Arc 5 – Chapter 38, “The Witch Cult’s Proposals”

C38

 

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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.
  • (Art Source Deleted)

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As Subaru gazed at that thing—eyes wide in shock, he momentarily forgot how to breathe.

Echidna: “Although I had been anticipating this response, it’s still a little rather overwhelming. Although I look like this, I am, by gender, a woman… well, no I’m a spirit, so it’s difficult to determine whether or not I have a gender. Maybe I should just say that I identify as female?”

Snow white hair and sharp black eyes.

A neutral voice, and twisting, crafty words. Those characteristics brought to mind that black and white witch, whose personality was consistent with this fox’s.

Subaru: “What a… bad joke. You’re saying that you’re Echidna?”

His first encounter with the Witch of Greed had been before a Trial in Sanctuary’s tomb, when she’d lured him to one of her tea parties.

She’d enticed her guest with sweet words in an attempt to turn him into a puppet, dancing on her strings. And, on top of that, she wanted to borrow him to seek all the answers that she herself could not witness. She could be said to be curiosity incarnate.

She was someone who Subaru had never imagined he would see again.

Subaru: “You… actually turned into a fox? Stop screwing around. And appearing right during this moment of crisis, what are you scheming this time?”

Anastasia: “Wait a moment, stop jumpin’ to conclusions and listen!”

Subaru had recovered slightly from his initial shock, ready to bring retribution upon this white fox in front of him who was claiming to be Echidna. However, at Anastasia’s reproach, he was cut off.

Subaru’s hostility toward the white fox also turned to Anastasia, who paraded around nonchalantly with that scarf around her neck.

Subaru: “Don’t screw with me! Don’t bullshit me! You’re … what’s with her? …was she decieved her? After all, she shouldn’t be out of the sanctuary.”

Anastasia: “I don’t really know what you’re going on about, but it’s been about a decade since I first met Echidna… and since then, we’ve barely ever been separated. Isn’t that just a little mismatched with your story?”

Subaru: “A decade ago…?”

The thought of that witch having planned so long ago to wantonly flutter about in the world outside lit the fires of rage deep inside Subaru.

According to Echidna’s own testimony, she hadn’t originated from her dream castle. So, if from even before that point in time, she’d planned something like this…

Subaru: “You’re always like this… do you get a kick out of watching people flail around in the dark while you laugh at their ignorance?”

Echidna: “… My, my, it seems that I’m being detested through and through. Although I’m sure that this is all troublesome for you, it seems to be some kind of inexplicable misunderstanding.”

Anastasia: “Yep, it’s just as Echidna’s said.”

In contrast to the Subaru’s fierce anger, Anastasia and the white fox exchanged a calm, understanding glance.

The arctic fox who made Subaru frown shook her head in an unexpectedly human manner.

Echidna: “Although I have no clue whatsoever as to where your distrust of this other Echidna stems from, I would say that those issues don’t relate to me.”

Subaru: “What do you mean?”

Echidna: “It’s simple indeed. I don’t know anything about any Echidna outside of myself, since I was born knowing nothing except my name, Echidna and my race, artificial spirit. Those are my only clues to my origin.”

Subaru: “—what?”

He’d been expecting some sort of explanation, but the arctic fox spoke silly words unsuited to what Subaru knew of Echidna. Or, rather, if she really was Echidna, than anything she said could very possibly be misleading words meant to trick Subaru.

Claiming to be both an an artificial spirit and Echidna, although this spirit said that she had no previous recollection of Subaru, he couldn’t just carelessly believe her.

Anastasia: “What is it? Natsuki-kun’s expression is full of nothing but suspicion.”

Subaru: “Of course, for me, who knows Echidna’s true nature, this reaction is only natural. You too should… right, my bad. Echidna’s saying she doesn’t remember anything, right?”

Anastasia: “It seems that you have absolutely no intention of believing in it… ah, in this situation, where we’re operating on a time limit, that really is a headache.”

As opposed to the vigilant Subaru, Anastasia spoke in her usual casual tone.

Echidna was working with her— just that alone was enough for Subaru to become wary of Anastasia. And although he respected both Julius and Ricardo, his degree of trust in them may need to be adjusted.

