Arc 7, Chapter 61 – “Welcome, to the Gladiator Island!”

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This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality. This is expected to have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality. A proper, higher-quality translation for this chapter is in the works by our team, so if you would prefer to wait for it, then feel free to check back at a later date, keeping an eye out on our social media for updates.

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――He felt like he had been left behind in a cold, dark place.

The place was dark as if he had closed his eyes, cold as if he had pressed his cheeks against a discarded clump of iron. He desperately sought salvation, feeling his entire body bound by chains of captivity.

That was also why he kept stretching out his hand, as if in a trance, looking for anything he could find.

However, that was not why he had stretched out his hand towards the looming white light at the very end.

The light―― rather, its identity was that of a girl, with a tragic look of determination hidden on her face. He had stretched out his hand towards her, not because he was seeking salvation from her, but because he felt he needed to save her.

And so, bending the chains that prevented him from moving his body even an inch, he reached out a hand, his own hand.

He reached out his hand and――.

???: [――It’s so small.]

As he muttered that, Natsuki Subaru stared at his own hand, now reflected in his blurred vision.

The hand being held up to the ceiling, palm facing out, was his own one, extending out from his shoulder. It clenched and closed, moving just as he willed. Without a doubt, it was his.

However, it was the hand of a child, a size smaller than Subaru had expected.

Meaning――,

Subaru: [I didn’t turn back to normal…]

That had been his chance to get out of his hopeless situation, he should have attained it after going through untold hardship. He had literally put his life on the line over and over again for this, or so it seemed, and yet, the result had slipped from his hands.

Just how many sacrifices had he made for what had left his hands?

Just. How many. Sacrifices――,

Subaru: [――!? That’s right, the hell am I doing!?]

A jolt suddenly running through his bleary consciousness, Subaru brought the hand he had been staring at to his face.

The memories that came streaming back to him were those of the strange situation he had encountered at the Demon City, as well as the dangerous game of tag with Olbart, where he had been put through the wringer; so much so, that that had been worse than the former.

Subaru had managed to seize victory after accumulating countless “deaths”. He should have succeeded in getting his victor’s dues―― namely, in getting rid of his infantilization.

Subaru also recalled Olbart touching his chest to try and undo his infantilization.

And immediately after that, he felt like someone had whispered the soul language of love into his ears, and――,

Subaru: [I passed out after that, and then… And then?]

Subaru attempted to search his fuzzy memories for what had happened. However, even when he pushed and pulled, the door that held his interrupted memories within refused to open.

Firmly clenching his back teeth together, Subaru grew more and more impatient, as he felt how stubborn this door was――,

???: [――Now, now, let’s take it easy, no need to get flustered. Luckily, y’all made it out with your lives, so you can take your time to do stuff after the lil’ missy that came with you wakes up.]

Subaru: [――Huh?]

Suddenly, Subaru heard a voice coming from right beside him, turning to look at it in dumbfoundment. As he lay on a hard bed, his eyes met with someone resting their chin on their hands there.

This someone was grinning from ear-to-ear, peering right up close into his face.

Subaru: [UWAHHH!?]

???: [Whoa there. Love the reaction, but it’s best you keep things on the downlow. If we’re too noisy, we’ll catch the Island Chief’s eye, and they’ll put together a bothersome fight to the death. But then again…]

Subaru: [Uh, ah, uh…]

???: [Though it may be in bad taste, I don’t dislike that sorta idea. Rather, I quite like it.]

In front of Subaru, who jumped to his feet without thinking and darted his eyes about in bewilderment, was a blue-haired individual, boasting ever so nonchalantly.

He had his long hair tied up into a ponytail, and was donning something reminiscent of Japanese-style garb, the likes of which were seldom seen here. Left astonished by how unfamiliar he looked, Subaru took a deep gulp before he chose his words, and his questions.

Not only the other party was unfamiliar, but also the place, the environment, the atmosphere――,

Subaru: […Who are you? Where are we?]

???: [――Oh, how splendid! What great questions! Just as I’d expected… No, it surpasses even my expectations!!]

Subaru: [Bweh?]

Subaru carefully tried to gauge his attitude; however, the other person, his eyes sparkling, quickly took Subaru’s hand, shaking it up and down with such force that the latter thought his shoulder might be torn off.

It was not like Subaru had been keeping his guard down. Yet, despite that, it felt like he could not react at all.

Before the flabbergasted Subaru, the individual let go of his arm with a “Whew”, and spun around once on the spot, as if dancing, and said,

???: [You, who have crossed the black lake and reached this island―― the Gladiator Island Ginunhive! You, with that unpleasant look to your eyes, swirling with such wonderful premonitions! I shall indeed answer you!]

Both his tone and gestures were theatrical, and for someone he’d just met, he was rather ill-mannered. However, he showed no signs of knowing what Subaru was thinking, and instead brazenly stuck to his attitude, his theatrics.

Almost like he was an actor on a stage, basking himself in a round of thunderous applause like it was natural――.

???: [――Cecilus Segmunt.]

The way he stretched out his arms to the left and right as he voiced his name, made it look like he was doing a pose straight out of a kabuki. [1]

Naturally, kabuki should not exist in this world, so he probably was not imitating an actual one. Even so, the pose he had struck had such a punch to it, that it robbed Subaru of his breath.

