Ongoing manga: Tengoku Daimakyō, by Masakazu Ishiguro

I dislike reviewing manga series when they haven’t finished; more often than not, how all the parts end up tied up together influences my view of the entire story. There are quite a few manga series that I follow and love but that haven’t ended yet, like Dungeon Meshi, Kaiju No. 8, Boy’s Abyss, Chi no Wadachi, etc. However, a week ago I came across the most intriguing manga in a good while, Tengoku Daimakyō (the title apparently translates to Heavenly Delusion), which has “only” reached chapter 55 (such series tend to end at about chapter 100), but that I’ve been looking forward to sit down and continue discovering what it has to offer.

This story is an odd mix of the Fallout series of games and The Last of Us (the first game, not the TV series, and certainly not the second game). We follow two storylines. In the first one, a bunch of kids are living in a controlled environment designed to raise them in a certain way while isolating them them from the outside world. The kids are tended to by AI, as well as by shady adults who seem to be guided by a cult-like drive to create a “heaven on earth,” where people won’t be discriminated in any way. You quickly realize that these kids slash test subjects have been manipulated genetically to whatever extent, and some of the most interesting scenes of that storyline involve children being unable to comprehend how utterly nuts their environment is; they are unfazed when they come across babies that look like alien squids, because that’s how human babies look like as far as they know. One of the children mingling with the rest straight up looks like an alien. We are only given a bit more information than the children, because we follow some of the adults that handle the operation. In general, the whole deal works like a Fallout vault.

The main storyline involves a twenty-year-old redheaded bodyguard who wears a cool jacket, and the fifteen-year-old kid for whom she’s working. They live in the post-apocalyptic ruins of Japan after some cataclysm destroyed a world that had achieved artificial general intelligence. Enough time has passed that the newest generations don’t even care how things ended up this bad. Anyway, for unknown reasons, disturbing monsters with superpowers are roaming the place, which has prevented human beings from establishing lasting settlements.

The aforementioned redhead, who is the main protagonist of this tale, was offered work by a sick young woman who promptly died, but not before bequeathing the redhead a ray gun along with the task of accompanying the fifteen-year-old kid to locate a place called Heaven, where someone who shares a face with the kid will need to receive an injection of a mysterious medicine. Our main couple sets off together to explore a ruined Japan. The redheaded girl also intends to locate the two people she remembers from before a monster attack landed her in a hospital bed for about a year.

The anime adaptation has already been produced. Here’s the trailer:

Troublingly enough, though, it has been picked up in the US by Disney Plus. This is a casually hardcore series that involves regular nudity, murder, The Thing-like grossness, a thirteen-year-old prostitute/hotel tycoon, rape, child rape, and such. There’s thematic stuff that Western fiction wouldn’t touch with a teen foot pole; for example, one of the settlements that the main couple comes across is controlled by a group of female supremacists that cut off women’s breasts if they are deemed too big, that kill any older men they come across, but capture attractive young men (and kids) to keep them as “seed pigs”. I have to assume that the anime, which I’ve barely started watching, must have been toned down significantly, which would be a shame.

All in all, fantastic worldbuilding, very detailed landscapes of a post-apocalyptic Japan, natural-sounding dialogue, cool fight scenes, and a narrative that gets sadder and more tragic the longer it runs. The only downside for me, quite minor in comparison, is that a couple of “evil” characters come across a bit over the top. Anyway, check Tengoku Daimakyō out. Or don’t. Do whatever you want.

Random AI-generated images #16

Two neural networks, one of them trained on anime-like images, work tirelessly to spread their madness to the ends of the earth. This is the latest batch of about a hundred of such AI-generated pictures.

You can check out so far twenty-eight other entries featuring generated images through this link.

Sunglasses mafia
The cooler Nietzsche
Horrifying anime-like depictions of Nietzsche
Eren Yeager cosplaying as Nietzsche
Erwin danchou
A lion’s heart
Shinzou wo sasageyo

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 65)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry, the Witch of Pride wanted in on the tea party, and we got further proof that the protagonist focuses on trying to fuck almost everything that moves whenever he needs to escape from how much of a nightmare his life has become.

An obsidian black, closed iron maiden has appeared out of nowhere a bit further on the hillock. The mere sight of it conjures images of torture in dungeons, and dungeons are no longer an abstract concept for you. You have been through hell and came out alive. You repeat that to yourself as you stand up from the chair and approach the iron maiden cautiously. Even though you don’t dare touch it, it feels heavy and cold.

As you get so close that it would take lunging twice to touch the dark metal, the iron maiden’s doors open. A cold shiver makes you tremble before you register how the girl inside looks. It’s a teenager, or at least her emaciated, small body suggests it. She has raven-black, frizzy hair that comes down in two ponytails. She’s wearing a white straightjacket that reminds you of black and white photos of sanatoriums, and her body is held in place by chains attached to the back and sides of the iron maiden.

More importantly, though, the girl’s lips are bitten off. They are a bloody, glistening mess of raw flesh, as if this girl had chewed on them. No, had eaten them, her own lips. The impression you get is of an insane girl locked up in a dark room for years, who has no other recourse but to cannibalize herself.

You won’t look at this girl’s eyes. The fear has frozen you in place. You don’t want to remain in this death-dream any longer. Hell, you don’t want to exist in the same universe that contains someone like this.

“Ya wanned ‘o shee me”, the girl mumbles as blood drips out of her mouth. Half of her tongue is gone. “He’e I am.”

You swallow. Your legs are trembling. You want to run away, but that would disappoint Echidna. You have faced far worse than a cursed girl who has experienced nothing but a nightmare for her entire life, you tell yourself.

“I did… I did, Daphne. I wanted to know you personally.”

You are talking to a living, breathing being trapped in a situation that would break most people. Perhaps even yourself.

“You look sho good, Shubawu”, she mumbles with pure hunger in her voice. “I would like ‘o bi’e you sho much.”

Daphne is drooling heavily, and it drips from her chin in a mix of her sticky saliva and blood from her open wounds around her dyed teeth. Your stomach churns. You fear you might vomit at any moment. This is the most twisted, insane thing you have ever seen or heard. You don’t know what to do.

“You want to eat me, I’m guessing… Is that how it feels, Daphne? You even want to eat people?”

“I wanna ea’ evewyone, Shubawu”, she says, her voice the embodiment of a madwoman. “Evewyone. I wanna ea’ evewyone and evewy’hing.”

A surge of warmth reaches your eyes, and a tear runs down your cheek. You don’t know if it’s from pure fear or from the thought that anyone could live like this girl and yet fail to go completely insane. But you can’t help it. You pity her, even if she wants to eat you.

“Why a’e you cwying, Shubawu?” Daphne slurs.

Your throat is closing.

“Because the world is horrible”, you say with a trembling voice.

You expect Daphne to agree with you, but instead she laughs, a horrible mix of a chuckle and a wheeze.

“I’ ish fine ash long ash you go’ enough ‘o ea’, ishn’ i’?” Daphne stops laughing, and you feel her stare burning your face, as if she could see through your skin and bone and into your brain. “Sho you came ‘o me ‘caushe you wanna kill Gwea’ Wabbi’?”

You tighten your lips and swallow something hot that was bubbling up your esophagus.

“… That’s right. Those little guys of yours ate me. Although ‘ate’ doesn’t feel like a strong enough word for what they did…”

“‘hank you sho much for feeding my babiesh. Wash vewy nice of you.”

You want to argue, but it would be pointless. For this creature in front of you, satisfying her hunger means good, remaining hungry means bad. At least you understand both the White Whale and the Great Rabbit now.

“Daphne, could you tell me why you created those monsters of yours, the White Whale, the Great Rabbit…?”

You expect her to laugh again, or say something like ‘who knows?’, but she answers seriously.

“My babiesh we’e my gif’ ‘o da wowld.”

You frown, not understanding. You can’t glean much about her expression: because she ate her own lips, her drooling mouth displays her teeth as if she were grinning or snarling constantly. And just glancing at her features is making you dizzy.

“Was that sarcasm, Witch of Gluttony?”, you ask as firmly as you can when you risk vomiting, “Those babies of yours have done little else, it seems, than cause destruction and erase thousands of people from the world, whether by removing the memories of them or consuming them to the last drop of blood. Are you messing with me?”

She shakes her head.

“Nah ah-ah-ah. I wan’ed people ‘o feed on my babiesh. Whaley ish big and mea’y, and ‘here awe sho many of my bunniesh da’ people could fill ‘hem belliesh foweve’.”

You shiver. You can tell now that this deranged witch isn’t joking. In her twisted mind she had wished to bless the world, but because her all consuming hunger is never fully satisfied, she can’t think in terms of anything else. As a result she let loose two curses on the people of this world that were so unstoppable that the population of different nations had to handle her babies as natural disasters. Maybe you can make Daphne understand, maybe she could stop her monsters even from her spectral imprisonment.

You get closer to the iron maiden, but Daphne flinches. The flow of drool that drips from her chin, washing away the blood from her eaten lips, increases, and her saliva hangs in viscous threads. Suddenly the bottom sides of the iron maiden grows six paired metallic legs, and as soon as the tips touch the ground they lift the iron maiden and crawl away from you. The sight of those impossible legs stops you, and your head hurts for a moment as it struggles to handle its current reality.

“I would s’ay away if I we’e you, Shubawu”, the Witch of Gluttony mumbles, “You look vewy appe’izing.”

You are trembling from head to toe. You want to vomit, you want to lie on the floor and cry. But Echidna is watching, and you don’t want that goddess to take you for a weakling. You force yourself to stare at Daphne’s bloody teeth and the glistening, raw flesh that surrounds them.

“Your monsters haven’t been feeding people, they have been eating them! Do you understand what you have done? Both the White Whale and the Great Rabbit are curses upon this world!”

“Why, would you have my babiesh lie ‘here and le’ ‘hemshelves be ea’en ash if ‘hey we’e a cooked meal? If ‘he people of ‘hish wowld we’e craf’y enough, ‘hey would have been able ‘o hun’ down Whaley and ‘he bunniesh. My babiesh have ‘o fill ‘heir belliesh ‘oo.”

“This is madness! They need to die, and you need to…”

You stop yourself. You are standing so close to the iron maiden that it would take those metallic legs jumping forward for the Witch of Gluttony to reach you, and all you have are words. Are words enough?

“You call madnesh ‘he law of na’ure”, Daphne mumbles, “Evewyone ish in a rush ‘o ea’ shomeone elshe sho ‘hey can live ano’her day. Echidna figured ou’ you a’e fwom ano’her wowld. Ish i’ no’ ea’ o’ be ea’en ‘here ash well?”

You can’t argue with that, and can’t say anything at the moment either, because a sudden wave of dizziness and nausea forces you to hunch over and retch. You vomit what remains of Echidna’s tea, along with a good quantity of bile, splashing the grass. You feel covered in cold sweat. While you support yourself on your knees and wheeze, Daphne continues.

“Even plan’sh have ‘o ge’ ‘heir nu’ien’sh from shomewhewe, you know? And ‘hey feel pain when ‘hey ge’ ea’en, even ‘hough you can’ hear ‘hem shcream. You ei’her ea’ or you ge’ ea’en. I’sh ‘he main law of ‘he wowld. If you don’ ‘hink sho, shomeone elshe ish doing ‘he killing for you.”

You wipe the vomit from your mouth, and you manage to raise your head and look at Daphne with wide, teary eyes. You desperately wish for this witch to go away, but if she vanished now, you wouldn’t have learned anything of value. You straighten your back.

“Daphne, I need to kill the Great Rabbit. Not only I risk getting devoured myself, but everyone in Sanctuary is going to die as well. Your friend Echidna agrees that your monster needs to disappear from this world. If you truly created it for the benefit of mankind, in your twisted way, please give me advice on how to destroy it.”

Daphne laughs.

“I’sh ei’her an imbe’ishiwe lil’ crea’uwe ‘hat killsh wheneve’ it deshiwes and ish neve’ sha’ishfied, or ‘he Gwea’ Wabbi’ ish a friendly beash’ie who jush’ wan’ed a hug.”

You aren’t sure you understood everything she said, but you are getting mad anyway.

“I don’t have time for bullshit, Daphne. Just looking at the lower half of your face is going to give me nightmares for years. Please tell me whether you will give me advice on how to defeat the Great Rabbit. If you won’t, we are done here.”

Daphne grins, or at least the way the raw flesh around her teeth widens suggests it.

“I will ‘ell you, Shubawu! I like you vewy much. And no’ only becaushe I wanna fill my belly wi’ you! My bunniesh prefe’ shourcesh of magic, sho ‘hey will shniff ‘he mo’ powewful magiciansh awound and ‘wy ‘o ea’ ‘hem. Mo’ impor’anly, you need ‘o kill ‘he Gwea’ Wabbi’ a’ once, meaning all of i’sh individual bodiesh, or elshe i’ will quickly pwoduce new bunniesh.”

You wipe the sweat from your forehead. You had expected this witch to laugh at you and mumble for you to fuck off, but she helped you. The rabbits are attracted to the biggest sources of magic, and all of them need to be killed as close to immediately as possible. That’s enough information to send Daphne away, you think.

“Awen’ you gonna ea’ you’ vomi’?”, Daphne asks with an anxious voice. “You a’e wash’ing food!”

Before you even realize you are doing it, you step over the puke and stand closer to the iron maiden. The metallic legs twitch, but they don’t retreat.

“No, I won’t eat my vomit, Daphne”, you say with a hollow voice. “Let me tell you, I pity you. You have been cursed with one of the worst conditions I can imagine, but it’s been a long time since you were a child, and in your brain there must be a commanding center freed from your overwhelming impulses that understands that you have led to the death of countless people. So I can’t forgive you. I will use your advice and erase the Great Rabbit from this world.”

“Hwoe hwoe!”

You look into Daphne’s disgusting open mouth, and stare into the blackness of her throat.

“… Was that an attempt at mocking me?”

“Nobody hash managed ‘o kill my babiesh in hundredsh of yearsh, bu’ you believe you will be able ‘o, Shubawu?”

“Yes, I will kill your baby, Daphne”, you say with more force in your voice that you had managed since you first spoke to this disgusting witch. “None of the others who tried could try over and over, learning from their mistakes along the way. I will win.”

You are too dizzy and angry to realize that your gaze has slipped upwards and has met hers. The Witch of Gluttony’s eyes are a bright yellow that instead of feeling painted on the surface of her eyeballs, it deepens into them. You feel you are staring into a yellow horizon that has trapped your gaze, and you will need to struggle to pull it away.

“Bring i’ on ‘hen, Shubawu”, Daphne says with a menacing voice.

The crab-like legs that hold the iron maiden in the air coordinate themselves to carry the Witch of Gluttony further into the hillock, but you only notice her vanishing out of the corner of your eye. You are shaking. Your mouth is filling with saliva. It feels as if a black hole has opened in your stomach, and it’s sucking the walls in. You need to eat now or you will die. The world becomes a monochrome shadow, and nothing in it matters any longer but what you could shove into your mouth.

Your stomach keeps convulsing and the hole in the middle of your body keeps growing. You lick your lips and are overwhelmed by the need to eat, but there is no food around, only vomit. The smell is overpowering and your vision tunnels and you are shaking all over. Then your eyes flicker to what you threw up. The sight of your puke makes you salivate heavily. As you extend your shaky arms towards the liquid dripping down the grass, you stop and look at your hands. Those fingers, the thick flesh at the base of your thumb… You had never seen something so tasty. You sink your teeth into that succulent meat, chewing on it desperately, feeling the thick blood leaking down your chin. You swallow big pieces, then you move to biting chunks of meat off your fingers. The pain is worth it, the deliciousness…

“Subaru, look at me.”

You recognize Echidna’s voice. She is standing in front of her tea table and looking at you calmly. You swallow the tasty meat you were chewing, then focus on the witch. You had never noticed before, but that beautiful face of hers, those glistening black eyes… You need to fill yourself with her. You must grab the sides of Echidna’s head and bite off her nose, eat her cheeks, tear off her lips, suck on her eyeballs until they pop out of their sockets.

You take a step towards the Witch of Greed, but a thought manages to float over the tide of hunger: you don’t want to hurt Echidna. You are very close to falling in love with her. But you won’t be able to contain yourself for long.

“Stay away from me, Echidna!”, you shout with a trembling, pained voice. “That Daphne has given me her hunger! It’s way too much… I can’t think straight!”

Echidna doesn’t flinch. Instead she smiles, her eyes narrowing.

“And now you want to eat me as well.”

You hear the creaking of your bones, the growling of your stomach, the thundering of your pulse.

“Stay… Stay away from me…”

Echidna steps forward, then turns her palms towards you and moves them further apart as if welcoming you.

“Come closer, Subaru. I want to know what you will choose.”

“I… Echidna…”

You picture yourself ripping Echidna’s shoulder off and biting into the meat of her arm. You imagine chewing through her delicious skin, feeling her sweet blood on your tongue. You squeeze your eyes shut and grab your head.

“No!”, you shout through your clenched teeth. “Please, stay away from me! Most of my brain is demanding me to eat you… The parts of me that decide whether something is good or bad only want me to fill my stomach. I can’t barely keep it together. Please, Echidna, save yourself.”

When you open your eyes again and glance at the Witch of Greed, you see that she’s walking slowly towards you.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you really do love me”, Echidna says softly.

You turn your face away from her, but she grabs your chin and forces you to look at her.

“If you want to devour me, go ahead.”

You shake your head frantically, trying to avoid her gaze. Your mouth is filled with warm saliva, and you need to keep it open or else you risk choking on the liquid. Your drool is dripping from your chin. Echidna can’t understand how much you wish to eat her alive. You should sate your hunger with something else, but even your own flesh can’t compete with how appetizing the pale witch looks. You want to lunge at her, grab her with as much strength as you can muster, and sink your teeth into her face. You imagine her screaming in agony, but you don’t let go. You bite through the soft, warm meat and crunch through the bone. You imagine yourself chewing and swallowing the delicious morsel. You wouldn’t stop until only her bones remained, stripped of meat.

“Eat me, my love. I’m all yours”, Echidna says while bending forward and offering her long, elegant neck to you. Her lips are pouted and moist, and her eyes are filled with anticipation and longing.

Your teeth tingle, and you can practically feel your mouth bursting with a near-uncontrollable hunger as the muscles in your jaw contract involuntarily. Your stomach rumbles. You feel dizzy and confused.
You turn your head and grit your teeth, then push Echidna away from you.

“I will not! I don’t want to hurt you, no matter how much my brain orders me to!”

Echidna steps closer and embraces you. You go limp in her hands as if the witch had taken over the control of your body. She leans over you while she narrows her glistening eyes, and wields a loving smile on her rosy lips.

“That’s so sweet”, she whispers. “It’s been so long since someone made me feel this way.”

As the Witch of Greed holds the back of your head, she opens her mouth, extends her tongue and lets a phlegm fall into your open mouth.

“Swallow, Subaru. Do it for me”, she says quietly.

You allow her slimy spit to slide down your throat while she smiles lovingly at you. As soon as you gulp her phlegm down, the hunger disappears. You are left with the memory of how it had overwhelmed your brain like a virus, taking over the specialized centers that handled different aspects of how to exist as a human being, only to manipulate them into convincing you of focusing on nothing else but sating your bottomless hunger.

You are still stunned when Echidna steps back while pulling you in so you stand on your own feet. You haven’t broken the embrace. Your hand doesn’t hurt either, so she must have healed it immediately as well. You stare into Echidna’s black eyes and those white, vertical pupils with awe, affection and trust like you don’t believe you have ever felt for another person. She has saved you twice from horrifying destinies. The Witch of Greed is as powerful as a god, and yet she helps you this much.

“Thank you”, you say as you recover your breath.

Echidna closes one eye to look at you coyly with her other. The closeness of your bodies is making her blush, a conspicuous redness on her snow white skin.

“Maybe I should have warned you more strongly about how bad of an idea looking into Daphne’s eyes would be, but we ended up learning something interesting, didn’t we? You have a knack for seducing witches…”

Your heart is beating so loud that you can’t hear yourself breathing heavily. You slide your hand under Echidna’s silky, white hair so you can cup the back of her head, and then you lean forward to kiss her mouth. The taste of her tongue reminds you of honey.

Echidna puts her hands on your shoulders to keep some space between you, but doesn’t push you away. She closes her eyes while you hold her as closely as you can. Your heart is beating out of your chest, and you feel faint. After several seconds, Echidna opens her eyes again, looking at you with a mixture of bashfulness and guilt, and her tongue leaves your mouth.

“I shouldn’t be doing this,” she whispers.

You tilt her head to kiss along her graceful neck. Echidna shivers in your arms.

“Yeah, we should. I don’t care if your witch friends witness it. We should stay here and make love over and over, forever.”

Echidna lets out a mischievous sigh, and she rubs your back with her hands.

“Ah… You will end up making me want to give up everything as well”, she whispers. “But we can’t. The death-dream won’t stay up eternally. In fact, it won’t last for much longer. And you have to make sure you can get past this loop and continue with your life, for both our sakes.”

