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He moved his tongue around in his mouth, and found that he had lost two molars, one front tooth, and that one of his canines was gone. And when he opened his eyes to survey his surroundings, he noticed that his right eye was so swollen that it could no longer open. [Subaru: Th, gha……]
When he tried to speak, his mouth only managed a strange gurgle due to the missing teeth and the blood pooling in his mouth.
Every breath drove a chill into the exposed nerves under his teeth, and though he tried to breathe through his nostrils, dried blood completely clotted the path. Gasping, he spat out the blood in his mouth, [Subaru: No way…… I… didn't die?] As he dragged along his over-injured body, Subaru recognized the fact that he had survived what should have been certain death.
Looking out through the remaining half of his vision, Subaru found himself lying in the dark corridor. There was no one in sight. He began to recall what happened before pa.s.sing out, and, [Subaru: Where's… Elsa……] Not here.
At least, nowhere Subaru's eye could see.
Being a woman who lurks in the dark for a living, even if she was within sight, she'd probably be able to keep herself from being seen, but―― she'd have no reason to do so.
There was no sign of Elsa. She was gone. At least, without killing Subaru. [Subaru: Why…would…… no, more importantly……] Every movement of his mouth made new blood gush out. Irritatedly spitting it out, Subaru shook his head. He tried moving each part of his body to check which areas hurt and which were immobile――
――When he noticed the warm, rhythmically breathing existence resting in his arms. [Subaru: ――Rem] The lovely blue-haired girl. The girl who was instilling him with strength even as she went on sleeping.
In his arms, Rem's heart was silently beating. Her shallow, rhythmic breathing, her steady, undeniable pulse, and her faintly blushing skin―― were all proof of the continued rhythm of her life. [Subaru: ――――] Overwhelmed with emotion, he tightened his arms around her.
Taking advantage of her lack of reaction, he held her delicate body as he relished in its warmth, as if to perceive through her skin the proof that she still lives. [Subaru: Why… did she leave……without killing me or Rem……?] Holding Rem's body, Subaru remarked on Elsa's inexplicable departure.
She killed Petra, she killed Frederica, and even Beatrice was extinguished by her hands. And yet, the murderer left without taking Subaru and Rem's lives when they were right in front of her.
Indeed, before losing consciousness, Subaru had pleaded for Rem's life, and Elsa's reply could be interpreted as an acceptance of his request. But would she really stay true to her word?
He doubted he would ever be able to understand the mind of a psychopath like the Bowel Hunter, but her reason for sparing Rem might have been just that simple. [Subaru: But then…… why did she let me live……?] He would be killed for sure, that was what he had thought.
At least, Elsa had swung her blade at Subaru with the clear intention to harm. The pain of every shattered bone and every carved-up muscle told him that was the case.
And yet, why did she let him live? [Subaru: Either way… right now……] Unable to understand, Subaru shook his head, and strained his aching body to lift Rem onto his arms.
Holding Rem lightly in his arms, Subaru looked towards the end of the hallway―― and, spotting Frederica's corpse, lying there as if abandoned, he decided on what would have to do. ――Before anything else, he would bury Frederica and Petra. [Subaru: Even though there's really no point when this world is bound to end……] A sentimental, irrational, and wretched act, he muttered in self-derision. Subaru had already decided that he would reset this world with his death.
Too much had been lost. And in spite of what he gained, he had failed to protect even a single thing he had sought to protect. Subaru lost everything, just like all those times before, or perhaps even more. Subaru no longer held the courage to live on in a world where so much was already lost.
If his death could bring them back, then he wouldn't hesitate for a second. This world was a world that was ending.
Whether it was Petra's, Frederica's, or Beatrice's death, all of it could be reset.
His promise to Petra, his apology to Frederica, and his final answer to Beatrice's sorrows, they could all be fulfilled in the next world. Having made that resolve, there was really no point in mourning their deaths.
Because whatever sadness remains of this lost world would no longer exist in anyone else's memories, and would only be Subaru's alone to endure. ――But, if he truly had that kind of resolve, Natsuki Subaru would have already pa.s.sed on to the next world by now. [Subaru: Resolve, determination, ability…… I'm always lacking in everything. Why am I always so weak… huh, Rem?] The girl in his arms did not answer him.
But, whether it was lamenting his own powerlessness, or laying bare his weakness, right now, the only place where Subaru could do this was in front of this sleeping girl. ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ――It had been only about fifteen minutes after deciding to lay Petra and Frederica to rest when he saw it. [Subaru: What… is that?] Seeing the object sitting in front of him, Subaru let out this stupid groan in his throat.
But who could blame him? Because that was just how strange and incomprehensible the object before him was. A pinkish hunk of meat―― would just about describe it.
Its shape was kind of like a lopsided ball of mud a child might have made, but out of meat. That much should have already aptly conveyed its strangeness, as well as the reason for Subaru's consequent confusion. [Subaru: It's big――] Simply put, the hunk of meat was enormous.
It was big enough for him to have to gaze upwards, and he could sense the weight of its dense ma.s.s just by looking. Both its color and texture reminded him of fresh pork or poultry one might find in the meat aisles. Just as far as what he could see, there were about twelve of them. Every single one were the exact same size and conspicuously littered about the area. [Subaru: What… the h.e.l.l is……?] Confused and without answers, Subaru repeated that same question over and over.
Then, as he looked around, [Subaru: Where did all the villagers go?] Standing in the deserted center of Arlam village, surrounded by hunks of meat, Subaru stupidly muttered to himself. ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ === Welp… he’s still alive… >_ === Let me know if you find any typos! ❤ === Chapter 64 Live Draft: