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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI
THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO
THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
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ーーBefore the unforeseen spectacle, Subaru couldn’t be anything but dumbfounded as he gazed in amazement.
It was a night wherein curious occurrences were happening consecutively.
Starting from him unintentionally dozing off, to running about in search of Anastasia = Eridna who had disappeared from the Green Room, catching sight of a bird which was not supposed to be inside the tower and chasing after it. Losing sight of that bird at a dead end, and finding a concealed passage by investigating the familiar walls and floorーー,
Subaru: “ーーAfter emerging from the tunnel, what lay before was a country of snow. ”
The persiflage he spilled out made no contribution to explain this queer spectacle.
What Subaru had passed through was not a wall or a tunnel, and neither what lay before his eyes was a snow country, a night where the wind was blowing through the sand sea.
Twinkling stars emerged in the dark sky, and the dim scenery of sand dunes stretching afar was visible from the watchtower’s balcony.
Nothing corresponded with Subaru’s words. Instead of thatーー,
Hearing Subaru’s husky mumbling, a person’s shadow, with hair dancing in the wind, turned towards him.
The young girl held her purple wavy hair down with her handーー spherical pale cerulean eyes, skin so fair it was distinctly visible in the darkness, possessor of a lovely appearance.
It was Anastasia, whom he had been searching. Subaru hesitated for a single instant upon her call,
Subaru: “……It sure is the ideal spot with a picturesque scenery in the middle of the night, huh.”
Hiding his initial astonishment under his tongue, Subaru shrugged his shoulders before Anastasia. Upon his gesture and the topic he brought up, Anastasia smiled faintly saying “Sure ‘s.”
Anastasia: “‘s true the view’s great. But, it sure’s sad that the scenery’s all black. Would’ve been different had jus’ the town been visible far away too.”
Subaru: “That’s true, but the charm of glancing into the sea of night isn’t so bad either, you know. Besides, even if you say that…….”
Saying so, Subaru pointed his finger towards the sky, instead of the unbroken view. Hooked by that, Anastasia too looked up into the skyーー visible was the entirety of the starry sky.
Subaru: “The air is cold and clear, and stars are really visible. It sure is romantic, isn’t it?”
Anastasia: “‘s true the stars are pretty, n’ I agree the air’s clear…… but it makes you feel somethin’ aside from jus’ viewin’ the stars, no?”
Subaru: “And that something would be?”
Anastasia: “The fact that the stars’re visible itself. Was there ever a night where the stars were visible in the desert up till now?”
Told so by Anastasia in seeming amazement, Subaru clapped his hands saying “A~h”.
What she had pointed out, it was indeed marvelous to be able to view the stars from the balcony like this should the journey through the sand sea up until now be taken into consideration. It was impossible to spot the glitter of stars from the areas surrounding Pleiades Watchtower.
Anastasia: “The miasma’s dark n’ thick, and must’ve spanned across the sky like clouds, after all.”
Subaru: “For that to not be here means that just this tower alone is unaffected by the miasma……. or perhaps, it may be at a height above the enshrouding miasma.”
Anastasia: “At this height, well, that ain’t impossible.”
Though he noticed only after viewing the scenery from the balcony, their current altitudeーー the level pertaining to the fourth layer of the watchtower was not at an height of a few dozens of meters above ground but at an altitude of several hundreds of meters. Though it did not actually feel that way, the stairway from the fifth layer up to the fourth layer was of that length is what it meant.
Subaru: “……But still, I don’t know if it’s accurate to judge distance in the middle of the tower from this spot.”
Standing parallel to the outer wall, Subaru looked up towards the tower instead of the scenery from the balcony and sighed.
If his conjecture was correct, regardless of being at a position above the miasma, the summit of the tower, seemingly piercing through the clouds, could not possibly be seen. It was far too high up, regardless of the darkness.
That is why the stairway to the second floor had greater than four hundred steps. Therefore it was unquestionable that the tower was wasteful with regards to the outside.
Restraining his thoughts regarding the stars and the tower’s height, Subaru had his eyes glance towards Anastasia. Elegantly having her lips smile, with her hands behind her hips, Anastasia made no suspicious movement.