“None of that matters now.”

You fondle the witch’s ass with one hand, run your fingers through her hair with the other, and lick her small ear with your eager mouth. Echidna moans softly.

“Make sure you… don’t fall in love with me. Make sure you still hold fondness for the people you miss on the outside. You are trying to escape from your troubles.”

“I’ll keep them in mind when I go back, but right now… you’re the only person that matters.”

Echidna slides her hands under your shirt, and her warm hands caress your naked lower back.

“Then let’s do it… one more time.”

Your lips press against hers, and her tongue enters your mouth. Her hands slide up your back as if she were about to take your shirt off, but then she moves them to your front to fondle your chest with her fingers. Both of your hands now rub her supple ass. Echidna releases you from the kiss and lets out a long breath.

“I’m afraid that will have to be all for now, Subaru. Until you come back again”, Echidna says while she breathes heavily and her eyes glow as if drugged.

Even though a pang pierces your heart, you nod, then follow the Witch of Greed as she leads you by the hand back to the tea table. You sit in your chairs, then lift your gazes at each other over the teacups and the teapot as if you had entered her death-dream seeking her wisdom. You can tell that she’s forcing herself to come down from her arousal, but for the moment she’s not a powerful witch, merely a person who wants to love and be loved. These are feelings you understand well, so you help her down from them.

“That Daphne…”, you begin, then swallow. “She lives in hell.”

“Yes, she does.”

“I don’t know if I experienced her curse to the extent she does every waking moment, but… she deserves some credit for remaining lucid enough after hundreds of years of such a nightmare.”

Echidna nods, and drinks from her teacup as if trying to calm herself. Her nostrils are widened.

“Our burdens aren’t equivalent. She is bound by chains stronger than those that bind the rest of us.”

“Well… The little advice she gave me will have to do. I don’t feel capable of facing her again at the moment.”

“Make no mistake: if the White Whale didn’t content herself with hunting in specific areas every couple of weeks, or the Great Rabbit roamed the land instead of sleeping underground and only emerging when it has snowed significantly, only for them to move somewhere else as soon as they’ve had their fill for the day, the world would end.”

“I had understood that much. Everyone of us hanging out in Sanctuary is going to be eaten alive if I don’t stop those rabbits.”

Echidna’s eyes smile at you fondly over the rim of her teacup.

“Which is a significant part of why you can’t give up and spend the rest of eternity tending to this old maiden’s sexual needs, Subaru, as much as I would enjoy it.”

You sigh.

“It’s hard not to accept defeat when it would taste so good. But can I ask you a serious question about Sanctuary?”

“Go ahead, Subaru.”

“It’s your town, isn’t it? You founded it. So why did you, why here, why the whole thing with the barrier, the half-breeds, all that…?”

“It’s a long story, of course. But the short version is that Sanctuary wasn’t my idea. I needed some solitary land to carry out my research in peace. Back in the old world I approached the Mathers household, and they granted me this backwoods barony, which was as perfect for my purposes as they came. The Mathers lineage would benefit from my research, and I would also take a few of their talented younglings as wards, if I had the patience for it. The Mathers also acted as mediators when I needed people to build houses or dig further into the ground. But back then there wasn’t anything resembling a village, just a few houses for me and the few people that hung around, as well as my laboratories and storage facilities. Through my research I ended up realizing that the blood of half-breeds was vital for figuring out how to find a cure for the worst injustice that ever plagued living beings: that of being born just to die. It was a terrible time for demi-humans back then, because some had gotten particularly rowdy and launched wars of conquest against human nations. They lost, and plenty of the refugees, some of which only intended to live in peace and never agreed with the hostilities, found themselves rejected in human territories. Soon the rumour that a sanctuary awaited them in the backwoods of the Mathers territory reached their ears, and many families found their way over here. They understood that I wanted them for my research, but in exchange they found the safety to live with their families in peace. It became a symbiotic relationship.”

You want Echidna to explain how the barrier came to be, but a wave of dizziness ripples through you. You hunch over and grab your head. Even though for a moment you felt as if you were about to pass out, you end up taking a deep breath and rubbing your shoulders.

“Sorry for interrupting you. Something was wrong with me for a moment…”

Echidna stares at you gravely.

“Some disturbance in the outside is waking you up, Subaru. Our time together has come to an end.”

It must be Emilia. She has woken up from her own nightmare, and must be shaking you awake. You are so disappointed that you want to punch the table, but you take a deep breath. You know that Echidna was telling the truth, that by you wanting to spend the rest of your conscious life with the Witch of Greed as her sexual plaything, you are escaping from your troubles the same way you did back at the capital, during that self-imposed loop that usually ended with you guillotining yourself. You will have to return to that cold, harsh world outside, and wade through your many obstacles over and over until you succeed. How much will the experience change now that you will be able to remember Echidna?

You both stand up and walk until you face each other next to the table. You don’t want to say goodbye, but she speaks first.

“I had such a lovely time, Subaru.” Echidna smiles warmly at you. “But still, every visit to my death-dream requires payment.”

You are pretty sure she made up these rules, but you shrug.

“Sure. Take from me whatever you want.”

“That’s pretty generous of you.”
As you breathe in her scent, you realize that your feelings for her go beyond love. You worship her. You would die permanently to protect her if need be.

“But for now I’ll be content if you offer me that accessory of yours”, Echidna says while pointing at your right wrist.

You are confused about what she means, but you realize you have a handkerchief tied around your wrist. How did a handkerchief end up there? Ah, that precocious trainee tied it as a custom of her village or some shit. You chuckle with disbelief.

“Are you sure you want this? It’s completely worthless.”

Echidna tilts her head and offers you a smile of understanding.

“You aren’t aware, but objects imbued with the earnest wishes of young maidens hold a special magic of their own.”

You grimace as you snap your head back.

“You are fucking with me, aren’t you…”

Echidna can’t keep a straight face. She covers her mouth while her shoulders tremble, but she ends up bursting into laughter. You laugh as well.

“Don’t play around with my lack of knowledge like that!”, you complain.

Echidna wipes one of her eyes.

“Sorry, sorry. But I assure you, after what I intend to do to it, it won’t be useless any longer.”

She takes your arm by the forearm and lets her free hand hang over the handkerchief. She closes her eyes, and even though nothing seems to have happened, when she opens her eyes again she seems content. She lowers your arm gently.

You bow.

“I assume that has done something. Thank you. I assure you, Witch of Greed, I’ll come visit you as soon as I can.”

Echidna looks down. You don’t like one bit the sadness that showed on her pale face.

“Subaru, you truly don’t understand. The requirement for entering a death-dream gets increasingly harder, and the next time you will have to surpass your request for knowledge that you had uttered while you had gone insane.”

You go cold. You stare at her, waiting for the witch to add some comment that would lessen the finality of her words, but none come. She looks worried that this meeting might have been the last time.

“Please, Echidna, don’t tell me I will never see you again”, you mutter with your throat almost squeezed shut.

The Witch of Greed steps forward and places her hand on your chest, over your heart.

“I wish I knew the answer, and you know how much it bothers me not to know something. Let’s hope that you will find your way back to me, and next time we will have something very important to discuss about our future.”

The Witch of Greed kisses you on the cheek, and as she does so, her form vanishes while her death-dream collapses on itself.

Note from January of 2021:

The part where the protagonist meets Daphne took me a lot to finish. I tend to dive deeply into the scenes in my mind, I guess, and I felt dizzy through it. As if that wasn’t enough, I lost my current job midway through. Other times I embrace these pauses between jobs as opportunities to do stuff I actually want to use my time in, but now I feel like shit.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 64)

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?”

You swallow.

“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?”

Typhon giggles.

“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.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 63)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry, our protagonist failed to push the button of the magnificent Witch of Greed, Echidna.

Echidna turns to whisper in your ear, and her warm breath makes you tingle.
“When I want to get away, I love to float like this and think about how many wonders out there remain to be discovered.”
You whisper back, not wanting to disturb this moment.
“Echidna, you are more bewitching than any of the stars there.”
She chuckles, but then taps you on the chest as if asking you to stop.
“You need to learn how to focus, Subaru, if you want to overcome your many trials. And I’m certainly not talking about the ones I set up. So think about the troubles you have gone through, and how I could help you.”
You rub your face, but your quickened heartbeat makes it hard to think properly. Not to mention that you want to stop thinking and just turn around and make love to this black-eyed loon. But you end up gasping and lifting your head enough to stare at the witch properly.
“Oh, shit, you know everything! How do I bring Rem out of her coma!?”, you say, your tone becoming desperate, your desperation turning into a childlike hope.
Echidna narrows her eyes. She swallows, then looks around as if disappointed with herself.
“That couldn’t have started worse, but it’s on me. I aspire to know everything, Subaru, but I don’t magically know the facts of this world. I have my means, such as my perfect recollection of every image and thought that has entered my mind, and through the trials I can absorb the memories of the participants. Just imagine if everyone in the world went through my trials… My point is, I do know, or used to anyway, more than any other being in the world. As the affliction that landed your girlfriend, or your first one I guess I should say, into a permanent sleep was a mystery without a solution, back when I was alive I researched the subject and even had a patient to test my theories on. But I never found the cure. I’m… sorry.”
You stand there motionless as you stare at her, but when you realize how ashamed she looks, you kiss her white hair and rest your forehead against her temple.
“Don’t worry. It’s obviously not your fault. It just confirms what I already knew, that bringing Rem back is going to be nearly impossible.”
“I suspect, however, that whoever inflicted this condition should be killed to undo the damage. It smells like a sustained spell. It might be that the culprit has evaded retribution for hundreds of years.”
You perk up, and nod vigorously.
“Killing people solves most problems, as usual. We’ll have to keep working with Crusch’s crew until their spy network finds a lead, because we certainly can’t rely on the intelligence networks of our household.”
“I’m sorry that my mood has turned somber”, Echidna says gravely. “There are few things I hate more than not knowing something, and particularly disappointing someone who needs to know the answer as well.”
“It’s alright, Echidna. I’m the one who is sorry to have soured your mood like that. After all, my whole intention for this meeting was to please you, as I will replay in my mind the next time I go to bed…”
“I know all about that, so I can’t expect anything else. But remember, you need to focus. What else could you ask me?”
You tap on your lips as you stare at the faint glow of distant stars.
“Well, Garfiel we could handle if we avoided misunderstandings… You know Garfiel, don’t you?”
“… Yes, I know all about him. I hold his memories, after all.”
“That’s right, he attempted your trial and failed it catastrophically, I’m guessing!”
“That poor tiger boy wasn’t strong enough to stick around and listen to someone’s last words. He might never find the strength to do so, no matter how much he needs to. After all, he is already the strongest man in the world.”
“You don’t seem to like him much.”
“Garfiel bores me. There are nearly infinite interesting subjects in this world and others, and I must deal with limited time and energies.”
“Very well, the mansion, then. Do you know any of those two contract killers? I’m guessing they were born after you died, right?”
Echidna sighs. You don’t want to keep piling up topics that will reveal holes in her knowledge. You have fallen hard for this dead witch, after all.
“They must have, yes”, Echidna says. “However, that blue-haired girl is clearly a beastmaster. Some talented people were, back in my time. They can command monsters. Simple concept, but very effective. They tend to travel around gathering the most dangerous ones. A child, though… No child should run around collecting weird creatures.”
“I’ve been collecting weird people ever since I came to this world.”
“You are obviously a special case, both in talent and… Hmmm, let’s leave it at that.”
You laugh nervously while Echidna smiles, but as if she just thought of something troublesome, her smile fades and she narrows her eyes.
“That Elsa Granhiert… is interesting.”
“She’s a fucking sexy bitch.”
“That too, but it is interesting how she has potential to be an even bigger bitch. I can see her leading an army of undead troops to lay waste to the kingdom in a fit of rage and vengeance. Maybe even an army of wraiths. Yes, that girl shall certainly rise to power.”
“You’re awful at being reassuring.”
“I’m being realistic. Now then, let’s get on with your next question.”
“I won’t have issues with any of our people left behind in the mansion, I don’t think, except for Beatrice. And she’s a great spirit who doesn’t seem to care much about the world that came to be after the last Apocalypse.”
You don’t want to keep the witch’s delicate face out of your sight, so you catch how she tightens her lips and looks away, as if the kooky librarian was a compromising subject for her.
“She’s a good girl. Never did anything bad, in fact, she actually did nothing at all except exist.”
You turn towards Echidna on your invisible hammock, and put your hand on her opposite cheek so she stares straight into your eyes with her black irises and pussy-like pupils.
“Oh shit, you did know Beatrice from the old world!”
Echidna’s snow white skin blushes as if you touching her cheek and asking about the librarian from up close is an excuse to shove your tongue into her witchy mouth. And maybe it should be.
“I better know about Beatrice”, Echidna says with a voice tinged with regret. “I’m responsible for her being in this world.”
You take your time closing your mouth. That fancy butterfly brooch in Echidna’s witch, the butterfly-shaped irises that Beatrice’s eyes display, that single-minded devotion for this presumably great Mother that the librarian hadn’t interacted with in a long, long time. And Echidna’s rosy lips look so welcoming from up close.
“I want to either point out that you must be that Mother person, or I want to hug you tightly while my tongue plays with yours.”
Echidna shakes her head while deep in thought, but then she smiles warmly at you, looks down at your lips and touches your lower one with her index finger. Your heart skips a beat, and you end up holding her fingertip between your lips and licking it. It tastes like finger.
“I don’t know how much you’ll retain from my words now, Subaru,” Echidna says with a low, alluring voice, “but I am indeed the person whom that great spirit refers to as Mother. I told her not to call me like that, though…”
Echidna doesn’t pull her index finger away from your mouth. Instead of that, she slides her fingertip along your lower lip as if tracing it, while she looks down at your mouth with her glistening black eyes.
You swallow. You shouldn’t want to get another erection, particularly when there’s nothing but blue balls in your immediate future.
“Why didn’t you want Beatrice to call you Mother? She must have been contracted to you, right? Puck, that missing cunt, also developed a made up familial relationship with Emilia.”
“I didn’t think I would be good mother material. I find myself quite flighty, and my tastes are esoteric at best.” She chuckles to herself, and sighs. “But seriously, I was the first person that Beatrice saw when she opened her eyes, so she believed that I was her mother. A foolish child doesn’t distinguish fact from fiction. Even as the years passed, she continued to call me Mother… It got to be quite annoying, to be frank.”
Echidna’s pulls her finger away from your mouth. With that hand she touches your chest, and slowly slides her hand up and down. You shiver pleasantly from head to toe.
“Ah… Beatrice idolizes you, as you have seen in my memories”, you say with a thin voice. “Keeps going Mother this, Mother that.”
“You have met her, Subaru. Would you be comfortable letting people know she’s related to you to such an extent?”
“She does have a tendency of stuffing random people’s hands into her mouth… But you were the one who contracted her to take care of Roswaal’s library, right? After four hundred years living the hikikomori lifestyle while surrounded by moldy books, that would make anyone nuts.”
“Beatrice was already a kooky one when my body wasn’t rotting.”
“That doesn’t surprise me. But the whole business with the corpses in the library…”
“I don’t like that your tone suggests that I’m somehow responsible”, Echidna says casually.
“Well, it was your thing, wasn’t it? She said you were obsessed with dead people, and you were collecting dead half-beast villagers and keeping them for some probably unsavory reason.”
“Your suggestion is that I’m making zombies? Hmmm… It’s true that one of my interests is corpses, but I wouldn’t make zombies. They’re too much of a pain to control, and they’re not fun to be around.”
Despite her playful tone, you lean closer to her face to figure out if she’s joking. Also because you desperately want to make out with her.
“You have learned about zombies from my memories of the previous world, haven’t you? They were all over that place.”
“Now seriously… Beatrice got the wrong idea. I’m not obsessed with dead people, I wanted to become immortal. That’s why I studied those half-beast villagers. The corpses weren’t meant to be stored beyond their use in my research. That child bothered to preserve them for four hundred years because, as usual, she fails to understand things properly.”
“So you’re saying you didn’t make any zombies…?” You freeze, as a horrible realization just popped into your mind. “Wait a second, you keep referring to Beatrice as a child.”
“Yes, she is. Even if her mind has endured hundreds of years of this troublesome world, she’s still a child in terms of life experience. But you did fail to pick up on that.”
Your body goes cold, and you lie in silence for a few seconds. Echidna moves her hand up to your chin and turns your head towards her. You swallow.
“I have said terrible things to that child”, you say quietly.
Echidna chuckles, then tilts her head and combs her long, white hair behind her pretty ear.
“You say terrible things to everybody. That’s your niche.”
Your breath is thickening, and you don’t want to tear your gaze away from Echidna’s moist lips. It’s taking all of your willpower to prevent yourself from pulling this black-eyed witch towards you and tasting her saliva from the source.
“You want to have me so bad”, Echidna says while smiling appreciatively. “And it helps you avoid bringing up what you don’t want to remember.”
“Ah… I don’t deny that I want us to stop talking so I can undress you, kiss that whole pale body of yours, then play with your tongue as I push myself deep inside you. If you know what I mean.”
Echidna lets out a contented sigh, then touches the tip of your nose playfully as if you were an unruly child. She’s hundreds of years old, after all.
“I see that lying under the stars doesn’t have the same relaxing effect when you share it with someone your body wants to possess. Forgive me, I have been detached from people for a long time.”
“Oh, no, it has been magical, I assu-“
As if Echidna had pressed pause on your consciousness and then play again, you are now sitting at the tea table, and the tea you poured for yourself still waits hot in front of you. The Witch of Greed is sitting across from you. When she notices the disappointment on your face, she makes the expression of a mother who doesn’t want her child to cry because he can’t stay up after ten.
“I understand, Subaru, but you yourself know that engaging in sexual pleasures is your more recurrent technique to escape from your troubles. So is Emilia’s, it seems, so you have that in common. But you need to keep living in this world, and for that you’ll have to defeat enemies more dangerous than that ancient ghost you know as Petelgeuse.”
You agree sulkily.
“Right… the trials.”
“… My, that monster has truly done a number on you. You don’t think of my trials as your most difficult obstacle, Subaru. You just want to avoid thinking about your most scarring death.”
You shift your weight on your chair, then rub your eyes.
“Would you want to think about it? I have been disemboweled only for the person who did it to get off on playing with my insides. She even castrated me. That’s a single example of my horrible deaths, but I remember it somewhat fondly. And yet those monsters who ate me… I think you might have helped me more by rescuing me from my resulting mental state than anyone ever has.”
“You have no choice but to be strong to face the troubles that insist on coming your way.”
You take a sip of Echidna’s warm tea. It tastes like regular tea as far as you can tell. Why couldn’t she have masturbated into it instead?
“I suppose I’m not as mentally strong as I thought.”
“Really now? Considering you’ve been able to shoulder the deaths of yourself and those around you, I’d say you’re pretty strong. Anyway, I have a feeling that not everything has gone according your plans, and I think it’s time to give you a new one. That demon beast you came across is called the Great Rabbit.”
You sigh.
“Which of those little monsters is supposed to be the great one?”, you ask with a thin, tired voice. “All of them munched on my flesh and bones pretty competently.”
Echidna is staring at you with the closest thing you’ve seen in her to a professional attitude, like a scientist sharing information. You prefer the Echidna who lies on a rug and opens her legs for you.
“All of them are the Great Rabbit. They share a consciousness, even though it’s divided in many bodies.”
“So it’s like an ant colony, then?”
“Not even. They don’t need to share information through pheromones. They truly are a single brain sending information to different bodies.”
“Where is that brain located?”
“It’s just a figure of speech, Subaru.”
You were about to take another sip when your hand trembles, and you lower your teacup again.
“How could nature produce such a monster…? Your world is a fucking mess.”
Echidna smiles reassuringly.
“Don’t blame my world. One day, when you and I aren’t pressed for time, when we can truly talk in peace, I’d like us to share our thoughts about that previous world of yours. So many ingenious ways to compensate for the shocking lack of magic. It’s too bad that you were never interested in figuring out how to build one of those computers, although I doubt we could even develop the necessary industry to produce them. Nevertheless, I digress. The Great Rabbit isn’t an animal that nature gave birth to. It’s what you would call a legendary monster, created by none other than our Witch of Gluttony, Daphne.”
“What!? She didn’t have enough with bringing the White Whale into this world!?”
“Our poor Daphne doesn’t have enough with anything. She was born with the curse of permanent hunger, and it has twisted her mind in predictable ways. And neither did she stop with the Great Rabbit. I hope you never have to face the Black Serpent.”
You shiver, then hunch over and warm your hands with your warm teacup.
“I feel like I’m going to.”
“You might, but you aren’t right now. We still have a chance to address the root of the problem, head on. You know where the Great Rabbit is going to appear. That monster needs to die.”
“Can’t I just stay here with you and eat you out until my tongue falls off?”
Echidna blushes heavily, but then clears her throat against her fist and holds your gaze with difficulty.
“I’m sorry, I can’t let you do that, or at least I shouldn’t. This is a threat to the entire world, but more importantly for our current purposes, I can’t have it wreaking havoc in Sanctuary.”
“And you stopped me when I was about to play with your button, too… You are an even bigger masochist than me.”
Echidna smiles, then wipes a bit of tea that spilled on her chin.
“I know you quite well, Subaru, which is a benefit of being able to revisit all your memories whenever I want. If you allow yourself to falter, you will push yourself into a self-imposed loop during which you will keep saying that you’ll solve your seemingly insurmountable troubles in a future life. I can’t allow you to do that, I care too much for you. You will have my full support. You are my eyes and ears out there.”
Echidna’s words make you feel guilty. She has been trapped for hundreds of years. Trapped while dead, no less. And you want to avoid facing reality just because you risk getting eaten alive until nothing of you remains. More than that, though, you want to make Echidna proud. You wonder if people who believe in a god, or several, feel like this. You need to earn this impossibly powerful witch’s respect, and any way you could satisfy her would make you happy.
“Alright, Witch of Greed. I will do my best.”
A bright smile comes across her face.
“I knew I could count on you, Subaru. You are a unique person, a silly one who makes mistakes every now and then, but a good one. I’m sure that together we’ll crush our enemies.”
You want to reach for her pale hand, which is resting near her teacup, but you would have to reach over the table. Echidna must have read your intentions, because she tilts her head and smiles warmly at you.
“I have seen all your life”, Echidna says with a sultry voice that makes you tingle. “I could revisit it now if I wanted to. We are almost one, you and I.”
You swallow as your heart beats louder.
“You know that we can become one whenever you want”, you say with a low voice which betrays how much you want her.
Echidna gazes at you intensely. She’s sliding her finger slowly along the rim of her teacup.
“I’m sure us making love would feel wonderful, but I mean beyond that. I wish we would share the same body. We would be entwined as a single soul. I had never wished for that…”
You want to smile, you want to come up with a clever answer, or at least one that would allow you to hear her pretty laugh, but you feel as if you aren’t looking at Echidna right now, but at the Witch of Greed. She desires you in a way that would consume you, and that gushes out of her abyss with a strength that dwarfs her towering intelligence. Although you have accepted yourself as a servant of Emilia and her ambitions, you hadn’t yearned to serve the way you want to be of use to this black-eyed witch.
Your mouth is dry.
“I don’t know how to address such a naked declaration of lifelong love, Echidna.”
She breathes passionately. You feel the air around you grow warmer, more humid. Her eyes don’t blink.
“Love is too small for what I mean, Subaru. Or more appropriately, there isn’t a word big enough for what I want.”
Her expression can’t hide her deep-seated desire. She wants everything that is you, body and mind. And while you have often thought similar things regarding Rem, and Emilia, the difference is that both of them would settle for your heart, but never demand everything.
“I… look forward to knowing you more and more, Echidna”, you say with a voice that seems insufficient for the circumstances.
“Aww, why does that sound so formal? I know you can’t offer me your heart, but would it hurt to be more intimate?”
“If… if I drop my guard for even a second, I would lose myself. You are a lot, Witch of Greed.”
“You won’t. Trust me. You can freely give yourself to me. And I will offer you something now that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. How about you have a chat with the artificer of your most troubling death so far?”
You are feeling light-headed, and for a moment you have no clue what she’s talking about. Then you don’t want to have a clue about what she’s talking about. You swallow and lean towards Echidna, resting your elbows on the table.
“Are you suggesting I speak with Daphne, the Witch of Gluttony?”
“Yes, yes. She’ll be the most entertaining for what you want to know.”
“As… As in she will be sitting there and I will have a face to face talk with the person who created both the White Whale and the Great Rabbit?”
“Daphne doesn’t sit anywhere. But don’t worry about the logistic details, that’s my job. Just relax and let me take care of everything.”
Your breath is thickening. The person who has created such monsters can only be a bigger monster. Are you truly going to attempt this?
“But… can I trust her?”
“Trust is such a strong word. How about hope? You can hope that she will be truthful to an extent that’s beneficial to you.”
You know full well that it’s unlikely that the Witch of Gluttony will tell you how to kill the Great Rabbit, but there’s no harm in asking… Unless the harm comes because she will eat you on sight.
Echidna has placed her hands underneath her chin and keeps staring at you patiently with her black eyes.
“Yes… I think I should take this opportunity”, you say with a raspy voice.
“That’s wonderful, Subaru. I’m very curious about how you will deal with her. Gluttony doesn’t have much on her plate right now, so she should be up for a chat.”
She moves her chair back as a shiver runs through your spine. Your throat tightens.
“Please, don’t use food-related analogies when I have to face someone cursed with permanent hunger!”
Echidna closes her eyes and giggles mischievously as her shoulders tremble. That annoys you. Surely she understands how much facing another witch of old, one who created such monsters, scares you, but maybe she knows that you have nothing to fear.
“Sorry, sorry”, Echidna says, amused. “But you need to know a few things. First of all, although your body rests at the antechamber of our tomb, your mind struggles to keep it together in a death-dream. I am helping you with my magic, but you always risk the possibility that your mind will face such an incomprehensible or non-integrable event that it will shatter. If it gets bad enough, you will never return to your body.”
You are getting colder and colder.
“I don’t know how to even begin to prepare myself for that.”
Echidna waves a hand dismissively.
“Ah, you will be fine. You have survived much worse. Very well, I will relax the defenses and invite Daphne to appear in my place. Alright?”
“Sure thing, Echidna…”
“Try to keep your wits about you. Two things to have in mind: don’t get too close to the Witch of Gluttony, and don’t look into her eyes for any reason. I will return to you later.”
“Wait, why shouldn’t I look Daphne in the eyes!?”
Echidna winks at you, then disappears. You are left with your mouth open, leaning towards the empty chair, and frozen in anticipation for the moment when the mother of the two worst monsters you’ve ever known appears.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 62)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry, our unlucky protagonist got to enjoy a break with some cute little bunnies.

