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- Forged by Gracedharperd
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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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Fingers sliding across the lu-lyre, fingertips tightening with familiarity. Having been for many years for many tens of thousands of times, fingertips which played these notes for as long as they can remember.
For me, to sing, was as natural as drawing breath, as natural as exhaling laughter when encountering amusement…
Throat opening, diaphragm inhaling, intertwining rhythm with the sound of the melody.
Trilling out all the words emerging in my mind in this moment, all the feelings.
And equally, giving voice to the the melody that surfaced in my mind along with the song.
When creating a new song, although I would say ‘inspiration flashes’, to truly say that it was inspiration flashing, was rather absurd.
In other words, it wasn’t a sudden flash, but a discovery. To call it that would perhaps be more suitable. In this instant, melody and words emerging in my mind, were from their origin things hidden within this world.
Discovering a melody forgotten by the world.
Stumbling across by serendipity, taking up by fortuity, as if a gift descended from the skies – a tune concealed in the corners of the world. I, have all along viewed it like this.
And thus I had told Priscilla-sama, even without learning anything whatsoever, music could be enjoyed. To completely give up all wisdom, all knowledge, would be the same.
Because it was the song rather than the human which sang.
Ever heard birdsong? Ever heard a chorus of cicadas? Ever quietly listened to the wind sweeping across a stream, felt it raise a murmured voice?
Did they also have humanity? Perhaps, or rather, no they shouldn’t have. At the very least I think they don’t! Don’t!
From the sun that illuminates all, the moon that waxes and wanes, the earth that diffuses its aroma, the firewood that crackles, have you ever felt music? I have! I’ve felt it — proof that music permeates this world.
The world is constructed by music, this world is filled with music, this world is connected by music, this is the proof.
Us bards, merely borrow songs from this world filled with music. Music that is in itself present everywhere, which with just a little attention can become visible, that we capture in song, is in fact unnecessary.
Without shyness, without apology, we enjoy this exquisite melody alone.
To do so is fine. That we think so is fine.
However, isn’t music something lovely?
To share something lovely with others brings greater joy.
And with greater joy, ringing laughter has greater elation.
Music is as such, if it’s music, it can be done.
Since the entire world is singing, who would scold those who sing?
Come, devote, devote, devote all.
Come, immerse, immerse, immerse.
Submerge in joy, fill with glee, be imprisoned by happiness!
Ears, eyes, nose, skin, spirit, soul, present all, [join] with the [music]!
Frenzy swallowed audience, washing away the extreme [Wrath] in one wave.
Swaying in dance, their sound became one with the performance. Should their gazes overlap with those around them, the phenomenon of sharing feelings would be felt.
Of course. Music has always been by your side, a ever present comrade from birth to death.
Seen it, heard it, felt it.
We are always here, calling for such music—!
Liliana: “So, hell yeah! Not at all quiet, thanks for the attention—!”
Singing on, uwaaaah!
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Eh~, so how to put it, sorry for gleefully forgetting myself.
After the end an extensive performance like this, recalling the passionate demeanor I’d worn, my cheeks reddened.
Schult: “Um, onee-san was amazing! I was very moved!”
Teehee! How cute was Schult-kun’s cluelessly pure gaze! Heart itching, aching! Undirtied, wholesome, watery red eyes, made blood drip drip in my heart!
Riiight, this kid was completely without malice, nor was it sarcasm. He merely expressed with earnestness his childish feelings. Though aware of this, but because he was too cute his praise couldn’t be accepted comfortably!
What a pity, Schult… as an adult, this purity would be dirtied.
Schult: “——? Some of it couldn’t be understood, apologies over my lack of studying.”
Hya! That dejected expression was unfairly cute!
Is this some kind of malicious prank against me, this child!? A little, just a little touch… Ehehe…
Priscilla: “Liliana, that performance just now wasn’t bad, you deserve praise.”
Priscilla: “What was that horrendous sound just now? A girl… especially you, shouldn’t be making such noises.”
Just about to reach out an adult’s sinful demonic grasp, I was caught up with a trickster like Priscilla-sama. No, I had no plans to do anything deplorable, really, none whatsoever.
