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Translated By :
- Ringo (/u/Ringo_17)
Art Source :
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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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ーーGulping down those words he had heard, he required several seconds to chew their meaning.
Subaru: “Reid is, Roy Alphard……?”
At the report betraying his expectations, Subaru’s thoughts were disturbed into a shape unlike that of the suffering he had taken over.
The pain and suffering he had arbitrarily taken from his comrades, due to those negative feelings his mind was working slowly, but this was a situation where even that could not be put to blame.
After taking some time provisionally, and with his brain seemingly melting out of his ears, his thoughts were endless.
In front of him, the majestic figure standing boldly about whom this revelation had been made, the red-headed swordsman, unmistakably the existence who was the biggest nuisance in this Pleiades Watchtower, Reid Astrea, all whilst staring at him, Subaru whispered.
Julius, who had readied his knight sword on his side, focusing on Reid, his expression possessed no signs of falsehood.
In the first place, he was not a person with a personality who would make such unfunny jokes in a gambling room where it was all a matter of life and death. That was the commentary on Julius by Subaru, who had once forgotten everything, and aligning with that, the one in question was fully serious.
Because it meant that Julius’ remarks, who had that conviction, were certain truth.
Subaru: “If Reid, is 『Gluttony』, then that means……”
One of the obstacles that existed in the watchtower, however, standing at a vague position when it came to demarcation as ally or enemy was Reid.
But if that existence were to explicitly be one of those who were distinctly the enemies, thenーー,
Subaru: “So that’s why, you were…… again and again, so persistently……?”
Reid: “ーーHey, just wait, you. That’s a pretty borin’ misunderstandin’, ya know.”
Reid: “It’s no joke, you. Hey, you. You. You, sayin’ that I’m takin’ the form of that unrelated idiot, don’t go trustin’ that borin’ conclusion, you.”
Hearing Subaru’s trembling voice, Reid distorted his cheeks with seemingly painful displeasure.
The meaning of that reaction, Subaru was unable to comprehend.
ーーThe Sin Archbishop of 『Gluttony』, Roy Alphard was manifesting in the form of Reid.
Subaru, who had just previously seen the transformations of Louis Arneb, had reached that extremely respectable conclusion. The Authority of 『Gluttony』 of extorting the shape, form and combat power of the opponent, the result of that was Reid in front of them.
However, Reid’s mood turned worse quite frankly at that conclusion.
The cause of that seemed to be, instead of the behaviour of a coward hiding his true identity without knowing when to give, something much more simple, like the displeasure of a child upon being teased.
The real meaning of that wasーー,
Reid: “Ain’t it obvious that I’d be me. Because that’ll never change, I’m standin’ here. Do ya disagree? You, are ya sayin’ I’m wrong?”
Touching the eyepatch on his left eye, as if baring his sharp fangs, Reid declared towards Subaru.
Receiving that, Subaru inhaled and furrowed his eyebrows, deeply reading into his words.
And, noticing a certain possibility, he shortened his breath.
Subaru: “It can’t be, Julius……”
Julius: “Ah, likely, what you are imagining is correct.”
While keeping his line of sight maintained towards Reid, Julius pulled in his jaw upon Subaru’s hoarse voice. The good-looking man, rubbing the cheek stained by his own blood with his shoulder, and while continuing to erase that bloodstain,
Julius: “My wording earlier, was at fault. Let me correct it. ーーHe, in front of our eyes, that flesh body belongs to Roy Alphard. However, that spirit is different.”
Julius: “Roy Alphard, ate the 『Memories』 of Reid Astrea, and had the control over his own spirit stolen by those 『Memories』. Henceforth he, with no restrictions, descended from the second layer and is now here.”
The absurd possibility he had thought of, having that affirmed by Julius, Subaru found himself dumbfounded.
Thinking that something like even that was possible, was Subaruーー no, each one aside from Subaru, Emilia and Beatrice, even Ram as well, all of them together widened their eyes.
Certainly, everything’s reasoning was logical with Julius’ explanation.
Originally, as the trial-taker of the 『Trial』 in Pleiades Watchtower, Reid Astrea, who was not supposed to able to leave the second layer, wandering about in the tower making an expression as if he owned the whole place, the reality behind that.
Subaru, in the worlds he had continued to repeatedly witness, and had been confused in the mayhem which brought the end of the tower, in those, he himself had not been able to attain freedom, but had taken advantage of the actions of 『Gluttony』 and had acquired freedom.
Yes, that’s right. With that, all of the baffling situations surrounding Reid made sense.