Then again, what had taken Subaru’s breath away was not merely his powerful pose, but also how familiar his name sounded. Where had he heard it before? As soon as he recalled, he frowned.

He had heard it straight from Abel.

If he was not mistaken, his name belonged to one of the Nine Divine Generals――.

Cecilus: [I am Vollachia’s Blue Lightning. ――The lead actor of this world.]

Subaru gawked as he heard him grandiosely declare that before him.

Both his name and title were consistent with what Subaru recalled. ――However, there was just one thing that stood as a huge issue.

Namely――,

Subaru: [――Vollachia’s strongest, is a child?]

――Cecilus Segmunt, smiling right before him, was a child around the same age as the shrunken Subaru, with the very vibe of an obnoxious brat.

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――The severe impact of “infantilization” was taking a toll on Natsuki Subaru’s mind and body alike.

The physical effects were easy to understand. As one would expect from Subaru’s current outward appearance, what he possessed amounted only to the physical capabilities of a kid roughly ten years of age. His arm and leg strength, and, naturally, his stamina and explosive strength, all had been reverted to a prepubescent state.

However, there were doubts as to just how useful Subaru’s original physical abilities were to begin with, by the standards of this other world. So it was probably safe to say that the difference was small, as much as he would hate to admit it.

Far more serious, however, was the impact to his interior, rather than his exterior.

Subaru: [Maybe my head’s all messed up…]

It was a misleading way of putting it, but it was a simple way of expressing the bad situation Subaru was in.

His ability to conceive, think, and draw on knowledge, was weakening. Although he was using the same desk as before, his ability to open drawers was weaker and he was unable to reach the drawers that were higher-up.

――At the tower of the Crimson Lapis Castle, the infernal game of tag unfolded, from Olbart’s authorship.

The abnormally high number of attempts he had taken to implement a countermeasure had very much been influenced by the regression in his ability to think. He was sure that before the shrinkage, he would have found the solution a little faster.

Probably, he would have come up with that idea, and put an end to that ordeal faster, to the point he would not have felt any pain.

Fortunately, at that time, it was not Subaru himself, but everyone who was important to Subaru that saved him.

He had felt everyone’s voices, their support, echoing in his head, and――,

Subaru: [No, no, that’s not it…]

Suddenly, something slowly welled up within his heart, and Subaru hurriedly got rid of it with his hand.

The mixed feelings of relief and melancholy were probably a feeling more akin to homesickness. Before the infantilization, he would have been able to bear those feelings considering the chaos and his sense of responsibility, but it seemed that his childish body had even lowered the bulwark that protected against him tearing up. If he was not careful, he would likely break down crying.

Subaru: [… Don’t cry, don’t cry. Am I an idiot? No, I am definitely an idiot.]

No matter how much he may mourn, he could not borrow strength from those not present.

Letting friction evaporate the tears, Subaru tried his utmost to get back to the main point. He had to, as it would be the only way he would ever get a chance to reunite with everyone.

What was important now, was neither his own weak mind nor his budding sense of nostalgia. Rather, what he needed to focus on most was the essence of his predicament.

Namely――.

Subaru: [Did I ever hear from Abel or Zikr-san about the age of the First…?]

Sniffling, Subaru searched his memory for the answer to his question.

Cecilus Segmunt―― he had heard that he was the strongest amongst the Nine Divine Generals of Vollachia. That meant he was the most powerful person in the Empire.

The reason why they had gone to the Demon City of Chaosflame in the first place was to get Yorna, one of the Nine Divine Generals, to become their ally. In order to regain the throne, their side needed to attain as many Nine Divine Generals as possible.

Then, of course, it should have been natural to properly discuss the topic of the person who was ranked First.

So, he pried open that stiff drawer, searching for some answer, but――,

Subaru: [The only things I can recall are that he’s unpopular, and therefore, not very reliable…]

He was not sure whether that was because that part had bore the greatest impact on him, or because that was all he had actually been told, but that was all the information Subaru possessed regarding the First.

Unfortunately, he was unable to find any information about his appearance, his age or anything of the like, which were what he wished to know at this moment.

Subaru: [But if it’s about being unpopular because he’s a child, then I can see why without a hitch.]

In the Empire, where the strongest were esteemed, it would be strange for the one most powerful to be unpopular.

If this were because the strongest person was a child, it would make sense. Many adults would be reluctant to follow a child, no matter how strong they were.

So, as Subaru came to terms with this prior information and his new knowledge,

Cecilus: [――It seems you’ve come to some kinda conclusion.]

To this statement, Subaru looked up to see a blue-haired boy―― Cecilus, standing in front of him, donning the same grandiose pose he had adopted earlier.

Having left him standing there, Subaru, who had been lost in thought, blinked his eyes and said,

Subaru: [S-sorry, I left you there for a while.]

Cecilus: [Ah, no, not at all, don’t worry about me. I’m often left out of discussions, after all! I’m used to being left alone and not talked to, hahaha!]

Subaru: [I-is that so…]

Cecilus flashed his white teeth, blithely laying bare his sad situation.

Although he was taken aback by this attitude, he felt glad that his rude response had not spoiled his mood. After all, he had a lot of questions that he wanted to ask him.

