※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Translated By :
- Ice_Occultism (/u/Ice_Occultism)
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
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
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Arc 6 – “Hall of Memories”
Chapter 21 – “The Monolith Challenge”
Regarding Shaula’s welcoming words―― While Subaru did understand that they’d been misdirected to a different person, he decided that he’d receive them without denying them in the end.
There was also Beatrice’s advice.
There was no doubt that in practicality allowing Shaula to mistake Subaru as Flugel was rather convenient for them. With this in place now it meant that an outcome where Shaula became hostile and commenced battle wouldn’t necessarily end up in them being scattered about by her overwhelming strength.
Since she was treating them favourably for now, Subaru could at least dullen his hand of attack. Though if he were to do that, considering that he lacked in actual strength even under the best of circumstances, it’d probably be enough to end up as a main factor in him making a colossal blunder.
Emilia: “You needn’t worry, Subaru. Even if Shaula realises that in truth you’re not her Master, I’m sure she wouldn’t do anything awful.”
Those were Emilia’s words, who seemed to have been eavesdropping on their conversation behind them.
Emilia, who had her silver hair styled in long braids, confidently assured that to Subaru, whilst she fiddled with the end of one of her braids with her fingers.
Subaru: “I’m glad of Emilia-tan’s seal of approval, but…..What’s the rationale behind it?”
Emilia: “I don’t really fully understand what you mean by the expression “What’s the rationale behind it”, but, Shaula’s a good girl, isn’t she? She saved you, and us as well, so I can say that we will all get along. If we do, there shouldn’t be any need to fight, right?”
Her opinion was a little too optimistic, but he could say that being too pessimistic was also enough of a bad habit.
Even if Shaula found out the truth, it didn’t mean that she’d get aggressive straight away. Even if the facts came to light, Shaula should keep herself from coming to blows at her own judgement. So, Emilia’s thoughts that they should all get along weren’t so misguided, at least he could allow himself to think so.
The reason behind that intent wasn’t a calculating goal like appealing to one’s emotions, but rather because he didn’t want to fight against her.
Ram: “Don’t take Emilia’s rough ideas word for word, Barusu. We’re in the “Sage’s” Watchtower here, and we need to challenge it to even make our way back to the sand dunes. We lose nothing by keeping our guards up as much as possible.”
Emilia: “Jeez, you sure were quick to put it like that, Ram. You should really loosen up a little…..”
Ram: “The result of having let down my guard was that I ended up being thrown down to the underground area with Barusu and Anastasia-sama. With how delicate I am, that feeling of despair was unbearable……perhaps that’s why Emilia-sama you have no clue about that.”
Emilia: “Mhm, I guess so. But, surely if it’s an underground area around this place you’re talking about, then shouldn’t it be no big deal for you? I don’t know why, but I’ve been in reaaally good shape since coming to the Augria Sand Dunes, ya know?”
It seemed like Emilia had replied to the sharp Ram’s words in a rather relaxed manner. Emilia and Ram’s relationship as master and vassal had been pretty good since a year ago. The way Ram spoke and behaved towards Emilia showed a little lack of respect, but Emilia looked like she couldn’t help but be happy receiving that treatment.
Emilia, who should have experienced the trauma of discrimination and contempt, may have contrarily felt that Ram’s words didn’t contain that sort of animosity.
Subaru: “At any rate, Emilia-tan, what do you mean by you being in good shape?”
Emilia: “How should I put it, the air goes well with my skin, I guess. Mana too has a slightly different tone to it depending on the country or region you’re in, so I think something like that’s happening, but……The mana in this place especially seems to go well with my skin. Though I guess I shouldn’t be very happy about that.”
Subaru: “Well, I suppose so. But considering that this is the place where the Witch is sealed, full of these Witchbeasts…”
Emilia had clenched her fist as if she’d felt a surge of strength go through her. However, straight after, a bitter looking smile appeared on her dismal-looking face. Her opinion had been an emboldened one, for sure, as he sympathised with the mood she was in.
Following what he’d mentioned above, he was silently grateful that Emilia’s strength had grown in this area they were in, which was chock-full of danger with the Witch and the Witchbeasts. Yet even so, the figure which Shaula had defeated had been engraved in Subaru’s mind, so that wasn’t a reason that could end up giving him some optimism.
Subaru: “Though, the conditions have changed. Unlike before where she could attack us from the tower without us being able to do anything, now that the distance is such that you can see each other’s faces, Emilia-tan shouldn’t end up losing against her.”
Shaula: “What is it? What is it?”
Subaru: “Nothing, was just talking about how you have crazy good eyesight. You managed to throw attacks at us from the tower with pinpoint accuracy when we were really far off, didn’t you? How the hell does that work?”
