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Translated by :
- Ice (/u/Ice_Occultism)
Proofread by :
- Gracedharperd (/u/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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Arc 5 – “Stars What Make History”
Chapter 78 – “The Remaining Ripples in The Watergate City”
Reinhardt: “Ah, Subaru. Thank goodness we didn’t miss each other. I’m back.”
Subaru: “Reinhardt? How quick, you only just left.”
When Subaru and the others returned back to the shelter after they’d picked Julius up, they came across Reinhardt, who had just returned to the same shelter.
Subaru gave a surprised response at his speedy work, and Reinhardt, who had slightly raised his hand up as he walked towards them, suddenly broke into a frown. With a face that felt Subaru’s awful complexion and the unease in the somewhat anxious attitudes of the four of them, he said,
Reinhardt: “What’s the matter, Subaru…..Is there something wrong?”
Subaru: “There’s definitely something wrong…..But, it’s difficult to choose the words. There’s something I want you to confirm too.”
Reinhardt: “If I can be of any help, you may ask for whatever you want. What is it?”
Reinhardt’s response to Subaru, who’d dropped the tone of his voice, was as sincere as ever. That’s why he wanted to trust in his extraordinariness as he’d done so far, starting with the battle against the “Bowel Hunter”, all the way up to the battle against “Greed”.
However, that line of thinking of attaining salvation by divine grace was――,
Subaru: “――Do you know anything about the guy who’s standing next to me?”
Reinhardt: “……You don’t mean Beatrice-sama, right?”
Reinhardt said this whilst he looked down at the little girl in the dress that snuggled by Subaru’s side. Subaru in silence, didn’t reply to Reinhardt’s words. He merely kept staring at the “Sword Saint”, praying that the answer he desired would be returned.
To the fervour of that gaze, Reinhardt looked at the other person standing next to Subaru, and slightly narrowed his eyes as if he were thinking. However,
Reinhardt: “――My apologies. He’s someone I don’t know. Judging from his aspect and appearance, I think he’s one of the valorous individuals of this battle, though.”
Julius’ cheeks stiffened at Reinhardt’s reply.
The two of them were supposed to be close friends who were companions from the Order of Royal Guards―― With his “name” eaten, that connection of friendship also ended up being cut short.
Julius cast his eyes down gloomily on hearing that reality, and Subaru, looking at him from the side, was feeling dejected too.
The “Sword Saint”, as the strongest in the Kingdom, was the most skilled swordsman having cut apart even the Witch Cult.
Not even Reinhardt van Astrea could escape from the influence of the authority of “Gluttony”.
Or perhaps having thought that it was possible if it was Reinhardt was only a baseless wish.
That wish was cruelly broken, and only confirmed his own shallowness.
Reinhardt: “My apologies. I don’t know the reason why, but it looks like I wasn’t able to meet your expectations.”
Julius: “……Huh, it should be us who say that. From your point of view that question must have seemed like an accusation. It is us who should apologise for presuming upon that consideration.”
It was Julius himself that took responsibility in replying to Reinhardt’s apology.
He masked the shock of being treated as a stranger by a friend. He looked around the shelter as he covered himself with words of calmness. And then,
Julius: “It seems like it’s almost time for the important people to have gathered. It’s high time to start the conference that included what to do next.”
Reinhardt: “……I understand. You mean to say that we’ll talk about you too there, right?”
Guessing the intentions behind Julius’ words, Reinhardt lifted his chin. In fact, the valorous individuals of the defensive battle from earlier―― Those involved in the Royal Selection, along with the City Officials, were beginning to gather inside the shelter.
And right then, a young woman dressed in a kimono came back from outside that very shelter.
Anastasia: “Hmm, it looks like they’ve gathered before we told ‘em to. How convenien’.”
Anastasia, who’d finished looking around the outside, said that with a smile as she tugged on her scarf, Echidna. From within the surrounding shelter―― In her field of view, she obviously must have seen the figure of Julius standing next to Subaru, but it didn’t look like she was going to mention him.
Anastasia: “It seems like with Emilia-san ‘n y’all ‘n Felt-san we’re nearly jus’ about complete. If Priscilla-san comes after, then that’ll be enough. Then, I reckon we can start the conference.”
Anastasia made her suggestion as she clapped her hands together.
She said it with an air of composure, without even calling out to her best knight who should have been reflected in the corner of her eyes.
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The place that had been designated as the conference room in place of the lost City Hall was a meeting place near the shelter.
This meeting place was also a shelter, but due to its poor provisionings against flooding―― The disaster that had kept the city of Pristella on high alert, it seemed that the shelter hadn’t been used during the turmoil.
Anastasia: “To start things off with, it oughta be a good time for the people in the other shelters ta start goin’ back ta their homes, dontcha think? In truth, we also wanted ta go back to the inn…. But, it seems like the tidyin’ still hasn’ ended.”
When it came to tidying, was she referring to the inn or the people involved in the current turmoil?
Anastasia had probably made that comment so it could mean either one, so to take the initiative amongst those who had gathered at the meeting place.
Anastasia: “First of all, let me thank ya all for yer hard work. Luckily, the amount of damage which the Witch Cult’s grand offensive caused was extremely low…… Includin’ both the people who are here and those who aren’t, that’s what I believe. It was a battle like no other.”
Those Present in the Conference: “――――”
Anastasia: “Even without those grim faces, I too, understand. The damage was low, your faces say that you ain’t convinced by those words.”
The looks on those unsuspecting silent faces became harder at Anastasia’s words, who in some regards seemed unconcerned. Anastasia shrugged her shoulders and looked around the room at that.
