※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Translated By :
- Ice (/u/Ice_Occultism)
Contributions By :
- Furuta (/u/GracedHarperd)
Proofread By :
Fan Art Source
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
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
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
—When the supernova faded and Subaru’s vision had returned to him, the state of the church had completely changed.
Subaru: “Though I know I’ve said this before…”
Witnessing that scene with his own eyes, Subaru took a soft breath.
In order to avoid inhaling the scattered dust particles and wood chips, he covered his mouth with his sleeve.
Standing in the now open air church, bathed in the evening breeze, Subaru stomped on the floor and jabbed a finger at the man in front of him.
Subaru: “Sure enough, this guy’s a fucking monster!”
Reinhardt: “Though I’ve said this before, how depressing. Even my heart would be hurt by such words.”
Subaru: “Is this really an occasion to complain about heartache!? Your physical wounds are obviously the bigger issue here! The hell do you think this is?”
In the face of Reinhardt’s apparent aberrance, Subaru couldn’t help but frustratedly bury his face in his hands,
Reinhardt returned him a wry smile, as the sword of ice in his right hand shattered and dissipated. Although it has only been swung once, being able to withstand the Sword Saint’s might indicated that its durability was deserving of praise.
The one who’d made that sword, Emilia, was currently being embraced by Reinhardt’s left arm.
In that instant, he’d freed Emilia’s neck from Regulus’s grasp, keeping her safe.
As a result, Regulus was the only one who’d suffered that bombardment.
Aside from that initial blow, everything seemed to have worked out—
Subaru: “On that note, what a close call we had. Hey, are you okay?”
The object of his concern was the woman who he’d yanked out of danger, just as Reinhardt had, before chaos had fallen. Although the golden-haired woman was rather beautiful, her empty eyes and expressionless face gave off a foreboding air.
Sure enough, the shock of the situation had gotten to her, was Subaru’s thought, and so he met the eyes of the woman as she sat.
Subaru: “Sorry if we surprised you, but in order to take advantages of his weaknesses, we didn’t really have any other choice. If you’re hurt anywhere, tell us and and we can help fix you up.”
Although Subaru called out to her, she still gave no reaction.
Although this situation was worrying indeed, he couldn’t worry about just her and her alone. Leaving the still sitting woman where she was, he strode toward the altar— or, rather, where the altar had once stood.
This place, which strongly resembled what Subaru knew as a church, had been completely desecrated by Reinhardt.
The front of the building— where the altar and the corridor leading to a side room had been located, had all been demolished in the wake of the supernova. All that had barely survived were the very edges and the back of the building. Fortunately, due to the protection of Emilia’s wall of ice, the seated women had remained untouched.
Subaru ran where Emilia and Reinhardt were standing near the crumbling altar. Stepping out of Reinhardt’s arms, Emilia immediately gave a pained cough.
Subaru: “Emilia-tan, are you okay?”
Emilia: “—hk… ah, I’m fine. It’s just that my throat feels itchy…”
Subaru: “How are you? Did anything strange happen? Did that creep lick your face or anything? And this wedding dress is spectacular… did he put it on you? Damn, that fucker, I won’t let him go. But this dress truly is amazing. No matter what you wear, you look cute, Emilia-tan.”
Emilia: “Subaru, calm down a bit. I can’t quite figure out what you want say.”
Faced with the frantically concerned Subaru, Emilia retreated gently.
Looking at his distressed appearance as he carefully ascertained that she was safe and sound, Emilia sighed with a smile.
Emilia: “Right, thank you for coming to save me. I knew all along that you’d come.”
Subaru: “I also knew that Emilia-tan believes in me and would wait for rescue. But if I’d crashed the wedding even a little later, who knows what could’ve…”
Emilia: “It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t have married him. If I were to marry, it would have to be someone I like.”
Subaru: “That, that’s great! Really reassuring. Then, this person you like…”
Emilia: “Ah! Reinhardt! Your injury, how is it!?”
Just as Subaru prepared to go on an offensive strike, Emilia caught sight of Reinhardt and cried out at him.
Seeing Emilia’s interest in Reinhardt where it mattered, Subaru paused and scowled.
The Reinhardt who’d saved Emilia— unexpectedly, he’d sustained a heavy injury.
The front of the white clothes had been almost exaggeratedly torn and stained entirely with red. Witnessing this explosive scene, Emilia sucked in a cold breath.
Subaru: “Ack, how brutal! —you sure this is fine!?”
Emilia: “Yes, what a grievous wound! Let me take a look, I’ll heal you!”
Reinhardt: “Thank you. But don’t worry about it. The wound has begun to heal.”
Responding to the fretting, flustered pair with a smile, Reinhardt wiped at the blood with his own white sleeves.
And on his cleaned chest, the traces of the injury were indeed disappearing. The wound was completely gone, leaving only Reinhardt’s pristine skin.
Subaru: “The wound’s, vanished… Hey, what happened just now? You hid it even from me. Did you sneakily hide some blood packets on your person or something?”
Reinhardt: “And by ‘just now’, you mean…”
Subaru: “Stop putting on airs, or are you being for real right now? … Just now with Regulus’s hostage situation, I didn’t know how you planned to deal with it, so I just watched silently. But how did you survive? Ah, just tell me already!”
