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Translated By :
- Ice_Occultism (/u/Ice_Occultism)
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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Arc 6 – “Hall of Memories”
Chapter 22 – “The Asterism of the White Starry Sky”
After he untangled himself from Julius, and stood unaided, he turned to face the “Trial”.
In front of Subaru’s eyes, the figures of countless replica Monoliths were spread out across the white expanse from the heart of the Monolith he’d touched. To be honest, there were so many of them that he’d get sick and tired were he to count them.
Subaru: “This would be the “Trial” you meant….. right, Shaula?”
Shaula: “Looks like it right? I wanna see Master flaunt his forte!”
Subaru: “Don’t start saying stuff like a band would at a drinking party…..”
He wouldn’t know since he’d never been to one, but that was probably how things went there.
Subaru looked around the room behind Shaula, who’d cheered him on with her easy-going manner. The floor was still enveloped in white, with everything from their ability to tell distance to their ability to tell height going haywire.
The only change that stood out were the Monoliths that were dotted about the place, but those too weren’t particularly different from the first one. There seemed to be a bit of a difference in size between them, but other than that, they were the same in that they both floated in mid-air and were made of a strange material.
Subaru: “Speaking of stuff that we were given as a clue other than those, there’s still that thing from before.”
What he’d recalled was the voice that had echoed inside his brain when he’d touched the Monolith.
???: “――Touch the brightest of the hero destroyed by Shaula.”
The sound hadn’t come through his eardrums, but rather it’d been whispered straight to his brain inside his skull; it’d been closer to that. The voice he’d heard hadn’t been a sound, so the general concept of it being “Someone’s voice” couldn’t be applied here.
If he were to put it in other words, it was like the words had been jammed into his brain like a sentence that he’d thought of. There was no sound in his thoughts. Thus, you couldn’t comprehend who the voice belonged to. If anything, it was from himself.
Subaru: “That voice which could be heard was the trial question, you reckon? If that’s the case…..”
Julius: “Subaru, I’m sorry to interrupt whilst you’re thinking, but there’s a few important things I have to say. I don’t think it’ll hurt to go ahead after hearing those.”
Julius, who’d played a practical joke on him earlier, said that to Subaru whilst he racked his mind. Nearby the stairs which led down, Emilia and the rest of them were circled around the Monolith frozen around it. Everyone of them looked puzzled. Subaru shrugged his shoulders in appreciation of Julius, who was beckoning them to his side, and said “Oh?”
Subaru: “Is that so? All of you challenged it before whilst I was sleeping. Did you make any progress?”
Julius: “I guess I can’t really call it progress. Anyways. Subaru, please try and touch the stone slab…… I mean, the “Monolith” that’s right here.”
Subaru: “Does doing this please you that much? Well, sure whatever…..”
Subaru narrowed his eyes at Julius, who’d stuck to referring to it as a Monolith, and walked over to the Monolith that was on his right hand side. The slab was one of the replicas of the original Monolith. As he got closer, he could see that this one was just a little smaller than the original.
Subaru: “What if it’s a trap, where the moment I touch it my arm gets swallowed up?”
Beatrice: “It’s okay, in fact. If something like that happened, Betty would become your right arm for the rest of your life, I suppose.”
Emilia: “Ah, then I’d become Subaru’s left hand. You can rest assured.”
Subaru: “Both of my arms would be gone if we suppose that though!”
Thanks to Beatrice and Emilia’s reassuring pledges, Subaru summoned up his courage and stretched out his hand to the Monolith. He wasn’t really worried about the act of touching it in itself.
So long as his companions had recommended him to do this, and didn’t try to stop him, he had no reason to doubt his safety. The issue was simply the chance that they were concealing the truth as with the Monolith’s replicating themselves――.
Still full of anxiety, as soon as his fingertips brushed against the Monolith, the black stone slab shone so brightly that it almost scorched his eyes. In fact, its radiance had caused Subaru to hold his breath and immediately cover his face with his arm.
Then, after the light faded away, what remained in front of Subaru’s eyes was…
Subaru: “Huh? Where did the Monolith go?”
Shaula: “Hehehe, behind youuu Master.”
Subaru: “Behind me…..?”
After that flash of light, Subaru affirmed that the Monolith that should have been in front of him had disappeared. Surprised by what had happened, he turned to look behind him at Shaula who had nonsensically shouted out in triumph.
When he turned around, at the front of the stairs―― In other words, at the place where the original Monolith had stood, the first Monolith stood alone. All the rest of them had disappeared from the room.
Subaru: “So, in other words…… this means?”
Julius: “That everything went back to its original state. To put it shortly, it looks like we’ve been deemed to have messed up by the “Trial”. Of course.…..”
Stepping away from the dejected Subaru’s side, Julius carelessly approached the original Monolith. And then, immediately after he stretched out his hand and touched its surface, that voice echoed out through his mind――.
???: “――Touch the brightest of the hero destroyed by Shaula.”
Once again, at the same time which the challenge was posed to them, Monolith after Monolith were replicated from the original and scattered all around the room with the same force as before. The “Trial” was distributed around therefrom.
In other words, they could call this a “Retry”.
Subaru: “I see. It must mean we can think as much as we want until we find an answer.”