Shaula: “Ohhh, that’s just done by linking myyyyy aim and myyyy stingers with mana, and that makes it so it’s pulled to where you are. Hell’s Snipe was Master’s invention, ya know?”
Subaru: “…..I see, you didn’t even have to train her, eh, Flugel.”
He’d gone through hell and back again thanks to that. He’d probably never get a chance to talk to Flugel, but if he did get a chance like at the tea party, he’d definitely be giving him some very colourful, choice words.
Subaru let out a sigh as he heard the upbeat Shaula humming. Then――,
Julius: “Sorry to interrupt you in the middle of your chat, but we’ve arrived.”
On the spiral staircase which led to the upper floors of the tower――He heard Julius’ voice, who’d been at the front of the group, leading them up.
Lifting his face up at the knight’s words, who was escorting Anastasia by the hand, he could suddenly see the ceiling from the other side of Julius who was standing diagonally up from him.
Subaru: “No, it’s not the ceiling, but the floor part of the floor above, I should say.”
Beatrice: “We must be on the Fifth Floor, “Celaeno”, I suppose. All there is here is a door to the outside, Betty and the others first entered from here, in fact.”
Betty, who was next to him, commented that to him just as they neared the Fifth Floor. As he nodded in agreement to her words, Subaru immediately noticed that something was out of place, and said, “Uh?”
If she was implying that after they’d been separated Emilia and the others had entered the tower from the Fifth Floor, then….
Subaru: “How did the Dragon Carriage and Gyan get down to the Bottom Floor? I mean, there’s no way that this staircase is wide enough to let a Dragon Carriage roll by, right?”
Spreading his arms out across the spiral staircase he’d walked up, Subaru checked its width. The width of the staircase was reasonably wide, but even so it wouldn’t fit two Subarus with arms stretched out abreast. It might have been barely possible to let the huge body of an Earth Dragon pass down it, but there was no way that the carriage part of the Dragon Carriage was getting through.
And of course, letting the Earth Dragon walk down this long staircase itself was a path which really shouldn’t be trodden even if it was theoretically possible.
Subaru: “Is there some sort of contraption like an elevator poking around here in fact? If there is, then we need to use it next time. Keeping healthy is great and all, but it ain’t good to always disregard modern conveniences.”
Emilia: “Sorry, I don’t really get what you’re saying…. But, how the Dragon Carriage got down there is simple. Shaula lifted it up and carried it down.”
Subaru felt like he’d missed something, and so he asked her again. Emilia frowned at his reply which had been said in English, but she nevertheless grasped that he seemed to have asked her to repeat herself, so she continued her words by saying, “So,”
Emilia: “Shaula effortlessly lifted the Dragon Carriage along with the Earth Dragon up, and simply brought them down to the bottom.”
Subaru: “Nononononono, there’s no way. Wouldn’t a Dragon Carriage weigh over a ton with how huge it is? And you said she did it as a set with the Earth Dragon too…..”
Subaru peeled his eyes wide open at those horrifying remarks, but no one from his companions denied it. Finally, Shaula puffed out her ample chest in pride, and flared out her nostrils.
Shaula: “It’s as she said, the one who carried them down was meeee. Oh man, it was a piece of cake. If I’d left the lizard near the doorway, he may have ended up becoming loopy due to the miasma streaming in from the outside, dontcha think? I was just a lil’ worried. You can praise me you know!”
Subaru: “I do feel grateful, but now I know that your slender arms aren’t actually slender arms, and it weirds me out. A person with superhuman strength….. I imagine even Reinhardt wouldn’t be able to do this!”
Though in Subaru’s mind the most frightfully-shocking human was indisputably Reinhardt, but wouldn’t it likely be impossible even for him to lift up something that weighed over what you’d expect a human could lift?
Even if he could cut the world into ribbons with his sword pressure, even if he could walk on water, even if he could revive himself again, carrying a Dragon Carriage with one hand for him would be――,
Subaru: “I guess he’d be able to do that. That makes me feel just a bit uneasy. Is that guy really human?”
Shaula: “Hmmph, despite myyyy story, Master’s thinking of someone else. Jealousy.”
In any case, he now understood how the Dragon Carriage had been carried to the bottommost floor. He hadn’t in actuality seen her carrying it, so the impact of the scene was diminished, but he had to take it as a new threat potential in the eventuality that the enraged Shaula problem cropped up.
And, just as they’d finished talking about that, the group arrived on the Fifth Floor. “Celaeno”, as had been pointed out many times, was where the entrance that led to the inside and outside of the tower was.
A huge door was built in one place at the back of the tower which was cylindrical in shape.
