Arc 5 – Chapter 3, “Each Gives Perspective”

A5C3

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All rights belong to Tappei Nagatsuki, the original author of the Re:Zero series. This is an English translation of the free web novel which is available at:

http://ncode.syosetu.com/N2267BE/216

This is not a professional translation. Some mistakes, both grammatical and logical, are inevitable. Also, be advised that translators have a predisposition for personal preference and the names and terminology may differ at times from what was used in the anime or is used in the fandom at large. Think of these documents as an extremely
detailed “summary” (even though they basically include everything).

Credit for the first five chapters document belongs to Summary Anon, who left behind only the following contact information:

ankaa.burner@gmail.com https://mega.nz/#F!VNdzDYYK!nK9fNU3LeprlZSbRAnlsRg

Credit for the rest is to Discount Anon or u/Nanashi-tan.

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Emilia: 「It wasn’t fair to Otto-kun that we decided so much on our own.」

After speaking with Joshua and returning to her room, Emilia speaks as she offers Subaru a seat. Subaru seats himself there and chuckles,

Subaru: 「Leaving Otto’s panic aside as a legend for future generations, I basically always support your ideas, Emilia-tan. But if I’m gonna mention something to be worried about, it’d have to be the fact that they’re ready and waiting for us.」

Emilia: 「I don’t think Anastasia would take risks anyway, if she’s sending messengers. Mimi-chan may’ve been there, but Joshua-kun still took control when I tried to take control.」

Subaru: 「She recognizes you as an opponent if she’s sending her Knight’s family as her messenger. I always wondered why in Sengoku dramas, when they send important people as messengers, they don’t just kill them. But turns out there’s all this background stuff. Didn’t think I’d be learning that by experience.」

It’s a question of trust between the parties and the people. If the people learn that the rulers acted unjustly, it harms the ruler’s standing. And each faction faces too many enemies to be acting disgracefully. Otherwise, since a group faces more clandestine enemies the larger it grows, it’s simple logic to be careful when challenging influential people.

—The meeting with Joshua Juukulius is over, and night has fallen upon the new Roswaal Mansion.

Since it would be awful to send them back on the same day they arrived, they offered to let Joshua and Mimi stay the night, and accepted the invitation to Pristella City. Joshua had been rather imposing when discussing the topic, but everyone saw his relief peeking through when their side accepted the invitation. His monocle was likely just a decoration to garner a certain impression from others, the earnest young lad.

Subaru: 「He’s way more likeable than his brother.」

Emilia: 「You are always so insincere about Julius. Do you still have a grudge from that time in the palace?」

Emilia catches Subaru’s mutter, and amusedly pokes fun at him. Just thinking about the affair used to make his face redden in shame, and his stomach burn with indignation. But how about now that some time has passed?

Subaru: 「It’s still too vivid for me to laugh and smile about it. I was young back then. And I have reflected on my actions. Wish he’d do the same.」

Emilia: 「But I heard you both apologized and made up. It’s so uncool to give shallow apologies and keep simmering on the inside.」

Subaru: 「Mnngh… But I’m only human!」

Emilia looks at him reproachfully, but Subaru remains stubborn. Subaru looks away. Emilia frowns at him for a moment, but ultimately can’t hold back her grin.

Emilia: 「Fine. Subaru, you are just so stubborn. But you’re not allowed to fight with Julius if we see him in Pristella. You’re a knight now, and knights mustn’t misuse their power.」

Subaru: 「Yeah yeah you’ve bested me my Liege.」

Subaru covers up his blushing with some jokes and rubs at his upper lip. He gazes absently around Emilia’s room, before seeming to remember something,

Subaru: 「Oh yeah, Emilia-tan. I don’t really know much about Pristella, is it known for anything?」

Emilia: 「Hmp, you need to study more, Subaru. Pristella is one of the five main cities of Lugnica, on the Tigracy River that marks the border with Kararagi. It’s famous for being built right on a huge lake, with canals flowing through the city.」

Subaru: 「Ok so leaving aside that that’s all second-hand information, it’s a floating city. Well you have Venice, so may as well be possible here too.」

Venice springs to mind when it comes to aquatic cities. The town is surrounded by water on all sides, with lakes winding nonchalantly through the stone cityscape. It’s one of those romantic places that everyone visits at least once, and Subaru regards it as a picturesque spot too. And so that’s the impression he gets of Pristella.

