Arc 8, Chapter 71 – “Heroic Reveries”

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――Let us assert one thing here.

It was a fact that without Emilia’s decisive action, the plan of the Witch, Sphinx, would have come to fruition and the downfall of the Vollachian Empire would have been unavoidable.

Moreover, it was something that no one other than Emilia could have stopped.

Emilia: [――Yah!]

Emilia released a sharp exhale, strained her cheeks, and stood firm against the heat rays of light and the balls of light that came in from all directions, repelling all with her polished ice armaments.

In front of her, the replica of Echidna, Sphinx’s magic was all too astonishing, and the only way she withstood her difficult-to-deflect attacks was by blocking them with ice that shined like a mirror.

Emilia was also often told by Subaru that “Creativity is important!”, so she was always particular about the details in her ice-borne weapons, and this time, they were used to their fullest extent.

Thanks to the fact that she always did this, she was able to quickly create weapons that dealt with Sphinx’s magic.

Emilia: [Thank you, as always.]

Emilia thanked the absent Subaru, enthusiastically donning gear made of ice.

Subaru, who was probably still working hard somewhere in the Imperial Capital, hand in hand with Beatrice and Spica, was still helping Emilia in this way, even though he was small and not with her.

Just thinking about Subaru allowed Emilia to forget her fatigue and swing her big ice hammer.

Sphinx: [――Removal: Required. And, urgently.]

Facing Emilia, Sphinx kept her distance while she unleashed her magic. While she was exposed to her onslaught, Emilia did not feel the impatience of her opponent, who did not show any expression.

Originally, Sphinx had sneaked into this deserted place to accomplish something. Emilia somehow sensed this and rushed in, which was when the battle began.

That stopped Sphinx from accomplishing whatever she was planning to do.

With this in mind, Emilia, though it not being her forte, was focusing intensely on thoroughly obstructing her opponent.

――Here again, Emilia was making the best of a situation that no one else at the Imperial Capital could.

If Emilia had taken Sphinx’s life, the Witch would have taken that memory back to her soul, recognized the threat Emilia posed, and manifested a new body prepared with countermeasures.

However, Emilia had no intention of killing Sphinx, but only of stopping her.

Therefore, the situation Subaru had named Escape by Death did not occur, and Sphinx would not send a new version of herself as reinforcements against the unshared threat of Emilia.

This situation would not have been possible if anyone else had been there, whether it was someone powerful like Cecilus or Halibel, someone wise like Vincent or Roswaal, or even a cheater like Subaru or Al.

No one other than Emilia could have pinned down Sphinx here.

Emilia: [HIYAAA!]

Emilia, who had managed such miraculous meshing by relying on her intuition, nevertheless kicked the light ball away with her ice shoes without being aware of it――,

Emilia: [Even though I don’t know what’s going on, I won’t let you do whatever you’re trying to do! And also, tell me where Priscilla is! It’s a promise I made with Schult-kun!]

Sphinx: [――. One-sided, and greedy. Truly fitting for a Witch, is it not?]

Sphinx coldly muttered so at Emilia’s request.

However, the mutterings were filled with a certain irritation that could not be concealed.

△▼△▼△▼△

――White light enveloped his vision, and in the subsequent instant the world met its end.

That was something Natsuki Subaru had ended up experiencing many times over in a short period, the newest stage of Return by Death.

Subaru: [――――]

Held in under the aviating Roswaal’s arm, he was tightly holding on to the hand of Beatrice behind Rowaal’s waist, who was being held under the other arm.

The presence of Beatrice, the warmth of Roswaal, the sensation of his whole body basking in the wind; all of it was real.

And not only that――,

???: [Regarding the dragon subjugation just now, I think vying for an achievement through the number of heads isn’t really all too pretty. As a matter of fact, isn’t it thunderous applause that’s wanted rather than a feat of heads? So then first things first, how about we show them a combination of two great men from Vollachia and Kararagi!?]

???: [That’d be quite splendid, least for me. I may’ve been hopin’ not ta stand out too much, but it wouldn’t hurt ta elevate my status for this ‘n that after the war.]

With a backwards glance towards the undead Blight Dragon which was fading into the sky with its existence severed, Cecilus and Halibel could be seen and heard descending to the ground while pressingly exchanging words, having just killed the Dragon in a literal flash.

As the unmistakable apexes of the world, the two were equally transcendent beings; however, the fact that they could not defy the laws of physics and remain in the sky provided a certain sort of satisfaction――,

Subaru: [――Right now…]

Just what exactly was happening, he had no choice but to grasp the new threat, and counter it.

