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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
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ーー『Hall of Memories』 and 『Louis Arneb』.
Yes, as Subaru silently looked at the blonde girl, Louis, who had answered his questions.
He did not expect to land up in this white place, nor did he expect to encounter this girl. And, this girl, and this atmosphere had a sense of familiarityーー,
Subaru: “……. What do you mean by the Witch Cult, and 『Gluttony』 and Sin Archbishop anyway.”
Louis: “A~h ~tsu.”
At Subaru’s words, Louis placed her hands on her face and tilted her head.
Regardless of this particular moment, the spectacle of this girl standing within the dazzling white was a breathtaking sight, but still, Subaru’s instincts had been bothered by it since earlier.
Subaru’s survival instincts, which had developed in the peace of modern day Japan, were highly unlikely to be of any use. The fact that they were alarmed, it was unquestionably because of the odd presence of this girl.
On top of that, being slapped with an unexpected situation, this was something he could not helpーー Subaru’s knowledge was far too lacking to comprehend this.
The same applied regarding the Witch Cult Sin Archbishop or the Od’s Hall of Memories. Perhaps all this was common knowledge in this world, however, unfortunately enough, Subaru lacked all such knowledge.
Hence, it was difficult to formulate questions that would help in further developmentーー,
Louis: “ーーThe Witch Cult is, to summarise, a group of people that are hated by this entire world.”
Louis: “Even onii-san must have had heard about the name 『Witch of Envy』 at least? The Witch Cult, you see, is deeply connected to that Witch-sama…… We~ll, think of them as something similar to believers.”
Subaru: “…… Then, what you had said earlier, this goes for Sin Archbishop, huh.”
Sin and archbishop, although they gave off a sense of conflict, they went pretty well as a combination, and they line up with Subaru’s tastes in names.
Regardless, the moment you hear that,
Subaru: “I understand that it’s a name for the evil.”
Louis: “So harsh, isn’t it harsh, how harsh, as it’s harsh, really harsh, even though it’s harsh you kno~w.”
Shaking her head in denial, in front of Subaru, Louis hugs her petite body. However, her smile did not fade away from her mouth, only her gestures were of refusal.
She was a girl whose true feelings could not be foretoldーー No, rather, should it be said that they were completely incomprehensible?
Louis: “With such words, don’t bully fragile girls, onii-san. Even we get hurt, you know? Because like many other people, we also have a delicate and soft heart.”
Subaru: “You’re not convincing at all. Also, do you want to act like a character by using that way of referring to yourself? Or, is it a cool appeal of being a one-man army or something similar? We and us, it’s not normal though.”
Louis: “A~h…… don’t worry about that. It’s just that, with so many personalities, it gets a bit confusing about which one is to be subjected. We’re getting tired of it too.”
Saying that, Louis turned her gaze downwards, following up with a “But”.
Louis: “It can’t be helped. They are gifts from onii-chan and nii-sama, not accepting them properly would be a failure as a younger sister. We’re siblings so we must cooperate with each other.”
Subaru: “……That’s, thinking of your brothers’ feelings, you’re an adorable younger sister. I was an only child so I’m jealous.”
Louis: “Is that so? By now, onii-san may have gotten a younger brother or sister though, no?”
Subaru: “Will you not say such scary things!? I don’t even want to imagine that!?”
Anyhow, parents are close couples, it was no matter to joke over.
For those parents, now that Subaru is gone, having another childーー no, it was inconceivable.
If Subaru disappeared, Subaru’s parents would keep searching for him until they’ve found him. What must have had his mother felt, seeing that her son did not even bid a final farewell? What must have had his father experienced because of all this?
The thought of them figuring out that Subaru had been reincarnated in a different world.
If they would endlessly search for their absent son, Subaru wished they would just get to know that he died and was reincarnated into a different world and make them taste the pain of losing their child. That would be much easier. That would save so much of their time and effort.
That was whyーー,
Louis: “ーーWe understand, onii-san.”
Subaru: “ーー~hk! Don’t joke around!”
With both his hands gripped upon the floor covered with air, Subaru flew into a rage as Louis continued looking at him from below.
That gaze, it was not because of worry. However, just from that dark gaze, it became obvious that she had seen through Subaru’s feelings.
