Arc 5 – Chapter 21, “Optimal Solution”

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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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— Subaru’s second Return by Death hit him with an unprecedented sense of fatigue. Falling under the spell of that madness twice had a placed tremendous mental burden on him.

Especially the second one. That overwhelming fear had been imprinted deeply into him, and he had been fully aware of himself in that moment of death.

The shivering that came from deep within his being, the fear that would never cease, the individual named Natsuki Subaru breaking, his fragile spirit crumbling into powder.

This death was probably due to a mad, fear-induced heart attack. Sirius had been delighted to see the terrified Subaru, who had been reduced to a machine whose purpose was to excrete fluid.

He had wanted rescue Lusbel and challenge her, and that futile attempt had come at an incredibly heavy price.

However, although Subaru had died twice in as little as thirty minutes, and had yet to produce material results, his time hadn’t been completely wasted.

Sirius, perhaps wanting to give Subaru some small comfort before his death, had, in her sincere and respectful manner, explained exactly what had been happening to him and Lusbel.

That was,

Subaru: “Our fear, compounding as we felt each other’s feelings… could that be the same principle as resonance?”

Subaru felt Lusbel’s fear, and Lusbel had felt that augmented fear from Subaru, which then transferred to Subaru. The never-ending cycle of fear overrode any previous state of fear and eventually grew so extreme that it became fatal.

This death had doubtlessly come about because of that. The first death, and now the second death.

The developments to date, the statements from Sirius, and status as Wrath. Those clues led Subaru to a conclusion.

A scene that should have made people feel disgusted or angry had instead drawn smiles and laughs from them.

Fear that had belonged to Subaru being transferred to a child, frightening him even further, before returning twofold to Subaru.

— Wrath, Sirius, could viciously manipulate the feelings of others for her own enjoyment.

That was most likely a special form of magic not belonging naturally to this world, just like Petelgeuse’s Unseen Hand. It was an ability belonging to the Witch Cult.

The ability, closely related to emotions, was quite fitting for Wrath. This was also known as a Sin Archbishop’s Authority.

However, although Subaru had finally pieced this together after his two deaths, this was the only intelligence he had.

Now, the question was the enabling condition of this power — in other words, the method that was used to open a connection.

Once the trick behind Petelgeuse’s Sloth was known, he became fairly easy to defeat. Subaru had been able to see the Unseen Hand and resist Petelgeuse’s bodysnatch.

Although he could resist it, he didn’t understand why. Although he now had his Invisible Providence, Subaru was still confused as to why he could use a form of the [Unseen Hand].

In fact, pondering the presence of the Witch’s scent surrounding his Return by Death and his immunity to the memory manipulation from the White Whale’s fog, Subaru had optimistically considered that perhaps the Witch’s Cult’s authorities didn’t affect him. His recent murders at the hands of Wrath seemed to disprove that theory.

Given his two encounters with Wrath, in the worst case, the triggering condition may even be Contact with Sirius.

As soon as he’d heard her speak, as soon as he’d seen her figure, Subaru had probably fallen under her spell. Taking that into consideration, finding a way to deal with her would be difficult indeed.

The most straightforward and reliable solution would also be the most extreme; the tower could be destroyed from a distance with magic.

No contact would be made with Sirius, and he wouldn’t need to lay eyes on her. Knowing where she’d appear, he could take the opportunity to launch a preemptive strike, and he’d be able to ensure that he wouldn’t have to trigger Return by Death again.

Only, he would need to disregard the sacrifice of a courageous child, and so Subaru could never seriously consider such an option.

Sacrifices were necessary, who would be self-righteous enough to say such a thing?

To decide to on a utilitarian greater good at the price of other lives, from the perspective of those who were sacrificed, meant that the entire world would be lost. Subaru could not tolerate the loss of his own life, so how could he arrogantly place a price tag on the lives of others?

His goals were as he’d just determined. He needed to rescue Lusbel, and to prevent any unnecessary sacrifice. What troubled Subaru was achieving both at the same time.

Subaru: “Then, to rescue Lusbel… the only viable way is defeating Sirius.”

The same situation as last time would inevitably develop if he tried rescue Lusbel by himself. No matter how he struggled, trying to fight Sirius alone was tantamount to suicide.

Sirius’s combat skills were evidently nothing to scoff at. Although she’d been wielding a chain, even deflecting Subaru’s surprise attack was impressive.

Even considering that Subaru was an amateur at combat, the strike of a whip was too speedy to be followed by the untrained eye. To have been able to react so quickly to a surprise attack, and to deflect it with her chains, how skilled must she be?

Subaru couldn’t even begin to imagine.