Julius: “That’s our guess right now. There happens to be this Monolith, but I can say that even when we went around touching Monoliths at random…. We couldn’t find an answer.”
Subaru: “Ah, so you’ve already tried bruteforcing it?”
Subaru broke down Julius’ mild manner of speaking to the bread and bones of it. Emilia and Meili, who’d heard that explanation, were patting their heads with what seemed to be a look of embarrassment about them.
Just try touching and checking every single one of them, certainly it looked like they’d tried to carry out that tactic. Nevertheless, it didn’t seem to have done the trick.
Subaru: “It’s a “Trial” after all. It means we have to solve the problem and answer it.”
Julius: “It looks like our examiner doesn’t appreciate answers that are just given out at random.”
Subaru: “Yeah, seems so. So like a Sensei who doesn’t give you credit unless you write down all of your working out, and doesn’t allow you to just put answers in the test’s answer column. The anti-cheating measures sure do appear quickly though.”
Reaching an answer without showing how you derived it could only come as a result of cheating or a hunch. Often times, till Primary School, he’d come across problems which he’d find answers to using his hunches, but the main point to Mathematics was to learn how to derive the problem, not to regurgitate the problem willy-nilly on the spot.
One time during Primary School, when he’d been marked down for the lack of clarity in his working out, he remembered how resentful he’d been about it, but――
Subaru: “After all this time, it looks like my Sensei was right….”
Anastasia: “I’m sorry ta butt in when yer still absorbed in yer thoughts, Natsuki-kun, but rather yer turn ain’t from here. Come on, snap back to reality, snap back.”
Subaru: “Huh, ah, oh, my bad. But, what do you mean by my turn?”
Anastasia called Subaru, whose eyes had glazed over, back to reality, and then clapped her hand on his back. As Subaru tilted his head at her appeal, everyone looked around at each other, and broke into mutters.
What they were saying was the same thing, so combining it and paraphrasing it into other words――, “It’s down to Subaru to find out who the hero destroyed by Shaula is”.
Emilia: “We challenged the “Trial” many times over until Subaru woke up. However, that girl wouldn’t even tell us whether or not she was Shaula when we did.”
Beatrice: “As far as we were concerned, Shaula was the “Sage”, in fact. We thought they were the person on the drawing engraved on the Silver Coin, so we didn’t connect this woman with Shaula, I suppose.”
Those were Emilia and Beatrice’s replies, both of whom hadn’t been able to hear Shaula’s story till then.
Ever since Subaru had woken up, he’d seen Shaula communicate with him with an air of over-familiarity that was way off the marks of typical friendliness, and because of that it was hard to believe for him that she’d refused to say anything to them. However, her not telling them anything more couldn’t be helped since she’d kept her mouth shut towards those in the tower.
Having said that though, Subaru was still worried.
Even if Shaula had had her tongue unsealed, and became able to talk about that…
Subaru: “I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask. Hey, Shaula. If you know anything, please tell me everything about the hero you destroyed.”
Shaula: “Leave this to me. Remembering stuff like each of the names of the guys I’ve killed is second class work….. For a first class individual like meeee, I don’t remember past the 100 mark.”
Subaru: “Of course you’d say that!”
Shaula gave him a thumbs and then winked. Receiving that vigorous response, Subaru slapped his knee.
Just as he’d expected and feared, her reply was an air-headed Shaula-like one.
He had suspected that was likely going to happen with how she’d acted and talked till now. There was the chance that she, who would seemingly know the answer to “The hero that Shaula destroyed” didn’t remember it anywhere in her head.
Julius: “However, we won’t make any progress if we end it with that. Miss Shaula, do you really not remember anything? It doesn’t matter even if it’s a tiny little detail.”
Shaula: “That’s easier said than done. I juuuust Hell’s Snipe everyone who comes near to the tower, and their corpses end up being cleaned up by the Witchbeasts outside.”
Anastasia: “Okay, but isn’ that strange? Could it be a “Trial” ta see whether we can reveal the tower’s knowledge in the first place? It’d be a strange sequence of events for it ta require us ta show somethin’ that happened after Shaula-san’s tenure in protectin’ the tower started.”
Shaula had pouted, saying she didn’t have any clue, but Anastasia pointed out the out of place feeling in what she’d said. Everyone other than Shaula had agreed with her opinion with an “I see”. For sure, it was difficult to imagine that the problem posed inside the tower came about after her tenure in the tower had started. Then naturally that meant the period of time which “Shaula had destroyed the hero” came before the tower’s construction.
Beatrice: “In other words, that means it’s from before you started firing at people at random, in fact. Come on, remember, I suppose. It’s like all of your nourishment ended up just in your buttocks and breasts, so your memory’s become poor, in fact.”
Shaula: “This appearance was chosen by my Mother~. Butbut, even if you say “Remember”, it’s not gonna honestly come out. Before the tower was built, right?”
Emilia: “Yeah, that’s right. Before the tower was built. During that time, do you happen to know of anyone that you kille…..I mean destroyed?”
Gathered near the stairway with Shaula in the middle of them, they desperately tried to awaken her memories. However, Shaula, who was basked in everyone’s expectations, gave no signs that they’d been successful, and she groaned out with an “Ahiiin”
Subaru: “Is it true or not that you’ve been around since 400 years ago? If I name a bunch of the noteworthy people around that time, you wouldn’t happen to have killed 2 or 3 of them, would you?”
