Arc 8, Chapter 10 – “No One Can Be Alone”

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――Fainting and sleeping, while both were the same disruption of consciousness, how were they different?

Surely, Subaru, who was probably one of the world’s leading experts on fainting and loss of consciousness, did not understand how the two were different.

What he could say for sure, was that if both fainting and sleeping had the effect of resting the body, then it seemed to him that fainting had only about half that effect.

It may have been just a matter of feeling, but that was how he felt.

That was definitely because in fainting, the feelings of the people around the one who had fainted were too different, as opposed to sleeping.

If one had no connection with anyone else, and no one was worried about them, maybe there would be no difference between fainting and sleeping.

However――,

Subaru: [――Ah.]

His eyelids trembled, and a weak sigh leaked from his throat.

Bringing himself back to reality with such a frail and helpless gesture, Natsuki Subaru slowly awoke from the darkness.

Subaru: [――――]

Subaru raised his face from the shore of reality he had pulled himself to, and for a moment, he forgot to catch his breath.

What came into his view was an unfamiliar ceiling―― how many times had he woken up in an unknown place like this and used his head to try to find out where he was?

However, what would normally be a solitary task was not so this time.

???: […Oh, you finally woke up, I suppose. Subaru is such a hopeless oversleeper, in fact.]

Subaru: [Beatrice…]

A familiar, lovely face filled Subaru’s view of the unfamiliar ceiling.

Beatrice, with her drooping eyebrows and pale-colored eyes, was looking at Subaru; she was the girl who had probably shared the most waking moments with him.

And when Beatrice entered Subaru’s field of vision, he realized that his hand, which seemed to be lying in bed, was being held, and his lips loosened.

Subaru: [By some chance, did you hold my hand this whole time?]

Beatrice: [Of course, I suppose. Betty is Subaru’s partner, in fact. Besides, Subaru tends to go everywhere too much on his own, I suppose. If you don’t like being chained up, then holding hands is the most effective way to keep you in check, in fact.]

Subaru: [As expected, you really understand my personality well…]

As he could not come up with a retort, Subaru could only chuckle at Beatrice’s pouting face.

He always found a way to do what needed to be done even if chained up, but it was always heartbreaking to release a hand that had been held.

Subaru was sensitive to pain, so that was the most effective way to keep him from leaving.

Subaru: [Uh, so where are we? Right now, what are we doing…]

Beatrice: [Calm down, Subaru, I suppose. It’s understandable that you want to be concerned about a lot of things but… more importantly, first look around you, in fact.]

Subaru: [Around me?]

Feigning seriousness at Subaru, who wanted to know what was going on, Beatrice put her finger to her lips.

Subaru, who had been feeling restless and impatient, was stopped in his tracks and made to blink as he followed Beatrice’s advice to look around at things other than her and the ceiling.

And then, he gasped.

――Resting on his bed all around him, he saw many people snoring.

Subaru: [――――]

The cabin was not spacious at all. With only the one bed that Subaru was sleeping on, half of the cabin’s space was occupied. Within that cabin, there were more than ten people packed tightly into it.

In addition, it was an unthinkable assembly.

Subaru: [Tanza and, Garfiel? And, Hiain and the guys and Louis and, even Utakata…]

Beatrice: [That’s not all, I suppose. Betty may have won one hand, but the other…]

Being told this, with Subaru not only having his right hand clasped by Beatrice, he turned towards his left hand and realized it was also being grasped. There, tightly clutching his hand, sleeping with their upper body stretched out on the bed――,

Subaru: [――Petra.]

With a large ribbon fastened on her head, even the little girl’s sleeping face was adorable.

Generally, how many hardships and rough patches had she overcome in order to hold his hand? He was not familiar with Petra’s traveling clothes, which were covered in dirt, filled with the concerns that the little girl had about being stylish.

To be in that condition, it was proof that she had finally managed to arrive here.

Beatrice: [But the hardest thing that Petra had to do, it would have been seizing the chance to hold Subaru’s hand, in fact. It was a struggle for everyone, I suppose.]

Subaru: [Hey, hey, you’re saying everyone wanted to hold my hand while I was sleeping? No matter how you say it, something that stupid is…]

Beatrice: [It is not stupid, in fact.]

He almost laughed at this joke, but Beatrice’s quiet voice stopped him.

Subaru’s eyes opened wide as Beatrice raised her tightly clenched hand and pointed it out to him,

Beatrice: [We were all really worried about Subaru, I suppose. If holding Subaru’s hand would help you, then even if it’s just that, we’re ready to do anything, in fact.]

Subaru: [――――]

Beatrice: [Subaru should be more aware of how important his presence is, even if just a little, I suppose. For a long time, that’s what Betty has been telling you over and over again, in fact.]

Saying so quietly, the tone of her voice sounded somewhat dismayed, but Beatrice’s words were filled with far too much compassion.

To say something like that with those eyes and voice, it was impossible for him to disregard it.

Even Subaru did not presume to think he did not have an impact on everyone around him, nor that he should not be held dear, however――,

Subaru: […Just because I shrank, everyone’s become too overprotective.]

???: [I do not know about that. For me, rather than the overprotectiveness of those around him, should you not first reflect on his shrinkage, Natsuki-san?]

Subaru: [――!]

Suddenly, Subaru’s shoulders jumped due to the voice he heard.

The voice unexpectedly barged in, coming from the entrance of the narrow cabin. Examining the expression of the one who slid the door open, goddamnit, were his soft features ever so great to see.

Subaru: [Otto!?]

Otto: [Yes, it is me, but… please be quiet. Please consider Petra-chan’s and Garfiel’s feelings.]

Subaru: [Their feelings…]

Otto: [Something like, they are waiting for you to wake up, you know? Of course, it was because they wanted to be the first to speak once you awakened, Natsuki-san. But, if they found out that I showed up like this and stole that privilege, how much would they resent me?]

