※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Translated By :
- Furuta (/u/GracedHarperd)
- Ice (/u/Ice_Occultism)
Art Source :
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
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
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
―An unpleasant sword dance began to unfold, with the stage being the Fifth Floor Atrium.
With his long, red hair flying about, the eyepatch-clad man flawlessly weaved left and right, with absolute control of his burly body, wielding only short, fragile sticks of wood. Unfolding right on the stage was an unbelievable spectacle.
A Witchbeast in the form of a Centaur rushed towards the Redhead, its half-human, half-horse form raising a cry that sounded like something a newborn baby would emit. On its upper-half, the human part, the Witchbeast had no head. It wielded a sword of flame, carrying it in both hands – were you to come into contact with this immeasurable, scorching heat, even if were to graze you then certainly your body would end up becoming carbonized. And, yet, how was it that the man was doing this? He had twisted his body into this dance within the searing heat, fending it off as if it was childsplay, using only those plain-as-day wooden sticks that he carried about.
Flames did not alight upon the wooden sticks which had successfully warded the creature off. They didn’t catch on fire. Why!?
―Perhaps it was just because he was swinging those wooden sticks faster than they could catch on fire and burn.
The reason why his wooden sticks were not burnt by the fire was because he was swinging the sticks faster than they could catch aflame. The reason why he’d warded off those slashes of flame was because he’d shift his sword flashes, conferring unto them the minimal amount of strength needed with the gale of his blades. And, it seemed like the reason why that man found this so enjoyable, as the air around him became red-hot with murderous intent, was because he was absolutely insane.
Fully enjoying this crazy situation like it were the prime of this world, Reid in this crazed state resumed the『Trial.』
Reid:「Looklooklooklook Looklooklooklook！You, what happened ?！You, are ya playing?! Unlike before, ‘s time t’ get serious, you. Use your companions around ya, time t’ take vengeance on me! C’monC’monC’monC’monC’monC’monC’monC’mon!」
While bellowing angrily, with spittle flying from his mouth into the midst of the flames, Reid held a wooden stick in each hand. In a similar manner to how those blue eyes glared at him, Julius was encircled by the flames around him.
As Julius dealt with the Witchbeasts around him, with his sword in hand, a sudden feeling of tension and bewilderment floated across his face; he didn’t want to pay any heed to the words of Reid, who, as expected, was treating this as if this were song and dance. And with that same expression, Julius shouted out.
Julius:「What the heck, what are you thinking!? All these Witchbeasts came from the basement! This is a big deal for the tower, we should combine our strength!」
Reid:「Wowzers! Bein’ a dude who’s a well-mannered swordster, you sure are well-mannered in how ya think too, huh. You, like this, can you even enjoy living? From my experience, guys who hold off on doing what they wanna do, live much boring lives than guys who do what they want, understand, you?」
Julius:「What do you-……」
Reid:「First of all, what’s the problem with letting those disgusting burning horseys run around? They’re only as bothersome as rain t’ me. ‘Cept rain’s plenty bothersome, cuz I’ve got frizzy hair, ya see」
Julius’ argument had come from a sensible point of view, but Reid laughed at it like it had been madness-spurned nonsense from a madman’s reasoning. Comparing the flock of clearly murderous Witchbeasts of flame to something on the same level as the rain served as proof that any reasoning within Reid was long dead. There were no chances of there being any proper reasoning to it, holding no meaning save for filling the minds of those listening with confusion and chaos.
When Julius heard this, he was disturbed by a thought he’d never even considered, and as a result, a trace of hesitation was born in him as he brandished his sword, and his parry to the Centaur’s attack was belated.
Julius did not meet the arcing, flaming sword with his sword, he instead dodged it with something like a backward somersault. And straight afterwards, another Centaur came to trample his head under its hooves. He avoided it by jumping forwards using his momentum from his landing. He thrusted his sword towards the body of the Witchbeast that had been wielding the flaming sword just before as the Witchbeasts behind them screamed―
As he went to turn around, a hoof-kick caught Julius’s left shoulder. A muffled sound, and then a look of anguish ran across his handsome features. Even so, he used the momentum of the hoof to turn his body around, and with his sword, he cut down the Witchbeast by its legs, and with one mighty sword sweep he ran his sword through its body. Then, he slammed the pommel of his own sword into his bleeding left shoulder. The sound of raw meat and bone reverberated, and far more drastic than had been the case when Reid had treated Subaru’s own shoulder, his bone slotted back into place.
