|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: TpstT||English Source: Two More Free Thoughts|
|Editor(s): Vecna, Keii|
The Fire Ouroboros’s tail, which had been shredded off, was blown away, landing in the space between the Earth Ouroboros and Aries’s group.
The blood from the shredded tail splattered everywhere and obstructed the views of both sides.
The one who recovered from this unexpected situation first was Aries.
This whole time, he had conviction in his friends. He believed that his friends would come out victorious. That was why he did not become agitated.
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On the other hand, the Earth Ouroboros had never predicted that something like this would happen.
It had never thought for a moment that one of the pillars of the ouroboroses, the Fire Ouroboros, would suffer this much damage from being punched around, to the extent that a part of its body would be torn off and sent flying towards a different location.
It was because the ouroboroses were indisputably strong entities that the Earth Ouroboros was momentarily bewildered. Because it had thought that such a thing absolutely could not happen, it had an immense impact on the ouroboros when it saw what was actually happening before its eyes.
Aries blew flames out of his mouth and burnt the Earth Ouroboros’s body.
After a brief moment of delay, the Earth Ouroboros started firing gravity bullets, but they never ended up hitting Aries. This was because they were dispersed by Virgo’s skills.
「Fire Ouroboros… are you telling me he was defeated? I also can’t feel the Heavenly Ouroboros’s presence anymore. As if such a thing…」
When the Earth Ouroboros spoke, its voice was shaky.
It was a truth that he did not want to admit… The fact that they, the invincible ouroboroses, were being pushed back had put him in a daze.
As a matter of fact, it was not completely unrelated to him. After all, he had also not yet been able to defeat the opponents which he was fighting against.
He had no option but to acknowledge… the strength of the small creatures which were before him.
It was exactly because of this reason that he had to destroy them. It was exactly because he now recognised them to be a threat.
「Dangerous… you lot are dangerous! Contaminants who threaten the Goddess’s miniature garden… I can no longer afford to hold back! I must erase you all along with this entire solar system with all of my might!」
The Earth Ouroboros decided to throw away his laxness towards the fight and flew out into space.
As she observed his actions, Aquarius quickly turned pale after figuring out what he wanted to do.
This is bad… we can’t let him do what he’s about to do!
“This is bad. Chase after him! Letting him get away would be really bad!”
“Didn’t you hear him just now!? If you leave him be, he’s really going to destroy this entire solar system along with everything else nearby! The Earth Ouroboros can accomplish that!”
Aquarius was originally a tool used by the deity. As such, she had general information about the ouroboroses. This allowed her to quickly realise the despair-inducing situation that they were about to encounter.
The Earth Ouroboros was able to manipulate gravity, and the pinnacle of that was… a black hole.
The Earth Ouroboros was planning to materialise a black hole and let it devour everything in order to destroy them all.
Which was why they had to stop him before he could activate the skill.
Once it was activated, there was nothing that they would be able to do.
Whilst that might be the case, the distance between the two parties had widened too much.
If the Earth Ouroboros was close to Midgard, they might have been able to make it in time to interrupt him. Unfortunately, the Earth Ouroboros had taken this possibility into account and moved away to the edges of the solar system.
It was an incredible speed. But with his large body, it was not impossible.
Let’s say that there was a giant human being that was bigger than a galaxy. If that person walked at the pace of an ordinary person, relative to their size, then their walking speed would easily be faster than the speed of light.
The distance from Midgard to the edge of the solar system was approximately 28 billion kilometres. For an ordinary person, it would be considered a vast distance that they would not be able to traverse.
But for an ouroboros, with their size, it was not a distance that they could not reach. This was especially true if one considered how fast they could fly despite their large body.
In any event… it was impossible to obstruct him now.
“B, but it’s space. I mean, if it’s just for a while, I’ll be fine, but…”
“I won’t be fine at all! I’ll end up dead!”
Aries replied with a slightly out-of-the-norm response whilst Virgo was flustered.
Exactly, at the end of it all, they were still living things.
