Arc 7, Chapter 80 – “Iris and the King of Thorns”

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――The complicated discussion in the large chamber was approaching a temporary conclusion.

Zikr: [To be frank, the situation had been vastly different from what we had expected at the start. However, it can be said that averting the fall of the Fortress City, as well as acquiring the cooperation of General First-Class Yorna are certainly good results.]

It was Zikr who promptly gathered the topics fluttering about and began summarizing them.

The man with the fluffy hair looked over the faces of everyone in the large chamber with those wide eyes of his. At Zikr’s words, Emilia said, “Yes, that’s right,” with a nod. 

Emilia: [Some disheartening things also happened, but the fact that everyone is gathered here is because we did our best. This time, let’s rely on that and fulfill everyone’s goals.]

Zikr: [As expected, thank you for your beautiful response, Miss Emily. It is as you said, let us strive to fulfill the goals of everyone here. To that end, there is one more thing I must tell you.]

Otto: [In the end, there is one more thing? …Assuming it is a continuation from our discussion just before, I do not really have a good feeling about it.]

Seeing Zikr’s single raised finger as he nodded at Emilia’s words, Otto grumbled as his cheeks stiffened.

As if supporting Otto’s unpleasant hunch, Zikr continued with an “Indeed”,

Zikr: [This would be a continuation of the previous discussion. This discussion also involves Miss Natsumi, who is being treated like the black-haired crown prince.]

Emilia: [Natsumi… huh? But, isn’t it Subaru who’s being treated like the child of the Emper…]

Frederica: [Emily, we do not know how Subaru-sama is introducing himself in the Empire.]

Emilia: [Ah, I see. That’s right. I’m sorry, I got it all mixed up in my head.]

Having interrupted the discussion, Emilia placed her hand over her mouth.

The alias “Natsumi Schwartz” that Subaru was introducing himself under in the Empire was his plan for concealing his true identity, while informing Emilia and the others searching for him of his whereabouts.

For that reason, Subaru was intentionally using the name of someone Emilia and the others knew―― he was using the name of Emilia’s friend, Natsumi Schwartz.

When Zikr met Subaru, it was when he had been using that alias.

Therefore, Zikr was using “Natsumi” to refer to Subaru. That was what had gotten mixed up inside Emilia.

Emilia: [Huh? But, if that’s the case, why is he being called Miss Natsumi…]

Beatrice: [Keep talking, in fact, shaggy-head. It will soon be time for Betty to sleep again, I suppose.]

Emilia: [Ah, I see. That’s right. I’m sorry, I have to think about Beatrice right now.]

The question that had emerged within Emilia was sunk down by the voice of Beatrice in her arms. If it had anything to do with Subaru, it was natural that Beatrice would want to hear it even more than Emilia.

For the sake of the girl who could not stay awake for very long, she had to set aside her present questions.

Prompted by Beatrice’s and Emilia’s gazes, Zikr started by saying, “As a matter of fact”.

Zikr: [Strictly speaking, it is not about Miss Natsumi herself. I am worried about her welfare as her whereabouts are unknown, but I believe that just as Abel-dono had thought, wherever she is found she will be courteously protected. However――]

Emilia: [Is there something making you uncertain about Subaru being in danger?]

Zikr: [As I prefaced, it is not about Miss Natsumi herself. A separate situation that has extended from that…the existence of His Excellency the Emperor’s child is now well-known publicly, causing changes in the Empire’s internal situation. In other words――]

???: [――Even in other lands, the flames of war have begun to rise?]

Cutting off Zikr’s words, speaking so in a quiet voice had been Abel.

Zikr bowed his head reverently with a “Yes”, and Abel ran his fingers along the cheek of his Oni mask without looking Zikr’s way, hiding the expression on his face.

However, just before his hand could hide his expression, Emilia’s eyes had surely grasped it.

――That Abel’s lips had very slightly taken the shape of a sadistic smile. 

Emilia: [Though, I don’t think this is an amusing discussion at all…]

???: [As the half-devil said, it is quite an unpleasant subject. That those who straddle the fence would take advantage of these convenient circumstances.] 

Priscilla agreed to what Emilia had muttered as she looked at Abel, who had hidden his expression.

While she declared that she would not wear a coat no matter how cold it was and shrugged her white shoulders,

Priscilla: [If you have a righteous cause, and have acquired the chance to fulfill your own desires, all that is left is to decide under what ”timing” you shall act. If too early, then even yourself shall be made to bleed, but if too late, even should you take part, you shall come home empty-handed. Even if it is a period for ascertainment, try to think about it.] 

Otto: [Uprisings in various places… Although, I had heard that Emperor Vincent Vollachia’s reign was stable and that people of the Empire were enjoying the peace.]

Abel: [In the end, peace and the like are nothing more than fleeting, ephemeral, dreams.]

At Priscilla’s and Otto’s words, Abel lowered the hand he had placed on his face. Out of the lips where any trace of the smile Emilia had seen had already disappeared, Abel continued speaking dispassionately.

