Arc 8, Chapter 23 – “Louis”

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Truly, their relationship had been a peculiar one, Natsuki Subaru thought.

Perhaps rather than peculiar, it ought to be called a malignant providence that had guided Subaru and his companions thus far.

Their ideologies, their ways, he despised absolutely all of it with every fiber of his being; the Vollachian Empire.

The one who had given him the unbearable yearning to cry his heart out for reasons he did not understand; bereft of her Memories, Rem.

The one he had cast the entirety of the blame upon, who he had utterly loathed; the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis Arneb.

Served with a situation he could not help but curse, lamenting and raging in accordance with the path that had been laid out for him, while he repeatedly continued to crash, Subaru had been able to survive through these days by dying over and over again.

Here, there were also people who he had made contact with, who had helped him, and he had helped; the Vollachian Empire.

He was together with the one whose kindness and deep thoughtfulness made him yearn to weep; bereft of her Memories, Rem.

The one who had risked her life time and time again, bravely devoting herself to him; the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis Arneb.

Processing the curse that had been served to him, refusing to follow the path that had been laid out for him, while they continued to gently hurt each other, Subaru had been able to survive through these days by dying over and over again.

Was it malediction, grief, or hatred? Or perhaps, without cursing, without grieving, it could be forgiveness?

The time had come to resolve this relationship, which up till now had continued to remain ambiguous.

Subaru: [――――]

Subaru’s declaration upon entering the passenger cabin cloaked the space with an air of tension.

Present in the room were Rem and Louis, joined by Ram and Tanza, totaling four. The former two were directly concerned in the matter, the latter two, witnesses; Subaru desired to converse with them.

Emilia, Beatrice, and the rest were waiting for the resolution.

Regardless of the form Natsuki Subaru’s answer would take, they were waiting.

Rem: […Has the important discussion with Abel-san concluded?]

Before Subaru, who had been considering how to broach the subject, Rem was the first to speak.

Seated beside Louis, with her hand in hers, Rem’s words, whether she was conscious of it or not, seemed like an attempt to keep things in check.

In response to her question, Subaru shook his head,

Subaru: [It’s paused for now. That discussion can’t proceed until we’ve resolved our own matters… The discussion with Abel also involves Louis.]

Louis: [Aau?]

Rem: [Why, is Louis-chan involved?]

Subaru: [It’s because according to the prophecy of the Stargazer guy, Louis’s presence is crucial for us to win this battle.]

Rem: [――Hk.]

As Subaru presented the prerequisite without concealing anything, a bitter expression crossed Rem’s face. Holding Louis’s hand, Rem looked at Subaru with her pale blue eyes and said “So that means”,

Rem: [You’re going to make Louis-chan fight, is that what you’re saying? Despite her being so small, just a child who doesn’t understand anything, you’re suggesting such a cruel thing…]

Subaru: [Whether she needs to fight or not is a question for later. But, let me clarify something first. ――The notion that Louis is just a kid who doesn’t understand anything, is a mistaken one.]

Rem: [What do you…]

Subaru: [Even though communicating with words is difficult, Louis clearly understands the situation she’s in. She chooses who she wants to side with, and who she doesn’t. Knowing that, she is here with us.]

Rem: [That’s… Hk.]

At Subaru’s calm words, Rem lowered her head, speechless.

Rem, too, understood that Subaru’s objection was the truth. If it were not so, Louis would not be here in the first place.

From the moment she had been cast into the Vollachian Empire, she was in an incomprehensible situation; she acted like a clingy child, imprinting herself onto the first people she encountered, Subaru and Rem. ――However, such an explanation could not account for the myriad of brutal trials that they had surmounted together.

If the imprinting was not a sign of love, but rather a manifestation of a defensive instinct seeking a protector in order to survive, it would go without saying that being together with Subaru and Rem was detrimental to Louis’s survival.

If she merely wanted to survive, it would have been easier for Louis had she not been with Subaru and his companions.

Ram: [On that point, Ram agrees with Barusu. Although only bits and pieces of the situation have been heard from Rem, that child being here, despite having been separated from both Rem and Barusu, is a result of her own choosing.]

Rem: [Nee-sama…]

Ram: [Don’t misunderstand, Rem. Ram is entirely on Rem’s side and has resolved in her heart to tear Barusu apart together with you later, but she won’t twist the truth.]

Subaru: [There was one part of that declaration that I can’t ignore, but thank you.]

With a feeling somewhere between gratitude and bitterness, Subaru thanked Ram, who had interjected.

To Subaru, that too felt like an attempt to keep things in check from Ram’s side. At the same time, it was an indication that Ram would be impartial in this conversation and had no intention of emotionally siding with Rem.

That was exactly in line with the way that Rem used to often describe her assessment of Ram’s behavior.

Subaru: [Nee-sama, is far too kind… huh?]

Whether those words murmured within his mouth could be heard or not, Ram snorted without giving any words, then crossed her slender legs and brought her cup of tea to her lips.