Subaru couldn’t allow himself to feel too much hope that the master and the subordinate did not hold the same opinion on this.

Subaru: “Why’d you tell me your name, if you don’t have any memories? Aside from trying to gain my trust? Was it supposed to convince me that you aren’t her?”

She’d given him her name and a little of her origin. Didn’t that prove that she was the Echidna Of The Tea Party? Which meant that she was not the Echidna In The Coffin, who Roswaal was seeking. There was no doubt that she was the one Subaru had met. In that case, there were a mountain of questions he wanted to demand from her.

That said, he understood that this was not the time for those questions. However, facing the impatient Subaru, Anastasia sighed tiredly.

Anastasia: “It seems things only got so rowdy because Natsuki-kun missed the broadcast.”

Subaru: “The broadcast from the Witch Cult? How is it related to this?”

Echidna: “—because one of their requests was Surrender Your Artificial Spirits. The white fox answered the question simply.

The content of that request left Subaru’s mind blank as he struggled to comprehend the ramifications.

The broadcast, the Witch Cult, the artificial spirits. That was to say—

Subaru: “Could it be that…”

Echidna: “Although it’s something uncomfortable to believe, they want our artificial spirits… that is, they want that girl who accompanies you. So isn’t it only natural that we should approach you for a chat?”

Subaru: “How did you know that Beatrice is an artificial spirit?”

Echidna: “I noticed the moment I saw her, is all I can say. I’m not quite sure how. But I think that she, too, would be able to recognize me on sight. Maybe it’s some kind of spirit detection?”

With a more cautious attitude, the white foxed answered Subaru’s questions one by one.

At the very least, when Beatrice had encountered Anastasia for the first time at the hotel, she hadn’t mentioned anything about the white fox scarf. However, it was very possible that Beatrice had noticed something, but, unsure of how accurate her sense had been, hadn’t voiced her concerns out loud.

Why did she have to carry all those burdens alone? Subaru turned to ask her, and immediately felt a sharp pain, as if someone had stabbed him in the heart.

Echidna: “That the child by your side couldn’t detect me properly can’t be helped. I have many defects as a spirit, and I can’t tie a decent contract with anyone. I can’t even use combat magic smoothly. Although, to compensate for this, I’m confident in my ability to hide my presence, and this confidence is presently undiminished.”

Subaru: “Can’t form a contract… then, you and Anastasia…”

Anastasia: “This child and I don’t share the relationship of spirit and contractor. That relationship requires something completely different… That is to say, we’re accomplices.”

Echidna: “I want to witness this child’s future, so that’s why I’m following her around like this. Having been with her for a few years now, we’ve become something like conversation partners. From time to time, she even discusses her business matters with me.”

The arctic fox spoke with a fleeting grin, and Anastasia lightly scratched at her neck. Their relationship seemed harmonious, and Subaru presumed that they shared a certain degree of trust.

Subaru: “Why… would you disclose your internal affairs unrelated to the battle at hand…?”

Echidna: “Isn’t it natural that we’d disclose some of our own affairs if we want to gain your trust? Furthermore, with the lives of the entire city’s population hanging in balance… at this critical juncture, it falls to us to take action. It wouldn’t do to fall into internal strife due to the cloaking of a small, relatively insignificant detail.”

Anastasia: “I also really wanted to stop her, but… this child doesn’t heed advice from others at all after havin’ made up her mind, so… I’d like for you to at least hear her out, for the time being.”

Echidna was unusually frank and genuine, and Anastasia’s supplemental words were convincing. Belatedly, Subaru realized the reason for Anastasia’s earlier coldness; she’d taken on that demeanor to create an environment where she could catch Subaru alone.

Along with that, in order to successfully persuade Subaru, she’d deliberately ushered Julius and Garfiel from the room.

Anastasia: “Of course, I won’t comply with the Witch Cult’s requests, but I will require Natsuki-kun to stand by my side in regard to the artificial spirit. Otherwise, even if we outwardly reject their proposals, not everyone will accept our stance so easily.”

Subaru: “I have no intention whatsoever to listen to anything that bunch has to say, so I strongly agree… but that doesn’t mean that all my doubts about that fox Echidna have been put to ease.”

