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Translated by :
- Ice_Occultism, /u/Ice_Occultism
- Furuta, /u/GracedHarperd
- Shifty, /u/Shiftyfish87
- Furuta, /u/GracedHarperd
- Review, /u/ReviewR524
- Tournament, /u/Tournament1112
Fan Art Created by :
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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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Hearing the voice of the familiar man from behind him, Subaru trembles in fear, to the point that he forgets to breathe.
Right in that instant, he even forgets about the pain from his dislocated left shoulder. His mind is dominated by a vast succession of negative emotions, such as fear and cowardice; a tempest of hopeless feelings clouds over his thoughts, a single word repeats inside his head:『Why?』
Why, his list of questions is inexhaustible. Why is his left shoulder dislocated? Why is the phrase『Natsuki Subaru was here』carved all around this room to this extent? Why are Emilia and Ram’s figures, who had captured Subaru, nowhere to be seen? Why is Meili’s body, which he had hidden, nowhere to be seen? Why had Natsuki Subaru lost his memories? Why had Natsuki Subaru been summoned into a different world? Why… couldn’t he ever tell his mom and dad the truth about everything? Why―
???:「What’re ya doin’ all huddled up. Don’t be so silent, gross bastard.」
―Why is the man who wasn’t supposed to be able to come down standing here?
Suddenly, irritation rises in that man’s voice, causing Subaru to whirl around in a panic. To look directly at the figure behind him is a frightening notion. In most cases, what triggers this sense of trepidation is a fear of the unknown; however, the fear that this man inspires comes from more than just the immediate risk of looking.
This is far deeper than just unease from being unable to see, for this specific opponent’s intent is not merely to inspire fear. Subaru can’t help but think it’s a much closer to a straightforward urge to maim or even to kill.
???:「Hah. What ya lookin’ at. With that face. Are ya that scared!? Ya look like you’re about to cry. A disgusting bastard, in this fucked up room.」
Smiling sardonically at Subaru, who’d made up his mind as such, the man dressed in a male kimono brazenly bares his white teeth. Long, red hair, an eye patch covering his right eye, his bare chest wrapped in white linen strips, and a muscular, well-built body; he is looking down at the pitiful Subaru.
Pleiades Watchtower’s Second Floor Guardian― Reid is the man that is calling out to him.
Reid:「… Does yer mouth not work? Can ya not hear me speak? Or, are you trying to show that ya have no plans of speaking with me? If that’s th’way it is, I don’t really mind, but still, I guess it feels more dignifying that way.」
Bluntly saying this out loud, with words that show utmost arrogance, Reid stares at Subaru with an angry expression on his face. Whilst being overwhelmed by the hostility coming from Reid, Subaru forces his lips into a mumble.
Subaru:「Wasn’t your eyepatch… on your left eye…? Why… is it on your right eye…?」
It was a question that he should not have uttered right now. As Subaru asks him, Reid’s eyes flicker slightly. And just after, the man clanged his teeth together with a「CLACK.」
Reid:「Whim, it’s a whim! Either eye is fine for me. That’s th’ way it is, I put it on just when I feel like messing about. If I don’t put it on, I’ll end up seein’ way too much crap. It’s just that kind of thing.」
As Reid said that, he turns over the eyepatch covering his right eye using his fingers. And there below his eyepatch, there are no wounds; his eye is in good health exactly as he had stated. And of course, there are no signs of injuries in his uncovered left eye. In short, his words had been completely true, he understood that his eyepatch was really only an item for doing something because he wants to. Even so, when it comes to him, it’s a passtime needed for bridging the power-gap between himself and others―,
Reid:「―what th’. OY, isn’t yer shoulder dislocated, I did think‘t looked a bit weird.」
Immediately after he’d felt such profound emotion, a burning sensation scorches the lining of Subaru’s brain, with a sudden impact.
His throat is constricted by sharp pain, and his field of view around him flickers, pierced by great anguish. Looking at it with no consideration or hesitation, Reid had grasped Subaru’s dislocated shoulder with his right hand. With a mere twist of the wrist, he had casually inserted the dislocated bone back into its socket.
