This entry finally concludes the ninth volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
I tried to end the third arc of this retelling with a shortish chapter, but it turned into a 7,700 words long beast. Enjoy it if you can.
GPT-3 is a cutting-edge language processing algorithm used in the premium version of the online site AI Dungeon.
Although the numerous glasses of wine Wilhelm has drunk haven’t changed his stoic expression, for a good while he has been monopolizing the conversation by telling war stories that Crusch, although her eyes have turned reflective and her neck a bit wobbly, listens to attentively, only stopping him to ask him to elaborate on some points. Emilia has slumped on her chair and keeps giggling while she plays with Puck as if the would be mass murderer was a regular cat, and the adult-sized cat who told you to avoid turning the celebration into a funeral service has drunk herself into oblivion. She has crossed her furry forearms over the table to lean on them, and most of the time she either hides her face behind them or peeks over them to look around pitifully. When her gaze falls on you, you smile to make her feel a bit better. Although you wanted to drink with moderation, and you would be the only one able to drive these people anywhere if you could read the traffic signs, you still feel light-headed and careless about pretty much everything. You are, however, lucid enough to know how dangerous this is for you. You could easily make a habit out of drinking as you did during your self-imposed loop, so you can forget all the pains in your life, and particularly the damage you can’t correct.
It must be around twelve in the morning. Behind the mirror-like windows, only the distant streetlights clear the darkness of this cloudy night. Wilhelm and Crusch keep talking as if they are having a private meeting, while Emilia, who had sat on a nearby sofa around twenty minutes ago because she was getting tired, is snoring softly against a pillow. You had to lower her skirt a bit, as she hadn’t realized that she was showing her panties, and when you touched her, she slurred your name softly and motioned for you to stay with her, but you didn’t even have to answer before she forgot about it in her drunkenness. You are getting more depressed by the minute.
You suddenly realize that Ferris has disappeared. The wine bottle she had opened recently, even though nobody else could stomach any more alcohol, is also gone.
You hadn’t intended to find the cat-girl, but as you left the dining room for a bit of fresh air, you beelined towards the patio where both girls, Crusch and Ferris, used to eat breakfast during every morning of your self-imposed loop. Ferris is leaning against the edge of the table that holds special memories for you. You sat in front of it to enjoy many conversations with Crusch, and also the first time you killed yourself, by plunging a broken bottle into your carotid artery.
A quick look tells you how drunk Ferris is. She’s hunched over, and when she hears you come into the patio, she tilts her head towards you and attempts to recognize you with her glassy eyes. Then you realize that she’s also crying.
The cat-girl goes for the wine bottle, which she had left on the table, but you grab it and put it away.
“You have had enough, Ferris”, you say, with a mixture of genuine care and apathy.
She struggles to steal the bottle away from you, but she either isn’t putting much effort into it, or her drunkenness has stolen her strength. She gives up and returns to rest her ass on the edge of the table. You imitate her by leaning next to the cat-girl.
“You came to save me from alcohol poisoning”, she says somewhat mockingly.
“I don’t want you to drink alone while you are already drunk out of your mind, and also crying. I’ve been there. It doesn’t lead anywhere good.”
She points at her eyes.
“I’m not crying.”
“Your falling tears suggest otherwise.”
“I’m not crying, just…” She stifles a sob.
You stay silent and give her time to collect herself. This night is much darker than the couple of nights you had become used to during your self-imposed loop. The sky is clouded, blocking the moonlight, and the breeze that blows through the open patio, ruffling the cat-girl’s fur, suggests that you and Emilia might end up travelling home under the rain. You close your eyes for a moment and listen to a couple of owls hooting. This is bad, you think. Merely resting like this is letting the flood of sad thoughts in.
“I needed to drink because there’s so much to celebrate”, Ferris says with difficulty. “Like my best friend from childhood… my only friend… having forgotten who I am. And sometimes when she looks at me now I feel like she’s wondering why she let me hang around in the first place.”
“Crusch would never think something like that. You are just depressed. Besides, I’m also your friend, Ferris.”
She lets out a small laugh, and then she bumps her shoulder into yours.
“Oh, are you? I thought I was your sister.”
“Yeah, that was… Well, you can be both, I guess.”
As she attempts to push herself off the table, she puts her hand on your arm, and when she staggers towards the railing she lets her hand slide down to yours as if caressing it. She sighs and crosses her forearms over the railing right in front of you, leaning forward. Her slender waist moves slightly while the cat-girl presents her bubbly ass, barely covered by grey tights, as if inviting you to ram her from behind.
A flush of warmth makes you shiver, and your throat tightens. Although you look up at the back of Ferris’ head, those two big, furry cat ears, your crotch is already tingling.
