Re:Written by the Stars
Prologue – The Forgotten Duchess
Chapter 1 – Erased
The White Whale, also called the Demon Beast of the Mist, was a terrifying Demon Beast that was bigger than 50 meters, many have lost their loved ones without even knowing. The Mist of Elimination does not discriminate against anyone, the end result is the same —erasure. The White Whale is capable of erasing victims along with any memories the surroundings have of them.
"A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever."
Luckily the beast was slain with the combined force of members from the Emilia, Crusch and Anastasia Camps. Crusch's weapons and armour together with the majority of the forces, Anastasia's mercenary group called [Fang of Iron] led by Ricardo Welkin, better known as Dogman and of course Emilia's side with only one person called Natsuki Subaru who held information about the beast and could be called the strategist of the operation. Together they fought the beast and with the final cut of the Sword Demon Wilhelm van Astrea the beast finally closed its eyes.
The victory was short-lived because the allied forces would once again fight, but this time against another enemy called [Sin Archbishop of Sloth]. He was notorious for his cruelty, frequently slaughtering entire towns and villages without any known reason. A monster through and through.
After a hard struggle against the insane spirit, he was finally killed by Natsuki Subaru using a stolen special attack and an Earth Dragon, trampling him like a cockroach. With his last words being his killer's name, he finally got what he deserved. The death of Petelgeuse followed a peaceful moment on Emilia's lap, a reward fitting a hero.
―In the swaying dragon carriage, Petra was growing jealous of the attention Emilia was getting from Subaru. It didn't matter that she was twelve and Subaru was seventeen, you know what they say age is but a number. A number of how long you will be in jail...
"Bewwww! I'm not going to lose against you! You hear me!" The 12-year Petra said towards the Half-Elf Emilia sticking her tongue out in defiance.
"Emilia-tan, she's only a kid. You just have to smile and laugh off what the kids say." Subaru said while giving her a smile.
Emilia, not having the same opinion as Subaru, denied his claim and said, "Even if she is a child, I can't take such a lackadaisical attitude!"
"Lackadaisical? Who even says that in this day and age?" Subaru said, giving Emilia a pity smile.
"Hmmpf." Emilia pouted, "You are teasing me again!"
"I'm not a kid!" Petra said glaring towards Emilia who needed to stay away from her Subaru.
"Okay, okay! I still need to thank you, Petra, for not leaving Emilia alone." Subaru started to pet her head in appreciation.
"There are so many people I need to thank when things calm down. I'm really grateful to Anastasia-san and her gang and I hate to say it but even Julius was very helpful. Hell, I'm even indebted to Otto who can't even keep his business running."
Otto's voice came from the front of the carriage, "Natsuki-san did you say something rude again?"
"Nah, nothing! Was just talking about how your business was going to make a grandiose comeback! Super grateful for what you did for us!" Subaru was pointing his thumb up to his new buddy and giving him a wide smile.
"Gosh, what brought that on?" Otto blushed, not knowing how to react to Subaru's heartfelt opinion about him.
"Hahaha!" Subaru was laughing at Otto's reaction, he didn't know how to take compliments, something both boys had in common.
"And of course Crusch-san can't be forgotten, she really is someone strong. Never thought that she would listen to somebody like me! But she did, with the help of Rem, we were able to come to an alliance that became far more successful than I ever could've imagined! You should have seen her when the older knights were summoned by Wilhelm to fight, how she was able to get all their attention!" Subaru kept on talking without any realisation to who he was saying it against, not even looking at their reactions that were fully showing on their faces.
"She is able to switch to her diplomatic side in a heartbeat, something I doubt I could ever accomplish. Of course, there is also Rem…" Subaru finally stopped talking when he started thinking about his conversation with Rem, he knew he shouldn't ruin their moment by talking about another girl in front of Emilia. Subaru had the intelligence to know not to talk solely about Rem, who held feelings from him but decided to talk all about her rival for the throne instead.
"Rem said that she… umm. I mean Rem said some nice things to me aaannndd.." Subaru was getting flustered speaking about Rem.
"Subaru? Just calm down for a second. I'm not quite sure about what you are trying to say. Honestly, I don't even understand half of what you said towards the end." Emilia said.
Subaru looked at the silver-haired beauty and saw her expression. He didn't understand what he could have said to give her that kind of face, remembering what he just said made him blush with all the nonsense he spouted about Crusch, but even that shouldn't warrant that face. That face of that expressed questions, like Subaru just spoke —in riddles.
Emilia finally said what was on her mind,
"Who are Crusch and Rem?"