Beside her, Tanza, who seemed to have been somewhat bored, looked at Subaru with her dark eyes, and,

Tanza: [Similar to Ram-sama, I also shall not support Schwartz-sama. I am unable to gauge the situation, so please do not be mistaken if you were intending to make me an ally here.]

Subaru: [I know. Tanza is being reliably strict with me. I didn’t think you’d take my side anyway.]

Tanza: [――――]

Subaru: [Huh? That seemed to have upset you a little? Why?]

Having followed Ram’s lead and declared her status as an impartial witness, Tanza’s expression became a bit sulky.

Tanza’s expression rarely changed, but this sullen face was relatively common. Most of the time, it popped up in response to Cecilus’s unreasonable words and actions, or when Hiain ran his mouth.

Also, it was quite frequently directed toward Subaru.

Nevertheless, thanks to Ram and Tanza stating their positions, he had finished mentally preparing himself.

With that, Subaru once again turned to face his main focus, Rem and Louis.

And then――,

Subaru: [Louis, we’re about to discuss something important. It’s about you, and I won’t conceal any of what I feel within my heart of hearts. Will you listen, without running away?]

Louis: […Aau!]

Subaru: [I see. You’re a good girl. Thank you.]

After a moment’s hesitation, Louis nodded with a lively voice.

That reaction was yet another piece of evidence that she had a good understanding of what Subaru and the others around her were talking about. Rem, avoiding any eye contact, glanced at Louis’s profile.

Therein, Rem was hoping to see the emotions she desired; if Louis would show even the slightest sign of discomfort, she could use that as a reason to stop the conversation.

But, in Louis’s profile, she had been unable to find a reason to do so.

Subaru: [Rem, Louis, I think both of you have realized. That from the start, I was always really wary of Louis, and that I always shunned her… and, that I had always hated her.]

Rem: [――――]

Subaru: [She was the primary reason for Rem being so excessively suspicious of me at first. When I tried to somehow separate the two of you, I even got my fingers broken.]

Rem: [About that time… I also went too far.]

Subaru: [It’s fine. Looking back, it’s just another good memory between me and Rem.]

Rem: [Huh?]

Subaru flexed the fingers of his left hand as he answered, and Rem made a face as if doubting his sanity. Not only Rem, but Ram and Tanza too made similar faces, so despite the topic being broken fingers, Subaru changed the subject by saying “Anyway” before his heart could be broken.

Subaru: [I was actively wary of Louis. And so, Rem was actively suspicious of me. I don’t know how Louis was feeling, but you must have felt that tense atmosphere, right?]

Louis: [Uu?]

Subaru: [Even after we got separated at one point and later were reunited with all the Shudraqians, even after we retreated from Guaral, and after that around the time of the siege of Guaral, it had always been like that.]

Because of that, the gap between Subaru and Rem kept getting wider and wider, making it difficult to fill.

As for the reasons Subaru had felt hatred for Louis, the fact that her existence caused his relationship with Rem to worsen was something that undoubtedly had a great influence.

His animosity towards Louis only began to change after they arrived at the Demon City of Chaosflame, having separated from Rem.

While spending time with Louis without Rem as a mediator, she had worked her hardest to protect Subaru, and little-by-little, Subaru had no choice but to acknowledge that.

That was why, after they had split in the Demon City, and he was reunited with Beatrice at the Imperial Capital, he had been honestly happy that Louis was also there. At that point, none of the animosity that he had held at the onset remained.

Subaru: [If we just stayed like that, continuing to go on without thinking too much about it, I think it definitely would’ve been easier. But, that’s just not possible. It’s the same as a wound. Some wounds will heal if left alone, while others will only get worse. This is a wound that we can’t just leave alone.]

In order for the wound to heal, it needed to be treated.

And, for treatment, one could not just rely on magic or medicine, in some cases, more daring methods had to be used.

Thus, this was a wound of the sort where they had no choice but to resort to such means.

Therefore――,

Subaru: [Up to now, I’ve never once said it. The reason, Louis, why I hated you.]

Louis: [Uau…]

Staring into those blue eyes, Subaru poured out his feelings.

As if responding to Subaru’s serious gaze and tone of voice, Louis did not avert her gaze either. This girl had resolved herself to accept whatever he might say.

Instead――,

Rem: […Please stop.]

Biting her lip, it was Rem who spoke in such a trembling voice.

In a voice that trembled as if she was pleading, she remained holding Louis’s hand as she spoke. ――No, that was wrong. It was not that. The one with their hand being held, was not Louis.

It was Rem. It was Rem whose hand was being held by Louis, that much was clear.

Rem: [I don’t… want to hear it. The reason that you hated Louis-chan, I don’t care about such a thing. Isn’t it fine to just think that you were cold-hearted?]

Weakly shaking her head in refusal, Rem rejected Subaru’s words.