Abel: [The true nature of the people of the Empire―― no, the true nature of mankind lies in conflict, and as long as there is life, the blaze known as belligerence shall not be extinguished. Even if you try to put a lid on it, the heat therein shall continue to fester inside.]

Otto: [And eventually, with no place left to go, it will be a huge explosion?]

Petra: [That’s really unfortunate…]

Otto and Petra each expressed their own impressions of Abel’s manner of speaking.

Emilia also thought she understood the intention of Abel’s abstruse expression. Looking at the outcome that had occurred, it was not possible to deny that idea.

However, she did not like the idea that fighting was natural for humans.

Emilia: [I don’t really get it but, that sounds reaaally lonely.]

Abel: [Lonely? On what grounds do you think as such, half-devil.]

Emilia: [After all, even though the Emperor of the Empire must have worked as hard as he could. For all of that to get destroyed, to not be rewarded for that hard work, wouldn’t that be lonely? Whether he wins or loses, I think it would be painful.]

The Emperor of Vollachia, whom she had never directly met, seemed extremely pitiful to Emilia.

It was also true that Abel, Zikr, and the others were raising a rebellion in this manner, and that once the people of the Empire had joined in, they started to raise their voices together.

In her studies, Emilia had also learned that the fact that the Vollachian Empire had not had a large battle these past few years was Emperor Vincent Vollachia’s achievement. Setting aside what Vincent was thinking, at least he had been continuing to create a society without war.

With that having been destroyed, if he lost, the country would be taken from him, and even if he won, he would have ended up having waged a war himself.

Emilia: [Times like this, when somebody gets mad, it’s like they’ve already decided for it to become painful.]

For that reason, Emilia could not help but find Vincent pitiable.

If it were possible, she thought it would be good if they could properly discuss just what in the world he was thinking, and what they could do to arrive at a good ending for everyone.

Abel: [――. I see, regardless of which came first, I understand that thing’s way of being.]

Emilia: [Eh?]

Abel: [Without a doubt, you people are of the same kind as Natsuki Subaru.]

Emilia silently held her breath at Abel’s brief comment, his arms crossed. 

Faced with the glint in Abel’s black eyes, which could be seen behind his Oni mask, Emilia had realized it. ――Sure enough, with what had just been said, the impression she had felt was not wrong.

Even though Subaru and Abel were comrades, and had been continuously working together until Emilia and the others had entered the Vollachian Empire――,

Emilia: [――You, is Subaru someone you reaaally hate?]

Abel: [――――]

Emilia: [I’m sorry if I’m wrong. Still, I don’t think I’m wrong.]

His black eyes narrowing, Abel went silent in response to Emilia’s question. Seeing his reaction right in front of her, Emilia did not retract her opinion.

Abel hated Subaru. ――Emilia felt that was so.

It was not because Abel was quiet, or because he said haughty things in a manner that somewhat resembled Priscilla. When he spoke to Otto or Zikr and the others, there was a definite difference.

Emilia felt that it was the hatred Abel harbored regarding Subaru.

Abel: [――Zikr, coordinate with those who have begun raising their voices in revolt. Give rise to even stronger winds, and fan the force of the flames. Until the black smoke reaches the Imperial Capital.]

Zikr: [Will that be all right? The original objective was the Nine Divine Generals…]

Abel: [In the end, that is a secondary objective. The important thing is to enact upon the war situation. The standpoints of Groovy and Moguro are cause for concern, however, the situation has changed.]

Abruptly, Abel, who had taken his eyes off of Emilia, began to give instructions to Zikr beside him.

Emilia thought she had been ignored, but that was Abel’s declaration that he did not intend on continuing their current conversation any longer.

Was the reason he did not respond because she had been off the mark, or was it something else?

In any case――,

Abel: [――We may be ready to advance on the Imperial Capital sooner than expected. Do not lose even the slightest bit of focus.]

――In order to reunite with Subaru and Rem, the choice to change paths and separate from Abel and his group, was not one that Emilia and the others had.

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Beatrice: [Emilia, you have to be careful, in fact. Betty and the others are the only people in this country who genuinely care only for Subaru, I suppose.]

Beatrice spoke again shortly before she fell back asleep after their discussion in the hall.

The conversation veered off to the left and right, but if one focused solely on Subaru, it would be hard to say that it was the best situation for him. Even if the threat to his life could be reduced, even if only a little.

Emilia: [Subaru is not someone who would be okay with that, with everyone arguing around him.]

Beatrice: [In fact.]

Otto and Abel surmised that his life was guaranteed no matter on which side of the Empire he was captured on. It was what the smart kids thought, and they may have been right.

But when had Subaru ever behaved exactly the way Emilia and the others thought he would?

If people around him were in danger, Subaru would move immediately, neglecting himself.

She could not believe that she was the only one who would accept being safe in such a situation.