At the meeting place, not only were the original members who had undertook the battle to defend the city assembled, but also the other collaborators who’d gotten involved had joined.
From the Emilia Camp, there was Emilia, Subaru and Beatrice. Both Garfiel and Otto were absent due to the gravity of their injuries.
From the Felt Camp, there was Felt, Reinhardt and Camberly, whose face was pale due to his out of placeness. Gaston and Larkins were absent due to their wounds and exhaustion.
From the Crusch Camp, the most important member, Crusch, was still resting in bed. So Ferris and Wilhelm were participating instead of their mistress.
From the Priscilla Camp, there was Al and Priscilla, whose face looked bored. Next to them was their attendant, Schult, safe and sound. It looked like Heinkel’s safety had been confirmed, but he was an absentee.
And from the Anastasia Camp, there was Anastasia, who was standing in the centre like she’d taken the reins. There was Tivey and Ricardo participating as well, the latter of which had white bandages wrapped throughout his body. And Julius, who was seated away from them, on the Emilia Camp side.
Finally, there was Kiritaka, Liliana and the “White Dragon Scales” who’d joined due to their involvement.
Nearly 20 people in total who were involved one way or another had gathered in the room to carry out the post-war conference of the defensive battle.
And the one who got the ball rolling and spoke out a rebuttal against Anastasia’s initial speech was Ferris, his attitude unsettled.
His yellow eyes shook with irritation as he raised his hand up,
Ferris: “The post-conference is important…… I understand that. I understand that, but I wish to speak about how we’re going to deal with the Sin Archbishop. In the end, one of the top brass of the Witch Cult was captured alive, right? There are many things that we need to ask. I want to hurry that up.”
Anastasia: “……Well, I knew Ferris-san was goin’ to say that. By the way, what’s Crusch-san’s current condition like? Has there been any change since?”
Ferris: “――I can just say she’s stable. We couldn’t get any information out of “Lust”, so right now she’s recovering her strength with my healing magic, and relying on her willpower. For a moment, her symptoms were relieved a bit thanks to Subaru-kun’s help, but…..”
Being looked at out of the corner of the eye from the frustrated Ferris, Subaru fixated his gaze on his own palm. A part of his palm had turned black, and it was in a state where it exposed an unseemliness like that of a burn or birthmark.
A similar change had occurred in Subaru’s right thigh which was covered by his trousers. Subaru didn’t feel any pain or the feeling of anything foreign in it, but it wasn’t like that for Crusch. The removal of that which was definitely eating up her strength was a matter of the highest priority to save her life.
That, and it was also rather tough for a woman to bear those black veins on her skin. That a beautiful woman like Crusch had been affected made her stand out all the more painfully.
Anastasia: “If I’m ta speak honestly, I ain’t in agreement with keepin’ that Sin Archbishop alive. That thing is a being that brings only trouble. If it’s possible, killin’ ‘em in a hurry would definitely be for the best.”
Ferris: “――! But then our leads would disappear!”
Whilst Subaru worried about the black veins, the argument between Anastasia and Ferris was reaching a boiling point.
In regards to the captured Sin Archbishop’s treatment――Sirius, Ferris stubbornly shook his head at Anastasia who had suggested its execution. It was natural from his point of view.
However, Anastasia merely shook her head at Ferris who was getting fired up.
Anastasia: “I think what happened to Crusch-san is a pity. But, they’re different mattas. Besides, that “Wrath” even knows anythin’ about “Lust”…… No, I don’t think they do in the long run. To me, it seems very unlikely that the Witch Cult was cooperatin’ with each other.”
Ferris: “If they’re connected, then why!? Why did something like today happen!? The Sin Archbishops all gathered and came to attack the city, and yet, they’re not cooperating!?”
Anastasia: “Of course, even I ain’t sayin’ that their actions overlapped by happenstance. But, their aims, retreat times ‘n dispersion don’t match, it’d be a little weird to call that cooperation…… The Witch Cult doesn’t have any awareness of stuff like cooperation. “
Ferris: “That’s just a deduction, right!?”
Raising his voice, Ferris completely denied Anastasia’s words. It looked like Anastasia as well had realised that her suggestion was difficult to accept, and it didn’t seem like she was going to give a rebuttal to that which she’d been denied by Ferris’ sentimental argumental.
Thereupon, Subaru slowly raised his hand up.
Subaru: “May I say something? I also have an opinion, but if anything, an opinion that’s close to Ferris’. I don’t think it’s pointless getting information out of “Wrath.””
Ferris: “……What do you mean?”
Subaru: “It isn’t a story I’m proud of, but a little while ago, I was allowed to speak with “Wrath” for a short amount of time, there I was able to hear a little bit about “Gluttony”. Even if it was only about the length, depth and closeness of their relationship, it’s too hasty to say we can’t get any information out of them.”
In fact, “Wrath” had thrown some words similar to a warning at Subaru about “Gluttony”.
Thanks to that, there was a part in which Subaru had realised the possibility of “Gluttony” having several individuals, and had ended up not overlooking Julius when he’d tried to distance himself from the shelter. He couldn’t close his eyes to this. Nevertheless, within Subaru’s true feelings, he also had a part which agreed with Anastasia.
Subaru: “But, leaving aside whether we can or can’t use them as a source of information, I also have a bad feeling in regards to keeping them captured……Though all the Sin Archbishops are like that.”
Right now, so that they could partake in the conference, Sirius’ guard duty was entrusted to the “White Dragon’s Scales”.
She was in a condition where she was bound in chains without quarter, and had even been gagged so to stop her from talking. They’d also been instructed to take turns keeping guard, as their hearts had the potential to be manipulated were they stay near her for too long. Nothing should happen during this conference, but his anxiety was unending.
Subaru: “It’s necessary to feel this anxiety whilst they are captured alive. I can’t unconditionally make a decision about what to do about that.”
Ferris: “Which side are you on……!?”
Ferris pointed his eyes, which were full of hatred, towards the fence-sitting Subaru. Subaru grimaced at the heat of his gaze, and said,
Subaru: “I’m not taking sides. Honestly, I think both of you are right…… In the worst case, I will do something about the black veins in Crusch-san’s body using the parts of my body which haven’t turned black, if that solves the issue, then I think that’ll be no issue.”
Subaru’s own judgement was a fairly extreme conclusion in regards to Crusch’s black veins. Upon hearing those words, Ferris’ face became flabbergasted, and Emilia looked at him with rebukeful eyes.
Everyone else also turned to look at him with shock, and complex emotions in their gazes.
Emilia: “I also heard about that, but that’s truly as a last resort, right? Right now we don’t know what’ll happen even if it’s nothing, but, acting like this is normal is…….”
Subaru: “Well, it’s not like even I want to put that seemingly unhealthy ink in my body for fun. But, we have a precedent with Crusch-san that it relieved her symptoms a little.
Subaru: “What I mean to say is: don’t hurry in drawing conclusions. I understand the feelings of impatience, but even if my back or my butt turns black, given that they’re out of sight, I’m not reluctant to help out. That’s what I’m on about.”
Despite there being a way to be able to do something, letting it go by due to his own cuteness would leave him a bad taste in his mouth.
Crusch was a valued benefactor to him, and more importantly, there was a way that didn’t involve his, nor any of the others life. He’d try and help as much as he could if it was something like darkening his skin which was out of sight.
Wilhelm: “Ferris, sit yourself. For the time being, Subaru-dono is right.”
Ferris: “……I know. I really know.”
The one who pulled Ferris’ sleeve, who was lost for words, and made him calm down, was Wilhelm. Ferris looked down and tried to say something to Subaru, but sat down without saying anything in the end.
Subaru let out a sigh on seeing his state; the mood around the then tensened meeting area went back to normal. Even so, the situation from before still continued.
Anastasia: “In any case, I understan’ that everyone’s opinions regardin’ the treatment of the Sin archbishops are divided. It’s worryin’ to keep ‘em alive, ‘n even the limits of mine ‘n Natsuki-kun’s instincts ain’ comin’ out……In truth, if they’d killed ‘em instead of captured ‘em, our talk would have gone all the more quicka.”
Priscilla: “――What, this worthless spiel has ended? No matter how much you gaze upon mineself, no rewards shalt be given to a show that lacks value. Cease that beggar’s look immediately.”
Priscilla replied with a yawn to the bantering Anastasia’s look.
That misplaced reply was proof that Priscilla hadn’t been listening to the conversation properly up until now. Her participating in this conference must also have been some kind of whim of hers.
Anastasia: “Don’ speak so slyly. Though that attitude is unbecomin’ for one who captured someone from the Witch Cult alive, more than anyone else, why did ya capture ‘em? What led to this bizarre turn of events?”
Priscilla: “As if mineself knew whether she’d live or die. When I gave the final blow, the Yang Sword clouded over and its sharpness disappeared. Thus, she survived. The one who dragged her out from the canal was one of the rabble who’d drained the water in search for the songstress. It has nothing to do with mineself.”
Anastasia: “It doesn’ bother you that the one you’d tried to kill didn’ die?”
Priscilla: “The contrary. Mineself drove the sword solely to kill. If she didn’t die by that, then mineself has no intention to kill her again. Though she didn’t die by mine hand, it seems to be all the more convenient as far as mineself is concerned.”
Anastasia: “Haa, I don’t understand, but aight.”
Anastasia seemed to have given up trying to understand Priscilla, who as ever, had elaborated her enigmatic theory. Subaru didn’t know her intentions either, but Priscilla’s thinking probably wasn’t understood by anyone else.
It was dubious whether even Al and Schult, who stood by her side, understood heads or tails of it.
Reinhardt: “At least, I am against judging “Wrath” in this place. I do want to respect Ferris’ feelings of course, and it’s also a unique opportunity for the Kingdom. On top of strictly keeping guard of them, I think that we should make an effort to get what they know out of them.”
Felt: “……I think it’s better to kill ‘em. Even just remembering those Sin Archbishops makes me sick to the stomach, I don’t think they’d say anything that half makes sense. It’s better to kill ‘em before being dragged into something problematic, so that they won’t cause any problems in the future, prob’ly.”
Felt: “For your information, I ain’t at all saying this to get on your nerves this time.”
And, coming from a different place, the opinions were split between master and servant.
Reinhardt, who had advocated that they should keep “Wrath” alive, and Felt, who had denied that. Although, Felt’s opinion wasn’t well grounded.
Felt herself didn’t seem to think that her opinion would be accepted. In the end, “Wrath’s” person would be given into custody to the Kingdom, it looked like it would end up like that.
Reinhardt: “I shall be the one responsible for escorting “Wrath” to the Royal Capital. In the case “Wrath” is scheming something, I would be the person most able to deal with it. And in the worst case, there is the eventuality that a conviction might need to be carried out too.”
Anastasia: “When it comes ta bein’ suitable for that, ya are it seems. But in this case, will Felt-san follow ya to the capital too? Or shall master and servant go their separate ways…..”