It was large enough that you had to look up at it, and its width was easily close to 10 metres. It was an unnecessarily huge door, but how much strength it would take to open it, that too was an issue――.
Subaru: “Doesn’t it look difficult to enter this via the trial door way?”
Julius: “At least, when I tried pushing it, it wouldn’t give an inch. Thanks to that, we weren’t able to search for you, Anastasia-sama, and the others.”
As he gazed at the super-huge door, Subaru let out a sigh, and Julius nodded at him. With it being as heavy as it looked, it seemed like this door would stop any challengers in their path.
Opening it may have been possible for Shaula, who could easily carry a Dragon Carriage in one hand, but for the average Joe it would have been impossible. Therefore Emilia and Julius had ended up being unable to leave to search for Subaru and the others, and that looked like it had ended up worrying them a lot.
Beatrice: “But, it sure does look like it’s a bit creaky here and there, I suppose.”
Anastasia: “I think it’s ‘cause the Sand Wind’s kinda strong, the sand that gets blown up by the wind must be streamin’ in, don’cha think? When ya take a bit of a deep breath, it immediately feels like the inside of yer mouth is fulla’ sand, ‘n so it’s darn unpleasant.”
Sticking her tongue out, Anastasia traced it with her finger and cleaned some sand grains from it. Just like she had said, the inside of Subaru’s mouth too felt like it had sand in it. He’d taken notice that minute grains of sand always whirled around the Fifth Floor that led to the outside.
Julius: “The sand from the sand dunes is full of miasma. If you don’t take it seriously because you think it’s just a small amount, it could end up eating into your body from the inside. We should move away from here as quickly as possible, so long as we have nothing to do here.”
Subaru: “In that case, let’s hop to it! My goal isn’t here, but rather on the Fourth Floor “Alcyone”….. Though yet more stairs sounds exhausting.”
Shaula: “The same ol’ weakness~. But, you needn’t fret. The staircase between the Fourth and Fifth Floor is way shorter than the one between the Fifth and Sixth Floor. If they were too far apart, even I’d feel tired going back and forth, so that was taken into consideration~”
Meili: “Stop shaking me abo~ut.”
Shaula, who’d spread her arms out wide inside of the sand cloud and ran about in it, was met with a karate chop to the back of her head from Meili. Looking at that scene from the corner of their eyes, the group went through the Fifth Floor and headed to the staircase that led up to the Fourth Floor.
The breeze gently streamed in, and through his sight that was clouded over in a yellow haze by the gloomy above, where he looked up, there was a ceiling that didn’t look so far away―― He could see the floor of the floor above, and it looked like her opinion had in fact been true, in that it wasn’t too far away.
And so, as they set their sights on the Fourth Floor “Alcyone” whilst chatting, the group continued to march on upwards―― And before long, they reached their target floor.
The constitution of the Fourth Floor itself wasn’t too different from the Fifth or Sixth floor.
The cylindrical constitution of the tower hadn’t deviated from what it had been, and even its size hadn’t changed dramatically. ――Nevertheless, there was still an obvious change of atmosphere.
First of all, the size of the floor that went up the stairs was quite different to that of the lower floors.
The circular floor had become much narrower compared to them. And that wasn’t too surprising, because a circular wall had been built up as a partition like the main one of the building, and it used the space differently compared to the lower floors which had just been one big floor with nothing else to them.
The spiral staircase from the lower floors had connected straight to the heart of the Fourth Floor, and a great number of doors were dotted across the wall that encircled the surroundings, indicating that there were multiple rooms on this floor.
(TL Note: If the explanation is hard to digest, then just imagine it like two concentric circles, the inner one far smaller than the outer one which is of course the tower’s main walls. In the inner circle, there’s a lot of doors, that leads to a bunch of different rooms compared to Floor 5 and 6 which were like one giant circular hall)
Shaula: “This is the Fourth Floor, “Alcyone”, that I use as myyyy dwelling area. And, the “Green Room” which I think is what Master came here for is right here.”
Subaru: “The Green Room…..?”
As Subaru stood in bewilderment looking on at the Fourth Floor’s new look, Shaula, who was standing on the floor after having come out after him, pointed out one of the doors in front with an overly-dramatic gesture.
The doors that were on the Fourth Floor were all of a normal size compared to the doorway on the Fifth Floor. It didn’t look like they’d need any special powers to open them, but there was a strange feeling floating about the door she had pointed out.
Just like the name “Green Room” implied, the door was covered in countless green ivy, and it had ended up in a state that looked similar to what an unexplored region of a jungle might look like that had been left untouched for centuries.
Subaru: “By saying this is what you think I came here for, do you mean that Rem and Patrasche are here?”
Shaula: “I don’t know their names, but the girl and the lizard are here.”
