Arc 8, Chapter 54 – “Soumatou”

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Human Translated By:

  • Garcar (Section 4)

Machine Translated By:

  • Kazatashi
  • DatShazam
  • Beloved
  • Bruhseph

Proofread By:

  • Cirdan Lunae
  • SSCaide

Japanese to English Checking By:

  • Garcar
  • Ice
  • Senkel
  • Rageasu

Art Sources:

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――Before he could even notice it, Garfiel Tinzel found himself sitting in a dark place.

Garfiel: [Ah?]

With his sharp eyes widened, Garfiel glanced around.

There was no familiarity to the place. In the dimly-lit area, Garfiel was sunk deep into a chair, elbows on his knees and chin resting on his hands.

What in the world could have brought him to be in such a place?

Garfiel: [Where the fuck am I…]

Wrinkling his nose in suspicion, Garfiel sniffed.

Garfiel’s excellent sense of smell, though not as acute as that of a hyenaperson, was useful for assessing situations. Picking up information about his surroundings was more of an instinctive action―― yet, his sense of smell was not working well.

It was not as if he could not sense any smell, but rather that it seemed elusive.

Speaking of elusiveness, it was not just the smell. The surrounding situation was likewise.

As previously mentioned, he found himself in a dimly-lit area. The ceiling was high, and the chair Garfiel was seated upon was not the only one, as there were rows of chairs arranged on both sides. Moreover, there seemed to be multiple rows of chairs both before and behind Garfiel, with him occupying a seat in the middle of the space.

Just as he was contemplating this, Garfiel recalled something similar to this scene.

Garfiel: [This must be some kinda theater where they do plays or somethin’.]

Once the idea of a theater was spoken, the image solidified in his mind, and it seemed clear-cut.

Indeed. Garfiel was in a theater, sitting in the middle of the auditorium. The dim lighting and high ceiling were all essential elements for theater performances.

Just as Garfiel came to this understanding of his situation, as if on cue, a loud, resonant bell chimed throughout the theater. ――A signal for the beginning of the performance.

Garfiel: [――――]

With widened eyes, Garfiel froze in place, leaving his inner thoughts behind, as a change occurred in front of the audience’s seating―― the curtain rose, unveiling the previously hidden stage.

And, on that stage, bathed in the audience’s gaze, was――,

Garfiel: […A cat?]

Garfiel’s muttered words, accompanied by a frown, succinctly captured the scene on the stage.

In truth, awaiting the start of the performance, now that the curtain had been raised, was a small cat. A tiny gray cat standing on two legs, its arms outstretched.

Its small size, even more reductive than that of the kitten-people Garfiel was aware of, Mimi being one such case, was truly akin to that of a palm.

One such small cat, then two, then three, began the start of their performance on the stage.

Each cat looked identical. And before Garfiel, swept along by the situation, the three cats began to move. ――Each was adorned with different props.

One wore a golden wig, another a red wig, and the last one a white cotton tuft on its head.

Then, before Garfiel’s blinking eyes, the three cats moved to their respective positions on the stage, where they began to perform spectacular movements.

The golden-haired cat and the cotton-tufted cat collided, while the red-haired cat stood still, watching.

Quite the literal scuffle had broken out.

Garfiel: [What the fuck’s this…]

Stunned, Garfiel watched as the cats became entangled on the stage.

The props on the stage were quite elaborate, with a backdrop depicting a stone-hewn cityscape. The houses and kabuki paintings on the walls started to become broken, destroyed, and thrown around as the cats fought with each other.

It was quite the flashy, intricate horseplay, such that one would think it to be almost charming.

Garfiel: [――? That cat, now that I think ’bout it, ain’t I seen it somewhere before?]

Suddenly, as he focused on the performing kittens, Garfiel felt a tug in his memory. Scratching at the lid of his nearly-closed recollection, he gradually opened it, and understanding began to emerge.

Those kittens, they looked just like the pictures that Subaru would draw at Emilia and Beatrice’s insistence, depicting the Great Spirit who was contracted to Emilia.

Garfiel: [Nah, I said what the hell’s up with that!]

Despite having an idea come to mind, Garfiel was indignant because he could not grasp what it meant. He inadvertently raised his voice, causing the kittens on stage to stop their movements in surprise.

Catching a glimpse of the three kittens peeking at him, Garfiel felt mortified.

He did not feel like there was a reason to apologize, nor did he want to insist that there was not one, but――,

???: [――Truly a fool. Sit down, Garf.]

Garfiel: [Oh…]

???: [Watching quietly is the etiquette of theater. Are you trying to disrupt the performance?]

Having been abruptly reprimanded, Garfiel turned to the side with his eyes peeled.

To his left, where there had been no one just moments before, sat a girl with pink hair―― Ram. She pulled Garfiel back by his waistband and sat him down, and then to the kittens who were looking at her with glazed-over eyes, she arrogantly said “Continue”.

Following Ram’s instructions, the kittens resumed their onstage banter. However, Garfiel found Ram’s presence more significant than the stage performance.

Garfiel: [Ram, the fuck’re ya doin’ here? ‘N who the hell are those guys?]