Subaru: [Ho, you’re such a bad guy.]

Otto: [Even with Natsuki-san shrunken like this, you do not seem to talk any less.]

Putting a finger to his lips and lowering his voice, the young man that had appeared―― Otto, looked around the cabin.

He made a troubled expression, the inside of the chamber was so crowded that there was almost nowhere to step. Otto looked annoyed, but somehow managed to find a foothold and walked over to the bed,

Otto: [Beatrice-chan, you too, thank you for taking care of Natsuki-san.]

Beatrice: [There’s nothing to be tired of, I suppose… More importantly, are you going to inform them, in fact?]

Otto: [Of course, I will make sure to let everyone know that Natsuki-san is awake, but…]

As Beatrice looked at him with a reproachful gaze, Otto spaced out his words while smiling bitterly. As he made those spaced-out words sound more important, he looked at Subaru lying on the bed,

Otto: [Although it pains me, since I was witness to Natsuki-san’s inopportune waking, before things become too noisy, I would like to raise a personal complaint with you.]

Subaru: [T-the nerve of you to act so nice…]

Otto: [Yes, I am a merchant after all.]

Touching his hatless head, Otto laughed with a face free of offense.

That smile, it gave Subaru the same chills that the gaze of his enemies did, or the same chill he felt when he incurred Tanza’s displeasure; while experiencing this sensation, Subaru took a deep breath.

Admittedly, partially because he had been sent to the Vollachian Empire, Subaru believed that he was not as much at fault as he was for the ensuing troubles; however, it was true that he had made people worry.

No matter what kind of complaints he was hit with, he would take them in stride.

Subaru: [Okay, give me everything you’ve got. But, my mentality has also been suitably trained here. Don’t think that you can destroy me with half-baked words.]

Otto: [What kind of boast is that? Well, I do not intend on giving you a long lecture. Since I am not the only one who wants to say something to you, I will keep it short. ――Natsuki-san.]

Subaru: [Yeah?]

Otto: [――I am glad that you were able to safely reunite with us. Please, do not worry too much.]

Subaru: [――――]

A hand reached out, plopping itself onto Subaru’s small shoulder.

Feeling Otto’s fingers, which were stronger than the impression given by his features, with them trembling slightly on top of his shoulder, Subaru then choked up.

Firmly, Otto knitted his brows, his nose wrinkling as he let those words out; as he had always been one to look at himself from an unbiased view, Otto’s uncontainable emotions became loosened.

Subaru: [Guh…]

His trained mental resolve, and his readiness to accept any blow, all of it was for naught.

Those words that Otto had let out had been a killing blow, mercilessly destroying Natsuki Subaru’s barriers, driving a fatal blow into the bare soul underneath.

In short, it was foul play.

Otto: [In any case, this works best on Natsuki-san, right?]

Subaru: [You, you, bastard…!]

In front of Subaru, whose whole body was trembling, tightening his expression which had just been on the verge of crumbling, a daring, calm, and implicative smile emerged on Otto’s face.

Having been completely led by the nose, Subaru could not help his face turning red from the sense of defeat. ――No, there were other methods. As payback to Otto for being outwitted, though it was far from being a win, it was at least a way to not let him escape with victory.

That was――,

Subaru: [Aaah! I’ve lost, I’ve lost, it’s a complete loss, Otto you bastard!!]

Otto: [Eh!?]

While his face was still red, Subaru had a wicked smile as he declared his defeat in a loud voice. The second he heard this, Otto’s face turned pale and he shouted.

At that, with Subaru and Otto’s back-and-forth argument echoing within the confines of the cabin, naturally, one-by-one his sleeping companions heard them―― No, rather the sleeping lion pack began to wake up.

And like that, with joy and reproach, there was an eruption of feelings of joy and sorrow.

Inside of that noisy cabin, beside the troubled Subaru and Otto, Beatrice watched it from beginning to end with her chin resting on her hands,

Beatrice: [Good grief… They all act far too much like children, I suppose.]

Saying this, with the attitude of a lone bystander, she looked over this scene with affection.

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――The simultaneous evacuation of the citizens from the Imperial Capital of Lupugana.

That was a matter of great importance that had been conducted while Subaru was unconscious, , Subaru had woken up in the cabin of a dragon carriage allocated to the transportation of important individuals, among the large group who had undertaken that action.

Pulled by a great number of ground dragons, it was a mobile sleeping quarter, an extraordinary product that could be used for both evacuation and recuperation. With such august treatment, it seemed Subaru had been taken out from the Imperial Capital.

Hiain: [Bro! I’m real glad ya’re safe! When the power left my body along the way, I got real damn worried, not knowin’ what might’ve happened to ya!]

Weitz: [I wouldn’t care if the bearded bastard died, but if we lose you, the Battalion’d be finished… If you’re on the verge of death, use me or anyone else as a shield…]

Idra: [Weitz’s phrasing bothers me, but I agree. Schwartz, I’m truly glad that you’ve returned. Both as a member of the Battalion, and as my own individual.]

Those were the reactions of people within group that had been waiting for Subaru to wake up, the three people who had reliably accompanied him since the Gladiator Island as a Unit, comprised of Hiain, Weitz, and Idra.

Regardless of Idra, who had gone with him during the battle, Hiain and Weitz had certainly been especially worried, having gone off separately.

And that was not the only reason for which he had to apologize to those three.

Subaru: [My bad. Because I fainted, everyone’s strengthening must have come undone…]

Weitz: [Don’t worry ‘bout that… Luckily, that only happened when we were already startin’ to evacuate.]

