This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous entry we learned that at least one German can shapeshift, the protagonist damaged his magic gate to throw a spell that barely worked, the lioness transformed into a fantasy world lioness, Ram was inspired into commiting suicide by contract killer, a bunch of random monsters pursued the protagonist and the servant trainee, the protagonist discovered that he doesn’t want to see the trainee getting torn apart and eaten by monsters, we learned that a second contract killer is attacking the mansion, and Beatrice decided to save the protagonist at the worst possible moment.
The sight of the blonde haired, festively dressed, hundreds of years old child librarian of Roswaal’s mansion should have brightened your day, made you think that you were lucky to have located her magical library, given that other members of this household had either never found it or merely once or twice. However, Beatrice just foiled your only chance to make your impending death matter. You step forward and glare at the librarian while clenching your fists.
“Send me back to that hallway, Beatrice. You saved me deliberately, didn’t you? You screwed everything up.”
Beatrice’s deadpan face doesn’t change. She knew exactly what you had intended by bursting into that room, and yet she had brought you here.
“Your reason to open that particular door has been extinguished, I suppose.”
A cold shiver runs through your body, and your legs fail you. You attempt to support yourself on the closest bookshelf, but you end up falling to your knees and hitting some books with your shoulder.
“Rem is dead…”, you say with a thin, teary voice. “She ended up comatose because I wasn’t strong enough, and then, even though she would love me forever, I betrayed her… Now I just let her die.”
You feel like you’re going to collapse from exhaustion. Your head feels heavy, and your stabbed shoulder as well as the torn flesh in your left arm hurt like hell. All you want to do is lie down somewhere where nobody will see you cry.
Beatrice approaches you, but you can’t bring yourself to look at her.
“Don’t cry anymore, I suppose”, she says softly. “It will take a moment.”
Her palm lights up as she holds it over your stabbed shoulder. When you feel the balm-like warmth of a healing spell, you flinch in fear, then you leap forward to avoid getting affected by the spell. You turn so you lie on your back and you retreat further from Beatrice by pushing yourself with your heels.
“What are you doing!? Don’t heal me! Did I ask you to heal me!?”
Beatrice is standing there open mouthed, the spell still glowing against her hand. She frowns slightly, then shuts off the spell.
“That was quite rude, I must say”, she answers, then her eyes narrow as if replaying your words. “Why would you object to me healing your wounds, I wonder? They must be healed while it’s still possible, I suppose.”
“No, stay away from me!”
Beatrice’s frown deepens as she crouches to touch the torn flesh in your left arm with her healing light. You feel an uncomfortable chill on your arm, but the pain subsides immediately.
“Stop doing that!”, you shout, then attempt to crawl away again. Your head is spinning.
“I’m looking for the answer to your words in my heart, but I don’t understand… Why would you rather stay hurt than have your wound healed, I wonder? Is it because you are a foolish human being with no regard for your body?”
You tear up again.
“No! It’s because… because…”
Beatrice reluctantly lets go of your arm and lets you crawl away. You sit with your back against the bookshelf.
“I already told you to stop crying, I suppose”, Beatrice says, annoyed and confused. “You haven’t lost that much blood.”
“That looped witch already took the opportunity to move the return point forward, so I could never return again to a moment when I could speak to Rem, see her beautiful smile… Satella took away my girl forever. And now she has the opportunity to make it so I can never return to a point where Rem is even alive!”
“Is this about the blessing Satella gave you, I wonder…?”
“That’s right, you know about it! I called it a curse, and you considered that dying horribly dozens, hundreds of times was a blessing instead! The people I like have already been killed, so I’m going to leave as well!”
“You finally admit it, I suppose. You’re running away, I was wondering when you would finally confess it to yourself.”
“I’m not running away! I’m going to a better place!”
Beatrice shakes her head.
“A power that allows someone to go back in time whenever he dies is too much to take on faith, I suppose.”
Even Beatrice, who had certified with her magic tricks that you were the host of not one Witch Factor, but two, still didn’t believe you. These fantasy people are all morons.
“Yes, you’re right”, you say, tired and bitter. “You’re always right. I guess I’ll have to see it with my own eyes to believe it as well!”
