Chapter 90


Subaru quietly shakes some sand off of his shoulders, and holds the little scorpion in his hand as it emerges from the dust.

Subaru wanted to save her. Subaru wanted to get her out of this lonely tower. Subaru promised to help her, Subaru promised to do so. Subaru had failed to keep his promise. Natsuki Subaru is always making promises that he can't keep.

Subaru: [....]

No one is able to speak to Subaru as he squats silently on the sand.

Neither Beatrice beside him, nor Julius and Meili behind him, could find the words to say.

However, as if to comfort the weeping Subaru, the scorpion on his hand ran up his arm, climbed up Subaru's shoulder, and leaned in close to his neck.

Subaru doesn't know what this little scorpion is trying to do.

The miniature scorpion had emerged from the crumbled remains of the Crimson Scorpion. What relationship does this scorpion have with Shaula? Could it be that this scorpion is Shaula?..

Subaru: [It's not.]

Those words that Subaru exchanged with Shaula in her last moments.

It wasn’t clear whether their final conversation was merely a daydream, or a concrete exchange before Shaula had fully disappeared. Regardless, Subaru was sadly convinced that, based on what she had said, Shaula’s disappearance was truly permanent.

Shaula was lost.

Her existence was tied to the rules of the Pleiades Watchtower itself, and ultimately, like with Reid and the monoliths of the three floors, the stage had been set for the ‘trial’ to proceed.

Hence, once the Watchtower had finished its previous role, Shaula too must leave.

She died because her role had come to an end.

But it can’t be the “end”, as she just opened a hole in Subaru's heart.

Subaru: [....]

That open-hearted smile, that annoying need for touch, the mindlessly affectionate voice for her master, all of it was gone.

If Shaula had cried out and screamed at him that she didn't want to disappear, Subaru would have done everything in his power to find a way to do so, and he would have given his life as many times as was needed.

But Shaula didn't want that. She laughed and said that she wanted to see him again, and then she was gone.

Subaru doesn't know how to do that, or if it's really possible. Subaru doesn't know, but...

Subaru: [All right. I'm sure one day, I'll meet you again.]

She smiled brightly and told Subaru that she loved him, and she had fulfilled her wish. For that reason...

Subaru: [Goodbye, for now Shaula.]

The sandy wind blew away the remnants of Shaula’s thoughts, which had become crimson dust.

Witnessing this, Subaru exhaled. When he looked, he saw a scorpion huddled around his neck, plucking at his ears with its pincers as if it was asking him to cheer up.

Subaru: [Ouch!]

Subaru felt a sharp pain, as if he were being pierced. With teary eyes, Subaru nodded and grabbed the scorpion by the neck, trying to pull it away from his ears.


Subaru: [Ouch! You can let me go now. Hey, you’re making my ears bleed!! This girl’s a hassle!]

Meili: [Nii-san~, what are you doing?]

The little crimson scorpion, with Subaru’s ear trapped in it’s pincers, doesn’t seem to want to let go.

Meili looked dumbfounded, and then she turned to Subaru and grabbed the Little Red Scorpion with her small hands.

Meili: [Even though it’s tiny, it is a demonic beast, so if you go near her face, you won't know if it’s gonna eat your eyes or nose.]

Subaru: [Eat my eyes or nose?... But this scorpion is ….]

Meili: [It’s a demonic beast. She isn’t our naked onee-chan~.]

Subaru: [....]

Saying that, Meili propped the little crimson scorpion on her head.

Unlike the terror Subaru experienced earlier, the little crimson scorpion doesn't wreak havoc on Meili's head. The scorpion seems to have come under the influence of Meili’s Divine Protection of Magic Manipulation, so it hid its ferocity.

Without saying a word, it was proof that the little crimson scorpion was a demonic beast that responded to Meilis divine protection. It proved that the scorpion had no remnants of Shaula's ego.

Beatrice: [Subaru, I need to treat your wounds.]

Beatrice pulls at Subaru's sleeve, who turns around, and gently takes care of his injuries.

Biting his lip at that consideration, Subaru nods deeply. He couldn't stay in the sand dunes for long.

Emilia: [Subaru! Everyone!]

Off in the distance, Emilia throws open the large doors that served as the entrance to the watchtower. She rushes over to Subaru and the others, slowly becoming more and more visible as she enters the foreground. .

She was dirty and covered in light wounds, implicating the battle she had just overcome. It was obvious that her journey inside the watchtower hadn’t been easy, but now was not the time to worry about appearances.

There were too many things that need to be talked about, and too many goodbyes that need to be exchanged.


Emilia: [......Shaula really was an amazingly hard worker.]

After hearing the current events and the fate that had befallen Shaula, Emilia stares into the sand, where even the dust of the battle had dissipated, and mourned the loss of her friend.

Gently, she uses a single white finger to stroke the little red scorpion on top of Meili's head. Even though Meili had ordered her to not attack, the little red scorpion accepted Emilia's finger with a pleasant air, even though there was no way to truly tell the scorpion's expression.

Julius: [Emilia-sama, how was the first floor? I hope you were able to complete the last test without too much trouble.]

After hearing the explanation of Shaula's condition, Emilia looked gloomily to a disparate Subaru.

It was Julius who dared to change the topic to something more cheerful. At Julius' question, Emilia nods.

Emilia: [I had a hard time understanding it, but in the end, I managed to accomplish my goal. Julius, do you really remember me?]

Julius: [Yes, I do. Certainly, with Ley Batenkaitos defeated, I remember you clearly.]

As opposed to Emilia’s timid question, Julius answered without reservation.

Putting his hand over his own mouth, Julius says her name under his breath.

Julius: [Emilia-sama,]

Julius nods, confirming that he remembers Emilia's identity.

Emilia: [What about you Beatrice? Do you remember me? Meili?]

Beatrice: [...... Don't worry. I remember you, I suppose. I hadn't even realized I had forgotten you until you told me I had, in fact. Such a creepy feeling, in fact.]

Meili: [I remember you Onee-chan. You still remember me and the promise we made, right?]

Emilia: [Of course. I would never forget a promise. Good. Ram and Patrasche remembered too, so everything is okay......]

Hearing Beatrice and Meili's answers, Emilia let out a breath that she hadn’t known she was holding.

At the girls' interaction, Subaru calls out.

Subaru: [Wait.]

Then, with everyone's attention on him, Subaru cleared his throat -

Subaru: [That's really good news, but I need to get this straight. The reason you all remember Emilia-tan was-- does that mean that…?]

Julius: [Lady Ram was able to kill Ley Batenkaitos.]

Subaru: [----!]

Subaru's eyes widen at Julius, who assures him of the fact.

Ley Battenkaitos, the Great Sin Archbishop of “Gluttony” representing Gourmet, was the most hated enemy between Subaru and Ram.

In addition, he had eaten Emilia's "name" and generated an unnecessary amount of stress on her while she was fighting. However, if she had gotten her name back...

Then if the reason being was because Ley Battenkaitos had fallen....

Subaru: [That means that you get back what was taken…]

If Emilia's 'name' is back, then the effects of the Authority of Gluttony should be cancelled.

Declaring himself a “Gourmet”, Ley had taken too much from others. But if all of his stolen memories were released, then the people of Priestella could be freed from some of their burdens.

Subaru: [----]

Thinking too far ahead, Subaru shakes his head.

Let’s not trick ourselves here. I can’t afford to get ahead of myself..

In that moment, Natsuki Subaru had a terribly selfish, wistful thought.

If Ley Batenkaitos had been defeated and the influence of his authority had disappeared...

Subaru: [You remember Rem right?]

The girl forgotten by everyone, and whose existence left a hole in his heart.

Ironically, in the watchtower where they could find the knowledge to save her, they had been attacked by the very cause of her condition. But in the end, that didn't matter, since they had gotten their desired results.

Encouraged by that fleeting hope, Subaru looked around at the faces of his friends.

To Subaru's question, however--.

Emilia: [...... I'm sorry Subaru…. I still can't remember Rem.]

Subaru: [--What?! Why?!]

Beatrice: [Betty doesn't remember her either, I suppose. Besides, I also can't.......]

Subaru: [Besides, what? What did I forget?]

Emilia didn't remember, and Beatrice followed suit, leaving Subaru with a deep feeling of dread.

His hope being crushed by Beatrice, Subaru is at a loss. Seeing Subaru's desperate eyes, Beatrice looks at Julius.

Beatrice: [I still can't remember Julius, in fact. I wonder if the names that Gluttony stole truly have been returned, I suppose.]

Julius: [.......]

Listening to Beatrice's remark, Emilia nods.

Meili, who didn't know Julius before he was deprived of his 'name', shrugs her shoulders.

Subaru: [But why haven't Rem and Julius gotten their names back?]

Julius: [Actually, I do know the reason behind why my “name” hasn't been returned.]

To the confusion of everyone present, Julius had spoken those words.

Then, Julius looks back at Subaru and the others with narrow eyes and continues.

Julius: [-- The Sin Archbishop ‘Roy Alphard’ has been taken alive. He’s the ‘Gluttony’ who took my name, so I suppose that’s why my “name” hasn’t been returned.]

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

Subaru and the others passed through the main gate of Pleiades Watchtower, walking towards the Fifth Floor. Before them is the dragon carriage that brought everyone to the tower. At the side of the carriage, a figure waves at them.

???: [Emilia-san, and Natsuki-kun, it's been a long time since I’ve seen ya.]

Subaru: [...... Are you, Anastasia?]

Subaru’s eyes slowly widen to full-blown shock as he stares at the figure in front him, the figure who was waving their hand and giving a half-hearted smile.

He confirms that the figure was natural in her gestures, demeanor, and even expression. This is a complete reproduction of the human that the artificial spirit Echidna had posed as. No, it was not a reproduction.

