This part covers some of the ninth volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous part the protagonist finally confronted the Witch of Frost after he fucked up bad at the royal summons in one of the first entries of this retelling. We learn that the world sucks and that it hates the Witch of Frost because she was born. I don’t like the village chief.
This entry is the last one covering all the events that became the first season of the anime adaptation.
GPT-3 is a cutting-edge language processing algorithm used in the premium version of the online site AI Dungeon.
The plume of black smoke raising from the burning corpses widens and dissipates in the afternoon air. All the dead that your people intend to bury with honors are loaded in the carriages, and thankfully the combination of Crusch’s army’s carriages as well as the merchants that stayed behind are enough for everyone to travel back to the capital. However, some of the villagers, particularly those whose loved ones have died, refused to leave, and intend to bury their dead in the local graveyard. Nobody wanted to force those to leave despite that some cultists might remain in the proximities, so Ram just approached you near the entrance of the village to inform you that she’s staying as well.
“Someone needs to make sure that the mansion won’t suffer any harm, and Beatrice isn’t going to move any finger for it.”
“Ram, you have barely recovered from spending all your mana, right? The villagers that won’t come with us are the angriest, and they are grieving. What if they attack you?”
The pink-haired servant snorts as she holds your gaze with a smug expression. However, a faint smile appears on one corner of her mouth.
“In your mind it must be a miracle that we survived until you appeared in our lives.”
“I just don’t want you to die.”
“I accept your concern, but you should worry about your own defenseless self.” She looks towards the gathered carriages, a couple of which are already moving up to the road that leads out of Roswaal’s domains. “Get going. I’m sure you have planned to celebrate that your gamble paid off, and you should. Don’t let my sister drink too much, she can barely handle it.”
A warmth fills your chest, and you want to cry.
“Can I get a hug?”
Ram narrows her eyes and steps back.
“You just love pushing the limits of indecency, Barusu. Any of these carriages must be waiting for you. Farewell.”
After Ram disappears past some house, you move towards the empty carriages and the people gathered nearby. Some of the half-beast mercenaries are talking animatedly with some of Crusch’s soldiers. The mercs’ mounts, a species of big wolf, are either hanging out excitedly or being driven around by the half-beasts that are sitting on them. You haven’t seen neither Ricardo nor Mimi for a while, and you figure that they must be handling things on the nearby road to make sure everybody can leave in an orderly group.
Emilia calls you from behind. She’s standing there with a shy smile and holding Puck with both hands. The magical cat is licking his paws while eyeing you with an amused expression.
“Which carriage should we get on, Subaru?”, Emilia asks.
You both walk around for a few seconds until you spot a familiar face near one of the empty carriages. It’s Otto. That unfortunate bastard has stayed around after all. You approach him while a smile grows on your lips.
“So you survived, Otto, and even waited around for us to finish. That’s very considerate of you. Can we get on your carriage?”
Otto nods, but then looks weirded out.
“Wait a second, I don’t recall ever telling you my name, general. Did I?”
“Of course! How would I know it otherwise?”
Otto shrugs, and then smiles with gratitude.
“I couldn’t abandon you people after you saved me from being roasted alive, could I? Even though I admit that I thought there was no way that we would survive a full-on assault by those crazy cultists. A couple of times I looked out from my tarp, there were pieces of houses hovering in the air and being thrown around! I should have braved the mist last night. I wouldn’t have been caught in such a mess!”
“You certainly wouldn’t have been able to. Well then, old pal, I’m getting on your carriage and sleeping like a half of the way back to the capital.”
Otto is a bit puzzled by your words, but he agrees and climbs into the driver’s seat.
You nod to Emilia and then get on the back of the carriage. It’s empty and in shadows thanks to the tarp covering it. There are two benches on opposite sides. You sit close to the back, and before you realize it Emilia has sat next to you, so close that your thighs almost touch. She looks at you with a smile in her gorgeous face, and your breath thickens. You remind yourself that you have a girlfriend whom you love very much.
Puck walks down from Emilia’s arms onto the bench, next to his protegee.
“What do you think about all this, Puck?”, you ask. “You have remained in the background ever since we arrived. I miss the sound of your cat voice.”
Puck narrows his eyes suspiciously.
“I wanted Emilia to stay hidden until you people killed every last one of those freaks. You would have done so, as you have proved. But I couldn’t stop her from surfacing and then having to deal with people who hate her.”
“Puck…”, Emilia begins.
“It’s all done, can’t change any of it. I just don’t want to expose you to that kind of stuff, Emi. The world is much harsher than you think.”
