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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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Dangerously with the intent of making his body lose support and fall down the spiral staircase, the girl– Meili, looked on in surprise.
Closing his big round eyes, Subaru could not help but complain at this situation, a turn of events he had predicted but doubted halfway through.
He was glad that by using『Return by Death』, he was able to eventually prevent this tragedy from happening. This was also the proof that this young girl had been the one to push Subaru’s back twice in the past, in the different timelines.
To think that the criminal who had pushed Subaru from a height and into his doom– who had been killed by the very hands of 『Natsuki Subaru』 previously, was Meili Potroute.
Meili:「……Responsibility for killing me, huh, there you go again saying strangeeeee things, onii-san.」
At that moment, as Meili widened her eyes and loosened her lips in concern, Subaru’s arm immediately turned and his finger traced his torso, he continued to smile.
She took a step backwards and faced Subaru, who was standing at a distance from the spiral staircase.
Meili:「Perhaps your mind, along with memories, lost several other th~ings. This misunderstanding can happen only if that happened.」
Meili:「Yes, don’t you think s~o? –Me trying to kill onii-san, is a te~rrible misunderstanding.」
Inching backwards, Meili said so with a smile. Witnessing her truly dignified approach, this was something even Subaru had not expected.
He had never thought that he would be able to avoid this mishap. But if the one he was struggling against was「Myself」– no, Meili, then he might just manage to convince her.
She acts quietly, adamantly, that too in a negative way.
Choosing the most seemingly optimal solution in the moment was her way of living.
Frankly, that was precisely a『Beast’s』 way of living.
Meili:「There is no need to be suspicious. If I really wanted to kill onii-san, wouldn’t the sand dunes have had been better for that rather than this tower? Ah, onii-san doesn’t remember all that, so you may not kno~w.」
Subaru:「I guess so. It’s so weird. If you wanted to kill us from the beginning, you had gotten countless chances to do so. But, you didn’t do that.」
Meili:「Don’t you agre~e? Then…..」
Subaru:「But, the matter of your motivation to kill me sprouting and growing since this morning is a totally separate issue. Am I correct to say that it is a chain reaction due to what happened last night?」
As Subaru mentioned that, Meili’s facial expression changed. She sealed her lips, erased her smile, and then took a deep sigh.
And, she shrugged her shoulders in a negative attitude, something that did not match her appearance.
Meili:「Perhaps, I have been trapped into this awkward situation, I suppo~se?」
Subaru:「What do you mean by『Awkward Situation』?」
Meili:「Didn’t you try tha~t? To lie about your memory loss, and see whether I would push off onii-san…… To throw aside any disturbances you may have by your side. To see how useful I was in this tower?…… The perfect time and chance, to do so…」
The girl, who tried to clarify the authenticity of the situation, is saddened by at her disadvantageous position.
Certainly, up to this point, there had been no malice whatsoever on her part, but it is also true that Subaru knows how Meili will act. Even if she denies it, the evidence against Meili will not change.
However, there are some things that can be said clearly. They are–,
Meili:「Well, what exactly should I d~o? Since it’s already this far, should I try resisting and running away from here? Especially when that bad animal-chan isn’t here right now, even I can get away from onii-san by myse~lf」
Subaru:「Don’t get me wrong, Meili. My memory loss isn’t a lie for deceiving you. It’s true, that’s why I’m serious, like I should be」
Meili:「That’s that, I actually did doubt whether you were lying or not b~ut…… In the end, what is it that onii-san wants to do? Do you think I believe it just because I’m not retaliating in respo~nse?」
Saying that, with her tongue out, the girl puts her hand on her slender neck.
At that moment, Subaru’s heartbeat grew stronger and faster. However, ironically enough, it was a mere metaphor for killing, not something as ridiculous as Meili remembering her own death.
Thinking that, the young female assassin signified that she could do something serious to Subaru’s heart.
That’s why Subaru did not intend to let her act on that thought, but–,
Meili:「Actually, I really don’t recommend using ways of killing that take a lo~ng time. I do have methods that don’t require much suffering, but onii-san is pretty bad at concealing stuff…..」
Subaru:「–I, don’t intend you to kill or hurt you. After this, from tomorrow onwards too, I intend to treat you the same way as I have done till now.」
Meili once again changed her expression, hearing Subaru’s response.