Reid:「Kah! And that’s that. Heh, not bad, that expression of yers.」
As their giant burning bodies and trampling hooves transformed the fifth floor into a burning hellhole, only one person, Julius, had dared to fight against everyone’s despair. Reid was pleased by this, with a cruel smile taking form on his face. The Witchbeasts, unable to reason, would consider Reid and Julius equally harmful opponents; however, their troublesomeness was clearer than flame, had you any intelligence.
Stained with blood, lacking his usual elegance, Julius’s sword kept the Witchbeasts’ attacks at bay and steadily cut them down one by one. Meanwhile, Reid didn’t seem troubled, and with martial arts skills that were about the same, or higher than Julius, he was reaping the lives of the Witchbeasts as if he were a Shinigami. And, in the meanwhile―
Reid:「But, watch yer step. Well though, from how I see it, ya gotta watch yer everywhere.」
Picking his ear seemingly in boredom, Reid’s long leg slammed into the back of Julius, who had been turned away from him. How much power had been in that kick? Having received it, Julius’ body was blown away with ease, just like a stone, wrapped up in a piece of cloth. His body crashed into the tower wall. His crash could be felt reverberating all throughout the tower, the Witchbeasts let out a shrill cry, welcoming their prey’s predicament. Hunched down on the floor, the herd of Witchbeasts rushed forward in a mad scramble towards Julius, who was coughing up blood.
Julius slid his torso up from the ground, and as he kicked out at one of the hooves with his long legs, he jumped back onto his feet. Using that momentum, Julius clambered up using the shoulders and the torso of one of the Witchbeasts that had rushed forward as a foothold, and tried to break through their encirclement. He pointed his left hand towards a gap left in between the Witchbeasts.
Nothing happened. Grasping his left hand, Julius’s face showed bitterness. The Witchbeasts had turned around, drawing nearer towards Julius―
Reid:「―Even at a time like this, ya ain’t gotten serious yet, you.」
Julius found himself between the Witchbeasts, while Reid sighed and waved his stick as he cut in. Holding one each in both hands, a heavy gust of wind was raised as he swung them, lifting up around about 10 of the Centaur’s up into the air. A sensation of being unaware at what had happened rose up in the Witchbeasts as they felt their hooves floating in mid-air.
Reid:「Die, ya useless horses!」
Right there, Reid gently took a step and jumped up, towards the Witchbeasts, one by one, he cut the torsos in half, pierced their heart, broke their upper body, destroying all of the Witchbeasts, massacring them all, total annihilation in different manners.
Flying in the air, to scattering their corpses on the ground, everything happened in about two/three seconds. The Witchbeasts, known for their tremendous lethality, killed without anything they could do about it, all destroyed. Then, the fifth layer filled with the Centaurs was swept away, and in this case, it felt like there was room for some relief―
Reid:「Jeez, there ain’t any end to ’em. One after another, they emerge from their nest.」
Reid clicked his tongue, and, as if to confirm what he had said and indicated, from the stairs that led towards the Sixth Floor underneath, the sounds of hooves and the cries of their baby-like voices were once again approaching the Fifth Floor.
If this went on, due to the accumulation of the corpses, it would only be a matter of time before the Witchbeasts would go up. If the desert outside was the natural habitat of these Witchbeasts, it was impossible to fathom that they’d run out of stock.