Reinhardt: “Let’s put it this way, watching silently was a huge help. Thanks for taking care not to set him off.”
Even faced with Subaru’s impatience, Reinhardt responded in in an even tone. Thinking that he was just trying to maintain a lighter atmosphere, Subaru sighed.
Subaru: “I just thought that since it’s you, there must have been some trick up your sleeve. But seeing you fall in that shower of blood had me thinking you really were dead, how terrifying…”
Reinhardt: “Even so, you reacted in time. I’m very happy you had such faith in me.”
Subaru: “Who told you to give this dramatic speech on shortcomings and whatnot?”
He lightly knocked Reinhardt’s shoulders, responding to that guilelessness with coarse words. Listening to their conversation, Emilia’s eyes widened with surprise.
Emilia: “Only with those words, you worked that entire scheme out?”
Subaru: “Emilia-tan, when you passed the sword of ice to Reinhardt while I was moving, that’s what happened too.”
Reinhardt: “That really was a huge help. Not having a weapon on hand and having to strike his body directly was an uneasy notion, for some reason. But I’m glad that it worked out.”
Subaru: “Yep, it ended with half the building collapsing. Please take responsible for it. Well, this also counts as a survival flag.”
Having had numerous encounter with Elsa in the past, Subaru couldn’t be too optimistic.
Now, while talking like this, there is no slack in his alarm toward Regulus.
Subaru: “So, Reinhardt, the correct answer to the mystery of that scene is…? Did you use an avatar? It couldn’t be some kind of cloning technique. Please don’t tell me that in addition to being a knight, you’re a ninja as well.”
Reinhardt; “Although I don’t know what an ninja is, I’m sure it’s not such a huge mystery. This [Divine Protection of the Phoenix] is just a blessing that can be used to revive the dead. So your observation that I looked like I was dead was correct, I was just a little bit dead.”
Subaru: “Just a little bit dead, my ass! Did that mess you up, or are you just an idiot?”
Being met with such an unexpected answer sent Subaru into another frenzy.
Dying under the [Divine Protection of the Phoenix] or whatnot, wasn’t it just making a mockery of death? Those were word better left unsaid to Subaru— or, rather, perhaps it was better to say that only Subaru could speak like that.
Subaru: “What’re you doing, stealing my niche and all that…”
Reinhardt: “—? Sorry. But at the time, I felt that it was the most effective way to deal with the Sin Archbishop. And it did in fact work rather smoothly. Ah, but, if possible, I’d prefer to avoid dying again.”
Emilia: “Dying in order to save only me, I can’t help but feel guilty…”
Emilia: “Subaru? What’s with the expression?”
Struck by the force of her reply, the psychological burden of those words was quite something.
Moreover, it seems that this dialogue could continue no further.
Narrowing his blue eyes, Reinhardt called for Subaru.
Subaru raised his head at the call, and Emilia glanced to where Reinhardt was looking.
—The predator, emitting an ominous aura, filled their line of sight.
He stood atop the collapses remains of the church, overlooking the other three. White hair, white clothes, and a blank expression; this predator, made of white, snorted and spoke.
Regulus: “Leaving me out, and just bantering and laughing in a place like this. Speaking of which how can you stand to maintain an air of normalcy, isn’t that too inhumane? Unless, you felt like you’ve just stepped on an ant or something? Is blowing me away no different from stepping on a bug? Well, how about it?”
As he fanned the flames of his own exaggerated outrage, Regulus leapt from the smouldering wreckage to the remains of the church.
As he landed, he straightened out the coat of his white suit, brushed at the sleeves of his shirt, and readjusted the legs of his matching trousers, before turning his narrowed gaze upon them.
His body was unchanged from Reinhardt’s blow.
Whether injury or filthiness, neither showed even a trace on his form.
Reinhardt: “I see, As I heard from Subaru, you truly are a fearsome opponent.”
Emilia: “Just now, the Sin Archbishop that you mentioned, Subaru… he’s the one?”
Regarding him, Reinhardt and Emilia each offered their own input.
Hearing this, Regulus turned a spiteful glare upon Emilia.
Regulus: “Ah, that’s right. I’m the Witch Cult’s Sin Archbishop of Greed, Regulus Corneas… Speaking of which, without knowing even the identity of the other party, you tried to go through a wedding ceremony. This is a problem that precedes not having an awareness of being a wife. Impudent, immoral, iniquitous! Really, your deficiency as a woman knows no bounds, honestly!”
Emilia: “Iniquitous and whatnot, you didn’t tell me anything at all. Impure and immoral are also groundless. And you’re a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult… Witch Cult, Witch Cult…”
Faced with the resentfully cursing Regulus, Emilia was about to refute his points before she suddenly sank into silence.
Her hand on her head, Emilia’s eyebrows lifted as if she were thinking hard.
Emilia: “The Witch Cult’s, Sin Archbishop… you, have you ever faced me before?”
Regulus: “Hah? How would I know? Although, right now, if you were to say that our meeting was fate, that would just be a ridiculous farce. Such a face of rare sweetness, but in spirit you’re such a degenerate, how endlessly infuriating… uwa!”