Anastasia: “You’re so particular about names. Does the Echidna you know really have such a poor character, Natsuki-kun? If so, it’s rather troublesome to see you treat my Echidna in such a way.”

Subaru: “I’ll apologize if it’s someone else entirely, but her attitude and speech patterns are almost identical… and…”

Anastasia: “And?”

Subaru searched for the words to explain to the confused Anastasia.

The nature of the existence of artificial spirits was unclear to Subaru, but he did know that Beatrice and Puck were both made by the witch Echidna.

Of course, if the white fox were truly an artificial spirit, then she must also have come from Echidna’s hands.

In search for an eternal life, Echidna had designed an artificial replica of herself.

Many of her words were of suspect trustworthiness. But if everything she’d said had been true, then the conclusion that Echidna had Become An Artificial Spirit was reasonable.

Casting away her flesh, freed from the notion of lifespan as a spirit— if she could extend her existence through this manner… this would certainly fit with that Witch of Greed who longed for omniscience.

So… the white fox was The Artificial Spirit Named Echidna, without doubt. However, her claim that she had no memories— was that true or false?

Anastasia said they have been together for more than a decade. However, that alone was no reason to believe her. It would come as no surprise if she’d been plotting something for a decade.

If someone were to say that she’d been planning all that for this exact moment… Subaru wouldn’t have a hard time believing them.

Anastasia: “Hey, hey, he seems to be starin’ rather fiercely.”

Echidna: “Such intense hatred makes me really curious about this other Echidna, but I suppose we should set that topic aside for now. Whether or not he believes us isn’t relevant. By the way, Ana, shouldn’t you tell him what’s going on already?”

The arctic fox spoke with a defeated tone, accepting Subaru’s suspicious grudge. And Anastasia, at her urging, shrugged and clapped her hands together, picking the conversation back up.

Anastasia: “Well, now that your doubts have been sorted out, the most pressin’ matter is the Witch Cult. They made three other requests.”

Subaru: “Three other… so, a total of four?”

Anastasia: “Yes, which is the total number of the remaining archbishops. Since most of their requests were rather mockin’ in content… try not to be offended.”

Mocking demands… once again, they had gone too far.

The Witch Cult had somehow defied Subaru’s notion that his impression of them couldn’t grow any worse.

Anastasia pet the tail of the arctic fox with her hands. Then, licking her lips, she said…

Anastasia: “The first requirement is The Surrender Of Our Artificial Spirits, from Gluttony.”

Subaru: “Gluttony…”

Anastasia: “Although I have much to say on that, I’ll save my commentary for later. Next is Wrath. —She wants the Book of Wisdom that was brought to this city.”

Subaru: “——hk!?”

At yet another unexpected shock, Subaru involuntarily widened his eyes. And seeing that, Anastasia narrowed her lightly colored eyes.

Anastasia: “Seeing that reaction, I’d say that Natsuki-kun knows something about this?”

Subaru: “……”

Anastasia: “No worries, that’s excellent. It’s been troublin’ me quite a bit. Echidna doesn’t know anythin’ and neither does Julius.”

Subaru: “… that fox really said that she doesn’t know anything? Even though it’s the Book of Wisdom, huh.”

Anastasia showed a slight smile. After all, before this, she’d been puzzling over something she had no clue how to find. But now, she’d found a glimmer of hope. Of course, that smile carried nary a hint of cuteness either.

Echidna: “No, I’m afraid I don’t know anything… then, if you’ll allow me to speculate… the Echidna you know is connected to this Book of Wisdom, correct?”

Subaru: “Yes, exactly right.”

Echidna: “In that case, I’d have to ask even if I didn’t want to know. What kind of person was your Echidna? Did she have some kind of connection to the Witch Cult?”

Although Subaru believed that she wasn’t feigning ignorance, he felt that Anastasia and her white fox were speaking as though she were someone who shared an unusual relationship with one of their clients.

Of course, given their way of thinking, this was inevitable.

If you he were to believe what the arctic fox said, the name Echidna referred to her existence alone. Only Subaru knew that the artificial spirit’s creator, Echidna. And, more importantly, this proved that only the name of the Witch of Envy had been recorded into history.