Hiain: [That’s right! The only one who nearly died from that bein’ cut off was this skull-lookin’ bastard, he was in the middle of supportin’ a crumblin’ pillar. If the Governor hadn’t been there, he woulda been crushed to death…]

Weitz: [Didn’t I tell ya not to speak of that…!]

As usual, Weitz’s thoughtful concern for Subaru was ruined by Hiain’s uncalled-for comment. Seeing the scene of the duo quarreling, Idra shrugged his shoulders.

With Cor Leonis having come undone right in the middle of the Imperial Capital, he had supposedly been exposed to danger as a result,

Idra: [As Weitz said, don’t sweat it, Schwartz. From the moment that we decided to follow you, whatever would happen beyond that point would be our own responsibility.]

Subaru: [But…]

Idra: [And even if I say that, I know that you’re the one who’s going to be worried. ――I’ll leave the rest of the discussion to those girls who seem to have known you longer than we have.]

As always, Idra was good at wrapping up the conversation rationally.

Thanks to this, Subaru, who could only make emotional objections, was silenced. Idra left the cabin with Hiain and Weitz, who were still grappling with each other.

Like that, as the three of them were leaving, a small figure was about to follow them,

Subaru: [Tanza.]

Tanza: […I sincerely apologize for not being of use at such a crucial time. I am truly glad that you have been able to return, Schwartz-sama.]

Despondently hanging her head, Tanza responded in a formal tone.

Thinking back to the time when they were separated in the Imperial Capital, he could understand Tanza’s regrets about her own lack of strength. However, that did not seem to be the only reason for her dispirited expression.

Subaru: [What’s wrong? If something happened…]

Tanza: [――. No, it is not something that I should talk to Schwartz-sama about right now. Please rest your body, and spend time with everyone at ease.]

After a moment’s hesitation, Tanza also exited the cabin without saying anything more.

He tried to reach out towards her frail back, but both of Subaru’s hands were occupied. Still, Subaru’s heart appealed to him, not wanting to leave Tanza alone, having made such a face.

Within his heart, he firmly decided that he would definitely hear the reason for that face later.

Then――,

???: [――Subaru.]

After seeing off those who had left the cabin earlier, what formulated in this moment, as if it had been eagerly waiting to call out to him, was a lively voice in the tone of silver bells, tenderly striking upon his eardrums.

Subaru: [――――]

A beat, was the time he needed to both react to that voice, and turn towards it.

The uneasiness of having caused her to worry, or the embarrassment of not being able to face her, or some petty pride; such things had not been the reason.

It was simply that Subaru genuinely needed to mentally prepare himself.

After all――,

Subaru: [Emilia.]

Because, just by calling the other person’s name out, Subaru’s heart experienced a sweet, tingling sensation.

At Subaru’s call, filled with nervousness, the woman herself―― Emilia smiled softly,

Emilia: [Mhm, I’m glad to finally see you again… Even so, even when you’re this far away, you’ve made lots of friends, Subaru. I’m reaaally relieved.]

Subaru: [Friends…]

Emilia: [Yes. After all, Subaru, everyone was reaaally worried about you, and never left your side.]

At Emilia’s words, Subaru lowered his head, remembering the state of the cabin up until a moment ago.

No matter how strong Subaru’s feelings about causing them worry had been, whenever he was told it was a bad habit of his, he felt bad about it, but.

Subaru: [I’m… such a lucky guy.]

Emilia: [That’s definitely true. But I want Subaru to be more and more happy, so this tiny amount is not enough at all.]

Subaru: [Even after all the good you’ve done for me?]

Emilia: [So, when you do something for me, do you ever feel satisfied, and that it’s enough, Subaru?]

Emilia tilted her head, and while she felt her beautiful, silver hair cascade down her slender shoulders, Subaru was at a loss for words, completely cornered.

She was right. When he wanted to do something for the people he loved, he never thought if what he was doing was enough, but rather he thought if there was more that he could do.

Seeing Subaru’s reaction, Emilia smiled and said “Hehe”,

Emilia: [What do you think? I’m not wrong, am I? My Knight.]

Subaru: […Yup. You’ve grown so much while I’ve been away, and I’m so proud of you, but I’ve missed you, Emilia!]

Emilia: [Emilia?]

Subaru: […No, it’s… Emilia-tan.]

When asked again, Subaru recalled the long-forgotten name he called her.

Yes, that was what Subaru called the girl who was so important, so precious, so dear, and that he got his heart all messed up when he thought about her.

As soon as he called Emilia that name, a feeling of harmony quickly overcame him.

While Subaru was reflecting on that feeling,

Petra: [Emilia-neesama! It’s about time we had a chat with Subaru!]

The long-awaited, tender mood between Subaru and Emila was interrupted by Petra, a young girl who asserted her presence by raising her small hand.

Woken up after the earlier commotion, and afterwards not able to calmly celebrate the reunion due to the chaos that had followed, Petra hungered for the chance to reunite while anger burned in her round eyes.

Petra: [We haven’t been able to talk to Subaru properly yet. ――Except for Otto-san, who sneaked in.]

Otto: [Ugh. That is not, I was not trying to sneak in…]

Garfiel: [Oh? Oh? Excuses, Ottobro. What kind of excuses is he gonna tell, ain’t we all a lil’ excited to hear? Ya sneakin’ in here hurt even my amazin’ self,  y’know…]

Otto: [Even Garfiel is snapping at me!?]

Garfiel dropped his shoulders in disappointment and made a sad gesture. With his attack stacked on top of Petra’s, Otto opened his eyes wide and shouted.

Then Beatrice followed up with, “That’s right, in fact”, as if to add insult to injury.

Beatrice: [Betty heard, I suppose. Otto said it himself, that he secretly came to talk to Subaru so that Petra and the others wouldn’t find out about it, in fact.]

Emilia: [Huh, really? Otto-kun, I understand how you feel, but we were all worried about Subaru, so you shouldn’t cheat.]

