Arc 7, Chapter 57 – “Can’t Live Wiser”

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――He was within a bleak, dark space.

Swaying. Wandering. Being tossed about. Being violated.

It was as if his four limbs, along with everything from his neck up, had been separated from his torso, each of those parts at different places, floating, drifting, rocking, being fiddled with.

His memory was terribly hazy as to what had happened and what was occurring.

Everywhere was pitch-black, leaving him to wonder as to why he had been thrown into such a completely empty space.

――.

――――.

――――――――.

――――――――――.

Nothing, came to mind.

There was no possible reason for him to be trapped in a place such as this, his head and limbs detached, and floating aimlessly.

If that were the case, there would be no pretext as to why he had to be in a place like this, in the first place.

???: [――I love you.]

Every time a thought of the sort flashed across his mind, a faint voice that restrained him from thinking reached his ears.

The voice was hard to hear, be it because it was faint, or simply because it was distant. But it was an impassioned voice that instinctively made him want to listen carefully to it, to lean his head in that direction so that he could hear it.

???: [――I love you. I love you. I love you.]

Every time he heard that voice, the thoughts he’d had till that moment would be reset, returned to zero.

The matter of which option was correct, of whether it should be called bothersome or unavoidable, was unclear.

However, with the repetition of that over and over again, a novel issue came into being. Could somehow something be done about the distance of that audible voice?

???: [――I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.]

As if to interrupt even that notion, the lines from that faint, pleading voice increased.

That was counterproductive, however. Since desiring to hear that voice, to be with the owner of that voice, was the pretext for the birth of that thought, for him to attempt to reach one, starting from zero.

Henceforth――,

???: [Someone…]

With his limbs and head detached from his torso, he was unable to move, unable to do anything himself.

Ergo, he would prefer to rely on the help of those around him, those who would seemingly be able to do something about this situation.

Did someone, anyone, who could help him exist?

Someone who could be capable of lending him a hand, even in such a hopeless situation.

Was there someone who had treated him well?

If that someone arrived alongside him, surely, so would the solution.

――Based on that, for the sake of reaching the voice reverberating from so far away, he would extend his hand.

△▼△▼△▼△

Al: [――Hk.]

Olbart: [Oh? That was quite the spirited blow just now.]

That instant, a large and potent roar echoed through the air, the tremors travelling across the ground and reaching the two men in the travelling inn.

Outside the window, a huge black shadow ran rampant, slowly eroding the Demon City from its center outwards, taking it into itself, digesting it, turning it into something not of this world.

It was, with certainty, the worst nightmare dreaded by every being in the world.

Reminding everyone of exactly that at a single glance, it was an embodiment of the end.

And the one to comprehend the horror brought about by the end of life, with their own skin―― Or rather, to know it with their soul, more so than anyone else, was Al.

Abel and Medium, among others, were currently on the move to defuse the situation.

Instead of joining them, he was crouching here, holding his shaking head in his hand, in this predicament. How on earth could he have said that he would follow them and help them?

Al: [I’m… I, am…]

Had he followed them only to fully realize how powerless he was?

That being the case, for what reason was he, in the first place, doing――?

Olbart: [Good grief, here I am, hurryin’ my ass back, an’ all I find here’s just one young’un scared shitless on the ground? Well, it’d be a problem if His Excellency were here as well.]

Al: [――――]

Olbart: [But Kafma’s fightin’ that thing, isn’t he? Does that mean that His Excellency ordered him to do it, and has no intention of runnin’ away? Do ya know?]

Having spoken so, Olbart walked up to him, sending a question his way.

The small old man cracked the bones in his neck and bent down to look into Al’s face, the latter crouching down. His brain, numbed by fear, barely assimilated the contents of that question.

Vincent, the absent false Emperor, had reached some kind of agreement with Abel, and――,

Al: [H-he’s with a lil’ miss called Tanza…]

Olbart: [Tanza, you mean that deergirl? I dunno what he’s thinkin’, at this point… His Excellency’s a lil’ short on words, ya know. Would be nice if he’d left a note ‘bout what he’s gonna do.]

Al: [Y-you’re…]

Olbart: [Yeah?]

Olbart’s expression formed a frown as he stood up, hearing Al speak. Not wanting to let that monstrous old man distance himself even a bit, Al used his trembling tongue and throat to compose his words.

Olbart had returned to this place, but what would he do after this?

Al: [You’re gonna fight that thing, aren’t you?]

Olbart: [Oioi, don’t be stupid.]

Al: [Huh…]

Al was stunned by Olbart answering as if he had nothing to do with the situation.

Then, as Al stared on, stock-still in front him, Olbart pointed out the window.

Olbart: [Nah, got it at first glance. That thing’s pretty darn bad. I’ve got my right hand taken away, too, so I don’t wanna do anythin’ so dangerous.]

Al: [――――]

Olbart: [The reason I came back here’s that I gotta get His Excellency out if he’s stayin’ here without a care. If he’s not here, we need ta find him and get him outta there… Do you happen to know where His Excellency went with that deergirl…?]

Asked by the ever-aloof Olbart, Al simply denied it with a shake of his head.