He wanted to tilt his head in puzzlement, not knowing which of the many questions to start with.

Subaru: [Sorry for being rude, again, I apologize. I…]

Cecilus: [Like. I. Said! There’s no problem. Of course, that doesn’t mean that rudeness, disrespect, and acting without consideration for others are acceptable, but I’ve got the openness to tolerate those to some extent. If you’re intolerant, small, and superficial, then isn’t it just like playing a minor role and getting the short end of the stick?]

Subaru: [Y-yeah, you’re right. Thank you, that helps. On that note, I…]

Cecilus: [That reminds me! I didn’t ask you this because you were absorbed in your thinking, but how did you feel about that pose? Since I put my all into this pose, I’d gladly like to hear your reaction. I was thinking if adding this to my introduction would give it the last push it needed!]

Subaru: [W-wait a second, please, I was talking…]

Cecilus: [Oh yeah! There’s some other things I want to ask, I’m pretty interested in those! What do you think!? If you could tell me something about that in great detail, I’d――]

Subaru: [――Listen to me!]

Even though he attempted to speak calmly, all of his attempts were interrupted by the lightning-fast speech of the other party.

Fearing that he would be swept away by the momentum of the conversation, Subaru involuntarily let out a loud yell. After doing so, Subaru felt shock, as Cecilus’s almond-shaped eyes widened,

Cecilus: [Oh, by any chance, did I do it again?]

Subaru: [Nowadays you practically never hear that kind of level of a template response…] [2]

Cecilus: [Lebel? Tenprate?]

Subaru: [Uhmm, it’s a phrase from my hometown, meaning something like standard or cliché.]

Cecilus: [Hoho, your hometown’s! That’s very interesting! Ah, I guess this one was no good.]

With a twinkle in his eye, the Blue Lightning was quick to pounce on the object of his curiosity.

Perhaps that nickname of his also symbolized his personality, which was too honest in regards to his desires, as if he were lightning searching for a high place to fall on. He was a completely restless character.

――But perhaps, he was rather concealing his true character with an act.

Cecilus: [Now now, what will you talk about? I can’t stop the throbbing in my chest, getting to hear what you have to say next! Haaa~, I feel so aliiive!]

Subaru: […It doesn’t look like a performance, at all.]

With sparkling eyes, the boy desired that words from Subaru’s mouth formed a story.

His attitude, seemingly entirely divorced from any deception or conspiracy, made Subaru wonder if Cecilus could even tell a lie. In the first place, what would be the point of setting such a trap for Subaru now?

Had he not been with Abel, Subaru would not have drawn any attention whatsoever in the Empire. ――Of course, there were exceptions who had attempted to aim at Subaru’s life without relent.

Subaru: [But those are exceptions, and I don’t want to see them again if possible.]

Cecilus: [――? What’s wrong?]

Subaru: [Ah, I was just talking to myself. Also, I’m Natsuki Subaru… Gah.]

With Cecilus tilting his head in confusion, Subaru voiced his name in order to dodge his doubt, but realized his carelessness in revealing his true identity.

At the time he had been cross-dressing, Subaru had assumed the name of Natsumi Schwartz, with prudence as to not spread his name in the Empire carelessly, but his childish thoughtlessness had ruined that.

If by some chance, by some small possibility, Cecilus, someone with the position of General First-Class of the Empire, were aware of the Royal Selection of the neighboring country of the Kingdom of Lugunica, and of the people involved in it, then――,

Cecilus: [Natsuki Subaru, is it? It’s got a curious sound to it, but somehow, it rolls off the tongue quite smoothly. By the way, which is the family name, Natsuki or Subaru?]

Subaru: [――. M-my family name’s Natsuki, and given name’s Subaru.]

Cecilus: [Hahaaa, noted. Then I’ll call you Subaru-san! But if I find a better way to call you, I’ll just change it depending on my mood, so don’t be taken aback.]

Waving his hand in the air, Cecilus replied with a face that betrayed any hint of recognition.

Subaru was relieved to hear this, but at the same time, a slight doubt grew in his mind. ――Was this child really Cecilus Segmunt?

Subaru: [――――]

On second thought, anyone could just assert a potential identity. Of course the boy in front of him could do that, just like how Subaru identified himself as Natsuki Subaru.

Of course, the name and alias of the Blue Lightning, the strongest in Vollachia, were renowned.

It would be too much to expect to run into the strongest man in Vollachia in some unfamiliar, dodgy place like this one. Furthermore, it was more likely that this could just be some kid posing as the Blue Lightning because they admired the name and title. That would be a much more natural thought.

Cecilus: [Deary me. What’s with the suspicious look in your eyes? Is it something about me?]

Subaru: […Are you, the real Blue Lightning?]

Cecilus: [There it is! They said it again! Just like every time!]

Since probing someone out was not his strength, he threw a fastball at Cecilus, who immediately let out uproarious laughter.

He wondered if he could continue to call this boy Cecilus, but it seemed that people other than Subaru also harbored doubts about the authenticity of his identity.

However――,

Cecilus: [My words are genuine! Though exclaiming that is easy, it doesn’t really prove anything, does it? On the other hand, about any hidden information that can be of use to prove my identity… Even if I told you anything of the sort, would you be able to tell what’s genuine from what’s not? Subaru-san, you don’t know me that well, do you?]

