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Translated By :
- Kadokawa, The Anime
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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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Subaru: [――Uwah, it’s just as I was told. What’s this? It’s not cleaned thoroughly at all.]
Peeking into the back of the shelf he had tilted over, Subaru grimaced at his own work.
With the suit coat of his butler outfit taken off and the sleeves of his shirt rolled up, Subaru was fully assuming the style of a cleaner ― however, the contents of his work deserved to have the title of “Apprentice” or “Poor” attached to the top.
Displaying the small amount of dexterity he naturally possessed, Subaru became able to do his job in the mansion more efficiently compared to before.
Just as he bore those thoughts, he felt like his hubris had been pointed at and called out.
There was one shadow staring at Subaru’s self-reflection from behind, sneering with a, “Hah!”
Ram: [Well, well, it’s just Barusu after all. You turn into such a wretched state when Ram thought she could try extending the range of your job, thinking you’ve improved…… You should be ashamed of yourself.]
Subaru: [Yeah, I don’t have anything I could say back against…… wait, I do! How come you have the right to stand with such a haughty attitude!? You aren’t doing enough work to lecture me like that!]
Ram: [Unlike you, Ram is very skilled at being efficient and well-organized. So, from the moment we allocated our workload in the morning, Ram guided it to make sure she would be in charge of the minimum amount of work.]
Subaru: [Not the skill to proceed with your work efficiently, but the skill to avoid working!?]
It wasn’t being victorious in a fight, but being victorious without fighting was the art of war.
That was what it looked like if put in a good way, and it was an excellent ability for skipping out on one’s job if looked at in a bad way, but it was too late no matter what Subaru wanted to say, because he wasn’t able to point it out during the morning.
Subaru: [The shifted burden going to Rem…… is something neither me or you want, right.]
Ram: [Mn…… you’re quite brazen in spite of being Barusu. But, you have a point.]
As Subaru said so while scratching his head with disappointment, Ram narrowed her eyes at him. Like that, when the two turned their faces towards the edge of the room, there was the figure of a person who was moving around with haste, her footsteps pattering against the floor.
A blue-haired girl, wiping away at the trivial parts of the room in the vicinity of the damp spots on the floor, whilst swaying the hem of her maid skirt――,
Rem: [Ah, yes, I’m sorry. I was a bit absorbed in my work. How did it go with the back of the shelf, Subaru-kun?]
The girl, Rem, smiled softly as she turned around to answer his call, asking him a question.
When that smile of hers was directed towards him, Subaru felt apologetic for having to give her a pathetic answer, but he resigned himself to his fate since it wasn’t something he could conceal.
Subaru: [Yeah, it was just as you said. Thoroughly wiping the places that can’t be seen easily…… Really, my attitude of being OK with only making the surface clean isn’t good at all.]
Rem: [No, that’s not true. When it comes to putting on a front and glossing over other issues, you’re second to none. You’re the best among those of the kingdom!]
Subaru: [You put it in a way that might get us sued for defamation!]
He knew Rem meant no offense, but it was an evaluation that stabbed him like a needle.
Being good at keeping a facade and hiding his problems was a trait he himself was aware of,
Ram: [As expected, you’re good at seeing through the essence of various things, Rem.]
Subaru: [You’re being noisy, nee-sama! I’m a little aware of it, so don’t make me feel any more downhearted than I already am!]
Subaru directed a stern look at Ram, who was crossing her arms while being seated on the bed. However, she met his eyes with a sharpened gaze, even more intense than his, causing him to flee dejectedly.
The person at the lowest position with the lowest power in this place was Natsuki Subaru.
Subaru: [Damn, it’s tough to be bullied by a senior maid…… In that regard, Rem is kind, right?]
Rem: [Yes, of course. Rem won’t say anything harsh to you. Rem believes that you will understand her even if she doesn’t say anything extra.]
Subaru: [Your kindness is going to tear a hole in me from the inside.]
Sliced up on the outside by her older sister’s wicked tongue, and ripped into tatters on the inside from Rem’s sweet, sweet poison.
Subaru felt like he was going to be confused, whether he was placed in a fortunate environment or whether he wasn’t, but it probably also pertained to how he perceived it.
Subaru: [Hey, don’t shut your eyes against your own faults, Natsuki Subaru. Putting nee-sama aside, isn’t it all about meeting Rem’s expectations for her? I’m gonna do it! Right, Rem?]
