Arc 6 – Chapter 50, “To You, The Absolutely Worthless Excuse”

fkinbarusu

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Translated by :

  • PaperLightning
  • Ice_Occultism, /u/Ice_Occultism

Proofread by:

  • Shifty, /u/Shiftyfish87
  • Nana
  • Furuta, /u/GracedHarperd

Fan Art Created by :

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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH

JAPANESE WEB NOVEL SOURCE

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At the sound of her cold voice, Subaru literally felt his heart freeze.

Subaru:「――――」

Looking back at the front of the room, Ram stands still at the entrance, her light pink irises ablaze, boring into the shell-shocked Subaru. Though Subaru had only came in contact with her a few times before, he had rarely ever seen her reveal such emotion on her face― in that Ram, there was a fervour that easily betrayed that impression.

Subaru:「Nhh, uh…」

Ram:「What are you getting so flustered for? Ram asked you a question. Now it is your turn to answer Barusu….No, it’s your duty to do so.」

Subaru:「I- I am… just…」

Ram:「Just?」

Promptly, Subaru’s head begins to spin as he tries to explain himself. Somehow he manages to move his tongue, cursing the slow, stammered response given by his sluggish mind; he needs to meet this situation with a silver tongue. However, in addition to having been thrown into this unexpected turmoil, in the first place, before this had occurred, Subaru hadn’t― he hadn’t even processed how Meili’s corpse had disappeared. He hadn’t even prepared the words to talk his way out of things, he wasn’t even able to prepare to come to grips to what was happening right before his eyes.   

All that Subaru can do is open and shut his mouth awkwardly as he tries his best to not to say anything improper. Subaru’s manner now supported his suspicious behaviour louder than any words could.

Subaru:「――――」

Ram narrows her eyes at Subaru’s silence. The coldness in her gaze, which he had already thought to be at the level of absolute zero, falls even further. It almost feels as if he had been assailed by a sharp, bone-chilling blizzard. While desperately trying to keep his knees from trembling, Subaru slowly starts to understand, too little too late.

―Had he been set up?

When Meili’s body hadn’t been found, the meeting at the dinner table had been a bluff. When they had reported that Meili’s body hadn’t been found, Subaru had been relieved that he had escaped from a chance of being blamed.

Desperately searching in vain, they hadn’t found the little girl’s body that hasn’t even been hidden that well. His bad luck had prevailed even in these unnatural circumstances, Subaru had accepted the convenient truth, putting off any niggling doubts that had concerned him then. And that resulted in him being caught up in this act.

Hadn’t Subaru also repeatedly seen this in various TV shows? In the final scene,the murderer who had meticulously put together his perfect plan returns back to the crime scene and gives himself away as the police and the detectives are closely watching the crime scene. And due to that, they give away that they committed the crime by showing themselves as being the smoking gun. A time where such a thing had been comedy…

Somewhere in his heart, Subaru had thought that. Any connoisseur of mysteries will take note of the sheer foolishness of the dumb criminal slipped up at the very end. He had acted completely the same way ―rather , worse, for his shock of being caught up in this act had made him quite a miserable sight to behold.

Ram:「―Fake.」

Ram’s quiet mutter barrels into him as he is stricken by his own absurd actions. With just that single word, Subaru’s brittle heart crumbles and sinks in his chest, as if he had been shell-shocked by a mortar attack. As soon as he had heard it, his face had turned as white as a sheet, his lips trembling. Ram let out a sigh.  

Ram:「So, you have nothing to say to defend yourself. Even I wonder if you are truly aware of how obvious your poor acting is. You didn’t prepare well enough when disguising yourself as him. There’s a limit when it comes to not being diligent, don’t you agree?」

Without hiding her contempt in her voice, Ram starts to tell Subaru why she had suspected him. Fakeness, poor acting, and showing insufficient understanding towards『Natsuki Subaru』were all pointed out by her. Not only was Subaru lost for words, but his heart felt as if it was going to crack, and the flow of his blood ached with each heartbeat. In fact, Subaru bit his lower lip, and blood started to stream out, accompanied by a sharp stinging pain.

A fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake fake― A poor imitation of 『Natsuki Subaru』, A fake―.