Ram: “You needn’t worry. You can rest assured that Rem and that Earth Dragon are inside.”
For the hesitant Subaru, Shaula’s testimony felt like it had lacked in reliability just a tad. Ram snorted her nose at them as if looking down at them like idiots, cut into the lead of the group, and headed towards the Green Room.
She stretched out her hand over to the door that was covered in ivy and pushed it (which looked like it was made of stone) without any hesitation. Even with how thin her arms were, the door opened readily as if gliding open, and therefrom the Green Room came into view.
Ram: “Aren’t you coming in? Barusu.”
Subaru: “I’m coming, I’m coming.”
Subaru let go of his apprehension when he heard Ram’s question, which had felt like she was testing him, and moved forward. Then he confidently entered inside of the Green Room, following Ram who’d entered ahead of him.
However, straight after Ram and Subaru entered inside, the door slammed shut. Subaru turned to look behind him in surprise.
Subaru: “Oy, we’ve been split up.”
Ram: “There’s no need to be scared. ――This room seems to have a limit on how many people can enter it. The proprietor of the room seems to hate having more.”
Ram said that about the debacle that had happened behind them, and brisky kept on moving forward. Subaru scratched his head at her explanation, and then immediately set out after her.
The Green Room didn’t betray the bizarreness of that door, its interior was covered in a copious amount of green. Wriggling plants stretched out just about everywhere you looked, across the ceiling, the walls and the floor. Every so often, he would need to stoop down to avoid the dangling ivy that got in his way, and side step it.
And, laying at the depths of this room dominated by such greenery was――.
Subaru: “Rem…. And Patrasche.”
There was a small plant-free space at the far back of this room immersed in greenery. Green grass grew dense and thick there, and some beds had been made, covered in small flowers that had taken bloom there.
Rem, her sleeping face ever the same, lay on top of the bed which was made up from greenery and flowers.
Her white cheeks hadn’t changed in colour, and neither had her sleeping face. Her chest was rising and falling with each faint breath, but when it came to proof that she was alive, those were her only vital signs barring the warmth she gave off.
Yet even so, he felt a great sense of relief to the point that his strength fizzled out of him.
Subaru: “She really was safe huh……”
Ram: “I did tell you so. Or, did you think that I’d lie about Rem or something? What meaning would I have in doing that.”
Subaru: “I ain’t saying that, but I couldn’t help worrying until I saw her with my own eyes you know…… And Patrasche, I’m glad that you’re safe too.”
Subaru gave a faint bittersweet smile as he heard Ram’s words, and then he walked further in towards where Rem was sleeping on her bed of grass and Patrasche sat crouched down.
She too was lying sprawled on a bed of green, just like Rem. The situation wasn’t all too different than when she’d lie down on top of her rushes in a barn. However, one thing was definitely different――,
Subaru: “……This grass is different to ordinary grass, isn’t it?”
Patrasche nuzzled her nose against Subaru’s palm, who’d stepped over to her to make sure she was alright. Whilst affectionately receiving his beloved dragon’s response, Subaru felt a faint surge of warmth coming from the sprawled bed of greenery which Patrasche was on―― he cocked his head in thought.
Ram: “It appears like the Spirit’s power can speed up the healing process.”
Subaru: “There’s a spirit here? Where?”
Ram: “You’re a Spirit User and you don’t know? This whole room is the Spirit.”
Subaru briskly looked around the room at Ram’s words as he stroked Patrasche. He couldn’t see the Spirit’s existence reflected in his eyes amongst the moss that grew on the walls or in the overgrown ivy, however straight after he’d been told that by her, Subaru took notice of the overwhelming amount of Mana there was.
His breathing and body felt at ease as if he was in an area which was rich in oxygen.
There may have been a similar effect to that in the Healing Mana. Even the uninjured Subaru felt like he was receiving that grace when he relaxed himself and took deep breaths.
Subaru: “I think I get it. This is the Spirit for sure…. Can’t it talk?”
Ram: “The Spirit here is of a different kind….. Though, I guess you could easily say that there’s no such thing as spirits who don’t differ in some capacity. Emilia-sama’s esteemed Great Spirit, and Beatrice-sama….They’re special, it doesn’t seem like the Spirit over here has any sort of volition. It just tries to cure the wounds and illnesses of anyone who enters inside.”
Ram: “What’s the matter?”
Subaru: “It’s nothing important. I just thought that sounded like a Witch I know of.”
Ram snorted her nose at that, as if she’d thought hearing the word “Witch” was just some nonsense of his, then she walked over to Rem’s side. Following that, ivy started to grow right behind her, rapidly knitting itself together until it became a green chair that propped her body up, as if it had been cognizant of the elder sister’s intentions to watch over her younger sister.
