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Translated 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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[Forgive me for not providing assistance at this critical moment. I can only reflect on how I was lacking.]
Receiving the gazes of those present inside, Reinhardt apologized.
At the sight of the Sword Saint with bowed head, everyone grew silent for a moment.
Speaking out harshly in response to his apology would be a simple matter. But, words of blame were easier to form than ones which conveyed true intent.
In truth, that all this time they were in dire need of his power, and Reinhardt had been missing with his status unknown had not changed.
At the moment City Hall was being retaken, if that same strength had been there, it was unthinkable.
So even simply negative words, did not easily emerge from anyone’s lips.
[Really, you idiot. Because you weren’t here, how hard do you think it was for us?]
Approaching that crimson hero, Subaru called out while shoving his chest.
As that fist lightly touched him, Reinhardt, with an attitude like he could not justify himself to Subaru turned his gaze away. At that scolded and crestfallen appearance unbefitting of him, Subaru snorted.
[You know, if you’re coming anyway, just show up 15 minutes earlier! Then I wouldn’t have to give a speech not fitting my character at all. That’s supposed to be your job.]
[Sorry….. However, it was a great speech fitting of you. Though many things are required of me, giving courage-rousing broadcasts of that extent is not something I could do. You were the right choice.]
[Between me and you, the required role for that broadcast is a little different, I think.]
At that bitterly smiling Reinhardt’s chest, Subaru shoved once again. And, he also poked the tip of that downcast hero’s nose with a finger.
[Since you came it’s like a hundred guys did, no, a thousand. If it’s just that, I can expect that much right? I’m counting on it?]
It was power that rivaled the force of the tides. Subaru’s hundredfold, even thousandfold evaluation was laughable.
At Subaru’s expectation-filled question, Reinhardt’s blue eyes blinked. But that hesitation immediately faded, and Reinhardt’s lips formed into a smile.
[Aah, count on me. If you would expect that much of me, I will comply.]
[That somehow-making-women-happy-type kind of talk, can you not stop that? What, enough…… And with that, if everyone now has something they want to say, please tell us.]
Seeing that initial discomfort disappear from Reinhardt’s face as he laughed, Subaru turned and looked back. Gazing over at those that until then had not said anything, he indicated Reinhardt.
[At these times, the side that gets special treatment suffers much more. Besides, a chance to scold this sword saint that wants to be scolded doesn’t happen often. So as much as you want to, do it, do it.]
[After confessing what’s on our minds, let’s talk.――About how to help everyone.]
Opening his heart, Subaru spoke like that.
At that attitude, the mood was of one holding their breath.
Otto and Garfiel, only those two were used to Subaru’s bravado and were smiling at that.
Anyway, having one or two fellows there see through to his true intentions was just right.
They did not have to hold in their thoughts, because it was right after he had made that kind of speech.
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After that, Reinhardt’s personal talking to (details omitted) was held, and again talk of how to recapture the city started up again.
Even saying that, other than Reinhardt and Otto’s thoughts agreeing, there was no clear improvement. The number of enemies that they could not avoid attacking, and the capture strategy of hitting all control towers simultaneously did not change.
[But in the midst of this chaos, where was Reinhardt and what was he up to?]
As they all sat around in a circle talking, Subaru moved to start with that question.
Reinhardt’s expression clouded at his words. Today, his face often grew like that.
[You don’t have Felt with you, and there’s a lot of things I want to hear about. Ah, something like scolding you, this isn’t like that? On that matter, with the words from just before, I am treating it like nothing happened.]
[What Natsuki-kun was sayin’, well, ‘s a part that bothers me too. No way the『Sword Saint』 got scared and was hidin’, I wasn’t thinking anything like that. But I am wantin’ to hear a convincing reason.]
At Subaru’s question, Anastasia joined in. Looking carefully at Anastasia’s attitude, it definitely seemed like she had been receiving reports from Julius.