Stopping herself from putting pressure on Louis’s hand by instead clenching her other hand so tightly that her bones creaked, Rem tried to refuse what came next.

He wanted to respect those feelings of Rem’s. He wanted to grant all of Rem’s wishes.

Subaru: [I’m sorry. I won’t let you plug your ears on this matter.]

But, he must not do so.

Neither could he fulfill Rem’s wishes, nor could he show them respect.

If she did not want to listen, her only option was to flee this room. Subaru had no right to stop Rem if that was what she truly wanted to do.

However, Rem also understood.

That plugging her ears to Subaru’s words here would be tantamount to turning her back on her own missing Memories, and――,

Rem: [――――]

And it also would mean betraying the feelings of Ram, who was silently watching over her.

Rem: [Even so, I don’t want it… I don’t want… to hear it…!]

Clenching her eyes shut and gritting her teeth, Rem chose to not run away from here.

However, she felt a very, very strong urge to refuse Subaru’s next words.

While struck by her words, Subaru, again, kept his eyes fixed on Louis.

Louis: [Uau.]

Louis’s lips moved, indeed, she voiced a sound that did not form a coherent word.

That sound, he understood perfectly well that it was calling out his name, “Subaru”.

And because he understood that.

Subaru: [Louis, the reason why I hated you… why I detested you, is…]

Rem: [STOP… hk!!]

Subaru: [――Because you’re the one responsible for stealing Rem’s Memories, the Sin Archbishop of Gluttony.]

――Because he understood that, Subaru had no choice but to respond.

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He had said it. At last, he had finally said it, the words that had always been left unspoken.

The moment he told her, there were no deep emotions of a secret being laid bare, no heartbreaking sensation of a detestable individual being condemned.

Even now, as he revealed that which had been bottled up in his heart, there was naught but anguish of intensified weight and anguish.

And, it only got worse with the developments that followed thereafter.

Rem: [WAAAAAHHH――!!]

Her voice raised, her face grimacing, Rem’s hands reached towards him.

Her hands seized Subaru’s collar, and with tremendous force, pushed him down onto the ground; he was unable to offer any resistance, as she was positioned on top of his body.

He probably would not have been able to do so even if his body had not become smaller, but now that he was smaller, it was especially true.

If Rem were to have put all her strength into her arms, she would have easily been able to cover Subaru’s mouth.

Yet, until those definitive words were spoken, Rem had done no such thing.

Even now, in this moment as she was mounted atop Subaru.

Rem: [Why… Just why… Hk.]

Her voice strained, her face contorting with fury, she scowled at Subaru’s face at a distance so close that he could feel her breath, but still she did not utilize the entirety of the strength in her arms.

Her emotions were bursting out, but even so, Rem remained rational before crossing the final line.

Subaru: [――――]

Feeling Rem’s hot breath on his face, Subaru stretched out his hand to restrain the bystanders.

At the moment that Subaru was pushed down, Tanza immediately attempted to move to protect Subaru. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that Ram was holding Tanza back by the arm.

From Subaru’s side, too, he appealed to the two indicating that they had done enough, and looked back at Rem who was in front of him.

Drop by drop, tears streaked from Rem’s pale blue eyes and fell upon Subaru’s cheeks.

Her eyes housed neither anger nor sadness, but rather were intensely brimming with frustration, and the reason why she had maintained her rationality and opted not to cross that last line. That was what was embodied in her tears.

That was――,

Rem: [Even without you telling me, I could tell… that Louis-chan, that she had something to do with the Memories that I couldn’t remember, I knew that…!]

Subaru: [Rem…]

Rem: [After all, what else could it have been? The only reason why you were so cruel to Louis-chan, trying to keep her away from me over and over again was because you thought I would be in danger if I stayed with her, there couldn’t be any other reason, could there…? Hk.]

Her breath, her voice, her eyes, all of them trembling feebly, Rem poured her heart out.

Upon being told this, Subaru shut his eyes. It was only natural.

Indeed, it was none other than Rem who was the victim of these lost Memories.

The thought that Rem herself could be less concerned about her own Memories than Subaru and everyone else, such an absurd notion could absolutely never be the case.

It was natural that more than anyone else, she would have been in anguish, longing for the whereabouts of her own Memories.

Rem: [I’m well aware… Do you think I’m stupid? Maybe I’m stupid. I’m just a stupid woman who doesn’t know anything. After all, I don’t know anything about you! And I don’t even want to! And yet you just barge right in… I hate you!]

Subaru: [――――]

Rem: [You are nothing compared to Louis-chan. Louis-chan has always stayed beside me, she’s always cared about me… She is, Louis-chan, is my…]

Those endless streams of tears not only hit Subaru’s cheeks, but they also ran down Rem’s cheeks and chin, embellishing her body and heart with teardrops, disguising them.

She knew, but she still wished that she did not.