Reid seemed to have a similar idea, and he slowly crossed his arms together,
Reid:「’s a time where man comes down feelin’ like leavin’ ‘n settlin’ a few things on my plate, ‘n they’re just gettin’ in the damn way. They’re fucking annoyin’, mhhhm, Oi.」
Julius:「Wait, go out? Things are in this state, and you’re still saying you want to go out from the tower!?」
Reid:「You, heard me, that’s my conclusion. Like I said. These guys ain’t nothing but drops of rain, playin’ with ‘em ‘s just borin’. They’re really nothin’ special. Only the smokin’ hottie was capable of playin’ with me… The rest of ya, you, can’t match up t’ my level at all.」
Clenching his teeth, Julius was highly dissatisfied with Reid’s attitude, but he hesitated to express that.
If he lost his temper here, the discussion with Reid would break down. In this case, the situation would be against both Reid Astrea and the Witchbeasts. Yes, that was what Julius’s rationality had thought. Glancing at him, he saw Julius’s hesitation in an instant, the anguish that was clear as day,
Reid:「Nothin’ can be done about it, it’s their nature.」
Reid was disappointed from the bottom of his heart, and he muttered, which made Julius’ cheeks become stiff. How much anguish was coursing through there? Julius’s, his expression and overly complex emotional vortex, it was like a child heading for the top of the mountain which was covered by clouds.
The pain within his heart was absolutely invisible to everyone other than him.
―However, it was immediately after that the hellfire which spouted from below rose up aiming at Julius. All of what was happening below was well visible to the『Mediocre Guy』looking down at the battlefield from up above.
While everything had reached this point, Natsuki Subaru overlooked the fifth layer fight from above, he realized that he had even forgot to breathe because of the situation downstairs.
Beneath his eyes, the melee between Reid and Julius, with the Witchbeasts added to the equation, was on an absurd dimension, in which Subaru, lump of banality as he was, could not even think of intruding.
Struck with admiration towards Reid, who operated far outside the norm, he could feel nothing but fresh-born awe towards him. But, for the first time, Subaru witnessed Julius’s fight. His swordsmanship and skills, were at a level at which Subaru could not remotely take advantage of him.
If Subaru challenged him, he would definitely have all his limbs lopped off in an instant; it would only be an ugly defeat. To face him without utmost seriousness, with only a wooden practice sword, well, that nonchalant face would never waver; there would only be agonizing, crushing defeat.
Whether it was Emilia, or Julius, or Ram, it was all the same.
Or, let’s say Beatrice and Echidna, not to mention Shaula, and everyone in this tower, Natsuki Subaru’s meagre power could not be compared with theirs. He had taken them, the people of this world, the inhabitants of this fantasy world far too lightly.
Weak and young, Meili was the only one he had killed. Even then, it was『Natsuki Subaru』who did that, which meant that Subaru did not participate in that.
He can’t kill what he can’t kill. Natsuki Subaru realized that he did not have the strength to fulfill the『Book of The Dead』plan.
After realizing that, Natsuki Subaru’s heart became hesitant. Amazed while standing, Julius lost his calm, and was slow to notice the Witchbeasts behind him. Reid noticed them, but showed no signs of warning him.
At this rate, Julius would be burned to death by the flames of the Witchbeasts, who were approaching him from behind― The fulfilment of the possibility that had crossed his mind before.
That Julius’s『Book of The Dead』would also be added to the library.
Subaru could not make this situation unfold with his own hands.
It would be a tragedy, by going with the flow of the situation, Subaru would push Julius into his『Death』―.
Subaru:「―BEHIND YOU, JULIUS！！」
Upon hearing that scream, Julius’s body reflexively unstiffened. Without hesitation, his slender body flew to the right, over the hellfire that had been set loose from behind him swept across the floor of the Fifth Floor, incinerating everything in its wake. Explosive flames which dyed the air crimson; the source of this continuous emission was a witchbeast an entire size larger than all the previous ones. Adolescent and adult― whether or not such distinctions existed amongst witchbeasts, Subaru felt such a discrepancy in their power levels.
Cloaked by the flames, the big centaur that made a piercing noise, gathered several other smaller centaurs around him. Once again the fifth floor was swarmed by a herd. The situation turned once again back into a stalemate. Having been caught up in the aftermath of the hellfire, Julius flung off his burning cloak in which flames had set it alight from the hem without turning back towards the Witchbeasts… or not, with now nimble figure. Julius faced Subaru, who was feeling desperate and unable to move.