In other words, what Subaru needed was someone who could match Sirius in combat, who trusted Subaru enough to help him, and who could resist the power of Sirius’s Wrath.

Subaru: “What kind of a miracle would it be if I just found a guy who coincidentally satisfied all those requirements…?

Subaru sighed to himself as he considered this opportunistic line of thought.

However, the notion that there would be someone who could remain unaffected by Sirius’s power was not a baseless one.

The presence of someone like Subaru, who could see through Sloth’s power, being immune to Sirius’s Wrath was not so inconceivable.

After all, Subaru’s accreditation as Petelgeuse’s killer only came from his unique resistance to Petelgeuse’s power.

Since everyone in the square had been taken in by Sirius’s speech, he could assume that no one there had any such resistance to Sirius’s authority.

At the square, four people, including Subaru, had been prepared to fight Sirius, but she had taken special care to point them all out. And then, Subaru finally realized it.

Larkins had been at the square.

Subaru: “Reinhardt!”

Although Subaru, extreme opportunist that he was, tried to resist engaging in commonplace thinking, he finally remembered the man whose presence was the very peak of opportunism.

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Although Subaru wasn’t attempting to justify his delayed reaction, the reason it had taken so much time to connect Larkins with Reinhardt was arguably the short interval between his Deaths.

A Death followed by a Death, madness followed by madness, all happening in the span of a mere fifteen minutes.

In that state, being able to calmly identify the crisis and calmly explore countermeasures before choosing the best solution was nigh impossible. If anyone tried to belittle him, Subaru would have liked to respond with a sharp complaint about Return by Death.

Subaru didn’t want to trigger a Return by Death.

If circumstances would permit, he’d rather share a tranquil, peaceful life with Emilia, Rem, and Beatrice.

However, this world would never permit Subaru such a happy life. He was destined to live though his every day while struggling desperately.

So at this moment, Subaru was desperately making an argument.

Subaru: “I finally found you, I’m not letting you go so easily! Please, call me Reinhardt right now! This is an emergency!”

Larkins: “So annoying! Why should I take the risk of being lectured by that red haired bastard? You must be kidding!”

A lively crowd had gathered around the two, who were angrily roaring at each other.

The crowd seemed to relish the tense atmosphere, eagerly expecting a fight to break out at any given moment.

Upon resurrection, Subaru, after arriving at an epiphany, began to act immediately.

Like last time, he left Beatrice as Emilia’s guard, and used his errand as an excuse to leave the park. After arriving at the square, he’d searched desperately for Larkins. Now, he had finally entered the negotiation stage.

His search for Larkins had really been quite time-consuming, so upon seeing him, Subaru had roughly grabbed his shoulder, which had led to their current quarrel.

Larkins had only further agitated Subaru by shouldering him in retaliation.

In any case, an argument was now inevitable. Subaru spoke rapidly and anxiously under Larkins’s harsh glare.

Subaru: “Can you listen? Calm down and listen to me. I’m not playing around. If you don’t want to die, hurry up and call Reinhardt for me right now.”

Larkins: “Huh? You devilish brat, are you looking down on me? You think you could actually kill me? Forget that bastard Reinhardt, see if I don’t kill you right here.”

Subaru: “Ah, that isn’t what I meant…!”

Larkins regarded Subaru’s words as a provocation, and his anger started growing out of control.

After all, Subaru and Larkins had never been on good terms. In addition, it seemed that Larkins had a poor impression of Reinhardt, who should have been his comrade. Someone he was already reluctant to call was requested by someone who he disliked and so he stubbornly refused Subaru’s request.

Subaru: “You stubborn, inconsiderate idiot…!”

Subaru gritted his teeth toward Larkins and grabbed his head in his hands.

Needless to say, Subaru, who had failed to speak clearly and calmly, was also to blame. However, seeing his negotiations being refused to such an extent, he couldn’t help wanting to make a complaint.

Although, to Larkins, Subaru must have looked to be a raving madman. Subaru’s hands were tied due to his inability to reveal any of his foreknowledge.

— However, the situation being what it was, Subaru had no other way.

Subaru placed a hand on his chest, attempting to suppress his fear.

Subaru: “Larkins. This is not a joke. The reason why I want you to call Reinhardt is because there’s a strong enemy who I can’t handle.”

Larkins: “Someone who you can’t handle? Don’t think so highly of yourself.”

Larkins snorted derisively.

Seeing that expression, Subaru lowered his gaze, took a deep breath, and opened his mouth.

Don’t come, don’t come, Subaru spoke while making such a wish.

Subaru: “— The Witch Cult will show up here.”

Larkins: “— !”

