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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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The surrounding world of white evaporated, leaving behind a room carved of stone and uncountably infinite shelves.
Feeling the stone he had been touching disappear, Subaru took this to mean that his answer had been correct.
Then in that case―
Emilia: “Amazing! Subaru, good―”
Subaru: “The examiner’s personality, is just too wicked!!”
Emilia: “Eeeeh!? That’s your first reaction!?”
Ready to celebrate the solving of the third floor [Taygeta], Emilia was stunned speechless. Echoing through the tower, was Subaru’s vitriolic cry.
Looking back to the surprised Emilia and everyone else watching him, Subaru gave a “my bad” as he continued to talk.
Subaru: “Although it’s as everyone suspected, and I’ve indeed solved the riddle… but that it was solved like this is a huge issue. Or rather, it’s unfair to all of you.”
Emilia: “Is that so? Subaru used esoteric knowledge to solve the riddle… is how it seems to me.”
Subaru: “Rather than saying I solved the riddle with my own knowledge, it’s more like only someone specifically like me can solve this, is the issue here.”
Tilting her head in confusion, Emilia faced Subaru as he scratched at his head.
To consider it in detail the best way to explain this, turned out to be a bit of a problem.
The [Exam] of the third floor [Taygeta], was just as Subaru had answered, the myth of th thee Orion. The notion he had set aside was “the person who riddled this might have been an astronomist or a romantic”, with the reason being that the myth of [Orion] did not exist in this world.
Whether Orion or the celestial name of Shaula, or any of the other constellations, all of them were astronomical knowledge from Subaru’s original world.
And this current world, perhaps was the far future, set after the civilization of Subaru’s original world had long been lost to the past. Subaru had long affirmed that this world’s night sky contained different stars than the ones he had known.
Subaru: “So, the passage of time completely changed the layout of the stars… in that case there’s no option but to just wave your hands in surrender, since Orion or whatever doesn’t exist anymore.”
After an extensive period of months and years, Orion had long since vanished from the night sky, and anything like his myths had disappeared too. If this were the case, one conjecture could be made.
The poser of the riddle, was someone who knew the same sky as Subaru.
Furthermore, all those aside from those who knew the stars of the previous world, were born naturally defeated by the [Exam]’s riddle.
And the one who had designed the riddle, according to Shaula’s report, was without doubt the [Sage] Flugel.
Subaru: “Your master, seems to have been a guy with a decidedly wicked personality.”
Shaula: “Nononono, why would you say that ~ssu. It’s unlike Master to be self-deprecating ~ssu! Although the wicked personality bit can’t be denied ~ssu, it’s still reasonable for the riddle to be solved ~ssu! If it were Reid it would indeed be unsolvable… something about revealing another self and being unable to pass without victory in battle?”
Subaru: “That’s horrifying, either way the tests would go nowhere…”
All in all, the heroes of the past who had subdued the Witch of Envy all had terrible personalities.
With this person, using knowledged from another world would probably work better.
Anastasia: “Alright, and now.”
As Subaru sighed over Shaula’s explanation that wasn’t an explanation, Anastasia interrupted the pair to glance around. Stroking her scarf, she examined the shelves crammed with books.
Anastasia: “Thanks to Natsuki-kun’s labors, the “Exam” was solved… That’s excellent, but what’s the point of the library? What kinds of books does it have? I find this quite curious.”
Julius: “According to Shaula-san, this place is a trove of knowledge without bound and without break (unironically considered “lacuna” here) ― is what she had said.”
Nodding in accord with Anastasia’s words, Julius glanced toward Shaula. Bearing an expression as if she had forgotten her own earlier words, Shaula had her skin pressed against Meili’s as she played with her.
The expectations hadn’t been high to begin with, but it seemed that Shaula’s explanation of this [Taygeta] library was not forthcoming.
Beatrice: “From that reaction, it seems that this is the first time [Taygeta]’s been opened, in fact. Let’s walk around and take a look, I suppose.”
Subaru: “Indeed. Hey you… could it be that you can’t hold back anymore?”
Beatrice: “That… might be the case, in fact.”
Clutching her dress from beside Subaru, Beatrice seemed to be speaking a tad faster than usual.