Subaru found that frustrating, and shrugging at Louis, he turned his back towards her.
Subaru: “As if you’d know anything about me! Stop saying such selfish thi…….”
Louis: “ーーYou are sorry for your mother and father, aren’t you? Failing to bid even a single goodbye, you regret how disobedient of a son you were. No, you were always filled with regret. Both now and before weren’t you?”
Yes, understanding everything, Louis softly crawled upon Subaru’s back, in an attempt to make him realise that.
A small, light body. Holding his breath, Subaru stiffened his own body.
It wasn’t because of the girl cuddling with him. It was because of the girl’s words themselves.
That understanding speech, however, unmistakably, had struck at Subaru’s heart.
Louis: “How do we know, you say? It’s obvious that we would know. After all, there is nobody that knows about onii-san as much as we or us.”
Subaru: “ーーDon’t touch me!”
Shaking away his arms, Subaru moved away from Louis, who had her lips sharpened, and resumes his breathing.
What the hell. Are the women of this world, not hesitant at all about setting up close relationships between them and newly acquainted men? The similarity is uncanny.
As a matter of fact, he was afraid that with his body’s temperature rising, his heart may become weaker.
Subaru: “Just, what the hell are you! What are you trying to say!”
Louis: “We’re telling you, we just want onii-san to feel a bit relieved. It’s alright, it’s alright. You are co~mpletely separated from your mom and dad, the ones your feelings clung on to. Even though it may be only by your side, you want to face them again. You have absolutely no doubts about that. Face to face, isn’t it.”
Saying that, Louis put her right claw on her left arm. Grabbing it tightly, she started to, seemingly painfully, wound that thin, white arm.
As Subaru continued looking at what she was doing, Louis was getting awfully redder, and showing her long tongue,
Louis: “Ostensibility is, completely healthy. It looks like you don’t hold that in your heart at all. You’re skilled at it, onii-san. It’s sad that you are skilled at it, onii-san.”
As if his chest had been terribly slashed, Subaru twisted his lips.
Not intending to play along with her anymore, Subaru decided to follow the warning alarm of his instincts, which were ringing because of a different reason now.
Subaru: “I have no idea, about what you want to say. I have no idea but, stop scratching those wounds open. Well, this a conversation where we’re just playing catch. No stupid talk. Let’s try working this out.”
Subaru: “Together. Yes, like…… let’s continue our earlier conversation about the Sin Archbishops.”
Not wanting Louis to suffer anymore, Subaru returned to the original topic quickly.
If Sin Archbishop literally meant Sin Archbishop, then he had an idea about the possible relationship between the words Sin and 『Gluttony』.
Subaru: “If you are 『Gluttony』, then, are there six other people like you?”
Louis: “Including onii-chan and nii-sama, it’d be around six people we guess? Ah, but, recently we lost two so it’s maybe just four now. It’d be nice if those two also, just die off.”
Subaru: “……If you feel that way, then your sense of comradeship must be pretty low.”
Louis: “It’s obvious. We all may be called Sin Archbishops, but in the end we’re just a group of people hated by the world. We are just named a bit differently, otherwise we are the same as the 『Witch』.”
Saying that, Louis knelt down at that spot.
As she did so, it seemed like something was sinking down within the sea of long golden thread-like hair, an exceedingly unique sight.
Scratching his head, Subaru sat down, carefully at a position where he didn’t tread on her hair, and said “Witch?” while tilting his neck.
Subaru: “From being the same as the Witch you mean, that ridiculously scary Witch?”
Louis: “Unsurprisingly, the 『Witch of Envy’s』 nature is worse than even us so we don’t want to be grouped together with her though. The rest is all the same. The 『Witch』 and Sin Archbishops, they are just named differently, otherwise they are the same. The good-for-nothings that take in the Witch Factors, are just called by different names in different times and positions.”
Louis: “We~ll, the current onii-san has forgotten about the 『Witch』 and Sin Archbishops, and us anyway, so either of them may be fine. We understand, we perfectly understand, we fully understand, as we understand, though we understand, because we understand, because we want to understand……”
Subaru: “Keep quiet.”
Cutting in between, Subaru stopped her wave of words and put his hand on his chin.