“You should be careful, bro”, Ferris says playfully. “We’ve both drunk a bit too much.”
“You have for sure”, you say with a dry voice.
“We might end up doing something that mommy won’t like one bit.”
She steps back while holding on to the railing as if stretching. Her cat tail ondulates gracefully in the air, bridging the space between her ass and your abdomen, and then she slides the fluffy tip up and down your shirt deliberately.
You have already gotten hard enough that it nullified your slight inebriation. You need to excuse yourself and return to the dining room. No, to your bedroom. To the darkness of your bedroom where nobody but Puck will be able to see you masturbating next to your comatose girlfriend.
“Ah… I think you need someone to be there for you in a more friendly way, Ferris, while you grieve. Not for your fake brother to do unsanitary things to your sexy cat-girl body.”
“What do you know about what I need, huh?”
She backs up until her bubbly ass bumps into your erection, which makes you tremble from head to toe. You grab her slim waist intending to move her aside, but you end up merely holding her. She rubs your dick up and down between her ass cheeks. Your breath is thickening while your vision whitens. When Ferris rests the back of her head against your neck, her soft, perfumed fur makes you tingle, and the tip of her fluffy cat ear touches your own human one.
She grabs your head to turn your face towards her as she lifts her mouth to yours. Her breath, which reeks of alcohol, invades your nostrils. She presses her mouth against yours, and when her tongue invades you, it stings. It feels as if her tongue is hooking on yours with dozens of little spines. Damn it, the half-cats around here are mostly cats in that regard! Her tongue gets stuck for a moment, and when she retracts it you feel it prickling your tongue. You taste blood, but it only makes your dick harder while Ferris cradles it between her bubbly ass cheeks. If you had thought about it, you would tell yourself you had intended to push the cat-girl off, but in reality you have merely moved your hands up to fondle her small tits. Ferris moans.
She stands on her tiptoes to suck on your earlobe. She’s breathing hard, and her flesh feels warmer and warmer through the thighs. The cat-girl whispers in your ear.
“How did you put it? Bend me over and test drive a half-pussy’s pussy?”
You are melting. Before you can muster what little resolve you have left in order to stop her, her hand takes your right one, which was caressing her right breast, and slides it into the crotch of her tights. Her wetness drenches your fingers. Her tail which had been swinging from side to side all this time now stills. You feel the cat-girl tremble as you slowly slide your middle finger into her tight folds. As your finger goes in, she trembles even more, and she breathes hard while she presses her ass against your crotch.
You are losing it. You need to drag her into any of the empty bedrooms and fuck this cat-girl so hard that she’ll be leaking your cum for a week.
She turns her head to look at you with her hazy eyes. Her pupils have transformed into vertical slits.
“Please fuck me. I can’t deal with this.”
Her flax-colored fur tickles your nose, and her sweet scent is overpowering your senses. Her hot insides are sucking your index and middle fingers as her vagina pulsates. You don’t deny it to yourself: you want to pick her up, throw her onto a bed and grasp her wrists while you push yourself hard inside her cat-girl pussy. You aren’t even sure if it’s her body, or her attitude, or the stuff you both have lived through, or the fact that her current gloominess makes her feel like the only real person around. Your arousal is close to breaking through the many formless barriers in your mind.
“You need to learn how to deal with things, Ferris”, you say almost breathless. “You are way too drunk, and you got me way too hard.”
“I don’t care. Just take me. I’m all wet and ready for you, just take me!”
Her words hit you like a hammer. A shiver goes down your spine as you imagine the hot, tight feeling of her insides clenching around your hard dick. She’s calling for you to grab her, pin her down, take off her clothes and fill her to the brim. You can’t do this. Rem is… You can’t do this to Rem, even if she sleeps forever. You pull out your fingers, and her wetness follows for just a moment. Her pussy juice runs down your palm. You attempt to push her away with your clean hand, and you manage to extract your erection from between her ass cheeks.
“What the hell!?”, she complains while looking over her shoulder. “I said take me, now!”
“We need to get you sober. You don’t know what you’re saying right now.”
“I know exactly what I’m saying! I want your dick inside me!”
“Oh, God… I-I have a girlfriend whom I love so very much, I can’t-…”
Ferris glares at you while a couple of tears jump from her glassy eyes.
“Who is in a coma! She won’t ever know! She won’t wake up, and you know that!”
“No, I… I won’t betray her. Please sober up. You would regret this. I’m sure you would go all like, ‘I can’t believe I let you stick your dumb dick inside me, Subaru’.”
“Fuck you! I need it bad. The male half-cats’ dicks have spines that rake your insides raw.”
