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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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Possessing the hazardous intent to make him lose balance and fall down the spiral staircase, the girlーー Meili, looked on in surprise.
Closing his dark eyes, Subaru could not help but grumble upon this situation, a turn of events he had predicted but doubted halfway through.
He was glad that by using『Return by Death』, he was able to eventually prevent this tragedy from happening. This was also proof that this young girl had been the one to push Subaru’s back twice in the past, in different timelines.
To think that the criminal who had pushed Subaru from a height and into his doomーー who had been killed by the very hands of 『Natsuki Subaru』 previously, was Meili Potroute.
Meili: “……Responsibility for killing me, huh, there you go again saying stra~nge things, onii-san.”
At that moment, as Meili widened her eyes and loosened her lips, Subaru’s arm immediately turned and his finger traced his torso, whilst he continued to smile.
She took a step backwards whilst facing Subaru, who was standing at a distance from the spiral staircase.
Meili: “Perhaps your mind lost a lot of other stu~ff along with memories. This misunderstanding can happen only then.”
Meili: “Yes, don’t you think so~? ーーMe trying to kill onii-san, would be a te~rrible misunderstanding.”
Inching backwards, Meili said so with a smile. Witnessing her truly dignified approach, this was something beyond even Subaru’s expectations.
He believed that he would never be able to avoid this mishap. But should the one he was struggling against be『Myself』ーー no, Meili, then he might just manage to convince her.
She acted quietly, adamantly, that too unfavourably.
Choosing the most seemingly optimal solution momentarily was her way of living.
Frankly, that was precisely a『Beast’s』 way of living.
Meili: “There is no need to be suspicious. Had I really wanted to kill onii-san, wouldn’t the sand dunes have been better for that rather than this tower? Ah, onii-san doesn’t remember all that, so you may not kno~w.”
Subaru: “I guess so. It’s weird. If you intended to kill from the very beginning, then you must have gotten countless chances to do so. But, you didn’t do so.”
Meili: “Don’t you agree~? Then…..”
Subaru: “But, the matter of your motivation to kill me sprouting and growing since this morning is a totally separate issue. Am I correct to say that this is a chain reaction due to what happened last night?”
Meili’s facial expression changed upon what Subaru mentioned. She sealed her lips, erased her smile, and then took a deep sigh.
And, shrugged her shoulders with an unfavourable attitude, unfitting of her appearance.
Meili: “Could it be, I have been trapped into this awkward situation, I suppo~se?”
Subaru: “What do you mean by “awkward situation”?”
Meili: “Isn’t that what you trie~d? Lying about your memory loss, to see whether I would push off onii-san…… To eliminate any obstacles that you may have on your side. To see how useful I was in this tower? This would be the perfect time and chance, to do so.”
The girl, who tried to reaffirm the authenticity of the situation, was displeased by her disadvantageous position.
Certainly, up to this point she had displayed no malice whatsoever on her part, but it was also true that Subaru knew how Meili would act beforehand. Even if she shall deny it, the evidence against Meili shan’t be altered.
However, there were some things that could be said clearly. Those beingーー,
Meili: “Well, what exactly should I do~? Since everything has already come this far, should I try resisting and running away from here? Especially when those bad animal-chan’s aren’t here, even I can get away from onii-san by myse~lf.”
Subaru: “Don’t get me wrong, Meili. My memory loss isn’t a lie for deceiving you. It’s the truth, that’s why I’m being serious, like I should be.”
Meili: “That’s that, I actually did doubt whether you were lying or not bu~t…… In the end, what is it that onii-san wants to do? Do you think I believe it just because I’m not retaliating in respo~nse?”
The young girl put her hands on her slender neck, saying so whilst showing her tongue.
At that moment, Subaru’s heart rate accelerated. However, ironically enough, it was a metaphor for simply killing, not something as ridiculous as Meili remembering her own death.
With that conviction, the young female assassin gestured her capability to deal serious damage to Subaru’s heart.
That’s why Subaru did not intend to let her act on that conviction, butーー,
Meili: “Actually, I really don’t recommend using ways of killing that take a lo~ng time. I do have methods that don’t require much suffering, but onii-san is pretty bad at hiding stuff……”
Subaru: “ーーI, don’t intend to kill or hurt you. Even after this, tomorrow onward as well, whatever awaits, I intend to treat you the same way as I have done till now.”
Meili once again changed her expression, hearing Subaru’s response.