Otto: [I have no allies! Rather than incurring a terrible loss, this hurts far worse!]

Being called out by a backstabbing Beatrice and by Emilia, who were reacting to it honestly, Otto clutched his chest, getting vigorously punishment for his deeds.

While laughing at such a lively group of people,

Frederica: [Despite Otto-sama’s bad habits, I am beyond glad that we were able to meet, since Emilia-sama, Beatrice-sama, and, of course, Petra were not in the least bit happy.]

Frederica said this softly.

She, like Petra, was also dressed in a traveling outfit instead of a maid’s uniform, which was a rare sight. However, Subaru was immediately surprised to see a sight even rarer than that.

The smiling Frederica had a tear well up in the corner of her eye, and it almost started to run down her cheek.

Petra: [F-Frederica-neesama, you’re crying!]

Frederica: [Huh? Ah, m-my apologies. I was just, you know, completely relieved… How indecent of me.]

Subaru: […No, it’s not indecent or anything at all. That’s how worried you were about me.]

Frederica’s tears surprised him, but more than that, he was grateful.

As Frederica had stated, they had rushed to find Subaru and Rem who were missing, and the amount of trouble they had to overcome to get here was immeasurable.

They were in the Empire, which was in a state of civil war; its borders had probably not been easy to cross.

They had certainly overcome a number of obstacles that could not have been overcome by proper means in order to reach Subaru.

Subaru: [Really, thank you, everyone.]

Garfiel: [Heheh, it’s only natural that our amazin’ selves’d come here. Without the Captain, we can’t get our amazin’ selves together in any way, shape, or form.]

Petra: [Yeah, Garf-san is right… I am surprised that you became so tiny, though.]

Garfiel rubbed the bridge of his nose, and Petra, smiling and nodding, chimed in at the end.

Certainly, this could not be said to be over just with all of them coming together―― at least not with Subaru’s current condition. As expected, they did not intend to return to the Kingdom of Lugunica with Subaru in a shrunken state.

Natsuki Subaru would not be able to stand alongside Emilia unless he returned to his original age of eighteen.

Subaru: [Well, Beatrice… ahem! Beako, you don’t mind me lining up next to you?]

Beatrice: [Nothing wrong with being at the same eye level, I suppose. But Betty misses being up in Subaru’s arms already, in fact. That’s why a big Subaru is preferable, I suppose.]

Petra: [Me too! I also think the big Subaru is better. I do think the current Subaru is nice and cute, but…]

Emilia: [Oh, you think he’s cute, too. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought so.]

Emilia’s slightly off-beat response to the conversation caused a relaxed atmosphere to spread throughout the cabin.

Subaru could feel the nostalgia of the long-separated Emilia camp in this gentle, indescribable atmosphere, and his soul found a sense of satisfaction.

Having been thrown into the Vollachian Empire, he had spent time with the People of Shudraq, Flop, Medium, and later with members from Gladiator Island, all of whom had formed the Pleiades Battalion. However, the atmosphere of this reunion was different from any of them.

While everyone he had met was precious, the preciousness of this space, which had been kept away from him for so long, was something he took the time to appreciate.

Subaru: [But, as expected, guess Roswaal or Ram couldn’t come. No, it’s already pretty bad just to have Emilia-tan here.]

Subaru gave a wry smile when he mentioned the faces that he did not see in the cabin.

Meili was also not there, but it would be difficult for her to cross the border in order to accompany Emilia and the others due to her situation. In all likelihood, she had stayed back at the mansion with Ram and――.

Emilia: [Huh? No, you’re wrong there. Ram and Roswaal are here with us. They were reaaally worried about you, Subaru.]

Subaru: [――What?]

Subaru’s thoughts were shattered by Emilia’s answer, who had a strange look on her face.

As Emilia’s beautiful voice resonated in his head, saying Ram and Roswaal had come with them, Subaru’s eyes widened in shock.

The presence of Roswaal was a tremendous surprise, but that was put aside for now.

Because, the problem was not Roswaal,

Subaru: [Ram, she’s here, too?]

Petra: [She’s here. Ram-neesama was also worried about you, Subaru… Ah! Just don’t mention that to her, okay?]

Subaru: [I won’t. I won’t. I won’t mention it, but that’s not what I’m talking about…]

Shaking his head, Petra’s words made Subaru’s brain fire off.

What he was talking about, was that Ram being here meant――,

Subaru: [Did, she already meet with Rem?]

Emilia: [Ah…]

As soon as Subaru asked the question, everyone’s expression except for Subaru’s suddenly became tense.

That reaction was what Subaru had feared the most.

Emilia and the others’ reactions, which were of the “I forgot to tell Subaru” variety, told him that it had happened while Subaru was sleeping.

――The reunion of the separated sisters, Ram and Rem.

Subaru: [Waaah――!! I so wanted to be theeeere!!]

Emilia: [S-sorry, Subaru, but we wanted them to see each other as soon as possible…!]

Subaru: [I know I know, I’m such a damn idiot―― Hk!]

Covering his face with his hands, Subaru exclaimed about his own stupidity for having missed the historic moment.

Emilia and others attempted their utmost to comfort Subaru, but this was no one’s fault, and Subaru’s wounds would remain unhealed.

If pressed to say, it was Subaru who was the most at fault for having slept during such a critical moment.

Even so――,

Subaru: [H-how was it? Both of their reactions…]

Emilia: [Um, well, they were a little hesitant at first… But it felt reaaally special! I even cried a little, too!]

Subaru: [Graaah!]

Beatrice: [Emilia! You need to elaborate more, in fact! Subaru is pitiable, I suppose!]

Emilia: [Huh, right! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!]

Even so, the frustration did not abate in the slightest, so Subaru’s frustration remained entire.