Subaru: “—Echidna… is the name of a witch from a long time ago. In addition to the Witch of Envy, other wicked witches existed, and she was one of those. Although she’s long dead, her soul remained anchored here. Having met her before, I’m now very wary of her.”

Anastasia: “Hey, Natsuki-kun, do ya have a fever? You’re speakin’ some rather outrageous words here.”

Subaru: “There’s nothing wrong with my head. Those witches are incomprehensible, twisted existences. They can even create artificial spirits, so just accept this much.”

Echidna: “In that case… then this Echidna could be said to be my parent, huh.”

Subaru’s answer was sprinkled with implications, and the white fox drew meaning from words that surely sounded reckless. Although he wasn’t particularly trying to hide anything, Subaru felt a twinge of regret at not being upfront with her.

Echidna: “At an unexpected time, discovering the secret behind my birth is one of the many joys of life. If you have a chance, be sure to tell me in more detail.”

Subaru: “… although you’re a spirit yourself, you’re so obviously clueless about the existence of artificial spirits. Our Beatrice seems to know much more than… no, come to think of it, she’s never mentioned anything about you to me. Where did you come from, and what were you meant to do?”

Echidna: “Regretfully, all that remains unknown to me, whether it be the circumstances of my birth or the purpose I was made to fulfill. —Yes, that’s all a mystery to me. Right now, I’m merely following the path of this rather interesting child.”

At Subaru’s accusation, the arctic fox cast a meaningful sideways glance to Anastasia, who slowly moved her gaze to Subaru from the sidelines.

Anastasia: “I’m also quite curious about the connection between Echidna and the witch. And she… cannot be unrelated to this witch. So, let’s return to the topic of the Book of Wisdom…”

Subaru: “The Book of Wisdom is the origin of the Witch Cult’s gospel… that is, it’s the full version. The Book of Wisdom uses the same principles of the Dragon Stone.”

Anastasia: “The same as the Dragon Stone… then, their credibility would be incredibly high. Is it possible that the witch made the book herself?”

Subaru: “That’s what she implied, but the two existing copies should have been burned. If more copies were ever made, then I don’t know of them.”

Echidna had given copies of her Book of Wisdom to Beatrice and Roswaal. And both of their copies had, for certain, been destroyed a year ago.

Beatrice’s Book of Wisdom had crumbled to ash along with the Forbidden Archive. And Ram had burned Roswaal’s Book of Wisdom, rejecting the future recorded within it.

Anastasia: “But that’s just what you’ve heard from the witch Echidna. Would her words really reflect the truth of the situation?”

Subaru: “There is that…”

Although unhappy that Anastasia had simply denied his assertion, Subaru himself also understood that the credibility of that statement wasn’t high. However, he didn’t think that Echidna had lied about that.

Presumably, only Subaru, who had spoken to the witch face to face, would have such a feeling.

Subaru: “——”

Anastasia: “Not trusting the person, but trusting her words. What a troublesome person for Natsuki-kun.”

Subaru: “I myself think so, too… I obviously didn’t intend to trust her, but I trusted her words, how contradictory.”

Echidna’s every action had been a cleverly scripted, meant to coax Subaru into becoming her puppet.

However, that didn’t mean that everything had been a lie. Did Subaru believe that because he wanted to? Or was he still under the sway of that witch?

Anastasia: “For the moment, regardless of your personal feelings, we can come up with three possibilities about this Book of Wisdom. The first is that the witch is lying, and other copies were made.”

Subaru: “And the second is that the Witch Cult doesn’t know that the Book of Wisdom no longer exists, and is just messing with us, but the third one is?”

Anastasia: “Unless she lied, then there’s only one way the Book of Wisdom could still exist. That is, one of the copies wasn’t destroyed completely, and there are remains left.”

Subaru: “—Wha…”

That the Book of Wisdom may have left remains was something that Subaru hadn’t considered at all.

Anastasia shook a finger at the dumbfounded Subaru.

Anastasia: “Although it’s not something clear-cut, the book was made by a witch, wasn’t it? Couldn’t we say that it would probably be difficult to destroy, and maybe even capable of regenerating itself?”

