Chapter 168 – Ruphas Used Metronome

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Author: Firehead Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Hands of Vecna English Source: Hands of Vecna
Editor(s): TpstT, Keii

When people stayed in their rooms and didn’t spend time talking to someone else, they would naturally spend more time thinking. During such times, Orm had been thinking. He continued to ask himself questions.

What is this world? Who am I?

This world…Yes, this world was the Goddess’ miniature garden, a toy box that she had created. And he was merely a stage device that spread despair to the people in her story.

There had been no objections. There had been no doubts.

This was because the omnipotent and omniscient existence had decided that it should be that way. He didn’t even question if it was correct. If the deity decided it, it would be providence. The very act of questioning it would be wrong.

Carnivores attacked, killed, and ate herbivores, but they were not evil. They could not live otherwise. That hadn’t really been decided on by anyone. They did it because they had to do so. That was providence. That was the decision of the deity.

When did it all begin? As the Goddess’ minion, he had acted as the evil that she wanted. If he were to consider when it had all started, it should have been several tens of thousands of years ago.

Orm’s role in the scenario was to bring despair…and fear to the people. In the end, he had to pretend to be defeated by the hero who bravely challenged him. He would also deal a fatal injury so that the hero would be forced to leave the stage.

It was a simple role. In the first place, there was no creature that could defeat the ouroboros Orm. If he were to get serious, he could easily defeat the hero.

A certain hero had once said, “For the sake of my loved ones, I won’t lose.”

A certain hero had once yelled, “For the peace of the people!”

Those who challenged him had their own beliefs. They would speak loudly of whatever they were. Orm had always listened to them with a sense of emptiness.

Orm simply couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Even though he could understand the meanings of their words, he couldn’t understand what had inspired them so much.

Loved ones? Someone more important than themselves?

Family? What’s that? …What in the world was that?

He didn’t know what those were. The Goddess had never taught him these things. Therefore, Orm simply played his role and buried them all. He didn’t even know what kind of brave and precious existences they were, he simply killed them all.

When did it all begin? When did he start taking an interest in such things? The Fairy Princess Pollux, someone like him who was given the opposite role, was able to understand the hearts of the heroes. And because she understood them, her heart was screaming.

Orm didn’t understand. He couldn’t understand why the Fairy Princess was lamenting.

Does she know? Why do these people called heroes stand against me, to the point of throwing their short lives away?

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What in the world is inspiring them? She must have understood that.

I don’t understand. My heart has never hurt.

But…seeing her tears, he understood that what he had been doing must have been something terrible.

If he were a human and was one of those heroes…would he be able to understand the reason for those tears?

When did it all begin? He had come to dislike being a puppet in an endlessly repetitive story. The protagonist would change, but the story would remain the same. When he thought about it now, it might have been his first rebellious act against the Goddess. It was just a trivial act of self-satisfaction, so it might not actually be a rebellion.

Orm thought that if he were to create a puppet to act in his stead, he might feel a bit better. Unlike the other ouroboroses, since Orm was still active, he didn’t need an avatar. But he still decided to create an alter ego all the same.

When he finally noticed it, he realized that the avatar he had created was far from his intended purpose. Instead, it was more like the opposite. It looked like the heroes that Orm had wanted to understand. It looked like a human.

If he were a human hero, he might have been like this. As if reflecting his imagination, Orm’s alter ego came into existence…Orm named it Terra.

“…The world is afraid.”

“Huh?”

While sitting on his throne, Orm murmured softly. Saturnus responded in confusion. It couldn’t be helped that she couldn’t understand his sudden talk about the world. But Orm didn’t think that it was necessary to explain further. He thought that she would understand its meaning soon even without any explanation from him.

Look, she’s almost here. She’s returning from another world beyond this universe after having regained her true power and memories. The true monster, who has forcefully distorted and destroyed the decisions of the Goddess (providence), is coming.

“It’s the return of the king.”

—As soon as he spoke, the world trembled.

It was very similar to the flügels’ skill, Coercion. But the area of effect and power were different by many orders of magnitude. Saturnus couldn’t even stand up, and could only grind her teeth. The world rumbled in fear of the return of the king.

This was not a hallucination. Her return was enough to cause the rotation of Midgard to slow down slightly. An abnormal hurricane now swirled over the Dark Continent. The moon drifted closer to Midgard as if it was attracted to it. The seas rose as a result.

