This part covers a bit of the eight volume of the original Re:Zero novels.
Ferris, Crusch Karsten’s camp’s main healer, had pushed for her lady to evacuate the village along with every wounded soldier, both from her own camp and from the Iron Fang mercenary group. Ferris feared that the Witch’s Cult was waiting for a sign to attack, and she makes a move to figure out if they have a man inside. It doesn’t end well.
GPT-3 is a cutting-edge language processing algorithm used in the premium version of the online site AI Dungeon.
In the sudden light of the day, the contours of a room come to you as if they were getting drawn slowly. Dried meats, as well as garlic and onions, hang from the ceiling close to a big rack of spices. On a counter rest in disarray a bunch of forks and knives. There are overturned chairs thrown around on the floor, and in the center of the room, a table has broken in half. Someone is lying on it as if that person had broken the table by jumping onto it and then had fallen unconscious.
As you blink, you realize you can hear nothing at all. You are witnessing a silent picture without the hint of any sound coming from it, as if it were happening far away from you. You stand up slowly. Your body is eager to communicate to you that your back hurts as if you’ve hit something hard with it, and you need to make an extra effort to breathe. When you look back for a moment you realize you were resting against a cauldron. Your head hurts like in the aftermath of a migraine, and your ear ducts burn. When you attempt to figure out if you still have ears, you wet your fingers with something coming out of them. Blood.
As you stagger around confused, you realize that on the opposite wall a window has burst inwards as if something had hit it hard from the street. Your shoes crunch broken glass. You suddenly step on something tender. As you crouch to figure out what it is, you blink a few times until you understand you are staring at a detached leg torn from slightly above a knee. It’s still wearing a boot, and it’s covered in a black, form-fitting cloth.
How did you come here? You remember light, and a huge noise that enveloped you. Did someone attack you?
There was a person lying on the table, you remember. You push aside the overturned chairs until you can see the person who is lying on their back. It’s a cat-girl. Ferris. Her left thigh ends in mangled meat with a cross-cut of bone sticking out of it. You realize that Ferris is awake, and that she’s illuminating her maimed limb with a magical light coming out of her palm.
She’s staring at you with a pained expression, but her facial muscles twitch as she tries to contain it. She opens her mouth and moves her lips like she was speaking, but you can’t hear anything. You open your mouth and order your vocal cords to project sound. You don’t hear anything. Ferris motions for you to come over. When she can reach you with her hands, she grabs you by the back of the neck and warms first your right ear with her healing magic, and then your left one. After a couple of seconds, the sounds come back as if you had taken out of your ears a couple of tremendously competent earplugs.
Ferris stares at you in anguish, with sweat dripping on her face.
“Ferris,” you say with a raspy voice. “your left leg is missing.”
“Thank you for that”, Ferris replies with restrained pain. “I would have never figured it out on my own.”
“I almost stepped on your detached leg. It’s around there, near some broken glass.”
“Ah, you found it. Please bring it over, Subaru.”
You figure that she might want to keep the torn limb on ice until she can get to a hospital, except that in this fantasy world you’d probably need a magician able to produce ice through spells, and that there’s nothing remotely similar to a hospital in this village nor in its surroundings. You return quickly to where you abandoned the detached leg, which is leaking blood. After picking it up you come back to Ferris. Without thinking, you press the torn, bloodied end against the stump until Ferris yells in pain and attempts to push you off.
“Ah… Sorry, Ferris. I don’t…”
“Subaru, snap out of it. Look at me.”
Ferris is pointing at her anguished face. Despite the pain she must be experiencing, she seems fully lucid.
“See? Not crying”, she says.
“Ferris, I’m holding your detached leg. It’s as good a moment to cry as any!”
Ferris swallows and cleans her lips with her tongue as she breathes hard.
“Please, Subaru. I need you to help me. Will you?”
“Of course. What can I do?”
Ferris seems surprised, but then points at the detached limb.
“Align it properly against the bone, as if you were to connect both parts. With the foot pointed upwards, obviously.”
“Fine, but didn’t you just yell at me for doing that?”
“I wasn’t ready, nor were you doing it right. Go ahead, Subaru.”
As you hunch over to handle the task as if you were dealing with an action figure with detachable parts, you figure out Ferris’ intent.
“Wait a second. Can you actually reattach it?”
Ferris nods while biting her lower lip. One of her cheeks is twitching.