It's the nature of the original person. Subaru shouldn’t call it a recreation.

In other words--.

Emilia: [Miss Anastasia! Is it really you?]

Anastasia: [Yep, that’s right. I’m afraid I’ve dozed a while now, but I’m sorry to worry ya. I had to ask Echidna what happened these past few months..]

Emilia: [Is Echidna okay?]

Anastasia: [Somehow. I doubt she’ll die from anything other than remorse.]

As Anastasia answers Emilia's questions, the collar around her neck moves, and the white fox nodded in an apologetic manner.

Stroking Echidna's head, Anastasia scolded her.

Anastasia: [Don’t you go blamin yourself for that again. I told ya, it was my own choice, so there’s no need for ya to be upset about it. Ya think so tho, right Julius?. You would think so, right Julius?]

Julius: [Me? ...... That's right. Though I do have to admit, I find Anastasia-sama’s decision quite vexing. That’s a difficult question for me to answer.]

Anastasia: [Why’s it so hard?]

Julius: [It's a knight’s duty to keep such thoughts to himself.]

Julius' lips part as he answers gracefully. Hearing his answer, Anastasia laughed with her hand over her mouth.

Anastasia: [Well, it shouldn’t.]

A breathtaking exchange between master and servant.

Emilia: [Anastasia, you've forgotten about Julius, haven't you?]

Anastasia: [Yup, I don’t remember what he was to me originally. What was he?, ]

Echidna: [Fortunately, I can tell you what I've learned about Julius in the last two months. Apparently, that's what I was born to do.]

Beatrice: [You seem to have changed as well, I suppose.]

Beatrice speaks to Echidna, who is currently wrapped around Anastasia’s neck.

Hearing this, Echidna stiffens and nods.

Echidna was an artificial spirit with no past. She came to this watchtower as a substitute for Anastasia, though it seems she’s reached a positive conclusion.

It was safe to say that Anastasia regaining her own body was probably part of it.

Anastasia's Od, the regret of her activities by cutting it down, and the resolution of her innate problems, those things have not been cleared up - but

Anastasia: [That's not a very nice thing for us to poke at.]

The problems between Anastasia and Echidna are something that they need to talk about.

Of course, if they ask for help, they'll worry about it together and help solve it. It should be safe to assume that that much of a bond was nurtured by their journey across the past two months.

Emilia: [Hey, Anastasia-san. I'm soooo glad you're back safely, I have a lot to talk to you about.......]

Anastasia: [I know. Did you want to talk about the Sin Archbishop Julius defeated? Julius has done this and that, and left the Sin Archbishop in the dragon carriage.]

Emilia: [Julius has done this and that? …...]

Shrugging her shoulders, Anastasia points to the dragon carriage behind her.

Next to Emilia, who was ruminating over Anastastia’s words, Subaru looks at the dragon carriage and gasps. In it, Roy Alphard, the Sin Archbishop, representing the “Bizarre Eating” aspect “Gluttony”, is captured.

Subaru: [.....]

Before going around behind the dragon carriage, Subaru strokes the neck of the ground dragon, Gian.

The thick, four-legged Agaress ground dragon is the unexpected keystone of Subaru's victory in the last battle with Shaula.

It wasn't the best result. But that doesn't spoil his thoughts of Gian. And more importantly, Meili's survival is the result of Gian’s will

Subaru: [Thanks, you've saved my life. Please help me if anything happens after this.]

Gian: [....]

Gian, being stroked on his thick neck, snorts, as if to say he was burdened.

Smiling slightly at that, his cheeks quickly tighten, and Subaru heads to the dragon carriage. He then nods to Emilia and the others and looks inside of it.

There was the Sin Archbishop of "Bizzare Eating.”

Subaru: [What is that?]

Subaru, who looks into the dragon car with a sense of urgency, slumps his shoulders when he sees what was inside.

Roy Alphard was indeed inside of the dragon carriage. However, the way he was restrained was different from what Subaru had imagined.

Roy Alphard’s entire body was wrapped in a black crystalline substance, and he was restrained, no, he was sealed with his eyes shut.

Julius: [Given that this is a Sin Archbishop, it would not be enough to restrict his movement. So, I have sealed him as tightly as possible.]

Subaru: [What's the principle behind this?]

Beatrice: [In principle, it's an application of yin magic. Shamak is used to disengage the attacker's consciousness and cement it in place. It is a pretty nasty way to go about it, I suppose]

Subaru: [So this black thing is a chunk of Shamak.]

After hearing Beatrice's explanation, Subaru looked at the seal again, cringing.

Shamak was the magic that Subaru had relied on most in this world before he signed a contract with Beatrice, but the effects it brought about, and Julius's sealing tactics in applying those effects, could only make his tongue curl in disgust.

Seeing such a reaction from Subaru, Julius prefaced it by saying,

Julius: [I hope you don't misunderstand me, but this is not a technique that I invented. The most famous seal in the world uses this same technique, even if the scale is much larger. ]

Subaru: [The world's most famous, no way]

Emilia: [The “Witch of Envy”, right?]

Emilia, who was observing the trapped Sin Archbishop, has her question affirmed by Julius, who nods deeply.

Julius: [Yes.]

Roy Alphard’s seal used the same method from four hundred years ago that sealed the “Witch of Envy,” who is now sealed, further east from this watchtower.

In other words, the method is proven to work, and if it was Julius who applied the seal, it should be even more trustworthy. However, that's not the issue.

Subaru: [The question is, why keep this guy alive?]

Emilia: [Subaru......]

Emilia lowers her eyebrows at Subaru as he looks at the sealed Alphard.

His gaze pained her heart.

Emilia: [Is that so?]

Subaru: [Looking back on it, with the death of one of the Gluttony siblings, Ley Batenkaitos, everyone remembered Emilia-tan. If that's the case, then the rest of the 'memories' and ‘names’ should return if this guy dies.]

Julius: [There's no guarantee they will come back. That is the main reason I didn't execute him.]

Subaru: [....]

Julius: [There is no doubt that Lady Ram has defeated Ley. But was the release of Lady Emilia's “name” really done simply defeating him? I can't wipe out the possibility that it could be something else. If we make a premature decision, we could lose everything.]

Julius's words pose a very good argument that even Subaru couldn't seem to counter.


Subaru: [Then how about the Book of the Dead?]

As an alternative, Subaru presents a method that exists only in this watchtower.

There is no better way to expose other people's thoughts than with the Book of the Dead. After all, it is a means reliving a person's life itself.

Subaru: [If you question him, there is no guarantee that he will tell you the truth. If that's the case, it is better to use the Book of the Dead to find out what's in his heart.]

Emilia: [Subaru, I don't think it's a good idea to do that.]

Subaru: [But wouldn't it be foolproof?]

Anastasia: [Can I interrupt you for a moment?]

When Subaru suggests using the Book of the Dead, Emilia is reluctant to do so. When Subaru tries to force the idea, it is Anastasia who raises her hand.

She looks at Subaru and clasps her white hands together in front of her chest.

Anastasia: [I've heard from Echidna too, and there may be a few exclusions here and there, but do you really want to read his Book of the Dead? Isn't it dangerous to be overconfident about using it?]

Subaru: [How did you know it was dangerous?]

Anastasia: [You've experienced it yourself, haven't you, Natsuki-kun? I'm talking about the fact that while I was sleeping, you lost your memories.]

Subaru: [....]

Anastasia hit a sore spot. Subaru didn’t realize how much Anastasia could find out from Echidna in such a short amount of time.

However, Subaru's spell of amnesia didn't strictly coincide with the danger of the Book of the Dead. It is not because of the influence of the Book of the Dead that Subaru has lost his memory.

However, this does not eliminate the danger of the Book of the Dead at all.

In fact, by reading Meili’s Book of the Dead, some of her thoughts and feelings almost corrupted his personality. Subaru doesn't consider himself to have a particularly large ego, but even so, there's no telling what would happen if he were susceptible. There is no guarantee that reading Roy Alphard’s book would not give birth to a new Roy Alphard.

Subaru: [So then Anastasia, are you saying that it's right to keep this guy alive? After how much this guy has done?]

Anastasia: [If you are talking about right and wrong, I don't think it's right to keep the Archbishop alive. If the memory of Julius returns after killing this person, that's fine too. But I have my own theory.]

Subaru: [A pet theory......?]

Anastasia: [Life or no life, scramble for it, fight or flight, is the last resort, Hoshin's own words, not mine. As far as I'm concerned, a person who easily kills people will get no happy ending.]

Subaru's eyes widen at Anastasia's words.

In this fantasy world with both swords and magic, a repulsive feeling arose, what a sweet thing to do. But at the same time, the ethics within Subaru felt it was the right thing to do.

Even Subaru believes that the fewer deaths, the better.

Not only allies but enemies as well, the fewer deaths the better.

However, that theory is only true if the opponent is worthy of your kindness.

Subaru: [He made a lot of people unhappy, and he's still making people suffer. Even a guy like that, Anastasia, you're saying we should keep him alive?]

Anastasia: [I think Natsuki-kun is one of those people who thinks along the lines of, If you don’t kill me, I'll kill you. I'll get my hands dirty if I have to. But that's not the same as giving in to your impulses.]

Subaru: [No, that's not possible ......]

Anastasia: [I'm sure you can shed a tear or two for someone who is gone. But I would rather have a long-lasting relationship with Natsuki-kun, who has no tears.]

Anastasia traced her own cheek with her finger, pointing out the marks of Subaru's tears.

A moment later, the wound of Shaula’s loss tingles, and Subaru turns away quietly. Anastasia's way of saying it was cowardly. But it was definitely effective.