“I didn’t want to imagine that.”
“I need you to fill me with your smooth cock. I’ve been touching myself thinking about it.”
Ferris turns around and grabs the waist of your pants, but before she pulls them down, you grab her wrists. You struggle with her drunken self while she breathes hard through her mouth and tears fall down her reddened cheeks.
“No”, you say seriously. “I’m not a traitor. I can’t do this while she’s in a coma.”
You get your pants up and push her away with a hand. She stumbles backwards until she hits the railing, and then she rests her elbows on it while her chest rises and falls fast. She narrows her eyes and stares at you with pure anger, as if you are at fault for everything that has gone wrong in her life.
You swallow to bring some saliva into your mouth. Your heart is beating hard against your ribcage, and your dick hasn’t softened at all.
“I’m sorry, Ferris, but…”
The cat-girl clenches her teeth and widens her nostrils. She closes her eyes tight, and then rubs her thighs together as if scratching an itch. She turns around and leans over the railing to look down at the dark city streets beyond the mansion’s grounds.
“Who is the pussy here?”, she mutters.
Before you know it you’ve ran away. You are barrelling down the first hallway you came across, while your heart pumps in your throat and your erect penis waggles with every step. When you locate the first bathroom, you burst into it, and then close the door with your back. Thankfully the bathrooms have bolts. You open the faucet so the water keeps gushing out, and then you pull down your pants and grab your rock hard penis with your right hand. The veins pump against your palm. You lean on the wall behind the toilet with your left hand. Control your breathing, clear your mind. Wipe all the images of Ferris from your inside theater, and instead remember Rem. Picture her, feel her on top of you, your penis caught in her hot insides, her vaginal muscles milking you, her hands running their fingers through your hair, her fangs plunged into your throat and sucking you dry, her jaw tightening and tightening and tightening until it crushes the esophagus and the trachea, and still your sweet Rem keeps sucking out and sucking out your filthy life.
You groan, it feels as if your heart is about to stop, your legs wobble, your crotch gets red hot, and with a final spasm you shoot cum all over the toilet, the ground around it, and the wall behind it. You keep jerking and jerking while you wheeze, until you squeeze the last drop.
You collapse on your knees, dipping your skin on the puddles of cum. Sweat runs down your face, some gets in your eye. You keep shivering. You focus on controlling your breathing and feeling your heartbeat as it stabilizes until you can breathe through your nostrils again.
When some seconds later your legs get strong enough to support your weight, you fill the sink with water and dunk your face so the coldness seeps in.
When you have dried your face and you feel as if you can face the world again, you were about to exit the bathroom when you realize that you forgot to clean. If the staff members traced the destruction back to you, you would need to walk around the mansion’s grounds with your head down. You wipe the floor, the toilet and the wall behind it until it no longer looks as if a ghost has exploded, and then you peek out of the bathroom into the hallway. You don’t hear anyone coming. You have no idea how Ferris would react if you were to come across her. You wonder if it would be better to kill yourself and try getting through these last few days all over again.
You walk as fast as you can without running until you get downstairs, and as you turn a corner to reach a flight of stairs that would allow you to reach your bedroom quicker, you realize that there’s someone standing in front of a painting, staring up at it as if mesmerized. It’s the duchess. You approach her calmly. To eat dinner she had put her silky, green hair in a ponytail, and her profile is studying thoughtfully a portrait of her past self. The Crusch Karsten in the painting looks all regal in her military uniform and the pieces of plate armor that she had worn for your operation, and she’s resting her hand on the pommel of her sheathed sword that you had witnessed her using to kill one of Petelgeuse’s Fingers.
The current Crusch is wearing a black evening dress that’s covered by a red dressing gown that falls to her ankles, looking appropriately mature for your image of her. When she turns to address your presence and she smiles, you are overwhelmed by tenderness.
“Subaru. I was heading to bed, but I’ve made a habit to stop and take a good look at the lady of the house. Impressive, isn’t she?”
Crusch looks at the painting again as if inviting you to imitate her, but you keep staring at the living duchess.
“One of the most important figures of this nation”, you say. “And one of the most important women in my life.”
The duchess covers her mouth with her hand in feigned embarrassment.
“Also, she’s the most likely to become the next queen, or however the people around here would call a female ruler.”
Crusch’s smile fades, and her lovely eyes turn mournful.
“But she’s so young. What does she know about anything?”
“Apparently she was groomed to rule her family’s domain since childhood, and she put her skills to use before she became an adult. She was well-respected, competent and liked by her subjects. Maybe she thought that she was too young for such a responsibility, and I’m sure she never enjoyed a proper childhood, but then again she also never suffered through the miseries that us lowly commoners, who are born with nothing, must endure.”
