This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.
In the previous entry we learned that Garfiel is boring, that children shouldn’t be Pokemon trainers, that Echidna is a bad mother, that the protagonist is traumatized after being eaten alive, that the Witch of Greed wants to consume the protagonist, and that the protagonist is waiting to meet the presumably horrifying Daphne, the Witch of Gluttony.
You stare at the empty chair across from you while your heart jumps on your chest and cold sweat beads on the back of your neck. Being so close to Echidna had already made you light-headed, and now you can’t think straight. You realize, for starters, that you are staring at a chair, when Echidna had said that the Witch of Gluttony doesn’t sit. As the hair on your arms stands up, you look around the hillock in case another witch is standing out of sight to give you a scare. You first realize that this isn’t the small hillock you had assumed it to be, in which you would just have to take a few steps to roll downhill. The top of this hillock is much wider, as if Echidna wanted to grant you more room to maneuver.
When your gaze falls back on the chair across you, someone is sitting there. It’s a tanned girl not older than ten, with short, feathered, dark green hair and red eyes. She’s wearing a white sunday dress, and the first instinctive impression you get is of a prim and proper girl from a reputable family. When you return your gaze to her face, she smiles with a wide mouth.
The sudden sight doesn’t compute for your brain, but as you hold her red gaze, you recall the most ominous warning that Echidna had given you: not to look into the Witch of Gluttony’s eyes. You flinch and look down at her side of the table. You must be giving the impression that you want to shrink into the chair. Why is Daphne a child? And why is she so sylphlike? Someone born with the curse of gluttony surely should be as obese as they get.
“I’m glad that I got to meet you, Baru!”, the child says with a carefree, innocent voice.
Her voice dismantles you further. She sounded like the kind of girl who would happily spend hours playing with a doll house. You had imagined that you would face someone who would give some justification for creating those two legendary monsters, the White Whale and the Great Rabbit, but if Daphne is a child who was killed then trapped as a ghost for hundreds of years, surely she must have created those monsters on a whim, as playmates. You feel that you can’t hold her responsible for the damage and uncountable deaths that the White Whale and the Great Rabbit have caused by rampaging for centuries. The problem is that a child shouldn’t have the power to create such monsters in the first place. Was this the reason why Echidna didn’t seem troubled by your fear in anticipation of meeting the Witch of Gluttony? She must have known you were going to meet an innocent child that can’t help but manifesting horrors in the world outside.
Your shoulders slump.
“Ah… I’m happy to meet you as well”, you ask with a nervous voice. “How are you doing?”
On the edge of your vision you notice that she smiles at your words.
“I’m doing better now. Ekidonna always keeps the visitors for herself. That’s not fair, is it? And we get so few!”
Her voice was so hopeful that you begin to feel relieved. She must be a very emotional person, and they usually forgive as they get attached to others easily. Still, you get the sense that you won’t glean any information about how to defeat the Great Rabbit from her.
“Not to disparage the great Echidna or anything,” you say with a conciliatory tone, “but I’m glad I can meet at least another one of you witches. It’s not fair that you ended up locked away for centuries, is it? It must get too lonely.”
The child giggles.
“I’m not lonely at all! I’m always with my friends. But I’m happy that I could meet one more. You are so friendly with Ekidonna too, giving her lots of kisses on her legs. And you wanted to kiss her down there too!” She giggles as if laughing at a silly joke. “That’s where we pee from!”
You gasp. Your gaze darts around in a panic, although you are very careful not to allow yourself to look above the lower half of this child’s face.
“Y-You shouldn’t have seen any of it. Sorry, I didn’t know the other witches were watching. It was supposed to be an intimate moment.”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind. It was very funny! But I’m feeling sad that you won’t look at me. It’s bad manners not to look at the person you are speaking to, you know. Daddy told me that many times. Are you shy?”
You must seem mousy, petrified as you are of holding this child’s gaze. Is this a ploy? Is she feigning innocence, and the moment you look into her red eyes she will be able to eat you, or something more unimaginably horrible?
“You were listening to the long conversation I had with your fascinating friend Echidna, didn’t you? So you know that she warned me about looking into your eyes. I’m merely following her recommendations.”
The child laughs, then shakes her head.
“You think I’m Daphy! That’s so funny! I look nothing like Daphy! But that’s alright, you hadn’t met us before.”