After defending against the Magic Crystal Cannon, after slaying the approaching Blight Dragon, after witnessing the swell of green light blow the clouds away beyond the sky, he knew the Witch still had a trick up her sleeve.

Subaru and the others did not have much time before that would be put into operation, staining the world white and causing them to lose their lives.

Think, think, think. Think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think think――.

Beatrice: [――Subaru.]

Indeed, upon Subaru’s eardrums as thoughts raced across his mind, Beatrice called out with a voice of strong conviction.

Holding her hand, the determination that he absolutely needed to do something, and the intense feelings of loss surging through Subaru’s body and mind―― nay, through his soul, must have been transmitted to her.

The fact that Beatrice did not exhaust many words on top of that, was proof of her cute self’s high-minded resolve.

Beatrice: [Say whatever you like, I suppose. Betty will aid you in everything, in fact.]

Without having told her much of anything at all, just how much of a relief it was for Beatrice to say that to him.

While feeling disdain build up towards himself for never repaying favors, Subaru nodded.

And as he nodded――,

Subaru: [――Just keep holding on to it until my consciousness is on the verge of bursting apart. I’ll give a signal, so prepare the thing from earlier so it’s ready to go at any time!]

△▼△▼△▼△

――High up in the sky, Subaru raised his voice, and receiving that, black and blue streaked through the sky.

He did not hear the specific contents of the orders. But, he felt like he heard something else instead.

Indeed, the sound of the gears of conflicting worlds beginning to mesh and turn, in order to weave the time of light.

???: [――――]

It did not matter if it was an auditory hallucination. In fact, it ought to have been.

Natsuki Subaru had thought about the best way to break the deadlock, and carried it out. In that case, he could count on him. ――No, he had no choice but to count on him.

Having called out to Subaru that the Witch’s myriad plans had yet to be exhausted, that was the best Al―― Aldebaran could do with what little he had.

Al: [Shit.]

A short expletive, which echoed in his helmet only to his ears.

Because of that, the fact that he had muttered it unconsciously sort of felt like it was being emphasized, which had caused him to notice.

Just what did Aldebaran possibly have to regret?

It was something he knew from the moment he found Natsuki Subaru in this Empire. When push came to shove, he ought to use Natsuki Subaru without hesitation.

No matter how much he hated that, no matter how much he loathed it, at the end of the day, it was nothing but worthless obstinacy.

――The worthless obstinacy of himself, who was nothing more than a following star, unable to do the same things as that Natsuki Subaru.

???: […Reconsideration: Required.]

At the sudden utterance of that voice, Aldebaran turned around without saying a word.

Cocooned in solid black light from the neck down, lying defenseless on the rough ground was the figure of Sphinx.

Sphinx’s Gate was completely sealed, and her hands and legs were quite literally tied up, however, she stared at Aldebaran without any impatience or anger emerging on her abhorrent face.

It was a disgusting look, as if she was observing him.

Al: [Reconsideration, as in revising your thoughts? Just what exactly? You’re not gonna tell me what you’re thinking, no matter what I do.]

The edges of her mouth contorted, and Aldebaran glared at Sphinx through his helmet.

This was also true. ――Aldebaran had already interrogated the captured Sphinx many, many times, and thus had ascertained that she would not divulge any details regarding her plans.

Ironically enough, even among the innumerable number of attempts Aldebaran had, there existed a certain number of results that could never be distorted.

Even if an infinite number of dice were rolled, rolling a zero or a seven was impossible.

Indeed, it was impossible. ――For Aldebaran.

Al: [But you see, it’s the end of the line for you guys. You’ve made an enemy of someone who should absolutely never be made an enemy of. By now, even if you’re rethinking something――]

Sphinx: [That which I have reconsidered, is my evaluation of you.]

Al: [Huh?]

Sphinx: [I had not recognized you as anything but a mere squire of Priscilla Barielle, but… you are the same as me.]

Al: [――――]

Sphinx: [Having yet to fulfill your own purpose of creation, you are a martyr struggling to live for that reason. ――I have achieved my own purpose of creation, so I cannot help but pity one who is stuck in a standstill.]

Even in captivity, in a position where the magician’s magic was sealed, Sphinx still quietly pitied Aldebaran, not out of vanity or defeat.

Aldebaran’s throat froze at Sphinx’s honest gaze.

Of the fact that the true nature of the coldness freezing his throat was murderous intent, Aldebaran was aware.