That thought settles into the pit of his stomach as if it were thick, black sludge. A disgusting sludge covering him from head to toe; a weight that caused his knees to stop trembling. Instead, where the depths of his eyes had burned; a blaze glowed, dancing atop the fuse of his dark emotions. One could call it hostility, malice, malintention― or perhaps an intent to kill.

Ram:「There’s no way such unnatural behaviour would go unnoticed, well, except for those that are clueless. That could be said of Julius, Anastasia-sama… well, Echidna.」

Subaru:「… you’re sure letting it all out. Here I am listening to you patiently without even saying a word.」

Ram:「――――」

Subaru:「A fake!? I think you’re crossing the line here into false accusations. What on earth are you saying!?」

Ram:「False accusations, huh?」

As Ram’s sharp tone started to abate, Subaru, though sensing her sorrow, tries to defend himself. Of course, the point she made had been completely correct. Even if he didn’t agree with having been sternly described by her as that『Worthless Excuse』, that unfilled void between Subaru and『Natsuki Subaru』existed. However, she couldn’t have noticed this. If she comes to notice it, then it would become impossible for him to worm himself out of this situation. He can’t stop here, halfway through―

Subaru:「False accusations upon false accusations. My ears are deaf to them, y’know, I can’t hear any of ‘em.」

Shoulders shrugging and cheeks distorting into a scowl, Subaru speaks while glaring at Ram. He acts out his response, as if, right in that moment, that barefaced lie was the truth of this world. Even he could have fallen for that lie.

Subaru:「As to why I was wandering about in the middle of the night… it’s because I just wanted to stretch my legs and think a bit whilst there was no one around. I just wanted to go somewhere to not disturb your little sister… Rem’s sleeping, as well as Patrasche…」

Ram:「―No one… Did you really think that nobody had seen anything?」

Ram had quietly asked Subaru this as he was rapidly blurting his excuses out. Her words were brief, but sharp, designed to puncture deep into his heart.

Subaru:「――――」

Holding his breath at hearing her inquiry, he racks his brain, trying to figure out what she really meant by saying those words. See, seen, nobody had seen, she can’t have seen him.

―He was caught on Ram’s wording, Seen. What does she mean by this?

Meili’s corpse? Or perhaps the Meili from before she had became a corpse? Or had she seen him working on hiding Meili’s corpse? Or maybe―

Ram:「Nothing… even if it was your plan that nobody would see anything, the Earth Dragon was diligently watching your strange behaviour. And because of that, Ram was also able to watch you in the same way.」

Putting her fingers to her lips, Right in front of him, Ram deliberately makes a scene out of showing this particularly uncouth gesture towards Subaru.

Subaru:「…What the heck are you saying!?」

Without understanding the meaning of her behaviour behind her gesture, Subaru let out these words in bewilderment. However, he did have quite a recent memory of this particular gesture. It was none other than the gesture Subaru had shown to Patrasche before leaving the Spirit Room. Right now, he couldn’t for the life of him understand the meaning behind how it had cropped up again in this place with Ram―

Ram:「You need to study him more, you『Worthless Excuse』―」

The utter disappointment those two words  carry is what drives home that this is Subaru’s final warning.

Subaru:「――――」

Up until now, though extremely cold and unfeeling, Ram had kept up her stance of wanting to talk, even if her intention of exchanging words with Subaru was disappearing by the second. The instant Subaru had seen the look in her eyes, he realized that his excuses were meaningless.  

Ram will turn a deaf ear to whatever excuses Subaru comes up with. Since it had come to this, Subaru has no other choice but to break through this situation using brute-strength.   

―In that moment, Subaru starts to consider how to kill Ram inside of his head.  

Subaru:「――――」

Think about how to kill her. There is no longer any point in feeling reluctant about it. He had already killed one person. One or two, it makes little difference. A while ago, Ihad a lot of experience in snatching away the lives of a great number of people. From here on out, there’d be no hindrance in the execution of his『Book of the Dead』plan.

Meili:『―Bu~t, that Onee-san…』

Countless choices within Subaru crumbled away noisily. On the verge of being left with only his dangerous thoughts, the shade of the little girl that had been keeping silent up until now had chimed in.