Ram: [Garf.]

Garfiel: [No, this ain’t the time to be talkin’. Anyway, we gotta get outta here! I don’t care where we are, I’ll make sure to keep ya safe.]

Ram: [Garf.]

Garfiel: [Right, lemme know yer thoughts, Ram. Honestly, it’s prolly better to think ’bout things the two of us together than for my amazin’ self to think alone――]

Ram: [――Garf, haven’t you realized?]

Driven by impatience, Garfiel’s tone of voice became more and more agitated, choking up at Ram’s words.

In front of the blinking Garfiel, Ram kept her usual cool demeanor, fixing her eyes on the stage.

Feeling frustrated by the one he loved not reciprocating the attention he was giving her, Garfiel also glanced up at the stage to see what had caught her attention, and he saw the unchanged playful antics of the kittens.

However, he soon realized that there was a hidden meaning beneath their continued playful interactions.

The golden-haired kitten, the red-haired kitten, and the cotton-tufted kitten faced each other and flailed about, wreaking havoc on the cityscape backdrop―― until finally, the cotton-tufted kitten shoved the golden-haired kitten, causing it to tumble.

The fallen golden-haired kitten ended up trapped beneath a fallen prop.

What could this performance be about――,

Ram: [Garf.]

Once again, called by Ram’s quiet voice, Garfiel turned around. And then, the light-crimson eyes that had been watching the stage up until now met his own, and their gazes collided head-on.

He looked at Ram’s face, which normally made his heart pound when seeing it up close; however, at this moment, what was throbbing inside Garfiel was not love, but an instinctive warning bell.

Sensing Garfiel’s realization, Ram let out a small sigh,

Ram: [You, are dying.]

And so, she declared that the theater he was witnessing was merely a fleeting dream.

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――A kitten wearing a golden wig rolling onto the stage, which was his own appearance.

Once he did understand that in a certain way, this entire program appeared to be like nothing but a bad joke.

While confronting the enemy, the cotton-tufted kitten, he had been the one protecting the red-haired kitten behind him. As he pondered upon it, little-by-little, his memory became clearer.

Garfiel: [That’s right, right now my amazin’ self’s in the middle of fightin’ the Dragon that Captain asked me to… So that cotton-tufted one’s the Dragon!? ‘N the red-haired one’s the old man!?]

Ram: [That one has become rather cute.]

Garfiel: [As much as I wanna hear which one, this ain’t the time for that. I gotta get back soon…!]

Ram: [Wait.]

Garfiel: [Gooaah!]

Having understood the situation, Garfiel promptly attempted to jump into action, but he could only cry out in pain as the string of his necklace was pulled tight. Ram had forcibly stopped Garfiel and hastily turned him around to face her, and as Garfiel bore his fangs and was about to yell at her,

???: [Wait, wait, Garfiel. Stay right here like Nee-sama said. Let’s call a timeout.]

Saying so, Natsuki Subaru, who occupied the other seat next to Ram, stopped Garfiel.

The appearance of this Subaru, was one that had not been seen in a while, with long arms and legs―― long in comparison to the present state, but not actually all that long, such was his appearance.

Subaru: [Hey, right now, didn’t you just think of something really hurtful?]

Garfiel: [Don’t’cha fret ‘bout it, Captain. Ain’t’cha always sayin’ that ya got short legs n’ a long torso?]

Subaru: [Saying it yourself versus having it said to you are entirely different kinds of damage! That’s how it’s supposed to be! Am I right, Beako? Emilia-tan?]

Beatrice: [Subaru, right now, it’s Bubby’s moment to shine in the play, so stop interrupting, in fact.]

Emilia: [Sorry, Subaru. I’ll make sure to listen to what you have to say later…]

Subaru, who was finally back to his previous size, was altogether brushed aside by both Beatrice, who was sitting on his lap, and Emilia, who was seated next to him. The girls were way too absorbed in each and every move of the kittens on stage to give Subaru even the slightest attention.

Listening to the conversation between the disappointedly slump-shouldered Subaru and the others, Garfiel meanwhile recalled that the actual name of the kitten, whom he did not know personally, was Puck.

Furthermore, this kind of interaction of Subaru with the rest of the group felt similar to ones he had witnessed in the past.

???: [You are correct, this is a memory of the original theater that this space is based upon. You see, it looks just like the theater we were invited to when we all went to see the play about the Subjugation of the White Whale.]

???: [Garf-san was totally in love with that play. I had a lot of fun too, so I know how you feel.]

Garfiel: [Ottobro, Petra…]

This time, the voices came from behind him, and he turned around, where his gaze was met with Petra, who was waving her hands in the air, and Otto, who was seated next to her and was shrugging his shoulders.

Furthermore, besides Otto, he saw a woman with long, golden hair――,

Garfiel: [Gaoh…]

???: [That is quite the pathetic face you are making, Garf. Besides, Ram raises an unusually valid point this time. So sit, and calm down.]

Garfiel: [Oh, even if ya tell me to calm down…]

???: [Now now. Won’t’cha lend an ear ta what all these people ‘round ya are sayin’? Good grief, one’d expect some growth after not seein’ ya for so long, but yer still wet behind the ears, aren’t’cha, Gar-bo.]

Garfiel: [Geh! Nann… Granny!?]

Ryuzu: […Why’d ya have ta correct yerself ta make it worse?]

Within the eyes of the astonished Garfiel, the figures of his grandmother, Ryuzu, together with his elder sister were reflected.

At that unexpected lineup, Garfiel was left flabbergasted, and Ram, who was right next to him, once again pulled him by the waistband, forcing him to sit down.

Ram: [So? Have you calmed down a little?]

Garfiel: [Just like “Dagraham‘s encirclement”, this ain’t a situation to calm down…! I just sat down ’cause my knees felt a bit weak… What the hell’s goin’ on?]

Ram: [For the time being, it seems like you’re inclined to listen to what Ram has to say. Good.]

???: [As expected of you, Nee-sama.]

Garfiel: [Whoa!?]

Ram nodded with her usually cold expression, when suddenly an audience member seated in front of them turned around and interjected. Realizing that it was Rem, Ram’s light blue-haired younger sister, Garfiel blinked.

However, Rem essentially ignored Garfiel and had turned back around to face forward again.

Garfiel: [Huh, what the…?]

Subaru: [That’s how it is. Garfiel, you don’t have much of a mental image of Rem yet, so she’s only going to react nebulously. It’s completely within the scope of how I impersonated her.]

Garfiel: [At the rate people’re poppin’ up, ain’t it gonna get hella crowded in here, dammit.]

At Rem’s vapidity, with Beatrice seated on his lap, Subaru responded while playing with her hair.

While this reasoning was somewhat convincing, if the person in question could not be recreated properly, then what was the point in keeping them in this theater in the first place; such was his impression.

Frederica: [You have it all wrong, Garf. It is true that you do not know much about Rem yet, but that does not mean you do not care about her. That is the reason why she is here.]

???: [I agree. A person you are concerned about will continue to remain strongly in your heart. Familiarity with the person in question is not all that important, I think that’s the crucial matter in this case.]

Garfiel: [This ain’t good for my heart.]

Somehow, as he was beginning to understand the rules of the theater, the explanation that came from Frederica and Reinhard, who had somehow come to be sitting in the rows behind, lacked a sense of reality.

Since none of this was real, it seemed like lacking that sense of reality was apt. In all likelihood, Frederica and Reinhard being in the same place, and having a conversation like this, had never happened before.

However――,

Garfiel: [My impatience from earlier’s startin’ to calm down. That bein’ said, should I just stay quiet like Ram said? I’m somehow startin’ to feel sleepy…]

Ram: [Ha! What is this idiocy I am hearing? If you fall asleep, you’ll die.]

Garfiel: [So this place really is dangerous after all!]

Beatrice, Emilia & Petra: [Shhh.]

As soon as he raised his voice, Beatrice and Emilia put their fingers to their lips, and Petra admonished him. Being singled out made his lips quiver, and Garfiel clicked his fangs and fell silent.

He was told not to rush back, but then he was told not to be too calm, or else he would die; just what did they want Garfiel to do?

???: [It’s about not returning empty-haaanded~. Just do not try to overthink too much.]

Garfiel: [Urggh, even inside my amazin’ self’s head you piss me off…]

???: [Oya oya, I am so haaated~. Although, blaming me would be absurd, so expressing my regret and apologizing would be an oddity.]

Seated one row behind with his long legs crossed, Roswaal fanned the flames. Looking towards him in frustration, as Garfiel was about to complain, he was suddenly at a loss for words.

He was aware that Reinhard, who had spoken out earlier, was seated next to Roswaal. However, the problem was the other person sitting next to him.

When the woman clad in black noticed Garfiel’s gaze, she smiled sweetly with an “Ara”,

???: [You’re looking at me with quite the burning gaze. Although it’s in a place like this, will you join me in slicing each other to our heart’s content?]

Garfiel: […Doin’ that wouldn’t be any fun. I’d also feel bad for Meili. So I ain’t gonna do it.]

???: [Oh, how disappointing. But, I don’t feel that bad, knowing that you have a place for me inside of you.]

???: [Since it is you Elsa, it is because of your nasty personaaality.]

As a blood-colored smile appeared on Elsa’s face, Meili took over the conversation from her, who was flanking Garfiel by sitting in the row in front of him, right next to Rem.

Somehow, he was beginning to understand the significance of the seating arrangements. If he was right, then naturally next to Elsa, a giant blue-skinned man with eight arms should have been present.

???: [————]

The giant man kept a rock-like expression on his face, and glancing at Garfiel, he remained silent.

Exposed to that silent pressure, Garfiel took a short breath, clenching his fist tighter and tighter. And then, that was when Garfiel’s clenched fist was enveloped by the hand of a small shadow that had leaned over from the seat in front.

???: [Garf, are you okaaay~? Can you do it? Mimi’s super worried.]

Garfiel: [Mimi…]

Ram: [That’s right. Garf is a coward at heart.]

