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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
- Tournament, /u/Tournament1122
Fan Art Created by :
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Everything is messed up. Literally, so messed up.
He was found, brought back and questioned about what had happened. Bit by bit, he found that the situation would get worse every time he would say something.
[???: All right, so Subaru really doesn’t remember anything?]
As he was clutching his knees, the girl with the silver hair gazed down at him with a gloomy expression. Next to her stood a young, sweet little girl who couldn’t come to grips with what he had said and reacted with shock.
[???: We were at a complete loss when we heard that we couldn’t find you… by no means, did I think the situation would end up like this. It looks like we’re faced with a very difficult problem.]
The girl, who had a white fox scarf wrapped around her neck, grumbled this in a stiff tone. The knight with the handsome face nods and mutters the occasional “Yeah, that’s right” as she speaks. 
[???: For how long are you going to be satisfied in exposing that unsightly appearance, Barusu.]
Scowling at him as she said it, was the girl who had cleaned up the mess that had been caked on him. But, there was no great animosity in her words, moreover, there seemed to be a forlorn expression hanging over her.
[???: Master, Master. Something in the air seems to have become remarkably more gloomy eh~? You need to smile mooore… Huh, what is that? You stink of piss!]
The black haired woman was laughing in good spirits without seemingly understanding the situation here. At the side of the black-haired woman, there stood a young girl who was stroking her braided hair. She gives him a sidelong glance which seemed to show barely a small glimpse of interest at the situation he was in.
All of these reactions, if he were to broadly speak about them, every single one of them he had let go by. Once, twice… thrice. He had disappointed them three times. However, this time, he had soiled himself after he had tried to escape from this place. He had been found alone, huddled up and crying. There was no room for doubt that it had been the worst situation so far.
–– Even though he is the only one aware of the real facts behind this truly dreadful situation.
It makes him laugh. The fact that he had repeated this same situation – No, not just repeated once, but three times.
He had seen the same scene a second time. Then on the third time he had revisited this scene, he had finally grasped what sort of situation he was in.
–– He had died twice.
Both times, most likely, from falling from the same place – the first time he had lost consciousness on the way down and because of that, he hadn’t tasted the moment of death. However, it had not been like this the second time. As he fell down, he hadn’t died quickly and had tumbled and crashed against the staircase having his whole body destroyed.
He then finally died, but came back. At the moment of death, he would return back to the Green Room and once again he would wake up and redo the day.
Die and return –『Return by Death.』That was the blessing which the God had given to Natsuki Subaru in this parallel world.
For the second time, laughter had leaked out of him. Whether objectively one could call it laughter is left to discussion, suffice to say that for Subaru it was laughter.
There’s nothing else he could do except laugh. He felt as if his tears have honestly dried up. Crying also wasted his physical strength. He had died and then returned, it seemed like the physical strength he exerts before dying is given back to him when he returns. This time he had literally soiled away his strength on awakening.
[???: Anyways, let Subaru rest until things settle down. Over time, we may see some change.]
At hearing the girl with the silver hair’s proposal, he knew that his treatment had already been decided like so. Was she thinking that he would lash out violently? Subaru’s persona had been exaggerated. He had been brought back to the Green Room under everyone’s supervision.
[???: I’m afraid we can’t leave Rem here with this current Barusu. I oppose it.]
[???: …But, apart from finding out what caused this, our best bet at helping Subaru recover would be to rely on the spirit of this room.]
[???: If that’s the case… if that’s the case, we will move Rem to another room. Ram will stay with her and look after her. Ram seems to be the only one now who is worried about her.]
He wished he was in a place where there were no quarrels or clash of opinions. Whatever it is, he has no options. Taking the initiative and having the willpower to do things such as resolutely overcoming this situation, the current Subaru didn’t have that within him.
[???: …Poor Rem.]
She uttered this so Subaru could hear her, just before she carried the sleeping girl out of the room. It was remarkable how much they resembled each other, like two peas in a pod.
Subaru had no idea about the true meaning behind her words. Nor did he want to.
[Beatrice: Subaru, stay quietly here. Betty will surely find a way to return your memories, I suppose.]
[Beatrice: I won’t let you cower here all alone.]