ーーHowever, as that excessively went through all standards, he was unable to close his mouth, which was hanging open.
Beatrice: “Dragged along by the 『Memories』, and lost sight of the true self, is what it would mean, I suppose.”
Ram: “Simply put, it must mean that the one with the stronger self won and remained. ーーIn terms of self principles, one chased away the other.”
Though a bit late compared to Subaru, Beatrice and Ram arrived at the same conclusion.
Though it was an unstructured way of speaking, Ram’s words expressed the truth with frankness.
Subaru: “But, I have a doubt too……”
That was, why the eaten Reid’s existence had not disappeared from everyone’s memories.
Till now, the ones who had fallen victim to 『Gluttony』 aside from Subaru, Rem and Julius, had their existences erased from the memories of all people, is how it seemed.
The truth is, in the previous loop, the existence of Emilia disappearing from the memories of Ram and the rest was something Subaru could confirm. If so, then the same thing not happening to Reid was,
Julius: “Principally, what 『Gluttony』 had eaten was not Reid’s 『Name』 but at maximum his 『Memories』, is what that would mean. It is not possible the eat both the 『Name』 and 『Memories』 of a dead person. That is what Roy Alphard had asserted.”
Subaru: “ーー~hk! Did you witness the scene of Reid getting eaten!?”
Sensing Subaru’s doubt, saying that, Julius closed a single eye. He responded with a short “Yes”, looking at the crumbled wall he himself had passed through,
Julius: “When I went to the second layer in accordance with your instructions, you see. Timely enough, that was when Roy Alphard and Reid were having negotiations. Negotiation, to name it that, would be suspicious in itself, though.”
Subaru: “What’s suspicious, about that?”
Julius: “Because Reid was making no effort for resistance. ーーPerhaps 『Gluttony』, for some reason or the other, may have had been subjected to the 『Trial』. That is why he, the trial-taker, was unable to attack the opponent.”
Reid: “Hah ~hk! You, that’s about half correct and half incorrect.”
At the conjecture stated by Julius, none other than Reid called a halt to it. While crackling his thick neck bones, he had his nails touch the pit of his stomach,
Reid: “Certainly, there’s no way they were gonna be participants for the 『Trial』, but if I had thought of doin’ it then I would have had done it, you know? If I did that then I won’t be here right now, ain’t that so?”
Julius: “You have attained the opponent’s self. Are you, saying that you already possessed confidence in that?”
Reid: “Just actin’ as if focusing on only the strong parts is somethin’ I won’t allow. Placing everythin’ one’s side has and gamblin’ on it all is what’s interestin’. Though, that was somethin’ that runt didn’t understand.”
Regardless of the truth of him having obtained that physical body, whatever had been the interests of 『Gluttony』 who had been affected by that sequence of events, Reid declared about Roy, whom he had confronted, with terrible indifference.
Merely, the fact is, the reality in front of their eyes was the truth. ーーThe self of Roy Alphard, had been painted out by the monster known as Reid Astrea.
Reid: “If you wanna eat and taste me then there’s a stomach large enough to fit me in. He didn’t have that. That’s why, I bit and tore apart the stomach. That’s all there’s to it.”
Subaru: “That’s all, there’s to it, you say……”
Aside from his bearing nausea and the sense of abrasion of his mind and body, Subaru felt his head starting to hurt.
In other words, if what happened in Reid’s body was to be said straightforwardly, then,
Subaru: “Revived…… Resurrected from the dead, is that what this is about?”
Julius: “In terms of results, you could say that. Above all, a situation where it is possible to meddle with the 『Memories』 of a dead person, and the existence who wielded that ability is encountered for the first time and then arriving into existence, it is a happening like that of a miracle.”
A life who was supposed to have had vanished four hundred years ago, and to witness the moment of it being resurrected like this, even if Julius did not intend to, he might have stated it to be the embodiment of an ironical miracle.
Although, he did not intend to state the reality of his resurrection alongside that as wellーー,
Emilia: “Um, can I ask one thing?”
Abruptly, when all of the happenings were being arranged into order, the one to raise her voice like that was Emilia.
Hereafter the encounter with Reid, Emilia had kept her mouth shut so that the topic of discussion may not get diverted. Seeing the discussion reach a point where it could halt, she turned her amethyst eyes towards Reid.
Emilia: “You have…… Reid has been revived, right? With that, also becoming able to leave that place, that’s something I give you my bi~ggest congratulations for.”