As Subaru shed tears of frustration, he realized once again how much he hated the fact that when he was about to really cry, this childish body could not hold back the tears.

△▼△▼△▼△

???: [――――]

Right in front of her, from behind the door she was about to reach for, she heard a powerful, loud shout.

The bellowing voice and its contents stopped Rem from moving, and her mind was racked with hesitation, her shapely eyebrows furrowing together, wondering what to do.

???: [Uu, au?]

Rem: […I’m sorry about that. I know you want to see him, Louis-chan.]

Right beside Rem, Louis, hugging her around the waist, looked up at her curiously.

Once the unconscious Subaru woke up, Louis wanted to talk to Subaru herself, but she held herself back, rushing to Rem’s side.

Then, she took her by the hand and led her to Subaru’s sleeping quarters――,

Rem: [――――]

The voices coming from inside the cabin belonged to Subaru and his companions.

Putting it like that, it may have sounded like an outsider’s matter, but it seemed that these friends were also closely related to Rem. ――She did not really feel a connection with them, just like she did not really feel a connection with Subaru.

Rem: [They’re not bad people at all, I know that.]

The group, led by Emilia, who was the first person she had met among them, had come in search of both Rem and Subaru, and they were clearly considerate of their companions, full of action, and above all, good people.

According to what she had heard, they hailed from the Kingdom neighboring the Empire, even though crossing over was forbidden, going as far as to participate in a civil war with which they had no connection.

All of this had been performed to save Subaru―― or rather, to save Subaru and Rem, who had been caught up in the Empire’s rebellion.

In the same way that Rem could also not escape from this struggle in the Empire――.

???: [――You can hear Barusu’s rapacious voice.]

As a voice suddenly called to her back while deep in thought, Rem gasped slightly.

Instead of Rem, it was Louis, who was hugging her around the waist, who turned around to look at the other party. They looked back at Louis, who was looking at her, and let out a small sigh,

???: [Stop glaring at Ram with such an accusatory look. This was a tough love lesson for Barusu… No, there’s no love, so it’s just tough. Yes, a purely tough lesson.]

Rem: […Does that mean you don’t like him?]

???: [There’s no hate, just many opportunities for disdain.]

With that said, Rem also turned to the other party, who was slowly walking toward her, their shoes making a sound.

She took a beat to turn around to look in that direction, as she needed to muster up the courage to look at the other person’s face directly.

After all, that face was familiar to Rem’s, even though she had no memory of it.

It was――,

Rem: […Ram-san.]

Ram: [What a cold way to address Ram, considering she’s ready to be called older sister.]

Rem: [For me, everything was so sudden that…]

The woman who stood in front of her, clutching her elbows and puffing out her chest―― Ram, which was how she referred to herself, which was how she was referred to by those around her, bore a lot of resemblance to Rem herself.

The color of her hair and eyes, and the overwhelming pressure of confidence overflowing within them, marked the differences between her and Rem.

It seemed that she was Rem’s older sister, who had no memory of her.

To be honest, there was no room for denial after comparing their facial features. The name of her older sister, conveyed to her many times before by Subaru, was certainly “Ram”.

Above all else, what undeniably predominated Rem’s mind was――,

Ram: [Whatever you may want to think, Rem’s heart will feel the truth, because Ram and Rem are sisters… Synesthesia doesn’t lie.]

Rem: [Synesthesia…]

Ram: [A sort of connection of the soul between twins. All along, Ram has felt Rem’s presence… Is Rem different?]

Rem: [――――]

Rem closed her lips at Ram, who narrowed her light-crimson eyes as she asked directly.

If asked whether Rem was different or not, then no, not at all. While she did not understand well that thing called Synesthesia, inside Rem there was a very, very strong sensation that felt different.

That was an overwhelming feeling of safety towards Ram, whom she was supposedly meeting for the first time.

Rem: […But I’m afraid.]

Ram: [Afraid?]

Rem: [To have such feelings about you, with whom I have only exchanged a few words in a short time.]

For Rem, who had lost her memory, Subaru and Louis were the only two people who were present at the moment her present self began. Due to the circumstances, she had pushed Subaru away and kept Louis by her side at first.

After that, Rem got to know the Shudraqians, got to know Flop and Medium, got to know Priscilla and Katya, and in Rem’s own way, she established various relationships with them.

Even then, Ram’s very existence overtook them all at once, attempting to stand at the top.

Rem: [That is what I’m afraid of…]

This inexpressible sense of security, it was the footsteps of the past approaching.

It was not that she did not wish to regain her lost memories. But it also seemed as though many of Rem’s problems would surely come back to her with those memories’ return.

But at the same time, she feared that when those footsteps caught up with her, everything would change.

If the way one saw, the way one felt, the way one thought, if everything changed.

Yes, firmly, intensely, Rem shut her eyes and clutched her chest.

And there――,

Ram: [Yes. ――What a relief.]

Rem: [Huh?]

An unexpected voice was heard, and Rem opened her tightly shut eyelids to look up.

Ram, who was clutching her elbows in front of Rem, stared at her, lowering the corners of her eyes slightly, wondering what she had just said,

Ram: [Ram is thinking the same as Rem. Afraid.]

Rem: [Afraid, you mean…]

Ram: [What if Rem were to accepted Synesthesia that naturally, and jump into Ram’s chest as if it were guaranteed? ――Yes, Ram was afraid.]

Rem: [――――]

As she had a tender expression, but spoke about fear, Rem began to understand less how Ram in front of her felt. ――No, that was not it.

Understanding what she did not understand, that was what confused her.

Louis: [U!]

Suddenly, instead of Rem, whose eyes were swimming with confusion, it was Louis who groaned as she hugged her around the waist.

Louis, glaring at Ram from below, was sensitive to the quaking in Rem’s heart, sharpening her gaze as if to scold Ram for causing it.

