Arc 5 – Chapter 17, “That Ever Present Armor”

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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/

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 to Discount Anon or u/Nanashi-tan.

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—Fully recovering the meal’s original atmosphere was now impossible.

After hearing Felt’s sharp words, a satisfied Priscilla had left the hotel with Al in tow. It could probably be said that she was delighted at having achieved all of her goals there.

Considering the damage she’d wrought, she really was selfish.

Everyone had soon returned to their meals, unable to chat as happily as they had before.

The impact she’d left was incredibly hurtful to everyone present. In particular, the feelings of both Reinhardt and Wilhelm must have been unimaginable to outsiders.

Even so, the fortitude of those two men was strong enough that neither would allow any of their anxiety to show in their expressions.

Of course, the imminent reconciliation of grandfather and grandson could only be postponed. Just that was enough for a hard knot to take root in Subaru’s heart.

Otto: “We’re incredibly lucky that Garfiel wasn’t present.”

Those were the words left by Otto as he’d departed for the Muse Chamber of Commerce following the meal.

As he’d said, it would have been a serious matter if Garfiel or someone else who was prone to rage had been at the meal. It wasn’t difficult to imagine Garfiel flying at Heinkel in a rage and causing a violent tragedy.

Everyone at the breakfast had, for the most part, calm and rational natures. Maybe Priscilla had even factored that into her satisfaction.

Subaru: “…how could that be? That’s really a coincidence among coincidences.”

The luck which Priscilla arrogantly prided herself on was next to impossible.

It had only brought them the worst of results. Although irrefutable, it was painful to admit. Emilia and Beatrice’s worry surely hurt more than any indignation Subaru had felt.

Even Felt had been acting reasonably, leaving Subaru the only one who let his emotions get the better of him. To both foe and friend, Subaru wanted to give apologies for his lack of consideration.

Emilia and Beatrice had returned to their rooms for a short break before accompanying Subaru on their walk.

Subaru took the time to try to walk off his frustration, his footsteps harder than usual.

The inside of his shoe pressing against his foot felt rather like a reflection of his frustration.

Landing on that train of thought, Subaru began to apply more and more pressure in his steps, trying to relieve his feelings, until,

Julius: “Don’t step so hard on the floor, Subaru. You’ll cause trouble for inn’s staff.”

Subaru, who had been gazing down at his feet, turned his head toward the sound.

He had apparently unknowingly walked into the corridor facing the courtyard. Standing in the courtyard was Julius, who was bathing in the wind.

His hand swept his purple hair back in a practiced gesture, and it withstood the cool breeze with a dramatic image.

Julius’s handsome face, as always, inspired envy in Subaru, who clicked his tongue at the other young man before taking a seat next to him in the corridor.

Julius: “Emilia-sama and Beatrice-sama are not with you, correct?”

Subaru: “That’d be the case. Neither of them are children. They’re at the age when they want some me-time, and I have the delicacy to respect that right. I’ve set up a time and place for a date later.”

Julius: “Although I’m unfamiliar with some of the phrases you’ve used, it seems that even you have learned to better understand the thoughts of others.”

Subaru: “Ugh, you…!”

In a breach of convention, Julius was the one who spoke the first instigatory words of a quarrel. However, after seeing Julius’s expression, Subaru’s annoyance dissipated.

Julius shook his head slightly,

Julius: “Apologies. If you were truly one who was incapable of being considerate of others, you wouldn’t have been able to so loudly denounce the deputy commander in front of everyone… I should offer you my gratitude.”

Subaru: “That sounds like a thanks, so please don’t give me one. That guy just rubbed me the wrong way. Compared to everyone else who maintained their cool, I must have looked awful.”

Julius: “No such thing happened. It was precisely because of your rash manner that others could calm down, even myself included. Your impulsive reactions were helpful, it seems.”

Subaru: “You, you weren’t planning to praise me from the start, were you?”

Subaru frowned at Julius’s genuine tone.

Julius was always subtly taunting when he spoke to Subaru, although it came from both sides, so Julius wasn’t solely at fault. In any case, it was nigh impossible for the two to speak to each other honestly.