Just before she leaves the room, the young girl speaks those gentle words. Her voice is tinged with grief, yet there is also a hint of noble determination within it. The voice is strong and doesn’t doubt what she says. In that way, in response to her voice showing that she is concerned for him–
Subaru shrunk back in an attempt to avoid her outstretched arms. Seeing his reaction to this, the eyes of the little girl swayed with hurt.
They were strangers. No matter what, they were strangers.
But for Subaru, they weren’t strangers. For the girls, the Subaru here was a stranger.
Their familiarity, their worry, and their deep affection was directed at the original “Natsuki Subaru” and not at his current ruins. And, at the same time–
[Subaru: I have no reason to be killed…]
He had been left behind in the Green Room, alone. Subaru grinds his teeth as he mutters this. It’s still not yet a good thing to turn towards those good feelings of comfort, or to blow off the bonds that he had supposedly accumulated over time, and the trust and deep affection he has no memory of. However, why does he have to bear the consequences of the murderous intent that “Natuski Subaru” had accumulated towards him?
All the good things and the bad things, everything that was jumbled together was not his own. Despite this, why must he struggle and drown in this place?
[Subaru: I’m sorry…]
After a few hours of being alone, Subaru pushes his back up against the wall, and steadily gets up. Having bitten down on his lips too much, he spat out the mixture of blood and saliva that had piled up within his mouth. Then slowly he starts to walk towards the Green Room’s exit.
Behind Subaru, the only presence that he could hear was the black lizard’s cries. The cry sounded somewhat feeble, as if it was crying out in loneliness. Subaru shakes his head at that thought. It’s just a big reptile feeling loneliness, even for him, there was a limit to his stupidity.
[Subaru: Somebody will bring you food. Shush now.]
The lizard continues to give out its feeble cry despite what Subaru had said. Without listening to it, Subaru shakes off his reluctant thoughts, and steps out of the Green Room. He checks to his left and right, making sure the coast is clear and starts to stealthily walk away.
[Subaru: Water, and where they keep the food…]
He knows where those things are. As he had accompanied her to draw water, he knew where he could find it. He also knew where he could find food. The only other question he had was how much of it should he bring?
To be honest, there was something Subaru didn’t know. What on earth had pushed Subaru down those stairs and robbed him of his life.
However, there was something that Subaru clearly remembers. Back then, at that place, someone had pushed Subaru’s back. It wasn’t due to some ridiculous reason such as being clapped on the shoulder from behind or being blown off by a strong gust of wind. He was certainly pushed. He had been on the receiving end of definite, murderous intent. Natsuki Subaru had been killed.
The suspects were seven: Emilia, Beatrice, Ram, Anastasia, Julius, Meili and Shaula – Subaru doesn’t know how many of them are his friends, and how many of them are his foe. After all, Subaru now had no way to deem if all of them were truly his acquaintances.
–– In reality, couldn’t they all be assassins gathered here at this tower to kill Subaru?
[Subaru: If that’s true…]
Even if he brings out only a bit of food, he can’t feel guilty about this. However, at the same time, the first and second time he had met them… Emilia had called out to him in the same manner, and Beatrice had told him that they would look for a way to return his memories, and Ram had cried out refusing to believe that he had lost his memories. He doubts that they were acting.
It was impossible.
Having gone through all that horrible stuff, he had been killed not just once, but twice. Subaru doubts the girl and the others from the bottom of his heart, and yet, he couldn’t run away just for his own safety.
[Subaru: Shit, shit, half-assed son of a bitch…!]
He swears at his own disgraceful behaviour, unable to chose, as he starts to secretly pack away food. So to speak he was collecting emergency rations, he was putting no consideration into what it would taste like. Of course, what was important now was that the food would fill him up, other particulars like taste were secondary, no, tertiary. He had roughly taken enough food to last him three days. He had in a similar fashion drawn enough water and placed it in leather drinking pouches to carry along with him.
[Subaru: There’s a desert outside, but…]
He donned a cloak that had been stowed in the same place as the food. In terms of size and design, Subaru immediately noticed which one was his. The cloak is designed so when you clasp the front together it can be pulled up to cover his mouth. It seemed like a perfect countermeasure against breathing in the sand of the desert. And after collecting food, water and tools to help him in the desert, his preparations were complete.