The round-eyed Mimi took hold of his right hand, and his left hand was taken by Ram who was next to him.

Garfiel looked up, glanced around at their faces, and then let out a long, long sigh.

This was not a scene out of reality, Garfiel himself was about to die.

Despite that, the companions within his mind stopped him from going back immediately, and them taking turns talking to him like this, was like the “soumatou” that he had once heard about from Subaru. [1]

Subaru: [But you know, Garfiel. Normally, in a soumatou, all of your memories from birth till the current moment flash before your eyes in a jiffy, it’s not something where you get summoned to a theater.]

Garfiel: […So then, the fuck’s this supposed to be, Captain?]

Subaru: [For that, you’re gonna have to find the answer yourself.]

Rem: [As expected of Subaru-kun. I’m impressed.]

Garfiel: [――By myself.]

For a moment, despite the extra interjection in between, Garfiel went deep into rumination.

If this was not a soumatou, and the answer was instead to be found by himself, then was it not just a momentary respite until the dying Garfiel could stand back up?

If he did not stand up right away, he would fail to fulfill the role he had been entrusted with――.

Beatrice: [Uu, I hope each of the Bubbys do their best, I suppose…!]

Emilia: [That’s right. No matter the outcome, let’s properly see it through to the end…!]

Indifferent to the anxious Garfiel, Beatrice and Emilia, who were watching the play, seemed to be getting more excited as the climax of the performance approached.

In suspense, and experiencing a whirlwind of emotions from what was occurring on the stage, the two held hands as the peculiar portrayal of Puck and Puck clashing with each other swayed their emotions tempestuously.

On stage, the golden-haired Puck had fallen over, and the red-haired Puck was restraining the cotton-tufted Puck as he tried to move in the direction of the golden-haired Puck, an undoubtedly perilous predicament――,

Garfiel: [――The red-haired one…]

The red-haired Puck, while protecting the golden-haired Puck, was facing the cotton-tufted Puck.

The situation on the stage had changed while Garfiel had not been looking, and fearing that it was a reflection of reality, Garfiel’s expression changed as he gnashed his fangs.

As expected, he needed to get back right away――,

Ram: [――Truly a fool.]

It was a familiar affront, but unlike the usual tone imbued with a bit of gentleness, the voice carried within it a more definite rebuke.

Garfiel’s eyes widened at Ram’s words, and she pointed to the stage with the hand opposite the one she had placed over Garfiel’s. Looking at the stage that had been directed to, he found that the situation had continued to progress.

The collapsed, golden-haired Puck had arisen, and had pushed aside the red-haired Puck. It immediately began to head for the cotton-tufted Puck―― with a single blow from the cotton-tufted Puck, the golden-haired Puck turned into light.

Subaru: [One out. However, in life, you don’t get three outs. One out is how it ends.]

Having turned the golden-haired Puck into light, the cotton-tufted Puck chased after the red-haired Puck, as the latter turned around in an attempt to run away, also being turned into light by the former. Thus, the cotton-tufted Puck alone remained on stage, and the play reached its curtain’s close.

Amid sparse applause, the stage curtain descended, with the cotton-tufted Puck bowing deeply, and as the stage signaled the end of the performance――,

Mimi: [Ehhh~! That wasn’t enjoyable at all! Mimi isn’t satisfieeed~!]

And so, Mimi, who like Ram was also holding Garfiel’s hand, stretched out her tail and started to throw a tantrum like a misbehaving child.

However, for a play that had already reached its conclusion, speaking out like that was pointless―― but that had not been so.

In the next moment, the opening bell resounded within the theater, and the curtain that had been lowered began to rise once more.

And on the other side of the curtain, the golden-haired Puck and the red-haired Puck, who ought to have disappeared, along with the cotton-tufted Puck, who ought to have made them disappear, were facing off; protecting the collapsed golden-haired, the climactic scene where red-haired confronted cotton-tufted was being reenacted.

Garfiel: [The hell…]

Unsure of what in the world was unfolding, Garfiel’s throat quivered.

And then, to Garfiel, whose thoughts had gone blank,

Ram: [Just recklessly standing back up didn’t work, now did it? If so, then what will you do?]

So asked Ram, calmly with one eye closed.

To that question from Ram, Garfiel gulped, and he looked upon the stage once again.

Rem: [Nee-sama is wonderful.]

Truly, that was so; with the younger sister whom he was not yet too familiar with, Garfiel wholeheartedly agreed.

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Onstage, the golden-haired Puck evaporated into light again and again.

It seemed that a great deal of improvisation was allowed in this play, and the content was influenced to a great extent by the audience’s opinions.

However――,

Reinhard: [How about a serious kick to turn the entire Imperial Capital upside down?]

Elsa: [How about pretending just once to be gravely injured, and aiming at your opponent when they think you’re dead?]

Roswaal: [Even Dragons seem to have some sort of attachment. For example, hooow~ about using a friend of the Dragon who may be in the Imperial Capital as a shield?]

Garfiel: [If all ya can think of is impossible crap or cowardly plans, then shut up!]