Reid: “Ah, thanks. With this, I can teach ya all sorts of stuff at a proper place, fiercely frizzlin’. Let’s have drinks tonight, you. Other than that…… ah, heyhey we’ll do stuff as I teach you.”
Emilia: “ーー? Are you inviting me to go out with you? But, I have only gone to a “date” with Puck and Subaru, so, I’m sorry. Also”
Though it was an exchange Subaru would never want to miss out on, getting caught on by Emilia’s comment on her date was something Subaru currently had no spare time for.
Keeping those innermost thoughts of Subaru’s for some other occasion, Emilia repositioned Subaru’s body which she was carrying on her shoulders,
Emilia: “Even though you have become free, can’t you stop being in our way? In case you don’t know, we, right now, are rea~lly busy……”
Reid: “Don’t make me say it, fiercely friendly. I more or less have a grasp on what’s happenin’ here. After all, the tiny brat of this body was unusually well-informed, I hate it. ーーAh, I really don’t like it.”
As if throwing up, Reid annoyingly gripped to his guts.
It seemed as not merely resurrection, but Reid also had the ability to read the memories of Roy Alphardーー in other words, he apparently even had the power to catch a glimpse of an edge of the Authority of 『Gluttony』.
Above all, it seemed as it was something he aesthetically found strongly, terribly repulsive,
Reid: “He didn’t have a standpoint of his own, that’s why he got himself involved in such stupidity. He’s an irredeemable kid. Though he ended up disappearin’ ’cause he was doin’ it without knowin’ his position, it’s gotta be a natural reward.”
Subaru: “……Talking about just this place, if you’re free then how about you go conquer the world and the vast oceans? I rea~lly feel like you’re just postponing the problem, if that’s the case”
Reid: “You, don’t start preparin’ to run away. As it is, a situation where you’re bein’ carried on the shoulders of a woman, it’s so pathetic it’d be better to die. Do ya wanna be coated with embarrassment?”
Subaru’s experiment to avoid the battle and having the situation ameliorate ended with a failure.
Perhaps, even the ones other than Subaru may have had failed to understand the current proposal as well. In the end, even if Reid were to gain freedom, he intended to respect his role as the trial-taker.
Otherwise, not being particular about his title of the trial-taker, he simply would not let an opponent, whom he had decided to cross swords with, escape.
At any rate,
Emilia: “ーーIs that so. If you won’t move aside then there’s no choice.”
With a long sigh, while being filled with the nuance of it being unfortunate, it was a reply which sufficiently suggested Emilia’s decision to attack Reid.
Emilia: “I’m sorry.”
Those words were directed, not at the confronting Reid, but at Subaru, who was atop her shoulders, and he was a second late at noticing that.
Because after a second, Subaru’s body had been brought down from Emilia’s shoulders, and gently handed over to Beatrice, who was beside them.
ーーIn an instant, crossing the aisle with the speed as that of a bullet, Emilia slammed an ice sword onto Reid.
The atmosphere gave rise to a high-pitched sound, giving birth to ice, and the beautiful and cruel blade of ice fluttered through the aisle enshrouded in erupted smoke. In any case, the attack with no hesitation whatsoever aiming for a fatal woundーー once Emilia had decided to do so, there was no faltering in her then. That was, something clearly understood after all of the battles till now.
Emilia: “ーーHa ~hk!”
The slash attack Subaru’s eyes finally caught up to, the strike which was almost like an ambush, Reid easily received it with his arm outside of the breast pocket of his casual dress, and the chopsticks he was holding in his hands.
This was not the first time seeing Reid wield chopsticks as his special weapon. However, it was not something which could be gotten used to after seeing it multiple times. Abnormalities were abnormalities, and there was no change in that recognition.
Subaru: “He……! Emilia-chan!”
Beatrice: “S-Subaru! Don’t push yourself, in fact! Stay put, I suppose!”
At Reid’s abnormal swordsmanship, Subaru shouted, feeling perturbed about Emilia’s body. Appealing to that Subaru to take care of himself was the one whom Emilia had suddenly released and entrusted his body to, Beatrice.
Being supported by her petite frame while kneeling down onto the aisle, Subaru pushed his eyes open.
Meanwhile, Emilia renewed her arms which had been smashed, or rather, slashed by the chopsticks, and continued the performance of her swords dance like a fairly within the sparkling diamond dust.
Easily brushing that away, Reid laughed, saying “Haha ~hk!”, like a shark,
Reid: “Hah ~hk! As expected, you got it quickly, fiercely frizzlin’! But, you, don’tcha know? Your “Trial” is already over, ya know?”
