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Last Embryo Volume 4 Chapter 6 Part 6



Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist

「Hmm? And this is?」

「The copied contents of my Geass Roll from the time when I challenged the Minotaur’s Gift Game. Have a look at it and tell me: do you sense the same kind of discomfort I did after reading through it?」

Homura finished wiping his hands clean, received the parchment from Izayoi and began reading through it while looking for the signs of anything that might have been out of place, just like Izayoi pointed it out for him.

He was scanning the document attentively, and when he finished, he just sighed and scratched his head.

「First thing that comes to mind just off the top of my head is that the victory conditions are worded a little strangely. 1) Defeat The Monster of the Labyrinth 2) Navigate the Labrys Maze and destroy every ox head within. Since they are written in such a way, it immediately struck me as add that even though the Gift Game itself is named Gift Game: Minotaur – The Throne in the Labyrinth, the word written in the victory conditions has been changed to 「Maze」. I do not know if it is just me, but to me it seems like it was an intentional doing meant to conceal the organizer’s intentions.」

「My thoughts exactly. As I already mentioned, 「labyrinth」 and 「maze」, while sounding similar on paper, are actually two entirely different concepts. The fact that in the recent years these two terms started to be used interchangeably only serves to complicate things even further, but there is a decisive difference in the internal structure of these two constructs.」

「I am aware of that. With labyrinths, no matter how complicated they might look at first glance they always have a single, continuous path that will always lead you down to their center without fail as long as you continue to go forward, while mazes have multiple branching paths that might not necessarily lead to the center of the maze, or a way out of it for that matter. Is that enough of a distinction?」

「Yeah, that is how it normally is with those two concepts. However, this time it is the words themselves and their meanings that are the source of the mystery here, but if we could just crack that meaning wide open, then the answer to the riddle will be practically in our grasp.」

「The meaning of the words? What do you mean?」

「Exactly the thing that you said that Suzuka said. That the stone pillars mentioned in Plato’s stone tablet are not pillars at all. So I was thinking if the words in that Plato’s stone tablet really are 「stone pillars」. . . or did someone purposefully mistranslated them to change the words from their original meaning to its equivalent in modern times?」

That was exactly what Homura & Co. were talking about earlier that day during their conversation about the difficulties of translating ancient texts from their source languages into the target language, and that the so-called 「Original Sin of Translation」states that that whenever the text is being translated from one language to another, it will always include the subjectivity of the person who translated it. Was Suzuka trying to say at that moment that the person who was responsible for the translation of the text from Plato’s stone tablet actually mistranslated 「Stone Pillars」into just 「Pillars」?

「But. . .  is that really a mistranslation? I mean, when you think about it, 「Stone Pillars」and 「Pillars」are basically one and the same, right?」

「Ahhh, see there my little brother, this proves that despite all your knowledge and intelligence, there is still much that you do not know about the world. Just as 「Labyrinth」and 「Maze」 embody different concepts despite technically describing the same thing, it is exactly the same with 「Stone Pillars」 and 「Pillars」. Much like with the other pair we discussed, these words have also been used interchangeably despite there being no ground for doing so, but I guess they are so anchored in casual speech now that hoping to fix that mistake would be a fools endeavor.」

「Care to explain the difference between the two to me then?」

「In general, 「Pillars」can be said to support houses and other physical structures, while 「Stone Pillars」 are mainly used to decorate palaces, temples and the like. . . so in the purely semantic sense and the correctness of the oral language, it would be correct to not call them 「Stone Pillars」but rather 「Stone Monuments」.」

Giving it some thought, Homura concluded that thinking about it in such a way had a lot of sense, considering the role of 「Stone Pillars」as described in various mythological traditions. 「Pillars」 were more likely to be used as a means of holding buildings together and preventing their roofs from crumbling down during the construction work and after it has already been finished,  while Stone Pillars」, or 「Stone Monuments」as Izayoi called them, were almost never used for the purpose of 「supporting other objects」serving instead as pedestals for monuments and statues with the representation of Gods or other deities placed on top of them, and even if they were to be used for the purpose of supporting something, it would probably be in a more mythical or metaphysical sense, like, for example 「The stone pillars that supported the heavens」.

「Ahh, now I get it. So that is why you asked me if I saw any stone monuments in the city when we were transported here.」

「Yeah, pretty much. But in addition to that, we also have a matter involving the word 「Stella」, which has two overlapping words, a compound and a homonym. This is the true identity of the mistranslation, as well as the true meaning of the phrase 「overlapping stars」.」

It is actually quite common for the words used by ancient civilizations to have more than just a single meaning. This claim can be supplemented further by the fact that the concept of written words has been underdeveloped for a long time in ancient times, or that some of the words that could have served as different interpretations got lost as the times advanced, spreading the misunderstood variants as their proper meanings.

Following that logic, the word 「Stella」has three different meanings: 「Star」, 「Stone Pillar」and 「Stone Monument」.

「「Star」. . .  「Stella」 . . .  so then, the true meaning of 「overlapping stars」is . . . . . . . . . . . !!!!」

「The multiple interpretations of 「Stone Pillars」. In other words, double meaning! This sheds the entirely new meaning on theFollowing the guidance of the overlapping starspart of theFollowing the guidance of the overlapping stars,  find the old hero and discover the mystery of the Chief God’s declaration」victory condition! The real thing that we have to do in order to achieve victory in this Gift Game is to search for the 「Stone Monuments」and follow their guidance to unravel the mystery of this 「Chief God’s declaration」!」

Some would probably argue that this might have been an overinterpretation of the Game’s Victory Conditions, since even to Homura changing 「Following the guidance of the overlapping stars」to Following the guidance of the stone pillars」seemed like a bit of a stretch, but at the same time, it was pretty obvious that the latter version was much easier to comprehend, and that it made understanding what they actually had to do here much easier.

As mentioned before, in myths and folklore, stone monuments were generally treated as relics. Therefore, the phrase 「Following the guidance of the stone pillars」could actually be read as looking for the hints on the Victory Conditions written on the stone monuments and aiming for victory but putting those hints to use.

「Oh, Ooooh. . .  I may not be a specialist when it comes to those things, but I have to say that I am genuinely impressed, Big Bro Iza. I never would have expected you to be a brainstorming expert, especially for such difficult subjects like mistranslations and semantic differences.」

「Huehuehue, well, what else did you expect? This is the real difference between a newbie and a Gift Games veteran. . . that being said, even if this is supposed to be the War’s first Gift Game, it’s difficulty is insane right from the get-go. I doubt that I would have been able to come to that conclusion without the information that you have given me.」



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