The dislocated bone was fixed, echoing a dull click across the room, and freedom of movement returns to his left shoulder. However, the pain that for a moment had become negligible returns to him, tears pour down Subaru’s cheeks, the pain makes him feel like cursing the world around him.
Reid:「Don’t ya be acting so over the’ top. It looks like I’m pickin’ on ya when you look like that, damn it. As a matter of fact, it’s not me who’s pickin’ on ya, more so it’s that smokin’ hottie!」
Reid:「That smokin’ hottie with th’ silver hair. The ice cage behind ya’, I can pretty much tell by looking at that, plus yer dislocated shoulder. Did ya fall out with yer friends, hah, how amusing!」
Reid snorts this back at Subaru, who is holding his left shoulder, and groaning in pain. Having heard those words, Subaru understood he means Emilia when he described them as a smoking hottie. And, at the same time, when it comes to what had happened in the room, between Subaru and everyone else― Subaru fears that Reid’s observant eye must have grasped what happened.
Subaru「How… do you know?」
Reid:「Stuck inside the sullen tower, the stuff between a man n’ woman’ll either improve beyond imagination, or deteriorate beyond imagination, those’re the only two options. When it comes to ya, yer the type t’ piss people off beyond belief. ‘S not so hard t’ figure that out.」
In all honestly, none of those conclusions are wrong. Therefore, Subaru has no way to refuse those words. Tearing his gaze away from Subaru, Reid turns to glance at Emilia’s ice cage.
Twisting his neck, he strides huffily away from Subaru’s side, eyeing the ice cage for a moment before he stomps on it, applying force but for a brief moment. In that instant, the structure gives a sharp cracking sound; in the next, the destructive force spreads to all of the resilient prison, shattering the lattice entirely.
Needless to say, no matter how hard Subaru had tried, he couldn’t shift that ice cage even slightly; the cage’s integrity had refused to yield. Whether in terms of magic or strength, with a simple glance, the disparity between is immediately revealed, leaving Subaru dumbstruck. Putting his reaction to one side, Reid stretches his hands and feet lightly.
Reid: 「―Well, looks like ya can move it again all right. Excellent, excellent indeed.」
Muttering that, making sure he had some kind of feeling there, he slowly steps out from the room. He takes absolutely no notice of Subaru, who stood stock still, perplexed out of his mind by that attitude. The confusion still hadn’t settled down, he isn’t able to completely grasp what happened, but he knew that in this place, taking his eyes away from Reid would result in nothing good.
Subaru:「Wait up! Didn’t you… didn’t you say you couldn’t come down from the floor above? Why are you walking around this floor like it’s normal!?」
As Reid walks along the corridor of the fourth floor with complete indifference, Subaru rushes out of the room. Quite unpretentiously, staring at Reid’s back as he strides across the floor with an air of majesty, Subaru throws out that one question which had been inside his head since the very beginning. In response, Reid waved his hand without looking behind him,
Reid:「When did I say I couldn’ walk out th’ second floor? If that’s what yer saying… then isn’t that a lil’ bit unfair? Don’t worry. Yer assumption that I can’t leave has a bitta’ truth to it. I only became able to leave jus’ now.」
Subaru:「Just now… wait, so may I ask why the premise collapsed?」
Reid:「I’m not gonna give ya a full lecture ‘ere and explain everything. I can walk about. Yer about t’ piss yerself. That’s that, the end. —Ah, wait, ‘s not th’ end yet.」
Following Reid in his wake, Subaru catches up to him. Changing the tone of his voice, Reid narrows his eyes at him. Subaru’s body shrunk in place, as Reid distorted his cheeks at him, it looked like he could kill him just with his sharp eyes. The red haired swordsman, who didn’t carry around weapons, unarmed. ―With merely the glint in his eyes, this man’s gaze would be enough to put someone to the sword; Subaru takes a deep breath.