That moment, even with the distance between them, Julius’s and Subaru’s gazes crossed with each other’s. Even though they are clearly quite a distance apart, in positions where they can’t even see each other’s faces clearly, Subaru felt the complex emotion buried in those yellow eyes, letting out a groan from the depths of his throat. Doubt, confusion, hesitation, worry, various shades of negative emotions swirled around within the depths of his eyes. They pierce straight into the depths of Natsuki Subaru’s inexpressible guilt… and then,
And then, just after, speaking this to Subaru who wanted to do nothing but run away from there, Julius spoke out.
Julius:「―I’m leaving Echidna, Anastasia-sama in your hands!!」
Julius pointed his sword towards Subaru― No, not at Subaru; behind him, when he shouted that it was likely to point up to the fourth floor. With trust that was cracked and full of scars, Julius clung onto this supplication. Or perhaps, as if it had been the right thing to shout right now, even Julius himself couldn’t brush away all his doubts. Those were words he shouted among all this.
Doubtful, confused, hesitant, concerned, he still did not stop, and made a decision.
Like a bullet, Subaru lifted his heavy legs which were attached to the floor, and ran as fast as he could. Scrambling forward, while stumbling, he clumsily ran. He turned his back to the spiral staircase and started running. He did not know the destination. Was he escaping, or not escaping? He didn’t even know that anymore. He didn’t understand his feelings, but even so he could not stop running.
Leaving Julius downstairs, in the place where there was a horde of Witchbeasts and Reid, Subaru ran away like a rabbit.
Reid:「―Woah. Truly, truly no helpin’ it, that nature.」
In the distance, Reid, who was watching the situation from afar, muttered silently. Mutters which seemed identical to his previous one. Whether or not a touch of emotion was lodged into them was unclear.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Why did he scream? Why couldn’t he let him die right there?
While he sprinted almost running out of breath, Subaru questioned himself over and over again in his head.
Why did he scream? Why couldn’t he let him die right there?
Meili:『Letting him die shouldn’t feel any different than killing him yourself, right?』
Embracing Subaru’s back while he ran, the shade of the girl sentimentally grumbled her complaint.
The shade hadn’t come out even once after Reid’s appearance. Her voice, although 『Her neck had been strangled』was entirely torturing Subaru as if cursing him with that.
In actual fact, it was like that.
Subaru’s actions were contradictory. His thoughts, his actions, his desires and his goals, none of them aligned.
The Book of The Dead plan was constantly in a corner of his head, that craving awaited eagerly for an opportunity.
The shade of the deceased girl could see through subaru’s conflicts, so why did he, even when she gave him a push in the back by calling out to him in his time of doubt, waste his chance?
He had given Julius an excuse to withdraw from the line of fire.
However, in the end he remained downstairs, where the danger of Reid and the Witchbeasts was very much still present. It was a half-hearted way of leaving someone to die. Was it that he just didn’t want to be involved in the actual scene?
Having strangled Meili with his own hands, the depths of his heart had that impulsive fear engraved in it, could he say that it was such that he didn’t want to see someone else die in front of him?
Was that why he ran away so desperately?
The words he gave to Julius, that he entrusted to him, were also unrelated to――,
While he was absorbed in his thoughts, Subaru’s feet were abruptly stopped by an overbearing call. When he stopped in his tracks, lurching forward, the voice he heard was from a side-passage that he’d gone past without noticing.
Coming from the other side of the corner, a shadow rushed over to Subaru.
「I was looking for you, in fact! Right now going there is too dangerous, I suppose!」
「B- Beatrice……!? And……」
Holding up the hem of her dress, Beatrice came running up to him with an earnest expression. Following Julius, Subaru felt both relief and surprise at the same time at having confirmed her safety as well.
However, the surprises didn’t stop there. Someone else was accompanying her from behind,
Subaru:「Echidna!? Why are you two together……」
Echidna:「……It had to be here that I met you, , Natsuki-kun.」
With a slightly disturbed breath, the girl following behind Beatrice――Echidna, grumbled so.