That was why――

Emilia: [――I want you to remember that we all still care about Subaru and Rem, so we’re going to work with the intention of putting them first.]

Priscilla: [And why are you bothering to proclaim this to me?]

Emilia: [Because, if I did it on my own without telling anyone, everyone would get in trouble, right?]

It is important to communicate one’s goals and principles properly.

Not telling Frederica and Petra whether or not they would be back by dinner would be a waste of the meal that they had prepared for them.

Emilia: [Subaru also used to say that spinnuching[1] was important. But I am not sure what spinach is…]

Priscilla: [On what haphazard foundation did you have the nerve to approach me with such vague knowledge? Was that courage you had cultivated from your experience of being persecuted as a half-devil?]

Emilia: [No, I don’t think so. When I was in my home forest, and everyone hated me, I didn’t feel like I was getting used to it or getting stronger.]

When she was living in the Great Forest of Elior, she was hurt no matter what anyone said to her. Expecting the slightest thing, being betrayed, and not learning anything, despite repeating it over and over again.

So, given that Emilia now looked a little bit stronger.

Emilia: [That’s thanks to Subaru and everyone else… I left the forest, participated in the Royal Selection, went through a lot of hard times, and became the person I am today. Priscilla, isn’t it the same for you?]

Priscilla: [Do not compare yourself with me. I was born perfect.]

Emilia: [Yes… but, I won’t lose to you either.]

Priscilla: [You can attest for yourself whether you are worthy of the words that have passed your lips. Whether or not it catches the corner of my eye depends on that.]

Priscilla responded to Emilia’s tightly clenched fist with a shrug of her shoulders.

After the discussion in the hall was over and Beatrice was returned to the inn, now having fallen asleep, Emilia was looking for Priscilla to tell her about the previously mentioned plans.

Perhaps she was busy, she thought, but fortunately, she was listening to her.

Emilia: [When I think back, Priscilla always gets things right, doesn’t she?]

Priscilla: [Ho, it appears that some unpleasantness is about to ensue for me.]

Emilia: [Should I stop?]

Priscilla: [Fine, you are forgiven. You may continue.]

Emilia responded with a nod to Priscilla, closing one eye and urging her to proceed.

Leaving the City Hall, they walked alongside one another down the street. Emilia, not seeing her companions Schult and Al, looked around for the two of them.

Emilia: [It’s been that way since the beginning of the Royal Selection; Priscilla says nasty things and interrupts her opponents in mid-sentence, and yet she does a good job of listening to what they have to say while also lending an ear.]

Priscilla: [Even I have not the ability to surmise everything in the world. Shall I not be curious to see what kind of drivel will come out of the mouth of someone other than mineself?]

Emilia: [Well? But, I remember Anastasia-san said to me, “I’m not going to talk to you.”]

Priscilla: [That damned She-fox.]

Emilia: [Eeh. Oh, you’re not talking about holding a grudge, are you?]

With Priscilla walking leisurely by her side, Emilia thinks back to her exchange with Anastasia.

Initially, at the Royal Selection, Anastasia tried to snub Emilia from the discussions. That in itself was not an unusual treatment, and she did not hold it against Anastasia.

However, the point she wanted to make was――

Emilia: [――I’m friends with Anastasia-san.]

Priscilla: [――――]

Emilia: [To put it correctly, I promised that we would be friends. I said we would after the Royal Selection… I felt like we could do that, no matter where we started off. That’s why.]

Priscilla: [Surely you do not wish to form a friendship with me as well?]

Emilia: [Eeh. Is that no good?]

Because of her successful experience with Anastasia, Emilia mustered up the courage to try.

Most people, if it were Anastasia and Priscilla, would have had the impression and assessment that Priscilla was more difficult to deal with. However, Emilia was different.

For Emilia, who had few relationships, Anastasia and Priscilla were valued nearly equally.

Therefore, it could be concluded that this was what led to this kind of offer.

Then, in response to Emilia’s offer, Priscilla pulled her fan out of her cleavage and,

Priscilla: [Behold, more drivel that even I could not have predicted suddenly sprang forth.]

Opening her fan with a sound, she cut Emilia’s words off abruptly.

At Priscilla’s response, Emilia’s eyes widened, and she let out a tiny giggle. Seeing her smile, Priscilla’s eyes narrowed.

Priscilla: [And what follows drivel must be absolute japes? Either way, you are provoking my displeasure.]

Emilia: [Oh, no, no, sorry. However, I felt that you might say no, Priscilla, so I just knew that. I’ll ask again tomorrow.]

Priscilla: [Tomorrow or not, my answer shall remain the same.]

Emilia: [But, you never know what tomorrow will bring.]

For the time being, Emilia believed that it was not wrong to take up the challenge boldly.

Of course, there was the worry that she would think it was harassment and hate her even more.

But if Emilia thought so, then Priscilla was――,

Priscilla: [Do as you please.]

Emilia: [Yeah, I’ll do that.]

