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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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Placing a hand on his chest after Emilia had spoken.
What rang out was a laugh that could not be hidden. Although what leaked out was at first only a breath, he soon could endure no more, and his voice gradually escalated in volume, until it became cachinnation.
Regulus: “Hahaha! Ahaha! Huu, ahhahahahaha!”
Straightening his back, Regulus laughed loudly as if he’d heard a great joke. Sticking a hand into his white hair and tousling it, the murderer was now immersed in a fit of laughter that no one else could understand.
Subaru could tell from his smug demeanor that Emilia’s speculation was correct.
Subaru: “You bastard, what’s so funny!?”
Regulus: “Of course it’s funny, isn’t it!? Or rather, you are, I really must suggest that, in this desperate situation, you should give up on trying to think and we can all laugh together. On that note, do you understand the current situation? You yourself, with your own hands pushed the most critical of critical points into this calamity!”
No words could be fitting.
Only in this moment, was Regulus’s reply so perfectly reasoned that it could be met with naught but speechlessness.
Subaru turned his head to look to Emilia, confirming with her whether or not her speculation could be proven.
However, toward Subaru’s searing gaze, Emilia shook her head.
Emilia: “There’s no mistake. I had the micro-spirits confirm, and I can feel it myself. Inside me, there’s something extraneous that doesn’t belong to me. It feels, soooo disgusting.”
Emilia asserted thus, a despairing hint that announced the present reality.
The effect of [Lion’s Heart] had moved to Emilia. In other words, the only way to stop Regulus now would be to stop Emilia’s heartbeat as well.
Subaru: “Then again, why is Emilia’s heart… with [Little King], could it be that I made a mistake? The man’s heart, no matter who, as long as he wants…”
If it were that kind of ability, there existed in Regulus’s authority no loopholes. If he could give his heart to even hostiles and strangers, that would mean that as long as the human race lived on, a way to kill Regulus did not exist.
Rather, if it could be that his heart could replace that of any living creature—.
Subaru: “Truly shameless.”
Regulus: “The worthless howls of a retreating dog are pleasant to hear. Hahaha, no matter what I have to say. Just keep running with your temper, searching for some ridiculous excuse for your failure is the right of the loser. And enjoying superiority while hearing them is my right as the winner… Aah, this isn’t bad! Not bad at all!”
Emilia: “I don’t meet your standards for a wife, you yourself were saying so earlier.”
Regulus: “So annoying. Going on and on as if you’re strong enough to speak of your own rights. More importantly, how are planning to take responsibility for killing my wives? My ideal wives… how long do you think it took to gather such a group? How many years do you think it takes? Obviously of age, but lacking anything like a wife or lover, do you want me to be one of those garbage widowers who no one wants? Before I find a new wife, you have the obligation to join with me!”
Using stern words to smack at Emilia, full of spirit as he voiced his rhetoric was Regulus.
The violent reasoning that the murderer believed in, completely convinced that his heart was indeed within Emilia. If so, the possibility of removing Regulus’s heart from Emilia—.
Regulus: “Would you like to try? To see if there’s a way you can move my heart?”
Regulus: “The method is simple if you want to try it. Right now, just kill this girl before you. As long as you end her life, you’ll naturally understand whether or not my authority will stop. Very very simple, effective, and reasonable… ahaha! You couldn’t do it, could you? If you do something like that, with the motives and values that you’ve challenged me with, won’t you have lost your self-justifying reasons!?”
Although hard to admit, Regulus was right.
Subaru had not the courage to sacrifice Emilia. Call him selfish, call him arrogant, only that could he not do.
In order to defeat Regulus, they had already tossed aside the lives of his wives.
Even with the revelation that there had been no alternatives than letting go those sacrifices, in no way could they compare with the life of Emilia or his other comrades.
Natsuki Subaru’s choices always were, selfish to a disgusting degree.
Regulus: “You see. Someone like him could never. In that case, how about offing yourself in proxy? Simple, isn’t it. Just like what you did to the others. Or what? Can’t you do it? Though you’ve clearly taken the lives of others without consent, but because you treasure your own so much you can’t do it? How amazing, I think I’m going to vomit?”