Felt: “If Reinhardt’s going, I’m going too. ――This time, it can’t be helped.”
Reinhardt’s face changed to one of astonishment on hearing Felt’s words. Felt caught a fleeting glimpse of his face from the side, and plastered a deep scowl on her lovely face,
Felt: “Don’t get the wrong idea. The fact that I can’t stand you ain’t changed. It ain’t changed, but there’s times where I ain’t gonna do that.”
Reinhardt: “There are times where you aren’t going to do that?”
Felt: “I don’t know. Try ask that to your own chest. My chest ain’t soft enuff to reply back t’ya.”
Sticking out her underdeveloped chest for her age, Felt stuck her tongue out at Reinhardt. Reinhardt cast his eyes down seeing his master’s attitude, and then quietly lifted his chin up.
Only they themselves knew what feelings there were between master and servant. At any rate, it looked like the Felt Camp too wasn’t the same as it had been a year ago.
Camberley: “W-Well, in that case, I’ll……”
Reinhardt: “Camberly, look after Larkins and Gaston. Once they can move about, they may first return back to the mansion. Bring them only in contact with Old Man Rom.”
Camberley: “Y-yessir, I understand.”
A look of relief came over the uncomfortable-looking Camberley on receiving his orders.
For now, thanks to Reinhardt volunteering they could feel at ease regarding “Wrath’s” escort. What came after, that which they could get out of Sirius, would be the duties of the Kingdom’s experts.
Kiritaka: “Then, may we move to the next issue? Ladies and Gentlemen.”
The one who’d raised his hand up after he’d seen the matter of “Wrath’s” treatment decided had been Kiritaka. He gazed at everyone’s faces whilst he adjusted his slightly messy hair with his hand. And then, he spoke out,
Kiritaka: “First of all, regarding the battle to protect this city….. I’d like to thank you all on behalf of all of its citizens. If it wasn’t for all of you, the city of Pristella would likely have fallen into the evil clutches of the Witch Cult. I offer my deepest gratitude for that.”
Kiritaka hung his head low, and bowed, having taken responsibility for speaking of the general consensus of the city. Liliana, who was by his side, with a look of panic on her face, also bowed her head like Kiritaka had.
Putting Kiritaka aside, Liliana’s earnest reaction was quite unlike her. Perhaps her fight against “Wrath”, or something after that had caused a change in her attitude.
In any case,
Subaru: “We were already in the city, and involved, we didn’t have the option to just watch on as a spectator, so you don’t have to thank us to this grandiose extent. Dontcha think?”
Emilia: “Yeah. Besides, maybe the Witch Cult taking over the city was just a bonus for them judging by their aims. Whether we saved them or they saved us, maybe we don’t know which one it is.”
Emilia and Subaru insisted that it was hard for them to accept the praises at face value for the Witch Cult’s attack. Certainly, the greatest part of repelling the Witch Cult had been down to the merit of the members gathered here. However, in the first place, the Sin Archbishops’ aims were “Emilia”, the “Artificial Spirit” and “The Book of Wisdom”.
All of those things had been brought in by those involved from the outside, and the Emilia Camp had been responsible for gathering them all. They couldn’t sincerely accept their praises.
Felt: “Wait up. It bothers me that you say that freely as if it were the consensus. Are you really saying that if we hadn’t been here, they would’ve slammed the door shut on those Witch Cult guys? I reckon we needa talk more clearly about that.”
Priscilla: “’Tis vexing, but I’m in agreement with that beggar girl. Don’t drag us into all of you commoner’s self-convenient diffidence. Don’t be so conceited, you half-witch and you philistine.”
However, the harsh duo stated their rigid opinions on hearing the words of Subaru and Emilia.
Felt and Priscilla looked at each other after they finished speaking, and immediately looked away, their faces looking disgusted. Ever since from the start, those two did not get along with each other. Only those in her camp were close to Priscilla, so it a pretty normal reaction.
Kiritaka: “Please settle down. I’m gladdened by Emilia-sama’s words, but as Felt-sama and Priscilla-sama said, the city’s defense was all of your merit. This I vow as a representative of the city. ――In the meantime, I’d like you to lend your strength just a little while longer.”
Subaru: “By strength…. You mean the next issue you mentioned earlier?”
Kiritaka: “Indeed. It’s about the inhabitants who were transformed by that wicked power.”
Everyone there went silent at hearing Kiritaka’s sombre tone.
What he was about to point out―― Was something which everyone here understood. The staff of the City Hall who’d fallen into the evil clutches of “Lust” and had been transformed into inhuman forms.
One had been transformed into a black dragon, and the other dozen or so had been transformed into huge flies.
They still couldn’t do anything due to the effect of “Lust’s” authority, Variation & Change. For now they ought to have gathered them in one place and concealed their existence, though.
Kiritaka: “The culprit, “Lust”, has fled…… No, even if we could catch “Lust” in the first place, it’s doubtful whether or not they’d have any intention to turn them back to normal.”
Subaru: “That’s for sure….. But we can’t just leave them, right? Is there anything at all which we could do? Isn’t it even impossible for Ferris?”
The changes to the people who couldn’t turn back to their original form were fundamentally different from injuries or disease.
Seeing Subaru’s gaze, Ferris shook his head, and then bit his lips,
Ferris: “Even I simply can’t cure that. No, it isn’t about whether I can cure them or not. It isn’t an injury or disease, they were just transformed into those kind of creatures. Healing magic can only help you get back to being right as rain if you’re injured or sick. That’s why healing magic is futile against those transformations.”