Though invisible, the presence of the shade beside him was so strong he could practically feel her breathing. It hugs Subaru’s body from behind him, softly whispering into his ear and tempting him. And the contents of that sweet, sweet, saccharine temptation is―   

Meili:『―Surely she’s in a poor position, ri~ght? Her centre of gravity is shifted onto her left side, her balance is po~or.』

Those sweet whispers had whispered to him the weaknesses of that awe-inspiring, yet terrifying girl― when it comes down to it, she had given him instructions on how to kill her.    

She is smaller than him, she is weaker than him, she has less experience when it comes to killing. With the knowledge『She』had accumulated by spending so much time with the assassin in black, it should be easy to kill this woman.    

Meili:『Knock her over towards her left-hand side, and bash her head against the wall. That’ll do the tri~ck.』

As he was taking into account the difference in strength between himself and Ram, relevant advice comes from『Her.』By just following that, the girl’s skull will crack, and flowers of deep crimson will bloom upon the wall.

Crimson flowers that would marvelously complement this lovely young girl’s pink hair―

Subaru:「―tch」

Without any cues, and without any obvious openings, Subaru faces his opponent, preparing to step forward and attack her. Receiving a round of applause from the shade, Subaru steps forwards without hesitation towards Ram’s body which was slightly tensed. Towards her right hand side. He will throw her body against the wall and then―,

Ram:「Since you’re lost for words, you’re now resorting to violence. What a barbaric, boring conclusion.」

In that moment of offence and defence, before Subaru’s arm could reach her, Ram had opened her lips and uttered these words. Meeting each other’s gazes, Subaru’s breath was knocked out of him seeing the Ram’s cold eyes.

Ram:「―Did you really think that the oh so frail and feeble Ram would challenge such a barbaric man alone?」

Rather than mocking him, Ram’s words feel similar to pity. As she speaks, Subaru hears a crackling sound in the air mingling in with her voice. In fact, he was not hearing things. The moisture in the atmosphere freezes rapidly, the air around him was being forcibly changed from gas to solid.

Subaru:「Wh…a?」

That crackling sound he had heard, had been caused from Subaru’s own foot stepping against the pile of ice rising at his feet; it had stopped him in his tracks, causing him pain. 

Subaru:「I-ice…!? 」

Ricocheting from the hard, cold impact, Subaru could hardly believe his eyes. But, the transformation didn’t just stop here. Bars of ice weren’t just materializing where his foot had been, rather, they rose from all around him― enclosing him, materializing into an ice cage.     

Subaru:「You’re kidding me… what the… magic!?」

In the blink of an eye, the ice cage finishes materializing, Subaru was completely trapped within. Seizing the bars of ice with his hands, Subaru tries to violently shake them in an attempt to break that prison; however, his efforts only result in him being astounded at the strength of the ice. The bars did not yield even an inch. Even if he kicks and punches with all his strength, he doesn’t at all believe that he’ll be able to break through. And thus, Subaru had been imprisoned within that ice cage―

???:「―Everything would have been so much better if Ram had been wrong about this…」

Looking at him with her sad amethyst eyes, Emilia comes into view from behind Ram.

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What had happened was hardly surprising; Subaru finds himself dumbstruck like a monkey inside a cage.  

Subaru:「――――」

Ram and Emilia had banded together to restrain him; that much was obvious. Unlike Subaru, however, they had the option of cooperating with each other. From the very beginning, Subaru had been forced to fight alone in this place; confronting a dangerous person alone had probably never been considered a choice by them. Ultimately, Subaru had definitely been dancing in the palm of their hands at every step of the way.     

Ram:「In this scene, I also had to feign superficiality, but I sure as hell didn’t open my mouth as brazenly as you. As an actor I can barely say that you are below third-rate, let alone second rate.」

Ram spits this out, crossing her arms and looking at Subaru sitting in the cage. Looking at her, he noticed that she hadn’t even moved a single step away from the place where she had first made her entry. Even worse, she hadn’t even changed her posture. Between her and Subaru, that’s what differed between the two actors, that’s it.

