Arc 8, Chapter 58 – “Proof of Existence”

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  • Garcar (Section 1,2)

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――Going behind a guard who was keeping watch, he struck the pressure points that ran along the central meridian of their body.

Guard: [――――]

That instant, the posture of the opponent was broken, and they collapsed without raising their voice. The reason why he had propped up the body as it collapsed was not out of consideration, but rather because it would have caused problems if the sound of armor striking the ground had rung out.

???: [Good grief, it’s darn tirin’ for an old fella like me ta carry a large man with a single hand. ――Even tho’ their insides are hollow, they got some firm weight ta ‘em which makes it annoyin’.]

Saying that, the white-haired, white-eyebrowed old man―― Olbart carried the collapsed enemy with his lone left arm, lightly striking the defensive wall beside him with the tips of his toes. As he did so, he caused the surface of the wall to ripple as if it were water, and he forcefully stuffed the enemy’s body into it; it was swallowed, and the wall’s surface filled back in.

Fortunately, it seemed like the undead were able to go without breathing, so he could bury them in the walls to settle things without having to kill.

As their hearts did not beat, neither did blood flow. Were they to be killed, it would have been fine to just sweep the fragments away with a broom, so it was fortunate that dealing with the cleanup was easy.

Olbart: [But, everythin’ other than that aspect ain’t good in the slightest. When ya kill ‘em, there’re some that got the damn nerve ta get up right after they die, so recklessly killin’ ‘em’ll just make it more troublesome.]

Among the special traits of the opposing undead, the thing Olbart viewed as the most dangerous was the revival of defeated enemies.

When faced with enemies that would continue to be resurrected, no matter how many times they were defeated, even the Imperial Soldiers, overflowing with fighting spirit, would have their hearts broken―― that was not Olbart’s reason, but rather, the issue was that the undead that were killed and resurrected would inherit the memories from before they were killed.

Through such means, the opponent could use replaceable lives in exchange for instantaneous sharing of all sorts of information.

Olbart, the head honcho of the shinobi, was more than aware of how important it was to have accurate and recent information within warfare. It was to the extent that the enemies Olbart had killed the most within his lifetime, were between scouts and messengers.

Originally, killing would have been done to prevent the transmission of information, so the fact that there was danger of information being transmitted even if they were killed was nothing short of absurd.

Olbart: [Well, shinobi techniques’ve also got somethin’ that makes ya self-destruct upon death, sendin’ information through the color of the eruptin’ smoke, so we’re in the same boat, the same boat I tell ya.]

Even though angering others was the principal domain of the shinobi, with this, they would surely go out of business.

Through the investigation that was carried out amidst the combat to push back the enemy forces during the evacuation from the Imperial Capital, it was discovered that the undead possessed a vital point known as a “corebug”, and that seemed to be the source of their resurrection. There were also some undead that could regenerate even if their heads were sent flying, but that was because their corebug had not been destroyed.

In the end, the source of the corebugs’ power was the Great Spirit known as the Stone, so even if the undead were fully killed down to their corebugs, it would cause Muspel to lose strength, making it unable to support the vast lands of the Empire.

Therefore, Olbart was thoroughly putting in effort to enforce the policy of “not killing” the undead.

By precisely striking the weak spots of the human body that were known as pressure points, the body could be robbed of its freedom, becoming powerless like the undead that had been buried in the wall earlier. In that manner, the undead stuffed into the wall by Olbart numbered about fifty―― even though the construction and interior of their bodies were as papier mâché, he was relieved that their pressure points still functioned as weak spots.

But then again, considering the enormous numbers of undead, this was naught more than a meager resistance.

Olbart: [For the Imperial people who specialize in the subject of killin’ or bein’ killed, ain’t it awfully harsh ta tell ‘em not ta die and not ta kill?]

That was an opinion that the allied troops from the Kingdom and the City-States, who were engaged in a cooperative relationship in order to save the Empire, would frown upon were they to hear it, but it was an opinion that relatively many of the Imperial peoples would likely agree with.

As a result, with the enemy spearheading the Great Disaster being the worst possible matchup for the Vollachian Empire, they were engaged in a defensive battle with the absolute condition of not killing. ――No, it was not “as a result”.

Olbart: [It’s a bad habit of old folk ta always imagine the worst. An opponent who’s got the nerve ta use all the blood that’s soaked into the soil of the Empire ’til now… they’re completely targetin’ our weakness.]

A battlefield where soldiers of yore were revived one after another, it was an environment that had come into being due to the fact that Vollachia was a place where conflict never petered out.

Considering that even under the same conditions, it likely would not have amounted to such a disaster in any of the other countries, so in order to conquer Vollachia, the enemy had taken the most suitable measures.

That was why, this side also had to understand that this was a board that must not be misread.