By the way, the moment Schult saw Priscilla-sama, his demeanor became open, sticking close to her waist. Though saying so, it wasn’t tight clinging, merely lightly holding part of her red dress… the modest demeanor of an angel.
And next, to welcome this precious Schult-kun, attempting to turn this brutalized convention center into a festival…
Liliana: “This result was unexpected… at some point when I wasn’t paying attention, it seems I reached the heights of music. Indeed, a goddess of music without parallel!”
Priscilla: “Foolishness. To be aware of your own worldliness and caliber is imperative. But to evaluate one’s self so highly lacks elegance. Your song was indeed worth enjoying, but ‘tis not yet time to call yourself without parallel. You were merely lucky, that they immersed so early was solely because they were suggestible.”
What did that mean?
With a listless expression Priscilla-sama fanned herself, as she scanned the faces in the convention center. I hurriedly followed her gaze, seeing a great many people.
People who had finally been freed from an air of insulting, attacking, fighting, had recovered their cool. Some extended their hands to those who had been shoved over, some offered apologies, some responded constantly with ‘it’s fine it’s fine’, some silently gave treatment to those who had been injured.
Oh, well then, my song was pretty amazing! The ones who had been arguing such earlier, had in fact sunk into such a warm state… practically the talent of a master!
Priscilla: “Do not forget yourself with glee. The influence of unrest which played these commoners as if marionettes still persists. The sound of your song alleviated the commoners’ distrust and fear. However, without solving the root of the cause, the situation will devolve to what had just been.”
Liliana: “Pff!? Ah, no, but, think about it, every time they’re pulled into the same act, I’ll wash it away with my fervent unpappa…”
Priscilla: “In theoretical terms, that works. However, the root of the problem remains. Not only here, this commotion, is not occurring merely at this convention center.”
Liliana: “Wha-wha-wha-, what!?”
This was the first time hearing of… no, earlier on the way here Priscilla-sama had that such a disruption had been avoided. Could it be that such disruption was occurring all throughout the city!?
Liliana: “P, P, Pristella, should it have something be done about it?”
Priscilla: “Well, that’s how it is. To be frank, mine mood does not align with saving the city…”
Fickle emotions, cold blood, iron expression! With trembling gaze Schult looked toward Priscilla-sama as she spoke. How to put it, obvious upon a glance, was that Schult-kun next to Priscilla-sama seemed so normal, perfect wholesomeness.
Ah, this child is hopeless, completely in line with my preferences.
Not receiving a response from Schult-kun, not knowing whether or not he shared my feelings counted as my loss. Priscilla-sama shrugged helplessly, breasts bouncing with violence, as she place her hands on her waist.
Liliana: “How old is Priscilla-sama?”
Liliana: “I see. By the way just to mention, I’m twenty-two.”
Priscilla: “No one asked.”
I just wanted to mention it. What was this difference, something in diet? Is this merely what wandering bard must be resigned to? What suffering.
Priscilla: “Without even mentioning having Schult be trapped here, daring to display such disrespect during mine stay, mineself is hardly such a forgiving coward. Without regard of which Witch Cultist is involved, their heads will roll.”
As my hands tightened, Priscilla-sama’s decree seemed to have been determined.
Although much remained to be said to, I well understood that Schult-kun’s feelings needed to be respected.
Liliana: “Really, toward Schult-kun Priscilla-sama is truly, too, overprotective♪ …”
Liliana: “Gyah!? Burning, burning, it’s all burning!?”
On fire!? Caught on fire just now!?
In the instant that I’d jabbed Priscilla-sama in the side with my elbow, fire burned over my head!? The tips of my hair curled from burning!? Without even an incantation!?
Sudden brutality! Genuine panic! Unforgettable nightmare!
Schult: “O-Onee-san, are you okay…!?”
Toward me with my head on fire, Schult ran over in a shock. Perhaps to try to extinguish the flame immediately, he withdrew a bottle from the parcel he head, intending to tip its contents into me, removing the hardships forced upon my body. In the instant, my head had once again been surrounded by flame.
Priscilla: “Halt, Schult.”
Schult: “But, Priscilla-sama…!”