Emilia: [Subaru, I'm of the same opinion as Anastasia. I wish I could hurry up and solve this problem for Julius and Rem, but ......]

Julius: [At least don't worry about me. When things get to this point, certainty should take precedence over speed. ...... My brother's life depends on it.]

Joshua, the brother he left behind in Pristella was on the verge of retrieving his own memories, and Julius' opinion is cautious, but as mentioned, it's the correct thing to do.

Subaru wants to make up for the pain of Julius’ loss, but also wants to rush for results. That's exactly what was going through Subaru's mind at the time.

Echidna: [Let me sum it up. The opinion of Ana and Julius is to transport Roy Alphard, the Sin Archbishop of "Gluttony" to the capital to find out how to save the victims of the Authority of Gluttony. After that, no pardon would be granted. He should not be spared the most extreme of penalties.]

Anastasia: [There are limits to the extenuating circumstances for age.]

Looking at Subaru, who opens his fists, Echidna and Anastasia finish the conversation.

Emilia doesn't disagree with the treatment of Alphard, either. His custody and transportation to the king's capital in a sealed state was logical. In a sense, he would be in the same position as Sirius who was captured earlier.

Anastasia: [Emilia-san and the others agree, yeah?]

Emilia: [Yes. I want to properly remember the people I've forgotten, too]

At Anastasia's confirmation of her intentions, Emilia looks up and replies unreservedly.

Her words, which did not interfere with her objections, were dependable and bitter at the same time. Subaru turns away from the deadly Sin Archbishop, where he unexpectedly falls to his knees.

Subaru: [That .......]

Beatrice: [Subaru! I knew you were being too reckless! I had such a bad feeling about this after having to carry that creepy burden with me all the time, I suppose!]

Beatrice yelled at him, supporting Subaru's shoulders as his head got heavy and his vision wobbled.

Her pretty voice echoes in his head, and Subaru realizes that he was more worn out than he had thought.

It was only natural.

Losing his memory, dying many times in between, dying many times afterwards, facing himself to regain his memory, waking up and defeating the five forces attacking the tower, fighting while taking on the burdens of his comrades, and finally losing Shaula ...

There was a dramatic wear and tear on his mind and body.

That's exactly what it was, like he had spent more than five years in this tower, even though it was only a few days.

Subaru: [Ah, Emilia..]

Emilia: [Subaru, I'm fine, I'm fine. Now, can you just get some rest? We'll talk properly when you wake up again. I have a lot to tell you, too.]

Emilia holds Subaru in front of her, who has gone limp and slumps into place. Her soft touch and sweet scent, which would normally make him stiffen, are as effective as a drug on Subaru, and his consciousness quickly falls away into darkness.

If he lost his life in the depths of darkness, would he be able to go back and find a way to save Shaula there?

He half-understood that there was no such possibility, but he couldn't help but hope.

Slowly, Subaru's consciousness was swallowed up by the blackness.

 △ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

Emilia: [Good boy.]

Emilia takes a breath as she picks up Subaru's unconscious body.

With a limp body, and his eyelids closed, Subaru's deep, almost deadly sleep is proof of how hard he worked to solve the problems in this watchtower.

How desperate Subaru must have been to save Emilia and the others.

Emilia was so happy that Subaru came to her rescue, even though he had lost his memories. But Ley had stolen Emilia’s “name” and everyone had forgotten it, everyone except for Subaru.

Emilia wants to convey those feelings properly. Emilia doesn't want the hard-working Subaru to be too hard on himself. What happened to Shaula is not Subaru's fault. It's the responsibility of Emilia and the others, all of them, and more importantly--

Emilia: [I think Master Flugel is a nasty person.]

He was the one who forced Shaula to take credit for his achievements as the "Sage" and then left her alone to watch over the Pleiades Watchtower.

Even if he was one of the three heroes who saved the world, as soon as he made Shaula feel lonely and made Subaru cry, he was a villain in Emilia's mind. Naturally, there was no chance to meet and talk to him, so no one could clear this up.

Anastasia: [From the looks of it, you're worn out, but it's ...... nothing important. It's just a matter of resting and recovering. Are you going to the “Green Room”?]

Emilia: [Yes. Ram and the others are there too, and you've been watching over Rem to haven't you, Anastasia?]

Anastasia: [It's not that big of a deal, okay? But after I regained myself, I saw off Julius, who went to save Natsuki-kun, and Ram, who went to save Emilia-san and others. Unfortunately, there was no change on Rem-san's part.]

Emilia: [I see.]

Thinking of Ram and Rem, who were waiting in the "Green Room", as well as Patrasche and the others, Emilia frowned...

The defeat of Ley, in a sense, avenged Rem, who was deprived of her "memory" and "name". However, what is important is that she wakes up, and since that has not been fulfilled, the Archbishop’s defeat is only a trivial matter.

At least, Ram would say so without hesitation. What matters is the return of Rem.

Emilia: [Let's hope we can find out more from Roy Alphard, too. There are still too many unknowns about this Watchtower. No, there are also too many unknowns about the Great Library of Pleiades.

Anastasia: [It is the Great Library of Everything, that was Shaula's view.]

They would have to find out if the library’s purpose was just meant to hold the Books of the Dead, or if there were other intended uses.

On top of that, Emilia had to talk to Beatrice and the others.

Emilia: [You know, after I give Subaru a rest in the “Green Room”, I want you guys to come with me. There's someone I'd like you all to meet .......]

Beatrice: [I suppose that might have something to do with the first floor?]

Up to the first floor where Emilia has passed the last 'test'.

That in itself is a story that Beatrice and the others know. The problem is beyond that they haven't talked about yet.

Specifically, what happened on the first floor, who she met, and what happened to Emilia. It was an event that was so outlandish and transcendent, so difficult to put into words whatsoever - and

Emilia: [It's not a long story, but it's complicated, so can you meet me in person?]

Emilia said, pointing to the top of the tower above her, far above her own head.

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

Volcanica: [Thou has reached the top of the tower, thou shalt step forth on the first floor, almighty petitioner.]

Everyone: [....]

Guided by Emilia, those who arrived at the top level of the Pleiades Watchtower, were overwhelmed by the greeting of the giant dragon, and stood before him, speechless.

Seeing them all, Emilia tilts her head.

Emilia: [Isn’t this a surprise? I went up to the first floor and found Volcanica waiting for me. I was so surprised...]

Beatrice: [Wait wait, you can't just be surprised at this, I suppose!]

Standing in front of the “Divine Dragon” who was covered in blue scales, Beatrice’s voice turns inside out.

Flapping her hands up and down, Beatrice looks uncomfortable. However, she is not the only one who is upset.

Julius: [This is ......]

Anastasia: [I didn't expect this either. Wasn't the "Divine Dragon" said to be on the other side of the Great Waterfall?]

Echidna: [I should have known. According to the prophecy in the Dragon's History Stone, in the year of the Royal Selection, he would appear again to renew his pact with Ana, who will be made King of Lugnica.]

Next to Julius, who had no words, stood Anastasia, who couldn't hide her cold sweat. Even Echidna, who was wrapped around Anastasia’s neck, had a slight upward scrape to her voice.

Late to the reaction of these women, Julius corrected his posture.

Julius: [Excuse me. We have shown our disrespect to the great dragon and protector of our kingdom, the “Divine Dragon”, Volcanica, who has given us so much over the years in keeping with our pact.]

Volcanica: [....]

Julius: [It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Julius Juukulius, a member of the Royal Guard of Lugnica. The stories about you, my dear fellow, are very close to my heart.]

Then, as a knight in the service of the Dragon Kingdom, Julius kneels on the spot and gives a most respectful bow, removing the sword from his waist and placing it on the floor. In response, Volcanica narrows his golden eyes.

Volcanica: [I am Volcanica, and by the ancient pact, I challenge the aspirations of all those who would reach the top.]

Julius: [Ha! I have dedicated myself and all my faith to Anastasia Hossin, who is here with me. The next king, the next pact will surely be with Anastasia......]

Anastasia: [Julius, are you crying?]

Anastasia is upset by Julius, who remains on his knees and cannot hold back his tears. At his Lord's words, Julius wipes his tears away with the back of his hand.

Julius: [I’m sorry, but not only was I able to exchange words with Reid Astraea, one of the “Three Heros”, but I was finally able to meet the “Divine Dragon” Volcanica. As a knight of the Lugnica Kingdom, what greater honor could there be? What a place this is.]

Julius' voice quivers as he was touched by something incredibly awe-inspiring.

Feeling remorseful, as if to water down Julius’s excitement, Emilia attempts to cut him off.

Emilia: [You know, Julius, it's hard for me to say this because you're soooooo happy ......]

Julius: [I'm sorry, Emilia-sama. I took the liberty of attempting to talk to the “Divine Dragon” without permission from Anastasia-sama and Emilia-sama.]

Emilia: [No, that's fine. It's just that it's Volcanica …..]

How should she explain it, Emilia struggled to choose the right words so as not to hurt Julius.

Volcanica: [Thou has reached the top of the tower, thou shalt step forth on the first floor, almighty petitioner..]

Anastasia: [Wait a minute. I think I heard that line a while ago.]

Hearing the repeated words, Anastasia was the first to distrust them.

However, the same doubts were propagated to everyone else. It's not surprising, all of them immediately noticed the anomaly of Volcanica repeating the same mouthful of words.


Emilia: [It's Volcanica, I think he waited too long here and it's made his mind blurry. His body is fine, so he can be very violent. ......]

The advanced dementia of Volcanica hasn't caused his strength to falter, but it's also true that his head has been beaten down by the passage of time.

The “Divine Dragon" had exerted a tremendous amount of power to thwart Emilia's challenge to the pillar, perhaps for the sake of a further "test", but once Emilia reached the monolith and decided that she had overcome the "test", he once again reverted to his original passive state.