Opinions that were not even adopted to the stage were shared one after another, and as Garfiel barked back furiously at the people behind him they all shut their mouths in unison.

Simply, since it was their words and actions as perceived by Garfiel, he could not help but feel unproductive because he felt as if he was angry with himself.

Otto: [At the very least, he needs to take advantage of the terrain. The difference between a large and small body can be fatal, but on the other hand, there must be a gap that can be used by being small.]

Petra: [Yeah, that’s right. Garf-san’s body is smaller than the Dragon’s, and he might lose in a contest of strength but… that’s why we should talk about what contest he can win in.]

Subaru: [In theory, yes, but in practice, how can we do it? Garfiel aside, if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to win a fight against a Dragon even if it was doing a handstand.]

Otto: [The thought of Natsuki-san exterminating a Dragon, I would not expect that from anyone but Garfiel.]

On the other hand, he felt that his comrades beside him who were speaking constructively were speaking more wisely than Garfiel, even though they were Garfiel’s perception of them.

Of course, the real people would have conversations like this, but――.

Subaru: [Emilia-tan, do you have any advice for Garfiel?]

Emilia: [Me? Well… I think that the part where he couldn’t catch Mezoreia’s tail before they hit him like that, that part wasn’t good. He may have been in a difficult position, but instead of trying to catch it, couldn’t he have dodged it?]

Subaru: [You really responded better than I thought!]

Rem: [As expected of Emilia-san.]

While she watched the Pucks prance on stage, Emilia made an accurate point and Subaru and Rem both responded to her.  He did not know if Rem’s response was correct, but perhaps her statement was a direct reflection of Garfiel’s feelings.

At any rate, he felt that things were gradually coming into view.

However, when one piled something up and piled it up and piled it up, and then brought it back to reality, how likely was it that it would actually be useful?

Ryuzu: [Yer worried, aren’t’cha, Gar-bo?]

Garfiel: [Honestly, my amazin’ self feels more shameful than worried. My amazin’ self was the one entrusted with the duty of dealin’ with that Dragon.]

Ryuzu looked at his face and Garfiel expressed his loathsome feelings.

He had jumped in with gusto, nearly died in the heat of battle, and once that had been lacking, Garfiel had built a theater in his head with a large group of his friends―― well, some were not his friends, but by all of them he was comforted.

Ryuzu: [And, what’s so shameful ‘bout that?]

Garfiel: [――――]

Upon being asked that, Garfiel furrowed his brow and raised his head. Lined up next to Ryuzu was Frederica, who was staring at Garfiel.

With the same emerald eyes as Garfiel, she squinted.

Frederica: [What is shameful about this, Garf?]

She piled on the same question.

Garfiel: [It’s… shameful, ain’t it. Everyone else’s fightin’ by themselves, n’ yet, only my amazin’ self… Hk.]

Ryuzu: [If ya can’t fight by yerself then that’s shameful. Is that what yer sayin’?]

Garfiel: [Yeah! Wait, no, that ain’t right. I ain’t sayin’ it’s shameful to work together in a fight. This, meaning, havin’ my friends bustlin’ together in my head.]

Frederica: [――Seriously, that is impossible, Garf.]

Having been driven ragged, all he could do was rely on the companions in his own mind.

Towards Garfiel who was vigorously trying to break away from that attitude, Frederica spoke clearly.

With her emerald-green eyes narrowed, Frederica sighed at the stiffening Garfiel and,

Frederica: [You really are quite dumb, Garf. Please take a look at your surroundings.]

Garfiel: [My surroundings…]

Being told this, Garfiel looked around the inside of the theater.

His companions were lined up in the seats next to him, his enemies were in the seats behind, those who he was hesitant to call his allies were in front of him, and—— before he knew it, there were no empty seats left in the theater, all of them were filled with faces that Garfiel was familiar with.

Garfiel: [————]

Ram, Subaru and some others were naturally there, and so were Roswaal, Reinhard, Mimi, Rem and the others, and there were even more people beyond that.

There were also the people of the Mathers Domain, and there were also those that he had come to know over the course of his journey in the Empire.

There were the companions he was fond of and other people who he could not get close with, but every single one of them had come into contact with Garfiel’s life in some way, and each had secured themselves a seat.

Ryuzu: [My oh my, the theater’s jam-packed. Soon we won’t all be able to fit in here no more.]

Seeing the same thing as Garfiel, Ryuzu let out a good humored chuckle.

As his grandmother had stated, the theater was so full that some people had to stand. Everyone looked at the scene of the Pucks atop the stage, watching how the Puck that played the role of Garfiel was losing.

At that reality, his face began to heat up. What a pathetic, disgraceful manner of losing.

Everyone was surely fed up with him——,

Ram: [——Truly a fool.]

Mimi: [You know, Garf. All of this is inside Garf’s head, right? But, Garf’s head isn’t very smart. Just like Mimi! So, that also goes for what everyone is saying, right?]

Being spoken to from both his left and right in quick succession, Garfiel blinked his eyes.

Then when he looked around again, everyone who had previously been looking at the stage had turned to face Garfiel himself. Looking at each of their faces one-by-one, he thought back on the type of people they were.