Emilia: 「No, Subaru. Pristella isn’t a floating city, it’s a Watergate City.」

Subaru: 「Watergate?」

Emilia: 「Yes. It’s in the middle of a lake, so the city floods when it rains. They built huge walls around the city to stop that, and there’s gates to regulate the water levels. The gates are sooo amazing and famous that they don’t call it the Floating City, they call it the Watergate City.」

Emilia’s explanation flips Subaru’s pretty water town into an enclosed watery jail. The concept is all so beautiful, and then they ruin it with these giant walls. Subaru tilts his head, wondering why they built this whole mechanism.

Emilia: 「I think there’s lots of theories behind the city’s construction. Like, they were testing the limits of their technology, or trying to conquer the floods without relying on magic or the Dragon, or trying to trap a powerful, evil witchbeast.」

Subaru: 「None of them sound sensible but they all somehow feel possible which is how you know humans did it.」

The average person wouldn’t come up with the idea, but the geniuses of humanity are fundamentally liberated from the reins of common sense. And sometimes their ideas get realised. Either way.

Subaru: 「But we still don’t know what they’re planning. …Doubt they’re just being nice and directing us to what we’re looking for.」

Emilia: 「Are you sure? Have you ever considered trusting in people more, instead of being so suspicious?」

Subaru: 「Sorry, but all the candidates have their faults. And I don’t trust what they’re plotting for a second.」

Crusch herself is trustworthy, but Subaru doesn’t know whether she’ll stay a demure lady, and he has to keep wary of Felis. That problem is solved if Wilhelm reins Felis in, but the Sword Demon puts Subaru on edge too. Knowing their circumstances, it’s difficult to trust them when they’re left to their own devices.

Subaru has no idea what Anastasia is thinking, or what drives her. He cannot divine her motives for sending this invitation. Julius may be the knightliest of knights, but Anastasia is ultimately in control. And the business lives of the members of Iron Fang are unrelated to who they are as people. Subaru can’t dislike them.

Reinhardt and Rom from the Felt Faction may merit trust. But Felt’s thoughts are unclear to Subaru. So long as she’s willing to participate in the Selection, Subaru must brace for the tricky, devious girl to be scheming something. If she seriously deploys Reinhardt, and he becomes their enemy, their chances of beating him in combat are a dream within a dream.

The Priscilla Faction is hardest to read. Subaru cannot trust either of them. Al might also be from Japan, but he is surprisingly loyal to Priscilla. So he will not stand up for Subaru, while Priscilla’s capriciousness is already terrifying. She could randomly visit to decapitate him with a smile on her face. That’s her breed of absurdity.

Even though a year has passed, no candidates know the motives of the others. Subaru needs to probe deeper if he wants to know more than what he learned at the Palace. Which is one reason for accepting this invitation.

Subaru: 「Honestly I am terrified of being in Anastasia’s debt. How did she figure out you were looking for a colourless spellstone anyway?」

Emilia: 「Puck showed himself in the Palace, so I didn’t want anyone to know he’s limited. I was trying to be sooo careful… but you just can’t stop people from saying things.」

Subaru: 「That’s what happens. So even if we get the spellstone, it just means things are back to status quo from the other factions’ perspectives. The benefits are in establishing the debt.」

That said, Puck’s return will enhance Emilia’s already significant combat strength. But no amount of combat power alone will secure Emilia’s win in the Selection. It would just make their defeat of the Sizeable Hare more convincing, if anything.

—The defeat of the Sizeable Hare in Sanctuary.

This second achievement of the Emilia Faction, unrelated to the defeat of Sloth of the Witch Cult, is unfortunately not recognized by the public. There were no witnesses to the Hare’s defeat, and it is impossible to retrieve any corpses as proof.

They threw the thing into another dimension never to return. It’s the truth, but not believable. The Al Shamac spell that Beatrice used is forgotten in this era, and she lacks the mana to demonstrate the technique again.