Ram bowed her head in consideration for the Spirit, and said: “I really appreciate it” as she let herself slump on the chair.
Subaru: “Whooooa, awesome.”
Ram: “At least they’re certainly the most gentlemanly amongst the Spirits I’ve known up until now, don’t you think? You too should follow their example just a tad, Barusu. From both this Spirit, and that Knight Julius.”
Subaru: “I’d rather not from either of them.”
Subaru drove both of those individuals away from his head, and stroked Patrasche. He stroked her head, and tickled underneath her chin with his palm, before slowly letting her drop her raised head.
Subaru: “Get some rest now. You saved me once again, and overworked yourself. There’s no drawback in taking some paid leave every once in a while ya know.”
Patrasche curled her body up, closed her yellow eyes and fell asleep after she heard Subaru’s gentle words. She’d brought them all the way to the tower, and they’d been able to confirm each other’s safety.
Just that had been plenty, Patrasche’s work had been plenty.
Subaru: “Any changes to Rem? If curing people is this room’s raison d’être, then I wonder if it can have that sort of intervention on how Rem is right now.….”
Ram: “I’m sorry, but that’s a slim hope. It’s neither good nor bad…. But there’s been no progress in her treatment. It can’t cure something which is neither a wound or an illness. Seems like that sort of judgement, doesn’t it?”
Subaru: “…..I guess so.”
Even so, it didn’t look like the Green Room’s spirit was unwilling to take care of the still sleeping Rem. It was also devoted towards Ram, who watched over the sleeping Rem.
Subaru: “In the end, this means nothing’s changed still, doesn’t it?”
Ram: “……If we want things to change, then we have to fulfill the aim that came up in the tower, don’t you think?”
Subaru: “The Great Library Pleiades, its trials, huh?”
Their original purpose had been to get in touch with the “Sage” who was in the Pleiades Watchtower, borrow her sagacity that had been stipulated to be omniscient, and save Rem and the victims of “Lust” and “Gluttony” that they’d left behind in Pristella.
However, Shaula, the “Sage” of the Pleiades Watchtower had been one in name only, and in actuality what they’d encountered was just one weird girl who’d mistook Subaru as the “Sage” Flugel. The Pleiades Watchtower had turned out to be the Great Library Pleiades, and the knowledge that had been stipulated as Shaula’s omniscience was sleeping inside countless books that were kept in the libraries, or so had been said.
That’s right, their purpose had become really distorted, and their end-goal had shifted in a direction which they couldn’t even predict.
Subaru: “I’ll get ahold of this knowledge and get Rem back. ――I haven’t wavered in that purpose.”
Ram: “……Yeah. So I hope.”
Ram cast her eyes down at Subaru rotating his shoulders, and nimbly stretching. With that, she tenderly took ahold of the sleeping Rem’s hand without glancing at Subaru.
Closing one of his eyes at Ram’s attitude, Subaru pointed his finger at the ceiling.
Subaru: “I’ve decided to challenge the trial above. What about you?”
Ram: “Don’t you think it’d be too much of a cause for anxiety if no one is looking after Rem? Considering that, I will take on that duty. Since from the start it was for watching over Rem that I came on this journey and even went as far as asking such unreasonableness from Roswaal-sama.”
Subaru: “That’s, well, yeah I guess so. In that case I’ll entrust Rem to you.”
Ram: “I can’t really do much other than watch her, though.”
Subaru: “You watching over has meaning you know.”
Saying that to Ram, who had unusually disparaged herself, Subaru looked over at Rem’s sleeping face just before he exited the room. She was in a dream where her facial expression had been extinguished, and he couldn’t say she looked either peaceful or anguished.
He stretched out his hand to her forehead which her fringe rested against, and gently touched it as if he were tickling her.
Subaru: “Well then, I’m off, I’ll see you later.”
Of course, she didn’t reply.
Ram understood that he’d been talking to himself as well, so she didn’t callously interject. Satisfied with that, Subaru turned towards the room’s exit.
He couldn’t help himself from stretching his hand out to the wall, and as he touched the ivy, he asked the spirit, “Please take care of Rem and Patrasche”, lest the Spirit forget.
Then, just before he exited the room, he suddenly stopped in his tracks.
Subaru: “By the way, you said something like you couldn’t leave Rem alone, but just now you’d left the room empty. Why did you bother to come downstairs?”
Subaru: “No way, could it be that when you heard that I’d woken up, you came to see me as quickly as you could? If there was something up, then please let me know…..”
Ram: “Get a move on and leave.”
Subaru: “Huh? No, but, if there’s something on your mind, then won’t you tell me.”
Ram: “Hurry up and leave.”