Olbart: [――――]

Narrowing his eyes concealed by his white eyebrows, Olbart held his breath in the Crystal Palace, which he was in the midst of independently infiltrating.

Invisibility that eliminated one’s presence as much as possible, it was something that lived up to the name of the shinobi’s head honcho―― including the fact that he had been picking off the guards without being noticed, there was no way his presence would be caught.

If his presence were to be detected, thereby including him as a target of the Curse of Thorns, Olbart would be made powerless. He was weak to pain. The mere thought of thorns stabbing into his heart made him want to toss in his sleep.

In order to avoid that, Olbart had been taking the utmost care in his movements.

――Invading the Imperial Capital with a select few, they would quickly defeat the ringleader of the enemy.

This was the plan being employed in the final stage of the war against the Great Disaster, and while it was a given for Vincent, Olbart also deemed it as the best possible method without any objections.

The numbers of undead exceeded the count of Imperial Soldiers, and even if they engaged in a war of attrition, the lifeforce of the Stone would be depleted, and the lifespan of the Empire would diminish; that was how thoroughly they had been backed into a corner.

The fact that they had no choice but to hasten to a conclusion, was something that was utterly obvious to anybody’s eyes.

Olbart: [‘Course, the opponent’s also gonna be anticipatin’ that.]

However, even if the opponent was aware, if no other option existed, then there would be no choice but to take that one. What remained was how many things they had in their hand, of which their tactics were already exposed, that could defy their opponent’s expectations.

Therefore, the select few were divided even further, and several decoys to attract the enemy’s attention had been prepared.

While those decoys were active, Olbart only had to fulfill the duties assigned to him.

――Olbart’s role was to infiltrate the Crystal Palace, and bring back intelligence regarding the uncertain interior of the palace.

Of especially high importance were the whereabouts of the ringleader of the Great Disaster, the one known as Sphinx, and the liberation of the Steelman, Moguro Hagane, whose movements had likely been sealed within the palace. Additionally, if he had some leeway, there was the retrieval of Cecilus’s beloved katanas, the Dream Sword and the Fiend Sword.

Olbart: [Tho’, I prolly won’t be able ta find Ceci’s katanas. The Fiend Sword tends ta run away, and I ain’t got any way of knowin’ where the Dream Sword’s been stored.]

Cecilus was always eager to babble on about anything, but even though he would talk about how incredible his beloved katanas were, he was not so foolish as to blather on about their special qualities. He would probably give an answer if questioned, but to inquire about an opponent’s hand, was tantamount to inviting suspicion that one had a reason to do so.

Olbart had not been so foolish as to carelessly provoke Cecilus.

Anyhow, due to the improbability, Olbart put off the retrieval of the katanas for later.

Ideally, he would grasp Sphinx’s location, and secure her body. If he could do so, then through the power of that commendable boy who, though in a shrunken state, did not want to return to normal―― Schwartz, and the girl he brought along, then the undead could be entirely wiped out, down to their souls.

Being able to implement that would be the most desirable conclusion in this battle against the Great Disaster.

However, that would not be an easy feat.

Olbart: [――Good grief, this one’s another dead end.]

Contrary to his desire for a swift conclusion, Olbart’s feet often came to a halt.

Being able to perfectly grasp a scene simply by looking at a map, and absolutely never forgetting a location upon a single visit, were fundamental skills of the shinobi, and for Olbart, the Crystal Palace was a place of work that he visited frequently.

In spite of that, the reason why Olbart’s search was not progressing favorably was because the interior of the Crystal Palace, which he ought to have been familiar with, had been completely reshaped from that which Olbart knew.

Olbart: [Even tho’ this kinda perplexity is originally meant ta be our speciality.]

Though Olbart did not think there was any value in it, the Crystal Palace was a building known for being the world’s most beautiful castle. Due to the decisive battle for the Imperial Capital, a part of its wall had been destroyed, but even so, there was no large impact on its outward appearance when viewed from a distance.

However, the interior of the palace was an incredibly different story.

Various aspects such as the construction of passageways, the positioning of rooms, and the size of doors had been altered, and it had been transformed into an entirely different palace, such that even Vincent, who had once lived here in the Crystal Palace, would become lost.

The lack of change to its exterior was guaranteed to bewilder any who would charge in without a plan.

Even if he returned with just this information, there would have been more than enough meaning in Olbart’s preceding infiltration. Or perhaps Schwartz, who was serving the role of strategist, had already hypothesized this situation.

If that were the case, his power of insight was promising, but at the same time, it was a future threat.

There were none who knew how the Kingdom and the City-States, which were currently in a cooperative relationship with the Empire, would deal with the latter after the Great Disaster of the undead was stopped.

For when that time would come about, Chisha would no longer be by Vincent’s side.

Olbart: [――However, ya really went and pulled that off, Chesshy.]