It was not a lie, but a fact. Most of the exchanges between Abel and the others that had taken place at travellers’ inn after that black shadow engulfed and flooded the Crimson Lapis Castle did not remain in his memory.

With some difficulty, he only remembered that Kafma had flown out as ordered, and that Vincent had left accompanied by Tanza. And that afterwards, Abel had left an useless Al behind, with Medium concerned about Al until the end. That was all.

Olbart: [We’re in serious trouble then, if so. Looks like this town’s bunch’ve been motivated by the foxgirl’s command, and it’s gettin’ harder and harder ta find His Excellency… I don’t wanna stay at this absolute cock-up for too long.]

Al: [――Hk, w-what do you mean by that? No way, you’re running away?]

As he felt his train of thought reaching an unbelievable conclusion, Al’s voice cracked.

Faced with Al’s astonished look, Olbart shrugged his shoulders and voiced, calmly, “What else can I do?”.

Olbart: [Don’t feel I can do anythin’ ‘bout that thing. What’s important to me’s my life and my dream. I don’t see any reason to stay.]

Al: [T-the Emperor! You gotta protect the Emperor, old man…]

Olbart: [The fact that His Excellency’s thinkin’ and actin’ on his own means he’s doin’ what’s best for himself. If he thinks he’s got my help here, he doesn’t get me either. That’s why him bein’ called the Wise Emperor’s also a cryin’ shame.]

Al: [Oh…]

Olbart: [Here’s some advice for ya, ya better run away too. Ya won’t get anythin’ by riskin’ yer life here. Meanin’, the one who lives wiser wins.]

Olbart’s philosophy, something that blended the deadly Vollachia-style iron-blooded code with the fact that his life as a shinobi had been long, was bloody and rock-solid.

This was something that could not be changed, no matter what an outsider such as Al said. ――No, most likely, Olbart’s thinking could not be challenged by anyone other than Olbart.

No one should allow others to dictate and distort one’s life.

For that reason, this man, Olbart Dunkelkenn, reigned as the strongest shinobi. He was a shinobi who had been perfected with him not holding anything as precious, or having anyone to whom he devoted his heart.

No emphasis had been placed on the title of General, on the position of shinobi head-honcho, or on the sense of duty to protect the Emperor.

Not freedom. But lawlessness. ――The world’s greatest “outlaw”, those were his true colors.

That idea would not budge. It could not be swayed. Not by anyone.

Then, having a back-and-forth regarding his ideology here would yield naught.

Al: [――――]

Strongly, firmly grating his molars together, Al lowered the arm he had been pressing against his ear.

The audible booming roars and rumblings of the earth, the cries of the residents of Demon City as they confronted the black shadow, echoed like the scene was a depiction of hell on earth, shaking Al’s heart.

His heart, was about to fracture. His mind, was about to shatter. His soul, was close to dispersing.

But I haven’t. I haven’t yet. If they haven’t.

Al: […Old man, lemme ask you one thing.]

Olbart: [――? What is it?]

Al: [That… That black mass of shadows’s got something to do with bro, doesn’t it?]

Gritting his teeth to the point of tasting blood, Al assembled words, hiding the trembling in his voice for only a moment.

Al’s deathly resolve―― as that was concealed behind the cloth mask, Olbart perhaps understood so from the expression of the former’s eyes, gone unseen, and from his tone. Bringing his left hand to his own goatee, he spoke,

Olbart: [Oh, right. To me, it looked like the shadows came out of the boy.]

Al: [――――]

Olbart: [After hearing that, have ya decided what you’re gonna do?]

Closing his eyes, Al masticated what Olbart had just told him.

It was something he already knew. Natsuki Subaru was beneath that black shadow. ――No, Natsuki Subaru was at the center of everything.

If so, in that case, Al had to raise his face with the resolve of having his molars broken.

If Natsuki Subaru was there, Aldebaran needed to follow him.

Al: [You told me to live wiser, old man.]

Olbart: [Yeah, right. That’s what I believe.]

Al: [But I don’t agree with it. Old man, your way of life ain’t a wise one, it’s a cunning one. ――I don’t wanna be a cunning adult.]

Boom, a powerful noise was heard.

Not from outside, but originating from right beside Al. He had slammed his own fist into the floor, the pain and momentum of the slam raising his body. He rested his uplifted body against the wall, having somehow managed to stand up.

Knees trembling, heart frightened, spiritually wounded all over, even though he had not even fought, and yet――.

Al: [This ain’t the time to sit around… Won’t be able to look my parents in the face if I do that, will I…!]

Standing up with his hand on the wall, Al bared his teeth inside his mask.

Hearing of his dogged determination amidst blood-curdling cries, Olbart raised a long, bushy eyebrow. Sending a sharp look out the window, closing one eye to Al’s howling back,

Olbart: [Yer enthusiasm’s good and all, but ya really think we got a chance ta win against that thing?]

Al: [No fucking way! No one can win against that! Even if I tried ten-thousand times, I couldn’t win! Winning against that thing… Only Natsuki Subaru can do that!]