All signs of vigilance or hostility were nonexistent as well.
At the very least, he confirmed she possessed no unconcealed animosityーー,
Subaru: “ーーSo, what’s your excuse for this situation?”
Subaru: “Stealthily leaving the bedroom late at night, going through a secret passage nobody knows about, playing with birds in the night’s breeze…… way too suspicious.”
Subaru raised his jaw and questioned Anastasia, who had a mystified expression.
Birdsーー yes, birds.
In this place, the two of Subaru and Anastasia were facing each other but multiple other spectators crowded the balcony aside from just those two.
With not the slightest movement, they were birds which continued watching over the situation like artificial articles.
Not one or two birds, they were not in such gentle numbers at all.
The number of birds halted on the outer edge of the balcony with their wings resting was lower than fifty. Numbers which would make one think it was an entire horde, but the reason he hesitated to label it as a horde was because the variety of the birds was not uniform.
A white bird, a blue bird, a black bird, a spotted bird, a large bird, a tiny bird, a slim bird, a plump bird, birds of mixed variety with no sense of oneness had assembled as a single set.
That truth alone was quite bizarre, but what made Subaru feel even more ominous was the behaviour of the birds which had constructed this spectacle.
ーーDespite such a multitude of birds present, not even a single flap could be heard, let alone a chirp.
It was not confirmed if birds had the intelligence to mutually understand each other’s will.
But at the very least, these birds without any sense of oneness, had their intent determined as one.
Anastasia: “It can’t be helped that Natsuki-kun’d feel uneasy like this but……”
Regarding such suspicion of Subaru’s, Anastasia had her hand touch her cheek.
Anastasia: “Secret passage, that’s really an exaggeration, ain’t it? After all, Natsuki-kun managed comin’ here too.”
Subaru: “That’s…… well, the bird sort of led me, you know.”
Anastasia: “In that case, that’s the same for me too. I was just strollin’ inside the tower at night. Then a bird jumped outta nowhere. I got curious wonderin’ what was up with that, n’ ended up gettin’ here.”
Anastasia: “Why, won’tcha trust me?”
Anastasia straitened her eyes, as she let a bird she was holding with both of her hands fly freely into the sky.
Though obvious, it was not a convincing explanation. He had no basis to deny it, but there’s no way something so convenient happened. Pigeonholing himself, that was the conclusion Subaru arrived at.
Subaru: “This bird is……”
Anastasia: “I wonder, what’s up with these kids.”
Subaru: “ーー~hk. That’s, what I want to ask.”
The gaze of the birds watching their exchange from a distance felt apprehensive, though the same also went for the evasive Anastasia’s attitude.
It was difficult to read emotions in the eyes of birds, or perhaps they truly wielded no emotion, he could feel the alienation which would make him think that way.
Just what are these birds, this balcony, this Anastasia thinking.
Subaru: “Knowing nothing like me…… that is way too convenient a story for me to swallow.”
Anastasia: “I’d also like to say somethin’ about Natsuki-kun not knowin’ anythin’…… but, it’s really troublin’. Everythin’s been so confusin’ ever after comin’ here.”
Dear oh dear, saying so whilst putting one hand on her eyebrows, Anastasia displayed behaviour of drowning in lamentation. Looking at that Anastasia without letting his guard down, Subaru suddenly remembered something about birds.
ーーThat birds fly over Augria Sand Dunes, in the direction of Pleiades Watchtower.
He had heard that in the bar they had stopped by to prepare for crossing over the sand sea in order to head towards the tower. The bartender told them to look for birds in case they get puzzled over the way through the desert.
Fortunately, Subaru and the rest did not make a blunder like being stranded in the desert so it turned out to be a warning he almost entirely forgot about butーー,
Subaru: “Looking at this now, makes me think that was not necessarily just some rumour.”
Despite receiving Subaru’s whispering, the birds gave no response.
They merely had their wings folded silently, and were letting their wings rest as if they despised flying in twilight.
Despite being exposed to the chilling breeze, they did not huddle close to each other and refrained from sharing warmth. They merely had their gaze towards Subaru and Anastasia like exquisite dolls.