Everyone had spoken as much as they pleased throwing their complaints towards the Puck playing the role of Garfiel that kept losing, but——,

Garfiel: [Nobody’s tellin’ my amazin’ self anythin’ that’s convenient for me, or anythin’ that I don’t think they’d say.]

Ram’s words were direct, and Mimi’s were vague, but they were both saying the same thing.

If this theater was in Garfiel’s head, and for the sake of comforting his beaten and dying self, he had gathered his family, friends, acquaintances, and even enemies, then that would be beyond pathetic.

But, Garfiel was not smart.

Getting people to think and say things that they would not normally say, or having them line up convenient words to comfort his heart like he was playing with puppets, were the sort of complicated things he was unable to do.

Subaru: [As you’ve thought, you can’t put what we’ve discussed here to good use in the outside world. This is just consolation, a temporary peace of mind. But, there’s nothing wrong with resting, even if it’s just your mind.]

Beatrice: [Even though it was Subaru who requested him to stop the Dragon, that is quite the manner of speaking, in fact.]

Subaru: [That’s because I’m the me inside Garfiel’s head…!]

Emilia: [Wait, so that means, when it feels like you’re about to say reaaally difficult things, it’s just because that’s how it seems to Garfiel? Is that so?]

Emilia, with a puzzled look on her face, asked this, making Garfiel let out an “Ah”.

He looked overhead, taking a moment to think before lowering his gaze.

Garfiel: [Maybe since I’m fine with however much the Captain asks of me, the Captain in my amazin’ self’s head can say things like that.]

Otto: [Even supposing that were the case, you should know that the people around you are giving you their honest advice. Really, I have no clue where you learnt to think like this…]

Frederica: […Otto-sama would say that, now wouldn’t he?]

As Otto pointed at himself with a disappointed expression, Frederica gave a wry smile. Seeing this, Petra placed a hand over her mouth, letting out an “Aha”, a laughter which began to spread throughout her surroundings.

Before Garfiel realized it, he had joined in the laughter, in spite of himself.

Garfiel: [Well, like, maybe I was bein’ a bit stubborn.]

Ryuzu: [Oh, Gar-bo?]

Garfiel: [‘Cause Captain asked me to do it, n’ also ‘cause the Empire was at risk. Sure, my opponent’s a Dragon, n’ like always we can’t afford to lose, but what the hell.]

Slowly, Garfiel moved his hands apart from their interlocking and raised them up. Then, he brought them together with force before his chest, letting out a thunk.

With that pose, with the reverberating sound of his gnashing fangs, with his rising fighting spirit,

Garfiel: [This here, is a job entrusted to my amazin’ self, but my amazin’ self ain’t gonna be fightin’ alone.]

???: [——Magnificent.]

Inspired by Garfiel’s rising spirits, a low, solemn commendation hung over the room.

It had come from a seat behind him, and Garfiel did not need to confirm that this single word had been spoken by a giant with four pairs of crossed arms. Now, there was just one thing that he wanted to ascertain.

Garfiel: [I told’cha, Captain! I’ll make that flyin’, bellyachin’ Dragon drop to the ground!]

Subaru: [——Yeah! Like you said! Go and get ‘em!]

Garfiel: [Hyooo!]

With an energetic reply, Garfiel stood up with verve.

And, unlike the other times when he stood up where she had pulled him back, Ram did not move. Garfiel glanced at her, and as she looked at the stage while embracing her elbows,

Ram: [What?]

Garfiel: [Ha! It’s nothin’. Seems like in my amazin’ self’s head, you ain’t that unswayable of a woman.]

Ram: [There’s no need to go out of the way to say what’s already obvious. That’s what Garf is for.]

Garfiel flashed a wry smile at Ram as she shrugged her dainty shoulders, not even turning her gaze over his way. In her place, Mimi nimbly jumped on top of her seat,

Mimi: [Then, Mimi speaks! Garf, it’d be so cool if you won this!]

Laughing at his declaration, Mimi slapped Garfiel’s back with all the strength she could muster.

Then, a beat later, just like Mimi had, Subaru, Beatrice, Emilia, Petra, Frederica, and Ryuzu all clapped Garfiel on the back.

As he was being pushed out, Garfiel was clapped on the back, and he faced towards the exit of the theater.

Garfiel: [Ottobro! Give me some advice.]

Otto: [Let me see… When it comes to dangerous behavior like risking your life, I would not allow that for anyone other than for myself.]

Garfiel: [I don’t wanna just be told that by you, Ottobro!]

His joking older brother gave him a slap on the back, forcing Garfiel towards the exit of the theater.

As he was forced towards the doorway, he saw his younger siblings, who he had thought could not be found in any of the seats, and towards them and his mother who held them by their shoulders, he directed a thumbs up.

An encounter that had filled the entirety of the theater, it had been a good soumatou.

And so, in those final moments, he pointed his finger towards the Pucks onstage, and,

Garfiel: [——My amazin’ self ain’t a cat! I’m the Gorgeous Tiger!]