Rem: [Everything, all of it has to be some kind of mistake… All of it, all of it is your lies…]

Subaru: [――Rem.]

Rem: [――Ah.]

Feebly, Rem’s eyes welled up with tears, and when a large teardrop fell, her blurred vision must have been temporarily cleared, for she could see Subaru’s face right before her.

Subaru, pinned down as he was, gently cupped Rem’s face between his hands, and fixed her gaze on himself.

Black and blue eyes met, and Subaru spoke to her lovely face, soaked with tears as it was.

Subaru: [It’s not a lie. Everything you thought, Rem, was true. Louis, was our enemy.]

Rem: [――Hk, what do you mean, enemy? Is it because of what she did to me, to my Memories? If so… then!]

With a strong shake of her head, Rem raised herself up as she left Subaru’s hands. As it was, she turned toward Louis, who remained standing in her initial position,

Rem: [Then, I will… I’ll forgive Louis-chan. I’ll forgive her, so isn’t that enough? See, with that, everything will be solved, won’t it…?]

Subaru: [No, that’s not enough. That, doesn’t solve anything.]

Rem: [WHY!!?]

Subaru: [――Because I will never forgive Louis for the pain she caused you.]

Her voice cracking, Rem said she would forgive Louis, to which Subaru thus declared.

Hearing Subaru’s words, Rem’s eyes widened, letting out a hoarse breath. Suddenly, Rem’s body lost its strength, and Subaru slowly raised himself up.

Rem, still on top of Subaru’s body, stood up and exchanged glances at close range.

Subaru: [It’s not just me. It’s Ram, it’s everyone else, it’s everybody who cares about you, Rem. They won’t forgive Louis. No matter how much you say you forgive her.]

Rem: [That’s, just…]

Subaru: [Besides, Rem… the things Louis did, they weren’t all to just you. Many, many more people are suffering from Gluttony’s wrongdoings because of the things Louis did.]

Even if Rem really forgave Louis, even if she forgave her out of compassion and not out of impulse, there were many more “Rems” in this world who could not forgive Louis.

So long as those people were not saved, Rem’s desperate plea would never come to fruition.

Rem: […Many, others?]

Subaru: [Yeah. To an outrageous extent. So many people are suffering.]

Rem: [Well… Well, there’s nothing that can be done about it, right?]

Subaru: [――――]

Rem: [From the very beginning, there was nothing that could be done, that’s the sort of issue this is, right? You’re saying that there’s nothing that can be done… Is that the resolution you were speaking of?]

Her lips trembling, even more tears began to well up in Rem’s eyes, sizable ones.

In a manner likely more intense than how she anguished over her own Memories, Rem wept for Louis.

That she wanted to save Louis regardless of her own Memories, that she truly desired to save her; in accordance with how emotional she had gotten, Rem’s lips trembled. She, wept.

Those tears, that trembling voice, both caused Subaru to feel the pain of being torn apart.

Subaru: [I’m sorry, it must feel like I’m messing with you.]

Rem: […Please, don’t apologize.]

Subaru: [But, I’m sorry. This whole time, I’ve only been saying things that are hard and painful for you, Rem.]

Rem: [Like I said, please don’t apologize… Hk. I, I don’t want to hear it…!]

Subaru: [I’m sorry, but you have to listen to me.]

Rem: [Like I said… Hk!]

Subaru: [I don’t want to give up. ――I don’t want, to continue being unable to forgive Louis.]

Rem: [――Huh?]

A gasp escaped from Rem’s throat, and her eyes opened wide.

Facing Rem, Subaru took in a deep breath and licked his lips. Word by word, he ensured that his thoughts, exactly as he had intended them, were fully conveyed to the girls who he wanted to hear them.

Subaru: [I’m the same as you, Rem. I want to forgive Louis. I don’t want to continue being unable to forgive her. But, I can’t. After all, Rem, you’re really important to me.]

Rem: [――Hk.]

Subaru: [That’s why, I won’t forgive Louis for the terrible things that she did to you, for taking away your Memories, and for causing you to still suffer like this, Rem.]

Gently reaching out, Subaru wiped a tear from Rem’s cheek with his finger.

By the time he wiped off that single droplet, many more teardrops had already moistened Rem’s cheeks. Even so, Rem did not break Subaru’s finger.

It was as if to say he had not been denied, thus Subaru continued to speak.

Subaru: [Everybody really let me have it. They scolded me a whole lot, telling me not to say or think such stupid things. I think Otto probably still thinks things would work out better if Louis were dead.]

But, that was surely the natural mindset.

This was not to say that it was a self-purification process, but everyone knew in their hearts that it had to happen. Even Subaru knew it in his mind, and that was why he had strongly faced strong opposition.

However――,

Subaru: [So said Julius. He’s an incredible guy. On the other hand, he might be an idiot. He’s as much a victim as you are, Rem, but he shouldn’t say those things like they’re normal. He’s an idiot.]