You are looking down at grass so green as if it came out of a painting. None of the fingers of your right hand are missing. In fact, you still have arms. You check what you can see of the rest of your body, but you are as healthy as you have ever been. Even more than that, you are calm as if you just came out of an operation where they pumped you full of morphine, and yet you feel completely lucid. You remember everything. A horde of monstrous rabbits devoured you to the last drop of your blood, and you lost your mind. There wasn’t the hint of a commanding center that could steer your consciousness away from insanity. Would that have been the end? No matter how many lives you live, how many times you die and get reborn, what use is it if you lose your mind? And how were you saved?
You lift your gaze and you see her. Echidna. The Witch of Greed is sitting on her chair in the shade of the parasol. She has prepared two teacups and a steaming teapot, and she waits for you to join her. You keep staring at the witch while an indescribable gratitude fills you. She’s as pale as the snow you waded through, but still not as white as her long, silky hair. She’s wearing an elegant funeral dress that only exposes her flesh from the neck up, as well as her hands. She holds your gaze knowingly with her intelligent black eyes that have vertical, white pupils, and her smile welcomes you genuinely, as if she had wanted nothing more than to receive you again.
“That death was unimaginably awful, wasn’t it?”, Echidna asks calmly. “You were quite lucky that you just happened to end up in a room where I could help.”
You swallow, and try to clear the images from your mind.
“I was… I had lost it, hadn’t I?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, I’ve been there. Dying and seeing my corpse decay before my very eyes left an impression on me. It was such a beautiful, elegant body, too. What a waste. At least you don’t stay around for that part. But you’re here now, safe and sound, thanks to my mercy.”
Echidna gathers her long white hair in one hand. She lifts it slightly as she tilts her head, and lets the hair slide through her fingers.
“Unless my eyes deceive me,” you say with a deep voice, as your heartbeat quickens, “you haven’t lost any of that beauty.”
Echidna laughs, and her black eyes shine. She smiles displaying her pretty teeth.
“You jump so quick to praising the women you are attracted to, Subaru. Not everyone likes a flatterer.”
“I’m serious. Seeing your pale face fills me with such joy that I could take your hand and dance for hours in this fake world of grass.”
Echidna closes one eye to look at you coyly with her other one.
“Hmmm… That’s quite the declaration. But you have seduced with similarly buttery words all those other women who prevented your mind from breaking, haven’t you?”
“None other could have. That’s what you wanted me to understand from the beginning, right? There is only one Echidna, the Witch of Greed, now or ever.”
Echidna hums, her eyes narrowing. She moves her hair to one side with both hands, leaning her head forward and exposing her long, slender neck. Her head cocked to the side, she lets out a mischievous little grin.
“You always did have a one-track mind, didn’t you?”
“One when it comes to the best.”
“In all that praise, I haven’t yet heard a ‘thank you’, Subaru. As in ‘thank you from stopping my mind from breaking permanently after being consumed by the Great Rabbit’. I wouldn’t do that for just anybody.”
“That’s right, you wouldn’t. You are a witch of old. You have better things to do.”
“But I’m doing it for you. Why is that?”
As she speaks, her voice becomes lower, the sultriness of it washing over you. You are short on breath, even though you intend to speak normally.
“Because I’m the first guy whose memories you have taken full possession of who happens to be able to return to the past whenever he dies, I’m guessing.”
Echidna smiles, and puts her hand on her chest.
“You know me so well.”
You walk up to the tea table. As you stand between the empty chair and Echidna’s, she looks up at you with a wavering smile, as if she didn’t predict you approaching her this way. You put your hand on the table and lean towards her.
“Why would you erase yourself from my memories whenever I exit this grass world of yours, Echidna?”
“Does it really matter? Besides, it’s not like I erased everything. I still left you with some… experiences.”
You put your hand on Echidna’s, which she’s resting on the table next to her filled teacup. She opens her eyes wide for a split second, and separates her lips. Her hand is warm. You’d gladly hold it for the entire time you spend here.
“It matters because I don’t want to forget you, Echidna. I want to keep you in my thoughts, that I was able to look at your beautiful face, that I had great conversations with you, and that you saved my life.”
Echidna’s lips curl into a smile, and even though she looks as if she’s containing it, she blushes slightly.
“In my case, I’d love it if you could come back to me whenever you die, again and again.” She slowly lifts her finger, and touches your chest. “It’s done. I have rewritten the pact so you will never forget me.”
Echidna gives you a small wink while she blows on her tea, as if to tell you it’s ready.
You stand there overwhelmed. You haven’t lifted your hand from Echidna’s, although she doesn’t acknowledge it. She is a witch who has been dead for hundreds of years, but she has seen every single memory you have stored and she can likely revisit them with perfect recollection. Instead of fleeing from you in a panic, she rescues you from insanity and then welcomes you lovingly in her dream. Your heart is beating as hard as you want this woman, and you fear that if she offered you to stay with her in her death-dream forever, you would jump for joy.
Echidna has lowered her head and is glancing at you shily while bending a corner of her mouth in a smile.
“What will I do with you, Subaru, when you just stand there staring at me so intensely?”
“I was just thinking of how beautiful you are.”
Echidna puts her hand on her mouth as she giggles, then she lifts that hand to touch your cheek.
“Well, I suppose I am. But we share something more meaningful than beauty, wouldn’t you agree?”, Echidna says.
Against your will, merely to make it less awkward, you nod, pull your hand away from hers and sit slowly on the chair across the Witch of Greed. A thin vapor rises from the tea she has poured for you.
She rests her elbows on the table, which displays the vertical strips on the sleeves of her black dress, and she rests her face on her palms while her black eyes glisten.
“I prepared my tea just how you like it. You didn’t remember me outside of my death-dream, but I wondered if you would have missed sitting in front of me, lifting a warm teacup to your lips and tasting my special tea.”
“Well, it depends. Did you add your special ingredient?”
“Oh, you don’t have to doubt that I will always prepare your tea with special attention. I put some more of that special ingredient this time, just for you.”
Her black eyes shining, she lifts her teacup to her lips and takes a sip.
“In that case, Echidna…”
You lift the warm teacup to your lips and you drink from it slowly, without stopping, tilting the teacup until only the sludge at the bottom remains. When you put your teacup down and lick your lips, Echidna’s eyes are watery, her white pupils have dilated horizontally, she’s breathing harder through her mouth, and her cheeks have reddened.
“Delicious”, you say with a throaty voice. “I’ll have some more.” You grab the steaming teapot and fill your teacup carefully. “But you will grant me some more time to enjoy my second cup more leisurely, won’t you?”
She plays with a strand of hair to avoid holding your gaze.
“Y-Yes, you may take all the time you need…”
“Still, why go through the theatrics of salivating on the tea you so lovingly prepare for me, Echidna? I would go straight to the source of your bodily fluids.”
The witch gulps.
“You know how to make the heart of a long-dead maiden race, Subaru. Would you clarify what you are proposing to me?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You do know more than anyone in this world, don’t you, Echidna? Then say what I meant.”
Even though she can’t push her blush down, she smiles mischievously at you.
“Why, you want to drink my blood, of course… Though it would be simpler if you just said so.”
“Ah, I see how it is. You know how much I have enjoyed all that blood-sucking business. But I wasn’t going for that. So would you care to guess again?”
She looks away from you and her face becomes one big frown, though she’s also trying not to laugh.
“You… You want… To taste my blood…”
“I want to taste something of yours, for sure.”
“Then… Then you want… But we both know what you want, Subaru.”
You lift your ass off the chair, then reach with your hand to hold her chin and make her look deep into your eyes.
“Echidna. I want to taste your blood, your sweat, your saliva, your tears… I want to taste every single liquid and fluid in your body. I want to feel your pain and your pleasure. I want you to lie on the grass, pull your panties down and open your legs. I will eat out the cobwebs from your dried up pussy. I will lap up your witchy cum to the last drop. And I’ll want to do it over and over.”
You can feel her emotions leaking into your mind. The sensation of a small droplet of water rolling down your cheeks. She shakes her head, and you feel the pulsating pain coming from her through your link. She takes your hand that was holding her chin, and slowly lowers it down to the table, although she doesn’t stop touching it.
“You use some dangerous words, especially with someone who has been alone for far too long… Far too long…”
“I’m glad that I am able to stimulate you, and I would stimulate you much more.”
Echidna lifts her free hand to her breast, that her funeral dress hugs tightly, and swallows. Her rosy lips are wet.
“You must get such pleasure of saying bold things, don’t you, Subaru?”, she asks with a low voice.
“For sure! Being weird is one of the best pleasures of life. As for other pleasures, lie down gently on the grass and open your legs for me so I can make you live again.”
A bead of saliva is about to run down her lip, but she licks it and closes her mouth. She looks down at your hand that she’s holding, and she strokes it slowly with her thumb.
“You are saying some very bold things right now.”
“Have I said too much already? My feelings for you are no secret, certainly not for a being of such immense power. At this point you must almost be able to read my mind and know what I think of you.”
“Subaru, you have a girlfriend, who is in a coma. And you have a girlfriend, who is lying on the antechamber’s floor, and who has shared passionate moments with you even if her current self doesn’t know it.”
“You wouldn’t be jealous of Emilia or Rem, would you?”
She makes a pouting face, and shuts one of her eyes. She turns her head to the side. You laugh at her childishly cute reaction.
“That’s even bolder, laughing at someone who can crush you with a snap of her finger”, she says nonchalantly.
“But at this point I would be glad to be crushed by you, Echidna. Surely you understand that.”
“You do have such a concept as cheating in your world. That much I have seen.”
“Yeah, it’s not good.”
Echidna looks up at you with her cheeks still red, but frowns in amused disbelief.
“But that’s what you are proposing by wanting to take care of this maiden’s long-buried longings, aren’t you?”
You don’t want to pull away from the warmth of Echidna’s hand, but you rub your chin with your free hand and think about it.
“Yeah, I don’t know why it doesn’t feel like cheating to me. It might be a complicated matter. The reality is that I want you to melt in my mouth as a gesture of genuine love and gratitude, instead of something sexual.”
Echidna’s cheeks blush even harder, and she hides her face with her free hand.
“I don’t believe there’s a world in which licking someone’s genitals to give them an orgasm wouldn’t be considered a sexual act. And you say it so calmly… You’re not at all hesitant like you were with the other two.”
“Well, in any case, have that in mind. If you ever want to get your pussy eaten, give me a call.”
She lowers her palm along her face, and her fingers linger on her lips for a moment. She can’t bring herself to look you in the eye.
“I hold all of your memories, Subaru, and I still can’t tell if you are serious. That’s how much of an enigma you are for me. And it just happens that mysteries make my heart race…”
You lean towards her blushed face, and you get to see those beautiful, delicate features that much closer.
“I don’t know either if I’m serious or not. So how about you lie on the grass, pull down your panties and we find out?”
She remains in silence for long seconds as she breathes heavily through her nose, and her heartbeats pound loudly in the artificial silence.
With an immediate and decisive answer, she releases your hand, stands up and walks away from the tea table. With a snap of her fingers she materializes a fluffy, very comfortable looking rug which covers a patch of grass. She sits down on it, facing you, and leans back against the rug. She lifts the side slit of her funeral dress so she reveals her long, thin and snow white legs, befitting a princess locked in a tower.
You bite your lower lip while your heart jumps on your chest. You have no clue how you can have an erection in a death-dream, and although you are glad, the crotch of your pants is complaining about it.
Echidna slides her black lace panties down to her ankles, and then parts her legs a bit. You can’t see her pussy from your position, but you can’t wait to taste it. The open skirt of her black dress flows along with the wind, almost as if it’s a bridal gown. Echidna holds your gaze with her glistening black eyes, beckoning you to get closer.
“Come on over here, let’s get started.”
“Sorry, I can’t hear you. My raging erection is giving me tunnel vision.”
Echidna giggles quietly, taking one hand out of the slit of her dress to cover her mouth while her shoulders bounce lightly.
“I’m the only thing that matters in front of you, am I not?”
“I can’t think of anything else that would matter now.”
With a mischievous smile, Echidna parts her legs a bit more. She holds her black dress to her stomach with her other hand, giving you a full view of her damp pussy and beautiful legs. As you walk slowly towards the devil without moving your gaze away from that delicious meal, for a moment you are a bit disappointed that it didn’t turn out that Echidna had some weird pussy like a horizontal one or something crazier, but it doesn’t matter. Those rosy lips hugging that welcoming button on top are all you need in the world. You aren’t surprised that her pubic hair, which she hasn’t trimmed for a long time, but that still doesn’t suggest four hundred years of growth, is white as well.
“Come on, Subaru”, Echidna says with a sultry voice. “Do we have all night?”
Crouching down, you are now face to face with Echidna’s womanhood. Her overwhelming scent fills your nostrils, and you feel the heat coming from her, so hot as if it intended to scorch your skin. You stare into her vaginal opening, which from this angle and position it looks like a flesh version of the witch’s pupils. You won’t be able to hold her gaze the same way again.
You swallow before you start drooling, and then with both hands you caress the interior of her thighs slowly and lovingly, as if kneading her flesh. Echidna closes her eyes and lets out a sigh of pleasure.
“How bad do you want it, witch?”, you ask with a low, hungry voice. “How much do you want me to take care of that delicious pussy of yours over and over?”
“Mmmm, so much… You don’t even know how much I wish for that, Subaru”, she replies, her legs a bit shaking from the pleasure.
You lie on your chest and scoot closer to the warmth emanating from her insides. You caress along the sides of her waist, sliding your hands under her dress. You kiss and lick the pale skin of her inner thigh as you trace a slow path towards her pussy.
“Tell me”, you whisper.
“I want… I want you to need me… to love me… to be mine forever.”
You spread the lips of her pussy and move closer still, breathing in and out while feeling the intense heat of her core warming up your face. Her scent is making you light-headed.
“Forever, huh?”, you murmur. “As your personal slave…?”
“Nnhh… We’ll see… we’ll see.”
Threading your fingers through her pubic hair with one hand, with the other you wet your fingers with her warm juice, and slowly move in for a lick. Echidna arches her back and grabs your head with both hands, pulling you into her as her feet curl up.
Echidna sighs deeply, but as the tip of your tongue is about to touch her clit, you cannot move your face any closer. It’s as if an invisible barrier was holding you in place. You look up, thinking that Echidna has moved her hands to your forehead to push you, although you would have noticed, but she’s still holding your head as if to pull you closer. Still, you can’t reach further. A drop of your saliva falls from your tongue on her drenched insides, and Echidna lets out a soft moan.
“Ah… We have learned so much, Subaru”, she purrs.
You retract your tongue. Even though Echidna is running her fingers through your hair, you don’t like one bit that finality in her voice.
“We still have plenty to learn, Echidna”, you say almost out of breath.
The witch’s eyes glow with pleasure as she stares down at you with trust and love. She’s smiling as if she just came, even though she prevented you from even trying.
“I know we do. And our experiment was such a success. I have learned so much from myself, and from you. Despite my reservations and pretensions, plenty of them born because I have been trapped for hundreds of years, I yearn for this intimate touch with someone who would love to please me. I am a woman, I am alive. I am so grateful that you showed me that, Subaru.”
“I-I can show you much more than that! I will eat you out so good that it will send your spirit straight to heaven! I will make you see the light!”
“Ah… That interests me. The act of sex is to reproduce, but even without that, we humans find so much joy in it.”
“Just let me get a little bit closer, for the love of God.”
Echidna chuckles softly, then lets out a long sigh. She moves her hands to your cheeks, then caresses them lovingly as her gaze moves on your features.
“No, no… The love of the gods has abandoned us both.”
You frown, wondering what she means. Her pussy is still warming your face, her rousing smell filling your nostrils. Your dick hasn’t gone down a bit, and it must be leaking pre-cum. The blue balls for this one are going to kill you.
“Echidna… Is this another one of your trials?”
“In a way, everything is a trial, just not one as formal or as purposeful as the ones that lift the barrier of Sanctuary. Please, Subaru, tell me. I’m very curious to know how come I saw you hesitate so much in getting involved romantically with Rem and Emilia, and yet since you entered my death-dream I have seen nothing in your eyes but the wish to please me entirely.”
Echidna sits up, her calves still resting on your shoulders as she looks down at you. Her eyes analyzing your every thought.
You close your eyes, then you lower your hands to her thighs and use the inner part of one as your pillow. Your dick is squeezed against the ground.
“You know, back when I only thought about loving my Rem forever, I punished myself for every thought about touching other women, even if my subconscious produced them by itself. And my subconscious produced them by the hundreds, believe me. I thought that if due to some horrible lapse of judgement I let myself cheat on her, I wouldn’t be able to survive psychologically. My mental stability has always been precarious, and to keep going I have to be able to stand on platforms such as ‘I’m not the kind of man who would cheat on the love of his life’, or ‘I won’t eat human remains’, or ‘I will never have sex with the precocious trainee despite her skimpy outfit and that in my mind I keep confusing her name with Lolita’. We need those kinds of maxims to survive in society, even though the society I have ended up living in is nuts. But… unfortunately I discovered that I can survive, remain sane, after committing the worst sin in the world, and carrying on regardless doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Does that make me stronger, Echidna?”
Echidna combs her waist-long hair with her hand while looking up at the clouds, deep in thought.
“I don’t know. I’ve never thought of myself as strong, just lucky. I’m just a girl that was given powers beyond imagination and a broken brain to use them.”
You hide your face with the witch’s thigh.
“You remain coherent even in the midst of your overwhelming compulsions, so that alone makes you a role model for me.”
Echidna giggles as she runs her fingers through your hair.
You sigh deeply.
“If I want to be real honest with myself, maybe I don’t even want to pursue the next intriguingly pleasurable shot of pain, nor wear my willpower down to nothing by saving the people I like over and over. Every aspect of my personality is just a symptom of my overpowering need to devour pussy, hence how I ended up hiding my urge to cry against the thigh of a witch that has been dead for four hundred years.”
“I understand”, Echidna whispers.
“Maybe you could help me with that one last compulsion.”
“We cannot do it, Subaru. Not in this place.”
You separate your face from her warm thigh just enough to see Echidna’s expression. She is running her fingers through your hair slowly while she holds your gaze with an expression of unconditional understanding, as if she were your loving mother. Your penis isn’t sure whether it should soften or harden. You swallow.
“There would hardly be a more suited place for us to enjoy some naked romance while rolling on the grass, possibly downhill.”
“I never really thought about having sex in the outdoors before… but then I suppose I never had such a beautiful partner to do so with.”
“You are really not making it any easier that I cannot lick you dry right now.”
Echidna clicks her tongue.
“Ah, I know…”, she says as if she isn’t the one preventing you from eating her out.
Echidna motions for you to lift your head off her thigh, and you are disappointed that you can’t enjoy her warmth any longer, but the witch slides down next to you and puts her arms around you. You hold her waist and put your head against her chest. Her dress smells like an antique shop, but it’s not unpleasant. You sigh, then relax your body. This feels real nice. It’s hard to believe that your body remains in the cold, dark world outside, waiting for you to fly back into it.
“Subaru… We can’t satisfy our sexual needs with each other because you forgot something vital about this place”, Echidna says softly.
“I don’t know what it could be. Your pussy was as real as they come, except that this one wouldn’t come!”
Echidna chuckles.
“I’m very, very serious. Think about it.”
“You mean the witches’ tomb itself?”
“That’s right. It’s in the name, isn’t it?”
“… Sorry. Most of my blood isn’t reaching my brain.”
“It’s fine. The plural in the name isn’t a misnomer, Subaru. The same way my spirit remains restless, so do theirs.”
A cold shiver runs through your body, and before you know it you have sat up. Your current world is an ocean of grass in which the swollen waves are frozen, allowing the lovely Echidna to set on the top of them her tea parties enhanced with saliva. No sign of any voyeur witches.
“Are you suggesting that the other witches of old are here, and I just can’t see them?”, you ask quietly, even though any other witch present would have heard plenty of incriminating stuff.
“Correct. By binding all of our souls into the very tomb, they prevented us from disrupting their notion of how the world ought to be. But we have never ceased to think, to feel, to suffer…”
“That’s… that’s not natural.”
Echidna sighs, and sits up. She touches her fingers to her lips, then touches them to yours. Although you want so bad to kiss her, she wouldn’t allow it.
“But the worst punishment was locking us up for hundreds of years with each other”, Echidna adds. “I’m the only one who can create these realistic simulations, and the others can only enter them as long as I weaken the defenses. But I assure you, they have heard everything, they have seen everything.”
You gulp, and now you feel a bit sick.
“Even Satella…?”
Echidna’s expression sours as if she wished to never be reminded of the witch who killed her. The Witch of Greed sighs, then nods.
“I have special defenses set up for that one.”
You lower your head, trying to take it all in. You are already overwhelmed by the current witch of old. She’s capturing your thoughts and your senses. But a bunch of them you have never met have been looking into the scene as if from a sex shop booth, probably while touching themselves? It’s too much. And that Witch of Gluttony, who created the White Whale, is among them.
Echidna twists around and pushes you down playfully so you lie on your back, and then she lies next to you. You are staring at a perfectly blue sky as if Echidna didn’t add neither red nor green into the equation.
“Subaru, let’s forget about those girls for a while. You must have so many questions that only my knowledge can answer, isn’t that right? And you have spent all your time since you entered my death-dream trying to pleasure me sexually.”
“Which you appreciate, I hope…”
“Of course, but maybe we should focus?”
“I suppose…”
“Good. Ask away, you adorable little thing. Ah… But let’s first set the mood by gazing at the stars.”
You turn your head towards Echidna to figure out if she’s making a joke.
“The day is as clear as th-“
The death-dream goes dark, and the grassy ground ceases to hold your weight. Although you seem to be floating in a void, in practice something like an invisible hammock is holding you in place. Echidna, the Witch of Greed, leans against you from the side. She rests her temple on yours, and after she lifts a hand towards the black void above you and she snaps her fingers, an endless horizon of a myriad of stars, nebulae and galaxies lights up. The both of you are bathed in their distant warmth.
You want to choke up. You are holding on to the closest thing to a goddess you have ever known.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 61)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry we witnessed Garfiel going through a mental breakdown, which is more dangerous than usual when the person in question can transform into a ginormous, unstoppable anthropomorphic tiger. Patrasche ended up allowing the protagonist to keep struggling for a bit longer. That ground dragon is the only innocent character in this tale.