Emilia: “If that’s so! Then pass everyone else too!”
Reid: “Heyhey, what kind of a reasonin’ makes ya say that. I’ve got no reason to be doin’ that.”
Emilia: “I request you!”
Reid: “There’s nothin’ cute in beggin’ like that. For now, take off your clothes, you.”
Though she had been making a serious expression, Emilia’s entreaty did not wield anything to Reid’s ears.
Identical to the first strike, Reid warded away, chased away the subsequent strikes using vivid techniques of chopsticks, it was hardly believable. At that abnormal swordsmanship, Subaru was unable to close his mouth hanging open.
Of course, Reid’s irrefutable mastery was not something unknown.
However, even Emilia, who had not drawn a single step behind against even the enemies of 『Gluttony』 and the titanic scorpion, when compared to such a variety of warriors, she had shown overwhelming capacity. At the very least, even a hundred of Subaru would not be able to oppose Emilia. ーーFor Reid, that was, quite literally, a child’s play.
Emilia’s offence and defence with the spirit of do-or-die, was the play of an unskilled child for Reid.
Subsequently, Emilia, after a mere few exchanges, was unable to reach through and experienced defeat. There was a difference in their ability, such that even the untrained eyes could identify that.
Ram: “ーーThe reason to abstain from using full force? That should be quite simple.”
Reid: “Ah ~hk?”
Ram: “Because you, will face an unsightly defeat here at the hands of Ram and the rest.”
Interrupting the battlefield with a petite frame, said Ram, behind Reid.
ーーAnd caught hold of that Reid’s back.
That alone was more than worthy of admiring, but Ram’s fearsomeness was not the end of it.
Against the opponent Reid Astrea, attacking without any relent, was Emilia. Ram matched the timing with her, who had left her battle style upon her senses, with godly intuition.
Precisely this, which Subaru had not been able to read at all, was Emilia’s initial surprise attackーー movements suggesting whether or not he had been able to read them, and the truth is, they were movements such which gave the impression of having already possibly been read.
The very next instant, Ram’s unleashed fist, stabbed into the side of Reid’s casual dress.
At the moment of the impact, with the sound of the flesh and bones creaking, Ram’s white fist’s piercing strength penetrated through Reid’s internal organs, and the aisle was split open by the bottom of Reid’s feet, who continued standing his ground.
Subaru: “It reached through…… ~hk!?”
Looking at that, Subaru thoughtlessly hugged Beatrice tightly.
He wanted to cheer, but he was unable to voice anything further. Instead of that, he felt his body heat up as if his blood was boiling. Because that was, not out of sheer luck, as far as Subaru knew, the first time Reid had taken damage.
Ram: “Ha, a~a~a~ーー!”
The unimaginably powerful fists fired from her slender arms, were hammered into Reid as if a storm. Reid received that with his defenseless lower body, and retreated.
It was not as if he lacked all defense. Even for blocking Ram’s attacks, his two chopsticks were being used to block Emilia’s fierce attack, so he merely lacked the defense to direct there.
Henceforth, pressurised by the might of her tremendous fisting, Reid’s body was pushed back greatly.
And as his figure was blown off, Emilia threw the twin swords she had created with both of her hands, and the sword slash which drew an arc was cleared away by Reid’s chopsticks’ slash, and he collapsed in the aisle, lying spread-eagled.
Subaru: “Did they, do it……?”
Seeing the form of Reid collapsed, lying flat on the aisle, Subaru lightly whispered in astonishment, with widened eyes.
Blocking Emilia’s surprise attack had been a final desperate tactic of his, and the one other than that, Ram’s attacks was what he had gotten a taste of. Every blow had wielded enough power to make his bones creak.
Emilia’s hard fighting was a matter of course, but perhaps misjudging Ram’s combat power had been Reid’s cause of defeat.
As an effect of 『Cor Leonis』, having been able to move without any hindrances, Ram, her ability had been enough to mow down the opponent’s consciousness before Reid could get seriousーー,
Subaru: “ーー~hk! Right now you can quickly tie him down and render him unable to battle! Emilia-chan! Constrict him with ice……”
For a moment, his thoughts had come to a halt without confirming their victory, but he was unable to overlook that extremely valuable situation. Panicking, Subaru instructed Emilia to constrict Reid.
At the same pace, he tried to call out to Ram, who had been making strenuous effortsーー,
Beatrice: “……Subaru, when did, your health come back?”
Suddenly, so asked Beatrice, who had been supporting his body.