Once it had reached this point, her very existence was already a concept of power. Ruphas did not wield power. She was power itself. She was an existence that was so overwhelming and intimidating that the entire world…no, the entire universe seemed to yield to her. Regardless of the actual distance, her existence could be sensed instinctively.

Ruphas Mafahl, as she was more than two hundred years ago, had truly returned.

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Orm sensed this and stood up from the throne.

“Ar—Are you going to fight?”

Saturnus looked at Orm as if she was seeing something she couldn’t understand. She really couldn’t understand at all. Anyone with proper senses would know how meaningless the action that Orm was trying to take was.

Wasn’t it fine to just leave them alone? Ruphas and Alovenus…Let these uncontrollable monsters crush each other. She couldn’t see any merit for Orm to purposefully fight Ruphas.

“Please stop, Your Majesty! There’s no point in doing this!”

After passing through the time-space tunnel, Benet and I returned to the land of Midgard once again. Even if I took into account the fact that Dina had sealed herself in the subspace, the amount of time during which I could move freely was probably less than a day…probably not even ten hours.

There was no time. If I missed this opportunity now, our match would have to be pushed further back. There might not even be another chance to settle who would be the victor between us. So I would have to settle now what we couldn’t settle two hundred years ago.

One might wonder if it was really the time to be doing such things. Since both the Demon King and I were aiming to defeat the Goddess, one might say that the right thing to do would be to form an alliance instead of fighting each other.

…That was true. Indeed, that would be the right thing to do. If I was being honest, what I was trying to do now was overwhelmingly useless and certainly inefficient. I used X-Gate to retrieve my equipment and, while I was at it, transmuted a partition so I could change out of my clothes. The time required was almost instantaneous though, so I might not have needed the partition after all.

“Are you really going to fight the Demon King now?”

“Ah, I’ve kept him waiting for so long. Even though he’s so far away, you can feel it too, right? His fighting spirit.”

“I understand that, but I don’t think it’s meaningful to do this now.”

“That’s true…It isn’t a smart choice, but…”

“It’s not about reason.”

Orm himself didn’t have a persuasive answer for Saturnus. This was because, as she had pointed out, this fight was meaningless. No, there was a reason for Orm to fight, but objectively speaking, its priority was not really that high. It obviously wasn’t something that he should be doing right now.

After Dina had disappeared from Midgard, Ruphas returned. If Ruphas had erased Dina, “that time” would have been delayed for a while…Even if it were to happen, it would be after the birth of the next avatar of the Goddess.

But somehow, he knew…Ruphas hadn’t killed Dina. In that case, the twilight of the gods was near. The end of time was approaching right before their eyes.

The Goddess would find Dina and control her. If that were to happen, it couldn’t be stopped anymore. Everything would move on to the final stage. There was no doubt about this…Today was the day that Midgard would meet its end.

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When he thought about it, it was evident how pointless it was for him to fight Ruphas now. A wise person would say, “Consider the situation. Is this really what you should be doing right now? It’s fine to leave it for later. Calm down and look at the bigger picture…”

Oh, right. That was certainly correct.

But even so, Orm still answered.

“If we keep dragging our feet, we can’t continue to move forward. That’s the kind of person I am, and so is Orm.”

One couldn’t hope to fight the Goddess with a heart still lingering with regrets. Now that I had regained my memories, this was the only feeling that I had. My fight with him had started two hundred years ago, and it still wasn’t over yet. I couldn’t possibly challenge the Goddess in such an incomplete state.

In the first place, there were two people who had the right to challenge her. It would be strange for them to move on to the next stage without first settling who had the right to challenge the Goddess.

“If it were you, you would understand what I’m feeling, right, Benet?”

“…Hmph.”

In response to my words, Benet glanced away as if she was uninterested by what I had to say. Surely, she must have understood how Orm and I felt. After all, she was the one who had been waiting for two hundred years to fulfill her wish for a settlement.

I would be acting on my own ego from this point on. I would be clearing up the regrets that still remained in my heart…It was just a boring task. But it was something that was very important to me.

Besides, he couldn’t just be left alone, since this was a battle for the right to challenge the Goddess.

A wise person would say that the challenger did not need to be one person. A kind person would say that they could share the right. A gentle person would say that they should work together.

All of them were right. I was the one who was making a mistake. But even if I knew that it was a mistake, I wouldn’t correct it. In the end, it was the choice of a fool.