In addition, even though the 'test' was over, he still kept talking about the “test”.

Julius: [The great “Divine Dragon’s” mind has withered away?]

Emilia: [Julius, can you calm down? Come on, you must be a little tired. Isn't it better to sit down?]

Julius is greatly shocked to hear Emilia's explanation.

Following his encounter with Reid, the second legend he encountered is also different from the stories he had heard, and his knees shake.

Emilia didn't want to disappoint Julius, whose eyes were just earlier sparkling, and she felt her own chest ache.


Beatrice: [Emilia, maybe his mind isn’t lost.]

Emilia: [What?]

Beatrice: [Echidna, you can feel it too, I suppose.]

Echidna: [Oh, yes. I didn't understand it at first, but now I feel it. This is not the wear and tear of the mind. It's a hollow soul.]

Emilia: [His soul is hollow. ......?]

Emilia tilts her head at the conversation between Beatrice and Echidna, the two artificial spirits who understand each other.

While Julius and Anastasia look between themselves, both of whom look dubious, Beatrice prefaces the conversation by holding up a finger.

Beatrice: [It's a simple story. He can only make predetermined statements and limited responses. About ninety percent of his soul is hollow, I suppose.]

Emilia: [Ninety percent missing, even then he was super strong, you know?]

Echidna: [If Volcanica had contained a full soul, his soulless self would have been nothing compared to his complete being.]

Emilia is horrified by Echidna's words.

With the help of the ice soldiers, Emilia had barely survived. From Volcanica’s point of view, such a confrontation was nothing worthy of his attention.

The similarities between a blurred mind and sleepwalking are completely different in their quality.

Beatrice: [But even if his soul is hollow, This must be the body of the “Divine Dragon”. If that is the case, then there might be a way to help the people of Pristella, I suppose.]

Emilia: [We can help everyone at Pristella? How?]

Anastasia: [I see. You're planning on getting dragon blood from the “Divine Dragon,” right?]

Anastasia snapped her fingers, and Beatrice nodded at her words.

Hearing them converse, Emilia opened her eyes.

Emilia: [Ah.]

The blood of the “Divine Dragon” Volcanica is the source of the various legends passed down in the Kingdom of Lugunica.

It's not just that the blood of the dragon revives dry land, promises fertility, and is a medicine that quickly fends off sickness and injury, but a vast number of amazing effects have been recorded.

It is like none other. The dragon's blood is an element that Emilia can't afford to pass up on.

Emilia: [If you get blood from Volcanica ….]

Emilia's purpose of participating in the Royal Selection was to acquire the “Dragon's Blood” preserved by the Kingdom of Lugnica, and use that blood to unfreeze the Elior Forrest.

In order to free her people who were frozen by her outburst of power, Emilia volunteered to participate in the Royal Selection.

Emilia: [....]

That being said, Emilia's main goal upon entering the race has the possibility to be fulfilled. This upset Emilia greatly, and she got choked up.

If she could get blood from Volcanica here, the reason for Emilia to take the throne would be lost.

Emilia: [I am .....]

Beatrice: [Emilia, I'm sorry for confusing you. It's just that dragon’s blood and Volcanica's blood are two different things. That blood won’t work, I suppose.]

At those words, Emilia opens her eyes.

Emilia: [What do you mean it won't work? I did my homework. Everyone trapped in the ice in the Elior Forest needs to be melted with the dragon's blood in the castle. So I ......]

Beatrice: [That idea isn't wrong. But as I said before, the blood of the dragon in King Lugnica's castle and the blood of Volcanica are not exactly the same. The “Dragon's Blood” in the castle is the blood that was spilled from the dead dragon's pulsating heart.]

Emilia: [Heart blood?]

Emilia frowned as she was told something she had never heard before. Beatrice quietly nods at her, and Julius raises his hand.

Julius: [May I?]

Julius, who had barely recovered from his earlier shock after hearing about the absence of Volcanica’s soul, hadn't changed his thoughts.

Julis: [With all due respect, Lady Beatrice, where did you get that story? I am a knight in the Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Lugnica. I have heard many of the kingdom’s secrets, but what we're talking about now is ......]

Beatrice: [The last echo of the heart's entrails, poured into the vessel as the heart-blood of the dragon. The true blood of the dragon will be entrusted to the castle as a token of the pact between man and dragon.]

Julius: [....]

Beatrice: [You do not know, I suppose. The story I just told is from a record sealed in a Forbidden Library that will no longer be remembered in the outside world. It's a sentence from the description left by the “Witch of Greed”, Echidna.]

Beatrice's answer made Julius blink and catch his breath.

As a royal knight, he didn't know how, but he could tell that Beatrice's statement was hardly a lie.. And if it was true--

Julius: [Then which dragon's blood is the “Dragon's Blood” that is stored in the Lugnica Royal Castle?]

Anastasia: [It is strange that the dragon that left that blood is dead. Unlike the “Divine Dragon” who is alive, but almost completely hollow.]

Julius and Anastasia's questions were very reasonable.

If the “Dragon's Blood” was from a dragon’s last heartbeat, then it would not be Volcanica's. But it was still the blood of immense power--.

Beatrice: [I'm sorry, but that much wasn't even in the book.]

Echidna: [So that “Witch of Greed” is the main reason why Natsuki-kun is so cold towards me, isn't it? That didn't make a very good impression, but now I think I understand.]

Beatrice: [You will not speak ill of my mother!]

Emilia; [Don't fight you two! But yeah, that’s right.]

Scolding the two people who were at odds with each other, over the “Witch of Greed” Echidna’s nature, Emilia quietly looked down.

It was the first time she had ever heard of the castle's “Dragon Blood,” and the blood of Volcanica being different, and it surprised her greatly. At the same time, she was also a little relieved.

Emilia: [That's really weird.]

Helping everyone in the forest is Emilia's primary goal. That hasn't changed now or will it at any time. That being said, she should get Volcanica's blood here, and use it to free the people of the Elior Forest.

But while she wanted to do just that, Emilia was at a loss.

She wondered if she could melt the permafrost of the Elior Forest by other means, would she decline to participate in the Royal Selection anylonger.

Emilia: [....]

Anastasia: [Emilia's interest aside, if Beatrice's story is true, what can we do with Volcanica's blood? Isn't there a good chance of disappointment?]

Beatrice: [Even if it rots, blurs, or loses its soul, it is the “Divine Dragon.” The blood must have great power, I suppose.]

Emilia: [It’s not enough to melt everyone from the ice, right?]

Beatrice nodded apologetically in response to Emilia's question.

Seeing that Beatrice seemed to be even more depressed than Emilia, Emilia loosens her lips and looks upwards.

Emilia: [That's disappointing. It was a big surprise for me because it happened so suddenly, and I couldn’t believe it.]

Beatrice: [I'm sorry. Maybe I should have told you. I didn't expect to see the “Divine Dragon” here. It was a bitter pill to swallow.]

Emilia: [Yes, you’re right about that.]

Emilia's heart sunk firmly in her chest while Beatrice looked downwards with a sunken face.

Emilia has to admit that she feels disappointed, but what Beatrice had said was also true. Rather, it seems that she was being told that she couldn't take shortcuts or cheat.

Echidna: [Then let's get back to the subject again. With the blood of this “Divine Dragon”, there is a possibility that the people of Pristella, who have had their appearances changed thanks to the Sin Archbishop of Lust, can be saved. As Beatrice said, even if he now has a hollow soul, the blood should still be immensely powerful.]

Anastasia: [You're talking about the castle's “Dragon's Blood” that revived the wasteland with only a single drop. Wouldn't it be too powerful?]

Julius: [You would still need to dilute it a few thousand times.]

Emilia: [But isn't that a big step forward compared to when we had no way of doing anything about it? If what you say about it is true, it's worth a try.]

Listening to the discussion between Echidna, Anastasia, and Julius, Emilia, feels a renewed sense of hope in her story. They crossed the Augurian Sand Dunes to help the people who had suffered so much.

Bring back a way to help the victims of both "Gluttony" and "Lust.” that was their goal.

If they can't do that, Emilia can't reward Subaru enough for sacrificing so much.

Emilia: [How selfish of me …..]

It was a very selfish idea to give meaning to Shaula's sacrifice. Shaula had her own intentions and wishes, and she spent a long time in this tower. It is Shaula herself that gives it meaning, not Emilia.

Emilia: [Okay. Let's ask Volcanica for help. Maybe he won't be able to talk at all, or maybe he will go on a rampage if we try to get his blood.]

Beatrice: [Emilia, you're supposed to be the new administrator of the Pleiades Watchtower. That might work, I suppose.]

Emilia: [The authority of the administrator. I didn’t think about that at all.]

She had solved the riddles of the third floor, defeated Reid on the second floor, and showed her aspirations to Volcanica on the first floor.

Looking at those conditions alone, Emilia could indeed be said to be the watchtower administrator. However, the changes she brought were not easy for her to understand..

What Emilia can vaguely see is--.

Emilia: [I guess that now means that anyone can come to the watchtower or to the Augurian Sand Dunes.]

Beatrice: [Is that what you chose to do, Emilia? The Book of the Dead seems to be a very troublesome object, and it's also a bit of a gamble for anyone to be able to use it, isn't it?]

Emilia: [It may be dangerous, but I think that everyone should be careful when using it. There are a lot of things we can't judge by ourselves.]

What the watchtower holds is too big for Emilia and the others to build a conclusion. They simply don't have enough people.

For better or worse, Emilia and the others do not have the right to do anything about this place. That's why they should bring more people together to share their wisdom and find the best way to use this tower.

Emilia; [Any disagreements?]