“Are you making any sense, I wonder…? You should know already whether you have such an ability, I suppose, if you claim to have died before!”
After you squeeze your eyes shut for a moment, you struggle to stand up. Your stomach is churning and cold sweat is beading on your face. You feel sick.
“As much of a dummy weirdo you can be at times, Beatrice, you are powerful. You have gained experience as a great spirit for hundreds of years. You have survived through an Apocalypse that consumed half of the world. And yet when two evil people assault the mansion to kill all of us, including yourself, you don’t move a fucking finger.”
Facing your disdainful stare, Beatrice steps back, lowers her gaze for a moment, and when she forces herself to look back at you, her frown trembles.
“I have my reasons, I suppose.”
“Reasons, huh…? Nevermind then, you have your reasons to allow your friends, family even, to die when you could do something about it. Let’s just spend our time shooting the shit with each other, alright? I’ll try to forget that Ram and Frederica have sacrificed themselves to allow the weakest of us to keep living, as well as to rescue my comatose girlfriend and a shut-in spirit who could have defended us but refused to do so!”
You turn your back to Beatrice, and you hear her utter a single cry of anguish.
“W-Why would I have to do anything for them, I wonder…!?”, she asks nervously. “I have nothing to do with them! They just live here, I suppose! People come and go from this place! Haven’t they done so for a long time, I wonder…!?”
You turn back around to see that the great spirit of the library has covered her mouth with both hands as if to prevent herself from talking further, then she, upset, raises one of her child hands to wipe her eye, even though she’s not crying.
“I have nothing to do with them, so why would I try to help…?”, she says in a much softer tone than before.
You close the distance with Beatrice and glare at her intensely while the back of your eyes burns and the world spins.
“Then why save me then? Why go out of your way to save one miserable, bumbling moron like me? Tell me that, great spirit.”
“I… don’t know, I suppose…”, she answers with a tiny voice.
Your mouth is filling with hot saliva. You feel like passing out, but more importantly you want to die. You need to disappear from this reality as soon as possible.
“Yeah, you don’t know, Beatrice. You have managed to live for hundreds of years, and occupy a library of all places, and yet you haven’t learned anything truly important, I guess. Or should I say ‘I suppose’? You can’t even get rid of those verbal tics.”
Beatrice wipes her eyes with the back of her hands. You snort and force yourself to stop thinking about hurting her. Nothing matters except figuring out how to kill yourself right now. You look around, but there are only bookshelves filled with books, and you doubt that you could cause yourself enough paper cuts to make a difference. Everything is going blurry, your stomach wants to escape through your mouth. What if you just lie face up and vomit? Will your body allow you to choke to death on the bile if you are still conscious? It’s too bad you don’t have heroin at hand.
When you look back at the child librarian, you can’t fully focus her blurry face.
“Kneel before me, Beatrice…!”, you say with a trembling, hoarse voice. “I want you to swear that you will help the people of this village and save them from the onslaught of those demonic, mutant beasts.”
“If I swear it, will you quit this nonsense about dying, I wonder…? It would get too lonesome, I suppose…”
You stagger away from the librarian, and then you spot it. Her chair waits between two bookshelves. The little throne of the queen of this lost domain. As you are about to run towards it, a surge of nausea overcomes you. You hunch over, your back convulses, and you spit out a pink stream of bile onto the carpet. It burns your mouth with the taste of stomach acid.
Beatrice gasps behind you.
“Who is going to clean all that, I wonder…!?”
You spit what remains of vomit in your mouth, then take a deep breath and straighten your back.
“This time I ain’t going to clean shit, Beako, because in a couple of minutes I’ll be dead. Sucks to be you.”
You hobble up to Beatrice’s chair, more similar to one in a classroom than a regular dining room chair. You lift it by its top rail and you use most of your remaining strength to batter it against the floor until it breaks, while ignoring Beatrice’s complaints. You notice that a heavy book hidden in a compartment under the seat falls to the floor, but you only care about the sharp-looking, broken pieces of wood strewn around.
“No! My Gospel!”, Beatrice shouts.
The librarian runs up to the book, she kneels in front of it and picks it up. She makes sure that none of the pages have been torn out, and then she hugs the book against her chest as if cradling her baby.