[Subaru: I guess it is past the time where I’ve twice died…]
If he thinks about it, the time he had spent huddled up in the Green Room should mean that he had perhaps already approached the time in which he had been pushed off last time. The effectiveness of『Return by Death』had immediately demonstrated its power. Like this, one by one, he could overcome his own death flags and continue walking the tightrope of life and death.
He doesn’t want to do that. It would be better for him to not be in this place, if he were to have to go through something like that. Subaru jumps out of the room and starts to jog, he heads towards where the spiral staircase is located using the mental map he had drawn in his head of the area. Twice he had been pushed down from this place. Naturally, his mind was screaming at him to get out of there. However–,
Immediately after arriving at the spiral staircase and being momentarily enraptured by the scene in front of him, Subaru looked back behind him and carefully examined whether the assassin was hiding somewhere behind him. Luckily, because the time was different to last time, or because the assassin did not know where Subaru was, he couldn’t find any trace of an arm stretched out preparing to push his back.
About now, everyone was probably at the library where the memories of the dead sleep, or they had headed upstairs and are waiting to face that arrogant examiner – the memory of having his internal organs messed with by this man resurfaced, and a feeling of wanting to vomit wells up within him.
[Subaru: As if you can challenge a guy who’s like that…]
He wasn’t human. Both in skill and personality. By no means at all does it seem likely to win against such an opponent, were you to challenge him. If that’s the case, what’s it to him to overlook the fact that they had gone to face a fight they know they couldn’t win.
[Subaru: Hell if I know!!!]
Since a little while ago, this enigma had kept popping up in his mind and had been trying to stop his feet. So what. He doesn’t care.
Although she may have been gentle and kind, it may have all been a lie. She may have acted worried, but behind her back she may have been sharpening the blade of murderous intent. At least she could have warned him of the possibility that a dangerous individual was lurking somewhere in the tower. 
[Subaru: Well, what if the person they told me about an enemy?]
Enemy, enemy was a word of ridicule. In his everyday life in his world which was relatively unaffected by conflict, the opportunity to utter a word like “Enemy” only existed within games.
This world was one where you were forced to say that word, as if it were only natural.
No, that is wrong. He doesn’t want to be in this place. He doesn’t want to stay here.
Subaru runs, biting down the unbearable irritation that was boiling within his chest. He runs down the spiral staircase, heading down towards the fifth floor that was out of sight. There are many steps spiralling endlessly down the wall, and he cannot see the end of them as he goes downstairs. He frantically ran down as fast as he could, puffing and panting, to the point that it almost seemed comical.
Still, he didn’t want to die.
[Subaru: I made it…whew…]
He had made it down to the fifth floor. Unlike the fourth floor, the fifth floor wasn’t divided into various rooms. Rather, it was like a single hall that occupied the entire space of the floor. The only thing that was noticeable within the fifth floor was a set of stairs that led downwards to the sixth floor and –
[Subaru: A huge door…]
Looking up at the huge door, he sensed a terrible feeling of oppression emanating from where it stood.
Standing in front of the door, it felt like a strange overpowering sensation was clogging Subaru’s throat. He feels a slight sandy breeze blow through. Perhaps the wind outside was blowing some sand into the tower through gaps within the door. In the end he was certain that this door connected to the outside.
[Subaru: If what Emilia and the others said was true…]
Using this door, he should be able to go to the desert outside. Desert – he had forgotten its official name, but nevertheless he will follow the sandy road and head towards civilization. That way at least, there should be no worries of having his life threatened by this cruel assassin.
The basics to crossing a desert are to travel at night, avoid sandstorms, and try to move towards one set direction – this was the only knowledge he possessed on the matter.
[Subaru: I would bet that it is far more likely that I will survive there, than in this place where it’s certain that I am going to be killed.]
It could be said that this wasn’t quite a normal decision to make. However, whether or not this was an abnormal decision to come to, he doesn’t think making it is a mistake. Under these circumstances, if he can’t believe even in “Himself”, then only darkness would await him.
He would never do such a thing like sitting in the dark, waiting for death. Since his death, he had decided to fight back.
He placed his hand on the huge door which was in front of him, and slowly pushed it with all his strength. The door was more than ten times larger than Subaru himself. By all rights, even if Subaru were to push with all his might, it should be that due to its weight, the door should not budge at all.