Subaru opened his eyes as, at his disturbing words, Larkins’s face froze.

Finished, Subaru immediately looked down to his chest, but the expected pain did not come. That is, the punishment for disclosing information that could potentially reveal his Return by Death.

First of all, he was decidedly relieved about this.

Although Subaru hadn’t triggered Return of Death for a year now, the penalties associated with it had remained.

In particular, when he’d attempted to spill everything to Beatrice, Subaru had been wracked by the pain he’d come to associate with the witch.

It was as if that black-handed witch had forgotten his commendable farewell gift to her at the tea party in Sanctuary. How rude.

So, Beatrice was no different from to the others, and Subaru was unable to discuss anything of his questions or concerns with her.

Needless to say, that had killed his hope that he could share his knowledge with his partner, Beatrice, without having to face punishment.

But that was a long story that he didn’t have time to consider right now.

At any rate, what was important now was that Subaru had successfully told Larkins his legitimate reason for needing Reinhardt, without being punished by those black hands.

In fact, hearing the name “Witch Cult”, Larkins seemed to reconsider his stance, dropping his gaze and narrowing his eyes in contemplation.

Larkins: “Hey, brat.”

Subaru: “It’s Natsuki Subaru. Stop always calling me brat, Larkins.”

Larkins: “That’s Larkins-san to you. Bastard Subaru. How much credibility does that statement have? Using the Witch Cult as a bluff isn’t something to do lightly, you know.”

Larkins spoke with a low voice, casting a hostile gaze at Subaru.

In this world, the name of the Witch of Envy and the Witch Cult were incredibly weighty no matter where they appeared. This stemmed from the idea of the Witch being the embodiment of Absolutely Evil being deeply rooted in the world’s history.

Even Larkins wore a serious expression that he would normally never reveal. He was finally taking this seriously, so now Subaru could only respond equally carefully to him.

Subaru: “I’m not kidding around or lying. The Witch Cult will come here. Many people will be in danger.”

Larkins: “Where did you hear this… Ah, damn it. That’s right. Your faction did away with the Witch Cult’s Sloth. Damn, so there’s actually credibility behind what you’re saying…”

Before Subaru could come up with a response, Larkins found his own conclusion. Although that was in fact mere speculation, that merit seemed effective in having Larkins believe him.

Larkins: “Are they targeting the city? Or this specific square?”

Subaru: “So you’re going to believe me?”

Larkins: “You’re the who said to stop messing around, right? Listen up, bastard Subaru. Although I don’t want to be lectured by that bastard Reinhardt, I also don’t want to run into some trouble that could kill me. Since what happens next is entirely dependent on my mood, you’d better take care.”

Although Larkins still held some measure of doubt, he wanted to hear the details. Surprised at this reasonable judgment, Subaru decided to continue with the conversation.

Subaru: “I understand, sorry. The Witch Cult’s Wrath is planning to attack this square. She’ll appear at that clock tower, and her target is everyone in the square, not any specific individual.”

Larkins: “That’s consistent with the Witch Cult’s style. Damn it, how much time do we have?”

Subaru: “There’s probably only five minutes left. So, seriously, call him right now.”

Larkins: “Five minutes!? You’re kidding! Why didn’t you say that sooner!?”

Subaru: “That’s what I was trying to tell you five minutes ago!”

Although Larkins was outraged at the lack of time, Subaru had spent ten long minutes finding him and convincing him. If possible, Subaru hadn’t wanted to walk this kind of tightrope.

Running around the city and calling for Reinhardt would be more reliable than talking to Larkins. However, time didn’t allow that of Subaru.

Subaru: “Anyway, please, could we stop messing around so you can call Reinhardt? According to your conversation yesterday, it’s through something like fireworks, right?”

Larkins: “Fireworks, what’s that? … I shoot magic in the air, and that bastard Reinhardt can see it and recognize it as the signal.”

Subaru: “…That’s simple and clear, which is good, but what would happen if someone else suddenly fired magic into the air?”

Larkins: “There’s no need to worry about that. Apparently the red haired bastard can tell who was responsible for which magic.”

That was such an odd detail, and Subaru logged it in the back of his head. It seemed that, in course that in the past year, Larkins had set a goal of learning to use basic magic.

Based on Subaru’s initial encounter with him, it was hard to imagine that he was capable of using magic a year ago.

Larkins: “I’m not a performer, so move aside already, you annoying bunch!”

Larkins finally gave in to Subaru’s persuasion, and prepared to call Reinhardt.

The crowd, who had been whispering “are they starting yet?”, “is it finally happening?” backed off, disappointed, as Larkins raised a hand, beginning to call a fireball.