Although one might retort that it’s too weird to claim that they were living things after having gone through such a large-scale battle, they were actually still living things.
If Sagittarius was here, then he might have been able to do something using his divine magic, but unfortunately, he was stuck in a battle with the Wood Ouroboros at this moment. They could not expect him to provide any assistance.
“… Damn it, we won’t make it in time!”
At the outer edge of the solar system, the Earth Ouroboros bit down on his tail and started drawing a circle.
Sensing what was happening, Aquarius spoke in anguish.
Unique skill [Cyclical World (Ouroboros)].
The effect of the skill that the Earth Ouroboros was using was actually as simple as it could be. Using one’s own body as a centre of mass, he would turn into a singularity which would devour everything that passed through its event horizon into oblivion. It was an indiscriminate attack which eliminated anything and everything.
The gravitational pull, which was strong enough to attract everything within the solar system, first swallowed Neptune and deleted it out of existence.
The next to follow was Uranus and after that was Saturn. By this time, Saturn had already been pulled apart by the gravitational force and turned to dust.
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What the Earth Ouroboros had said was not an empty threat. It really intended to destroy everything.
One after another, planets were being sucked in and erased from existence. In the process, countless other celestial bodies were lost.
Once the event horizon was crossed, not even light could escape.
If it was Ruphas, who could travel at a speed much faster than the speed of light, she could force her way through and escape even after passing the event horizon. However, that was impossible for the others.
Jupiter had already disappeared by this time. Even the debris from Mars and Mercury had just disappeared. It was Midgard’s turn next.
The problem of distance had been solved, though the way it happened was not a consolation in any way.
“W, what should we do, Aquarius!? Isn’t there something we can do!? Something like absolute evasion!?”
“Don’t ask for the impossible. As long as the black hole remains, the attack persists as ‘damage over time’. Even if we avoid it once or twice using absolute evasion, it still wouldn’t make a tenth of a second different before being sucked in. … Having said that, although that thing is a black hole, it’s also the Earth Ouroboros. If we can somehow take that down before Midgard gets swallowed, we might be able to stop it somehow…”
Even though she had just said that herself, she immediately judged that it was an impossible thing to do.
It’s impossible… that thing still has a few million HP left. It’s impossible to strike it down with one hit.
If we could at least somehow stop its spin with an attack, we might be able to interrupt the skill… but even that would be hard.
Even when it was hit by Mesarthim, it didn’t flinch.
What do we do? What should we do?
Do we just suck it up, tuck our tails between our legs and ask Ruphas for help?
But she wouldn’t be free right now… That’s why she asked us to take the ouroboroses down. Having said that, we don’t have any other options…
While she was desperately pondering what to do in her head, Taurus quietly gave her an instruction.
“… Aquarius. Shoot me.”
“I can break that apart.”
“W, wait, that’s reckless! Sure, if everything goes well, you might be able to break it apart, but you’ll still end up dead!”
Now that the Earth Ouroboros had turned into a black hole, it was swallowing everything into oblivion with its gravity.
Would one be able to understand how strong its gravitational pull was if it was said to have sufficient attraction to even pull faraway stars from outside of the solar system?
Was the gravity tens of thousands of times stronger than the Sun? Hundreds of millions of times? Trillions of times?
It would not be a mistake to say that it was certainly strong enough to where one could not even estimate how strong the pull was. In any event, once someone got close to it, they would not be able to get away scot-free.
All the more so if it was at an arm’s length away. Getting that close was no different from an act of suicide.
However, there was not a shred of fear on Taurus’s face. Instead, there was the conviction of knowing that he was the only one who could do something about it.
“If I die from that, it just means that I only amounted to that much… Don’t mind it. Just do what you have to do.”
“… Just make sure you don’t come back and haunt me.”
Aquarius understood the conviction Taurus had. The young girl, who was acting as her body, dived back into the water pitcher.
Right after she did, Taurus also jumped into the water pitcher, and Ganymedes took aim.
What was happening was extremely surreal and ludicrous at the same time, but the people involved were ever so serious.
