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:

Translated by:

  • Nanashi-tan

Proofread by:

  • Phantaminum
  • SSCaide

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

Especially the second one. That overwhelming fear had been imprinted deeply into him, and he had been fully aware of himself at the time 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 had probably occurred due to a mad, fear-induced heart attack. Sirius had been delighted to see Subaru so terrified, having been reduced to a machine whose purpose was to excrete fluid.

He had wanted to rescue Lusbel and challenge her on his own, 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 had not been completely wasted. Sirius, perhaps wishing to give Subaru some small comfort before his death, had, in her sincere and respectful manner, explained exactly what had been happening to both him and Lusbel. That was,

Subaru: [Our fear, compounding as we felt each other’s feelings… The same principle as resonance?]

Subaru had felt Lusbel’s fear, and Lusbel felt that augmented fear from Subaru, which then transferred to Subaru. The never-ending cycle of fear would override any previous state of fear and eventually grew to the extreme, becoming fatal.

There was no doubt that had been the cause of death. For both the first, and this second death.

The flow that had led to these events, the statements from Sirius, and her 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.

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

That was most likely a special form of magic that did not belong to any of the natural forms of magic belonging in this world, just like Petelgeuse’s Unseen Hand. It was an ability belonging to the Sin Archbishops of the Witch Cult. This Wrath was a power closely related to emotions.

It was an ability befitting the Sin Archbishops.

However, although Subaru had finally pieced it together after two deaths, that was the only intelligence he was certain of. Now, the question was the conditions for the Authority to be activated—— in other words, the method to break out of this deadlock.

Once the trick behind Petelgeuse’s Sloth was found out, he became fairly easy to defeat. His Authority had two sides to it, the Unseen Hand and Slothful Cancellation of Others’ Actions[1], and Subaru had been able to resist both.

It was still unknown to Subaru what was the root cause of both those resistances. Although he now had his own version of Unseen Hand, his Invisible Providence, Subaru was still confused about all that.

In fact, considering the Witch’s Scent’s relationship with his Return by Death, as well as his immunity to the effect of the White Whale’s Fog of Oblivion, Subaru had optimistically thought, “Am I actually immune to the Witch Cult’s foul techniques!?” However, his recent murders at the hands of the Authority of Wrath seemed to disprove that theory.

Given his two encounters with Wrath, in the worst case, the triggering condition for the Authority might even be “contact with Sirius”.

As soon as he heard her speak, as soon as he saw her figure, Subaru had probably fallen under her spell. Taking that into consideration, finding a way to capture her would be difficult indeed. The most straightforward and reliable solution would also be the most extreme―― to destroy the tower from a distance with magic.

No contact would be made with Sirius, and he would not need to lay eyes on her. Knowing where she would appear, he could take the opportunity to launch a pre-emptive strike, and he would be able to ensure that Return by Death would not be triggered 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 on a utilitarian “greater good” at the price of other lives would mean, form the perspective of those that were sacrificed, 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 had just determined. He needed to rescue Lusbel and prevent any unnecessary sacrifice. What troubled Subaru most, however, was achieving both at the same time.

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

Should he try to rescue Lusbel by himself, the situation would end up the same as last time. No matter how much he struggled, trying to fight Sirius alone was tantamount to suicide.

Sirius’s combat skills were evidently nothing to scoff at. Although she wielded a chain, just deflecting Subaru’s surprise attack was impressive in itself.

Even considering Subaru’s lack of experience in combat, the strike of a whip was too fast 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 could not even begin to imagine.

In other words, what Subaru needed was someone with the power to overwhelm Sirius with pure combat skills, 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 who was immune to Sirius’s Wrath, much like Subaru could see through Sloth’s power, was not that inconceivable.

After all, Subaru’s accreditation as Petelgeuse’s killer had only come around from his unique resistance to Petelgeuse’s powers.

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, and therefore there was no Sirius Killer present.

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: [――Reinhard!]

Although Subaru, extreme opportunist as he was, had 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 was not attempting to justify his delayed reaction, the reason it had taken so much time to connect Larkins with Reinhard 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 did not want to trigger Return by Death. If circumstances would permit, he would 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 through 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 Reinhard here 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 had an epiphany, and acted on it 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 had 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.