Subaru: [That’s… Yeah, you’re right.]

Cecilus: [Then, it’s a waste of time to argue about the authenticity of my identity. Let’s just cut out the useless stuff and move onto the next topic! That’s way more constructive, even though I’m a specialist in destroying things!]

He felt like he was being cajoled by his momentum and eloquence, but with Cecilus advancing his arguments so ferociously and without pause, there was no opening for Subaru to object. Besides, what he had spoken was true, albeit extreme.

Within Subaru, there laid no method to tell if this truly was the Blue Lightning or not. Nor did he have a clue he could use. Then, even if he were to suspect this tentative Cecilus, he would never find the answer.

If that was the case――,

Subaru: [――――]

Once he set aside Cecilus as the target of his interest, the next question to rise to the fore would concern his situation.

As Subaru was about to let Olbart undo his “infantilization”, his consciousness was engulfed by a void―― no, something much darker engulfed him, and his consciousness vanished.

However, it was clear that he did not simply pass out, and that was that.

Case in point: Subaru was lying on a shabby bed, facing Cecilus.

Even with the limited resources of the village of Shudraq, efforts had been made to make the beds comfortable by using soft grass and wood. However, this bed showed no such consideration at all.

The only thing present there was a stand that was just good enough to lie down on.

Adding to this bleak impression was the room’s empty, bare interior, devoid of anything but the bed.

The gray walls were dry and cracked, and the floor was stained with dirt that could not be removed. The damp, leaden air assaulted his lungs, and the environment was anything but comfortable.

It felt as if he were in a prison cell.

Subaru: [Um, Ceci, can I ask you something?]

Cecilus: [Ceci! What’s that? Is that me, by any chance?]

Subaru: [I’m not sure if I can call you Cecilus when I don’t know if you’re real or fake…]

It was not like he was readying himself in case he met the real Cecilus, but rather it was the compromise Subaru had reached regarding the boy whose authenticity could not be ascertained.

Calling him “tentative Cecilus” would be rude and troublesome to begin with. Apart from being way too chummy to the point of being suspicious, his demeanor was very friendly and he wished to avoid being disliked.

Subaru: [Rather, he may be the friendliest person in the Empire… No, he can’t compare to Flop and Medium. But I think he can put up a good fight.]

However, he could not bet on that, as there were examples of people who had been friendly at first before changing their ways.

Then again, that Subaru had happened to meet the O’Connell siblings when he was with Rem had been a glimpse of uncharacteristically good fortune. Possibly, it was the most fortunate he had ever been his whole life.

Why had Flop called out to him back then, he wondered. Perhaps he had been unable to continue seeing Subaru and Rem like that.

Cecilus: [Ceci, Ceci, is it… What a special sensation! Exquisite sound! Now that I think back on it, I’ve never experienced being called a nickname. It’s got a rich, fresh taste to it, doesn’t iiit?]

Cecilus, on the other hand, was excited by his first nickname.

Subaru had picked a somewhat cheap name for him, but if he was so happy with it, hampering the latter’s excitement would be undesirable, and he deemed it unnecessary to come up with an alternative. He really did not have any other ideas.

Subaru: [So, back to the subject… This isn’t Chaosflame, is it?]

Cecilus: [Chaosflame… the Demon City, you mean? Yes, not at all. Rather, it’s just on the opposite side of the Empire, from east to west! Like I said, this is the Gladiator Island Ginunhive.]

Subaru: [Gladeator Islan…]

Subaru’s lips curled as he felt the sound of that unfamiliar word, Ginunhive, escape from his tongue.

The name did not ring a bell, but the place’s title gave him an unsettling feeling. If Chaosflame was called the Demon City because of the large number of demi-humans living there, then there had to be a reason as to why Ginunhive had that title, as well.

Gladeator Islan, that meant――,

Subaru: [――Gladiator, Island?]

The word “gladiator” brought forth a certain image in his mind, as he remembered hearing it somewhere before.

If he remembered correctly, it was a word that Al would blurt out from time to time indeed. He had spent ten years and then some as a gladiator somewhere, always thinking that he was going to die.

Even though he had lost his left arm, he had managed to survive and escape that place.

Then, this place was――,

Subaru: [No way, these are death game grounds…?]

Cecilus: [Deth gamu? Is that a phrase from your hometown too? What does it mean?]

Subaru: […Something like a colosseum, a place where people kill each other.]

Cecilus: [Oh I see! Then you understood quickly! Exactly, these here are the “deth gamu grounds”!]

Subaru: [――Hk.]

Cecilus laughed at Subaru, the latter overcome by a chill of horror after having mentioned this terrifying possibility.

The fact that he clapped his hands in front of his chest and spoke casually made Subaru suspect that he had misheard something. But no matter how long he waited, the words he wished to hear did not leak from Cecilus’s mouth.

――No, words leaked out, but they were not the words Subaru wished to hear.

Cecilus: [Once again, welcome to the Gladiator Island. It’s rare that people as young as me and Subaru-san come in, and even if we do, we don’t live long, so I wish you the best.]

Subaru: [Tha… Hk!]

Cecilus: [Tha?]

Subaru: [That’s ridiculous! There’s… There’s gotta be some kind of mistake!]

His face contorting, Subaru’s voice cracked at Cecilus in front of him.