Echidna: [It's a bit much to ask of others, but it's your conclusion. I wouldn't be opposed to it if Ana and Julius don't oppose it.]

Emilia: [Thank you, Echidna.]

Emilia thanks Echidna for being the first to show her approval.

Anastasia: [I'm not opposed to that either. The fact is, even if you hide the tower, it's hard to get rid of it. If that's the case, it's much better to share the credit for the discovery. Maybe I can bring back the news on the matter of “Gluttony,” and the dragons blood.]

Julius: [Do not wish for so much. Above all, it is Emilia who has reached the top of this tower. We shall respect her accomplishments.]

Emilia: [Anastasia, Julius, thank you!]

They agreed, and Emilia laughed and thanked them. Then she looked back at Beatrice, who hadn't made a decision yet.

Emilia: [Beatrice, do you think it's irresponsible?]

Beatrice: [If we're going to talk about irresponsibility, it's better to abandon this place without checking. Personally, Betty finds it interesting, I suppose.]

Emilia: [Thank you!]

Emilia stroked her chest in relief after wondering if her friends would oppose her.

Surely if everyone brought their wisdom to the table, they could find a good use for this watchtower.

Emilia; [All right, then, now about the blood. ...... If Volcanica could come with us, that would be the easiest way to go about it.]

Echidna: [I have a feeling that's going to cause a lot of problems for us.]

Indeed, Volcanica is so big that if they try to take him around, he would probably bump into everything. However, Volcanica can fly, so if they ask him to fly all the way into the city, they wouldn't have to worry about him bumping into anything.

Emilia: [Hey Volcanica, can you come with us? Or, if you must stay here, I'd like you to share a little blood.]

Volcanica: [....]

Emilia: [Volcanica?]

Emilia, who spoke to Volcanica, raised her eyebrows at his reaction, thinking that there might be another response about a “trial” from Volcanica.

Volcanica, who returned to his original position against the center pillar, slowly raises his head and turns his gaze away from the tower.

He neither spoke to Emilia and the others, nor did he attack them.

His attitude was certainly abnormal, and Emilia was the only one who noticed it.

And at the same time--.

Emilia: [What?]

Suddenly, there was a sensation like a cold finger tracing down the back of her neck, and Emilia hurriedly turned her attention to the source of the chill, which was also the direction of Volcanica's gaze.

Looking east from the top of the tower, beyond the sandy sea, they can see the Great Waterfall - no, the Great Waterfall and a special land.

It is ….

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

Subaru: [Ughh......]

As Subaru groaned, with his consciousness not yet fully returned, a rough sensation caressed his face, causing him to moan as he slowly creaked open his eyelids.

He blinked a few times to remove the grogginess from his head, and with his eyesight still blurry, tries to see what exactly was licking him. Through his partially blurred vision, Subaru could see Patrasche's head looking down at him with a gaze full of worry.

Subaru: [...... Hey, Patrasche.]

Patrache: [----]

Subaru: [I'm sorry for worrying you. ...... You've been working hard again, haven't you? Isn't that always the case?]

Reaching out to the sorrowful face of his loyal land dragon, Subaru's lips loosen as he gently caresses her head.

The jet-black ground dragon was always saving him whenever he was in danger. His gratitude for her only grew after she had saved him when he had lost his memories. After all---

If it wasn't for Patrasche, then Rem would have been in great danger. Picking Patrashe back at Crush's mansion was quickly becoming one of the best decisions he’s made since arriving in this world.

Subaru: [I can't deny that it was a great decision, along with helping Emilia-tan retrieve her insignia, and bringing Beako out of that library. However, in two of those cases it was just a problem that Roswall had caused.]

Technically, Rosewall was not directly involved in Beatrice's dilemma, as he was not the one in a contract with her, but Subaru was just looking for a reaction from the others.

Ram: [Tsk]

Sure enough, when Ram heard that, she clicked her tongue scornfully.

Hearing this, he turned his head to the sound of her voice and squinted his eyes. Ram was standing against the wall in the back of the room, holding her arm.

The battle with Ley Batenkaitos was undoubtedly a fierce one.

Since Meili had been gravely injured during the battle against the scorpion, he couldn't take all of Ram’s burden, which was probably one of the reasons that she had been injured.

Subaru: [Hey, Ram. I'm sorry you got injured, if I ha--]

He could barely get the words out of his mouth before Ram cut him off.

Ram: [Don't be a fool. You think it was Barusu's fault that Ram was hurt? Please, don't assume that you have even a shred of an impact on my life, Barusu. It's appalling.]

Subaru: [Appalling has to be an exaggeration! Wait no! What are you doing with that ivy? Please Onee-sama! I'm more afraid of you stuffing chunks of grass in people's mouths, than I am of you!]

Subaru’s pleading doesn't have any effect as he gets his mouth stuffed with a chunk of ivy, and the smell makes his eyes water. Ram lets out a [Ha] as she admires her work.

From behind them a giggle can be heard.

Meili: [Onii-san and Onee-chan are really good friends, aren't they? It's like watching siblings fight.]

After saying her thoughts, she threw her feet back on the mattress and played with the crimson scorpion who seemed to be resting on her head.

Meili chuckled, and Ram frowned once she understood the girl's words.

Ram: [Barusu is, my brother......? Even if he were to be the most poorly designed being with my blood in his veins, his uselessness would have him kicked out of the Oni village as a baby.]

Subaru: [Jeez, how tough are the people of the Oni village? I'm happy I'm just a regular old human…..]

Ram: [That was a lie. It's simply that Ram was too horrified by the prospect of Barusu being my brother.]

Subaru: [Don't complicate things by making up all kinds of stories!]

As usual, Ram was calm and collected, while Subaru yelled at her.

Nevertheless, Subaru could see that Ram genuinely cared. She was telling him that her injuries were in no way Subaru's fault, and that he shouldn't blame himself.

He wanted to tell her that he was still responsible for some of the damage, but he knew that if he didn't drop the subject, Ram's wrath would follow.

Subaru: [You know, you really are nasty Onee-sama….]

Ram: [After the delusional words Meili spouted earlier, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't call Ram your sister. For goodness sake, we don't want people thinking I'm actually related to you. ]

Hearing her sullen reply, Subaru looks around the green room. His gaze falls on the Sleeping Beauty who is laid on a bed in the back of the room.

Subaru: [Did Rem wake up?]

Ram: [It seems that even though I chopped that brat’s head off, Rem still hasn't woken up, although I can remember Emilia-sama again…….]

Subaru: [God dammit! What are we missing…..?]

Shoving his anger down, Subaru clenches his fists and bites his lower lip.

Just before he lost consciousness, he reaffirmed what he had said to Emilia and the others. --It's a good idea to get the story out of them directly - after all, the only way to completely eradicate the damage of 'binge eating' is to get Roy to tell them how to remove the effects.

Subaru: [Do we have the most severe injuries out of everyone? Where are the others?]

Meili: [If you're worried about the Half-elf, Onee-chan, and Beatrice, they went to the top floor. They said that there was someone they needed to meet. ...Ram knows who’s there right?]

Ram: [It's no big deal. He's only an old man with dementia.]

That old man at the top of the watchtower, he must be a key character ......

Subaru wrinkles his brow when he is told that there was someone new up there.

The old man that Ram had mentioned, who is he? Was he an examiner like Reid on the second floor or…..

Subaru: [It's not Flugel, is it?]

Ram: [Barusu.]

Subaru: [I'll never forgive him. If it really is Flugel, I swear he's going to have to answer some questions. He's the one who made it so that Shaula had to--]

Ram: [Barusu, calm down.]

Subaru: [Calm down? Ram, it's his fault that Shaula isn't----]

A loud slap resonates through the green room. Subaru looks up at Ram, and disbelief fills his wide open eyes.

Ram: [Stop using Shaula as a reason to belittle yourself.]

Subaru: [----]

Ram: [I know Shaula too. She was loud and annoying, and even though her eyes must have been completely rotten to adore Barusu the way she did, it wasn't enough to make her ...... have to disappear.]

As she said this, Ram gently put her hand on Subaru's beaten cheek.

The cheek that had been struck was warm, but Ram's palm was cool to the touch. Feeling the heat, Ram keeps her hand on his cheek as Subaru gasps for air.

Ram: [Cry. Don’t drown yourself in anger, but rather mourn her loss. Shaula would be happier if you cried because you miss her, then if you were to take the pain out on yourself. The same goes for Ram.]

Subaru: [Ram…..]

Ram: [The only person I feel strongly about is wrong, but my feelings do not falter.]

A final statement is added, and Ram flicks Subaru's forehead. The flick was forceful enough to make him fall on his butt, yet it caused him no pain.

Subaru: [S-Sorry.]

Now that Subaru had calmed down, he could see that thinking Flugel was waiting at the top of the tower was just him being paranoid.

If Flugel really had been there--.

Ram: [Ram and Emilia-sama would have beaten him half to death before Barusu even had the chance to do anything.]

Subaru: [...... I don't think that Emilia-tan would've done that, but I would almost pity him if you went all out on him.]

Everyone in the tower shared a feeling of resentment towards Flugel, when they remembered what had happened to Shaula.

Ram’s attitude only served to further confirm that fact.

While Subaru reached the logical end of that train of thinking, Subaru realized the question as to who this ‘demented old man’ who lived on the top floor still lingered in the air..

Ram: [Let's stop talking about Flugel, who isn't even here. What I saw on the top floor has something that can bring back the victims of the Sin Archbishop of Lust.]

Subaru: [Yeah, that's important too...... You're completely right.]

Even in this situation, Ram has a clear priority in his mind. The fact that she can stay so focused without showing any hint of distraction, is one of her best traits.