This part is much shorter than the rest, the shortest in fact, because I have already written most of the following one and it turned out to be fucking long and had a different feel.

You are lying on a floor made out of lots of flat stones. You recognize it as the antechamber, but your body knows immediately that something is wrong. When you breathe, the air comes out as a fleeting, misty cloud, and then you feel the cold. It’s as if a winter has descended. Winter has never meant anything good in this new world of yours. The weather in Sanctuary didn’t suggest this cold, so either a lot of time has passed, or Emilia has died.
You sit up and hug yourself. It’s far too cold for your current clothes, and you can’t keep your teeth from chattering. The chamber is illuminated by the shafts of light the descend from the openings in the stone roof, but you notice that snow has amassed on the floor below the openings. Even if Emilia has died, and the world is on its way to another Apocalypse, you must have been out cold for a while.
You hide your face in your hands and try to focus on your situation. With every breath, a few of your ribs hurt. You must have broken some of them when you flew off Patrasche. Garfiel transformed into a gigantic, unstoppable tiger, and he killed Otto, he killed those villagers, he killed your Patrasche… This world needs to end already. It’s another failed run. But at least you will take the opportunity to figure out why the hell would it be snowing suddenly. If Emilia has died, you doubt it would have been by Garfiel’s hands, unless the hick bastard decided to turn around and massacre absolutely everybody else in Sanctuary. Would he have done so?
“Emilia?”, you find yourself calling out, but no reply comes back.
Your eyes are starting to burn, and you’re beginning to feel dizzy. You want to hold the half-elf in your arms and feel for a while that everything is alright. To do so you will need to die again, and you always hate to anticipate that incoming pain and in which form it will come this time. You are far away from that fancy suicide device back at the capital, and it’s not as if you can rely on the safe death that a gun provides.
From the feeling in your chest and the blurry vision in front of you, you can tell your heart is about to give out at any given moment. You stagger up while you grit your teeth. You will return to Ryuzu’s place, that nice Ryuzu that baked you cookies, and find out for sure if your Emilia is dead. When you confirm it, you will procure yourself one of the slow deaths by plunging a knife into your carotid artery.
As you walk slowly out of the antechamber and into the darkness of the stone corridor, you feel again that something isn’t right. Shouldn’t the trial have triggered? You should be experiencing the second trial of the three. Is this part of it? If as they suggested, the second trial represents the present, certainly struggling to deal with Sanctuary’s problems is one of the most pressing issues in your current life. You’ll keep that on the back of your mind.
You exit the witches’ tomb and shuffle up to the edge of the platform. The clearing as far as you can see is blanketed in glittering snow, and judging by how it has amassed against the trees, the snow must be shin-deep. The enclosing forest is topped with white. If you weren’t dreading that you need to kill yourself as soon as possible, and also you weren’t risking hypothermia if you aren’t suffering from it already, you would bask in the beauty of this wintry scene.
You jump off the last stone step to wade into the snow. With every third step you take, the snow rises above your ankle. By the time you’ve taken twenty steps it has swallowed your calves. The world is silent except for some occasional bird calls. All the previous times you ended up at the witches’ tomb you could rely on Otto’s carriage to return to the center of the village, but this time you’ll need to trek there on foot. You hope you’ll remember the way.
It takes you what feels like way too long to reach the first villager homes, farms and barns. You don’t see anybody. The barns and grazing fields are devoid of animals, and the only sign of life are the birds that move in the snowed canopy and that fly over the path. You don’t want to check any of the houses, because you don’t want to deal with any of the villagers if they happen to be huddled inside.
The church is one of the tallest structures in this part of the village, so you know you can head in that direction to find it. Once you spot it, you quicken your pace. Your teeth are chattering bad, your lungs tingle from the cold, your hands and feet are getting numb, snot is coming out of your nose. Living is such a bother. You are already aching for the all too short break of floating in that black bath of love, so you can glare with resentment, even though you won’t have eyes any longer, at that traitorous witch.
Once you reach what passes for the village square in Sanctuary, with both Ryuzu’s home and the church-like building in the background, you would have hurried to check on Emilia if it wasn’t because you see that there’s bunch of clothes strewn about the snow, as if someone had ran around to throw the laundry. As you get closer to one of those sets of clothes, though, it looks different. It’s as if a villager had fallen and his body had disappeared, leaving his clothes lying on the floor. You mess them a bit, to see if there’s a hint of any remains, but you don’t notice anything weird about the clothes beyond them being thrown outside and half-frozen.
The large door of the church is open, and you glimpse lots of either people or clothes gathered on the floor. You shiver in the cold and run towards the church. As you enter you hold your breath. Sets of clothes that had belonged to Roswaal’s villagers are gathered on the floor as if, again, their owners had just fallen and then vanished, leaving the clothes behind. You even spot the idiotic village chief’s wizardly robe.
Your heart stops for a moment. You aren’t going to find Emilia’s dress inside Ryuzu’s home, with the half-elf missing, will you?
You can’t think straight as you exit the church again, but some movement near the center of the square makes you stop on your tracks. A white rabbit seems to have emerged of the snow as if it had been burrowing under it. It looks very similar to the rabbits you knew, except for the solid red eyes and a small horn protruding from its forehead. The animal licks its paws, and when you let out a sigh of relief, it lifts its gaze as if it feared a predator. The white fur that covers most of its body is almost as clean as flour, without a single trace of dirt. The soft hair shuffles on its feet as it moves them on the powdery snow. The rabbit focuses its red gaze on you.
You find yourself smiling. Coming across a beautiful little bunny is the only nice thing that has happened to you recently. You trudge your way through the snow, with more difficulty because of how much your ribcage hurts than because of the depth of snow on this square, and you stop within petting distance of the rabbit. It looks up at you curiously while its ears twitch.
“Look at you, what a cute little fella! I haven’t had good experiences with horned animals in this world of yours, but who am I to judge about horniness?”
The rabbit licks its nose and hops a bit to the side. You crouch down as you prepare yourself to pet it.
“What is a cute little bunny like you doing in a place like this? Do you come here often?”
The rabbit hops a bit to the other side, and your hand hovers just out of reach from it.
“Come on, I promise I wont hurt you. Just let me touch you for a moment.”
The rabbit seems to consider it, and then moves a bit forward. You smile, and you reach with your hand to touch the fur of its head. A chill makes you shiver from head to toe as you feel as if you’ve lost a split second of your life. What just happened? Your right hand feels warm, and it keeps warming as something liquid runs down it towards your wrist. You look at your hand and it takes you a moment to register that the palm is covered in blood, and that both your index and middle finger are missing. You scream and stumble back. The blood from your hand makes it slippery and you fall on the ground.
The rabbit sits there looking at you, blood dripping from its mouth. You notice its teeth are unnaturally long, like fangs, but not normal ones. It hops forward with a grunt and bites on your right forearm with its teeth, piercing the skin through the clothes and sinking them into your flesh.
You push yourself with your heels while at the same time you try to kick at the monstrous rabbit, and when you land a hit on its belly, everything below where the rabbit was chomping on your arm tears off. As you scream, blood pumps out what remains of your right arm. The rabbit devours your detached flesh, including its bones, with a few chomps, and then runs around licking every pool and drop of blood as if cleaning the snow.
You stagger to your feet. You are surrounded by furry balls of white that stand or hop around in every direction of the village square. As gray patches grow on the edges of your vision, your entire world turns into dozens of pairs of red eyes staring at you on a white background.
Your legs wobble. You clench your teeth, fearing to make a single sound, but it’s no use. As if controlled by a single voice, every one of the dozens of rabbits that have emerged out of the snow bare their teeth and charge at you from every direction. You raise your remaining hand as if to beg them to stop, but an uncountable number of rabbits leaps towards you and shove their teeth into your flesh. You fall helplessly to the ground. There’s no popping sound when their teeth puncture your skin, but a slurping sound. It’s as if your body is a block of ice-cream, and the blood that spews out is as pleasurable as the sweet treat. The pain does not come immediately, and you just feel a tingling sensation all over your body, but when the shockwaves of pain do come, it’s along with visions of rabbits tearing off your feet, chomping through your thighs, burrowing into your abdomen, munching through your ribcage, pulling off your genitals. Tiny sharp teeth chew through your skin, shattering your bones. Viscous liquids are mixed together in a blender of sharp claws and jagged teeth grinding against fragile brittle bone that ultimately shatters like glass.
You are unable to scream, the only air that escapes is a stifled wheeze. The grayness you see at the edge of your vision begins to engulf your entire field of view, accompanied by a ringing in your ears. You feel the rabbits feeding on you from the inside, roofed by what remains of your ribcage. Other rabbits are biting your neck and your head, crunching bone.
The soft crunching sound of chewing, the sloshing of liquids being mixed, the disgusting squishing noise of your organs being rearranged. Your brain is fried by the excruciating pain. Your spinal cord is shredded apart, and your nerves are pulled taut like guitar strings. Your heart continues fluttering weakly in an attempt to escape the rigid cage that holds it still. With death approaching, you regret not telling Ram you were sorry. You regret not thanking Emilia for everything she’s done. You regret not being able to say one last goodbye to Rem, who surely…
In the blinding redness that your vision has become you get a glimpse of rabbit faces as they leap onto your head and munch on your face. You feel them plunging their teeth into your eyes and pulling them off, then burrowing further into your eye sockets. The front of your skull is punctured as they bore through. The lobes of your brain are torn as they pull outward, then the jelly-like insides are pulled out, scrambling and destroying the gray mass while they finish chewing through all the soft spots. The blood vessels in your brain and spine explode as you feel yourself falling into an endless pit of darkness.

Blackness all around. I can’t see them. Where are they? They are all over me. Something warm seeps into me. I need to escape. I don’t see the way. There’s nothing but blackness. What’s that shape? A woman. A woman with hazy, glowing purple eyes. She’s coming. She’s reaching towards me, her hands have claws. Stay away! Get away from me! Don’t touch me! No, I don’t want it! Get out of my face! I can’t move! I can’t feel my body! I can’t get away!
“I love you I love you I love you I love y-“
“Aaaggh! Help me! I can feel them, they are all over me!”
“I love you I love you I lo-“
“No! Get away! Leave me alone! They are eating me! They are inside me!”
“I love you I-“
“They are inside of my chest! They are tearing me apart! Get out! I need to escape! I can’t move!”
“I love-“
“No! Get out of my face! My throat! I can’t scream! No, not my eyes! They are tearing my face off! They are clawing crunching eating my skull! They are in my brain!”

You are lying on a stone floor. Your mouth is full of dust. You spit, then break into coughs. Where are they? Where have they gone? They aren’t here. I need to get away. You half crawl half push yourself up the ground to stand up, but there’s a body on the floor. A woman. You trip on the woman and fall on your chest. The pain makes you scream, and you scratch at your clotches so you can pull away those monsters from you. You can’t grab them, they are already inside. Why did they eat you? Why did this happen? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t deserve it. They tore me apart, every limb, every organ. They fed on me until I disappeared.
As your body shakes and you clench your fists against the stone floor, you voice escapes in guttural cries.
“Why!? Why!? Why!?”
Someone speaks in your head, with your own voice. You hear yourself saying a sentence that you hadn’t thought.
“I grant you access to my death-dream.”
Your eyes want to close. Your forearms fail to support your weight, and your cheek hits the cold flat stones. Everything goes dark.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 60)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

We reach part sixty, which is as long as the first season got, and yet this one has much more left in store. Don’t know how I feel about that.

In the previous entry we learned that Garfiel might like wrestling a bit too much, that Otto is a true bro and might or might not be able to communicate with animals and insects, that Ram can appreciate people when they do a good job, that Beatrice is probably not a witch cultist, and that Garfiel is supposed to be as strong as an entire army of warriors.