Even if she dismissed it as futile, she will not use force to keep her from doing so.

Emilia also felt like she was taking advantage of the situation, though, because she was in a difficult position to do so.

In any case,

Priscilla: [Well? Was that the conclusion of your ambush on me?]

Emilia: [No, that was only the first one… not the second one, because of what happened with Subaru. There’s something else I still want to talk about.]

Priscilla: [Now, what is the purpose of discussing the first matter with me? As long as your proposed plan does not interfere with my course of action, I will have nothing to do with it.]

Emilia: [But, Priscilla is good friends with Abel and Zikr, right? You seem to be discussing a lot of things, and I was wondering if you could tell everyone.]

Priscilla: [I withdraw my previous statement. Your drivel dances beyond my imagination. It is not often that I change my words.]

Emilia: [――? Is that something I should be happy about? Is that bad?]

Her crimson eyes looked to the side toward Emilia, who bent her lips when she didn’t get an answer.

It was probably not very welcome, but if one did not know what exactly was wrong, there was no way to fix it, even if one thought it should be fixed.

Priscilla should be good friends with Abel and Zikr, so would it be a mistake to want to convey to everyone what Emilia and her group’s policy was aside from that?

However, Emilia and her group would be much better off going to talk to them in person.

Anyhow――,

Emilia: [I don’t know if I can get along very well with Abel…]

Priscilla: [Ku.]

Emilia: [Priscilla?]

Holding her open fan to her mouth, Priscilla let out a small chuckle. When Emilia looked over to her face in profile, Priscilla slightly relaxed the corners of her eyes and said,

Priscilla: [Being hated by you, who even tried to talk to me, would truly be the epitome of his tactlessness.]

Emilia: [Gh, I don’t hate him. I just thought he might not quite be my cup of tea to deal with.]

Priscilla: [Your being aware that someone is hard to deal with, as well as your aversion are accumulations of the main factors behind those things, called your likes and dislikes. However, it is probably natural for you people to evaluate Abel in such a manner. ――Mineself wonders if your judgement is correct.]

Emilia: […Priscilla, do you feel the same way?]

To Emilia’s question, Priscilla remained silent and did not respond.

However, to Emilia, it felt as if that silence was saying that she shared Emilia’s opinion that Abel hated Subaru.

Emilia: [Priscilla, do you know why? Up until a little while ago, you were talking to Abel and the others, weren’t you?]

Priscilla: [Unfortunately, the discussion that had kept mineself back had no relation to your foolish commoner. Those like him do not even become an ounce of the subject of conversation… No, having heard the tale of the Great Disaster which destroyed the Demon City, mineself will not say it was completely unrelated to that foolish commoner.]

Emilia: [Demon City… Ah, then, you were talking to Yorna? To Priscilla’s mother.]

In the middle of the discussion in the large chamber, the topic of the parent-child relationship between Priscilla and Yorna came up. In the end, it had been washed away by the matter of how Louis should be handled after that, but that probably was not the case for the people involved.

Naturally, the reunited mother and child should have discussed it.

Emilia: [Still, I was also surprised. That Priscilla also has half demi-human blood…]

Priscilla: [Nonsense. Do not equate mineself with you. I think it surely must not be the case, but did you draw close to me because you had felt an affinity over that?]

Emilia: [That wasn’t it at all, but is it not true? Then, is Yorna-san Priscilla’s foster parent? If that were so, that would also be surprising. After all, I also…]

Priscilla: [Nonsense, do not make me repeat myself, you fool. That too is your impulsiveness.]

Emilia: [Ehh? Then, what do you mean?]

If Yorna and her were biologically parent and child, her foxkin blood should have flown inside Priscilla, but that had been denied.

If you were to then think that meant a foster parent, that had also been flatly denied.

Emilia, being a half-elf raised by her mother and aunt by blood Fortuna, had thought Priscilla was the same in some ways.

Emilia: [Not blood related, and not a foster parent… In that case, how is she your mother?]

Priscilla: [Is there any reason why mineself must explain everything to you?]

Emilia: [No, I don’t think so. But if you don’t tell me, I’ll be reaaally curious.]

Knowing it was selfish, Emilia had tried asking Priscilla for the truth. Of course, the possibility that just as she had rejected a friendly relationship, she would refuse to give her an answer, had been high.

However, Priscilla was silent for a moment, and then,

Priscilla: [――Iris and the King of Thorns.]

Emilia: [Eh?]

Priscilla: [It is an old story. Do you know it?]

Emilia: [Well, I do know it. Umm, Lady Petra likes that kind of thing.]

At the words that had abruptly left Priscilla’s lips, Emilia’s eyes widened as she nodded.

She had been taught that “Iris and the King of Thorns” was an old story that had been passed down from long, long ago, and was a historical account that originated from the Vollachian Empire.