So while they reported the Hare’s defeat to the Capital, it has yet to be deemed as a legitimate achievement. And if they go into detail, they will have to describe Sanctuary in detail too, and thus reveal that Roswaal kept a hidden village in his territory. Ultimately they had to stop pressing the issue.

They were told that their claims would gain credibility if the Hare remains unseen for the next decade, but by that point it’s too late to be a useful achievement. Though it doesn’t bother Emilia too much, since it all happened extremely suddenly.

Subaru: 「But it’s still annoying. Seriously how much pain did those fucking rabbits put me through…」

Emilia: 「But we really did beat the Sizeable Hare, even if they don’t believe us. That scary witchbeast won’t hurt anyone else any more. Isn’t that enough?」

Subaru: 「Emilia-tan you are way too positive and kind…」

When you do something righteous, it ought to be acknowledged. Emilia speaks magnanimously, making Subaru recognize how pathetic he is. How nice would it be if he could think the way Emilia does? He will never achieve it. It just irritates him not to get recognition he deserves.

Emilia sees Subaru sulking, and her mouth relaxes into a smile. Subaru hasn’t noticed that Emilia sometimes gazes at him with this tender look in her eye. Or that her expression during these moments lacks the maternal spark of a mother watching over a child, and is instead something indescribably complex.

Emilia: 「And people already know that you’ve achieved things, Subaru. It’s formally recognized that you fought the White Whale and defeated Sloth.」

Subaru: 「For those… it really feels like I only got the scraps. People were doing a lot more than me for the White Whale, and I just happened to snag the perfect moment at the end. And I didn’t have that goal in mind for Sloth.」

All he was thinking during the Petelgeuse fight was to protect Emilia. Or, no, that’s not quite accurate. What Subaru felt back then was both desire to protect Emilia, and hatred for Petelgeuse personally. It’s not a question of which is legitimate. Both are, and both desires are Subaru’s own. It makes him uncomfortable that a fight which was basically a personal grudge is deemed as being for the sake of the world at large.

Emilia: 「But that’s the same for the Sizeable Hare. You defeated two of the witchbeasts that had been tormenting the world for four hundred years in such a short timespan… I know I’m not one to say this, but it’s like you’re doing sooo much more than you should.」

Subaru: 「Yeah. And there I am involved in both. Honestly, I think what I’ve done’s excessive. Let’s just hope the last one doesn’t show up.」

Emilia: 「—Yes.」

Subaru trusts in the power of words and prays to never encounter the Blacksnake. But Emilia’s response is rather wooden. It’s almost as if she has some personal thoughts on the Blacksnake.

Emilia: 「So anyway, about Pristella.」

But before he can address the shift in her attitude, she changes the topic. Obviously she doesn’t want to talk about it. And, having grown somewhat wiser, Subaru decides not to force an explanation out of her. Though sometimes he forgets to pay attention to things like that and acts exactly how he used to.

Emilia: 「We know we’re going, but do we really want to go with the same people? I kind of wanted to talk with Roswaal about it, too.」

Subaru: 「I think we’re fine. You’re going, so naturally your Knight, that is me, and my partner Beako will be coming too. But being serious, we bring Garf for combat and Otto too since he’s so insistent to go. I’d really like for Petra or Frederica to come too so all your needs are addressed, but…」

Emilia: 「It’s too bad. Roswaal’s busy with the Meeting of the Western Lords. We’ve known forever that Petra needs to join him for her maid training. Though she’s sooo angry about it.」

Subaru: 「Because she completely hates Roswaal after the Sanctuary thing. Roswaal enjoys it, which keeps Ram quiet, but

Petra is maturing justly and brilliantly as a maid, but her core is still dangerously childish. Her harshness on her master Roswaal is particularly striking, and she conceivably would wring the water from her washcloth into his tea. But since Subaru is on Petra’s side, he’s ready to overlook it even should he hypothetically witness it.

Only time will mend broken trust. But it seems that a year was not enough for Petra to start listening to Roswaal.