Eyes gleaming softly, gazing about the library with fascination ― upon realizing the reason, Subaru forgot their circumstances and began laughing.
Subaru: “Seems like, the Forbidden Archive wasn’t some unpleasant memory to you.”
Beatrice: “… it’s not a particularly pleasant memory, I suppose. However, in any case, it’s a place where Betty spent four hundred years, in fact. In addition…”
Subaru: “In addition?”
Beatrice: “It’s where Subaru told Betty to ‘choose me’, I suppose. It’s not a place that can be so easily forgotten, in fact!”
The unexpected words had Subaru’s eyes go round, and Beatrice’s turned her face away. But even from behind her reddened ears were plain to see, a clear sign of embarrassment.
Subaru: “Saying words that would embarrass you of your volition, just what are you trying to achieve?”
Beatrice: “Betty remembers everything about the Forbidden Archive, isthat is proof of memories of Subaru… is all, in fact.”
Subaru: “You are… too cute!”
Beatrice: “Kya―, I suppose!”
At the sudden declaration of affection, Subaru gently began stroking Beatrice’s head. Beatrice’s feline cry gradually softened, and Subaru saw an expression filled with satisfaction. The scene had Anastasia and the others glance at them with amazement.
Subaru: “Alright, enough of the idle chatter, let’s check out the library now.”
Anastasia: “What a sight for sore eyes. It really seems like a gentle exchange between parent and child, doesn’t it…”
Subaru: “It’d at least be considered brother and sister, wouldn’t it.”
Sticking his tongue out at Anastasia’s opinion, Subaru straightened and glanced about at his surroundings.
Where Subaru and the others were located, was the center of a stone carved circular room. The structure itself was an extension of the tower, and the expansive design created a feeling of being left without boundaries.
Aside from the large spiral staircase, the fifth and sixth floors had no particularly striking features to fill the vast empty spaces. And the fourth floor was in fact divided into several rooms, what Shaula had described as a versatile nest.
Yet the third floor filled the same empty space with rows upon rows of shelves, each tall shelf crammed with countless books. The circular room was designed to form small floors. Subaru’s group was located on the lowest, surrounded by layers raising outward.
The books were so numerous as to be uncountable. Beatrice’s Forbidden Archive was also fairly crowded, but in terms of solely counting books, this place was by far victorious.
Subaru: “In order to find the book you want, it’d be nice if you could search with a computer.”
Beatrice: “Within in the Forbidden Archive, Betty knew exactly where every book was, in fact.”
Subaru: “Amazing, you. A genius!”
After praising Beatrice’s little show of smugness, Subaru approached the bookshelf beside him.
Looking over, Emilia and the others drew close as well, although it didn’t seem as if anyone felt daring enough to pluck a book from the shelf.
Emilia: “Wasn’t Subaru was the one that solved the riddle? Maybe something would go awry if it wasn’t Subaru that touched it.”
Subaru: “Ah, indeed anything could happen, but if only the one who had answered the riddle were allowed to read anything, wouldn’t it be off that Emilia-tan and the rest were even allowed into the library?”
Emilia: “Ah, right. Then it seems like entering this place is akin to permission.”
Subaru: “Mm, that’s what I think― hey, Emilia-tan!?”
At Subaru’s theory, Emilia who had kept her guard up nodded in understanding. Then, letting down her guard, she immediately pulled a book from the shelf.
Then she began flipping through the contents of the book, right before Subaru who had been struck speechless.
Emilia: “Hmm, it’s just a normal book… Subaru, what is it?”
Subaru: “No, nothing, it’s just that Emilia’s boldness was shocking but quickly became mesmerizing. I only said that ‘that’s what I think’ is all.”
Emilia: “―?? Subaru said so, so wouldn’t it be fine? Eh, is saying so that odd?”
Emilia’s conscientious expression bore a confusion that left Subaru speechless. With complicated feelings, Subaru brought a hand up to cover his face with an “uwah―”.
Subaru: “It constantly feels like, that piercing gaze of trust is painful.”
Julius: “You built it up bit by bit, is how it is. Furthermore, that you solved the riddle of [Taygeta] which no one else could is fact. Such an achievement is undeniable.”