Emilia, too, had also heard no more than a brief outline, but from the story she heard from Petra, it seemed like it was a love story between an emperor of Vollachia from long ago called the “King of Thorns,” and a girl named “Iris.”

Unfortunately, Emilia had said that she still did not understand what was so interesting about it, but――,

Emilia: [What about that story? Is it a story that Priscilla likes?]

Priscilla: [It seems you are a half-devil who cannot put two and two together. Naturally, it is bound to be related to the course of the conversation thus far.]

Emilia: [Thus far… Priscilla and Yorna’s parent-child relationship and this old story?]

Priscilla: [――Iris and the King of Thorns had joined hands to bring about an end to the civil war that had had swallowed up many races in the Empire. However, right before the pair that were linked heart-to-heart could be wedded, they were betrayed, and the story ends.]

Emilia: […A sad story, isn’t it.]

At the gist of the story Priscilla had told, Emilia muttered this as the corners of her eyebrows dropped.

It was very disheartening when people who had worked their hardest were not rewarded. Now, just as she despaired at the situation the Emperor of Vollachia was placed in, she held the same feelings for the end of the couple that had long ago been made into a story.

At Emilia’s reaction, Priscilla exhaled with a “Ha”,

Priscilla: [However, the story and the historical facts differ. Historically, having lost Iris to betrayal, the “King of Thorns” descended into madness, and decided to eradicate the wolfmen and molemen that had raised their blades. For the few that had escaped, even now, as soon as they are found in the Empire, they are burned at the stake.]

Emilia: [It’s understandable to be angry about that, but… still, the people in this day and age―]

Priscilla: [Have no relation with that? You are no stranger to that yourself, having been persecuted as a half-devil.]

Emilia: [――――]

The sharpness of Priscilla’s phrasing had stung, but Emilia’s skin was hard as iron against that kind of insult. However, even if she did not bleed, the pain of being struck remained the same.

Deciding she would properly complain about that later, Emilia was more curious about where things went from there in the rest of Priscilla’s story.

What had the King of Thorns done after losing Iris and taking revenge on the traitor?

Emilia: [With that, is the story of the King of Thorns over?]

Priscilla: [――. With having merely given in to anger, it could not possibly be said that he had only descended into madness. Thus, after that, the King of Thorns had directed his madness towards Iris, who he had lost.]

Emilia: [Towards Iris?]

Raising her eyebrows at the story’s unexpected turn of events, Emilia repeated back the words she had heard. Priscilla nodded at those words and turned her crimson eyes to the sky.

Frustrated, Emilia’s lips trembled as she sought Priscilla’s next words.

Emilia: [The King of Thorns, what did he do to Iris?]

Priscilla: [He laid a curse upon her.]

Emilia: [A curse? That’s…]

Was that something you would put on someone precious to you, much less someone whose loss caused you suffering?

Indifferent to those doubts of Emilia’s, Priscilla spoke of the curse’s details.

That was――,

Priscilla: [――The secret art of dragging a lost soul back, without handing it over to Od Lagna.]

Emilia: [A dead person’s soul?]

Priscilla: [It is said that there is a secret art called the Sacrament of the Immortal King which can even revive the dead, but its existence is considered questionable. However, this Commandment of Thorns is a curse born of insatiable yearning.]

The dead coming back to life was astounding, but more important than that now was that which was called a curse.

The subject of the souls of the dead and their fate was also discussed at the Pleiades Watchtower through the Books of the Dead, in which the memories of the deceased were imprinted within them.

The existence of the Books of the Dead convinced them of the existence of the soul within humans.

Emilia: [But, what does it mean to drag down a soul? Does it mean they come back to life?]

Priscilla: [It does not work that way. Iris’ body was torn apart after her death, and even if her soul returned, it would not bring her back to life. In the first place, the Commandment of Thorns has no such power.]

Emilia: [Then what would happen? If there was no body――]

If there were no place for the returning soul to enter, where would the soul go?

In response to Emilia’s question, Priscilla quietly lowered her gaze. Instead of looking at the sky, her crimson eyes looked into Emilia’s amethyst ones, and――,

Priscilla: [The usual. If the soul does not return to Od Lagna, it will return to the world, and without receiving the proper treatment, it will enter its next vessel. ――You could call it resurrection, or even reincarnation.]

Emilia: [――――]

Priscilla: [So long as the curse is not undone, so long as the Commandment of Thorns that entangles them is not undone, the departed soul shall continue to rise again. Again and again it will repeat itself, pilling up the lives and deaths over and over again. ――One of these lives, the life before Yorna Mishigure, was that of mine dear mother.]

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Abel: [――“Sandra Benedict”, that caught me by surprise.]

Yorna: [My Lord, you are the one who is far too ill-natured, for you hid the matter of Prisca.]

With firm, cold voices colliding, a quiet heat intermingled in a stone room. 

Exchanging their gazes, choosing their words in order to search for what lay in each other’s hearts, were Abel, displaying his true face with the Oni mask that covered his face removed, and Yorna, puffing the purple smoke from her kiseru.