With a large swing of his arm, Al turned around with a bang on the window sill.

Looking at the monstrous old man directly in the face, Al stepped forward, both his eyes blazing in a conflagration,

Al: [Old man!]

Olbart: [Whoawhoa, you’re gettin’ fired up. I’m just gonna tell ya, if ya want me ta lend ya a hand, I gotta refuse…]

Al: [I don’t want it! Instead, just turn me back, ya shitty geezer.]

Olbart: [――――]

Al: [If you want time to run away, then I’ll make some. So give me my Authority back!]

Stretching his stubby right hand straight out, Al bellowed that towards Olbart.

Olbart’s breath caught in his throat as he heard Al’s cry, a mixture of a bestial roar, of a mournful lament, and of a fiery sense of purpose.

Then, giving a slow sideways shake of his head, the monstrous old man,

Olbart: [Well, if you’re gonna go ta the trouble of playin’ the martyr, I can’t argue with’cha. The boy won the game in the first place, so I gotta keep my promise.]

Al: [Bro, won?]

Olbart: [That’s right. That boy actually caught me in a game of tag. It was a real big deal, in my opinion.]

As Olbart said this, Al went out to meet him face-to-face, Olbart greeting him with a wave of his left arm.

Having heard what Olbart had to say, Al felt a single note of relief and admiration ring out over his pulse ticking like a bomb.

At a time when even the sound of the wind caused Al to stiffen in fright, Subaru had carried out his task, going head-to-head with Olbart, and managing to ultimately pull off a win against him.

Surely, having accumulated defeats that could not have happened merely once――,

Olbart: [Tho’, I just wanna hear one thing outta curiosity.]

Suddenly, a hoarse voice interrupted the beating of Al’s heart, and he looked at the other man silently.

Displaying his teeth, Olbart smiled towards the unwelcome look in the other person’s eyes, as he gently placed his outstretched left hand on Al’s chest.

And then――,

Olbart: [How do ya intend ta challenge an enemy ya can’t win against even if ya try ten-thousand times?]

Al: [Pipe down, you shitty geezer. ――I’ll go and die, even if it’s a million times.]

△▼△▼△▼△

Abel: [The one who has inherited the commandment to prevent the Great Disaster, the one to become the new Stargazer.]

The moment this was pointed out, Taritta’s world was rocked, dramatically so.

The Great Disaster’s rampage was causing the Demon City to shake, earthquake-like roars could be heard without end. But the reason for the illusion of collapse beneath her feet was not that.

It was what the oni-masked man in front of her―― what Abel had pointed out which gouged her heart of hearts.

Medium: [Star, gazer…?]

Standing by Taritta’s side as to gently support her unsteady body, Medium muttered that unfamiliar term as if to confirm what it was.

It was a term unknown to her, and one she did not need to know.

In reality, had Taritta continued to live peacefully within her hometown in the forest as a simple member of the People of Shudraq, she would have never had any need to associate with it, even.

But――,

Taritta: [I…]

Medium: [Abel-chin! I have no clue what’s going on! What are you talking about!?]

On behalf of Taritta, her voice quivering , Medium lashed out at Abel.

She had been shrunk yet she remained steadfast nevertheless, her thin chest puffed out as if to protect Taritta, as she glared straight at Abel.

Medium: [What’s that Stargazer thing you’re talking about? Why is Taritta-chan becoming that?]

Abel: [――. A Stargazer is one who has taken on the role of foreseeing the future based on the alignment of the stars and their guidance. No, calling it a predestination, rather than a role, would be more accurate.]

Medium: […Are you putting it in such complicated words on purpose?]

Abel: [That is not my intent.]

Abel, hearing Medium’s words as she frowned and struggled to understand, gave a small sigh.

After that, putting Medium aside, Abel called out to Taritta once more using her name, “Taritta”. Her shoulders hitched involuntarily; Abel, looking directly at her, spoke,

Abel: [The reason why I was ousted from the Imperial Capital in the first place is closely related to the Stargazer. Taritta, you should be aware of that matter, right?]

Taritta: [B-by the matter, you mean…]

Abel: [Of course, that the downfall of the empire was foreseen. You knew that. ――That is why you wished to murder me in the Buddheim Jungle.]

Taritta: [――Hk.]

Taritta’s cheeks tensed up, and she lowered her head due to Abel’s matter-of-fact statement, crossing his arms.

The shock of being called a Stargazer nearly overshadowed the fact that Abel had pointed out something that could not possibly be overlooked.

He had stated it with certainty. ――Taritta was the hunter of the jungle.

Did she regret missing her opportunity to shoot him down?

Put into words――,

Taritta: [Since when…]

Abel: [――――]

Taritta: [Since when have you known I was after you…?]

Medium: [Taritta-chan!?]

Face turned downwards, Taritta raised this question without being able to look Abel in the eye.

Hearing Taritta’s words, a voice of utter shock leaked out of Medium. Of course it did. From hearing her question, it was evident that she had no margin to deny Abel’s pressure.

It was a confession of the truth. Taritta had attempted to kill Abel with her archery.