Shaula: “Master, are you thinking that about meeee? I’m a maiden who likes to dabble with flowers ya know.”
Subaru: “That’s no maiden, more like a caterpillar.”
Emilia: “Subaru, I think your way of speaking just now was ever so rude. If she doesn’t want to remember, then don’t push her and force her to…..”
Subaru: “Emilia-tan, your kindness is your super-virtue, your best feature, but this woman is the more you pamper her, the more useless she becomes type, don’t you think!? I can tell! ‘Cause I’m the same!”
Emilia had firmly puffed out her chest and declared that. But, it wasn’t that Shaula couldn’t remember because she didn’t want to in the first place, but rather that her memory was so poor that she just couldn’t.
The topic was one which he’d wanted to handle delicately since one of his members had a bunch of difficult problems in regards to memories, but it was a different matter when it came to Shaula.
Subaru: “Practically, it’ll be no problem if I fire off some random names, right? I don’t know how one of them striking the answer would react with the Monoliths, though.”
Anastasia: “It’s definitely gotta be as Natsuki-kun says. I wonder though, even if we find out the answa’, how can we then touch “The Brightest”?”
Considering that the Monolith he’d touched had disappeared, and the “Trial” seemed to have adjudicated them as having messed up, he could predict that their answer’s final form would probably be to “Touch the correct Monolith”.
The issue then was how they would find the “Correct Monolith”. Even if they chipped at Shaula’s memories he didn’t get the feeling like it’d become clear, one could say.
Meili: “Bu~t, even if we think forever, we won’t make any progress, ri~ght? Since Naked Onee-san is pretty cooperati~ve, I thi~nk we might as well ask her.”
Still holding onto Shaula’s bare shoulders, Meili butted in between the adults who were stumbling over what to do. She looked at the group of Monoliths with a look of boredom on her face as she fiddled about with Shaula’s scorpiontail.
Meili: “There’s n~o ickle Witchbeasties around, there’s n~o progress, and it’s really not fun he~re. Speed things up, I wanna go back to the Mansio~n.”
Everyone was at a loss for words at the words which Meili had uttered. Following straight after that, Meili said “”What is i~t?”, as Subaru patted her head.
Meili: “What is it I wo~nder?”
Subaru: “Nothing, I just think it’s as you say. You’re right. This place is sandy as hell, and on top of that, there’s a bunch of scary Witchbeasts prowling about outside. We’ll quickly take care of things here, settle all our problems….. wake up Rem, retrieve a means to save the people in need, and then we shall skedaddle out of here.”
Treading around things with anxiety before attempting them was a waste of valuable time. It felt to him like the “Trial” had been set up by someone rather ill-natured and that he was playing right into their hands.
Shaula: “Master, Master. You do know that there’s an easy-to-stroke head right next to that lil’ ankle biter.”
Subaru: “I said this already. You’re the same as me in that you’re the type which when pampered falls unendingly into corruption. That’s why from here on out we’re doing this the Spartan way. Hurry the hell up and remember.”
Shaula: “Do I have toooo?”
Puffing her cheeks out in dissatisfaction, Shaula seemed to be in full-pout. However, she’d be easy to handle since after a few dozen seconds she’d start humming with a face like she’d forgotten.
Julius: “Well then, our young lady requests it too. Shall we try and get on with testing out the possibilities we have in front of us without dithering about?”
Anastasia: “Mhm, that’s probably a good idea. It’s relievin’ that it’s okay even if we fail a buncha’ times. In most cases in human life, things are decided in just a single bout…… So, this is quite a generous problem don’cha think?”
Although Meili had set things off in motion, Julius and Anastasia had also came into agreement with her. Thus, it was time to make her remember “The Hero destroyed and forgotten by Shaula” once again.
Subaru: “For now let’s go with a name that you remember……Yeah. Ah, how about Reid? That dude was the first ever “Sword Saint”; You killed him, didn’t you?”
Subaru: “Third Base Cleanup”
(TL Note: A baseball reference. Seems to be a reference to this manga which was translated as “3rd Base 4th”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoban_S%C4%81do — Many thanks to Wave Master for pointing this out)
Straight after he’d nonchalantly pulled out that name, Shaula let out a high pitched shriek and leapt backwards. Subaru performed a diving catch on Meili, who’d been dropped having been unable to withstand that injection of momentum.
After he safely brought Meili back to the ground, Shaula, who’d jumped up and fled far away into the room, had gotten smaller in view.
Subaru: “Hey! I’m sorry! I don’t really know why you’re acting like that, but get back here!”
Shaula: “P-please don’t say such scary stuff. Master’s a real mean guy. The absolute worst. A maiden’s distress. A liability issue.”
Even though she spoke frivolously, Shaula’s voice as she skulked back was shaking feebly. She sure did act tough, but she wasn’t all that. Unmistakably, fear and dread had caused her to react like that.
Naturally, the reason behind her fear could only be but one.
Subaru: “Huh, is the First “Sword Saint” such a scary person?”