He absolutely had to kill this overly talkative, Witch-faced woman. He absolutely had to choke the life out of her. For her to say that to Aldebaran with none other but that face, was unforgivable.

――Just who in the world did she think made him Aldebaran?

Al: [You――]

???: [Al! Lend me your strength!!]

It was the moment when his vision turned bright red, and his thoughts were blanketed in white.

If it had been a few tenths of a second later, Aldebaran would have killed Sphinx. However, that was stopped by a furious, gliding wind accompanied by a hard-hitting voice.

???: [I need your strength! As you said, the Great Disaster isn’t over yet! It’s an all-out war!]

He landed right next to him, and then with an intense color on his face, he called out to Aldebaran.

With two reliable people beside him, a long-haired magician and a dress-clad Spirit, Natsuki Subaru, capable of searching for as many hands as he pleased in order to reach the light that Aldebaran could never reach no matter how far he reached out, did so.

Al: [Even if you ask me to lend a hand…]

Subaru: [Shut the hell up!]

Al: [――Hk.]

Becoming a mixture of all sorts of embarrassment, Aldebaran muttered so.

But, unconcerned with those inner thoughts of Aldebaran, Subaru thrust his fist out,

Subaru: [At the moment, I don’t have time to sympathize with each and every person’s troubles! That’s why, right here and now let’s switch gears and cooperate! You said it before!]

Al: [Me, before…?]

Subaru: [You said that you have expectations of me! I’ll say the same thing back to you!]

Al: [――Ah.]

As Subaru yelled at him with a red face, Aldebaran caught his breath.

At the same time, he was reminded of his interaction with Subaru when they were reunited here in the Vollachian Empire, when the latter was on the verge of losing his own meaning of existence in the Fortress City of Guaral.

When Subaru’s foundation became unsteady after being rejected by the girl known as Rem, Aldebaran had encouraged him.

Back then, what was it that Aldebaran had said to him――?

Subaru: [The confidence and everything else you lost can only be regained through results. It’s all the same as it’s always been!]

Al: [――――]

At the sound of Subaru’s voice, the girl who held hands with him, and the long-haired girl who stood behind him, had eyes brimming with expectation.

And so, Subaru, who gave strength to those around him, reached out to Aldebaran in the same way, offered him a hand, and spoke as if repaying him for that time.

Subaru: [Come on, Al! ――Carry them with me, these heroic reveries!]

So he declared.

△▼△▼△▼△

――The Witch’s plans, the ruination of the Vollachian Empire, and Death, had come to fruition time and time again.

Perhaps a painless death was the ideal way for things to end.

Perhaps the arrival of demise in the midst of not knowing what had happened, was the only gentle way to save people from their fear of an end that would inevitably come.

However, he thought thus.

Subaru: [No, my ideal ending would be to die peacefully, with Emilia, Beako, and my grandchildren by my side, so that’s not it.]

Even if the Great Disaster were a last-boss situation that brought about a painless and fearless end in order to save all human beings from sorrow and suffering, Subaru would resolutely reject it.

When the ideal ending that he envisioned would arrive, the thought of Emilia and Beatrice, whom he would be leaving behind, brought pain to his heart like being stabbed with glass. Still, until he reached that situation, it was a problem that Subaru would need to suffer through and find a solution to.

There was absolutely no way he could abandon himself to a sweet dream given to him by another.

The whole thing was a hypothetical to begin with, and the premise was not valid since the goal of the Great Disaster was not a gentle end, but rather the destruction of the Empire through a series of the most terrible measures imaginable.

That was why, there was no compromise in this battle other than to thwart the goals of the Great Disaster.

Subaru: […Little by little, I’m starting to see it.]

At first, the world was stained white, and Subaru had no choice but to be swallowed up by the Death that was thrust upon him, without knowing what had destroyed him or his companions.

Moreover, Subaru returned just after Roswaal held him and Beatrice on both sides, and Cecilus and Halibel had cut down the attacking Blight Dragon.

After that, in less than a minute, the end would come.

Subaru: [――――]

The time frame was short, and much needed to be done.

If Al had not told him that the Witch was up to something, it would have taken him much longer to uncover it. It had probably saved him five or more Return by Deaths.

Still, more trial and error was necessary in order to ascertain what was occurring.

And, through that trial and error――,

???: [The most likely thing is that, the Stone… Muspel will be killed, I suppose. If our opponent has a comeback left to make, then that would be the most likely possibility, in fact.]