Subaru: 「Which means Frederica should go with them as a restraint and a model of proper etiquette, which leaves Ram in the mansion. Hold on this is dicey.」

Emilia: 「Really? Anne will be going to the meeting too, so Clind-san will be there. I’m sure he’ll be friendly with Petra, so maybe Frederica doesn’t need to go.」

Subaru: 「Clind-san… I don’t really get him.」

Subaru thinks back on the powerful butler of the Milord Mansion, where the group stayed while their mansion was being prepared. He works with such incredible refinement that the eye can’t catch it. It’s a mess of a compliment, but it’s what describes him.

Subaru’s training in parkour also began with Clind, who taught him the basics. He coached Subaru, who cannot exceed the physical limits of the ordinary man, when he was trying to figure out how to move without disregarding his boundaries. Anne-Rose and Clind have visited the new mansion multiple times to hang out. Subaru had Clind watch him practice his parkour, but then Clind defeated Garfiel’s obstacle course without breaking a sweat and without ruffling his clothes. He’s inhuman.

Subaru: 「But leaving aside who’s staying in the mansion, we shouldn’t worry about it. And anyway I should be the one more concerned about being careful. Goes for you too, Emilia-tan.」

Emilia: 「Mm. I do feel bad about agreeing without discussing it. I’ll have to apologize to Otto-kun.」

Subaru: 「He doesn’t care about his dignity, but he does hold onto things for ages. I’ll tell him that I told you off so hard you cried.」

Emilia: 「Heehee, thank you.」

Subaru fires an uppercut into the air, and Emilia smiles. She puts her hand to her chest and touches the blue crystal pendant hanging there. Even now, the Great Spirit Puck sleeps in that crystal.

Never mind his true power, this gem isn’t even strong enough for him to communicate. If he even twitches, the jewel will break and he will be unleashed—or so Emilia and Beatrice say. Once he is free, Puck will inadvertently bring great destruction on the environment, eventually run out of mana, and disappear back to where he came.

Emilia is constantly supplying the crystal with mana so that this doesn’t happen, and preserving Puck. Now they just need to make a good crystal from colourless spellstone and they should be able to restore him. Anastasia is saying she has seen spellstones that can withstand this wear.

Emilia: 「Once I can talk with Puck again… there are so many things I want to ask him. So—」

Emilia closes her eyes, saying nothing more. Her long eyelashes quiver, and Subaru quietly scratches his head. He can only vaguely figure what Emilia is thinking.

Subaru: 「You better get back here, cat spirit. I got a mountain of complaints for you.」

And, as her knight should, he agrees with her alongside his insults.

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Otto: 「You know! I’m saying this with everyone’s best interests in mind!」

Otto Suwen slams his glass to the table, clearly in a bad mood. After his conversation with Emilia and dinner, Subaru decided to see Otto before his nightly routine, and has been listening to him drunkenly complain for the past while.

Garfiel: 「’S been like this th’whole time. My amazin’ ears’re sick’a it.」

Says Garfiel in exasperation, sitting beside Subaru as he listens to Otto complain. He sticks his pinky in his ear and scratches his head, his sharp fangs clicking as he laps at his glass of milk.

Subaru is insisting that they not give alcohol to minors like him. Frederica and Ram agree, and he is trying to establish twenty as the drinking age in Roswaal Mansion. Also one time naughty Otto encouraged Garfiel to take a sip of alcohol and it turns out he can’t hold his liquor at all. Now just seeing a bottle of the stuff is enough to make him grimace.

Subaru isn’t going to break the laws from the old world, so the only drinkers in the mansion are Roswaal, Otto, Ram, and Frederica. Which means that the only drinker in the room is Otto.

Subaru: 「Don’t sulk. Emilia’s sorry about deciding everything on her own. She knows she should’ve discussed it. Don’t think it would’ve changed anything though.」

Otto: 「But there is more to things than their outcome. The process is important. You often get conversations where the conclusion is apparent from the very beginning, but the course you follow to get there is essential. Especially when we’re unguardedly accepting their offer… you mustn’t play into the opponent’s hands!」

Subaru attempts to smooth things over, but Otto snaps at him. He’s completely correct so Subaru can’t rebut him, but,

Subaru: 「What the hell, you sound like an actual internal affairs guy. After how hard you resisted it in the beginning? Guess you weren’t so reluctant about it after all.」

Garfiel: 「We’re juss acceptin’ a damn invitation, it ain’t that complicated, Otto.」

Otto: 「It’s almost invigorating how little you two have changed!」

Subaru and Garfiel dig into Otto in concert and high-five. The three friends are around the same age, and often hang out together. It is beautiful how naturally their conversations fall into this exact pattern.