Julius: “How foolish. Reinhard, Wilhelm-sama and such are esteemed individuals worthy of the forefather of the Astrea family. He definitely wasn’t just skilled with the sword, but a man of character as well. Certainly, there are some parts sprinkled into the anecdotes that were left behind as rumours that indicate that he was rather strong-willed which don’t overlap with Reinhard and the rest, but…… If it’s not like that, then wouldn’t that’d mean the history of the Astrea Family has been twisted till this current generation?”
Subaru: “Not really, but when you unravel history, and the viewpoint of prominent statesmen also changes, you’ll find that Japanese History is sufficiently cruel too. If we compare it to that, then I mean we can’t really start speaking about definites here…..”
Julius: “Dear goodness, let’s not delve into this sort of talk. It’s alright. We can get a clarification to the story if we get her to talk as she’s a living witness here. Come now, let’s listen to her.”
Julius started to ramble on with tremendous vigour at Subaru, who had hazarded a guess at Reid’s temperament from Shaula’s reaction. And to make matters worse, he’d handled things by dismissing Subaru, who’d tried to defend his point, with a laugh.
After so long, Subaru could once again see a glimpse of the figure of that gaudy knight which he’d first seen at the Royal Selection. He now knew that his attitude back then had been down to him playing the villain. Though, whenever he saw him like this, he sure did get the impression that he still was like when they’d first met.
In any case,
Julius: “Your impressions regarding The First “Sword Saint”, Reid Astrea. Miss Shaula, I’d like you to tell us your candid impression of him.”
Shaula: “He was human garbage.”
Julius: “I’d like you to tell us your candid impression of him.”
Subaru: “Don’t pretend like she didn’t say anything!!”
Subaru shoved Julius’ shoulder, who’d tried to ignore that inconvenient tidbit, and made him face the facts. Pointing his finger at Shaula, who had a troubled look on her face, Subaru continued.
Subaru: “Hey, listen up. The truth about the history you wanted to know about is right here. She’s a living witness to it. Go on, tell me as many anecdotes about Reid Astrea as you like, of that magnanimous man of character skilled in the sword.”
Julius: “……Those who hold exceptional talent end up having confidence in themselves, more or less. That shouldn’t be chastised, rather, it should be something you take pride in. If you end up becoming the greatest swordsman recorded in history, even acting like such is, yeah, when you take into account how things were back then, it would be suitable――”
Subaru: “It’s the first time I’ve seen you so desperate.”
Julius too became flustered as if he was considering just how unconvincing he sounded.
Setting Julius aside, who’d been betrayed by the history which he ever so loved, Shaula’s “Truth of Reid Astrea” was pouring out of her without an end in sight.
Shaula: “Well, anyways, he was a nasty guy. His personality was like that of an unruly brat’s in adult-form, and he loved to bully the weak. Or I guess if we look at it from that garbage’s point of view, almost all of his opponents were weak, so he’d be bullying the weak no matter who he fought against. He did that a lot to meeee too.”
Emilia: “But, he was able to keep doing that to you even though you’re so strong? Ah, since it happened over 400 years ago, you must’ve still been small then too?”
Shaula: “I’veeee been like this ever since I was born. So, between now and back then, I’veeeee not changed, however….. That thing was just out of the ordinary. A total piece of shit.”
Garbage, piece of shit, the hero of yore had been harshly evaluated as such.
The darkness wasn’t vanishing from Shaula’s attitude, as if many hateful memories had come flooding back to her. It was the same as when a person who’d been bullied recalled what the bully had done to them.
Shaula: “You should always keep that piece of shit in mind. Even if the bully forgets, the one bullied absolutely never will, and that’s a fact…..”
Subaru: “I’m not really surprised since there’s a precedent in Reinhard, but it’d take quite a monster to knock you down a few pegs, and Reid Astrea’s one too.”
Shaula: “He really was the worst. But, I was able to get him to use both hands once every ten times we fought.”
Subaru: “……I see.”
He could only answer with that. Had she set her goals high or low in making him use both of his hands once every ten times, and not to gain victory once every ten times?
Subaru felt like he wouldn’t be able to make Reinhard use both his hands even once every hundred times, so he could admit that her putting up a fight like that had been plenty enough.
Subaru: “Well, we can put off asking about Reid. It’s pretty pointless for us to ask if you didn’t destroy him.”
Julius: “――. ――――. I agree. There’s other things we ought to prioritise right now.”
Subaru: “Didn’t you waste time doing that just now?”
Subaru couldn’t tell whether he had a scholarly interest in it, or it was a curiousity spurred from a simple hobby, but he judged that for now, perhaps Julius wouldn’t be of any use.
Although he felt sorry for Julius, who’d had his illusions shattered, unfortunately for him, Subaru had no reason to care about Reinhard’s ancestor right now. To begin with, Reinhard himself was already more than plenty enough amazing no matter how amazing his bloodline was. At least considering his “Father’s” nature, he was sure that Reinhard had been abounding in it.
Subaru: “Then, let’s leave all speculation about who the hero is to the guy who knows best.”
Julius: “Gotcha. I shall humbly accept.”
Subaru: “I still wasn’t talking about you, but sure. Go for it. Beako, help him out with it.”
Beatrice: “Gotcha, in fact.”
