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[Subaru: ……I’ll bring her in, so you don’t have to do anything . Your back would be screaming if you had to carry around a girl anyway]
[Otto: You know, merchants are always handling heavier goods during their work . We aren’t as weak as you seem to think, Natsuki-san]
Subaru tried to cover up his last statement with quip, and was thankful for Otto’s conciliatory reply, which came after a moment of hesitation . He let out a sigh .
No matter what, his reaction was too extreme . Even though it wasn’t intentional— Or rather, it was precisely because it was not intentional that it was a problem . His nerves had been on-end, and anyone who even tries to interfere with Rem, regardless of their intentions, seemed to him to be an enemy .
[Subaru: This is not a good pattern……Damn it, I feel so wretched . Why am I always so……]
He was supposed to have overcome this, yet here he was immediately stumbling over the first pebble he came across . Why does he never have the strength to stay standing tall?
If Rem were here, if Emilia were watching— if both of them were here now with him, surely he would have that unwavering strength .
[Subaru: I brought it upon myself… . . No, I forced Rem to pay that price . What a deadbeat I am!]
There should have been a better, more perfect way .
He had believed that he did his uttermost, up to the end of the loop several days ago he deeply believed that . But there must have been an even better, seamless, perfect outcome somewhere . But Subaru had missed his chance to find it, in his complacency, in his cowardice, he compromised into an imperfect future . And Rem’s sacrifice was the price .
If he had been more competent, he would have noticed it .
Before evacuating Emilia and Ram from the mansion, the handwritten letter he had given to Crusch’s messenger had already turned blank . He had thought that a Witch Cultist accompanying the messenger had switched the letter in a ploy to sow confusion, but that is laughable .
There was no chance the Witch Cult could have been aware of their threat, and how could he have believed that the Witch Cult would use such a roundabout way to plant seeds of distrust between their two forces? More than that, if they went to all this trouble, compared to a blank letter would it not have been more effective to alter the contents?
Then why, why was the handwritten letter blank? If it was not the work of the Witch Cult, then there could only be one answer .
[Subaru: Rem wrote the letter . I was the one who asked it to be delivered, and Crusch was the one who gave it to the messenger, so the reality of it being handed over remained, and only the contents were erased]
That is the Authority of “Gluttony”, and the fate of those whose name and memories were eaten . An existence erased from the world, leaving only a complex web of incongruities behind . If you weren’t aware of it, you’d never feel the unease, you’d never even realize anything had been missing .
If that was the case, for who, or for what, would have been the purpose of that existence—- .
Looking deeper into the fact that the letter was blank, properly investigating, fathoming, delving into the truth, perhaps he could have done it .
What Emilia had said then, come to think of it, the letter had arrived on the evening before the final day . At that moment, the contents of the letter were already gone, then Rem would have been attacked before that time . If so, then hardly any time had passed since Subaru and Rem had parted ways . The chances of being able to catch up were minuscule, but at least there was a chance .
Only, Subaru had let that chance slip by . Why it had slipped by, he could no longer tell . Had he really not felt anything was out of place?
Ram, with her sister-complex, Emilia, who was aware they had left Rem with him in the Capital, yet they had not mentioned Rem at all, so why—
He finally realized it .
At that moment, Subaru let out an idiotic cry and brought his hand to his forehead . With wobbly movements he slid over to the wall, and smashed his head as hard as he could against it .
Shock and pain . But once wasn’t enough, again, again, and again he repeated .
[Emilia: Wh, Subaru!?]
At his inexplicable action, he three with him were shocked into speechlessness . But Emilia was first to return to her senses, and called out to him bewilderedly . She gripped his shoulder from behind, turning him around,
[Emilia: What’s wrong all of a sudden? It’s not like this is the first time you’ve done something strange, but this is… Oh—, look your forehead has gotten all red!]
[Subaru: The extent of my stupidity, for the bottom of my heart I am amazed, really]
Feeling the coolness of the tips of Emilia’s fingers on his forehead, Subaru shook away his head in a trance of self-loathing . Like he said, he could not bear to look at this own foolishness .
Then, suddenly drawing close to Emilia, Subaru fixed his gaze into her’s .
[Subaru: Emilia-tan, I have a favor to ask]
[Emilia: Wh, wha—? Hold on, Subaru, your face is close, and your eyes are scaring me……]
[Subaru: My helpless idiocy… could you please insult me a little?]
Startled, Emilia grew wide-eyed . Seeing rejection in her response, Subaru reached out to place both hands on her shoulders, holding her tightly preventing her from running away, and then brought his face in even closer .