However, this was unlike the change that had come upon her when she had opted for the optimal solution for the immediate situation. Meili’s expression was filled with obvious dismay, as she looked at Subaru with eyes that could not comprehend what he was saying.
Upon that gaze, Subaru nodded.
Subaru: “Fortunately, your crime was prevented beforehand, and so if we were to keep it a secret, it’ll all be fine. Even if you just think of killing me through some different method, all I’ll have to do is prevent that as well. Although, all this undeniably leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Really bad.”
Meili: “Ah…… W-What are you……”
Subaru: “But at least, did you get it this time? Doing something to me is an incredibly huge risk for you. If you’re going to say “But still” and continue, then, you know, at the very least let’s just talk properly. If you’re still dissatisfied, I’ll hear as much as I……”
Meili: “Dissatisfied? Dissatisfied you say……”
Abruptly, Meili murmured with a quiet and shivering voice.
Afterwards, she sharpened her lips,
Meili: “What’s dissatisfying is this situatio~n! I can’t believe it!”
Subaru was saying all this in order to persuade her into making a moderate decision. Following up with that, Meili shouted, with her eyes looking at Subaru as if she were looking at something unbelievable.
Meili: “Can’t believe it, can’t believe it, I can’t believe i~t……”
Whilst she pronounced so, her hands busily toyed with her braid.
It was visibly evident to Subaru that she had gotten perplexed regarding her own mental self-defence and that this was a signーー a sign of dependence on someone who had the same hairstyle.
Meili: “Onii-san has no idea about what I tried to do right no~w! If that’s wrong then, it’s stra~nge. If that’s wrong, then……”
With words filled with frustration, Meili’s attitude was unnaturally desperate.
This was Subaru’s first time seeing Meili so disturbedーー no, rather he had first seen her like this in her『Book of The Dead』.
After what she had done last night, encountering Subaru in『Taygeta』, and after having a conversation with『Natsuki Subaru』, she had decided to kill the amnesiac Natsuki Subaru.
However, this plan of murder, carried out in such a hurry, would have had been a double-edged sword for her too.
Although Subaru would have been pushed off to death, ignorant, how did she plan to escape the allegations of murder that could be placed upon her after Subaru’s death.
It was probably possible to cover it up as just an accidentーー or perhaps not.
Should it be Emilia, Beatrice, Ram or any of the others, by now, Subaru knew that they would not let his『Death』slide by without even trying to uncover the truth behind it.
In that case, it was inevitable that Meili’s crime would eventually come to light.
Ram, Julius, or Echidna were much smarter than Subaru, and they would be able to see through to the truth behind his death at once. It was unimaginable to think that Meili had never taken that into her consideration.
That’s why, this isーー,
Subaru: “This is, just a desperate urge of yours. You just have a habit of murder. You don’t even consider other factors for solving issues. That, isn’t your fault.”
Meili: “ーー~hk! Don’t talk like you understa~nd! What does onii-san…… what do youーー! What do you know about me!?”
Subaru: “ーーI do know.”
Meili, grinding her teeth, stiffened herself as if she had been doused in cold water.
Looking straight at Meili, Subaru assertively declared,
Subaru: “Meili. I know about you. I know it may sound pretty creepy but, I may even know more about you than the only other two people in this world that know about you, you know?”
Upon Subaru’s shrug, Meili’s worry intensified.
Believing that it was completely obvious, however at the same time, Subaru was looking for a way to convey that undeniable truthーー he was struggling with the twisted『Self-Love』in the back of his chest.
He shall remember,『My』neverending temptation.
A whispering voice seemed to echo right before Natsuki Subaru took any action, repeatedly tempting Subaru to solve his problems through murder, the worst course of action packed with cowardice.
By reading her『Book of the Dead』, the ghost of the dead Meili Potroute and its temptations, had returned to haunt Natsuki Subaruーー,
Subaru: “ーーNo, that’s not it.”
Shaking his head, Subaru then pondered over what the girl he had killed had done.
During all this time, something had happened. Visibly evident from the confusion and frustration of the girl standing before him. Above all, recalling what Subaru had seen about Meili in her『Book of The Dead』.
Considering what Meili had suffered through, it could never be said that she became simply murderous.
This was not the same Meili as the one in her『Book of The Dead』
That was something Subaru’s soft heart was somewhat sure about.
After all, upon that evidence, the girl with that voice did not show herself to Subaru.
Putting it terribly straightforwardly, Subaru had lived through the life of Meili by the『Book of the Dead』. This was her mindset in normal daily lifeーー creating an impression, establishing a way of action, however, she never thought of ending someone’s life with such lack of fairness and reason.