He left the task to Julius since he was willing to do it. And getting Beatrice to assist him as a helper, who boasted 400 years of knowledge, was ideal.
Emilia: “Then what shall we do?”
Subaru: “We’ll take a closer look at the surroundings.”
He’d leave the hero-related stuff to Julius and Beatrice, who’d remain by Shaula, and meanwhile he wanted to take a look at the arrangement issue.
Namely, how the replicated Monoliths were arranged―― If there was some significance to their uneven arrangement, then taking the time to search for the pattern behind it probably wouldn’t be a waste.
Subaru: “First of all, the first one…. is in front of the stairs.”
Emilia: “It’s the Monolith that hands out the question, right?”
The Monoliths weren’t lined up in a narrow enough space to the extent that they had to be careful not to bump into them, nevertheless, Subaru took Anastasia and Emilia and looked around the Monoliths inside the room.
There was a surprising difference in size between the scattered Monoliths when he double checked. However, there wasn’t a single one of them that was as large as the series of original Monoliths, the figures of countless Monoliths which were one or two times smaller were scattered about after them.
Subaru: “When you take a look at it….. I guess there’s about 7 or 8 Monoliths that are about the same size as the first Monolith?”
Emilia: “I guess so? Yeah, I think so too. I think the ones that are reaaaally far away are all quite small. We’ll end up restarting things if we touch those too, though.”
Subaru: “From the way you’re talking about it, it looks like you’ve done that before…. Ah, Sorry. Nevermind about that.”
Seeing sadness build up in Emilia’s eyes, Subaru caught himself before he said too much. Returning back in front of the first Monolith, Subaru turned to face the two girls and plunged into thought.
Subaru: “Touch the brightest of the hero destroyed by Shaula……I feel like it’s trying to say something ‘cool’.”
Anastasia: “I guess it must be sayin’ somethin’ abstract. Unfortunately, we can’t go overlookin’ the question when we take into account what comes out of relyin’ on Shaula-san’s memory.”
Subaru: “Well, I suppose so.”
In essence, relying on others, or on the being that had been left behind in the tower as its warden, to get that answer was really unfair with it being labelled as a “Trial”.
Subaru and the others hadn’t expected friendly contact when they’d made it to the tower―― However, they ended up making it into the tower without coming to blows with Shaula; if it hadn’t ended up like that, they would have fallen into a quagmire of massacre. Even if they’d successfully made it into the tower in that case, they likely wouldn’t have been able to defeat Shaula.
Emilia: “If we do that, passing the “Trial” is going to be forever impossible, right?”
Subaru: “That’s correct if you’re saying they have no intention of letting us solve the “Trial”. They could put a strong Guardian as a defence mechanism, and worse, were we to kill said Guardian, they could put a terrible barrier that wouldn’t let us pass..….”
Emilia: “But, you don’t think that….. You think it’s different to that?”
Emilia turned her eyes in anticipation towards Subaru, who’d touched on this issue of security. Receiving her gaze, Subaru confirmed her thoughts with a chuckle.
Those eyes were Subaru’s weakness. Subaru grew weak whenever Emilia and Beatrice gave him those looks. Rem, Garfiel and Otto would occasionally look at him like that too. Coupled with Petra, that made far too many. The only ones who didn’t look at him like that were Patrasche and Ram.
Subaru: “Ahh, it somehow feels like I could see a trend.”
Subaru: “It’s nothing, just talking to myself.”
Subaru’s bluff wouldn’t have worked against those who could see through him. Of course, he was bailed out thanks to Emilia not being one of those who’d question him about it.
Anyways, putting that aside and going back to the problem of the format of the “Trial”――,
Subaru: “Exceptions aside, fundamentally the problem was constructed with the assumption that it can be solved. If you really wanted to hide things properly, it’d be smarter not to leave them somewhere where there’s a chance of finding them.”
Anastasia: “But, Natsuki-kun, yer’ve eyeballed this place as not bein’ like that?”
Subaru: “What was it that the keeper of this place, Shaula said? She said this is a Great Library where you can get all the knowledge you desire. I don’t think Shaula herself could come up with such a fancy-looking phrase, so I think she’s splurging out words that were told to her by someone else. Meaning that “Flugel”, who built this library and entrusted it to Shaula, intended for it to be used.”
The more he unravelled the possibilities, the more unnatural the current situation became to him.
The creator of this Great Library Pleiades must have taken steps to set it up so that the purpose of the building worked. He’d left behind the “Trial” and Shaula here as a means to screen people for that.
Subaru: “Does this mean that no one but those who get along well with Shaula can use it to begin with?”
Emilia: “But Shaula said that she attacked everyone who approached the tower, right?”
Yeah, that was right.
The command that had been given to Shaula was to “Eliminate anyone who approached the tower without any exceptions”, and Subaru and the others coming into friendly contact with Shaula had just been a stroke of luck. If he recklessly concluded that people wouldn’t get the qualifications to challenge the tower unless they abounded in fortuity, then…
Anastasia: “So what ya need is strength, luck, ‘n charm so that yer able to make friends with Shaula-san? I think our lineup is pretty unfit for that challenge.”
Subaru: “….. It sure is.”