Anastasia: “These kids’re always like that. I’m at a loss too.”
Subaru: “Judging from my experience that’s a bit impossible for me to believe.”
Anastasia: “Judging from experience, you say?”
Subaru: “Based on my experience, upon heedlessly coming across a scene like this, it’s generally promised that your life is in danger.”
Subaru had an abundance of near-death experience due to his heedless behaviour.
Starting from being beaten to death by Rem, when he was loitering around the old mansion at night.
A lot of stuff happened back then which is being left out, but Subaru’s experience taught and made him conclude that heedless behaviour = death in its essence.
And judging from those experiences of his, he thought of this situation to be quite dangerousーー,
Anastasia: “If that’s so, then better add a new pattern to those judgements based on experiences of yers. That won’t be happenin’ this time.”
Anastasia: “For the cowardly Natsuki-kun, the worst probability is if I’m plottin’ somethin’. So I lured you to this tower and spun up some outrageous conspiracy, to harm Natsuki-kun or Emilia-san and the rest beyond repair is what you thought…… isn’t it?”
Having gotten struck at the bull’s eye, Subaru slightly stiffened himself up.
Looking at how Subaru was acting, Anastasia smiled saying “Easy to get”.
Anastasia: “Relax. I’m not thinkin’ about somethin’ so roundabout, n’ I’ve no hostility against Natsuki-kun. Nor for anyone else, in this tower…… ah, not countin’ the trial takers.”
Subaru: “Shaula and Reid, huh.”
The moment he voiced those names, Anastasia silenced herself with a bitter expression.
Looking at that response, Subaru spilled his voice saying “Ah”.
Subaru: “You didn’t hear about it cause you were sleeping, right? About that guy who newly appeared for the『Trial』of the second layer…… he is Reid Astrea. The first generation『Sword Saint』. It seems like the arrangement was to have him appear from the past.”
Anastasia: “This tower, has a questionably outrageous layout…… I wonder, just what was it’s creator thinking.”
Receiving Subaru’s explanation, Anastasia lowered her voice and added one more thing at the end of her repulsed comment. Sensing the omission of the Kararagi dialect’s accent in her tone, Subaru halted his breath.
Up until now he had intended to treat her and deal with her as Anastasia. But after all, the true nature of her, who was before his eyes like this, wasーー,
Subaru: “ーーRight now, only you and I are here. How about talking your heart out frankly?”
Subaru: “To be honest, I can’t make any progress with you, who is wearing the mask of someone else. No matter what I’m told, it’s impossible for me to trust you down to my very core. That’s why……”
???: “ーーYou say that you want to exchange words with me, not the me who acts as Ana.”
That instant, Anastasia’s presence changed as if responding to Subaru’s proposition.
The mood surrounding her completely changed, though her form didn’t change, the sense of existence he was standing off against definitely altered. The emotions dwelling in her eyes, the expression interweaving her thoughts, had changed completely.
And, before Subaru who halted his breath witnessing this transformation, Anastasiaーー no, the Artificial Spirit Echidna who had been acting as Anastasia, slowly turned towards the outer edge of the balcony.
With not a railing to prevent falling, only a fence of a pathetic height is all that the outer edge possessed. She slowly placed her hips on that fence and gently caressed the head of the small white bird standing still right beside her.
Echidna: “ーーIt is indeed the first time, we’ve exchanged words with just the two of us all alone here.”
Saying so, she accepted Subaru’s proposal with a fleeting smile.
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Echidna: “Won’t you come here?”
Subaru: “No, I mean it doesn’t have a railing, and my counter plans for safety are way too incomplete so nope.”
Echidna: “Not at all, I won’t push you off even if you get closer with your guard down, you know?”
Subaru: “No way am I trusting that tone. You’re just like the original, when it comes to stuff like that.”
Subaru distorted his lips before Echidna, who was sitting at a boundlessly hazardous spot and invited him without any malice. But, perhaps she did not like the way he phrased his refusal, and furrowed her eyebrows frankly.