Subaru: “That was like a blind cat swatting a dead mouse. That I solved it was just coincidence.”
At Subaru’s bewilderment, Julius shrugged his shoulders, the knight’s words causing Subaru to avert his gaze.
Emilia’s faith, Beatrice’s closeness, Julius’s sincerity ―― each one of them, did not align to Subaru’s expectations, and each of those words conveyed an inexplicable sense of wariness.
Subaru often doubted that kind of value being placed upon himself.
Anastasia: “Just as Emilia-san said, it’s just an ordinary book. It’s not some strange object that would immediate set your body on fire upon contact.”
“What the book is made of… is difficult to discern. As is its age. As for the content…?”
Inspired by Emilia’s proactive attitude, the others too had begun picking up books one by one. Even so, to skim all of this myriad of books, was hardly such an easy task.
Anastasia and Julius both examined the book’s composition and binding and the like.
Subaru: “Beako, what do you think?”
Beatrice: “It seems that the composition of the books are identical. Only the titles are completely different. This is [Noah Libertas]. This is [Libre Fermi]… They don’t seem to follow any particular pattern in their ordering either.”
Her librarian soul dripping blood, Beatrice expressed dissatisfaction with the one who had arranged the books so haphazardly. The absence of any memory of her sorting through the Forbidden Archive, suggested that it had been organized long ago.
Putting aside Beatrice’s indignation for now, Subaru sudden noticed something about the spines of the books.
Subaru: “The titles of these books… could it be, that they’re all peoples’ names?”
“Mmm… it seems to. This is [Palma Eule], and here’s [Coyote].”
Julius “All these names from the past, aren’t familiar ones. Not that I hold any wealth of knowledge, but none of these names are ones I know. Of course, looking around more closely might yield some kind of discovery…”
“If you don’t recognize them, it’s likely that no one here would.”
Whether that was true or mere humbleness, of late Julius had been revealing more of the historical pedigree of his house.
If these names were not in his knowledge, perhaps they were just randomly given ones.
Subaru also offhandedly grabbed a book to leaf through. The text written inside was composed of the common [イ(I) glyphs], [ロ (Ro) glyphs], and [ハ (Ha) glyphs], the unique language of this world.
Had it been a gospel, no one aside from the owner should be capable of reading it, and only text composed of what seemed to be pictographs would have been visible, but this book did not seem to use such petty tricks.
Since the text was miniscule, and the content itself was too boring, it would not register in the brain even if read properly, a common issue with uninteresting books.
Subaru: “Once again, to check with Anastasia-san… are there any names you recognize?”
Anastasia: “Mm, nope?”
Subaru sought confirmation from Anastasia. Or course, rather than from Anastasia herself, it would be better to say he sought confirmation from Echidna who held control over her flesh.
Echidna should be possessed of more knowledge than Julius. And though it was possible she was concealing the truth, from the very beginning the spirit had not shown any hints of hostility.
Believing her answer for now, Subaru began to feel rather impotent.
Subaru: “Out of tricks already huh. A tree hidden in a forest… it could be that a vitally important book is hidden somewhere in these shelves, this really is troublesome.”
Emilia: “Giving up halfway through won’t do. Facing an unsolvable problem means that you have to try even harder. Work hard!”
Faced with a vast amount of books, Subaru who had already felt uneasy had his soul assaulted by exhaustion. Emilia raised a tiny fist for Subaru to cheer him on.
The encouraging pose that Emilia struck grew more and more accurate, and Subaru turned to face the shelf. The titles of these books all contained unfamiliar names. At the very least, should he come across a name he recognized, he would look into it with care ― thinking so, Subaru brushed his fingers along a row, book by book.
Suddenly, Subaru’s fingers came to rest on one spine.
Grabbing the spine of the book, then easing it out from the stuffed bookshelf. The book’s title was a name that Subaru knew.
Subaru having reflexively grabbed the book flipped it open. Then, the familiar name of the book met his eyes ― and afterward, it came.
― A dimming of the consciousness.
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ーーA woman, a sole woman existed.
A woman so young, one would hesitate to call her a woman.