Priscilla: “This is mine evening wine. As it belongs to mineself, even a slight drop, would turn a spark into a fireball. These sound like joking words, but this is the reality.”
Before I could be ignited, I rolled back and forth on the frigid ground. Schult tilted his tiny neck to ask, ‘Can wine catch on fire?’.
Despicable, master and servant who collaborated to have me perish in flame… but! Even were I to die here, the soul of a bard would not rest, performing a nightly song by your bedside… because, song was everywhere in this world!
Priscilla: “If you wouldn’t mind, doing so is fine as well. Speaking of which, kicking up such a fuss over singed hair, hurry and stand!”
Liliana: “Eh? Where’d the cursed flame go? I should be enclosed in scorching flame and turned to ash?”
Ah, for real, there hadn’t been any burns. What was that, scared me to death.
Laughing with embarrassment while removing clothing, while the stares of everyone nearby, walking to Priscilla-sama’s side, to begin negotiations.
Liliana: “Well then, Priscilla-sama! In order to save Pristella, please attack with a bang, gracefully giving your regards to the Sin Archbishop! I’ll offer support to the best of my ability!”
Priscilla: “Do not speak as if it were another’s affair. Mineself has already decided to take you as well.”
Earth shattering! Sky overturning! Beauty stealing life! Why point toward me at this moment!?
Liliana: “Someone like me who’s a bard, only knows how to be cute, sing, and be cute. A bard without any specialties… taking me, could only satisfy your eyes and ears, you know.”
Priscilla: “That candidness is not unappealing. As said before. Mineself is fond of you. That song, ‘twould be a shame to lose it. Not to mention casting you aside in the masses, would perhaps lead to misfortune. Since you would have left mine [Sun Disk].
Liliana: “Which is to say… I’m so cute you want to protect me?”
Liliana: “Wah! Having thrown a tantrum Priscilla-sama is truly kind!”
Compared with the attack of setting my hair aflame without indication, how kind was the Priscilla-sama who only set me on fire after giving warning. Huh, chest tingling. What kind of feeling was this… heartbeat quickening, sweat dripping, breaths toiling, blood vanishing from face…
Priscilla: “There are other reasons to take you. That irritating foolish commoner’s declaration… was it to say that there is a magic device in the governing building?”
Liliana: “Huh? Ah, right, it’s in the city hall. Every morning, getting early, rubbing sleep from eyes to do as duty asks… Ah! That isn’t to say, I wouldn’t sing because I wanted to sleep in. Indeed, rather than to call it collapsing from exhaustion halfway through a song, it’s sleeping for more than half. As soon as I sing it wakes me up! Rousing immediately!”
Priscilla: “Knowing the location is enough. Mineself requires that magical device… and you.”
Liliana: “You want me…”
Priscilla: “Your throat.”
A change in phrase.
However, thanks to this, I finally realized exactly what Priscilla-sama meant to say. That was, she wanted to say,
Liliana: “To have what happened just now in this convention center, spread across the city from the magical device’s broadcast…”
Liliana: “Eh, um, Priscilla-sama? What is it?”
Priscilla: “Daring to be so ostentatious before mineself, you fool, what have you done with the real Liliana. That person couldn’t possibly be so intelligent.”
Liliana: “A clever and cute me being treated as an illusion!”
What kind of impression she had of me, in truth, was very disappointing.
However, I understand Priscilla-sama’s thoughts. If commotions similar to the one of this convention center were occurring all throughout the city, then it would perhaps be my turn to take the stage.
To be able to tour the city to give performances would be something wonderful, but there wasn’t enough time to travel around like this! it’s too late to tour around like this! In that case, my mind was made!
Liliana: “Alright, understood! In this case, I do indeed agree that thoughts of Priscilla-sama who wanted me to accompany her were authentic! In addition, to approach the city hall – the place where the thinking power in the city would be concentrated! Surely Kiritaka-san would be there, in an emergency like this, he could be counted on!”
Priscilla: “Of course, within the city hall there certainly await Sin Archbishops. Exterminating those pests is unavoidable. You would do well to avoid being caught in it.”
