|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Hands of Vecna||English Source: Hands of Vecna|
|Editor(s): TpstT, Keii|
Orm returned from fighting the heroes after taking parts of their bodies from them and reducing their powers by half with a curse. But there was no relief in his heart. He was still worried. After all, ignoring the Goddess’ scenario was essentially rebelling against her.
Although he had made up some plausible excuses, she probably hadn’t believed it. The fact that two members of the Seven Luminaries, a group created by his son, were actually spies from the Goddess’ faction was proof of this. Furthermore, no matter how one looked at them, one of them was obviously an alter ego of the Goddess.
The destruction of the demons seemed to have been averted, but the end had merely been slightly postponed. According to the Goddess’ scenario, the demons were still evil that must be defeated. The future would not change unless this was fundamentally changed.
But Orm couldn’t do that. It wasn’t a matter of power. Even if he defeated the other four ouroboroses and challenged the Goddess, he wouldn’t be able to proceed further. The role of an ouroboros was to manage the world and serve as the Goddess’ agent. It hadn’t been created to fight the Goddess herself. This was an instinct that was independent of emotions and reason. It simply couldn’t be resisted.
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Only Ruphas could challenge the Goddess. Benetnash wasn’t a bad option either, but since she wasn’t interested in the Goddess at all, she wouldn’t even attempt to fight her.
Ideally, Ruphas and Benetnash would join forces and, along with the Tyrannical Twelve Stars, challenge the Goddess together without exterminating the demons…But that would be difficult to realize. It would be hard to imagine Ruphas, who was so hostile to the demons, letting the demons escape. Before defeating the Goddess, her attacks would surely be directed at them first.
In order to overturn the Goddess’ scenario, Ruphas was needed in this world. But Ruphas herself was the personification of terror for the demons. She was the death-omen star.
What should I do? What should I…
If she could be cursed, the removal of the curse could be used as a bargaining chip…
After brainstorming about how to make Ruphas obey him, Orm arrived at a plan that could only be described as naive. But he couldn’t think of any other way.
If he could defeat Ruphas and halve her power with a curse similar to the one he had placed on the heroes, she would be forced to accept his request. If her power was halved before she even fought the Goddess, it would be impossible for her to proceed further.
Therefore, as long as the curse was successfully laid, he could use the temporary lifting of the curse as a condition to have Ruphas join him to defeat the Goddess. Then, he could defeat her while she was still exhausted after fighting the Goddess…
“…It’s just an empty theory now. After all, Ruphas is not around anymore.”
He only realised it after she was gone. Ruphas Mafahl was the only one who could challenge the Goddess. She was the only one who could overturn the Goddess’ scenario. But everything was already too late. Ruphas had disappeared from the world, so there was nobody left who could challenge the Goddess.
Just as Orm was about to give up, another traitor brought to him a devilish seduction.
“That’s not really true, you know.”
It was only when she spoke that Orm noticed her presence for the first time. He hadn’t realized it, but the alter ego of the Goddess had been hiding in the room. When did she enter? …He didn’t notice it at all. It was impressive that she could hide her presence even from the Demon King. Her presence was completely eliminated to the point where she faded into the background.
Despite being surprised, Orm pretended to be calm.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve been observing you for the past few years. And now, I’m convinced. ‘Ah, this person has betrayed the Goddess…’ It seems the report you had previously made was a lie.”
Orm silently gathered mana in his hand. Since she already knew, he had no choice but to kill her. However, killing the Goddess’ alter ego was equivalent to declaring that he was a rebel.
…There was nothing he could do. It was already too late to salvage the situation. Furthermore, there was another spy. Even if he killed this one, the other spy would notice the abnormality.
As Orm pondered this dilemma, the Goddess’ alter ego made a suggestion.
“Would you like to join me?”
“I’m also a person who has rebelled against the Goddess, someone who wishes to end this boring story.”
This should have been impossible. As the alter ego of the Goddess, she possessed the memories and personality of the Goddess herself. Normally, it would be unthinkable for her to become independent of the Goddess, since it would be like the Goddess betraying herself.
“I have three names—Venus of the demonic Seven Luminaries, Ophiuchus of the Tyrannical Thirteen Stars, and my real name that was given to me by my parents, Dina. …Nobody has ever given me the name Alovenus.”
“Is the alter ego of the Goddess betraying the Goddess herself?”
“You find it hard to believe?”
“Yes, I can’t believe it…But now, I have no other choice but to bet that it is true. Fine, I’ll take the bait and play along.”
The serpent that encircled the world took the bait of the serpent bearer.
Fine. I don’t know what she’s aiming for, but I can use her. There’s no way to back out of this anyway.
And so the two of them formed an alliance. Dina then hid Orm’s betrayal without revealing it to anyone. Moreover, although she didn’t reveal her entire plan, she predicted that Ruphas would return after two hundred years. In the meantime, she skillfully manipulated the demons so that the humanoids would not be exterminated until then.
Now that he had gotten this far, he didn’t know how to thank her. Although she might not have acted with good intentions, he had still received two hundred years of time.
Dina, the alter ego of the Goddess, had reported, “Orm isn’t a traitor. He simply got frightened by the unprecedented invasion of the heroes and fought back seriously.” The Goddess had judged it as “a shade of white that was ever so close to gray,” and did not launch a full-scale purge. As a result, Orm and Terra managed to survive.
Thanks to her, he had managed to arrive at this point. He just had to fight Ruphas directly, obtain victory, and then curse her. But the wall before him was too high…Still, he had not yet lost the battle. He couldn’t afford to lose.
Maintaining his fading consciousness with the strength of his will alone, Orm engulfed Ruphas with a ray of destructive light.
He understood their pains now. He now knew of the feelings of those heroes who had challenged him and sacrificed their own lives, and understood how precious they were.