Seeing the swirl of the red mana of the fire attribute, Goa, Subaru felt an odd sense of unsettling disconnect.

This time, the situation should have drastic changes.

Although it was a rather extreme case of persuasion, Subaru was still excited to learn that he could work with Larkins like this, even if the latter’s actions were based on self-preservation.

This could be said to partially amount to Subaru’s growth in the past year, and his defeat of Petelgeuse. Larkins, too, had changed in the year past.

Whether Subaru or Larkins, if neither of them had changed, then this collaboration could never have happened.

Therefore, this result was born of a simultaneously optimistic yet realistic positive growth. Reinhardt would come here.

As a result, dealing with Wrath would also be easy. No matter how powerful the enemy was, they would be dwarfed by the Sword Saint. The power of Wrath surely wouldn’t work on Reinhardt. For some mysterious reason. Subaru just trusted Reinhardt that much.

Larkins: “Goa!”

Larkins recited the incantation, and a red flame burst forth from his raised arm. The flame skyrocketed, and soon exploded with a dry sound in the blue sky.

Call it fireworks or magic, it seemed a little shabby, but that signal was presumably more than good enough for the hero it was meant to reach.

Perhaps what happened next was due to that hazy relief.

Subaru, taking what had just happened for granted, allowed his guard to grow lax.

Had the thought of Reinhardt’s arrival caused him to relax so much that he neglect to pay attention to his surroundings?

Sirius: “— Oh my. There seems to be a fireball in the sky. What a beautiful, blinding light.”

Of course the enemy would be aware of any commotion near the tower.

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Sirius, appearing on the tower, wore, as always, that bandage concealing her face.

However, the expression she wore was obviously a smile; something about the tone of her voice reflected a little bird chirping in the sunny spring.

Sirius raised a hand over her eyes and squinted at the light of the fireball.

She seemed to be regarding that red flame with the same admiration that most people would treat fireworks with.

Sirius: “This is great! Well, everyone, I’m sorry. Good morning!”

That unusually high-pitched sound snatched that crowd’s attention from the fireball, and they turned to face Sirius.

Even Subaru did. So, he couldn’t blame their collective reaction.

Subaru: “No, don’t look!!”

Seeing that fierce, bandaged smile out of the corner of his eye, he immediately issued a loud warning.

However, not a single person heeded his warning and looked away. Of course. Subaru himself had held the same feeling about Sirius since their first contact.

Even if he turned his face, his left cheek could still feel that intensity. There vicious wave of danger that existed to threaten him.

Faced with a bloody carnivore, how could anyone avert their gaze? Looking away from a dangerous pair of sharp fangs could only be done by those who had already given up on living.

Refusing to die, their human instincts directed their gazes upon Sirius.

Sirius: “Oh my. Silence came much faster than I expected. This must be thanks to the fact that the two of them attracted your attention before I appeared. Thank you. Please applaud those two young men.”

Sirius clapped her hands together as she spoke, the chains attached to them clattering on the floor, as she regarded Subaru and Larkins, who still held his arm outstretched.

Subaru, feeling a cool breeze on his face, clenched his teeth and attempted to refrain from reacting to Sirius’s gaze.

Redirecting Larkins’s attention would be impossible. He had already been entrapped by Sirius. No matter what Subaru did, he would be unable to get through to Larkins, and then Sirius would only entrap him as well.

In fact, now, Subaru couldn’t bring himself to cover his ears.

He had expected that even awareness of Sirius would mean that her charm would become irresistible. Therefore, what Subaru had originally intended to do was immediately avert his gaze and cover his ears. Even if such measures would render him defenseless, he wouldn’t be subjected to her mental manipulation.

However, that premeditated countermeasure was no longer available after his eyes had been captured.

And why would he cover his ears? Because he didn’t want to hear Sirius’s voice. However, why would he willingly deprive himself of such a pleasant sound?

Subaru: “——”

His attention placed on her, Subaru forgot himself and turned to look at Sirius.

Sirius watched Subaru as he did so, gleefully clasping her hands together and shaking her body from side to side. The chains again rubbed against the ground with metallic friction, issued clang, as if reflecting Subaru’s heart crashing to the ground.

Sirius: “All right! It took 19 seconds for everyone to see me here. Sorry. But I am very happy. And, although I don’t know why, it seems to me that there’s a child here who loves me far more than I expected. Well, then, I have to introduce myself.”

As she spoke, Sirius lowered her head respectfully, facing a whirlpool of anxious gazes. Raising her head, basking in everyone’s gaze,

Sirius: “I’m the Witch Cult’s Sin Archbishop of Wrath. I am called Sirius Romanee-Conti.” She reported her daunting name.