However, it was different from the change that had come across her when she had opted for the utmost optimal solution for the immediate situation. Meili’s expression was filled with obvious dismay, as she looked at Subaru with eyes that could not comprehend what he was saying.
At that gaze, Subaru nodded.
Subaru:「Fortunately, your crime was prevented in advance, and so if we were to keep it a secret, it’ll all be fine. Even if you only think of killing me through some different method, all I’ll have to do is prevent that too. Although, all this undeniably leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Really bad」
Meili:「Ah…… Wh-What are you…..」
Subaru:「But at least, did you get it this time? Doing something to me, for you, is an incredibly huge risk. If you’re going to say「But still」, then, you know, the very least, let’s talk properly. If you’re still dissatisfied, I’ll hear as much as I…..」
Meili:「Dissatisfied? Dissatisfied you say…..」
Suddenly, Meili murmured with a quiet and shivering voice.
After that, she tightly sealed her lips,
Meili:「What’s dissatisfying is this situati~on! I can’t believe it!」
Subaru was saying all this in order to persuade her into making a moderate decision. Following that, Meili shouted, with her eyes looking at Subaru as if she were looking at something unbelievable.
Meili:「Can’t believe it, can’t believe it, I can’t beli~eve it…..」
Saying this, her hand busily toyed with her braid.
Subaru could see that she had gotten confused about her own mental self-defence and that it was a sign– a sign of dependence on someone who had worn the same hairstyle.
Meili:「Onii-san has no idea what I had tried to do right no~w! If that’s not it then, it’s str~ange. If that’s not it then…..」
With words filled with frustration, Meili had an unnatural desperate attitude.
This was Subaru’s first time seeing Meili so disturbed– no, rather he had first seen her like this in her『Book of The Dead』.
After what she had done last night, encountering Subaru in『Taygeta』, and after having a conversation with『Natsuki Subaru』, she had decided to kill the amnesiac Natsuki Subaru.
However, this plan of murder, carried out in such a hurry, would have had been a double-edged sword for her too.
Although Subaru would have been thrown down into death, ignorant, how did she plan to escape the allegations of murder that could be placed upon her after Subaru’s death?
It was probably possible to cover it up as just an accident– or probably not.
Whether Emilia or Beatrice or Ram and the others, by now, Subaru knew that they would not let his『Death』slide by without even trying to uncover the truth behind it.
In that case, it was inevitable that Meili’s crime would be revealed.
Ram, Julius, or Echidna were much smarter than Subaru, and they would be able to see the truth behind the death at once. It was unimaginable to think that Meili had never taken that into her consideration.
That’s why, this is–,
Subaru:「This is, just a desperate urge of yours. You are, just in a habit of murder. You, don’t even consider other factors for solving issues. That, isn’t your fault.」
Meili:「–hk! Don’t talk like you understa~nd! What does onii-san…… what do you—! What do you know about me!?」
Meili, who had been grinding her teeth, stiffened as if she had been doused in cold water.
Looking straight at Meili, Subaru assertively declared that,
Subaru:「Meili. I know about you. I know it may sound pretty creepy but, I may even know more about you than the only other two people in this world that know about you, you know?」
Meili’s fear increases at Subaru’s shrug.
Thinking that it was completely obvious, however, Subaru was at the same time looking for a way to convey that undeniable truth– he was struggling with the twisted「self-love」 in the back of his chest.
I will remember,「My」 neverending temptation.
A whispering voice seemed to appear right before Natsuki Subaru took any action, repeatedly tempting Subaru to solve his problems through murder, the worst action packed with cowardice.
By reading her「Book of the Dead」, the ghost of the dead Meili Potroute and its temptations, had come back to haunt Natsuki Subaru–,
Subaru:「–No, that’s not it」
Shaking his head, Subaru then criticises what the girl he had killed had done.
Over all this time, something had happened. Looking at the confusion and frustration of the girl in front. Above all, recalling what Subaru had seen about Meili in her『Book of The Dead』.
Considering what Meili had suffered, it could never be said that she became simply murderous.
This is not the same Meili as the one in her『Book of The Dead』
That was something Subaru’s soft heart was somewhat sure about.
After all, at that evidence, the girl with that voice did not show herself to Subaru.
If we were to say it terribly straightforwardly and without flinching, Subaru had lived through the life of Meili by the『Book of The Dead』. That was her mindset in normal daily life– create an impression, establishing a way of action, but she never thought of ending someone’s life so unfairly and unreasonably.