Emilia lowers her head slightly.
“I knew there are plenty of evil people out there. I just thought I had left it all behind…”
“Nevermind that, Emilia”, you say with a conciliatory tone. “We both need to sleep, and we’ll be able to in a short while. Just imagine it, closing your eyes and feeling the carriage moving through that very long stretch of road while knowing that everything is over. Just like being a child again and sleeping in the back seat of your parents’ car as they drive you to your aunt’s.”
Emilia offers you a calm smile, although she’s arching her eyebrows in confusion.
“What’s a car? A kind of carriage where you come from?”
“Ah, yes. Pretty much.”
“I want you to tell me about your country, Subaru. I’m really curious about how you lived there, and also how you ended up coming to Lugunica.”
You sigh and close your eyes.
“Yeah, a long, confusing tale for another time.”
As you hear how a couple of carriages maneuver towards the road, a bunch of excited voices approach the back of your carriage. You haven’t closed the tarp, so you see a few children, two male teenagers, and a skinny tween with reddish-brown hair down to her shoulders. One of the male teenagers asks whether they can get on the same carriage, but the younger people from their group are already occupying the seats. The skinny tween girl with reddish-brown hair attempts to squeeze herself right next to you, even though the bench can’t hold her entire ass, and both you and Emilia are forced to shift yourselves further down the bench. You suddenly find yourself on the shaded back of a carriage surrounded by excited and loud non-adults. Your body hasn’t technically reached adulthood yet, but around these people you feel like you need to worry about the mortgage payments on your house. Damn it, they won’t let you sleep!
“I saw you got on this one, sir, and Petra decided that we should join you.” You recognize the male teenager as the guy you gave that sword to, shortly before you discovered that Petelgeuse had occupied a blonde teenager’s body. This guy isn’t topless anymore, he’s wearing a worn shirt torn in a couple of places that show that they’ve bandaged his torso. “We will feel safer, I think”, the teenager adds. “They say it’s a long way to the capital, and that road is dangerous.”
You are beginning to feel dizzy, and look to your right to the adoring eyes of the tween looking up at you.
“I must thank you again for saving my life, sir!”, she says excitedly. “I’m Petra. I don’t think I ever told you my name…”
This Petra person reminds you of some archetypal girl next door type that you would have during middle school, a girl that would come up to your room without announcing herself, and that would make you worry about the location of your porn mags.
You must have stared at her in silence for a moment too long, because she looks down and she tries to hide the hurt with a soft smile.
“It’s okay if you don’t remember. I’m sure you have saved many other people in this battle and others.”
“No, I do remember. It’s just… It’s been a long day.”
“That’s for sure”, the male teenager says.
“What’s… that about saving her life?”, Emilia asks softly.
You turn your face towards her to figure out how to explain it, when you stop with your mouth open. Emilia is worried, her pupils are trembling. You would have rather stayed in a carriage that only contained you and Emilia, and of course the driver, but in her case she has found herself surrounded by villagers that at any moment might explode against her for being a half-elf, a witch, or a combination of both. Her anxiety must have skyrocketed. Puck has vanished as well, you guess to avoid getting fondled by these children.
You grab Emilia’s hand and squeeze it.
“I saw them being pursued by a cultist, and I charged into the guy with my dear ground dragon. That poor girl was miserable before because I preferred to get on a carriage and sleep than ride her. My ground dragon, I mean.”
“You are a true hero, Subaru”, Emilia says without a hint of sarcasm.
“I just did what needed to be done.”
Petra leans forward to look at Emilia’s face.
“You are so beautiful! You are the witch that lives at the mansion, right?”
“That’s so cool! I wish I could do magic too.”
Other children agree. Emilia closes her eyes and squeezes your hand tighter.
Otto turns around from the driver’s seat.
“Everything well back there? We are departing. Hopefully we won’t run into mist on the way to the capital. Fingers crossed!”
You hold your breath for a few seconds as you feel the structure you are sitting on vibrate. The view of the village is receding. You suddenly feel yourself about to melt into the bench. How is it possible to be so tired and yet remain conscious? At least Ferris focused her healing magic on your face for a few seconds and that’s all it took for people to stop asking who beat you up. You just want to be gone for a good while, free from your consciousness, until you feel you can face another full day again.
Maybe fifteen minutes later the caravan is passing through a small village. Its sounds of people living their normal lives feels so incongruous with the carnage that the people almost next door lived through, or died in, for hours. Your gaze falls on the male teenager’s for a moment, and it seems like he was waiting for an opportunity to talk.
“Sir, do you remember that teenage girl, the blonde, pretty one?”