△▼△▼△▼△

???: [――――]

Dragons were beings that were often likened to natural disasters and cataclysms, but the way the Cloud Dragon, Mezoreia, was rampaging about left that judgment no room for objection whatsoever.

It was an incarnation of destruction, one which had completely changed the scenery of the Imperial Capital from what it had been just a few minutes, its fierce rampage a sight utterly inconceivable for this world; witnessing that, Heinkel’s legs could not stop shaking as his heart shattered.

There had also been someone who had altered Heinkel’s destiny in a mere instant.

However, they had suffered a crushing defeat in an exchange of blows against the Dragon, and had been blown away by a roar which split the very ground asunder. Debris had rained down upon them, and had buried them underneath.

That was why there was no point, even though he had told them.

Senselessly, mercilessly, the golden-haired boy had lost his life.

And Heinkel had been unable to do anything but silently watch――,

???: [――I’M THE GORGEOUS TIGER!!]

The next moment, an explosion occurred from within the mountain of rubble, and an angry roar reverberated.

At the event that had been far too abrupt, Heinkel’s throat clogged up in shock, astonished by the person who had thrust their first upwards and blown away the mountain of rubble―― Garfiel.

Garfiel: [Ahh, shit… How long’s my amazin’ self been sleepin’ for…?]

Staggeringly shaking his head, Garfiel ripped off his tattered vest, and enquired so. At that question, Heinkel blinked his eyes in surprise,

Heinkel: […Since you were buried under the rubble, it’s been about five seconds.]

Garfiel: [――Five seconds, huh? Almost got killed ten times over, that was a fuckin’ close one.]

Taking a long, deep breath, Garfiel cracked the joints in his neck.

Seeing that unthinkable figure right after he had thought that the attack had undoubtedly killed Garfiel, Heinkel was at a loss for words. But, there was also someone even more shocked than Heinkel, and could not conceal their surprise.

Mezoreia: [Wha, t… hk.]

Garfiel, who had been bustling about with no cease to his motion, delivering unthinkable blows as if there were no difference in size between them, should have finally been defeated.

He had certainly been killed. For that belief to have been shattered in merely five seconds, Heinkel sympathized. ――What did it matter if he sympathized? Against that ultimate lifeform, against the Cloud Dragon?

Mezoreia: [You, why… why won’t you friggin’ die…?]

Garfiel: [Ahh? Don’t be an idiot, I really would’ve died. That is, if Pops didn’t go ‘n make those five seconds for me.]

Heinkel: [I-I didn’t do any…]

Garfiel bared his teeth at the words of the astonished Dragon, but Heinkel could only shake his head.

It was true that right after Garfiel had been blown away and buried in the rubble, Heinkel had kept on holding his sword and had exchanged glances with Mezoreia. But, that had been nothing more than him gazing at it while understanding that had Garfiel been defeated, he would become the next prey.

Mezoreia: [――Hk! DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!]

Ignoring Heinkel’s self-awareness, Mezoreia’s patience had reached its limit.

The Cloud Dragon furiously closed in on the bolt-upright Garfiel, and raising up its thick, long tail, it brought it down like a flash of lightning.

The wind generated from the flap of its wings, which it had used to approach, was enough to make it feel as if the likes of Heinkel were about to be blown away. The extraordinary blow from the Dragon aimed directly for Garfiel――,

Heinkel: [――Ah?]

That instant, the Cloud Dragon’s body blurred mid-air, and its entirety was slammed into the protective wall of the Imperial Capital.

Mezoreia: [――Urahwahdah!?]

Turned upside down, Mezoreia’s back crashed into the wall, and it let out a disheveled exhale without understanding what had just happened; sharing that lack of understanding, Heinkel’s jaw was left agape.

It was not clear how it had been done. But, it was clear who had done what.

――Garfiel had parried the blow from Mezoreia’s tail, and had thrown the Dragon.

Garfiel: [Ahh, shit… Now I’ve done it.]

Looking down at his hands, for some reason, Garfiel muttered so in discontent.

Making an expression as if he was digging up an unpleasant memory, he repeatedly opened and closed the hands that had thrown the Dragon, then turned around.

Those emerald-green eyes directly clashed with the eyes of the upside down Cloud Dragon.

And then――,

Garfiel: [Well, never mind. Let’s fuckin’ do this, round two. ――Sorry ‘bout this, but my amazin’ self’s the only one who’s got a mountain load of support!]

Indeed, using incomprehensible reasoning as fuel for his fighting spirit, Garfiel’s clash with the Cloud Dragon, after a momentary stoppage, began anew―― the verse of a legend, headed for its coda.

 

Translation Note:

[1] – Soumatou (走馬灯) is a kind of revolving lantern that is designed to show a revolving shadow picture. It is used as an expression to signify the phenomenon of one’s life flashing before their eyes.