[Subaru: Please . Don’t forgive me, just insult me]
[Emilia: Th, that, I can’t do that . I don’t think you’ve done wrong or anything……]
[Subaru: JUST FIND A WAY!]
[Emilia: Even if you ask me that……]
[Subaru: Please! If you do this for me, I’ll offer you my very soul……!]
[Emilia: Saying something this heavy is only making me more uncomfortable! Geez, I guess I really don’t have a choice]
Emilia hesitated agonizingly against Subaru’s desperate, perverse plea, but finally she nodded in resignation . She cleared her throat and looked up at Subaru .
[Emilia: Subaru you blockhead!]
[Emilia: You naughty, hyperactive, stubborn, selfish, rascal, don’t know when to give up, get way too cocky jerk!]
[Subaru: Gu . . gu . . gul…]
[Emilia: No one asked you, yet you only worry about other people, and don’t know your limit . You’re a softie who supports a hated half-elf . When I am rebuked and feeling depressed, you take my place, and behave rashly, get abused and do reckless things]
[Subaru: gu . … . . Eh?]
[Emilia: You listen but don’t respond properly; a coward who flirts and then runs away . A fool who comes to help someone in trouble, even after they had a huge fight . When things just aren’t working out, when you want something you say the right thing it’s so unfair . Then, when it’s all over, and everyone is running around taking care of the loose ends, you go to sleep by yourself and slack off . Subaru, you dullard!]
[Subaru: Dullard, now there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore……You know, Emilia-tan]
He had been expecting a rebuke, but the abuse he received was far from it . The words didn’t scratch at his heart and leave ugly scars, instead they were deep and kind, and left their mark on his and Emilia’s hearts alike .
At Subaru’s call, Emilia kept her gaze pointed up at him, pursing her lips .
[Subaru: How do I say this… is that how you feel about me?]
[Emilia: I know, it’s like all my feelings just flew out . Then I sort of went with it and after a while I had no idea what I was saying . …Subaru, do you think that is how I really feel?]
[Subaru: I wonder . When you get caught up in the moment, are they your true feelings……I don’t know if I could tell]
At the very least, Subaru had experience regretting things he said in the heat of the moment .
Were those long, pent up feelings wanting to finally escape her heart, just the thoughtless emotions of a moment blurted out all of a sudden?
He thought no one could ever answer that question .
[Subaru: Thank you, Emilia-tan]
[Emilia: All I did was say bad things about you . To get thanked for that……Subaru, you really are abnormal aren’t you?]
[Subaru: ‘Abnormal’, but for Emilia-tan alone . If I hear it from you, then no matter if it’s insult, abuse or a traffic safety poem, it will stir up my pleasure senses]
[Emilia: The last one I didn’t understand, but it seems like something I reealy don’t need to know so I’ll forget I heard it . —So, are you satisfied now?]
She tried to respond while suppressing a giggle, but in the very end, her eyes looked tinged with sorrow .
It was unfair, the raw expression she showed him sometimes, and it was why he couldn’t leave her be .
In answer to her gesture, Subaru smiled a broad smile that showed his teeth .
[Subaru: Yeah, I’m fine now . Actually, maybe I’m still not okay . But, if I were to get a kiss from Emilia-tan to break my curse, I should be able to find the courage I need, if only……]
[Emilia: That’s too bad, because the request office has closed for the day]
[Subaru: Damnit! I screwed up! Why am I always……too late……ah!]
As if full of regret, Subaru fell to pieces . Seeing this, Emilia to let out a wry smile . After spending some time looking wretched, Subaru finally stood up and looked around the room .
[Subaru: That said, I’m afraid there is some business I need to take care of . I feel bad for leaving everyone and Emilia-tan, but I need a little time . I don’t think it will take too long but… . What’s with your face, Otto?]
[Otto: I feel like charging you for reparations after witnessing that ticklish scene, but I’ll leave the negotiations on pricing for later…What were you doing!?]
Otto, forgotten until now, voiced his discontent, to which Subaru crossed his arms and cocked his head in contemplation . Come to think of it, Otto doesn’t know about the last person in this mansion he has yet to become acquainted with .
If that’s the case, to tell Otto where he was planning on going next, just what words would be proper .
After agonizing over the problem for a just bit, Subaru unfolded his arms and said,
[Subaru: Well, I’m going to go meet a loli with drill curls holed up in a room that smells like mold]
With that, he completely abandoned any responsibility to explain the situation, and left Otto to his state of confusion .