Right before the turmoil began, Reinhardt and Felt were contacting Heinkel together, she said.
After that question from her, Reinhardt’s expression clouding over seemed to be proof of that assertion.
Wilhelm too, but when it came to Heinkel the Astreas’ explanations were very vague. Saying that, their approach was like—,
[Like someone stuck inside for ten years, and now is a pro-NEET child that’s treated as a tumor by the aged parents…..]
[Natsuki-san is jumping to weird delusions so I’m sorry, but what will you do? If it is hard for Reinhardt-san to say, then I can speak, but.]
While Subaru recalled flashes of a evening news special on Hikkikomori, Otto chimed in. His worried gaze was directed at Reinhardt, and his tone held an apologetic sort of mood.
[And you came together with Reinhardt, right, but could you have been with him during the turmoil too?]
[No, there was nothing like that? I joined up with Reinhardt-san at the last moment….. However, I have mostly figured out the situation.]
[Thank you, Otto. But this is a problem of my House. Truly, it is a difficult topic to discuss, but it would be for the best to speak of it myself.]
At Otto’s consideration, Reinhardt bowed his head and refused his offer.
He gazed ahead, and drew his posture straight a moment later.
[Firstly, though I have said it many times, let me apologize once more. While being in a position that should assist from the very beginning, for many hours I could not join together to help with the situation. I deeply apologize, and take this matter seriously.]
[……On that point our view is as we said just now. We cannot forgive everything like there was no problem. However, you are needed in the upcoming battle. If you seek to repent, then perform well in the fights to come.]
[I will do that, Julius….When the Witch Cult first broadcast, Felt-sama and I were at the 2nd Street corner being called upon. The one summoning us was Vice-Captain Heinkel.]
Reinhardt, who had started speaking, called Heinkel “Vice-Captain” in a stiff voice.
It was widely known that they were father and son. Even with that, calling his father by title, it was plenty to bring about the realization that the relationship between the two was not just a simple father-son relationship.
[After that fighting and separation from before, Felt obeyed a summons from him?]
[Felt-sama too, in her heart would have wanted to refuse. However, the talk was regarding a matter under the authority of Astrea’s Lord, so the option of rejection did not exist. What request would be made was unknown to us……Felt-sama accompanying me, we headed towards the appointed place.]
[How did the talk there become decided……]
[My apologies, but as that matter is directly related to and regarding the Royal Selection. I would appreciate being allowed not to elaborate. It is enough to say, the talk did not go smoothly.]
Reinhardt tone of voice was falling, and it was easy to figure out the talk had gone poorly.
Even if it wasn’t like that, Felt lacked experience dealing with negative emotions.
Taking Heinkel’s despicable nature into account, it was not difficult to imagine how the talk would have played out.
In the midst of such conversation–,
[Then, the Witch Cult’s first broadcast happened. While we could hardly believe our ears, it was clear we needed to move immediately. If there was a truly dire situation. it was my intention to head out right away. The other retainers, they also had a method to call for me if needed prepared beforehand.]
That method was, to launch magic into the sky at any time. It would be the signal.
When Sirius appeared, if Latius fired off the signal Reinhardt always ran to the scene within 30 seconds. What he said was true.
However, Reinhardt had heard the Witch Cult’s so-called broadcast and its clear malice yet still did not move. He did not come running to the scene, and not just that, for several hours later he had kept silent.
That was so.. Why the hell?
[The broadcast, that it claimed to be sent from City Hall, you would have known that too. At that point, you would have had the option to run to City Hall. …..Then why, didn’t you come?]
It was not that he was scolding him. That was not the intent, but his voice was hard as he pressed for answers.
There were more than a few things that occurred to him. If before that hard-fought City Hall recapture, Reinhardt’s presence had arrived there.—Even now, Crusch who was fighting her suffering would not have been harmed. It might even have ended without Subaru’s right leg suffering its strange accident.
Though it was not intentional, the gazes growing harsh here were not just Subaru’s.