A chill runs through your spine, and you slowly lift your gaze towards the child’s red eyes. She stares back with curious amusement. You stand up from your chair and walk a couple of steps away from the tea table so you can look at this girl fully. She tilts her head, then she turns on her chair to face you. There’s nothing weird about the rest of this stranger beyond the fact that now you know that her white dress has a skirt.
“Who are you then?”, you ask cautiously.
“Me? I’m a wee little girl! A very, very, very little girl!”
Both the presence of a random child here as well as her carefree nature, after having been trapped in this tomb for hundreds of years, unnerves you. You want to retreat. It’s the closest you have felt in this world to being in a haunted house. You are staring at a ghost, who feels to you as incomprehensible and unpredictable as the ones in your old world.
“What’s your name…?”
“Name’s Typhon. That’s the name my parents gave me. Do you like it?”
“It’s… a nice name… Where are your parents, Typhon?”
You don’t know why you asked that. It just doesn’t sit right that this child isn’t at home with her family.
“I ate them.”
She answers so casually that you forget to breathe for a second.
“You… You did… What?!”
“I ate them. I was hungry.”
“But why would you do that?!”
“There’s no cake in this room. The desserts here are terrible!”
You stare at her wide-eyed and with your mouth open. The child can’t hold her serious expression for longer than a couple of seconds, and then she closes her eyes and grins, showing most of her teeth.
“I don’t eat that much! That’s Daphy’s problem! You are so silly, you just believed me!”
You don’t know what to say, but you force yourself to come up with something.
“Yeah, you really got me there, Typhon… Anyway, why did you come to see me? Were you just curious about a stranger entering your tomb?”
“Hmmm… I dunno. I just felt like it. And you aren’t a stranger anymore, Baru! A stranger wouldn’t be so friendly with Ekidonna, would he?”
“Well, I guess not…”
“I like you! But I’m curious to know something… Are you a sinner, Baru?”
You have no idea how to answer. Why is this girl suddenly asking about sins? Who the hell is she? The name Typhon doesn’t mean anything to you. Is she truly one of the witches of old, even though she’s a damn kid? You feel that you need to answer seriously. You have no clue what this child is capable of.
“Let’s see… I have killed a few people, I can’t quite remember how many… I stabbed an Archbishop in the heart and he died some time later, my sword got stuck into a cultist’s head that one time Ricardo launched me against the guy, I… I had my ground dragon murder a pretty teenage girl who was possessed. Those are the things that sound like sins of everything I’ve done, I guess. And I cheated on my Rem…”
“You’re not a very good person, are you?”
“No, I suppose not.”
Typhon smiles at you.
“Good! That means I can eat you!”
You jump away from her. Your whole body is tense, and you are having trouble breathing properly.
“Damn it, are you actually the Witch of Gluttony just pretending to be someone else?”
The child doubles over with laughter. When she recovers, she jumps from her chair and walks a couple of steps towards you. You only prevent yourself from moving because you feel she would simply get closer.
“You believe everything!”, Typhon says between giggles. “I don’t know if you are an evildoer yet. Let me hold your hand!”
Typhon slowly approaches your hand with hers.
“This will tell me everything about you, Baru. If you truly are a bad person deep down, then I will curse you.”
You feel your pulse in your neck. You swallow to return some saliva to your mouth. Are you a bad person?
You feel like you are. But Echidna has seen all of your memories and still accepted you.
“Ah… Can I refuse to be judged like that?”
Typhon frowns at you.
“No, because I’m the judge.”
You allow the girl to grab your hand. You tense up. You had expected to feel some electricity-like surge of power running through you, but it just feels as if you are holding a small girl’s hand.
Typhon giggles as she looks into your eyes.
“Baru, those are so many icky thoughts about girls!”
“You think about naked girls all the time!”
You try to withdraw your hand from her grip, but somehow you can’t move it.
“I do not! Well, I do! Is that bad!?”
You panic as a bead of sweat rolls down your forehead. The smile on Typhon’s face broadens.
“That’s not right, Baru! Those girls would feel bad if they knew, wouldn’t they?”
“Ah… I think that Rem and Emilia would be happy about it, don’t you think…? Do you know who they are…?”
Typhon is still smiling up at you, but with a coldness in her red eyes.
“You feel much worse about yourself than the stuff you have done, but those are so many dirty thoughts about girls! We have to do something about that, don’t we?”