It was too much to take in. To find himself in such a place, it had to be some kind of mistake.

Subaru: [Because I was in Chaosflame until I woke up, and…]

Cecilus: [Nono, you were on this bed while you slept as well. You were groaning as you slept. I understand groaning from the lack of comfort of sleeping here, but back when I was in Chaosflame….]

Subaru: [That’s not what I mean! Don’t you get it!?]

Cecilus: [Hmm.]

Irritated by the inscrutable Cecilus, Subaru’s spit went flying as he snapped at him.

Closing one eye at his complaint, Cecilus showed readiness to listen and did not interject. That demeanor of his made Subaru avert his eyes from him, instead looking around the room.

Subaru: [I… was in Chaosflame. Me being here must be some kind of mistake. I was doing stuff with other people too.]

Cecilus: [Even if you say it’s a mistake, you’re actually here, you know. If I accept that argument, that means I’d have to be the one sent flying, from the Island to the Demon City.]

Subaru: [Shouldn’t that be possible then, if I’m on the Gladiator Island!?]

Cecilus: [Beats me. ――But if you want an answer to that, then I can present it to you very quickly.]

Shrugging his shoulders at Subaru’s tantrum because he would not listen, Cecilus calmly extended his hand. A slender finger of his pointed to a wall at the back of the room.

――No, it was not a wall. He pointed to a window with iron bars.

The window positioned high-up led the way outside the room, a damp breeze flowing through it.

Subaru: [No, no no no…!]

His lips quivering, Subaru jumped off the bed in a panic.

As soon as he stood barefoot on the cold floor, his head jerked and he felt weak, but he managed to suppress it, sprinting towards the window. He then jumped and grabbed the bars, forcibly hoisting himself up, placing his chin on the window frame as he wriggled awkwardly.

Then, somehow managing to lay his eyes on the view outside――,

Subaru: [――Se… a?]

Cecilus: [Yeah, it’s a lake.]

Looking out the windows, Subaru muttered so in dismay.

Cecilus attempted to affirm what Subaru had said, having picked up on that mutter. However, Cecilus was wrong to affirm it, as Subaru had said “sea”, not “lake”. [3]

Indeed, Cecilus had made a mistake. If he had indeed made a mistake, the scenery outside was possibly a mistake as well.

Or at least, Subaru understood that that was merely what he hoped to believe.

Subaru: [As far as I can see, it’s a completely black lake…]

Cecilus: [The whole island’s surrounded by a lake. The only way to get to and from the other shore’s to “raise” the only drawbridge. Truly, a natural fortification, or rather, a prison!]

Unable to lift himself up, Subaru slid away from the window. Cecilus’s mouth was in high gear as Subaru kneeled on the floor, drooping to his knees.

Why was he in such a good mood in such a hopeless place?

Subaru: [Why…]

Cecilus: [Hm?]

Subaru: [Why do you look so entertained?]

An adult Subaru would have probably hesitated to ask, rather than asking it straight-out.

Being a child with no self-control, the question just popped out, overflowing from his mouth. Cecilus turned to Subaru’s way-too-straightforward question with a childish look in his eyes, speaking,

Cecilus: [That is, because I feel the end of the first act!]

Subaru: [First act…]

Cecilus: [Alas, though I don’t really get it, I was thrown into these “deth gamu grounds”, and I had to fight to the death in a whirlwind of blood! A new wind blew to me with a different scent of blood and a different premonition! With that being the case, it’s only logical that the story will transition to its next phase.]

He did not understand Cecilus’s story at all as the latter spoke in a profound manner, his fingers raised. ――No, it was not that he did not understand. It was that he wished not to understand.

Because if he were to try to fully understand what Cecilus was saying, that would mean――,

Cecilus: [It wouldn’t be interesting otherwise. You can’t keep the star actor off-stage; that’d be a sacrilege in a proper story!]

――Vollachia’s strongest, The Blue Lightning, was a drama geek.

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Cecilus Segmunt, the drama geek, was a person of many words.

To the point of making one suspect, that if left to his own devices, he would continue to chatter on and on.

Cecilus: [So, I was just kinda moseying around outside, and there you were, just crawling up to shore. Amazing, isn’t it? That doesn’t happen very often. It was fated to be, absolutely! Or should I say, it was like something out of a story.]

Subaru: [――――]

Cecilus: [You probably don’t know this, but I’ve always had a good sense of intuition. Today as well, I found you when walking around because I felt as if the wind was calling me. So, I’m so favored by the world it scares me.]

Subaru: [――――]

Cecilus: [Of course, you survived that situation, so you’ve got a good chance of being favored by the world too! Let’s show it our best, Suba… Baru… Hmmm~?]

Cocking his head, Cecilus pondered over something, accompanied by a mutter.

As he listened to the nonsensical and insubstantial words of conversation spilling from the boy’s lips, Subaru’s bare feet moved over the cold stone floor.

It would be reckless to go out and walk like this outside the room in which he had woken up, as this location was unknown.

Still, there was something he needed to confirm.

Subaru: [It’s as you said, right? That I wasn’t alone?]

Cecilus: [Eh? Ahh, yep, it’s true. I’d like to commend you for that as well. Not only did you come out of that situation with your life, but you also saved your companion’s life, which really is a feat of luck and courage… Something of a talent!]