Subaru: “The fuck are you rambling on about aimlessly, you bastard?”
Aiming at the endlessly ranting Regulus’s face Subaru flicked his whip. Under that impact, Regulus’s face snapped to the side, and he snarled with fury.
Unsurprisingly, his face bore no trace of the blow.
Subaru: “At this point, for real, if we can’t solve the mystery of his [Invincibility], we can’t secure out victory…”
Reinhardt: “Whether at close range or from afar, every attack is negated. Even Emilia-sama’s magic does nothing to stop him. There has to be some kind of trick to defeating him… Subaru, watch out for yourself, alright?”
Subaru: “Why does it sound like you’re saying something acrimonious…!?”
Reinhardt patted that confused Subaru’s shoulder briefly—then, he vanished.
In the next moment, Reinhardt slammed directly into the predator’s body, sending him sprawling backward.
Regulus: “Huh, ah—!?”
With a cry, Regulus, who’d had no time to brace himself, flew backward and slammed into a mountain of debris, further causing it to collapse and disintegrate.
Reinhardt: “His opponent will me. Hopefully you can solve the mystery of his [invincibility] as quickly as you can. I’ll buy time for you.”
Subaru: “Right, buying time is nice and all… but wouldn’t it be better to just defeat him in one fell swoop?”
Reinhardt: “If I could, I would have done so already. Take these women to safety. If they remain here, they’ll be dragged into the battlefield.”
Emilia: “Wait, Reinhardt. Although it’s probably not too effective, use this.”
Calling out to stop Reinhardt in his tracks, was Emilia, holding a sword of ice freshly shaped with magic.
Emilia: “I’ve been concentrating su~per hard to make this— it should be a little more durable than the last one.”
Reinhardt: “My thanks is inexpressible.”
Accepting her proffered blade, Reinhardt offered her his ceremonious gratitude in return.
Then he turned and leapt away from the ruins of the church to Regulus. In a single step, he vanished from Subaru’s field of vision, crossing an impossible distance.
Immediately following his disappearance, a shock wave slammed into Subaru’s skin.
As he bathed in this feeling, he turned to look at Emilia.
Subaru: “Emilia-tan! In order to avoid getting caught up in Reinhardt’s battle, for time being, help get these women somewhere safe. They all have to leave… speaking of which, are they all married to Regulus?”
Both now and before, the uniformity of the women trapped in the wall of ice felt unnatural.
Being Regulus’s wives made them all members of the Witch Cult. At a glance, there were more or less fifty of them. If they attacked as one, how could Subaru handle them without Beatrice’s help? Only now had be begun to worry.
However, Emilia shook her head, denying this uneasiness.
Emilia: “It’s fine. Although they are his wives, most of them are probably only here through force and coercion. So don’t worry.”
Subaru: “Right, yeah. If they were a threat, Reinhardt wouldn’t have overlooked… gah, watch out! Just now, flying missiles have started attacking us! How dangerous!”
Outside of the church, Reinhardt and Regulus were engaging in a battle that resided far beyond the limits of humanity.
The wreckage and stone fragments, swept away by various impacts, flew like missiles. If he were to be struck by one, there was no guarantee that he’d stay intact.
Although Reinhardt had an absolute advantage when it came to offense, as long as the nature of Regulus’s power remained a mystery, that advantage faded bit by bit. Subaru needed to come up with a countermeasure before the predator could overwhelm him—.
Emilia: “Hey, are you okay? No injuries?”
During his moment of reflection, Emilia had started shaking the blonde woman by the shoulders.
That was the same woman Subaru had just rescued using his whip. Based on her position in front of the altar, her status seemed unique. However, her expression was just as blank, bearing not even the faintest trace of irritation.
Looking up at Emilia, the woman shook her head slowly.
184: “I… we have to stay here. If you want to escape, please take care.”
Emilia: “Stay, why? Are your feet injured? Then I’ll heal you right away. Just this wall of ice isn’t enough to keep you safe. Hurry up, we have to leave!”
184: “Please allow me to refuse. Only you can leave this place.”
Emilia: “Why!? Staying here will involve you in the fight! Regulus will, regardless of your presence, attack anything he wants to. Please, hurry and come with us…”
184: “—Master-sama did not give instructions to leave.”
Emilia’s persuasion was interrupted by the woman’s cold voice, conveying her feelings, equally devoid of warmth.
Her cold, frozen gaze met Emilia’s own amethyst eyes.
184: “Not listening to Husband-sama will make him angry. If that happens, there’s only one possible result.”
Emilia: “That’s… not…”
Subaru shared Emilia’s speechless reaction.
To call her determined would be wrong, for she had no selfhood. To call her unwavering would be wrong, for she had no resolve.
Her speech and attitude spoke of a heavy despair that had long become inexorable.
She— or rather, they had given up long ago.
Those hearts, shattered by Regulus, could no longer consider anything other than him.
This was a cursed brutality which no longer required words or actions.
Subaru: “Regulus’s opponent is the [Sword Saint] Reinhardt. I know you’re terrified of him, but Reinhardt’s not going to have any issue killing him. So, don’t stay here. There’s no need to endanger your lives.”