Until just now, there had also been a third person present in this place, Priscilla. 

However, as soon as she deemed that the essential discussions had concluded, she immediately excused herself from this place. Abel accepted this attitude, but it did not cause Yorna’s turmoil to vanish. 

That was a matter of course. ――For even the mistress of the Demon City could not easily come to grips with the change within her own child. 

Yorna: [How about we both honestly admit that our secrecy has had harmful results?]

Abel: [I had my reasons for keeping it a secret. Even you should be able to guess.]

Yorna: [――. That’s… indeed.]

Casting her eyes down at Abel’s answer, Yorna ruminated while her long eyelashes quivered. 

Her unexpected encounter with Priscilla brought about an enormous ripple through Yorna’s heart. That was a reality that she had never expected, nor harbored even a fragment of hope for, as it had been an absolute impossibility.

In negation of that, a healthy Priscilla appeared before her in such a way, and while it filled Yorna with joy, there was no doubt it had been a tremendous gamble for Abel. 

The situation of Priscilla=Prisca still being alive was one that should not have been possible. 

Behind the scenes of that impossible event, there was no doubt that Abel was involved. 

Yorna: [My Lord, just what are you――?]

Abel: [――That which I promised you, was a means to dispel that Commandment of Thorns. Perchance, if you desire the answer to that question, I have no reason to grant you any other reward.]

Yorna: [――――]

Straight to her face, Abel rejected Yorna’s query. 

Abel refused to speak of that answer, forcing Yorna to weigh it against her greatest desire.

For so, so long already, piling up lives and deaths time after time, this soul continued to view the world. 

Even though she could barely remember the face of that person anymore, that was why――.

Abel: [Yorna Mishigure―― No, thou who the King of Thorns fell in love with at first sight, Iris.]

Indeed, using the name that long, long ago, Yorna’s beloved person had used many times to call out to her, the man at the front of however many generations had piled up with the blood of her beloved person, called out to Yorna. 

Abel: [Muster up more of your courage. For your dearest wish, and above all―― to keep Prisca Benedict, the daughter who you should have lost, alive in the future.]

In a voice so cold that it was incomparable to that of her beloved person, he imposed so.

 

[1] – Pun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho-Ren-So The word for spinach (horensou) and ho-ren-so sound the same.

58 thoughts on “Arc 7, Chapter 80 – “Iris and the King of Thorns””

  1. So is Abel not wearing a mask anymore?

    “At Priscilla’s and Otto’s words, Abel lowered the hand he had placed on his face. Out of the lips where any trace of the smile Emilia had seen had already disappeared, Abel continued speaking dispassionately.”

  2. That was a wild chapter, So it was not a wedding proposal that Abel sent Yorna. This also means that Yorna is the closest thing to a kindred spirit that Subaru has found so far. I also wonder what kind of implications this has with what ever happened to Shaula. Well so much for Abel being the one that Emilia was going to hate. I wonder who she is going to hate will be.

    1. I think “hating Subaru” is definitely guaranteed to make Emilia at least dislike you. I think Abel very well could be the one she hates.

      1. Yes, it was confirmed back in arc 4, during the future trial, where we can hear Emilia’s clear disgust and hate for someone! We still don’t know who is that person though.

        1. We also don’t know if she was actually being sincere about hating that person. Emilia is the kind of girl who tried to drive people away because she didn’t want to hurt them. I think in that scene she is telling Subaru she hates him in order to drive him away. Hence the “perhaps it is true that we never should have met” comment and why she is crying when saying it. Given how something extremely bad is implied to have happened in that future scene, I am going to venture a guess that the disaster mentioned in the scene related to Emilia and she is afraid of Subaru being involved.

      2. The third trial of the sanctuary showed a scene where Emilia had professed hatred for someone. Of course, it was also established that this scene is only a possible future and will not necessarily happen.

        1. Do none of you remember the first trial of Arc 4?…. “face your past”… Emilia HATES “Pandora”; the.. witch? Who had the power to warp reality to match her words; was trying to get Emilia to open that door in the forest she grew up in..

          Pandora is at the least a key figure behind the attack on the forest Emilia experienced as a child. Which resulted in Fortuna/Geuse becoming Sin archbishops. She is also IIRC the one behind killing/making most of the puppet fighters we saw in Arc 5.

    2. My money is on Roswaal simply because in the anime version of Emilia’s third trial, which is the episode Tappei was heavily involved in, the capital is smoking and on fire. If the royal selection ends and Volcanica appears he may try to kill him since killing Volcanica is one of his goals alongside reviving Echidna. If Roswaal’s decision causes collateral Emilia could be pissed off at him.

      It’s also possible Sirius is present during the event, thus amplifying Emilia’s rage. She has a red glint in her eyes in the anime version of this event, which could be meant to indicate that. Or it could just indicate how pissed she is.