The flames of war, the winds of blood, and the atmosphere of Death that was persistently fragrant from both the living and the dead.

For those reasons, his heart had naught the time to mourn, but Olbart appraised Chisha for having stolen his technique through his “ability”, and furthermore, for having replaced Vincent without Olbart having noticed.

Olbart enjoyed stealing the techniques of others, but he was not fond of being stolen from himself.

After all, growth was a privilege of the young. Even if they did not steal, there were unlimited possibilities of what they could produce by their own hands. Conversely, the old had no such room for growth. That was why Olbart was not fond of being stolen from.

What would happen if, instead of producing something new, young people stole, and then yearned for more?

Would it not be that this world would cease to produce new things, thereby causing Olbart to run out of things to steal?

Olbart: [That bastard Chesshy had some damn nerve ta act so cunningly. ――Tho’ it ain’t like I don’t understand how he was feelin’.]

Within a limited frame of time, Chisha had desired the best possible outcome.

In other words, Chisha and Olbart had the same choice. Olbart was an old man who was nearing the end of his rope, and Chisha was a dead soldier who had established an opportunity to meet the end of his rope before long.

Hence, it was a matter of not having selected the means that would have increased the cards in one’s hand.

Having entered the bout with limited cards in his hand, Chisha had seized victory in this situation.

――This situation, in which Vincent had been kept alive, and Olbart had been enlisted as an ally.

Olbart: [――――]

――Olbart Dunkelkenn had an ambition.

It was the final goal of his life, to leave his name in the history of the Empire, in a form with which none other could compare; to engrave, to prove that the being known as himself had indeed existed as an individual life.

Olbart had been received as a shinobi, had been raised as a shinobi, and had lived as a shinobi.

In a role where many would use and discard their lives, where it was natural to be unable to achieve a long life, Olbart had lived to a point where the age of one hundred was now close at hand. But, in his long life as an Imperial citizen, as a shinobi, Olbart had spent the greater part of his days fulfilling the objectives of others.

That could have been called the destiny of the shinobi way of life, but Olbart had lived exceptionally long among the shinobi. ――In that case, then it would have also been fine for his end to be unbecoming of a shinobi.

If it was typical for a shinobi to silently disappear into the darkness of history without leaving their name behind, then would it not be fine for Olbart to purposely aim for the complete inversion of that?

Therefore, Olbart had vigilantly awaited such an opportunity.

In order to bloom at the end of his life, he had thought that the most effective measure would have been to take the head of the Wise Emperor, Vincent Vollachia, but――,

Olbart: [If the opponent happens ta be ruin itself, then there ain’t no point in betrayal.]

The opponent was the Great Disaster―― the hosts of undead, and because their objective was the total destruction of the Vollachian Empire, Olbart’s scheme was nothing more than a transient, brittle thing that would crumble away.

Olbart wanted to leave his name in the history of the Empire.

If that Empire were to be destroyed, then no matter what, Olbart’s wish would not be granted. Therefore, Olbart had to take off his hat to Chisha’s acting, which had not hastened him until the current situation.

Olbart: [Tho’ after these hijinks are done and settled, it’d be nice if there’s still room for myself ta do somethin’. My lifespan’s gonna imprudently run out before I know it.]

After the war, when the exhausted Empire would be in the midst of reconstruction, he would augustly murder the Emperor before the Kingdom or the City-States could make a move―― it was not as though he did not have such thoughts, but he would not feel comfortable doing so, since he could not help but feel like he would be taking advantage of the Great Disaster.

Regrettably, unable to find an ideal opportunity, Olbart concealed his ambition, as it would have been overly optimistic so long as the Great Disaster remained undefeated, and he faced forward. ――Ahead of Olbart’s vision was the large door that would have connected to the place that was the audience chamber in the original palace.

Olbart: [――――]

Within Olbart’s mind, as he remained silent, there were two conflicting senses that arose.

The sensation that he ought not go beyond this door, and the sensation that he ought to go beyond this door―― the former was rooted in his instincts, while the latter was based on his intuition developed over his long time as a shinobi.

Normally, Olbart’s judgment would not have budged from the former option. However, Olbart’s intuition was speaking to him. Beyond this door, was undoubtedly the meaning in Olbart’s infiltration.

He did not know whether it was Sphinx, Moguro, the katanas, or something entirely different, but――,

Olbart: […Havin’ stretched out my years, an old man without much time left can’t die without gettin’ the opportunity ta overthrow the state, good grief.]

Spilling that out in a hoarse voice, Olbart decided on whether he would advance or retreat.

If this was the location of the audience chamber, it should have been possible for him to examine its state through the hole in the wall without having to go through the door; so going through the window of the corridor, Olbart traveled along the outer wall to arrive at his destination.

Without having opened the door, he peered into the room――,

Olbart: [――Oioi, not even I’d go this far.]

