Another scene from Dies irae, translated -once again- as a challenge, and to give myself some much-needed practice. This is a deeper, more philosophical dialogue between Mercurius and Reinhard (the dark-haired man referred to as Karl and the “golden beast” from the prologue, respectively). The second scene in this post is a fairly light-hearted one involving Ren and Kasumi from the beginning of the VN.
#1 – Mercurius / Reinhard scene
Mercurius: Have you ever felt like you already knew something in advance?
I speak not of mere deja vu, but rather the prior knowledge of a certain idea.
A phenomenon that assaults all senses, sixth included.
“I’ve witnessed this scenery once before.”
“I’ve tasted this wine once before.”
“I’ve smelled this aroma once before.”
“I’ve enjoyed this piece of music once before.”
“I’ve bedded this woman once before.”
And, of course…
“These feelings have stirred my soul once before.”
A delusion – an elusive kind of illusion that springs to life as the brain errs. I do wonder – have you ever experienced such a sensation?
Reinhard: Like one about us having lost the war once before?
Mercurius: Well… you cannot possibly know that until it comes to pass. And when it does, and your brain believes that this is how things happened originally, do you begin to experience that sensation of having already known.
Yours is but a premonition. Or should I say… a self-destructive aspiration.
Do you believe that you will lose this war?
Reinhard: I do. Of course I do.
Mercurius: And why do you believe that to be the case, my beastly companion? You, a loyal follower to His Excellency the Fuhrer and commander of the Gestapo… if there is indeed one soul who knows best the valiant efforts of our troops -accumulating victory after victory-, it is none other than you.
Reinhard: Allow me to pose a question of my own, then. Do you truly believe in the thousand year Empire that His Excellency the Fuhrer and his Reichsführer both envisioned? How do you answer, Hermes Trismegistus – my dear, elusive sorcerer; you, the exquisite magus who was whispered to be a mere step away from discovering the divine truth behind the very construct of this universe?
Would a man as great as yourself condone such a foolish notion? I think not.
Mercurius: If those two were the only players on the field, I would very much concur with your assessment.
However, this country has *you*.
You, the beast of gold; the monarch of destruction; de jure successor to the lance of fate, said to grant its wielder the prowess to lord over this universe. As long as you exist here, even the thought of defeat is but folly of the highest order.
Reinhard: However… they plan to murder me.
Reinhard: You need not feign surprise. After all, I am certain you know anything and everything within the capital. With that in mind, did I give you my previous answer.
Mercurius: Are you planning to rush to your death?
Reinhard: Actual life or death matters little. There is meaning behind the existence of one such as I in their ranks. It cannot be undone.
Mercurius: I see. Indeed, the dead -regardless of the concept- cannot be revived. Not even I can accomplish such a thing.
The fallen, by very definition, are dead, and so, they cannot be restored to life. ‘Tis the bitter law of the universe. The fairy tales of the young and fair are utter nonsense, nothing more.
Reinhard: And so, if one wishes to bend that very law, he needs to eliminate such fairy tales. It was your very own theory that proclaimed this, was it not?
Mercurius: Pray and you shall be given. Weep and a miracle shall occur. In my mind, such deus ex machina is the very definition of evil. If the laws of the universe were indeed constructed in such a way, our prayers would have no doubt shifted the very cosmos into motion.
There exists no dream-like paradise where everyone is equally blessed with fortune. Nay, the world is without mercy, without compassion, forged only of blood and madness. As such, if one desires to enforce his own will in the world, he shall inevitably be tainted by both.
If one wishes to save a single life, a thousand corpses must be offered in its stead.
Destruction is far easier than resurrection. ‘Tis another eternal truth present in a world where everyone robs their fellow men of something. But alas, I digress.
You do not appear to have any intention to prevent your own death. Or, at the very least, you wished His Excellency the Fuhrer and the Reichsführer to believe so.
Reinhard: Memento mori, goes the well-known saying. We must never once forget our eventual end. Death weighs heavy upon man’s soul.