However, when he had pressed the palm of his hand against the door, it had easily pushed open as if it was mechanized.
Subaru let out a flat sigh and stops pushing the door open. Even if now they hadn’t noticed Subaru trying to sneak away, if he left the door completely open, then he can expect the girl and the others to notice.
Even if Subaru slips out and manages to get away, he wants to make sure to put in enough distance between them so they couldn’t catch up to him.
Quietly, Subaru looked out from the gap in the door to the outside. As soon as his eyesight adjusted, he saw a vast sea of sand which was swallowed by the creeping darkness of nightfall.
[Subaru: …It really is a desert, eh.]
He tries to squint his eyes so he can see what is beyond the horizon, but he can’t see anything beyond it. In this environment where there are no signs of any shelter, what is at the end of the horizon cannot be seen. There is no way for Subaru to know how far it stretched. However, no matter how far this desert went on for, it certainly couldn’t go on forever.
If he were to take a step forward, it would be one step closer to the outside world. If he were to get closer to the outside world – wouldn’t that be a step closer to his original world?
For a moment, Subaru’s legs remained glued in the tower. He will probably, surely, leave this place. It made him feel a bit guilty to do this, as he would be leaving behind those without any ill intentions towards him. Subaru shakes off these feelings. His attachment to go outside, to his original world, made him do so.
He doesn’t want to be here. Natsuki Subaru will return back home because that is where his mother and father await him.
With a firm step forward, Subaru passes through the gap he had opened in the door. Stepping on the sand, he notices that his feet sunk into the sand more than he had thought they would. Taking his initial steps with quite a lot of force, Natsuki Subaru had firmly stepped outside into the outside world. And –
A violent explosion from underneath his shoes suddenly launches Subaru high up into the air.
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He had been thrown from his back onto the ground, making him black out. He was in a complete state of panic – Subaru now no longer knew whether being in a state of panic was more normal than being in a state of normalcy.
[Subaru: What the…]
….hell happened. While spitting sand from his mouth, Subaru hadn’t the leisure to continue those words.
This was due to the imposing figure that was now standing right before his eyes, presenting an answer to what the hell happened.
Right in front of Subaru’s eyes, a huge shadow is looking at him against the background which was dyed by the night. The shadow had a huge, limbless body, with slimy skin. It looked ferocious, with cruel fangs lining its mouth – it seemed to look like an earthworm to Subaru. A terrible, gigantic earthworm. In length, it stood not less than ten metres tall – it was an earthworm-monster.
Was this a world full of monsters? Every single scene he had seen had been disconnected from reality, and had not given Subaru’s heart a chance to calm down. And now, the latest crisis was drawing near to him, not giving him any chance to crouch down and lament his fate.
[Subaru: This, fucking… hk–]
Picking himself up, covered in sand, Subaru shakes his head. Most likely it had been this earthworm who had struck him earlier and blown him away, because he was standing on its territory. That, or he had simply been standing in the place where it had emerged to take a breath. Either way, the earthworm had knocked Subaru down onto the sand, and moreover–
[Subaru: It’s not going to leave me be…!]
Understanding that in this situation he was at an overwhelming disadvantage, Subaru looked around his surroundings. He had barely taken four steps since leaving the tower. Although it was cowardly, there were plenty of options to pick from, such as jumping back into the building and living.
However, as he looked around, Subaru cursed his luck. He had been blown away by the earthworm’s blow and had rolled across the sand, away from the tower. The huge earthworm stood in between Subaru and the tower, so if he were to try and get back to the tower, he would have to go past the earthworm’s huge body.
Even if he were to run into the desert, he expects that the earthworm will eventually catch up with him. Firstly, this may not be the only earthworm; there’s a decent chance that this earthworm is the lord of the desert with how big it is, although even one that’s half of its size would be quite a threat too. Not to mention, if he were to be attacked by a herd of them…
[Subaru: In fact, was the option of escaping not even realistic?]
He hates the kindness which this world quickly teaches. And, it seemed like the earthworm had decided what to do about Subaru, who had been busy trying to puzzle how to get out of this situation.
Slowly, the earthworm turns its eyeless head towards him and opens its gaping maw. There was a curved horn on its head – it was quite a surreal sensation.
