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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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Translated By :
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The collapse was pushing in.
That shower of fresh blood, each drop and every drop, like a malevolent hand grasping gallant destruction, trampled over the city.
Wherever the droplets touched, more so than striking a sheet of paper with the edge of a blade, it unresistingly lost its cohesion. The destructive propagation demolished buildings, and the aftermath, in turn, spread further collapse around it.
Fully aware that he was being unreasonable, yet wringing out breath from his lungs, Subaru continued powering through his sprint. Jogging alongside him was Emilia, her gleaming silver hair fluttering through the air and her mouth tightly shut, similarly mid-stride.
However, the scenic water city’s specialty canals stretched out from them in all directions.
Simply put, finding a straight path to properly escape on was proving difficult. In front of the dashing pair spread waterways, while destruction from the rear threatened to swallow them both.
Subaru: “Watch out!”
Emilia: “We’re sailing close to the wind, but……Subaru, grab on!”
As their escape route cutting off caused Subaru to raise his voice, Emilia instantly conceived of a different notion. He grabbed onto her outstretched arm without hesitation, and in that same moment, a chill came over the surrounding air.
It was the effect of both magic borne of the spirits’ borrowed strength and the power of Emilia herself, acting together.
Emilia: “――Please, everyone!”
Once Emilia commanded them so, from each luminous point blue light surged downwards.
In the next instant, the ground beneath was instantly soaked with white, and in the blink of an eye a whole world of frost had spread.
Subaru: “Oouh!? Emilia-tan is amazing! So clever!”
Emilia: “Control is difficult, so don’t let go of my hand!”
Subaru looked up, his right hand still linked with Emilia’s own. Tightly grasped in the half-elf’s raised left fist, was an icicle directed ahead which had shot forward moments before.
Freezing the ground and thrusting from it an icicle, her borrowing of the propulsive force from her magic had thus hastened their escape. Even more surprising was the course of ice formed by the spirits in the air.
On the edge of the waterway in front of them, something like a ski jump had been formed, and the Subaru and Emilia pair, gliding with their built-up momentum, had sailed over the channel.
On the other side of the waterway, another course of ice had been created. While she was touching down and skating over it, Subaru honestly praised Emilia’s skill.
Subaru: “Nice, Emilia-tan! I fell for you all over again!”
Emilia: “But, I can’t think of a way to stop! What should we do?”
Emilia had already released the icicle, but the leftover momentum was still plenty to cause unavoidably high damage once they hit an obstacle. Using only her ice magic, conveniently making something like a cushion for two to absorb the heavy impact wasn’t a possibility.
In the meantime, the pair was drawing closer and closer to a wall. Moments before impact, feeling Emilia’s hand tightly squeezing his, Subaru made a snap judgement.
Subaru: “Emilia-tan! Install curve!”
Emilia: “Cu, curーve?”
Subaru: “A gently-bending kind of wall! In a circle!”
Hearing Subaru’s desperate call, Emilia with her magic meekly obeyed.
Right in front of their sliding forms, a gentle curve formed, and following along it while turning widely, those two avoided impact.
Subaru: “Just like that, don’t let the curves cut off! Twirlー! Twirlー!”
Emilia: “T, twirlー! Twirlー!”
Just so, turning widely like that, as to not cut off at a wall, more curves of ice formed.
Viewed from above, an ice wall shaped like mosquito-repellent coil was created, and the two bodies reaching the midpoint just barely lost enough speed to safely come to a stop.
Subaru: “Huuh, after wasting a bunch of Emilia-tan’s magic, we did it somehow.”
Emilia: “More importantly, the attack from earlier.”
As the stopped Subaru let out a sigh, Emilia whacked her ice formation with her hand and shattered it. Watching the crushed ice returning to mana particles, and turning to see the traces of the destruction they fled from, a shiver ran up Subaru’s spine.
Centered around the tower on which Regulus’ attack had originated, the scenery of the city had changed.
Especially near the center, where the impacts of blood had been strongly felt, the destruction was severe. Further outwards in the perimeter of destruction, deviations in its traces formed. But even then, few buildings still held their original shape. In other words, it was an attack with an abnormally high area of effect.