???: [The collapse of the Empire’s vast lands, it’s possible that our opponent is preparing a trigger to bring about that great caaataclysm~. ――If it is Sphinx’s conventional method, there could also be some kind of magic circle.]

???: [For now, Groovy’s gone ‘n lifted the Curse of Thorns, which was our biggest obstacle, so ya wouldn’t really think that there’d be anybody hidin’ away a curse that’s even greater than that, right?]

???: [Yes yes yes! According to Al-san if Anya dies the whole Empire will be destroyed so this may have something to do with that! That means that there’s a possibility that a large army’ll be sent to kill Anya! Will I finally get to do it again, slaying a thousand people!?]

???: [Uu~! Uau! Aa~, Uu!]

???: [Have you been safe, child…!? I heard that you took very good care of Tanza. If there is anything at all that I can do to help, please let me know.]

???: [Schwartz-sama, I have a bad feeling… is everyone in the Battalion safe?]

???: [Although young, thou hast pleasant eyes. Mine Star seems to place trust in thee, albeit not as much as she places in mineself. If thou requireth anything, thou may speak.]

???: [Captain! My amazin’ self’s glad you’re here, but it’s too soon to gimme praise! It ain’t over yet, right? Anythin’ ya say, I’ll do it!]

???: […Get lost. Don’t lump me in with you guys, brat.]

???: [Friggin’ disappear… this dragon, has nothing, nothing left…]

???: [Friggin’ disappear… this dragon, has nothing, nothing left…]

???: [Subaru-chin, I’m not good at thinking, but I’ll try! Do your best as well, Subaru-chin!]

???: [Oh, sorry ‘bout this, but I’ve lost both my hands, so you’re gonna hafta get back on yer own, okay? Looks like there’s no way I can knead yer soul back ta its original shape, kakakakka!]

He was not some superman who could solve everything by figuring it out on his own.

A timeframe that amounted to not even a minute, repeating it over and over again in exchange for his Death, Subaru certainly moved to checkmate his enemy on the board they had constructed, one move at a time.

The death of the Stone, Muspel; a magic circle; the Curse of Thorns; Arakiya’s life; Spica’s Star Eating; he was glad that Yorna was safe; the war situation at the Fortified City; the undead Emperor who energetically boasted of his love; his Garfiel was the best; the drunkard not worth talking about; the Dragon he could not talk to; the dragonkin he could not talk to; doing his best; not wanting to be told things that would hamper his willpower to do his best; etc., etc.――.

???: [――Fool. Do not face downwards, Natsuki Subaru.]
???: [Neither one of us has the time to be looking downwards. To struggle onward, you ought to have decided so.]
???: [I have no intention of giving up. ――Just who do you take me for?]

How much self-respect was truly there behind those prideful words?

He would not be so tactless as to try to peek behind the curtain like that. All right then. Onward it is.

Giving up, such a thing was not an option for Natsuki Subaru.

Subaru: [――――]

The same went for her, who he could not find no matter how hard he looked.

Rather than being worried about it, his feelings of faith now surpassed his fear. ――She might have been facing danger, but surely she was doing her best to secure the future, as it would not suit her to stay quiet in a safe place.

That was why, it was time to overturn it. ――Time to overturn the Witch’s board.

Subaru: [Come on, Al! ――Carry them with me, these heroic reveries!]

△▼△▼△▼△

An unthinkable absurdity was attempting to overturn the final stratagem of the Witch, Sphinx.

Sphinx: [――The preparations ought to have been…]

Flawless. Without exception, all were being overturned.

Having achieved the outcome she had desired, the supreme challenge of fulfilling her purpose of creation, the certain sense of accomplishment that had dominated her heart was for but a moment, and the situation was being distorted bit by bit.

Just what stood in the way of Sphinx, in the way of the Great Disaster?

???: [――Vincent Vollachia.]

Sphinx: [――――]

???: [――Aldebaran.]

Sphinx: [――――]

???: [――Natsuki Subaru.]

As if to close the distance towards Sphinx’s mind, crimson lips spoke those names.

Chosen as the Great Disaster, Sphinx had commenced a battle on which the survival of the Empire was staked, and hot on her heels, overturning her plans entirely, was a deterring force attempting to rectify the alignment of the stars.

Sphinx: [From your perspective, how would you evaluate them?]

At Sphinx’s question, the woman looked towards her with a metallic clank of her chains.

The crimson eyes fixed upon Sphinx beyond the water mirror, Priscilla Barielle smiled at the question. Neither ridicule nor pity, it was a smile.

