Arc 8, Chapter 74 – “Love”

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Human Translated By:

  • Garcar (Section 2, 5)

Machine Translated By:

  • Goldkills
  • Beloved
  • DatShazam

Proofread By:

  • Cirdan Lunae
  • Isrlygood
  • Grimx
  • Shadow

Japanese to English Checking By:

  • Ice
  • Garcar

Art Sources

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――What was necessary, was to take hold of that which was formless.

Though it was something that was certainly there, it was something that, when touched, would lose its original shape, fading into the distance as it passed through outstretched fingers.

Akin to water, akin to wind, akin to light.

Akin to heat, akin to shadow, akin to a dream.

The more one roused themselves to touch it, the more one feared they might break it, the further away it grew.

???: [Even if you try to touch me, you will not be able to catch hold of me.]

They could not touch the person who was right in front of them, even though they were already undisputedly touching them.

The legs planted upon the ground, the skin basking in the evening sun that illuminated the world in scarlet, the eyes attempting to stare at the opponent directly in front of them, the heat of the flame dwelling within one of those eyes; it could all be certainly felt, and yet.

???: [――Sphinx.]

Calling that name, the role of the Witch, who had plotted everything in hopes of becoming a disaster, would be devoured.

The heinous Authority, which had plundered the lives of many, sowed misfortune, and cloaked its catastrophe, would now justly be utilized to seize happiness, to restore the lives of many people.

In refusal of that, the Witch’s soul was, quite literally, assiduously pursuing a thousand transformations.

???: [――――]

Through continually raising the undead, the Witch, Sphinx, had learned the nature of the soul.

In doing so, she had succeeded in reproducing the Witch of Greed, and by altering the nature of her soul, she acquired a means to escape both the flame of the Yang Sword, and the light of Star Eating.

It felt like an outrageous and aimless journey, like searching for a single needle dropped in a great desert, like searching for a Spirit that did not know words and had dissolved away into the atmosphere, like searching for someone who had plunged into the sea, something that did not exist in this world.

???: [You should never go sailing out to the ocean without a map and compass.]

Behind Subaru, as he was about to challenge the final decisive bout of the Empire’s upheaval, a man who came from his same world called to him.

Covered by a cold, iron helmet, he never displayed his true face. Likely, his eye―― Al’s eye, was blazing just like Subaru’s was, alight with a flame.

At those words of Al’s, Subaru realized he was not in a position where he could really rely on himself.

It was as Al had said. If you knew that you were standing in a desert, that you were looking out onto an unfamiliar world, that you were floating upon a great ocean, then you could not afford to be reckless.

???: [――Uau.]

The small hand that was holding onto his right hand asserted its presence with heat and touch.

The reason why he knew Spica was there, was not just because they were holding each other’s hands. It was because before they had even made contact like this, he had clashed with her many a time in an attempt to understand her.

Again and again, in the endeavor to understand this incomprehensible girl, Natsuki Subaru had――.

Subaru: [My map, is my heart. And my compass, is the two of you. ――Spica, Rem.]

The more he reminisced, his first days when he was sent to the Vollachian Empire had truly been the worst.

Unable to rely on anyone, he was pushed away by Rem, who he had wanted to stay close to, and was kept close to Spica, who he had tried to keep at a distance; all the while, he had kept on walking, having lost sight of his path.

And yet, even without her memories, Rem was still Rem; even with her past, Spica was still Spica; thus, no matter where he went, what he did, or who he met, Subaru could not be anyone but Subaru.

Subaru: [――Sphinx.]

Calling her name so, his hand entwined with Spica’s, he attempted to touch the Witch’s soul.

――The power of Star Eating, was that of a wish.

‘Twas a selfish wish, one that sought salvation from others, imploring the convenience of trying to save someone by means of a power that had only ever served to plunder and disdain, akin to making a wish upon a shooting star.

Yet, that was precisely why, precisely because it was a wish entrusted upon something that was not inherently so, it had to be made in sincerity.

It was not a matter of simply calling upon a name. To truly know somebody’s name, and call it out, was to declare that you would rise to the stage with them, and participate in their life.

???: [In that case you absolutely must look your best! Every second of life is lived upon a grand stage to shine! Everyone is an actor, everyone has been cast in a role, so everyone has an obligation to speak iconic lines! Is there such a thing as lines that are fine with not sticking in the hearts of all? Is there such a thing as acting? No such things exist!]

To a stranger, what words must one say to be noticed?

To a stranger, how many times must one reach out their hand to be remembered?

To get someone’s attention, suppose to even touch someone’s soul, naught would commence without first going from being strangers to being acquainted.

For one to let somebody know who they were, he knew of the best method.

???: [My name is Emilia. Just Emilia.]

Indeed. Ahh, of course. Not you, nor yourself. Not me, nor I.

――This was a dialogue between Natsuki Subaru and Sphinx.

Subaru: [――Sphinx.]

No longer was that just a reckless call in order to touch their soul, but rather, it was an appeal to get their attention.

At the timbre that differed from all that had come before, the Witch―― nay, the woman who had been walking through a vast desert, crossing through an unfamiliar world, and drifting through a great ocean in order to escape from him, had now turned her attention to him; this he knew.

Subaru: [――――]

Although they had been close enough that he could feel her breath, only now did he lock eyes with her for the first time.

No matter what face she wore, as long as he ignored her feelings, he would be unable to reach her deepest place.

Such a natural and commonplace form of communication, would now be put to use in the final showdown of the Empire.

Subaru: [My name is Natsuki Subaru. It’s a name derived from the stars. ――What’s yours?]

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The assortment of three Yang Swords that lay beyond the realm of reason, and the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier that stood in the way of the Empire’s tomorrow.

Each concealed extraordinary power as they clashed against one another, and the setting sun befalling the Empire was overturned by the sun upon the surface that rejected all notions of dusk, its radiance shining light upon the whole Imperial Capital.