He somewhat felt like he had heard something important. Although currently it isn’t explicitly relevant to Subaru, the probability of Emilia and the others not finding this information useful was low.
But this wasn’t the reason why Subaru had his hand on his chin, why he was in deep thought.
Subaru had been thinking that it was no longer possible to avoid the sense of incongruity that came with Louis’ answersーー No, it was certainly a feeling that was known.
If there had been something that came to his mind for that reason, it wasーー,
Subaru: “By any chance, are you a God?”
Louis: “A God you say…… Ah, that? Something like, reincarnation in a different world? We don’t really get it but, we have nothing to do with that. Certainly, this place may cause such strange feelings though.”
Fluttering the fluffy blonde hair that slid down her back, forming a cage, Louis responded.
Louis: “This place is, just as it looks. A place with nothing to lose, therefore a place that has nothing. As we’re alone in this place, we may look something like it’s guardian.”
Subaru: “Od Lagna’s cradle, was it? You said it’s name was the Hall of Memories, though I don’t understand anything about it, not a single thing.”
Louis: “Mm, mm, mm, mm, is that so…… To summarise, this is the place where the soul gets filtered.”
Subaru: “Soul gets, filtered?”
Question marks arose in Subaru’s mind, as he heard an expression he was not acquainted with.
Filter would mean the same as the process of filtration, however, it is not often that you hear that for souls.
However, Louis pleasantly says “Yes yes” as she pulled her knees in.
Louis: “After using something once, you would wash and dry it and reuse it again? The same goes for souls. Cleansed of it’s stains, it goes back to it’s beautiful state.”
Subaru: “What do you mean by stains…… things like memories or experiences?”
Subaru turned his neck around toward Louis, who distorted her cheeks and displayed her tongue.
As usual, there came up nothing new in the white spaceーー in the Hall of Memories. In this unpopulated world of white, there was no easy-to-understand evidence for what Louis had said.
If this place was like what Louis had told it is, perhaps there would be floating visual evidences of souls, memories or experiences in some way.
Louis: “Well, it’s not so easy to understand.”
Subaru: “That God Od Lagna is pretty cruel.”
Louis: “That thing can’t be called a god. It isn’t as wonderful as it may seem. It’s just a mechanism. A mechanism to keep the world from breaking.”
Subaru: “A mechanism……”
Louis: “No Witch Factor, no Protection, no 『Sword Saint』, no 『Witch』, is special in it’s eyes. If there’s anything good about Od Lagna, it’s that it is equal, fair, and uninterestedly indifferent.”
Narrowing her eyes uninterestedly, Louis closed her attractive eyelashes to touch her face. Subaru catches a small breath, in front of the kneeling girl with her cheeks distorted.
Till now, the girl had spoken with him with sincerity. This makes him think that she would not lie, probably. Because of that, Subaru exhaled.
Bringing it to his tongue, swallowing it back, and bringing it to his tongue again, he looked at her.
Subaru: “ーーDid you, steal away my memories of everything till yesterday?”
Louis: “That’s right?”
The villain answered the question, astonishing Subaru completely.
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Subaru closed his eyes, as he asked that question and received it’s answer.
He did not feel much denial. The truth is, he felt that to be the case by just this brief interaction.
Louis was, too well-informed. She was deeply informed regarding Subaru’s heart.
That was exactly why, what the current Subaru did not know much about, Louis Arneb knew about 『Natsuki Subaru』.
This was not the case when words could be figured out through looks, that was why Subaru had asked sincerely and gotten affirmed.
Strangely enough, what was rising in his chest was not rage, but a feeling of being convinced.
In other wordsーー,
Subaru: “ーーSo yesterday, I really did come here.”
Louis: “Strictly speaking, the way of coming was a bit different. But we~ll, the purpose was the same. The results were just slightly different. But, how amazing. How wonderful. How many times, have you reached up to this point?”
Louis: “Hey, answer, onii-san. We answered when it was our turn. ーーOnii-san, from after getting eaten by us, which count of onii-san is this?”
Immediately after hearing Louis’ question, chills ran up Subaru’s spine.
Her eyes, her question, made her knowledge about 『Return by Death』 clear.
No, it was obvious. It was natural.
If she had stolen 『Natsuki Subaru’s』 memories, and could freely browse through all of it’s contents, it would be no mystery that she would know about 『Return by Death』.