Ram:「With such acting, only a seriously oblivious person could be fooled. Then, who the most mentally tough person was amongst everyone, there’s nothing left to even consider.」

Subaru:「From that way you’re speaking…aren’t you praising me? Thanks.」

Ram:「…You’re welcome.」

Next to Ram who had reacted with a faint air of bitterness, silver hair flew up as Emilia stepped forward. Judging by what Ram had said, this ice cage had been handmade by Emilia― in other words, it can be concluded that this was the kind of magic she is able to use.

Had he not been stuck in this situation, Subaru would have definitely been impressed by her enchanting ice magic which suited its owner’s beautiful, mystical face quite well. But, seeing that practically he was a captive in the ice cage, and witnessing just how strong it is, at a glance he can understand the difference in strength between him and her, and just how inferior he is.

The difficulty level of executing his『Book of the Dead』plan, that ranking had now greatly changed. But, before that―

Emilia:「―Subaru, what were you trying to do at this time? Weren’t you supposed to be resting in the room?」

Subaru:「I…」

Looking worried, Emilia asked Subaru what he had been doing here at this time. A serious look of anxiety dwells in her eyes, but, when it comes to this situation, the only possible conclusion is that she’s torn between simple honesty and foolishness. They were all mistaken about the reason he had taken this path.

Even Subaru has a say in this. A reason how he had ended up like this certainly exists. However, telling them would be like grasping at thin air; who on earth would believe Subaru’s words.

Ram:「Emilia-sama, it’s pointless to ask him that. I doubt he will answer your question honestly. I am doubtful in handling it as if it were Barusu.」

Emilia:「But, Subaru is Subaru! Ram, you must understand that, right?」

Ram:「You have to remember that a counterfeit will have a similar appearance only… that’s how Ram judges it.」

If anything, it seemed to resemble something closer to one of Subaru’s own thoughts about himself; Ram had rebuked Emilia’s notion. Most likely, it had been Ram who had suspected Subaru and also proposed to keep an eye on what he would get up to at night. For sure, Emilia must have been standing by as the rear-guard, brought along in the case of an emergency.      

In other words, the answer that the equivalent of『Natsuki Subaruis not Subaru had already been noticed by Ram a while ago. And afterward, all that was left was to take the steps to confirm both the fact and the accompanying grievances.  

Ram:「Thanks to Emilia-sama, you were captured without any harm done. I wonder if a bit of pain will make you willing to tell us what we want to hear?」

Subaru:「Pain… like torture? That’s not only extremely sadistic, but isn’t there a famous saying that doing things like that necessitates careful thinking!!」

Ram:「I will do what is necessary. Besides, I don’t really like inflicting pain on others― but, it is a specialty of mine.」

Keeping him in a cage with a space of not even 2 meters square, Ram wasn’t going easy on Subaru. Pale and slender though her fingers may be, her humble claim of 『Inflicting pain is my specialty』 feels frightfully convincing to Subaru.

If he keeps going like this without doing anything, if the opportunity to launch a counterattack doesn’t present itself, it will end up becoming a case where no matter how hard she searches for his secrets he would just be meaninglessly confessing his miserable behavior.

Emilia:「―Wait. You can’t hurt him. I won’t let you do that.」

However, Emilia, who herself had imprisoned Subaru in the ice cage, was the one to stop Ram before she could resort to extreme measures. She turned her back on the cage Subaru was in and faced Ram directly.

Ram:「…Emilia-sama, Weren’t you supporting Ram?」

Emilia:「I endorsed your opinion of questioning him because I also felt that Subaru was acting strange But it’s because I thought this might happen….that I decided to stay here.」

Ram:「It’s because I didn’t want something like this to happen that I asked Beatrice to keep Julius and the rest company. And yet, I did not think Emilia-sama would be so… disobedient. I was too naive.」

Without hiding her irritation at the difference in their opinions, Ram points at Subaru, who was hiding behind Emilia’s back. Regarding them, she utters the biting words 「Is that fine?」.