Giant Soldier: [――――]

The magic crystals sinisterly gleamed, and their unleashed light of destruction colored the streets of the Imperial Capital in darkness, but, without having exchanged any words, the Sword Wolves had scattered to three different directions, and managed to evade it in an agile manner.

The vegetation and flowers that had basked in the shadowy light of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier were brought into a state of suspended life, and in the midst of that, the King of Thorns dashed up to the rooftop of a building, and targeted the leg of the inorganic golem that was the Giant Soldier.

The dazzling brandish of the sword moved to mow down the defenseless leg of the Giant Soldier―― it was deflected by a firm impact.

???: [Hoh, so you were shy enough to cover up your bare skin?]

Protected by the sword of her ancestor, the King of Thorns, the Sun Princess laughed. Her crimson eyes had ascertained the deployment of white cloth weaved with Mana to protect the colossal body of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier.

Unlike the Steelman Moguro Hagane, was it not rather a Witch or a woman who would clad themselves in clothes?

???: [Ready yourselves!]

Contrasting the Sun Princess as she laughed so, the Wise Emperor shouted with a rigid expression.

Immediately after, an enormous shimmering sword sliced down, and its afterglow attempted to hunt down the enemy bustling about its legs, tearing through and reshaping the streets of the Imperial Capital in a range of over one kilometer.

That act had been performed by a pillar of magic crystals held in the arm of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier.

It was one of the pillars that had been constructed around the Crystal Palace at a height matching that of the Giant Soldier’s, and as it was transformed into a deadly greatsword with a blade of fifty meters, its sense of scale was such that it would not lose out to the Yang Sword.

However――,

Sun Princess: [Very well. Flashiness is to mine liking.]

Thrusting the Yang Sword into the blade of the brandished magic crystal greatsword, the Sun Princess rode upon it.

The swung tip of the sword was raised to a height of over one hundred meters off the ground, so she glared into the head of the Giant Soldier――the former battery of the Magic Crystal Cannon, and the site that had become the current throne of the Witch.

The throne had become like a closed flower bud of magic crystals, and she was unable to make direct eye contact with the Witch.

In that case, until she could tempt the Witch to look at herself――,

Sun Princess: [How about I show you some dazzling “entertahinmunt”!?]

That instant, in response to the scintillation of the Yang Sword, the magic crystal greatsword in the Giant Soldier’s hand burst into flames in the blink of an eye.

With the purple swell of an inferno, the fifty-meter-long pillar of magical essence turned into light, dazzling the eyes of the world.

Of course, by burning the greatsword, she had lost her foothold, so the Sun Princess was falling headfirst towards the ground―― extending a white arm towards the heavens, the heavenly maiden caught the Sun Princess out of the sky with a flap of her wings of fire.

Sun Princess: [It is a great service.]

The praise of the Sun Princess produced a smile upon the heavenly maiden’s cheeks, and granted power to her heart. As the two soared through the sky pulling the bands of light behind them, the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier drew out a second greatsword, and moved in an attempt to slash forth――,

King of Thorns: [‘Tis to Mine Star and mine peoples, that I dedicate this brandish――]

Wise Emperor: [Do not look down upon the apex of the Sword Wolves!]

Aiming for the slender torso of the Giant Soldier, two streaks of swordlight slashed obliquely upwards from its left and right.

The combination technique of the King of Thorns and the Wise Emperor destroyed the cloth deployed to protect the body of the Giant Soldier head-on, and with a white flash, the swords were relentlessly driven into its large body.

As the treasured swords struck the magic crystals, a pleasant tune of shattering resounded through the skies of the Imperial Capital as if a scream from the Giant Soldier.

Giant Soldier: [――――]

Making a creaking noise, the greatsword shattered, and the entire body of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier began to fissure. While that was proof that it was being cornered by extraordinary beings, it was also the impetus for the Giant Soldier to revise its fighting style.

Through the countless cracks formed throughout its body, it began to shine, and in the next moment, aiming in every direction with quite literally no blind spots, the rain of light―― nay, the undodgeable mist of light was unleashed.

If it was raindrops, then there was the Sword Saint, Blue Lightning, and Admirer who could evade it.

But, if that were to become particles of mist, then even those transcendent beings would have trouble evading.

Therefore――,

Wise Emperor: [――Yang Sword, Vollachia.]
Sun Princess: [――Yang Sword, Vollachia.]
King of Thorns: [――Yang Sword, Vollachia.]

One point in the sky and two points on the ground; for a total of three points, the treasured swords of crimson, which had increased their radiance, birthed a wall of flame. By means of a scintillating flame that scorched anything it made contact with, the misty drizzle of light that gouged out anything it made contact with was painted over.

They had defended against the Witch’s destruction, however, the fissures throughout the body of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier expanded, and just as a snake would shed its old skin, the Giant Soldier exfoliated a purple gleam, and its radiance grew a level deeper.

As to not allow the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier to fire off its next move, an undulation of power differing from that of the Yang Sword spread out―― slowly, as if giant unseen fists were being drawn out of the ground, the buildings that made up the cityscape of the Imperial Capital rose out of the ground; ten, twenty, nearing a total of one-hundred, they surrounded the Giant Soldier.

The one who had done that, was the heavenly maiden who was holding the Sun Princess with one arm, and directing the other towards the Giant Soldier――,

Heavenly Maiden: [I, am the princess’s dog.]

Sun Princess: [A splendid attitude to possess.]

Immediately after, the maelstrom of buildings swirled, storming towards the body of the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier as if to sink its teeth into it.

In response to that tempest, the Giant Soldier reached out and grabbed a magic crystal pillar in each of its arms, and taking a dual-wielding stance of greatswords, its colossal body began to rapidly gyrate above the waist―― it performed a sword dance of destruction, ruination, and pulverization.

As an exceedingly mighty sword dance, it not only cleared away the onslaught of buildings, but also became a tornado permeating with the mist of light, attempting a triumphant return to the Imperial Capital of Lupugana.