Overwhelmed by the ghastly aura that was spouting up from her, Subaru couldn’t say anything more to her, and thus was left with no choice but to flee from the Green Room crestfallen.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Subaru: “I never really get what Ram thinks about, but I especially don’t understand her well as of late.”
Emilia: “Hmm, I don’t think so, Ram is surprisingly open with that sort of stuff. I find it cute that she tries to hide that open part of hers.”
Subaru: “It’s quite rare for you to speak as if you’re her elder….. Though I guess you really are her elder.”
Emilia: “Yeah, it’s a little bit like I’m her big sis. I’m older than anyone else here…..Oh, wait.”
Beatrice: “Mhhhm, Betty is definitely the big sis here, in fact. That’s carved in stone and no one can paint over it, I suppose. You should all adore me, in fact.”
As soon as he’d left the Green Room, he’d joined back with everyone waiting outside, which had led to this conversation.
Emilia looked a tad frustrated at having had her seat of being the oldest in the Team taken away from her, whilst Beatrice puffed out her flat chest in satisfaction. Though, to be honest, neither of them had big sister like demeanours.
Besides, a conversation of who the oldest was in light of their circumstances was in fact quite a delicate matter.
Anastasia: “Hmm? Natsuki-kun, what is it? D’ya have somethin’ ya want ta tell me?”
Subaru: “Not really. Just meant to say that there’s many faces here that don’t match their real age in appearance.”
Anastasia: “Oh? I get told “You look younger than you actually are” quite often. It’s a lil’ hard for me ta take ‘em as a compliment, but I look down on bein’ looked down on, so dependin’ how they say it, I may accept it.”
Though Anastasia smiled with a strong look of business about her face, how she was really feeling was unclear.
Anastasia was just over 20 years old, but she looked about 14 or 15. However, what Subaru had wanted to point out wasn’t what lay on the outside, but what lay on the inside. Anastasia still had her body hijacked by Eridna currently.
If Eridna’s birth had been the same as Beatrice, then it wouldn’t be difficult for her to enter into the race for the oldest. However, it’d be impossible for him to reveal what he’d concealed up until now over such a trifling matter, so Subaru didn’t say anything else.
Moreover, there were other prominent candidates for the race for the oldest when confined to the present.
Shaula: “Hey, what’s up Master? Uh huh, hm, didn’cha like the grassy smell of the Green Room? I get that. I toooo find that room nasty and dislikeable~”
Subaru: “Didn’t you say there was a pungent smell coming from me too? You’re cool with mine!?”
Shaula: “Master’s is a smell I’ve gotten used to. Truly. This time it ain’t no lie!”
Subaru: “Shut your trap.”
Keeping Shaula away from him, who had nestled up close to him and sniffed him, Subaru looked up at the floor above. Those left on the Fourth Floor would challenge the trial above barring Rem and Ram――.
Subaru: “What about you? Are you coming with us?”
Shaula: “Meeee? Weell, I don’t particularly need to, but since it’s been so long, I do think I want to come with you. Cuz it gets lonely not being able to talk despite being perfectly able to. I’ve been cooped up in silence for centuries, so I want to talk and talk and taaaalk~”
Subaru still couldn’t get cold at her with her having said such a heartrending thing with a friendly smile plastered on her face. He imagined that Emilia and Beatrice both knew that sort of loneliness all too well. His feelings towards Shaula were deeply tinged with sympathy, so he didn’t really have any intentions of actively keeping her away.
Meili: “I rea~lly like this Onee-san, so I thi~nk she should come with us.”
Julius: “It’s only natural that the examiner is present there if we’re going to take the trial. It’s just for her to accompany us to make sure that we don’t commit any irregularities.”
Support for that came in an unexpected form from Meili and Julius. With them having done so, it meant that the majority of them backed Shaula accompanying them.
Lastly, Subaru looked over at Anastasia, who hadn’t made any comments about it, so to unite their consensus.
Receiving that gaze, Anastasia tilted her head and said “Me?”
Anastasia: “I don’t think there’s any meaning in just me opposin’ this here, ‘n I ain’t got any reason ta oppose it in the first place, ‘n it’s not particularly a problem? Besides…”
Anastasia: “That girl seems way too attached ta ya Natsuki-kun, so if we take her with us, she may tell us stuff about the contents of the trial. She may inadvertently come ta our side.”
Shaula: “I’m sowwy, but I haven’t the foggiest about the contents of the trials, so I’m gonna have to let you down there.”
Subaru: “Jeez, did you really have to say it like that.”
Anastasia laughed with a Tahaha, and Shaula looked smug as if she had been praised.
It was questionable whether Anastasia’s anticipations boded good fortune or bad, but for now, no one seemed to have any objections to Shaula accompanying them.