And then, she said “You see?” and raised a single finger as if lecturing him,
Echidna: “I’ve told you several times, but how about you stop viewing me together with that original Witch or whatever? To say it clearly, it is nothing but unpleasant to be compared with someone unknown. That is, even if it is my own creator.”
Subaru: “That goes for this manner speaking too, but…… I guess so, my bad. I’ll be careful.”
Echidna: “Kindly be.”
Echidna appealed to Subaru, with the same appearance and voice as Anastasia.
In all honesty, from what he had pointed it was truly just like the tone of the ill-natured Witch Subaru was acquainted with, her insistence comprised of a circumstance whereby he must earnestly nod in assent. The truth is, if Subaru was told he was an existence similar to Echidna it would be an opinion that would make him respond with something that would be terribly dishonourable as well.
Anastasia: “With that being said, your worries are quite right. Seeing someone night after night head to a place noticed by nobody all alone would naturally make one suspicious. However, on top of accepting those misgivings as a matter of course, I shall deny your misgivings once again.”
Subaru: “You, sure are bold to be touching that bird without even being vigilant.”
Anastasia: “……Did you hear what I said just now?”
Subaru: “I heard it indeed.”
Immediately, their comments were at crossing paths with regards to each other.
However, it couldn’t be helped that what was far more mysterious to Subaru was the small birdーー how she was caressing the ominous small bird’s head like it was some artificial article than what she was saying.
Things would’ve been different had this been a park in the afternoon and the birds gave a further spirit reaction, though.
Subaru: “Aren’t you afraid that you’ll get killed if they, like, swarm together and peck your entire body?”
Echidna: “Well, your imagination is far more frightening. You won’t say that this is another one of your judgements based on experience, would you?”
Subaru: “You see, something happened where cute-looking rabbits jumped on me with all their energy……. and things turned out like that.”
Thus ever since he had been nervous of a large number of animals gathering at one spot.
Piling up multiple experiences of『Return by Death』, he had confirmed and could claim that there existed no easy death, but that memory was a remarkably awful manner of dying.
Anastasia: “……You’re actually making a pale face, so I won’t put pressure on you. It’s not as if I am affectionately familiar with these birds, either.”
Perhaps due to seeing Subaru’s face get increasingly pale, Echidna promptly retracted her hand from the small bird. And then putting both of her hands on her knees, she once again gazed towards Subaru saying “Well then”.
Echidna: “You suggested me, to let my heart out frankly…… I wonder, what do you want to talk about with my self who has forgotten about behaving like I was Ana?”
Subaru: “For now, your relationship with this place, and these birds.”
Echidna: “Regarding that, I can only respond with what I had answered as Ana. I was led to this place by a bird, as well. Until then, I had not the faintest clue. Just……”
Despite the dejection for lack of substitution of that response, Subaru raised his eyebrows in pursuit of the faint catch to it. Slightly hesitating upon his reaction, Echidna continued.
Echidna: “To be completely honest, I was thinking of asking you the same thing.”
Subaru: “Asking me, the same thing?”
Echidna: “I was intending to be Ana so it may have come off as a joke, isn’t it. I found myself here as if I was led to this place. And now, I am having dialogue with you in this place…… with you, who is standing in front of the entrance to return to the tower.”
Echidna: “You are an acquaintance of Shaula’s, the keeper of this Tower. At the very least, she treats you with that conviction completely. Taking that into consideration, being informed on top of just the two of us being in this place does seem cowardly to me but……”
Engulfed by the words Echidna voiced, Subaru was unable to interrupt her comments. Before that Subaru, Echidna cut her words off once, and whilst retaining Anastasia’s face, presented a question.
That question wasーー,
Echidna: “ーーNatsuki Subaru, just who are you?”
Subaru: “Just who you say, but……”
Echidna: “Let’s go back to the time before heading to Priestella. After the ceremony of conferring honours when you fulfilled the White Whale subjugation, and the subjugation of “Sloth”, one year ago. Ana, conducted an investigation regarding you.”
That which Echidna had revealed, perhaps had been one of the plans in Anastasia camp’s strategy for the Royal Election.