Ram, Otto and you are hurrying through the path that eventually reaches the barrier that surrounds Sanctuary. Although you are holding on to your beloved ground dragon Patrasche’s reins, who had grown nervous after picking up on the mood, you still don’t just mount Patrasche and make the fastest run for the exit, because you don’t know if Garfiel has figured out you are missing and has planned an ambush along the way.
It’s a cloudy night in which the starlight fails to illuminate properly what passes for streets in Sanctuary, which lack any kind of artificial light at night. As the three of you pass in front of some houses, you spot behind the window frames the worried and curious faces of half-beast people. They must have a good idea of what’s going on, and might not want the trouble that Garfiel and that Ryuzu Shima have brought by kidnapping and imprisoning you. One of the half-beast families is sitting on the yard. When they notice you, the mother, which seems to be half-racoon, turns pale. The father, whose furry half you can’t identify, stands up, puts his hand to his chest and repeats ‘we are sorry’ a few times. They seem afraid, but you understand practically nothing of the dynamic of the people trapped here, or who simply were born, grew up and will end up dying here, with the power structure of the village.
Turns out that Ram’s warning about how short on time you were to escape should have registered in your brain, because the three of you end up staring at Garfiel, who is standing in the middle of the path, in the direction you need to follow, with his feet firmly planted on the ground. He’s glaring with boiling anger, as if he has been stewing in place for a while.
Ram mutters to herself, and then she leans towards your ear as the three of you keep walking at a slower pace.
“There’s little point in admonishing you now about this likely consequence, Barusu, even though I wish I had the time to do so. At least now we know Garfiel’s location. Follow my lead, and whenever I tell you to, get on your ground dragon and ride as fast as you can out of Sanctuary.”
When the three of you get within speaking distance of Garfiel, he begins to talk. The voice is angry and loud, and his sentences are broken by heavy breaths and fury-driven grits.
“Ya broke out… I told ya we woulda let ya go when the princess passed them trials, but ya just hadta make everythin’ harder… I knew from the moment ya came outta that tomb that ya were terrible news, a weird half-pint like ya… Appearin’ from that nasty world outside ta mess up my home, threaten my home… The frickin’ gall of it… Now ya want ta escape and make fools out of me and me gran…? Everybody thinks we’ve done somethin’ wrong…! I give everythin’ for our home, and they side with a cultist fuck… Ungrateful half-breeds…”
You raise a hand intending to calm him down.
“Just take it easy, Garfiel. The whole thing was a misunderstanding, I told you. I’ll just leave your village and return home. That should be alright. You don’t want a weirdo messing up your place, after all.”
“Shut it! Ya broke outta my grip, makin’ me look all stupid in front of gran, after messin’ in our home, and now ya want ta leave as if you had done nothin’…! We treated ya as guests…!”
You realize that Patrasche is growling. As if Garfiel’s enmity wasn’t clear enough, she must have a grudge for that wrestling move the punk pulled on her the first time you met this hick.
“Garfiel, after I leave, Roswaal intends to smooth the whole thing over. I already explained to the clown bastard that it was all a misunderstanding, that you both were acting to secure the peace in the village. So everything is alright. I’m sure we can wake up Ryuzu Bilma so you can enjoy some more of her snacks while you talk it out with Ram.”
“Her… snacks…!? That’s it!? Ya think I can be bribed by some human food!? How damn unthankful ya be, humie! Ungrateful half-breed… Ungrateful… Ungrateful…”
“Human food? What kind of snacks do you prefer, Garfiel? You seemed very fond of those fried potatoes and the cookies.”
“Ugh…! Ungrateful, both of ya…” Garfiel’s anger seems to be replaced by self-deprecation as he mumbles some incomprehensible complaints. “Both of ya… If I weren’t such a weak bastard, this place’d be happy and safe fer everyone. But I failed. So ungrateful…”
Even though Ram had clearly intended for you to stay at a safe distance away from the punk, you step forward a bit, and your senior servant has no choice but to imitate you.
“Hey, you’re not weak”, you say intending to sound friendly, even though your mind is reaching for a wide variety of ‘fuck off, Garfiel’. “You are the strongest man in the world. I managed to escape that dungeon because I scurried out like a common rat.”
Otto, maybe just realizing what you are doing, stutters for a moment and then contributes.
“Y-Yeah! You just need some help!”
Garfiel was hunched over and clawing at the nasty patch of scarred skin between his eyebrows, as if he needed to tear something from himself. He then turns his attention towards the two of you with a glare.
“Shut it. Both of ya. I’ve had it. I could smell it in ya, even though I couldn’t tell as much as the old hag. Ya came to ruin us. Ya have all that place out there in that fancy world made for ya, but ya came to mess our home. The only one we have. I can’t forgive any of that.”
Ram speaks so loud and so sternly that you flinch.
“Garfiel, you will stand aside and allow Mr. Natsuki to leave the village. This is an order from lord Roswaal. If you don’t do so, you will be severely punished.”
Garfiel’s upper lip is twitching. He couldn’t bring himself to hold Ram’s gaze, until he finds the strength to glare openly at her. His nostrils widen.
“Shut it, Ram. Yer so strong an’ tough an’ hot, but ya gave up yer nature to live with the humans. Ta serve that clown bastard. Yer supposed ta live in the woods with yer kind, aren’t ya? I know all ’bout that, I was very inta ya, after all. But yer a traitor as well.”
Ram’s expression doesn’t change.
“You’re a fool.”
Garfiel closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. As he slowly lets it out, he draws a mocking smile.
“A fool, ya say, huh? That’s all ya see when ya look at me, some worthless turd on the side of the road, don’t ya?” He laughs bitterly. “I didn’t wanna realize that, but one can’t keep himself from knowin’ once he does, doesn’t he? I’m so much madder ’bout that than ’bout damn half-pint breakin’ out. It’s all hopeless an’ pointless, ain’t it?”
You swallow, and your hands start trembling even though you thought that your multiple deaths would have steeled you enough to face this violent hick. Garfiel looks dismantled, as if the few things that managed to keep him going in this dead-end village had been torn apart while he watched helplessly.
“Garfiel, please…”, you say softly. “Let us through.”
He breathes harshly. Slowly, his eyes move from Ram to you, and he lets out a low growl.
“I ain’t movin’ anymore fer nobody.”
“You’re not moving…?”
“I’m stayin’ here. I’m gonna live the rest of my days in Sanctuary. Not even a damn half-pint bastard like you, cultist or not, can get me outta here.”
“I’m sure experiencing the world outside will do you some good, Garfiel. We will figure something out to break that barrier, sooner or later. After this whole misunderstanding is cleared out. And I’m sure that our lovely Ram would be open to spend a nice afternoon with such a strong gentleman like yourself.”
Ram’s glare burns the side of your face.
“I will not entertain such a notion”, the senior servant declares. “I will not lower myself to spend any of my precious time allowing what would pass for courting in this cretin’s mind.”
You snap at her.
“You aren’t helping in the slightest, senior servant!”
“Do not use me as bait, Barusu. It damages my integrity.”
“Lower yerself, huh…?”, Garfiel mutters.
Ram takes a deep breath.
“Because that would be taking advantage of someone who obviously has an interest in me.”
“After ya called me a cretin. I think that means stupid. So after ya called me stupid, now ya pretend ya said that because ya care. You think I’m lower than dirt, don’t ya, Ram…?”
“That is not true, I simply…”
“Don’t lie ta me! Ya’ve been mockin’ me since the first time ya came with that clown bastard, an’ ya’ve been doin’ it in front of everyone! Always lettin’ others know how little ya cared, how little I was worth… It killed me.”
Ram shakes her head and exhales through her clenched teeth.
“I don’t wish to waste my time handling your hurt feelings, Garfiel. I’m sure any of your grandmothers will help you with that. You have done nothing to earn your infatuation. As I said, stop threatening us unless you want to suffer the consequences.”
Garfiel chuckles, even though a thin layer of tears is rimming his lower eyelids.
“Ta threaten others with consequences, ya need ta be strong enough to enforce them, don’t ya? So what are ya gonna do against me, Ram? Ya or yer clown bastard whose piss an’ shit ya handle, anyway. What can ya do against me?”
Ram separates her feet and cracks her fingers, moving into a fighting stance.
“I will do what I must, as usual.”
“Oh, well, that’s a good answer! Should I tremble in fear? Maybe… maybe yer gonna go out with a bang?”
You truly don’t want to attract the punk’s attention at the moment, but you also fear what this guy will do to your senior servant after he has faced that she’ll never have anything romantic or sexual to do with him. He doesn’t seem the type to take rejection calmly.
“Garfiel, you wouldn’t hurt Ram, would you? Look at her. You want to mess that pretty face, ruin those long, slender legs of hers?”
“Shut it! Whatcha mean? I ain’t hittin’ her!”
“That’s right, leave the spanking and a little degradation for the bedroom. Nothing wrong with that.”
“Nah, I’m not… not into that sorta stuff.”
“You sure? Not even a little bit?” You sounded disappointed, so you clear your throat and speak calmly. “Doesn’t matter to me. We can still be friends, you know. I’m on your side.”
Garfiel snarls.
“Piss off! I don’t know what I’m doin’ listenin’ to ya! I’ve had enough with the shit that comes outta yer mouth!”
“Fair enough. But don’t forget, if you’re not going to listen to me, you’ll have no chance with Ram. She doesn’t do anything I disapprove of.”
Garfiel groans and holds his head while trembling. Maybe his brain will just burst from all the abuse and mindfucking, and you’ll merely have to step over him.
Ram pushes your shoulder, more strongly than you would have liked, and motions with her head so you and Otto attempt to pass by Garfiel, taking advantage of his current confusion. However, the senior servant herself barely moves.
“Garfiel, we are leaving”, Ram says casually. “We will continue with these matters at another time.”
“Are ya…?”, Garfiel asks with a raspy voice, his gaze lowered.
“Yes, we are. While I would love to stand here and watch the rest of this play, I too have work to do.”
You and Otto start walking properly in the direction of the barrier, with you in the lead and holding on to Patrasche’s reins, but before you know it Garfiel pushes past Ram and blocks your path off with a threatening stance. If you weren’t a sort of immortal, you’d be shitting your pants.
“Move”, you say as firmly as you can.
“I ain’t movin’ for nobody.”
You narrow your eyes.
“So what, you intend to hold us off here until we get bored and turn around?”
Garfiel’s eyes narrow. He moves closer to you and gets in your face.
“I warned ya before, half-pint. I don’t forget, and I don’t forgive. Ya’ve been a pain in my ass since we met. And now I’m goin’ ta break yer fuckin’ legs!”
Garfiel drops down for a legs tackle, but you leap over him and drag Otto with you. You sit on Patrasche’s back, and as Garfiel gets up you kick him in the face, knocking him back.
“Sorry about this”, you say. “You can be an annoying piece of shit, but I still feel sorry for you.”
You must have kicked him harder than you intended, because blood gushes down his face, making him look like a hell beast.
“Yer sorry fer me!? Ya small-timer, lightweight cultist shit pities me!? I was holdin’ back on y’all ’cause I care, but that’s all done. Ain’t no point in it. I’ll have ta make it so I can’t think straight no more. That’s how the world looks best anyway.”
Garfiel’s body begins contort unnaturally as he moves to a crawling position, his once handsome face becoming blotched and twisted. He lets out a gurgling growl, and he glances at Ram as if forcing himself to.
“As they say, Hoshin was Banan’s sunset.”
The punk’s voice has distorted into something closer to a beast’s. Otto gasps, and jumps forward so he stands between you, even though you are mounted on Patrasche, and the mutating punk.
“What, that meant something!?”, you ask, worried and bewildered.
“Of course! It refers to the conquerer Hoshin of the Wastes, who brought the small nation of Banan to ruin! It means surrender or face an all-out attack!”
“Hoshin, like that royal candidate broad?”
“I believe that miss Anastasia Hoshin took that last name as a declaration of inte-“
“We don’t have time to fill the holes in Barusu’s knowledge!”, Ram shouts sternly. She’s pulling back while keeping Garfiel on her sights, as well as distorting the air above her right palm in a swirl. “Otto, get on his ground dragon. Barusu, ride as fast as you can without looking back. I will hold Garfiel off.”
As if Patrasche had understood her words, or the merchant had asked her, she crouches to the ground, and you feel Otto sitting on the saddle behind you. He holds your waist as if he doesn’t quite want to. You don’t take your eyes off your senior servant even after Patrasche stands up and prepares herself to sprint.
“Don’t you dare die here, Ram! If you see the opportunity, flee!”
Garfiel, whose muscles have ballooned already to thrice their size, is growling intermittently while his body grows grotesquely and his bones groan and creak. Ram extends her shooting arm towards the mutating hick.
“Shut it, Barusu, and get out of here!”
You give your steed a light kick, making her sprint away from Garfiel. You hate leaving Ram behind, having been consistently unable to help her while she sacrificed herself for you, even if she does it out of duty, but you grit your teeth and ride like hell. Presumably Ram shoots her wind spell or does something, because a loud sonic boom occurs behind you. You look over your shoulder to see a massive gust of wind kicking up a violent whirlwind past the point where the path bends and the tall treeline hides the view. You look forward and squint to focus on the poorly lighted path.
“I hope any of us, meaning you, knows the way”, you say to Otto, the guilt evident in your voice.
“We informed a few friendlies about our operation before we rescued you, Mr. Natsuki! Goodness, I sure hope our senior servant is alright, and will be for the foreseeable future! I don’t know her all that much, but I can tell she’s serious and competent!”
“Yeah, she’s one of the best for sure.”
You are getting dizzy. Even though you are toughing it out, your imprisonment has fucked with your mind, and you feel weak. You keep having to remind yourself that all this is real.
You look over your shoulder to check Otto’s expression. He’s worried, but keeps craning his neck as if to spot something up ahead.
“Otto, you better come with me to the mansion”, you say with a raspy voice. “Everything is fucked on both sides, but at least you won’t have to suffer the ire of that self-hating, unfairly strong idiot.”
“But who will lead the people, Mr. Natsuki?” He chuckles nervously. “Just a little joke. Of course, I’d rather stay out of trouble, Mr. Natsuki, and I look forward to basking in the sun while that kind, too young trainee serves me soft drinks. But we need to reach our own sanctuary first!”
You feel the pain in your chest, but laugh. The mansion is, of course, no sanctuary of any kind, as it will be overrun by horrible killers soon, if it hasn’t been already. For the first time since Otto broke you out from prison, you wonder if it’s time for you to die.
“Why are you laughing, Mr. Natsuki?”
“I just thought of something funny. I’ll tell you when we’re safe, promise.”
Otto nods silently. He turns to look over his shoulder briefly, then leans forward and squints his eyes. He points with a rigid arm to the treeline in front and to the right of you both.
“There it is!”
In the darkness between two tree trunks dances a ball of light, a will-o’-the-wisp, which mesmerizes you until Patrasche is about to pass it by. That light comes from a lamp that a half-cat villager is holding. A chill runs through your back, as your body believes that you need to defend yourself against an ambush, but the villager motions for you to hurry along the path. After you leave him behind, another lamp lights up in the path ahead.
“What’s going on?”, you ask Otto, confused.
“It’s an escort. They light up the path for us, so we don’t fall into a ditch or something.”
Light after light, you speed up alongside the villager houses and long stretches of farms and grazing fields until you are rushing past them at great speed. With a look back, you see the lights growing smaller and smaller, some already extinguished.
“Most of Sanctuary has gone out into the forest to guide us through the paths along the village to the barrier! Not only lord Roswaal’s villagers, but the locals as well!”, Otto says close to your ear. “They just want to help!”
You choke up. Why would they help you like this? Why would they care? You haven’t done anything of value for them. You haven’t been anything but trouble for everyone.
As those bright lights pass you by in the darkness of this cloudy night, your mind falls into a dreamlike state. You remember many instances of sitting on the back of your dad’s car during night trips, watching the streetlights pass by behind the windows. You are exhausted, weakened and on edge due to having been imprisoned, and you feel that the only thing that is keeping you going is the knowledge that you have gone through much worse.
As the memories of your past world were about to bring tears to your eyes, above the rushing wind you hear loud booms and cracks coming from the forest to your right and behind you, as if trees were falling into others or breaking like branches. The cacophony is increasing, and you get the sense that something huge is trampling through the forest, gaining ground on a parallel path.
“Otto, are you hearing that!?”, you shout.
You twist your neck to look around behind you, but the treeline is too tall. The only evidence of something huge moving through, apart from the noise, are birds that are taking flight and then flying in circles above the area as if they don’t dare come down.
“Unfortunately I can hear it loud and clear, Mr. Natsuki!”, he answers in a state of agitation. “We are getting close to the barrier, that same point where our dear lady Emilia fell unconscious! Let’s forget about the ominous uproar and hope for the best!”
The sound of destruction becomes louder and louder, shaking you up even more than you already are. What could be powerful enough to topple trees of that size?
You reach a straight stretch of the path enclosed by the forest, and you recall seeing it when you first travelled to Sanctuary. Even though the barrier is invisible, you must be less than a minute away from it. There is a group of human villagers gathered like the crowd at the end of a race. You recognize a shirtless guy, the only one who doesn’t care about catching a cold on this chilly night. He’s holding a makeshift lance, and others are also armed. As soon as they notice you, they wave and extend their lamps towards the path up ahead.
The booms and cracks have become deafening. You don’t want to look, but you sense the trees shaking not far from the treeline to your right. Suddenly, as if something was charging, you hear a quick succession of bursts and shaking leaves heading in a diagonal towards the gathered crowd, and then a tree trunk slams down hard on the path a few meters in front of you as if pushed.
Patrasche tries to brake, reclining her back to an extent that you hug her neck to avoid flying off, but as the ground dragon was turning, her flank crashes against the tree trunk, and you find yourself sailing in an arc until you hit the ground hard and roll for a few meters.
The earth shakes from another impact; a tree falling. You struggle to stand up as quickly as you can. Your body hurts like hell, particularly your ribcage, and you have trouble keeping the air in. You stagger around on your wobbly legs trying to get your bearings.
“Run, Mr. Natsuki!”, the pained voice of your friend Otto comes from your right. A curtain of blood running down from his forehead has forced him to close one eye, but he’s pointing at the path to your left. “The barrier is just up ahead! Sprint and don’t stop!”
A massive tremor knocks you off your feet again. Two of the trees of the line a few meters in front of you are pushed aside as if they were bushes, and a figure as tall as the trees and as wide as five tree trunks emerges out of the darkness. You find yourself staring up at a huge anthropomorphic tiger that stands on two feet. Its fur is light blonde with black stripes, except on parts of the head, the torso and the insides of the arms, where it’s skin-colored. The muscles are obscenely swollen even for such a gigantic frame, and parts of its wide torso and bulging arms are covered in gashes as if slashed by a massive blade. In its head, the eyes are bloodshot with murderous rage, but a spot between its eyes and slightly above attracts your attention. There’s a huge patch of scarred skin, as if the tiger had hit its head hard repeatedly against something and then scratched the skin raw.
The tiger opens its enormous maw and roars at you, piercing your eardrums, showering you with warm saliva.
Before you know it you have stood up, and although you are retreating, not fast enough for a tiger man that is looking at you as if in a few seconds it’s going to lunge at you and rip you apart.
“Did you kill Ram, Garfiel…?”, you ask with a trembling, hoarse voice.
The tiger man exhales loudly through its nostrils, hunches over and walks towards you. The strength of its steps alone would crush a person like a bug. When it would take the tiger man lunging forward to grab you, it raises its left arm, twists its torso and opens its clawed paw as if to take a swipe at you.
Otto yells in surprise. You are paralyzed as you stare at the huge paw that comes towards you, but someone pushes you out of the way, and a disturbance in the air makes you spin. You hear a loud, wet splashing sound, a big insect crashing against a windshield, and another liquid hits you as if someone had thrown the contents of a bucket at you. When you lift your gaze again, a bunch of mangled body parts fall on the patches of grass and the dirt. As if the clothes that some of the remains are wearing weren’t enough to identify who they belong to, Otto’s head hits the dirt and rolls, its eyes and mouth open in surprise.
You panic. You can’t think of anything but fleeing from the gigantic tiger man that just made Otto explode, but you don’t want to turn around and run, because you need to keep the monster in your sight. Someone pushes you further down the path, towards the barrier. You suddenly find yourself surrounded by the villagers who had gathered to send you off. You see the determined, yet terrified, face of the shirtless teen, who is wielding a makeshift lance as if he intends to defeat that monster. Other villagers, most of them past their forties, are either throwing rocks at the tiger man’s head, shouting at it or steeling themselves to spear it when they have the chance.
“Monster!”, the teen yells at Garfiel. “Horrible beast! Get back!”
The monster roars. You see its muscles bulge as it moves for a man with a spear, who backs away in panic, only to freeze when he meets the cold metal gaze of the monster. The spearman screams as the claw reaches for him, then slams into the man’s side. The villagers look on in shock as the man’s organs are sent flying into the air.
You can barely feel your legs as you keep retreating. What are you people doing?, you want to ask. Don’t you see that the monster is going to kill you? Why are you fighting instead of fleeing? Nobody else needs to die, not for me. I’m the one who dies so nobody else has to.
A man in his fifties thrusts his lance against the tiger man’s torso, but it breaks as soon at it hits the skin. Garfiel lifts his leg above the man and stomps on him, crushing him against the ground in a burst of blood and guts as if he were less than a can. A teen screams in a panic while running to the dead man’s rescue, only to get torn a part by the swinging blow of a gigantic paw. As Garfiel moves forward, the paw that had crushed that man lifts into the air with a fair portion of guts, which fall over the ground.
The monster lets out a roar that shakes your body, then begins a true massacre. Blood stains the dirt and grass red while guts and intestines litter the ground like fallen leaves. Legs, arms and other parts that you can’t identify are scattered, adding to the mess of blood and guts.
You can’t feel your body, you can’t tell what you are doing, until you feel someone grabbing the back of your shirt and pulling you in that direction as if you were a child. You see Patrasche’s tail moving alongside your legs as she drags you towards the barrier. Garfiel has killed every single villager, and as if emboldened by the carnage, is now charging towards you. Patrasche notices it, and twists her body to launch you into the air towards the barrier. You find yourself sailing backwards in an arc as you hold Patrasche’s gaze. Your ground dragon is standing there as if making sure that you fall out of danger.
You remember a moment from your past, what seems like very long ago, when you had been walking down a line of ground dragons to choose your first one, only for this weird female to lick your cheek with her rough tongue. You then noticed her properly for the first time: her black, slick scales except for her brown chest and belly, and in her elongated head, those bright orange eyes that looked at you with a fondness you had done nothing to earn.
As you are about to hit the ground, a white glow escapes out of the pocket of your shirt where you put Frederica’s magic crystal, threatening to blind you. Garfiel reaches your ground dragon and stomps on her, bursting Patrasche against the dirt.
The glowing whiteness engulfs you.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 59)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry, the protagonist could hardly care less about playing his role in the repeating events, and although he wanted nothing more than to lose himself having sex over and over with the half-elf princess, he stalked Garfiel to reveal further secrets about their dreary village. He ended up finding out that there is more than one twelve year old grandma, and his nosiness, along with his body odor issues, landed him in a dungeon. Garfiel turned out to be intelligent enough to prevent the protagonist from killing himself.