You intended to improve her mood with the levity of your tone, but when you remember her talking about how her brother was murdered by the Witch’s Cult, you shut your mouth and look down for a moment.
Crusch narrows her eyes, and after a few seconds she breathes deeply.
“It’s so disconcerting to rake my mind for any memory or feeling associated with this past, and yet find nothing. I can’t imagine how I must look like to you. Obviously all of you cared for me a lot, and now you insist on keeping me company so the void of everything I’ve forgotten about this world doesn’t contribute to my premature death. Still, at times it feels suffocating. The nature of this woman I seem to be demands some time alone for contemplation, or merely to recharge.” Crusch holds your gaze as if to judge your expression. “But I recall that I never got to ask you what you meant about you being my son”, she asks with curiosity.
You almost stutter, but you end up chuckling and scratching the back of your head. It’s too late for such a conversation, particularly after you came so close to betraying your Rem to fuck your first cat-girl.
“I kind of got into trouble with the most important people in this kingdom. Some decrepit bastards were insulting Emilia, so I jumped in to give them a taste of their own medicine. Along the way I ended up disparaging the Knights of Lugunica, and its captain, a proud guy with a personal harem of glowing groupies, beat me up to a pulp. In summary, I proved myself a fool unworthy of respect. Even though I had no relation to you, something about my shameful display convinced you to bring me home and have your particularly attractive cat-girl cure my wounds. You believed there was more to me than my talent to annoy everyone I come across.”
Crusch looks humbled by her previous self.
“That duchess you knew seems like such a great person. Big shoes to fill.”
“One of the coolest, for sure. Listen, I’m sure our previous Crusch felt the same way, but she had gained enough experience so that it didn’t show. You’ll get there. Don’t push yourself.”
You pat her shoulder, and when she keeps staring at you with a pleasant smile, you fear you will blush.
“Anyway, as I was saying,” you continue, “you housed me, and your numerous staff cleaned after my messes, so you became my new mother in my eyes. It’s as completely innocent as that, I assure you.”
Crusch nods as she rubs her chin thoughtfully. You are feeling increasingly nervous.
“I see… How long did you stay in this mansion… that apparently belongs to me?”, she asks.
For a moment you wonder how much Wilhelm and Ferris have told her about your presence here. You guess that they explained everything, but it doesn’t stop you.
“Oh, more than a year. We had such a great time.”
“What kind of stuff did we do?”
“Well, when we woke up at night and we couldn’t go back to sleep, we used to enjoy private conversations under the moonlight up there, in the patio of the second floor, as we tasted your fine wines. Sometimes we also ended up walking along the pond to relax. You opened your heart to me and shared your pains. We, ah… We used to slip under the covers of your fluffy four-poster bed, and you cuddled me against your warm, generous bosom while you ran your fingers through my hair, gave me soft kisses and called me a good boy.”
Crusch’s cheeks flush. She averts her gaze and begins fidgeting. You hope she’s considering that her past self did enjoy such intimate moments, but that she never dirtied them by sharing them with the rest of her household members.
“Are implying that we had sexual relations?”
“No! No, of course not! Never! That would be completely inappropriate! The responsible and kind thing to do was to keep our relationship only on a friendly basis. Well, we still failed at that. We shared very intimate moments that most human beings are spared. A few of the times I tried to kill myself in your mansion you rushed to stop me, and it didn’t bother you that you ended up drenched in blood.”
Crusch snaps her head back, wide-eyed.
“What are you… You tried to kill yourself?”, she asks with a low voice, concerned. “Why would you do such a thing?”
You smile to reassure her, and wave your hand dismissively.
“Ah, the usual. I was trapped in a hole I didn’t know how to get out of except by killing myself. It’s alright, though. Afterwards I always woke up in the bed you assigned me. Some of those times we enjoyed pleasurable conversations on the patio merely a few minutes later.”
You laugh while reminiscing, but Crusch has gone pale, and her pupils are trembling.
“We had quite the complicated relationship. I suppose I was concerned about someone so troubled…”
“No trouble at all, duchess! It was a wonderful time. One I’ll miss for the rest of my life, I’m sure.”
You pat her on the shoulder, but she doesn’t react. Her eyes are fixed on the floor.
“I mean, now that I think about it…”, you add, “I was horribly depressed and experienced suicidal thoughts, but every time you would cheer me up and convince me to keep going. And now I’m fine!”
“You aren’t, though. Lady Emilia even cried for you during our dinner because she realized you were heading towards suicide. You have never stopped hurting, have you?”
You hate yourself for having engendered such worry in the duchess on top of her personal nightmare.