Wise Emperor: [Just how many times in this day am I to witness the end of this world?]

Before the unimaginable storm of swords, the Wise Emperor heaved a sigh, however, moving forward with his sable gaze not the slightest bit deterred, he put his blade against the gale devastating the Imperial Capital, the Empire, and the entire world.

Simultaneously, the blades of the Sun Princess and the King of Thorns overlapped with the Wise Emperor’s aim, and together, they brought the tempest of swords to a halt.

Wise Emperor: [――Hk.]

Blood spilling from his lips as he grit his teeth, the Wise Emperor took on the burden of splendor as he held his ground. Appearing before the two who had similarly defended against the sword storm, the resonance of light and power began to engulf the tempest of swords in flames.

The tornado clad in violet light was scorched by the flame of the Yang Sword, and gradually shifted in color. The droplets of mist within the blade maelstrom began to spark, and before long it was transformed into a pillar of fire tall enough to pierce the heavens.

It was superb to the utmost degree. To think such a thing could be accomplished by the incomplete Yang Sword, unable to display its true value――,

Wise Emperor: [――――]

Tightly grasping the Yang Sword, the Wise Emperor narrowed his eyes at the rising pillar of fire. He stood before the brilliant blaze of flame, the force of its fire having strengthened by a noticeable amount.

He had done so while fully understanding that in the midst of battle, halting one’s legs and diverting one’s attention to the act of thinking was a foolish deed.

Immediately afterwards――,

???: [――Love me.]

The scorched sword tempest of light was perforated, and the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier, without any time for respite, jumped out. The brandish of the Giant Soldier’s greatsword was parried by the kick of a tall geta.

A beat later, basking in the resultant gust of wind, and switching over to a brilliant manner of beauty and dance as she waved the hem of her kimono mid-air, was the Flamboyant, harboring a flame in one of her eyes.

Flamboyant: [――――]

Still targeting the Flamboyant, who was unable to move in the midst of the air, the Giant Soldier attempted to scythe upwards with the greatsword opposite to the one that had been parried. However, that too, would not connect.

King of Thorns: [I shan’t allow thee to lay hands upon Mine Star so easily.]

The intervening King of Thorns swept the Flamboyant into his arms, and receiving the attack head-on with the vertical stance of his Yang Sword, he blazingly cut through the blade of the greatsword.

The afterstory to “Iris and the King of Thorns”, resurrected in the present day; as a result of that, the tip of the greatsword bounced off the ground, damaging the Imperial Capital as it flew from north to south.

Immediately after their attention had been turned to the south of the Imperial Capital―― a white light beamed north through the city.

???: [――――PREAHHHHHH!]

In the southern sky, flapping its white wings, the Dragon, clad in the very essence of an overcast sky, roared.

Disregarding the values of life and death, the Cloud Dragon who only fought for the sake of their beloved changed sides, sent forth a breath in opposition to the ruination.

Taking that head-on, the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier was knocked back a great deal. Being pushed back, the Giant Soldier thrust its sharp feet into the street and held its ground; resonating with the remaining magic crystal pillar, a shrill noise was produced as the pillar was shattered into countless small swords, and they began to set up a formation of swords so as to protect the Giant Soldier in a manner similar to the white cloth from earlier.

Even now, the Witch’s, the Great Disaster’s will to fight had yet to back down. In that case, the same could be said for this side.

Wise Emperor: [――――]

Present at the absolute center of the Vollachian Empire’s all-out war, the Wise Emperor slightly directed his attention outside.

Even if he was limited in ability, even if he was aware that he was a weak individual who would easily be blown away, the man who could not stop himself from participating in situations where others were risking their lives was nowhere to be seen.

Wise Emperor: [No matter the case, it is likely that you have also gone and thrown yourself into a reckless battle.]

Placing a certain sort of trust and expectation into his words, the Wise Emperor heightened the radiance of his treasured sword, and as he glared at the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier brimming with insidiousness, he stepped forth.

Wise Emperor: [Advance, O Generals of mine selection. ――In the eyes of the Great Disaster, we are naught more than inconsequential garbage.]

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――Natsuki Subaru and Spica faced off against the Witch, Sphinx.

As Subaru and Spica strove to seize the soul of the vindictive and tenacious Witch, Al’s mission was to keep the enemy at bay so as to prevent any interference.

???: [Ah, bring it on! Nobody’s gonna beat me or the Princess!]

Spurring himself on while roaring thus, Al continued to swing his improvised dao.

Behind Al, Sphinx was seated with her back against the wall, and flumped before her with his legs crossed was Subaru, who remained facing her head-on.

What Subaru was attempting to do in cooperation with Spica was an idea beyond the pale even for Al.

Hearing of the terrible idea of relying on the Authority of Gluttony had made Al question their sanity, but in fact, discerning that Subaru would be able to do it, Priscilla had ordered them to proceed.

If that is what would lead to the future, then Al would support them to his utmost. And ensure that it was achieved.

???: [Ul Goa.]

From above Al’s head, Roswaal flying freely across the sky rained down fire.

Though it was not the highest level of magic, casting that much magic in rapid succession was no ordinary feat. However, even his extraordinary magical prowess was unable to overwhelm the opponent he was presently attempting to restrain.

???: [Ul Huma.]

Countering the pouring rain of fire, was a barrage of water that had been shot into the sky from the ground.

In terms of number and effective range, both being the world’s top-class users, this was magical warfare at a level rarely seen in modern times――The Magician and the Witch had each turned the world into their ally, double-crossed it, and used it against each other wantonly.

Though Priscilla had vociferously asserted her presence, it was not the case that all the Witches had been drawn to her like moths to a flame. Some of the Witches, realizing that the Yang Sword was not the only thing they needed to fear, had joined in this juncture.

However――,

???: [If that’s how it is, so be it, in fact!]

With the appearance of a young girl and the movements of an athlete, Beatrice, with her right eye aflame, had cast Yin magic.