Subaru: “Wait, you can’t. Seriously, this alone is unacceptable.”
At Regulus’s provocation, Emilia too seemed to be calling to Subaru as if in realization. Hearing the unsparing tone of her voice, Subaru hurriedly stopped Emilia in fear.
Even if you giving in to the provocation, surely she wouldn’t immediately make the choice to abandon herself.
However, Emilia had already done a good job of choosing the worst option if she didn’t have the means to win.
Then Subaru, had only the thought that he would absolutely not choose this path. In that case, they had lost.
Calling Emilia’s name had only stopped her, but he could speak no words.
Regulus: “Then, in that case we’re about ready to draw this to a close, aren’t we. Although keeping a low grade woman like you isn’t in my interest, for time being I’ll compromise. Before finding my next wife I’ll join with you for a bit. Though I’ll just have to kill this guy. You’ve already infringed on my rights to this point… Ah, that’s right. So, did you laugh earlier?”
Before Subaru who clenched his teeth, Regulus happily turned the corners of his mouth upward.
A torrent of magic was welled around Emilia, as she planned to make her own decision. At the same time, Regulus, not taking note of the wind, laughed.
Regulus: “You’re that guy, aren’t you? That loud voice in the city that yammered on right before my wedding? Killing a single Sin Archbishop or whatever…what a joke, right? My condolences if you really thought you could best me just because you killed that disgrace. That man, both before and after becoming an archbishop, has never accomplished anything, he has always been a simpleton.”
Regulus, standing and giggling. What his words pointed to, was without doubt the madman Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti who Subaru found abhorrent.
Petelgeuse was the worst kind of lunatic with no redeeming qualities. He felt not a shred of goodwill for the lunatic, instead hating him down to his bone marrow, and would never spare him even were he to come back as a ghost.
But nevertheless, seeing the Sin Archbishop ridicule Petelgeuse who was supposed to be his comrade, in Subaru’s heart grew an inherent feeling of unpleasantness.
The possibility of defeating Regulus, and in addition this entangled state of Emilia’s life and death didn’t even need mention.
Then again, Petelgeuse, he—.
Should have been a loathed lunatic opponent, mad bloodstained laughter appearing in his mind. While thinking back, he lifted his face. Then something felt as if it had begun to stir within his chest, he seized it, swallowing his breath.
Could it be, that something like that, was also possible?
Subaru: “Could it be done…?”
Strictly speaking, no one can guarantee the possibility generated within Subaru’s mind. Just like bringing an empty table to a negotiation— or rather, it was closer to being the product of Subaru’s delusions. Merely Subaru’s own feelings.
But, that was precisely why. That was precisely why, able to arrive at this possibility was only Subaru alone.
That notion now, based just on intuition, even a god wouldn’t know if it could succeed— but.
Feeling the magic that seemed to have risen to its limit, Subaru called to her.
Emilia remained silent, only revealing the realization of a tragedy. Nevertheless, deep in her eyes a hint of emotion flashed through. That was, expectation and trust in Subaru who watched her.
As if to lend support to those feelings, Subaru asked.
Subaru: “—Can you completely trust me, and leave everything to me?”
Emilia: “I can.”
Toward this question, her response came simply and without hesitation.
Emilia placed a hand on her chest, and for the first time since returning to the battlefield, revealed a smile.
Emilia: “I believe that if it’s Subaru, you can do anything.”
Aah, damn it, how despicable this was.
A girl who he liked, treating him with unflinching trust, how could he fail!
Whether holding tight with hands or biting tight with teeth, he wasn’t allowed to fail here!
Subaru slowly breathed deep, then slowly released the breath.
Then, glanced toward Regulus who watched them in silence. Regulus did not obstruct their conversation, just rested on his wrists as he waited leisurely.
Subaru: “Aren’t you a bit too relaxed?”
Regulus: “Aren’t I usually relaxed?”
Any trace of failure and the like, not even a speck remained.