Within the completely altered hall, upon seeing the fruit of the Witch’s labor, the head honcho of the shinobi, known as the Vicious Old Man, muttered so, unable to hide his discomfort.

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――The soul of that thing, had already lost sight of its original way of being, having been ripped to shreds.

Called down to the surface via unorthodox means, pitiful souls were held prisoner, made to kneel in order to destroy the Empire that they ought to be subjects of; such was the situation that the undead were placed in.

More or less, a process had been applied to alter the mental structure of the undead to differ from what it was during their lifetime. If not for that, the resurrected dead would likely not all assist in the destruction of the Empire.

The degree to which that process had been applied varied from case to case, but there was a danger that, inverse to the large load being imposed upon the original form and nature in order to make them loyal to orders, they would become unable to perform at their original strength.

Therefore, it was customary for the caster to want to lighten the load in proportion to how strong any given individual was during their lifetime.

In reality, capable individuals such as the Emperor of the Briar and the Magical Sharpshooter would experience a considerable decline in strength due to the load on their minds, so the Witch had shifted gears to allow them some of their free will in order to maintain their strength.

If she had made these powerful individuals into subservient puppets, they would likely be exposed to the disgrace of being unable to display even half of their true strength.

In any case, excluding such exceptionally strong individuals, and Lamia Godwin, who displayed an attitude of taking initiative to cooperate with the Witch, the souls of the undead were cruelly being toyed with.

During their lifetime, no matter what they might have wished for, no matter how noble of a warrior they might have been, no matter what it was that they had cherished, they were all being used in a way that trampled over all of that.

Thus, they were forced to move as the vanguard of the disaster that was bringing destruction to the Empire.

There had been no exceptions among them.

Dispossessed of their free will, becoming beings used and discarded as tools for the sake of battle, their souls would be called down again even were they to repeatedly taste Death, and the earthen vessels would be revived with a new anchor.

Alas, that thing perfectly aligned with the conditions the Witch had established for undead fabrication.

With moderately high competency, being more than a little obsessed with battle, without any impediment to its strength when made into a subservient puppet, it had vehement regret and hatred scorched into it during its final moments――.

For that reason, it ferociously rampaged in a ceaseless discharge of fury.

Torn to shreds, in a form that stretched out its soul as it was in the process of losing its original form, having forgotten that its body was ever in a humanoid form, it had been transformed into a repulsive, grotesque form.

With large, long arms, an exceedingly increased number of legs, and a flimsy torso of skin and bone, even if its appearance had completely changed, it could not escape the situation of being used by the Witch.

Even when killed over and over, its soul would stretch larger, and it would be revived as another monster.

In order to put an end to that, there was no choice but to fulfill the Witch’s desires. To grant the Witch’s wish, there was no choice but to scorch the Empire to naught as a harbinger of the Great Disaster.

At present, having transformed into an unthinkable appearance, that was the wish of that thing. That was its only desire.

That was its only, that was its, that was, that, desire was, that was its only――.

???: [――The Giant Eye, Izmail.]

――. ――――. ――――――――.

Suddenly, mixed into the sounds of its eerie roar and the fierce battle, that had been audible.

Even though there ought to be many other sounds plunging into its ears, which were no longer in the form of ears, that voice alone had been heard in an awfully clear, strangely firm, and oddly proper manner.

Just what sort of meaning that held, that thing did not know.

It did not――,

???: [Izmail!]

???: [E ea.]

Suspicion yielded stagnation in its thoughts, and its many arms and legs that were meant to kill all ceased their movement. As if weaving through that opening, a hand reached out, and touching its thin torso, something was stolen away.

It felt as if something had slipped out.

It was not clear if that was something important, or if it was something large. But, the moment that had slipped out, the violent impulses that had filled its body had faded away in one fell swoop.

Hollow, it was hollow. Its insides, had become hollow.

The many reasons to rampage that had been forcibly stuffed into it from outside all flowed back out, and as its interior became hollow, the only thing that remained was what had been there since the outset.

That was, its reason for fighting. That could even be called aspiration or ambition.

Its reason for hastily joining the battle, was for the sake of fighting. The reason it had fought was in order to leave its name in history. The purpose of that was for itself to prove that “itself”, the pride of its clan, had existed for certain.

The being known as itself, the Giant Eye, Izmail, the purpose of that――.

Izmail: [Ah, has it been granted…]

Within the golden iris that loomed in a single large black eyeball, the face of that man was clearly reflected.

Those handsome features of black hair and almond eyes, without even the slightest waver in the face of a blade that closed in on his life, imposingly stared at him, and called out to the deformed Izmail.

The apex of the Vollachian Empire, had recognized Izmail.

That was――,

Izmail: [――It is the honor of a Sword Wolf, Your Excellency the Emperor.]