184: “It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. [Sword Saint]? Please, don’t kid. How could anyone match Husband-sama… Regulus Corneas?”
The woman dismissed Subaru’s reassurances with naught but contempt.
That was her first time, showing any sort of genuine emotion.
The scornful dismissal of an adult, looking down upon a child’s ignorant delusion.
—Only then, did Subaru understand the true nature of this distorted relationship.
The wives of Regulus Corneas had absolute faith in their husband.
Even the knowledge that his opponent was the [Sword Saint] Reinhardt did nothing to loosen the shackle of the curse that no one could undo.
The unparalleled, overwhelming power Regulus possessed held complete dominion over the hearts of his wives.
The wife trusts her husband, and the husband maintains a firm grip on his wife’s heart. In a sense, it was the ideal state of a relationship.
But that serene surface gave way to inner distortions.
Subaru came to the painful realization that mere words would not move them.
The women before him all unanimously believed this; the lack of dissent and dead silence only served to prove so.
To force them to leave would take nothing less thorough than knocking all of them out and moving them one by one; but they were pressed for the freedom to take such drastic actions.
Subaru: “—Reinhardt! Change of plans! Do what I mentioned before!”
Dispelling the idea of persuading the women, Subaru climbed atop the collapsed church and called out to Reinhardt, who was currently defying the law of gravity as he dashed across the side of a building. He flicked his eyes to the side.
Reinhardt: Are we speeding up the battle? Hey, Subaru, have you ensured the women’s safety?
Subaru: “—!? The hell!? Where’s this sound coming from!?”
Reinhardt: This is the [Divine Protection of Telepathy], which can spread my voice to those within a certain range.
Subaru: “Could you stop being so superhuman!?”
Even to the borderline noncombatant Subaru, Reinhardt’s movements were clearly beyond the scope of human comprehension.
Running and kicking off from a wall, Reinhardt flew into the air and spun rapidly.
The instant before he landed, he allowed his clothing to spread, slowing down his momentum, and swung his slender legs to send a blade of wind slicing toward the ground.
Sweeping up both dust and brick, the wave slammed directly into the predator waiting at the end— Regulus’s figure, unable to stay standing, was blown away again.
Subaru: “That murder circus just now, what was it?”
Reinhardt: He attacks by throwing stones or sand. There’s really no gap of safety between the particles being scattered around.
Subaru: “In my case it sounds like I want to hide from the rain. —More importantly, move the battlefield! Those women won’t move! They’re so terrified of Regulus, they don’t dare to!”
Reinhardt: I see, understood. —Then, allow me to try.
Lowering his voice, Reinhardt leapt lightly toward Regulus.
Climbing to his feet once again, Regulus, stomped on the ground, sending bits of wood and sand flying. However, with economic movements, Reinhardt evaded and drew Emilia’s ice sword, slashing at Regulus and sending him flying once more.
The screaming of the predator overlapped with the crisp sound of the shattering of the ice blade.
Emilia: “Subaru! What are we planning to do?”
Subaru: “Lead that bastard away from here… Wow, Emilia-tan is bold.”
Emilia: “This dress is pretty, but really inconvenient…”
Standing in from of Subaru was Emilia, who had yanked away part of her dress.
The restrictive parts of the white wedding dress had been daringly torn open, revealing more of Emilia’s white thighs than should have been visible in an enticing sight.
Emilia: “It doesn’t matter! Anyway, what do you want from Reinhardt?”
Subaru: “A plan we thought of before the battle, since we don’t know what the true extent of Regulus’s power is. —We’ll have to test possible weaknesses one by one.”
Emilia nodded as Subaru retrieved Reinhardt’s loved sword from the church. Then, he and Emilia rushed straight toward Reinhardt’s battlefield.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Regulus: “Gah! Fucker, quit jumping up and down!”
Cursing loudly, Regulus waved his both hands up and down.
His target was Reinhardt, who weaved rapidly back and forth, and his weapon was the plentiful gravel laying about.
Normally, bits of gravel could only serve to blind an opponent; people who used it as a weapon had character is unworthy of praise— but if Regulus were the wielder, the power of this despicable tactic would skyrocket.
Buildings began to crumble where the gravel came into contact with them, and the surrounding scenery fell into ruination.
Watching the cataclysmic destruction unfolding in front of him, Reinhardt launched into a dramatic evasion.
He lowered his body as if he were planning to drop into a crawl, and sped into motion. Contrary to his seemingly unsightly appearance, he was moving so fast that he’d ventured beyond the reach of ordinary people.
And thus, Regulus, who was no different from an ordinary person, had no way of catching up to Reinhardt.
Regulus: “Damn… Hey! Where’d you run off to, looking like a bug!”
Faced with the thread of losing his target, Regulus attacked indiscriminately from all directions.
The rising of goosebumps on skin a sure sign that approaching would be terribly dangerous— a survival instinct everyone was born with, warning against enemies close at hand.
In actuality, this has little to do with the presence of a clear threat. Any living creature was susceptible to this feeling. Regulus was no exception; the tingling of his nerves, all throughout his body, tipped him off that something was wrong.
—Only, this incredible threat was approaching from all directions, an oppressive ring of menace.
Regulus: “You fucker, what in the world areeee—!?”