Aside from the surprise of the unexpected meeting, what had taken a strict hold of Subaru’s heart even more was the emotion with which Echidna’s pale green eyes were looking his way.
That clear as day suspicion would be made aware to someone in Subaru’s position whether they wanted or not.
Reid, of course, knew nothing. Julius and Beatrice’s demeanors indicated that they also didn’t clearly know anything at all. However, Echidna’s demeanor told a different story.
About the exchange that Subaru, Emilia, and Ram had in the room where he hid Meili’s corpse, where he was locked up in a prison of ice.
And, possibly, that might not be limited to only her.
He remembered how Julius looked at him with a complex emotion in the end.
All of them supposedly shared what happened to Subaru when he woke up. So, it was only natural for Echidna to react this way, rather――、
「――hk！ Right now’s not the time to talk about that, in fact！ Come over here, I suppose！」
However, in contrast to Subaru who was remembering his hesitation, Beatrice one-sidedly took his hand. Subaru’s quivering voice was blotted out, caught off guard by her action, having been grabbed by her tiny hand.
As a matter of fact, if they were informed by Ram and the others of his circumstances, it was immeasurable how much determination would be required to go ahead with this action. It was such a careless move that it made Subaru want to question their sanity.
「Beatrice, are you serious? He escaped his cell! In a situation like this!」
However, Beatrice taking Subaru’s hand made Echidna’s face go pale and scream at them. She was questioning the pros and cons of Beatrice’s actions. She raised her own hand above and pointed it at Subaru, she pointed her finger at him. The look of that gesture held more pressure.
That seemingly restrained attitude did not seem like a bluff to Subaru. To him the situation was the same as if he were being held at gunpoint.
However, the threat to his life, Subaru took it as a matter of course.
From Echidna’s point of view, being wary of Subaru was obvious. Beatrice was, for some reason. ―even now, standing in front of Subaru and standing off even against Echidna.
Echidna:「Hold it, Beatrice! With such odd behavior, siding with him, is a dangerous choice, so I can’t allow it! Just as Ram warned, he isn’t Natsuki Subaru! 」
Beatrice:「That’s not true, in fact! Holding his hand like this…. Betty who has been in contact with him like this knows, I suppose! Subaru and Betty are still bound by our contract, in fact. You would understand this if you’re in the same position as Betty, I suppose! 」
Echidna:「..Even if that’s the case, he’s still untrustworthy! Escaping his cage in circumstances like this! How can I trust him at all? There’s no possible explanation for this!」
As Echidna screamed so, her expression had the strongest emotion he had ever seen of her. To date, she’d always stifled her feelings skillfully- the her the had always given off that air now seemed painfully anxious. Continuously forceful, she desperately tried to eliminate the threat before her. Desperately, doing so.
An overwhelming number of Witchbeasts are overflowing downstairs, every single thing happening in this tower is to be feared. It’s natural she would have an outburst when thrown into that impossible situation, while looking at that, he thought.
Beatrice who was holding his hand, hearing Subaru’s whisper, her eyes widened in shock. That Beatrice’s small soft hand was then released. With a sudden sound, something that had until now been pulled taught, snapped. Snapped, like so.
Echidna:「……What are you trying to do?」
Subaru having pushed away Beatrice’s shoulders, Echidna furrows her brow at him as he stepped forward. Bewildered, her caution was more than that. Even then, Subaru’s heart didn’t falter.
Subaru:「Just as you see, I’m giving up……Just, do whatever you want with me.」
He felt like his emotions couldn’t stir into anything else now, other than having whatever happens happen.
He committed a crime he doesn’t remember, he desperately wanted to conceal all of it, causing doubts around people, he just tried to stay in peace, but was unable to do so, as he was continuously frightened by the shadow of『Natsuki Subaru』.
Echidna:「With that admirable attitude, do you think we’ll lower our guard? If so, you’re making a big mistake. From the bottom of my heart, I can’t trust you.」
Subaru:「Fine, whatever. You’re free to add that in too. This tower, is finished..」
Subaru could not handle it.