However, Larkins had only agitated Subaru further 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 Reinhard here right now.]

Larkins: [Huh? You devilish brat, are you looking down on me? You think you could actually kill me? Forget that bastard Reinhard, 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 Reinhard, who should be his comrade. Someone he would already be reluctant to call had been requested by someone disliked by him, and so Larkins stubbornly refused Subaru’s request.

Subaru: [You stubborn, inconsiderate idiot…!]

Subaru gritted his teeth looking at 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 could not 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 Reinhard is because there’s a strong enemy I cannot handle.]

Larkins: [Someone 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—— while making such a wish, Subaru spoke,

Subaru: [——The Witch Cult will show up here.]

Larkins: [————]

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

Finished, Subaru immediately looked down to his chest, but the pain he had been expecting did not arrive. The punishment for disclosing information that could potentially reveal his Return by Death had not taken place.

First of all, he was decidedly relieved about this, and dropped his shoulders.

——Although Subaru had not triggered Return by Death for a year now, the penalties associated with it remained.

In particular, when he had attempted to spill everything to Beatrice, Subaru had been wracked by the infernal pain he had come to associate with Return by Death. It was as if the Witch of Envy, who was probably the one responsible for that black magic hand, had forgotten his commendable farewell gift to her at the Witches’ Tea Party in Sanctuary. How rude.

Therefore, Subaru was still unable to discuss anything related to Return by Death with Beatrice or anyone else. Needless to say, he would share still his knowledge with his partner, Beatrice, as long as he did not have to face punishment.

But that was a long story. One that he did not have time to consider right now.

At any rate, right now, the important thing was that Subaru had successfully told Larkins his legitimate reason for needing Reinhard, 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, Shitty 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 fact that the idea of the Witch being the embodiment of absolute evil was deeply rooted in the world’s history.

Even Larkins was wearing a serious expression, one that he would normally never reveal. He was finally taking this seriously, so now Subaru could only respond with equal seriousness to him.

Subaru: [I’m not kidding around, nor 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 kill the Witch Cult’s Sloth. Fuck, that shit’s actually got some credibility…]

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 one who said to stop messing around, right? Listen up, Shitty Subaru. Although I don’t want to be lectured by that bastard Reinhard, I also don’t want to run into trouble that could kill me. Since what happens next is entirely dependent on my mood, you’d better be careful with your next words.]

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 will 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. Subaru had not wished to walk this kind of tightrope, if possible.

Running around the city and calling for Reinhard would have been more reliable than talking to Larkins. However, time did not allow that of Subaru.

Subaru: [Anyway, please, could we stop messing around so you can call Reinhard? 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 Reinhard 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’s responsible for which magic.]

Even being unaware of the details, Subaru could tell how out of the ordinary that ability was. Then, he belatedly realized the obvious―― It seemed that, during the past year, Larkins had also improved himself to the point where he could use basic magic. It was hard to imagine that he was capable of using magic back when Subaru first met him, one 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 Reinhard.

The crowd, who had been whispering “Are they starting yet?”, “Is it finally happening?” backed off, disappointed, as Larkins raised a hand, kneading Mana.

Seeing the swirl of red Mana——of fire-attribute magic, Goa——Subaru felt an odd sense of unsettling disconnect.

This time, the situation should have drastic changes, and move forward.

Although it had been 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 one of them had not changed in the previous year, then this collaboration could never have happened.

Therefore, this result had been born of a simultaneously optimistic yet realistic growth.

Reinhard 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 Authority of Wrath surely would not work on Reinhard. For some reason, Subaru trusted that mysterious sense of his.

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.

Because of course. It was obvious. He should have thought about it.

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

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

If any commotion arose near the clocktower, it was only natural that the enemy would detect it.

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

However, the expression she wore was obviously a smile. Something about the tone of her voice reflected a little bird chirping melodies in the sunny Spring.

Sirius raised a hand over her eyes and squinted at the brilliance of that Goa. She seemed to be regarding that red flame with the same admiration most people would treat fireworks with.

Sirius: [This is great! Well, everyone, my apologies. Good morning!]

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

Even Subaru did. So, he could not 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. Those vicious waves of danger that existed to threaten his life.

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 those two men who 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 entrap him as well.