If Garfiel had understood one thing about your argument is that you truly want to die, and he’s determined to avoid that all costs. You figure that it must be because if you die under their care and Roswaal ends up finding out somehow, the clown will descend upon Ryuzu and the whole power structure of Sanctuary, which belongs in his ancestral domain. Killing someone who orchestrated an assault against an entire branch and the Witch’s Cult, which ended up defeating it, doesn’t look good, unless you want to seem as if you belong to the Witch’s Cult yourself. So this new Ryuzu and Garfiel need to present what they believe to be significant findings of your betrayal to Roswaal while you stand around like an idiot, fully alive.
You can’t tell the hour of the day, and you are too worried thinking about ways to die or to escape from this place to count how much time has passed. Garfiel comes personally to see you eat slop, and he stands there way too close as you piss and shit into a bucket. It’s as humiliating as they come, but it doesn’t seem to bother him much. He grew up around farm animals, after all. Plenty of times you wanted to bite down hard on your tongue, but this punk would just restrain you, cure your tongue even if just with bandages of some kind, and at the end of the day you’d be more restrained but lacking part of your tongue.
Before Garfiel leaves you, he always stuffs a dirty rag in your damn mouth, big enough that you can’t bite yourself, and then the punk leaves you alone for a few hours. You either wander around while restrained, with your hands tied behind your back, trying to figure out creative ways to use stone walls, stone floors, or metal bars, as suicide devices, or you lie on the floor and just think about how much you want to die. It’s getting truly unpleasant and harmful to your mental health. You can’t just bash your head against the wall over and over like apparently the punk does from time to time, because you might get so stupid that you will forget that you have to kill yourself to return to the past, or you might end up in a coma for months or years.
You also keep thinking about Emilia. Your imagination plays out scenes in which the half-elf discovers you’ve gone missing, and she focuses entirely on searching through the village, maybe door to door, as well as through the surrounding forest, having enlisted the help of most of Roswaal’s villagers. Maybe of some locals as well. But she will never find you, you know that much. You imagine the beautiful face of that girl who loves you and whom you love back, scared and worried sick. You get sick yourself, and end up vomiting twice thinking about it.
You try to sleep, but you barely string a couple of hours together each time, or what feel like a couple of hours anyway. You shiver from worry. This must be hell, eternal punishment for your crimes against the capital, the kingdom, Rem, human decency… You can’t even remember what good you have done, but the evil has been so strong that it overwhelmed whatever good you might have done. Your life is a curse on this world, and now you are being punished for it.
Just as you are about to give up on sleep and enter a state of full alertness, the door is unlocked. It opens grating against the stone floor. You have no idea what time it is. Garfiel enters with a lit torch in one hand, and some bread and water in the other.
“Get up, half-pint.”
“Nah, I’m good”, you say with a raspy voice.
“This is exactly why you’re locked up. Y’know that?”
Your lips feel all dry and chapped.
“I’m sorry I tried to expose your village’s secrets to the public, even though I never found out anything significant.”
Sneering at you, Garfiel drops the bread and water next to you, and moves the torch closer to your face.
“I already told ya, doesn’t matter ta me. Got my orders, same as ya got some others from that clown bastard, and from whatever big boss types at that damn cult. Ya and me are justa couple of fools doin’ what they’ve been told.”
You wait while Garfiel unties your hands so you can shove the stale bread into your mouth. Despite the poor meal that awaits you, it makes you salivate.
“I guess I have to repeat that I’m not a witch cultist”, you say. “Just in case you come up with some bullshit about how not denying it means admitting it.”
“Yeah, not changin’ me mind”, Garfiel says with an unemotional voice. “Yer clown lord will have to deal with that when the shy princess passes them trials.”
The punk finishes untying your hands. Your legs are so numb that you can’t feel them at all. You stand up and have to hop as you try to walk it off.
“Don’t you want to kill me?”
Garfiel shrugs.
“Killin’s too good for scum like you.”
He gives you a poisonous glare, but after your leg stops throbbing you jump at him with a flying punch. It lands on his cheek, and he stumbles back a little. Even though you are still groggy, your instincts take over. Both of your weights clash, but you manage to overpower Garfiel and throw him on the stone floor. However, he soon regains control of the situation as his hands grips your shoulders like a vice. He’s barely using any of his strength, and it clearly amuses him. With a smirk, he flicks you over and then jumps on you with an elbow pressed against your neck. You want to cough, but you can’t. Garfiel stares at you with a hard look.
“Yer not only tryin’ to best the strongest man in the damn world, but someone who grew up wrestlin’ with Frederica! Damn fool!”
“No, don’t suggest this is wrestling”, you push through your throat.
“What are ya sayin’?”
“I’m suggesting that you might be enjoying pinning me a bit too much.”
A punch flies into your stomach and your body convulses on the ground, expelling all of the air in your lungs.
“Don’t say shit like that! Why the hell would I wanna fuck a damn cultist?”
You can barely speak in between coughs.
“I don’t think that’s the issue here…”, you mumble.
“Damn right, it’s not!” He laughs. “Alright, I’ll let ya go. Yer gonna listen to me and follow the damn rules, though.”
“As if I have a fucking choice. Attacking you only brightened your mood.”
When Garfiel stands up, you sit up to cough and rub your neck a bit, taking in a breath.
“Alright, rules.” He says, leaning in, “One, don’t try anythin’. Two, ya try anythin’, I hurt ya family. Three, don’t think I won’t. Four, if ya try anythin’ again and I hurt yer damn family anyway.”
You sigh and stand up while Garfiel backs away.
“Yeah, good luck finding my parents. If you manage to do so, I’ll be so astonished I won’t care even if you punch my dad in the face.”
“Fuck yer dad.”
“Now I’m worried you might. People shouldn’t grow up wrestling, Garfiel.”
A smirk creeps on his face.
“Alright then, I guess that’s it.”
As the punk walked back to what passes for your meal, as if ordering you to shut up and eat, you find the strength to ask what you will regret knowing.
“How is Emilia doing?”
Garfiel shrugs, but then looks away as if having to speak about it is both embarrassing and painful.
“She ain’t eatin’ right nor tryin’ to pass them trials, that’s fer sure.”
“So… what? Is that it?”
“She cries a lot too. Won’t look anyone in the eye either.”
There’s a moment of silence as you feel as if someone has just poured cold water over you. Even though you already had a feeling about how she was doing, it doesn’t make the confirmation sting any less.
“This is the fault of both of you idiots”, you say with a low, growly voice. “You are keeping me locked up because of a misunderstanding, and your condition to release me will never happen! Emilia will only get worse and worse. My lovely girl… You didn’t seem like you were against Emilia, so don’t you feel like shit for doing this to her?”
“No! I ain’t gonna feel like shit fer doin’ anythin’ that protects my home!”
“You sound like an asshole.”
“An’ ya sound like a pussy, all prisoner like!”
Garfiel glares at you for a moment, and then he shakes his head and motions for you to turn around.
“Why the fuck for?”, you ask, freaked out due to the recent conversation.
“I’m tying ya again. I thought ’bout it, and ya punched me in the face. That means no meal for now. Not that I minded the fight, but ya gotta have some order ’round here!”

You lose track of how many times you have dozed off, half-lost in waking nightmares in which Emilia cries and cries as she runs through a darkened forest. You wish to shout that you are here, so she can finally find you and hug you tightly, but you can barely mumble with the nasty rag that fills your mouth.
Your mind snaps back to reality as you hear a key entering the metallic door of your cell, and then unlocking it. The door opens as if pushed, grating loudly against the stone floor. Someone complains in what you suppose should have barely sounded above the background noise of the forest outside, but it comes out as a worried muttering. You turn on the floor to find yourself staring at Otto Suwen, who has crouched next to you and is surveying your state as if he has to figure out quick whether you even remain sane.
You are too dumbfounded to react. Otto helps you sit up and is cutting through the restraints around your wrists. You try to speak, but you forgot that you’ve been tasting the same nasty rag for hours. The merchant takes off the cord around your mouth, then he extracts the wet rag while grimacing in disgust.
“Otto…? I’m hallucinating, am I?”, you ask with a raspy voice.
“I wish you were, Mr. Natsuki! In such a case you wouldn’t have ended up living through such a terrifying experience! But I’m afraid that you were indeed kidnapped and locked up by the two most powerful people in this forgotten village. We need to get you out of here as soon as possible!”
Otto throws the ropes to the floor, then looks behind him as if fearing that Garfiel will barrel towards him at any moment.
You can barely think straight.
“But… But… How did you find me? And who let you in?”
Otto slowly turns his head towards you. You have never seen him with such a serious expression on his face.
“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. I had to enlist the help of every critter and insect that wanted to speak to me in this forest. We kept tabs on Garfiel’s comings and goings, and I even convinced a charming bat to find his way through this building until he spotted you. He really saved both of our asses, Mr. Natsuki. I took a risk by entering this place, but I figure that the terrifying hick won’t return for a while. I don’t want to think about how enraged he’ll become then…”
Otto extends his hand towards you, and you grab it. With one powerful pull, he lifts you off the floor.
You begin to feel dizzy and lightheaded, or maybe you just realize that you have been for quite a while. The meals that Garfiel fed you weren’t meant to fill you with energy, merely to keep you alive. You support yourself on Otto’s shoulder.
“I’m so glad that your delusions about hearing and speaking with animals ended up helping me by some miracle.”
“Delusions!? I swear I can communicate with animals, and even insects, Mr. Natsuki! I was born with that ability, which I only started considering a blessing during these last few years! I couldn’t stop myself from hearing them, and it made my life a living hell as a child. Lost my place in the family business! You wouldn’t believe how little respect the animal life has for quiet. They are very useful, though, when you manage to befriend some of them. Otherwise we would have never tracked you down in time. Still, I would stay away from wasps if I were you.”
“I was never a fan of wasps even in my previous world. Nasty little fuckers…”
Although you attempt to free your legs from the rope binding them, you are weakened, and you end up supporting yourself again on the merchant’s shoulder as he crouches down to tear the rope off. When he stands up again, he wipes the sweat from his forehead.
You have barely exited the dungeon into a stone hallway, which looks ancient but not as much as the witches’ tomb, when you stop Otto. Something isn’t sitting well with you.
“Otto, why are you here? How come you ended up searching for me, locating me, freeing me…? Did Roswaal put you up to this?”
Otto stares at you confused.
“I’m not sure what you mean. As soon as we realized you had gone missing, I went looking for you. It soon became clear that Garfiel in particular had something to do with it. The man wouldn’t make a good spy, let’s put it that way. So me and Ram teamed up to follow him, and it was through my animal and insect friends, or acquaintances more accurately, as we aren’t that close yet, that we ended up locating this building that had been clearly built to remain hidden!”
“I got the gist of that, but… why would you want to go through all that trouble for me?”
Otto snaps his head back, shocked. He then avoids your gaze while his eyebrows tremble nervously.
“It’s obvious, is it not? Are you truly going to make me say something embarrassing?”
“I mean, yeah, I am, because I don’t have a fucking clue what you are talking about.”
Otto sighs, then forces himself to hold your gaze.
“You have the right to be confused, and you have remained much more sane than I had expected… But my reasons for freeing you from imprisonment are as obvious as they come! You are my dear friend, Mr. Natsuki.”
You stare at him as he smiles weakly, waiting for you to say something.
“Well?”, Otto asks cautiously.
A smile grows by itself on your lips, and you double over to burst into laughter. When you manage to control yourself, you straighten your back and pat Otto’s shoulders, who looks as if you are making him the butt of a joke.
“Alright, alright, Mr. Natsuki! We all make ourselves look like fools from time to time!”
“No, that’s not it. I guess we have gone through bonding stuff you and I, huh? Drinking ourselves stupid while I revealed my nightmares about sharing a bath with Roswaal, me trying to show you my dick…”
“T-Those are things I would rather forget!”
You grin.
“What I mean is, thank you for being my friend, Otto Suwen.”
Otto takes off his merchant hat and combs his incongruously gray hair with his hand as a nervous gesture. He’s having trouble holding your gaze.
You pat him on the back and motion for both of you to keep going.
“Well, alright, you son of a gun! Let’s get out of here and make them pay!”
“I hope that ‘gun’ word isn’t an insult towards my mother! I’m feeling somewhat sensitive at the moment.”

Otto is guiding you through the dense forest, striding through it as if he was following an invisible arrow on the grass. The moonlight barely passes through the dense canopy. Occasionally Otto lifts his gaze to an insistent cluster of dragonflies that flies towards the merchant, then further into the forest, then back again… You are going to end up going along with his delusion if this continues.
A few minutes later you notice someone waiting near a tree. It’s none other than your favorite senior servant Ram. Her demeanor reminds you of a soldier on guard duty, despite her wearing a black and white servant outfit that shows plenty of those slender, stockinged legs. As you get closer you realize that she’s holding the reins of Patrasche, your ground dragon, who is standing behind the senior servant.
When Ram realizes that the merchant has returned with a freed prisoner no less, she nods towards him.
“Excellent work, Mr. Suwen.”
Otto scratches the back of his head, he smiles and was about to reply something when you interrupt him.
“You better engrave this moment in your mind, Otto. I have never witnessed our dear Ram being so appreciative of someone.”
To your temporary confusion, Ram isn’t annoyed by your comment, but nods at you and bends the corners of her mouth a little.
“In the somewhat unlikely case that your follower ended up succeeding at his perilous task, Barusu, I would have expected him to bring me a broken man. But apart from the horrid stench of sweat and bodily filth, you seem sprightly.”
You shrug.
“I could complain about the food and how hard it gets to sleep properly when you can’t tell the hour of the day, or how many days have passed for that matter. What’s the plan now, Ram?”
As you ask this, you start rubbing the dragon’s snout, who closes her eyes.
“The village is on the verge of rebellion, Barusu”, Ram says calmly. “Our villagers aren’t too happy about one of the lord’s employees having disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and that idiot Garfiel couldn’t seem more suspicious. After all, our villagers have been restrained in Sanctuary against their will, but were hoping for a speedy and peaceful resolution. Although the local villagers don’t like the commotion, plenty are coming over to our side. Lord Roswaal intends for you to pass through the barrier and return to the mansion. Once you are out of danger, we will reveal that you were kidnapped, and some will pay the consequences.”
“Ram… How is Emilia doing with all this? Garfiel himself told me that she wasn’t attempting to pass the trials, and that she must be seriously depressed.”
“Lady Emilia should be sleeping in Ryuzu Bilma’s guest room right now. We won’t attempt to inform her of the changing circumstances until you are out of trouble. Our half-elf princess needs to be handled with care, as usual.”
Ram’s tone evidences that she considers Emilia too weak and unstable for her tastes, but then again few people are as tough and stoic as your senior servant.
“Please, make Emilia know that I’m safe as soon as you can. There are few things I hate more in the world than that girl suffering.”
“Barusu, a child would realize that you hold feelings for our royal candidate. But please understand that at this moment she is no longer the Emilia you knew, and won’t be until she recovers. She’s as close to a nervous breakdown as an intelligent being can be. She truly requires you to be by her side, to an unhealthy degree.”
You sigh, and as you recall the faint ghost of how it felt like to embrace her under the covers, as well as hear her quiet, loving voice pouring into your ear, your heart hurts.
“Yeah, I know. She and I need to work on that, as soon as people around us don’t risk getting kidnapped, or murdered.”
Ram takes a deep breath, then checks your surroundings.
“I hate to end this heartwarming moment, but we must go. You will have no choice but to use the main paths of the village to escape, and you will depend on your ground dragon’s speed and reliability in case any of the local threats focus on you.”
Not waiting for you to agree, Ram starts walking towards the edge of the forest, which is visible from your position despite how close the trees are to each other. You catch up to the senior servant’s side, while Otto follows you both right by Patrasche’s tail.
“Ram, I won’t leave without speaking with Roswaal first.”
Ram shoots you a look of annoyance, which comforts you.
“I can’t be that surprised that you plan on making your escape more difficult than necessary, Barusu”, she says with a tired voice.
“I don’t want to bother you, Ram, and I appreciate everything you have done for me in this reality and in others, but I truly need to clarify certain stuff with our clown overlord. So please, let’s meet with him as soon as possible.”
“Your choice, Barusu. I’m sure you would keep insisting stubbornly otherwise. I will brief you on the full situation in the village during our walk there… But you must promise me that you will leave as soon as possible after that.”
“Yeah, I will. I need to reach the mansion anyway.” You turn to Otto, who has deflated since his heroic rescue. “You will finally get to meet the possible employer who will lead you to a life of luxury, Otto. Make a decent impression.”
Otto chuckles nervously. The cheerful merchant front he puts up in the presence of others is cracking. Despite his many travels he’s still nervous, and with good reason.
“The best first impression I can create in these circumstances is not to delay your escape any further, Mr. Natsuki, and I intend to do just that.”