Subaru: “Indeed, I really can’t say that that’s impossible… but the real question is, who would have found and kept a restored one?”

Anastasia: “If you didn’t see with your own eyes that the book was burnt, and it was last seen somewhere easily accessible… maybe I’m overthinking, and the second hypothesis is far more likely, but, in either case, we won’t accept their proposal.”

Anastasia faced Subaru with a dainty hand placed over her mouth, citing various possibilities.

Who could have access to the remains of a Book of Wisdom…? The one in the archive was certainly completely gone, along with the entire Forbidden Archive itself.

But what about Roswaal’s book? Although he’d heard that Ram had burned it with magic… but, in this case, it should have turned to ash, and been buried under Emilia’s snowstorm.

If any remains were left, there was certainly someone who could have picked it up, but…

Subaru: “If anyone had brought it here, it would be someone from my faction, and they would all have told me. Therefore, I’m confident that the Book of Wisdom isn’t in city.”

Anastasia: “In that case, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to devote so much concern to a book I know nothing about.”

Confident— although he’d said so, his feelings were perhaps closer to wanting to believe.

However, Anastasia did not dwell on this point, nor did she intend to dig deeper into the details of the Book of Wisdom. Rather,

Anastasia: “Then, the next demands are from Greed and Lust. Plain and simple, there’s absolutely nothing worth discussing about their words.

Subaru: “Those two… no. Gluttony and Wrath are no different. So, what’s going on? What did they say?”

Capella of Lust was undoubtedly the worst of the bunch.

And before he’d even met Capella, Regulus had injured his right foot and kidnapped Emilia, so Subaru bore a number of negative emotions for him. He was unpredictable, which worried Subaru.

Anastasia: “Here’s to hopin’ you won’t get too angry about it.”

Subaru: “I’ll do my best, but we’ll see.”

Subaru’s response to Anastasia’s uneasy opening remark was immediate. With an expression of ‘if you put it that way’, Anastasia sighed.

Anastasia: “Lust’s proposal isn’t the same as the others, and it seems to simply be a mockery… Send Twenty People Who Love Each Other To The Central Waterway. —They Absolutely Won’t Be Harmed. Somethin’ like that.”

Subaru: “That lying bitch! The hell does she mean, they won’t be harmed!? Did she forget that she’s someone who turns people into flies and dragons for fun!?”

As always, Subaru grew furious when confronted with Capella’s evil deeds.

Twenty people who loved each other— just thinking about what that monster sung of such ugly love would do to them was terrifying.

Anastasia: “From I could tell, that archbishop doesn’t consider changing someone’s form to be ‘harm’. ‘I won’t hurt anyone~’ is more along the lines of her exact words… I almost felt like I could see her speak. Well, next would be Greed’s demand…”

Subaru: “……”

Subaru choose to remain silent, angrily waiting for Anastasia’s next sentence.

However, seeing that attitude, Anastasia seemed to find it difficult to continue, hesitating for an almost exaggeratedly long time.

Then,

Echidna: “The request of the man calling himself Greed was, I want To Hold A Wedding With My Silver-haired Bride. So, In Anything Related To The Preparation Of The Wedding, Don’t You Dare Hinder Me!”

Anastasia: “Echidna…”

Echidna: “Ana seemed to have a hard time saying it, so I do hope it was alright for me to move things along.”

In the stead of the hesitant Anastasia, the white fox guarding her neck spoke.

However, the understanding between the two was currently completely irrelevant to Subaru.

—Hold a wedding with a silver haired bride.

And who would be the bride of Regulus of Greed? The question didn’t need any consideration at all.

Subaru: “—STOP FUCKING AROUND!! BASTARD!!”

Therefore, Subaru’s volcanic eruption of anger was entirely reasonable. Anastasia couldn’t help but frown, and the white fox’s hair stood up on end. That was how direct and pure Subaru’s rage was.

In his mind, the image of a white-haired man took form.

The ignorant, supernaturally powerful man, had captured Emilia, and insisted that her only value lay in her face.

But that powerful man was nothing more than sick in the the head. What nonsense was he spouting this time?