If anybody who knew Priscilla were to have seen that, they would have likely been surprised. For within her smile, affection could be found.

The affection harbored by Priscilla Barielle, towards Sphinx.

Sphinx: [For what reason…]

Priscilla: [Do I make such an expression, you ask? Did you not just enquire regarding mine evaluations of those men? Just as one would expect from the Witch of Greed, your avarice extends to even answers.]

Sphinx: [If you are going to mock me…]

Priscilla: [You ought to be aware. Such is not the case.]

Bluntly told so, Sphinx was silenced by Priscilla’s gaze.

In her eyes and in her words, there was no longer any hue of mockery towards Sphinx. Then, just what was it that dwelt within those crimson eyes?

That was eating away at Sphinx from inside her chest. It was a sensation unknown to her.

This was different from the times when she was continuously spurred on by a sense of duty, that she must fulfill her purpose of creation.

For Sphinx, it was an unbearable, inescapable impulse.

Priscilla: [Remember this. That is what is known as yearning.]

Sphinx: [Yearn, ing…]

Priscilla: [If you wish to procure something that lies beyond your own domain, you must endeavor for it, even if you must withstand the torment of being scorched by flame. There are some who do not desire that, but such a way of life is foolish.]

Sphinx: [――――]

Priscilla: [When scorched in flames, listen carefully to the pleas of your soul. In life, one must yearn. In love, one must drown. ――It is for mine convenience, that this world is made.]

At that declaration, Sphinx truly experienced a sensation akin to being struck by lightning.

An absolute and unshakeable self, and an unwaning confidence; feeling the inescapable heat of that flame, Sphinx truly felt alive for the first time after having died.

At the same time, she yearned. ――She yearned to emerge victorious against the flame-like woman before herself.

Ergo――,

Sphinx: [Countermeasures: Required―― No, let us see if you can prevent this.]

△▼△▼△▼△

Within the Imperial Capital, enclosed by star-shaped ramparts made up of five bastions, exactly inverse to those five bastions, a magic circle had been laid out in the form of a five-pointed star―― the Sphinxes whose duty it was to activate it, while suspicious of the imperfect activation of the technique, were receiving its effects nevertheless.

The effect of the magic circle, its target was the magic crystals of the defenseless Crystal Palace.

Deconstructing the enormous mass of colorless Mana, the Witch, Sphinx, had plotted to take it into her own Mana-drained soul, thereby gaining immense power.

Now that she had succeeded in reproducing the soul of the Witch of Greed, Sphinx wielded the same power as her creator, who possessed knowledge of all kinds of magic. If only she could just secure the Mana for that purpose.

For that purpose――,

Sphinx: [The completion of the magic circle――]

???: [Unfortunately His Excellency and Boss have ordered me to come and prevent that.]

That instant, the surging glint of a sword forbade her from even responding, and lopped Sphinx’s head clean off.

Her white hair trimmed into a bob cut, Sphinx saw the figure of the young man who had killed her within her field of vision as it spun through the air.

It was an exceedingly beautiful brandish; however, it was still lacking. This was not the end.

Even if it was an incomplete magic circle, it had given her soul some respite.

What remained――,

Young Man: [――Ahh I see now. You’re also drowning, aren’t you?]

As a result of the choice Sphinx had made directly after, Cecilus Segmunt smiled as he gripped his katana.

Within Cecilus’s vision, as to not allow him to prevent the complete activation of the magic circle, reconstructed from the soul that had received the taste of his slash, several Sphinxes stood in his way.

Tilting her head, one of the Sphinxes obstructing him said,

Sphinx: [There is no water source here. What do you mean by drowning? Explanation: Required.]

Cecilus: [There isn’t any need for a real river or pond or lake or even a puddle. The thing known as the “ocyan” exists in the hearts of all. Those who deeply desire something, every one of us, everyone’s drowning.]

At his way of putting it, Sphinx had still not straightened her head.

But, without letting that bother him, Cecilus placed his hand on the hilt of his sheathed katana to ready himself, and gave his introduction.

Cecilus: [――Swordsman, Cecilus Segmunt.]

Sphinx: [――Witch of Greed, Sphinx.]

Before she could even realize, that had naturally spilled out of the Sphinxes’ mouths.

△▼△▼△▼△

At the same time that the Blue Lightning and the Witch’s techniques caused tremors throughout the Imperial Capital, similar fierce battles to prevent the activation of the magic circle broke out in three other locations.

???: [――Admirer, Halibel.]
???: [――Witch of Greed, Sphinx.]