Rem: [As expected of you, that’s the spirit! Rem is deeply impressed!]
Subaru: [Heh, this positiveness of mine is also one of my special qualities. So, what should I start from?]
Rem: [Hm, yes…… Firstly, the sashes of the windows aren’t wiped properly at all, so let’s redo that. For the place above the shelf, please use a foothold to wipe it thoroughly, not just standing on your toes. As you saw, there’s no need to clean the back of the shelf daily, but it will become a huge mess if it’s not cleaned from time to time. And, it’s about the foot of the bed and the other side of the mat, but……]
Subaru: [Ahh, I’m under heavy fire! It’s going to make me fall forwards!]
As Rem immediately listed off what Subaru could improve one by one in overflowing numbers, speaking at a pace as smooth as water, he was unable to keep up with his mental note-taking.
However, looking at the room from the perspective of Subaru, who was rated as the best among the kingdom at putting on a front and hiding his other problems, he was surprised to be told it had a lot of room for improvement, despite it appearing to be moderately clean.
Subaru: [Really, you’re very observant of things. Is it also a maid’s dedication?]
Rem: [Of course. Ah, but, if you think from another person’s standpoint, there are things you can eventually start seeing. Rem is always thinking about you, Subaru-kun.]
Subaru: [I’m happy, but the flaws of my cleaning… the dust-covered areas are being seen through one after another……]
Clenching her fist, Rem’s response was rather sweet of her, but it was awkward for Subaru.
However, she could direct her attentive gaze to even the miniscule details and carry out her work meticulously, which was the sign of her having the basics of a maid down, no matter how humble she was trying to be.
She undoubtedly lived up to the reputation of the versatile maid.
Ram: [It’s only natural. Because Rem is Ram’s adorable little sister.]
Subaru: [Wait, you’re the one who’s triumphant about it!?]
Rem: [It’s because nee-sama’s bold attitude fits her well, it being a part of her charm.]
As Ram acted all high and mighty on top of the bed, shamelessly cocking her head and leaning backwards to assert her posture, Subaru and Rem’s voices flew around her.
It was another scene in the everyday lives of the maids and the servant, who all worked at the Roswaal Mansion, and――,
Subaru: [――Gh, whoa! Hh, dah!]
The feeling of floating that lasted for a moment, and the pain from being caught by the firm, solid ground.
Knowing that he was going to fall, although he curled up his body and rolled forwards to soften his landing, it was still quite the impact.
The follow-up attack from the thick branch that laid on the spot where he tumbled down, was especially beyond what he expected. It dug against his shoulder blades, and the unanticipated pain made his eyes water.
Subaru: [Ow ow…… ahh, I’m glad there weren’t any follow-up attacks other than from Mother Nature. Thanks to this knife……]
Standing up while teary-eyed, Subaru sighed after he returned the knife in his hands back into its sheath.
He then spun around to gaze up at the trunk of the large tree, which he had been dangling from until now.
A long vine extended towards the ground from one of the thick branches of the trunk. It was cut off in the middle by the knife, but beyond the severed vine was――,
Subaru: [A ring…… I’ve seen those before in stuff like manga, but these kinds of traps actually work, huh.]
Saying so, Subaru removed the vine that was looped and tied around his right ankle.
The trap was set up on the ground, and it had a function where it tightened itself around one’s foot should they try to pass above it, leaving the person suspended in midair ― to be honest, even though Subaru fell for the trap, he had no idea how it was able to make that possible.
And, he also didn’t have the spare time to search for this and that in order to find out the answer, either.
Subaru: [Although she doesn’t have her memories, her knowledge and skill are left as they are, huh…… When I’m in the position of chasing after her like this, I see Rem really is nee-sama’s little sister.]
It was already obvious from the start, but he was forcefully reminded of it yet again. Of course, he didn’t want it to be pointed out to him in this manner, so it felt quite unpleasant to him.
――Over an hour had passed, since Subaru entered the forest in pursuit for Rem.
Following the advice of the masked man, who he met on the other side of the forest, Subaru was able to detect Rem’s attempts to disguise the escape route she used with Louis in tow.
Thanks to it, he could undoubtedly say the distance between him and the two was shrinking. However, the greatest factor of why he wasn’t able to close the distance to zero, was because Rem’s wariness was his biggest obstacle.