Receiving that doubt, Subaru tardily came to notice the truth of him standing on his legs and giving instructions to Emilia. ーーThe agony which was eating into him as if a curse, it had disappeared.
Ram: “ーーKa, fugh”
The moment immediately after he judged what that must mean, Ram’s body shivered, trembling violently.
The upper body of Ram, who had turned her back towards this side, jolted, and collapsed down to her knees without being able to support her body.
Unable to even stretch out her hand, collapsing visibly like a puppet whose threads had been slashed away was Ram. The one to jump at that collapsing body of Ram’s, was Julius, who had been awaiting an interval to plunge into the battle.
Supporting Ram’s fully exhausted body, Julius confirmed her condition, as his expression froze. The reason for that was Ram’s complexion, and the crimson of thick blood which dyed his clothes.
From the wound in her abdomen whose bleeding Ram had stopped, massive amounts of blood was flowing. Though it was true that the lost blood brought serious danger to her life, but that alone was not the issue.
The greatest problem was linked with the healing of Subaru’s condition.
In other wordsーー,
Subaru: “The effect of 『Cor Leonis』 has, been cut off……”
???: “ーーA~h, so it finally got cut. You, don’t go about doin’ borin’ things. Aren’t ya jus’ hidin’ behind a woman. You’re a disgrace for a young fish, you.”
In front of the speechless Subaru, the collapsed Reid swung and stationed both of his feet and vigorously stood up. Reid lightly patted and swept his back, and swung his arms, which were gripping onto the chopsticks, in circles from his shoulders.
Attitude which did not feel as if he had taken any damage Ram had done to him, though that alone made his body shudder, but what made Subaru uneasy were his words immediately afterwards.
ーーReid said, that it got cut. Just, what was he referring to.
Reid: “Playin’ around like that will always be borin’. First of all, somethin’ like feelin’ no pain or ache even when the guts are all torn up, are ya makin’ fun of me, you.”
Subaru: “U, wa……”
Reid: “If ya say ya wanna do it with perfection, then ya gotta stand what you receive too. But, this one’s done for. You, this one’s done for, ya know. You, can’t ya see. This woman, was gonna die even before gettin’ cut.”
Intimidated by Reid’s words, in a low tone, Subaru turned his line of sight towards Ram, who was in Julius’ arms. Receiving that gaze, Julius lightly pulled in his chin.
Julius: “His words are correct. Miss Ram’s wounds are no trivial matter. Even now, she is on the verge of death.”
Julius: “The reason why the bleeding is not stopping, is perhaps because of the usage of a chemical which hinders in the clotting of blood. Other than that must be the recoil of her pushing herself which is present on her body.”
Every single word of Julius’ analysis, tried to carve a painful fissure onto Subaru’s chest.
He, failed. ーーSubaru’s 『Cor Leonis』 overlapped with his complacent failure.
Taking over Ram’s inferior physical form, he had created a circumstance under which she could fight.
Though that was not a mistaken judgement, he ignored the injuries she had takenーー no, having Rem herself ignore those is what had been a mistake.
If Subaru were to take over the pain and hardship of the injuries, she would not be able to be conscious of the wounds’ seriousness. If Ram were to conduct herself in a way suggesting she was unharmed, Emilia would not come to notice anything either.
Julius: “A magic similar to 『Nect』 of sharing sensations, a bit different from that, or perhaps something entirely different. Something much more different, had been put to use. And, you said that you had cut it.”
Reid: “I’m good at cuttin’ invisible stuff, ya see. Well, the trick is intuition. With that, a bit of time got used up. Took a pretty grand hit.”
Reid exaggerated the reason he had bathed in Ram’s storm-like fists. However, returning to the original topic, the truth is that he was more or less not feeling any of the damage he had taken.
The trick for that, again, was pronounced from Julius’ mouth. While keeping Ram in his embrace, Julius gently turned his gaze backwardsーー facing the aisle which had been fissured by the melee combat.
Julius: “You let all of Miss Ram’s attack, escape onto the floor with the bottom of your feet, huh.”
Reid: “It’s a technique which a woman friend of mine, Trisha used to be good at, ya see.”
Reid laughed, saying “Kaha”, as he firmly stomped into the aisle.
Hearing the conversation of the two, Subaru, continuing to shiver, glanced at the crevices of the aisle. The endless wounds born onto the aisle, were the proof of Reid having directed Ram’s attacks onto the aisle.
It was perhaps some technique, to direct the impact of the blows towards someplace else. ーーIt could be said, that it was the culmination of martial arts.