Receiving the stares of everyone in the room, Reinhardt, who had until then been speaking fluently closed his mouth, and lowered his gaze once again.
With long lashes and shining eyes, in front of that he was hesitant to speak any words.
Even so, after those few conflicted seconds slowly passed, the hero’s stopped words started again.
[――Vice-Captain Heinkel had, taken Felt-sama as a hostage.]
[That is my, irreversible failure. Felt-sama was grabbed, and a sword was held against her neck to stop my movements. And so, I could not act.]
Speaking those words, Subaru clearly understood why Reinhardt had struggled with it so much.
The mistress he should give his all for, by none other than his father’s hands had been taken captive.
Humiliated and shamed, just how much had Reinhardt mentally blamed himself?
[…..Che, what’s that? That, Vice-Captain, is he a pawn of the Witch Cult or something?]
Receiving a shocking confession, Subaru while considering Reinhardt’s feelings was muttering to himself. Was that, a truth too cruel. The Witch Cult was hidden here and there, so who could know who was a cultist, that he had heard. But to appear among family like that was something he did not even want to think about. Besides Petelgeuse, after seeing the reality of the other Sin Archbishops, he now thought that even more strongly. Because the Witch Cultists were all, the lowest of the low, mere human trash.
[――If it was like that, how would I react. My feelings, how might they be..]
However, at Subaru’s offered conclusion—Of those present, about half seemed convinced, and Reinhardt with a somewhere catching voice responded.
That attitude of his, Subaru wondered at it. However, the other half, made up of Anastasia, Julius, and Otto, were making expressions that said they had come to another conclusion.
[The Vice-Captain, is not a member of the Witch Cult. …..At least in his remarks after seizing Felt-sama, I saw nothing that suggested that.]
[Then what is it, is he some kind of idiot? No, even if he isn’t stupid it is fine…… Then, why? Why take Felt hostage? Doing something like that, what point–]
Is there, Subaru was about to say when he realized.
The depressed look on Reinhardt’s face and the pitying one on Otto. Seeing those, the conclusion he drew almost made him want to laugh.
He could not smile at that. There was no way to save it. If you say that, Heinkel’s actions,
[It wasn’t, just because he wanted to keep you there?]
[From the Witch Cult broadcast, he realized the city was dangerous……So, to quickly get himself safe and protected, he just want to dearly hold onto the strongest guy there?]
[……The Vice-Captain was saying.. Your precious mistress and father are both here. Will you abandon them to save some bastards whose faces you don’t even know?]
[Your own father spouted that bullshit!]
Subaru struck the floor with his fist.
All day today, in the repeating morning he had met this anger face-to-face. But no way, he had never imagined feeling this furious about an opponent completely unrelated to the Witch Cult.
[I had no words to reply with. Of course, Felt-sama was saying it was all a bluff. Since she would be fine, go rescue the others.――But remaining there even then, was my decision. The blame indeed lies with myself.]
[How does it go there! Whose fault it is, it’s obvious to everyone here who that is!]
[Even so, the choice was mine.]
At the shouting Subaru, Reinhardt would not concede his share of the blame.
That obstinate Reinhardt, he probably wouldn’t bend on that no matter what anyone said. Subaru furiously held his tongue, and forced his violent feelings to calm down.
[Nevertheless, in that way I became trapped in a stalemate. What happened after is nothing remarkable. Even after further broadcasts I was left unable to act……I merely received severe scoldings from Felt-sama.]
[But she’s not with you, is Felt-chan doin’ alright?]
Anastasia asked the wryly smiling Reinhardt.
That girl who was feeling up her shawl while making a hard-to-read blank look, showed concern for Felt’s state as she had not joined them.
[Bein’ held hostage like that for hours would be quite tiring mentally. Now that Reinhardt-kun is here like this doin’ this, I’m thinkin’ the issue has probably been all sorted out though.]
