Actions

Work Header

The Melancholic Path

Chapter Text

Margrave Roswaal L Mathers sat alone in his office as the early afternoon sun streamed through the curtains while he absentmindedly looked through the papers detailing Arlam villages expected harvest. Should one have walked in on the margrave they would have thought that he was diligently working away; however only the margrave and one other, knew that he was in the midst of a conversation as he sat in silence. Margrave Roswaal L Mathers was conversing with the one who had shared his body alongside him for the last 400 years, Hector, Warlock of Melancholy.

 

It was a deal between bitter enemies, but also a deal forged out of absolute necessity. Roswaal’s body had been so thoroughly ravaged by Hector’s Authority that he stood on the precipice of death. Hector had been greatly injured due to his inability to hurt his beloved, before having his very soul stripped from his body when the massive barrier around Sanctuary rose. Had even one of the two not been willing to put their obsession with the greedy witch aside than they both would have perished there on that day; but as they each held an obsession that eclipsed even their hatred and disdain for one another, they formed an unholy contract that has allowed their souls to cling to life and resist the Od Laguna’s pull.

 

“It still greatly saddens my heart to think that I must rely on someone as weak as yourself so that I may continue to exist Roswaaaaaaal” Echoed the voice of Hector through Roswaal’s head. The two had been together long enough at this point that Roswaal was able to distinguish the voice of Hector from those originating outside his own mind, and to be able to reply in turn. It took him a fair amount of practice to achieve this, during the early years it was quite common for him to mumble the words with his own voice when he tried to respond to Hector, or occasionally turn around trying to face the source of Hectors voice; these behaviors had led to a fair few of the ancestors he possessed being labelled as straight up mad.

 

“My dear Hector-kuuuuun, it brings a tear to my eye when the one who has become like a brother to me speaks of me sooooooooo. Are we not in this struggle to bring Sensei back togeaaaather?” Although Hector made his distaste of Roswaal very clear, Roswaal generally tried to hide his own dislike for his partner in crime. Although the two differed greatly on how they interacted with one another, they had only grown more and more similar in other regards; or more correctly, Hectors personality had gradually bled into Roswaal over the centuries. Roswaal the dedicated disciple of Echidna shared fewer traits with the current margrave than Hector did; Hector’s verbal ticks had gradually ingrained themselves into Roswaals speech pattern, his clowny and outlandish way of dressing had become the norm. However Roswaal had managed to resist some aspects of Hector, allowing a definitive line to be maintained defining where Roswaal ended and Hector began. Roswaal had always managed to resist Hectors true melancholy, for as long as Roswaal believed he could have his Sensei back once again he would never truly believe that the world was a sad and depressing place.

 

“The disgusting display of that boy still irks me, the pride and audacity, the stupidity to declare what he did in front of the entire Royal Selection made me feel true melancholy. Just what is the point of this great plan buried in your gospel if we must rely on that horrid piece of trash to do just about anything vaguely useful, it even brings melancholy when I think at the possibility that my beloved made an error that led to this gospel of hers being defective.”

 

“I can assure you Hector-kuuuuun, Sensei’s gospel has not made a mistake; Suuuubaru-kun’s devotion to Emilia ensures that he will loop through time until she is on the throne. Then and only then will we have the resources we need to ensure that Sensei’s soul can be returned to her body, and with that our loooooong partnership will end, the thouuuuuught of it makes me want to shed a tear or two.”

 

“Natsuki Subaru lacks the determination to work towards his own ambitious goal in defiance of time, he still seeeeeeee’s joy in the world around him. If he were to be broken, to see that the entire world outside his beloved was just an uncaring grey, then and only then would he be strong enough to be of use. He cares for too many people, the fact that he would go through so much unnecessary effort to save those children, the fact that he cares so much for the blue haired oni are both proof that he isn’t reaaaaady yet.”

 

“Subaru-kuuun will be broken in quite soon enough, his outburst infornt of the entiiiiiiiiiiire upper crust of Lugunica when he witnessed their disdain for our dear doll-sama shows that he’s well on his way. As well he should know that in naught but a few hours my dear friend Geuse will slaughter everyone in Arlam and this mansion, which will catalyyyyyyyyze the next part of Natsuki Suabru’s transformation. He will have no choice but to give up on the villagers and his dear Rem if he wishes to save Emilia. Once he sees that there is no hope to save anyone else besides Emilia he will be perfected, just like you and I Hector-kuuuuun”

 

“It nearly brings tears to my eyes to hear that Roswaaaaaaaaal, you were so close to the truth, yet just a bit too dim to ascertain the correct future. It won’t be both of us that Suuuuubaru-kun stands beside, he’ll only stand beside myself, Hector the Warlock of Melancholy.” And just as the last word finished echoing through the inside of Roswaals head he was hit with a massive wave of pain; for his other half was no longer content with just being half of a whole, it desired to be the entire whole on its own.