Humble clothes upon a skinny figure, green hair along with a skin tanned in the shine of days.
The woman seemed to be at an age to be a called a little girl, however, her heart was commanded by unending distress.
Unable to find the answer for it by any means, for the woman, it was an inborn argument.
Evermore troubling her mind with it, was the unending supreme argument.
It was the logic omnipresent in the world, that contrast of white and blackーー namely, good and evil.
Righteousness, deeds of err.
Though there were innumerable choices in the world, all deeds are eventually decided to be on either of those positive and negative poles.
For the yet youthful woman, there was a reason to continue to anguish over that logic. It was inevitable for her.
The one who had divided the woman’s world into white and black, good and evil, the righteous and the sinners, was the woman’s father.
The woman’s father decapitated the necks of sinners, and made a living by delivering punishment appropriate for the errs.
Delivering the end of their life, the punishment suitable for their err, upon the sinners who had sinned, meant livelihood to her father.
The woman had seen the actions of her father, who was named that, and the state of affairs of the execution site, before even the days of youth.
The repulsive and cruel deeds, the death wails of the sinners granted quietus, the execution site ruled by blood and death.
ーーWhat made the woman witness 『Death』 there, was none other than her father’s own will.
Punishment casted upon the committed sins, evil deeds met their result through the means of evil deeds.
The father attempted to convey the rightful state of affairs he believed in, of the world’s good and evil, as an executioner, to the woman.
Noble was her father’s will, a pure ideology without question.
However, keeping the mind the woman’s youthfulness, it seemed to be conceited, it was yet too early to seek ideals.
The woman saw the deaths of many with her own eyes, scented the odour of blood, and burnt the punishment casted upon sinners into her memory.
The result, the woman, before she could study in depth the value of life, and the principle of life and death, learnt punishments befitting the sins.
Benevolence gave birth to good cause, wrongdoings called upon roots of evil, the souls of sinners were corrupted, worthy of punishment.
Comprehending the teachings of her father through that interpretation, the woman desired the rightful state of affairs for 『Punishments Befitting the Sins』. For that she seeked something which would become her guiding principle, the balance of virtue which would establish evil deeds as evil.
However, the balance which the woman seeked, existed nowhere within her sphere of search.
The good and evil of affairs had no simple answer, but the correction, sin and punishment possessed many factors determining them.
However, the woman, yet youthful and unknowing of compromise or resignation, did not to come to a halt.
She must obtain the answer. She must conceive the balance befitting good and evil in her heart.
She must present the answer to the undissolving doubt present within the interior of her chest.
Days of agony continued, however, she gained the answer suddenly, as if a blessing had been granted to her from the heavens above.
Shattering her father’s vine cup, the woman was greatly frightened by the sin she had committed herself.
Preparing herself to face beheading, the woman confessed her own sin to her father.
“ーーSpeaking up your own sins, and apologizing for them is correct.”
Said the woman’s father while expressing a smile, forgiving the woman’s err.
At the smile of her father and the sensation of his palm patting her head, the youthful woman came to understand.
ーーThe balance for measuring the weight of the committed sin was nothing else, but present within the heart of the sinner himself.
Even if nobody lies witness to it, the heart of the sinner himself knows of his sin.
Good and evil, she did not understand. They’re complicated. Corrections, have no certain guidelines. They can’t be found.
However, the consciousness of the sin is within one’s self.
There are no standards for punishments befitting the sins. However, the consciousness of sins deserving of punishments is within one’s self.
The woman understood, she was satiated, and finally obtained the balance.
Remaining ignorant of the value of life, and the principle of the life and death of people, the youthful woman disclosed punishments befitting the sins.
Under the light of days the woman walked, learning through observation from her executioner father, for delivering punishments befitting the sins.
For disclosing the hearts of those sinners, who had been judged worthy of punishment.
For the woman, the division of good and evil, corrections, sincerity and falsehood into two halves, was the natural order of things.
At the question the youthful woman asked, some smiled, some were troubled, some were bewildered.
However, the result of the answer to the woman’s question, was the same for all.
ーーThe sins worthy of punishment, lied within their selves.