Rem: [――――]

Subaru: [I’ve been told lots of things by smart people, by stupid people… tons of things by cool people, by kind people, by amazing people, and I’ve thought. I’ve thought about it a whole lot, and I’ve decided. My point of compromise.]

Rem: [Point of, compromise…]

Subaru: [I want to believe in Louis. I want to forgive her… But, I won’t forgive her right now.]

So, as he voiced his thoughts, watching Rem’s eyes waver in front of him, the words of a certain man passed through Subaru’s mind.

???: [How could I go along with someone who decides who lives or dies based on his own fickle whims?]

The words of a man, with whom Natsuki Subaru had been incompatible, clawed painfully at his soul.

He was told that his attitude of deciding to forgive or not based on his own fickle whims, was not something worthy of trust.

There was no doubt that those words were correct. That which was the least reliable, was Subaru’s own heart.

Even so, it was a matter of reaching a compromise with this heart, something that he could not yield to anybody else, and proceeding onward.

So easily moved, so quick to come around, with this fragile and pathetic soul of his, he would reach a compromise.

Rem: [――Ah.]

Subaru hugged Rem tightly, who was surprised by his words and unable to move.

Despite the difference in height, Subaru pulled himself out from under her body and embraced the slumped over Rem’s head to his stomach.

Subaru wished to convey that he truly cared about Rem from the bottom of his heart.

And then――,

Louis: [――Uau.]

At the sound of that voice calling his name, Subaru looked at Louis.

Parted from Rem’s hand, Louis had been standing still, and knowing that it was now her turn, she called out to Subaru.

Louis: [Uu…]

Witnessing how forlorn Louis appeared as she stood, Rem, still in Subaru’s embrace, let out an “Ah” and hurriedly stood up.

Then, as Rem hugged Louis from the front,

Rem: [I-I’m sorry, Louis-chan… We, on our own…]

Louis: [Au, Uau, aaau.]

Rem: [I’m, sorry… Hk.]

With a feeble apology, Rem wiped her face with her sleeve, then stood up beside Louis.

Once again, she tightly squeezed Louis’s hand, however, this time it was with a face that did not rely upon her. He felt just a little bit envious of Louis, who was able to move Rem’s heart like that.

In addition to that――,

Subaru: [――Louis, do you still want to become me?]

Louis: […U?]

Rem: […What, are you saying?]

Seemingly not understanding the meaning behind Subaru’s question, the two of them tilted their heads together.

Indeed, they had both tilted their heads. Not only Rem, Louis had too. ――”Louis” had, too.

Subaru: [As I told you earlier, Rem. Even if you forgive Louis, I won’t forgive her. The many other people who have suffered harm due to Gluttony won’t forgive Louis either. But…]

Rem: […But?]

Subaru: [But, Louis, I want to forgive you. If I was able to forgive you, that’s what I would want to do. So, let me ask you this.]

Firmly, conscious to not let his voice waver, Subaru looked straight at Louis.

He saw Rem squeeze Louis’s hand, and Louis squeezed it back. While he hoped that this would be the answer to the relationship between the two.

Subaru: [Are you a Sin Archbishop? Or, is it possible?]

Louis: [――――]

Subaru: [It’s been said to me a lot. And, I agree. The world won’t forgive the Sin Archbishops, and it must not forgive them. The Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis Arneb, is a being who must not be forgiven.]

Louis: [――――]

Subaru: [But, you helped me. You protected me over and over again. You didn’t even know that you once wanted to become me. You’re completely different to the Louis Arneb that I knew. Still, you can use the Authority of Gluttony. You possess the Witch Factor.]

That was Subaru’s full impression of “Louis” from the time he had spent with her thus far.

She was of the same appearance as the Sin Archbishop, Louis Arneb, whom he had encountered in the Hall of Memories, and even though she possessed the same Authority, she did not seem to be the same person.

That was just like “Natsuki Subaru” from some time ago, and “Rem”, who was like this now.

Someone who, while being the same, was different.

Someone who could make that choice of their own will, to be the same, or to be different.

To that “Louis”, he wished to ask.

Subaru: [Are you a Sin Archbishop that no one in this world can ever forgive? Or, is it possible that you might be able to take back what the Sin Archbishop has done?]

Louis: [A, uu…]

Subaru: [Can… can you, start your life anew?]

What if, just what if.

What if the situation that “Louis” had been placed in was the same as that of “Natsuki Subaru” and “Rem”? Then, Subaru was asking a terribly cruel and unfair question.

Having no memories, having no clue as to what was happening, the hardship of being burdened by the self that one was not; Subaru was keenly aware of those feelings. Rem, too, knew them well.

And now, he was trying to force those same things upon Louis like this.

However――,

Subaru: [If you can do that, if that is what you desire, then take my hand.]

As he said this, Subaru slowly held out his hand to Louis.

Louis’s eyes traced back and forth between Subaru’s face and the proffered hand; similarly, as Rem held her breath next to her, her gaze shifted between Subaru’s eyes and hand.