Beatrice glares at you with tears in her eyes.
“This book, this book! It’s everything to me, I suppose… And you almost destroyed it! You destroyed my beautiful chair too!”
You were already holding the jagged, broken end of one of the chair’s legs against your throat, but as your brain connects the facts of what you’ve witnessed, you become paralyzed.
“A Gospel, you called it…”, you murmur. “And you were sad about Petelgeuse dying. It can’t be, Beatrice, can it…?”
“What are you rambling about, I wonder…?”
A shiver runs through you, and even though you don’t drop the broken chair leg you are grasping, you let that arm hang at your side.
“The witch cultists, led by that Petelgeuse you were sad about, tried to kill us all. But they never killed you in that reality where you led me to freeze to death. You have a fucking Gospel. Beatrice, you better deny it, explain it to me.”
You aren’t sure if Beatrice has even heard you, because she’s flipping through the pages of her Gospel as if looking for something.
“Beatrice!”, you shout. “Answer me! Are you a witch cultist or not!?”
The librarian looks up at you, and then her gaze falls on the broken chair leg you are holding in your hand. She’s frowning with resentment.
“What business would that be of you, I wonder? I shall have you know that my only allegiance is to Mother! I only do things for Mother! I don’t owe anything to you!”
“It’s my entire business, given that I had to break my back to save the people I care about from dying at the hands of the very organization you may belong to! Are you our enemy, Beatrice!?”
A hurt look flashes across her face, and then she turns away from you.
“You really think I would divulge such information to you, I wonder? Asking such an idiotic thing only proves that your mental capacity is laughable. Begone from this place, you are not wanted!”
A pang pierces your heart. Your legs fail you, and you fall to your knees. Your vision is blurrying even more.
“And I liked you so much, too… Fuck this.”
You turn the jagged end of the chair leg against your carotid, and you push until the sharp wood breaks through your skin. Blood pours on your shirt and your lap.
She grabs your arm, but she has the strength of a child. You wiggle your arm free and slam the wood deeper. Warm blood pours down your throat. You feel yourself going numb before Beatrice pulls the weapon from your hand. Your body triggers its survival responses, freaking out about your impending death, but you focus on ignoring it.
Beatrice extends her lighted hand towards your neck.
“I can’t let you do this, I suppose”, she says with a shaky voice.
As the balm-like warmth of the librarian’s healing spell spreads through your throat, the blood flow stops. You swat her hand away with your injured forearm.
“What are you doing!? I told you I need to die!”
Beatrice backs away as if you’re going to hit her, and she stares at you with her big, round eyes. She doesn’t speak. You grab the chair leg and slam the jagged edge against your throat once more. Beatrice jumps onto you to wrestle it away from your hands. The blood splashes her hands as tears spill from her eyes.
“I don’t want you to leave me, I suppose!”
You groan, which makes you gargle blood.
“I am not doing any of that shit again! If I need to die, all of you fuck off elsewhere and let me die in peace!”
You push the librarian away from you with your feet, and her small body rolls on the carpet. When she sits up she shoots you a look of dismay as tears stream down her face. She grabs her Gospel and then runs away as if she were trying to disappear from your sight, but she ends up breaking into sobs. She staggers and huddles against a bookshelf, arms wrapped around her Gospel. She’s crying like a lost child.
Even though blood is pumping from your open carotid and this world will cease to exist, even though the librarian might be a cultist after all, you don’t want to see Beatrice suffering like this. She has spent hundreds of years trapped in this mansion, barely leaving her library, because of some contract she needs to fulfill. As kooky as she is, you doubt you would have remained sane to any degree in her situation. And although her saving you might have ruined your life by making you lose Rem forever, this Beatrice who doesn’t seem to care about anyone else wanted for you to continue to exist, to continue visiting her. Before you know it, you are crying too.
“Beatrice, don’t cry, please”, you manage to push through your throat, even though it comes out hoarse. “After my heart stops beating, I will return to the past for real. I won’t be gone.”
Beatrice turns her head sharply towards you. She glares disdainfully, even though her tears keep dripping from her chin.