Abel: [The Stargazers’ foreknowledge… Commandments are, for the most part, shared among fellow Stargazers. It was to be expected that my pursuers would come at me after I escaped the Imperial Capital, aware of that commandment. In addition.]

Taritta: [In addition?]

Abel: [That I would rely on the People of Shudraq, based on knowledge of the throne’s mechanism, could be conjectured. In all probability, there is an assassin amidst the Shudraq.]

Taritta: [――――]

Abel: [I only obtained definite proof of the assassin’s existence, however, when you targeted Natsuki Subaru, mistaking him for me.]

Hearing Abel’s line of reasoning, Taritta grasped the hem of her clothes tightly.

That was true. Taritta, living in one end of the Empire, possessed no way of knowing the countenance of the Emperor of Vollachia. All she knew was that black hair and black eyes were characteristics of his outward appearance.

Never would she have thought that multiple owners of such unusual features would appear in the forest on that day, at the same time.

Abel: [Your reaction to seeing the two of us, me and that one, trapped in the village’s cage, was remarkable… For a pawn of the Observers, your nature is a far too honest one.]

Taritta: [――Ah.]

Abel: [You accompanied me in both the capture of Guaral and the journey to the Demon City that followed, but you were not at all willing to follow the commandment. Why is that?]

Taritta: [――――]

Abel: [Why do you refuse to obey that commandment? From what I have heard, a Stargazer’s predestination is not something one can resist even if they are aware of it. I do not believe you have the will to resist that predestination.]

Had she that sort of strong will, of self-discipline, Taritta would not have accompanied them on this journey in the first place.

Abel’s judgment was harsh, but correct. Correct enough to draw blood.

Taritta did not possess the strength to abandon her own commandment.

If that were possible, she would have abandoned a burden of the sort much, much sooner.

For certain she knew that, if she did not obey that commandment, the Great Disaster would destroy the Empire――.

Medium: [――Oh my gosh! I don’t get it at all!]

Taritta carried on in anguish, while Abel continued on in pursuit.

Sandwiched between the two, and yet kept out of the loop, Medium exploded. She glared at Abel with her blue eyes, spreading both her arms in order to shield Taritta behind her back.

Medium: [I don’t know anything about Abel-chin being targeted, or that it was Taritta-chan who targeted Abel-chin! First of all, if Taritta’d have had her mind set on it, Abel-chin would’ve been killed by now! Right?]

Abel: [You, learn a little to watch your tongue.]

Medium: [Right! Abel-chin, can you run away from Taritta-chan?]

The shape of Abel’s mouth took contours of loathing after Medium spoke her words filled with vigor.

He could not deny her words. But doubts on this front had been posed to Taritta by Abel, already.

In other words, just as Medium had stated, she could have done it if she wanted to, so why hadn’t she?

That was――,

Taritta: […Because, I couldn’t find, a meaning to it.]

Abel: [――. What reason do you require, beyond saving the Empire from ruin?]

Taritta: [I! I didn’t even know that you were the Emperor, or how you were chased out of the Imperial Capital…….! That’s because, to me, to me, as a Stargazer, I am――]

The anguish that had been locked away at the back of her chest for so long finally began to overflow with the opening of her mouth.

And what had unleashed the anguish she had been unsure of how to put into words for a long time, had been none other than Abel’s hounding.

But before she could clearly put it into words――.

Medium: [――Nooo!]

A wide-eyed Medium exclaimed, and Taritta and Abel’s attention quickly shifted upward.

Right above, black darkness covered the building directly above where the three stood―― No, that was not it. It was not just sable darkness spreading, but rather a huge black arm.

Endowed with five fingers, it stretched itself upright, then swung down on the building from directly above.

As if attempting to smash the three people present at this place―― No, as if attempting to grab them with its huge hand.

Taritta: [――Hk, Medium! Abel!]

The moment she witnessed its approach, all extraneous thoughts disappeared from Taritta’s mind.

The scene of verbal assault from just before vanished into thin air; Taritta moved as her instincts dictated, embracing Medium in front of her, carrying Abel on her shoulders, and leaping directly backward.

With that, she attempted to escape the gargantuan black arm’s range. ――Not enough, however.

Caught by the falling fingertips, they were helplessly snatched away from this world.

???: [I will not allow that to happen――!!]

However, just before the titanic arm reached Taritta and the others, a huge mass was wedged with great violence overhead, between the three of them and the giant arm.

Tightly entangled in emerald green thorny vines, the castle walls had been torn apart and seized.

With tremendous centrifugal force, it became a dome that protected the group of three in which Taritta was included, trying to intercept the falling giant arm.

Naturally, the limb was not something that would be halted by anything of the sort.

Once the huge black arm touched the wall, the latter came undone as easily as candy, disappearing in a second like a leaf being devoured by a winged insect.

However――,

???: [I won’t tolerate any further disorder in my city―― Hk!]

A woman clad in a kimono dived right under the disappearing castle wall, the beast ears on her head all perked up, kicking her long legs upwards, propelling the wall towards the gargantuan arm.