『Return by Death』 isn’t an ability exclusive to amnesiac Subaru, it was surely possessed by 『Natsuki Subaru』 before he lost his memory as well.
Certainly, 『Natsuki Subaru』 had lived through several difficulties. The result of which he gained the trust of Emilia, Beatrice and the rest of his friends, in other words, just like a cheat code.
Subaru did not intend to fault it. Whether it’s a cheat or foul play, he will be willing to use it without any hesitation if someone else’s life was in danger. 『Natsuki Subaru’s』 choice was correct. Which was why, in the current of absence of 『Natsuki Subaru』, Subaru will do it in his stead.
And, recognising it’s value of usability, he swallowed the power of 『Return by Death』.
However, contrary to his preparedness, Subaru had a strange sense of anxiety, concern, rise within his chest.
Louis Arneb was violating that inescapable fear, that taboo.
Louis: “ーーYou cannot have anyone find out about it? If it’s about that then, it’s already too late, onii-san. After all, us meeting onii-san, happened yesterday, no?”
Louis: “The 『Rule』 of not having anyone know it, has been broken a long time ago. But, what happens in the Hall of Memories cannot leak outside easily. That’s why, the scary 『Witch』 will not make her move.”
Louis, with her limbs on the ground, approached Subaru’s face , who was sitting cross-legged. With a smile that was unsuitable for her age, and a long red tongue hanging out,
Louis: “Hey, onii-san. How many times has it been?”
At that voice, Subaru felt a painful numbness, as if that tongue had stabbed right through his mind.
Then, slightly twitching his own tongue and throat,
Subaru: “……It’s the, fifth time.”
Louis: “ーー~tsu! Amazing, how amazing, really amazing, absolutely amazing, isn’t it amazing, truly amazing, because it’s amazing, because it’s admirably amazing…… Gluttonous drinking ~tsu! Gluttony ~tsu!”
Subaru: “Hu~h ~hk!”
Louis: “We want to taste onii-san so unbearably, that it feels like it’ll be the death of our stomach! Speaking from our experience, we think that eating and sexuality are pretty similar. Sexuality in other words, is love, isn’t it? Then in other words, onii-san, weーー“
Pushing herself over Subaru, Louis, with hot breaths and excited eyes, seemed as if she were riding a horse. With cheeks full of cheerfulness, and with eyes full of enchantment, Louis lets her tongue roll over Subaru’s neck without any hesitation.
With the same pace, the words she seemed to be about to say, could be well imaginedーー,
Louis: “ーーLove you.”
In the previous loop, Subaru, who desired 『Death』 under those desperate circumstances, such words of love were thrown at him several times, and recalling that, he felt his heart seemingly explode.
Subaru: “Is that so, you cowardly brat ~hk!”
Opening his eyes, Subaru grabbed the throat of the dominating girl and forcibly pushed her brutally onto the white floor. This time, it was Subaru’s turn.
Her body was thin and light. Biting his teeth, Subaru held her neck in his hands and pushed her onto the floor, with her long blonde hair spreading all over the floor, it seemed as if he had pushed her onto a golden bed.
Subaru: “How could you be careless? How unfortunate! In this position, I am overwhelmingly advantageous! If you don’t want to me to continue strangling you like this, you better……”
Louis: “Return your memories? If we don’t return them, you will strangle us? Our neck, a weak girl’s?”
With her neck grabbed and grasping the right to resist being murdered, Louis looked at Subaru, who snorted, with eyes that had not changed a single bit since earlier, and loosened her lips.
And from those loosened lips, she let out a voice that seemed like a curse.
Louis: “Can onii-san even do such a thing?”
Subaru: “ーーYou think, that I can’t?”
Louis: “Rather than think, we know. After all, you know, right now we know more about onii-san than onii-san himself.”
Saying that, Louis pushes her index finger into her cheek and tilted her small head in an attempt to provoke him. At her attitude, Subaru sighed and looked at his right hand which had grabbed Louis’ neck.
He should increase the strength he was applying into his arms in order to show his seriousness.
If he manages to prove he’s serious, Louis’ mind might change.
If you are asked if you can even kill or not, it certainly gets difficulty. That is a fact.