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With the arm adjoined to his battleaxe, Jamal held back a blow, while the freedom to move about the streets, leveraging the mobility of their multiplied limbs, was restricted by Subaru and Beatrice with the use of magic.

Meanwhile, the multiple attacks carrying lethal power that were being released, were forcibly knocked away by the leaping and bouncing Spica, narrowly preventing her companions from injury.

And then――,

Abel: [――The Giant Eye, Izmail.]

With his sharp gaze fixed on the grotesquely transformed undead, Abel called out his name.

For a moment, Subaru had felt doubtful, but he had decided at the outset that if Abel called out the name of an undead in the Imperial Capital, he would believe it wholeheartedly. In fact, not even once thus far, had Abel made a mistake in naming the undead.

Be that as it may――,

Subaru: [Izmail!]

Spica: [E ea.]

In front of their linked hands, Spica thrust forth, swinging around, slamming her palm into the region that seemed to be the chest of the grotesque being called Izmail.

Star Eating, which was neither a punch nor a strike, was invoked, and Subaru and the others held their breath.

Provided the conditions were met, even if his form had deviated from being human, he should meet the same end as the other undead.

As expected, in front of Subaru and the others who were watching with bated breath, Izmail slowly shook his huge body and stared at Abel with his giant, globular golden eye.

And then――,

Izmail: [――Ah.]

Leaving final words behind in a soundless voice, all at once, his grotesque, hulking body crumbed to dust.

???: [Ahh, fuck! Unbelievable! What the hell was that monster just now!]

Abel: [A valiant warrior of the Cyclops Tribe, Izmail, the one called the Giant Eye. It is exactly as I called out at the end.]

???: [The Cyclops Tribe, it ain’t just that they’ve got a single eyeball huh, they gotta be such monsters as well eh… Oh, pardon me for the tone.]

With the fight against the undead having concluded, Jamal grumbled as he wiped the blood and sweat off of his chin.

The remark from the man, regretful of the coarse language he had used, forgetting the person he was addressing was Abel, was off the mark.

The person named Izmail, had not possessed such an appearance in the beginning.

Subaru: [Beako.]

Beatrice: [I know, in fact. That person is a victim of the Sacrament of the Immortal King, I suppose. Because of having been resurrected over and over again, he wasn’t in a proper state, in fact.]

Spica: [Uu, au…]

Beatrice gave a curt jerk of her chin, and Spica looked down at her own palms with a downcast expression. While liberally stroking Spica’s head, Subaru inhaled deeply.

He had also encountered Izmail while escaping with Rem and Flop during the decisive battle for the Imperial Capital, but the change in his appearance was so gruesome that it was difficult to look at.

Perhaps because of being blown up and dying in the dust explosion, or because of being resurrected again after that death, he had kept getting more and more deformed.

But, even that never-ending hell was sure to have ceased with Spica’s Star Eating.

Subaru: [Still, you were able to know who the person was despite them looking like that.]

Abel: [Upon being resurrected as an undead, the countenance is affected to some extent. That being the case, the characteristics inherent in each become essential in distinguishing them. That person was an easy-to-understand type.]

Subaru: [Easy-to-understand, huh]

There were only vestiges of a human form that remained, and because Subaru had already seen them lose their humanoid form and transform into that grotesque appearance, he could match it with the enemy he had encountered in the midst of the evacuation, but that was not the case for Abel.

Despite that, to be able to make such accurate guesses, rather than having a monstrous memory, it would be more fitting to suspect some kind of foul play.

Abel: [It is only natural to be cognizant of the powerful beings in the realm. Whether they become enemies or allies, it is always preferable to have a multitude of bases for decision-making.]

However, the words that followed from Abel were not about simply discerning based on physical characteristics, but rather on his evaluation of other aspects of his opponent.

Subaru: [――――]

Upon hearing that, Subaru recalled Izmail’s final moments just before turning to dust.

.

Although he had hardly uttered anything that resembled words, with their meaning undecipherable, it seemed to carry not resentment or bitterness, but rather a solemn emotion.

Perhaps it was reverence toward the Emperor, who had correctly identified his name.

Either way――,

Subaru: [――Hk, things are getting intense here.]

Subaru murmured, gazing up at the sky, where the incessant rumbling of thunder could be heard.

In Subaru’s field of vision, amidst the cloud-covered sky, he could see mountains of ice breaking through, falling towards the Crystal Palace―― they were what Emilia had created, which Roswaal had purposed for tactical use.

Seen in the distant sky, there were swirling clouds turned into ominous weapons, thunderous roars reverberating from another direction, and the cityscape was tearing apart, collapsing under a serene sword strike.

At each bastion, it was evident that Subaru’s instructed conditions were being upheld, with each engaging in fierce battles.

Beatrice: [That blasted Roswaal is putting on quite a show, I suppose. He’s really letting his enthusiasm show too much, in fact.]