[Yes, that is the case. Felt-sama is now joined with her retainers at a shelter. The Vice-Captain has been arrested and Felt-sama is watching over him.]
[Arrested……He was caught, huh.]
[That much I happily accepted. But without Otto’s cooperation, even that could hardly have been achieved, I think.]
[Otto’s name shows up here, huh.]
At the Otto who had not shown signs of appearing until now, Subaru furrowed his brows. Otto was, now at his turn lightly clearing his throat to call for attention.
[The matter was like that. Even saying so, how I arrived at that scene was the result of coinciding chance and coincidence. Simply since I was aware of the relationship between the three, by happening upon the scene I could roughly come to understand the situation.]
The Astreas’ family problems and the situation with Felt’s royal candidacy.
Knowing that much already, he had spotted Heinkel holding Reinhardt in place with Felt as a hostage. Even if your brain had bad circulation, you could still figure out what the situation was with that.
[I, too, understood that being unable to borrow Reinhardt’s power in the fight against the Witch Cult was the worst-case scenario. At the same time I grew pale, and thought of how I could help.]
[And so Otto somehow drew attention to himself, and somehow Felt was freed. That was how Reinhardt was able to move, and now he managed to reach us……Like that, is that right?]
[Luckily, Natsuki-san’s big speech happened too, so the meetup point was decided without any worry. It would have been nice if we could have moved a little faster, but I had much going on as well.]
Though it was short, at Otto’s contribution Reinhardt nodded as well.
Again, while people are not looking secretly acting well, it is the shadowy savior Otto.
[But still, just how has things with Otto-san been up to now? Honestly walking around the city with Otto-san’s strength, it’s fine to see that as acting suicidal.]
[About that, there were a lot of twists and turns……No, I will talk about it.]
Clearing his throat, Otto indicated the outside of the City Hall building.
[As scheduled for the morning, I left for the Muse Company alone. To request of Kiritaka-san the resuming of negotiations. That side had also cooled their head after one night passed, and it seemed a promise of further negotiations could be obtained without much issue……]
[It seemed, but?]
At the moment he stopped talking and paused, the Witch Cult would have started their broadcast, Subaru guessed.
However, Otto resumed speaking while shaking his head.
[At the location of the Muse Company, the 3rd Street plaza, the Witch Cult……A Sin Archbishop made an appearance. That figure created an uproar, so the Witch Cult attack was discovered.]
[An Archbishop……! Before the broadcast?]
[Yes. Indeed, before the broadcast.]
Otto confirmed for the surprised Subaru, who was leaning forward.
But, if you thought about it, that was not impossible. If one were to speak of Sin Archbishops acting before the broadcast, Sirius and Regulus were included too.
Other than Capella who was then attacking City Hall, those Archbishops with free time in Pristella would have been doing something, the likelihood was high–,
At the Subaru whose tone of voice had lowered, Otto’s gaze had a grim light.
That worried attitude of his, it confirmed the thoughts appearing in Subaru’s imagination.
Sirius and Regulus were both encountering Subaru at the time and so could not be there. Capella too would have been participating in the attack on City Hall.
Saying that, the Archbishop appearing before Otto could only be one.
[The one you met by chance, could it be the Archbishop of『Gluttony』?]
[……Yes. He was claiming to be such. There is no specific reason to lie about it, so I think it is the truth. At the plaza, introducing himself as the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, he still appeared to be a child.]
Otto’s testimony, matched up with what Subaru had seen of Roy Alphard.
The selection standard for Archbishops, it was not that he wanted to know anything about that, but『Gluttony』was at least outwardly a child. A rag-draped, dirty looking child. In words as well as attitude he seemed just like a kid.
[At first, unsure if it was an abandoned child someone called them while drawing closer. Since he was standing guard near the Muse Company, I think it was one of the『White Dragon’s Scales』. That person was, the first to succumb to『Gluttony』. Literally, I became unable to move.]