The truth is, when Ram’s initial blow had struck, Subaru too had witnessed the aisle grandly fissure with his own eyes. That also applied to all subsequent continuous strikes.
Both this and that, everything wasーー,
Subaru: “To slash down the connection between me, and Ram……? In the first place, how did that even……”
Reid: “I just said. I slash down what I can slash down, live where I can live, and sleep with women I can sleep with. ーーI slashed down that borin’ game, all while hummin’.”
Leading a carefree life, was Reid.
Cutting things which could not be seen. Otherwise, cutting connections which do not physically exist. Was the capability of doing that, the true ability of the existence named, the 『Sword Saint』.
Emilia: “But, when I struck you from above with a lot of strength, you had been in pain……!”
Reid: “That time the situation was different ya know, fiercely frizzlin’. Right now, I’m here to enjoy the fightin’ more than the 『Trial』. If it’s a fight then you gotta be more serious than the 『Trial』, ya know. Do ya disagree, you.”
Slashing and repelling away Emilia’s response, Reid snorted his nose and prepared his chopsticks. Adjusting the stance of his chopsticks, as if he was ordinarily commencing a meal, and pointing their ends towards Julius, Reid’s blue eyes gleamed with a blaze.
Reid: “That’s how it is. Ya got what I’m sayin’, right, you. You. Hey you.”
Julius: “ーーTo settle this, with the sword. That is your intention, correct?”
Reid: “Yeah, that’s right. Let me tell ya, I’ll allow any damn thing aside from the sword too, ya know? Whether you wanna throw magic at me or clash with me, it doesn’t matter. If you wanna win against me……”
Quite boldly, Reid gestured with a finger touching his chest, and pointed towards his heart.
In other words, that was the only way to bring an end to his life, that is what his expression indicated.
That was the evidence that Subaru’s card of waging war had been correctーー,
Julius: “Why, must you be fixated over myself?”
Reid: “A~h? I’m fixated over you? Gimme a break. Bastards of just mere words, with nice faces are the race I hate the most, ain’t that so. On top of that, why would I be fixated?”
Reid: “ーーYou’re the one who’d have a reason to be fixated over me. If I draw back from here, do ya really think that would be fine?”
Reid’s response to Julius’ Question could not be described as one that was clear.
He himself, belonged to a race of those types who did deem worth in conveying all things as words. Furthermore, a large part of his response had been occupied by something similar to sensation, it was difficult to comprehend.
However, for those who understood that, merely had the answer which was limited to thatーー,
Reid: “ーーTch. A troublesome one ended up comin’ here.”
Before that answer could be chewed, what preceded was Reid clicking his tongue in discontent.
And, the cause behind the click of his tongue, revealed its figure from the interior of the aisle Subaru and the others had crossed throughーー no, in the form of a corona, it pounced upon them.
Immediately before the corona could evaporate away Subaru, what separated and distanced away the two from each other was Emilia’s ice sword. As the sound of shattering of ice echoed, the repelled light stabbed through the aisle. ーーAn extremely long tail stinger, disappeared as if having frayed.
That was namely, the baptism by the guardian of the “Sage’s” watchtowerーー,
From the interior of the aisle, red compound eyes emerged, possessing multiple legs, the humongous scorpion revealed its figure. Jet black shell and fiendishly large pincers, that figure, was both ominous and healthy.
However, the form of Ley, who had been left behind to battle that titanic scorpion, was nowhere around it. If he had faced defeat at the hands of the titanic scorpion and had fallen then it was all good, but,
Subaru: “Reid and Shaula, at the same time……”
Caught between the two formidable enemies, within the situation where they could not take any inadvertent action, Beatrice called out to Subaru with a trembling voice.
Looking back towards that Beatrice, he noticed her pale expression. Beatrice’s expression painted with fear, he tightly hugged it with his chest.
Somehow or the other, trying to clear away the unrest in her heart, he searched for words,
Subaru: “Beatrice, it’s alright. At any rate, we haven’t managed to find a plan yet, but it’s alright. Recovery is still……”
Beatrice: “That’s not it, I suppose, that’s not it, in fact! ーーIt’s coming, I suppose!”
Subaru: “It’s coming?”
As he heard Beatrice’s worries, who had widened her eyes and changed her expression, he glanced at the titanic scorpion once again.
Reid was here, and Shaula was on the other side, this was the very meaning of threat. In a situation where such terrifying ones had gathered, what was going to come nowーー,
Subaru: “It can’t be.”
Reid: “I just said, didn’t I. That a troublesome one ended up comin’ here.”