It ruins your mood, and you feel your chest caving in. Please, leave me alone, you want to say.
“She wasn’t from the village, right?”, you ask with a hollow voice.
“No, we had never seen her before. She barely said that she had come yesterday from another village, but she didn’t explain why. We don’t get those kinds of visitors… We also never saw her again after she fled to those woods.”
“She was a cultist.”
The children look at each other, while that male teenager’s expression sours.
“You are sure… I had wondered if that was the case, after such as sudden attack. That’s terrible. What happened?”
“She infiltrated the village, so…”
You can’t deal with talking about it. Your throat is closing. You suddenly realize how shady it looks. For these people you are one of their lord’s employees, and you were the last person who saw alive that beautiful teenager. For all you know this guy suspects you raped her, killed her and buried her in the woods. Certainly the staff of some other lords in this world would have done so. And you have a reason to feel guilty, because you did order Patrasche to kill the girl, although Petelgeuse had already raped the girl’s entire self.
“I am sorry, but… she’s gone.”
The teenager nods, rests his forearms on his knees and hangs his head down.
You must had dozed off for about twenty minutes when a tumult wakes you up. You hear someone shout some instruction, and it evokes the sudden panic that you felt when you first saw that army of half-beast people mounted of huge wolves as they ran towards your caravan.
After this bad nap, you look around confused in that half-conscious state during which you can barely tell what’s real. Some of the children are asleep. Emilia has rested her head on your shoulder and remains asleep, breathing deeply and drooling a bit out of the corner of her mouth.
“Where is the general? Has anybody seen in what carriage he got on?”
You have to think for a couple of seconds to realize that you just heard Ricardo. You pat Emilia’s cheek a couple of times, and she rouses slowly, blinking and drying her lips.
“It seems that the mercs are looking for me, Emilia”, you say. “I’ll come back in a bit.”
You move aside the opening of the tarp and step down to the road. A couple of mercs who were looking around while mounted on their wolves spot you, and they whistle over their shoulders. You turn around the carriage and spot Ricardo, who heads towards you. Thankfully the two meters tall wolf man doesn’t look troubled. As he approaches you, you look at the scenery. You don’t recall ever seeing this place, but given that towards the horizon in the direction of your caravan the ground goes flat, loses all trees and bushes and a seemingly endless desert of grass begins, you suppose this is the start of Flugel Road. Before the road you are standing on links up with what you suppose is a highway in this world, a couple of signposts and some half-rotten buildings seem to indicate that there’s a different road to follow, and indeed a narrower road heads in perpendicular.
Seemingly all the half-beast mercenaries except for those looking for you have gathered near the crossroads. A few of the carriages that have maneuvered that way are carrying the corpses of half-beast people.
“It looks like you are leaving us, Ricardo”, you say.
The enormous wolf man stands a few meters from you, and you realize that his frame was hiding both Tivey and his psycho sister. When you let your gaze linger on Mimi for a moment, you want to grimace. Her mostly matted, orange fur is dirty with blood, and her mouth is surrounded by dried blood and vomit. Apparently her half-beast friends see no problem with this tiny creature walking around and interacting with people even though she looks as if she’s just gobbled down a bunch of human remains. They might as well hang a board from her neck that reads ‘cannibal’. These people must look at Mimi and think, ‘yeah, this is an acceptable way to live’, while you want to dunk her head into a bucket of water. Don’t look at me, please.
“Yes, it’s time to part ways, general!”, Ricardo says with some regret. “The fighting is over, and now we ride for our headquarters so we can honor our dead brothers and sisters.”
You want to hang your head low, but you force yourself to look up at the guy, even though his huge mouth full of teeth is in the way.
“I am really sorry about every one of them that died. In particular about that half-sloth guy, for some reason. I suppose he was symbolic for this whole operation, you know?”
“I told you it was alright. I told you, didn’t I? I’m not sure. They fight because that’s what we do best, and what we love. And we can change the world for the best, can’t we? It just takes cleaving through enough people. That’s how it’s always been!”
“You know, Ricardo… Despite the constant terror and the waking nightmares that I was about to get ganged up on by a bunch of cultists who would make a pincushion out of me, now that I’ve survived and I can look back at those hours, I enjoyed that whole teaming up to murder people thing. It was a bloody good time!”
Ricardo snaps his head back to laugh loudly. Some of his merc pals laugh as well. You spot both the half-boar mercenary and the fox scout, and you point at them.
“I’ll miss you guys as well, mainly because I talked to you. You did a good job.”
They both thank you. Ricardo offers you his hand to shake. Although you try to, you can’t close your human hand around his. It also feels like it’s made of iron.