She looked around. Nobody was there. There no longer was anyone present here, aside from the sinners who had received punishment.
Trampling over the people who had been torn into tiny fragments, and finally over the fragments of her father, for the sake of fulfilling the longstanding desire bestowed upon her, the woman continued walking further, seeking sins worthy of punishment.
ーーThe 『Witch of Pride』 questioned sins, delivered punishment, and cast judgement upon sinners.
Upon seeing the beginnings of the [Witch] he recognized, Subaru’s consciousness returned alongside a pain.
Subaru’s consciousness was ejected from he the book with a snapping sound. Accompanied by a feeling of having blood drained dry one the one hand, and a feeling of being externally torn into bits on the other.
Pain resonating not from the head or body, but the soul.
The soul entering into the book, then painfully torn away from it.
At the same instant that a cry came from beside him, his wrist took a fierce strike. That was Emilia knocking his wrist with a karate chop.
Subaru’s hand shook under the impact, and the book he held fell to the ground. It landed spread facedown on the ground, and Subaru stumbled into a bookshelf.
Subaru: “Oh, ah?”
Emilia: “Are, are you okay? Just now, you looked suuuper uncomfortable…”
Subaru: “Somehow, it’s over… right? I don’t get it either.”
Nodding at Emilia who supported him with unease in his eyes, Subaru caught his breath. Although he hadn’t done any sprinting, his heartbeat was in a frenzy.
Pressing a hand against his chest to feel the jumping of his heartbeat, Subaru breathed deep. His gaze swiveled around, finally landing on Emilia.
Emilia: “Is everything fine?”
Subaru: “Gazing upon Emilia-tan’s face puts me at ease. Could you give me a hand?”
Emilia: “Alright. What is it?”
Accepting Subaru’s flattering words, Emilia supported his shoulder and asked. As she queried on, Beatrice reached a hand toward the book on the ground.”
Beatrice: “Just now, your expression grew odd after touching this book…”
Subaru: “Wait, Beatrice! Don’t touch it!”
Wanting to call Beatrice to a halt as she reached for the book, she had taken it into her lap before he could. Casting her gaze downward, Beatrice read the book’s title aloud under Subaru’s furious gaze.
Beatrice: “―Typhon. Is this the name of someone Subaru knows, I suppose?”
Subaru: “It is, could it be that you…”
At Beatrice’s question, Subaru wanted to ask, ‘Could it be that you don’t know’. However, whether her answer would be in the affirmative or negative was already obvious, and Subaru frowned as he considered what should be said next.
In that period, Beatrice had already opened the book to check its contents.
Beatrice: “Idiot is a rather rude thing to say, in fact. There’s nothing special about this book, it’s just the same as the others, I suppose.”
Beatrice would have the same shocking experience that Subaru had ― although that was what had been expected, the girl had no reaction whatsoever to the book’s contents. She disappointedly shoved the book back at Subaru. she was dissatisfied with the book and sent it back to her.
Beatrice: “However, Subaru hasn’t read any of the other books… is how it seems, in fact.”
Subaru: “… Right. But why is it just me?”
Emilia: “Could it be, that just like the riddle of the room, only Subaru can see it? Or, that it only works for Subaru, who solved the riddle…”
Subaru: “If that’s so, that personality just seems more and more wicked huh…”
Considering Emilia’s words, Subaru shook his head as an unpleasant hunch came over him. In any case, he had no courage to peruse the book that had been shoved at him once more.
― Swimming through his mind, all too vividly, was a firsthand experience of the [woman]’s memories.
The scents, taste of the air, tread on solid ground, as well as the weight of shattering a life.
To awaken after such immersion in the memory of [a person], was truly a miracle.
It felt as if drinking down another person’s life.
That terror and disgust beyond imagining, had come into existence through experience.
Emilia: “Subaru, where is this Typhon?”
Subaru: “It’d be hard to explain properly… or rather, it may not be so hard if it’s Emilia-tan? Maybe you saw her in the tomb?”
Upon hearing that word, Emilia and Beatrice froze simultaneously.
[Tomb] was to Subaru, and Emilia and Beatrice in addition a place laden with significance. Thus, considering the [Tea Party of Witches] that had been held in that ancient tomb, the other two knowing of Typhon would not be so odd.