Subaru strongly sympathizes with her words.

The fact that they'll be able to save the victims of ‘Lust’ is great news.

Meili: [But earlier, didn’t you have an idea about how Gluttony's authority worked, Ram nee-san?]

While Subaru was deep in his own thoughts, Meili, who was sitting just behind him, spoke her mind while poking and playing with the scorpion on top of her head.

Meili: [You told me, didn't you? You think the effects of Gluttony's authority are related to time or something.]

Ram: [For such a young girl, you sure do like to but into other people's business, don't you? Once we get back to the mansion, you'll need some serious disciplining.]

Meili: [Oh no, I'm soooo~ scared.]

Meili stuck out her tongue at Ram, and the crimson scorpion showed off her pincers and tail as if to imitate her. Ram turned her cold glare to the scorpion, and it quickly curled up.

In that interaction, Subaru could see a glimpse of her former self.

Subaru: [Ram, what's your theory?] 

Ram: [It's nothing. It's just that you talked about his authority as eating other people's memories. So I figured that if the names were really treated like food, it would have to be digested first.]

Subaru: [Digestion....]

Ram: [Emilia-sama was able to get it back in just a short while after it was taken from her. Then what about Julius, the victims in Pristella, what about Rem?]

Subaru: [Yeah….]

Subaru's eyes widened in surprise at the simplicity of Ram's hypothesis.

Subaru recalled how the Archbishops of Gluttony constantly referred to taking people’s “names” and “memories” as eating a meal. If the obsession was more than just a metaphor, it could explain why Julius and Rem haven’t been restored. It gave more credibility to Ram’s hypothesis.

Stolen “names” and “memories” need time to be digested.

So, if that’s the reason why only Emilia’s “name” was restored, then that could only mean--

Subaru: [...... Don't tell me they got digested?]

Ram: [--I don't know. It may just mean that it'll take more time for it to come back up. If so, there is hope. There's also hope for Julius and the other victims...... and for Rem to come back.]

Subaru: [....]

Whether that was a good or bad thing, Ram didn't elaborate.

Subaru knew that right now, there was no way to answer that question.

However, now that Ley Batenkaitos had been killed and Roy Alphard was captured, there was another major concern.

Subaru: [Louis Arneb......]

The last Gluttony that was left behind in the “Corridor of Memories”.

The girl who sent her brothers to do her bidding, and the girl who had stolen Subaru’s memories and taken over his amnesiac body. Had that girl really become a victim of their own witch factor?

Her Gluttony was comparable to that of “Satiation”.

If Louis Arneb was to be defeated to bring back all the stolen “names” and “memories”, then how would Subaru go about getting rid of her?

In the first place--

Does that place even have a concept of life and death?

She lived there as a spiritual entity with no body.

Would the death of her soul lead to the release of the witch factor?

Louis and that place were surrounded by unclear and confusing concepts.

Besides, even if he could answer that question-

Since Julius defeated Reid, Reid no longer manages the second Trial. If Reid was gone, then that means the source material, Reid’s “Book of the Dead” would go back to normal, wouldn’t it?

The only reason Subaru had been able to enter into the “Od Laguna’s Cradle” was because Reid’s “Book of the Dead” was empty inside.

Reid Astrea's soul had been extracted for the test, thus leaving a void in his “Book of the Dead”, leading directly to the Hall of Memories.

Natsuki Subaru may have missed his only opportunity to dispose of Louis Arneb.

Subaru: [----]

However, without confirming the condition of Reid's book, he couldn't be sure. Subaru still knew that even without Reid’s book, there was still another way to enter. If he were to read his own “Book of the Dead”, he could re-enter the Hall. He’d end up witnessing the pain of all his death’s again, but surely that was a better alternative to losing all of the “names” and “memories” the Gluttony siblings had stolen.

Ram: [You're an idiot.]

Subaru: [Onee-sama?]

Ram: [If you have the time to worry, then you should use it to rest your head and your body. You're not the only one responsible for what's happening.]

Shaking her head, Ram gently touched her forehead.

A light scar could be seen where Ram's horn should have been. Gently stroking that old scar, Ram then reached her hand out to Rem, who was lying on the bed.

With a loving look in her eyes, she gently stroked Rem’s forehead.

Ram: [I had the help of Rem during my fight with Gluttony. We won, but it ended up taking a heavy toll on our bodies...]

Subaru: [A heavy toll?...]

Ram: [It only worked because Rem shared the power of her horn. Barusu alone never would've been able to handle it.]

Subaru knew that Ram wasn’t exaggerating. Just taking in Ram’s usual burden stole the breath from his lungs, and every subsequent breath he took had been some of the worst suffering he’s ever experienced.

That was how difficult the price for her power had been.

If Subaru really had received all of it, then there was a high possibility that his body would have broken down.

Having put that burden on Rem, Ram closes her eyes, framed by her long lashes.

Ram: [It might make Rem resent Ram when she wakes up, but I don't regret it. Ram is Rem's sister. Whether she hates me or loves me doesn't matter. Somewhere down the road we'll make up.]

Subaru: [... Rem wouldn't hate you.]

Ram then turns and faces Rem.

Ram: [I hope so. You're a good kid. I'm so proud of you, my dear sister]

So, smiling confidently, Ram looked at Subaru with her bright red eyes.

She only knew about Rem through Subaru's words, but when Ram said that she loved her sister, she was not lying.

Subaru doesn’t regret the past anymore; rather, he takes on the challenge of making sure the future is good for everyone.

Subaru: [......That's a hell of an earful to say.]

From Ram's point of view, there were many times where the young man would defy all expectations and twist impossible situations in his favor.

To Ram, it was no exaggeration to say that Subaru's “Return by Death” made him look like some kind of genius in battle.

The inevitability of using “Return by Death”, however, is that he will always regret his past.

In the end, the less I use it, the better. ......

Squeezing his fists, Subaru chuckled as he thought of his hell.

He simultaneously admitted that he was trying his best to use “Return to Death” in order to grasp a future where everyone was having fun together, while reminding himself not to rely on “Return by Death”.

All he could remember were screams of despair in that watchtower, all he could hear was an orchestra of voices, all reaching out to him out of concern. Subaru shifted his gaze out of focus, thinking about the events of the past month.

Meili: [I don't know why, but Onii-san seems to be feeling down.]

Seeing Subaru’s eyes gloss over, Meili began to speak as she sat cross-legged, and began to stroke her braids.

Meili: [C'mon Onii-san, didn't you promise me that you'd show me how cool you could be?]

Subaru: [Yeah, we had a deal. All right! I'll show you just how cool Natsuki Subaru can be!]

Looking at Meili and the crimson scorpion on her head, Subaru nodded with enthusiasm.

Then, as if to encourage Subaru's determination, Patrasche rubs his cheek on her own.

Surrounded by expressions of affection, Subaru gets up, ready to express his own affection.

He could only help but note how effective the “Green Room” spirit’s treatment was; earlier, he had been so worn out that he had collapsed in front of Emilia, but now he seems to have recovered most of his depleted strength.

Subaru: [Now that I think about it, they’ve been healing us the whole duration of our stay. I can’t thank the spirit in this room enough for all it did to help us........]

Although the “Green Room” was being used as a recovery room now, Shaula had explained that originally it had been a normal room until a spirit who liked to heal injuries came to live here.

Although the spirit has no body and didn't show any interest in talking to them, their intentions to heal wounds were clear as day.

Ever since they had arrived at the watchtower, Rem and the others had spent a lot of time in this room.

Subaru: [Well, we didn't want to leave it in here, but…]

Ram: [I know that Barusu doesn't have nearly enough charm to bring out the spirit. Why don't we just make it materialize using Julius' Blessing of the spirits?]

Subaru: [I know that you're trying to insult me, but it wont get me since I have the super, ultra, mega cute Beako by my side! But I do agree that Julius could probably get the spirit to come out.]

Julius’s “Divine protection of Gathering Spirits” was a blessing that made it easier for spirits to like him. With that effect, he made a contract with his six newly grown and full fledged spirits. If he could talk to the spirit of the “Green Room”, then that would open tons of new possibilities.

A spirit who had spent as much, or more time in this watchtower than Shaula. It could help us solve the mysteries of this watchtower.

Ram: [--?]

While Subaru immersed himself in thought, Ram gasped suddenly. A worried look flashed across her face, and her eyes darted around the room, scanning their immediate surroundings.

Subaru: [Ram? What's going on?]

Ram: [.....A strange sensation came across me.]

The moment she said that something happened.

???: [“--?]

Subaru: [What?]

Suddenly, in the center of the ‘Green Room’, light started flooding out, startling Subaru and the others.

Subaru and Ram both rushed to stand in front of Rem while Meili and Patrasche backed away from the light as fast as they could.

Meili: [What the hell is going on!]

Subaru: [I don't know! Stay close to us, I'll protect you no matter what happens!]

Subaru quickly tried to reassure Meili, putting his body between her and the unfathomably bright light in an effort to shield the girl.

The light in the room shined even brighter than before, fully blinding Subaru, forcing him to cover his face with his arms.

The light finally climaxed, and started to diminish until not a trace of it was left. Subaru felt relief when he could once again open his eyes, until he gazed upon ‘her’.

Subaru: [.... How!?]

“She” appeared in front of him, in the center of the snuffed-out light. Subaru didn't know what to think. He was completely astounded.

Ram: [...... A girl?]

Next to Subaru, Ram muttered her suspicions as she saw the same thing.

She was right. Subaru could also see the figure of a small girl on the floor. However, his knowledge of who the “girl” was clearly differed when compared to Ram’s..

Subaru knew the name of this “girl”.

Because the name of the girl lying on the floor of the 'Green Room’ is...

Louis Arneb.