“I assure you, my duchess, that despite the occasional ups and downs such as in recent days due to my girlfriend having fallen into an eternal sleep, I have learned to love life. I’ll only kill myself if… I mean, I won’t kill myself again for any reason!”
Crusch remains upset despite your convincing explanations. You put your hand on her back and motion towards her bedroom.
“Let’s just get some sleep, duchess. Everything will look clearer in the morning.”
You accompany her, because your bedroom awaits beyond hers. When you reach the duchess’ bedroom, Crusch grabs the door handle, but then she stops and lifts her gaze towards you.
“This world, it seems so strange to me.”
“I finally hear that from someone else.”
“Sir Wilhelm has explained in detail how our different camps fight to rule the kingdom, and after only one of us wins, the remainder will be at the mercy of whoever sits on the throne. The conflict might end up erupting into open warfare, and yet I’ve felt nothing but genuine care from you two. What sense does that make?”
“You are asking the wrong person, my dear duchess. Few things have ever made sense to me. And I don’t care either that you or the rest of your camp are technically our sworn enemies. As far as I’m concerned, Wilhelm is the terrifying, murderous grandpa that I never had, Ferris is the disturbingly sexy freak that I’ll regret over and over not having dragged into an empty bedroom, and you are my fake mother that has induced many cherished, shameful thoughts that accompany me during sleepless nights. I like all of you guys is what I mean. Those political machinations are beyond me.”
Crusch smiles softly.
“I see, you are poking fun at me. I prefer that to being handled with gloves.”
By now you are already used to telling the truth and people believing you are either joking around or spinning wild lies.
“Those political considerations, though…”, Crusch begins as she lowers her gaze. “They must have been vital for the Crusch Karsten I used to be. Maybe they kept her life running.”
“Sure, something has to pay for a few mansions and a similar number of wine cellars. And there’s the whole thing about developing her domain, keeping the peace, making sure her subjects don’t die of the plague and shit like that. I don’t know what you actually did. I mostly only remember you drinking wine and wearing sexy nightgowns as you invited me to get in bed with you.”
“I see…”, she says shyly, with a hint of blushing.
“But the fact we always remember is that you were always looking out for others. It’s not really something you have to force yourself to do, it’s just who you are. That’s the real you whether you like it or not.”
Crusch smiles as her big, honey-colored eyes regard you.
“I appreciate your words, truly.”
She holds your gaze warmly. You aren’t sure what to say or do now. Some seconds later, the duchess opens the door and takes a step inside.
“We should go to bed, Subaru. I need to rest, and you both will travel far to reach your camp’s headquarters. I’ve heard it’s quite the arduous journey.”
You step out of Crusch’s mansion while your legs bear the weight of your beloved demon servant, who is hanging limply from your back. Emilia is covering you with an umbrella from the drizzle that falls from the completely clouded sky, that makes it so although it’s some minutes after sunrise, it still seems like night.
You head towards the carriage waiting for you, parked next to the road that leads out of the gate. The merchant who Emilia hired is waiting for you both while holding his hat to his chest. The very day you had returned to Lugunica from your operation, both you and Emilia knew that you would eventually need someone to drive you back home for a trip that would take, leisurely, a couple of days. Emilia had asked who you could trust, and you had a man’s name to offer: the fellow who had proven that he could outrun the White Whale herself without even thinking of sacrificing you as bait. His name is Otto Suwen. When you both get close enough, he bows slightly, which makes his messy hair, which needs a haircut, fall on his forehead. The guy is only a few years older than you, and yet his hair is as incongruously gray as Crusch’s is green or Rem’s is light blue. Fantasy world things.
In any case, when Otto straightens his back again and he combs his messy hair with his fingers, he mostly focuses on Emilia. He seems awed by her otherworldly presence, and you can’t blame him. Not only she’s exotic in a world where half-elves, particularly silver-haired ones, need to hide from people’s stupidity, but she’s a sight to behold. Her face alone could make any man, and some women, swoon, and she’s wearing her fancy, very expensive looking white and purple-lined dress that ends mid thigh, showing the rest of her perfectly proportioned legs. The fact that you aren’t head over heels for her, thanking your lucky stars because she has deluded herself into loving your sorry ass, probably signals that the many horrors you’ve struggled through have broken your brain.
You both had already left your luggage out for Otto to load on the back of his carriage, and although he does attempt to help you climb onto the back while Rem’s weight drags you down, the merchant ends up preferring not to interfere, in case he ends up pushing your beloved demon servant’s comatose ass. Once Rem lies on the floorboards and you have rested for a few seconds to recover your breath, you cover her with a blanket and kiss her forehead. Her servant outfit, which the mansion’s staff had washed, exposes too much skin for such a cloudy morning.
