THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
――Two vital characters have simultaneously gone missing .
Naturally, facing a situation that had never come up in these loops, Subaru’s insides were burning with panic .
Sprinting through the Sanctuary, Subaru headed for Lewes’ residence―― the small cabin on the village outskirts she had been living in after lending her home to Emilia[Garfiel: …… . Look who decided t’come]
When Subaru belted open the door and stormed inside, he found Garfiel standing there imposingly, waiting for him . With arms crossed, nose furrowed, and irritation in plain view, he glared at Subaru,[Garfiel: Took y’long enough . How long were y’plannin’ t’keep me waitin’?] [Subaru: Well I got here as fast as I could…… But never mind that, what’s this about Lewes-san being missing?] [Garfiel: Can’t y’see for yerself?]
Garfiel jerked his chin, indicating the cramped room . Looking over the space, if it were wide enough to be called that, Lewes’ temporary lodging was a simple shack with no furnitures except a bed .
If Lewes wasn’t on that bed, then there was no doubt she wasn’t in this house .
Taking control of his breathing, Subaru roughly wiped the sweat off his forehead with a sleeve .[Subaru: It’s obvious she’s not here, but…… isn’t calling that missing a bit too much? Lewes-san may not look like it, but she’s a proper adult already . Maybe she’s just out for a walk or something, there’s no need to……] [Garfiel: Shut up! Th’fuck d’you know!? Granny ain’t never missed showin’ up at breakfast fer no fuckin’ reason . I ain’t never seen her oversleep or stay sick in bed either, and y’sayin’ she’s takin’ a walk? Y’want me t’eat ya!?] [Subaru: That was a rough way of putting it, but your life with Lewes-san sounds pretty cozy, huh… . . ]
Even with circumstances as they are, the basis for the notion that Lewes has gone missing was actually rather weak . Pointing this out, Subaru slumped, but Garfiel didn’t seem to share in Subaru’s sentiment .
He walked up to Subaru, who finally straightened his back, and bared his fangs,[Garfiel: It never happened before, yet it’s happenin’ this mornin’ . If anythin’s happenin’ now that ain’t happened here before, it’s ’cause you people’re involved, even an idiot knows that . ――Y’bastard did somethin’ with Granny, didn’t ya?]
Though Garfiel seemed to have an incredible knack for making baseless accusations, this time, his suspicion hit right on the mark .
Lewes’―― currently Lewes Theta’s―― disappearance was almost certainly because of Subaru . It was hard to imagine that someone would have kidnapped her and Emilia simultaneously .
She left willingly without saying anything to Garfiel . Just like Emilia, she was blocked by the Sanctuary’s Barrier, so she couldn’t have fled outside . In other words, it was her intention to go into hiding . ――And the time-limit for finding her was even more pressing than Emilia’s .[Subaru: If I don’t find Theta-san by the end of today……]
The rotation schedule will switch her into tomorrow’s Lewes―― Alpha, Beta, or Sigma will take her place . If that happens, he will not have another chance to speak with Theta within the two-day limit, and his perfect-run of the Sanctuary route will be thwarted .[Garfiel: They…ta?]
Hearing Subaru call Lewes this, a question mark floated onto Garfiel’s face .
Subaru was about to ask for Garfiel’s help in finding Theta, but he gave up on that idea the moment he saw Garfiel’s expression .
The question surging up inside Subaru prevented him from saying a word .[Subaru: ――――]
It was a simple question, but one he had never confirmed .
――Does Garfiel actually know about the four representative Lewes personalities?
Garfiel certainly knew about the Lewes Meyer inside the crystal in the abandoned experimental grounds deep within the forest . He had challenged the Trial, met Echidona, and qualified as an Apostle of Greed . Naturally, holding the Command Authority over replicants, Garfiel was aware of the existence of the identical-looking Lewes clones .
But, what about the rest? Does Garfiel know about the four Lewes personalities, Alpha, Beta, Sigma and Theta?[Garfiel: Th’hell’s that? Y’stopped talkin’ all of a sudden . If y’got some kinda clue, fuckin’ spit it out now . “Straight n’ honest Lib-Lib’s happy even when he’s swindled”, they say] [Subaru: Sounds like Lib-Lib’s going to be swindled forever, like that……]
Imagining the story of some random happy prince, Subaru wasn’t sure how best to answer Garfiel .