“As if I care that you will die, I suppose. You’ve got it wrong! I’m upset because you made a mess of everything! You are nothing, you are insignificant!”
As you wheeze, you struggle to stand up even though you are getting colder and dizzier. You shamble towards Beatrice. As you get closer, the librarian curls up tighter, holding on to her Gospel as if to a life buoy, and squeezes her eyes shut.
“Go away!”, she yells. “I don’t even know you, I suppose! You are nothing but a lowly, worthless human! You don’t matter to me!”
You want to pick her up and soothe her, tell her that everything is going to be okay. You can barely tell what’s going on around you any more, but you crouch next to Beatrice and reach towards her. However, she gasps, twists around and clobbers you in the face with her Gospel. You fall on your back. The next time you try to breathe, you break into a coughing fit, splashing blood over your face. Your throat burns although the rest of your body feels so cold you can barely move it anymore.
You hear the library’s door opening.
“I’m interrupting a tender moment”, Elsa Granhiert says with an amiable tone. “Sorry, I only plan to bother you two for a bit.”
Beatrice looks up with disquiet towards the door, somewhere behind you. She leaves her Gospel aside, stands up and wipes the tears from her eyes.
“So, are you the person who is going to free me from my contract?”, the librarian asks with a teary voice.
“I’m just going to find out how the insides of a spirit look like, darling. It will be a new experience. What happened to the boy, though? You two had a fight?”
You wheeze, feeling your throat closing up. You cough and more blood spurts out of your mouth. Your body is shutting down on itself, reality itself is closing in on you like the surface of a black hole. You can’t allow Elsa Granhiert to reach Beatrice, not while you are still kicking.
You turn around and attempt to push yourself up, but your arms are too cold and shake too much. You look up at the contract killer, who is standing a meter and a half away from you, her beautiful face framed by her big, impossibly firm, barely covered breasts, which are splashed with mostly dried blood. She stares at you with curiosity.
“Did you prefer to die by your own hand instead of allowing us to spend some time learning about each other properly? That’s so disappointing, darling.”
You wheeze, trying to form a sentence.
Elsa tightens her lips. As if she considers you devoid of importance, she is about to step over you when you grab both of her ankles with your shaky hands. She stops in place, even though she wouldn’t have any trouble freeing herself. She looks down at you with confusion.
“What are you even trying to do, boy?”
She kicks one of your hands away and stomps on your throat with the tip of her boot. You can feel the bones crackle and pop as what remains of life is slowly being strangled out. Even though your brain is rapidly losing oxygen, it is still functioning, and you can see the wrinkle in her brow that shows her confused and frustrated that you would try something so pointless. Even though Elsa presses down harder into your throat with her boot, you squeeze some words out.
“These people… are… my own…”
You wheeze as your eyes start to slowly slide shut. You feel your throat collapsing within itself, your windpipe being crushed into oblivion. Still, you continue to grasp for her ankles, not allowing her to slip away from you.
The black bath of unearned love envelops you, trying to soothe all your pains. And once freed from the myriad of electrical signals that cry out from different parts of your body, which you no longer have, cease, and the disdain and fear and impotence that had overwhelmed you during the last minutes of your life are washed away, your current calmness maybe resembles what a new spirit must feel like. However, the objective facts about the life you left behind remain, and you know that you will return back to a point in which you will need to shoulder the burden of figuring out how to save most of the people you’ve come to care about.
The Witch of Envy looks at you as if from distance, with those hazy, glowing purple eyes. She fell in love with you maybe the same way someone desperate, waiting to die at the bottom of a darkened pit, would grasp at the first smiling face that showed up in the circle of light above, out of reach. She wants to keep you alive by sending you back to the past, but to a moment she will choose according to her maybe irrational, animal-like logic. In your objective despair, you want to place all your trust in the ghost and her whimsical offer. But even though you are dead, something within you, a remnant of what made you human, rebels against this choice. If this four hundred years old ghost, who loves because she needs to love, sees an opportunity to sever your connections to everyone else you love and who love you back, there’s a good chance that she will take it, and even if you spend an eternity arguing, pleading for her to change her mind, she never will.
For the umpteenth time, the Witch of Envy floats away from you back into the fathomless blackness, so you can push your rock uphill all over again.