Rem was cautious of the Witch’s scent ― the miasma that encircled him, not limiting herself to only camouflaging her and Louis’s footsteps, but also placing traps everywhere around the forest to slow him down.
Ever since he received the powerful blow at the beginning of all of this, Subaru discovered (or you could say that he fell for) traps that amounted to a number above ten. Knowing Rem was carrying out the positioning of those numbers of traps while running on her unsteady legs, taking a deadweight with her to add to that, Subaru had to be deeply impressed by her.
Subaru: [If it’s something like tying some grass or digging a shallow pitfall, it’s actually cute, but……]
Minor traps with the purpose of tripping him or spraining his foot. If it came to those kinds of traps, it wasn’t as harmful, and it also wasn’t much of a hindrance to his continuation of tracking Rem down.
However, their number was abnormally high, and it was troublesome because he needed to be on the lookout for them, when he navigated the areas with considerable amounts of grass and fallen leaves.
Subaru: [It’s difficult for me when with Rem’s strength, it takes one try for her to make a pit that only traps one of your legs…… The difference between the physical abilities we were born with are showing.]
Mingled among the minor traps were the intermediate traps made out of vines and fallen trees, similar to the one which pulled him into the air, fully aiming to slow him down.
If Subaru hadn’t been blessed with the opportunity to obtain a knife by some miracle, how much time would it have taken him to free himself from the vine trap? There was also the likelihood of the recommencing of his chase being delayed even further, due to losing his cool in one way or another.
And, what made the panicking Subaru hesitate the most was――,
He lashed out the Guiltywhip he drew from the back of his waist, the tip of the weapon delivering a powerful strike to a suspicious spot on the ground.
The next moment, aimed towards the spot, two or three branches swooped down onto it, rebounding through the air with a devastating amount of power. It had a force that would be strong enough to break one or two of his arms, if he had been hit directly by those.
Large traps, which existed to seize Subaru’s ability to take action ― there weren’t many, but the fact that these traps had been indeed set up was hampering the speed he was advancing through the forest at.
He could also say the single blow he received from the thick branch at the entrance, was one of Rem’s large traps.
As Subaru continued deeper into the forest, the danger and power of the large traps was increasing. Instead of thinking that Rem, being chased, was losing her mercifulness, it was more as if her skill was growing.
Subaru: [She’s learning and getting even better at making traps, while creating them during her escape…… Damn, as expected of how hardworking you are, Rem. I didn’t want it to be demonstrated against me right now, though.]
He knew Rem was a hard worker who tried her best at everything, and he was also happy those qualities weren’t lost, even in the present situation where her memories haven’t returned. However, that was beside the point.
To put it short, Rem was growing throughout their battle. Considering Subaru’s own growth was pretty much at its limit, to make matters worse, the already severe difference in their capabilities would be even more noticable.
He had to capture her before this difference became set in stone, but――,
Dismantling the large trap in front of him, Subaru held his breath for a moment.
Restlessly glancing around the area around him, what he seeked after was the next escape route of Rem, who had created the trap he just took apart. In order to find it out, there was a need to follow the little amount of tracks she tried to cover up.
Of course, he could think of a situation where she left no traces behind at all, but the current Rem didn’t have the ability nor time to pull that off. Because of that――,
Subaru: [――Found it.]
In the gap between the trees, where the trap was previously set up, Subaru discovered the sign of tree bark having been plucked at, albeit only a little.
It was unrelated to the large trap, and it was a tiny scratch that was similar to a cat dragging its claws against a pillar of a house. However, these childish scars had served a purpose in leading Subaru to this point.
After all, the true identity of these scratches were the tracks left behind by the “hinderance”.
It was an ironic thing, but the primary factor that got in Rem’s way and allowed Subaru to continue his pursuit, was the existence of the Sin Archbishop she was taking with her on her escape ― Louis Arneb.
Rem and Louis, Subaru didn’t know how compatible they were with each other, but what he could observe from the little scars was that Louis wasn’t very well-behaved and cooperative with Rem’s actions.
No matter how hard Rem tried to erase their footsteps, Louis was ruining all of her efforts.
Taking notice of the good news as Subaru used it to assist his chase, his feelings remained cloudy, the rays of revitalization refusing to shine through them.