"Wait? What? What do you mean? You don't! Rem... Crusch?! WHAT!" Subaru shouted in despair, not understanding how this could have happened. Emilia was not the type to joke around like this, so that must mean that he failed...
Again and again and again.
All the way to square one... no, Zero.
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After the battle against the White Whale the group split up, one following Natsuki Subaru to fight against the Witch Cultist's and the other following Crusch Karsten to bring back the White Whale's carcass to the Capital. Showing the people that the one of the [Three Great Demon Beasts] that caused the most damage to humanity, was finally slain. Rem followed Crusch's party because she became fatigued after the battle and was currently riding with Crusch in the dragon carriage.
Rem heard someone suddenly saying her name and looked at the person speaking. Crusch Karsten is a beautiful woman with long dark verdant-green hair and almond-shaped amber eyes. She is still wearing her steel armor trimmed in gold from the battle, not having the opportunity to change but that was one of the aspects that made her beauty stand out even more. Her hair in a ponytail showing everyone that she was ready for everything made everyone admire her even more. Someone capable of leading the battle against the beast through the bitter end was the person called Crusch Karsten, one of the five royal candidates for the throne.
There were multiple dragon carriages ahead that were carrying the wounded soldiers. Only the most fatal wounds had been treated and more than a few of them were still seriously injured. Even with all their pain, they were showing a small smile towards their accomplishment for having fulfilled their long desired wish. Seeing the beast slain that brought so much suffering, even for those that forgot, made this a moment of serenity.
Crusch noticed Rem's expression and said, "You don't look very happy, Rem. Are you still worrying about him?" Talking about Subaru who went without her to fight the dangerous Witch Cultist's.
"Rem, just…" Rem was having a hard time accepting the fact that her beloved was fighting alone, without her. She was not showing it on the outside but her stamina was depleted, it didn't matter how hard she wished for it, she wouldn't be helpful at all. She would be a burden and that is why she decided to follow Felix's advice, to not become a hindrance to her hero.
"Compared to this…" She shook her head and continued talking, "He has capable fighters under him. Wilhelm, Felix and Ricardo's mercenary group. They should be able to come out victorious even if their adversary's strength is a concern."
"Even so, I can't help but selfishly worry." Rem said feeling depressed about the current circumstances.
"Ah, it seems like I'm quite terrible at comforting people after all. When the obstacle is within you, it would be possible to improve yourself until it's overcome… but when it's about other people it becomes quite difficult…" Crusch spoke what her heart believed and had shown a very out of character Crusch. She realised that she had misspoken and lowered her eyes with a slightly more red face than before.
Rem couldn't help but smile at the actions of the normally very professional Duchess. Crusch saw her smile and decided to quote the hero who brought down the White Whale, "It's as Natsuki Subaru said, a smile suits Rem better, doesn't it?" She continued, "Even though it sounded like it came out of nowhere, it truly wasn't a stupid thing to say..."
Crusch was remembering the person who was able on some occasions to pull her heartstrings. Something she thought wouldn't be possible after Fourier's death. Natsuki Subaru, the stranger who knows so little but at the same time so much, was capable of showing even her what someone can achieve if he so truly desires. She started to smile unconsciously thinking about the strong-willed boy she admired.
"Crusch-sama, you know that you give a completely different impression when you smile." Crusch looked a bit shocked at Rem but she continued not caring about her bewilderment, "Since you always carry yourself with such dignity, it made your smile even more lovely."
Crusch didn't know how to react to her, she didn't even know that she was smiling just then. It didn't make sense to her, she always believed that she wasn't good at smiling and now another person just said she looked lovely doing it.
"Ahha… seems like we both have someone to thank for." Rem not fully understanding the meaning behind her words still found her words precious to hear and opened her lips into a smile as well.
Rem saw in Crusch things she wished to be, courageous and proud instead of her who had always been lacking confidence. Crusch was an ideal woman, almost as good as her older sister, Ram.
"The Witch Cult is going to attack the Mathers Domain and Natsuki Subaru had already prepared for it but surely Lord Mathers also realized the danger and came up with a plan for it?" Crusch questioned the noticeable absence of the Lord Roswaal L. Mathers, it seemed like only Subaru was preparing for the attack so it was a mystery as to why Lord Mathers hadn't been spoken of. As if the sponsor of Emilia was just peacefully waiting for something.
"The depths of my master's mind, Rem couldn't possibly know. Even if you ask me I wouldn't be able to say." Rem said what the truth was but Crusch thought it was just her withholding information from her rival and decided to tease her about it, in her own manner.