Subaru: [Louis, a lot of people curse you the same way that I do. I can’t speak for all of their feelings. But, I can just say one thing.]

Louis: [――――]

Subaru: [I don’t know what you would need to do to get everyone to forgive you. It’s just… just, what you need to do for me to forgive you, that, I can tell you.]

Before he had come here, before he had been permitted this time, Emilia had told him.

Emilia had said it was something Subaru had taught her, but that was unthinkable. After all, Subaru was always learning from everyone else.

He did not even know how to resolve his own feelings without being taught how to do so.

Questions like, why did Subaru want to forgive Louis?

And, how could Subaru be able to forgive Louis? All of it.

Thus, the way to reach that, to reach the point of compromise, was――,

Subaru: [――Louis, save lots of people.]

Louis: [――――]

Subaru: [Right now, you’re going through unreasonable circumstances. I know that you’re being forced to bear an outrageously unreasonable cross, without remembering a thing. Even so…]

Taking a deep breath, with unwavering eyes his gaze fell upon Louis, he told her.

Subaru: [You can help lots of people.]

Louis: [――――]

Subaru: [If you help and help, and keep helping, continuing to help more than you’ve stolen… at least I, and I alone, will be on your side.]

――The things you’ve done won’t ever disappear.

That was what Anastasia had said to him once in the past, and then again just before, a statement that froze Subaru in his tracks.

Now, Subaru found those words no different to traumatic advice that there were some things that even his Return by Death was unable to overturn.

However, when Anastasia had made that statement, she had also said,

Subaru: [If you want people to believe you’re doing the right thing, you have no choice but to show them something that backs that up. The only way to change their appraisal is to overturn it with a different one.]

That was the most important part of the traumatic advice that Subaru had received.

The fact that Subaru was offering his hand to Louis like this now, was also because through her actions, she had overturned the animosity Subaru harbored towards her.

That change of heart that had happened to Subaru, would happen to all the people who suffered from the damage of Gluttony.

That was――,

Subaru: [――That’s the “From Zero” I’m offering you.]

Not just from zero, but on a world-wide scale, she had no choice but to start from the negatives.

Facing such an absurd, outrageous, and tremendously nonsensical challenge, it was grandly delusional reasoning, for who in their right mind would believe that such a thing could be accomplished?

But, that was the best that Subaru could offer.

So then, if facing this absurd, outrageous, and tremendously nonsensical challenge, was a grandly delusional reasoning that nobody in their right mind would believe could be accomplished, Subaru would lend his aid.

In the same way that it had once been done for none other than Natsuki Subaru in the past.

Louis: [――――]

Hand outstretched, Subaru remained still, awaiting an answer to come.

He did not rush her. Nor could he wait forever. He was giving her the time she needed, and quietly awaited the needed answer.

Rem: [I… I don’t know…]

During that stillness, beside the silent Subaru and Louis, Rem muttered.

For but a moment, it seemed as if that statement meant that she did not comply with Subaru’s proposal. However, Rem’s eyes said otherwise.

She, continued.

Rem: [About the ones called Sin Archbishops, about the name Louis Arneb, all of it.]

Subaru: [――――]

Rem: [But, if those so-called Sin Archbishops, and also this Louis Arneb person, if their existence is not forgiven in this world… then what, what will this child become?]

Her voice, trembled. But, her pale blue eyes were not filled with tears.

As if to say that with a blurred and moist vision, neither would she be able to see the answer she coveted, nor the answer the other person presented, Rem’s eyes were direct.

To be neither a Sin Archbishop, nor Louis Arneb, if such was her choosing, what would she become?

As “Louis”, she would bear many unreasonable burdens, and walk a path seeking forgiveness, unaware of whether it truly existed on the other side of it all. ――Such a girl, just who would she become?

When proffered this question, all Subaru could say was――,

Subaru: [――Spica.]

Rem: [Huh…?]

Subaru: [To this girl, starting over as a new self, with a new way of life, I bestow this name.]

Rem’s eyes widened, and Louis’s eyes followed suit.

If she chose to live in a different way to how she had lived thus far, and set her sights on a completely different future from now on, Subaru intended to do everything he could to support her.

Because, in a world where nobody would forgive a Sin Archbishop, in a world where nobody would forgive Louis Arneb, he still wanted to forgive the girl who stood before him from the bottom of his heart.

So that Subaru could forgive the girl, he wished for her to become such a person, thus――.

Rem: [Spica…]

Stunned, dumbfounded, Rem uttered the name, then looked to her side.

The young girl fixed her eyes on Subaru. He, too, looked at her without averting his eyes.

He wanted things to be like this, such was his wish.

But, if he spoke it out loud, the girl would surely do so. Not of her own wishes, but because she respected Subaru’s; thus, he would not say it.

Because he wanted her to choose for herself, and not for anyone else.