In those days, there was an unquestionable emptiness in Meili’s heart, and her experiences increased the「fear」 inside her, but there was one thing that glowed within her.
The name of that is–,
Subaru:「That, is the reason why you tried to kill me, yes?」
At that question, Meili’s facial expression distorted with bitterness.
That was the anger of getting something sensitive that should never be touched getting poked– no, getting trampled upon.
However, Subaru still dared to do so. Because.
Subaru:「When entering someone’s house, remove your shoes to come down and be in direct contact with the soil and rise into people’s hearts, is the rule of the Natsuki household.」
As a member of that, Subaru climbs into the heart of the young assassin.
This was something that was forcing itself into her heart–.
A black murderer, whom Subaru did not know, but was familiar with.
Just thinking about her gave rise to feelings in the heart, like a desire of relief, longing, sadness and rage, and, emptiness– the feelings that Meili felt for her were extremely complicated, yet, extremely simple.
–Meili, longed for Elsa, loved her, and admired her.
That’s why, having her been stolen away gave rise to despair, suffering, hatred, wrath, murderous intent and disappointment.
All the time when she had accompanied Subaru and the others in their journey, it had all been for revenge– could not be said for her unskilled self.
In fact, it could be said that Meili was very clumsy.
A despairing young girl who was ignorant about her own emotions, enough to not know about the depth of the scar in her heart.
–Making up her own environment, and a professional assassin, that’s who Meili Potroute was.
Subaru:「Did you want to take, revenge?」
Meili:「…… I don’t kno~w」
Subaru:「Even so, Elsa was…..」
Meili:「I have no such wish. I know that….」
Meili shakes her head twice at Subaru’s question.
Subaru understands Meili’s feelings. And, Meili was also well-aware of where Subaru’s words were coming from.
In this situation, Subaru and Meili stood equal to each other.
That’s why, filled with sadness and stuck in a dark chamber without knowing the correct answer, all she could do to express her emotions was to act like the assassin she is and ”murder”.
At the same time, the hatred that Meili held while being trapped in that world, left only that option for her.
Despite all this, Meili’s desperation for Elsa did not end.
Elsa, for Meili, may have had been a light but, that light was too bright for ordinary people to follow.
Subaru:「I know, that you are holding back your feelings. But, the answer you’re looking for perhaps, cannot be found this way. That’s why.」
Subaru:「Leave this place to me. I won’t make things worse. At the very least, I’ll work hard to make things not become worse. If you too think that」
Meili:「……I ca~n’t, trust it. Anything that, comes out of onii-san’s mouth」
No matter how forcefully Subaru persuaded, Meili, who was hiding her face, did not nod even slightly.
That was obvious. Because, that meant finding a way of action that did not exist in her way of life.
On the other hand, there was Natsuki Subaru, who will propose and preach whatever he wants without flinching even the slightest.
On top of that, if a senior ever invited him to a place with full preparation and bashed him, even Subaru would be surprised by how much it would sting.
Henceforth, since he had an idea that she would say this, he had well prepared other measures.
Subaru:「So what comes of my mouth cannot be believed, I will reflect on that. Thanks, until yesterday I was already pretty bad with promises. That’s why.」
Subaru:「Not a promise between you and me, let’s make a promise between you and us.」
When Subaru says that, Meili frowns, unaware of his intentions.
However, the answer to her doubts became clear quickly afterwards.
???:「–Mm, it’s fine. I was also carefully listening, as the witness of the promise.」
Hearing that voice, Meili’s shoulders shiver, but she calms herself. What appeared in front of her next was an outstanding beauty, whose magnificence could not be doubted—.
At her appearance, Meili’s eyes widen, and her lips tremble.
Meili:「Onee-san….. you, heard it?」
???:「Subaru told me, to stay here and see…… to stop Meili if she was doing something dangerous, that’s what he said.」
Saying that, stepping onto the place where both of them stood, with fluttering hair that was reminiscent of the glitter of moonlight and standing as a figure of a seemingly mythical beauty, was Emilia.
Hearing Emilia’s words, Meili rotated her neck in astonishment.