If they’d been defeated by Shaula, killed by her, or been unable to get her to cooperate with them, then they’d have lost the qualifications to challenge the Great Library Pleiades…
Although it was irrational to think so, if he listed all the conditions up till now, he could only come to that conclusion.
However, Subaru couldn’t help but have a bad feeling in just accepting that.
Emilia: “Hey. Heey.”
Emilia: “I’m feeling quiiiiite a bit uneasy. I’ve got a real bad feeling in and around my chest.”
Emilia placed her hand to the pit of her stomach and anxiously spilled that out. As he was about to draw his eyes to that, Suabru restrained himself before he ogled her pale skin.
Clearing his throat with an Ahem, he frowned at Emilia and said, “A bad feeling?”
Subaru: “Huh, is something on your mind?”
Emilia: “To tell you the truth, there is. But, this may have nothing to do with everything, and even if I say it out loud, I think only you would understand me…..”
Subaru: “I think I’d like you to say whatever’s on your mind right now, so you can say it to me. My thoughts aren’t necessarily correct, and it’s honestly a good thing to think about things from multiple different angles.”
Having been immersed in her thoughts about what she was holding back, Emilia’s face brightened a little as she heard his words. Then she continued speaking saying “In that case,”
Emilia: “When you touched the Monolith, you guys could hear a voice inside of your head, right?”
Anastasia: “Yeah. It’s an uncanny contraption, but I wonder what the heck it is.”
Emilia: “It’s that voice but…. Isn’t it similar to the one back at the “Ordeal” of the Sanctuary?”
Subaru & Anastasia: “――――”
(TL Note: For terminology disambiguation, check my TL note from last chapter on why I am using Ordeal here instead of Trial.)
Subaru and Anastasia both kept their silence when they heard Emilia’s suggestion. However, even if both of them had ended up staying silent, the reason why they’d done so had been different.
Anastasia had plunged into silence because she had no clue what those words meant, but Subaru’s silence had been because he’d been taken by surprise and understood her words.
The “Ordeals”―― Those had taken place at the Witch Echidna’s graveyard, who’d lived in the “Sanctuary”.
Those mystifying phenomena that made you confront the past/differing presents, Subaru didn’t know the full details of them as he’d retired halfway through, but according to Echidna back at the graveyard, there’d been a third “Ordeal” too, which Emilia had overcome.
No, in this case the details and hardships of that “Ordeal” weren’t what was important here.
What was important was that refrain that had informed them about the details of the Ordeal using “Their own voice” was pretty much the same as when they’d challenged that “Ordeal”.
Subaru: “Now that you mention it, you’re right. Why did that slip out of my mind…. I guess ‘cause they’re bad memories?”
Emilia: “Subaru, that’s because you reaaaally dislike Echidna, no?”
Subaru: “Going through an experience where a saviour turns out to actually be an éminence grise is gonna end up making you look like me!”
Since the “Sanctuary”, Emilia and Subaru had spoken about the “Witches” only once or twice. Even after they’d touched on the subject of the Ordeal, Emilia liked to skirt around it, so he hadn’t pursued the topic too much.
The point that they both shared in common was that they thought “Echidna was an ill-natured fiend.” Emilia sugarcoated it more when speaking, but Subaru spoke about her as it was.
Anastasia: “Why, ya freaked me out ‘cause ya mentioned Echidna’s name.”
Emilia: “Ah, I see. Anastasia’s Artificial is called Echidna too….. She does speak in a reaaally similar manner, right? ‘Tis strange.”
Subaru: “Yeah, it’s strange, but let’s settle this another time, alright? So, it’s similar to the Ordeal…”
When he’d heard the word “Trial” mentioned, he’d thought that it sounded similar to “Ordeal”.
When it came to the parts that resembled the “Ordeal” till the start, this was probably one part of a system, or perhaps it was a great part of it that resembled the one at the graveyard.
Subaru: “Come to think of it, the “Ordeal” too was practically unlimited in how much you could challenge it.”
Emilia: “And what’s more, about the “Trials”, there’s the Third Floor, the Second Floor and the First, totalling three here too, right?”
Subaru and Emilia looked at each other as if they were saying Yeah, it’s definitely like that.
The “Sage’s” name, and the 400 years time period. When he looked back on it, it felt inevitable that history overlapped with the period of time of those “Witches”.
Emilia: “Yeah, though I’m sorry. Even if we know that much, it still doesn’t bring us any closer to the answer, huh.”
Having thought all the way up to there, Emilia cut her story short with a flustered look on her face.
Just as Emilia had concluded, even if there was a chance that this place had some relation to the graveyard, it still had nothing to do with the “Trial” of “Taygeta”.
The name of the “Hero who was destroyed by Shaula” was still something that they had to rely on Shaula for――.
Subaru: “….Actually, isn’t it not like that?”
Subaru: “If we presume this place is something that’s supposed to be solvable, then isn’t saying that it can’t be captured unless Shaula manages to a mistake in the first place?”
This was the tower of the “Sage”, and that had been the graveyard of the “Witch”.
Both of these examiners shared in the same wicked disposition, but if that wasn’t only what they had in common, they had a conceivable chance to overcome them.
The “Witch” had tested people out in her “Ordeals” but she didn’t give them any hardships that couldn’t produce results.