The thought which had passed by Subaru’s mind, as if affirming that, said Reid.
That way of speaking was serious, seeming as if it were feeling trouble digesting this situation.
ーーAn instant later, an impact reached their feet in the form of a severe earthquake, jolting the Pleiades Watchtower.
Without exaggerating, when Subaru receive the impact which had emerged on his body, heaven and earth got overturned for him.
Blown off without even the use of a technique was Subaru. ーーIn the field of vision of that Subaru, the residents of the fantasy world were each displaying astonishing movements respectively.
Midair, Emilia kicked the foothold she had created with ice, and repelled away the consecutively fired tail stringers by the seemingly concentrating titanic scorpion towards her comradesーー no, towards Subaru.
In the world which was tilting diagonally, Julius seemingly dashed on the wall and closed in on Reid, and commenced with an extremely high class sword slash with his knight sword.
And, Beatrice jumped towards Subaru, who had tightly held onto Ram and kept her close,
The moment she chanted that, Subaru felt himself envelope within the feeling of suspension, different from that of the impact. Released from the force of gravity, the feeling as if he had been thrown into a world without gravity.
The effect was not as little as just having restored heaven and earth for him.
Each one respectively, was acting at their very best with whatever each one of them respectively could doーー,
As if sneering at those very best of actions, multitudinous volumes of the jet black shadow swallowed the tower in its entirety.
Dreadful pressure echoed, and the watchtower, which boasted strength enough to make it difficult to believe that it was mere stone, was crushed. That was the tyranny of the shadow, which was not originally supposed to possess mass.
The arrival of the impact, which could no longer be named a single happening of destruction but rather was closer to a natural disaster, easily swallowed, chewed, even those who possessed extraordinary abilities, enough to be called superhumans in this world.
Going up against the titanic scorpion, making free use of magic and her physical abilities and putting up a brave fight, Emilia, as well.
Swinging the knight sword, and charging towards the legend who was entertained by his self, Julius, as well.
Protecting Subaru, and using magic with her small body, Beatrice, as well.
In the juncture where they were twinkling brightly, the stretching shadow entwined, and they turned invisible.
Without sound, without reverberation, the forms of Emilia and the others vanished.
What name should be given to what had occurred to their bodies in the matter of an instant, Subaru was unable to find any pertinent words within himself.
Merely, there existed something he could clearly say.
“ーーI have failed.”
『ーーI love you.』
At the same time, he accepted reality, and was whispered words of dusky love.
While being whispered into his ears, or otherwise, while being kissed, or otherwise, while his entire body was being embraced, or otherwise, while having his soul caressed, frighteningly direct, words with the soul of love.
He immediately understood. Amongst the five obstacles, the greatest problem.
The shadow which swallowed everything had arrived, whether it was possible to deal with it, even that alone was questionable.
This was his third time seeing that shadow, and each time he came across it, Subaru’s life had been lost.
This time was no exception for it, now that the shadow had arrived, and reached throughーー,
Reid: “ーーYou, what are ya doin’ by thinkin’ about sleepin’, hey.”
At that moment, the jet black shadow which enclosed Subaru, was mowed down by a flash that had been swung.
Subaru: “ーーYou’ve got to be joking.”
Reid: “Widen your eyes and see. What’s the joke, you. You, do ya have your eyes open. Open your eyes and take a good look, you. What’s the joke about me.”
Saying that, casually swinging the knight sword, and having slashed away the shadow was Reid. He wielded in his hands, not chopsticks, but a knight swordーー which belonged to Julius, and exhaled through his nose.
It was truly ironical that the sword which had lost its owner, was displaying more ability in the hands of the 『Sword Saint』 than its owner, but there present was no time to be having such thoughts.
That was because, Subaru, who had been standing upright, had his torso kicked by Reid.
Subaru: “Ghu, egh.”
The narrow aisle, his suspended body was unable to hit even the ceiling or the walls.
The structure of the watchtower had already been destroyed, and he no longer was able to determine where the ceiling was or where the walls were. What was present in Subaru’s environs was the endlessly black sky, endlessly black sole, endlessly black world.
Anything and everything, became incomprehensible. ーーNo, there was slightly moving heat, within his arms.
The warm body of the unconscious, fainted Ram asserted her existence.
Directing strength in his molars, biting and tearing into his own lips, he directed life into himself.
At this moment, when anything and everything was being painted black, Subaru, by giving up on comprehending the situation, was he not just entrusting his body to the end.
In front of this life who was trying its best to live at this moment, this was unforgivable.