While Emilia waits outside under her umbrella, you take the opportunity to greet your also beloved ground dragon Patrasche. She’s one of the two beasts who are going to pull Otto’s carriage towards Roswaal’s mansion. When Patrasche realizes you are going to give her some attention, she closes her eyes and shakes her black, reptilian head happily. She nuzzles your chest as you stroke her neck. The thought that this majestic beast is going to run around free in Roswaal’s yard fills you with a pleasant warmth, and you need every positive emotion you can get these days.
When you turn towards Emilia, you realize that in the distance Crusch and her two best pals have just gotten out of the mansion and are walking towards you, but Emilia attracts your attention because she’s rubbing her temple, and she twists her expression as if she’s experiencing some pangs of pain in her head.
You walk to her side and slip under her umbrella.
“You did drink until you passed out on that couch, Emilia.”
“Yes, I cannot be surprised…”, she says with a voice intending to dismiss any worry. “When I came to the capital from time to time, I used to drink alcohol to take the edge off, given how nervous the crowds made me. When we first met back at that inn I was drinking, wasn’t I? Still, I had never drank as much as last night. My head is killing me.”
You put a hand on her bare shoulder, which feels comfortably warm. Emilia smiles at you, appreciating the contact.
“You’ll just have to tolerate it standing up for a while longer. Once we sit on the back of the carriage and we get rolling, you will be able to shut your eyes and sleep if you want. I’ll make sure to alert you if there’s any problem. You don’t have to worry.”
Her eyes glisten with gratitude, and when you lift your hand from her shoulder and let your arm hang, she grabs your fingers for a few seconds.
Wilhelm, Crusch and Ferris stop a couple of meters from you. Wilhelm is holding an umbrella so his lady doesn’t get wet, while the cat-girl is wearing a fantasy world hoodie with the hood up. She has shoved her hands into the pockets. Ferris is as hungover as can be, and you get the sense that the old man had to drag her out of bed to bid you both farewell. In the shade inside her hood, she’s narrowing her eyes at the natural light of this cloudy morning, and a side of her mouth occasionally twitches.
Despite the embarrassment you both must feel from almost having fucked wildly last night, and your suspicion that she must resent you for abandoning her all wet and ready, you sympathize with this cat-girl so much that you just want to step forward and squeeze her in your arms. You won’t, though. Even if she wanted you to, she wouldn’t accept it in public.
Crusch is carrying herself naturally with the poise of a dignitary sending you off, and yet her honey-colored eyes are sad.
“I don’t know how to properly bid you both farewell. As far back as I remember, you have always been here, and I admit it fills me with unease to realize that you will be gone from now on.”
A sharp pain pierces your heart for a moment. You are about to speak when you see that Ferris has turned her head towards the duchess while the cat-girl’s wide-eyed expression, with her lips slightly parted, shows dismay. Maybe she feels as if she barely matters any longer now that she’s dealing with a new Crusch. These two women seemed so close before; you remember fondly finding them every morning as they ate breakfast and spoke at length about whatever they had to deal with that day, or about their worries and hopes. Maybe the former Crusch didn’t need any other confidant. Poor Ferris. You feel so bad for her, and it pains you that you are about to leave her behind, but you also prevent yourself from recalling your interaction last night, in case you end up having to say goodbye to these great people while sporting an erection.
“Duchess, our friendship will remain intact no matter what”, Emilia says sweetly. “Write to me as often as you want. And when we leave, you will still have these two lovely people who have always stuck with you through thick and thin.”
Crusch smiles strainedly. A forced smile, clearly indicating her attempts to hide her sadness, but beautiful nonetheless.
“Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ll love to receive your letters as well, lady Emilia.” The duchess turns her attention to you. “I will sorely miss you as well, Subaru. I fear I will always worry about your well-being.”
You grimace, and are quick to wave your hand while smiling nervously.
“I’m perfectly fine! You have more than enough with your own troubles, duchess. Focus on staying strong. Hopefully we’ll end up catching the bastard who did this to you and to my Rem, and you’ll return to normal. And even if you never do, you are still awesome the way you are. There’s no cooler duchess in this entire fantasy world, I’m sure.”
Crusch smiles once again, a bit brighter this time.
“I’ll try to stay optimistic.”
When you look at the cat-girl, you realize she has been studying your expression, but she averts her gaze as if embarrassed. Thankfully she doesn’t seem angry.
“I am going to miss you, Ferris”, you say warmly. “I hope we remain in good terms.”
She takes a moment, and then she forces herself to hold your gaze while she narrows her eyes. Whether because of her hangover or because she’s dealing with conflicting emotions, you can’t tell.