Now that the three of you are standing inside of the discreet villager house that your clown lord chose to rest from his ghastly injuries, Otto has taken off his merchant hat and is holding it against his torso while bowing slightly. The disquiet in his expression makes you wonder if he regrets his current ambition of getting closer to this important lord to secure himself some lasting employment. After all, you doubt there are many sane people out there who could face Roswaal’s clown face and not realize immediately that they should have remained as far away from your lord as possible.
Roswaal has taken a curious interest in Otto, maybe wondering how he ended up involved in such vital and secretive matters for his household, but his demeanour isn’t threatening. From the angle you are looking now at Roswaal, his painted features over the white foundation make his face seem like made out of rubber, as if a child’s doll was infused with life.
You want to make things less awkward and move the meeting along, so you motion towards Otto.
“This is Otto Suwen, a regular young merchant we rescued from the cultists during the attack, and who has been working hard at fulfilling both my and Emilia’s unreasonable requests ever since. I quite like the fellow, and I figure that we can use a semi-permanent transport guy who also does odd jobs. It also happens that he rescued me single-handedly from a dungeon, so he’s a true bro. I request that at some point after this bullshit is over, we bring him into our household.”
“Do you agree with this statement, young Suwen?”, Roswaal asks with his lilting voice while smiling welcomingly at the merchant.
Otto quickly puts on a serious face befitting of one under scrutiny.
“Mr. Natsuki has stated nothing but the truth, as usual. Indeed, the half-beast mercenaries under his command rescued me from a nasty death, so I would owe him my loyalty for that alone, but it just happens that he has also blessed me with trust and friendship. If you allow me, I will serve the greater interests of your household, including securing the lovely lady Emilia’s prospects as the future ruler of this kingdom!”
Roswaal nods as if satisfied.
“I graciously accept your request to join us, Otto Suwen. You may now address me as your lord and master. I hope you continue supporting us with the immediate, troublesome matter at hand: making sure Subaru isn’t captured again.”
“Understood, my lord”, he sputters out, already intimidated by your powerful ally.
Roswaal turns his attention to you, which makes you as uneasy as usual. Your mind probably must be running in the background the question of why would anyone do that to his own face and then interact with people.
“Now, Subaru, why would have Garfiel decided to imprison you? I have known him to be quite the handful ever since he grew strong enough to assert his power, and yet I have never seen him act this unreasonably.”
“Our personal lioness, that Frederica, had suggested that there were secrets to discover in Sanctuary beyond the fact that it’s surrounded by a magical barrier that can only be lifted by passing the trials. I hoped that learning more would reveal some loophole that would allow us to get Emilia out, I mean without her having to break her mind facing the past. But I ended up talking to a different Ryuzu. It seems there are at least three identical-looking ones, and she determined that I must be a witch cultist.”
“Witch cultist? How so?”
“I mean, it’s because I smell like Satella”, you answer cautiously. “Or so they say. A scent that apparently never goes away no matter how many showers I take. Although now that I stink like sweat, piss and shit, I wonder if that does the trick…”
“That troublesome Witch of Envy, despite having died four hundred years ago, her influence lingers on in this world for people to catch a whiff of her scent. I see, it was a misunderstanding. However, both Garfiel and that Ryuzu, who I guess is the one calling herself Ryuzu Shima, acted rashly, and they will have to be punished for it.”
“That’s fine and all, Roswaal, but you knew that there were different Ryuzus?”
Roswaal plasters a smile on his face even though he seems deep in thought.
“You must understand that we are guests in a territory that used to belong to the magnificent Echidna, the Witch of Greed, and in a way it still does. Her relentless pursuit of the truths of this world left us, after Echidna’s untimely, unfortunate passing, with many unique wonders. We don’t have time to speak at length on the matter, but you should know that some of the Ryuzu are what one would consider self-determined individuals, and as such they can have conflicting agendas.”
“What’s the agenda of this Ryuzu Shima?”
Roswaal looks to the side as if to find the right word, then he nods and looks up at you.
As you try to think quickly about the vital information you would need to secure before Garfiel locates you, you keep coming back to Beatrice. You know that Roswaal will not be able to help you stop the contract killers, given that he had asserted that nobody would have a reason to pay people to kill you, let alone the best contract killer in the kingdom, or possibly the world. Frederica and Petra would agree to escape if you explain the situation to them, but Beatrice would resist stubbornly, which would end up with her getting killed whether before or after you, because you would stay around until the last moment to convince her. You wouldn’t be surprised if you spent an entire run, as soon as you reached the mansion, arguing with the kooky librarian for her to follow you to safety, but she would resist even your attempts at physically dragging her out. And she didn’t even defend herself when the obviously murderous Elsa stepped into your librarian’s domain.
But should you even save her? You want to, for sure, because you already liked her, but if she’s a cultist like her hidden Gospel suggests, then you would be saving the life of someone who at the very least is a spy for a group that intends to resurrect Satella through murdering Emilia. How would Roswaal have missed Beatrice’s true nature, when she has been guarding the library for hundreds of years? Maybe she only turned recently. Maybe she never turned at all, and this is all a misunderstanding. You don’t want to kill her, but you don’t want to die at the hands of a killer, and you probably would if you let your guard down around her.
“Roswaal…”, you start, “This will come out of nowhere, but I found out that Beatrice is hiding a Gospel. That’s how she herself called it. And she admitted that the book mattered to her more than almost anything else except for whoever that Mother of hers was supposed to be. Petelgeuse himself acted similarly when it came to his own book, so that has me all worried.”
To your surprise, Roswaal looks amused.
“Hm, you make a fine point. It would be foolish to assume that just because she has such an item she is an enemy, but it would also be foolish to not take this into consideration. What kind of relationship have you developed with our little librarian to have discovered such a guarded secret?”
“Before I found out about her Gospel, I would have told you that Beatrice and I are friends of sorts, although I doubt she would think so. That hundreds of years old girl is in need of some company, that much is obvious. And she also taught me a magic spell. The thought of her being our enemy really fucked with me.”
“Would you truly be ready to deal with our powerful great spirit as an enemy?”
You can’t tell the clown’s intention under all that makeup.
“When I learned about the Gospel I was certain she was one, but the more I think about it and the more I think about her, the less sure I am. Not even sure if I should trust my own judgement anymore…”
“Thankfully I can remove your worries. What you found is commonly called a Gospel, for lack of an original name, and yet we aren’t speaking of the same kind of item as the books those witch cultists handle.”
You don’t find that reassuring.
“How is it different?”, you ask nervously. “She seemed obsessed with it the same way a cultist would.”
“What our dear librarian has in her possession is one of the most powerful magic tomes in the world, of which only two copies are known to exist. It’s the closest thing to a Tome of Knowledge that has been discovered. It predicts, in terms at times frustratingly general, the probable futures of its owner and the paths to achieve them.”
You snap your head back, and your hands tingle at the thought that not only you live now in a world where such a book exists, but that someone who shares your home would have it. You shake your head.
“Wait a second, Petelgeuse also claimed that his Gospel allowed him to predict the future! So Beatrice’s book is the same thing!”
The clown stares at you in silence for a moment, as if allowing you to come to the proper conclusion by yourself, but eventually he sighs.
“Those thing are a fraud, neither real Gospels nor Tomes of Knowledge. They generate possible futures, which stimulates the imagination and determination of unhinged people and makes those books very dangerous in their hands, but they only give those people powers beyond comprehension in their dreams. I assure you, those books you know as Gospels are only aspiring to become what our dear Beatrice possesses, and the true Gospel isn’t associated with the Witch’s Cult.”
You want to surrender to the relief that is running through your body, but even though you lift your hand to your heart, you press the clown further.
“How sure are you about it?”
The clown stares intently at you.
“I am very sure.”
“So Beatrice isn’t a cultist?”
Roswaal smiles widely, which he must intend to be a reassuring expression.
“She isn’t.”
You give in. You have been learning about this world as you struggled to survive its many dangers, and you only have what people say or what you are forced to face as the facts to build your strategies on. You accept it, then: Beatrice is a friend. But she won’t be for much longer if you don’t save her life.
You step forward, and you hope that your expression will evidence the seriousness of your incoming request.
“I have reasons to believe that Beatrice will be in mortal danger. Tell me, Roswaal, is there any way to convince her to leave her library and follow me to safety?”
“That’s an interesting question… Why would you try to convince Beatrice to abandon her sanctuary, of all places, and expose herself to danger?”
“Because she will die if she doesn’t.”
“Mm… Then perhaps you should convince me.”
You have never been a smoothtalker, a charmer, or even a guy that others go to for advice. But you know how to show your true feelings, and you let them shine now: either he trusts you or Beatrice will die.
“We are too short on time, Roswaal. I work for you as well as for Emilia, and I have proven my intentions enough that you decided to knight me. Please, trust me on this. If I don’t get Beatrice out of her library, we will lose her. I’ve grown too fond of the little shit for that.”
Roswaal closes his eyes and sighs.
“You know how to get your way, Subaru, which has served you well so far. Then listen to this: once you face Beatrice, tell her ‘Roswaal said to ask the question’. Once she does, answer her, ‘I am that person’.”
“That’s all?”
“When you do so, Beatrice will become your ally. She will have no choice. Trust me on this.”
You stand there looking down, thinking about what you might have forgotten to ask, when Ram clears her throat. She has crossed her arms and is staring at you with a strict determination.
“If you are done, Barusu, we need to move. Ryuzu has eyes everywhere, so it’s unlikely that we won’t come across Garfiel along the way. To minimize the possibility, we should have already left.”
“Hey, I survived having him as a jailer, didn’t I?”
“You have not seen what Garfiel is capable of, Barusu. He’s equal to an entire army of warriors.”
As you say your goodbyes and leave the house, you consider Ram’s words. That punk might not be the strongest man in the world as he desperately needs to believe, but he’s tough enough that combined with his grudge against the world, he will have few concerns against lashing out. And if Garfiel prevents you from reaching Roswaal’s mansion, you will have to suffer through having abandoned your friends, as well as your beloved demon servant, to die again.

Roleplaying through “Re:Zero” with the GPT-3 story generator (Part 58)

This entry covers part of the eleventh volume of the original “Re:Zero” novels.

In the previous entry we learned that the hundreds of years old librarian Beatrice didn’t want the protagonist to leave her behind, but then she realized that she didn’t know him after all, so he might as well die. The lovely miss Granhiert interrupted their argument and made the protagonist leave permanently by crushing his throat.

You would have never thought that waking up in a magically lighted tomb, where a hundreds of years old ghost psychologically tortures people with ultrarealistic simulations, would make you feel relieved, but after you bring saliva back to your dry mouth, you turn around on the floor and focus on breathing deeply while you stare at the blue-dyed stone roof, at the myriad of tiny cracks that have opened in them over the centuries.
You don’t think you noticed Emilia’s irregular breathing before. You crawl towards the half-elf, as she lies face down near the center of the antechamber. You turn her towards you, then hug her. You run your fingers through her hair while whatever witch-induced nightmare causes her facial muscles to twitch against your skin. You could do this over and over, you think. You could spend your eternity in this loop, waking up next to Emilia in these ruins and doing little else than have sex over and over with her in Ryuzu’s house, only to kill yourself three or four days later.

After you exit the witches’ tomb carrying Emilia’s body, you barely bother to answer questions or react to the theatre play that the people you know are performing for your amusement. You could recite some of their lines as well. Once Emilia is loaded unconscious onto the back of the carriage, you sit next to Otto on the driver’s seat.
For a couple of minutes, as your merchant pal drives you all back towards Ryuzu’s house, you close your eyes and enjoy the calm of not having to face the worst contract killer in the world, nor escape from random monsters, nor face that your friends Ram and Frederica died for your sake. The world seems so peaceful. You suspect that if you focus on hearing the breeze for a while you will start crying from the relief of having nothing to fear.
“Mr. Natsuki, are you alright…?”, Otto asks warily from your left.
You open your eyes, and it takes you a couple of seconds to register that Otto is looking at you and waiting for a reply.
“I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
He raises an eyebrow as if trying to figure out if you are joking around.
“Because lady Emilia is half unconscious, half delirious, of course.” He chuckles nervously. “I mean, had you ever seen the princess in such a state? I don’t understand how you can be so calm.”
You sigh, then scrape the tip of your shoe against the floor of the driver’s seat.
“She’ll be alright, old pal. She always is. She’s stuck in her old ways, and we haven’t found a way out of her childhood issues, but maybe we’ll figure something.”
“I don’t think I know what you mean, Mr. Natsuki! We first need to make sure Emilia snaps out of her current state!”
“Yes, yes. I know that part quite well. Just focus on the road, will you? I’m aching to eat an unhealthy amount of those cinnamon cookies.”
Otto blinks in confusion, but obeys you and stops bothering you with pointless questions.
You pat him on the shoulder. Otto’s a good guy. Trustworthy and a hard worker. His humbleness is almost as annoying as his tendency to shout during regular conversations, apart from that whole delusion about being able to speak to animals. But seeing him, as well as the rest of the actors in this play, shortly after you start all over again makes you smile.

Once Emilia is resting in Ryuzu’s guest bed, you sit down in your usual place at the living room table and let the others repeat their lines while you drink the tasty tea and eat the elf’s cookies. Right now you don’t care about anything else. And it’s so nice to know that you don’t have to care about anything for a while, you can just let the world breathe on its own.
Well, you would like to enjoy some time in peace, but you feel Ram’s gaze burning your face. Your esteemed senior servant is sitting in front of you, hoping that you will finally speak up about whether you went through the trial or not. She’s her usual pink-haired, red-eyed, fully alive old self.
You sigh and finish eating the rest of your cookie. You offer a smile to the guarded servant.
“How are you feeling on this beautiful night, Ram?”, you ask pleasantly.
Ram narrows her eyes with suspicion.
“I am doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances, Barusu. And yourself?”
“Oh, I’m a little tired from carrying the world on my shoulders. Quite tired about it, actually…”
“Barusu. Please. I want to know if you went through with it. You know what I mean, don’t you?”
“I have gone through many things, my dear Ram. Many trials of many types. I ended up liking you quite a bit, you know? That whole thing about running towards your impending death to give me and the trainee the chance to survive… I am so moved that I want to tear up while replaying that in my mind. But you don’t remember any of it. I have to hold all those memories on my own.”
She narrows her eyes even further, as if the act could threaten you.
“Answer me, Barusu. Did you go through with it?”
You stretch out your arms while smiling.
“I don’t have anything to hide, Ram. I went through with it.”
“But what about you, Ram? Did you go through with it?”
Ram hunches over, crossing her arms over the table, and glares at you as if you are annoying her intentionally.
“What the hell are you doing? What’s wrong with you? Ever since you exited that tomb, you seem as if you are in a daze, Barusu.”
Otto clears his throat to your right, next to Garfiel, who is slumped on his chair.
“Yes, I worried about that…”, the merchant says. “You looked as if you didn’t care that Emilia had fallen into such a troubling state.”
You shrug, then gulp some more of your tea.
“Nothing much matters when you stop to think about it”, you say with a tired voice, suddenly weary for having to talk. “It all keeps happening over and over, people’s emotions come and go, people die and get reborn. What do you want me to say?”
“Yer own pals can tell yer bein’ as weird as a ghanfal during matin’ season, half-pint, fancy plumage an’ all”, Garfiel says as his blonde hairline glistens in the candlelight, and he reaches for another fried potato. “Can’t believe a damn thing that comes outta yer mouth, it seems.”
You tilt your head towards him and raise a corner of your mouth in a smile.
“That’s rich coming from you, Garfiel. It seems like you don’t care for anyone’s emotions but your own.”
He stares at you for a moment, then he tsks to the side.
“Might as well be true, evil eyes. At least I don’t pretend ta care.”
“I care. And that sister of yours, she looks so majestic when transformed into a horse-sized, fantasy world lioness. The female eyelashes are a bit incongruous, though, but man, her light blonde fur must feel so nice.”
Garfiel snaps his head back, and then he straightens in the chair as if he needs to defend himself.
“Ol’ furryburglar transformed in front of ya? She wouldn’t do that if she didn’t have to, or at least she didn’t use to.”
You lean back on your chair and look at the ceiling.
“She had to, yeah. Ah… I thought she had betrayed us, but in the end she was as cool as they come. I’m glad she’s one of us.”
Before you know it you end up having to wipe some tears. Everyone at the table is staring at you with different levels of bewilderment, but you couldn’t care less.

You want to be honest with yourself: you want to go into Ryuzu’s guest bedroom and get under the covers of that bed so you can bask in the warmth of what would be Emilia’s first time in this new reality. However, you know that if you allow yourself a break, you will allow yourself a second. You will end up repeating the loop dozens, hundreds of times, and maybe the next time you won’t find the strength to climb out of that hole. You might lose the will to do so.
This time you will try something different. At least returning to Roswaal’s mansion wasn’t a waste. The lioness had revealed that there was a secret to discover in Sanctuary, and the only two people you imagine will know what she hinted at are Garfiel and Ryuzu. So as soon as the informal meeting at Ryuzu’s living room ends , you intend to figure out where Garfiel goes whenever he thinks none of you are looking.
You have already refused to meet the clown, which annoyed this current version of the senior servant. And you have let the punk go ahead as he prowls towards and then into the dense forest as if he’s done it regularly for years. You stalk him with the little experience you have, not worrying if you end up failing. You are following a predator in his home turf. If he catches you and he freaks out to the extent that he kills you, you’ll try all over again. Best case scenario, he’ll notice you but allow you to believe you have the upper hand, which will get you closer to learning something new. And once you store in your brain a new fact of this strange world, nobody will be able to take it out no matter how many times they kill you.
The trees are very tall, and their thick branches are interlaced above you letting only scarce rays of moonlight to pass through and illuminate a portion of the ground. It’s a good thing that you have a decent sense of smell, since even vision is barely capable of discerning shapes.
At one point you lose Garfiel, and you stop partially hidden by a tree trunk. You figure that the punk is coming, so you wait until he makes his entrance. There’s no harm in making Garfiel believe it will surprise you.
Sure enough, Garfiel jumps down from one of the trees and you turn to face him, only for him, who seemed to believe you were going to punch him, to deftly jump out of the way.
“Yer slow!” He says with a laugh, “An’ ya didn’t even sense me! That’s two flaws, slowin’ down an’ losin’ yer awareness o’ the environment!”
You stand there looking at him calmly as he leaps towards you and then catches you between his forearm and a tree trunk. He’s pressing down hard between your clavicles. His heart must be pounding on his ribcage, but your nerves haven’t worsened.
Garfiel snarls at you, displaying his triangular teeth, from so close that you can smell the fried potatoes in his breath.
“Damn weirdo, freakin’ out yer own pals, an’ now followin’ me through the forest. Thinkin’ ya could catch me unawares in my own home! Can’t understand whaddya want, but with someone like ya, who can enter them witches’ restin’ place even though them traps shoulda have ripped ya apart, ya followin’ me cannot be anythin’ good.”
“Depends on what you mean by good, Garfiel”, you say imperturbably. “I’m just following your dear Frederica’s guidelines.”
You see a mixture of emotions flash through his eyes: guilt, anger, and fear.
“Whaddya mean? What’s that betrayin’ broad got ta do with anythin’?”
“She has a lot to do with this. As a matter of fact, it was her idea. She decided that I should pay you a visit because apparently you’ve been slacking off.”
He snaps his head back with disbelief, then he leans forward to glare threateningly mere centimeters away from your face.
“Haah!? Slackin’ off! Ain’t nobody who works harder than me in this whole village, except fer the old hag! But she’s a special case above all, havin’ been guardin’ this place since before Gosre Peahles extracted his flamin’ sword from the fabled rock!” He returns to his original position and snarls at you. “Yer just sayin’ stuff ta piss me off, an’ it’s workin’, so how about ya stop talkin’ an’ make yer damn point before I make a point out of ya!”
You take a deep breath.
“I’m saying that your heart is restless, Garfiel. I don’t think guarding is your calling.”
“It has been fer years! Whaddya know anyway!? Apart from them legends ’bout the strongest man in the world who resides in this here place, legends known far and wide, all ya learned came from that betrayin’ Frederica, who left us all ta rot!”
You barely blink as you hold Garfiel’s gaze. His pupils are trembling, and he’s breathing harder.
“Frederica told me something that caught my curiosity”, you say. “She told me that I had yet to learn the secret of Sanctuary. I have always been interested in mysteries, and it’s not as if tending to livestock, talking to the half-beast locals who have known nothing else than these dreary views, or drinking myself into oblivion with the watered down mead of this place could hold my attention for long. You know all there is to know about this here village, don’t you, Garfiel? And sooner or later you will show it to me.”
Garfiel looks as if in a trance. After a while he snarls differently than the happy-go-lucky one you’re used to seeing. It’s a powerful, animalistic one, directed at you. You know you he won’t treat you any other way for as long as you remain in this reality.
“Threaten me an’ mine any further an’ you’ll find out the true meanin’ of pain!”
You laugh at the joke this punk made inadvertently, which confuses him. As he was about to shout at you again, you interrupt him.
“I didn’t come to hurt any of you. In fact, I want nothing more than to free all of you so we can all go home, or somewhere better. Unfortunately we can’t count on my lovely Emilia’s self-punishing determination to lift that hundreds of years old barrier of yours, so I need to expose every single dirty secret of this village. You are either going to help me sooner or later, Garfiel. I have much more time and willpower than you can imagine.”
For a moment he squeezes you tighter against the tree trunk, but you let him ponder your words. Eventually he groans and lets you go.
“I cannot understand ya, half-pint, and ya talk too much. Ya’ll have ta meet someone who will know better how ta deal with yer sneaky cormuto ass.”
You smile and nod, which annoys the punk.
“Great. I was getting tired of just dealing with just the two notorious locals. Who might that new person be?”
Garfiel turns around to lead you somewhere else, but he smirks at you over his shoulder.
“I’m gonna disappoint ya, half-pint, which makes me all happy.”
“Oh, please, anything but disappointment.”
Your witty personality annoys him even more. You keep bickering with him while he guides you further into the darkened forest, until he motions with his head towards a clearing. You crane your neck, but you are indeed disappointed. Sitting on a log waits Ryuzu, that small, sort of twelve year old elf, with that long, straight pale red hair that curves upwards at the ends, and who hides most of her body up to her chin in a bulky coat, as if she were perpetually cold. As soon as she notices that you are following Garfiel, she stands up and narrows her eyes at you in a way you hadn’t seen Ryuzu do before. Then again, you hadn’t intruded into their private world in such a way before.
“Oh, it’s just Ryuzu!”, you say.
Garfiel shakes his head.
“Just, huh?” He then walks up to Ryuzu’s side, and he motions with his head towards you. “See who I brought ya, old hag? Guess ya’ll be able to figure if it’s true or not, won’t ya?”
The elf takes a deep breath while she holds your gaze.
“I’m surprised you got here so fast, Ryuzu, but I guess I shouldn’t”, you say, as you had been thinking about it for a few seconds. “The first I saw of you was when I got teleported to that clearing close to the witches’ tomb. You reminded me of a deer back then, and you ran really fast back into the forest. I guess acting like some decrepit old woman is one of those Sun Tzu things, huh? Feigning weakness where you are strongest. So you actually were a twelve year old with the energy to match, despite Garfiel calling you old hag repeatedly. That’s on me, though. I should have stopped paying attention long ago to whatever Garfiel says. Most of it doesn’t mean anything.”
Garfiel snarls at you as he clenches his fists, but when Ryuzu shares a knowing look with the punk, he relaxes and smirks for a moment.
“So you followed Garfiel into the forest, Young Su?”, Ryuzu asks with an uncharacteristic wariness.
“That’s right”, you answer without hesitation. “For two reasons: first of all one that I haven’t mentioned to your punk grandson of sorts, and the other because I want to uncover the secrets of your dreary village, just like Frederica suggested I should do. And I’m firmly on that German’s side from now on, I think.”
“That first reason you haven’t explained already seems less perilous, so please elaborate on it.”
“Alright. I know you guys won’t allow me to pass the trials for Emilia’s sake. That whole political garbage. But I thought about Frederica, and something wasn’t making much sense.”
“What did you think about?”
“The lioness herself told me before my lovely Emilia ended up trapped here that her mother had come to the village for protection. She had half-beast children, meaning Garfiel and Frederica, although I don’t know if she was the human half or the hopefully intelligent beast half of the equation. While Garfiel has ended up wanting to spend the rest of his punk days in this miserable place, Frederica left. But how the hell did Frederica leave if the other half-beasts can’t? If she managed to pass the trials, then the barrier wouldn’t be there anymore, would it? So there must be a loophole that will allow us to sneak at least Emilia through the border, and maybe your trapped villagers as well.”
Ryuzu stares at you in silence for a few moments before speaking.
“If only such loophole existed, Young Su, I assure you we would have exploited it already.”
“That’s part of what had me confused, sure, but then-“
Garfiel snorts, which makes you focus on him. He shakes his head and puts a hand on his waist while looking as if he hates that he needs to talk about this, and that you brought it up.
“Ol’ furryburglar’s full name is Frederica Baumann. Did ya know that much?”
He points at his chest with his free thumb.
“This one here’s a Tinsel, as in Garfiel Tinsel. Ya know what that means?”
“I’d have to think about it for a moment…”
Garfiel hardens his voice.
“It’s easy, half-pint. It means my momma is a whore.”
You snap your head back. Ryuzu lifts her gaze towards the punk, and a sudden sadness clouds her face. She looks down to the insides of her bulky coat, hiding her features up to her lower eyelids.
You want to lighten the mood, make some sarcastic comment, but Garfiel keeps staring at you with pure disdain and disgust. Not toward you. Not solely toward his mother even, but the entire world. You end up lowering your head as well.
“… Jeez.”
“It’s true, ain’t it. Both ‘Rica and I are half-breed bastards left behind. What else would ya call a momma that comes inta this secret village that allowed other families of freaks ta grow up safe, only for that momma of ours to leave us so she could prance back to that wide world out there? What do ya call a full human, which she is, that screwed two different beast shapeshifters and when she was round with me, she shat me out and then abandoned us? Damn whore threw us here to rot like some garbage. That’s what goes on in yer place of birth, ain’t it, half-pint? Is that the kinda stuff ya fancy noble-like people do?”
“I’m not a noble, as you already know, but-“
“I can see it. I can see it in yer eyes. The way ya look down on me, like I’m some kinda rat in the gutter. Same way that Ram looks at me. Fuckin’… All of ya should just burn up in hell.”
You’re speechless for a moment. You don’t want this guy to get too angry, not even because he will likely kill you, but for his own sake.
“Young Su”, Ryuzu attracts your attention firmly as if wanting to stop Garfiel from talking.
“Yes, Ryuzu…”, you say with a thin voice.
“I can see you’re a smart individual from the way you act in front of me, and the words you say.”
“Well, that’s much kinder than how most other people have described me.”
“However, you failed to consider, or discover, a vital detail about Frederica that allowed her to leave our Sanctuary without passing the trials. She simply walked out of here, the same way you would be able to.”
“Frederica ain’t a half-breed”, Garfiel says while crossing his arms and looking down at the grass. “She’s more human than beast. That old Echidna witch was only interested in half-breeds, I reckon. That’s why she trapped them here even if they just wandered inta the place. Like diggin’ a pit and waitin’ for them jotirambos ta fall in, I’m guessin’, then makin’ a nice casserole out of them. So ‘Rica didn’t fully belong here, and she must’ve sensed that. Maybe part of why she turned her back on us.”
You scratch your head.
“Shit… So that whole thing of calling Frederica part beast instead of half wasn’t pointless. I guess I knew it all along! Which means that no loophole exists. Another dead end…”
Ryuzu holds your gaze without blinking nor showing any expression in her young, elfin face.
“Was that all about your first purpose for following Garfiel into the forest?”
“I’m afraid so, yeah.”
“In that case we would move to revealing secrets about our ancient town. For that I will need Young Garf’s help.”
When you were turning your head towards the punk, he lunges at you and you suddenly find yourself gasping for air while your throat burns and the weight of your body pulls on your head. Garfiel has grabbed you by the throat and lifted you into the air so your feet don’t touch the ground. He’s squeezing with the purpose of cutting the supply of blood to your brain, but he’s also preventing you from filling your lungs or letting the air escape. Even though you have gone through plenty of troubling bullshit already, your body goes into a panic, and you grasp at the punk’s wrist and his fingers digging into your throat in an attempt to loosen his grip, but the bastard truly is strong.
“Ya know, ya’ve been givin’ me such creeps, I was achin’ to do this to ya. If ya know what’s good for ya, quit strugglin’. I’ll tear this fucker clean off.”
“Ggg…”, is all you manage to get out of your throat as your vision starts to gray at the edges.
Ryuzu approaches you slowly, then looks up at you as if trying to attract your attention. She’s frowning, but with more worry than hate.
“I can let you in on one of our secrets, Young Su. I’m not Ryuzu Bilma, that dutiful slave.”
Your brain is getting starved of oxygen, darkening the forest even further. You feel as if you will faint at any moment, and the pain in your throat prevents you from focusing on anything or even think.
“We’ll have time for more after cleaning up… this”, Ryuzu says as she wanders away from you.
Your body goes limp, and your vision fades.