Reinhardt: “I am but a knight to the King Candidate Felt-sama. Please also be sure to give her all your support.”
With a line that may or may not have been a joke, a steady voice spoke.
The shocked Regulus took a sharp impact on his head— perhaps it was smashed by steel. The weapon had been bent completely out of shape, and a squeaking sound indicated that it had been cast aside.
Humiliated, Regulus glared at the ground as he bit his lip.
With crisp footwork that prevented ease of attack, Reinhardt assumed his stance.
The offensive and defensive battles of the [Sword Saint] and [Greed] were clear to both parties to the confrontation.
Exerting the conventional combat power, the strength of Reinhardt, which could toy with even the deadliest of Sin Archbishops, could not be said to be of world. But, even so—.
Regulus: “The one to win will be me, can’t you understand? Although I have no clue how well you’ve been doing with this violent power that can only think of oppressing others; someone like you, whose happiness is built upon the sacrifice of others, will be stopped here! With this power, how many people’s lives have you trampled upon? That greed really is despicable.”
Reinhardt: “—That really is distressing to hear. It is true that, because of me, some have lost sight of their happiness. Without question, the reason why I do what I do is none other than for the sake of atonement.”
In the face of Regulus’s ridiculous rhetoric, Reinhardt’s eyes narrowed slightly.
Seeing the Sword Saint’s responsive movement, Regulus widened his own.
Regulus: “The hell is this? Some kind of ‘you don’t need to say it because I already know’ ploy? ‘I’m aware of my own sins. I’m aware so I’m trying to fix my bad qualities, I tell you!’ So it’s an attempt to let it all be water under the bridge? Jokes can only go so far. No one’s holding any expectations to what you’ll do in the future. All that matters is what you did in the past. Your feet were once planted on the ground, where someone licked your soles. To such a person, whether you help tens of thousands or hundreds of millions of people, it’s all meaningless. Sinner, just die. You, able only to beg of others, stop pretending to be a good person already.”
Reinhardt: “Talking to you, I really do get the feeling of being shown a mirror. This must be the reason why Subaru told me to avoid seriously lending an ear to you.”
Regulus: “Speaking of which… that guy over there, is that this ‘Subaru’? The rotten man who snatched by bride from me, that hateful bastard… Even if she ended up being a dirty whore, his transgression can never be forgiven. To those who try to take what belongs to others, due punishment is— uwa!?”
Halfway through his tirade, Regulus’s world suddenly spun upside down.
At that moment, Reinhardt had dropped his stance and grabbed Regulus’s left ankle, spinning him around. A rotating field of violent destruction, Regulus’s back hit a wall.
Under that impact, a shower of dust scattered as Regulus’s body, still being swung back and forth, crashed through and collapsed a building.
Reinhardt: “Although direct contact with you feels rather dangerous, but I’ll try to get it over with as soon as possible.”
Regulus: “What, are you doing this so you can call him a friend? What a goddamn fake show of hypocrisy… your debased self naturally has no decent friends. With someone known as a rapist, sharing a friendship is—”
Reinhardt: “Dealing with you really is unbearable— doubly so when you slander my friends.”
The wind suddenly wrapped around their bodies, and the sense of rapid rising followed closely.
If you were to take a glimpse, the figures of the two are suspended in the midst of the night sky, and right next to them, the full moon shines brightly. At that place, where the light of the moon lay within reach, Regulus tsked.
Regulus: “So, it is not a matter of strength at all. —Dropping me from such a height will end this, you can’t be truly naive enough to believe that. Are you playing me for a fool?”
Reinardt: “Indeed, I could try slamming you down and lodging you in the earth… but those weren’t my instructions.”
Regulus: “What are you…”
In midair, without any foothold, Reinhardt alternated between drifting up and down by shifting his body slightly. Regulus, still being gripped by his foot, was subjected to centrifugal force and, still being swung by Reinhardt, his eyes widened as he glanced downward.
Regulus: “No way…”
Reinhardt: “What’s coming seems to be known as ‘the first wave’. —I hope that I will not see you again afterwards.”
It was a rare sarcastic line from Reinhardt, but Regulus had no leeway to pay attention to it
Reinhardt, with all his might, swung Regulus downward. Whipping through the air, Regulus’s dense form sped into the canal directly beneath him with the momentum of a bullet. —Regulus, bathed by the wind, could only watch as the surface of the canal approached.
Regulus: “The only threat is the water…!”
Rotating back and forth as he sailed downward, Regulus stretched out his hands, intending for them to slam into the water. The unprepared Reinhardt, hovering defenselessly in the sky, would follow in a moment.
Then, that calm face of his could be shattered in a single blow.
At that thought—
Subaru: “—Emilia, go!”
Emilia: “Ul Huma!”
Hearing the voices of that hateful man and woman, the lingering light of the corner of his eye immediately illuminated that detestable pair.
A black-haired boy gesturing with a finger, and a silver-haired girl who chanted quietly.
In the next moment, falling from above Regulus, were icicles shooting forward at a speed which matched his momentum.
The icicles caught his clothes limbs, accelerating his fall. Further, the last one slammed directly into Regulus’s back, freezing his body solid.