Subaru: [Yeah yeah, sure, talent and guts and all that, right. So, that other person…]

Cecilus: [Was a little girl. More or less like you, Basu… Ah! Has a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it?]

The conversation had derailed without effort, but he had been able to have the questions he wanted to ask answered.

Perhaps what Cecilus was struggling with, was what to call Subaru in response to the nickname of “Ceci” the latter had given him. As long as the nickname was not a terrible one, it did not matter to him what he was called.

What was most important, was the info he had been able to get from him――,

Subaru: [――Louis.]

Someone about the same age as himself―― when it came to someone as old as Subaru was right now, the person who naturally came to mind was Louis. The situation right now was that Medium had also been reduced to about the same age, but since she had not been present at that tower, she was not a candidate.

Frankly, though, Subaru’s mental impression of Louis was a jumbled mess.

Subaru: [I’m not going to ditch you before I have an answer to that question. Besides, maybe, with your power…]

If they could make use of Louis’s teleport, they might be able to get off this dangerous island.

He did not yet know the whole island, and although Cecilus was the only other person he had met at this place, from what the latter had told him, it no doubt had to be the absolute worst possible environment for a child to spend time in.

So――,

Subaru: [We’ve got to get off this island as soon as possible.]

Cecilus: [That’s quite the aspiration, but I think there’ll be a lot of obstacles. From what I’ve heard, only one person’s ever managed to escape from this place, and it’s for that very reason that the “curse rule” was created.]

Subaru: [Then I’ll be the second person. No, you and my companion make three.]

Subaru’s determination interjected, replying out of reflex. And Cecilus, hearing this, looked over him as if he were something trivial, then gave a high-pitched whistle.

It seemed to somehow put him in a good mood, but there was no time to care about that.

And――,

Cecilus: [Basu, here.]

After a short walk down a dimly-lit passageway filled with damp, cold air, Cecilus stopped abruptly. With his hands clasped behind his head, he jerked his chin towards a room with a dingy wooden door.

Looking up at the door, Subaru asked, “Here is?”,

Cecilus: [This is a healing room. It’s also called the corpse room. Many people become corpses here after failing to die in the arena.]

Subaru: [H-healing room, is it? And the healer is?]

Cecilus: [Healer, ha! There are some healers, sorta, but there’s no precious magic user of the sort here. There’d be fewer deaths if they were assigned here, but that’s not the policy of the Island Chief.]

Subaru: [――――]

Receiving that frivolous reply, Subaru involuntarily shut himself up.

It’d slipped his mind completely, but in the Vollachian Empire, there were very few people able to wield healing magic. That was why Rem’s healing magic was treated as valuable.

But the fact remained that Louis had been put into a healing room devoid of a healer.

Cecilus: [The girl you brought along was very weak, that’s why. The purpose of this room is, at least in name, to treat the wounded, so there are some blankets and things to patch people up, at least. We gladiators are treated just as you saw earlier, and the sleeping conditions were terrible, weren’t they?]

Subaru: […You’re the only gladiator here.]

Cecilus: [Ahhahaha, you’re right! Here, have an emotional meeting.]

Seemingly reading Subaru’s inner heart for the second time, Cecilus patted Subaru on the shoulder.

Pressured by his momentum, Subaru swallowed his saliva, steeled himself, and headed for the door. Pushing it open, he frowned at the unpleasant smell emanating from inside.

What flowed out of it, was the odor of a mixture of blood and decaying flesh, akin to the pinnacle of unsanitary conditions.

Was their sense of hygiene dead and gone, perhaps? Within that not-so-spacious room, worn-out tools and sloppily washed bandages could be seen, having been left hanging out to dry.

And in that not-so-great environment――,

Cecilus: [That’s your companion sleeping over yonder.]

Subaru: [――Hk, Louis!]

Cecilus pointed to a bed in the back as Subaru looked around.

It seemed to be a room that served as an infirmary, with two beds that were a smidgen better than the one Subaru had been lying on, and a small bulging blanket at the far end of the bed.

Subaru rushed toward it, hurried by his stray feelings. He was in a hurry to get to Louis, but could not decide what he should tell her.

However――,

Subaru: [――Huh?]

Having rushed over, and attempted to shake the little girl’s shoulder, Subaru froze in surprise.

Not because he was incapable of finding the right words to say. ――But because he could not find anyone to whom he could say them.

The girl who had been said to be brought ashore along with Subaru, and laid to sleep there was not Louis, who stirred up mixed feelings in Subaru’s heart.

She possessed a small head, two protruding horns, and flaxen hair that gathered at her shoulders. The girl had been stripped of the ornate kimono that wrapped her petite body, revealing only simple undergarments.

It was not Louis, nor was it his companion Medium, who had accompanied him to the Demon City of Chaosflame, who too had been made small by that technique of Olbart’s.

The one there, was――,

Subaru: […T-Tanza?]

There was no response from the sleeping little girl to his trembling call.

But even if she did not answer, after laying eyes on her, he knew. He knew that she was neither Louis nor Medium, but Tanza the deergirl, the attendant of Yorna Mishigure, the Mistress of the Demon City.

Subaru: [Why… Why is this girl here…?]

Cecilus: [Uh-oh? Did I do something again?]

