Chapter 171 – Serpent, Get!

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Author: Firehead Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: TpstT English Source: Two More Free Thoughts
Editor(s): Vecna, Keii

Fiend. Monster. Supreme Ruler. Death-Omen Star.

In the past, she was feared by the entire world and was called by many names.

However, Orm was forced to find that all of those names were insufficient. Those titles were unfitting to properly describe this Ruphas Mafahl, who was far more abnormal than abnormal could be.

This was… yes… this was “despair”. This woman was a personification of the very notion of despair.

He bit and crushed her with his fangs which could shatter even planets.

He showered her with a roar which could annihilate even celestial bodies.

He made her get caught up in planetary core explosions. He trapped her in a prison of time. He even shoved her into the Sun.

Normally, an individual would have died, would they not? No matter how one thought about it, there was no way it should not have worked.

Yet she looked calm and undisturbed. It was as if it was not affecting her.

To top it all off, she was not even taking things seriously. She had not even taken hold of a weapon either.

… What was he to do?

Against an enemy such as despair, was there even anything that he could do? Was there any possible course of action he could take in order to defeat that thing?

Having used up too much of his power, he could not even maintain his ouroboros form any longer and unwittingly turned back into his humanoid form.

To clarify, whilst his real form was that of an ouroboros, his humanoid form served the purpose of decreasing his energy consumption.

During moments when his life was truly in danger, Orm’s survival instincts would kick in and he would forcibly transform into his humanoid form in order to decrease his energy consumption, even if just ever so slightly, so that the probability of his survival would increase.

However, on the battlefield, it was an extremely fatal flaw.

Ruphas grabbed Orm’s head and then soared across space at a speed faster than light.

She flew right out of the solar system and slammed him down into a planet which was probably multiple times bigger than Midgard.

Yet, the momentum from the throw was not lessened. Instead, fractures ran through the planet.

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– And it was destroyed.

The planet was unable to bear the single hit that it had suffered, and so it crumbled before proceeding to explode.

In that high temperature, Ruphas grabbed Orm again and took flight once more.

Then, relying on pure strength, she threw Orm into the Sun as if she was throwing a javelin.

The moment Orm passed right through its hellish flames and came out from the opposite side, he was caught by Ruphas, who had circled around the Sun in the meantime.

She was as relaxed as someone who had just taken a small detour. It was beyond ridiculous. After all, the Sun was not that tiny.

It was followed by a barrage of punches. Although Orm desperately tried to dodge them, they were not at a speed that he could hope to avoid.

All of the punches were thrown so fast that they left the speed of light in the dust, practically landing on him the moment they were released.

There was essentially no time difference between the initiation of the attack and the moment that it hit.

It was as if the causal nexus was reversed – Ruphas’s punches, which left even light itself behind, were thrown after it had already been determined that the attacks themselves had hit. To ask someone to dodge such a thing was pointless.

It could be said that Orm had fared well up until this point. Without the slightest bit of flattery, it could be said that Orm had fought very well until this point.

But he had done a bit too well. After all, he had gotten Ruphas Mafahl into the mood.

To be recognised as a strong opponent by Ruphas… directly signified an end to the battle. It equated to the beginning of a one-sided beat down.

Now that things had turned into this, there was nothing which could be done. The only thing which he was permitted to do was become unable to resist and be oppressed as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

His head was grabbed and his face was slammed into her knee. Then, his neck was grabbed and an overwhelming amount of magical power was directly poured into him.

His whole body was burnt and battered. In this state where he could no longer even twitch, Orm was taken ahold of and flown all the way back to Midgard.

Right before passing through the stratosphere, Ruphas dropped her speed before finally landing back down on the same uninhabited island they had originally started fighting on.

… But the moment she did so, the uninhabited island crumbled away.

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“… Oh, crap. I didn’t hold back enough.”

Feeling guilty for having accidentally destroyed the uninhabited island which had been free of any sins, she used alchemy to reconstruct the island.

Unfortunately, because she did not completely remember the shape of the island, it ended up being shaped a little differently. She then placed Orm, who was on the verge of death, on top of that reconstructed island.

“Hmm, as I expected. I should have re-familiarised myself first before fighting. With my power suddenly going back to how it originally was, I couldn’t hold back properly.”

My self-restraint is not good enough.

While thinking such a thing, Ruphas looked up.

When she did, she saw the ship, Argo, which must have rushed to her whereabouts after they had detected the two of them fighting.

Benetnash could also be seen sitting on the ship with her arms crossed, looking dissatisfied.

Well, you guys got here quickly – thinking so, Ruphas wanted to laugh out loud.

After all, only about two seconds’ worth of time had elapsed since the battle with Orm had begun.

In fact, if the time that had been taken to have the useless conversation was removed, it was doubtful whether even two seconds had come to pass.

… Yes, exactly. That whole battle, from the moment it had started until now, had only taken about one second.

As both sides were operating in a time axis which was multiple stages higher than normal and fighting whilst accelerating their perceptions of time, the amount of time which had passed in reality was merely a moment.

If they were to fight at a speed faster than light, it would essentially mean they were fighting whilst time was stopped.