Meili:「If I, did something dangerous……? Not, onii-san……?」
Emilia:「Yeah, if Meili did something dangerous. Well, are you fine now, Subaru?」
Subaru:「–. Yeah, that’s right. It’s just that it made me a bit anxious」
Emilia:「–? Why are you turning your face away? Did something happen, Subaru?」
Subaru:「No, it’s just that, you’re just, too cute to look at directly…..」
Subaru responds with a whisper at Emilia’s question, who had tilted her neck. As Emilia tilted her neck even more, Subaru managed to put aside the trembles of his throat and his embarrassment, and turned his attention to the confused Meili once again.
As Subaru had foreseen the attack, he was confident about stopping Meili’s crime. The problem after that was the occurrence of『Natsuki Subaru』.
Talking about his purpose, then, it may be possible that in the loop when「Natsuki Subaru」 had killed Meili, it may have had been simply self-defence against Meili’s attempt to murder, and immediately after stopping her,『Natsuki Subaru』 did not necessarily take actions against Subaru’s will.
Therefore Subaru determined that he would leave this problem to people stronger than him.
He has full faith that even if his consciousness disappears, and「Natsuki Subaru」 appears, Emilia certainly– no, his comrade will certainly do something about it.
Emilia:「Listen, Meili. I believe what Subaru has said. If Meili can’t believe it, then it’s fine to just carefully observe him. And, if he breaks the promise, I’ll be angry alongside.」
Meili:「Observe, onii-san……? That’s, weird. Isn’t that strange. Observing onii-san and onee-san, is what, I…..」
Emilia:「If Meili wants to do something bad, that can be only after Subaru actually breaks the promise. Till then, observe whether he breaks it or not. Isn’t that fair?」
Meili was confused at Emilia’s words, who bent enough to have their eyes be at the same height.
In her mind, her ways to cope and solve truths and circumstances distorted and crumbled.
Subaru:「You seemed to be about to make a huge mistake, but my and Emilia-chan’s nice save somehow prevented that. That’s why, this is my chance to learn how it should have had been done. This is your chance to find a different solution than killing me…… it’s a bet.」
Subaru:「Settle down the evil feelings inside you, and see whether you still want to kill me, or whether you’ve changed your mind…… I’ll also, do my best at giving you lectures about morality.」
Scratching his head, Subaru laid down this path for Meili’s confusion.
Frankly, unneeded care is unneeded. There was a certain way of living that Meili had followed until now, and Subaru was trying to arbitrarily open new options for her.
But, if she refused it, her path will meet a dead end because of the Sand Tower. If her way of life is followed, they can never conquer this Sand Tower together.
Subaru:「I’m not letting you get off this train. I don’t know how old you are or anything but…… When I was around your age, I got the adults around me to help me all the time.」
Subaru:「That’s why, I will help you even if you don’t want me to. You are far too young to think stuff like what you should be doing or refusing adults’ help」
Saying that, Subaru stepped forward to reduce the distance between him and Meili.
Seeing the distance between them shrink, Meili’s shoulders shivered. Subsequently, Subaru patted the head of the nervous Meili, who looked up with uneasiness in her eyes.
He won’t crush that thin neck. He presents this absolutely different alternative, to「Natsuki Subaru」.
Meili is, a child that does not need to die. And–,
Emilia:「I sincerely request, please trust Subaru……. trust us, Meili.」
While Subaru caressed her head, Emilia hugged from behind, leaving her completely immobile. Embracing her body, Emilia rubs her cheek while Meili lightly chews her lips,
Emilia:「This Sand Tower is a place too small for you to decide something big」
Emilia:「Leave this place, go to a bigger place and find your answer there. We will also work re~ally hard」
Teaching her all this when she has such feelings, while entrapped in such a cage, is not exactly the best thing to do.
Even so, this was the only way Subaru could have said it. With complete and utmost care, and with kinds words, they conveyed it to Meili.
In response, Meili repeatedly and thoughtfully glanced into their eyes.
Meili:「I don’t want, to forget about…… Elsa.」
Subaru:「Ah, that’s fine. There is no need to forget someone you loved. It’s just that, we~ll…..」
Cutting his own words off, Subaru thought of the beautiful woman in black he saw in the『Book of The Dead』.
What a strange impression. He has never been in contact with her, but she still has a sense of familiarity. Reminiscing such an opponent, Subaru subconsciously stroked his belly.
Subaru:「–Even if it’s someone you love, I wish you won’t imitate their way of doing things.」
Yes, I believed in that.
–Meili was powerless, had lost her path, but still, after several silent seconds had passed, she nodded.