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Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - Volume 5 - Chapter 42.2

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Chapter 42.2

[Girl: ――――]

Following the youth's words, the girl's gaze slowly fell into her arm.

Her little brother was looking up at her. His swaying, uncertain emerald eyes met hers.

{Whose face do you see now? Is it someone important to you, or a stranger who you've spent these past few hours with? Or maybe it's a friend. ......But most likely, it's a wretched face. A face that's about to cry, a face that's in distress, and I imagine it probably isn't smiling. No, perhaps there is someone out there who is putting up a strong face, forcing themselves to smile so as not to worry the people around them. If there is, then that's an amazing person. If someone you care about is smiling this way, you should be proud of them. But now, with that in mind, compare it with the smile you know}

Her brother's face was close to crying.

It was a crumpled face, a face that was about to burst into tears again.

While, reflected in her brother's eyes, her own face was hollow as if it had lost its expression.

{――Is this acceptable to you?}

[Girl: ......no way]

A small, thin voice slipped from the girl's lips.

It was a weak and broken sound that was impossible even for herself to hear.

Nevertheless,

{I can't accept this. I will not accept this}

The youth's voice rang, as though having heard her reply.

{I also have people I cherish. Friends I hold dear. And I cannot forgive whoever put that pained, sorrowful expression on the faces of the people I love. I don't want you to force yourself to smile. You kidding me? Quit joking around. I want to raise my voice and shout that the smile of the girl I know should be way cuter than this...}

[Boy: B-big sister......]

{I don't want to keep losing. It'd be too pathetic to give up here. There's no way I can allow it. They are the ones in the wrong. Even if you are too weak to do the right thing, to strike down those in the wrong, you should at least know what is right. And when you know that you are right, there is no way you can allow yourself to lose to those who are wrong. At least, I don't intend to surrender and bow to those guys}

[Girl: Fredo......]

Hearing her little brother faintly calling her, she gently held him closer and pressed her forehead against his.

A feverish heat transferred between them. Hot, very hot, it was the heat of life.

She couldn't tell if it was her younger brother's or her own, but the heat was certainly there.

{I want to run away, but I can't run away. I want to cry, but I can't cry. The enemy is strong, but I don't want to lose. And so, I'll fight. I know I am weak, and stupid, but still I will fight. They are wrong. They are wrong to have made the people I care about look like they're about to cry. So, fight. I will fight. ――And I want you all to fight}

[Girl: ――hk]

Her breath clogged. Her throat suddenly closed, ashamed of her own weakness.

Surely, it was because the voice of the youth had ceased to tremble, but had become powerful, as if pointing to the road ahead.

She could understand the youth's feelings. She received the youth's message, painful and clear.

In her heart, the girl's will was the same as the youth's. She wants to fight. She wants to do all she could to drive out the thugs who had attacked their city. But, both she and her little brother were small, young, and their reach were far too short.

They were helpless, ignorant, weak, and cowardly, and so――

{Don't get me wrong. I said I want you to fight, but I'm not telling you to pick up a stick and fight them. In fact, please avoid doing anything so reckless. I don't want you to mob up and spill blood fighting against the Witch Cult. What I am asking you to fight for is to not look down}

[Girl: To not... look down......]

{Staring at your feet isn't going change anything. Your gaze isn't going to bore a hole in the floor, and even if does, that won't fix a thing...... So please, lift your face and look ahead}

She looked up. Not at her knees, not at brother's blond hair, but at the shelter.

And there, she saw the faces of those around her her also lifting.

Their eyes met, wide open as if in astonishment.

Just like the girl, everyone had subconsciously raised their faces, obeying the voice of the youth.

{If you look around you, surely, you'll meet someone's eyes. Like you, this is someone who is afraid and wants to run away...... but, just like you, this is also someone who doesn't want to lose. There is the person you cherish, there is the person you are looking at now, and, if you add yourself to the list, that's already three people. There should be more depending on where you are}

Just as the youth said, the people's gazes intersected as they lifted their faces.

The gleams within their irises were complicated, and surely, the girl's own eyes must've been the same. However, there now seemed to be something more than just tremors of terror.

{If you can see that you are not alone, then that's enough. You are not alone. That in itself powerful, don't you think? I don't want to see saddened expressions on the faces of people I love. And I don't want the people looking at me now to see a miserable expression in my eyes. I'm not the only one who's so vain, weak, and stubborn, am I?}

[――――]

That beseeching, calling voice was trying to muster the people's courage.