Kiritaka: “To be frank, I can’t tell if the people who were turned into flies have awareness. I can’t make the distinction, and a fly the size of a person can’t even fly to begin with. They haven’t learnt how to move their wings properly, they’re in an incomplete state. But, if they have awareness”
Subaru: “If they clearly understand their circumstances, they’d end up going crazy I guess….”
They had lost their own figures.
It was a frightening change, even in just thinking about that. However, considering that they’d been changed into something inhuman―― into something repulsive, it made it all the more worse. When your body isn’t free, and you even lose the means to express your will, you could imagine pretty easily what they’d be thinking in the end.
For sure they would….
Priscilla: “Those who were transformed into vile insects would want to die, I’d imagine. If there is no chance to turn them back, then would it not be merciful to bestow that?”
Al: “Princess, that’s…..”
Priscilla: “Be silent, Al. There’s no meaning in mere wishful lip service. Mineself has no mercy to dish out to slothful pigs, but killing those who revile fate by being trifled to absurdity with is also a kindness. In short, that’s what it means.”
With her harsh view, Priscilla dismissed Al, who had instinctively voiced his opinion. However, the reason why Al didn’t make any more objections, was because Priscilla’s opinion was also correct in some sense.
Of course, he didn’t think they should die. But, they had been transformed into flies and there was no known way to get them back to normal; it was perfectly natural that they would want to die.
Subaru: “It’s impossible to negotiate with the culprit, “Lust”. Healing magic doesn’t fix them. What do we do?”
Kiritaka: “I’d wanted to ask everyone about that. It doesn’t matter even if it’s a shot in the dark. Does no one have any idea on how to cure them?”
Still seeming to cling onto hope, Kiritaka’s question was drenched in both expectation and resignation. No, the amount of resignation was stronger. And that was natural. If there’d been any possibility to cling onto, someone would have been bound to have suggested it by now.
In other words, at this point in time, where no allusions to a solution had been made so far,
Kiritaka: “――I understand. I profusely apologise for the inconvenience. Dealing with them is an issue for the City, we shall take the responsibility afterwards.”
Subaru: “Take the responsibility? What will you all do?”
Kiritaka: “We’ll consider the possibilities after this….. We have to check the will of those involved, and see each of their conclusions. No matter what the final opinions are, we shall see it through until the very end.”
They sounded like strong words that implied the end in which they ended their lives instead of the one where they could return back to normal. Kiritaka’s conclusion was inevitable in a sense.
It was inevitable, but it was too soon for that conclusion.
Emilia: “Wait. ――Erm, wouldn’t you be able to leave it to me?”
Having realised that their discussion on that matter had reached its end, Emilia quickly raised her hand. She looked straight at Kiritaka whilst feeling his anxious and expectant gaze converging on her, and said,
Emilia: “A way to return them all back to normal right now…. Sorry, that I don’t know. But, I want you to not make any hasty conclusions. We need more time.”
Kiritaka: “I understand your feelings, Emilia-sama. But, it’s about whether they have that time in them. The big issue is for how long their spirits can maintain their equilibrium in their transformed bodies……”
Emilia: “Yeah, I know. That’s why I will make time to protect their minds. ――It may be a crude method, but it’ll surely be able to do the job. A way of putting them to sleep.”
Subaru: “I see……Cold Sleep.”
Realising Emilia’s intentions, Subaru snapped his fingers and then raised his voice.
As he felt the people around him tilting their heads quizzically due to the unfamiliar words, Subaru nodded at Emilia, who was looking at him,
Subaru: “In other words, you mean the same way as with the brides in the church, right? With Emilia-tan’s magic, we’ll put the transformed people into a state of suspended animation. It may end up just postponing the inevitable, but it’s sufficient to put off making a conclusion. In the meanwhile, we should find a solution.”
Kiritaka: “Freezing them, and keeping them sleeping….. Is that possible? But won’t they end up freezing to death in their sleep?”
Emilia: “They’ll be fine. It was for a short while, but I used this on the brides, so I understand the effects on one’s health, and besides, I also slept for around 100 years by myself.”
Kiritaka: “You yourself slept……!?”
Although an undesired commotion spread throughout the meeting place, Subaru clenched his fist at Emilia’s words.
It was unusual that Emilia was being positive about her magic and that she had insisted on trying to use it this way as well. That, and it was a fine play that even Subaru hadn’t thought about.
It certainly wasn’t a drastic solution to the problem, but they just needed time to find a solution from somewhere other than “Lust”. At least, their possibilities should be increased in not having a set time limit.
In the worst case―― Yes, it was the worst case, but there existed a possibility.
Subaru would defeat “Lust” with his own hands, and take away the Witch Factor she held. Or perhaps, if it was him, it may not be possible that he could return them back to normal using the power of that Witch Factor.
He’d just taken in the Witch Factor of “Greed”, and it was possible that reproducing the Sin Archbishop’s authority was merely a pipe dream.
Kiritaka: “……If that’s possible, by all means I would like to ask that of you, but…”
Emilia: “Let me do it. You won’t regret it for sure.”
Emilia repeated her request to Kiritaka who was hesitating, at a loss for what to think. Kiritaka agonised about it before her earnest attitude. However, Liliana who was at his side, tugged at the cuff of his suit.
The brown girl looked up at Kiritaka and then flared up her nostrils,
Lilianna: “What are you worried about, Kiritaka-san? Why not? Let her try! After all that Emilia-sama said. It’s natural that there’s a chance of success!”
Kiritaka: “Of course, I want to believe that too, very much so, Liliana. However, this is something that involves many lives. We can’t come to a conclusion so easily..….”