At Subaru’s location, the attack had crossed the waterway and reached over. That it had barely failed to reach Subaru was the result of chance and a desperate escape――not.
On the building Regulus had stood up to this moment, there was now no one.
Instead, in its vicinity thick smoke was rising, and the sound of tremendous destruction was echoing.
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Regulus sent the Water Dragon to its death by tearing it apart, smirking while it sprayed blood.
In that moment, he could already see two small figures desperately trying to escape down an alley.
How puny, how very petty, how truly trivial.
Laughing mockingly as his scattered blood trampled on the city, he eagerly awaited the moment that destruction would catch up to the fleeing duo.
A Prostitute and a Rapist. For them, death in a hail of blood was fitting.
Regulus: “Scatter! Scatter away! You heinous fiends who trampled on my heart!”
Reinhardt: “――My apologies, but I can’t let you do that.”
Immediately after declaring his rage and victory with those words, he was startled by a voice speaking close to his ear.
As he turned around, a head of red hair with the appearance of flames fanned by the wind came into view.
Regulus: “How foolish you look! Getting in the way of someone’s love with such zeal!”
Reinhardt: “If your method was proper and respectful of rights, if once rejected you could promise to pull away cleanly, then I would not even hesitate to cheer for you.”
At Regulus’ infuriated voice, Reinhardt responded with a laugh and a tease.
While that ever-so-composed posture was indeed hateful, what now took hold of Regulus’ feelings was an inexplicable suspicion.――Then, leaping in a single burst, came Reinhardt’s leg.
Certainly, that right leg, on its shin it had suffered a serious injury.
Though not entirely torn off, to say it was held to the ankle with a mere strip of leather was no exaggeration. Far from battle-worthy, it was in no state to bear walking on. That it had left that state meant,
Regulus: “That is so dumb, it’s not just swordsmanship, is healing magic your specialty, too? With all those talents of yours that better than others, just how much did you trample over their hearts on the way here? Shattering the hearts of others without even trying filthy does that feel good huh?!”
Reinhardt: “Among your misconceptions一In one respect, I will definitely correct you.”
Reinhardt twisted, the wind shrieking as it shrouded his body.
His released spinning kick blew through the air, landing directly on the water dragon’s body wielded by Regulus. That corpse which had already become a simple mass of meat now shattered――,
Reinhardt: “I cannot use any kind of magic, let alone healing magic. It was simply the spirits in the air that came to my aid, hastily healing the wounds on my foot.”
As the force from his leg demolished the body, with a twist of his ankle he rescued it from Regulus’ grasp. Through that very skillful footwork, the water dragon’s remains was not excessively ill-treated, and was then gently tossed onto the roof of a partially-wrecked building.
Reinhardt: “Perfect.――Next on the checklist, Tactic J will commence.”
At the same moment he begrudged Reinhardt’s hypocritical act, his sword’s pommel knocked him upside the head. Smacked away, Regulus’ body rolled down the slope of the roof.
Askew over the ground and headed straight downwards, in his ear again was,
Reinhardt: “I’ll put it to the test.”
Leaping at the same angle with a bullet’s speed, Reinhardt drew close, grasping Regulus’ leg as he inverted mid-fall, and with a shake his form was swallowed up by Reinhardt’s actions. Now Reinhardt, while carrying Regulus, leapt in the direction of the fleeing Subaru with an awesome storm, accelerating quickly enough to tear off the leg of any ordinary person.
Regulus: “Just whaaat the――”
Reinhardt: “Nothing particularly special.”
Claiming so, Reinhardt lifted up Regulus’ body as he stopped.
With the attitude of a child grasping a doll’s leg and playing roughly – While Regulus’ temper at that treatment was exploding, he came to understand the finer details of Reinhardt’s plan.
Wielding Regulus’s body, Reinhardt flung him into the falling droplets of blood.
Even demolishing buildings formed from stone, that shower of blood imbued with force by Regulus.
If it had such power, then that attack made by Regulus’ ability may even be effective against whatever protection he had on his own body.
If that had been the idea, it proved a foolish one.