I knew that. The path I had chosen was neither wise nor right. It was certainly not kind.

“It’s nothing…but obstinacy.”

Orm said and smiled quietly. He knew that it was a mistake, but he was still going to go through with it. Determined, he walked past Saturnus, causing his cloak to flutter. Saturnus grabbed the edge of his cloak, but she quickly let go.

Right now, even Saturnus herself couldn’t understand her own feelings. No, she didn’t want to understand, since it would be too disrespectful. Therefore, Saturnus put on the mask of a subordinate…but she couldn’t hide her overflowing emotions, so she pleaded.

“Please be sure…to come back alive. We demons need you…!”

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“Of course I will. I’m not fighting in order to die.”

Orm turned his back to her. A smile appeared on Saturnus, who was in the midst of an emotional turmoil. The demons were dolls…Dina had said so, but unexpectedly, they might not have been abandoned.

Certainly, their bodies were lifeless things created by the Goddess, but they still had hearts. Terra, Luna, and Mercurius certainly had their own hearts.

Orm felt that he had done something terrible to Mercurius. He had believed that Orm possessed the key, but what Orm had was a fake. No, even if Orm had the real thing, he would still be unable to transform the demons into living beings.

The true power of that key could only be unleashed by those people who were connected to the Goddess…In other words, Dina, the avatar of the Goddess, and Parthenos, the Guardian of the Sanctuary.

However, Dina couldn’t risk having her treachery be discovered by the Goddess, while Parthenos was the enemy of the demons. In other words, Mercurius was stuck right from the start.

After all, they were just dolls that could become chess pieces at the whim of the Goddess. It wouldn’t be a pity even if they died in vain. That was what he had always thought.

But maybe it wasn’t just Mercurius, but also all of the demons who had died so far, including Pluto and Jupiter. Everyone might have had a different way of life, but there was only one way to change the fate of the demons…There was no other way besides that.

That would be to have the Goddess, who wrote the scenario in the first place, rewrite the scenario and change the character settings of the demons. There was no other way.

And only Ruphas Mafahl had the power to realize it at the low probability of one tenth of a percent. But if Ruphas were to be left alone, even if she were to win against the Goddess despite that slim chance, the demons would only return to living in fear under her. In that case, this battle was inevitable.

This world shouldn’t have lost Ruphas Mafahl…but she couldn’t be left alone either. In that case, I’ll control her…I’m an ouroboros. I can’t fight the Goddess directly. Even if I try, this body will reject the battle since it was born as a representative of the Goddess. But if I can defeat Ruphas and use that power for myself…

Ruphas had now been completely awakened. His chance of victory over her in her current state was probably less than ten percent. However, it would be meaningless to defeat Ruphas in her incomplete state.

It was meaningful now. It was meaningful precisely because the current Ruphas who had returned to this world was the peerless and strongest existence.

This is the first time in my life…for me to be the challenger. The heroes who had once challenged me might have been in a similar state of mind.

Orm flew into the sky as he reminisced about the past. The scenery flowed past in an instant, and he arrived at a deserted island as if he had been guided there. The surface area was about forty percent of the humanoids’ habitable zone. But neither demons nor humanoids lived here because of the frequency of natural disasters occurring here. This was a good place to fight.

At the same time as Orm arrived, the black-winged ruler descended from the opposite direction. Her face brimmed with absolute confidence as she was completely different from how she was before.

Even though he was reluctant to admit it, he was forced to do so.

…Ah, the time has finally come.

Undeniably, he was currently facing the death-omen star.

“I’ve kept you waiting, Demon King. At this point, I believe words are unnecessary. I’ve come to settle things from two hundred years ago.”

Ruphas smiled gently and lowered her arms. She didn’t ready herself nor raise her guard. This natural body posture was her stance, showing how much leeway she had.

“Ah…Let’s settle it! Ruphas Mafahl!”

As Ruphas had said, words were unnecessary at this point. Power was the only basis for interaction. The next time they met would be the signal for battle. This was what both of them had acknowledged. The gong to start the battle was already ringing.

Orm disappeared from the spot and swung his right fist. On the other hand, Ruphas simply extended her index finger. Immediately after, the punch and finger collided—

The deserted island that both of them were on turned into a wasteland in an instant. The surrounding sea was blown away like a flood.

bossv8p02 wn168
Image from Light Novel Volume 8.



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