He wanted her to walk and walk and keep walking, so that when she looked back at the path she had walked, she would be able to think that it was a path that she had chosen to walk.

Louis: [――Uau.]

Subaru: [――――]

The girl’s thin lips moved. Subaru’s name, was called out gently.

Silent and still, Subaru waited. He did not want to rush her. Nor could he wait forever. He had given her the time she needed, and she had chosen what was needed; he wanted to hear her answer.

Then, as Subaru desperately tried to contain himself, the girl’s expression changed.

Louis: [Auuau.]

Gentle and tender, words were spun, and a smile emerged.

Then, as tears trickled down from the corners of her blue eyes, the girl’s hand softly grasped the hand Subaru had held out.

Welcoming that light, soft touch, Subaru clenched his eyes shut.

To be neither a Sin Archbishop, nor Louis Arneb, a new way of life.

Having been a Sin Archbishop, having been Louis Arneb, a past that could not be erased.

Taking that upon herself, she would need to walk a thorny path, the girl―― “Spica”, he held her hand so tightly and firmly, as if to never let go.

Subaru: [One day, I want to forgive you. ――So, let’s do our best together.]

Spica: […Au!]

Flashing her white teeth, Spica gave a wide grin with her tearful face.

Having witnessed that smile of Spica’s from the side, Rem’s emotions swelled up inside of her, and burst forth.

Rem: [――Hk.]

With more passion and more tears than ever before, Rem embraced Spica.

Embracing her, cradling her, wailing her heart out, Rem cried. Startled by the embrace, Spica was drawn in by Rem’s emotions, and as her expression clouded over and scrunched up,

Spica: [――Aaaau!]

Spica, too, with a loud voice, her face scrunching up, in a manner befitting her age, while shouldering a destiny that someone of her age should never have to, she burst into tears.

Just like how any other being who was newly born into this world would.

Wailing like newborn babies, the girls kept crying. They just kept crying.

――Subaru, also, cried a little.

58 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 23 – “Louis””

      1. Since spica has already been shown I now also want Riegel tho it’s name was used in the watch tower arc so maybe there will be none

          1. The first Trial of the Watch Tower that Subaru solves – the monolith trial, the answer to that Trial was Rigel!

          2. “You are nothing compared to Louis-chan. Louis-chan has always stayed beside me, she’s always cared about me… ”

            Yeah, sure, Louis definitely didn’t ditch you to run off to Chaosflame with Subaru. Rem’s emotionality here has a complete lack of basis. Just empty drama for tension’s sake. Likewise, Subaru’s ordering of statements is idiotic, doing so in the worst way possible by starting out with “I hate,” rather than starting out with a resolution is being looked for, and then explaining why.

            Such a bullshit chapter.

            1. bro has never heard of concepts like “build up” and “not being a penny pincher”. also your hate is still the same so no need to not use a name youre already known.

            2. So a chapter is bad because a character was having a mental breakdown and being unreasonable? Damn, amazing reading comprehension you have.

              Best chapter of arc 7 and 8 combined btw.

  1. Thnx for the translation, love the two callbacks/references with “from zero” that was said by Rem to Subaru in arc 3 as she helped him overcome his anguish and the connection with the name “Spica”, the name of Rem and Subaru’s daughter in the Rem-if spin-off, beautifully done.

  2. Thanks for the translation!!!
    This chapter was lovely,i’m such a Louis fan…well Spica now…
    And i was waiting so long for a redemption of her character,I’m still curious about what the hell is going on with her forgetting everything and not being able to talk.

    1. From what I understood (since I binge read the novel recently) “Spica” was the one who separated herself from the main body and was acting as “Subaru” when he “lost” his memories. Then, riddle by fear of facing death and death over again the real Louis was furious because she misunderstood her feelings and thought “Spica” wanted to keep Subaru’s authority for herself. Louis ganged up on Spica devouring her memories and somehow expulsed her from the Hall of Memories

        1. She couldn’t. It was explained than gluttony can only discard stolen memories but not own memories. Like she was inside Subaru; the memories she experienced of death until they got separated were her own memories and not stolen ones.

          1. Makes me wonder if prime Louis is suffering the same way Spica did…because she took that suffering from Spica, freed Spica from it and now she, Louis should be terrified of Uau.

            Has it been answered how she took physical form? I had though she could only do that with her bros? At the same time, the green room spirit disappeared so I wonder if prime Louis ejected Spica … or perhaps she was still somehow attached to Subastar and was ejected from him, in the green room, which then ‘healing’ Spica consumed the spirit of the green room. I dunno.

      1. No, they were both Louis, one was a witch factor inside of him who possessed Subaru three or four times and the other was in the hall of memories. The Spica we know was born in arc 6 chapter 90.

    1. Did he not not already adopted Meili at the end of arc 6. I mean he kind of already forgot about her but she still counts kind of.