Subaru: [When I see that, it reminds me that he’s a pretty dangerous guy. Olbart-san is sneaking into the castle; he won’t crush him, will he?]

Beatrice: [If there’s a need to crush it, then he will, I suppose. That’s the kind of man he is, in fact.]

With a sound akin to the sky splitting, the shattered mountains of ice scattered countless sparkles into the sky.

Roswaal, alongside Medium, confronted the flying dragon rider enemy―― one of the most challenging adversaries to deal with, so there was no choice but to trust in Roswaal’s victory.

Of course, the existence of the Curse of Thorns and the Cloud Dragon also posed insurmountable threats.

Subaru: [All that’s left now is whether Emilia-tan and Tanza can pull through…]

In the midst of the situation in the Imperial Capital, which went beyond being described as fierce battles, Subaru worried about Emilia and Tanza, whose outcomes remained uncertain among the companions he had dispatched throughout the city.

Currently, he believed that he had allocated his forces optimally, but he hadn’t clearly determined Emilia’s placement, making it somewhat ambiguous. However, given the role she had been entrusted with, it should be the right decision to get her to work together with Tanza.

Subaru: [To be honest, when Izmail showed up, I thought we were in big trouble, but…]

The fact that they had managed to restrain the transformed Izmail on their own, without Emilia as part of their forces, was undoubtedly due to the concerted efforts of everyone.

In particular, Jamal’s contribution was significant, and his performance improved visibly with each passing moment. Perhaps he was leveling up at an incredible pace under such dire circumstances.

That in itself was a welcome development. Jamal was extremely reliable, provided you ignored the mental reluctance he had toward his inclusion.

Vincent: [Jamal Aurélie, can you keep going?]

Jamal: [Yes! If Your Excellency commands it, I can take on a hundred or even two hundred more.]

Vincent: [So it seems. You all, too, should strive for everything you have.]

Subaru: [Dammit, acting all high and mighty just because you’re doing a job that no one else can.]

Swearing at Abel, who did not participate in the fight and was the only one who looked cool, Subaru then observed Beatrice and Spica.

It was a series of tightrope walks, but battling the undead was always an all-out war of the forces they had against them. As long as the expectation was to proceed with caution, it would not be wise to move forward with someone falling behind.

Beatrice: [Betty has no problem, I suppose.]

Spica: [Aau!]

In response to Subaru’s confirming glance, the two nodded back resolutely. At this rate, Subaru might have been the one physically with the most concerns.

However, since Subaru was still connected to the Pleiades Battalion, it was clear that Abel was the one to be most concerned about regarding physical safety.

In any case――,

Subaru: [The state of the battles should be changing soon, and if Halibel-san is doing his part, we should have a way to get closer to the Crystal Palace. And from there――]

He would have liked to acquire information on the other battlefields and have material to consider for this loop as well as how future events unfold.

That was when he was about to call out to his companions.

???: [――I see. This is a strange phenomenon. Observation: Required.]

Suddenly, everyone turned around at the sound of a voice from outside their awareness.

Subaru’s eyes widened, and there was a third party who was not there before ――a short, pale-skinned undead figure crouched down, checking the dust on the ground with their fingers.

A familiar undead with pink hair was playing with the dust of the destroyed “Star Eaten” Izmail――,

Subaru: [――Hk, you.]

???: [From what it would appear, you have not directly interfered with the core bug. The bug has lost its parasitic target and died… or lost its soul? The deprivation, hijacking, and reclamation are very interesting.]

The one who said this, licking the dust that adhered to her fingertips with her tongue as a confirmation, was a being that looked exactly like one of Subaru’s companion’s relatives but whose eyes bore no semblance of warmth ――it was Sphinx.

The mastermind of the Great Disaster, the very goal of this final battle, emerged here.

Subaru: [――――]

Subaru’s consciousness momentarily went blank at the sight of her imposing arrival.

The presence of the Curse of Thorns and the Magical Sharpshooter made it difficult for Subaru and his companions, with their trump card, Spica, to confront Sphinx, who was supposed to be in the Crystal Palace. Therefore, Olbart, who was good at stealth, was sent in as a scout, and Subaru and his group hoped to continue hunting undead until the way was clear to reduce their enemy’s strength and gain an advantage in the coming decisive battle.

But to think that assumption could be so easily undermined――,

Subaru: [――No.]

Subaru concealed his agitation by considering this a chance, and held Beatrice’s hand tightly. Glancing at Beatrice, Subaru then joined hands with a surprised Spica.

In front of him was Sphinx, the mastermind behind the Great Disaster.

And, like the other undead, she had been revived with the power of the Sacrament of the Immortal King, so Spica’s Star Eating should be effective against her. Being undead would give her the advantage of Escape by Death, but at the same time, she had one unavoidable weakness: Spica.

Take away that, the chance of resurrection, and the battle would be over.