Ram:「He’s too lacking in the points that the original Barusu should obviously have. I heard you talk about the Water Gate city… Pristella. It seemed like there you’d met a shape-shifting Sin Archbishop.」

Emilia「…Yes. Another reason for us coming here was to change back those people who that Sin Archbishop changed into a different form.」

Ram:「Then what are the chances that Sin Archbishop could have become any of us?」

Emilia:「――――」

Ram:「Even if they’re a Sin Archbishop, If they are able to freely change their shape then we can’t go by outward appearances. Their normal conduct, the feeling when they try to talk, if all of those things are different…」

Ram responded with logic while holding back her anger towards Emilia’s emotion driven opposition. They’re nothing but deductions and baseless accusations towards Subaru, but they didn’t have any basis to deny them. And no less important than that, Subaru― No, 『I』felt like rejecting the topic at hand.

Subaru:「――hk」

A flashback, white memories. They come not from Natsuki Subaru, but from a small fragment of the memories seen in The『Book of The Dead』. The memories from when『I』 was『Herself』.

―Training, That’s what they called their actions towards『Me

Even though dread was carved into me many times, the most terrifying thing to happen to me, was when my body was made to change into countless innumerableFrogs』.

Even though my consciousness existed only in one body, my infinitely fragmented consciousness did as it liked, leaping whenever it wanted, running wherever it wanted.

Dreading the thought of not being able to go back to my original self, brought the realization that I had forgotten what my Original selfwas in the first place, Having my reason for existence as a living being crash like that, I was thankful from the bottom of my heart toMotherthe moment I was returned to normal.

And at the same time, the Idea that I should never, under any circumstances, go against her orders was etched into my soul.

Subaru:「――hk

Recalling that dread directly, almost as if he’d personally lived it, Subaru’s field of vision blurs. One’s own appearance is something that is directly linked to one’s identity and sense of self. Tampering and changing that as one liked on a whim, that could only be called blasphemy. The most detestable deed of all―.

Emilia:「That’s too extreme, this is quite unlike you Ram! Speaking like that, trying to shut me up!」

Ram:「Can you even say nothing’s up? Before that man behind us…」

Emilia and Ram continue their arguing while Subaru alone drowns in anguish, feeling like his stomach was churning. However, Ram’s claim proved to be a “probatio diabolica”. As for something happening, even if there can be proof of it, no one at all would be able to do prove it not happening.1

This Natsuki Subaru was not the 『Natsuki Subaru』that they wanted. To explain that theory, some kind of shape shifter power was helpful. It made it simple― and at the same time, it was unbearable for the current Subaru, from the bottom of his heart. That feeling of being inside all of that enmity was too much for him to bear, Subaru was wheezing in pain.

Ram:「I need to make him spit it out, right now! So I can know where Meili and the real Barusu are.」

Subaru:「―ah?」

That complaint from Ram, like a surprise attack, overloads Subaru’s consciousness. It was a bolt out of the blue, a truly unexpected comment.

Subaru:「――――」

Raising his face, Subaru looked between Emilia and Ram, at their continuing quarrel. Gazing at her back, he couldn’t see Emilia’s emotions; however, Ram’s face was clearly visible to him. Her eyes, burning with rage, contain no schemes like the lie she used to trap Subaru in this place. At least, what she just stated was what she really meant.

In other words, this means that Ram and the others hadn’t found Meili’s remains. She had just been lying in wait ready to launch the blame on Subaru right here, his suspicious behaviour being too much to convince her that he was『Natsuki Subaru』in the end. That was it. He understands where the confused Ram’s questioning was coming from. But at the same time, he didn’t understand.

If it hadn’t been Ram or Emilia, who was the one who had moved Meili’s remains? If it had been  neither Ram, nor the others, nor Subaru, then they were operating under a different motive―.

Emilia:「Real or fake, you can’t just decide like that! I mean, the Subaru that is here right now is…」

Subaru「―I have… Amnesia!!」

Ram:「Huh…?」

Holding onto the ice cage bars, Subaru’s scream cuts into the duo’s quarrel.

Hearing that screaming voice, Ram appears taken aback and confused. That one unexpected angle of attack leaves Ram’s mind blank. If it had been a trick, employed to poke gaps between her logic and disturb her thoughts, then it had been a success. But there had been so much intent; this had been Subaru’s scream of truth.