Subaru: “I know. I should be more calm and collected to be like a knight. Even holding the position of knight, I still can’t consciously keep a cool head, even though all would be outlined in a schoolboy’s book of manners.”

Julius: “That’s right. Indeed, from a knightly perspective, your behavior was by no means commendable. However.”

Facing the uncomfortable Subaru, Julius fell silent. His next action led Subaru’s eyes to widen in surprise.

Subaru: “What are you doing?”

Julius: “It’s as you can see.”

Subaru: “All I can see is you bowing at me.”

Julius bent down and inclined his head to Subaru.

This was not a knight’s courtesy. Nor was it a ceremonious ritual. There was no formal inspiration of his motion at all. This was completely unlike Julius.

Julius: “Thanks. Thank you. Thank you for showing the indignation that I could not.”

Subaru: “…I have utterly no idea what you’re talking about.”

Julius: “Valuing a knight’s honor means that, no matter the occasion, you must act with virtue. Even if your own friend is being disdained, even if your own friend is treated with inhumane words, you cannot indulge in behaving according to your own feelings. But you are not like that.”

Maintaining his posture, Julius repeatedly gave Subaru his share of thanks. Subaru could only feel puzzled at the unexpected reaction.

Julius: “Caught between my knighthood and my emotions, I quickly repressed my anger. However, seeing your passionate rebuttals, I felt ashamed of myself. So I want to thank you.”

Subaru: “Instead of venting your anger, huh…”

Julius: “——”

Subaru uttered a sound of understanding, and Julius finally looked up.

With just one sentence, Julius had finally revealed his genuine feelings, which were reflected in his gaze. Seeing him, Subaru could only give him a snarl.

Subaru: “What a stupid thing to say. Really, stop kidding around.”

Julius: “…stop kidding around, huh.”

Subaru: “Of course. Why should I be angry in your place? I was angry purely because I’d personally been ticked off, not because there was someone else who wanted to snap at that bearded guy. I could never do something as clever as express someone else’s anger.”

As if misunderstanding the matter, Subaru spoke these genuine thoughts to Julius.

Subaru didn’t consider his anger some kind of noble indignation. After all, only Reinhardt and Wilhelm could understand their own feelings.

Subaru was an outsider who had simply been angry that such an atmosphere had been defiled. His anger was purely for his own sake.

Subaru: “If you were angry, why didn’t you say something? I couldn’t have calmly dealt with the old man alone but if you’d been backing me up then we might have fazed him.”

Julius: “No matter what, he’s still the deputy commander of the knights. It’d be fairly troublesome if I made an enemy of a commanding officer.”

Subaru: “This doesn’t have to do with your rank. Not to mention, you just blurted ‘no matter what’, don’t be so narrow minded. You’re constantly thinking about behaving like a knight, or acting with a knight’s demeanor, or whatever. Is even your heart coated in a knight’s armor?”

Julius: “——”

Facing a silent Julius, Subaru rested his elbows on his knees and with his cheeks in his palms, gave an exaggerated sigh.

What a stupid quarrel! Subaru had not only rejected Julius’s gratitude, but had also been enraged by him.

Thinking of the cause of the incident, including Heinkel, made him more angry.

Julius: “Even my heart is coated in a knight’s armor… ah, that’s pretty harsh.”

Subaru: “Although I think my wording was pretty artistic, just ignore it. I was only kidding.”

Julius: “No, I’ll keep it in mind. I’m glad that I’m learning a lesson from you. This is something that I never would have thought possible a year ago.”

Subaru: “That uncomfortable stuff might be over with, but I still have nightmares about it.”

He still sometimes had dreams set in the knights’ training field, about his confrontation with Julius and his subsequent brutal beating.

Although the physical suffering he’d experienced at the time was painful to recall, what he’d gone through mentally and emotionally hurt far more to remember. The memory of his own incompetence had been clearly imprinted into his mind, where, from time to time, it played like a movie.

Although, of course, his nightmares weren’t merely filled with his duel with Julius, but it was something that could rival the memories of so many deaths.

Julius: “If you can help it, I’d rather that this didn’t continue. Thinking of meeting with you in your dreams every night is unpleasant.”