Although he couldn’t deny that it was a little careless, leaving her alone was also an anxiety in itself, so the only difference came from leaving the danger far away or near at hand.
Subaru: “Okay. We shall go together. It doesn’t look like we can count on you, but I have high hopes of you coming up with ideas.”
Shaula: “He’s talking to you, lil’ ankle biter. Do your best!”
Beatrice: “He’s talking to you, I suppose! What were you listening to, in fact!”
Shaula curled her lips with a look on her face of having brought up a topic that she shouldn’t have. Whilst listening to Beatrice’s angry yells, the group opened the door of a room opposite to the Green Room―― and when they peered inside, they found the stairs that led up there.
Subaru: “We’re done with spiral staircases?”
Shaula: “The Fourth Floor “Alcyone” and the Third Floor “Taygeta” are directly connected. I don’t really go up unless I got business, so I’ve seldom been.”
Subaru: “What this business you refer to?”
Shaula: “It’s a young maiden’s secret.”
Moving his gaze away from Shaula as soon as she started to show signs of her inanities, Subaru looked over at Julius. Him and the others should have already challenged the Third Floor whilst he’d slept.
He expected that he’d be able to hear something useful out of him, but that knight calmly shrugged his shoulders.
Julius: “I apologise for this when you have expectations, but we we understood very little about it. Immediately after you climb up to the Third Floor, you’ll come across the room that’s referred to as a trial, but…..”
Julius: “What lies there is an unintelligible enigma. The honest truth is that we weren’t able to find any clues to solve it, and we ended up having no idea what to do.”
Subaru: “An unintelligible enigma…..?”
Subaru shifted his attention to the top of the stairs without getting the point in Julius’ words. The floor above was dark, and he wasn’t able to tell how it looked from below. However, that stillness made it look more sinister.
Emilia: “But, it doesn’t look like you can just enter and see what to do. Nothing really changed even when we went in and out…… We were simply just given the cold shoulder.”
Beatrice: “It makes me so irritated when I think on how we were ignored, I suppose.”
It seemed like Emilia and Beatrice also agreed with Julius’ impression.
In reality, although it was said to be a trial, none of them had been able to challenge it. His levels of wariness had just shot up as the word “Ordeal” closely resembled it.
(TL Note: So to describe the trials of the tower I’ve been using the translation “trial” following the way the Wiki did it. Which is of course not incorrect, but this line immediately loses its nuance in English, so let me explain. The word: 試験 which is used to describe the trials in the tower could also be translated simply as exam/test, and honestly if not for backwards compatibility is what I would have chosen myself. Meanwhile, the word trial in Re Zero as used by Petelgeuse, Echidna, etc. is the word 試練. This was also translated as Ordeal in the anime, so that’s why I went with that Translation. What’s key to know is that the words are slightly different in Japanese between the “trials” of the tower, and the “trials” Petelgeuse and Echidna mentioned.)
Subaru: “Well it can’t be helped. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ――Then let us go?”
Emilia: “Yeah, that’s the spirit.”
Beatrice: “That’s the spirit, in fact.”
Shaula: “That’s the spirit.”
Receiving all three of their affirmations each in their own manner of speaking, Subaru took the initiative and put one of his feet on the stairs. Then, step by step, he headed up towards the floor above―― Unlike the spiral staircases from before, the number of steps to get to the Third Floor was about the same as an ordinary building.
Thus, in contrast to his preparedness, Subaru stormed straight into the Third Floor “Taygeta” to the point that it felt he’d gotten there way too quickly.
Subaru: “I’m in a…..”
Immediately after he entered, Subaru felt an overwhelming sense of unease. A clump of unease, or rather should he say that it was an expanse that invited nothing but unease?
――It was a white, white expanse.
Although it must be an extension of the tower that had up until now been cylindrical in shape, what greeted Subaru after he’d climbed the stairs was a strange expanse completely dyed in white in every direction.
The expanse-like vastness shouldn’t have been that different in size to the tower so far, but neither its walls, nor the end could be seen in this incredibly white expanse. When he looked up above, he couldn’t tell where the ceiling was, when he looked down at his feet, only the part where the stairs were was a slightly ajar black. Other than that, the floor was so white that it made him scared to walk on it.
He couldn’t tell that the floor was the floor, or he’d end up being hit by an illusion that felt like he was in continuous free fall just about everywhere. The ceiling and the walls were the same―― Subaru felt like he’d probably end up going crazy if he lost sight of the stairs that led downstairs here
And, at the front of this white expanse――right in front of the stairs, there was a strange object floating up.
Subaru: “A stone slab…..?”