Subaru:「Wh.. What the…」
Reid:「Excellent, keep blusterin’ on like that, you. ‘F you can’t even do that, y’ve no right to call yerself a man. ‘n so, I’ve a question for ya, y’ borderline failed man. I’m about to bid this sullen tower farewell, but where th’ hell did yer buddies y’ fell out with run off to?」
As the hostility exuding from the man nearby squeezes his heart, Subaru hears this surprising remark, causing his eyes to widen. Seeing the dishevelled Subaru’s reaction, Reid naturally continues with a「YOU,」
Reid:「I plan t’ get outta here, but I need food, water, and sake. Let’s not even talk about th’ women. Well, from yer friends, that smokin’ hottie and that woman with such a slutty figure are certainly fine prospects. Though, since I’d feel guilty seducing th’ smokin’ hottie, the slutty woman would have to be th’ prime candidate for it.」
Subaru:「Lea… ving? This tower? But… what about… your『Trial』, no, what about everything else? What’re you going to do about this situation, and everything that’s going on!?」
Reid:「’S nothin’, everythin’ y’ said doesn’t have shit t’ do with me. Yer issues should be solved by yerself, I’ve got nuffin’ t’ do with it. Ah, hold up. ‘S one last disgustin’ task left.」
Subaru:「Disgusting… task, ―gha!?」
Reid’s facial expression suddenly changes, jabbing at Subaru’s forehead with his finger, as Subaru’s eyebrows had knitted into a grimace at those words. Subaru’s back crashes against the wall of the corridor due to the sheer strength of the poke. Looking down at Subaru laying in a painful heap beneath him, Reid snorts out a「Hmph.」
Reid:「I already told ya. don’t ya be thinkin’ you’ll be able t’ get an answer to everythin’, ya lil’ chicken. Are ya a small fry, or a lil’ chicken, tighten the grip under yer feet, ya prick. 」
Subaru:「That’s a problem of your own definition…」
Reid:「Don’t use th’ me, who so fortunately appeared before ya as a tool to dispel yer worries, questions, or regrets with. Yer issues’re for ya to solve. Don’t use me as a crutch.」
Calling those words akin to something like irritated was not be quite right. Feelings of irritation have some emotion to it, but Reid does not care at all about Subaru’s existence. You don’t get emotional over someone you don’t care about. Thus, there isn’t any irritation present in his voice.
However, just these “over the shoulder” words were enough for Subaru to feel as if a knife had been stuck into his heart. Groaning from that pain, once again the questions left behind filling Subaru’s mind lurch as if they were going to bury up his heart. But, just before that happened.
Reid:「―Aaah, it came.」
Swiveling his head to look towards the end of the aisleway, Reid grumbles this as if something was up. Lifting his head up, Subaru’s eyes are also lured towards that direction, pointing them towards where Reid was looking at; however, he couldn’t spot anything different there. However, he realizes it late. Crouched down, his buttocks against the floor, he notices it. A faint tremor. The tower is shaking. Faintly, not quite on the same scale as an earthquake, but he felt tremors nevertheless.
Clacking his teeth together and laughing, his eyes shining, Reid steps forward, sandals firmly treading against the floor. Seeing his unhesitating manner from the corner of his eyes, Subaru panickily follows in his trail.
Reid had said that he shouldn’t use him as a tool to dispel his own worries. It’s undeniable, there was no doubt in Subaru that Reid’s words had cut right into his frail heart. Subaru’s issues could not be solved by merely complaining about them to Reid. However, apart from that, Subaru now has a responsibility to get to the bottom of why Reid was wandering about the Fourth Floor, and what was happening in the tower in general.
Subaru:「Hey, wait up! Wait up! At the very least, tell me… what are you going to do…?」
With long strides, and a quick pace, Reid’s back was proudly advancing forward, and he did not deign to stop and answer Subaru’s question. His shoulder is in pain, there is bewilderment and confusion in his heart, he doesn’t have any assertiveness. Subaru is driven by his half-hearted obligation, he has no other choice but to chase with utmost effort after the man’s back who was striding forward.
And suddenly, the back of the man with the swaying long red hair abruptly ground to a halt and stopped.
Reid had stopped his feet as he reached the spiral staircase present in the atrium at the end of the corridor― It was the place where the amnesiac Natsuki Subaru had twice been pushed to his death.