He had gone over his mental capacity, having gone through one too many impossible situations. This was, just him wanting to grumble at his blockade.
However, it seemed that Echidna thought differently.
Echidna:「This Tower is……？ In other words, you already have achieved your goal？」
Subaru: 「……My goal？」
Echidna:「Don’t feign ignorance! Your goal, it is the『Witch』in the shrine, isn’t it！？Because your goal is fulfilled, everything reveals its true nature.……I should have followed Ana’s intuition. I shouldn’t have brought anyone else here.」
Echidna’s voice, speaking with anguish, was filled with contrition and remorse. It was like Subaru didn’t know its origins.
Just now, she was seeing something Subaru couldn’t. Moreover, she suspects that Subaru is related to that. ――But does it even matter? The end of the world is approaching.
Beatrice:「Subaru, Subaru！In fact, what’s wrong with you?！ The way you’re talking, it’s nothing like Subaru, I suppose！You cannot stop in such a place like this in fact！」
Beatrice appealed and pulled Subaru’s sleeve, whose expressions had completely disappeared. The trembling voice shook his ears, and Subaru stared at Beatrice.
Subaru:「What is, being like me. Just where is that being like me, which you guys are seeing.」
Echidna:「… Amnesia. Do you intend to continue your disgusting farce? You know that Ram has lost memories of her little sister, or Julius who has had himself forgotten, and the fact many have had the memories of their precious ones erased, and yet you maintain your cruel act.」
Subaru:「Act!? Act you say!? Give me a break! If it’s acting, then isn’t it obvious I’d act with much more determination!? Who would…… who would like to become『Natsuki Subaru』, by their choice! Who would become that disgusting guy！！」
With his brain a total mess, Subaru bursted out with anger at Echidna,
If he had the freedom of choice, if he had the luxury of being picky, who would like to become 『Natsuki Subaru』. Twisted, unbearable, that was the kind of existence he was. Just who would want that.
―Just who, would wish to become 『Natsuki Subaru』?
Subaru:「You’re all just ganging up on me! Who do you think you are! I lost everything! I was just coming back from the convenience store! All I remember is that there was just the store clerk with me! From that, suddenly a different world? Sand tower? Dead body! 『Trial』! Fakeness! 『Natsuki Subaru』! Don’t mess with me! Don’t mess with, me!」
Subaru:「That’s right! It must be my fault! I came here when I shouldn’t have had! I didn’t want to go back home! I was too scared to bother dad and mom by putting on a fake look on my face! So I was all excited in the beginning, but just in the beginning!」
Beatrice and Echidna were staring open-eyed at the emotions of the exploding Subaru.
They surely didn’t know their meaning. To them, Subaru’s anguish was simply meaningless.
He also confessed of this being a different world for him.
However, they did not understand the meaning of『Different World』in its truest sense.— There was an unquestionable gap between their understanding.
Subaru was not the『Natsuki Subaru』they were seeking.
Likewise, they too, would never become to the salvation Subaru was seeking.
Subaru:「You must all be thinking why I’m blowing my temper right now all of a sudden, right? I don’t know either! But, I have suddenly just reached my limit! Because I am like this, something that was perfectly fine snapped! Even if I was implored, I can’t do anything! Not a single thing! So!」
Subaru:「So…… just forgive me now. Please forgive me. Please, send me back home…… If God, wanted to, punish me then, I understand……. it was my fault.」
Subaru said, overwhelmed, with his voice gradually fading away and holding back all his bitterness.
He asked for forgiveness, as he rubbed his forehead on the aisle. He did not know who he should ask this of, so he prayed to God. Taking the name of all the gods that were to his knowledge, he prayed.
He wished forgiveness for the punishment given to him, to his slothful self. Reflection and regrets, he had surely done both enough to change his life.
So, please forgive me.
He no longer wished to have anyone else involved in the punishment resulting from Natsuki Subaru’s foolishness.
He did not want to be hurt himself, he did not want to hurt anyone else.