In those days, there was an unquestionable emptiness in Meili’s heart, and her experiences increased the『Fear』inside her, but there remained a lone something that glimmered within herself
It’s name beingーー,
Subaru: “ーーElsa Granhiert.”
Subaru: “That, is the reason why you tried to kill me, yes?”
Upon that question, Meili’s facial expression distorted with bitterness.
That was the rage of getting something sensitive that should never be touched, being proddedーー no, being trampled upon.
However, Subaru yet dared to do so. Because,
Subaru: “Remove your shoes when entering someone’s house, but rudely walk in while wearing shoes when entering into others’ hearts is the rule of the Natsuki household.”
As one of its members, Subaru climbed into the heart of the young assassin.
This was something akin to forcing himself into her heartーー.
A murderer of black, whom Subaru did not know, but was familiar with.
Just thinking about her gave rise to feelings in the heart, like a desire of relief, longing, sadness and rage, and, emptinessーー the feelings that Meili felt for her were extremely complicated, yet, extremely simple.
ーーMeili, longed for Elsa, loved her, and admired her.
That’s why, having her be stolen away gave rise to despair, suffering, hatred, wrath, murderous intent and despondency.
All of the time she had accompanied Subaru and the others in their journey, it had all been for the sake of revengeーー could not be said for her unskilled self.
In fact, it could be said that Meili was very clumsy.
A despairing young girl who was ignorant about her own emotions, enough to not know about the depth of the scar in her heart.
ーーA professional assassin who made up her own environment, that’s who Meili Potroute was.
Subaru: “Did you want to take, revenge?”
Meili: “…… I don’t kno~w.”
Subaru: “Even so, Elsa was……”
Meili: “I have no such wish. I am well aware of that……”
Meili shook her head twice in response to Subaru’s question.
Subaru understood Meili’s feelings. And, Meili was also well-aware of where Subaru’s words were coming from.
In this situation, Subaru and Meili stood equal to each other.
That’s why, filled with sadness and stuck in a dark chamber ignorant of the correct answer, all she could do in order to express her emotions was to act like the assassin she is and 『Murder』.
At the same time, the hatred that Meili held while remaining trapped in that world, left solely that option for her.
Despite all this, Meili’s desperation for Elsa did not reach its end.
For Meili, Elsa may have been a shining light but that light was far too dazzling for ordinary people to follow.
Subaru: “I know, that you are holding back your feelings. But, the answer you’re looking for probably cannot be found this way. That’s why.”
Subaru: “Leave this place to me. I won’t make things worse. At the very least I’ll work hard to make sure things don’t get worse. If you’d believe that.”
Meili: “……I ca~n’t, trust. Anything which, may come out of onii-san’s mouth’
No matter how forcefully Subaru persuaded, Meili, who was hiding her face, did not nod even slightly.
That was obvious. Because, that meant finding a way of action that did not exist in her way of life.
On the other hand, there was Natsuki Subaru, who shall propose and preach whatever he wants to without flinching even the slightest.
On top of that, if a senior ever invited him to a place with full preparation and bashed him, even Subaru would be surprised by how much it would sting.
Henceforth, since he had an idea that she would say this, he had well prepared other measures.
Subaru: “So what comes out of my mouth cannot be trusted, I will reflect on that. Thanks, until yesterday I was already pretty bad with promises. That’s why”
Meili: “That’s why?”
Subaru: “Instead of a promise between you and me, let’s make a promise between you and us.”
Upon Subaru’s words Meili frowned, unaware of his intentions.
However, the answer to her doubts was brought to light soon afterward.
???: “ーーMhm, it’s fine. I was also carefully listening, as a witness of the promise.”
Hearing that voice, Meili’s shoulders shivered, but she managed to compose herself. What appeared in before her next was an outstanding beauty, whose magnificence could not be doubtedーー.
Upon her appearance, Meili’s eyes widened and her lips trembled.
Meili: “Onee-san…… you, heard everything?”
???: “Subaru told me, to stay here and see…… to stop Meili if she was going to do something dangerous, that’s what he said.”
Saying so, stepping into the place where both of them stood, with fluttering hair that was reminiscent of the glitter of moonlight and standing as a figure of a seemingly mythical beauty, was Emilia.
Hearing Emilia’s words, Meili rotated her neck in astonishment.
Meili: “If I, did something dangerous……? Not, onii-san……?”
Emilia: “Yeah, if Meili did something dangerous. Well, is it okay now, Subaru?”