A total of five icicles bound Regulus’s extremities, using his body as a freezing point as it plummeted into the canal. Immediately, a hand of ice stretched forward, centering on where Regulus had fallen tracing the flow of the water. —The canal was sealed in an icy tomb, without so much as a single opening.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Subaru: “―Operation [Splash], nicknamed Operation I was a complete success!”
Reinhardt: “I hope it was effective.”
Next to Subaru, who gazed into the frozen waterway, landed Reinhardt, cloaked in moonlight.
After having thrown Regulus from the sky, the trajectory of that fall should have meant that he would not be able to avoid the falling water, but in fact even a droplet brushing him would have been a miracle.
That Reinhardt could move so well in midair was hardly even surprising.
Emilia: “Sealing his range of movement and tossing him into water, freezing it afterward. There’s no way he’ll ever surface again, is there…”
From Reinhardt’s other side, Emilia stared into the water.
The one who had drawn up the battle plans had been Subaru, and the one who had facilitated them had been Reinhardt. However, Emilia had been the one who had pushed Regulus into a state of desperation. Even if the other party had been an unreasonable murderer, Emilia still wore a rather timid expression.
If everything proceeded smoothly, he’d soon be naught but a drowned corpse.
Emilia felt that she’d overstepped; this feeling was not without reason.
Regarding that Emilia, Subaru crossed his arms in consideration.
Although he felt rather sorry for her, to have Regulus drown was the best outcome of this. If that weren’t possible, leaving him in a state mirroring death would be best.
However, the worst possibility must also be expected. For example—,
—Right in front of their eyes, the ice’s surface cracked, and immediately after, a jet of water spouted up, blasting straight toward them.
At the sight of the spouting water, Reinhardt grabbed both Emilia and Subaru as the jet of water closed in on them.
His arms wrapped around their waists, he jumped backwards in one leap— after they were well out of the reach of the jet of water, Reinhardt narrowed his eyes.
Reinhardt: “It seems that it hasn’t been settled yet.”
Subaru: “Right. On that note, this guy, he’s really bad news.”
Reinhardt and Subaru had each fixated on something different.
Reinhardt was watching the figure standing atop a drifting piece of ice, whereas Subaru was looking at the outcome that had been caused by the jet of water which that figure had capriciously unleashed.
Water droplets flew about, pouring down near where Subaru and the others were standing.
The outcome was nothing so charming as the pitter-patter stopping and just dampening the earth below; each part of the spray bored thoroughly into the earth, carving through the ground as if biting with the force of a gigantic beast.
This destructive power was not inferior to that of stones and sand thrown by Regulus.
Which is to say, whether wielding solid or liquid, Regulus’s attack power stayed constant.
Emilia: “… His body, it’s not frozen at all. Just like what happened at the church.”
Muttering this, Emilia looked at Regulus, still perched atop that piece of drifting ice.
Subaru had entrusted her with the task of freezing his body and limbs using magic. As per Subaru’s instructions to ‘show no mercy’, the icicle pierced right through the middle of Regulus’ body and limbs, such an act should have left him more than half dead.
However, when he’d fallen into the water, the tip of the icicle hadn’t penetrated his body, and so Regulus was merely frozen on the surface, just as he had been in the church.
To Regulus, neither freezing nor magic was effective.
Like projectiles and strikes, he could also invalidate those types of attacks.
Subaru: “Although, when he shrugged off [Wrath]’s flames, I did suspect a little… the fundamental of his invincibility, is a unilateral specialization cancelling out any physical or magical attacks?”
Reinhardt: “Is there something I can try to confirm with combat?”
Subaru: “About that, if we don’t close in to try…!?”
Interrupting Subaru’s response to Reinhardt’s words was a change in the canal.
A vortex appeared on the water’s frozen surface, a distance from where the crack was. Gradually, its momentum increased, pulling in the drifting ice which Regulus occupied. And then—
Subaru: “Water Dragon—!”
Leaping from the heart of the maelstrom, the dragon bared its fangs at Regulus, who was standing on top of the ice.
Usually occupying the waterways surrounding the city, was one the the domesticated Water Dragons. The supposedly docile Water Dragon opened its jaws wide, aiming to lunge at Regulus’s slender back.
Perhaps, even that Water Dragon had received quite a bit of [Wrath]’s influence, a tragedy that never should have taken place―however, its jaws did not have a chance to close.
Subaru’s throat involuntarily clogged up at the gruesome spectacle unfolding before him.
What happened in this moment, how could it even be described?
—The Water Dragon’s maw jerked out of place at the very moment they had clamped down onto Regulus.
As if in a game of Daruma Otoshi, the Water Dragon’s lower jaw was dislocated.
Keeping its momentum as it flew toward Regulus, its mandible shifted. A maw which should have dragged Regulus into the canal. However, unable to correct the dislocation, it split in two with a great shudder.
The halves of bisected water dragon poured blood into the water as they were submerged.
After a moment, an exaggerated amount of blood and viscera that once been a water dragon floated to the surface; this had been its gruesome demise.
Reinhardt: “Emilia-sama. If possible, could you make me a spear?”
Emilia: “… Huh?”