Mercurius: And yet that very fact makes you the perfect soul to transcend life and death.
Reinhard: Transcendence was *your* rune, as I recall. All *I* command is destruction.
Mercurius: Destroying the very laws of the universe allows one to transcend it. I see. Allow me to amend my prior statement, then. Destruction may be far simpler than resurrection, but it holds more significance.
Nay – there had never been a need to return to the original state to begin with.
Reinhard: Pray explain yourself.
Mercurius: I merely meant that repetition was an agonizing process, my beastly companion. For instance… indeed – you yourself had a childhood to call your own, am I correct? When you were of that age, did a single day not feel frightfully long; and to go further: a whole year, like an eternity?
Reinhard: Aye, a child’s world is filled with the unknown. There is a sea of things not known, and a vast amount of information yet to be learned. In such a state, time does indeed trickle along gently, like sand in an hourglass.
Mercurius: Indeed, it is as you say. In other words, man’s life is a journey of studying the unknown and changing it into the known. And so this is how I see it. The father that repeats night after the night the very same moral lecture. The mother that prepares the very same meals day after day. The good neighbor whose smile beams the same way again and again. The bird that only sings the same song. The household with an ever-unchanging scent.
And to bring the example to its extreme – a sun that knows only one way to sink below the horizon. Ah, how dull; the world truly is a place of such tedium.
‘Tis what man calls “age”; a steady march towards one’s own grave.
And yet, despite growing ever paler with each passing year, mankind does find happiness in being able to experience the unknown. Aye, for this is what it means to be alive.
Reinhard: And so, one such as yourself, unable to experience the unknown, is, in fact, not alive at all?
Mercurius: Suppose, for argument’s sake, if you would, that there existed a being from which the very concept of the unknown was removed from birth.
The sensation of already knowing.
His life consists merely of repeating and repeating things already known, in a world already known. Can you envision a fate more hellish than that? Granted no life to begin with, and consequently, denied death. Nay, he cannot die at all.
What I long for is proof that I was born into this world.
Ah, how I desire the kiss of the unknown – maddeningly so.
I shall teach you the endlessly cruel mysteries of this universe.
Are you brave enough to hear my words; words I have spoken to none other in my life? To have a glimpse at secrets holding the divine truths that command the very construct of this universe?
Reinhard: Pray allow me a question before I answer. Why would you grant me, and only me, access to such knowledge?
Mercurius: Because I revere you, my beastly companion. For you are powerful; dazzling; a fearsome glimmer in your gaze.
During the eternity of my un-life, never once have I laid eyes upon one such as yourself; a being so close to the inferno of hell… you were the first. As best as I can judge, you are a man frightfully close to a demon.
Reinhard: You utter a commonplace, Karl. It is hardly a rare occurrence for one such as I to be called a demon.
Mercurius: The more extreme the descriptor, the closer it comes to the realm of commonplace.
I will not proclaim fire to be as water. Fire shall be as fire; water shall be as water. And you… as a demon.
You have labeled me a magus; alas, I am no such thing.
Only the strong enjoy the privilege of being described in simple, straightforward ways.
However, I am weak… my essence, ever-fickle, shifting like the wind; my names, too many to count.
Frail… And helplessly fragile. That is what I am. A trifle existence hardly worthy of being compared to your supremacy. But that very state also awards me with understanding. Pray honor me with your answer.
Reinhard: Very well.
You called me supreme a moment before. And yet, just now, I thought of a being I would label as the same.
Karl, my dear friend. I revere you as well. I desire to fly close to your secrets. Is that merely part of this cycle as well; this sensation we called “the already known”?
Mercurius: I am afraid so. When it does happen, and your brain believes that this is how things happened originally, do you begin to experience that sensation of having already known.
Ah, how agonizing, how truly vexing. Even upon meeting you, and being exposed to your inferno, still I do not live, still I cannot die.
Reinhard: I feel your agony, I truly do. As if it were mine to endure.
Mercurius: If so, I beg for you to comprehend… if you do indeed command destruction…
Reinhard: How amusing. Shall we annihilate everything?