Instantly, her upraised hands birthed a pale purple haze over the whole area, slowing down the movements of the attacking Witches as well as the undead that, lacking self-awareness, had impulsively charged forth upon her command.

Al took advantage of that nice assist from Beatrice with great vigor.

Al: [Your stars were bad!]

The exquisite magic control weakened the enemy, bestowing a period of invincibility solely upon Al. As he beheaded the pitiable undead one after the other, at Beatrice who had supported him, Al winked through his helmet.

That very moment, at the wink that should not have been visible to her, Beatrice had a change of expression.

Beatrice: [This is bad, I suppose!]

At her words, Al turned around with a “Huh?”, and saw something――a massive fragment with a purple glow, in the scale of tens of meters, hurtling towards them as it skipped across the ground.

Al had no idea that this was the slashed-off tip of the great sword wielded by the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier that Priscilla and the others were fighting. What he did know, was that a direct hit from that fragment, would result in Al along with Subaru and the others behind him altogether becoming minced meat――,

Al: [Must――]

Escape with Subaru and the others from the trajectory of the flying fragment.

How many attempts would be needed, he did not know, and neither did he have the time to make such an estimation. Everything was more of trial and error at the precipice of life and death rather than empty theory.

Al: [Update Matrix, Thought Experiment――]

???: [――Don’t’cha give up jus’ like that!!]

A moment later, a powerful arm plunged into the fragment that looked as if it were passing by Al, intercepting it.

A roar and a torrential wind escaped behind him, but the flying debris was held in place. It was Garfiel who did it, biting his sharp canine teeth.

Garfiel: [Sorry for bein’ late, Beatrice! Captain…]

Beatrice: [You did well meeting us in fact! Protecting Subaru and Spica is our win condition, I suppose.]

Garfiel: [Yes ma’am! I get that loud n’ clear! Just like, “If ya whisper of love, follow in the example of the King of Thorns.”]

Kicking at the huge piece of debris that he had stopped, Garfiel punched his fists together in front of his chest. Garfiel also had his eyes, not figuratively but literally, burning and his whole body was filled with vigor in response to his will to fight.

???: [――Retreat: Required.]

A quiet voice announced the Witch’s entry into the battle, and Al and the others looked up to see a scene of swirling lights in the sky. It was as if the vortex of light had some kind of gravitational pull, with the surrounding buildings and debris floating up, being swallowed by the vortex, and then crushed and turned into specks of light.

The power of destruction was felt in the specks of light themselves, and all it needed was the Witch to speak, and they would raise the ground――,

???: [――Halibel-sama, please would you kindly,]
???: [That’s fine. I’m always happy ta help a hard workin’ girl.]

Suddenly, two different voices were heard, and in the next moment, a cannonball in a kimono――no, a deer girl, flew by.

The girl spun herself in the air and kicked the Witch’s back just as she was on the verge of raining down the specks of light. The momentum and force of the kick shattered the poor Witch in half.

Halibel: [Yep yep, that’s a great feat. With a girl like you, the future of the Empire’ll be in good hands.]

With the same momentum, the girl was about to dive into the vortex of light but was saved just in time by the jet black wolf man.

The wolf man neutralized the vortex of light the Witch had prepared with a quick piercing hand, softly catching the girl with the same hand before he landed to the ground.

The same wolf man who threw the girl and the same wolf man who caught her was responsible for her confusion.

Al: [A new monster has joined the fray! A Cecilus type!?]

Halibel: [Can’t deny that, but that’s an unpleasant way of classifyin’ me.]

Girl: [It has been a while. I am sorry to be presumptuous, Cecilus-sama and Halibel-sama are so different in their nature that it would be disrespectful. ――Why don’t we protect Schwartz-sama?]

Al: [Oh, Yeah. You’re quick on the uptake! And I’ll definitely welcome strong guys. Let’s protect Bro together!]

Halibel: [Yea. Looks like we’re almost at the endgame, n’ it looks like we even received this boon.]

Tanza, a girl in a kimono seen in the Demon City―― greeted the wolf man Halibel. Both of them had Priscilla’s blessing in their eyes as a flame, which was very encouraging.

Additionally――,

Beatrice: [I don’t know where this came from or from who, but we just received the perfect gift, in fact.]

Saying this, Beatrice touched a huge piece of debris with her small palm.――The rubble that Garfiel had stopped was not just a piece of rubble, but a block of magic crystal stone.

Beatrice disassembled it into Mana in one swoop, and about a hundred swords made of amethyst crystals appeared all around her at once, and the sword dance began with the movement of her hand as she lifted it.

Beatrice: [Betty will use her abundant Mana in this way, I suppose. You guys, if you so much as leave a scratch on Subaru, you will be mercilessly punished in fact.]

Tanza: [If that were to happen, I will be the one to deliver Beatrice-sama’s punishment!]

Al shrugged when he saw both Beatrice and Tanza’s sparking gazes.

――It seemed like Subaru’s unharmed state should also be included in the updated matrix’s conditions, he thought.

△▼△▼△▼△

Thus, protected by Al and the others, Subaru was engaged in the utmost extremity of concentration.

He was not unconscious, nor was he in a dream. Nevertheless, the battle unfolding in his vicinity was outside the realm of his consciousness, and his consciousness itself was not within the Imperial Capital.

At the present moment, the whereabouts of the existence known as Natsuki Subaru resided not in the the wartorn Imperial Capital, but instead in a world of white, where none were present save himself, Spica, who was holding his hand, and Sphinx, who was facing the two of them directly.

――It was a space that could easily be mistaken for that Hall of Memories.

Subaru: [For me, I guess it’s mainly a place of bad memories.]

It was the place to which he had once arrived without meaning to, the place where his Memories had been devoured against his will.

The memories of giving Emilia and Beatrice a thoroughly difficult time, and of putting Ram and Julius into a state beyond repair, were still fresh in his mind.