“We are friends after all.”
You swallow. She does remember, and she won’t pretend that she doesn’t.
“Ah… I’m sure things would have been different if I hadn’t…”
You don’t know how to continue that sentence, and you also can’t say, ‘I would have gladly entered a romantic relationship with you that would have us fucking like wild beasts every day, if it wasn’t because I’m already in love with a comatose demon servant, and because the half-elf royal candidate belonging to an opposite camp to yours would hate it’.
Ferris shrugs, and looks down.
You feel terrible.
“Take care of yourself, Ferris”, you say with a pained voice.
While you try to push down your sudden gloom, you turn to Wilhelm. The old man nods.
“Wilhelm, I cannot thank you enough for lending your legendary murderous skills so we could ruin that ancient ghost’s plans, which could have potentially ended the world. And also thank you for trying to toughen up a piece of shit like me.”
You bow to him, a proper thank you to your former master, the one who taught you the joys of bloodsport and the pain it can bring, the one who showed you how to survive by being utterly merciless. And, ultimately, the one who showed you how to die with honor.
You could swear that the ghost of a smile flashed on the old man’s face.
“I expect you to continue with your training back at your camp, even if alone. You never know when you will be forced to put it to good use.” His lips tighten, and for a moment he seems to doubt whether to continue. “I wish you will remind your lord that I would appreciate if he would share his predictions regarding where that damnable monster is sure to appear, so we can eradicate it. I am to assume that Roswaal had his reasons for keeping this information a secret, but if he wants to trade, I am sure we can reach an agreement.”
You feel hollow, and you have to force yourself to keep holding the old man’s gaze. His fire burns so he can eventually avenge his beloved, but you had deceived him so his camp could lend you their strength. You want to apologize, to ask for his forgiveness, but you also know you can’t bring it up now, or maybe ever. Your throat is getting tighter. If someone did that to you, told you there was a chance to return Rem back to normal, but that person had only lied to take advantage of your time and effort, you don’t think you could ever forgive them. You might even turn murderous.
“I will tell the lord that…” Your voice breaks, and warmth rushes to your eyes. “We’ll figure something out.”
You feel Emilia’s gaze piercing you. She looks disturbed as if she fears you either doing or thinking something bad. Confused, you return your attention to Crusch’s camp. The duchess seems troubled as she stares at you. You then feel something warm and wet running down your cheeks. Mortified, you quickly dry your eyes and sniff.
“Sorry. It’s just… I will miss you guys very much.”
Wilhelm had opened his mouth, but the duchess takes a step forward and speaks up.
“Then stay! I have loved hosting you two, and we get along wonderfully. Lady Emilia, I already consider you a friend, and I’ll gladly take care of you, Subaru. Just live with us. I’m sure we c-…”
Wilhelm, alarmed, puts his free, gloved hand on Crusch’s shoulder.
“No, my lady, they cannot stay. They need to return to their own lives.”
Wilhelm turns to you and bows his head.
“We should part ways. I hope we will fight alongside again.”
“The same”, you say with a low voice.
As Wilhelm tries to get the duchess to turn towards the mansion, Crusch looks dismayed. Her eyes seem to ask, ‘why can’t people who like each other live together in such a big mansion?’. Why can’t she play outside after dinner? Why do we need to work from nine to six five days a week to pay for a house we can barely afford? These races for the throne are so silly, whatever form the race or the throne take, but people like Priscilla wouldn’t give up, and most people, whether they are human or any percent of beast, are savages unfit to govern themselves.
As both camps walk away from each other in silence, you look over your shoulder towards the hooded back of Ferris’ head. Had she ended up hating you? The cat-girl looks over her shoulder as well, and her gaze connects with yours. She must have noticed your worry, because she turns away again and raises her hand as if bidding you farewell. She then shoves both hands into the pockets of her hoodie and keeps walking.
As you move towards the back of Otto’s carriage, Emilia shuffles closer to you and wraps her arm around yours. When you get on the vehicle and sit on the bench, you hear the rain as it falls on the tarp that covers the back of the carriage. Emilia has gone pale and is stunned as if she’s recovering from bad news she just received.
“What’s bothering you, Emilia?”, you ask.
“For a moment I was sure you would stay and live with them”, she says softly, as if she doesn’t want to speak the words. “Join their household formally. It would be a great life, wouldn’t it? And these people care about you a lot.”
“About you as well. They wouldn’t have treated like this any of the other royal candidates.”
“My heart sank, Subaru. When I thought that you would prefer to remain in the capital instead of returning with me to Roswaal’s mansion, I… I don’t know what I would have done. I would have wished to throw everything away, the fight for the throne, everything.”