???: [――Sixty-first Emperor of Vollachia, Eugard Vollachia.]
???: [――Witch of Greed, Sphinx.]

???: [――Gorgeous Tiger, Garfiel Tinzel.]
???: [――Witch of Greed, Sphinx.]

The elite forces, selected by Natsuki Subaru, faced the Witch as a spear to destroy the final stratagem of the Great Disaster, and were subjected to a fierce magical onslaught.

Once the magic crystals of the Crystal Palace, which were being deconstructed, completely flowed into the Witch’s soul, it would no longer be possible to thwart her plans.

The reason being, her possible measures would extend into infinity.

Depending on the user’s imagination and practical utility, magic could extend one’s possibilities infinitely.

In other words, by acquiring an extreme amount of Mana, the Witch, Sphinx, would gain the power of a transcendent being that could make almost anything possible.

It would give her the key to overcome all obstacles, and to fulfill her desires.

However, the truly terrifying thing about Sphinx, was not her vision of attaining such mighty power.

What was truly frightening, was the meticulousness with which she was not focused on one single objective.

Subaru: [Beako! Roswaal!]

Beatrice: [Minya!]

Roswaal: [Ul Goa.]

A storm of purple arrows and flaming projectiles spread out around them with no escape, blowing away the undead who dared to advance.

However, even after the vanguard troops were repelled, the undead who still continued to march in had come here with their sense of self completely destroyed, assailing as puppets that were following orders. ――In order to kill Arakiya.

Stopping not only the magic circle, but also them was necessary for Subaru and his team’s victory conditions.

Subaru: [Al!]

Al: [Gotcha!]

Breaking through the encirclement, Al pounced on the undead aiming for the girl’s life, thrusting the earthen dao, causing it to expand inside his opponent, and explode from within.

He had not seen Al fight since Chaosflame, but even looking at him again, he was too risky and harrowing. He was not a skilled combatant by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, it was an all-out effort, with everyone taking on the challenge together, as best as they could.

Subaru: [――One minute has passed.]

Having overcome the line that had been fatal until now, Subaru realized that the situation had progressed.

Sphinx, the commander of the Great Disaster―― to be honest, it was quite a shock for Subaru to see her look so much like Echidna, but it was Beatrice who kept his turmoil at bay.

Beatrice remained calm and composed, even when she saw the Witch, who had become an exact duplicate of her parent, Echidna.

Beatrice: [Subaru, that’s not the same person as Mother, in fact.]

Roswaal: [Yes, that is right. Even if she resembles the Witch of Greed, Echidna, they are not alike in the slightest. ――Though, she is an exceedingly unpleasant oppooonent~.]

For some reason, Roswaal’s words, which were just as convincing as Beatrice’s, spurred Subaru forth, and he shifted his attention away from the uncanny appearance of the Witch, and focused instead on discovering her intentions.

First of all, the fact that the Witch, who was supposed to have been burned by Abel’s Yang Sword, had changed her form and survived was in itself the ultimate counter to the Yang Sword and Star Eating.

That strategy also needed to be taken into consideration.

However, right now――,

Subaru: [If we can completely obstruct the activation of the magic circle――]

It was the moment when he had thought that.

A massive water mirror was deployed in the sky of the Imperial Capital, and an image was being projected onto the screen―― the Fortified City of Garkla, driven into a moment of desperation, was about to be obliterated by a falling star.

△▼△▼△▼△

Medium: [――Abel-chin!!]

Wearing an expression of altered complexion, Medium called out to Vincent with an urgent voice. Embracing Madelyn in one arm, she pointed to the sky with a barbarian sword in the other.

There was a huge distortion of light that seemed to cover the sky of the Imperial Capital, and Vincent immediately understood that it was a thinly-spread mass of water. For a moment, he was wary that it was the next attack prepared by the Witch, but he became convinced when the water’s rippling surface reflected a scene from somewhere else immediately afterward.

As expected, that was an attack of the Witch.

However, it was not a straightforward attack that caused significant injury to the human body, but rather an attack that penetrated the spirit by confronting it with an inescapable reality, in a form such that none could take their eyes off of it.

――Reflected in the water mirror of the sky, was the Fortified City, surrounded by the great army of the undead.

Having attracted the hosts of undead, the fortress of the Sword Wolves was where a battle on which the survival of the Empire was staked, much like the one Vincent and the others were engaged in, was unfolding, and from its skies, it was clear that the radiance of a star was raining down.