[Just like that, a person is simply done in, even if it seemed unreal you could not help but believe it. Immediately, more『White Dragon’s Scales』all moved to surround him, but it did not come to a happy end.]
With a face growing blue, Otto quietly spoke of that wrenched spectacle.
『Gluttony』, as if he was dancing, simply cut through the mercenaries in order. What was even scarier was, the keen nose of『Gluttony』—It was a sense of smell which never lost track of his prey.
[Because it was that situation, without worrying about who was first, they all tried to run away. However, that guy did not allow that. What he did, I in truth do not know. But even faraway people definitely had attacks from『Gluttony』reach them. Even inside buildings, it was the same.]
[What, was he after?]
After absentmindedly asking, Subaru realized it was a meaningless question.
The acts of the Witch Cult, the motives of those guys had nothing like certainty. Actually, Otto turned his head instead of replying.
[Let’s see, what could it have been.. But anyway, it became a dire situation. Even those trying to flee from that spot, the moment their back was shown they might be attacked. There were few there but it was a complete dead end……. If Kiritaka-san was not there, I think I too could not have made it here.]
[Kiritika, how did he do that?]
[To begin with, it seems he was a careful person. In the president’s office of the Muse Company, there was an underground concealed passage in the building connected to the channel. I escaped from out there using a small boat. While running away, I saw Kiritaka-san’s back being cut open.]
[From the 3rd street, I disorderly ran away is what I am saying. After that, the Witch Cult broadcast happened and it became impossible to walk around in the city carelessly, nevertheless I cautiously moved around the area. Then that happened, and we barely managed to meet, the scene described just before.]
In other words, by “the scene” he means the one where he found Reinhardt stuck.
As the story linked up that far, at the same moment Subaru understood that Otto had gone through suffering, and had again by any means managed to survive.
But, in what was said just now, weighing on his thoughts,
[Why did Kiritika go that far? If it was like you said, he even sacrificed his own body to aid in Otto’s escape. That was how it sounded like to me.]
[……Yes, indeed. Kiritika-san, by sacrificing himself let me escape. At the end, him being slashed, was because he pushed me to the floor and covered me with his body.]
[Why go so far……]
Inside Subaru, his mental picture of Kiritika was almost nonexistent. Even the slight image he had was, of his face going red, him screaming, throwing the magic stones while shaking, it was that situation only. Of course, that this was all there was to the man was not what he had assumed.
But to sacrifice his body trying to save a stranger. That level of strength, in the end he had not seen in him.
[Since I was a customer invited to his shop, he might have held something like a trader’s pride. But definitely, it would seem he had a better reason for himself as well. One a little, easier to understand.]
[Easier to understand, you say]
[Did you not realize? It’s Natsuki-san.]
To the confused Subaru, Otto firmly asserted as he gave that reply.
When his name appeared abruptly, Subaru was shaken.
At that Subaru’s reaction, Otto closed his eyes for a while,
[Looking on the existence known as the Archbishop of Sin, and seeing his own subordinates fall, Kiritika-san must have had something faint left in his inner thoughts. Just, he must have held onto some sense of duty, I think. Then the one that became his hope was, you, Natsuki-san.]
[After the happenings of the day before, Kiritaka-san already knew about Natsuki-san remaining here. And definitely about your achievement of vanquishing『Sloth』as well. If so, then naturally that would flow into hope. Putting saving me first over all else, it must be because he expected me to join with Natsuki-san as a partner.]
Otto’s explanation fit perfectly, and it slammed into Subaru’s chest with a thud.
But that nevertheless, was an unreasonable story.
With his head, he knew. To go on, to carry that, it was true, he had decided that already.
But, is it that again. Was everyone expecting that from Subaru?
Just a small, hopeless, and useless person, were they really trusting the fate of the city to someone like that?
[Natsuki-san, please do not misunderstand?]
Unknowingly forming a cynical smile, Subaru was pulled back by a voice.