Regulus had revealed all his preparations, and wanted to do away with Subaru. In truth, Regulus’s authority [Lion’s Heart] was perfect. After clarifying its key points, victory was still placed somewhere nigh unreachable.
However, precisely because he was convinced of his impending victory, would when confronted with Subaru’s struggles and efforts, watch from aside without intervention.
He had no idea what was happening. That point, was the same for Subaru himself.
If Beatrice had been here, there might have been another method. If that intelligent girl had been by his side, there would have certainly have been a less risky way to win.
In the depths of his chest, lay the connection with the girl who was his comrade. Certainly, after all this was over, he’d be in for a scolding from her, not being scolded wouldn’t do.
So now that he was alone, recalling the times when he’d been alone, the memories remaining within his chest— were certainly not ones which brought happiness, awakening only an initial landscape of terror and agony.
Emilia: “Let go and do it.”
Emilia’s call, became strength for him to make the decision.
Subaru violently seized his own chest, rousing something within him that was truly difficult to consider his, concentrating his consciousness on the center of the whirlpool where this chaotic force swirled, liberating it—.
In this moment, slightly changing the manner in which he called it.
In order to have the murderer who had insulted the lunatic understand what had happened, only this once.
This power, this power inherited from that abhorrent madman!
Subaru: “Come forth… Unseen Haaaand—!!”
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—Invisible Providence. Or rather, [Unseen Hand].
The force that surged through his body, Subaru defined as the power of the witch created by the Witch Factor. He’d heard from Echidna in her dream castle, that he’d gained the Witch Factor since he’d killed Petelgeuse— what detriments it had were yet unclear. However, the power which gave Subaru Unseen Hand undoubtedly came from here.
So until now, Subaru had never sought to use the Witch Factor as his own source of power.
Subaru firmly believed so. The nature of this power being similar to that of the madman’s, was because the witch factor of [Sloth] inherently held this nature.
The possibility of Petelgeuse running amok within him, he didn’t even want to consider.
—But if this is the case, what was this feeling about.
Echoing, lively, silently cheering from inside Subaru.
Cheering for being called upon. Cheering for once again being able to use his power. Cheering for being requisitioned, completing his goal. And then, was only an unspeakable incomprehensible joy.
Accompanying the liberation of that power, that happiness and appreciation, as well as that feeling of gratitude.
The fluctuation of this incomprehensible emotion, was in no way something Subaru’s problems could solve.
Accompanying Subaru’s loud scream, was Regulus’s own cry as he looked to the sky.
He shouldn’t be able to see it. Because this was, Unseen Hand.
The poisonous hand that was perfect for assassinations due to its invisibility— having been insulted by Regulus as sluggish, a negligible and residual power, something even weaker and more residual than that.
Only one in number, with an incredibly short range, and too many unknown factors.
As the key to breaking through this situation, there should be a limit to unreliability.
The first step of summoning the magical hand, had been passed. Starting now were the unknown second step and the third step that would be the final one.
With his own consciousness, Subaru commanded the fingertips to take action, infusing his own hopes into the magical hand that seemed woven by shadow.
And once again, confirming whether or not she was aware. Seeking help for herself.
Along with that sound, Emilia closed her eyes, nodding as if she understood what would happen after this.
Emilia: “It’s fine. —You are here, Juice.”
Emilia’s eyes were filled with warmth and understanding as she spread her arms.
Repeatedly preparing for Subaru’s intention, as if already having seen what would happen, she shortened the distance to her heart. Subaru did not hesitate as he brought the magical hand into her chest.
The invisible hand moved to the center Emilia’s chest. As the fingertips passed through her white skin without resistance, Emilia’s shoulders jumped as if she’d felt something.
However, the hand could not stop. Through the sternum, across the lungs, finally reaching the pulsating core.
—The magical hand, had arrived at Emilia’s heart.
The second step had been accomplished.
When the taboo was triggered, the witch’s magical hand easily passes through Subaru’s body and only hurts his heart. This was an application of that principle. Unseen Hand and the witch’s magical hand sharing that properly, was the only path left to gamble on.