Subaru:「―tch」

As for why he had cried this out right at this moment, even Subaru himself has no clue. In this loop, Subaru had hidden the fact that he had lost his memories, and had tried to imitate how the old『Natsuki Subaru』had seemed. Thanks to that, his life hadn’t been snatched away this loop.  

But in truth, concealing his amnesia had complicated everything else in this loop. So what will happen now, after his grand reveal?

Ram:「After all this time, you’re still joking like that…!?」

In reality, the moment her stagnating thoughts had resumed their activities, Ram’s expression became dyed in anger. The girl probably thinks that Subaru’s desperate cry now was a desperate lie― that it’s nothing more than nonsense.

Emilia:「Ram! Listen to what Subaru is saying! There was a reason after all!」

Ram:「Are you serious, Emilia-sama!? That was completely unbelievable…!」

With arms stretched, Emilia stands in front of Ram, rallying Subaru’s words. If she thinks he had only jumped up in taking advantage using this absurd excuse, Subaru may as well give up on continuing to speak. However, standing in opposition to Ram, who wants to reject it completely, Emilia still faces her with resolve,   

Emilia:「It’s worth believing him! Didn’t we all up until now!?」

Ram:「―tch」

Ram’s cheek slightly stiffens at Emilia’s appeal. For a second, a trace of doubt flits through Ram’s light-pink irises, various thoughts seeming to spin through Ram’s intelligent head. She starts to open her stiffly closed lips, and,

Emilia:「Ram, let’s listen to Subaru and…」

Ram:「―What about Rem?」

Emilia:「―ah」

In an instant, Ram’s teary-eyed, petite form spins around and leaps at Emilia. Deciding in that moment to fall back, Emilia had prepared herself to hold down Ram. But, the approaching Ram’s movements prove to be faster, and Emilia’s left hand was caught by Ram’s right.

Ram:「Don’t get in my way now!」

Emilia:「Kyaa!」

As she spoke, demonstrating her excellent footwork and defensive movements, and minimally moving her wrist and shoulder, Ram flings Emilia’s body aside, in a manner that had demonstrated maximum effectiveness. As Emilia flies away, her figure slowly somersaulted to the side. Through her surprise at her world’s sudden revolutions, she quickly grasps her situation and attempts to swing her long legs onto the floor below.  

Emilia:「―hk」

In the spot where Emilia landed, lay one of Ram’s shoes which she had flung off. Tripping, Emilia loses her balance and lands on all fours.

In that close combat, Emilia had been overwhelmed by Ram’s technique, and Ram slips into the gap created. Thrusting her wand between the bars of the ice cage, towards the tip of the frightened Subaru’s nose,

Ram:「I dare you to say that again.」

Subaru:「It’s―….Not like that……」

Ram:「With that face. And that voice. Say that you forgot Rem. One more time…」

Tightening her jaw and grinding at her molars, Ram was collecting something on the tip of her trembling wand, and he knew what it was. It was invisible to the eye, a power which you would probably call mana was accumulating in front of his eyes, but even then, Subaru couldn’t follow with any words.

He couldn’t think of what to say to Ram. To that girl in front of him hanging on the verge of tears. If he wasn’t Natsuki Subaru, but『Natsuki Subaru』Would he have been able to do it?

Emilia:「You cant, Ram! Stop!!」

Emilia, having just clambered back to her feet, screams in an attempt to stop Ram. However, she doesn’t make it in time.

Emilia:「――――」

A white light blinks through the ice cage’s bars, and the shock engulfs Subaru. That shock flings his body all the way to the back onto the ice bars, the back of his head banged against them.

Subaru:「―hgh」

His head shook violently, and his consciousness became hazy. Without even having time to explain himself, Natsuki Subaru’s consciousness slipped away.

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Subaru:「―huh?」

Letting out a faint, weak groan, his consciousness starts to resurface. Gradually, gradually, his consciousness rises to the surface from the sludge of darkness. Feeling as if he were somewhere vast, steady, steadily accelerating, stretching into reality, and finally―

Subaru:「―Ghuua!? Owww!?」

In the instant in which he had flitted back into consciousness, he had been yanked up by a force that felt like it had seized him by the scruff of his neck; sharp, hot pain burned within Subaru’s mind. Groaning and writhing in pain, Subaru wakes up on the cold, hard floor.    