Subaru: “That’s rich, coming from the culprit. Don’t you think I’d rather share my dreams in intimacy with Emilia-tan?”

Julius: “So your pursuit of her has been reduced to relying on dreams, rather than your own ability. That suits your style.”

Subaru: “You bastard, don’t treat me like trash after praising me. And take a look at yourself!”

Julius: “Anastasia-sama is a lovely woman. There is no greater honor than being able to serve her in at a distance. Naturally, I think I should be very happy with my place.”

At Julius’s calm response, Subaru gave a cat-like growl.

The uncomfortable atmosphere vanished along with his bow as Julius recovered his usual image. Subaru frowned in relief, coughed, and changed the flow of the conversation.

Subaru: “About that bearded old man… he said he was the deputy commander or whatever, is that true?”

Julius: “It’s understandable that you’re doubtful, but that is indeed true. That man was the Deputy Commander of the Knights of the Kingdom of Lugunica, Heinkel Astrea himself.”

Subaru: “Are they blind? Or deaf? Or messed up in the head?”

Julius: “You truly do question everything. Of course, none of the senior knights or squires can question the deputy commander’s qualifications. In fact, the title of deputy commander serves more like a decoration, and no one has seen him perform his duties as of yet.”

Julius answered with a shake of his head, and Subaru’s imagination swam with the mental image of a senior official.

To be given incredible rewards while shirking any truly important responsibilities — that was exactly how Subaru envisioned the majority of senior government officials, and that was indeed Heinkel’s situation.

On top of that, the people around him even understood his incompetence and knew of his demeanor.

Subaru: “Could it be that he’s taking advantage of his status as the Sword Saint’s father?”

Julius: “…that isn’t… the entire case. Taking the role of the deputy commander isn’t something that would escape the attention of his son, Reinhardt. Although Reinhardt’s fairness is universally acknowledged, how can we judge it if it concerns his family? Not everyone would trust him.”

Subaru: “I don’t think that Reinhardt would be willing to bend his moral code for his father.”

Julius: “Even so, he is still Reinhardt’s father. No matter what others think, to Reinhardt, he is undoubtedly a family member who shares his blood. No one can know what he himself thinks.”

Julius spoke calmly to appease the heated Subaru. Grinding his teeth, Subaru voiced a groan.

As Julius said. No matter how mediocre he is, as long as he was Reinhardt’s father, then only Reinhardt’s own heart would know whether or not he should renounce their relationship.

As a knight who values fairness and civility, he should not be deceived by paternity. But it wouldn’t be easy for Reinhardt himself to freely cut off such a relationship.

Obviously, outsiders could hold a firm stance on what Reinhardt should or shouldn’t do, but to do so would be incredibly arrogant.

Subaru: “Isn’t the entire case’, you said, so are their other reasons? What else could there…”

Julius: “He’s also the head of House Astrea, and Wilhelm-sama’s son. To put it bluntly, he’s related to the kingdom’s best knight and the previous Sword Saint. The possibility that not gifting him a high-ranking position would lead to treason cannot be overlooked.”

This was Julius’s brief, emotionless reply.

Hearing it, Subaru only needed a few seconds to understand the implication behind it.

Subaru: “This country! Whether it’s Reinhardt! Or Wilhelm! I’d never believe that! If Heinkel resented the country then the Sword Saint’s family would turn against it…! Treating them so cautiously, as if they were a time bomb, if that’s how it is…!”

If so, wasn’t that an insult to Reinhardt and Wilhelm?

Their honor was so obvious, yet the country still believed them capable of treason.

The anger that Subaru now felt matched the intensity that it had been when he was facing Heinkel. Julius shook his head and pressed a hand to Subaru’s shoulder.

Julius: “Your anger is expected. However, the kingdom has to deal with every possibility.”

Subaru: “Something impossible isn’t a possibility! That kind of thing would clearly, obviously never happen!”

Julius: “…Wilhelm-sama was the former commander of Lugunica’s knights.”

Subaru: “Huh!?”

Subaru, who’d been trying to escape Julius’s grip, unconsciously stopped moving at those words.