48 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 54 – “Soumatou””

  1. So lame, now he’s going to get some random powerup and beat her even when he was eating air just a second ago, same thing happened with kurgan

    1. I was happy with this one. I saw a lot of dissatisfaction in the comments, but from a ‘viewer’ perspective, this actually would be a fantastic scene in the anime. It isn’t just about him finding some hidden power or whatever. It’s an affirmation of his story arc. It’s his ‘Trial’ episode. He wakes up in a place he is familiar with, he sees the people he knew (before their deaths), the people he knows, the people he understands, and those who had deep meaning to him. And he comes to a true conclusion about himself and his path. It’s also (and this is why he’s suddenly so strong) him accepting help. In this case, it’s him accepting the strength of Cor Leonis rather than fighting on his own with no help and likely having resisted it this whole time since it’s not in his nature to accept help.

    2. I think it’s not, mostly I think the theater scene is Cor Leonis and RbD ability of Subaru. I guess the theatre scene shows Subaru’s RbD shared by cor leonis to Garfielo, which result Garfiel trying to stand up is where he get up and fought the dragon carelessly resulting him and Heinkel dying and restarting.

  2. I am I the only person who feels that this chapter was a bit longer then it needed to be. Part of this is that I just want to get back Al which was the cliff hanger the last book ended on.

    1. I thought the chapter was actually short but was super disappointed it only covered this one scene. I didn’t hate this but there’s just way too much going on and too much jumping around.

      I’m hoping we get another translated chapter because I felt like no progress was made at all.

      1. Regardless of long the chapter was. The scene was to long for just a lead up to having his problems be solved via the power of friendship. There other series that deal with switch character perspectives far better re zero has recently.

        1. Will be kinda the middle man here, cause i liked the theater scene, and think it was just the right length, and reminded me of something like final Evangelion episodes (which are usually disliked tho)…
          But i do agree that the ending seems lame, it would’ve been much better if he used the actual advices he recieved from friends (aka. “himself”), and for example doged the tail, entered a small door bulding to obscure enemy view and then human-cannoballed the dragon with his speed, or something similar.
          Instead he just “well, time to toss a guy i never imagined defeating in the air, since yes”

        2. i agree with you about the character perspective being done badly. rezero always had an excuse for the powerups in moments like these so it doesnt seem like a “friendship power!!!!” moment. but, because we were inside heinkel’s mind we didnt get to see the reason why he powered up THAT MUCH in 5 secons. if this mistake somehow makes it through to LN we will all agree that tappei fell off by forgetting to add the salt. and then we kill him irl. good plan?

  3. All this jumping around from battle to battle is driving me crazy. Can we at least conclude one of them before switching? Or only switch back and forth between 2 of them?

    I honestly didn’t remember what had last happened in Garfiel’s fight, and will likely forget all the others by the time they’re revisited later if the story keeps on like this.

    1. Well i dont doubt you considering you already seem to have forgotten that both eugard and Balroy have been defeated (and without switch midfight) but considering the former was beaten in litterally the last paragraph of the last chapter, I would argue that’s a bit of a you problem here.

      1. Ouch!! That’s just plain SAVAGE!!!
        I’d likely be in tears if I were on the receiving end… but I’m not, so I can’t help but laugh!

  4. People will complain about the chapter, but in my opinion, this was a solid 10/10 chapter. We got to see Garf’s mind and character development for him. It’s easy to peg this as “Power of Friendship BS”, which would’ve been bad IF AND ONLY IF not executed correctly. Advice: just enjoy the story and complain at the end if you want to.

    1. this WAS executed incorrectly though. we shouldve gotten garf’s pov at the end not Henkel’s. we can practically guess henkel’s exact thoughts at this point yet garf’s important moment was sacrificed for him. really hope this is fixed in the LN

  5. Yall mf’s are dumb as shit for getting to this point in the story and not understanding how amazing this chapter was for garf. 10/10 chapter.

  6. Garfiel: [――Five seconds, huh? Almost got killed ten times over, that was a fuckin’ close one.]

    Subaru:welcome to my world

  7. Really great and unexpected chapter, prying into Garfiels mind. Not sure i agree with the sudden power up or friendship takes i’m seeing in the comments, it felt way more like we were seeing Garfiel realise he was fighting for more than himself, reviving his confidence and mentality.

    1. I think that what garfiel did is not a power up… It’s either roswaal’s or the Shinobi’s technique to redirect force which he is reluctant to use.

  8. Could also be him finally allowing cor Leonis taking effect since he’s accepted that fighting alone isn’t gonna solve the issue

  9. Am I the only one who notices this? Everyone in re:zero forgot what Rem’s previous behavior was like after Gluttony used his ability on her
    But inside this Sumato, even though it was a fantasy created by Garfiel, Rem always behaved the same way in Arc 1, 2, and 3.

    1. Subaru told everyone how Rem used to act, which is why she makes very minimal lines. Garfiel doesn’t know her personally

  10. I feel like Tappei has been taking so much inspiration from Gege Akutami in these latest chapters. First it was the stand proud thing, and now the clapping on the back, just like Gojo.
    It’s interesting to see I suppose

  11. Nice was that a whdaa reference? Also did he just sense Subaru’s looping through the play?

  12. How many times did Subaru die to overcome those 5 seconds??? That was def Cor Leonis and RBD’s projection

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