Liliana: “I’d forgotten!”
Right. Right now, [Lust] occupied the city hall. Which meant, if the city hall were serving as a base, the battle plan could be imagined.
Liliana: “Nobutnobutnobut! That Sin Archbishop, might have emptied out the city hall already! There are lots of rooms in there which are inaccessible for secrecy, so maybe they unexpectedly took no time, and [Lust] is long gone!”
Fufun, indeed, a burst of divine reasoning. This was, an idea belonging to the me who was left every morning from work.
In truth, that place, was where everyone hurriedly rushed to work, so there was no one who would acknowledge me. Children who don’t understand numbers will be told to leave, was what it felt like!
And thus, certainly the city hall would be completely empty…
Capella: “Yaho. Yaho~. Yahoho~.”
At this moment, the broadcast sounded a second time.
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After listening to the second broadcast, we left the convention center feeling depressed (Priscilla and Schult did not look depressed).
Leaving the convention center took a little time, since after the second broadcast, the people became anxious again, and I had to calm them with my song.
Frankly, this performance could only be called unintentional.
No matter what was sung, any behavior lacking reason could not be included. However, at its basis, adding extraneous impurity to the song was not permissible.
Become intoxicated by the song, become immersed in the song, to sing with these feelings, was what I intended. But to use song as a counter to this psychological attack which unsettled people, was something I was unwilling to do. But in the end singing did become this kind of measure, if I had wanted to sing like this, if authenticity for the song had been lost, the song could still reach the hearts of others… perhaps these thoughts would not be there.
Priscilla: “Taking over the control towers and the main watergate, and then listing a series of requests…”
After leaving the convention center, with steps which were as always self-assured, only I shakily followed behind. Rather than calling it a loss of assurance, perhaps it was a loss of identity?
Without doubt I exist for singing, but in these circumstances was it myself asking me to sing, or the song, to sing, or is it a song, or the result.
Although all three were given by me, I didn’t understand a single one of the three.
Couldn’t figure out which it was.
Priscilla: “A third broadcast has to happen, before we retake the city hall and the magical device.”
Schult: “Why is that?”
Priscilla: “The Witch Cult needs use of the magical device, and they’ll send out a third request. Afterward, it’ll only be a matter of overseeing the four control towers, far away from any situation in which they may lose their advantage by revealing their location. However, for the sake of playing their twisted game, there’s a possibility of being able to seize the magical device.”
Schult: “Can’t we use it?”
Priscilla: “As long as the one operating that magical device is [Lust], there’s this kind of feeling… Although she wears quite the vicious skin, what lies beneath is quite cunning. What a clever lunatic will become given the opportunity, looks exactly like that.”
While my expression was still heavy, Schult took the lead in asking Priscilla-questions. Schult had instantaneously figured out the secret behind not enraging Priscilla-sama (perhaps the person himself was unaware!). And because he was so genuine, Priscilla-sama seriously answered everything she’d been asked.
Because it was an explanation meant for a child, I understood it easily as well.
Which was to say, would the situation progress as the Witch Cult willed?
Priscilla: “And so after the third broadcast, when their requests have been made. If the magical device is operable, your song will join the playing field. Should the city be in a state of unrest, who knows where the pests among the lions will gather.”
Schult: “Before something that complicated happens, is there no chance Priscilla-sama use that glorious sword to finish off the Witch Cult?”
Priscilla: “The control towers from all four sides, should any of them open a single watergate, the city would be flooded. Even mineself is a lone person. To raise a hand in counterattack is ineffective. In this city are a few capable others… they too will try to recover the magical device.”
The capable others Priscilla-sama had mentioned were those capable of meeting the Witch Cult in battle.
As far as I knew, people who had experience in defeating the Witch Cult did reside in the city. Indeed, [Lolimancer] Natsuki Subaru-sama, and [Silver Haired Witch] Emilia-sama who accompanied him!
Liliana: “Oh, I get it! We’re waiting until the third broadcast, before going to the city hall.”
Fists clenched, breaths involuntarily growing wild.