You don’t want to respond, but you feel that you need to say something.
“Typhon, I also think about things other than girls…”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course! I think about eating good food, and talking to people I like, and killing people I don’t like, that kind of stuff.”
“Don’t you think you have a dirty mind, Baru?”
This child is still holding your hand. Your palms are sweating profusely.
“Anyway, I’ll help you with your problem”, Typhon says. “You are not an evildoer, just naughty!”
She moves back while still holding your hand, and you realize that your right arm has followed her even though you haven’t felt a pull in your body. She’s holding on to your rigid arm as if it were a doll’s limb. Your blood runs cold. You look down towards where your right arm ought to be, but it ends slightly below the shoulder as if it had been cut off and the wound cauterized immediately. No, as if you were a detachable action figure. You look back at Typhon, who has lowered her right hand, still holding on to yours, but keeps staring up at you as if she didn’t just pull off one of your limbs.
“You need to be punished, right?”, Typhon says casually. “In the future, whenever naughty thoughts come to you, you will fear that you will lose a part of yourself!”
You’re about to cry.
“There’s nothing wrong with naughty thoughts!”, you say unconvincingly. “Wanting to have sex with a bunch of people is one of the most normal things in the world! Maybe not with that trainee, but… those outfits are too much!”
You’re edging backwards, and at some point you realize that your left arm has fallen to the grass as if it were poorly glued to your body.
Typhon steps towards you while she chews innocently on her thumbnail. She’s still holding on to your detached right arm.
“I don’t want to eat you, though. You’re too skinny! And I’m not allowed to eat people with black hair!”
“I-I already know you aren’t Daphne! Please, don’t steal more of my limbs! I can’t regrow any of them!”
“But you need to be punished”, she says again with a playful smile.
You feel as if you are about to pass out. You don’t feel any pain at all, but trying to move your arms only for just your shoulders to pivot helplessly is screwing with your mind, sending it into a panic. Relax, you repeat to yourself. None of this is actually happening. You are inhabiting an avatar of sorts courtesy of Echidna. Think of that black-eyed loon and her warm insides you never got to taste.
“I don’t. I shouldn’t be punished. I should be able to think about having sex with whomever I want. I don’t hurt anyone with thoughts. You are the one messing with me.”
Typhon frowns as she stops chewing on her thumbnail. She tosses your right arm aside and she shakes her head.
“You’re not very nice, Baru. You’re not even nice to yourself! Maybe I should get Daphy to eat you after all.”
You shudder. You want to motion for the child to stop, but you don’t even have hands. Your legs are getting numb, as if they wish to stop holding your weight.
“You know, Echidna told me she would return to me after I had a chat with your glutton”, you say with a shaky voice. “The Witch of Greed won’t be happy if she finds me dismembered!”
“Nah. Ekidonna will find it interesting!”
She looks at your left arm, which is lying on the grass, and as if Typhon had cut it with a huge, invisible knife, the arm gets bisected silently.
“Y-You seem like such a nice girl, Typhon”, you say with a thin voice. “You wouldn’t fuck with me to such an extent, would you?”
Typhon looks at you with an innocent, cherub face.
“Don’t use bad words! When people can’t help themselves, they only learn through punishment, isn’t that right? All those icky thoughts about girls are making you feel guilty. That’s okay! I will divide your body for every naughty thought you ever had!”
The terror makes you want to vomit. This girl is going to reduce you into atoms!
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”, you yell as tears drip down your face. “Please forgive me! I am dominated by my genetic imperatives!”
“Nah, you must learn your lesson, Baru.”
Your legs give out, and you fall to your knees. No, to the stumps that your knees have become. The lower half of your legs has broken off cleanly. As you fall forward, unable to prevent yourself from faceplanting given that you lack both arms, you head gets detached and rolls off. A blade of grass slides across your eyeball, so you close your eyes. When your head, the only thing you feel you can move to any extent anymore, rests, you open your eyes to see the grass you are lying on rising in your vision like a tiny jungle. The rest of your body keeps bisecting slowly. Typhon is making sure you notice each time she applies her power. The child appears in your field of view, and she looks down at you with an innocent grin, as if she’s merely playing with you. You open your mouth to speak, but suddenly you lose your bifocality. It seems as if the part of your head that contains your left eye has detached and has slid down, so it only shows you the blue sky surrounded by unfocused blades of grass.