Subaru:「Ow, ow, owwww, what, what is this…?」

His body roused by throbbing pain Subaru reaches out his hand to his left shoulder. The moment he touches it, scorching pain once again burns across his mind. He couldn’t move his left arm at all.

Subaru:「Did it get yanked out of my socket…? Is it dislocated? Ugh, never felt this one before …」

Dangling about, his arm cannot move to his will. However, when he had tried to move and touch it, he had felt a sharp pain. Thus, Subaru stood up with great care. Looking around at his surroundings, he sees that… there was nobody around. And this room was―

Subaru「The room where I hid Meili…」

In other words, he was in the same room where he had been conscious up until just before. As evidence for that, behind Subaru, the ice cage Emilia had magically crafted was still there. It was strange that Subaru had been lying down outside of the cage. Looking at the cage, it didn’t appear opened, and it didn’t look like he should have been able to get out of it by any normal means―

Subaru:「―So does that mean my shoulder was…?」

Thinking to that extent, Subaru notices the relationship between his dislocated shoulder and his escape from the ice cage. The gaps between the bars of the ice cage were so small that it would be impossible to get through them unless he was the size of a child. By force, it should be possible to get through with his shoulder dislocated. The question is how did Natsuki Subaru manage that whilst unconscious? Also― 

Subaru:「―Where have Emilia… and Ram gone?」

Their figures could not be seen anywhere.They had been arguing in this room up until not long ago. Perhaps, their argument had blown up to the point that they had killed each other. That situation was far too unnatural. ―No, it was more like a terrible situation than an unnatural one.

Subaru had been knocked out of consciousness, and thus knew nothing about his shoulder’s dislocation, or Emilia and Ram whereabout, or anyone else who should have been here. Subaru looks around the room, wondering what had happened during his unconsciousness, looking to see whether anything strange had occurred― and there he saw it.

『Natsuki Subaru was Here』

Subaru:「――――」

On the walls, everywhere he could see, those words were engraved. Cut into the stone wall, crudely shaped words were carved as if scribbled into a notepad.

Had it been the fragment of stone that was near the wall that had done that? It seems like it was part of the stone that had been in the back of the room, which had been originally used to hide Meili’s dead body. Using that stone fragment, the phrase『Natsuki Subaru was Here』was engraved onto the wall. ―If it was just that, then the impact had not been as great as when the same words had been carved into his arm.

Under the influence of the surprise and astonishment that the redux had brought along to him, he should have laughed it off as no big deal. But, however―

『Natsuki Subaru was Here』

『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』

『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』

『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』
『Natsuki Subaru was Here』『Natsuki Subaru was Here』―.

Subaru:「―U…ah」

Tightly packed together, abnormally so, the words were engraved so that they completely covered the walls inside the room. They had even looked so natural that he hadn’t truly noticed the uncomfortable feeling from the start. The words were so abnormally and stubbornly engraved to the extent that it had looked somewhat like an optical illusion, due to the excess of that pattern on the walls.

Inside this room, for what purpose? Engraving these characters―

???:「―Hmm? OY, th’fuck is all this? Th’fuck is this evil feeling in the room? You, th’fuck is this crap decorating the walls?」

Subaru:「――――」

Shuddering, standing stock still, the voice coming from behind Subaru inspired fear, and it wasn’t down to the fact that he hadn’t detected its presence. After all, Subaru’s attention right now had been firmly fixed at the writing on the walls. He wouldn’t have noticed anyone approaching.

Thus, he was not surprised because of that. Subaru’s surprise had come from how familiar that crude voice sounded. The terrible memories of it that he wanted to forget―  

???:「You, th’hell ya doing looking so blank, small fry. What’s a small fry doing so far away from his flock? Aren’t ya just asking to be a bigger fish’s prey?」

As he spoke from behind Subaru, who dares not to look back, the red-haired man’s laugh rang out like a shark’s. Oh how he laughed indeed, that man who should by all means not be here.

 

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  • [1]Find more about the “devil’s proof” here!

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