It was only natural. With it resulting in Louis’s existence giving Subaru a helping hand, if he thought about his relationship with the evil Sin Archbishop, he couldn’t be rejoicing over it.
Even if it wasn’t Louis who directly stole Rem’s “name” and “memories”, the three siblings, representing the Sin Archbishops of Gluttony, all bore sins to an equal degree. Only one of them having the weight of their sins lightened was something that wasn’t going to happen.
It didn’t matter if she didn’t have a physical body that existed in the world, or if she strayed off the correct path in the way of life.
That was the conclusion Subaru made against Louis Arneb, who had been ranting, screaming, and bawling her eyes out in that white-filled world.
Because of that, even if Subaru could catch up to Rem successfully, and entered the stage of persuading her, he had no intention to make a compromise on how Louis would be treated.
In the first place――,
Subaru: [Why the hell… do I have to play tag with Rem like this……!]
As he thought about catching up to Rem and discussing what they would do about Louis, Subaru bit his lip out of the anger rushing back into him, despite leaving it out of his mind until now.
He had considered the possibility of the awakened Rem having lost her “memories” and “name”.
Of course, it would’ve been the best if the original, complete Rem had returned, but since there were previous cases such as Crusch and Julius, he couldn’t really expect Rem to wake up in her former state.
His worries had nailed the problem right in the center, and as a result, Rem had forgotten about herself, as well as Subaru.
Even if things turned out like that, Subaru thought he could withstand it and support her.
Emilia and Ram, Beatrice, and the others ― with the members of the camp helping each other out, everyone could support Rem together. That was the source of why Subaru could stay put.
However, right now, in the forest with none of the people Subaru could rely on, he was in pursuit of the runaway Rem.
Subaru: [Why… did it turn out like this……? Why does everything always……]
Didn’t allow him to settle down anything neatly and smoothly?
Rem would wake up after remembering everything, and although she would be surprised at the time that had passed during her slumber, they would weave the story that laid ahead of them, together. He was fine with that.
Even if Rem were to be in the same state she currently was in, if Subaru’s allies, who would do their best all together as a group, were there for her and stood by her side, then he wouldn’t have been tormented by a disaster like this. He was fine with that, too.
Fate always had the harshest, cruelest path in store for Natsuki Subaru.
And not only did it prepare that for Subaru, but it also directed that towards the people around him, who were dear to him.
Subaru: [――Have you complained enough already, Natsuki Subaru?]
Gnashing the back of his teeth together, Subaru delivered a strong slap to his cheeks using both of his hands.
The sharp pain and the impact rocked his consciousness, and Subaru temporarily left behind the feeble thoughts he had been harboring just until now.
Yes, fate invariably showed him the cruelest path every single time.
That was why Natsuki Subaru was constantly beaten down by hardship and suffering in the form of a whip, standing up every time he fell despite feeling like he was on the verge of vomiting up blood, and continued to face the front.
Subaru: [The man who finally made his hardships into his own whip. That’s me.]
Strictly speaking, Guiltylowe, the Witchbeast that became the raw materials for the whip, was not quite a wall that obstructed his path, and it was on the lower difficulty level among the other hardships that blocked his way. Subaru declared it as such.
Talking big and lifting his own spirits, stirring up his emotions, concentrating his crafty mind, and searching for a way he could fight. It was what Subaru had been doing until now.
He had been following through with it to a foolishly honest degree. He didn’t have any other way to do it. So, he would do the same for today as well.
Subaru: [Think, think, think, me. Even if I keep chasing after Rem, she’ll eventually realize that Louis is screwing up her plan. If that happens, then the tracks would be cut off sooner or later. Before that happens……]
――He either had to catch up to them, or figure out a way to forestall them.
Analyzing the difference in their fighting strength, Subaru racked his brains with all his might, trying to pinpoint the strengths of both the opposing party and himself.
As of now, Rem’s strengths were her dexterity and her attentiveness, things which weren’t lost even if she didn’t have her memories. He wanted to watch over the speed of her growth as she became more adept at setting traps, the cuteness of her face and voice, and how she was taking action, but those could wait.
On the contrary, Subaru’s strengths were his handling of the whip and knife, the clues Louis was leaving for him, although it was vexing to think she was helping him, and regarding the mean-looking shape of his eyes as a part of his charm ― he could point out that he knew what kind of person Rem was, even more so than Rem herself.