Subaru: “Beatrice! And The Book of Wisdom! And Emilia! They say they want them? Hah! The Witch Cult isn’t getting their hands on a single one of them! I’ll show them for messing around with that bullshit proposal!”

Anastasia: “…I anticipated that reaction, but hearing ya say it so crisply like that really is reassurin’.”

Seeing Subaru’s passionate appearance, Anastasia smiled along as well.

Not due to a happy mood, but because that same passion was rising in her as well,

Anastasia: “Our artificial spirits… well, I have no intention of turning Echidna over to them. In addition, I refuse to allow the Witch Cult to intimidate me. I brought Crusch-san and Emilia into this city, and the Witch Cult dared to have them suffer so… I won’t be able to face either of them again if I don’t get us out of this!”

Echidna: “Oh, Ana, you’re so militant.”

Anastasia: “That’s precisely because I know how to level the playing field so we can claim victory. We absolutely can’t escape right now. Because we’re sure to crush that Witch Cult and force them to pay reparations.”

Calculating misfortunes, reputation, victories and losses.

Her clever words glossed it over slightly, but Anastasia’s spirit showed not the slightest intent of retreating from the battle.

Unlike Julius, Garfiel, Wilhelm, or even Ferris, she could be accused of only being able to speak with recklessness due to her lack of personal experience with the horrors of that sinful cult.

However, Subaru did no such thing.

In this case, there was absolutely no need to say anything that would needlessly damage their morale. And even more importantly, her presence, as vengeful as it seemed, was undoubtedly trustworthy.

Anastasia: “Everyone has to agree with that sentiment, at least slightly. Having said that, they’re still a few steps ahead, but who could accept this end! We’ll look for excuses for failure when in some other world!”

Subaru: “——”

Anastasia: “As long as we’re still alive, there’s still a chance. And we absolutely cannot give up our lives! That would be far too tragic.”

A gentle smile rose on Anastacia’s face as she declared her will of steel.

The pressure emanating from her petite form could have anyone forget that she was no warrior, who was experienced with exposure to the presence of the battlefield… no, that was wrong. She was, in fact, a warrior of hundreds upon thousands of battles.

Having chosen wits as her battlefield, she was a battle-hardened warrior.

Anastasia: “Whether it’s Crusch-san, or the people who have lost their human form, if we can get our hands on Lust, she should be able to undo what she did. And Natsuki-kun, your beloved princess was stolen away. This isn’t a pill you can swallow, right?”

Subaru: “Like you need to ask! Emilia is my bride! I’ll get rid of that bastard Gluttony, and take Rem’s memory back! I’ll find that long-winded Sirius and knock her teeth out! And I’ll drag Capella here and force her to apologize and change everyone back before beating her senseless!”

Echidna: “My, Ana and Natsuki-san are both treating the impossible like it’s easy. But, truly, that’s the thing I find most encouraging about you.”

Subaru echoed Anastasia’s forceful declaration, and, seeing their spirits, the arctic fox nodded with satisfaction.

The first and second battles had ended in failure.

But the next battle was ahead of them. No one would die, and they would let no one die. In the end, they would survive, victorious. That would be their triumph.

Anastasia: “Ricardo is standing guard, and Joshua is looking for other lost children. He should be back shortly. And then, again, we’ll hold a full-fledged strategy meeting.”

Subaru: “We also need to reconfirm the situation throughout the shelters and near the other towers.”

Anastasia: “That won’t slip my mind. Hey, it looks like my mind is finally restarting.”

Since they had decided to do what they needed to, their hearts would be steeled with determination. That was the natural way.

While nodding at Anastasia’s words, Subaru turned his gaze to the outside of the City Hall. From his vantage point, all he could see were the lofty water towers.

There was no way to distinguish between east, west, north and south.

So, each one could hold Emilia, Rem’s memory, a sworn enemy, or a loathsome monster.

-In this city, the battle to save those precious loved ones, continues.

 

 

1 thought on “Arc 5 – Chapter 38, “The Witch Cult’s Proposals””

  1. I would like to say that the one with the book is priscilla, but i doubt it ,since i dislike the character my guesses shouldn’t be any good.

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