 

It started in his head, it felt as if a black mass was beginning to burrow out from somewhere deep behind his eyes. As blots of pain flared across the inside of his skull Roswaal slammed his head right down into the desk, sending papers across the room and causing an ink pot to fall to the ground and shatter.

 

“You know Roswaaaaaaaal, it is just so damn disgusting that you never know when to give up.”

 

The dark mass continued to expand within Roswaals body, it now fully occupied his skull and was reaching around the outside of his chest cavity to occupy his legs and arms. He couldn’t see anymore; his soul had been forced from his head and was now desperately trying to holdout in his chest. As the mass finished occupying his limbs Roswaal could feel his strength falter, his arms and legs were no longer his to control.

 

“If I give up now I won’t ever get my reunion with Sensei, but this happening wasn’t in the Gospel; my only hope at this point is to hold out and hope I can somehow force Subaru to loop, he must’ve caused something to ruin this timeline, meaning he must be forced back down the correct path.” Roswaal thought to himself as his soul was slowly compacted and forced deep within his od. However, the more Hector forced him out of his body, the harder it became for him to push Roswaal back, leading to an equilibrium where Roswaal continued to exist in the od but Hector held full control of the rest. At this point Roswaal could forcibly shut his own gate and kill them both with mana poisoning, but without some guarantee that Subaru would loop it could mean that the timeline would simply persist without Hector or Roswaal. There was a slim chance that a perfected Subaru would arrive at the doors of the mansion to whisk Emilia away, if this occurred with a dead Roswaal than his reunion with Echidna would certainly never happen. And so Roswaal simply hid inside the od of his body, content to wait until he had an opportunity to either force a restart or at least seize back control from Hector.

 

Hector got up from the desk and stretched out his arms in front of him, opening and closing a pair of fists as he examined and got a feel for his new body. Thanks to how he had been influencing Roswaal subtly from within, the body felt familiar. The Mathers had always been somewhat long and lanky, enough muscle to be considered fit, but not enough to give them a bulky frame, just like Hector’s original body had been. The long line of Roswaal’s had even taken to dressing in a manner akin to Hector, clothing that could be considered somewhat extravagant yet more odd than anything else. The main difference is that the long line of Roswaals had always carried themselves in such a way that made them seem eccentric compare to Hector who had always appeared to have a more rundown and depressed look.

 

Hector’s examination of his new body was swiftly interrupted by a red-haired maid bursting through the door, Ram. Hector knew Ram would quickly rush to Roswaal’s aid should she believe that there was even the slightest possibility that he was in danger, not just due to her maidly loyalty to her master; but also due to the feelings Hector knew she harbored for Roswaal, the same feelings that Roswaal had always refused to recognize thanks to his blind devotion towards Echidna.

 

Although the battle for control between Hector and Roswaal had felt like it had taken several minutes if not longer, in reality less than a minute had passed between the struggles beginning and the current moment. The flustered and worried looking Oni had rushed to her masters side immediately upon hearing the disturbance, and now that she had deduced that there wasn’t an intruder present in the room Hector would need to immediately justify the sounds, lest his possession be discovered through means unknown to even someone as learned as himself.

 

“Roswaal-sama is everything alright, Ram heard a disturbance and rushed here immediately! Wait is that blood running down your face? Ram will fetch Beatrice-sama right away to treat your injuries!” Ram had just happened to notice something wrong with Hectors body that he himself had failed to, the struggle for control had caused a small blood vessel behind his left eye to rupture, leading to a trickle of blood running out from behind the eyeball and down his face.

 

Hector raised his hand to trace the small amount of blood running down his face, he needed to ensure that Ram did not get Beatrice; who due to being a great spirit would uncover the possession nearly instantly. But Hector had prepared for such an occurrence, he had been observing and developing means for handling each member of Roswaal’s staff since the day they took up residence in this mansion. He knew Ram’s every weakness and just had to pull a few strings for her to play right into his hand. “Although it truuuuuuly warms my heart to seeeee how much genuine concern you hold for my wellllll being Ram, I am veryyyy busy working to handle the mess created at the royal selection by your juuuuunior. This injury is too minor to be worth disruptingggggg both my own work and Beaaaaaaatrice. However I would greatly appreciate it if youuuuu could do something for me insteaaaaad.”