“Ricardo,” you say, “I’ve set my goal in life to be able to cleave a guy in half just like you.”
He closes his eyes and grins, and then he grabs you and messes up your hair while he almost bursts your eardrums with more laughter. When he lets you go, it feels as if your scalp has detached.
“You’ll need to eat more meat, general!”
Tivey raises one index finger and takes a step forward.
“G-General, something else…”
“Ah, yes. I’m also glad to have met you, Tivey Pearlbaton. You are the only person I’ve met in this world that I can say with absolutely honesty that I would never want to do your job, under any circumstances, and yet you do a great service for mankind, and I suppose for half-beastkind as well.”
Tivey adjusts his monocle and seems confused about your words.
“Th-thank you, sir. It’s also interesting for me to learn a-about how people different than me d-do things, and think.”
Mimi moves forward so she stands next to her brother. She avoids your gaze, and her tiny psycho eyes are secreting some terrifying, mostly transparent liquid. Ah, those are tears. She’s also sniffling.
“What’s the matter, Mimi?”, you ask nervously. “Does your belly hurt because you ate more people?”
Mimi shakes her head and then she rubs her eyes with her tiny fists. Tivey puts a hand on her shoulder.
“M-Mimi, the general is about to l-leave. You wanted him to do something, d-didn’t you?”
You swallow as Mimi looks down and wrings her hands. Tivey shrugs.
“S-She wanted a hug, general.”
You shiver, but it’s not as if you can afford to disappoint her. You crouch in front of Mimi to lift this little psychopath up to your chest. There are even globs of human meat caught in tangles of her fur. Her stench invades your nostrils and it makes you dizzy and nauseous. She stinks like a wild animal forgotten for weeks in some basement.
She looks at you with teary eyes as her pursed lips tremble, and she opens her arms. Best to get this over over quick, you think. You squeeze Mimi a bit, and against your best judgement you feel sad.
“I guess that if I disregard that you belong to an opposite camp, that you have the hygienic sense of a years-long hikikomori, that your favorite thing in this world is murdering people through supersonic booms coming out of your mouth, that you are a cannibal, and that whenever you are near me I fear for my life, you are pretty sweet.”
Mimi sobs close to your neck.
“I love you too, mister!”
When you lower Mimi to the ground, she runs up to Ricardo and hugs his leg. The wolf man picks her up and sits her on his shoulder. Mimi cries softly.
You clear your throat.
“Well, I guess that’s that.”
You stick around as they mount their differently sized wolves and they organize another caravan. Emilia has also stepped down from the carriage and is observing the whole situation likely feeling out of place. It seems that Wilhelm, Ferris and Julius have already said their goodbyes, because they merely nod or wave a hand as the others leave.
You suddenly remember, and run up to Tivey while he’s shifting on his saddle to get comfortable. You point to his big satchel.
“Shit, Tivey. I completely forgot. You are still holding on to it, aren’t you?”
“W-What…? Ah, yes. Though I don’t know w-why anybody would want to keep this thing…”
He takes out Petelgeuse’s Gospel pinching it with two fingers as if he wants to touch it as little as possible. You grab it confidently.
“We have the best library of magical tomes in the kingdom. If these things should remain in the world, they should be stored in those bookshelves.”
You stand there and wave as the Iron Fang diminishes in the distance. Up to the moment when you could no longer tell the details, Mimi had looked over her shoulder towards you as if she were about to turn back. You pray to Satella that you never cross paths with that little monster again.
You dream that you are walking through a forest under a thick canopy that keeps you in the shadows. You wander for a long time while you smell green. You are looking for something, or trying to find your way back to something. If feels like you have been walking around for an hour, but then you come across a clearing. Maybe twenty meters from you, some worn out stone steps climb to a raised platform on which stands an old ruin, some megalithic temple covered in vines. Its entrance is like a wide open mouth, its insides black. Maybe you will find her if you venture into the ruins.
When you open your eyes, the sunlight is entering through the half-open tarp. Must be a few minutes after sunrise. Everybody else is still asleep. Petra has hugged your right arm and is resting her head on it, Emilia and you have rested your heads on each other’s. You listen to her breathing softly.
For a moment a surprising thought enters your mind, one you would have never expected to feel again: you are home. You belong in this world. You have met far more people that you appreciate here than in your previous world, although you try not to think about your parents. You don’t feel the need to go back. You don’t want to go back. You were lucky that some freak mistake, or Satella’s inscrutable decision, snatched your miserable bones from that dreary world to drop you in this one. You can see yourself enjoying a long romance with Rem, marrying her, having children and then raising them to carry some sort of legacy in this world, not knowing a thing about where you truly came from.