Subaru: [……Rem must’ve already noticed me chasing after her.]
The existence of the countless traps proved it, but Rem had been guessing that Subaru was hot on her heels.
If not, there was no reason for her to prepare an excessive number of traps to this extent. She would’ve only placed a few traps just to be safe, and prioritize her escape.
Instead of doing so, she continued to set up various traps because she was certain that Subaru was after her. And, the reason why she could be so sure of it was because of the Witch’s miasma, as he had thought.
Subaru: [Exactly how much does my body stink right now……?]
Subaru sniffed his arm, but while he could detect the scent of sand and sweat, it wasn’t as much as scattering a rancid odor all around himself. Of course, people said that it was hard to notice your own smell, but in this case, the problem was the Witch’s miasma being only able to be recognized by the ones who could recognize it.
Previously, he heard something about the scent fading away day by day from Rem and Beatrice, but it would drastically increase its putridity depending on if it was right after he “Returned by Death”, or the frequency of its usage.
And, in half a day, Subaru’s looping in the Watchtower had piled up approximately twice as many Natsuki Subarus, and he was then hurled to a place like this.
Subaru: [――In the history of my life in this world, the man who reeks of the Witch the most is the current me.]
It was unknown whether there was a limit to the Witch’s miasma or not, but Subaru could guess that the current him was emitting a substantial amount of it. If it’s the case, then his pursuit had definitely been found out already.
When it becomes so that Rem was unable to keep away the distance between them despite continuing to run and escape, she would eventually grow impatient.
Usually, teasing his opponent and leading them to make an error was a common trick of Subaru’s, but he also wanted to build a new, friendly relationship with Rem, so he didn’t want to rely too much on the method.
Subaru: [Something good on one side would be bad to the other…… It’s impossible to appease both sides.]
The fact that the saying was being carried into real life, showed how bad the current situation was in a straightforward manner.
Thinking it as such, Subaru deactivated two or three minor and intermediate traps, chasing after the route Rem took while following the clues left by Louis.
He genuinely felt like Hansel and Gretel, who picked up crumbs of bread as they made their move. However, the difference was Subaru being alone, and also the group of two being the ones on the run.
Subaru: [And it’s in a pretty obvious place this time. Next is……]
Discovering the stripped bark of a tree, Subaru determined the next path he would be taking.
Louis didn’t intend to let Subaru know of her and Rem’s whereabouts, so if there wasn’t any sense of unity between the marks that became his clues, there were many cases where it was hard to find them.
Quite possibly, while Rem worked to create the traps, Louis, who was left by herself, was just doing as she pleased. That was probably the truth of the matter.
The clues Louis left continued to be difficult to find for a while, but it was very helpful when he finally came across an obvious one.
Subaru: [I’m glad it was left there. If Rem found it and erased it, the trail of clues would be……]
Cut off, he almost said, before taking a pause in his words.
Then, he returned to the tree he had just passed by, staring at where the bark had been peeled away. The tree was large and sturdy, and the bark was pulled off from a spot that rather stood out.
Would Rem really fail to notice such a thing?
The part where he was confused by the footprints at the grassland, Rem gradually becoming proficient in her trap-setting skills starting from there, and a large portion of bark being stripped from the tree in front of him in an exaggerated manner.
The three combined themselves inside of Subaru’s head, completing the puzzle of the odd feeling he had.
Eventually, a single answer was derived inside of him.
Subaru: [If it’s the Rem I know……]
If it was Rem, who was tactful and good at being attentive, she would’ve eliminated any plainly visible tracks.
Since the clue in front of him was left alone, unless Rem had sunk into quite a state of tunnel vision――,
Towards the path he had tried to move past, Subaru ripped out a chunk of thick grass from beneath his feet and hauled it in that direction.
The grass, with soil entangled in between its roots, drew a parabola as it flew at the patch of tall grass――,
――Immediately after, the patch of grass made a terrifyingly gigantic sound as it plunged down, and an enormous pit engulfed the earth.
A large hole materialized in front of him, almost making him wonder what the other pitfalls from the minor traps were for. Nevertheless, the trap didn’t end there.