Lilianna: “There’s no need to worry! Emilia-sama will not fail. Because, BeeeeeecAAAAuuuSEEE! The great heroes of the future can all surmount such tribulations without difficulty! Those heroic tales where they surmount any wall standing in their way, no matter how tall or thick it is! Blood boiling and flesh raising, a tale which fascinates everyone is created like so!”
The gentle strum of the Lyulyre, unsuitable for the meeting place, resounded throughout.
None of Lilianna’s idealistic notions had any basis, but for some reason, they did have a strange persuasive power to them. Of course, it wasn’t so simple as to make their conclusion using just that.
Subaru: “At the least, let’s ask their families. If the staff of the City Hall are the victims, then their family should be in the same city, right? We should try and hear from them whether they leave open that possibility.”
Kiritaka: “……In regards to that question, there shouldn’t be anyone who seemed to have abandoned their family.”
Subaru: “Then we can talk later about whether we will leave this to Emilia or not. And, regarding whether they will believe Emilia or not….. Well, I’d like to hear about that specifically from the consensus of the city.”
Kiritaka directed his gaze towards Emilia, showing signs of hesitation. If Emilia had cowered from that look, then perhaps the debate would dragged on even further.
However, Emilia nodded without fear at his clinging gaze.
Emilia: “Leave it to me. ――I will do it without fail.”
Confidence and conviction―― Even though it was somewhat of a different feeling, Emilia had shown her willingness to face her own deeds with a strong sense of self-awareness and preparedness.
Kiritaka was speechless in seeing the gaze in Emilia’s eyes, and in hearing her assertion.
And it wasn’t just that, the gazes of the people around which were pointed at Emilia also showed an infinite variety of reactions as if they were swaying in a wave of emotions different to the ones so far.
Finally, Kiritaka let out a deep sigh.
Kiritaka: “I und…erstand. For sure, I reckon we should endeavour to make our wishes come true rather than jumping to hasty conclusions. Since otherwise the battle to protect Pristella too had seemed reckless at first.”
Emilia: “Yeah. I’m reaaally thankful.”
Kiritaka: “It’s me who should be thanking you….”
Kiritaka smiled wryly at having lost his position. After the conference, and after they got permission from the victims’ families, it seemed like the Cold Sleep from Emilia’s magic would be realised.
Subaru replied to Emilia’s nod by giving her a thumbs up.
Having cleared up the second point of dispute, what came next was their last topic on the agenda.
And that was――,
???: “So, the last issue……There have been many reports of unconscious people of unknown identity that were found one after the other in various parts of the city. I’d like for us to discuss this matter.”
Most likely, for the knight who had been forgotten and had remained silent until now, it was the most important issue.
※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
???: “Right now, the number of “Nameless” people is reported to be 36. Amongst them for us, it includes six people who appear to have been part of the “White Dragon’s Scales”. Furthermore, it’s very likely that the number of “Nameless” people will increase in the future.”
The one who led the debate and gave the report was Dynas, the representative of the “White Dragon’s Scales”. With his fingers, he touched the dragon crest that was embroidered on his white garb, a strong expression of regret adorning his face.
Most likely, that was the crest that denoted that they were “White Dragon’s Scales”. The ambiguous testimony that he had said, “Who appear to have been part of” must have been related to that crest as well.
Felt: “It’s okay to say that the guys who were attacked by that Sin Archbishop are “Nameless”, right? Like, the guys who popped up out of nowhere suddenly defeated.”
Kiritaka: “Taking into account the situation, it’s reasonable to think that, I’d say. Their uniforms have matching embroidery sewn in….. It’s really frustrating that their identities are completely unknown.”
Dynas: “What’s more is that there’s 30 more people who are in a similar position…..It’s a complete mess. It’s unclear to say whether they were or not, it’s difficult to judge what the best thing to do is.”
The victims of “Gluttony”―― Dealing with the people who had had their “Names” eaten, in some sense, were harder to deal with than the victims of “Lust”. After all, the victims had completely disappeared from the memories of those who knew them. On top of that, if the people in question weren’t conscious, then there were no clues left to find their identity.
Even with the people from the “White Dragon’s Scales”, it may be great that just their affiliation was known, but no one knew more than that. They didn’t know who they were caring for, or such.
Felt: “All of the “Nameless” that you found were unconscious, right? What was the healing arts user’s chic…….. No, guy’s prognosis on that?”
Ferris: “……It’s the same as with “Lust” as well. I don’t know why they are unconscious. The result of my prognosis is that I think they are just sleeping. But this too isn’t a certainty. Those who just sleep should keep keep weakening, but then there’s the case of Rem-chan.”
To the words of Felt, Ferris looked over at Subaru and then spoke.
A year ago, having suffered the same damage from “Gluttony”, Rem had been diagnosed from Ferris similarly as to the “Nameless” people. The result of the prognosis had been exactly the same. And still up until now, Rem hadn’t woken up, and yet her health hadn’t deteriorated.
Even though she seemed asleep, he had to say that her body wasn’t carrying out its functions for life support. Her hair wasn’t growing, and there wasn’t even any excretion. She was in an unfathomable state.
Subaru: “Putting aside knowing their identities or not, the care of those people is easy. It’s better to deal with bedridden people since they’re bedridden, we can just leave them sleeping in their beds……. Even though in truth, I’d like for someone who knows them to be by their side.”
Ricardo: “Since that ain’ possible, that’s the issue, ain’t it? It’s somethin’ arduous.”
Even though he knew saying that had been half-meaningless, Subaru had done it for Rem. In the real meaning, he had no other choice but to defeat “Gluttony” for Rem.