Julius: “Fourteen years ago, a member of the royal family had been abducted in the capitol. At that time, Wilhelm-sama had headed the guards, and was placed in charge of the search.”

Subaru: “So, what about it? Even I know about famous events like this.”

Felt was the member of the royal family who had been abducted in childhood — this was a story that had become widespread. Subaru, who’d already dismissed the story, didn’t catch the meaning of Julius’s words.

Subaru: “I know the royal child was never found. So what then? Wilhelm-san took responsibility, and then resigned as a knight, so he has a reason to hate the kingdom? But then…”

Julius: “At that time, the former Sword Saint was sent on an expedition to subjugate the White Whale — that is, during the days when Wilhelm-sama had been searching for the abductor.”

Subaru: “——”

Pondering Julius’s words, Subaru fell into a void of thought. Something Wilhelm had once said seemed to fill that blank in.

Wilhelm had said that he hadn’t been at his wife’s side when she’d died.

Subaru: “…he said he couldn’t be with his wife when she died, and since the investigation was what kept him from it, then, Wilhelm-san would end up hating the kingdom, or something…”

Julius: “I don’t know what Wilhelm-sama’s true intent was. However, it’s true that after the search for the abducted princess ended and the great conquest ended in failure, Wilhelm-sama withdrew from the guards. After that, that branch of the knights would have collapsed if it weren’t for the steps Marcus-sama took to reorganize them.”

Subaru: “I don’t give a damn about that! I’m trying to talk about Wilhelm-san! You… is that what you think? That Wilhelm-san would resent everyone because of his wife? That… that’s…!”

Raising a banner of rebellion toward the kingdom due to his own resentment.

Was that really how Wilhelm van Astrea appeared? Why, after seeing someone who was so deeply in love, and willing to give up everything for his love, could anyone think that? Had they never looked him in the eye, or gazed at his steady back?

Had they never seen the Sword Demon’s frank, honest blade?

Subaru: “That person would never do such a thing, why does nobody understand!”

Julius: “——”

This time, Subaru indeed threw off the hand on his shoulder, and shoved at Julius’s chest. He stood and backed up, losing his momentum.

The yellow eyes looking back at him seemed to almost admire Subaru’s anger. He understood. He knew that this degree of anger was inappropriate.

What Julius had said to Subaru had not reflected his own views. Julius’s own attitude was apparent.

After all, one year ago, Julius had comforted Wilhelm after he’d slain the White Whale. He’d comforted Wilhelm, who had spent fourteen long years trying to avenge his wife.

There was no doubt that he would never have suspected that Wilhelm would ever hold a revolt against the kingdom.

Subaru: “…sorry. I was being an idiot.”

Julius: “No, don’t apologize. You’re in the right. I’m the one in the wrong —If anyone should apologize, it’s me.”

Dropping their gazes, they both closed their eyes. They both felt an unbearable weight.

Their helplessness in doing anything to change the country’s doubt in Wilhelm. Subaru and Julius both, even if they vented their feelings, were still ultimately powerless.

Subaru: “So is Reinhardt also like that?”

Julius: “…by the same logic, Reinhardt would resent the kingdom for sending his grandmother to her death and in turn killing his predecessor, but that isn’t the case.”

Subaru: “Then…”

Julius: “However, the kingdom doesn’t doubt that Reinhardt has no intent in holding a rebellion. Rather, that suspicion goes to Heinkel-sama.”

At the appearance of Reinhardt’s father’s name, Subaru’s eyes widened.

Even though it was a name he didn’t want to hear, he couldn’t just plug his ears at the topic. Any conversation involving that name wouldn’t be pleasant.

Subaru: “How’s Reinhardt’s relationship with his father? Aside from the obvious blood one.”

Julius: “There was a period of time when Reinhardt gave Heinkel-sama his complete, utmost obedience. That might seem natural since they’re father and son, but… that time exceeded the bounds of what it should have been.”

Julius averted his eyes from Subaru’s, as if speaking regretfully.

The relationship that he’d said “exceeded the bounds” of a typical parent-child relationship. His words were vague enough that it was difficult to know what he’d meant. However, Julius didn’t look eager to elaborate, and returned his gaze to Subaru.