If anything, one should be praising Orm for having been able to keep up with a fight to this extent.

At the very least, before the battle had begun, Ruphas had predicted that it would be possible to defeat Orm within half a second’s worth of time.

The Twelve Stars leapt out of the ship and came towards Ruphas.

At the same time, Terra came dashing over and cut into the space between Ruphas and Orm.

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“Ruphas-sama, are you alright?”

“There’s no problem. Leaving that aside, can you help out the Demon King and heal him?”

After saying that, Ruphas looked around at her surroundings… and realised that Virgo was nowhere to be found.

*

In one way or another, the battle against the Demon King, which had been a mental burden, was concluded peacefully. To this, I felt a slight sense of relief.

Saying that everything had gone peacefully would be slightly off from the ordinary definition of the word “peaceful”. However, technically, I didn’t end up killing him, so I’d appreciate it if you overlooked that.

But… yeah… the Demon King had been far stronger than I had predicted he would be.

I was not being sarcastic at all. That was my honest impression.

It might sound pretentious saying it myself, but speaking very bluntly, there existed no creature in Midgard who would be able to win against me in a one-on-one battle. The ouroboroses were no exception to that statement.

Against someone like me, although it wasn’t all of it, he had beenable to draw out 70% of my power. He should be proud of that outcome.

If I assumed my full power to be 100, the power of my daydreaming state… in other words, when I had initially returned to this world, would be around 24. Even when I was using Alkaid, it would be at most around 36.

And at my weakest state, I was approximately as strong as Leon.

Putting it that way, you should be able to somewhat understand how strong 70% of my strength was, no?

The Demon King was able to draw that much out of me. Although the battle had ended up as a landslide victory in my favour, it could be said that he could not have fought any better.

“Are you not going to kill my father?”

“If it were the old me, I (watashi) probably would have. But it’s not like the current me is being cornered like how I was before. I’m not going to whip someone who’s already down.”

When I answered Terra’s question, all of the Twelve Stars looked at me with a puzzled expression.

Out of all of them, Aries was the one who asked me a question, as if to represent everyone present.

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“Umm, Ruphas-sama… something about your first-person pronoun is…”

“Ahh, yeah, I went back to what I was using before. Does it sound strange?”

“Eh, no, it’s nothing like that! It’s just… It feels so nostalgic, and…”

For Aries, who had known me since I was still an adventurer, the first-person pronoun that I was currently using would not have felt all that strange.

Although he might have been a little surprised, he was looking at me with a sense of nostalgia.

On the other hand, the ones who were actually bewildered were the members who had only known me during my time as the Supreme Ruler.

To be more specific, they were Scorpius, Aigokeros, Pollux, Castor and… well, actually, I suppose everyone except for Karkinos.

To begin with, the only ones amongst the Twelve Stars who had known me during my time as an adventurer were Aries, Taurus and Karkinos.

Looking back on things, it felt a little nostalgic, but… originally, I hadn’t even had any intention of taming Karkinos. It had all started when I was attempting to tame another magical beast, but it just so happened that he accidentally got between me and the magical beast at that very specific moment and ended up getting tamed by mistake…

“By the way, what happened to Virgo?”

“She’s… umm, so she’s talking to Merak with Parthenos right now.”

“To Merak?”

Virgo and Merak… it was not as if the two of them being together was too inconceivable.

After all, both of them were flugels. In Virgo’s case especially, she had never had the opportunity to properly speak with any other flugel other than myself.

Although there had been some flugel participants during the tournament held at Draupnir, we had done nothing more than look at them from a distance.

Technically I was a flugel too, but I was essentially a derivative bugged race that had been born out of them.

If I wanted to be cool and name myself, hmm, I suppose I would belong to something like a dark flugel race.

Whilst a race with only a single individual in it gave off a slightly cool feeling, it also felt quite lonely.

“Well, for now, shall we start by exchanging information? I want to know what happened while I was away.”

After Pollux nodded and concurred with my suggestion, I headed towards Orm, who was down on the floor.

As Virgo was not here, it could not be helped. After all, amongst the Twelve Stars, Dina was the only one besides Virgo who specialised in healing. Unfortunately, both of them were away.

Whilst some people here, like Pisces, Sagittarius and Castor, were also able to use those skills, it was merely at the level of first-aid.

As such, there was no other option but for me to do it myself. At least, that was what I was thinking. However, Terra stood in my way, as if to protect Orm.

Uh… it was not like I was planning to finish him off…

Well, I supposed I was like “that” two hundred years ago. It could not be helped that he would be on guard against me.

Because I had gained an objective perspective, I was able to understand that the me of the past was indeed cruel.

After all, back then, if I even caught sight of a demon in the corner of my eye, I would have madly chased them and finished them off.

For now, I should try to get Terra out of the way first.

Thinking that, I tried to take action. But at that moment, Orm, who was on the verge of death, stood up and came between me and Terra, causing me to stop moving.

Even though this guy… shouldn’t be conscious anymore.