Meeting Louis’s gaze, Ram’s eyes narrowed slightly,

Ram: [Trying to stand between Ram and Rem? Of all people, you?]

Louis: [Aau~!]

Ram: [So, you’re not going to back down. This is complicated, but not unpleasant.]

Just what history was there between them, for Ram to have stated as such while displaying signs that she also knew Louis, then looked into Rem’s eyes once again. When their eyes met, she could not separate them from hers.

Even though her heart felt like being burned by the intensity of that gaze, her soul was attracted to it.

Her anxiety grew stronger and stronger.

Just as equally strong as her captivation towards Ram.

Feeling it intensely, Rem bit her lip hard,

Rem: [You certainly must be my older sister. I can believe that without a doubt. It’s just…]

Ram: [Even if your heart is convinced, your mind is not?]

Rem: […Yes.]

Ram: [Right. Then, that is fine for now.]

Rem nodded weakly, and Ram closed the distance with another step.

The former’s shoulders tensed at the sight of her approaching, and Louis stepped forward to protect her. But Rem gently held Louis’s shoulder with an “It’s okay”, stopping the gentle little girl.

Then, of their own volition, they directed their gazes directly at Ram.

With Rem’s gaze on her, Ram uncrossed her arms and held out her hand. The hand that was offered by the person whose heart had already recognized her as her sister.

Ram: [I am Ram. Your older sister, doubtlessly born to love you.]

Rem: [――――]

Ram: [Though, there are other people just as important to this independent older sister of yours too.]

At those words, spoken with such calm and confidence, Rem’s eyes widened.

Then, as the meaning of the words began to sink in, a gasp escaped her lips. Rem just gave a little smile and laughed,

Rem: [It turns out, you are a frightening person. When I talk to you, I feel like my body just surrenders itself into this sense of security I feel.]

Ram: [It cannot be helped, Ram is the kind of older sister you just want to put all your trust and love in.]

Rem: [Yes, Ram-neesan.]

Ram proudly puffed out her chest, her hand being timidly grasped by Rem, who at last had addressed her in that manner. Upon hearing that, Ram raised her eyebrows slightly.

It had taken courage for Rem to address her as such, so that reaction was unexpected.

Rem: [Umm?]

Ram: […As much as doing it like Barusu said annoys me, this sure doesn’t feel comfortable.]

Rem: [Errr?]

Ram: [――Nee-sama.]

Rem: [Huh?]

With Ram looking sour for an instant then continuing her few words, Rem widened her eyes. In response to Rem’s reaction, Ram repeated herself once more, saying the same thing again.

Ram: [Address Ram with “nee-sama”. That feels the most comfortable.]

Rem: […Ram, nee-sama?]

Ram: [The name is unnecessary.]

Rem: [――Nee-sama.]

Doing exactly as she was told to, drawing ever closer to what Ram wished to be called, the latter shut her eyes tightly. Then, she pulled Rem’s hand, the one she was gripping, towards herself; Rem stumbled around a bit on reflex, but came to have Ram gently catch her body from the front, embracing her.

And continuing like that, Ram put her lips to Rem’s ear, and,

Ram: [Now Ram can clearly feel it. ――Ram is Rem’s nee-sama.]

Rem: [I feel, it too.]

Thus, as soon as she was embraced by her arms, what she had been afraid of overflowed from her.

What she had dubbed a sense of security, was an attraction to her soul, a love for Ram. Firmly, gently, it engulfed even Rem, who was supposedly without memories.

Ram: […As much as it pains Ram to say it, but are you ready for this, Rem?]

Rem: [Ready… for what?]

Ram: [Ready to go inside; we need to show it off to Barusu, not to mention show it off to Emilia-sama and the others. We need to boast our sisterly love, that will alleviate any lingering worries.]

Due to Ram’s words, Rem closed her eyes.

Even now, be it Emilia and everyone else or Subaru as well, how she ought to face them and what expression she should have were questions for which she had not found an answer.

But, at the very least, there were no doubts whatsoever about the feeling of Ram being her sister, about her feelings for Ram.

Rem: [Yes, nee-sama.]

Ram: [Like I thought, perhaps we should put that off until you call Ram that a hundred times.]

Rem: [Nee-sama…]

Ram: [It’s a joke.]

To the nodding Rem, Ram told a joke that had not sounded like a joke.

Seeing such a mischievous attitude from her sister filled Rem’s heart with relief, even if for but a single moment, despite her own self’s sense of urgency, despite the fact that they were in a situation that was otherwise a matter of the utmost urgency.

Louis: [Uau, auaaau~?]

Rem: [Yes, I’m fine. And thank you, Louis-chan, for your concern.]

Louis: [Uh!]

Louis had been standing by Rem’s side the whole time, caught in the middle of Rem and Ram’s dialogue. Relieving her of her fears with a smile, Rem gently stroked the head of the kind little girl.

Then, with Louis in tow, Rem mustered up the courage to line up next to her sister, who had turned around halfway.

Without stopping, Ram and her shared glances and nodded, and the two of them reached for the door before them and――,

Rem: [――Pardon us. I could hear you making a lot of noise, even from outside.]

Ram: [It was a very Barusu-like yell, like many little animals put together, wasn’t it?]

And so, the sisters both stepped into the cabin their companions were in.

△▼△▼△▼△

Subaru: [Haa… Feels like a huge weight’s been lifted off my shoulders…]

Keenly sensing that a huge load had disappeared from his chest, Subaru muttered so.

That huge load on his chest, it had been the responsibility Subaru had needed to take upon himself―― with nobody else around to protect Rem, he would see that duty through, and make it so Ram, Emilia, and everyone else could meet her.

In all honesty, however, upon learning that he had not been present for the reunion of the sisters, Ram and Rem, he had been struck with grief akin to that of the world ending.