She reaches with both of her hands and she envelops the broken off part with her healing magic. Something like less gross scar tissue is growing from the meat and connecting the muscles and tendons and whatever there’s actually inside of a leg. The bone has already connected, although it looks like a white branch that had snapped and someone glued together.
“That’s not medicine,” you mumble. “that’s magic.”
“Of course it’s magic. You seriously need to snap out of it, Subaru. We have no clue what’s going on in the village.”
You turn your head for a moment towards the broken window. You can see the opposite house across the narrow street. Its front is damaged as if it had suffered some blast. That’s right, the carriage exploded. How did you two survive?
Above Ferris’ labored breathing you hear faint cries as well as the clashing of metal. Someone must be fighting out there, a bunch of people.
Her leg has been reattached almost entirely, except for a few disgusting holes where filaments are growing like little worms. The band of skin that has connected both sides of her leg barely looks better than smooth scar tissue.
“Is your leg going to work?”, you ask.
She shakes her head.
“I will need to keep applying magic continously for a while to regrow and reconnect the nerves. Otherwise I risk losing the ability to feel it and move it properly, forever.”
“That means you can’t stand on it. But we can’t stay here, Ferris. If the cultists took the opportunity to attack as it sounds like, they might come across us at any moment, and you know damn well I can’t protect you.”
“Yes… You will need to drag me out of here until we find someone who can handle a sword. Hey.” She waits until you turn your head to stare at her. There’s fear in her eyes, even though she’s trying to push it down. “You will try to keep me alive, right?”
“Don’t be silly, Ferris. I’ve known you for a long time, I see you as my half-sister whose father must have been your average housecat, and our mother a shameless freak.”
Ferris frowns and twists her mouth.
“As your sister!? For so long!? You get attached to people too quickly! But yeah, as your sister!? You keep staring at my ass!”
You stand up while holding her leg in place. Only a couple of spots keep growing meat and skin under the magic light. You clear your throat and face Ferris’ gaze.
“Ah… We must focus on saving your life, Ferris.”
When half a minute later Ferris has given you the okay to lower her cat-girl body to the ground while she keeps healing herself, you move around her while trying to figure out how to best approach the maneuver. Your headache makes your brain throb.
Ferris eyes your hands suspiciously.
“I wonder if it would be better to die than to allow you to touch me again.”
“It would be a waste to lose our healer.”
“I knew you only cared because I can do that much for you lot.”
“I’d also mourn that ass of yours.”
“Oh, you dickhead.”
You also have no choice, or so you say yourself, to grab the cat-girl’s ass when lifting her from the broken table and putting her on the ground. After all, it’s not as if you can pass your arm under the cat-girl’s knees. You try to avoid thinking about that ass’ consistency still lingering on your palm and fingers. She’s now lying with the back of her head to the exit door, so you can grab the back of her robe with one hand and arduously drag Ferris’ ass through the streets’ dirt.
You lean through the doorway. The remains of the blown up carriage are two houses away from your current one, and on the opposite side of the street. You must have been expelled at an angle, and the location of the broken window on the front of your current shelter suggests so. The houses surrounding the explosion have mostly collapsed. You hope nobody was hiding inside.
There are no corpses strewn about this street, although the tumult of ongoing killings coming from some nearby streets is now louder.
You have no idea which direction to drag Ferris towards. It sounds like a bad idea to head for the village’s plaza. You focus on recalling the route towards a couple of dead end streets you saw back when you visited this place with Roswaal’s servants, even though you barely paid any attention.
As you turn a corner and a similarly narrow street opens, which is crossed by a couple of other streets, you see a young, well-built villager struggling with a cultist that is attempting to stab the villager with an usual cross-shaped dagger. The villager is armed with a kitchen knife. Although the villager does stab the cultist in the gut a couple of times, which doesn’t bring a cry out of the cultist, the bad guy knocks the villager back by punching him in the mouth with an open palm, and then lunges forward and plunges the dagger into the guy’s throat. The cultist twists the blade. After he pulls out the dagger, he lifts his head to look for his next target, and the darkness inside of that hood focuses on you.
“Oh, fuck. A cultist is coming”, you mutter loud enough so Ferris hears while she heals herself on the ground behind you.
The cultist is running towards you while holding his dagger upside down, to stab you from above. Your heart is jumping in your chest. You don’t have a weapon, you don’t have any ability that doesn’t involve dying. What would any person who knew how handle an assailant do? And you can’t move out of the way, or this guy might murder the cat-girl.