And yet, to the girl's ears, the youth was pleading for help―― for something, anything, to cling to.

And then, she realized it.

The youth's feelings had never changed since the moment this broadcast began.

While lamenting his weak, insufficient self, he did not give up.

He was telling himself that that was his only weapon, and telling everyone else that they were also the same.

{Please, help me believe this. I may be weak and hopeless, but I can't give up just yet. I'm not the only coward who hates to give up...... please, help me believe it}

It was a cowardly voice. A cowardly plea.

It was a voice which, when everyone needed help, was shamelessly shouting quicker and louder than anyone: ’’Please help me’’――

{Or... am I the only one?}

The voice lost its confidence. Or rather. The youth's voice had no confidence to begin with.

A sense of agitation surged up. Don't go. Whatever it takes, she wanted takes, she wanted to shout for him to stay.

[Girl: ......you're.. not]

A faint voice, indiscernible like a mosquito's cry, spilled from her throat.

This voice would not reach him. The reply would have to be louder.

In order to answer the voice of that coward, afraid and alone――

{Who believes...... even now, we can still fight... am I the only one?}

[Girl: ――YOU'RE NOT!]

Opening her mouth, the girl screamed at the top of her lungs.

Voices resounded throughout the refuge shelter. Not just the girl's.

Others who had also lifted their faces shouted out as well.

They were voices resisting against sorrow, weakness, and fear.

If that was the youth's plan all along, then they fell for it through and through.

Who cares, even if it was? That wimpy trembling of his voice, that faltering pep-talk, that pitiful encouragement, and that pleading, clinging faith, even if all of it had been an act...

If they fell for such a masterful performance, who could blame them?

But, if this really was the voice of a clumsy wimp, how could anyone just leave him be?

{I'm not, am I?}

[Girl: ――You're not!]

{You guys are still fighting, aren't you? You haven't been swallowed by weakness, have you?}

[Girl: We haven't..... we don't want to lose!]

The depths of her chest grew hot. The roots of her teeth were trembling, and a passion different from anger was raging.

That feeling wasn't the girl's alone. It was a flaring passion engulfing everyone into a single inferno.

The anxiety they had only recently shared now became a bonfire of a different emotion.

{If you are with someone important to you, hold their hand and believe in them. If you're with someone you don't know, give them a nod and assure them you'll do your best together. Because neither you nor that person have been crushed by defeat or are about to give up fighting. And as long everyone goes on fighting, I will fight to the end as well. I will fight―― I will fight, and win}

[――――]

In the end, this is just a shelter far away from the City Hall.

No matter how loudly they shouted here, no matter how they scream that they are with him, none of it would reach the youth.

Still, the youth sounded relieved, as sounded relieved, as though he had heard the girl and the others' replies. He received it, he received it and proclaimed in a voice trembling in swelling emotion:

――I will fight, and win

There was no question of whether it was possible.

Only faith that surely, he will.

Just as the youth believed that the girl and the people of this city would not be beaten by despair――

The girl and the citizens believed that the youth behind that voice will prevail in the perilous battle ahead.

Why did they believe it? Because surely, this voice――

{――My name is Natsuki Subaru. I am the Spirit-Arts User who defeated Sin Archbishop Sloth of the Witch Cult}

[――――!!]

An uproar erupted at the revelation of the youth's identity.

The girl didn't quite understand the significance of that declaration. But this was not the case for the people around her. The impact was overwhelming, and certainly not in the negative sense.

At first, they were startled, then, as comprehension followed―― hope and faith spread explosively as even the girl's heart was swallowed by that wave of emotion.

{My colleagues and I will do everything to take care of the Witch Cult in this city! So, please believe in us and fight on. Hold onto the hands of the people precious to you and cast away the cowering part of yourself that wants to surrender. And...}

[――――]

{――Leave the rest to me!}

Deafening cheers erupted, flooding the shelter with heated enthusiasm.

Expectation became hope, and, in a single breath, one hope became hope innumerable.

The girl looked down at her younger brother in her arms and saw the undeniable light dwelling in his eyes.

Just to be sure, she embraced her brother tightly once more. Her brother's arms wrapped around her body in return, and, while savoring the warmth of that embrace, the girl looked up towards the ceiling.

Unable to hide his fear or apprehension, that youth nevertheless took on the hopes of every person in this city and declared that he will fight.

The girl closed her eyes, sketching out the image of the hero whose face she didn't even know, and prayed for every imaginable good fortune upon him.

――Because surely, he must be just a common-place youth, fighting for the sake of someone important to him.



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