Investigating Subaru, who had accepted the conferral of decorations as the knight of the rival candidate Emilia, must be something which can be called theory in a fight of this type.
But, the great merchant Anastasia Hoshin, who led the Hoshin company wasーー,
Echidna: “Your background could not be gained knowledge of. Ana complained that investigating the most minimal information alone was extremely difficult. Regarding that, I believed that perhaps the people around you know something rather than you yourself, that’s what the result was.”
Controlling the information regarding Subaru, if there’s someone doing that who has a deep connection with the camp then the first one on the list would be Roswaal, followed by Otto and Clind, perhaps.
Anyhow, it would not be strange of them to be doing that. And they were either far too unkind or far too boorish to go out of their way and refrain from informing that truth to Subaru.
Echidna: “After all, what could be reached was only around the little happening you got involved with in the Capital right before the commencement of the Royal Election. When knight Reinhardt discovered the candidate Felt, there is evidence that he happened to catch sight of you. But, that is all.”
Any records prior to that were not supposed to exist.
Henceforth, Echidnaーー though it’s Anastasia in this case, Anastasia’s investigation had followed up Subaru’s footsteps nearly perfectly.
Excluding the fact that that was an insufficient result for them.
Echidna narrowed her eyes, as Subaru silently wondered how he should respond.
Until now, he has had multiple experiences of being unable to convey the information from『Return by Death』and burying it within himself, and subsequently suffering due to being unable to share the information. However, this was a first-timer for him.
For the question to be just who Natsuki Subaru was, and the unidentified nature of his origins acting as chains.
Subaru: “I am……”
Echidna: “ーーAnd, that’s how I just lined it all up.”
Echidna unfolded both of her arms before Subaru, who tried to somehow wring out some words with a serious expression. Her tone was far too indiscreet, as Subaru stood dumbfounded.
Receiving Subaru’s reaction, Echidna nodded saying “Hm” with a satisfied expression.
Echidna: “Ana and I recognised you, as a newcomer knight with a pile of extremely meritorious deeds, with that kind of an unknown background…… that was, until Priestella. I have no words for how that impression changed with the fight against the Witch Cult in Priestella…… but I am aware that it is again changing slightly after coming to this Watchtower.”
Echidna: “I felt anxious for being with you alone late at night in a space beyond the sights of anyone, so even if I was on guard against you, I want you to forgive it as something which could not be helped.”
Folding her open arms, Echidna tilted her neck whilst smiling.
And taken aback by the words he had heard from her, Subaru mumbled and moved his dry lips and earnestly pondered over how he should react.
However, during the time he was pondering he suddenly noticed.
ーーThat the fingers in Echidna’s hands atop her knee, wielded so much strength that they would turn white.
Subaru: “……You, don’t tell me, are you seriously scared?”
Echidna: “ーーThat comment, is slightly upsetting. Just as an example, what kind of a relationship do you actually have with Shaula?”
Without responding to Subaru’s question, Echidna fired back a separate question.
Subaru: “I, met Shaula for the first time here. I don’t know anything.”
Echidna: “The『Trial』of the third layer, was it a coincidence that you cleared it so quickly?”
Subaru: “……It was a coincidence.”
Echidna: “In that case, what about you going through the secret passage camouflaged in such a way that it cannot be noticed at first glance, and calling out to me in a situation where I happened to be alone?”
What resumed persistently, was Echidna’s bitterness directed towards Subaru.
By stockpiling questions before Subaru, she was conveying this.
Subaru: “How about you, try imagining being in my position……”
Echidna: “But still, due to various factors I estimate you as an existence who has a low possibility of being hostile. And I want you to think of me revealing the depths of my heart as a proof of my good faith.”
With her hands on her slim chest, Echidna demonstrated that she had voiced her true mental state through her attitude.
From Subaru’s perspective as well, he very much wanted to agree with Echidna’s words now that he once again looked back onto his origins and the suspicious nature of his actions.
Very much so, butーー,
Echidna: “ーーIt rather seems like my creator left deep wounds upon your heart, isn’t it.”
The behaviour of the Artificial Spirit Echidna indeed closely resembled that of the Echidna who was the『Witch of Greed』, so no matter how much good faith she devoted it was difficult to truly trust her.