      1. He didn’t forget her, she was even talked about in last chapter.
        But yeah, meili just rubbed it off asking him to concentrate on the fight, but we all know that she’s already his daughter

    2. Didn’t Rem got pregnant with Rigel just a few months after the Rem IF started?
      It’s been more than a year since then in Arc 8 so Subaru became a father faster in the Rem IF

      1. you’re telling me there’s a spinoff where subaru has had procreative sex and all these years later he still has only kissed Emilia once in the main series?

        shinzo sama weeps

  3. That’s sweet and all that Subara want’s to give “Spica” a chancee to redeem herself of her actions and such….but like we STILL need her to reverse the effects of the Gluttony’s sin!

    I’ll be verrrry surprised if Spica gets a pardoned. I get it she’s not the same as she used to be…but Nagatsuki going to have to do a lot to convince me that is going to happen.

    This isn’t a “Gabi” situation here, so it’s going to be hard for Subaru but let’s see how it all plays out.

    1. It might simply be her touch that wakes the sleeping victims. Remember Rem spirit or something appeared in the hall memories. So it would quite likely that Rem could restore her memories the same way Subaru restored his.

      It is very weird that no asked Subaru about how he restored his memories. Or no one asked how Rem woke up yet. At first I assumed that she woke up during the teleportation because the laws of magic there were simply different in the inbetween. Which somehow allowed for to wake up. Seems to leaning towards the idea that it was Louis.

      1. Im even more amazed than no one even inquire bout the disappearance of the spirit in the green room in the exact moment Louis appeared and rem woke up. Could be nothing but it was a weird phenomenon.

    2. Since its confirmed that we are getting focus on louis in this arc ahead too, i guess it’s all in line with your thoughts.
      Though i think rem, julius and crusch wouldn’t recover till arc 9

  4. Oh! Oh! Could it be that Louis ate her own memories to forget the trauma of RBD? Wonderful chapter. Thank you for the translation!

    1. I don’t think that was it. I had to catch up to the end of arc 7, and iirc, Louis had split in two, and they “Waged a battle with no victor”.

  5. SPICAAAAAAA

    Tappei cooked with this. The callback to “From Zero” and the callback to Subaru consistently saying he wasn’t going to forgive Louis in “Natsuki Subaru” and “Louis Arneb”, this entire setup has been gold. I know it’s going to be an uphill climb to make sure she gets accepted, but this is everything I’ve been waiting for since Spica lost her memories. 10/10, I cried a fair amount.

  6. Loved this chapter a lot !



    Still can’t get over the fact that Shaula was lost but Spica stayed in the group ;(
    SHAULAAAAAAAA, COME BAAAAAACK ;((((((

  7. Subaru really loves star name XD ..
    The one who knows you better is the enemy..
    In this case, the one who knows Subaru better is Louis (is now Spica)..
    And Louis be like: “yes, i know him, he is me” XD
    Thats why, it would be sad for Subaru if he letting Louis die, cause its just same like he letting himself die and he will lose someone who can understand him (?)..
    At least, after this chapter, Spica will try her best to become a good person, even Subaru dieded (i think) ..
    ..
    Now, if she (Spica) can eat Louis name, i think people will forget the things she done in the past. But if she do that now without returning the memories that she stole, that would be a bug in the storyline..
    (nb: i forgot the past, and cant read the future)
    ..
    Anyways, thanks for translation…

  8. OMGG THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE TRANSLATION!!

    THIS CHAPTER HAS GOT TO BE A HIGHLIGHT OF THIS ARC!

    HUHU I GOT TEARY TOO!! SUCH A GREAT CHAPTER!

    THANK YOU SO MUCH TAPPEI-SAMA AND WCT TEAM!! <3 <3 <3

  9. While I was expecting the name change, I certainly wasn’t expecting the nod to the Sloth What IF. Bravo, Tappei!!! I’m looking forward to Spica’s new life with Rem and Subaru. A new star has a new part to play. I almost want there to be a Rigel now

  10. wow… just wow
    I have no words with this story, it always surprises me how tappei can do such a piece of art from his ideas. Every chapter he releases keeps the quality or becomes even better than the old ones. I have no words with this story, seriously; just beautiful.

  11. I don’t know man, by the end of this arc if spica calls subaru and rem as “dad” and “mom” I am gonna cry. :_)

  12. [~Spica, entrou no grupo ]

    Sério? Barusu é muito preguiçoso para escolher nomes! Bem-vinda Spica. Obrigado pela tradução <3

  13. I teared up, amazing chapter, peak of the peaks, one of the best chapters in the whole novel, seriously arc 8 has so many masterpiece chapters like 6, 12 and now 23, and we are probably 20-25% through the arc.

    REDEMPTION IS REAL, LESS GO SPICAAAAA.

  14. Que bom que ela teve “From Zero” tmb, que nem o Subaru teve o dele… muito lindo !
    Obrigado pelo capítulo maravilhoso!

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