Regulus: “If it’s my own strike then it must work on me? I don’t know just how naturally gifted you were born but don’t viciously look down on others so much I say. There’s no way I myself would be done in with some stupid method like that?”
Reinhardt: “This too was ineffective―”
Those droplets of blood, touching Regulus’ body, became simple droplets on the spot and splashed off of his form. Obviously, the priority was different.
At that same moment, Reinhardt suddenly released his grip on Regulus’ leg.
He was an intelligent fellow. If he had let the droplets reach him as such, his palm would have turned into a mess which couldn’t possibly grasp a sword again.
The force of the swing disappeared. Landing there onto the street, Regulus once again faced Reinhardt. He narrowed his eyes in warning.
Reinhardt: “Somehow, it no longer seems possible to touch him again.”
Regulus: “It seems you have a keen nose, do you want to get hurt again like you did a while ago.”
Reinhardt: “From now on, I will be wary of your breath and vision both. If there are any other precautions to take, I would be glad to hear them.”
Regulus: “Get out of my sight, right now!”
Stepping forth with both hands raised, Regulus ran at Reinhardt.
With unbelievable speed, Reinhardt turned in a broad arc to dodge, giving him a wide berth. Using the pommel of the dragon sword, he rained blows down on Regulus from a distance.
Regulus: “You just love to run, no matter where you go…!”
Reinhardt: “Being unable to solve the problem with sword strikes, how impotent. Truly, I am ashamed of myself.”
Regulus: “You haven’t even drawn that sword of yours yet!”
Facing Reinhardt as he weaved back and forth, Regulus made a relatively unseen motion of reaching out his hand.
However, such a flippant attack could never reach a hero like Reinhardt. Not only that, Reinhardt’s bright blue eyes were still wary of the heavily breathing Regulus’s petty tricks.
But then, a spear suddenly flew straight forward.
Aiming at Regulus, who faced the straight-backed Reinhardt, an icicle speared through the ground at his feet.
However, the ice under his feet, after he’d taken a single step, shattered before the image could even become concrete.
Flippantly, Regulus cast his gaze about, settling on the silver-haired maiden who stood at the other end of the canal, hand outstretched. Undoubtedly, the ice magic had been one of her little tricks.
Disgusting, was this visceral feeling of tumbling and boiling.
Regulus: “Each and every one of you, what can’t you understand already?! The fact that we’re different! What we have from the moment of our birth is different! You all can’t reach or compete with my completed self. Accept that you’re lackluster, be satisfied with it, and die!”
Nomatterwhatnomatterwhat, enough of the relentless opposing evildoers.
Such an absolute gap could not be reduced. Why, was this so hard to grasp.
Reinhardt: “Tactic A has also failed. What next?”
Regulus stomped his feet, splitting the alleyway, no space left in his ears to listen to Reinhardt’s mumbling.
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Emilia: “No good! As expected, that attack was ineffective!”
Subaru: “It didn’t! Which is to say, the possibility of his feet being an achilles heel is also gone…”
Emilia, as per her instructions, had attacked the soles of Regulus’s feet- however, they’d rent the ice without any trace of injury.
Reinhardt: “Tactic J failed as well. Apologies, my capabilities are lacking.”
In an instant, Reinhardt had also used the [Divine Protection of Telepathy] to send a psychic message, and Subaru no longer found himself thrown off balance by these superhuman idiosyncrasies. Closely examining the injury on his right foot revealed that it had stopped bleeding, but even if it had been entirely shredded, this wouldn’t have been the least bit surprising.
Besides, the implications of a shredded foot, Subaru had already experienced.
Subaru: “If his invincibility is a barrier, it may not extend to where his feet come in contact with the ground, so I came up with Tactic A (Soles of Feet)…”
The grounded parts of him had to have disabled the power, or he’d just sink into the ground. Subaru had thought this might be the case, but he’d turned out to have been wrong.
According to Reinhardt’s report of Tactic J (Self-Destruct), the idea that Regulus would have to disable his invincibility to launch his invincible attacks was also off.
In that case, Tactic I (Ball in Pool) was also a no-go. It seemed that reality denied the notion that there would be a weakness in his invincibility.