As Subaru had been busy frantically chasing after Reid, he only noticed where he is standing at the last second. He holds his breath, frozen in place. However, his desire of wanting to break the deadlock in the feelings of hopelessness surpasses the feeling of avoiding this place that brought about his “death” and gives Subaru the strength to move forward.
―It wasn’t the place that had killed Subaru. It was evil that had killed Subaru. It isn’t the place that ought to cause him to harbour these feelings of avoidance, rather the main cause of this should be attributed to the culprit.
The beating of his heart, and the sound of his blood flowing through his veins feel frightfully loud. Ignoring that, Subaru wipes off a bead of sweat and pushed on forwards towards where Reid had stopped. He is standing at the edge of the drop, looking down below at the scene beneath his eyes. Wherever he may be, he is a man who really suits the posture of looking down on things. Whilst thinking such a useless thought in the depths of his mind, Subaru follows his gaze.
Following his gaze, he finally notices it. Having been lost in his noisy heartbeat, the sound that he hadn’t heard before was now audible to him.
―Right beneath him, at the bottom of the large staircase, on the fifth floor, having appeared out of nowhere, a repulsive herd of Witchbeasts of flame were filling up the hall, presenting to him a spectacle of absolute hell.
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Witnessing this display from beyond even his wildest imaginations, Subaru’s senses went completely white.
The cracking of the scorching crimson flame and the sound of countless wailing infants dwelt in the tower. Connecting those two factors led to a only one conclusion— that was, this terrifying Witchbeast, which wore a mane of flame around its neck, is only one part of a violent chaos of a horde.
Four legs and a torso akin to that of horses, an upper body with arms that are comparable to a human’s, and a gaping maw complete with fangs spreading through the human half. The dreadful heat’s flames were about to scorch and devour the oxygen within the tower.
There are about 20 witchbeasts here, more or less; he can see them rampaging about below him on the fifth floor. The dreadful heat reaches below towards Subaru and Reid, who are dozens and dozens of metres above. Flinching back, being taken by surprise by this heatwave, to the extent that he felt like his eyeballs dry up in an instant.
What is…really… what is going on.
Reid:「So there’s some creepy-ass Witchbeasts here huh. You, d’ ya know what they are?」
Subaru:「…I don’t know. It’s the first time for me too seeing these Witchbeasts, other than the Huge Earthworm……… ah!? 」
Next to Subaru who cannot keep his eyes off of the scene, stands Reid looking at the exact same spectacle, issuing that question to him. Subaru shakes his head at that query, his voice unintentionally trembling at the change in his view.
The Witchbeasts are rampaging about inside the tower, garbed in flame― looking like both horse and man, a more convenient term to call them by would be Centaurs. The Centaurs let out a piercing yell. Coming out from their warped maws is a violent yell, a shrill roar as if caused by sheer fury. And the reason for that was due to the lone knight who was fighting back, swinging his slender sword, weaving his way through the herd of Witchbeasts.
Holding his breath, an elegant sword slips through the gap between the herd of the Witchbeasts who carried swords of flame. Blood scatters, the arms and legs of a Witchbeast is severed, its delayed shriek reverberates around the surroundings. Whilst listening to this, the knight who risked being overwhelmed by the amount of centaurs springs forward and leaps towards the next beast, sword poised.
Reflexively, Subaru’s lips calls out his name, deeply moved at having found a survivor. He can’t tell which emotion is stronger within himself, the one of joy or grief. Nevertheless, immediately after his consciousness leapt he had done something unknown, there had been a situation like that once when he found himself with Meili’s corpse beside him. He can’t say for sure if the next time he meets with someone, whether they’ll end up as a corpse. There’s always such a fear in him. Therefore, it was good news that he had broke through this fear.
Putting aside the expression of surprise from above, beneath Subaru’s eyes, Julius wields his sword and continues to fight against the Witchbeasts. Although he is at a disadvantage in terms of numbers, it was a situation where the strength of one probably wasn’t equal to that of Julius. Although, if the Witchbeasts which freely emit flame think of swarming Julius, who had only a sword to fend off against them would mean his limits would be called upon.
―And if he burnt to death, then his『Book of The Dead』should appear in the library.