It would be possible to end the fight without knowledge of the opponent’s intentions or aims.

And so――,

Subaru: [Sphin…]

Sphinx: [The requirement is a match between the Name and the Soul of the target. It is surprising that you even made use of the Authority of Gluttony. Countermeasures: Required.]

Subaru: [――Hk.]

Sphinx’s quiet analysis crushed any preemptive action.

Subaru gasped at the fact that Sphinx had just mentioned the Authority of Gluttony and even recognized Spica’s Star Eating at a glance.

Even though his intentions were seen through, he was forgetting the strength of the Authority, which, by simply hitting the target, would make her unable to escape.

Therefore, he had to pay the price for it.

???: [――You idiot!]

And like that, a foul-mouthed voice had cut between Subaru and Sphinx, pushing him away.

Sphinx held up one slender finger, pointing its tip toward Subaru and his companions. Before the ray of white heat emitted from that fingertip could penetrate Subaru and Spica’s heads, a man jumped in.

Jamal’s sword was gouged out in the shape of the heat ray that he could not block, and it pierced through the torso of the daredevilish man; the fresh scent of scorched blood hit upon Subaru’s nostrils very, very strongly.

 

63 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 58 – “Proof of Existence””

  1. HOLY SHIT!! Sphinx suddenly appearing in front of Subaru’s group and determining that the authority of gluttony is what causes the zombies to stop spawning caught me off guard.
    With the way the chapter ended, I wonder if Subaru will be now stuck in another vicious death loop trying to figure a way out to defeat her without any casualties on his side.

    1. its has a very glaring issue,she could just put someone else soul into someone’s else body if that’s possible ig but anything could happen

        1. say that to all the body snatching happening in this story. Spica ? Reid ? heck even betelgeuse through forced contract.

          pretty sure soul/body are pretty flexible in this plot

          1. Reid is just Gluttony authority in use, having a will too strong to be suppressed.
            And Spica’s body wasn’t stolen as far as we know, as she was exactly as Subaru saw her.

          2. Dont take authority for the norm, as explain many time that authority are even superior to divine protection and cant be fully comprehend.

      1. I think the major problem is her name, no ? After all Sphinx is how she presented herself only 50 or so years ago so its nlt sure its her real name

        1. Her name is either sphinx or ryuzu (insert random last? name here) Beatrice and rosawaal would probably know the name paired with ryuzu so if sphinx doesn’t work Subaru can just ask

          1. Beatrice wouldn’t know. She never interacted with the Ryuzu clones because she went to the library right after the original Ryuzu died. Roswaal doesn’t seem like he cared but I don’t remember who it was who recognized her as Sphinx originally.

  2. Damn, go Jamal. Guess we’ll be getting his named chapter in the next set of chapters. Also, I still can’t help but feel like Stride is going to make a play soon. If my guesses and theories are right, then in Vollachia, perhaps after all of the fighting is concluded, would be an optimal time for his appearance, because I can’t help but imagine that he still has a massive role to play. After all, considering how important he is to Vollachian history and the witch cult previously, if he doesn’t come back as a zombie, then it would be because he’s legit alive. Either way, no matter how it happens, Stride’s appearance will finally set in stone the specific sin Subaru’s authority is

    1. I kind of think it’s been mostly confirmed that “Return by Death” isn’t actually Subaru’s Authority, it’s Satella’s which she shares with him. In the Gladiator Island Arc it stopped working correctly because Satella lost track of him, meaning it’s proper functioning is independent of Subaru himself and it had already been confirmed that “Return by Death” doesn’t actually care about Subaru’s companions when he tried to use it to undo Rem’s name being eaten in the first place.

      Not to mention we’ve gotten multiple descriptions of what it looks like with a Factor blooms into an Authority owned by its holder. The authority formed is based on the individual person who holds the factor, we saw it happen with the Sloth and Greed Factors. Nothing remotely similar happened when “Return by Death” was obtained, but we do know that after a Factor has blossomed into an Authority it can be shared by the original blossomer, doing so however just grants the same abilities to that other person independent of whether or not it’s ability that works for them or that they are comfortable with (because the authority wasn’t formed within them).

      Cor Leonis was formed by Subaru through the blossoming process and thus it does actually care about his personality and forms itself around what’s most useful from his perspective, and it’s functioning is entirely based on him even if he’s sharing the power with others. Return by Death on the other hand really doesn’t care about Subaru’s desires it responds to Satella’s and functions based around her, implying that it’s not actually his authority.

      1. My take away from what happened at Gladiator Island was that Return By Death is Subaru’s. Because without the Witch the authority was still functioning, just differently because Subaru was the one in control of it and he doesn’t know how to do it correctly yet. If he can use it without the Witch I feel like it has to be his.

        1. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually he gets cut off from the Witch again and Subaru learns how to control Return By Death on his own to some minor extent.