That said, perhaps Echidna wouldn’t have been so candid with Emilia, and as for Beatrice, she had probably known a different Echidna than Subaru had.
Subaru: “Typhon was one of the historical [Witches]. The [Witch of Pride] who looked like a loli like Beako with dark skin. However, she was a child who could reify innocently cruel words.”
Hearing Subaru’s explanation, Emilia and Beatrice both shook their heads after considering.
It seemed Echidna’s display of witches, had been reserved especially for Subaru. Although it had just been to make use of Subaru, there had indeed been much preparation but into it.
Subaru: “Innocently cruel, huh…?”
As he spoke, Subaru recalled that he had only had a brief period of contact with Typhon himself.
Although it hadn’t happened in the physical world, the sensation of his arms and legs being shattered by her was unforgettable. Although it had been subsequently fixed, the impact of his limbs being taken had still hit at full force.
However, after catching a glimpse of her abnormal origin through [reading], the reasons for such behaviors could be explained. Of course, to instantly understand the complex and nuanced reasoning, was no easy feat.
Subaru: “In any case, that book I read just now, were that child named Typhon’s… memories? Life? Origin? In summary it was the experience of her entire life. Hardly something easy to come to terms with.”
Emilia: “It’s clear from seeing Subaru’s reaction… experiencing the memory of another. This is feeling more and more like some kind of [Trial].
Subaru: “In that case, it was just a struggle with your own memories. We~ll, hardly anything so difficult.”
Emilia: “Ri, right. An easy victory.”
As for sobbing cries, countless failures one upon another, body and mind collapsing under pressure, Subaru and Emilia both nodded and chose not to mention them.
As she rolled her eyes at the pair’s attitude, Beatrice wiped at the book’s stains.
Beatrice: “A book showing experiences of another’s memories… in other words, it’s a way of accessing the past, I suppose. In that case, what we need to know is likely contained in the library…”
Subaru: “Beako, have you thought of something―”
Hearing Beatrice’s murmurs, Subaru rose and prepared to ask her for her thoughts. However, before Subaru had a chance to speak, someone else’s voice rang out.
The sound had come from the direction of Julius’s group, who had been examining the other bookshelves. Following the direction of the cry, was the sight of Julius kneeling on the ground, with a book in hand.
From beside him an alarmed Anastasia shook the knight’s shoulder, snatching the book away.
Anastasia: “Julius? Julius, pull yourself together! Can you hear my voice?”
Julius: “… Anastasia, -sama.”
Anastasia: “It’s me, good. Slowly, deep breaths… Are you alright?”
In precisely the same way Subaru had just been, Julius’s awareness returned to the present. Gazing at Julius’s form that was elegant even in weariness, relief shown on Anastasia’s expression.
Calling out ‘is everything okay?’, Subaru dashed toward the pair.
Subaru: “Is your head’s spinning after reading a difficult book? I get it I get it.”
Julius: “Certainly, of late I have not read anything. A deplorable state for a knight who must be versed in civil affairs and warfare (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wen_and_wu). I ought to learn from you who managed to solve the riddles with such ease.”
Subaru: “What words, delivered like that…” (「よくもまぁ、すらすらと……」)
If he had felt what Subaru had, his spirit would have borne quite the burden. As such, that he could maintain such elegance afterwards was just uncool.
At the extraneous thoughts contained in Subaru’s heart, Emilia knocked at the back of his head with a karate chop.
Emilia: “It won’t do to say naughty things on reflex. Julius, is everything really fine?”
Julius: “My sincerest apologies for having worried you. Such an exaggerated reaction truly cannot be excused… Even so, this is truly an unpleasant experience for the heart.”
Hiding his internal weariness, Julius’s response to Emilia was elegant. However, a thin film of sweat coating his forehead was evidence of a shock that could not be concealed. Anastasia stood on her tiptoes, pressing a handkerchief to Julius’s forehead, while Julius hurriedly lowered his head with an air of consternation.
Anastasia: “Although stubbornness is a boy’s nature, speak up when you’re feeling poorly, won’t you? If you insist on doing something beyond you, you’ll cause trouble for everyone else too.”