A wave of pressure broke through, beckoning the collapse of the building it focused on. However, the unfathomable might of the woman’s kick caused the gigantic arm on the other side of the wall to bend, halting the erosion.

But, it only stopped for a moment.

Still, that one moment was enough.

Taritta: [――Hk, we got through!]

Narrowly escaping the giant arm’s range, her heels grinding into the ground, Taritta exhaled.

Released from her arms, Medium and Abel also landed on the ground. The three of them looked up to see the building that had been their perch earlier being swallowed up by the shadows.

Medium: [Y-Yorna-chan is…!]

Abel: [She’s safe. Though it looks like we are being pursued even more than we were a moment ago.]

Jerking his chin, Abel answered as Medium cast her gaze all around her with a worried look.

At the place her glance was directed to, jumping around while being chased by the shadows running amok, was the kimono-clad woman who had just let loose a potent blow―― was she Yorna Mishigure?

That transcendent force was worthy of qualifying for the Nine Divine Generals.

It was understandable that Abel would wish to have someone like her on his side. A person as powerful as her could easily accept a destiny that would determine the course of the world.

Unlike Taritta, there would be no hesitation if the time came.

Abel: [You saved me once more, Taritta.]

As if seeing through Taritta’s indecision, Abel examined the kneeling Taritta.

She was unable to calm her breathing down, for reasons aside from her exertion immediately prior. However, Abel would spare no quarter to Taritta, either physically or mentally.

Abel: [Had you not extended your hand, I could have lost my life without any effort on your part. And yet, you saved me; was that because you cannot fulfill the commandment you have received without getting your hands dirty?]

Taritta: [T-That’s wrong…!]

Abel: [If so, how come? Your conduct is inconsistent with――]

Medium: [But more importantly, thank you for the help, right!?]

Once again, Medium came to Taritta’s rescue, rendered speechless after the accusation of inconsistent behavior.

Medium, her beautiful golden hair disheveled, was thrusting her finger at Abel right before the latter’s eyes. The difference in stature between the two was visible in her gesture, but even so, Medium did not let go or yield her claim.

Medium: [Abel-chan, you and I would’ve died if Taritta-chan hadn’t saved us, no? We gotta thank her, first of all. Taritta-chan, thank you~!]

Taritta: [Huh, huh…]

Medium: [Then, back on track! What’s up with that, Abel-chin? What do you wanna have Taritta-chan do?]

Medium looked back and thanked her, then quickly turned to Abel.

Her questioning was delayed somewhat by the exchange between Abel and Taritta, with the former sighing that Medium could not keep up with her understanding of the situation.

Abel: [I already conveyed that to Taritta. I do not require that you understand.]

Medium: [If I don’t understand, I’ll just keep disturbing you ‘til I do, okay? How about that?]

Abel: [――. In order to quell the Great Disaster, I must lose my life. That is the future the Stargazer has seen, and the commandment bestowed upon Taritta.]

Medium: [――? I got no idea of what you mean. Why would that big black shadow calm down after Abel-chin’s death? That’s so weird!]

In response to Medium’s persistent pleas, Taritta bit the inside of her cheek.

Certainly, she could understand the foresight that the Empire would be spared from destruction as a result of fulfilling that commandment. How exactly would that be brought about, Taritta was unsure.

However, that being pointed out only made Medium realize Abel’s ruthlessness――,

Abel: [――Is it not odd?]

But Taritta’s conjecture was stalled by the echo of Abel’s words that followed.

Baring her teeth, Medium voiced out “Odd”, in vehement protest. To which Abel, covering his mouth with his hand, once more repeated it, “Odd”.

Abel: [Taritta.]

Taritta: [Ah, w-what is it?]

Abel: [The commandment you have received, to take my life to spare the Empire from destruction. Are you certain of it?]

Taritta: [――Hk.]

Being directed a question to again, hesitantly, Taritta nodded her head.

She had been told that the commandment she was unable to execute was necessary.

But after ascertaining this, Abel once more spoke, “If so”,

Abel: [Would that not be what you know as destruction?]

Taritta: [Huh…]

Abel: [You know of the divination that a Great Disaster would harken the destruction of the Empire. But you hold the belief that that thing, and the Great Disaster, are one and the same. Are you certain of that?]

With that question, Taritta’s thoughts began racing, trying to discern its meaning.

What could one call that entity that evoked dread and horror, the black shadow gradually spreading from the heart of the Demon City, if not the Great Disaster?

Time and time again, a nightmarish spectacle was displayed to her repeatedly.

Every night, a nightmare, urging her to not forget, over and over again brought Taritta visions of the coming doom. That thing was certainly a manifestation of that, however――,

Taritta: [Is that, the Great Disaster or not…]

Abel: [You have not obtained knowledge of it, is that so? Then perhaps some other Stargazer has.]

Taritta: [Some other…]

After that sentence, Taritta’s eyes began moving frantically.

Although Abel had stated Stargazers were connected to each other, Taritta was an exception. ――No, “exception” was not the correct word. To begin with, they were different from the get-go.

That was why Taritta had no idea about the existence of other Stargazers.

Taritta: [Ah…]

If she were to have an idea about that Stargazer, it would be the person she had encountered just a few moments ago.