Reinhardt: “A spear. A spear of ice, please. I’ve troubled you”
Faced with the same sight, Reinhardt muttered this to the befuddled Emilia. Connecting the dots, Emilia hurriedly focused her mana. After several unsuccessful attempts, eventually Emilia created an ice spear, and handed it over to Reinhardt. After testing its balance,
Reinhardt: “Excuse me.”
Grasping the ice spear, he drew his wrist back back to aim Regulus, and let the missile fly.
The spear flew true— however, it wasn’t the sharp tip that had been pointed at Regulus. As it turned to its side, its shaft scored a direct hit. But the fact of matter was that when the shaft of the spear crashed against Regulus, it fell straight into the waterway, broken into two.
Emilia: “What is the meaning of this…?”
Subaru: “I see… I get it, Reinhardt.”
Seeing the state of the broken spear, Emilia tilted her head in confusion. From beside her, Subaru grasped the meaning behind why Reinhardt had done this, shuddering at its outcome.
Hearing Subaru’s acknowledgement, Reinhardt nodded and said,
Reinhardt: “Emilia-sama, did you see what happened to the spear when it hit him?”
Emilia: “It broke, right? A spear of ice is different from a real one, so it’s natural for it to have broken in two after it struck with such force…”
Reinhardt: “Not quite, the spear didn’t break. The part of the spear that hit him is missing. The part that hit him is missing, separated. The spear was broken not into two, but three.”
Reinhardt’s explanation served as an answer to what had happened to the spear and with the Water Dragon.
Neither object, upon contact with Regulus, managed to penetrate his body. With an ordinary barrier, the collision would have caused a projectile to bounce off or shatter from the impact, but neither had happened.
Regulus’s body literally rejected anything that collided with it.
Regulus: “— What cluelessly naive expressions you’re all wearing. This is just how it is.”
Just as the three reached a consensus, Regulus’s voice suddenly sounded from the ice.
That calm voice made it sound as if he were just whispering to himself. The instant Subaru thought that, an unpleasant shock hit him in the back.
Regulus: “Ununderstanding, ununderstandingununderstandingununderstanding. All of you, really, reallyreally understand nothing. It won’t amount to anything. You have no chance. You’ll achieve nothing. No matter how much you strain and struggle, it’s meaningless. Why can’t you see that? I’ll say it to you, show it to you, force you to see… you could never understand.”
Regulus whispered to himself as he leapt from the ice. Having jumped forward only slightly, his body plummeted into the canal; for a moment, his figure vanished. However, with one hand on the edge of the canal, he pulled himself from the water, climbing back onto the street. Then, once again, he squared his gaze at those who were watching him.
Reinhardt: “—His body isn’t wet in the slightest. His breathing remains unchanged. Naturally, the fragments of ice need not even a mention, nor has a single a drop of blood splashed onto him. His clothes are completely clean, and equally unstained by water.
Observing Regulus, Reinhardt gave a quick report.
Upon hearing it, Subaru nodded and tried to consider all his concerns even as he suppressed his horror. It seemed that everything he’d intended to confirm with combat had been checked.
However, there was not a trace of good news; this was the worst forecast possible.
Reinhardt: “Subaru, my sword.”
Subaru: “Oh, ah, right…”
At Reinhardt’s request, Subaru quickly handed over the sword that he’d been holding all along. As Reinhardt gently tested the handle of his beloved sword, Emilia looked on from the side, wondering timidly,
Emilia: “Can the sword be unsheathed?”
Reinhardt: “No, the handle is still fixed. It seems that it won’t be obedient… but there’s no other weapon that can be used to confront him.”
Emilia: “Since your sword can’t be drawn, what are you going to do? Attack him directly with the sheathe?”
Reinhardt: “Not exactly. But that’s not too far off.”
With nary a trace of tenseness in his voice, Reinhardt stepped forward.
He placed himself in front of Subaru and Emilia, shielding them from Regulus’s line of sight.
Reinhardt: “Subaru, please allow the task of buying time to be handed over to me. You can continue to decipher his power.”
Subaru: “Feels like the difficulty just rose a setting. But I’ll be cheering for you.”
Emilia: “I, I’ll also cheer!”
Reinhardt: “Then, I will also cheer. —Go!”
As soon as the sound of his voice fell, Reinhardt flew forward.
Regulus, who had been kept waiting, met him with only calmness.
Regulus: “I say, did you not see? If not fate of the dragon, then the spear. … Is your imagination truly so lacking?”
Reinhardt: “Only paying attention to a coin by your foot will draw your attention away from what is important— as my master once said.”
Regulus: “Is that so.”
Regulus’s sigh, deep and uninterested, overlapped with Reinhardt’s opening strike.
The sound of the muscles and bones being penetrated by something sharp tore through the air, and Subaru’s throat couldn’t help but stiffen. He watched as Reinhardt gripped the scabbard, slamming the hilt of the sword into Regulus.
Regulus: “—Oh, seems that you don’t even have a strategy.”
The sound of these blows was different from the fate of the water dragon and the ice gun; at least Reinhardt’s beloved sword would not break upon hitting Regulus, no matter what he did.
However, Regulus gave no reaction to the attacks. Reinhardt’s previous attacks, although dealing no damage, had at least been enough to send him flying; now, even that effect was lost.
