This entry covers part of the tenth volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous part we learned more about Roswaal’s dong, and when the protagonists returned to the lord’s mansion, we found out that the whole staff has been exchanged. Look forward to uncomfortable moments with a twelve year old, as well as some German hijinks.
GPT-3 is a cutting-edge language processing algorithm used in the premium version of the online site AI Dungeon.
You took up the offer to sleep for a bit instead of eating a meal prepared by an annoying tween and a German woman who is also some percentage of beast. You had expected to lose sight of your consciousness for at least a couple of hours and then eat in peace in the dining room, which has a table as expectedly large than even when everyone of the inhabitants of the mansion gathered for lunch, most of the time it felt as if you were sitting at different tables in a school cafeteria. But the nap ended up being terrible, and it mostly just left you groggy. Your hangover hasn’t improved. You did tell Julius right after the Witch of Envy ate Petelgeuse that you should sleep for a whole week after this fight thing was over, and your body is demanding that you live up to your words.
However, you want to run into Ram, force her to explain why on Earth she would have accepted that tween to work at the mansion, and also reveal calmly to the senior servant that you had brought her a new sister as a sort of gift, if a defective one. You figure that if there’s anything worse than discovering you had a sibling all along that you didn’t know anything about, it’s that you can only watch that sibling sleep, presumably for the rest of your life.
You leave your bedroom and then begin to wander the halls in search of Ram’s quarters, which are located on the third floor just above the courtyard entrance. On your way there, however, you come across that Frederica woman, who is standing on her tiptoes to dust a faded painting. Under the short skirt of the servant outfit, her toned leg muscles stand out as if she exercises regularly. Along with her predator teeth and her mane-like light blonde hair, the whole deal reminds you of a lioness, if a lioness had a mane. As you approach her from the side with some wariness, you picture her turning towards you, flashing her sharp, triangular teeth, leaping onto you and then immobilizing your arms under her powerful legs. Once she has you pinned down and you can’t escape, she opens her mouth wide. Her predatory teeth glisten with saliva, and some of it drips on your face. From the moment she first saw you she’s been aching to devour you. She grabs your head and bites a chunk off your face.
When you come back to your senses, you’ve gone cold and your heartbeat pulsates on your neck. Your penis twitches. You groan, hunch over and grab your head. Stupid brain!, you think. Stop imagining me in erotic situations with any female slightly attractive and above!
“Mr. Natsuki, are you okay?”, she asks while eyeing with an amused expression, as if you were playing some sort of idiotic prank on her.
“I’m… I’m fine. Just had a blackout for a moment… What did you say?”
“I asked how you’re feeling.”
“I feel fucking weird, is what I fucking feel! Why the hell are you so damn pretty!?”
Frederica turns to face you and holds the duster with both hands in front of her waist. She has arched one of her thick, blonde eyebrows.
“I gather your nap didn’t do much for you.”
She smiles at you, and her triangular teeth peek out from under her lips. Don’t show them to me now, you damn lioness!
You take a deep breath and avoid the new servant’s gaze.
“Not a thing, beyond maybe making me more irritated.”
“Do you think that finally eating your meal is going to do you some good?”
You shake your head. You don’t know if it’s due to your hangover, the stress or the assaults of your numerous delusions, but you feel somewhat feverish and light-headed. You hold the side of your head in your hand.
“Anyway, Frederica, I was looking for Ram. Have you seen the senior servant anywhere? I need to yell at her for a bit.”
Frederica tilts her head but she smiles despite her confusion, as if you are entertaining her.
“I did tell you as well as lady Emilia that Ram had left. I’m acting as senior servant in her absence. So you won’t be able to find her here, as she isn’t in the mansion anymore.”
You can’t put your thoughts in order. Where would Ram have gone that was more important than running the mansion?
“I can’t imagine that anything would keep working in this mansion without Ram being here, as much of an abrasive gal that sister-in-law of mine is. Why would she leave the mansion now of all times? Did she get tired of dealing with the villagers? Or is she so close to Roswaal that whenever shit gets real she also just bolts?”