To your surprise, you can still speak.
“You called me mean, and yet you just reduced me to this. What does that make you, witch?”
“Me? I’m not the mean one here. You’ve got a very mean look about you, Baru, even though you aren’t that bad of a guy. Besides, I’m saving you, am I not?”
You try to shake your head, but it just slides a little to the side.
“How do you call this being saved when I can’t even tell where my junk is? This is around the fourth time I’ve lost those guys!”
Typhon giggles, and she is about to say something when you both are startled by the distant sound of a woman shouting. It comes from the sky, and it increases in volume as if someone had jumped from a skyscraper and on the way down she berated as loud as she could the people she was about to meet below.
A few seconds later, the shouting becomes intelligible.
“The first time you meet him and you hurt him like this! It’s unforgivable! How could you be so cruel!? He only wished to speak to us! You think you can get away with this!?”
Typhon frowns, and crouches next to you to touch your forehead with the tip of her fingers.
“It looks like Nerva isn’t too happy with me. She can’t stop yelling, that one.”
One of your eyes catches a glimpse of a person falling feet first maybe around twenty meters away, where the hillock curves down. When the person crashes, it jolts the ground sending up a burst of dirt, grass and particles. After the grass and the dirt fall around the crater that has formed, you see a girl maybe in her late tens or early twenties, who is down on one knee. She’s beautiful, blonde and blue-eyed, and her fit body is clothed with the closest thing you’ve seen in this fantasy world to a superhero outfit, white and blue, which provides a generous amount of cleavage. She has gathered her long hair in a ponytail at the side of her head, as if she just wanted her hair out of the way. When she stands up, she flounces angrily towards Typhon and you, and midway through she points with a trembling hand towards the child. This new girl’s eyes are crying as if out of indignation, because she’s glaring at Typhon.
“You! You dare hurt Subaru like that!? I’ll never forgive you!”
Typhon rolls her eyes.
“Oh, he’s alright. Aren’t you fine, Baru?”
You narrow your eyes, even though one of them is only showing you blue sky and blurry grass.
“I’ve been better.”
The blonde girl shakes her head in disappointment, and now she’s looking down at you while tears keep running down her face. This stranger came to defend you, it seems.
“Nice to meet you”, you say. “I guess you must be one of the witches of old, right? You know my name from prying into my conversation with Echidna.”
She crosses her arms while she stares at you with her beautiful light blue eyes, but she’s frowning heavily as if outraged.
“We have no choice but to see and hear! We can’t go anywhere! You didn’t come to hurt any of us, nor to attempt to cast us from this world! In fact, you wanted to make love to the Witch of Greed!”
“Which is public knowledge now, it seems…”, you mumble.
The blonde woman clenches her right hand into a fist and she pumps it energetically.
“People should love each other! That’s the solution for all the troubles in the world! I’m Minerva, the Witch of Wrath! I’m glad to meet you in person, Subaru!”
“I like you already, Minerva. It doesn’t hurt that you have the body of a model, or how I imagine a model would look in person. I’d love to shake your hand, but you’d have to find mine first.”
Typhon lets out a noise of indignation.
“What did I tell you, Baru? No mouth for you.”
Something detaches in your face. It must be your mouth, because everything under your nose and above your chin feels hollow. You have lost the sense of taste, and you don’t feel the saliva in its cavity. You are surprised that you haven’t bled to death, nor had a heart attack because none of the things happening to your body make any sense.
Minerva narrows her eyes at Typhon, while her nostrils widen.
“You dare hurt Subaru further in front of me! You are the worst, Pride!”
“Oh, I’ll have you know that I’m still the best! The best! Wouldn’t you agree, Baru?”
You make a point of narrowing your eye that shows the child in its field of view. The little shit knows damn well you can’t say a thing.
“I won’t let you get away with this, Typhon!”, Minerva shouts while tears keep jumping from her eyes.
“How many times do I need to tell you to be careful with people’s feelings!? You have no right to hurt others!”
“I need to know if people around me are evildoers, and to what degree. You know this, Minerva! I can’t have them getting away with being evil.”
“You’d do well to listen to someone who has more experience than you do, kid!”
“We are both more than four hundred years old, though.”
“I’m still older, and I have accrued more life experiences! I’m telling you, breaking people apart is a bad thing, especially someone you’ve just met!”