△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

In the center of the Green Room, a girl, Louis Arneb, appears on the floor, birthed from the dissipated. light

Louis Arneb, the youngest of the trio of ‘Gluttony’ siblings, was not supposed to have a body. Entirely incorporeal in nature, Subaru was genuinely astounded at what he saw in front of him.

While Subaru stared slack-jawed, Ram, standing right next to him, did not miss the words Subaru had uttered.

Ram: [Louis Arneb...... that's the name of the final “Gluttony”.]

During this loop, Subaru hadn't been able to tell Ram and the others many details about Louis, whom he had met through the “Book of the Dead”. He had briefly touched on the subject, but Ram's memory was certain.

This sudden appearance greatly disturbed Subaru...

Subaru: [Yeah, she’s Louis Arneb, the last of the siblings of “Gluttony”. She’s Roy Alphard and Ley Battenkaitos’ sister.]

Ram: [It seems that she is unconscious.]

Subaru looked closer at Louis, and he too confirmed that she was asleep on the floor.

Though, calling her asleep may be a bit of a fallacy. In the first place, why was Louis, a being with no body, appearing here?

Subaru couldn't imagine that Louis would emerge from the “Corridor of Memories” and confront him, as she was so fearful and terrified of Subaru, and despaired at the prospect of “Return by Death”. He couldn’t believe that Louis could’ve regained her sanity in the hours since their encounter to challenge Subaru once again.

After all, “death” leaves such deep scars in a person’s heart.

Subaru: [Thinking about it won’t get us anywhere..... Meili, go get Emilia-tan! Ram and I will watch over Louis in the meantime!]

Meili: [Okay, I'll go get them. Don't die while I’m gone, okay?]

Meili stepped backwards, toward the entrance of the “Green Room”. Before she could slip through the door, Subaru gives her a thumbs up and smiles.

The crimson scorpion, on top of Meili’s head, closes and opens it’s pincers in response. Meili then turns around to fetch Emilia and the others.

Subaru and Ram are now left behind in the room.

Subaru: [I'd like to think nothing is going to happen now, but shall we tie Louis up with some of the ivy around here?]

Ram: [We don’t want to stimulate her, lest she wakes up. Barusu, you are aware of that, right?]

Subaru: [Huh?]

Ram responded to Subaru’s question, while pulling him back by the shoulders. Subaru tilted his head, questioning Ram’s intent.

Then, Ram rubs her chin and points to the ceiling of the “Green Room”. No, it would be more accurate to say that she pointed to the entire room.

Ram: [The healing power in the room is gone. The spirit has fled.]

Subaru: [What, are you kidding me?]

Ram: [I'm not lying. Even Barsaru could feel it if he concentrated. It’s empty here.]

Upset by Ram's words, Subaru looks around the room.

Even if Ram said that all that Subaru needed to do was concentrate, the main way Subaru felt the presence of spirits was through picking them up, rubbing their cheeks, and cuddling with them. Otherwise, he couldn’t really tell the difference.

Even if he couldn’t cuddle with the “Green Room” spirits, he could tell that Ram was right. The gentle vibrations that had once enveloped his body were unmistakably absent.

It would appear that the most truthful observation would be the disappearance of the spirits in the “Green Room”.

Ram: [If that's the case, it's probably not unrelated to that Sin Archbishop.]

Subaru: [....]

Subaru could not deny Ram's speculation.

Subaru reached a similar conclusion. The healing sensations of the “Green Room” were gone, and Louis Arneb appeared in its place. It could be that, or--

Ram: [Anyway, let's not jump to conclusions. We should wait for Emilia-sama and Beatrice-sama to return. When they return…]

They can discuss how to deal with Louis. Perhaps it was those words that Ram would speak. But Ram's speech was interrupted.

Because no sooner than Ram could speak, a blackness strikes the Pleiades Watchtower.

Subaru/Ram: [...?]

With a thud, the bodies of Subaru and the others fly through the air, as if a large explosion has occurred under their feet.

Immediately afterwards, Subaru’s screams as his entire body slams into the wall. When he gets up, he shakes his head and realizes what’s happening.

All of the hairs on Subaru’s body stand on edge at the approach of the horrifying presence.

Subaru: [Impossible...]

He couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to believe it. Slowly, he rose, shaking off the dizziness. An unnerving chill grew stronger and stronger, carving its certainty into Subaru’s mind.

This obstacle should not be here. It should not be here, yet it came to this place, unleashing destruction upon the inhabitants of the watchtower.

Subaru: [Patrasche! Ram!]

Ram: [Huh!]

He picked up Ram, who had been crawling on the floor and unable to stand, and quickly threw her over to Patrasche.

Patrache carried her, despite all of the horrific wounds all over her body. Patrasche, sensing Subaru's intentions, rushed furiously to the entrance of the room.

Ram: [Basaru, you idiot......!]

There was no time for Subaru to lend an ear to Ram’s resentment.

Subaru dug his foot into the ground and quickly rushed to Rem, who slept on the ivy bed. He picked up her body, rushing towards Patrasche and the exit of the ‘Green Room’

Subaru: [....]

Just before that, an image of Louis rolling on the floor passed over the edge of Suabru’s vision.

Subaru: [Damn it!]

Cursing indignantly, Subaru moves his battered body over to Louis. He cradles Rem's body with his right arm and forcefully grabs Louis' arm with his left.

Both of their bodies are light. In an emergency situation like this, Subaru can carry them out without regard to their weight.

With the two of them in his arms, Subaru was on the verge of running out of the “Green Room”.

Subaru: [....]

As if it were trying to prevent Subaru from getting to the entrance and reuniting with the others, a black shadow broke through the floor of the “Green Room”, flowing towards Subaru.

The last of the five obstacles had appeared.

Subaru had wanted to believe that the black shadow of the “Witch” that obsessed over Subaru wouldn’t attack during this loop.

Subaru: [Ram!]

Barking, Subaru tries to find a gap in the shadow, if only to save Rem.

As if to refute his efforts, the black shadow covers Subaru’s entire field of vision, leaving no openings. As if to mock him directly, the black shadows continued to grow, restricting his options.

Subaru: [Damn it! After coming this far!]

Frustration dominates Subaru's chest as he looks for an escape route while watching the approaching shadow.

If the shadow engulfs him, he will lose his life and have to use “Return by Death”. If he uses “Return by Death” now, he would have to start over, unless the save point is updated.

If that happens, Subaru will once again be possessed by Louis.

Subaru feared that, and that's why he tried so hard to make sure this loop was his last one...

Ram: [Basaru! Stay strong! Rem will cry if you don’t!]

Subaru: [...!]

The frantic voices of Ram and Patrasche echoed from behind the black shadows.

Subaru took a breath to answer her, but he couldn't get the words out.

The black shadow had swallowed Natsuki Subaru whole.


△ ▼ △ ▼ △ ▼ △

As he is engulfed by an enormous black shadow, Subaru’s consciousness slowly ebbs and fades in the darkness.

Subaru: [...........]

The sensation he felt is of one’s hands, feet, blood and flesh being dismantled and conceptualized before him.

Something tremendously massive is drowning Subaru, as if he entire being was being painted over by an intense emotion.

???: [I love you.]

Like clockwork, he heard that expected voice of someone whispering to him in the pitch-black, empty darkness.

It seemed to him like a very familiar voice, but perhaps Subaru’s mind was playing tricks on him.

He was used to hearing that “I love you”, much like a certain graceful knight who is loved by six spirits.

Of course, Subaru knows he isn’t worth that much. You can only give as much love as you have to begin with, almost as if your hands were full just from loving them. Even then, that's pushing it.

Subaru: [You know, I’m trying to defy all the odds here.]

Witch of Envy: [I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.]

Subaru: [Sorry, I can’t give you an answer for that…. Because that word is so unforgiving. I couldn't even grab the hand of the person who said that to me before.]

Witch of Envy: [I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.]

Subaru: [We’re not even listening to each other are we? Whatever, just keep drinking it up.]

At this point, in this empty space, there was no hope of escaping with his life. It was here, in this darkness, that Natsuki Subaru would unceremoniously lose his life.

He accepts that fact, not with any grief, but with feelings of anger and resentment.

Subaru: [If I go back there, the worst thing imaginable will be there waiting for me. Maybe now that Louis has a clearer head, she may try to steal “Return by Death” again.]

Witch of Envy: [I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you]

Subaru: [But I can’t lose. I won’t lose again. I will fight over and over. I’ll fight as long as I have to. This time, I’ll keep my promise.]

Witch of Envy: [I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.]

Subaru: [I will keep fighting for tomorrow’s tomorrow. ]

Witch of Envy: [I love you.]

Those words were repeated over and over and over again, but no longer could they hurt Subaru’s heart.

Subaru: [I’m sorry, but if those words cause you pain, then you must have had a pretty messed up head from the start. You can’t trap Natsuki Subaru with love like that anymore. ]

Those words of love piled on top of each other, completely disregarding the recipient’s dismissal.

The world itself is being swallowed up by those blind words of love, and the existence called Natsuki Subaru is being swallowed up with it.

Witch of Envy: [I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you..]

Volcanica: [I am Volcanica. In accordance with the ancient covenant, I ask the will of thee who hath reached the top of the tower. Step forth through the first floor, almighty petitioner.]

The next moment, a fantastic blue light rains down from directly above, and assaults the darkness that was enveloping the world.

That fierce blue light devoured the darkness, and the whole surrounding changed color all at once.

And then…


Subaru: [Ughhh......]

Once again, a rough feeling caresses his face, and Subaru groans as he opens his eyelids.

His consciousness slowly surfaced. Gradually, his blurry vision could determine a vague outline.

All the while, there was still a rough feeling on Subaru's cheek.