You are disturbed, and shift your weight on the bench. Just how much has this girl deluded herself into loving you?
“Don’t say that. You have an enormous opportunity to move up in this world. Just imagine the things you could do if you had that much power!”
She takes your hand and holds it on her thigh.
“I know, and I have… I have my own selfish reasons for reaching that throne as well. Roswaal had made a promise of his own.”
You are puzzled, and for a moment she looks as if she wants to tell, but she ends up shaking her head.
“The kingdom is secondary for me. What a great ruler I would be, right? I admit that much… But I don’t think I’ll ever get another chance like this.”
You take a deep breath. You have a long trip ahead of you, so you’ll let it rest.
“In any case, Emilia, I’m coming back home with you. You will have me all to yourself.”
You had said that playfully, but Emilia’s warm grin, and how she embraces your arm closest to her, make you regret it. Your gaze rests on Rem’s expressionless face as she lies on her back on the floorboards, covered up to her neck with a blanket. It’s like she’s not even here. A pain grows in your chest, and you can’t ignore for a few seconds the despair that has been running in the background ever since you first realized that your beloved demon servant had been taken away from you.
Emilia hasn’t missed it, as she seems eager to notice all your expressions. Although you wish you could be left alone for a while, you want to avoid making people around you worry, so you force yourself to smile.
“Listen, Emilia, this will come out of nowhere, but I’ve been wondering if you could assist me with something once we settle back in the mansion.”
Her mood improves just because you want her help.
“I’m sure I will be able to. What is it about?”
“Could you guide me regarding how one would go about learning how to read and write in this language that for some reason I’m able to speak? It’s getting beyond embarrassing for me. I can’t even buy food without having to argue with the vendors.”
She lets out a noise of delight. She claps, and then she clasps her hands as in prayer.
“I will teach you myself! Ah, that’s great! I wish we were doing it already.”
That she’s so eager to help warms your heart. You were about to mess her silver hair as if she were some younger protegée of yours, but you feel it would be disrespectful, so instead you run your fingers through the back of her hair. The pleased, slightly blushed look on Emilia’s face suggests you have sent her a different message than the one intended. Still, you would have never done it without thinking if she wasn’t so clearly receptive to whatever you want to do to her. And you have already kissed her, back when you abandoned the shell she had become in that broken reality. She had tasted like snot and blood. You wonder how she would taste now that she’s normal, and you feel guilty.
“So, ready to get going, general?”, Otto asks from the driver’s seat. How much of your conversation has he listened to?
“I told you, just call me Subaru. Becoming a general was a historical anomaly. I’m sure I won’t act like it again. But yes, let’s get going. I’m beginning to hate carriages, so I hope you manage to avoid every flying whale and crazed cultist before we reach the safety of Roswaal’s domain.”
“I’ll try for sure.”
A few minutes later you realize that after your carriage ventures through a wooded area, you are going to lose any sight of the capital. You stand up and peek out of the tarp to look at the receding, distant streets, at that mountain half covered in buildings and topped with a big, palace-like building. Goodbye, Lugunica, you think. When we first met you scared the shit out of me, and not even an hour later a bunch of your thugs beat me half to death, but I came to enjoy your seediness, your royal bullshit, your noisy crowds, and the luxurious mansions at which I could hang out without having to do any chores nor pay for the food and the drinks. I feel I am not going to see you again for a long, long time.
Originally written in December of 2020:
Some observations. Both in the original novels and the anime adaptation, Ferris is a guy, so I hope you either remembered that or managed to forget it, depending on your preferences. Very little survived of the original Ferris in this retelling beyond the fact that she’s supposedly the best healer in the kingdom and that she’s Crusch’s best pal from childhood. Until a day before I wrote that scene, so maybe three days ago, I thought I wouldn’t write a sex scene between her and the protagonist, but my subconscious wove those plot details by itself and demanded me to write them down. When the subconscious comes up with those kinds of solutions for a story, you need to add them in.
Given that the third arc of this series has just ended, and that the next entry will begin the fourth arc, which hasn’t yet ended in neither the translated novels (up to the 14th novel as of December of 2020) nor in the anime adaptation, this retelling goes through a turning point. To decide which setups to include, you better know how they are paid off, and I haven’t read the last act of this fourth arc. In addition, I know for sure that I won’t write a single word this afternoon, given that “Cyberpunk 2077” is waiting for me. That damn game better live up to the hype to a significant extent. I tend to get tired of games fairly quickly, but it’ll likely still keep me busy for a while.
This retelling gets closer and closer to when I will be able to write my version of the Witch of Greed. I’ll enjoy that very much.
Note from April of 2021:
“Cyberpunk 2077” was utter shit.