Everything is black. How did you die? Ah, Garfiel strangled you. No, you can’t be dead. Not only you aren’t enveloped by that looped witch’s unearned love, but you feel your body. Your throat hurts and you have trouble breathing right, as if something is covering your head. You are also lying on your side on a cold, hard floor that feels like the one at the witches’ tomb. You try to move your hands, which feel cold and unresponsive, but you can’t, and it takes you a couple of seconds to realize that they are bound behind your back. Garfiel and Ryuzu have kidnapped you and restrained you in some building. That’s new.
Not knowing what else to do, you force yourself into a sitting position. It takes a while, and you can feel a shooting pain in your head as you do it. You let out as a sigh of relief as your head rests against the wall behind you. You try to take off whatever is masking your vision by dragging your head along the wall back and forth, and although some fabric slides along your nose whenever you tug, the sack-like thing must be fastened around your neck.
As you get up, a creaky, metallic door opens grating along the floor, and brisk footsteps come toward you.
“Is that you, Garfiel?”, you ask with a dry voice.
“Yeah, an’ I’ve brought you the one thing ya’ll need.”
“Being freed from imprisonment?”
Garfiel chuckles.
“Yer a silly weirdo even after gettin’ choked and thrown inta a dungeon. I just gotta admire that at least. Too bad ’boutta rest.” You hear something wooden being set on the floor carelessly, maybe of the size of a chair. “Nah, I meant a bucket ta shit an’ piss in. I even hafta bother meself throwin’ out yer shit. Guess that if that hot Ram, so strong an’ proud an’ all, will do it fer her lord, I can lower meself as well.”
“So I am the lord in this relationship. Good to know. Too bad about having my hands bound and my head covered by a bag of some kind. These restraints go beyond caution and into sadism. My wrists are numb already.”
“Yer lucky I’m nice, and that the old hag is interested in yer case. With such a bold intruder, I’d just punch ya so hard that yer face would’ve exploded. Then I’d have fed yer re-“
“Fed my remains to the pigs, yeah. I noticed their size, you must keep them pretty happy.”
“I keep meself busy with all this guardin’, I already told ya, half-pint. Lotsa crap ta do. Plenty of it ugly.”
You take a deep breath, but whatever is covering your head smells bad, like it came from a barn.
“Now let’s get serious, Garfiel. Did you throw me into a dungeon just because I followed you into the forest? Or is it because I told you I wanted to reveal your secrets?”
“Nah, I’d just told ya to eat a dick and go away. It’s just that the old hag had wanted from the beginning to get a good sniff at ya, and now she’s sure.”
“Is this a fetish thing? Have I become that twelve year old granny’s personal plaything, locked away forever in her sex dungeon?”
You don’t hear anything for a few seconds, then a punch in your guts makes you fall to your knees and then double over while coughing. Your intestines burn, and you are surprised that your shit didn’t get squeezed out. You figure you will have to endure for a while this electric pain coursing through the lower tract of your digestive system.
“Didn’t yer mom teach ya ta never talk ’bout ladies that way, ya dumbass? I’ll give yer three warnings, then I’m goin’ in all at once.”
You cough.
“Maybe I should keep suggesting dirty stuff about your beloved sister, so you will kill me and we’ll get this over with.”
Garfiel groans, annoyed.
“An’ maybe I’ll tighten the cord on yer neck so much that yer tongue will fall out. I got now how ya operate, evil eyes. Ya say weird things ta people so they get confused and they forget ’bout the important stuff they shoulda brought up with ya. As in ya stinkin’ like the witch!”
You take a deep breath of the foul smelling sack over your head or whatever it is, and you roll your eyes even though Garfiel can’t see it.
“So that’s what throwing me into a dungeon is all about. A fucking misunderstanding. I’m not a witch cultist, damn it. I fight and kill cultists. I already went over this.”
“Yeah, an’ ya also claim that ya fight monsters and such, but after checkin’ with the adventurers’ guild, they said ya haven’t been on any of their sanctioned hunts.”
“Hey, don’t fly off into your delusions! I’m telling you, I know I smell like that Satella broad, but that doesn’t mean I’m a witch cultist. Other people have brought up my foul body odor, which is embarrassing, let me tell you, but eventually they got the point that they were mistaken and that I’m simply a weird guy who goes around smelling like a witch. I even led an operation against the Witch’s Cult, killed one of their Archbishops and everything!”
You hear a taptaptap and you realize that Garfiel is hitting his chest with his fists.
“Alright, alright, settle down. I believe ya.”
“I should hope so.”
“Nah, just kiddin’. Old hag told me that some random people do smell like the witch fer no good reason, a mystery, but she said that none stunk like ya. It’s like ya got that old witch all over ya. An’ ya ain’t a normal dude walkin’ ’round. Ya entered them witches’ tomb without triggerin’ Echidna’s traps, and ya followed me inta the forest even though I’m the strongest man alive, more powerful than Beninges Effidon in his glorious days. Ya should be afraid of annoyin’ me fer a single second!”
You sigh.
“I just know you are a soft guy inside, someone who just wants to return to his sister’s side and bask in the warmth of her big, warm, possibly furry bosom.”
You can feel Garfiel glaring through the sack on your head.
“Yer still useful, so I won’t kill ya, but I’m gettin’ real bored of ya.”
“Then let’s get to interesting stuff. Who is that Ryuzu, and in what way is she different from the Ryuzu that bakes us cookies?”
“Them’s her siblings, in a sense.”
“At least I know there’s more than one. That Ryuzu I met in the beginning, the deer Ryuzu, must be the dumbest of the bunch, huh?”
“Hah, that’s rude. Anyway, none of ya. As in none of ya business, cultist fuck.”
“I’m not with the Witch’s Cult, I’m telling you.”
“Oh, shut it. Unless ya got anythin’ real ta say, I’m gonna shut ya up.”
“Permanently if you don’t mind. Go ahead and kill me, Garfiel. You must have wanted it for a good while.”
Garfiel growls, then looses something around your neck and takes off the sack. The light of the couple of torches makes you wince due to the sudden contrast with the blackness. You are indeed in the closest thing to a fantasy world dungeon that you can imagine. Garfiel, standing in front of you, hasn’t changed a bit: same old messy-haired hick wearing a vest that barely covers his athletic chest, and the same beastly expression on his face, showing his pointy teeth, that he intends to be menacing. You smile at him despite the pain in your bowels, and the punk narrows his eyes nervously.
“Punch me so hard that my head explodes”, you ask. “That sounds fun.”
“Whatever. Ya say any more weird shit like that, an’ I’ll beat ya ta death.”
“That works for me too, as long as I end up dead.”
He tilts his head and stares at you perplexed, trying hard to figure out what you are doing.
“I’m so tired of yer mind games, and I can’t understand the why of this one. Ya’ll end up gettin’ killed fer real!”
“Whatever happens, happens.”
“Quit sayin’ shit like that, creep!” He stares at you murderously for a while, then pokes you with his finger in the chest. “I ain’t gonna kill ya, freak, if only ’cause the old hag didn’t want me to. The village will be a mess with people lookin’ for ya. I’ll have ta lie to that fiery Ram an’ all, and I hate it already. That’s all yer fault. I guess ya deceived yer pals, that clown bastard even, to infiltrate their home.”
“I am not their enemy, nor yours”, you say, “I am your friend, Garfiel. I’m here to free you all from that witch Echidna’s barrier. My main goal is to help my dear Emilia return back to the warm, womb-like safety of our huge fantasy world mansion, where we will test the springs of every single bed. And that’s a whole load of beds, let me tell you.”
Garfiel wrinkles his nose in disgust.
“Bullshit! Yer a creep, an’ ya talk too damn much. If ya were anythin’ other than a damn liar, ya wouldn’t be sittin’ there right now.”
You sigh, then lift your gaze to hold the punk’s nervous one.
“So you intend to keep me alive. What’s your endgame here then? Because I need to be somewhere else as soon as possible.”
“The shy princess will realize that ya ain’t comin’ back. Maybe she’ll believe that ya just went an’ abandoned them. She’ll go back to attemptin’ ta pass them trials, because someone that fancy and royalty-like won’t wanna stay in this nowhere place. If she ends up liftin’ that barrier, then maybe old hag will release ya. We’ll give ya up to the clown so he can figure out what ta do with a cultist that sneaked into their camp.”
“I’m not a damn cultist. Did you even hear a word I said?”
“Sure ya are.”
Your heart has realized before you have that you are in a perilous position. If they manage to prevent you from dying, they won’t have much trouble keeping you in this dungeon for days, weeks, months. You already know that Emilia will never pass those trials. You have to figure out a way for this punk to murder you. Or maybe just wait until he leaves, and then you’ll bite off your tongue. After all, you already know how that feels, and you can lie on your back, let your mouth fill with blood and choke on it. Your mood improves already.
“Just to try make you see reason, we know that at least two contract killers have been hired to assault Roswaal’s mansion. It will happen in around four days from now at the latest. They intend to murder everyone at the clown’s place, which means that Frederica is going to die. Do you want that to happen?”
The thought of his sister dying contorts Garfiel’s face with worry for a moment.
“Really fucking bad. The killers are a nasty bunch as well. One a sexual freak with the hottest tits I’ve ever seen, and the other a child who has mutated monsters for pets. And they will kill everyone at the mansion, I’m telling you. They will get eviscerated, their remains devoured by monsters. That’s what you are risking by keeping me here.”
Garfiel is silent for a while. His brow furrows and he bites his lips. Then he shakes his head and frowns at you.
“Nah, that’s too convenient, ain’t it? Just as ya were stalkin’ me through the forest, some assassins are preparin’ to kill me sister? There’s no way!”
“So you want to risk it being true, then? Because it is. Your dear Frederica, that awesome lioness, will get murdered, and it will be on you. How will you be able to live with that?”
Garfiel’s voice trembles with fear and rage.
“Yer yankin’ my chain. I can’t believe ya…”
“I’m telling you the truth. Why would I lie about something like that? Would I lie to you about your dear sister, whom you obviously love so much?”
He clenches his fists as if holding back his urge to bash your head in.
“Let me go, Garfiel”, you say seriously. “I’m not your enemy.”
He rubs his fingers on the nasty scar on his forehead while grimacing in pain.
“Yer sure actin’ like one. Crap… Why do ya have ta mess with me head like this!”
You keep staring at him intensely.
“Let me go, Garfiel, and we’ll pretend none of this happened. I was about to leave for Roswaal’s mansion to stop the contract killers. You believing that I’m a witch cultist is a misunderstanding after all, and I hate cultists as well, so I understand your actions. We’ll return back to normal.”
He grits his predatory teeth even harder.
“Shut up!”
He swings his fist into the iron bars, bending them. He then wraps both hands around his head and slams it against the stone wall. When he pulls it back, his scar is covered in blood which is running down towards the bridge of his nose.
You are more than a bit disturbed. No wonder this guy is such a moron. His frontal lobe must have been mush for a long time.
“Garfiel, that’s fully unnecessary, not to mention horrifying”, you say with worry. “Calm down, let’s talk about this.”
He turns and points at you with a shaky hand.
“Shut up! Ya stay away from me sister! Stay away from the mansion! Ya hear me?! I don’t know what kinda lies ya told me, but I don’t trust ya one bit!”
After he calms down, he leans his head against the bars. A single tear drops to the dirty stone floor.
“Why do ya hafta mess with my head? Damn people always messin’ with me. And all ya had to do is help the shy princess, make sure nothin’ happened to ‘er. That’s all people asked of ya, ain’t it? Maybe the stench woulda been nothin’ then. But ya didn’t, ya came in here to destroy our home, the only place we can live in. I can’t forgive anyone fer that.”
You try thinking about how to convince him, but you can tell it won’t make a difference. He intends to keep you locked away until Emilia exits the witches’ tomb triumphantly, which will never happen, so you will never leave this ancient dungeon. You need to figure out a way to die as soon as possible. Maybe you just have to wait for the punk to leave, and when the coast is clear, steel yourself, lie on your back and bite down hard. Elsa showed you how hard you have to do it, and your mind survived intact after losing half of your tongue.
A moment later you realize that Garfiel is standing a meter away from you. As you look up at him, he crouches as if to read your thoughts through staring at you with his fiery eyes. The rolling beads of blood have reached his upper lip.
“I sure wish yer eyes weren’t like that, and it would be better for ya if they weren’t. Anyone can read yer evil intent with a single look.”
“I’m not evil”, you say, but you know it’s futile.
“Yeah, yeah, I should’ve known that ya’d lie. No matter, whatever ya are, ya won’t be in the way of things soon. Shy princess will pass the trials soon enough.”
You sigh deeply, shrug and resign yourself to wait until he gets bored and leaves.
“What’s with that face, half-pint?”, Garfiel asks with worry. “Ya ain’t gonna to mess with me head anymore? Ya ain’t gonna beg in ya way for me to release ya back to the pals ya deceived?”
“I can tell you are going to have it however you like. You won’t let me out no matter how much I complain, so I better save my breath.”
“Heh, ya got that right. But there’s somethin’ more, ain’t it? That whole thing ’bout askin’ me ta kill ya… It’s like ya truly wanted it.”
Your heart skips a beat.
“No, I want to live as much as the next guy, I assure you. I was just messing with your head because I knew you wouldn’t kill me. I just wanted to confuse you, which is as easy as it gets because you are as dumb as they come, Garfiel. Just a hick from a forgotten village who keeps making up nonsense because his life is pointless and hopeless.”
Even though his face twitches with anger, he smirks nervously.
“Hah! There it is! That’s what I wanna see. The guy who doesn’t give a damn ’bout nothin’ and mocks everyone. Sayin’ something so nasty to the strongest man in the world, who has ya locked up in a dungeon no less… That’s a death wish if I ever heard one.”
“I will not die here. I will live a very long life and pass away in my bed, surrounded by dozens of children and grandchildren, some of them part elf and others part demon.”
“Yeah, if ya say so. But knowin’ ya, I’d bet ya that ya’d come back from the dead just ta mock me again.”
“I would never think of doing such a thing.”
“That’s what ya say now, but the dead be comin’ back all the time. That’s why we put them six feet under or feed them ta pigs.”
“What, you have zombies in your fantasy world!?”
“Never heard of those, but that damn necromancer Flinterion the Undying keeps searchin’ fer our humble village. One day he’ll show up and I’ll fight him meself! I’ll have ta claw through a whole army of animated dead first!”
You close your eyes and contain a sigh.
“That would be a very interesting fight to watch. A completely fantastical one as well.”
“I dunno, I’m sure it’d be scary as hell even fer the strongest man in the world. Every time we hear rumbling from underground, me and the other kids used ta hide under our beds. Probably just the wind, but ya never know.”
You open your eyes again and stare at a hesitant Garfiel. He must have recovered his confidence, because he bares his predatory teeth menacingly.
“But I ain’t afraid no more. Becomin’ the strongest man in the world means losin’ all ya fear. Ya don’t even feel it anymore.”
You slowly lean back until you lie on your back, squeezing your tied hands between the floor and your body. The stone floor feels cold through your clothes. A headache is coming, and you want to be left alone to die in peace.
“Knowing your worldview, that makes perfect sense”, you mutter. “Please, let me be for a while, Garfiel, so I can get properly terrified about how much time I’m going to waste locked up in here.”
“Sure, will do. Ya know, it’s funny. I be the strongest man in the world, an’ I’m still afraid of so many things. Of losin’ people I care about, of losin’ a fight… even though it’s rare that anyone is actually strong enough ta challenge me. But yer not afraid of nothin’.”
“I couldn’t care less about the contradictions coming out of your mouth right now. Fuck off.”
“That’s basically what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Yer too full o’ hate to be afraid of anythin’. Ya’ve been eaten by the darkness. That’s a cultist fer ya.”
After a couple of seconds you hear Garfiel’s footsteps as he walks out of the cell. You wiggle your hands from under your body, and take a deep breath. The headache is coming now. However, Garfiel’s footsteps return, and he appears in your field of view. He stares down at you while smirking as if he has you figured out.
“What?”, you ask.
“Don’t say ‘nothing’, you have something to say. Spit it out.”
“I dunno if ya did this intentionally or not, but I think yer startin’ ta get scared.”
“Scared of what?”
“Whatever it is that’s not gonna happen.”
He crouches towards you. Suddenly he’s forcing your mouth open with one hand, while with the other he shoves a dirty, nasty-tasting balled up rag, filling your mouth with it. He wraps rope around it to secure it in place. Moving surprisingly quick for someone his size, he steps away from you and out of your view. You try to yell at him, but the gag muffles your voice, and all that comes out is a pathetic whimpering.
“Sorry I can’t hear ya”, he shouts proudly. “Hopefully when they let ya outta there, we can talk properly and find out what ya cultist freaks want with our village.”
You hear the sound of metal clanging together as the door closes and is locked shut.