However, the gambling had been successful so far. The problem was that after this, there was no precedent for that power.
If her were to just seize Emilia’s heart, he could do so in an instant. But that would make no sense. This power was not to be used for that.
So, what was this power for. —Right now, in this moment, this power would be used to save.
Was this really possible, Subaru with his mind in a sea of confusion took a deep breath.
Unseen Hand, could it really be used as a hand which saved? Under the madman named Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti, how many lives had this power stolen?
Although that would depend on the power’s use, oftentimes powers were limited in ability. Was Unseen Hand the type of power that could bring naught but destruction?
This power, no matter if existed for the sake of having someone live on, no matter what—.
Hesitating and doubting in that moment, Emilia’s voice which he shouldn’t have been hearing reached him.
Emilia: “It’ll be fine. —Because, I have faith, in the both of you.”
Who and what, was she talking about.
Emilia sent her trust to Subaru, and another person he didn’t know.
But with ease, he accepted and believed all of it.
—This hand absolutely, absolutely would not hurt Emilia.
Subaru: “Come, my third hand…!”
Within his heart, the undispellable doubts about this power dissipated.
How this power had originated didn’t matter anymore. This power right now, was in Subaru’s hands, and Subaru had no intent of hurting Emilia, and if anything existed within power itself.
In Emilia’s chest, the magical hand weaved by shadow began to close.
Fingertips touched Emilia’s heart which was engraved with rhythm, and Emilia gave a slight gasp at the gentle grip on the surface of her heart. Rather than pain, it was akin to a slight itch.
Inside the chest Emilia whose were dyed red, the magical hand that closed its fingers to seize an actual heart.
And that heartbeat different from Emilia’s own, that [Little Lion’s Heart]—.
Subaru: “Caught, you—!!”
He did not have room to pull it out.
With his magical hand, Subaru crushed the heart that shamelessly still beat within Emilia.
Emilia’s heart received not the slightest bit of damage, merely defeating parasitic organ that yet sang odes to love.
Subaru truly did feel sensation from that third hand that did not exist. And then,
At the same time experienced the cost of using such a degree of concentration on a power which did not belong to him.
Organs feeling a pain as if being carved, rushing forth was a sense of despair as if he’d been tainted, Subaru immediately fell upon the ground with both knees. Harsh coughs that were even tinged with blood wracked him.
Emilia reached out a hand, toward Subaru who knelt on the submerged ground with blood leaking from the corners of his mouth. He took her outstretched hand and placed it on his face.
Subaru: “Still, alive, right?”
Emilia: “… Mmm, I’m fine. My heart is perfectly fine, still beating inside me.”
Subaru used the touch of the hand which yet flowed through with blood to reassure himself of reality, and Emilia used her empty hand to confirm her heartbeat. There was no doubt in this moment, inscribed there was heartbeat that seemed congratulate that happenings of right now.
And then only Regulus alone wore an expression as if he couldn’t comprehend what was happening as he looked upon the two.
Regulus: “Hah? What, what happened? Casting aside those around you, for something only those involved with you can understand? What is this repulsive scene? Just what happened, you…”
Subaru: “… You, didn’t notice?”
Regulus: “Hah? What are you talking about? Haven’t noticed or whatever? When not a single change has…”
Subaru: “Your feet, they’re getting wet.”
Subaru pointed to tell Regulus who seemed to have succumbed to his anger. Regulus was shocked to see his feet growing wet and fell momentarily silent, widening his eyes.
Noticed the reality that his white tuxedo—, white shoes and hem of his clothing, were soaked through by the water by his feet.
Regulus: “You people— actually!?”
Noticing this change with a response too slow, Regulus bared his teeth and waved his arm. But, a slender white leg struck out, kicking into Regulus’s face and sending him flying.
Completely unprepared for this direct hit, Regulus gave a wail as he was kicked to the submerged ground filled with water. Half his body was left soaked by the water, and a shoe print remained on the side of his face that had been kicked.
Regulus: “hk, huu… this, this kind of…!”