That was the impression that slipped out from Subaru’s mouth when he looked at that object. In fact, the object was such that it could only be expressed like so.
It was a single, black slab, that had been built in the shape of a quadrilateral, and had an incredibly smooth feeling to it.
He couldn’t call it a “Stone slab” if it wasn’t built from stone, but he had no other way of calling it considering that it wasn’t metallic as well.
If he really had to call it something else that was more flashy, then he’d probably use the term “Monolith”.
The silent Monolith had acquired a strange floating power and was floating up dozens of centimetres above the floor.
Or at least it should be. His eyes were thrown completely out of whack in checking how far it was off the ground due to the whiteness of the floor, and it became more and more unclear to him. However, the Monolith that was floating in mid-air was there cool as you like.
It was roughly the same height as Subaru, and its width was about the size of two people lined up together―― If he had to put it as something that was similar in size to it, then the impression he got was like as if a tatami was floating up.
Subaru: ”What the heck is this strange thing?”
Julius: “If I were to try and put it into different words, I’d say this is the contrivance that stuck out this enigma before us.”
Julius glared at the Monolith, standing beside Subaru, whose awareness had been gripped by this strange spectacle.
Julius’ face looked sterner than usual, as if he’d been already made to experience great hardship by the Monolith many times over. The rest of them had made it up to the Third Floor now, and were huddled together in an effort to ward off the indistinct atmosphere present inside of the white expanse.
Subaru: “This ain’t a room I want to stay long in.”
Julius: ”That I agree. If we stay here too long, it’s quite likely that we’ll lose our sense of balance. And if you end up running towards the stairs and your feet slip, I imagine your life could end up being cut short, wouldn’t you think?”
Anastasia: “Yoohoo, Julius. Stop with the unnecessary prattle.”
Anastasia puffed out her cheeks in protest at Julius’ prattle. It looked like she’d slipped on the way back before, which is what Julius was referring to.
However, Subaru had no intention of laughing at that mishap. In actual fact, this room had been clearly made with the goal of putting people’s senses out of whack. The room seemed like it embodied the wickedness of the nature of the person who’d made it.
Subaru: “So, what should we do about the main mystery?”
Beatrice: “You should touch that slab, in fact. The trial begins if you do, I suppose.”
Subaru: “Should I really touch the Monolith?”
Julius: “Monolith? That’s a name that fits quite well with its mysteriousness. Let’s call it like that from now on.”
(TL Note: Monolith is an English loan word in Japanese, モノリス, so of course Julius didn’t understand it.)
Subaru stepped away from Julius, who was in admiration of that strangeness, and moved forward on their behalf. Since no one stopped him he walked all the way over to the Monolith.
He’d expected the Monolith to let off a strange, ominous feeling when he approached―― But it wasn’t like that, it was pretty much just a plain old slab of stone other than the fact it was floating. When he thought of it like a tatami floating about, he felt the fear he’d had at first fade just a little.
Subaru: “Anyways, so I’ll go ahead and touch it? Can I get a countdown?”
Emilia: “Ah, right, I’d like to do it. Three, two, one…..”
Subaru: “So damn quick! I got this, though. ”
Emilia raised her hand up and volunteered to Subaru’s appeal; then her countdown began. As she counted down, Subaru panicked and turned around to face the Monolith.
Subaru touched the Monolith at the same time she counted zero―― And the next moment, the surface of the black slab glowed from the inside. Just as it did, the scene in front of his eyes grew blurred.
No, it wasn’t exactly blurred.
The Monolith which Subaru had touched started to grow in numbers whilst glowing with a black radiance.
The Monolith shot out replicated Monolith after Monolith from its back whilst making their surface glow. They were all hurled across the room at an incredible rate of knots, scattered in strange positions, all floating.
Countless Monoliths had been strewn out across the white expanse, and Subaru had been taken by surprise by that change. Then, passing through the awestruck Subaru’s eardrums―― straight to his brain, a voice echoed.
???: “――Touch the brightest of the hero destroyed by Shaula.”
Subaru jerked his hand away from the Monolith in surprise when he heard that voice ring out so abruptly. And, as he staggered back, someone propped his back up from behind.
He turned around to look at them. There, he found Julius’ face. Julius touched his fringe with his left hand as he propped Subaru up with his right, and said,
Julius: “Well look at this. Our first surprise, can I count on you sympathising with it, I wonder?”
Subaru: “What an assholish thing to say――!!”
Subaru’s protests only made Julius’ sardonic smile grow deeper.
In any case, the “Trial” had genuinely started now.
The trial of the Great Library Pleiades, Third Floor “Taygeta”.
Time-limit: “No Restrictions”. Number of attempts: “No Restrictions”. Challengers: “No Restrictions”.