Once upon a time, somebody had said that people could become as strong as they had to be for the sake of their loved ones.
Ah, that’s so true. For the sake of my son, I will become as strong as I need to be.
Once upon a time, a man had yelled that he didn’t care what would happen to himself as long as his significant other was happy.
That’s so true, hero. Your words were right. I was mistaken…!
I don’t think we’ll go to the same place when we die, but if we meet again, I’ll apologize for everything that had happened in our previous lives.
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Therefore, now…just for this moment, lend me your strength!
Ruphas was receiving Orm’s attacks when she noticed that he was changing. Everything, including his attack power, speed, and the conviction, was different from before. She remembered this feeling. It was a route that Benetnash and herself had gone through.
『Interesting. Have you broken through your limit?』
Orm charged and used his mass to push Ruphas into the sun. Naturally, Orm himself wouldn’t be unharmed by such a move. The temperature at the sun’s core was about fifteen million degrees Celsius. No substance could possibly withstand the heat.
Orm’s scales were burnt, and he was losing his consciousness in the heat. Still, he endured it because he had someone he loved. He had learnt what it meant to care for somebody else.
『Are you prepared for self-destruction? You have an excellent resolve. Even though I’m of the Sun attribute, I won’t be immune to solar heat. I have to say, it’s certainly hot and taxing for me. But…it isn’t unbearable, you know?』
Ruphas laughed fiercely and grabbed a scale on Orm’s head, throwing him overhead. Orm’s head was burnt, while Ruphas escaped from the sun’s core. Of course, this wasn’t the end. Using the materials that were floating around the sun, Ruphas activated her alchemy.
A huge old man was created out of stellar materials. His beard was long, and his face was obscured by a brimmed hat. Dressed in a black robe, one of his eyes was crushed, while the other was glowing with a strange light. Straddling an eight-legged horse, he was even larger than an ouroboros, and he easily caught hold of Orm, who was large enough to encircle an entire planet. Grabbing Orm’s head and tail, he started to exert enough force to pull Orm apart. Orm released a silent scream.
If the opponent was huge, simply use an even larger being. It was a simple but effective move. Orm’s torso creaked and his body began to tear.
St—Strong…She’s too strong…! Di—Did I really think I could beat this monster until now? This…This is such a hopeless battle. Have you heroes been experiencing this all along!?
The difference in power between Ruphas and Orm was about the same as the difference between Orm and the heroes of the past.
They had never given up. Even though they understood the difference in power, they still challenged him. Even if they lost their arms and legs, their hearts did not break. They would continue to challenge Orm with just the brilliance of their souls.
I—I can’t lose…If I lose, I won’t be able to face the people that I’ve killed!
Orm roared and squeezed out the last bit of power beyond his limit. He crushed an arm of the huge old man, and then wrapped himself around him, crushing his neck. Seeing the false god reverting to asteroids, a relaxed look appeared on Ruphas’ face.
He’s really starting to exceed the limit…I don’t know what is changing his emotional state, but it’s a big leap forward.
Orm unleashed the destructive light from his mouth again, but this time, its power had increased considerably. It struck Ruphas, despite her guard, and scraped past other celestial objects. The breath swallowed Ruphas whole and blew her far away in an instant.
Ruphas shrugged the attack off with one hand, but she lost sight of Orm in an instant.
…I lost sight of him? Even with that huge body?
Her query lasted only for a moment. By the time she realized it, Orm had already assumed his humanoid form and dropped an axe kick on Ruphas. She quickly raised her guard, but she was in outer space where there was no firm footing. As her body was blown away, Orm resumed his ouroboros form and chased after her.
Orm roared to engulf her again, then changed back into his humanoid form to go around and kick her up. He then changed back into an ouroboros to deliver a bite. He was attacking in a rage, utilizing his humanoid form which was originally intended to contain his power.
And the limit was finally surpassed. Orm’s level finally exceeded the upper limit set by the Goddess, reaching Level 1500 like Benetnash. Naturally, he wasn’t just a normal Level 1500. At Level 1000, Orm already had more power than Benetnash. Now, he had exceeded the limit. Therefore, his power was currently unknown. He had reached a level of strength that even Alovenus herself could not have guessed he could accomplish.
After increasing his strength and speed, Orm became a ray of light and showered Ruphas with hits. Sometimes as a humanoid, sometimes as an ouroboros, Orm used every technique at his disposal to take down his strongest opponent.
I can win. No, I have to win. Definitely.
His mind was set on his son’s prosperous future. That was all. That was why he must overcome this despair.
『Now then, I’ll recognize you as a formidable enemy.』
Just as he heard the telepathic message of Ruphas, who was still calm and collected even in this situation, a tremendous impact struck Orm’s cheek. His fangs broke and his scales shattered. Orm barely managed to retain his consciousness. Meanwhile, Ruphas, who had become even more intimidating than before, was quietly floating before him.
『Well done, Orm. And I’m sorry…I thought that I could win against a man like you by using only fifty percent of my power.』
『—Seventy percent. From now on, I’ll raise my power to the same level that I used to fight Benetnash.』
As she spoke, a rainbow-colored flame engulfed her entire body. This was Mesarthim, which she had used a while ago. But unlike before, it wasn’t just a momentary use. It was now being activated constantly.
Furthermore, she was also using the same skills as Parthenos. In an instant, she used multiple support divine magic on herself.
There had been a moment when the difference in power had narrowed. But immediately after, it had widened again.
Despair could not be overcome. That was why it was called despair in the first place.
Image from Light Novel Volume 5
- One-Eyed Hero (片眼の英雄) is a title of Hárr (ハール), which is another name for Odin. The Norse god is said to have given one of his eyes to obtain wisdom.