As if unable to comprehend this reality in the slightest, Regulus blankly lifted his face. Looking down at such a Regulus, Emilia who had performed the beautiful kick tilted her head slightly.
Emilia: “I did it. I finally landed a hit.”
Regulus: “You, you—!”
From Emilia’s short sentence being filled with a sense of accomplishment, Regulus’s face grew red and agitated. Using the motion of standing to gather water, Regulus scattered droplets of water at Emilia.
However, the pain of taking the kick had his victorious figuring collapse, and the bomb of water flew in a completely wrong direction, instead leaving him wide open.
Emilia: “Ice Brand Arts!”
Creating a hammer of ice in her hands, Emilia then slammed it directly into the center of Regulus’s body.
Receiving a swing that threatened to crush his bones into, the body of the murderer did rolls in the water. With unsuppressed coughs, slamming his fist into the ground without pause, Regulus glared at them with reddened eyes.
Regulus: “Why! Whywhywhywhy? You people, it just had to be you, what did you and why did you, to [Greed]! And to my rights!
Subaru: “To someone like you who saw all the proceedings and yet still hasn’t figured it out, it’d be useless to explain it to you. Well, that’s how it is. Very simple.”
As he pitied the screaming Regulus, Subaru endured internal cries of agony from his organs, revealing a sneer.
Revealing a ferocious smile that would not lose to even Petelgeuse.
Subaru: “You, were played by your opponents because you ridiculed them so much.”
Even if he didn’t quite understand the meaning of those words, the taunting intent would be clearly conveyed.
Regulus screeched with a sound that couldn’t even be called a sound, ignoring Emilia’s stance to launch himself at Subaru. However, he was cut off by Emilia.
Emilia: “Earlier, the attack I made in the stead of your wives— because it didn’t seem to work, allow me to land one that does.”
Regulus: “Stop, kidding around—!”
Appearing over Regulus’s head, hung countless icicles.
Each one varied in size, but if they all fell together, they would bring instant death. Emilia’s disgust of Regulus, had reached a point that even her gentle self could not stand.
Climbing to his feet with a leap, Regulus struck at the falling icicles with water. Though the icicles shattered, the small shards still had their uses.
Ceaselessly tossing out bullets of water as if in a storm, Regulus cursed loudly as he was bathed by ice and rain that he ran through.
The snow-white crystals of ice turned to fog, and frozen the streets that had been submerged in water. For Subaru too, the water along his knees formed a film of ice around him, scaring him into hurriedly pulling his hands out of the water.
Even with consideration for Subaru, such a rain of destruction had befallen him. Of course, Regulus who was the actual target at hand was simply no match for this.
Subaru: “… Completely unhurt?”
In the frozen scene after the barrage of ice had ended, Regulus remained, standing and alive.
Knees supporting his arms, spitting out uneven breaths, even though his entire body was soaked through with water, he still avoided a final puncture from an icicle.
Regulus: “Absolutely, absolutely, ah, hah…”
Regulus who clutched at his chest looking as if he were dying.
Look at that demeanor, Subaru understand. The invincibility from [Lion’s Heart] could still be used, even with the heart from his own body. Only,
Subaru: “If you stop time to become invincible, it will cause the heart in your body also to stop beating. —Is this the still perfect invincibility, with a time limit?”
It seemed he had struck true, as Regulus endured the pain in his chest to show his rage. If there were a time limit, sooner or later Emilia could land an effective attack.
In that case, Regulus was but a random soldier who had put his everything into attack.
Regulus: “That, that’s… don’t you feel despicable in the slightest!?”
Regulus pointed a fingers at Subaru who was analyzing his opponent’s strength. Additionally he pointed toward Emilia’s direction, looking back and forth between the two of them.
Regulus: “Two people gang up on one person, in an act that’s essentially extortion, do your consciences not ache? Isn’t there something wrong with the your most essentially human part? Do you truly hold no doubts about yourselves who are capable of this. Having doubts should be what’s right, shouldn’t it!?”
Subaru: “… You’re really something else.”
This was in fact the same mouth that had under the advantage of [Lion’s Heart], spoken nonstop, having now lost that effect and falling into a disadvantage, dared to use that disadvantage to ask his opponents for justification.