 

Hector pulled on one of Ram’s weakpoints, her feelings for Roswaal that had gone unreciprocated for so long. Even if it was unlike Roswaal to say anything that could possibly be construed as romantic, you could always leave it to a teenager to take something out of context and make their head spin when the person in question is their love interest. Ram seemed to suddenly fall into a near daze or stupor as she took these kind words way too far and meekly managed to get out, “Ram will do anything for Roswaal-sama.”

 

Knowing that he was in the clear Hector wiped the tiny amount of blood from his face with a handkerchief and gave Ram her instructions, “I expect Subaru-kuuuun to return from the capital soon, when he does cooooould you send him up here, I feel that I must discipliiiiiine our wayward junior butler. Afteeeeer our meeeeeting you may deal with the ink stains I soooo carelessly made when I nooooded off.”

 

“If Roswaal-sama is tired Ram would be glad to ready a bath for him, Roswaal-sama shouldn’t push himself for someone as useless as Barusu.” But with a wave of his hand to indicate that he was not in the need of rest Ram curtseyed before leaving the room to carry out the instructions from the one she believed to be her master.

 

“Now Natsuki Subaru-kuuuuun, just when will you be making your entrance into this performance of mine.” Hector mused to himself as he sat back into his chair.

 


 

Emilia sat at the desk in her room, curtains drawn as she looked down at an open book on Lugunican history. She was supposed to be studying for the royal selection but she hadn’t turned the page in over an hour, occasionally reading the same few sentences over and over again. Her mind was still trapped on what happened in the capital between her and Subaru, he had been the first friend she had made; she thought he would have been able to treat her as a normal girl but in the end even he gave her special treatment. He had always gone way too far for her, getting himself beat up and hurt; he had never been able to keep his promises, all she asked was for him to stay in his room for a few hours until she returned from the royal selection, but he did not. Instead, Subaru broke his promise and snuck into the royal selection, making a speech that drew the ire of all the capitals knights without even realizing like a complete and utter dunderhead. He than once again got seriously injured after trying to duel one of the most skilled knights in the capital, his injuries would’ve been even worse had Emilia not intervened. But after all that when she asked why he did what he did, he made some cockamamie claim that it was all for her, that he was repaying her for when she saved him, something that never happened. After that she asked Subaru to stay away from her, he always pushed himself way too far when he was around her, always getting himself hurt and in lots of trouble, so it was for the best. But it was this statement, the statement that ended Emilia’s first friendship, the statement that made her so sad, so melancholic; that has led her to sitting at her desk feeling too sad to even do something as straightforward as reading a book.

 

“Lia, I know you’re upset but your emotional turmoil is trapping me in the crystal, I can barely even speak right now.” A voice echoed through her head, it was Puck; a great spirit who had contracted with her ever since she had thawed out in the elior forest, and the only other being who was unconditionally nice to her.

 

“Sorry Puck, I guess I just end up causing trouble for you too…..” Emilia said out loud with a heavy layer of self-loathing tainting her voice.

 

“What Subaru did back in the capital wasn’t your fault Lia, he acted like a complete idiot and got what he deserved. He promised you to stay out of the royal selection and then immediately broke that promise and karma got him for that; there was nothing more you could have done to stop what happened.” Puck said in a rather manner of fact voice, highlighting that he was missing the main point just ever so slightly.

 

“THAT’S WHATS BOTHERING ME PUCK!” Emilia shouted out at the incorporeal cat as tears started to form in the corners of her eyes. “He’s the first person beside you to be nice to me, to not see me as some half-devil or monster that needs to be feared. I thought he even might be able to treat me as some normal girl, but even he had to give me special treatment! If I just wasn’t so useless, if I could just do a bit more on my own; maybe than he wouldn’t have felt the need to push himself too far for me and get hurt all the time. Maybe then he could’ve just treated me as a friend instead of some doll that needed to be protected………..” Emilia lamented to herself as she hoped to receive some comforting words from Puck, but nothing came.