“I think it’s the second one, but I can’t be sure.”
“Hm. So why does that make you smile?”
Frederica gives a small laugh, although it’s hesitant. You have already suffered through the consequences of people who should be in charge of this place disappearing when they are needed the most, and you don’t believe it will ever become a laughing matter.
“Whatever, Frederica”, you say while trying to hide your irritation in front of this woman you barely know. “So Roswaal hasn’t returned yet, and now Ram has also quit her post. Something is going on, isn’t it?”
“I mean… Ram did inform in her letter that lord Roswaal had gotten tangled in the usual troubles that spark in Sanctuary. I’m not sure why he considered it urgent enough this time to head there when he knew that the Witch’s Cult could organize an attack on his domain, and I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t have returned already…” She looks to the side as if running something in her mind. She tilts her head and sighs. “Ram decided to figure it out. It seems that she took quite a few villagers with her, and they all went together to Sanctuary.”
“Villagers? A bunch of villagers followed her? Why would she do that?”
“Maybe they felt in danger after the assault, and their destination is called Sanctuary. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell.”
“Is that wise? I don’t know shit about this Sanctuary place that keeps getting mentioned from time to time, but a place from which such a supposedly powerful magician can’t return, because I hope it’s a matter of being able instead of wanting, to his mansion when danger approaches, well, it doesn’t sound like the safest place to send any of his subjects right now. And you said that Sanctuary is a place well known for the trouble it causes?”
You shake your head. It hurts too much to think properly about anything. You seriously need to rest, although you don’t think you will be able to fall asleep again until the sun sets.
“It’s a load of whatever for me!”, you add. “Well, what has Ram said about the stuff going on in that village?”
“Nothing. She hasn’t written or visited us since she left with those villagers. Or if she has written, the letters haven’t reached us.”
You don’t understand why Frederica doesn’t look more worried, but then again you don’t know virtually anything about this woman except that she bites people’s faces. Perhaps she has worked with Ram for so many years that Frederica can’t care less if the senior servant got killed. You aren’t sure if you would blame her for it. And if Roswaal is dead as well, you suppose that nobody is going to evict you from this mansion. Even if the lord has hidden his money in a vault somewhere in this place and you won’t be able to break into it, you could probably keep living here for decades by selling Roswaal’s furniture and paintings. He would deserve it as well, that damned exhibitionist.
When you stop rubbing your head, you realize that Frederica had been waiting patiently for you to snap back to reality.
“I think we can leave it at that for now, Frederica. No, wait a second… Does Emilia know any of this?”
“I haven’t told her anything, no, but she hasn’t asked either. Last I saw her she was speaking with that merchant in one of the balconies from the second floor, while she played with her familiar.”
Otto is already making moves on her. You shrug. The more time she spends blabbing with the merchant, the less time she’ll spend trying to get you to pay attention to her. You realize that you should feel humbled and thrilled about her attentions, as you have thought many times in the last few days, but damn it, you haven’t gotten any proper rest. Even when you do lose consciousness for a while, it’s like your brain keeps working through your troubles in the background, and when you open your damn eyes again, you are as tired as you were when you threw yourself onto the bed.
“And you still don’t know shit about Rem, right? The blue-haired servant we brought with us.”
“No… I figure that it’s a complicated matter, so although I’m very curious, I will wait until you both feel ready to share.”
“Might as well get it out of the way now. Can you stop whatever servant stuff you were doing so we can locate Emilia and sit down for a chat?”
After you walk through your current hallway, you realize that Frederica doesn’t expect Emilia to have remained in that balcony from the second floor. She stands near the railing of a flight of stairs and stands there with her head tilted as if focusing some hearing beast powers. You shake your head.
“Of course, you people don’t have cellphones, and due to the size of this mansion it’s like we are the only people living in an apartment block. This is ridiculous. Don’t you have some magical means of locating someone in here?”