Subaru had already completely exceeded surprise, to the verge of now wanting to respect him. Such an existence without a shred of human dignity, would perhaps never been seen again from antiquity unto now, from now unto the hereafter.
Subaru: “That is to say, your belief is this? Because the two-on-one is too despicable, you hope to be able to fight an upright one-on-one battle. That’s in fact the way battles should be. Is this the case?”
Regulus: “Exactly! Would that be doing the proper thing the proper way? Who do you take me… who do you think I am! I a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult, Regulus Corneas who is charged with [Greed]!? This world’s most satisfied, most resolute existence…”
Regulus spoke thus in a trembling voice, as he looked down at his hands.
Subaru was now completely speechless. So in Subaru’s stead, Emilia spoke.
Emilia: “Going back on your word immediately after saying something, the contents of your speeches entirely devoid of actual meaning. I think you, are the most pitiful person in the world.”
Regulus: “—hk! Truly irritating! I… [Greed], will definitely make you regret this!”
Even shallow in his rage at the contempt of others, Regulus repetitively endlessly repeated the drone of his curses.
Looking at the helpless demeanor, Subaru could finally feel fully relieved. Regulus was genuinely, unable to win in any situation where he did not have the highest advantage.
If he could use [Lion’s Heart] for even a brief time, he still had a chance at victory.
Clearly this was the case, but upon seeing a little bit of difficulty, he would immediately give up without even bothering to glance across the setting.
Subaru: “Scorning progress in life, will lead you to fall down in unexpected places.”
Subaru: “Nothing, talking to myself. More importantly, we can accept your challenge of ship-to-ship combat.”
Regulus: “—! That’s more like it. This is how it should be. Of course, a knight would not let their master step up first?”
As long as it was in line with his mood, Regulus would immediately attach the conditions that gave him an advantage.
Between Subaru and Emilia, their level of combat needed no comparison. As long as he first killed Subaru and caused Emilia to waver, he could see hope in his odds of victory. Straining that mind of his that did not exist in the first place, that conniving result seemed to suit Regulus’s tastes perfectly.
However, if he wanted to best Subaru in terms of unrelenting perseverance, he was hundreds of thousands of years too soon.
Finding a chance to win in a situation where victory was impossible, this was Subaru’s truest way of fighting.
Looking in terms of determining victory or loss, the match between Regulus and Subaru had already begun.
Subaru: “Indeed, having a knight battle is the righteous way.”
Regulus: “In that case—”
Subaru: “So— now that it’s come to this again, I’ll leave the rest to you.”
His feet still submerged in water, Subaru said so after exhaling deeply.
At those words, Regulus tilted his head with a “hah?” However, Subaru’s words were meant not for him. But for [him].
???: “Ah, I see. —The one-on-one duel you proposed, I accept it as a knight.”
Responding was a flame.
In these flooded streets, a young man who sent not a single ripple as he strode across the water approached. Unlike the inexplicable mystery that Regulus, he was possessed of protections that had been bestowed by the love of the heavens.
Reinhardt: “Of the Kingdom of Lugunica’s Guardian Knights, from the line of [Sword Saints] —Reinhardt van Astrea.”
Standing before Subaru and Emilia, the knight who reported his name pointed at Regulus with a sheathed sword. That demeanor of denomination, was an invitation to begin a one-on-one duel.
That was something even [Guthunter] Elsa would respond to, the well established declaration of a duel.
In contrast, Regulus stood, stretching his hands before him.
Regulus: “Wait, waitwait! This, this is, this isn’t normal!?”
Defiling the sacred duel, the very definition of a warrior, the [Sword Saint] will not show him any trace of tolerance.
The opening blow started below Regulus’s underarm, vertically slashing across his body— Regulus had not even the chance to cry out before being slammed far into the sky.
Before his eyes was the demolished city of water— he was suspended so high in the sky that he had a panoramic view of the entire city.
Whether a cry or a curse, a sound incomprehensible to all who heard it, echoed.