Cowering, Subaru desperately and tearfully appealed to the silent Echidna and Beatrice.
Beatrice’s palm gently stroked Subaru’s back, who was squatted down next to the two of them.
That feeling of the palm of someone not of the same incorrigibleness as him, why did it still persist with him?
Hearing to the answer of that question was too hurtful for Subaru.
Echidna:「……I don’t believe you.」
Beatrice called out to Echidna, who had sighed out her conclusion. At her voice, Echidna loosely shook her head.
Echidna:「Even if you cradle your head and sob, none of my doubt will be erased. My answer remains the same. I am….. I have the responsibility of borrowing Ana’s body. For her safe return, no matter who curses me, who hates me, I’ll bear it.」
Echidna:「…However, I don’t want to do anything that leaves me incapable of facing her.」
Saying that, Echidna gradually lowered her fingers towards Subaru’s forehead. Seeing the fingers lose the pressure they had ever since coming to this aisle, it became obvious that the issue of those fingers holding Subaru’s life had been solved.
But, that had nothing to do with the salvation Subaru wished for.
Echidna:「Beatrice, you’re free to go with him. I plan to go to where Julius is. After reuniting with him, if no surprises arise, we’ll meet again above.」
Beatrice:「… Understood, I suppose. Hey, Subaru, stand now. If you can’t stand, then Betty is ready to even carry you, I suppose.」
Echidna turned her back and recognized that Beatrice respected her beliefs. At that time, as Beatrice tried to lend her small shoulder to him, Subaru stared at Echidna’s back, who was trying to keep distance from his affairs.
―I’m leaving Echidna, Anastasia-sama in your hands!!
Echidna:「―By this, what do you think you’re doing?」
Echidna turned her head around and glared intensely― at the hand which grabbed the sleeve of her left hand. Echidna asked Subaru, whose face was all messy with his tears and a runny nose, his cheeks stiffening at her question.
He was unable to answer what he was doing.
Subaru could not stand the look in Echidna’s accusations. Even so, having heard Subaru’s unsightly plea, it had been Echidna’s judgement to not lay her hands on him.
As she realised that, Subaru’s fingers continued to damage her judgement.
Echidna:「I thought I was handing you over. Even so, how come has it come down to this?」
Subaru:「……Julius, asked me to.」
Echidna:「He did? Don’t joke around. He could……. make this decision, but…」
一At that moment, Echidna, who was the reason behind Subaru’s tears, reconsidered what she was going to say, letting out a “before that”,
Echidna:「Did you meet him before coming here? He should have headed over to take a look at the situation on the fifth floor. And if he met with you…… No, rather than that, what did he ask you for? Right now he is……」
Subaru experienced an overwhelming pressure due to her threatening attitude, hearing those rapidfire questions.
The cracks in his heart hadn’t healed yet in the first place. Just why, did his body act, for a world out of his control, where he could not do anything.
Why, until he’d recalled Julius’ scream, which could hardly be called a promise―,
Echidna:「Yeah, we’re making no progress. Anyway, where did you last meet Julius, tell……」
Echidna, driven with impatience, picked words to continue the conversation. Looking at her efforts, Subaru gulped.
It was not because he was hesitating to tell her.
A situation even more urgent, than this unavoidable one with Echidna, had come up.
Behind Echidna, who was staring at Subaru– a dot of red light floated across the aisle. Subaru was distracted by it, wondering what it was.
The dot of red light, floating in the dark and moving slowly, directly faced Subaru’s black eyes.
Subaru understood that this was a situation of being “eye-to-eye” with someone or something thanks to his mere intuition.
At the same time, the eyes of the one who had locked with his own, its figure was faintly visible through the dark. A black body that stood in the dark, with a glowing dot of light, and a pair of strangely developed sharp pincers, and above all, a trembling sharp tail stinger―,
―An unbelievably huge scorpion, with its tailpiece pointing towards them.
Beatrice:「SUBARU ! !」
At the moment when it swung its tail, Beatrice, who was standing next to him, called out.
―The light swept through the aisle, firing shock waves and violently shattering the four layers of stone.
※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※