Above all, this was the place where “Natsuki Subaru” had no choice but to disappear.

Subaru: [But, that’s exactly why I can be here in my entirety.]

Spica: [Uu?]

Subaru: [You don’t need to know about this place. As far as you’re concerned, it’s quite a bit of a mess. And that’s fine.]

Smiling at Spica’s puzzled expression, Subaru proceeded to take a deep breath.

A white, tranquil space; the reason why Subaru was facing Spica and Sphinx in this place, was not because they were all companions whose names began with the letter S.

It was because all of them harbored a deep connection with the “self” whom they were not, and had thus wanted to converse as mutuals with no outsiders present.

Sphinx: [Sphinx, is the name of a monster that was in my creator’s knowledge.]

Subaru: [Hm? Ah, the derivation of your name.]

Sphinx: [Indeed. If my creator’s desires had been realized from the beginning, I would have ended up going by the name Echidna. Since that did not happen, the need arose for a different name.]

Directly facing him, Sphinx told Subaru about her name’s origin in a surprisingly calm manner.

The Sphinx―― as Subaru knew it, was a monster with the body of a lion and the head of a man. It guarded the pyramids and gave off the impression that it was good at giving riddles.

Subaru: [Four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening… Do you know what this is?]

Sphinx: [――? Would it not be a monster? Or a shape-shifting monster, perhaps.]

Subaru: [You’d think so. By the way, the answer is actually a human.]

When he told them the clichéd riddle, both Sphinx and Spica frowned. It was as if to say they were not satisfied with that answer, but he would have liked to direct their complaints to the other Sphinx who had devised the riddle.

In any case――,

Subaru: [Thanks for telling me that. In exchange, I have something I want to show you as well.]

Sphinx: [You want to show me something?]

Subaru: [Yeah. ――Although I’m not sure if you’ll be happy with it.]

After prefacing that, Subaru smiled faintly and then glanced at Spica. As if to allay Subaru’s apprehensions, she lifted her hand, still holding on to his, and gave an “Uu!”.

This was Spica’s yell of encouragement, saying she had come to terms with her own “self” a step ahead of Subaru.

――When one closed their eyes in the Hall of Memories, they could strongly smell their own scent.

It was just something he had heard, but apparently memory and smell were closely intertwined. Many memories were associated with smell, so that may have been why the Hall of Memories gave such an impression.

In any case, following his own scent as he walked through the faux Hall of Memories, Subaru tried to slowly reel in that which was uncertain, and bring it to that which was certain.

Amidst his many Return by Death attempts, Olbart, who had lost both arms, apologized that it would be difficult to undo the infantilization with a casual tone of voice―― So instead of an apology, Subaru sought instruction.

His vessel and soul were eager to return to normal. Thus, all that remained was to let scent guide his way.

If he could do that――,

Subaru: [――My name is Natsuki Subaru. Throughout Heaven and Earth, the one and only broke beyond compare.]

Indeed, the voice, which was cracking foolish jokes, became a little deeper and lower. His eye level changed, and the feel of Spica’s hand in his grip suddenly became smaller.

However, it was the opposite of that. Spica did not shrink. ――Subaru, had changed.

Subaru: [――――]

It was an intuitive change. His soul had been in a constant state of trying to return to its own original form.

By means of the growing pains from his heart and soul going from child to adult, flowing through his nerves and veins, the deep emotion Subaru felt upon accomplishing that quite literally seeped into each and every cell in his body.

And thus, having regained his self in a sense absolute, Subaru went face to face with Sphinx once again―― nay, he went face to face with her for the very first time.

Sphinx: [――Nice to meet you, Natsuki Subaru.]

Intuiting Subaru’s intentions, Sphinx, having observed his transformation, spoke greetings upon their first meeting. Upon hearing that, Subaru thought perhaps she was quite capable of talking things out after all.

With his restored mind, body, heart, and soul, Natsuki Subaru thought so.

Subaru: [But, we have to settle things nonetheless.]

Sphinx: [Indeed, that we must. ――Parting: Required.]

Subaru: […Why is that?]

Sphinx: [What do you mean, why?]

Subaru: [Why, did you try to do everything all on your own?]

That was Subaru’s honest question.

The Witch, Sphinx, gave rise to the Great Disaster to destroy Vollachian Empire, toying with many lives, and had carried out a mountain of deeds that were likely inexcusable. But, had it truly been necessary for her to do so?

If Sphinx’s purpose lay only in the reproduction of her creator―― the Witch of Greed, then.

Subaru: [There must have been different ways that you could have gone about it. You ended up picking the wrong one. If only you hadn’t done that, we could have…]

Sphinx: [Are you suggesting that we could have avoided fighting? That would not have been possible. Reconsideration: Required.]

Subaru: [Why not!?]

Sphinx: [Because there was a motive other than the reproduction of my creator, certainly present within myself.]

Looking down at herself, Sphinx smiled faintly as she proclaimed a definite distinction.

That smile, perceiving it as a proof that Sphinx was celebrating her very own sense of self, Subaru could no longer oppose her standpoint.

But, at the same time, Natsuki Subaru definitely, clearly located it.

Spica: [Uau.]

Subaru: [Yeah, I know. ――Thanks, Spica.]

Spica called out to Subaru, as he bit his lip. She probably would have liked to react to Subaru returning to his original size, but she endured that, and had thoroughly concentrated

He wished to respond to those feelings. ――Even if he had to go to Hell to do so.

Subaru: [――Sphinx.]

Sphinx: [What is it? No matter what you say or do, I――]

Subaru: [Happy Birthday.]

As he declared so, he touched Sphinx, whose eyes were wide at the unfamiliar congratulations.

And then――,

△▼△▼△▼△

Basking in the wind which carried a pleasant evening fragrance, Priscilla gave her cheers to existence itself.