Mercurius: Indeed. May everything burn – this country, this world, all that our eyes can behold; God and the Devil, the heavens and the fiery pits of Hell; may the cosmos itself face ruination.
Till we chance upon something we have yet to ravage. Till we transcend this very ghetto.
Reinhard: Aye, this reminds me. We did have this little talk once before, did we not?
Mercurius: Indeed, that I cannot deny. We have repeated it millions of times before, more often than one could count.
We are, at this very moment, are but prisoners of this plane.
Which is why “he” is needed – the one known as Zarathustra.
#2 – Kasumi scene:
Time to head home, I guess.
A quiet, uneventful afternoon was the plan.
The shrieking voice eurpting from behind me shattered that plan to pieces in a matter of seconds.
Ren! I know you can hear me! Hey! I said, hey!
It’s you, isn’t it! Stop ignoring me and turn around already, Fujii Ren!
Someone remind me why she’s my friend again? I seriously started wondering that.
At the very least, do us all a favor and stop shouting my name at the top of your lungs in broad daylight.
Keep it down, will you…?
Congratulations on your discharge from hospital!
So, how’re ya? Feeling fine? No aching bones?
H-hey, why’re you staring like that? Did something happen?
Aching bones – more like my aching shoulder that you just hit with all your might, you dunce. I don’t actually say that out loud, though, and instead throw a sour look in her direction, accompanied by a sigh.
This is Ayase Kasumi – my classmate and childhood friend. She’s also captain of the kendo club and an over-zealous sports maniac who even attended a tournament or seven in the past.
Her beaming smile is as blinding as ever.
What are you doing here, exactly?
Why, got a problem with it?
Not really, but it’s kinda unexpected.
Today’s a weekday. It’s still broad daylight. Shouldn’t she be at school?
Did you ditch school?
I signal to her that I have no idea.
Well you see, I wanted to rush here ASAP to meet you~!
I wanted to see you!
I *said*, I wanted to see you!
Is that so.
Completely and utterly clueless. As usual.
You planning to repeat a year or what?
Oh, don’t worry about that! My quota’s looking far better than yours, you know.
And so, without considering my own feelings, she continues to assault my shoulder with another hearty tap. I’m in pain here, okay?
Well, putting that aside… the hell do you think you’re doing going home on your own?
I believe I told you I’d come pick you up. Don’t you remember?
I do, but…
It’s just that I didn’t seriously think that she’d skip school to see me. I present a brief explanation to her, but she responds with another barrage of questions.
So… what, you were going to call me later?
Not really. I think.
What was your number again…?
Jesus, you’re driving me up the wall!
What’s wrong with you? Haven’t you used a cellphone in your life? Can’t you even figure out how to access your call history? Like, what century are you from, mister?!
How rude. I know that much.
Then gimme that shit.
She snatches the phone from my hand and starts inputting something with ungodly speed.
Here ya go! I made sure to put it at the top of your address book. Don’t you dare delete it, or I’ll be mad. And by that I mean I’ll strangle you.
And yet you say that with a smile on your face… so, uh what’s this “Venus of Love” supposed to be?
Litte. Old. Me~
Let’s promptly change it to “The Mad Berserker”, then.
Let’s not! And by the way, that’s a pointless repetition like “the sea is wet”!
I want to emphasize it that much.
If you’re gonna call yourself a Venus, you might want to consider not acting like a brute for a change.
And exactly whose fault is that, huh?! You ungrateful prettyboy, you!
At the very least, you should firmly take hold of my hand, look into my eyes and say “Thank you Kasumi, you are my angel” – you know, like a thanks or two wouldn’t hurt or something! H-hey, don’t ignore me!
You have no idea how much I worried after you were hospitalized! I even came to visit you every day! And yet you completely brush me off and decide to go home on your own! The hell is *that* about, huh? I mean, like, seriously! Wanna fight, punk? Oi, you wanna take it outside?! Huh?!
That’s not the issue here…