Julius: “Right. My gratitude for your attentions.”
Emilia: “Mmm, it’s just as Anastasia-san says. Right, Subaru?”
Subaru: “Though I don’t know why you need me to agree, that’s how it is!”
The exchange between master and vassal of two factions coming to a close, everyone’s attention turned to the book in Anastasia’s hands.
Julius had looked over the contents of the book, and perhaps had had the same experience as Subaru. Looking at the spine, the title inscribed upon it was―.
Emilia: “― Balroy Temegrif. Someone you know?”
Subaru: “It’s not a name I’ve heard. For certain.”
Subaru glanced at Emilia who read the title aloud from beside him, then responded confidently.
Indeed, Subaru was confident in his excellent memory. When it came to remembering relationships in this world, from Arlam Village to the fruit stall owner in the capitol, not a single one was missing.
Contained within the list of memories, was no such name as Balroy. However, Anastasia swiveled her head after hearing the name, wearing a thoughtful expression.
Anastasia: That name, is one I’ve heard. Perhaps… hmm, that’s right. be… um, right. Isn’t that the name of the general of the Empire of Vollachia?”
Julius: “―More precisely, he is a former general.”
At Anastasia’s answer borne from vague recollections, Julius added a supplement. Hearing such words, everyone would guess that was someone who Julius had a relationship with.
Only, the distance of that relationship had Subaru frowning.
Subaru: “Vollachia, is the country to the south? You even know a general from there?”
Julis: “Once more, he is a former general. Is that so odd? I am after all one of the royal knights. Since Lugunica and the Empire of Vollachia neighbor each other, it shouldn’t be unexpected that I onesidedly know the name.”
Subaru: “So that’s the case, someone known onesidedly… huh.”
Accepting Julius’s explanation, Subaru nodded. Then he exhaled lightly and suddenly reached a hand out to snatch Balroy’s book from Anastasia.
Subaru: “Sorry to startle you. But there’s something that ought to be checked.”
Having had the book snatched from her, Anastasia widened her eyes. Subaru checked the cover of the book, then flipped the book open with a snap to read its contents.
In that moment, Subaru had prepared for the realizing of [living vicariously] that may have followed. However, he also considered the idea of [perhaps it won’t happen]. The correct answer proved to be the latter.
Subaru: “I also tried to read the book after onesidedly hearing the name, but nothing happened.”
Julius: “… Subaru.”
Subaru: “Right now, what matters most between us is trust, no? The trust you and I share… wouldn’t be nonexistent, and only I had thought it was there?”
Julius: “―What a horrid way of putting it.”
Toward Subaru who glared fiercely at him, Julius closed his eyes and answered thus.
He stroked his bangs as he spoke.
Julius: “Compared with the people here, I currently have no one else I can trust more. The support of Anastasia-sama and yourself who provides what even Reinhardt cannot, I would of course accept.”
Subaru: “… To be spoken of like that, can’t help but feel disgusting somehow.”
Julius: “Saying so makes my tongue itch as well.”
Subaru scratched as his nose, and Julius continued to finger at his bangs with eyes his eyes closed. Then he loosened a high, and proceeded to formally bow to Anastasia and Emilia.
Julius: “I apologize for my thoughtlessly offensive behavior, Anastasia-sama, Emilia-sama. Just now, I allowed my own feelings to cloud answer. In these circumstances, the contents of the book ought to be shared by us all, and so my behavior is unforgivable.”
Anastasia: “Whether or not you’ll be forgiven depends on mine and Emilia’s tempers. What do you think?”
Emilia: “What I want to say, has already been said by Subaru and Anastasia-san. So, think about what you should do now. That’s all.”
After Emilia and Anastasia readily accepted his apology, Julius once again bowed low. Subaru knew exactly what lay within his heart.
After making a mistake, taking mitigation from those who accepted an apology, was a weakness that could be forgiven. Subaru well understood this feeling, which he had experienced before himself.
Julius: “Balroy Temegrif. A general of the Empire of Vollachia… is a deceased man. And, the one who took his life, is none other than myself.”
Anastasia: “To have killed another country’s general. This is quite a shock to take in.”