“We could try ritual magic, but I’m not a very skilled ritualist and it would take too long for me to try to accomplish that.”
“We need to do something, because I’m not good with directions, nor have the time for patience.”
Frederica starts speaking, but her voice trails off as she seems to realize something. She looks back at you.
“Do you think Emilia went out to the second garden? That’s where she goes to clear her head when she gets stressed.”
You take a deep breath and shrug.
“Sure, let’s just hit every place she could be at.”
You both have been walking for a while through the hallways, and you focus on looking down at the view of the vast yard that the windows offer, just in case you spot anyone. You only see Patrasche running around on the grass. It does improve your mood. You expected Frederica to seem somewhat annoyed, but these girls are pros. It’s like they live for serving people. You don’t see the appeal; you’d rather be on the receiving end of that transaction.
“Ah, and now that Ram is gone, I can’t question why she accepted that kid as a trainee”, you say. “Guess we’ll have to put up with her for a while!”
Frederica shoots you a glance as she walks with perfect posture.
“You mean that Petra Leyte? Do you truly have an issue with her? Ram had already departed when the child started working here, though.”
You stop, and it takes Frederica a couple of seconds to realize you’ve become paralyzed. She turns towards you. Due to the disgust on your face she arches her thick eyebrows.
“It was you, Frederica!”, you say. “And you even called her a child. What were you thinking!?”
Frederica’s confusion looks incongruous given that the tips of her triangular, predatory teeth keep peeking out from under her upper lip.
“She’s a perfect trainee. Polite, enthusiastic, learns quickly… I had feared that she would clash with lady Emilia due to how the villagers of this part of the kingdom deal with demi-humans, but the very first day Petra went on about how much she admired our lady. So I truly do not see any problem with her.”
You step closer to the blonde, part beast servant. You speak as calmly as you can, because she’s a stranger and she’s not going to enjoy your words.
“Frederica, if I hadn’t just met you and you weren’t a woman and clearly much stronger than me and were wearing something with a lapel instead of that generous cleavage, I would grab it, the lapel I mean, and shout in your face about the craziness of your decision.”
For a moment you would have expected this well-built woman to feel somewhat threatened, but she’s amused as if you are putting on a show for her.
“If you’re worried about lady Emilia having another person to talk to, I can assure you that she welcomes it genuinely.”
“This has nothing to do with Emilia. Clearly our half-elf loves the kid, she’s fangirling over Emilia’s witchiness. I mean that you must be violating some child labor laws, aren’t you? That annoying kid is twelve! Don’t you have any shame, you damn German?”
“Child labor laws…? I don’t know what you mean. Working for a lord as powerful as Roswaal is a huge opportunity for the child. When she decides to start her own family, she will likely have the means to move to the capital if she wishes to. Very few of your average villagers’ children that venture into the wide world end up making anything of themselves, and they return humiliated and in a worse position than if they had just stayed home.”
You turn away from her and lean on the window stool. The afternoon’s sun warms your face, and you close your eyes for a moment. When you open your eyes, Frederica is standing next to you as if waiting for your input. She’s a servant after all.
“Listen, Frederica…”, you start with a low voice. “Your fantasy world laws have really screwed that kid up, because if all of you are fine with her working in the mansion, and nobody will save her from this predicament, I fear for her soul.”
Frederica laughs softly. Although by her expression you must be making very little sense, you are entertaining the servant enough.
“As much as I ever managed to learn about lady Emilia’s past, she was saved from a far worse fate than any of us. I assure you that my own past wasn’t easy, and in many ways it hasn’t ended yet. Even though Petra was born as a villager, she has the luxury of not having to deal with the problems that plague the likes of us, and due to her age she remains blissfully ignorant of the vacuous life that would expect her if she were fired from her current job.”
You shake your head, and go as far as putting your hands on this stranger’s bare shoulders so she gets to understand what you mean.