Who cares about what Otto thinks. He makes a wonderful internal affairs minister. He was well-educated as a merchant’s son, learned the ways of the world as a travelling merchant, and he’s both smart and calculating. This has to be a better fate for him than somehow getting swindled into slavery. Though, he still tilts his head, wondering how this even happened to him as he chips through mountains of paperwork. Guy’s stubborn.

Since he’s seen Roswaal’s confidential paperwork, is accustomed to his post as Emilia’s helper, and is neck-deep in managing the territory of Margrave Mathers, he has no hope of escape.

Otto: 「What is that, that pitying look. It’s like you’re gazing at a chicken seconds before strangling it.」

Subaru: 「It’s more like I’m gazing at a battery hen that only gets to live for its eggs.」

Otto: 「Even worse!」

Garfiel: 「Yer be quiet now. ‘N stop teasin’ him so much, Captain. Rules’re t’keep it t’ten Ottos a day.」

Otto: 「How much is that!? How much is ten Ottos a day!?」

Yells Otto, his face red, but neither Subaru or Garfiel respond. This is what it’s like when he’s drunk. He’s working a stressful job, so they give him his drinking time, but it might actually just encourage even more stress.

Subaru: 「Otto vents best by yelling anyway.」

Otto: 「Clearly not!」

Garfiel: 「Yeah yeah now quiet down ‘n pour yerself another drink. Anyway, Captain, got somethin’ I wanna check with ya.」

Subaru: 「Oh? Don’t get that often. Go ahead.」

Otto grumbles as he refills his glass and quietly sips at it. Garfiel glances away from him, his mouth white with milk.

Garfiel: 「’S ’bout what the enemy’s doin’, obviously. The candidates ain’t never got any scuffles goin’ before, ‘n now she’s up in our face lookin’ fer a fight. She gotta be up t’somethin’, yeh?」

Subaru: 「You mean, you think she just challenged us to a duel?」

Garfiel: 「’Course I goddamn do. ‘S what she’s thinkin’. Forget that weedy Joshua prick, you see the cat kid who was with ‘im?」

—The cat kid is the same age as you. The comment is too tasteless for Subaru to actually say it. But what’s his problem with Mimi? Far as Subaru could tell she was acting the same as usual, just reaching for her tea and biscuits. And she did the same thing through dinner too.

Garfiel: 「That girl’s damn tough. N’ she was starin’ at my ‘mazin’ self, not juss durin’ the talk, but all through fuckin’ dinner. She musta figured out ‘m th’strongest guy in the place.」

Subaru: 「Are you sure…? No, I mean, Mimi is strong, and she is kind of a battle junkie, but…」

She doesn’t seem marginally smart enough to have ulterior motives. Subaru can only see her as transparent, or actually just airheaded.

Garfiel: 「Either way, sh’s keepin’ n’ eye on my amazin’ self while she’s here. Best we make sure you and Emilia-sama ain’t caught on yer own while we’re over there, Captain. Otto’s one thing, but we ain’t ever recoverin’ if we lose you.」

Otto: 「You do realise that this fief will be an absolute mess if I’m gone!? I wish that you would take that into consideration sometimes!」

Garfiel isn’t trying to belittle Otto as he urges caution. It’s just that he needs to make the comparison if he’s going to get his point across to Subaru. Though he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to play with Otto.

Subaru: 「Yeah, I’m definitely relying on you for that. Don’t want to draw it out so this’ll be short but, I’m counting on you, Garfiel.」

Garfiel: 「Yeah, make sure ya do. Count on The Strongest of Shields, aka The Legendary Guardian, Garfiel Tinzel!」

Garfiel proudly points at himself with his thumb. Subaru nods at him. He takes a sip from his own glass of milk, regretting how awesome Garfiel’s titles are. He’ll probably get even more titles once his might and valour resound all through the Kingdom. Will Subaru’s imagination be strong enough to provide for Garfiel then?