Behind Subaru, who was surprised to see a sleeping face different from the one he had imagined, Cecilus voiced something silly.

Of course, it was not that he was to blame. He was not to blame, but――,

Subaru: [That’s not what I was told! You told me Louis was here.]

Cecilus: [Nahhh, I wonder about that. I believe I explained that there was a girl who came ashore on the Island with you, Basu. I’m as surprised as you are, that it’s not the girl you thought it was.]

Subaru: [Uh, kuh…]

Subaru was at a loss for words, unable to say anything in response to Cecilus’s reasonable answer.

Indeed, it was Subaru himself who assumed that he had meant Louis by “the girl with him”. Subaru could only apologize to Cecilus for that.

But this was odd. Why would Tanza be with Subaru?

For starters, if Tanza was the one with them right here, right now, then――,

Subaru: [What about Louis…]

Putting his hand on his head, Subaru was anxious about Louis’s wellbeing, someone nowhere to be found.

Having been told of who she was, Abel, Al, and Medium now saw Louis as a threat. Yorna could perhaps protect Louis, but only because she was unaware of her real identity.

Were she to find out that Louis was a Sin Archbishop, even she would change her mind, just like Medium had.

And he could not find any reason for Abel and the others to keep Louis’s identity a secret.

Subaru: [I’ve got to get her back to Rem.]

Louis’s existence was very much like a thin and feeble thread connecting the amnesiac Rem and Subaru.

Even though Louis had followed him without permission, Subaru had a reason as to why he could not afford not to bring her back. Above all, Subaru had yet to decide what to do with Louis, deep inside.

And despite that, Louis’s whereabouts were unknown to him, and Subaru was on this Island, for some damn reason.

Subaru: [I shouldn’t be wasting time like this…!]

Subaru’s thoughts would not settle at all, they were a muddled arrangement of many things.

Still, he knew he had to get off this island and return to Chaosflame immediately.

Subaru: [If possible, I’ll take this child with me…]

Cecilus: [Oh, you sure? Wasn’t this girl not the one you were expecting, Basu?]

Subaru: [No. She isn’t, but there’s no reason to leave her behind, right? Besides, Yorna-san has to be looking for her.]

Yorna was so affectionate as to not hesitate to give of herself even for the sake of a young child she had just met.

Without her, he would have been unable to pick up a win in the game of tag against Olbart, or to get the monstrous old man on-board with the original bet, in the first place.

Therefore, returning Tanza to Yorna was the natural way to return the favor.

Cecilus: [I think your enthusiasm and consideration are admirable, but as I said before, I think it’ll be difficult.]

However, Cecilus’s opinion rained on Subaru’s parade.

Even though the way he spoke and behaved had remained the same since the outset, Cecilus’s relayed circumstances were grave at their root. Yet, Subaru could not help but be frustrated by the harshness of his reality.

Subaru: [I heard you. You say it’s hard to leave, right? But, if we look for a boat, or if we bring down the drawbridge you were talking about earlier, then…]

Cecilus: [You “raise” the drawbridge. That’d be a challenge I guess, but the problem lies elsewhere. The biggest problem’s the curse rule, you know? The curse rule.]

Subaru: [Curceroule…?]

That word was an unfamiliar one, but it was impossible to ignore it, given it had been stated to be the biggest problem.

To Subaru, his eyebrows forming a frown, Cecilus let out a “Yes”, then tucked his hands into the sleeves of his kimono,

Cecilus: [The curse’s rules, or “curse rule”. A very troublesome and powerful rule laid down by the Island Chief who lords over this Gladiator Island. Break it, and you die! Disobey it, and you die! Resist it, and you die! ――A curse of death!]

Subaru: […Ah.]

Cecilus: [It covers the whole island. Do you understand?]

As he proclaimed so, Cecilus spun around in place, waving his sleeves in the air.

It was said in a light-hearted manner, without a hint of seriousness, but the existence of a death curse of this kind was far too aligned with Subaru’s image of the Empire for him to laugh it off as a lie.

Subaru: [S-so no one can leave here?]

Cecilus: [Yes, that’s right. If it weren’t for that, I’d be out of here by now. The Witchbeasts in the lake might be a formidable opponent, but I can run on the water if such is my wish. Do you know? How to run on water, I mean. You put your left foot out before your right foot sinks…]

Cecilus began relaying that ill-used and fanciful idea to a stunned Subaru.

It seemed to be the way ninjas ran on water, and it appeared that many of the superhumans in this world were actually able to do it. Nah, this was not the time to run away from reality like this.

Subaru: [T-that Island Chief, are they the person putting a curse on the island? If so, how about having that person lift the curse? Because, I’m here by mistake…]

Cecilus: [Hahaha, that’s a fascinating joke! Be it mistake, mishap or blunder, by the point you’ve come up on this Island and had the curse mark engraved on you, you’re already one of the gladiators. Though you could say that the fact that the disposition of a gladiator won’t sink in’s proof you’ve got a bigger role to play.]

Subaru: [――Hk.]

The words he was clinging on to were denied, and Subaru swallowed his breath.

The word “curse” brought up nothing but bad memories for Subaru. And as one would expect, it was as if it had been decided that the bad memories would layer atop one another, to become seemingly even worse.

Subaru: [This isn’t, a joke… Hk.]

