the library was way off the mark…]

This morning, he had thought it was almost a certainty from his reaction when he’d seen Subaru. But, those line of thinking had been off. Despite what happened at the library, the Julius of some time ago didn’t really touch much on the incident in which his memories of him had gone. Having said that, his emotions were all too natural for an act.

It was quite uncertain what thing of speculation the connivery with Echidna was due to “Natsuki Subaru”. But, at least, it was a good enough reason for Subaru now to harbour distrust to the him of last night.  Before his memories had been lost, it seemed like there’d been quite the exchange of tempestuous words between him, Echidna and Julius,

[Subaru: You… what on earth were you doing, and who on earth targeted you, “Natsuki Subaru”….]

[Shaula: Maaaster, how about you jump to my chest? Come hug my busty body, Master.]

[Subaru: That wish is beyond naïve!]

[Shaula: Master is mean~!]

Speaking of things he had no clue about, Subaru also had no clue why Shaula showed him such a strange affection. Why did she dearly love Subaru to this extent? It appeared that Emilia, and everyone else around her, also had no clue why she did. It was said it was something to make convenient use of ――But, was it really like that?

His connivery with Echidna, the blurriness of last night’s deeds, and in the first place, his relationship with the girls―― And now, the being Subaru least knew of as far as he was concerned was “Natsuki Subaru”.  What kind of speculation did he face against the girls and guys?

――Was “Natsuki Subaru” even truly associated with them? (TL Note: more accurately “the girls” probably to refer to Emilia-side)

[Subaru: Crap, my thoughts have come to a dead end… Let’s go where Patrasche is for a bit?]

For the time being, he wanted to go to place where could settle down and think. When thinking that, the first thing that came to the current Subaru’s mind as his greatest ally, was most certainly that jet-black earth dragon. There was no choice but to put his faith in the one who had staked their life protecting him, regardless of whether he had his memories or not.

[Shaula: Eeeh, that earth dragon~? That earth dragon… isn’t really my cup of tea since it keeps glaring at me.]

[Subaru: You… insults against Patrasche are unforgivable! Even if this world became a world in which anyone’s insults were permissible, I won’t forgive any insults at Patrasche.]

[Shaula: Master, how whipped does that dragon have you!?]

Shaula raised her voice into something like a shriek, but Subaru took absolutely no notice of it. In any case, it was because he now wanted to be lost in his thoughts in peace, by Patrasche’s side. At any rate, their original aim, the tower’s capture, would begin straight after lunch. Since he had concealed his amnesia, there would be no way of stopping it.

[Subaru: That’s why we’re parting here as well. See you in a bit.]

[Shaula: Uwaaah, you were colluding even for the reward. But even so, I caaaaan’t bear it. I’m a woman for Master’s convenience, that’s the meaning of my life.]

[Subaru: ――]

As he tried to leave the room, Shaula spoke this out, and gave him a cold goodbye. Receiving her words, Subaru held his breath. Whilst still keeping his back turned away from her, Subaru hung his head down, and closed his eyes.

[Subaru: Where in Natsuki Subaru is the worth in going that far?]

[Shaula: ――Master?]

[Subaru: ――hk! Ah, damn it!]

Unable to bear the irritation welling up in him, Subaru roughly scratched his head, and turned around so he was facing Shaula who was inclining her head. And then, walking towards the immobile girl, he stretched out both of his hands and with all of his might, he embraced her slender body.

[Shaula: ――hk]

[Subaru: You shouldn’t think of yourself as just a woman for convenience, or things like that. It was my bad.]

Subaru was going to end up becoming the same as “Natsuki Subaru” were he to just make a one-sided use of her. Shaula’s breath hitched and her body stiffened at the Subaru’s comportment who had refused to become like that.

Shaula was tall, approximately the same height as Subaru. But even so, her body which he had embraced was slender, supple and soft. There was quite the difference between her body, and that of his own body.

[Shaula: Ma… ster…]

[Subaru: You helped me out by being there. ….That is all.]

[Shaula: ――]

Around 30 seconds had passed hugging Shaula. Subaru slowly let go of her body. In all honesty, he felt awkward, but his sense of achievement was stronger. If he were to become a guy who just handed out gifts like that. If he were to become the same as “Natsuki Subaru”――

[Shaula: Maaster…]

Looking at the pensive Subaru, Shaula dizzily walked towards him, her cheeks fiercely blushing. Her eyes were wet with tears, her breathing was somewhat feverish, and she was gazing at Subaru’s lips,

[Shaula: Master, finally you’ve shown me some love…]

[Subaru: Beyond naïve!]

[Shaula: Gueh!]

Pushing her face away with his palm, Subaru snapped Shaula back to reality.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

[Subaru: Whether or not I reward you, you get carried away… What a difficult character…]

Subaru had somehow managed to calm down the aroused Shaula, and extracted himself out of the situation. He sighed.  Eventually,  Shaula had left, still in a dreamy state of mind, with the words: “It’s the mark of a good woman to see when it’s time to leave as well.” In all honesty, even though he had no clue what the meaning of this was, meddling into it would be all too bothersome.

[Subaru: Since sometimes, there are  things that you need not know in the world.]