Subaru: “ーーStill, something.”
Though the situation was in this state, there still must be something he could attain.
Till now, Subaru had been swallowed by this jet black evil influence, and had lost his life twice. However, those two occasions had been abrupt, and he must have had no time left to do this.
What he had attained through that, was Ram who was asserting her fragile life, andーー,
Reid: “ーーHah ~hk.”
The kick he had received by Reid, who was within the same shadow as Subaru, wearing a ferocious smile.
Of course, he was not grateful for that.
It hurt as if the pit of his stomach had been gouged out, and in the first place, the reason why they had lacked time till the shadow swallowed the watchtower was because of Reid’s unnecessary interruption.
Subaru: “You will, get crushed too. ーーBy the 『Greatest Knight』, I know.”
Reid: “That’s, you, keep actin’ cool as how you are till the very end, young fish.”
Under his eyes, Reid, with a backhand grip to the knight sword, set his aim at Subaru. There was distance between them, but from Reid’s perspective, distance of a few metres must be as good as nonexistent.
And, below Reid, who had established Subaru as his enemy, the jet black shadow with vigour yet remaining advanced closer. Something like that, Reid’s sword spirit didn’t even deem it to be something.
Though he was unaware of it, at this moment, Subaru may just be witnessing it.
A long time ago, said to have happened four hundred years ago, the legendary act of the 『Witch』 and the 『Sword Saint』.
However, something like that was meagre, as the absurd destruction and violence, namely 『Death』 drew near Subaruーー.
Subaru: “At least”
Even just a second longer, I want you to stay alive.
Enshrouded with that wish, Subaru tightly embraced Ram’s body, who was in his arms.
The next moment, a torrent of light, unbelievably stemming from a sword, swallowed Subaruーー,
※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
ーーEach time he vanished, each time he redid, each time he made a wish, he was faced with vicissitude.
Countless times, repeating, repeating, he continued to pile up the ends which are supposed to happen only once.
Suddenly, he thought.
Always, having someone by his side in the moments of end, may be something to feel happy for.
If never having been alone in the moments of end, granted him the strength to stand.
However, alongside, he also thought this.
About why, always, Natsuki Subaru was unable to rescue that someone whom he nestled close to, in the moments of end.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Clouds of sand, were rising up to extremely high skies which they were never supposed to reach.
Pleiades Watchtower’s balcony, several metres above ground, underneath where present were the advancing hordes of Witch Beasts, commencing with their attack to bring down the watchtower.
Holding them back, with her own ability to control Witch Beasts, was Meili, making strenuous efforts.
Julius was underneath, heading for Reid on the second layer.
And, Subaru and the others must make haste and dash to Emilia and the others, who must be clashing with Ley Batenkaitosーー,
???: “Master-sama? Are you alright?”
In accordance with Subaru’s summons, she tilted her neck, with her long, black braid swaying about.
As she pronounced that question, in her expression, in her eyes, sentiments such as those of impatience or irritation could not be felt. Of course, no light of cunningness planning to deceive them could be perceived either.
Whether that was her camouflage, or her true intents, there was no definite answer to that, butーー,
???: “Master-sama, are you listening? People other than master-sama or me seem to have gotten involved in troublesome stuff but…… is there something I can do for master-sama?”
Subaru: “Ah, is that so…… Something you can do for me, huh.”
???: “Yup. If it’s master-sama’s request, then into fire, into water, even into large explosions, I can energetically FLYWAY into ’em!”
Energetically, possessing no malice, the personality with her arms stretched wide while saying that, Shaula.
Staring at that carefree smile, Subaru turned back, and inhaled.
He made his return. To this moment, he was made to return.
There were no changes in what he was supposed to do. There are people he must save, people he must defeat.
That is why, without losing his way, Subaru, for settling what all he was supposed to do, undertook a necessary ceremony.
Subaru: “Shaula, will you listen to anything I tell you to?”
Shaula: “Course of of! If it’s master-sama’s request then I’ll listen to anything! If it’s master-sama’s demand then I’ll even listen to something which may be a bit extreme. Ah, ah, ah, could it be master-sama, finally reached the limit of holding back in front of my DYNAMITE BODY? That’s why you kept away all others and it’s just the two of us now? Ah, you you you! Geez master-samaーー”
Twisting and turning, with her cheeks sandwiched in her hands, Shaula blushed at Subaru’s words.
However, Subaru did not pay heed to such of her words, and stared at her face with a serious face.
Subaru: “ーーIf I tell you to die, will you die?”