Taritta: [――――]

That delicate man who did not let go of his carefree attitude, that obnoxious person who had not even given his name, was so well-informed that he had called Taritta the “Disgrace of Shudraq”.

He knew of Taritta’s sin. Perhaps due to the connection between Stargazers.

What had he, the Stargazer, said upon laying eyes on the Great Disaster?

If she recalled correctly, the man had stated――,

Taritta: [That, it was outside his responsibility…]

Abel: [――. Truly, was that what the Stargazer said? I see.]

Medium: [Abel-chin?]

Hearing Taritta leaking that expression, dumbfounded, Abel nodded, then turned away.

Frowning her eyebrows at that, Medium wrapped around Abel as to go towards his front and peer into his face. And once she did, Medium’s round eyes widened. Startled.

The reason for her surprise was evident in Abel’s immediate reaction.

Abel placed his palm on his own face covered by the oni mask, and fixing his stare solidly on the heart of the Demon City, where the Great Disaster―― or rather, where the all-consuming jet-black mass continued its rampage,

Abel: [――Is the downfall of the Empire, something apart from the Great Disaster?]

With this murmur, Abel then cleared his throat slightly, letting out a short exhale.

To Taritta, who was unable to see the expression on his face, it had nearly sounded like a laugh.

Abel: [If so, there is no reason for you to stumble along the way. ――I shall have you disappear from the board, you interloper.]

71 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 57 – “Can’t Live Wiser””

    1. I think he’s referring to the black mass (Satella) swallowing the city since it is not connected to the downfall of the Empire. During Ubilk and Taritta’s interaction when the shadows swallowed the Crimson Lapis Castle, I think Ubilk was surprised of it’s sudden appearance which could mean that nothing of that sort was supposed to happen. I might be wrong, that’s how I understood it anyway.

      1. I assumed he was talking about Subaru. Since Abel seemed to think something was up with Subaru even beyond Louis.

      1. Wait, does the Aldebaran star follow the Pleiade star? I thought they were both part of the same constellation, but I didn’t know that then.

        1. Pleiades is a star cluster of 9 stars (however only 7 were visible until 50,000 years ago when the 7th star wandered to close to I want to say Atlas and became invisible to the naked eye and now only 6 are visible.) Hence Subaru asking Shaula where the 7th/1st floor was since if it follows the lore the floor must be special.

        2. I also found this. The Hyades were daughters of Atlas (by either Pleione or Aethra, one of the Oceanides) and sisters of Hyas in most tellings, although one version gives their parents as Hyas and Boeotia.[5][6][7] The Hyades are sisters to the Pleiades and the Hesperides.

          The main myth concerning them is envisioned to account for their collective name and to provide an etiology for their weepy raininess: Hyas was killed in a hunting accident and the Hyades wept from their grief.[8] They were changed into a cluster of stars, the Hyades, set in the head of Taurus.[9]

          Aldebaran follows Hydades. But Hyades is considered the sisters to Pleiades soooo

  1. Well if anyone had any doubts about whether Al’s looping power is an authority or not those doubts oughta be cleared up now.

      1. arc 5 Lust vs Al fight was the first time I realised it. And I’m pretty sure he mentions he has an authority then as well.

  2. Finally caught up after nearly a year of missed content. Now I’m left with questions and anticipation. This arc is amazing. And, as always, Tappei remains unpredictable with how he guides the story.

  3. Congratulations on your remarkable work!
    Thank you, for the whole team. That was swift job.

    PS Random question, how often Tappei release chapters though?

    1. It’s completely random. However, it’s usually across a period of two month up until it’s about a month from the release as a volume, and then it goes on a short hiatus until the next volume comes out.

  4. Absolutely outstanding job guys. I knew it has to feel good to be able to work on other stuff and not feel like you are behind.

    I appreciate the work you do. Thank you.

  5. I’ve been thinking that all the isekaid people in this world are actually just different versions of Subaru for a while, but now I’m just thinking it even more with Al

        1. Don’t underestimate the power of worldbuilding. If Ryuzu can have multiple copies of herself, why Subaru can’t have some of that too? Especially if they’re a part of some old mechanism. After all Al’s past is a mistery, can’t say for sure. At least not now

    1. I though about it too. But during travel to Chaosflame there was dialog. And al said some frase from beyond great waterfall which Al knew, but Subaru didn’t. And infantilization also shifts personality to the times of childhood. Subaru just lost a bit of cunning and forward planning. But Al lost all his confidence. Subaru was in similar state, but later, just before isekai, not being a child.

    2. I’ve wondered if Flugel isn’t just a future Subaru and Satella a future Emilia who somehow through cosmic bullshit wound up in the past and Satella pulled some doctor who bullshit of summoning Subaru just before he was brought to another world to become Flugel 400 years after Flugels disappearance or whatever and the Pleiades watchtower was a test set up for himself.

      With Tappei who the fuck knows this could even be some COD zombies shit with Richtofen.