“Horrible, soul-scarring sexual things keep happening around me. You will have exposed that innocent child to horrors you can’t even imagine.”
Frederica laughs, and as a reflex she covers her predatory teeth, because she can’t force herself to erase her own smile. She pats you on the forearm, and you lift your palms from her shoulders.
“That’s it?”, she asks. “Are you concerned that you might do something unsavory to this child?”
“H-Hey! No, that’s not what I mean! It has nothing to do with what I want! Before I realize it someone has offered me her bare foot to suck on, has burst into my room as I was holding my dick, or has pushed her bubbly ass against my dick, or has crushed that whole area where my dick is… That’s enough. I don’t to want to browse through my memories of many lifetimes for all the carnage that has been inflicted upon my sanity! You see what I mean, though!? What if she suddenly turns a corner and I’m standing there bleeding out of every orifice, particularly the sexual ones for some reason? Any deranged shit you could come up with has a good chance of happening to me and everyone who chooses to associate with my cursed self!”
You begin to tear up at this point, and you take a deep breath and try to gather yourself. Frederica rubs your back slowly in an attempt to calm you down.
“There, there”, she says in a soothing tone. “My, I hadn’t properly considered the stress you and lady Emilia have accumulated after surviving your clash with the Witch’s Cult.”
You manage to calm yourself, and you wipe away the tears.
“It feels as if I’ve done little else than cry in front of random people recently. Well, I guess I give up on caring whether an innocent’s soul is going to be cursed forever. You people don’t understand, and by the time you do, you will bear those same indelible scars yourselves. Don’t say then that you weren’t warned.”
You wander away for a few meters, but Frederica calls out to you.
“We aren’t going to keep looking for lady Emilia, then? Mr. Natsuki, follow me to the kitchen and I’ll warm you a meal. I get the feeling you need a break.”
This German servant had taken as a duty returning you to a semblance of normality. After you ate her home-cooked meal, she ordered you to lounge around until you digested it, and then she prepared you a warm bath, thankfully away from Roswaal’s bathhouse. As you were lying on the ample tub with the water up to your chin, you sigh deeply and you realize that your headache has gone away. None of these attentions have erased the nightmares from your brain, but at least your body allows itself to relax and rest. When you get out of the bath, dry yourself and put on a fresh set of clothes, you are tempted to ask Frederica to give you a deep tissue massage with her strong, part beast hands and limbs. Roswaal likely accustomed his servants to such demands, after all. However, you figure that lying on your back in front of someone you’ve known for less than a day with a raging hard-on isn’t conducive to a healthy relationship.
After you casually come across Emilia as you were descending the main staircase, you both agree to reveal during supper to the current senior servant everything she needs to know about the new and comatose inhabitant of this mansion. You gather in the dining room, around a corner of the huge table. Emilia was quick to sit to your left, and Frederica sat in perpendicular so you can address her better. Otto ended up sitting to your right, and therefore attending this conversation even though he has little to do with any of it.
After Petra served you all your suppers, she retired to whatever she occupies herself with whenever she isn’t bothering you. Emilia delved quickly into the heart of the matter.
“I know that such a power exists, of course”, Frederica says, concerned, “because the White Whale is capable of it, and yet I suppose that in the back of my mind I believed I would have remembered an erased person anyway, that it shouldn’t be so easy to steal every memory of someone and have all of those moments rearranged so the erased person didn’t influence them. So this Rem and I worked together for some time… It’s so disconcerting.”
You scratch an eyebrow while clearing your mind, so you can avoid tangling this servant in pointless details.
“We suppose that the two men that ambushed that caravan belonged to the Witch’s Cult. Probably high-ranked members, so superpowered. One of them has the means to mess with memories. Rem was the victim who got the worst of it, likely because she confronted that man, and Crusch got her own memories sucked out. We know that she did attempt to kill one of the men, and she temporarily lost part of her left arm for it. Also, you were right regarding Rem being a relative of our absent senior servant. It’s her little sister.”