Otto looked straight ahead, as if gazing into Subaru. He spoke to that stiffening Subaru’s expression while shrugging,
[Kiritaka-san too, in his head would have thought of various angles, regarding his role and responsibility to the city. That Natsuki-san too is hesitating about bearing the fate of the city, I am aware. But, definitely, what Kiritaka-san entrusted Natsuki-san with is a slightly simpler matter.]
[It is obvious. Somewhere in this city is, the woman Kiritika-san loves. Before wishing for the safety of the city, what he would have hoped for most from Natsuki-san, was for his loved one to be safe.]
[Because when he pushed me onto the floor, that is what he said.]
In short, Otto wanted to tell Subaru, you struggle too much.
Having taken up the fate of the city just because he felt like it and now worried about that, watching that Subaru now struggling under that weight, he could not help but speak those words.
And that over everything else, stabbed at the tough-acting Subaru’s heart strongly.
His face growing hot, Subaru felt ashamed of himself.
What is this city’s fate, what is all this of hopes and expectations, how ridiculously stupid.
The city, which would find itself in disaster if it was not lifted up and saved, that was just what he was seeing.
A something, which if Subaru failed to protect then it wouldn’t do, it was not like those outwardly obvious and hard words. Making up the city was a person, a single person. Just one, and then another.. It was those lives that mattered.
And each of those lives in turn had another precious to them, and it was just a matter of saving those connections.
[To think of it not as bearing a single large entity, but instead as lifting many small parts of the whole on your back, does that ease your feelings a bit?]
Otto’s assistant power was just too high, Subaru really could only give into to him.
That Subaru’s face which had only been lowered before turned upwards, and at that result Otto seemed satisfied.
[What’s that, isn’t it a nice relationship? Lookin’ at it even makes me a little jealous.]
Sensing a pause in their chat, Anastasia threw out a joke like that. Sitting around, having almost gazed face-to-face as they talked, Subaru and Otto there reflected on themselves.
And then gazing again at all of them, Anastasia tilted her head.
[Even sayin’ so, based on what you said……The Muse Company is finished..]
[We cannot know for sure, that is the truth. I only saw up to Kiritaka-san being slashed, but whether that wound was life-threatening..]
[That『Gluttony』’s motives, is thinking about it a waste of time? To me, no matter what, the idea that he caused that disturbance for no reason is unthinkable.]
The one who had spoken was Julius, making a disgusted face.
That assertive tone of voice stuck in one’s mind.
[Don’t just get weird like that. Is there, some piece of evidence for that?]
[……No, that there is some clear basis for it, I cannot claim. It is merely my impression from crossing swords with him at City Hall. That one, to write him off merely as a simple hedonist is mistaken, I believe.]
In that, Subaru was also in agreement. He was not simply a hedonist, he was a malicious hedonist.
But that impression, was it not a different answer than what Julius was assuming..
[According to the broadcast, wasn’t『Gluttony』’s request about an artificial spirit? Maybe, there is a chance he had gone to find it?]
[If it is indeed a possibility. However, the more pressing question is, first, should we not suspect whether the being known as an『Artificial Spirit』even exists? Truly, is there even such a thing?]
While Subaru was keeping his mouth shut, Reinhardt joined in.
His question, many others that had heard the broadcast’s demands must have had as well.
The answer to it, in this place only Subaru and Anastasia knew.
Without meaning to, Subaru peeked at Anastasia’s face, but her expression was unchanged, as expected of her experience. She had no intention of being discovered, is that what she was saying?
[――Sorry, just one thing.]
In front of Subaru, who was wavering in his judgement, Otto was again requesting attention.
That guy, with a touch of anxiety held in his face, let out a sigh mixed with resignation.
[On the matter of the artificial spirit, it is also difficult for me to know. But regarding another request, about the『Book of Wisdom』from the contents of 『Wrath』’s.]
Cutting off his words there, after a moment of hesitation Otto spoke.
Otto: [I’m sorry. ――The one who brought it to the city was me.]