Julius: “As Reinhardt grew to be more self-reliant, that attitude should have disappeared. But, without decisively knowing whether or not Reinhardt would still listen to Heinkel-sama’s words, those doubts cannot dissipate.”

Subaru: “…so, to keep Heinkel from giving Reinhardt an order to turn against the kingdom, Heinkel was shown favor, right?”

Julius: “Perhaps it’s even worse. Although this is still a rumor that is considered hearsay, I’ll tell you, since you’re also Reinhardt’s friend, and you felt anger for his sake.”

With that troubling opening remark, Julius looked over their surroundings with a sweep. Confirming that there were no eavesdroppers, he stood close to Subaru’s side.

Then,

Julius: “The deputy commander was a suspect in the investigation of the abduction of the princess fourteen years ago.”

Subaru: “——!?”

Julius: “There is no conclusive evidence. However, he has been repeatedly questioned about his suspected involvement.”

Subaru: “If that’s true, then, the abduction was…”

Julius: “The truth of that is no longer relevant. Such a suspicious character holding one of the kingdom’s highest positions of power, that’s the crux of the problem now.”

The glorious blessing following the title of Sword Saint.

However, as more and more of the situation came to light, Subaru began to think that the title was more curse than blessing.

Subaru: “However, if he really was related to the abduction, then Heinkel is the reason why his father and mother couldn’t meet face to face one last time.”

Julius: “…that’s not all. I’ve also heard that it was Heinkel-sama who recommended that Thearesia-sama, who’d already set her blade aside, be the one to take his place against the White Whale.”

Subaru: “He actually sent his mother to the battle with the White Whale!?”

Julius: “There is an accurate record of this. The deputy commander refused to battle with the White Whale and instead recommended that his mother do it.”

Utterly speechless. —Subaru could not find it in himself to formulate a response.

Unlike the unfounded rumor before, what Julius had just said was backed up by real evidence. Records and witnesses meant that this was fact.

Heinkel sent his own mother as his replacement to the battle with the White Whale.

That is to say, his mother subsequently died in battle, and his father took up the blade of revenge when he could not be with his mother in her last moments. However, rather than face any punishment, he used his son’s talent as a shield which protected his comfortable and stable life.

How could it be? How could there be a human who was capable of this?

Subaru: “There has to be a mistake somewhere, right…?”

He didn’t want to believe it.

It wasn’t about wanting to believe in Heinkel’s humanity. Subaru had already accepted him as the worst kind of person, and anyone who spoke to him could instantly tell.

However, he was reluctant to admit that such evil beyond evil, such immorality, such depravity even existed.

He hoped to believe in ethics, or honor, human nature, and had thought there was a limit to how much evil human nature could permit.

However, things that would be a sin even in imagination could happen in reality.

Julius: “…sorry. That’s not something I should have told someone who hadn’t fully prepared themselves.”

Julius whispered to the speechless Subaru, his voice shrouded in gloom.

Subaru could fully empathize with the feelings which Julius’s tone had given away, something which was entirely unlike the always calm Julius.

Subaru: “It’s… it’s not your fault, I was the one who wanted to hear. Although it would be a little easier if I could blame you.”

Julius: “I’m not in a position to accept your words. Obviously, what I relayed to you were just rumors about another family’s business, but I still spoke of them as if I’d witnessed them myself. No matter how you look at it, I spoke without thinking of the gravity of those rumors. As a knight, I really should be ashamed.”

Subaru: “But you witnessed it, didn’t you? Since you’re Reinhardt’s friend.”

Subaru replied to Julius’s self-deprecation.

Julius again lifted his head toward Subaru, who nodded back at him.

Subaru: “Although I don’t know the specifics of your friendship with Reinhardt, I can still see that you’re worried about him. So I won’t condemn your anger or call it too aggressive. I don’t think it’s right to just step out of something like that solely because it’s not your business.”

Julius: “…then, what would you do?”

Subaru: “Is it wrong to interfere if you hear others around you crying? If I saw my friend feeling hopeless, I’d certainly call to him. If you care about Reinhardt, doing so would be completely natural. Especially since your feelings aren’t like mine.”