Then if the “Sage” tested people in his “Trials”, then he shouldn’t give them any hardships that couldn’t produce results.
Subaru: “A chance for us to be able to capture the tower without needing Shaula…..”
Anastasia: “Natsuki-kun, what did’ya think of…..”
Plunging into his thoughts, Subaru placed his hand on his chin, closed one of his eyes and sunk into speculation. As he did so, Emilia waved her hand and silenced Anastasia, who’d seen a ray of hope glimmering in what was occuring and spoken up.
Emilia put her finger to her lips and made a shushing gesture at her telling her to stay quiet, and after that, she turned her head back to look at Subaru. Her amethyst eyes sparkled with anticipation.
Not taking any notice of Emilia’s anticipation, Subaru’s head spun in thought.
In this “Trial”, “Shaula’s” presence wasn’t important. Perhaps there was even a chance that those challenging the tower could destroy Shaula were she to attack them. If he presumed that they still didn’t even know Shaula’s name…
Subaru: “Even if we didn’t know that Shaula is Shaula, if we assume a Shaula was involved…”
Emilia & Anastasia: “――――”
Subaru: “We mistakenly believed that Flugel’s achievement had been Shaula’s. The “Sage’s” achievement was that he sealed the Witch with the help of the First “Sword Saint” and the “Divine Dragon”. However, “The Witch of Envy” ain’t something that we’d ever call something like a “Hero”, nor was she ever destroyed.”
He cut out that possibility as being an incorrect hypothesis right here.
Maybe there’d been another heroic tale which the “Sage” Flugel had forced on Shaula that he just didn’t know about. However, it didn’t make any sense that Beatrice and Julius hadn’t recalled something like that―― An inevitable possibility floated up in his mind.
Subaru: “Even if we didn’t know that Shaula is Shaula, if we assume a Shaula was involved… that’s it.”
He once again repeated what he’d said.
That didn’t mean his thoughts were going around in circles. It was the opposite. He’d cut out one of the possibilities, and another one had surfaced. And, what that meant was――
Subaru: “Beako! Come here for a sec!”
Following the possibility that had struck him, Subaru lifted his face up and called Beatrice over.
Julius was trying everything he could to try and pry open the lid on Shaula’s memories. Next to him, Beatrice sprung up when she heard Subaru’s voice that indicated he’d managed to find something. She rushed over to him, and said,
Beatrice: “That face is Betty’s favourite Subaru face, I suppose.”
Subaru: “Shouldn’t all of them be your favourite?”
Beatrice: “This one especially, in fact.”
Beatrice said that without any traces of embarrassment to her, and Subaru stretched out his hand over to her as she stood in front of him. Beatrice took his hand and looked at him with her round blue eyes.
Her eyes were asking, “What do you want me to do?” Thus, Subaru nodded, and said,
Subaru: “It’s quite simple. ――I’d like to jump a bit higher with Murak.”
Beatrice: “…..Don’t tell me you’re going to say “I’ve given up, so let’s break the ceiling and go up that way”, I suppose.”
Subaru: “Don’t be so shocked. Of course not. I just want to look down on the Monoliths from above.”
Emilia: “Look down on the Monoliths…..”
Behind him, Emilia turned around to look at the Monoliths and muttered that out.
Even if she didn’t know what he expected to get from it, Beatrice didn’t show any intent of wanting to ask anymore about it. She let out a small sigh and gripped his hand more tightly,
Beatrice: “Murak, in fact.”
Pale, light purple waves faintly wrapped themselves around Subaru’s body following her incantation.
Murak was magic which kept the effects of gravity at bay and made you far more agile. Just by jumping lightly he’d be able to float up by about one metre, and if he kicked off from the floor with all his strength, then…
Subaru: “Up we go!”
Still holding Beatrice’s hand, Subaru leapt up towards the top of the tall room. Although he’d made it up by 6 or 7 metres, his body didn’t crash into the ceiling as he’d expected.
The layer had expanded as if there’d been no ceiling at all inside of this endless white expanse. Thus, Subaru was able to look down on the entire room from above.
Subaru: “――It’s as I thought.”
Beatrice: “Were you able to find what you were looking for, I suppose?”
Subaru: “Of course. This place is the absolute worst.”
Subaru frowned and nodded seeing Beatrice’s gaze who’d heard his mutter wrapped inside of his arms.
The two of them turned towards the ground and dropped down; their lightness of body that had helped them leap up also helped grace their landing. They landed without any issue, and he lowered Beatrice, who he’d been princess-carrying, down to the floor,
Subaru: “I know the name of the Hero.”
Subaru said that with conviction to Emilia, who’d seen him muse about it and then leap up. Emilia reacted in surprise to his words, and Anastasia rounded her eyes as well.
Hearing them speak, Julius and the others with him who’d been captivated by their talk gathered over to where Subaru and the others were.
Meili: “Onii-san figured it ou~t?”
Subaru: “I solved it. Along with the line of thinking of this errant examiner, for now.”
Shaula: “That’s Master for you! You’re makin’ me feel all tingly! Oh how I yearned for this!”