She had been elated by the symposium between Sphinx, who, using the mechanisms of the Crystal Palace Meteor, had gone berserk with the upstood Giant Magic Crystal Soldier, and the Generals, who had been assembled by Vincent. [1]

She wished to continue beholding it, as a dream that one would not wake up from, as a program that would not come to a close, as a story with no “endhing”.

However, since that childish “iigo” was not appropriate for the curtain falling on this battle――,

Priscilla: [In a manner most befitting, it is I who shall lower the curtain.]

Saying that, Priscilla let go of Arakiya’s hand as they flew above the clouds, and began falling through the sky.

Plummeting straight downwards, Priscilla returned the Yang Sword to the sheath of the sky, and basking in the setting sun with her arms spread out, she closed her eyes.

Even if she could not see them, the souls of those with whom she had shared the flame of her soul were transmitted to her as if whispered intimacies from the world.

Arakiya, clad in bands of light, repelled the Witch’s magic, and the Dragon, covered in armor of cumulus, contained her so that the damage would not spread outside of the city. Standing harmoniously with the husband she had reunited with, Yorna was busy smashing up the ground in a radical expression of love, having no qualms about sharing in her daughter’s eye.

And, as an incompetent older brother, the Vollachian Emperor, Vincent Vollachia――,

Vincent: [Tardy.]

With a brief utterance, he undauntedly looked up at the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier with his sable eyes. The Giant Soldier raised its two magic crystal greatswords overhead, and was about to attempt cutting down the apex of the Empire along with the entire Imperial Capital.

Thereupon, from behind Vincent came Lightning, piercing through――,

???: [――Bear witness, Observers of the heavens above. ――Witness the choices the world shall… nay! Witness as it chooses me!]

Two streaks, one the white gleam of a blade, and the other a black light of severance; the flash of blades capable of severing the light of stars and the logic of curses bolted through the sky.

With that, the omen of the Imperial Capital’s devastation, the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier had its arms lopped off from its shoulders. With a thunderous tremor and eruption of smoke, the brilliance of the magic crystals was reduced to dust, and the flash of the Dream Sword and Fiend Sword severed their existence.

Even so, the Giant Soldier, having lost its arms, still wielded the countless swords floating in its vicinity, and was attempting to prune the defiant will of the Empire.

Of course, that aim also included the falling Priscilla.

???: [――Priscilla Barielle.]

Enough to paint over the hue of the sky, the light of ruination forcibly shone through her eyelids. Sensing that it was approaching herself, Priscilla opened her eyes, and reached her hands out to her left and right sides.

The next instant, Priscilla caught the Yang Swords of the Wise Emperor and the King of Thorns in her right and left hands respectively, and with a swing of the twin swords, she scorched the Witch’s magic crystal swords to naught in one fell swoop. The swords, bursting into flames in a chain reaction, swirled about the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier, blanketing the sky in a crimson curtain of flame.

Priscilla: [――――]

For a moment, Priscilla’s figure disappeared from everybody’s sight―― the figure of the Sun Princess perforated the curtain of flame, and shot directly towards the sealed magic crystal bud within the Giant Magic Crystal Soldier’s head.

It was an act accomplished thanks to the three Yang Swords―― riding upon her own Yang Sword, which had been launched out of the sheath of the sky, Priscilla soared with the Yang Swords of her brother and forefather in hand.

――The Yang Sword upon which Priscilla rode, its tip thrust into the magic crystal bud, and tearing through the closed flower petals, it made its way inside.

???: [――Priscilla Barielle.]

That instant, the barrage of light orbs, intended to intercept her, was cleared away by the King of Thorns’s Yang Sword.

As flame enshrouded her field of vision, Priscilla stepped down onto the floor and advanced.

???: [――Priscilla Barielle.]

Simultaneously, stepping past the flames which enshrouded her vision, Sphinx rushed forth with a sword of light in hand.

The two met gazes, and Priscilla burned away her opponent’s sword with the Wise Emperor’s Yang Sword.

Sphinx: [――Priscilla Barielle.]

Eyes burning with fury, Sphinx had called out her name many times, to which Priscilla smiled. Perceiving that smile within her vision, Sphinx leaped backwards, and readied her two hands.

Birthing ten blades of light upon her fingers, she rampaged about within the bud; reflecting irregularly off of the inside of the magic crystals, the kaleidoscope of Death gleamed with beauty.

At the chaotic and emotional scintillation, Pirscilla raised both her hands towards the heavens.

Then, gripping the treasured sword protruding beyond her outstretched hands――,

Sphinx: [――PRISCILLA BARIELLE!]

Priscilla: [That, is mine name.]

Within the sonorous bellow of that voice, there was a certain heat, tinged with enmity. Thereupon, Priscilla swung down the brilliantly dazzling Yang Sword.

――The flash of scintillating flame, that light reminiscent of sunrise or daybreak, of a new dawn, ardently shone upon her life. As the interior of the magic crystal bud was illuminated, it began to bloom.

That was to say, the sprouting of a soul――,

Priscilla: [You ought stand proud, Sphinx.]

Sphinx: [――――]

Priscilla: [As none other than your very self, you have fulfilled the role of mine enemy. ――It is a great service.]

Adjusting her posture after swinging the Yang Sword, Priscilla spoke thus to Sphinx, who stood before her. Receiving that, Sphinx narrowed her black eyes, and,

Sphinx: […Despite having failed to succeed, is that so?]

Priscilla: [A matter of course. Just whom do you take mineself for?]

Scoffing at the question, Priscilla responded so.

At her answer, Sphinx lowered the edges of her eyebrows, and heaving a sigh with an expression that had lost its sternness,

Sphinx: [Priscilla Barielle. ――The fateful enemy of myself, the Great Disaster, Sphinx.]

As a being who had found meaning in her existence differing from the original reason for which she had been created, she smiled.

――That was the conclusion between the Sun Princess, Priscilla Barielle, and the Great Disaster, Sphinx.

△▼△▼△▼△

Once, before, she had nearly perished.