Subaru: [If only I could’ve presented the two of them lined up side-by-side, like that…]

The demeanor of those two, visiting Subaru’s cabin together, made him believe that it had at least not gone badly, even if he did not know exactly what sort of exchanges the two sisters had had.

Once Subaru grasped this, the frustration he had felt just before vanished, and a sense of relief washed over him.

Finally, he had finally made it so that Rem and Ram could meet.

He had made it so that Rem could meet with Emilia, with Beatrice, with everyone else.

Just how much of that could be said to be due to Subaru’s contributions, he did not know, but it had been done regardless.

That Subaru himself had also been able to meet up with Emilia and the gang, was a matter of great celebration.

Subaru: [Although, I’m still small, and Rem’s Memories aren’t back yet…]

However, he could sense that the seeds of hope were budding.

As far as the matter of Subaru’s size went, it could be said that a way for it to be resolved could be seen in the near future; and assuredly, he would be able to find a way to restore Rem’s Memories.

So, what came next was――,

Beatrice: […Is it really alright if you don’t have Betty with you, in fact?]

Subaru: [No, I’m not that composed at all, but that guy won’t show his face with you around, Beako, so indulge my selfishness for just a while.]

Beatrice: [If anything happens, call for Betty right away, I suppose. Betty will come rushing with a zyoom, in fact.]

Subaru: [I’ll be counting on you.]

Until the very end, Beatrice wanted to avoid letting go of Subaru’s hand.

The deeply considerate girl tenderly detached her hand; once Emilia and everyone else reluctantly parted with him and exited the cabin, Subaru was left with nobody else in the cabin filled with silence.

Once the factors for it having been so lively up until this point had all left the cabin, Subaru was instantly overwhelmed by a myriad of misgivings.

The retreat from the Imperial Capital, on how large of a scale had it been undertaken? Had the origin of that horde of zombies been grasped? Was the relationship between the Imperial Army and the rebels improving? For what reason had Emilia and the others purposely only touched upon nothing but upbeat topics? What was the answer for Tanza’s somber expression?

And, the events that had occurred just before, when Subaru had gone unconscious, how had they concluded?

Subaru: [Even if you don’t answer everything, can you at least answer around half of them?]

???: [――That would depend on how much you are willing to compromise.]

In the sleeping quarters bereft of people, Subaru’s words, spoken as he raised his upper body from the bed, were answered by a figure that had likely been waiting for everyone to finish leaving.

There was the sound of shoes stepping firmly, leisurely, on the floor in a dignified manner, punctuated by a posture which lacked any hesitation to make their presence known to those in the environs.

Their deportment, the keen glint of their eyes, none of it deviated from his memory. And yet, they were markedly different in some way, that person―― that black-haired man, Subaru fixedly stared at his handsome looks.

And then――,

???: [How eloquently shall you speak, Natsuki Subaru? ――O Stargazer of the Dragon Kingdom.]

And thus, his black eyes pregnant with hostility, Vincent Vollachia inquired so of Natsuki Subaru.

41 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 10 – “No One Can Be Alone””

  1. Emilia wants to be called Emilia-tan now? In arc 6 she was just weirded out by the ‘chan’ but didn’t seem to mind the ommited ‘tan’. Now she wants it xD

    1. This is interesting actually, Subaru it’s not quite the same since he shrank, I guess Emilia and his friends noticed and are worried.

      1. They aren’t worried, they shouldn’t be worried about him or else Subaru will become arrogant again

    2. In arc 6, the fact that Subaru wasn’t calling her by the nickname she remembered bothered her greatly, and she was very mentally distressed every time he referred to her with chan, as if her relationship with Subaru was severed thanks to the memory loss. The same can be referred to with Beatrice and Ram when he wasn’t calling them by how he usually referred to them. This time here is similar in the fact that she was worried and the fact that he didn’t refer to her with the name she was familiar with. After all, she doesn’t know what all he’s gone through, and Subaru isn’t exactly in what we can call the best shape after everything’s said and done, physically or mentally.

  2. Thank you free the chapters. Does anyone know what happen to Translation Chicken,i used to read thier but one day he suddenly stopped.

    1. No idea. I do know he was facing some personal issues at the end there. Relationship, and depression. People were getting on his case about it. So it’d be natural to assume he gave up on it. Really, I liked his translation better than this site’s arc 4 translation.

  3. Ahhhhhh, finally, so hype, now what is this stargazer of the dragon kingdom Natsuki Subaru all about, seems will be find out in the next chapter…

  4. “And thus, his black eyes pregnant with hostility, Vincent Vollachia inquired so of Natsuki Subaru.”
    wtf

          1. >The translator says, I’m intentionally using a word that might be misunderstood just for shits and giggles

            Yeah, that much was obvious.

            1. The word choice is actually appropriate, you are exposing that English isn’t your first language though, or you simply haven’t read any books beyond a grade school level.

              Pregnant being used in the sense of ‘to be full of’ is not uncommon. In this case obviously his eyes are full of hostility, but a pregnant pause for example is the pause in a drama before a big reveal, ‘full’ of the audience’s anticipation.