Subaru: [Pat … rasche .. . I understand. I’m getting up now.]

Subaru squeezes his voice out at the feel of Patrasche’s tongue licking his face.

With how tired he is, the voice leaking out from his throat does not convey Subaru’s intentions well.

Subaru: [No, please, you’re spoiling me way too much. If you show me that level of cuteness, you’re gonna end up jumping to the top of the next heroine ranking......]

????: [Ah?]

Subaru: [Uhm, hmm ?]

He swallowed the spit in his mouth, and when he managed to form words, he gave a startled reply.

The voice he heard was not what he had expected, and Subaru's jaw locked. Finally, with his vision fully clear, he gazed upon the being before him. What emerges is….

Subaru: [Uh-huh?]

It was Louis Arneb, who was mounted on top of Subaru and licking his face.

Louis: [Wha …..?]

Subaru: [Unh!]

Astonished by the impossible sight, Subaru quickly pushes Louis off of him. Louis screams and rolls over in a tumble.

As he watched, Subaru frantically slid his ass backwards.

Subaru: [What, what, what, what are you doing here? What do you think you're doing?]

Louis: [Woo, woo? Ugh.]

Subaru: [Woah! What, what happened to ...... me? Am I…. dead ......?]

Astonished, Subaru's voice trembles frantically as he stares at Louis.

In front of Subaru, Louis is lying on her back in the grass, flapping her arms and legs like a child.

Subaru doesn't know what her intentions are. Nor her aim. Wait, before that. Grass?

Subaru: [Where is this ......?]

Without taking his gaze off Louis, Subaru checks his surroundings with increased vigilance.

He sees a bright green plain. It's a wide open grassy field with a few fluttering grasses and flowers swaying in the wind.

Subaru: [....]

This is nothing like the Augurian Sand Dunes.

To be precise, there were some flower fields similar to where they encountered the Courtesan Bears, but this was not the product of such demonic beasts, but rather natural vegetation.

In the distance, Subaru could see a forest, which confused his thoughts. This is not the Auguria Sand Dunes. However, it didn't seem to be the “Corridor of Memories” where he first confronted Louis, either.

Subaru: [Even the grass has substance. The taste is ...... uggh! Grass!]

Smelling and tasting the grass he'd picked up, Subaru made sure it was real.

Then, from his own injuries and torn clothes, he could see that the traces of the Battle of the Pleiades Watchtower were still there.

In other words, that battle had indeed happened, and Subaru was not yet dead.

Despite being engulfed by the vast black shadow that attacked the “Green Room”, Subaru survived.

Subaru: [Right then, if that’s the case …... Rem! Where’s Rem?!]

If Louis was right in front of him, then Rem, whom he was also carrying at that moment the shadow attacked, should be next to him as well.

With that thought, he left Louis and began looking for Rem, who was somewhere across the grassy landscape. Not long after, he found her lying quietly in the short grass.

Subaru: [Rem! Oh, thank god you're safe.]

Rushing over to Rem, Subaru confirms her safety and slumps down to the ground in relief.

By the looks of it, Rem had not suffered any trauma either. Her body heat and her quiet breathing are the same as before. Subaru wipes the sweat from his forehead in heartfelt relief.

Subaru: [Hmm, that's a relief. If anything happened to Rem, her sister would kill me.]

Even if she didn’t, Subaru wouldn't forgive himself and would kill himself as punishment.

With that in mind, Subaru looks up.

Subaru: [And yet, ......]

Subaru: [And yet, where am I, and where did the ...... tower go? Emilia and the Beako are at ......]

He looked around, but he couldn't see the watchtower that should have been visible in the distance. No matter which way he looked, it was the same thing.

Subaru calls out to Emilia and the others, hoping that they would answer, even if they couldn't see him.

Subaru: [Emilia! Beako! Ram!]

Louis: [Ughh!]

But his voice rang out without a desired reply, and the only one who answered was Louis, who was still lying in the grass. He was angry at that fact, but he also really couldn't ignore her presence.

Under the current circumstances Subaru doesn’t know what Louis is up to, but he's the only one who can protect Rem. Subaru gets up to deal with Louis and ....

Subaru: [....]

Someone gently pulls Subaru’s arm as he tries to stand up.

Subaru: [Ah--]

Down on one knee, Subaru loses his breath.

The force of the pulling on his sleeves was not so strong. But still, he couldn't move.

Subaru: [....]

His knees tremble and Subaru's entire body begins to shake.

Truly, it was an incomprehensible impulse. All of his internal organs began to move at once, and the entire human being, Natsuki Subaru, was struck by this phenomenon.

It was an unspeakable shock.

It was an indescribable passion.

It was the most powerful wave of astonishment Subaru has ever experienced, in any world.

Subaru: [--ah.]

Slowly, her eyelids begin to tremble and open thinly. Behind them were pale blue eyes, deep as a lake.

Subaru loved those eyes when they flashed with joy.

Subaru loved those eyes when they sometimes shined mischievously.

Subaru loved those eyes, the way they made his chest tighten.

Subaru had long awaited this very sight…

Subaru: [Rem......]

His heart throbbed, his throat quivered, and Subaru couldn't speak, as if he was choking on something.

Subaru choked. Yes, he did. His chest, how many thoughts had he been choking on?

All the words he wanted to say, the things he wanted to talk about, the wishes he wanted to exchange, they were all piled up.

Subaru: [... Rem.]

His lips quivered as he called out her name.

It was shameful that he had failed so many times to do something as simple as that.

Had he said it clearly and in a way that would have gotten through to her? Maybe it was only Subaru's illusion that he had gotten through to her.

That's what scared him, and while panting and breathing, Subaru repeated over and over.

Subaru: [Rem, Rem, Rem … Rem, Rem, Rem, ...... Rem!]

Every time Subaru calls her name, tears flood out of his eyes.

Then, each time the tears flowed, his eyesight would blur. If his eyesight became blurred, Subaru was afraid that she would slip out of his hands again.

So, covered in tears and snot, Subaru wiped himself with his sleeve, desperately trying not to lose sight of her face.

Rem: [....]

Rem blinks her eyes quietly, with a clear blue light in her dimly lit pupils. Subaru knows that this is not a trick by Subaru's desire. There is no doubt that Rem is waking up.

Rem: [Ah…]

Weakly moving her lips, Rem tried to say something.

Just hearing that one note in her voice made Subaru feel like his heart was going to burst.

All that time he talked to her sleeping face, making sure that her life was connected to his as she breathed in her sleep. He had spent many mornings and nights vowing to bring her back to life. But in all that time, not once did Subaru hear her voice.

When he closed his eyes, he remembers the words she had told him, and the names she had called him on various occasions. But that was all in the past.

Subaru wanted to hear her voice now, and forever more.

Now, it has finally come true. His wish was finally fulfilled.

Subaru: [It's okay Rem, just take your time.]

Rem: [Uh.]

Rem moves her lips in a muffled, frustrated manner.

Subaru should probably get a glass of water for her. But Subaru doesn't see a watering hole nearby, and he can't take his eyes off her.

Just one word. If only she could call for Subaru again. If he could just hear that one word.

Rem: [Uhm.]

Subaru: [... Rem?]

Silently, Rem moved her lips back and forth, seeking the faintest moisture in her thirsty mouth.

Moistening her tongue with her saliva, Rem manages to regain a modicum of strength and opens her mouth.

Then, with a large reflection of Subaru in her blue eyes …...

Rem: [Who…. are you?]

Subaru: [....]

The voice that spun from her lips, a voice that combined a certain sound and meaning, permeated throughout Subaru's head. This is unbelievable.

Subaru: [.....]

On his knees, looking into Rem's face, Subaru choked on his breath.

He then exhales a breath that had built up painfully, deep in the depths of his lungs, and he hammers his chest hard.

Using all his strength, he hammered his chest a few times, thinking to himself.

This possibility should have been expected. Subaru had considered the possibility that once awakened, Rem might not remember Subaru.

Considering the power of the “Authority of Gluttony”, it's a natural progression. It was quite possible that she would wake up with neither her “name” nor “memory”.

Yes, it was possible enough. So it wasn't that Subaru didn't think about it.

Of course, that didn't mean that the shock Subaru would receive at such a revelation would be zero either.

Still, he didn't have to curse his fate and despair, or feel sorry for himself to the point of being angry at the absurdity of playing the tragic hero.

What was most important has already been said to Natsuki Subaru.

???: [Please show me how cool you can be. Subaru-kun.]

Subaru: [My name is Natsuki Subaru.]

Subaru gulped, and while biting down hard on his molars, he lowered his sorrowful face and distorted his cheeks.

Subaru laughs at Rem, wiping his face and screaming as loud as he can.

With a brilliantly unfounded smile, typical of Natsuki Subaru.

Subaru: [You may not be able to remember it now. But I'm .......]

Rem: [You are .....?]

At Rem's question, Subaru cuts her off and squeezes his eyes shut.

Black eyes bore into blue, and the boy continues.

Subaru: [I'm your hero. Rem, I've missed you.]

Articulating those words once again, Natsuki Subaru calls himself a hero to the girl to whom he had sworn an oath. Carrying the sacred title of hero, the boy called himself that again for the girl.

He will once again start a story with her, from zero.


Proofreader’s notes: Us two were listening to different songs as we proofread this, and we couldn’t think of one that beat the other for the ending Rem part. xVoid chooses the ending of Chet Baker’s version of “Almost Blue”, and LawlessRaptor chooses the ending song of Ep 15. “Requiem of Silence”(The season 2 version is more fitting)

Editor’s notes: We made it. We got all the way to the end of Arc 6. I can’t believe it ends here either. With that in mind see you all again when Arc 7 debuts.