[Subaru: One shot, I just need to get in one shot on it. Just one one shot, one shot, one shot…]
Pulling up his anti-sand cloak to his neck, Subaru keeps an eye out at what the earthworm was doing. He pulls his arm to the front, and calculates the timing of when he should deliver his blow. He suddenly notices that the wound where his nails had been ripped off on his right hand had clotted, and that the nails had started to regenerate. Had it been healing magic, or the effects of the Green Room?
And while he was distracted by that…
The gigantic beast had let out a terrible, shrill cry which he could have never imagined coming from such a thing. The earthworm had then leapt, almost as if it was flopping, towards Subaru. When Subaru had heard its roar against the howling of the wind, for a split second he had felt a strange sensation, like as if his body was acting on its own accord.
The earthworm had leapt at him, however he had rolled towards his right side and dodged its attack. He hadn’t been thinking of anything else. It’s as if he could see an illusion of himself of what to do next. He had simply followed what the illusion had done and moved his body like it did. And just like that, he had moved out of the earthworm’s attack.
A large amount of sand mushroomed up into the air, followed by a shockwave right beside him. Whilst experiencing the aftermath of its attack, Subaru rolls over the sand, still following the illusion of his own consciousness.
His body was far more agile than he remembered it to be. A split second after, “Natsuki Subaru’s” year crossed through his mind was, which Subaru had no recollection of. There is a trace left of the experience “Natsuki Subaru” had accrued surviving in this harsh environment.
Right now, he wasn’t thinking anything about the fact he’d made full use of that.
[Subaru: At this rate…!!]
Rolling forwards, with the nimbleness and vigour his precursor had left him, Subaru rights himself up and runs as fast as possible towards the tower’s front door. In this moment, it is all about clinging onto what is in front of his eyes.
If he makes it back to the tower, he knows that he will return to an environment of shadows and suspicion, as well as that he will be tormented by the fear of death. But still, he would rather chose that than ending up becoming this huge earthworm’s poop.
He cannot afford to look back behind him, but it should be that the earthworm should not have enough dexterity to be able to switch over and catch up with him immediately. He was only a few metres away from where he was running to–
Just now, instead of the earthworm’s head, the earthworm’s tail had broken through and appeared from underneath the sand at Subaru’s feet. The sand underneath him violently exploded and the momentum from the tail striking his feet hoists Subaru’s body up into the air again.
[Subaru: Oh, ah.]
Whilst revolving around in mid-air, and flailing his limbs about, Subaru sees what is underneath him. Beneath his eyes, he sees that the earthworm was opening its large mouth, preparing itself to greedily devour his body.
–He’d underestimated it.
He was naive to think that he could outsmart the wild animal that had lived in this harsh environment and gotten so huge, just like as if it had been living in a greenhouse similar to his world. Reckless, he had been reckless. He will pay the price of his own impudence with his life.
Whilst falling, he shouts this out, like a trapped insect struggling to escape a spider’s web. Die, would he died again? If he dies, he doesn’t know if he will even remain dead. If he is to die and it end here, what would happen? Could he bear it? If he were to be thrown forever into the never-ending darkness like this. Could he bear it?
He screams and stretches his hand out to the night sky for help. There is nothing to reach out to. Even at the ends of the sky, which was blurred behind some wispy clouds, he couldn’t see the stars that were supposed to be there – Subaru was falling alone. He had been abandoned by the star with his own name, about to be swallowed into the monster’s belly; to blink out and disappear. Such despair –
– Suddenly, a surge of white light appears.
A surge of white light rushes forward and blows away the face of the earthworm that had opened its large mouth. Literally, the impact had pierced the earthworm’s face, with its large head being warped in such a fashion that it almost looked like it had been turned into Amezaiku. And then, in a split-second, it blows up. Chunks of dirty flesh and blood spray out of the earthworm’s head as it flies off.
The head that should have been swallowing Subaru is gone, and the earthworm’s huge body shakes violently. However, before its body toppled over, Subaru’s own body crashed off the top of the headless worm.