Julius: “Anastasia-sama is… no, please forget what you just heard.”
At Julius’s frankly described recollections, Anastasia narrowed her eyes.
Based on Julius’s reaction just now, it seemed that this had been something he had already shared with Anastasia, before his memory had been taken, and before Echidna had assumed control of her body.
Naturally, that Anastasia was the first to know was unsurprising, and instead Subaru and Emilia were quite shocked.
Emilia: “That’s, if what I recall from my studies is correct, I know that the relationship between Lugunica and Vollachia is su~per poor, but…”
Subaru: “Shouldn’t killing the empire’s general, have started a war or something?”
At the pair’s candid and simple questions, Julius’s expression became more assured as he nodded lightly.
Julius: “This was the result of a very delicate situation. Reinhardt and Ferris were also dragged into it, to put it directly, the general had prepared to launch a revolt in the empire. And I had met him face to face, and stayed in the empire for a brief period.”
Subaru: “So those two were there too. Isn’t Reinhardt banned from being exported?”
Julius: “Since the foreign emperor wanted to meet him, he was granted permission… moreover, don’t you think the words exporting Reinhardt are off?”
Subaru: “Just a slip of the tongue. What else should I call it. Smuggling?”
Something that couldn’t be exported, such phrasing wasn’t wrong in usage. In truth, after having felt Reinhardt’s logic defying combat ability in Pristella, it wasn’t difficult to imagine that Reinhardt would be a nightmare for the forces of other countries to contend with.
Not allowed to approach the border, was a perfectly understandable stipulation in international treaties.
Julius: “In short, that general’s name was Balroy Temegrif. My apologies. Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, details of the incident cannot be shared, and in addition the memory is painful to myself as well.”
Subaru: “So it’s something that can’t be discussed openly huh. Got it. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
Emilia: “Mm, understood. I’ll also keep it a secret.”
With Julius’s circumstances clarified, Subaru and Emilia swore themselves to secrecy on this shared confidence.
And, what allowed Julius to [live vicariously] was also clear―,
Beatrice: “It makes sense now, in fact. The books here, are books that allow a reader to experience the life of [someone familiar], I suppose.”
Subaru: “I had the [witch], and Julius had the general. Sounds about right.”
Anastasia: “It feels as if, I’ve heard words I can’t quite let go. Natsuki-kun, are you acquainted with a witch? They’re no good, such relationships. They’re all related to the witch cult.”
Subaru: “I’m beyond scared myself, but the relationship with that one is shallow so please rest assured. Recently there hasn’t been much contact to be a bother.”
Subaru shrugged at Anastasia’s words. However, Emilia and Beatrice, and finally even Julius’s expressions looked as if they had just eaten something sour.
The unexpected reaction left Subaru frowning, as Anastasia deeply sighed and continued,
Anastasia: “The meaning of the books and this library seem clear now. To share it I’ll have to say something scary, is that okay?”
Subaru: “Hearing it would be really off-putting, but what do you want to say?”
Anastasia: “Every book in this library, is inscribed with a name, yes?”
Saying this fact that everyone knew, Anastasia looked to Subaru for permission to continue. As Subaru nodded in assent, he thought that what would be coming next were those scary words.
Then, Anastasia leveled a finger at Balroy’s book and Typhon’s book, currently held by Beatrice.
Anastasia: “The empire’s general, and Natsuki-kun’s [witch] friend.”
Subaru: “Hey not a friend here!”
Anastasia: “The common point with that [witch] friend’s book, is that it’s the book of someone deceased.”
Having Typhon be referred to as deceased was actually a little off-putting, but the place where the witches’ tea party of the tomb had been held was no more, so she could be thought of as completely gone.
As for Echidna, since many doubts yet rested on ScarfdonaFoxdona, Subaru couldn’t feel at ease about her.
Setting aside Subaru’s internal thoughts for now, Anastasia spread her hands to gesture at the entirety of the library as she continued.
Anastasia: “The books here, include the names of every single person from past to present in this world, indeed? If so… to find one specific book, how long would it take?”
― Correction. The one who had made this library, did not have a poor personality.
― Rather, they had the worst.