 

Emilia looked down at the crystal that contained Puck, the crystal that she was accidently imprisoning him in with her emotional instability. “I only end up hurting the people who try to be nice to me, maybe I am really a devil…..” Tears began to roll down Emilia’s cheeks at the thought that maybe everyone who had spat insults or hurled rocks at her had been right.

 

CRASH

 

After a few minutes of crying to herself over how useless she was, how maybe everyone had been right about her being a devil, Emilia was brought back to reality by the loud crash of wood splitting. Although she wasn’t sure if Puck could even materialize, meaning that she was a spiritless spirit arts user, she still decided to head off to investigate the source of the disturbance. She hoped to the bottom of her heart to get a chance to show herself at least that she wasn’t a useless doll, that she could achieve something without Puck or someone else helping her.

 


 

The was sitting high in the sky as a badly beaten dragon carriage carrying a passenger in an even worse state pulled up to the front gates of the Roswaal Manor. Alone stood a red haired maid at the top of the steps, seemingly waiting for the carriages passenger while simultaneously being surprised at his arrival. However, as the carriage stopped her surprise shifted to shock at the sight of the passenger as she quickly rushed to the carriage.

 

The black-haired boy sat unconscious in the front seat, his breath ragged due to possessing several broken ribs and the associated lung damage caused by them. His outer appearance was not much better for his clothing was completely torn, shredded, and stained with blood from the assortment of cuts and scrapes made visible by his damaged clothing.

 

As the Oni maid climbed onto the bloodstained drivers bench to inspect her co-worker, her characteristic scowl was missing; what replaced it instead was a look of concern for the wellbeing of her only coworker at the mansion. She called his name, or more correctly the blinding curse she labelled him by to try if it would stir him to consciousness, “Barusu, Ram knows you’re lazy but you cannot just lounge like this in front of the mansion all afternoon, it’s unsightly with your current appearance.” When Subaru didn’t stir in the slightest at this remark Ram went one step further; she grabbed his arm and gently nudged it, only to for Subaru to shoot completely awake. His face was contorted in pain as he reached across with his other arm and grabbed it tightly, trying to hold it completely still.

 

Now that he was once again awake Ram hid any bit of concern by bringing back her characteristic scowl as she quickly backed off just ever so slightly to bring a bit more space between the two. As the pain seemed to recede and the boys face began to return to some state of normalcy Ram began ask the obvious before she’d bring him to her master Roswaal-sama.

 

“Barusu just how stupid was whatever antic you pulled for it to both ruin the fine clothes Roswaal-sama so graciously provided you; aswell as to harm you to this point?” However Subaru didn’t answer her question, instead it seemed that his mind descended into a haze like he was trapped in some terrible memory.

 

“I’m sorry Ram…….Rem’s dead, she tried to save me from the whale……..but it was too much for even her……..the fog…………I was just a burden for her……………she died so that I could get here.” As Subaru traversed this memory tears began to run down his face, mixing with the blood coming from the cuts on his forehead to dye most of the lower half of his face red.

 

But all Ram could do was stare at him with a look of confusion on her face, only one thought running through her mind that escaped her lips, “Barusu, who’s Rem?”

 

Upon hearing this the boy froze up, his muttering and crying stopped completely as he just stared at Ram in disbelief as if the words that left her mouth were the last thing he ever expected to hear. As Ram stepped down from the drivers bench to assist Subaru from the other side all he did was mutter more vague and meaningless words that made not the slightest bit of sense to Ram.

 

“I’m sorry Rem……..This loop has failed anyway……..I’ll need to restart anyways……….I should try to tell Emilia, nothing to lose at this point anyways……..” Subaru kept muttering these odd sentences as he accepted Ram’s assistance with his good arm, gradually stepping down the from the dragon carriage with the occasional jolt of pain causing his face to tense up just ever so slightly.

 

“Barusu I still don’t know who this Rem girl is, if she’s some whore who you paid to let you cry into her lap after you upset Emilia-sama, then I shall kindly ask you to not mention her in front of Roswaal-sama. Roswaal-sama has requested that you meet with him upon your return; unless you collapse in which case I shall sully myself to carry your disgusting self to Beatrice-sama first.” While Ram relayed Roswaal’s request to the boy his demeanor shifted once again.

 

“Roswaal? He’s here? That’s different from last time……..” Subaru seemed to calm down yet look perplexed at the same time when he heard that Roswaal was in the mansion, like he didn’t expect it for some reason.