"That's harsh, Now that we're allies, after all, a little information slipping around wouldn't be too bad."
Crusch thought about the situation, Subaru must have surely followed Lord Mathers orders to further his master's goals. Trying to recover his lost reputation after the whole "Throne Room Spectacle", and he succeeded exceptionally with the slaying of the White Whale.
– "Hero, Natsuki Subaru"
While both girls were thinking about their own personal feelings, the Witch Cult started to move and it wasn't the [Sin Archbishop of Sloth]. Stealing a glance at the White Whale, Crusch exhaled a sigh of relief, they succeeded.
Almost instantly there was a terrifying sound coming from the furthest dragon carriage, shards of rubble were flying everywhere and the carriage was fully destroyed. The explosion was so loud that even the most injured woke up from their deep slumber. A mist of blood sprayed out, the image of the dragon carriage in front of them became a blur.
Crusch immediately realising what happened jumped from her seat, drew her sword and yelled,
There stood a lone man in the middle of the road, without weapons, armour or fear. Without care, malice or compassion. He just stood there like it was his right to stand there and nothing could change that.
"Crush over him!"
The knight-driver did as he was ordered and with a cry, he led the Earth Dragon charging forward. The speed should have been more than enough to trample any victim coming into contact, but the man in front of it didn't care ―why should he?
The young man was about to be trampled by the Earth Drago…
"Crusch-sama!" Rem cried and picked up Crusch by the waist and flew off the carriage. Just in time because there was nothing left of the carriage or the people around it.
Still being carried in Rem's arms, Crusch thanked her and stood back up. She drew her sword from its sheets, focusing fully on the individual who just killed a lot of her comrades. Seeing the deaths around her made her feel grief but she needed to wait because the man already started talking.
"I wish you wouldn't do that. Ordering them to run over me when I'm not even doing anything. That's not something a human being would do…" The man spoke with the relaxed demeanor of a man leisurely walking in a park.
Crusch interrupted the man's speech, "How dare you do such a brutal thing to my retainers! Just who are you?"
The man looked nothing out of the ordinary, at least for the inhabitants of this world, his body was slender and his white hair was neither long nor short. He looked so ordinary that you could have the greatest night with him and still forget that he existed the next day. But the reality is that he is capable of many things, by just standing there he is capable of putting fear into both Crusch and Rem. A beast waiting to be unleashed.
She pointed her blade with the intent to kill but the man just began nodding as if he understood.
"I see I see right right, you don't know who I am, but I know who you are. You are a candidate to become the next ruler of this nation. Even I, so out of touch with the world, can imagine what a great burden…"
Crusch once again interrupted the man who kept on talking, "Idle talk, ends now! Answer my question! Next time I will kill you!"
The man grew visibly annoyed at the woman in front of him and said, "That's really extreme and mean! But I suppose you wouldn't be able to run a country without a little bit of arrogance. I can't comprehend that sensibility myself, but..."
"I told you there would be no second chances!"
Crusch finally had enough of his talking and her arm swung out a blade-of-wind. Crusch's wind magic combined with swordsmanship unleashes an invisible slash, called the "Hundred-Men-Cut". It is a powerful ultra-long-range slash that can sever a man's body without him even knowing where, or who, it came from.
One day when the [Great Rabbit] appeared in the plains of the Karsten Domain she was slaying all the Demon Beasts in her first-ever battle, from that time onward she earned the name [Hundred-Men-Cut].
The White Whale was one of the receivers, its skin was cut open by this blade and the attack played no small role in bringing down that colossal Mabeast. What was this person compared to that beast, fragile, weak, small but this young man was far more terrifying than a mere [White Whale] could ever be.
"Now look here! Who taught you it was proper to swing a sword at someone when they're happily talking?!" The man said with disgust in his voice, flaunting how his body took no damage by ignoring everything else together.
"I was talking. Wasn't I talking just now? And then you interrupted me. Isn't that a bit impolite? Don't you think that was wrong? I have the right to speak… even though I don't really want to have to point this out, but to not interrupt people when they're speaking… isn't that just common social decency? You're free to listen or not listen. I won't bother you about that, but just what are you trying to do by not letting me talk?"
As he ranted, the man occasionally stomped the ground with a displeased expression on his face. And just like this, he pointed his finger at the two in front of him, both now eerily speechless.
"Now you're quiet, why? You must be listening, right? I was asking you something, so isn't it common decency to listen to me speak? Like you think it's your right, not listening to me? Ah, ah, freedom. That's your freedom. You see me ranting and you want to kill me, then when I ask you a question, you ignore me like I'm the wind. So it's like that, is it? Well, you're free to do that. Alright, let's just say it's like that. But then, what is that supposed to mean?"