In all honesty, to be unable to protest against this was a bit despiriting. However, not going to the city hall, would mean being unable to assure Kiritaka-san’s safety… or rather, even being assured of Kiritaka-san’s safety, would not yield usefulness to the battle…
However, if only for the sake of that person alone, I couldn’t help but sing.
Liliana: “So then, before that…”
Schult: “Go with Liliana-sama, and get to a shelter!”
Liliana: “Yes yes, take me to the shelter and- wait, ueeeeeeh!?”
Schult answered with frenzied enthusiasm, what was this about!?
Priscilla-sama nodded with satisfaction. Seeing this, with his entire face bright red Schult grew happy, although clearly I had been named, leaving me to go by himself.
Clearly by my side, but somehow still feeling lonely.
Priscilla: “Although aware of how your song has an effect on this unsettling wave, but first your mood should be calmed, before asking you to perform… although just then you had been at a loss, the you of right now has no leeway for such troubles.”
Liliana: “But, does this have anything to do with the shelters!?”
Priscilla: “Although using the magical device to dispel the curse is your duty, before retaking the city hall, that time will be cleared out for you, and during that same time, the commoners’ hearts will be set aside, during which, they will sway with unease.”
Priscilla: “Before you can take your place before the magical device, those who need your song are countless. To prevent this, you must meet their needs.”
Priscilla-sama’s proposal, could finally be easily understood.
Before my songs could reach, countless cases of people hurting each other as they had in the convention center would occur. By then, perhaps the delivery most valuable saving grace of song might be too late.
Certainly they could not all be saved. But, to extend a hand to those who could be would prove to be no futile task.
Priscilla: “In mine regard, you have no small amount of courage on the stage. However, that wavering just now is dangerous. Perhaps it will show its face at a critical moment. Thus, you must increase the number of times you experience upon the stage.”
Liliana: “Times on the stage… is it?”
Times on the stage, were already at a number that was countless. Although the phrase “courage upon the stage” had never been used, never before had the stage brought any feelings of shame.
What Priscilla-sama actually meant was —
Priscilla: “Your troubles are unknown. However, what is needed is not a song for yourself, but one for others. Understand that your songs are for the sake of others. And thus, you must increase your number of times on the stage.”
Priscilla: “To be prompted by mineself to such a degree truly is arrogant. Repent with the results you will bring.”
Saying so, as if having made a decision, Priscilla-sama folded her two hands over her chest, vigorously sticking out her chest — those large breasts bounced violently, her hands moving to be placed on her waist.
Song, was a presence different from the self. To sing in such a way—.
Schult: “Priscilla-sama is as gentle as expected! I truly understand!”
Priscilla: “Too noisy, Schult.”
An exchange that couldn’t help but feel a bit facetious, but, with this I’ll make up my bind, beginning a battle of touring every shelter to perform.
Foremost, to live up to Priscilla-sama’s words, second most, to live up to a bard of song and dance — Liliana’s future! ———
Well, while visiting the shelters with this passion, checking up on those who had succumbed to frustration and despair, there would be a third broadcast…
Priscilla: “Hmm… someone else went first. How annoying.”
Priscilla-sama lifted her head to regard the pale sky, murmuring to herself like this.
As for what those feelings were directed toward, I had of course heard as well.
Natsuki Subaru-sama had made a broadcast with the magical device.
Although those words had not been clumsy, they could not be called inspiring, but perhaps in the hearts of the people within the city, aside from unrest and fear, something else could be drawn.
The same thing, as our desire to sing.
In this case, whoever did it was fine.
Liliana: “Even if someone else went first, just as he said, the city hall seems to be clear. For now let’s meet up with everyone, and begin the battle to retake the city! I! Will sing my best!”
Priscilla: “Don’t display such an insouciant attitude.”
Liliana: “No, no, no, this isn’t anything like arrogance.”
To some degree there was a sense of assurance, but what was greater was a sense of a shame.
A chance being taken away, missing an opportunity to be the [Songstress].
But taking its place was, to be able to stand in this place where a [Hero] was born, gave me such a satisfaction.
— This satisfaction, where this hero mindlessly decided to engage with Priscilla-sama, was it going to dissipate like this!
Yay! There would still be a chance to sing! Well then!