At that time, too, there was an objective she had been unable to fulfill, however, she accepted with equanimity that things would come to an end without her achieving it; as calm as night would be as it received the setting sun, her inner feelings were of no value.

With that in mind, what about now?

???: [Just like before, I am disappearing without fulfilling my wish, and yet――]

Her heart was like that of a child, eagerly yearning not for the setting sun, but for dawn, daybreak, the rising sun; she could feel it beating within her body devoid of pulsations, alight with a definite “ardor”.

And thus, that was undoubtedly the true nature of the foul “ardor” that had radiated within the eyes of the cold, parched monster that had been bound to that place for decades; she had been taught so.

???: [Thank you. For teaching me who I am. ――Gratitude: Required.]

Her undefined, uncertain, and ambiguous self was established as “herself”, and even though that was quite far removed from what she had initially thought she had to become, she was not against it.

Once again, it shall be stated. This existence, born as a monster, was no substitute for the Witch of Greed.

And so, now that she was disappearing without having fulfilled her desire, a desire that was hers and hers alone, she spoke thus.

???: [――Ahh, how frustrating.]

△▼△▼△▼△

???: [――Sphinx.]

As Subaru called out her name, Spica, having touched her soul, devoured her way of being.

The moment Star Eating had been activated, welling up within Subaru was a peaceful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, along with a feeling of loneliness. It was, perhaps, something close to the kind of loneliness felt at the end of a dinner filled with laughter.

Truly fulfilling, and yet just a tiny bit unsatisfying; it was that kind of moment.

???: [――――]

He had congratulated her on being born as her own individual life, and with that same mouth, he had helped devour her.

However, that was not out of hatred. Neither was it that he wanted to make her suffer, nor dishearten her. There was just no other way for this to be settled.

The resolution between Subaru’s group and Sphinx; this was the only way it could be.

Spica: [Uu!]

With a rustling sound, Sphinx was turning to dust as she disappeared. As Subaru witnessed her demise, Spica, who had helped him to bring it about, called out to him.

To Spica, too, words of gratitude and appreciation were in order.

Subaru: [Besides, now that the enemy’s top brass is no more, Abel and the others will also――]

It was at the moment he said that, and was about to stand up.

???: [――Subaru.]

The voice, unexpectedly heard, ignored Subaru’s eardrums and cranium, and resonated directly within his brain.

That had always been the case. That beautiful voice of a silver bell, had always laid Natsuki Subaru bare. And, having made the exposed Subaru turn around, it had brought with it the urge to burst into tears.

Subaru: [――――]

Unable to speak, as Subaru stood up and turned around, the red evening glow illuminated his eyes. That sunset, which had brought with it the afterglow of victory, had now become a hindrance. ――For within that light, there was a face he longed to see.

Her long, silver hair that resembled the dew drops of a night sky’s moon, and her eyes of amethyst, the most beautiful jewel in the world; from the top of her head to the tips of her toes, there was not one bit that he did not find lovely.

Spica: [Uau.]

Subaru was almost in tears from the impulse that had welled up within him, and Spica, who had let go of his hand, patted him on the back.

With the touch of that palm providing the impetus and the courage, Subaru broke out into a run.

Passing by Al as he gave him a thumbs up, being seen off by Halibel as he puffed his tobacco smoke, patting the shoulder of Garfiel as he bawled his eyes out in Subaru’s stead, poking the cheek of Beatrice as she held back her urge to jump onto him, giving a wry smile to Tanza as she characteristically deeply bowed her head, he was then covered by Roswaal, who had descended from the sky, took off his jacket and draped it over him.

Roswaal: [Subaru-kun, aren’t you compleeetly~ naked?]

Having grown back to his original size, Subaru’s clothes from his childlike state no longer fit. If this had been his original world, he would have lacked the clothes needed to go buy clothes.

But, this was not his original world; this was another world, one in which Subaru now lived.

???: [Suba――]

The girl who had broken into a jog to rush over to him from the other direction had tried to open her mouth, but Subaru, without slowing down, went ahead and embraced her outright, rendering her silent.

With his arms now at their proper original size, tightly hugging her slender body――,

Subaru: [――EMT.]

Emilia: […Stupid.]

Subaru had embraced her head-on, and Emilia, who was slightly surprised, smiled knowing that there was no helping it.

Of course, he had also been elated for their reunion in the Vollachian Empire. Being able to touch her again after having been separated, Subaru had keenly felt the depth of his feelings for her from the bottom of his heart.

But, as expected, this was different. ――Now, in mind, body, and soul, this was Natsuki Subaru.

Emilia: [Welcome back, Subaru.]

Subaru: [Yeah. ――I’m back, Emilia-tan.]

Thus spoke Emilia, who had perceived that same fulfillment of Subaru’s soul.

And then, in the distance beyond the two sharing in the joy of their reunion, the Crystal Palace dazzlingly burst into flames.

――For the Great Disaster of the Vollachian Empire, which had gone on for a long, long time, that had been the closing ceremony.

Translation Notes:

[1] – The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–380 BC. It concerns itself at one level with the genesis, purpose and nature of love, and (in later day interpretations) is the origin of the concept of Platonic love. Love is examined in a sequence of speeches by men attending a symposium, or drinking party. Each man must deliver an encomium, a speech in praise of Love. The party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. Essentially Tappei is likening the final battle between Sphinx and the Empire as a banquet in which everybody is making a display of their own love.

 

45 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 74 – “Love””

  1. The battle where only everyone’s titles were used was awesome! Subaru’s usage of Gluttony to talk with souls and change the shape of his own was amazing!

    But why was “星詠み” in the last section translated as Star eating? Shouldn’t that be Stargazing?

    1. We believe that this is very, very likely to be a brainfart by Tappei, given the context of the chapter.

      1. Or given the context, Subaru straight up looked into someone else’s soul. Similar to the fortune telling Ublik did to him in Chaosflame where he held Subaru’s hand and then gave him advice.