Subaru: “Is, is there anything else? An invincible enemy’s weakness, weakness…!”
Covering his mouth, Subaru furiously ordered his mind to spin.
Before encountering and even after having met Regulus, what he’d often been troubled by, was the means of defeating someone with an ultimate shield, and whatever other ways there may be.
Flying through Subaru’s mind were answers from a variety of subcultures, as though he’d almost figured it out, but there was no clean-cut answer.
Subaru: “Is the way I’m thinking about this off? Is the direction wrong?”
What was needed, was perhaps not a way to break through the invincibility.
Rather, something more fundamental- Regulus’s authority, what was its nature?
Emila: “Subaru, what else is there? I, what should I do?”
Emilia questioned Subaru, who’d fallen deep into thought.
Before them, across a large canal, the fierce battle between Reinhardt and Regulus continued, but she was unable to offer any help, which left her feeling discomfited.
Whether Emilia or Reinhardt, both trusted in Subaru, both had expectations of Subaru.
And not just the two of them. The allies stationed elsewhere, and the citizens of Pristella he’d called with his broadcast, all shared those sentiments.
Thinking, thinking, thinkingthinkingthinkingthinkingthinking.
Although those memories were distasteful, Subaru began to think back to everything since his first encounter with Regulus, up until this instant, his actions and words, the attacks and schemes he’d tried to pull.
There should have been something. There should have been some reason. Not just Regulus was fine. Including the other Sin Archbishops, there should have been something. They were all scum. That much was already clear. It wasn’t that-
Subaru: “The names of, the stars.”
Suddenly, Subaru realized it.
Before, he’d thought of the same thing, and now he cast aside the joke to think of it seriously.
Now that things had reached this point, he began to consider an abandoned idea anew.
Regulus, Capella, Alphard, Sirius, Petelgeuse.
These star-related names gathered in one place, could he really treat them so casually as a coincidence?
In retrospect, the Water Plumage Pavilion, the customs of Kararagi, Hoshin of the Wastes.
In this world, so many places had been touched by the influence of Subaru’s original world, that he couldn’t simply treat it as a joke. Why had he only realized just now, that the Witch Cult did not originate from here?
Petelgeuse, was Betelgeuse. [The hand of Orion], [Unseen Hand].
Regulus was Leo, [Little King]. Thus, he had a title.
This [Little King], was truly a title commensurate with him-.
Subaru: “Emilia. I have something to ask you.”
Subaru spoke quietly, and Emilia opened her eyes to nod.
Subaru could feel the attention radiating from her snow white face, and closed one eye.
Subaru: “That man grabbed you about by the neck once, right? It’s about that time.”
Subaru: “Regulus’s hand, was it warm? Or was it cold?”
At Subaru’s inquiry, Emilia widened her eyes.
And so, she touched a hand to her slender neck, with a tap, and replied.
Emilia: “No. Thinking back on it… I couldn’t feel anything. Neither heat nor cold, there was no temperature.”
Hearing Emilia’s response, Subaru held his breath.
From when he’d been cast into the canal, his undisturbed breathing and unsoaked body. The ineffectiveness of attacking the soles of his feet, the ineffectiveness of the cancellation of his own attacks. Impeccable in both offense and defense.
If this was no simple, mere [Invincibility]-.
He called across the canal, the name of the hero doing battle against the evil.
In relentless battle, Reinhardt determinedly looked toward Subaru.
In order for him to hear, Subaru raised his voice high.
Subaru: “-That man, check if his heart is beating!”
Subaru’s loud words had Emilia, had Reinhardt widening their eyes.
So, Regulus, he-
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Otto also left the City Hall for fulfilling the duty imposed on him after he confirmed the simultaneous raids on the four control places had been carried out, and after each of the parties had departed to conduct them.
Anastasia: “I don’t think it’s strange to think that he should be stopped…… but it is also true that right now, we have to reconfirm where the Book of Wisdom, that the Witch Cult had requested, is. Pitiful, isn’t he, that Otto-kun.”
Was what Anastasia said at Otto’s departure.