  3. Okay, so that just raises more questions. If Yorna is the reincarnation of Priscilla’s mother, than that should make her YOUNGER than Priscilla, should it not? But just as she shouldn’t be that much older than Priscilla, she REALLY doesn’t seem like she’s younger than 20.

    I feel like Tappei’s just adding so much complexity here that he’s just lost sight of the actual plot. All of Arc 7 really reminds me of nothing so much as Books 4 and 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire. Details and side plots and new characters jammed on top of each other and completely derailing the main story to the point that it’ll never conclude before the author dies or burns himself out.

    1. Yorna’s not the reincarnation of Priscilla’s mother. Iris’ soul keeps reincarnating again and again over the years and winding up in the souls of other people, with the latest being Priscilla’s mom followed by Yorna.

      The way I interpret it is that Yorna may have some of the memories of Priscilla’s mom, but is still an individual distinct from her.

    2. Maybe Yorna was already a person before she bodyjacked her? Could be what gave rise to her Soul Marriage technique?

    3. I think it because of Od. Similar to Subaru’s case her body change because of her Od. When she get reincarnate, Her body grow faster to fit with her Od.

    4. I do think that he is tired of writing young adult fiction and it the constants of the medium. I would think that it is the publishers that push for the stories of LN to constantly and with out fail fallow the main protagonist. Even when splits happen in perspective. We only got 1 chapter from the perspective from the Emilia camp after Subaru got teleported. I suppose a good question is wither or not Tappei could even move outside of the LN and move to the more American publishing of about 1 big book per year instead of what he is doing now alowing more time for changes as well more perspectives.

    5. If Priscilla’s mom died in childbirth, they could be about the same age. Also, fox-humans might mature faster than humans. I haven’t checked, but real foxes probably reach adulthood in a year.

  4. Theory time: does this mean that Return By Death functions similarly to the Commandment of thorns? The COT prevents the soul from passing on to Od Lagna and forces it to reincarnate into a new vessel, and RBD forces Subaru back into his own vessel, albeit in the past. And both seem to be linked to another seperate individual’s delusions.

    1. I thought the same, but Subaru’s RBD does send his soul to Od Laguna as his deaths are written in the Books of the Dead.

      1. Not nessecarily, the witches of sin have books of the dead as we saw in arc 6 but all of their souls are with omega and they still have all their memories and everything meaning they didn’t go and get wiped by od Lagna either od lagna just happens to somehow copied their memories into the books of the dead

  5. It’s starting to feel like Tappei is now laying the groundwork for how all the mysteries about Subaru are connecting. First when Louis stole his memories in the Pleides Watchtower he mimicked the exact words of his “first” transport into Lugunica implying there was any potential amount of time before that first appearance that could have been deleted from his memory. and now after learning the soul being brought back can be reincarnated could explain any number of things ranging from him being Flugel to why his affinity with spirit tuning was so high or how the curse rule on gladiator island didn’t affect him as much as everyone else.

    1. I assumed the curse rule didn’t affect him because of his gate. That is one thing that probably distinguished him from everyone else there and it would explain why it still affected him, but less severely.

      1. I thought similarly, but not exactly because of his gate. Rather, due to his broken gate, he has built up more mana than the others on the island, who presumably regularly use mana. Curses kill people by sucking their mana, so Subaru lasts longer than the others.

        1. During arc two Subaru was cursed by the swarm of mabeasts, leaving remnants of the curses in his body. If you remember, Beatrice was unable to remove them completely and described them as a knot. This was why Lusts blood didn’t hinder him, and is likely why the curse rule didn’t kill him, as the knot gave his OD some protection from curses.

          1. Pretty sure that Lust didn’t hinder him because of his connection to the Archbishops as shown up to that point and since.

            My impression is that each of the authorities seem to have some kind of sentience and as we have seen he has been slowly winning them over one by one.

            His ?starting authority?, he has since won over ->sloth(unseen hand) ->lust(regrowing/repairing parts of his body) ->greed(nakama power) ->gluttony(hasn’t exhibited new power yet)

            1. In arc 5 the knot is directly referenced: “All he knew was the black haze that swallowed the world he could perceive.

              It was thus that he realized that the dark haze was disintegrating his body, allowing it no form of resistance, ushering in a steady end.

              But an untieable knot was, at this very moment, resisting that erosion.”
              This quote directly attributes the curses from act 2 as a protection against the Dragon’s blood.
              Source:
              Arc 5 Chapter 37

              1. That’s not necessarily the curses from arc 2 since Rem said the curses were all removed at the end of the arc. When I hear the phrase untieable knot, I don’t think of the dogs. I think of his connection with Satella.