Frederica, whom you had already associated with levity, someone to whom you could tell any nonsense and she wouldn’t be fazed, lowers her face and turns somber.
“I’ve always known Ram to be difficult. She doesn’t enjoy people’s company, she doesn’t need to share her wishes and dreams with those around her, and even though we worked side by side for years, it’s like our relationship hadn’t progressed at all. She doesn’t make connections. Did she have a good relationship with this sister we all have lost?”
“You would find the demon siblings together most of the time. Rem was as sweet as they come, someone who would care for the most useless and broken trash and even fall in love with it. Not even the senior servant could resist her charm. However, my dear Rem wasn’t this meek creature, but a fierce demon who would protect the people she cared about by crushing other people’s heads with an enormous, customized flail. She was just the best.”
Your throat closes up, and you try to distract your urge to have a good cry by gobbling down some more of the tasty supper. You feel Emilia’s eyes on you, but you have already gone through it: she feels bad whenever you show how much you care for your comatose girlfriend.
Frederica frowns in confusion and blinks a few times. She rests her elbows on the table and wrings her hands.
“I have so many questions… But first of all, you know our senior servant’s lost sister as she used to be. Do you hold memories of the siblings interacting with each other?”
You nod and swallow your food.
“Yes, I do. Rem was very kind to the senior servant, who held a soft spot for her sister. I see where you are getting at, but no, beyond her sister, Ram was as much of a bitch as you know her.”
Frederica smiles broadly enough that she displays her predatory teeth, but a moment later she erases her own smile to hide her teeth, seemingly out of habit.
“Fair enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if our absent senior servant came out like that from the womb. But please do clarify something for me, Mr. Natsuki. How come you seem the only one who retains the memories of Rem?”
You look out of the window. The sun has already set, and the brightest stars already show up in the darkening sky. You don’t want to elaborate on your suspicions, and particularly on the curse that the worst witch in the history of this fantasy world had granted you. When after a few seconds you open your mouth to speak, Emilia interrupts you.
“Subaru had a special relationship with our sleeping servant. That’s why you remember her, isn’t it?”
Emilia stares at you with her beautiful purple eyes, and despite her kind smile, her sadness peeks through. The candlelight flickers as a breeze from the open window blows into the room.
“Mr. Natsuki and our sleeping resident were in love with each other”, Frederica says. “I understand why you seemed so unstable. I truly hope you have managed to relax a little, you surely need it.”
“It’s beautiful, though”, Emilia says softly, looking down at her plate. “Not even such an unfairly powerful ability, able to rewrite the rest of the world’s memories, can break the bonds of love. Your relationship with Rem must have been the stuff of fairy tales, Subaru…”
You shift your weight on the chair. This damn girl has romance in the brain, and her current infatuation must be coloring everything she thinks about. How troublesome.
“Yeah, I suppose that’s the case”, you say drily.
You don’t know what else to say, and neither does anyone else, so you all keep eating your suppers while pretending you weren’t having a conversation. However, a few seconds later Frederica sniffs, and you raise your head to see her drying the growing tears at the corners of her eyes.
“I apologize”, Frederica says with a calm voice. “It’s unsightly for a servant to cry, but…”
You had stopped your loaded fork midway to your mouth. It feels so wrong to see a German cry, it disturbed you.
“It’s okay to show your true emotions if you need to, Frederica”, Emilia says softly. “You should never apologize for it.”
“Thank you, my lady. It’s just… The bonds of family anchor you in this world. You only get one, and many times, so I’ve heard, the family you create for yourself doesn’t elicit the same feelings of belonging. But we were born in a reality where your family members can die meaninglessly, no matter their hopes and dreams, and now even a single man’s power can wrest from you all the memories and the associated feelings of the most cherished sibling. It’s unimaginably awful.”