Typhon frowns, clenches her fists and stomps on the ground.
“You’ve always been like this. Why am I even friends with you?”
“Because the pair of us can’t exactly be choosers when it comes to allies! We are both outcasts, and we have to help each other out! Now, I suggest you return him to normal or I will keep demanding you do so!”
“No, I don’t wanna. He hasn’t learned his lesson! He had icky thoughts about you the moment he saw you!”
You want to say that you couldn’t help it, nor wanted to, really. But you can’t say anything without a mouth.
“I’m not mad about that, people can have whatever thoughts they want!”, Minerva shouts as she keeps pointing an accusatory finger at Typhon. “Hurting people, that’s a different matter! You better make this right or I’ll be this close to never forgiving you!”
Typhon looks away, then snorts as she crosses her arms.
“You are one to talk. You want nothing more than to punch and headbutt people.”
“I may have done some questionable things in the past, but I have never outright hurt someone like you do! Turn him back, Typhon!”
“No! People need to be punished for their bad actions!”
Minerva groans loudly, then turns toward you and glares murderously at what remains of your face.
“Alright, then! I will do it myself!”
The Witch of Wrath stands in a fighting stance. She pulls her fist back while eyeing you as if she’s targetting your forehead.
You want to scream, you want to ask for mercy. This witch who a moment ago was defending your existence suddenly intends to obliterate you. You don’t understand anything.
She leaps towards you while launching her powerful fist. You close your eyes. The moment her fist connects with your forehead, you feel whole, standing on your legs. The shock almost makes them buckle. You stagger around for a moment while balancing yourself with your arms, which you have regained as well.
Minerva holds her fist in front of her as if she’s checking if she’ll need to punch you again, and although she’s frowning and tears run down her cheeks, she’s as close to satisfied as you have seen this strange person.
Typhon shakes her head.
“Why did you have to get involved, Nerva?”, she complains with a teary voice. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong!”
Now that you have a voice again, you want to take the opportunity to defend yourself.
“Please, girls, let’s forget this regrettable incident.” You focus on Minerva, who looks back at you with her beautiful light blue eyes, like the water in a pristine lake. You walk up to her and offer your hand to shake. “I’m so glad to make your acquaintance, Witch of Wrath. Not only you look so fucking good, but you also prefer to put me together instead of breaking me apart. That makes you a winner in my eyes.”
Minerva wipes the tears from her eyes. She doesn’t stop frowning, or can’t, as she grabs your hand and shakes it while squeezing it strongly.
“I apologize if I seem a little angry! I can’t tolerate people hurting others, it gets on my nerves!”
“Don’t worry, I can tell that being furious is your niche. And man, you are as sexy as they come, aren’t you.”
Typhon stomps on the ground and clenches her teeth.
“Baru! Don’t say such icky things to my friends, I’m telling you!”
“If you don’t like it, then go away”, you say, barely glancing at her. “Sorry, Witch of Pride, if you have a problem with me having naughty thoughts, you might as well never share a room with me, because I’m made out of little else than naughty thoughts. If you took them out I’d become an empty husk.”
It seems that you won the argument, because Typhon pouts, walks away and vanishes as if she exited the death-dream.
Minerva smiles back at you, even though it looks malicious due to her frown. She gives your hand a final squeeze before letting it go.
“Typhon might be a dragon in a dress and I a lion, but you are a cat, Subaru!”
“I’ll take that as a compliment. You are too kind, Witch of Wrath, healing me through a righteous punch. I’m sure that if I ever get to leave this death-dream, I will remember you fondly. And not only because of that appetizing cleavage.”
She pumps her fist.
“Hah! You’d better remember!”
“I was supposed to meet Daphne, the Witch of Gluttony that you must be familiar with. Any tips on how to face such a terrifying prospect?”
She lowers her head while glaring fiercely.
“A-ha! Daphne is a real monster, but you are not! Just face her with the courage of your convictions, and I’m sure she will be just as charmed by you as I am!”
A smile grows on your mouth. You put your hands on your waist.
“Thanks for the advice. You remind me of my senior servant, if she were nice. It’s too bad you are dead, Minerva.”
“You look like you mean that, so I’ll take it as a compliment! I’m sure we would have been friends! Now, I have taken too much of your time! I hope we meet again, and remember to be fair and kind to people!”