With a heavy shaking movement, it had felt like as if he had fell onto a hamburger patty just before it was going to be cooked. Its gaping wound, its internal organs, and its flesh and blood were the things that had cushioned Subaru’s body. He had been given his life in exchange for the discomfort stuck in his hair. He coughs and splutters violently, he realizes that inside his mouth there is some foul liquid within it which is making him want to vomit. Meanwhile, the earthworm’s remains were slowly starting to topple over – wait, no!
One after the other, the light flashes across his field of view, end every time it does, the earthworm’s remains are shot through. Its shot through, burst open, segments of it are sliced off, bits of it fly about: the earthworm is cut into ribbons. It was only by coincidence that none of these flashes of light hit Subaru, which you could say was a stroke of luck in such a bad situation. However, eventually –
[Subaru: – Ah]
Subaru notices that its body which had been shook by these impacts had now been strewn across the sand. Subaru was now lying with his back on the sand, his whole body stretched out.
Up above him, he sees the same starless sky just like when he had been flung up by the earthworm. By some twist of fate, even now that he had managed to cling onto his life, the sky hadn’t changed, “Subaru” had still been abandoned.
Being amazed, being wanted, being abandoned, being hated, being befriended, being kept away. Does he want to live? Does he want to die? Does he want to be here or not?
[Subaru: What should I do…! If you know, tell me…!]
There is no one around. Covering his face, he shouts this out at the empty sky. He received no reply. Who was it that Subaru wanted to hear the answers from the most? It was probably –
[Subaru: …Answer me, Natuski Subaru.]
Saying this in a miserable voice, Subaru sighs and turns his body to the side. There had been no particular reason why he had happened to turn his body.
– But that tiny movement had barely saved Subaru’s life from the white light which had grazed his ear and struck the ground next to him.
Something had grazed past his right ear with tremendous force. He clasps his hand to the ear which was throbbing in pain, and rolls to the side. As the blood was dripping out from his ear, he saw what had caused the pain.
A long, narrow, glowing object, reminiscent of a stinger, was stuck in the ground.
[Subaru: What is…]
As soon as he had reached out to touch it, the white stinger had turned into dust. And, right after that, Subaru’s field of view shook.
It shook greatly – from top to bottom. Whether it was because of an earthworm wriggling, or whether it was because the last stinger had stabbed into it, the ground underneath Subaru’s buttocks was collapsing. He was sinking down along with the surrounding earth.
His fingers slip through the sand as he falls, trying to find anything to hold onto. Rather like an insect falling into an anthill, Subaru’s body sinks to the bottom of the sandy floor, unable to do anything about it.
His arms and legs are buried. He cannot move them. Turning his head up, he desperately gasps for air. His whole body was being swallowed by the sand, he frantically tries to fight against the premonition that he was about to be buried alive.
[Subaru: Someone, someone, help me…]
He couldn’t say what he wanted to say next. Subaru’s entire body was being swallowed by the sand, sinking, sinking.
And the stars do not even take one single notice at the miserable, struggling “Subaru”.
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 This line is said by Ram, if it’s not clear – I was using “???” because in Subaru’s minds they seemed nebulous, as he was referring to them via description than by name (which he knows). Since they start to use names in speech from herein I will add names to the dialogue.
 Though no specific gender seems to be used in the JP source, I think these lines are referring to Emilia rather than everyone at once, hence the use of “she”. His next line of speech seems to reinforce that.
 I think, from my take on this line, it’s a highly metaphoric way of describing things. I think the authors saying that Subaru’s thought process blanked out for a sec, and he like subconsciously envisioned what to do (to avoid the worm). And instinctively he had moved out of its path as if he was following a ghostly illusion.
 The metaphor used here is different, but I think I understood the gist of it, and replaced it with an English equivalent.
 He is not referring to “Natsuki Subaru” here. His name is written in Kanji, so he is referring to himself by the constellation (昴): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairy_Head – Ironically enough I just realised Subaru’s constellation refers to Pleiades… make that as you will.
 Again, not to be confused with “Natuski Subaru” – it’s referring to the constellation again. He is calling himself by his star-name. It’s saying that the stars above (which I presume were hidden by wisps of cloud which is why he couldn’t see them earlier) did not even care about the sinking Subaru (i.e. as if he was a sinking star). Very cool metaphorical writing, I bet it has some significance to the tales of the Pleiades as well.
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