Even though you barely know this new servant, you suddenly feel a fondness for her as if she had been working at the mansion from the first day you saw it. Otto, who had kept quiet out of respect for business that had little to do with him, clearly was working himself up to comment on the subject, but Frederica, who hadn’t noticed, slowly gets up from the table and takes her tray.
“Excuse me for a moment. I’ll compose myself, and also check on Petra’s work in the kitchen area. The rest of you go back to your meal.”
“Well, I might as well bring it up”, you begin. “This also concerns you, Otto, if you are going to stick around at least until you meet Roswaal, because the guy doesn’t seem any closer to returning.”
“I am still around, yes…”, he says sheepishly.
“Have you talked about this subject with Frederica before, then?”, Emilia asks as she looks at you intensely.
“Gist of the matter is that Ram was worried enough that her beloved master hadn’t returned, that she grabbed quite a few villagers and they all went together to this Sanctuary place that keeps getting mentioned. When Frederica received a letter to return to the mansion and act as a senior servant in Ram’s stead, our abrasive, pink-haired demon gal had already left. Since then, Frederica hasn’t learned anything else about the situation. For all we know, both our clownish lord and Ram are trapped in that place, which is apparently associated with regular trouble.”
“That’s really concerning, Subaru. Even if we considered helping, I have no idea where Sanctuary is.”
“Why haven’t they told you…?” You turn to Otto. “Do you have any clue about this Sanctuary place? Ah, nevermind. I think I actually asked you before.”
“I don’t think I ever heard the name of such a place before, and I’m sure that you never asked me either.”
“It happened in a previous lifetime.”
Otto arches an eyebrow, but then shrugs.
“Ah, okay… Well, now all I know is that there must be dangerous beings living there, because it’s a place that makes people disappear! Not exactly a ringing endorsement.”
You feel uncomfortable, as if you are missing some important detail. You turn to your left so you can observe Emilia’s expression.
“Why wouldn’t they have told you, though? Roswaal kept going regularly, I remember that much, because some Garfiel guy or thing kept acting up.”
Emilia lowers her head, and pushes her spoon with a finger absentmindedly.
“You are mistaken about my relationship with lord Roswaal. There’s him and Ram, who seem to share all information, and then, maybe a level below, Roswaal and Beatrice. I come way below that. I’m the royal candidate that he backs for the throne, so in that sense he’s on my side, and he can do something really good for me, but beyond that, I always felt a barrier between the lord and me as if there are things I simply shouldn’t know. All I learned about Sanctuary is that it’s a hundreds of years old village that has some special significance for the Mathers family. How come there are people still living there when the village doesn’t seem to appear on any map, at least by that name, I couldn’t tell.”
You rub your chin.
“I see… So it’s like those Soviet secret cities where they did nuclear shit. Intriguing, yet highly concerning.”
Emilia tilts her head. She looks tired.
“Soviet… what? I’ve never heard that word.”
“Don’t worry, Emilia. It’s just one of those things I say that don’t mean anything. Don’t strain your cute brain when I confuse you like that.”
“… Well, in any case Sanctuary seems to be a place where they do important things and don’t want to be bothered.”
“Sounds like some stuff never changes, even in a different world. So what do we do regarding our absent, indolent lord? Do we just wait it out?”
Emilia’s pupils move around as if she can’t reach any conclusion. She looks as if she just realized she left the gas on.
“I believe we have no other choice, yes…”
After a short silence, Otto speaks up.
“What a confusing series of events this week has been!”
“Don’t worry”, you say to the merchant. “It’s not as if we are going to evict you from the mansion just because the lord doesn’t show up.”
“Mr. Natsuki, look at me. I’ve been assigned a room larger than any I’ve lived at before, and there must be more than a hundred vacant ones in this enormous abode. We are tended by competent servants, who wear revealing uniforms…”
“One of whom is a child, I remind you. No matter how annoying she is.”
“Of course, of course. I just meant the blonde, exotic looking lady. And in addition to the previous points, I don’t have to do any work. Worrying about anything in this place seems like a waste of brainpower, doesn’t it?”