This, was the beautiful divine judgment of destruction that had also attempted to bring ruin upon the Imperial Capital.

If that was to fall upon the Fortified City, the walls and fortress would crumble, and most of those encamped within would die. That would mean the destruction of the Empire, which would not be able to be rebuilt even if the operation in the Imperial Capital succeeded.

Starlight over the Imperial Capital, the fire of obliteration, the overload of the Magic Core, and the magic circle targeting the Crystal Palace.

The Witch’s successive artifices were to destroy not only the Imperial Capital, but also the entire Empire.

The wise man was the one who would strike the true fatal blow, never letting it be perceived.

That was why――,

Vincent: [――Our greatest fear has been borne out, Natsuki Subaru.]

Indeed, it happened right after Vincent spoke.

――A fire of obliteration smashed through the water mirror of the ether as it opened a hole in the sky, perforating directly towards the north of the Imperial Capital.

△▼△▼△▼△

――The authentic trump card of Natsuki Subaru and Beatrice.

The Magic Crystal Cannon’s fire of obliteration, sent into another space by Al Shamak, was returned to this space by a subsequent Al Shamak, shooting down the starlight that was supposed to mark the demise of the Fortified City.

With the assistance of Cecilus and Halibel, that trump card did not have to be used to slay the Blight Dragon, and instead, it was used to defeat the final measure prepared by the Witch to perturb them.

Subaru: [――Hk.]

Subaru felt dizzy from the intense feeling of exhaustion, and his nose began to bleed as he was bathed in a multitude of water drops from the shattered water mirror, which rained upon the Imperial Capital like a passing drizzle.

It was the backlash from Beatrice’s endless display of seriousness over the past few hours.

Beatrice’s adorableness might have been priceless, but there was a heavy cost to pay for her abilities. There was a limit as to how much of that burden could be shared with the Pleiades Battalion.

Subaru involuntarily dropped to one knee as his limits emerged before him.

Beatrice: [Subaru!]

He was supported by the shouting Beatrice; however, he could not speak, even though he wanted to reassure her.

Beatrice tried to stop the unending, dripping nosebleed with the sleeve of her dress. He did not want her beautiful outfit to become stained, but he could not lift his arms.

Subaru: [Not yet, not yet…]

He could not afford to come to a standstill here.

There was still a duty he had to fulfill, a plot that still needed to be thwarted.

This was an all-out war, and it was none other than Subaru who had made that decision.

For Subaru to be the first to run out of steam, there was no way such a ridiculous story could exist.

That was why――,

Subaru: [――Huh?]

Beatrice: [Subaru? You shouldn’t force yourself, in fact. Even if just for a moment, rest――]

Beatrice hurriedly tried to admonish Subaru, who had suddenly let out a breath. But, Beatrice’s words stopped mid-sentence. ――Because, Subaru stood up suddenly, on the spot.

Beatrice: [――――]

Beatrice’s round eyes widened, and she looked at Subaru as he stood up. As she met his gaze, Subaru looked down at his hands, bewildered.

The sense of lethargy that had gripped Subaru’s entire body until just before had disappeared without a trace. ――No, it was not that the feeling of exhaustion had vanished. Rather, it was the opposite.

Subaru: [Strength… is surging up within me?]

Subaru was dumbfounded, and just as he said this, his whole body was filled with energy.

It was a similar feeling to that of being united with the other members of the Pleiades Battalion, having even the strength of one’s body and mind intensely heightened―― a feeling of omnipotence, of being enveloped by a great flame.

And then, for what reason this had occurred, was something Subaru immediately understood.

――The shattered water mirror in the sky, and the fire of obliteration that pierced the radiance of the distant star, drawing a band of light. In the sky of the Imperial Capital where those two had reigned supreme, a new light was birthed.

It was tiny in comparison to the light of the star, and even small in comparison to the fire of obliteration, but in terms of its brilliance, not only was it equal to them, it overwhelmed them with its blaze.

Falling from the heavenly skies, adorned in a dress the color of blood, was a woman akin to flame――.

???: [――It is a great service.]

Even as the water mirror had tried to project despair, everyone had looked up to the sky. However, through an even higher intensity than that, it attracted the eyes of all present in the Imperial Capital to the sky, and set their souls ablaze.

She was descending. A female Sword Wolf, with fluttering orange hair, and blazing crimson eyes――.

???: [No superfluous words are necessary. ――You may call upon mine name.]

Holding the treasured sword of crimson in her hand, the princess, as if the sun itself, descended upon the city in its plight―― as one of those who gazed upward towards her, Subaru unconsciously abided by her wishes.