            2. For Sloth, kinda. I think his control over it is growing. Main example being the end of Arc 5, but I’m guessing that was in part due to some weird memory thing with what little bit of Juice that was left in the authority recognising Emilia and deciding to play nice. Then there’s Arc 6 Ch 11 where he uses it to brush away Beko’s tears as he dies with no mention of negative effects. Then after that chapter 15 happens, and good on him, summoning 4 whole arms to restrain Ram as he strangles her, then tries and fails to use it to snap Anastasia’s neck. Though that’s clearly his limit. I don’t think he even bothers trying to use the authority again after going through that hell, understandably so. But he was for certain getting more used to it.
              Shame, had that cave bit not presumably traumatised him, he probably could have realised he was gaining more control over it and practiced more until regular use had little negative effects for him.
              And at that point I’d call it decently powerful. An intangible, invisible limb with enough strength to send someone flying with a punch.

              As for RBD, it’s less he has any control of it, more that he now just somewhat accepts the WoE’s yandare love/protection of him through controlling RBD. We saw how RBD functioned with Subaru unconsciously/manually controlling it since his infantilization. It wasn’t great.

              Not really sure how you thought that he had a part of Lust’s authority, that was more a onetime thing. Not sure why it happened, but hey, corrupted dragon blood + weird resistance to sin arch bishops does wonders for a guy.

              Only authority you could truly say Subaru made his own and has full control over is greed. Which I fucking love, seeing how he turned the most selfish authority into a pretty unique and selfless one. That entire sequence of Arc 6 was just something else entirely. Shame he acts like doesn’t exist come Arc 7, even after the excuse of “I am in a strange dangerous place and I have no allies” becomes moot.

              Besides, it seems like each authority runs off of a specific “power level” depending on the user so to say. For example, Witch of Sloth could tangle with Volcannia using her unseen hand, Juice could summon 100 or so unseen hands, meanwhile Subaru can barely manifest one. So even if Subaru somehow got Regulus’ version of the authority, it’s probably be so weak/unusable as to be even more useless than the unseen hand.

              I also suspect that Subaru won’t get a new authority any time soon. Mainly because it’s essentially excepted to happen and been the resolution of 2 arcs before hand. Admittedly in Arc 4 it was a single punch to knock Garfiel off his feet, and in Arc 6 it was more of a tool that gave Subaru a fighting chance in an otherwise impossible situation. That and Tappei has the excuse of “Well, only 1 /3of Gluttony is dead” to not have him pull the authority out of his ass.

        2. speaking of his gate, should it not be healed as he is regressed to way before it broke? i’m guessing he just hasn’t tried to use magic at all

          1. Not necessarily, he still had a scar over his stomach when turned into a child. Also, the ability shrinks his body by shrinking his od, not the kind of regression you’re thinking of.

  6. Emilia: [Subaru also used to say that spi-nuhch was important. But I am not sure what spinach is…]

    I didn’t see anyone talking about it, so let me explain that pun. In Japanese, spinach is “horenso”. But horenso is also a famous acronym in Japanese for HOkoku (report), RENraku (contact), SOdan (discuss). So Subaru was telling her it’s important to meet and talk things out.

    1. Coloque: Ncode Re:zero no Google, o primeiro site que aparecer você clica nele, assim você sera levado para o site onde Tappei posta os capítulos.

      1. I mean the unreleased chapters witch cult translations/heretics crew is working on, not the full blown japanese chapters

        1. Not wct specific translations, but if you follow the re_zero subreddit and check the pinned posts whenever Tappei releases a chapter, icy comments their translations within hours of each release.

          1. those are just unedited Google Translates, I wouldn’t recommend it i’ve seen so many sentences that are just wrong and dont make sense

  7. why is the human translation 6 chapters away from the heretics division? is the heretics division not being realy worked on? if workload was divided parts of chapter should advance more or less all at once, not one at a time over a couple of days each.

  8. This chapter was released 12 daya ago. I know you must have other things to do but the chapter 81 is taking too long to me.

    1. Yeah I also feel a little sad when I see multiple chapters being held hostage in the “Merging with J-E check” section, I originally read the chapters on heretics translations where the madlads translated entire chapters in one day after the release. But I’m also thankful that the chapters are being translated into English in the first place so I’ll be a good boy and wait

      1. Thing is, those releases were basically DeepL with a few slight changes, and were riddled with mistakes and mis-translations. We could emulate those releases too, but it would lead to a much worse quality of release. J-E checking is there to try correct mis-translations – but we’re currently low on personnel there.

        We are recruiting, but we simply don’t get enough applicants from the Fandom due to needing to know Japanese N3 (self-assessed is okay) or above. We’re endeavouring to get the chapters out to you all as soon as possible without just utterly compromising our own IRL obligations and stress levels, they’re not being held hostage.

        1. Ok that does explain what i said in comment 14 about lack of workforce or division of workload in the translation schedule. maybe you could lower the requirements? otherwise i guess we’ll just have to wait

          1. I appreciate not just the hard work but the status update. As a reader who followed Translation Chicken who disappeared overnight, then went to another fan based translation who disappeared before coming over here, it always makes me jittery that a site will just disappear. Of course the last one or two also collapsed simply due to the lack of labour to translate.

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