Your chest swells with warmth, and before you know it a few tears are running down your cheeks.
“Subaru, why are you…?”, Emilia begins to ask softly, but she yawns.
You dry your eyes.
“Nothing. I was thinking that it’s alright, you know?”
She rests her heard on your shoulder as she seems to think about it.
“We survived. We see the sun rise again. I suppose that remaining alive is something to celebrate, even though we get used to it.”
You turn your head to look down at her as you feel the weight of her head on your shoulder. She holds your gaze with her beautiful purple eyes that reflect nothing but trust. She separates her wet lips slowly to smile. You realize that you’ve held your breath for a moment, and that not only your heart is beating fast, but you feel your blood concentrating in your crotch. You might as well have woken up next to her in bed. I’m doing this to Rem, you think.
You clear your throat and straighten your back. Emilia seems to sense that you’ve become uncomfortable, because she sits properly as well.
“We… should have never fought, Subaru”, Emilia says as softly as she can, maybe hoping that none of the sleeping children can hear her. “You are the only person I’ve felt truly comfortable with. I should have understood your intentions at the royal summons no matter the shame I felt at the time. We could have argued about it without punching each other verbally. But it’s alright from now on, okay? You will remain by my side, and after this is over we will return to the mansion.”
You swallow. You don’t think you are imagining that characteristic warmth in her tone, and for once you don’t like that your pants feel much tighter.
“Listen, Emilia, ah… After Roswaal decided that Rem should stay in the capital to secure allies, we grew really close to each other, to the extent that we started dating. It’s pretty serious already. We had been harboring thoughts and feelings of that kind for a while…”
Emilia’s brow is trembling, and she looks down at her lap as if thinking. But then she shakes her head and looks at you confused.
“But she didn’t stay behind. And besides, she’s done nothing but berate you, treating you as close to an uninvited guest as she could. Did you really… I mean, I don’t understand what you are talking about.”
“Ah, you thought I said Ram.” You chuckle. “Yeah, that’d be fun. Dating her would imply getting stepped on verbally every time you shared a room with her. Despite the occasional thrill that could provide, in very small doses, I meant Rem, her sweet sister.”
You shake your head while you smile, but when you look back at Emilia, she’s arching an eyebrow.
“What do you mean, Subaru…?”, she asks.
“Well, like Ram put it, her sister loves useless and broken things. We were meant for each other.”
You begin to scratch your head when the confusion in Emilia’s face makes you shiver. You hold your breath until she speaks again.
“Subaru, Ram doesn’t have a sister. Who is this Rem?”
Some observations. With this entry I’ve finished what you could consider the first season of this retelling. I will write a post-mortem regarding how the retelling turned out so far, and how it compares with the original as well as with the anime adaptation. I’ll also reread some of the entries to retouch them a bit, and then I’ll upload them to my more public blog. Although I hardly doubt anybody is reading these words, hanging the retelling for the public at large means that strangers might come across it and enjoy it, instead of the people I have on my friends list on here.
If someone would have told me just on the first of November that thirty days later I would have written a novel-length retelling of the entire first season of one of my favorite fictional series, I would have told that person to quit smoking crack and to lose my contact info. Although I tried my best to publish a couple of books around two years ago, the whole process burned me out, particularly because virtually every writer I met in person made me sick to my stomach in one way or another. I couldn’t connect with any of them. After I uploaded those two books and they barely sold any copy, I drafted the entire first volume of a next novel which due to its complicated plot, or what passed for it, had to be divided in two. After I finished that first draft I realized that I had gotten out of it psychologically as much as I needed, and there was no point in continuing further because there was no audience. I didn’t write any fiction at all afterwards, until this month. At least working on this retelling has made me rediscover the joy of writing fiction for the hell of it, to inhabit those fictional worlds, hang out with cool characters and explore interesting conversations and/or situations. So I call that a success as far as I’m concerned.
Worst part about this is that I’ll likely get recalled back into work next week. While I’m working full time I can barely do anything else but rest when I’m not at the office. I do want to continue and retell “Re:Zero” up to volume fourteen, which is the latest translated, but it will be hard.
In any case, I have posted the following video a bunch of times, but it’s still fun, and summarizes in eight minutes humorously all the events that this retelling has covered so far (with edited footage from the anime adaptation): Re:Zero IN 8 MINUTES. As it becomes obvious, though, some of the stuff has happened so differently in the retelling that although they lead to the same result, more or less, some steps in between are completely different.