This itself, could precisely be called as the lingering scent of a Witch.
Subaru: “I get, what you’re saying. I’m, convinced. Keeping whether I’m able to trust or not aside……”
Echidna: “Your troubles have been conveyed quite well.”
Subaru: “That is, even if you and I meeting here is a coincidence. Then, what’s this place? What do you think this balcony-like place was made for?”
As a matter of fact, even if this Echidna was plotting something, there existed no evidence that would make her open her mouth. He complied with her not because he trusted her, but because he considered it an inevitability.
However, that and the fact that this place was a concealed space are entirely different subjects. Due to being concealed and everything, there must be some kind of worth to its existence.
Echidna: “I have a hypothesis regarding that. Do you remember what happened three days ago…… in the desert?”
Subaru: “Three days ago, that’d mean before we reached the tower, some totally messy stuff comes to my mind.”
Echidna: “At the occasion of that ruckus, a white light attacked us when we were being pursued by the Courtesan Bears. ーーIt rather seems like that, was Shaula’s doing. Then, this place is.”
Subaru: “ーーHer scaffold, for observing the desert?”
Before Echidna’s hypothesis reached its end, Subaru clicked his fingers.
Her conjecture was convincing. The truth is, she had continued to snipe those who approached the tower with what she calls『Hell’s Snipe』from a long distance. He had wondered how she did that with there not being a single window or way to view outside of the watchtowerーー,
Echidna: “Perhaps, there are places like this connected through the circumference of the tower. From what it seems, this space is not in the direction from which we approached the tower.”
Subaru: “What about the birds?”
Echidna: “The birds are an enigma. Even if they are touched like this, they give no response. It’s just that they still perhaps do have warm body temperature, they are not actually artificial. If possible I’d like to dissect them……”
Looking down onto the birds beside her, Echidna straitened her spherical eyes with cruelty. However, as she drew her finger back, she stared intensely at that finger.
Echidna: “Unfortunately, I do not want to put any more burden upon Ana’s body. Things would proceed faster if you would dissect the birds……”
Subaru: “Well, I’ll do it if it’s really needed no matter what……”
In the one year he had spent living in the different world ever since being summoned, Subaru had gained some experience of hunting birds or hare. Of course, killing for the sake of eating and killing for the sake of experimenting felt way too differentーー,
Subaru: “After killing it, as for eating it……”
Echidna: “Yes, there was also the problem of remaining food supplies. Then, I would like to request around twenty of them.”
Subaru: “Bloody bastard! Don’t you know about The Legend of Zelda!?”
Indifferently requested to take the lives of a large number of birds, Subaru raised his voice harshly. Echidna rounded her eyes having been yelled at over knowledge she had no way knowing.
That aside, killing twenty would indeed aggravate his spirit.
Subaru: “Besides, upon killing there would also be some movement in these countless birds too, you know?”
Echidna: “……That, seems undeniably frightening.”
In response to Subaru’s distress, Echidna also put her hand on her mouth.
The birds gave no reaction to the perilous conversation of the two, but their gazes alone were unchangingly fixed upon the outsiders to this place, that is, Subaru and Echidna.
With the words sky burial accidentally appearing in his mind, Subaru detained Echidna’s prompt judgement.
Subaru: “If we’re going to do it, then let’s do it after making some preparations. For the time being, let’s keep it for later.”
Echidna: “No attitude of running away either, huh. Got it, very well…… the truth is, it’s difficult to even think about what could be gained from investigating these birds.”
Subaru: “Um, please stop with an atmosphere of stuff like the spirit of inquiry or comments on the success of thirst for knowledge.”
He thought that Echidna, despite truly not knowing the nature of the Witch, maintained a behavioural style similar to the original and resultantly he never let his guard down.
Henceforth Subaru ignored that aspect, and threw a question towards the spirit aspect of Echidna, which was unlike the Witch.
Subaru: “I didn’t really confirm it properly, but how’s Anastasia-san?”