With Meili on her back, Shaula gave him a thumbs up and replied, then she shook her head vigorously. Looking at that from the corner of his eye, Julius looked over to the group of Monoliths, and said,
Julius: “I don’t mean to doubt you right now. But please tell me how you managed to get the answer.”
Subaru: “It’s nothing spectacular. Y’all needn’t feel bad for not solving this. Because in the first place, the people who have a chance at solving this are few.”
This problem was the most contemptible in that sense.
The challengers had to overcome the obstacle that was Shaula, understand the details of the problem and yet from the start, they’d been narrowed down by the “Likelihood of knowing the answer to the problem.”
Subaru: “The hero destroyed by Shaula, his name is Orion.”
Everyone looked at Shaula in confusion after they heard the word that Subaru had spoken out. However, Shaula vigorously shook her head as everyone’s gazes converged on her and said “I don’t know them!”
Shaula: “Nopenopenope, I’ve no idea who that is. And even if for a sec we assume I did kill them, what sort of person who can’t even make it all the way here gets called a hero, it’s totally ridiculous. Soooo, I don’t think I’m the one to blame here. How you may ask, well by this argument from theory! I’m suuuuper smart!”
Subaru: “As you can see, this woman’s not smart at all. At first, I’d suspected that she may have actually forgotten, but that’s not the case. Reason being that the “Shaula” from this problem isn’t this woman in the first place.”
Shaula: “I’mmm the only Shaula! I got this name from Master!”
Subaru: “Even the name that your Master gave you came from someone else.”
He prodded out his finger to the tip of the protesting Shaula’s nose and pushed her away before she could get closer. Following that, Subaru walked over to the original Monolith and stood in front of it.
Emilia: “Maybe once again… only Subaru knows the origins of Shaula’s name?”
Subaru: “It isn’t just me who knows, though I suppose not everyone would know. ――The name of a star in my hometown is called “Shaula”. The meaning of its name is the “Stinger”, but if I had to specify which kind of stinger, then it’d be the “Scorpion’s” stinger.”
Shaula had insisted on calling her hairstyle a scorpiontail, had that been a hint of some sorts, or was that some natural airheadness of Shaula’s? Whichever one it was, there’d been a few things that had made him recall that “Shaula” = “Scorpion” = “Stinger”.
Subaru: “According to legend, the Hero Orion was stung by a scorpion which had been sent out to besiege him due to his boastfulness, and he ended up dying. After his death, he became a star. So, the scorpion that killed Orion also became a star due to its deed, and it’s said that even now in the sky Orion lives in fear of the scorpion …”
Beatrice: “Now that you’ve explained things, this legend has a pretty depressing vibe to it too, in fact.”
Subaru: “Anyways, think of it as having constellations where stars are illustrated by the figures of animals and people and such. You can even think of them as an asterism. ――So, that’s how it looks when you look down on the Monoliths from above.”
Becoming practically weightless as a result of Beatrice’s magic, he’d jumped up and looked down at the group of Monoliths.
The scattered black Monoliths in this world of white―― Although their colours were inverted, a series of black stars floated about in this white world, forming a pattern which he was familiar with.
There were eight Monoliths in total which had the same size as the original one.
The number of major stars as well as how they were laid out both matched with how the constellation of Orion was shaped.
And when he linked it to the last part, “Touch the brightest”…
Subaru: “The original Monolith is right in the middle. Well, I just gotta keep my eye on Alnilam and if I keep following the shape of the constellation…. If I keep following Orion, then…”
Subaru: “The phrasing ‘The brightest’ is a bit of a roguish expression. In actual fact, stars shine in various different ways, sometimes they’re always bright, other times they shine brighter only every so often. Considering that, there are two stars that fit the bill for the brightest in Orion…..”
When viewed from above, the two stars that fit the bill were the right shoulder of Orion located in the upper left part, “Betelgeuse”, and Orion’s left knee located in the lower right part, “Rigel”.
“Rigel” was always invariably bright, whereas “Betelgeuse” was a variable star that sometimes shone brighter than Rigel.
Solving the problem by picking both of them wasn’t a pretty one, but…
(TL Note: Have a helpful image if you need help visualising this, though not all the stars are shown: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f6/59/bd/f659bd011bbb9b0724d185d6cff29db2.jpg Keep in mind that Rigel is shown as the foot here, from some quick Wikipediaing, “In the constellation of Orion as the mythological Greek huntsman, Rigel represents his knee or (as its name suggests) foot; with the nearby star Beta Eridani marking Orion’s footstool.” Tappei went with knee in the Japanese which is why you might find a discrepancy between this image and the translation.)
Subaru: “I guess I’ll go for “Rigel”.”
He had bad memories of a name that was similar to “Betelgeuse”.
Setting his answer in stone, Subaru touched the Monolith on Orion’s left knee, “Rigel”.
This wasn’t necessarily the only answer. But, most likely it should be the right one.
And at the same time he realised that, he readied himself for the precipitousness and difficulty of the obstacles that awaited them on the Second and First Floor, when considering the maliciousness of the person who’d cooked up these “Trials”.
The white room was filled with a dazzling light.
Both sound and landscape were left behind, everything was blown away, before finally――.
When the light died down, Subaru and the others were left standing in a room made out of stone ――in the middle of a room that was encompassed by countless bookshelves.