    1. Not that hard to understand. Subaru made Vincent pregnant and then went off to buy milk. Now he’s mad at Subaru for that. Simple

  5. Really? I thought that since Flugel partook in sealing The Witch, which was said to be one of the four major disasters that would destroy the world by Ubilik in a previous chapter, that would make Flugel something similar to a Stargazer working to prevent it. Or if the disasters are all yet to come, then I think The Witch of Envy could have been a previous disaster as there was a mention, during the introduction of the Magic Crystal Cannon, of there having been a previous Great Disaster in Vollachia that was fought off using the Magic Crystal Cannon. So, I thought there should have been Stargazers in the past, too. And about how Shaula described Flugel as someone who you could never tell if they’re dead or alive, that kinda sounds like Ubilik traversing the battlefield without even a scratch. And if you say that that’s Flugel using his authorities, since we don’t know the working principle of the Stargazer’s foresight either, isn’t the it practically like an authority, too? I mean, couldn’t the title ‘Sage’ be something relating to ‘Stargazer’? Maybe Stargazers and Sages are both related. Well, that could be countered by the fact that there are so many Stargazers. But, I thought it was fair to assume that they’re related as per their work to prevent the world from destruction, and went just a bit far into thinking that Sages are Stargazers with just a fancier title. I suppose ‘relation’ and ‘being’ are different though. But I still think that Flugel might have been involved with Stargazers and the sort and just wanted to present my theory. Anyway, no offense on your denial, though. In fact, I’m even interested to know any further thoughts on this, if possible.

    1. The Witch Flugel helped sealing was the Witch of Envy, but Ubilk only mentioned the “Witch of the Kingdom” as one of the great disasters, and there are multiple “Witch”s out there, it’s not necessarily the same Witch. And Stargazers are pawns of the Observers, unlike those with the Witch Factors. We know how the Witch Factors are antithesis of the Od Lagna, which may itself be an Observer or atleast closely related to them. Most likely the Stargazers’ ability to know the future is more like a Divine Protection than an Authority. So Flugel, who likely possessed all the Witch Factors, was the least likely to be a Stargazer. Shaula was also probably referring to his Authority by saying that. And neither the Stargazers nor the Witch Factor holders are related to saving the world. The disasters are nothing more than stages prepared by the Observers to amuse themselves, and the Stargazers simply make sure everything goes according to the Observers’ script. On the other hand, the ones who possess the Witch Factors are unrelated to the Observers’ play and are free to make their own choices, they can freely choose whatever they want to do and aren’t bound by any kind of duty. Well, this are my thoughts on the matter, but if you have anything else to add, feel free to do so

      1. Just so ya know, witch in this context can be one or many witches cause a plural ain’t specified in JP. Satella, Pandora and Omega will prob be the great disaster of Lugunica.

      2. Ah, that makes sense. So, Flugel is unlikely to be a Stargazer as the Foresight is more like a divine protection. Wait, but the disasters are stages set by the ‘Observers’ and the ones who possess the Witch Factors are unrelated? Isn’t that contradictory as one of the disasters literally mentions ‘The Witch’ or ‘Witches’? If you still think disasters are stages, then that means that the Stargazers play a much more vital role in them as they would basically be leading those who are free in their act. And if that’s true, that would further support my theory of a (or many) Stargazer(s) being related to Flugel as that would mean them being even more involved with The Witch of Envy. Also, let me clarify that I still think the Witch of Envy was a previous disaster as something that destroyed half of the world should definitely qualify as one. Well, that’s basically what I think. Let me know if you have any more thoughts on the matter.

        1. If we use sidestories The observers seem to be people who can manipulate the course of fate to some degree (stride calls volcanica one before he dies in that side story) which if we use the fact Subaru is a sage candidate for flugal probably wasn’t one because Subaru just picks up the authorities that currently exist with slight modifications so flugal probably had echidnas book of truth after she died which gives a definite fate instead of one that can be changed (also explains why people thought he was omniscient)

        2. I always see people having the misconception of Witches = Witches of Sin, even though there are Witches out there who do not possess any Witch Factors. For example, both Emilia and Sphinx are considered Witches, even though none of them possess any Witch Factors (yet). The same goes for Omega, she might have possessed the Greed Witch Factor 400 years ago as Echidna, but the current her doesn’t have that. Despite this she declares herself as a Witch. Furthermore, Echidna was said to be ‘born as a Witch’…. It could mean that she was born with the Greed Witch Factor already within her, but if not then that means you can be a Witch without having a Witch Factor. This is why I refer to Witches with the Witch Factors as Witches of Sin, but there are Witches even outside this system. This is also why I did not consider the ‘Witch of Envy’ to be one of the Four Disasters. Also, the ‘Witch of Envy’ was definitely a disaster, but I very much doubt it was plotted by the Observers. I think Satella and the others actually tried to rebel against the Observers, but it did not go well, resulting in the creation of the ‘Worst Calamity’. However, I don’t think it was something the Observers intended either. Well, it’s all just speculation at the end of the day, can’t say anything for sure, but feel free to leave your thoughts

          1. Ahh, it all makes sense now. I thought that only the Witches of Sin were the official Witches, so I didn’t use to count Emilia and Sphinx as Witches, but I guess they’re are also as official as they can be, huh. After all, it is just a title. Well, if The Witch of Envy really was trying to rebel as you said, then I think that would also connect with the fact that Volcanica, who is also said to be an Observer, teamed up to stop her as that would just be an Observer acting to stop a disaster out of their play, I suppose? But I don’t think I really understand Volcanica that much, so that’s just something I think connects. Anyways, thanks for your comments. They were all really interesting and cleared up a lot of things for me. Have a nice day!

  6. I love when I see some wholesome ass re:zero chapters because they’re so rare especially with all of the brutality in these recents arcs. Great chapter. Also, Vincent doesn’t literally mean that Subaru is a stargazer.

  7. antes de começar um novo tópico….
    FINALMENTE a Rem e a Nee sama se juntaram…que felicidade de capitulo!!
    fiquei preocupado que a Rem fosse rejeitar a irmã de alguma forma como ela disse, o mesmo medo que o Subaru teve quando se confrontou…mas como eram gêmeas conseguiram se resolver bem <!
    obrigado pelo capitulo maravilhoso !

  8. Wholesome chapter, too long delayed. The art of Ram and Rem looked really weird, their faces seemed off.

    Vincent jumping to incorrect conclusions, can’t possibly go wrong.

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