Echidna: “……Just like earlier. Even now, Ana is continuing to sleep within the depths of this body. I’ve never dwelled in the body for this long, so I would be lying if I said I’m not getting impatient.”
Subaru considered the nuance and thought she must be talking about wanting to return to her former body, but Echidna shook her head left and right saying “That’s not it”.
Echidna: “So far as it goes, Ana and I have a contracted relationship of a Spirit and a user. Though it’s an imperfect relationship…… an imperfect Spirit, along with an imperfect user. I believe I have spoken about Ana’s body.”
Subaru: “Ah, about there being some defects in the gate, and stuff.”
Echidna: “That is close to the relationship between the present you and Beatrice. What’s different from you two is that Ana’s body has no receptacle to receive Mana at all. In order for her to maintain her contract with me she has no choice but to spend her Od.”
Subaru: “Hm, hm?”
He thought of that explanation as roughly the same as what he had heard before. However, Echidna believed Subaru’s understanding was rather shallow, so she put a finger on her chest and,
Echidna: “This state is equivalent to me manifesting in Ana’s stead. Which means Ana’s Od is being eaten up at an increased rate. Even now, moment by moment, Ana’s Od is being grated.”
Subaru: “I believe Od was, like, the soul itself of the person…… which means.”
Echidna: “On top of assenting the dangers of having a contract with me, Ana took my hand. Ever since then, I hypothesised that some day the end would arrive…… but now is, rather soon.”
ーーThat is why, the body must be returned to Anastasia as soon as possible.
That is how Echidna brought explaining the situation Anastasia and her had been placed into to an end. Upon hearing what she said, Subaru realised that he had been taking their circumstances far too lightly.
Subaru: “With that body…… in that tattered state, can she really become something like the king?”
Echidna: “Do you mean that in the sense that you want Ana to abandon that privilege for the sake of your own master?”
Subaru: “ーー~hk! Don’t joke around! Nothing like that! I was……”
Echidna: “Ana will not draw back, no matter what. Nor will she give up. I know that.”
Echidna asserted flatly before Subaru, who stepped ahead trying to raise his voice.
Overawed by that vigour, Subaru blinked his eyes. And then timidly had his lips tremble,
Subaru: “……Does Anastasia-san, want her own country so badly. Even though if she gets her hands on it, she might have to immediately let go of it.”
Echidna: “Though perhaps shorter than what normal people have, Ana herself will utilise that short span of time ways better than the others. Besides, Ana has a reason to not give up the throne.”
Against Subaru’s powerless voice, Echidna declared putting her trust in Anastasia into it.
And recited, her reason to not give up the throne. It wasーー,
Echidna: “ーーBecause she wished for it.”
Echidna, who had already stood up, conceded towards him and faced Subaru head-on from the centre of the balcony.
Gazing into the black eyes right ahead of her, as Subaru stood immobile at the words the pale cerulean eyes had conveyed to him.
A heaviness unlike that of Pleiades Watchtower, of the『Trials』, pressed Subaru down.
Immobile, speechless. Nor did Echidna say anything.
And instead of the motionless two, only the sound of flapping wings slashed through the chilling night. The sound of flapping wings came from behind, as it was appended to the flock of birds who were resting their wings.
Once again a single bird, flew towards the balconyーー,
Just as before, Subaru had been standing with his back turned towards the outer wall of the watchtower. If a bird flapped its wings behind him, then it unquestionably came from the interior of the watchtower.
Echidna, Subaru, had reached this place, upon being led by birds.
Then, naturally, that was also the case with the flapping of the third bird.
???: “ーーWhat is the meaning, of what you were saying, right now?”
A voice, somewhat astonished, somewhat in disbelief, echoed in the balcony.
The birds spread their wings wide at once, upon the voice of the standing man. And, giving rise to a terrible sound of flapping wings like a cloudburst, the birds attained flight lacking all vacillation.
Towards the night sky, towards the desert enveloped in the dusk.
Leaving Subaru, Echidna to seemingly drown in an ocean,
ーーAlong with Julius Juukulius.
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- This is a reference to a well-known passage in Snow Country (雪国), a work written by Literature Nobel Prize recipient Yasunari Kawabata (川端康成).