Even though he had a proper reason to, Subaru had been unable to swing down a single stone at his companion’s head.
So, even if he was well aware that he was dealing with an enemy, it was not possible to tighten his grip on the girl’s neck in front of him.
No, he could do it as much as he wanted it. He needed to.
He thinks about Emilia, Beatrice, Ram, Meili, Julius, Echidna, Shaula, Patrasche, everyone, and. Andーー,
Louis: “ーーThe strength, from your arms has disappeared, hasn’t it, onii-san.”
Louis: “We really didn’t plan to resist? After all, right now, we are just the weak girl we look like. Unlike onii-chan and nii-sama, we cannot use the strength of the eaten person, until we take their form.”
Saying that, Louis pushed away Subaru’s right hand which had her neck grasped, with fingers that were previously poking her own cheek. In all it’s weakness, Subaru’s palm unexpectedly let go of her throat.
Subaru: “Shit…… ~hk!”
Louis: “Don’t get depressed like this, onii-san. It was a job well done, well done. After all, to be honest…… we never even thought that onii-san would come back here.”
Subaru: “Do you think, that you’re doing good job at consoling me with all this?”
Louis, lying on the ground in the same position as she was pushed into, passed her opinion. He wished to break that face and put forward his demand, but he was unable to find the right words to do so.
Hence, in the end, looking at Subaru drenched in disappointment, Louis passed out a “Ahaha” as if she was admiring some fish in an aquarium.
Louis: “But we~ll, isn’t it fine. If we return the memories of “Natsuki Subaru” or something, the current onii-san will die, and it would be a foolish death to commit suicide like this.”
Subaru: “…… Ah?”
Louis: “Huh, what’s with that strange reaction? Did you not realise that? If memories return, they will overwrite the current you, and your current existence will disappear…… isn’t that, the same as death?”
ーーThat, Louis states her mysterious answer as if it was an obvious matter, and Subaru stiffened his body at her attitude.
He’ll die. He’ll disappear. Yes, he had been told that clearly.
The moment the memories of 『Natsuki Subaru』 return, Subaru’s current consciousness and memories will get overwritten and disappear.
If that wasn’t 『Death』, then it wasーー,
Louis: “ーーRight now, 『Natsuki Subaru』 is dead. After all, he isn’t anywhere. But, if 『Natsuki Subaru』 comes back, this time onii-san will die. After all, he won’t be able to go anywhere.”
Louis: “Hey u~m, after knowing all that, is it really worth bringing 『Natsuki Subaru』 back? We mean, onii-san should be be able to do the same things? After all, onii-san also must have had come to like the people around him the same way. Everyone around as well, will come to like onii-san in the same way. ーーWhat’s so bad in that?”
Subaru: “What is……”
If it said, that there’s nothing bad in that, surely there is nothing bad in that.
Subaru is, a person full of faults. So many faults that he hated himself for that. If someone asks him who he hated the most in the whole world, he would answer himself without any hesitation.
That much, was the good-for-nothing, lacking Natsuki Subaru.
However, Subaru has nothing to do with this matter.
ーーThe fact is, there is only a single glimmer of sunlight for him.
Subaru: “I, Emilia-chan and the others……”
He had wanted to return 『Natsuki Subaru』.
That’s why, he intended to prepare himself in such a way that, if he ever gained an opportunity to gain back his memories, he would grab it with no hesitation.
However, his disappearance, made him, completely, close his eyes away.
Speaking with absolute convenience, if their two memories mix together, the current Subaru will remain somewhere inside 『Natsuki Subaru』, that was the miracle he hoped for.
Subaru’s such an uncertain expectationーー,
Louis: “It’s really a mystery? You may end up not seeing things the same way as now.”
Louis bared her teeth to Subaru, who was feeling very conflicted, and her eyes had a look like that of a cat’s when it spots a rat.
The villain who robbed away his memories, was extremely carefree, and could not know any better about the rest. This wasn’t a lie, surely it was the truth.
Louis Arneb did not return anything she takes from her opponents.
So really, in exchange for having his memories return, nobody knew how Natsuki Subaru would end up.
Louis: “Onii-san, you were born and have this life, you must live it to its fullest.”
Casually, she slaps the insult right at Subaru’s face despite being so close to him.