Subaru: 「I wonder if I’ll ever have a stroke of genius like Invisible Providence again… only Fortune herself knows when she’ll smile upon me.」

Garfiel: 「Yer mullin’ over somethin’ again. You ain’t gotta trouble yerself. Y’get things done when it matters. I got faith in that.」

Emilia’s the same, but the trust in Garfiel’s gaze is incredibly convincing. It instantly makes Subaru feel that he must match up to it. He’s trying not to mistake the self-improvement needed to meet that trust with blind, headless sprinting.

Subaru: 「If we’ve got Garfiel then we don’t have to worry about our combat strength. Emilia-tan’s a pretty strong fighter on her own too, and I’m decent enough with Beako. The problem here’s Otto… are you seriously coming with us?」

Otto: 「Of course I am! I don’t want to know what insane arrangement you and Emilia-sama will land yourselves in if I don’t go!」

It’s also electrifying how little they trust Subaru when it comes to negotiations. Emilia is as honest and pure as she appears, and while Subaru is devious he’s also inexperienced. So naturally they look like sitting ducks to Otto.

Otto: 「Also, Pristella is the birthplace of Hoshin of the Wastes, the founder of Kararagi. It has contact with Kararagi since it’s on the border, making it a highly significant place for merchants. I find myself duty-stricken to visit it too.」

Subaru: 「I thought you washed your hands of being a merchant ages ago. The hell are you doing.」

Otto: 「You are mistaken if you think that I will resign myself to being an Internal Affairs Minister forever! My ultimate goal is still to be a successful merchant with his own shop! This is a necessary road to get there, a necessary road on the path to my goal!」

Garfiel: 「Possible that th’road leads ter yer death.」

That stuff about trapping him here is honestly pretty shallow, and if he yearns to go and can help them as Internal Affairs Minister, it makes sense that Otto should join them. Everyone in the mansion knows, for all their banter, that they can’t function without Otto. And Otto knows it, too, which is why he can’t leave.

Subaru: 「Or you could just be a masochist but we’ll disregard that.」

Otto: 「Did you just agree at me in an incredibly impolite way or am I only imagining it!?」

Subaru: 「It’s not important. Anastasia’s going to be there, and we don’t know what terms she’ll hit us with. We’re counting on you. You’re on bureaucracy, Garfiel’s on military. And I’m there to make things fun.」

Otto: 「Do more!」

Subaru could try his absolute best, but he will never be stronger than Garfiel. He could study his

absolute best, but he wouldn’t have time to eclipse Otto as a bureaucrat.

Subaru: 「Just gotta do what I can do. One of those positive steps to self-improvement that I’ve mulled over with Beako.」

Garfiel: 「Yer gonna be fine if Emilia-sama ‘n Beatrice’re with ya. Meanin’ my amazin’ self gotta cover for Otto. Watch yer back for me, yeh?」

Otto: 「Why does it feel like I’m the greatest burden here… I can’t say that I agree with it.」

Subaru gets serious, and Garfiel accepts his post of babysitter. Otto grumbles and takes another sip of his liquor. The night grows darker, the mood pleasant.

Subaru: 「Now, we’re gonna be busy tomorrow, so I’m calling it about here. What about you, Garfiel?」

Garfiel: 「I’ll stay’n drink some more with Otto. Gettin’ pretty close t’beatin’ him at Shatranj. Might pull it off now that he’s drunk.」

Garfiel disregards Subaru and grabs a game board and pieces from the back of the room. The game is called Shatranj, with rules similar to Shogi or Chess. Subaru finds himself impressed that every world has these games. Otto is apparently quite good at them, and though Garfiel has been trying his hardest, he has suffered losses upon losses. Also Subaru is outrageously good at Othello, but struggles at Shogi and Chess.

Subaru: 「Don’t stay up too late. It’ll stunt your growth.」

Garfiel: 「Yer said that before n’ so that’s what I been doin’ but yer sure this fuckin’ works? Don’t feel I grew at all this year.」

Subaru: 「Frederica absorbed some of the growth so your case is complicated.」

Garfiel: 「Fuck you Sis!」

Roars Garfiel, baring his fangs as he slams the Shatranj board on the table. Then he hunches over and starts meticulously arranging the tiny pieces. While watching Garfiel go at it, Subaru waves to a red-faced Otto.