It seemed to be true that Anastasia wanted Otto to remain in the city hall as well. It was the place where Subaru and the other camps had already clashed with a Sin Archbishop.
Though the city hall is expected to function as the headquarters, there were not many brains that could scout for information from several different places at the moment.
However, leaving the Book of Wisdom in the hands of others was not something that could be done either.
You can establish a relationship of cooperation with the opposing Sin Archbishop, but once out of that situation, they will return to being an enemy. When that happens, the effectiveness of the Book of Wisdom being watched over by others was something that should be avoided.
Truthfully, it was about the Book of Wisdom being completely away from the situation in which it would be negotiated over– but Subaru and Garfiel were fine with that.
Otto wanted to sigh as he felt his own personality was at fault here.
Otto: “I wonder, when did I become someone who ran around for others like this……”
Hitting his grey hair with his hand, Otto worried over the question that had come to his mind several times in the past year.
The position he stood in was unexpected, his relationship with people was unexpected, his current emotions were unexpected.
What will his family think when they get to know that he is doing all this?
Otto: “If I am fine and successful, I’ll try writing a letter……”
If Subaru was here, he would definitely point out a death flag, saying something strange, as Otto stepped onto the city’s third avenue.
The Sin Archbishops should be concentrated in the control towers, and considering that, they should not be in the city. They should not, be.
Otto: “Ha~a…… ha ~tsk”
Grabbing his chest tightly, Otto felt his heartbeat quicken.
Witch Cult, Sin Archbishop, Witch Cultists — Otto had bad memories of them.
A year ago, Otto recalled his first encounter with Subaru. He couldn’t forget how scared he was of the Sin Archbishop back then.
The eyes of a madman who wouldn’t think twice before taking away one’s life. That madman, the figure of fanatics, who would dedicate their blood and flesh by his own will.
When he truly hoped for help, only the silence and loneliness had dominated.
He had never been as scared at any other time. He had never felt so empty in any other moment.
Comparing the fear of then to fighting Garfiel, facing the bowel-hunter, encountering herds of witch beasts, that was nothing.
The encounter with the Witch Cult dropped an immensely dark shadow on Otto’s heart. Even though he knew how horrible that thing was, it was not something that could be erased so easily.
Emilia, who, due to her similarity with the Witch of Envy, could not escape prejudice due to the witch.
Subaru, who was fated to become her knight and fight for her, and aim for the devils of the Witch Cult.
Beatrice, who fought along with Subaru, and spent all the strength she had in that small body.
Garfiel, who put his everything to his fist in order to protect his family.
Ram, with sweetness that cannot be ignored, but on the flip side, with a stinging tongue.
Frederica, who lived in negative feelings for her brother, and has a sense of responsibility for her position.
Petra, who acted with a clear smiling face with everyone while being treated as a child.
I love everyone.
Though he had not intended to stay in one place too long, unfortunately, it was too comfortable.
Even though he knew to stay away from scary things, he was unable to avoid them.
In order to save this place, I would like to stand by their side and support them; even in my fear, I want to help them where their hands cannot reach. That’s why–,
Otto: “Somehow, I must fulfill my role.”
Saying this, he stepped onto Third Avenue. There stood a small figure in front of him.
Beyond the stone bridge on the waterway there was a square, and that was where the shadow was.
Besides that shadow, several more figures could be seen.
But right now, Otto’s eyes were fixed on only one small phantom.
Sound disappeared. Everything went terribly quiet, and nothing could be heard. A situation where living beings sucked in their breath and held it, trying desperately to conceal their existence, Otto Suwen knew this situation well.
Subsequently, the figure in front his eyes gently clapped its hands and, as it disheveled its long hair, raised its face. But still, his heartbeats were surprisingly calm.
???: “Welcome, onii-san.”
Ley: “Welcome to the Witch Cult’s Sin Archbishop, representing Gluttony…… Ley Batenkaitos’ dinner banquet ~tsu.”
Opening his mouth, full of fangs, the Sin Archbishop who shouldn’t have been there, laughed gruesomely.
Before starting Chapter 53, it’s best to read this short story here for a bit of context for one of the upcoming scenes!