His confrontation with Garfiel was supposed to be the final barricade to completing the Sanctuary route . Honestly, Subaru wasn’t nearly prepared enough to face him without having heard what Theta has to say . And yet, whatever answer he gives here could inadvertently influence the outcome .
――Just how should he respond? After much deliberation, Subaru,[Subaru: Say, Garfiel . Couldn’t you just summon Lewes-san if you wanted to?] [Garfiel: ――――gh!!]
Immediately, Subaru saw Garfiel’s expression violently shift . Garfiel’s eyes wavered in discomposure as he lunged forward, grabbing Subaru by the collar .
At a distance so close that their foreheads almost touched, Garfiel’s golden pupils seethed with rage―― a rage so intense that it could burn its target to nothing with that gaze alone .[Garfiel: Th’fuck y’talking about… I ain’t got a shred of fuckin Milfram’s clue th’fuck yer talkin about, oy!] [Subaru: I-I don’t know what a Milfram is, but…… that’s not exactly the reaction of someone who doesn’t have the shred of a clue, is it…… let go, dumbass]
Perhaps flipping out and grabbing Subaru was just his way of calming himself . Garfiel’s words as he tried to cover it up was inherent nonsense .
Hit right on the mark by Subaru’s observation, Garfiel’s grip loosened as Subaru used the opportunity to escape . Smoothing out his crumpled clothing, Subaru took a step back to put some distance between them,[Subaru: I meant exactly what I said . I know you’re not too stupid to understand . You have a way to do it . You have the quickest, simplest solution on hand . Why aren’t you using it?] [Garfiel: Y’say it like it’s fuckin’ easy…… tch]
Garfiel’s cheeks twisted in disgust as he glared at Subaru with utmost hatred .
But despite the intensity of the rage and hostility harbored in those eyes, Subaru could clearly discern a shadow of grief mixed within it .
Noticing that hint of sorrow, Subaru’s expression shifted, but Garfiel, sensing that the depths of his emotion had been seen through, clicked his tongue and looked away .[Garfiel: That’s why I can’t let down my guard with a qualified bastard standin’ here . I dunno what that fuckin’ Witch filled yer head with . But don’t fuck with me, don’t fuck with me] [Subaru: ――――] [Garfiel: So y’know about Granny’s experimental grounds? Then y’must know ’bout Granny’s original in th’rock as well…… It ain’t something t’just use]
Clutching his chest with his right hand, it was as if Garfiel was trying to hide it from Subaru’s view . Even though it probably wasn’t physically there, Subaru figured he must be indicating the invisible Command Authority he possessed .
With his arm still holding his chest,[Garfiel: I ain’t anythin’ like you n’ Roswaal . I ain’t gonna use somethin’ just because I can…… I ain’t never gonna think like that] [Subaru: ……Garfiel] [Garfiel: Just me alone is enough . Long as I got myself, I don’t need anythin’ else . I ain’t fuckin’ usin’ this power unless it’s the last of the last of the last resort . ――Grandma, she… she’s my grandma]
Those last words fell to a whisper .
Subaru had heard him call her “Grandma” once before . But this time, it was more tender than he had ever heard him speak .
Without any intention behind it, what slipped out must have been Garfiel’s true thoughts .[Garfiel: ――Tch]
Noticing his own slip-up, Garfiel kicked at the floor in frustration . The exorbitant force caused the whole shack to lurch, sending down specks of dust tickling Subaru’s head as he waited for Garfiel’s next move .
Realizing that he was the only one getting worked up, Garfiel’s expression twisted in even further discomfort as he shoved Subaru out of the way .[Garfiel: Move . I ain’t talkin’ with you anymore . If you ain’t tellin’ me where Granny is, I’ll just look for her myself . When I do, I ain’t letting y’touch her ever again] [Subaru: Why does that, why does that kinda sound like it’s all my fault?] [Garfiel: Before you…… before y’fuckers came, everythin’ was peaceful n’ nothin’ ever happened here . I’m bringin’ us back to that time . I don’t need nothin’ whether it’s in here or out there…… I don’t need nothin’]
Leaving those faltering words behind, Garfiel marched out of the small shack . Bending his knees as soon as he was out of the door, he bounded out with his bestial leg-strength―― and although his path was straight, he disappeared from view in only a matter of seconds .