        It just feels like very cool piece of foreshadowing is gone when translated differently… Subaru’s very own version of stargazing is a cool concept. This is like when LN called Meili’s foreshadowing as Mary.

        I am just sad to see that line untranslated. If brainfarts are suspected then perhaps Al never casted “Ol Shamak”, but it was a typo too.

        1. Given the context, it’s referring to Spica’s act of eating Sphinx. The verb conjugation is the same with how star eating has been utilized in the past, so we regard the actual possibility of the intention being “stargazer” to be very low. If this goes unfixed in the light novel version, we may reconsider our translation.

  2. Priscilla really told Sphinx to stand proud huh.
    Really hope that Subaru’s pants held on like Hulk’s when he grew back otherwise that whole reunion will be very weird.
    Anyways great chapter, didn’t expect it to go as hard as it did.
    Also I don’t know why but this chapter seemed to go way too well although it’s the second last chapter I still think as if something bad is about to happen or a cliffhanger, don’t know why but the chapter seemed too happy.

    1. Meanwhile, Subaru earlier in the chapter: “Throughout Heaven and Earth, I alone am broke beyond comparison”

  3. Finally this arc got good ending. At first i thought Subaru turned back to his original self butt naked but i guess the old clothes somehow covered it

          1. I respect others opinions, however one thing I can’tt stand is people pretending that Arc 8 is all fights.

            Eugard’s story has been fucking fantastic, and tbh one of the best in the WHOLE story. Same with Vincent, him deciding to start thinking ahead, aafter he spent so long nhilistically preparing for his death. Ch 12 is still one of my favorite chapters of this Arc.

            1. With Yorna and Tanza, especially Tanza’s named chapter. Speaking of that, the 7 or so named chapters in a row were phenomenal! It wasn’t all just fighting, it in MY opinion perfectly blended action with story, like Cecilius refusing to kill Arakiya because he wanted to grow beyond what he originally was.

              “Dreams are meant to be seen when you’re awake, they’re meant to enchant you, Anya. The person whom you treasure dearly, is someone who treasures you dearly too.”

              What a fantastic 2 lines!

              1. Sphinx too had amazing devolopment, I have not read the EX novels, nor the SS’s where she appears, but even still I was able to resonate with her character, and her amazing aand satisfying end. Ik others think the Sphinx devolopment was kinda weak, but I really enoyed it.

                These are just off the top of my head, but there are a lot more.

                This Arc has some amazing devolopment for Subaru too, challenging his views and ofc his talk with Todd(best antagonist of arc 7) was fascinating to read too

                Sorry for my long rant hehe, but my point is, there is more to this Arc than just fighting and being “Marvel”, and I hope u can see that too!

  4. UWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH THANKS FOR ALL THE TRANSLATION, NOW THAT IT FEELS LIKE THE INTENDED REUNION, I BAWLED MY EYES OFF LIKE GAR, UWAAAAAAAA WELCOME BACK SUBARU

  5. Subaru: “GG izi, sphinx free PDL, next time i’m gonna have sure that i chose the player session, not the NPC session”

  6. So I just realised, Al can select who can be “protected” by his authority right?
    That must’ve been what happened earlier when Subaru was in the loop with Olbart

    1. No, as the same thing happened with Subaru on Gladiator Island. It’s just it seems that Satella “puts” saving points for Subaru, as he himself can’t control when his last saving point will be. Only when she “found” him, after he spoken her name his checkpoints became normal. If you remember, he had troubles with them since the begging of arc 7, when she “lost” him.

    2. probably not the exact same, since I think when he was shrunken he mentioned “something being missing” and suddenly grew into terror

  7. I think it’s now clear exactly from whom Subaru wants children and grandchildren!) This is true love, when your soul is blissful and your heart is completely at peace! And this ending of the 8th arc with Emilia is much warmer than the ending of the 6th arc with Rem, where feelings went off scale, because it was not love, but passion. There is a Japanese proverb – passion cannot create true love! Tappei stop stalling, everyone knows that Subaru and Emilia will get closer, let’s hurry up! I know that one of the future chapters will be called Natsuki Emilia!

    1. What Subaru had in the end of arc 6 is called Catharsis, not passion. I don’t think anyone cries while looking at the object of their passion.

  8. Is this the first time in the entire series that Garfiel made a comprehensible reference? Is he like actually well read or something?

    1. Other than the sayings pertaining to Reinhard, Reid, and Hoshin, he’s made references to Magrizza’s Guillotine and a man named Wilov who Clind was apparently familiar with.

    2. Actually yes I believe it’s canon Garfiel actually loves reading books, even back in his Sanctuary days. Subaru and the readers just don’t get it, but if you notice everybody else in the series usually understands (ex: that one moment in arc 4 where garfiel used an idiom to express his antagonism, which subaru didn’t understand until everybody else switched gears… it might be the rabbit loop? LN)

    3. Garfiel in season 2 of the anime says he likes reading while he fights Elsa (idk if he said it in the novel or manga versions of the fight) and constantly uses proverbs in every version so yes he is well read just likes fighting more

      1. Garfiel is the kind of guy who studied healing magic to heal those he could not save by fighting. He thinks too much, as Ram has said. It’s a pity S2 failed to properly portray his gentle and thoughtful sude.

  9. Sphinx at the end of the day is someone to be pitied. She had no choice in her creation, and then was shackled for hundreds of years by someone else’s purpose. Her situation mirrors Beatrice’s, but unlike Beatrice who was saved by Subaru – Sphinx was “saved” by a man who just locked her away, and she never had the chance to live a good life.

    Subaru did great work as always, and it was impressive he both was able to “fix the form of his soul” and also assign a true name to Sphinx. He really does seem to be gaining some incredibly arcane knowledge.

    Also an honorable mention for Priscilla and the other bearers of the Yang Sword fighting the good fight. Oh, and Garfiel showing up at the last minute just in time was also great. A great conclusion to this arc.

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