“I intend to…”
You wave as Minerva turns around and walks away. When she vanishes, you feel sad.
As you turned to walk to your chair, Echidna is sitting in the shade of the parasol. Staring back at those black eyes with vertical slits fills you with such relief, it’s as if you came home after a long day at work. You sit down slowly while the Witch of Greed regards you with an apologetic expression.
“I failed to predict how eager Typhon was to meet you. She was waiting for the defenses to wane so she could take a good look at you.”
“It’s fine, really. I got to meet two interesting new people.”
You take a sip of your now tepid tea. Echidna rests her cheek on her hand and observes you with curiosity.
“You are something else, Subaru. Typhon’s black-and-white thinking led to that child breaking you apart, and yet your mind has recovered entirely. If anything, you seem more energized now. And I got to witness again how your psyche uses your sexuality as a defense mechanism. The moment you got aroused by our relentless paladin, your mind integrated the uncanny events without issues.”
You open your mouth to answer with the first thing that comes out naturally, but you realize that you are looking at someone whom you attempted to pleasure orally, and she’s pointing out that you just ogled at some other witch’s attributes.
“I apologize if me finding Minerva sexy bothered you, Echidna. I assure you that didn’t lessen how fascinated I am by your witchy self.”
She raises her eyebrows and sighs.
“I can see that you have a preference for the body type, and that’s fine by me. A lot of men seem to have a thing for dominatrixes.”
“I doubt that a dominatrix who healed people whenever she hit them would have a successful career. However, you are wrong about that. I want nothing more than sweet, loving intimacy occasionally accompanied by being murdered. That blonde hottie wouldn’t provide any of that. I was going to say that the prospect of it would make her angry, but I suppose that winning the lottery would make that one angry as well. You people have some burdens to bear with those curses you have been born with.”
Echidna takes a gulp of her tea. When she lowers the teacup, she turns her head slightly to the side and closes one eye as she looks at you.
“However, you did make me feel like a woman again, a flesh and blood female, by stimulating me to such an extent, but later on you salivate for a different woman. That’s a very mean thing to do, Subaru.”
You clear your throat. You can barely hold her gaze.
“You know, Echidna, I might have been cursed myself at birth to incarnate some horniness-related ideal. Have some sympathy for a fellow sufferer.”
She narrows her eyes at you, then puts her head down and chuckles.
“That’s true. It probably means you’re in more pain than even me. I’ll give you that. We are stalling, though. Our intention here was to summon the thorny witch of Gluttony, so you could figure something out about how to defeat at least one of her children. I’ll open the barrier again, and this time I will take extra care in making sure that nobody else interrupts your meeting. I can’t wait to witness how you deal with Daphne’s peculiarities.”
You shift your weight on the chair.
“You know, I feel we have been very lucky that more troublesome witches, one in particular, hasn’t taken the chance to confront me in your death-dream.”
Echidna nods slowly with a knowing, serious look.
“You are right about that. During this session, the Witch of Envy has attempted repeatedly to break into my death-dream.”
Your throat closes, and when a noise of surprise escapes your mouth, it sounds strangled.
“Special defenses, remember. Her insistence worries me, but she won’t succeed when I’m restricting access to the death-dream this much.”
“Somehow that doesn’t soothe my worries in the slightest. I’m guessing plenty of idiots in this fantasy world of yours had issues with you because you are a witch, and a powerful one at that, but I can’t imagine you doing something like what that traitorous Witch of Envy did to me: moving the return point so I couldn’t save the love of my life. That’s fucked.”
Echidna looks down at the grass for a moment.
“You wouldn’t hear pleasant words coming out of my mouth if I were forced to speak in depth about the Witch of Envy. She ruined my life. Ended it, in fact. But let’s forget about anything else that doesn’t relate to you meeting our Daphne for the first time. You will face a witch that won’t trigger your psyche’s main defense mechanism.”
You swallow your sudden anxiety.
“You know, I can appreciate some portly bodies.”
Echidna chuckles, a low sound.
“I’m sure you do, but I’m afraid that doesn’t apply here. Stay strong, Subaru. I’ll see you on the other side.”
You keep holding Echidna’s gaze in the vain hope that it will prevent her from leaving you, but as if she had been an illusion all along, the lovely, black-eyed Witch of Greed disappears leaving behind an empty chair.