Reinhardt: “Feel free to be proud. You are the second to force me to use Dragon Sword Reid.”
Regulus: “I can’t hear anything but belittlement, do you truly disregard me so? This isn’t the nature of sword, is that what you mean? Such a denigrating gaze, such disparaging words, to one as enlightened as myself, it’s only natural that I’d understand!”
Reinhardt: “That’s all rather— ah!”
As he provoked Regulus, Reinhardt weaved in and out of close proximity. Faced with those murderous fingertips Reinhardt’s evasive movements put his whole body into motion.
Suddenly, his legs stopped moving. No, they were kept from moving.
Reinhardt collapsed onto his knees, kneeling in place.
His right calf had split open, spilling forth copious amounts of blood.
Subaru: “Were you hit!? What happened!?”
Subaru cried out, and Reinhardt frowned through his confusion.
Neither Subaru, observing from a distance, not Reinhardt, from right up close, could discern what had happened. The one who had posed this question gave his evaluation of failure.
Regulus: “With your inhuman eyesight and reactions, you can escape the bits gravel and water. But you’re too naive, aren’t you? If you truly want to confront me, prevent me from breathing. You can’t, can you? Just now. I exhaled.”
Reinhardt: “Even breaths…”
Against Reinhardt, who’d fallen to the ground, Regulus approached without mercy.
With a direct hit, his attack would be enough to send Reinhardt flying, into pieces. Toward this attack, Reinhardt no longer had any time to dodge.
Hastily, he quickly lifted the sword in his arms, blocking the blow with its black scabbard—
Regulus: “Just what do you think you can do, with that annoying scabbard in the way. Clinging to something that you’re unworthy of, why do people like you do such things? I can’t understand at all.”
With this defensive action, Reinhardt’s body was sent flying as if it were a toy ball.
Although protected from the fatal power of the kick, he fell into the street, crashing through the surrounding architecture. As Reinhardt’s body rolled and rolled, the destruction only continued.
In that moment, Reinhardt’s form, sent flying, became nothing but a bullet.
Regulus: “Right, and now—”
Seeing Reinhardt off well into the distance, Regulus seemed to remember something as he turned around. Being firmly fixed by that gaze, Subaru immediately tensed.
Emilia, from beside him, immediately chanted a canto, and in an instant the sky was covered with a multitude of icicles, which ruthlessly flew toward Regulus.
However, the results spoke for themselves.
Regulus: “A woman who can’t read the situation is just the word. Having to spend time on disciplining them is such a shame. However, because women are just ignorant creatures, they must first be taught. That’s just how it is. They’re much better after they’ve been tamed.”
Slamming into his body and shattering into shards, those icicles were unable to even budge him before they fell to the ground. Languidly, Regulus approached them.
Subaru: “Emilia! Trying to fight is useless right now! If we still don’t understand the mystery, even if we attack, it won’t have any effect!”
Subaru: “Right, for now let’s just get out of here!”
Seizing the wrist of the stubborn Emilia, Subaru tried to pull her away from Regulus.
Subaru’s actions only served to excite Regulus further—
Regulus: “Haha, are you trying to flee? Well, that’s only natural. Now that the situation is like this, where you stand no chance against me, though you should have understood that well before you childishly knock upon my door… if you want to flee, then run.”
Just what was he thinking? Regulus watches them flee with nothing but smiles.
However, given this chance to escape, they needed to capitalize on it. No matter what, right now, they had no time to even—
Regulus: “—But, you’d have to get away first.”
As he spoke, Regulus approached canal; leaning over, he hoisted half of the water dragon’s corpse out of the water.
Grabbing its tail, he began to whip it back and forth with a ferocious smile.
Emilia: “H-hey, Subaru… I, have this feeling of foreboding.”
Subaru: “What a coincidence, so do I.”
As for what he would do, neither had any clue.
However, every unremarkable action he took had completely extraordinary results, that much was plain as day.
Therefore, Subaru and Emilia’s pace increased rapidly.
Taking his time, Regulus laughed pleasantly as he raised his head, before leaping into motion. He set foot on the roof of an adjacent building, then jumped over its upper floors, landing on another, taller structure, until he finally reached a building the height of a clock tower.
After that period, both parties now stood a sizable distance apart.
However, despite the distance they’d gained, Subaru could still make out Regulus’s face.
—Showing so clearly, was that murderous smirk.
Regulus: “Come, if you want to try to hide, see if you can. —Whore undeserving of becoming a bride, and bastard who regards this woman as a treasure. I will deliver to you a rain of blood!”
Regulus lifted the half of water dragon with both hands, and twisted the corpse mercilessly.
The dragon’s flesh split with an unpleasant squelch, and the slowly dripping blood gushed forth. The bloody wreckage was gleefully waved by Regulus from his high platform.
Holding the corpse’s tail, sill drenched in blood, as if waving a wet towel.
As it rotating over his head, endlessly, blood scattered in a halo.
Farther, father, until its momentum brought it to where Subaru and Emilia had fled.
Then, the result was—
Subaru: “Run run run run run run—!”
The downpour of blood became a rain of destruction, further blighting the city, this carpet bombing aimed directly at the retreating figures of the pair that had been forced to flee.