 

“Barusu it seems you have somehow managed to hit your head hard enough to make yourself even stupider, if you could somehow harness your ability to become more and more useless to maintain the mansion than Ram wouldn’t need to lift a finger all day. As well why wouldn’t Roswaal-sama be here in his mansion, it’s his mansion, idiot Barusu.” Ram added a sharp tsk at the end of her insults at the wonderment that was Subaru’s seeming stupidity. Subaru than hobbled into the mansion, towards Roswaal’s office with his one good arm over Ram’s shoulder so he didn’t collapse or fall on the way there.

 


 

As Ram half-supported and half-carried Subaru through the doors of Roswaal’s office he noticed several things were off about the room. Normally Roswaal kept his office as well as himself incredibly tidy, but what was in front of him was the exact opposite of tidy. The normal stack of papers that stood on Roswaal’s desk was strewn across the room were crumpled and in complete disarray as if they had been launched off his desk by some incredible force. Roswaal himself wasn’t much better, his persona of the refined yet comical magical clown lord was off kilter; his makeup was all smudged and even had some tear streaks through it; his clothes were all wrinkled from what looked like some kind of scuffle. Even his normal demeanor was off, when they’d entered the room it seemed like he had been impatiently pacing back and forth, further trampling the papers on the floor that he hadn’t even bothered to pick up. Subaru felt Ram’s body stiffen just ever so slightly at the sight of her master making it clear that she hadn’t been completely expecting this either.

 

As soon as they stepped into the office Roswaal had immediately turned to face them with a slightly crazed look in his eye causing Ram’s voice to audibly catch in her throat before she presented the two of them. “Roswaal-sama I have brought Barusu as you requested, however if Roswaal-sama requires time to collect himself Ram could take Barusu to Beatrice-sama for treatment first.” Ram bowed slightly at the end of their presentation to the mansions lord causing Subaru to wince as the slight movement caused pain to shoot through his broken ribs.

 

“Thaaaank you Ram but that wooooon’t be necessaaaaary, Subaruuuuuuu-kun and I will just be having a shooooooort chat.” Roswaal than gestured to the chair across his desk while he sat down in his normal chair. Ram did as instructed as she helped the badly injured Subaru into the office chair before departing the office.

 

“You seem surprised to seeeee me Subaru-kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun, did this encounter perhaps not happen in your laaaaaast loop?” As these words left Roswaal’s lips he stared directly into Subaru’s eyes with a menacing yet mischievous gleam in his own.

 

“W-what did you just s-say Roswaaal?” Subaru sputtered as he stared at the clown before him in utter disbelief, disbelief that his secret of Return by Death was seemingly not a secret anymore.

 

“I know that you’ve beeeeeeeeeeen looping through time Subaru-kuuuuuuuuuuuuuun” The mischievous glare still holding strong in his eyes.

 

“Roswaal, how long have you known that I can loop, that I can Return by D…………..” Just as the last of the 3 magical words was about to leave Subaru’s lips time in the room seemed to stop; the room got substantially darker as shadows appeared out of nowhere to cloak the floors, walls and ceiling in darkness. Subaru felt a cold presence behind him, he felt her hand on his right shoulder, he felt her face right beside his own but didn’t dare look over to try and catch a glimpse of it. He felt a shadow reach inside his very chest before a massive pain shot through his body, overshadowing all the other pain from his other injuries by several orders of magnitude. The hand of shadow hand grasped his heart, but before he knew it the shadows and the pain were gone. She had once again reminded him that he still was forbidden from breaking the taboo, the taboo surrounding Return by Death.

 

As Subaru sat in the chair panting whilst still clutching his chest with his single functional arm, he looked up to see that Roswaal’s demeanor had undergone a complete shift. He was no longer staring at Subaru with a combination of menacing and mischievous intentions; now he sat there pinching his nose while he fanned the air, his face contorted into one of anger and annoyance as he scanned the room trying to find someone who was no longer there.

 

“Putrid. Disgusting. Rancid. Wretched. Obnoxious. Why must you defile this room with your horrid stench; I can only feel great sadness at the prospect of having to deal with you again after being free of your horrid presence for 400 years.” Roswaal proclaimed this angry declaration not at Subaru but instead to the room himself, like he was orating to an audience that wasn’t present before he refocused on Subaru inorder to speaking to him directly. “I can only feel down at how close you are to grasping the truth Subaru-kuuuun, but you are just slightly off. Yes the incompetent Roswaal knows you can loop, and yes I know you can loop, but I am not Roswaal; my name is Hector, Warlock of Melancholy and I believe you and I have the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship, Natsuki Subaru-kuuuuuuuuun, beloved of Envy.”