Before he even knew it, he’d been flung off to a place unknown to him, with a girl pretty much unknown to him. Not only that, but he had been told by someone almost unknown to him that, if he tried to leave the unknown place on his own, he might die because of a curse placed on him by yet another unknown person.

What on earth should he believe in, and what should he even do, in this situation――,

Subaru: […That’s it. Yes, that’s right! Ceci, you’re one of the Nine Divine Generals, aren’t you?]

Cecilus: [Oh?]

Subaru: [Then maybe you could contact the outside world or something? Let’s see, like with this sleeping girl, she’s from Yorna-san’s place in Chaosflame…]

Eyes bloodshot at the thought, Subaru grabbed both of Cecilus’s shoulders.

As Cecilus shut one eye in response to being touched, Subaru forgot his own shamelessness.

After having treated Cecilus as a boy-who-cried-wolf earlier, Subaru now expected him to be the Blue Lightning as he claimed himself to be.

Since he was one of the Vollachian Empire’s Divine Generals, and the strongest in the Empire, and someone who was very approachable at that, he might listen to what Subaru had to say.

That was truly nothing more than a notion from a childish, self-centered way of thinking.

Hence, Subaru’s speculations would end up as a fruitless effort as per usual.

Or, perhaps, had his thinking not been dulled by the “infantilization”, Subaru might have come up with the obvious question on his own.

That was――,

Cecilus: [Say, Basu.]

Subaru: [Oh, yeah, what is it?]

Cecilus: [What are these Nine Divinn Generals you’re talking about?]

Subaru: [Eh…?]

With Subaru holding both of his shoulders, Cecilus cocked his head in curiosity.

Subaru was astonished, not understanding what he was being told. Yet Cecilus resumed with “I mean, you know”,

Cecilus: [In seriousness, I really don’t know why I’m here. I think that there’s some kinda development that’ll move the story along, and I’m wondering if that’s you, Basu.]

What a bombshell it was, jamming even more confusion into the mind of the young Subaru.

 

 

 

Translation notes:

[1] Kabuki (歌舞伎) is a classical form of Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for its heavily-stylised performances, the often-glamorous costumes worn by performers, and for the elaborate kumadori make-up worn by some of its performers. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki.

[2] If this makes zero sense to you, well, that’s because it makes zero sense. Subaru is saying literally “level of a template” in part-Engrish part-Japanese (レベルのテンプレート), intending to mean something like “standard template”.

[3] A bit of a stealth pun here. First, remember that the concept of a sea is foreign to inhabitants of the Re: Zero world. Second, Subaru says “u, mi”, which can be understood as a groan accompanied by the syllable “mi” trailing off, or the word “umi”, or “sea”, broken up. Cecilus interprets it the first way and confirms that what Subaru’s seeing is a “mizuumi”, or “lake” in English.

24 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 61 – “Welcome, to the Gladiator Island!””

  1. Oh, boy. I can just feel the loop coming.
    Many deaths are to come here for sure D:

    Poor subaru.

    1. If I’m remembering correctly, he didn’t. He and she were flung into the river which eventually terminated in that lake.

    1. The past was my thought too. Or maybe the island infantalizes everyone? I wonder if AL is the one escapee

      1. I think he is actually in the past, otherwise cecil would know what a nine divine general is. My guess is that, excuse me if this is an insane spoiler, he has a big role to play in the fall of the gladiator island (with al escaping). Maybe the old man even desinfintilices him in this time.

        1. That’s unlikely. Cecil said that there was a person in the past who escaped. That was most likely Al. I think that somehow Cecil just got his memories eaten by something.

          1. Wasn’t Al granted his freedom after protecting the island? Multiple people have recognized and praised Al for his work on the island (Olbart, Vincent, and Priscilla) so I really doubt he’s the escapee. My theory is that maybe the escapee is Olbart is the escapee and that’s where he learned his technique. He’s mischievous enough to end up in prison.

          2. I’ve been playing with the idea that maybe Al is actually Subaru, flung into the past. I’ll be superpissed off if that’s what happened.

  2. I do feel that it is pointless for Tappei to remove the full use of return by death and then only use it a excuse for Subaru to screw up the plot and force Subaru to live with destruction of a city that was just introduced. No one has died with out the loss of his power as well as the fact that Tappei faked the deaths of two charters. Which makes a reader feel the effects of the plot armor.

    1. There’s an art of him in Ex 4 and he looks 20 not 8 so Subaru is either in the past or Cecilus got turned into a kid.

  3. Before WCT and Heretic merge, usually heretic would release new MTL chapters in the forbidden library just 24hrs after its release. So how come its so slow now? It now takes you guys about almost a week or more.

    1. Join the Discord, they’re caught up to the official release now, so theres only a new chapter here once theres a new chapter to translate

  4. This chapter confuses me. We have Subaru using a lot of English, which is normal, but we have Cecilus saying words Subaru doesn’t know. Either they’re very similar to the words in Japanese but different, like Apple/Appa, or Subaru is just having trouble thinking of the word, which would be a problem if Subaru has already started forgetting words like “curse rule” since that’s very basic. The fact that he sounds them out makes me think it’s a big deal, as if they’re in English, which would have huge ramifications on the lore here. Can anyone explain this to me?

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