Ferris’ last words before the carriage blew up come to your mind.
The blood-dyed knife is glistening in the morning sun. It’s closer. No way you’ll avoid getting cut, but that’s alright. The kingdom’s best healer is behind you. Don’t let him stab your vital areas. Which areas of your body are vital? You can’t remember.
You bend your knees a little and raise your arms, preparing to catch the bad guy’s wrist. It’s a small target, especially when you are scared and your headache hardly allows you to concentrate. Pretend you are wearing plate gauntlets, like the duchess. The vital veins or arteries or whatever must be on the underside.
As the cultist lunges forward, you move your arms against the fast blade, and you feel it cutting across the side of your forearm. It burns. With your other hand you grasp the cultist’s wrist, immobilizing the blade. However, the guy plunges his free thumb against your throat, which almost makes you release him.
“Ia,” you yell with a hoarse voice, “burn this fucker’s face!”
The minor spirit, a ball of light the size of a finger’s phalanx, jumps out of your chest and arcs towards the darkness inside of the hood. When Ia reaches her target, the darkness ignites with the sound of a match lighting. The cultist pulls out the thumb from your throat to hit himself in the face, but you throw yourself to the ground dragging the guy with you. Ferris, who is lying right next, reaches for the guys’ hand and after she touches his bare skin, the guy shuts off as if he fell asleep. He lies on the ground while flames grow in his head, melting his hood.
You tear the dagger from his hand to use it yourself, and drag your saviour away from the dying cultist. You keep coughing.
Ferris tells you to get down for a moment. While with one hand she keeps healing her leg, with the other she fills the inside of your forearm as well as your throat with her warm, balm-like magic.
“Did Ia get stuck in that fucker?”, you ask while recovering your breath.
“No, I saw her fly inside you from your back. Good job, Subaru.”
“The only reason you can judge my performance is because we survived. That’s how fucked we are now. I better be more careful.”
In the next street you see that around four houses from your corner, a bunch of Crusch’s soldiers are cutting down or getting stabbed by quite a few cultists. There are way too many. No way either your ambushes in the forest, or Crusch’s team’s for that matter, left so many alive. Petelgeuse must have had backup waiting, even though apparently he had brought all of his Fingers with him.
“You better not get killed, Ferris”, you say while panting. “It would be a nightmare to repeat everything all over again.”
“Hey, don’t start losing it now!”
You’ve reached an area of the village that you consider the outskirts. There’s a defensible dead end in which you could hide Ferris if necessary. Near the corner to that street you slip on something sticky and you almost fall, which makes you tremble all over. The dirt is muddied with blood, and there are lumps and bone chunks thrown around as if someone, more than one person, exploded. As you stagger into that dead end street, feeling dizzy and out of breath, you notice that some of the pieces of dead people are covered in shreds of black cloth, but others in different colors.
You lift your head and realize that close to the end of that street, in front of a hut-like building, two tiny half-beast people wearing white, orange-lined robes are staring at you. The orange fur of one of them is begrimed with blood and vomit. Mimi is looking around like an automatic turret, but then she notices you. When you open your mouth to greet Mimi, the lieutenant plants her feet, hunches while keeping her face forward, and her jaw opens wider than it should be naturally possible, sliding her lips beyond the gums.
All the heat in your body escapes as you stare at the lieutenant, but Tivey lunges forward and pushes his sister’s head down before she vocalizes her ability.
“M-Mimi, no! That’s our general!”
As the life returns to your body with a tingling sensation, you begin to drag Ferris again towards these two mercenaries, although your legs are giving you a hard time. You feel Ferris’ body trembling through her robe you are holding on to. When you were passing Mimi by, you feel her moving to get your attention, but you can’t look her in the face, nor do you want to.
“Sorree, mister!”, Mimi says with a pitiful voice. “Didn’t mean to blow you up, honest! Mimi’s eyes don’t work that well.”
“It’s okay, Mimi”, you mutter.
You do lift your face towards the Iron Fang’s quartermaster, who despite tending to remain in the background, his orange fur is spattered with blood. He’s wringing his tiny hands while holding your gaze with an apologetic look.
“Tivey,” you say, “thank you for literally saving both our lives.”
“I-I am glad I was able to. That’s the healer, isn’t she?”
“Good to see you again, Tivey”, Ferris says from behind you.