Even if he knew that, having offered a little bit of opposition was Subaru’s self-satisfaction.
Subaru’s naivety was denied by Ricardo, who’d raised his voice, his face showing no traces of ill will. When he turned to take a glimpse at his side, Ricardo was sitting on two chairs set side by side, having crammed his huge body in, and was taking part in the conference.
He still seemed to have his spirited attitude unchanged, but there was something that was different in just one place. And that was the hefty amount of bandages that were wrapped around him, and his right arm missing from the elbow down.
Ricardo: “Don’ make such a miserable face, bro’. It’s true that I screwed up, but I’m alive. When ya think about what happened now, it’s by far more preferable damage.”
Noticing Subaru’s gaze, Ricardo raised his severed right arm up and bared his fangs. It seemed like Ricardo had lost his right arm due to an attack from “Gluttony” during the fierce battle of the control tower.
He’d heard that from Julius, who had been fighting at his side. Julius had also told him that Ricardo had lost his arm protecting him, and that Ricardo himself didn’t remember it.
As if proving that, Ricardo shifted his gaze to Subaru’s side, and said,
Ricardo: “By the way, I see that handsome guy next ta ya is an acquaintance of yers bro’? Looks like ya met the guy ya were searching for, that’s a relief ain’t it. Truly thank ya for helpin’ me earlier.”
Calling Julius a handsome guy, Ricardo acted as if he was talking to a stranger.
From the flow of the conversation, it seemed that Julius had exchanged with Ricardo the same words as back when he had tried to smokescreen Subaru at first.
Julius should have carried the injured Ricardo to the shelter, so it could be presumed that Ricardo’s thanks in the end were for that.
Nevertheless, leaving this misunderstanding as is was far too agonising.
Besides, they’d come to the topic of “Gluttony”. It was time to cut to the chase it seemed.
Subaru: “I have something which I want to talk to everyone about. It’s something important that’s related to the dealing of the “Nameless”.”
Standing up, Subaru got the attention of everyone in the hall to himself.
Right now, the one who had the most information on how to deal with the “Nameless” was Subaru. Subaru felt everyone’s gazes naturally filled with anticipation of a solution for this state of affairs, however he shook his head.
Subaru: “I’m sorry for having caused anticipation, in all honesty, this isn’t something which will yield hope immediately. But I have to talk about this.”
Anastasia: “Ya know, if ya give it an extravagant preface, yer bound ta make us fret. What are ya plannin’ to say?”
Anastasia threw a few joking words to Subaru so to try and relieve some of the tension in the place. However, it was her who should be the one most prepared for this.
Otherwise, the fact had the potential to turn her current state of mind inside out from the roots.
Subaru took a quick breath, and then looked at everyone’s faces. And finally, he looked at Julius, who nodded despite looking tense.
Seeing that, Subaru then pointed to the neighbouring Julius with his hand, and asked his question.
Subaru: “Is there anyone who knows the name of this man here?”
Silence prevailed in the meeting place to Subaru’s question.
The time that was kept in silence wasn’t out of a lack of understanding, though. It was because everyone sensed the intent of Subaru’s question, and were contemplating about Julius’ position.
And on that basis, if nobody said a word, it meant that there was no one who had any idea about Julius’ identity.
Subaru: “Al! What about you? Don’t you remember his face?”
Al: “Ah? What’s up, Bro. Why are you nominating me all of a sudden?”
Having had his name abruptly called out, Al raised his voice in sheer surprise. That behaviour was enough to prove that he had memories of Julius inside of him, but, even so, he had to make sure.
Subaru placed his hand on the roundtable and posed his question to Al, whilst leaning forward towards him.
Subaru: “Do you really not know why? It’s what you and I have in common. So, do you not remember this guy? Well? Reply to me.”
Al: “……Ah, so that’s why. Sorry, bro. I know what you mean, but I don’t think I can help you. That guy’s nowhere to be found in my head.”
Subaru: “Are you completely sure? If you think a little more seriously…..”
Julius: “That’s enough. ――That’s plenty enough, Subaru”
As an isekaier―― Al presumed the intention behind those series of questions based off of that, but he hadn’t nodded his head. Nonetheless, it was Julius himself who stopped the unrelenting Subaru.
Julius clapped Subaru’s shoulder with a forlorn smile on his face, and bowed at Al.
Julius: “I over-expected, I’m sorry. We apologise for our impoliteness.”
Al: “You have no reason to apologise. I don’t know….. If there was such a reason to or not, but you don’t need to apologise to me.”
Waving his sole arm, Al turned his gaze away from Julius.
There were no signs of falsehood in his reaction. It was probably true that Al didn’t remember Julius. Then, that meant part of Subaru’s conjecture was incorrect.
The world you originated from had nothing to do with the effect of “Gluttony’s” authority.
If it was like so, then after all, the most likely reason was the Witch Factor inside Subaru’s body. And it seemed to be limited to isolation with the outside world according to Beatrice’s “Door Crossing”.
Wilhelm: “Judging from the story, Subaru-dono. This young man was involved with us…… And in addition to that, I also think it’s someone who was in a fairly important position?”
Wilhelm spoke out his deduction after observing the trio’s exchange. Others would have most likely come to the same conclusion which the wisened swordsman did.
Subaru nodded at Wilhelm, and then he turned to look towards Julius,
Subaru: “This is Julius. Julius Euculius. Like all of you guessed, his “name” was eaten by “Gluttony”, and ended up as one of the “Nameless” people. But the process is different than the others who were unconscious. ――His consciousness remains.”
Ferris: “We have such a case? He’s forgotten by those around him, but he himself remembers….. So, is this person one of ours?”
With disbelief on his face, Ferris swept his gaze from Subaru to Julius and then back again many times over. To the shivering Ferris’ words, Reinhardt tucked his chin in and said “It seems so.”
The “Sword Saint” gazed at Julius with his tranquil eyes, and said,
Reinhardt: “Before the conference, Subaru asked me the same question as well. He….. Julius was likely an acquaintance of mine or Ferris. Or maybe the word “acquaintance” isn’t sufficient to describe our relationship. A friend, perhaps.”
Julius: “……At least, I thought of you both as friends. If you both consider me a friend in the same way, nothing would make me feel more honoured.”
Ferris: “Friends…… Then, Julius you’re a knight as well? One of the Royal Guards?”
Both Reinhardt and Ferris were bewildered at having been called a friend by a stranger.Their reaction couldn’t be helped, thus Julius corrected them half in resignation.
Subaru’s insides were burning in anger as he watched the trio’s exchange.
What a warped, nauseating scene it was.
Subaru didn’t know in detail how the three of them had met, how they ended up becoming friends, and what their friendship was like.
Even so, as colleagues, as friends, the three of them should have interacted with each other in a close, naturally familiar manner. Now there wasn’t even a trace left of those certain bonds.
When Rem’s “Name” had been eaten, and everyone had forgotten her existence, Subaru had thought there was nothing that existed in this world that was more sorrowful than that.
But, what about Julius’ current condition? The sensation of complete loss that invaded him from being abandoned by everyone in the world; if that wasn’t sad, then what was?
Sadness wasn’t something you could compare. But, even if it was, this was far too cruel.
Anastasia: “……I guess it ain’t somethin’ like him bein’ a plain ol’ Royal Guard.”
Out of the blue, Anastasia’s words butted in between the painful first meeting of those friends.
She put a thoughtful expression across her gentle features, and licked her lips as she touched her jaw. Then, she pointed at Ricardo before then pointing at Julius,
Anastasia: “Julius-san was the one who brought back, on his shoulders, the grievously injured Ricardo. Straight afta we talked a bit about Ricardo’s treatment, he immediately left sayin’ that he had ta go ‘n search for someone…… But, about that reaction, that’s whatya did, wasn’ it?”
It was their second first encounter which between master and servant, should not normally occur. Recalling the bitter memories of that time, Julius spoke out the name of his master with anguish on his face.
However, Anastasia didn’t even take notice of the presence of the quivering devotion that he’d put into those words. She thought for a moment, and then raised one of her fingers.
Anastasia: “Julius-san’s “Nameless” case is a ratha’ unusual one. We don’ know how many people in the city are in the same state, but mayhaps there’s a possibility of confirmin’ that for others too who are like the unconscious “Nameless”.” There’s no doubt that this too is a serious situation. Ain’ that right?”
Moving her gaze away from Julius, Anastasia directed the theme to the outline of the debate. It looked like the matter of Julius’ identity had been postponed as one of the problems that couldn’t be resolved.
That was pretty unjust treatment for the current Julius, but Subaru was the only one in this place who could feel outraged by it.
Anastasia: “In light of these problems….. I have a proposal, though, is that okay?
Subaru: “A proposal?”
Subaru’s innermost feelings were put aside, and the attention of the conference was once again directed at Anastasia.
At the centre of attention, Anastasia looked around the surroundings, before finally settling her gaze on Subaru and Julius.
Anastasia: “The victims of the Witch Cult….. The victims of “Lust”, and those “Nameless” from “Gluttony”. Askin’ the Sin archbishop in question for a solution for each of these is hopeless, are we in agreemen’ with that?”
Kiritaka: “It would be difficult to force them to speak, in that sense, you’re right I guess. But, an overly pessimistic opinion could on the contrary result in clouding our view.”
Anastasia: “That doesn’ mean I’m thinkin’ about the worst either. But, there isn’ just one way to get an answer, I jus’ wanted to say that.”
Subaru: “There’s a different way to get an answer?”
Subaru ended up parroting back Anastasia’s words without comprehending the meaning of her words.
A different solution to asking the corresponding Sin Archbishops who were the culprits behind the damage―― If there existed such a way, it would probably be close to a Witch’s deal.
For a split second, a choice which Subaru mustn’t make crossed his mind, in that if it were the “Witch of Greed”, she’d maybe know the answer.
Emilia: “So, what do you mean? Please tell us clearly.”
However, Emilia asked Anastasia about the true meaning of her words in place of Subaru, who was busy shaking his head denying that idea. And then, whilst drumming her head with her fingers, Anastasia said,
Anastasia: “If we can’t get the information out of those crooked Sin Archbishops, then we oughta ask it ta another person who may know. ――There is such it seems. Someone from this country who may know a way.”
???: “There’s no way……”
Having guessed the meaning of Anastasia’s words, someone spoke that out in a hoarse voice.
However, unlike everyone else around him who’d realised what she was on about, Subaru had no idea what her statement meant.
Felt: “I don’t understand. Don’t put on airs, and say it clearly.”
Felt sulkily demanded that from Anastasia, her understanding the same as Subaru’s. Anastasia gave a wry smile to Felt’s words, and apologised with an “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”
Anastasia: “――The Sage Shaula”
Anastasia: “The Pleiades Watchtower, if it’s the “Sage” who should be there….. If they’re the person of legend who can see everythin’ about the world, it wouldn’ be strange if they knew, right?”
She said that, and revealed the true intentions behind her proposal.