“… Don’t, harm, Terra…”
Orm defends Terra from Ruphas

orm defends terra from ruphas 1

Illustration from AWLBA Light Novel Volume 8

What came out as a mumble was, without a doubt, a show of fatherly love towards his son.

After hearing that, I was reassured. It was as I had expected.

I now completely understood the reason why Orm had betrayed the Goddess.

It was nothing peculiar. At the end of it all, he was just another father.

He wanted to protect his son. With just that alone, it was sufficient reason to start rebelling against the Goddess. He was just an ordinary father which could be found anywhere.

There was a world of difference between him and my foolish father. Honestly speaking, I was quite jealous of Terra.

After hearing the words that came out of Orm’s mouth, Terra also had an expression of disbelief.

“So Terra, it seems like this is the answer. It looks like he was rebelling against the Goddess’s scenario for your sake.”

“Fa… ther…”

“Now get out of the way. Before it’s too late.”

I lightly pushed Terra aside with my hands and held them towards Orm.

I then poured healing divine magic onto him whilst I spoke to him.

If it was him, just this much should be sufficient to make him conscious.

“Hey Orm, I already know the reason why you challenged me. You’re an ouroboros. Even if you were to challenge the Goddess, that body of yours won’t allow you to bare its fangs against the Goddess. And not just against the Goddess herself but even against her followers. And for that reason, you must have wanted me as your sword so that you can fight the Goddess, correct?”

The reason why Orm challenged me and the reason why he had waited until I had recovered my power.

The answer to that was nothing other than because he wanted me as his fighting prowess.

It was impossible for him to fight against the Goddess. It was not an issue about how strong he was. It was an issue with his primal instinct as an ouroboros.

That was why he needed a sword that he would be able to use to fight against the Goddess.

However, when that sword came back, it was rusted. Although it was still better than the other dull swords lying around everywhere, it was far from something that would be able to challenge the Goddess.

That was why he had waited until the sword had regained its original form before he challenged it with everything that his body and soul had to offer… but look at what had happened.

Courageous… no, it was more correct to say that it was reckless.

Since he knew how strong I originally was, he should have known full well that a single ouroboros would not be able to win against me. Yet, even then, he still challenged me.

He must have fervently wished for a future where his son would be able to survive.

“I too agreed to this battle with that thought in mind. Become my sword, Demon King Orm. Lend me your strength, so that I may fight against the Goddess.”

I did not have a skill which would be able to free him from the Goddess’s shackles.

However, by placing another shackle over the pre-existing shackles, it was possible for me to offset and counteract it.

If my dominion over him surpassed his natural instincts, it should not be impossible for him to fight against the Goddess and her underlings.

“… If I become your sword, would I also be able to fight?”

“I won’t be able to make a definitive promise, but the probability is not zero. At the very least, this suggestion is far more realistic than the chances of you winning against me.”

“… I see. Then please, do it.”

Orm smiled faintly then closed his eyes without any resistance.

Looking back on it after everything had concluded, it was a simple battle.

At the end of it all, it was just a simple battle with the premise that the losing party would become a subordinate of the winning party.

Whichever way it rolled, the fact that we would be picking a fight against the Goddess would not change.

It was just a childish playground brawl to figure out who was better. That was the truth behind the battle which had destroyed many planets.

Although… Orm must have had a fear that if I was the one who came out on top, then the entire demon race would be exterminated.

Having said that, I was the winner, and nothing was going to change that. As it was a privilege awarded to the winner, I was going to cast the skill without any reservations.

“Capture!”

I activated a skill from the Monster Tamer class, then “captured” Orm.

In all likelihood, there was no other way for Orm to challenge the Goddess.

I placed my own shackles on top of the Goddess’s shackles and put him under my dominion.

With this, in the future, when there was a conflict between his natural instincts which would be screaming “do not fight the Goddess” and my command to “fight the Goddess”, if my power of dominion was superior, it would be possible to offset his instincts.

I shouldn’t have to state this, but this was a pretty absurd method.

If I were to analogise it to something, hmm… let’s assume there was a person who really, really wanted to sleep. And that person’s boss came around and loudly roared at them to not fall asleep, then forcibly grabbed hold of that person and made them stand up. What I was trying to do was very close to that.

Having said that, if I was the one who had lost the battle, then I would have been the one who would be getting tamed, so I would allow him no room to complain.

“It’s said that, in the past, the constellations of the Serpent Bearer and the Serpens were one and the same. Although there’s no empty seat within the Thirteen Stars right now, I’ll welcome you as part of the Serpent Bearer. I shall hereby bestow upon you your name. Your star is… Serpens. Tyrannical Thirteen Heavenly Stars, the other half of the [Serpent Bearer], Serpens of the [Serpent].”

I bestowed Orm with an alias and forcibly placed him within the Tyrannical Thirteen Heavenly Stars.

To be honest, it would have been fine to bestow him with a random name, but it would have looked unbecoming for a random star to be stronger than the Thirteen Stars.

It was probably better to forcibly place him within the Thirteen Stars.

As for the fact that the Thirteen Stars now had fifteen individuals within them despite being called thirteen… well, who cares?

Fundamentally speaking, I’m very whimsical.



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