Aiming for the huge pit that made its appearance, the surrounding trees creaked as they snapped apart and collapsed. The fallen trees tumbled into the large hole one after another, and the freshly-opened pit was immediately refilled.
If Subaru had fallen into that enormous pitfall, he would’ve been stuck and entombed in there by now, buried alive.
Coming to this point, a daring, powerful technique had been executed, having used the other traps until then as a psychological trick.
The clues that had been serving as a hint for Subaru’s pursuit, was waiting with its mouth wide open as a trap to bury him alive.
He wanted to applaud it for being a measure that was very Rem-like, but――,
Subaru: [――The Rem I know wouldn’t end it with this.]
If one set psychological traps, then the best result would be their pursuer falling for it and being forced to stop moving.
However, the Rem he knew was attentive, a hard worker, had a cute face and voice, warmed his chest just by how admirable she was with her actions, and――,
Subaru: [Would initiate an attack if she got tired of waiting. ――Isn’t that right, Rem!?]
Subaru spun around after he said that, gazing up at the tree with its bark peeled off.
It was just at that time.
That Rem gritted her teeth, launching herself at Subaru from a branch of the very tree.
Unable to pull away her pursuer from herself, and the traps not even serving to fix him to his spot.
When put under such a situation, what would the Rem that Subaru knew do about it?
Being able to pinpoint the location of her opponent because of the smell, if she also managed to distinguish the identity of the bread crumbs her opponent was relying on, she would use it against them and trap them, trying to eradicate the cause of her escape directly.
And, Subaru’s prediction hit the nail right on the head.
The problem was――,
The difference in their fighting strength, as Subaru was unable to stop Rem’s lunge towards him.
As he cried out, “Gh, whoa!”, he was then blown away by an arm from the falling Rem.
Truthfully, Rem moving around to that extent despite not having the full use of her legs, and his body immediately jolting into action to try and to catch her, were both things that went beyond what he expected.
Rem: [You’re so persistent! So, so persistent!]
Subaru: [Wa… wait, Rem, please listen to……]
Rem: [How insistent…!]
She swung around her arms, one of them hitting Subaru and causing blood to start flowing down his nose. He appealed to her, although he was stained with blood, but Rem wouldn’t listen to him since she was flying into a rage.
Rem was on the forest floor on her hands and feet, glaring at Subaru with her blue eyes.
Rem: [If you gave up on us there and then, I wouldn’t have done anything more than that. And yet, you continue to chase after us…… Please stop!]
Subaru: [It really hurts when I get told that in such a simple way……]
Rem: [My nose feels like it’s going to be twisted off! When you come closer, I can immediately notice it. Worst of all, it became stronger compared to the grassland before……]
Holding down on his bleeding nose, Subaru staggered to his feet.
Subaru, who could stand up, and Rem, who was on all fours. The situation seemed like it was in Subaru’s favor, but it was merely an advantage that could be easily flipped over by one thing: physical strength.
To add to that, if Rem started moving swiftly like a Teke Teke  using only her arms, Subaru would be knocked down into the gigantic pitfall this time for sure, and it would be the end of him.
He had to clear her misunderstandings while measuring the distance between him and her, little by little.
Subaru: [Rem, please listen to me. It seems like I’m considerably stinky to you……]
Rem: [……Yes, you stink.]
Subaru: [A nostalgic way to put it……! It seems like I stink, and I know you feel like it’s something that’s no good, but I don’t bear any ill will towards you!]
Raising his hands in the air, Subaru showed her that he wasn’t planning on being antagonistic to her.
However, in spite of his claim, the wariness on her face refused to dim. To that extent, the Witch’s miasma was the primary factor in driving the empty Rem into a corner.
No matter where he went, anything related to the Witch really didn’t bring about a decent situation.
Subaru: [There’s the thing with my smell, and I’m aware I gave you a terrible first impression. Even with this, I’ve put up with the existence called myself for eighteen years. So, please let me redo this.]
Rem: [……Redo this?]
Subaru: [I was the one at fault. Even though you were worried and anxious, having forgotten everything, I couldn’t explain a single thing for you. All because of my personal matters, I wasn’t able to listen and be thoughtful of your feelings……]
His eager thoughts and impatient feelings, those were the reasons he couldn’t be considerate towards Rem.
The blame was entirely on those two reasonings ― it was easy for Subaru to defend himself like that. However, what meaning was there to a poor, scanty bout of self-justification?
What he needed wasn’t the words to protect himself.
He needed the words to appeal to Rem, to relieve the tension in her stubborn heart.
Subaru: [You’re important to me. I only want to protect you. So, please listen to me. Please don’t reject me. ――Please, give me one more chance.]
Both of his hands still raised up, Subaru bent over to bow deeply on the spot, pleading to her.
He didn’t know if he was able to be sincere towards her with his whole body and his soul, but he at least put his inner feelings into it. If it would sway Rem’s heart even a tiny bit, if she would give him the opportunity to explain himself――,
Rem: [――Is that all you have to say?]
Rem: [Is that only what you’re offering an explanation to me for?]
Subaru timidly raised his head from the reply he received from her.
The emotion that was thick in her voice was different from what he had hoped for. However, it was also unlike what he expected to happen if things went wrong, and it caused him to be bewildered.
Rem’s voice was adorned by a silent rage, an unbearable amount of fury.
Subaru: [Re, Rem……?]
Rem: [The fact that you’ve chased us around, and the fact that you’re emitting an awfully evil stench is suspicious, of course, and I think it’s terribly strange. But,]
Cutting off her words there, Rem drew her lips tightly.
That was also as if she regarded Subaru, who remained unsure of the answers that lied ahead, as an unpardonable villain from the bottom of her heart, hostility gleaming in her blue eyes.
Rem: [More so than any reason, you can’t wipe away the truth that you tried to abandon such a little girl. How are you telling me to put my trust in a ruthless and despicable person like that?]
Subaru was left speechless from the gaze that condemned the wicked.
The words that were thrusted against him permeated into his brain, and Subaru understood he made the wrong choice in obtaining Rem’s trust with his first move, whether he could gain it or not being completely separate from the Witch’s miasma.
His mean-looking eyes which he inherited from his mother, and the miasma that was forcefully shifted onto him, were not the reasons that damaged Rem’s trust in the real sense.
It wasn’t the things he already had with him, but his own actions that destroyed her belief in him.
Even if Louis were to be a Sin Archbishop, the incarnation of evil. From Rem’s eyes, who knew nothing about the matter, she was a young, weak little girl, and Subaru had overlooked it.
He couldn’t find the answer to what he should say immediately.
Subaru overcame many hardships on countless occasions. Sometimes he lost his life, unable to overcome them, and he had searched around for solutions from a different angle, but the answer for this very moment didn’t lay inside of him.
His apology, his excuse, or the truth. Which one did he need to prioritize?
Apologize for the fact he tried to forsake a child?
Make excuses to gloss it over, saying he had a reason to do so?
Tell her the truth that the “weak little girl” was actually a young monster?
No matter which one he picked, he didn’t feel like he could change the distrusting stare from Rem, who was in front of him.
And that was the result of Subaru’s actions, already set in stone by “Return by Death”.
Rem: [――You’re saying nothing more.]
As Subaru’s gaze wandered around, his cheeks hardened, and no words came out of his mouth, Rem grew tired of waiting for him.
She heaved herself up with tremendous effort, trying to distance herself from him. ――It seemed like she didn’t intend to beat him down on the spot, in order to sever the source of her worries for her future.
Perhaps she thought the devastated Subaru wouldn’t chase after her.
Of course, that wasn’t happening. Even if he was brushed off here, he would continue to extend his hand towards her until she took it.
Parting ways ― that wasn’t happening. That wasn’t happening, but――,
Changing the direction of his body, Subaru tried to call for Rem, who was about to leave the area, to stop.
Firstly, he called her name, not thinking of any other words to continue his sentence, simply trying to call for her.
As Subaru nearly reached his hand towards the back of Rem, who twisted her body around, a change occurred in his field of view.
It was a tiny flicker of a shadow, beyond the dense trees ― and he recognized it.
It’s coming. Faster than the thought emerged into his mind, Subaru threw himself at Rem’s back. Caught off guard by his sudden action, Rem stiffened her petite body.
It was the moment he embraced her small body as if he was wrapping himself around it.
――An arrow that was released from the heavy, powerful bow flew over their heads, and a hulking tree was blasted away, having the center of its trunk pierced through.
 – Teke Teke = A ghost from an urban legend. It looks like a middle school girl or a woman, whose lower body was severed from getting into an accident.