          1. Im not sure if literally anyone cared about my comment when i posted it there but i thought it was obvious that in gladiator island he was compatible with ALs leftover territorys from his authority. And it was double confirmed after the collapse of the island and the fire (two things confirmed to destroy his territory) allowed satella to find him.
            None of the negatives of RBD were in the arc and the rules only reappeard in the battle with todd.
            Also RBD has never gone back on checkpoints, ALs authority can. In fact there’s so much evidence i feel like its obvious but nobody has even acknowledged my theory.

    2. I don’t really get why Sphinx would go through the trouble of reviving him. By himself, he wouldn’t really do much. Even if he did get revived, he wouldn’t have free will considering he’s not a warrior

    1. I’m confident he’ll appear again. Whether as friend or foe is the question. We only know he was swept away by the water, so considering Katya is still alive, I’m going to guess he didn’t die and will be an ally, at least for a little while.

      1. Todd was only a friend for like 4 or 5 chapters so even if he’s not dead if he comes back it’s probably as a foe

    2. Could be awkward for Subaru if Todd reappears, he wasn’t very honest with Todd’s fiance about what happened with Todd.

  3. So we’re all caught up now? Amazing job! I’m super grateful for all the hard work that’s put into making these translations possible.

  4. Through such means, the opponent could use replaceable lives in exchange for instantaneous sharing of all sorts of information.

    There is almost no difference between Subaru and Immortals, Teppei makes a lot of reference to this.

  5. The final boss appeared! Mainly because Priscilla send her away to check out who is screwing the plans… Maybe Pris could use this time to escape.

    Vincent being able to recognize even transformed people is suspicious. There is some divine blessing or technique at play here.

    And we also do not know what Sphinx’s plan Olbart saw in the castle, what kind of evil plot was too much even for him.

    1. Even if its just for a while, abel and izmail still used to be on the same side and there can only be so many fame warriors aside divine general, not to say from the cyclop tribe. So as abel said, this was the easy one

  6. Oh no jamal jumping to save subaru reminds me of that moment in cart where subaru said he’d definitely not let jamal die. Shit boutta go tragic

  7. Emilia’s main enemy in her claim to the throne will continue to be prejudice: She matches the appearance of the witch, her sponsor is a notorious fuckhead mage with personal dealings with a foreign power of a hostile nation, her first knight smells like a witch cultist and has strange mannerisms and complexes to match, not to mention seems to know far more than he lets on outwardly based on his campaigns against them, and even continues building up his arsenal of witch authorities, and has personal ties to most of the witches of yore. Then he enlists an actual Sin Archbishop into his ranks. Any and every intelligence agency who looks into him discovers he simply did not exist before that day in the capital. Then Emilia and her knight fuck off to aforementioned hostile nation and proceed to deeply involve themselves in its civil war, working to install its previous emperor as its leader with the aid of the Sin Archbishop. There’s notches on her rifle, sure, but I can definitely see them getting overlooked in light of things.

    1. They can rewrite history and merely state that they were looking for to kill Spinx. To prevent her from seeking revenge against kingdom that much at the very least is far more digestible to the general public seeing as two other decided to the same thing.

  8. Why wasn’t there a new chapter during all this time?
    If I’m not mistaken, this chapter doesn’t mark the end of a volume, doesn’t it?

  9. “If his presence were to be detected, thereby including him as a target of the Curse of Thorns, Olbart would be made powerless. He was weak to pain. The mere thought of thorns stabbing into his heart made him want to toss in his sleep.” – I personally find this very strange, considering Olbart’s reaction (or lack thereof), to having his entire right arm ripped off, back in Chaosflame.

    1. it means he is vulnerable to torture unlike the other world top players, doesnt mean he cries like a baby or cant toughen up for 3 seconds even when adrenaline is helping him

    1. Help yourself and stop reading this crap honest advice, from someone who already stopped an arc ago.

      1. Why on Earth are you coming to new chapters if you stopped reading an arc ago? What a colossal waste of time.

        1. I just came because I wanted to see if anything change, but unfortunately nothing did, still as shity as ever this novel is, it was good before, and besides I wasted a whole month and a half reading it so yeah fuck me for that.

          Anyway I never sow the Anime and after this later chapter I don’t intend to see it.

  10. Well what did you expect, as It seems this world already out of ideas novels movies, games mostly all the same just different terms and people. even newest games right now out of ideas like starfield is a bigger and modable mass effect. call of duty and battlefield just another boring fps, RE is silent hill with guns, monster hunter is tuned up graphics god eater, lol and dota same moba different heroes and items even most skills are all same. i bet you also can’t think of anything. what concept of story do you think new?.

    And this cringy novel is the same as every other cringe crap Japan produce this days.

    To hell with cuck protagonists and shit, because am out.

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