That was to say――,

Subaru: [――Priscilla.]

Indeed, he invoked her name as she descended.

――With a flame ablaze in his right eye, as one of the people receiving the blessing of the sun, he called out her name.

51 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 71 – “Heroic Reveries””

    1. YOU GUYS DONT UNDERSTAND THIS EXPLAINS EMILIA’S INTUITION

      SHE CAN REMEMBER THE RESETS SHE REMEMBERS THE GENOCIDES THIS IS OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION SHE IS BEING DIRECTLY SUPPORTED BY SATELLA IN SOME WAY

  1. Al: [But you see, it’s the end of the line for you guys. You’ve made an enemy of someone who should absolutely never be made an enemy of. By now, even if you’re rethinking something――]

    Al remains a hypeman for Subaru.
    Subaru checking with everyone and asking their opinions was so sweet!

    Subaru shooting the Magic crystal cannon shot into the mirror is pure hype moment. His heroic reveries were enough to spawn Priscilla from the air…

  2. this means they love each other, right? I don’t think it’s romantic or anything, still weird to think she actually cares for him.

    1. There can be love without romance nor intimacy in the form of powerful admiration and appreciation.

  3. Subaru not mentioning Rem when thinking about who he wants to surround himself with at his deathbed is outrageous!

    1. He only mentioned people who will still be young when he is old. This includes Beatrice and Emilia due to their physiology, as well as any future grandchildren.

    2. Well, Rem did say she wanted to die before Subaru… So maybe she was already gone at that point?

      1. Well, he did mention his grandchildren, yet I doubt those will be Emilia’s.
        Nevertheless, shotified Subaru is quite cold to Rem.

    1. I read the rest of the chapters in reddit RAHHH PEAK FICTION Never thought an epilogue would ever be my fav ch of any re zero arc

  4. Is it possible that in the past Aldeberan promised to hold onto the Pride Witchfactor for Flugel/Subaru until the time was right, and that is what Al is waiting for? To give it to him?

    1. good point but about clind I don’t know if he got the witch factor of pride because he said at the side story ” authority ” he mentioned with annerose and roswaal.

  5. Not sure how Subaru could have gotten the blessing since the love required for soul marriage must go both ways, but I assume either somehow the condition changed or it’s not soul marriage.

    1. I’m telling myself it worked because Priscilla has a selfish concept of Love like Regulus sort of. As long as she loves someone it counts, but for Yorna it has to be the same way.

      1. Would make sense considering soul marriage is similar to Subarus version of the authority of greed (I forgot if the Latin is the one for Subarus or regulus) where it buffs mutual Allies

  6. “Even if an infinite number of dice were rolled, rolling a zero or a seven was impossible.”

    However Once a second die is thrown into the mix, 7 becomes the most common roll.

    making the impossible possible, love the chapter!

    1. I have read the remaining chapters using google translate.
      The answer to this question is revealed in the last chapter.
      I can spoil it for you if you want…

  7. Amazing Chapter, can’t believe that with so much effort everyone put in throughout the chapter, Pricilla is stealing the show, I still don’t have a good opinion of her but if she helps Subaru pull off more feats then hell yeah we will use her just pay proper respect to our guy.

  8. The way Subaru mentioned the chapter’s name, “HEROIC REVERIES” to Al truly gave me the goosebumps!

  9. If Al and Subaru die at the same time, whose RbD takes precedence, or do they both RbD to their reset points in different timelines.
    I assume if Al’s reset point were further back, he’d have no recollection of death in Subaru’s timeline. That seems to be how it works.

    But what if somehow their reset points were the same and they died at the exact same time, what would happen.

    1. I think they would both go back to the own spawn points with their memories but that’s just my opinion with no fact to support it.

  10. Couldn’t Vincent just slay the witch that was restrained by Al using the yang sword and the witch’s soul would have been scorched for good this time? That should have worked! After all, it’s not like the witch can change her soul anymore after she already transformed into the witch of greed.

      1. Yeah but subaru could have just told roswall to carry abel to the witch since subaru already talked to al in a previous loop or this loop. Or put Louis use her authority since she is now know as Echidna. Idk

  11. Probably the more interesting reveal is Al Shamack is reversible. You would think he would been abusing that more. Can he throw the great rabbit at somebody? Ouch

    1. Wait, if Subaru went to Al who had restrained Sphinx and was about to kill her anyway, why didn’t Subaru and Spica use Star Eating?

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