If Julius were to interfere for nothing other than his curiosity, Subaru would regard him with contempt.

However, Julius’s feelings, as proven by both his attitude and his words in their exchange, were nothing so shameful.

Subaru: “Didn’t I just tell you? There’s no need to adhere so rigidly to you knightly honor or whatever. Even if there were, occasionally taking off your armor and becoming ‘Juli’ wouldn’t be so bad. Who’s to say that acting casually wouldn’t lead to a better situation?”

“Juli” was the pseudonym Julius had given during the battle with the Witch Cult.

Due to his position, Julius was unable to join any mercenary group, so he’d elegantly hidden his identity with a slight falsehood. It was a name that everyone had eventually given up on using, even Julius himself. However, that Julius was the one who’d been least like a knight.

Julius: “Juli, huh… that name really came from out of the blue!”

Subaru: “It was from so long ago, and it was only used once. I’m pretty impressed with myself for remembering it.”

Julius: “Don’t adhere so rigidly to your knightly honor or whatever.’ You’ve really said some difficult things. I’m sure you know what they all call me.”

Subaru: “It’s because they’ve been calling you the greatest and what not that you’ve become so physically and mentally stiff. You should shed that armor when you bathe, and do some stretches with me before putting it back on.”

Subdued bent over, affixing his palms to the ground as if showing off his newfound flexibility. Although his body had been quite stiff before he’d started learning parkour, he’d learned to move with more softness and pliability.

Then, to the Subaru who was showing off his flexibility,

Julius: “If you’re trying to show me up, I really can’t do anything but sigh.”

Subaru: “Oh!?”

As he spoke, Julius spread his legs apart and reached toward the ground. Subaru couldn’t help but admire his control over his slender legs and the suppleness of his hips as he lowered himself to the ground.

Was that to say that Julius could easily surpass Subaru in any area?

Subaru: “Gah… but, but! If it were playing a lute-lyre, or sewing, I’d definitely win…!”

Julius: “Although I can’t see the merit in triumphing in hobbies, I’ve also taken up playing musical instruments. Although I’d have to say that tailoring is fairly difficult.”

Subaru: “Grrr! You said it! Hobbies! A hobby held by a guy like you can’t be anything but superficial. I’ll never form a band with you. My lead singer role will be taken away!”

Julius unwound his feet and stood with a flourish.

He suddenly flicked his bangs at Subaru, then smiled at the sky as if boasting a victory.

Julius: “I see. As ‘Juli’, gazing at the sky and bathing in the wind feels like this.”

Subaru: “Eh?”

Julius: “In retrospect, the sky I saw back then was also somewhat different from how it usually was. So this would be the reason, then.”

Subaru: “You keep getting more and more unreasonable. You fake bastard.”

Subaru shrugged his shoulders in annoyance and flopped onto the floor of the corridor. Julius narrowed his eyes at him as if still dazzled by the sun.

At last, the uncomfortable air surrounding their conversation had dispersed.

Of course, what they’d discussed was still lodged in their memories, and knots still remained in their chests. But, even so, they could at least work through their frustration together.

—Looking at only that image, those two seemed like a pair of ordinary friends.

 

5 thoughts on “Arc 5 – Chapter 17, “That Ever Present Armor””

  1. This author is getting progressively worse. Half of the last arc was recalling things that have been recalled 100 times or just happened last chapter. Now we have 17 chapters of pretty much nothing happening just to introduce a couple new characters and reveal like 3 things. Feels like it’s all just lazy filler for someone who has lost where the story is going.

    1. Rather than filler like you suggested, this is actually pretty good character development. Moments like these where characters are growing emotionally and mentally are important and meaningful rather than someone who’s the same the entire story.

    2. As much as I enjoy action I also really like simple mundane chapters like this one. The more information I can get the better, I like to think about what drives each character, where they came from, what they might do. Chapters like this give you a glimpse of characters we don’t know much about and helps to foreshadow what might happen next. The whole reason I read Re Zero is that it has a comedy story and is fun to figure out or predict more about the lore and plot than what is initially shown.

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