Louis: “As a result of us eating 『Natsuki Subaru’s』 memories, onii-san is here. In other words, doesn’t that make us like onii-san’s birth parent. In front of that very mother, her child making a choice to die, isn’t that tragically disobedient to the parent, onii-san.”
Subaru: “Such, nonsense…… ~hk.”
Louis: “ーーMemories are what shape people, onii-san.”
With all facial expression erased, Louis said that with serious voice in a low, cold tone.
Subaru inhales at the unexpected sharpness of her words.
At the same time, he felt that this was not his first time hearing those words. That sound, those words, just before the second 『Death』 were alsoーー,
Louis: “The current onii-san has relationships that the current onii-san has made. Looking straight ahead and living a new and positive life, won’t that be nice. That is also something you should consider, is what we think.”
Louis: “Besides, we’re not so sure if we should say this but…… 『Natsuki Subaru』 wasn’t the most ideal man, you know?”
Closing one eye, Louis punched Subaru’s feelings, with an expression difficult to figure out.
Continuing her actions, while directly looking at Subaru, she puts her hands on her chest, and her dark, deep eyes seemed to be similar to that of a dreaming maidenーー,
Louis: “Pitiful Emilia! Just because of her birth being the same as the former Witch, anyone and everyone avoided her! Ah, how kind am I, to still stay with you!”
Louis: “Weak and fragile Beatrice! With not a single person to rely on, a lonely girl who spent all her time alone! To take her through this dark and dangerous path, I must hold her hand!”
In front of the surprised Subaru, Louis continued her words, taking the names of two girls who had wished and prayed for Subaru’s safety, for them, she spoke of a horribly twisted impression.
Subaru knew exactly what Louis aimed to say.
He knew, but that’s.
Louis: “Devoting her undivided dedication and unbound love, Rem! So foolish and beautiful, how pure. Surely she is someone who feels to be living an empty life unless she desperately does something for someone else. That should be lead by this existence known as myself!”
Subaru: “What are you…… What are you trying to do!?”
Louis: “This was all what 『Natsuki Subaru』 believed. He wanted a sense of superiority. All the time, he never thinks it’s for someone else. Using the convenient people around him to satisfy his hunger, to drink on the pleasure of reaching out to someone. He won’t feed on just anything. He’d rather stay away from that.”
Louis: “Do you really want to substitute yourself for that 『Natsuki Subaru』?”
She repeats that question.
That was a request from Louis, from 『Gluttony』, to have Subaru’s confession.
Louis is asking Subaru to say what his heart truly feels.
If he didn’t want to die, or if he wanted to die, and if he was to die, would he die for such a person, and all that.
ーーNo, Subaru’s death won’t be for 『Natsuki Subaru』.
–No, Subaru did not intend to die in the first place. He wanted to return 『Natsuki Subaru』 to Emilia and the others, but if it meant his own death.
–No, but, could 『Natsuki Subaru』 really be trusted? At the very least, he knew 『Natsuki Subaru』 had killed Meili and carved all those inscriptions onto the walls.
Louis: “We~ll, what do you want to do, onii-san.”
Saying that, Louis grabbed Subaru’s hands with her own thin ones and set them on her own neck.
Once again, though this time she intended this, Subaru’s hands held Louis’ thin neck. If he applies force in his arms, it would surely break with ease.
He had just concluded that he couldn’t do it.
But not doing it meant, that he would be killing 『Natsuki Subaru』ーー at the very least, that was what Louis had said.
Suppose that he broke the thin neck he was holding, and 『Natsuki Subaru』 came back and the current Subaru disappeared, would the result of his action also disappear?
If that’s so, then what Subaru is trying do with such little courage, was.
Louis: “What? What will you do? What will it be? What will you be doing? What do you plan to do? What do you want to do? What do you want to be done? What can you even do? Whatever may the outcome be, it’s fine? Whatever you may end up doing, it’s fine? Whatever you may do, we will forgive youーー”
Louis’ words, which seemed like curses, struck Subaru’s eardrums.
Louis Arneb, 『Gluttony』, a Sin Archbishop, a thin girl, a hated existence, his creator.
Urged Natsuki Subaru to choose what had to be done with 『Natsuki Subaru』.
Louis: “ーーWhat do you want to do? Onii-san.”