Subaru: 「Don’t you get too drunk either. If you wind up hungover and useless, Petra will think even less of you.」

Otto: 「I feel like she’s been rather harsh with me lately, but perhaps it’s just me. Could you have a word with her?」

Subaru: 「You mean tell her to try harder?」

Otto: 「I was clearly asking you to tell her to be nicer to me!」

Subaru answers with a bitter smile, telling Otto that it’s impossible, and leaves the two to play Shatranj as he exits the room. The crystalights in the hallway tell Subaru that it’s almost past midnight. Usually he would be in bed by this hour, but,

Subaru: 「Wound up running late today.」

With that excuse, Subaru ignores the staircase to his room on the third floor of the eastern wing, and heads for the women’s bedrooms in the western wing. Where,

Subaru: 「—Mind if I come in?」

Subaru always knocks on the door. He knows that no one will reply. So does he say it because he has hope? Or perhaps he confirms that there is no reply, so that he doesn’t forget.

—So that he doesn’t forget the inferno, always blazing in his chest?

Subaru: 「—」

Subaru opens the door. A pitch dark room welcomes him. It’s a simple room. Its layout is identical to the countless other guest rooms in the mansion, but it plainly lacks in furniture. Just a bed in the middle of the room, windows, their curtains, a small table, and a vase with flowers. Subaru knows that no one will complain, but he still dislikes the austerity.

Call it sentimental, but he wishes that the place had some human warmth. Perhaps the day will never come where he manages to disregard that wish as weakness.

Emilia: <If you could rationalize things that way, I don’t think we ever would’ve found common ground to our arguments. I like you sooo much just the way you are.>

Beatrice: <It is a vice to want beyond your means, in fact. Subaru, you are reckless on your own, I suppose. …But you’re not alone any more, so I’ll manage something for you even if you’re being greedy, in fact.>

Subaru: 「They’re coddling me. And Emilia-tan is tantalizing me with those provocative statements.」

Subaru wishes she would be more careful about saying ‘I like you’ or ‘you’re so cool’.
He has told her how he feels, but Emilia is too immature for it. Their relationship still has yet to go anywhere romantic. But even supposing it did suddenly go somewhere romantic, Subaru is not mentally ready for it either. Give him two more years, no three—or even more if it’s possible. That’s the kind of loser he is.

Subaru: 「God it’s so rude of me to go on about Emilia or Beatrice while I’m here. Petra’d beat me up if she heard this.」

Petra might have the best grasp of romance and its subtleties out of anyone in the mansion. Somehow everyone is terrible at relationships. Roswaal leads the charge with his toxic obsession, with the others all having their foibles too. Garfiel’s feelings for Ram are still a middle school crush, though Subaru has no place to talk. Ram’s ideas about extreme loyalty dictating love are perplexing, and Frederica’s love life is a complete unknown. Otto sometimes mentions while drunk things about being raked through the mud for philandering, but the consensus is that these claims are lies and pretense. It’s a disgrace to these adults that a thirteen year old girl is beating them.

Subaru: 「So how does that stand. I don’t think that tendency will change much, even after you wake up. Either because I’m a loser, or because you respect me.」

Subaru pulls a chair over and seats himself beside the bed. Moonlight slips in through the crack in the curtains, illuminating her face as she sleeps.

The light of the moon spills over her pale face, pink lips. She is a sleeping beauty with short blue hair, her curvy body garbed in thin negligee, her chest rising and falling in time with her breathing.
—She has slept for over a year now.

Subaru: 「Got lots of things to tell you today. Since some guests showed up uninvited, and with this crazy offer. I started my day with my usual—」

Subaru speaks calmly to her as she sleeps. He uses his same comedic phrasing as always, but his tone is incredibly gentle. He speaks as though lulling a child to sleep as he cheerily tells her about his day.

She doesn’t respond. Even so. These trysts unfold every night. Tonight is rife with things to discuss. Until the moon sits low in the sky, the tale goes on between Subaru and the Sleeping Beauty.

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