Subaru: “ーー. Yeah, that’s right. It’s just that it made me a bit anxious.”
Emilia: “ーー? Why are you turning your face away? Did something happen, Subaru?”
Subaru: “No, it’s just that, you’re just, too cute to look at directly……”
Subaru responded with a whisper to Emilia’s question, who had tilted her neck. As Emilia furthermore tilted her neck, Subaru managed to put aside the trembling of his throat and his embarrassment, and turned his attention to the perplexed Meili once again.
As Subaru had foreseen the attack, he was confident about stopping Meili’s crime. The problem after that was the occurrence of『Natsuki Subaru』.
Speaking of his purpose, it may be possible that in the loop when『Natsuki Subaru』had killed Meili, it may have had been simply self-defence against Meili’s attempt to murder, and immediately after stopping her,『Natsuki Subaru』 did not necessarily take actions against Subaru’s will.
Therefore Subaru determined that he would leave this problem to people stronger than him.
He has complete faith that even if his consciousness disappeared, and『Natsuki Subaru』appeared, Emilia will certainlyーー no, his comrades shall certainly do something about it.
Emilia: “Listen, Meili. I believe what Subaru has said. If Meili can’t believe it, then it’s fine to just carefully observe him. And, if he breaks the promise, I’ll be angry alongside.”
Meili: “Observe, onii-san……? That’s, weird. Isn’t that strange. Observing onii-san and onee-san, is what, I……”
Emilia: “If Meili wants to do something bad, that can be only after Subaru actually breaks the promise. Till then, observe whether he breaks it or not. Isn’t that fair?”
Meili was confused by Emilia’s words, who bent enough to have their eyes at the same level.
Inside her mind, her ways of coping with and solving truths and circumstances distorted and crumbled.
Subaru: “You seemed to be about to make a huge mistake, but mine and Emilia-chan’s nice save somehow prevented that. That’s why, this is your chance to learn how it should have actually been done. This is your chance to find a different solution than killing me…… it’s a bet.”
Subaru: “Settle down the evil feelings inside you, and see whether you still want to kill me, or whether you’ve changed your mind…… I’ll also, do my best at giving you lectures about morality.”
Scratching his head, Subaru laid down this path for Meili’s confusion.
Frankly, unneeded care was unneeded and intrusive. There was a certain way of living that Meili had followed until now, and Subaru was trying to arbitrarily open new options for her.
But, should she refuse it, her path will meet a dead end because of the sand tower. If her way of life is followed, they couldn’t possibly ever conquer this sand tower together.
Subaru: “I’m not letting you get off this train. I don’t know how old you are or anything but…… When I was around your age, I got the adults around me to help me all the time.”
Subaru: “That’s why, I will help you even if you don’t want me to. You are far too young to think stuff like what you should be doing or refusing adults’ help.”
Saying so, Subaru stepped forward to reduce the distance between him and Meili.
Seeing the distance between them shrink, Meili’s shoulders shivered. Subsequently, Subaru patted the head of the nervous Meili, who looked up with uneasiness in her eyes.
He won’t crush that thin neck. He presented this decisively different alternative, to『Natsuki Subaru』.
Meili was a child, that did not need to die. Andーー,
Emilia: “I sincerely request, please trust Subaru……. trust us, Meili.”
While Subaru caressed her head, Emilia hugged her from behind, leaving her completely immobile. Embracing her body, Emilia rubbed her cheek against her as Meili lightly bit her lips,
Emilia: “This sand tower is a place too small for you to decide something big”
Emilia: “Leave this place, go to a bigger place and find your answer there. We will also work rea~lly hard.”
Teaching her all this when she possessed feelings, whilst trapped in such a cage, was not exactly the best thing to do.
Even so, this was the only way Subaru could have said it. With complete, utmost care and kind words, they conveyed it to Meili.
In response, Meili repeatedly and thoughtfully glanced into their eyes.
Meili: “I don’t want to, forget about…… Elsa.”
Subaru: “Ah, that’s fine. There is no need to forget someone you loved. It’s just that, we~ll…..”
Cutting his own words off, Subaru thought of the beautiful woman of black he witnessed in the『Book of the Dead』.
What a strange impression. He had never been in contact with her, yet she still has a sense of familiarity. Reminiscing such an opponent, Subaru subconsciously stroked his guts.
Subaru: “ーーEven if it’s someone you love, I wish you don’t imitate their way of doing things.”
Yes, he believed so.
ーーMeili was powerless, had lost her path, but still, after several silent seconds had passed, she nodded.