 

 

Subaru sat there shocked at all the revelations being revealed before him, not only did the man before him know about Return by Death, but Roswaal also knew; he’d potentially even known for quite some time. As well this man was claiming to be the Warlock of Melancholy, a male witch of some kind, like the Witch of Envy that had cursed him with such a cruel power. But Subaru’s thoughts were interrupted by Hector suddenly grasping onto the desk in pain with both hands.

 

“That damn clown just keeps getting in the way of my plans, he’s so annoying that his persistence makes me feel truly melancholic…..” Hector said this not with the tone of someone in pain, but instead with exasperation as if he was having to deal with some irritating fly. “Natsuki Subaru-kuuuun, I have an offer for you; if you are willing to carry my soul inside your body, if you are willing to do so in order to reunite me with my beloved; than I shall give you the full extent of my melancholy, I shall give you a power second only to Satella in her prime.” Hector than stood up and looked Subaru right in the eye while holding out his hand with his palm facing right towards Subaru.

 

Subaru timidly held out his hand in a similar fashion before hesitantly taking it back, he felt incredibly hesitant with the idea of trusting this man that he had just met mere moments ago to this extent. Seeing this Hector sighed before beginning to speak again, “Although it nearly brings a tear to my eye that you wouldn’t trust me, it does show me that you are no longer the naïve boy who first arrived at this mansion. Subaru-kuuuuun if you accept my offer, I will give you the power you need to become the hero that you wished you were when you first came to this world. I will make you so strong that no petty knight would dare oppose you, that no noble would dare berate the ones that you support. Natsuki Subaru if we join forces, if Envy and Melancholy work together than there isn’t a single being in this world that could possibly oppose us. It will be you who decides who shall sit on the throne of Lugunica, it will be you who saves those closest to you. All I ask is that you give me the chance to be with the woman I love just one more time, than all my power will be at your full disposal.” Hectors voice began with a very determined tone, appealing to Subaru’s desire to be the true isekai protagonist that he’d wished he’d been when he first arrived in Lugunica, but by the end of his speech he was pleading with Subaru to accept his offer, sounding almost like a desperate and broken man appealing to their last hope.

 

Some of Subaru’s worst memories flashed before his eyes, he remembered how he was beaten, ridiculed, and left behind after he proclaimed himself Emilia’s knight, after he couldn’t bare to hear her be belittled by the whole court for another second. He remembered the countless times Rem had died trying to save him from either the witches cult or the white whale, all because he was too weak to do anything but rely on her. Natsuki Subaru remembered all the times he’d been forced to rely on others to protect those close to them, and it was these memories that gave him the courage, the courage to become the hero he’d wished that he’d been when he was first isekai’d.

 

Subaru’s hesitation and timidness were replaced with a steeling of determination as he raised his palm to meet Hectors while staying “I accept.” A smile crossed Hectors face as he closed his fingers so they interlocked with Subaru’s, and that’s when Subaru felt a strange yet dark entity worm its way through the connection formed by their hands. It travelled up Subaru’s arm before seemingly nesting itself around his very heart where it throbbed and oozed until it seemingly encased the whole thing.

 

As if waking up from hypnosis, Hector left the body he’d inhabited and its original owner Roswaal regained control. Roswaal looked dazed at first but than his face contorted into anger as he looked down to see how his hand was connected to Subaru’s, after staring at their hands for a few more seconds his anger seemed to grow, to the point he began screaming at Subaru. “NATSUKI SUBARU DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE DONE? Never mind, this timeline is already over; either you reset it back to a useable point or I will force you too.”

 

Roswaal clenched his hand that was interlocked with Subaru’s, unleashing his inhuman strength to a chorus of snapping and cracking sounds, the sound of the bones in Subaru’s hand being crushed like toothpicks. Subaru’s face contorted in pain as he screamed and tried to pull his hand from Roswaal’s, but Roswaal was too strong for Subaru to escape from, and Roswaal just repeated one line, “Reset the loop if you want the pain to stop Natsuki Subaru.”

 

Subaru could feel a presence in the back of his mind, it felt like a tiny string that tied his being to another; he could mentally reach through this connection almost like he was reaching out to touch this being but no matter what he did he was met with silence, Hector wasn’t going to help him through this.

 

Roswaal at this point had crushed Subaru’s hand into a bloody pulp that more closely resembled a ball of ground beef than a human hand. The pain was so great that Subaru felt a warm and smothering sensation spread throughout his body, like a gentle blanket it covered his consciousness as he slipped away from reality. The pain of having his hand crushed to the point of being nothing but a mass of bloody meat had been too much for Natsuki Subaru to take, and so his consciousness had retreated deep inside his mind, leaving his body defenseless and unmanned in the face of Roswaal’s machinations.

 

Subaru was suddenly jolted awake by the sensation of flying, he was flying through the air before impacting a hard wooden object, passing through what turned out to be the heavy oak door of Roswaal’s office with a deafening crash. Splinters flew everywhere, some impaling themselves into Subaru’s flesh, some flying harmlessly down the hallway, some being harmlessly shredded by a shield of wind that protected a certain pink haired Oni that had been waiting beside the door of her masters office.

 

 

Right before Subaru collided with the hallway wall his eyes met Ram’s, hers were open in surprise as they tracked his path through the air; he saw how her mouth hung open in shock when he slammed into the corridor wall with a resounding crunch. The thick wall of the corridor didn’t budge a single inch with Subaru’s impact as his back and remaining ribs snapped and cracked, further impaling and shredding his already damaged internal organs.

 

Subaru spat out blood as he struggled to breath with his now barely functional lungs as he watched Roswaal walk out towards him with one hand held out flat, horizontal to the floor with several small balls of mana floating above it. However, his approach was stopped by a call from Ram, completely shocked at the shear level of violence her master had employed against one of his own employee’s.

 

“Roswaal-sama, please don’t dirty your hands with Barusu’s blood; Ram knows that he screwed up badly but please consider Emilia-sama’s feelings before you do something drast……..” As Ram desperately pleaded with Roswaal in an effort to make him calm down she was abruptly stopped by Roswaal pointing his palm towards her, launching all the small balls of mana at her with an immense velocity.

 

An explosion rocked the whole mansion as Ram along with a large section of the wall was blown to smithereens by the sheer power of Roswaal’s raw mana being materialized. As the smoke cleared there was barely even a single trace of Ram left, had one of her bloody shoes not been visible hanging from one of the hedges in the garden than it would’ve been possible to assume that Ram hadn’t been caught in the explosion at all.

 

Subaru heard Roswaal mutter “Thank you for your service Ram” under his breath as he resumed his walk to the bloody mess that was Subaru. “Look at what you’ve caused Natsuki Subaru, it was as a result of your own actions that led Ram to die. Will you really allow such a timeline to exist where she has died? Restart the timeline.” Roswaal than lifted up Subaru’s broken body by the neck with a single hand until he was looking him right in the eyes. “Natsuki Subaru, you can undo all this madness; so fix it.”

 

However the tense atmosphere was broken by a teary voice that sounded similar to a bell, “Roswaal, Subaru…………what’s going on……..” The hallway went silent leaving only the crackling of a few flames and the pitter patter of Subaru’s blood dripping from his body before landing on the floor.

 

 

Subaru barely managed to turn to face Emilia, he tried to shout to her to run but all that attempt amounted to achieving was increasing the flow of blood from his mouth, which in turn caused Emilia to panic even more than she already was, further cementing her in place. Roswaal however simply raised a singly finger to point in her direction and with a shout of “Al Jiwald” a single bean of light originating from his finger slammed into the paralyzed Emilia, burning a hole right through where her heart would be. As her body fell to the floor all Subaru could do was stare at her face, a face frozen in grief and anguish at the sight of her benefactor brutally murdering her first friend. Not but a few seconds after her body hit the floor a frost began to quickly spread from her corpse, a ball of mana forming above her as Puck began to assume his beast of the end form so that he may attempt to freeze the world again.

 

Roswaal turned to face Suabru once again, his face looking calm for the first time since he discovered that Hector had left him, “Natsuki Subaru, this is your last chance to rewind time; otherwise you will die along with the rest of us in this timeline.” Said Roswaal.

 

Just as Roswaal finished speaking a deep voice boomed from The Beast of the End, “My daughter Lia lays dead due to your actions, perish in an icy grave along with the rest of this horrid world.”

 

Subaru and Roswaal both instantly froze solid as the world faded to black; with the telltale shadows beginning to engulf his body Subaru was once again sent back in time to try to save those he’d grown close to from certain death.