Seeing the two standing silently in front of him bracing for an attack, he tilted his head and stared at them with his sharp eyes, and then, with a smothered voice,
"You're disregarding my Right ―one of my only few possessions, right?"
Just as a chill ran up Rem's back, the man took a step forward. His drooping arm lifted, sweeping up a small gust of wind.
Then, on the same line as the motion of his arm ―the earth, the air, and the world parted in two.
Before it was able to hit Crusch, Rem came in between the attack. She protected the royal candidate at the cost of a very deep cut in her left arm, disabling it for the time being. Rem didn't falter and kept standing, you might say she was ―fanatical like a demon.
"Rem-san!" Crusch couldn't believe what just happened, everything went too fast even for someone of her capabilities. As she saw Rem trying to hold it together, trying not to pass out from the pain.
Why didn't anyone come to their aid? There were so many knights that didn't cower before but now that their lord was in grave danger, where were they?
"Ah… I keep eating and eating but it's never enough! I eat, I chew, I devour, I gorge, I gnaw, I munch, I crunch… PURE GLUTTONY! GLUTTONOUS DRINKING! GLUTTONOUS EATING! AH – I'M DONE!"
All of a sudden from behind came the shrill, ear-splitting voice of a teenager. The youth stood among several empty carriages, from head to toe he was covered in long, dark-brown hair extending all the way down to his knees, his body was short. Under his hair, only a thin, blood-soaked rag covers his slender body. Every inch of his skin is coated with blood. Of course none of the blood was his. It was from the knights lying at his feet.
While Crusch and Rem were in a standoff with the man in front, the knights had engaged the enemy behind them. In the end, before Rem even sensed any combat, it was already over.
"You are…" Both Crusch and Rem realised that another enemy had come, one that killed all their men like cattle.
Hearing the question, the man and the youth looked at each other. As if it had all been arranged, they nodded to each other. Then with the same deranged smile of violent delight, they announced their name:
"Witch Cult [Sin Archbishop of Greed], Regulus Corneas!"
"Witch Cult [Sin Archbishop of Gluttony], LEY BATENKAITOS!"
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"How WONDERFUL! To personally come to feed. It's been really hard to find people with backbone nowadays. But now, I am rediscovering my hunger's LONG LOST GRATIFICATION!"
"Why did you two come here? Did you want the White Whale back, because we are transporting the severed head to the Capital right now?"
"We came here because we heard our pet had been slain, and look at this bounty! After 400 years someone FINALLY killed that thing. Even though we were already expecting a feast… AH! THIS IS FAR BEYOND OUR EXPECTATIONS!"
"Unfortunately, unlike him… I'm here purely, purely by accident… Not my intention at all… Of course, do I have hunger and desires like his? To hold such selfish, meaningless desires… Unlike his unsatisfied stomach torturing him, I, on the other hand, am completely, utterly, content with myself!"
"A lady such as yourself should've known better than to talk down on me? Right, Crusch Karsten?"
"Head Maid of the Household of Margrave Roswaal L. Mathers, Rem. Right now, I am only someone who is beloved by the person she loves. Companion of the Hero, the one I love the most in all the world, no matter what, Natsuki Subaru's companion, Rem"
"I promise you my hero will soon be here. Rem's hero shall bring punishment upon you!"
"How wonderful! —Ah such PASSION! LET'S EAT!" The battle couldn't be called a fight, it was total domination, there was nothing they could do against their enemies. Like fate had decided that this would've happened, nothing that could change it.
Crusch, who couldn't even lift her sword, was staring at the young child who had already defeated Rem, who was, in reality, an Oni. She might have been an Oni but she fought with everything she had to protect Crusch, even if she didn't seem like herself. Crusch last thing she saw was seeing the young child licking his left palm and muttering.
AN: Once again a different story! The story will focus on the relationship between Subaru and a forgotten Crusch. It will follow the canon as closely as possible, but there might be some things changed to make the story progress in a more fluid way. Major credit towards TranslationChicken (Arc 3 Interlude II) for a lot of the template of interactions. The next release will come tomorrow and that will finish the prologue! While this chapter is very "canon", the next chapter will be far more original and in my opinion: a far more enjoyable read. So look forward to it! Once again thank you for reading and criticism is always accepted.
Upcoming: Prologue – The Forgotten Duchess | Chapter 2 -『Crusch Karsten』