  6. I don’t know if anyone noticed but the stargazers should’ve been flawless in there prediction for their power comes from the Observers (likely a term for gods) but subaru, Al and all the sin archbishops introduces new constellations of a different world. As they aren’t of this world maybe that’s why the astrology of the stargazers fails. That why I think witch factor holders are natural enemies of the observers.

    1. From the sounds of it Ubilk or whatever can only see the future pertaining to the empire. He called the black mass of shadows “Lugnica’s problem” meaning it may be that they can’t see that far.

  7. What an absolutely wild chapter to leave off on for now. The confirmation that Al’s ability is indeed an Authority – and confirmation that he lost it as well – would make this chapter great all on its own, but everything else – the bit with the stargazers, the fact that it implies that Chisa Gold might not be a bad guy if Abel has to die for the empire to survive, the possibility of another disaster on the scale of this, the fact that Shadow Garden Subaru is basically outside the shadow garden, as in, he wants to be with Satella, it’s all so crazy and it reminds me why I love this series so much. Anyways, here are the things I wanna point out about this chapter.

    First, Al has an Authority. Of the authorities that exist, the only ones unaccounted for are Pride and Vainglory, although it’s most likely that Pandora still has Vainglory. As for Melancholy, if you know, you know. We’ll probably get an explanation of the Authority of Pride in the coming chapters, especially if it’s from Al’s perspective, but he can talk about it. He doesn’t have a restriction on speaking about his Authority – he chooses not to. That’s REALLY interesting, because it means Satella doesn’t care if he’s stuck in a dead-end. Granted, Satella shouldn’t have anything to do with the Authority of Pride . . . Unless . . . She’s granting Subaru the Envy Witch Factor, but she also still has it herself. Which means, hypothetically speaking, Subaru and Al could BOTH have the Authority of Envy, given the similarities between them, it might be the case.

    Next: Stargazers. Wild. I’m not here to talk about Tarrita though. That’s super interesting, but we need more information. What I wanna mention is Al, once again. His catchphrase is “Your stars were bad,” which was derived from “Your luck was bad,” (which is ALSO said by Subaru in Greed IF LN but that’s not the point). Al’s has a side story called “The Day I gave up on being a Following Star” and his name, Aldeberan, is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, which also follows the Pleiades star cluster – in other words, Al is a star that follows Subaru – a predetermined destiny – and he declares his foe’s defeat was determined by their stars. There’s a nonzero chance that Al is a Stargazer as well, or perhaps used to be. I don’t know how that would work, given that he’s from Earth, but it’s not like a Divine Protection or anything as far as we know, so Al could have been one, hypothetically. Anyways, this was one of my favorite chapters in Arc 7, up there with 53, 47, and 19 (whatever the one they break out of the Todd loop was), thanks so much for all the work you guys have done of the translations, the Heretic Translations ended up being a great idea, and I’ll see you guys again when Tappei decides to release 8 chapters in 3 days in 2 months or something. It’s gonna be fun, not having to wait for very long to join the discussion from the people reading the scans.

    1. I’m starting to think envy is more of a copying ability as in it envies other authorities and tries to have their power too.
      It could be that absorbing is the way it acquires other authorities but it can only absorb a portion and both Al’s power and Subaru’s RBD are fractions of the full pride power (tho no idea how Al acquired it, how he was able to to begin with). It could also explain why Subaru’s unseen hand isn’t many hands but one single hand as he, instead of just not having the proficiency for using multiple hands, only absorbed one hands worth of greed.

      1. In ARC 4 Echidna called Satella’s authority “begrudge”. However, Subaru’s is “Return by Death”. If you compare authorities between the witches and sin archbishops they very wildly even for the same sin so it’s more than likely he doesn’t have the same authority as Satella simply the same sin. And from the looks of it, the type of authority depends on the desire of the person at the time.

    2. Wait isn’t it new info that Al has an authority? I had no idea that Al had an ability like such, when was it mentioned?

      1. In True Kasaneru IF Clind uses it and in Arc 4 Hector is literally shown, it’s like super telekinesis that oneshots anything and you also have a field around you.

  8. Abel not shutting up about ‘The Observers’ is really making me more convinced he’s Stride Vollachia.

    1. It seems that observers thing is hot topic between all of high ranks of Empire. And since they call stargazers as necessary evil, it seems they all don’t like observers.

    2. He is too annoying for me I kinda hated how he talk to others especially his comrades that he doesn’t give much information what he is thinking everytime problem occurs. But still so damn good well written lines like his characters is alive to think that I’m very hype for more chapters.

  9. He’s fucking dumb. Why doesn’t he change his greed? I think greed is the most powerful authority.

    What if your greed is to have power that could beat even the strongest man in the world and also save everyone? Of course, that authority will answer your greed.

    What if he changed his sloth to being so lazy that he did not push himself without putting any effort in? Would his sloth authority become strong like Sekmeth’s? That authority will also answer your sloth.

    What if his gluttony is a hunger for power over others, but he doesn’t want to hurt anyone? That he just needs to copy it just by seeing it. That authority will answer your gluttony.

    What if his lust is attractive over power so he can save everyone? That authority will answer your lust.