“She’s gotten injured it seems. D-Did you bring her over so we could protect her?”
“That was the plan, yes”, you say.
“She’s kin, too. We’ll take care of you. W-We don’t have much of a clue of what’s going on nearby, though.”
As the quartermaster keeps glancing to his sister, who has returned to her guard post from where she likely blew up anyone indiscriminately, you realize that this tiny man has one of the hardest jobs in the world, making sure that his sister doesn’t go on a rampage that’ll make every nation around put a million gold coins bounty on their asses.
“Everything is so confusing,” Mimi comments, “but explosions make Mimi’s head clear!”
“I’ll drag Ferris into the hut, Tivey. To make sure that she’s comfortable.”
You leave the cat-girl, who remains busy healing her leg with both hands, leaning against a cupboard in the darkened hut. Her face is beaded with sweat, and her eyes glisten with a fear that the rest of her expression doesn’t let through. She looks up at you pleadingly.
“I don’t want you to leave me with that monster.”
“There are many things I don’t want, Ferris, but this is as far as I can deal with dragging your ass through the dirt while my heart expects anyone to jump in front of me and murder me at any second. You’ll be safe here. I can’t say the same of anyone, literally anyone who shows his or her face in this street.”
As you turn towards the door to leave, she raises her voice.
You look over your shoulder while standing near the doorway.
“Mimi’s mouth is aimed the other way”, you say. “That’s all you need to think about. You’ll stay alive if you stay here, Ferris. I can’t do anything for you out there. I’ll come back in a second.”
You step into the morning light and approach Tivey, who barely keeps his eyes off his sister.
“Hey, neither Julius, the human dressed in white and who has purple hair, nor Wilhelm, another human who is old and has white hair, came through this street in front of Mimi, right?”
Tivey looks at you gravely.
“No, sir. I-I haven’t seen them since the explosion.”
“Since the carriage’s explosion, you mean.”
“It was a carriage? T-There was a huge blast in the village. While people were moving around to find the source, a-a lot of cultists started coming down from the road that leads to the lord’s mansion. I had been following M-Mimi around that time because she wanted to t-take a walk, and I’m not s-sure if we should risk trying to join our brothers and sisters. Most of those people are m-much taller.”
“I can see how that would be scary despite you having the most terrifying sister in the world.”
You want to ask about the remains strewn about that are covered in clothes that clearly didn’t belong to cultists. You need these two half-beasts to survive, and you don’t want under any circumstance to make an enemy out of Mimi. You allow Tivey his plausible deniability.
“Ah… I’ll go inside for a moment and check on Ferris again”, you say nervously.
Ferris turns her head quickly when she hears someone enter. Then she relaxes again.
“You are so dumb, Subaru.”
“What does that have to do with anything now!?”
“We are enemies, you and I. We belong to opposite camps. One day it might mean an open war. Don’t you know that?”
“It’s not so much that I don’t know, but that I don’t care.”
Ferris holds your gaze with her brow slightly furrowed, but stays silent as she breathes through her mouth.
“If I like someone, I like them”, you continue. “I couldn’t care less about anything else.”
“I can tell, and yet you should. That’s what adults do.”
“Yeah, I don’t care about that either.”
A pained look comes over Ferris’ face. You move to leave, but Ferris attempts to reach your arm. She fails, because she doesn’t want to disturb her position and her continuous healing of her recently reattached leg, but you stop.
“What is it?”
“Where are you going, Subaru?”, she asks with a lowered voice. “You will die. You can’t do anything out there.”
“I was out there, and so were you, and we didn’t die as far as I can tell. I’ll continue walking around and doing nothing. I need to make sure that other people that matter to me are still alive.”
You leave the hut and close the door behind you. After you take a deep breath, you tell Tivey that you are going to look around for your pals. You make sure to approach Mimi from an angle, but still glancing at her blood and vomit stained figure as little as possible.
“Mimi, I’ll run down the street to figure out what’s going on. Please, don’t blow me up, okay?”
“I wouldn’t blow you up, mister! You are our friend!”
“That’s right. We don’t blow up our friends! Later, Mimi.”
You sprint through the narrow street while avoiding the puddles of blood and the lumps of corpses.
I had expected this entry to contain a couple of scenes more, but the first one ended up being so long that the entire entry would have probably pushed seven thousand words. There’s no intrinsic problem with shorter entries if the scenes are mostly self-contained.