That title should have been symbol of disgust and terror, and should have evoked an incredibly negative response.

Instead, as she opened her speech, the crowd reacted as if she’d introduced herself as a friendly, close neighbor.

Sirius: “Oh, thank you. I’m sorry to take up everyone’s time like this. However, please rest assured that I put an end to all this soon.”

???: “— Will you? Then it seems fortunate that I rushed here as soon as I could.”

Sirius: “——”

Sirius lowered her gaze once more, and Subaru and the rest of the crowd turned to the side.

They were all facing the waterway which ran behind the square. A smooth flow of water erupted alongside the wind of someone moving at incredible speed.

There, a red flame burned, and clear, sky-colored eyes blinked.

His fair, calm face was revered by all who gazed upon him.

A hero is what all humans had wished for, deep in their hearts, and the existence of that hero was now a reality.

Reinhardt: “Searching for a shortcut took a little bit of time. Sorry for being late.”

The hero took not five minutes, but thirty seconds to arrive, and offered his apology.

Having sprinted through the roads — no, having traveled by waterway, the recently arrived

Sword Saint swept his eyes quickly through the circle of people, before raising his eyes toward

Wrath and sighing.

Reinhardt: “I understand why I was called. That judgment was correct, Larkins. Or was it you, Subaru?”

Leaping from the water to the ground, and then into the square, Reinhardt relieved the stiff Larkins, then patted Subaru’s shoulders with his hands.

Recognizing the touch of those palms as real, Subaru gave several gasping exhalations as his whole body shuddered.

Subaru: “Rei, Reinhardt?”

Reinhardt: “Yes, it’s me. From the looks of it, this is quite the emergency. Standing at the top of that tower… is a Sin Archbishop, right?”

Reinhardt, offering a reassuring nod, stood in the spotlight.

Subaru saw his fair eyebrows wrinkle as he deliberately chose not to face Sirius. Reinhardt seemed to also understand the danger.

Subaru: “She has a brainwashing ability. Although it feels a little better now… if I heard her voice or looked at her now, I’d immediately fall back under it.”

Reinhardt: “I know. And not just with sound and sight. It seems that even being in her presence will have that effect. If I’m near her for too long, I don’t know if I could remain calm.”

Subaru: “You’re kidding, even you…!?”

Hearing Reinhardt’s vulnerable statement, Subaru fell into a speechless desperation.

Although he had no basis in believing so, he’d been convinced that as long as Reinhardt were here, everything would be fine. However, Reinhardt himself had told Subaru that he wouldn’t be unaffected by Sirius.

In that case, even coming up with an idea of how to defeat that evil presence became exponentially more difficult.

Sirius: “I’m sorry if I’m mistaken, but could it be that you’re the famed Sword Saint? If so… what a wonderful day this will be!”

Reinhardt: “As you said, I’m Reinhardt van Astrea, the current inheritor of the title of Sword Saint. Unfortunately, I think that title is too heavy for me now.”

Sirius: “Nonsense! But that’s no problem! It’s very nice to have you here. Because this country bears the greatest trust and highest expectations in you as a knight. Everyone loves you, and you love everyone. You are the embodiment of my hope, the ideal of my Love!”

Reinhardt: “Am I?”

Sirius was indeed shaking her hands noisily and engaging in an ecstatic dance. Reinhardt, although facing away from her, was chatting with her quite casually.

If communicating with her would lead to falling under her spell, then Reinhardt’s lack of action equated suicide.

Subaru spoke up anxiously.

Subaru: “Hey, hey, Reinhardt… going on like this isn’t good. It’s not good at all. It’ll be really bad. Although I can’t say why.”

Reinhardt: “…that looks to be the case indeed. And that doesn’t apply to just me. Taking the others into consideration, I shouldn’t drag this on for to long.”

Subaru should feel anxious, but gradually became unaware of why he didn’t. Reinhardt sighed at his puzzlement, and took a step forward.

Then,

Subaru: “Reinhardt?”

Reinhardt: “I can’t hold on for too much longer. — So, I’ll get rid of the problem as soon as possible.”

As soon as that those words faded, Reinhardt tensed his legs slightly, and leapt forward.

That was the same movement he’d used to leave the waterway — but this time, it produced a rippling explosion, and everyone in the area gasped as they felt the impact of waves spread over the ground.

Leaving behind that share of amazement, Reinhardt turned that energy into momentum.

Sirius: “Hahahaha! Ah, how impressive this is —”

The Sword Saint kicked off from the ground, and, effortlessly, struck Sirius out of the tower, far into the sky above.

 

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