    But you know what, he never desired power, did he? He just simply sacrifaces himself. He is also weak, dumb, and pathetic, but he never desires a single power. He knew if he was alone he couldn’t do it. He was still relying on others and RbD.

    What if his greed is so he can become stronger and smarter than anyone? Of course, the greed authorities will answer your greed, but why is his greed just to sacriface himself? Is he aware that he does not desire power, even for a second? like seriously? Why does he not even like training his own authority when he’s not doing anything? He’s just an ordinary guy with no power or brain, but he’s training with a whip? For what? Why was he disgusted by using Madman’s authority? He fears death most and is also disgused by authority. His only power is to rely on others and fucking die, not even to train his own authorities or to understand authority in order to create different powers. He had already seen witches with all authority, but it had not even occurred to him to comprehend the power they had compared with the sin archbishop. Of course, he can desire power greater than witches if he’s trying to understand how their power works and how their personalities are compared with the sin archbishop so he can make it even stronger.

    But he is always afraid of it and tries not to face it. He disgusted by the sin of the archbishop’s power even after stealing their power? He’s not trying to use it properly. He’s only using it when in a dangerous situation. not even train it. Even though I know he is in pain, I find this fucking dumb character annoying.

    1. Subaru is a moron. He never considered what would happen if Beako and everyone else weren’t with him. AAAAA annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying annoying

    2. But didn’t the authority of Sloth hurt him a lot? Yet I don’t remember about the time he used it to crush greed heart in Emilia. Also Rem probably don’t fully recoginzes Subaru as ally, so he can’t use his verson of Greed and he himself didn’t like Louis. As for Al and Medium – there was no necessity in using authority on them.
      And you forgot one thing: authorities are mostly in possesion of beings who are crazy af in one way or another. Withches, archbishops. Subaru hates it and just wants to be sane.

      1. Could also be that the strength level depends on how much you give yourself over which is why he also doesn’t use it. Still not sure why he didn’t at least try in the beyond the eleventh second as if you’re dying 100+ times you would think he would attempt it.

        I’m more curious about where the fuck the gluttony witch factor is. One of the nom trio died, that being Ley or Roy while the other was captured. Since the Gluttony witch factor can split without losing power where did it go? Did it return to one of the other two? My thought was it went to him and we’d see it awaken somehow during the eleventh second but noooppeee.

            1. Rem remembered by chance, magic was already innate to her.
              Rem herself said that she didn’t feel the miasma on Louis, meaning she is no longer an archbishop.

              1. Louis literally awakened inhuman strength and teleportation (which obviously isn’t hers). In the LN illustrations, it’s only after Louis puts her hand on Rem that she remembers healing magic.

                Louis didn’t even have a body she was stuck in OD Lagna so I don’t really know how she could even get the Miasma on her.

                https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/rezero/images/c/c1/Re_Zero_Light_Novel_26_13.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/1000?cb=20210324152718

    3. The kind of authority a person gets seems based on their desires, like how Minerva’s Wrath authority manifested as being able to heal people by physically harming them due to her desire to save as many people as she could. Meaning for Subaru’s authorities to develop in the manner you’d like them to develop, he’d have to be a scumbag like the archbishops. Also, of course he’d be scared of the sloth authority, it drives him crazy whenever he uses it and there’s a real danger of that being permanent.

    4. Dude are u dense or what? He doesn’t like the authority of greed because the authority owners is regulus and he hates it whenever he use it and the damage is applied opposite

    5. so you are saying that you like arc 1 subaru? the useless subaru who is pride that think he can solve everything by himself? who is greed that want everything to fulfill his desire? who is gluttony that will sacrifice everything even himself to get what satisfy him? who is lust that feel head over heels after he saw a girl saving him? who is wrath that blame others for his own mistake? who is sloth that can save anyone even himself? just, where is your brain? what do you think the deveolpment character in arc 4 for? if subaru become greedy, slothful, gluttonious, lust, and prideful person, then the developments he got at arc 4 were wasted.

  10. Ok I need like, links to whatever side story was talking about Al’s power as some of you seemed to call it before hand.

  11. Well, looks like I finally caught up with the web novel! I’m leaving my first comment to celebrate! This is certainly a new experience for me… I’ll be waiting for Tappei instead of a translation now lol

    Thanks for the fast translation Heretic Division!

  12. Wow it’s crazy finally being caught up thanks a ton for all the translations!! I’m super excited to see more and to see more of Al and his authority. I’m interested to see how they end up dealing with satella appearing. Things just keep looking worse and worse.

  13. Turns out Taritta was the hunter who kept on killing Subaru in the forest.
    Also, Stargazers can see parts of the future and Taritta being one of them, makes her kind of a traitor to the shudraq? Like a spy? But the stargazers never foresaw Subaru’s arrival, meaning that something else was the reason for Abel being ousted as an Emperor. Last but not least, I theorize that Al is Subaru’s blood related brother or something similar. Maybe his future son?!

  14. Even if it’s outright stated, I can’t accept Al’s ability being a full fledged Authority. Too many things don’t add up with that.

    He might well think it’s one and not know the difference.

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