Reid:「Where are all th’ others? ―Well, I guess this is convenient.」
In that moment, a dark thought had floated across Subaru’s mind, desiring for the “death” of his companion, that idea fought in the depths of Subaru’s heart. Reid’s muttering as he gazes at the scene below jerks his thoughts back to reality. But, Reid wasn’t aware of Subaru’s internal conflict. Baring his fangs, he takes a step forward. Already on the verge of falling down to the depths below, he steps forward again.
Subaru:「H…Hey, what are you going to do?」
Reid:「You, ‘s your only ability askin’ questions? Stop relyin’ on me n’ try to pull some darin’ moves every once in a while. Talkin’ t’ ya’s completely no fun. Yer not a sexy lady for me t’ feast my eyes on, nor’re ya interestin’ t’ talk ta. You, with what intents’re ya tryin’ t’ talk t’ me with?」
Reid:「Lemme ask again, th’ hell’re ya goin’ t’ do? One of your comrades is just right there, trapped t’ face a bunch’ve disgustin’ witchbeasts, n’ yer still just standin’? T’ say that weak guys don’t have options’s just a pitiful excuse.」
Just like a carnivore making sport of a herbivore, so did Reid’s philosophy echo the right of the strong. This philosophy’s incompatibility with Subaru only serve to reinforce its veracity; that was the sheer disparity between the strong and the weak.
Without neither a word nor glance to Subaru, Reid at last stepped into motion, leaning forward slightly. There had been no chance to stop him. Like this, Reid fell forward, weightless, tracing the path that Subaru had followed to his death.
Straight, straight, straight down Reid fell. Back then, Natsuki Subaru’s consciousness had left him before he had crashed into the ground, and he hadn’t been able to even see the moment which had actually caused his “death”.
That red-haired swordsman, Reid dropped down in the same way, falling, falling―
Its back being struck by sandals falling from such great heights, the centaur’s equine body is crushed. Its limbs, unable to bear that impact, shatter. It’s unbelievable how the Witchbeast’s huge body was crushed, blood the color of ink spraying out, staining the floor of the fifth floor.
Completing this scene is, falling from a height that would have been fatal to Subaru, energetically stomping on the remains of the Witchbeast, the violence of Reid Astrea.
The Witchbeasts, which from their looks, likely did not possess intelligence, ceased their movements. Noticing the chaotic appearance of this red-haired man, their baby-like wails stop. Looking closely revealed that these headless Witchbeasts were using their non-visual senses to gauge their opponent; this is what Subaru surmises.
Reid’s abnormality is clear to them, using just their organs remaining that were devoid of sight. That observation is equally apparent to the knight, with all five senses intact, who had been engaged in a vigorous battle with these creatures.
Julius:「You… why are you… here…」
Reid:「Why, why, why. ‘S there anythin’ else ya’ll can ask at all? What’s th’ secret to bein’ popular with woman, what’s the best kinda alcohol, how’d ya get t’ be so strong, for instance?」
Standing in front of Julius, whose eyes are wide open in sheer shock, Reid brushes away the pieces of meat on the soles of his sandals. He turns his hand to another Centaur standing beside him. As if it were a joke, in his hand, he held a thin, wooden stick― he could see that he was holding a chopstick.
Reid:「My secret t’ being popular with women’s my face. Th’ best kinda alcohol’s『Granhiert』brandy. —N’ ‘s fer how I’m the strongest in the world? ‘S simply because I’m me.」
Pausing for a moment after he finished speaking, Reid lightly began moving the chopsticks at his fingertips. In the next moment, the frozen centaur’s body exploded in a shower of blood. Slow to detect the collapse of its body, the Witchbeast finally released the cries of its throes of 『Death』.
Those screams, reminiscent of the cries of a baby, clinging desperately to this world, are indeed the worst in taste. However, a smile remains firmly on the face of the man who had caused all this. He raises his unbloodied weapons, his chopsticks, once more; this time not towards the Witchbeasts, but Julius.
Then, looking at the yellow irises of the faraway Julius, who seems to dread those chopsticks far beyond what he appears to, Reid bares his fangs.
Reid:「Right, let’s get the rest of the『Trial』goin’. Try ‘n wrench ’em away before I get bored with this, ya prick.」
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