In fact, now, Subaru could not bring himself to cover his ears.

He had expected that even being aware of Sirius would mean 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 would not be subjected to her mental manipulation.

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

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 and a rattling noise, as if reflecting the defenses of Subaru’s strong heart being broken down.

Sirius: [All right! It took nineteen seconds for everyone to see me here. My apologies. But I am very happy. And, although I do not know why, it seems to me that there is a child here who loves me far more than 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 am a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult, representing Wrath. I am called Sirius Romanée-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 had introduced herself as a friendly neighbor.

Sirius: [Oh, thank you. My apologies for taking 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.]

The voice that replied was deeper and softer than Sirius’s fictional kindness, and permeated, touched the hearts of the people of the square, Subaru included.

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.

There, clear, sky-colored eyes blinked.

There, a fair, calm face revered by all who gazed upon him appeared.

——The embodiment of the concept of a hero, envisioned by all humans, was now a reality.

Reinhard: [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 towards Wrath and sighing.

Reinhard: [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, Reinhard 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-Reinhard?]

Reinhard: [Yes, it is me. From the looks of it, this is quite the emergency. Standing overhead, at the tower… That is a Sin Archbishop, right?]

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

Subaru saw his fair eyebrows wrinkle as he deliberately chose not to face Sirius. Reinhard 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 its spell.]

Reinhard: [I know. And not just sound and sight. It seems that even feeling her presence in my skin will have that effect. I do not know if I am able to remain calm for long, when near her.]

Subaru: [You’re kidding, even you…!?]

Hearing Reinhard’s vulnerable statement, Subaru fell into speechless despair.

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

In that case, it would be difficult to even come up with an idea on how to deal with that wicked presence.

Sirius: [I apologize if mistaken, but could it be that you’re the famed Sword Saint-san? If so… what a wonderful day this will be!]

Reinhard: [As you said, I am Reinhard 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 poses no problem! It is 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!]

Reinhard: [Am I?]

Sirius was indeed shaking her hands noisily and engaging in an ecstatic dance. Reinhard, although facing away from her, was chatting with her quite casually. If communicating with her would lead to falling under her spell, then Reinhard’s lack of action equated suicide.

Subaru spoke up anxiously.

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

Reinhard: […That looks to be the case indeed. And that is not applicable to me exclusively. Taking the others into consideration, I cannot prolong this too much.]

Subaru should feel anxious, but gradually became unaware of why. Reinhard sighed at his puzzlement, and took a step forward. Then,

Subaru: [Reinhard?]

Reinhard: [I cannot hold on for too much longer—— So, I will get rid of the problem as soon as possible.]

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

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

Leaving behind that share of amazement, Reinhard turned the explosive energy into ascending momentum.

Sirius: [Hahahaha! Ah, how impressive this is——]

The kick of the ascending Sword Saint effortlessly struck Sirius, who had crossed her arms to receive the blow, and she was flung far into the sky above the white tower.

Translation Notes:

[1] – In the Web Novel, Petelgeuse’s Authority of Sloth had another ability, “他人の行動をキャンセルする怠惰” (“Slothful Cancellation of Others’ Actions”), a sort-of shockwave that made people go nuts and be unable to move. It was deleted in the Light Novel (and logically, in the Anime as well).

26 thoughts on “Arc 5 – Chapter 21, “Optimal Solution””

    1. it feels too good to be true, i refuse to believe Reinhard could be such a Deus ex in this story

  1. ok that was awesome but i am also little dissappointed in reinhard he practically have every power you could hope for still saying alll that is ridiculous but it gives the feel so whatever

    1. Having Reinhardt as a Deus Ex is definitely a sigh of relief for a series like this. Such a refreshing sense of hope in a world where every enemy you face is extraordinarily powerful. SUPER excited to see where this fight will lead (although it’s Reinhardt we’re dealing with here, so I have an idea.)

  2. damn, seriously damn that excitement i had when Reinhardt arrived is so so so unexplainable and when Subaru is telling Larkins to hurry the F up on calling Reinhardt really put me on edge like ooooowaaa can’t explain it…… My heart and brain trembles……

    1. As Reinhard arrived I was shivering with excitement I was like at last now but even in the comment I read of the Reinhard arrival I got re excited

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