In any case, contrary to such a careless act, Subaru’s situation was not looking great. At least, he expected what happened in the library to come to light if he pecked at Julius. But, as now it had missed its mark, he had once again returned back to square one. Or, as he had first posited, were the others not at all involved in Subaru’s missing memories? Though, it was just Ram’s facial expression that he hadn’t been able to check ――

[Subaru: She looked like she was in tears… but, I don’t know anymore if they were just crocodile tears…]

It had been Ram who had tried her hardest to not believe the story that Subaru had really lost his memories. Of course there was still the possibility that she had been acting; it’s not a possibility that she hadn’t been able to recognise some sort of participation happening, but there are no limits to these sorts of suggestions. If he doesn’t place his trust in something, then it’s certainly a fact that he can’t even start to doubt something. As far as Subaru is concerned, that basis was――

[Subaru: ――That means Patrasche now]

After asserting that, he was shocked at himself for being the conclusion of a person who fell into a pitfall of bearing complete mistrust for everyone around him. But in fact, it was true that that side of him was quite prominent. His “complete mistrust for everyone” was indescribable tantamount to it being deeply ingrained. And it wasn’t just to others, but now, he also couldn’t believe in himself.

[Subaru: Still, it might be more a blessing if I got to spend some time in a paradise in which just Patrasche and Earth Dragons are….]

[???: ――Ahh, I heard th~at!]

[Subaru: Wooah!?]

At the very moment in which he had been voicing these thoughts out loud, a young girl nimbly rushed out from the corner of the aisleway. The little girl was Meili, her blue braids swinging about as she stifled a giggle. Subaru wearily dropped his shoulders at the figure of the young girl when she had heard his dull thoughts voiced out.

[Subaru: It’s just something like a joke or nonsense. Surely you didn’t get that?]

[Meili: I’m su~re. But, I don’t particularly intend to laugh at them even if they’re Onii-san’s true feelings y~know. Because if there’s a place where you can just live with some bad animal-chans, then I think it’s something that one wouldn’t mind living there.]

[Subaru: ……Huh]

Whilst hearing Subaru fumbling excuses, Meili held her skirt by the hem in a gesture which Subaru cannot tell whether it’s meant to be elegant or wild. Even if he’d gotten an answer from that, he didn’t really know what sort of reply to give. However, it didn’t seem like she was pleased by that reply.

[Meili: Ah, si~nce I gave a vague answer. Since a person took the trouble to diligently give a speech, I thi~nk that not listening to it properly is the mark of a naughty child.]

[Subaru: That’s not much of an apology. … You’re alone? You aren’t with Beatrice?]

[Meili: No chance! Why would I be with Beatrice-chan? Bu~t, I think that is a question I’d rather ask of you, Onii-san.]

He had thought that the girls who were of a similar age would be hanging out together, yet it seemed that it was not so. Certainly, the times in which Beatrice had acted together with Emilia were many.――That’s why he treated his misgivings for the two of them as a set; he wasn’t able to think of them separately.

[Subaru: Well, still, that’s fine. Though, just so you know, I don’t have time to play with you. I’m sorry, but look elsewhere if you want to speak to someone. Shaula’s back there for example.]

[Meili: I could talk to my half-naked Onee-san, bu~t right now I have stuff to do with Onii-san.]

[Subaru: With me?]

Though Subaru didn’t want to be disturbed during the time he had set to plunge into his unavoidable brooding, in his secret “date” with Patrasche, he couldn’t help widen his eyes at Meili’s unexpected introduction. Thinking about it, the little girl was quite similar to Shaula, in that she was easy to talk to compared to Emilia and the others. Even in her last moments in the last loop, her corpse hadn’t been left in a mutilated state as far as it being too painful to even look at. Since she had looked as if she had died in her sleep, the shocking images don’t overlap with each other even when he’s directly opposite her. His heartbeat had calmed as well.

[Subaru: What is it? Is it quick?]

[Meili: Yeah, it wo~n’t take particularly long.]

Subaru felt an overwhelming sense of security; he lent out an ear to listen to Meili’s story. And then, seeing Subaru adjust his posture to indicate he was willing to listen, Meili placed a finger to her lips and licked the fingertip with her tongue. This somewhat alluring gesture did not fit her childish appearance. Subaru frowned at it.

[Meili: ――I wo~nder, just how seriously should I take what we talked about last night?]

This is what the little girl said to Subaru, whilst still smiling sweetly.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

.

[Subaru: ――Wh…a?]

Suddenly, Subaru was set free from the strange stoppage in his consciousness, and grasped his own neck. There was something in his throat like a feeling of acridity and breathlessness. He launched into a coughing fit.

[Subaru: Ack, Ack…]

Whilst touching his throat, Subaru coughed over and over again as he relished a sensation which felt similar to parched pain. And then, he suddenly took notice.

[Subaru: That… I was……]

――What was it that he was doing?

Just before, he had for sure talked to Julius, then there had been that farce with Shaula, and after that he had tried to go to where Patrasche was. And, finally, he had met Meili halfway there――

[Subaru: OW…]

Subaru had been rubbing his arm as he was immersed in thought, he clucked his tongue in sharp pain. Looking down at his hand―― both of his hands. A bunch of scratchmarks were carved on the wrists of both his left and right hand. He realised that blood was oozing out of them.

[Subaru: TCH, What the hell is this…]

The wounds were relatively deep, but, the wounds themselves were irregular. Them being scratchmarks was not a bad guess, they could not be from a sharp blade. They were wounds which had been caused by someone digging their nails deeply into his flesh with all of their might. Where on earth had he got these wounds from――

[Subaru: ――Ah?]

Subaru looked around his surroundings to see if there was anything he could use as a bandage whilst grimacing in pain. And, he noticed that he was in a similar stone room like many of them on the fourth floor. And then, he finally noticed it.

[――――]

White feet were strewn on the floor. The feet were unmoving, the strength in them had fizzled out. He slowly shifted his gaze up from their feet; there was a skirt, and the upper part of their body… and then.

And then――

[Subaru: ――Wha?]

And then, right there, the figure of a little girl who didn’t even twitch had collapsed in front of him.

――Meili had collapsed in front of Subaru’s eyes, and she wasn’t breathing.

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