With an explosive sound, Taurus was fired, passing through the stratosphere into space, where the number of planets had greatly been reduced.
Taurus passed through the remains of the celestial bodies and then appeared in front of the Earth Ouroboros.
Behind his fist was a loyalty towards his comrades and a strong conviction. He was there so that he might open a door leading to the path of victory for his friends.
Two hundred years ago, he was not able to follow through with his vows.
But this time was different. Now was the time when he would fulfil the vows that he had made.
He swung his axe and charged down onto the Earth Ouroboros without any hesitation.
And his skill-nullifying skill shattered the black hole, forcibly stopping the enemy’s skill.
– Apparently, the queen has a hidden illegitimate child.
– I heard it has the head of a cow. Doesn’t that make it a half-beastkin?
– But the queen’s denying it, right? Even though it’s clearly half-beastkin.
– I heard the king laughed it off and forgave her. So magnanimous, isn’t he?
– Magnanimous, you say? I heard he imprisoned his own son in a labyrinth. Even if his wife is fine, his son isn’t exactly fine.
– It’s better not to talk about this too much. Apparently, the king wants to pretend as if his son never existed.
From the moment he had been born, he was alone.
Taurus – Asterius was originally a prince of some kingdom.
Though he had been recognised as a prince during the time he was within his mother’s womb, he had never been recognised as one after he was born. He was not even allowed to name himself as one.
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The source of it all was not his mother’s infidelity, but his father’s betrayal.
Asterius’s father, the king of Minos, desired the princess from a neighbouring kingdom so much that he went to the church every day to wish for her. Regardless of whether it was a rainy or snowy day, he commuted to the church, prayed and wished for it. Faced with this persistent and ridiculous prayer, the Goddess became fed up and was stumped on what to do.
His desire to do erotic things was too great. Fascinated by the princess’s beauty and voluptuous and cow-like chest of hers, his behaviour was extremely obstinate.
Due to his overly persistent behaviour, the Goddess reluctantly decided to grant his wish, but with a single condition attached.
When the princess comes to you as a bride, she will bring a beautiful white bull with her. Promise that bull to me as an offering and I shall listen to your request just once.
The king happily accepted the condition. What he wanted was the princess, and he did not care about a bull at all. At least, that was what he had thought.
But the king did not fulfil the promise. When he saw the bull which the princess had brought with her, he was mesmerised by its beauty and did not want to let it go, wanting it for himself. In the end, he went back on the promise which he had made with the Goddess.
When this happened, the Goddess was angered and cursed the unborn son of the king with atavism.
Ultimately, the son who was born as a result was Asterius. His distant ancestor from an unknown generation was a beastkin. That blood had resulted in him being born as a half-beastkin. Consequently, the king did not recognise him as his son and confined him away.
No one recognised his existence. Both of his parents treated him as if he never existed in the first place. The queen, in particular, was creeped out from the bottom of her heart, as such a thing had been born out of her own womb even though she had never cheated with anyone. Even though she had a cow-like chest, she had never even known that one of her ancestors was a cow beastkin.
Although the king deliberated on how he had gone back on the promise which he had made with the Goddess, because he had managed to obtain the princess which he had been after with no problem, he decided to do the irresponsible act of forgetting about what had happened. Instead, he decided to play the role of the magnanimous husband who forgave his queen. Of course, the magnanimity stemmed from the fact that he knew he was the cause of everything that had happened.
Asterius was all alone. Originally, he, who had been trapped in the labyrinth, should have become food for the magical beasts which dwelled down there and died. At the very least, that’s what the king thought would happen.
But he ended up living. He ended up surviving.
Using the strength which he had gained from the curse imposed on him by the Goddess as a weapon, he slew the magical beasts, ate their meat and drank their blood.
The labyrinth was a prison used to keep numerous magical beasts. He was not lacking in opponents which he could fight. He continued to fight every day and became stronger as a result.
By the time he noticed, he was already the reigning king of the labyrinth and feared by the whole world.
– Apparently, there’s an extremely dangerous monster in that labyrinth.
– Because of that cow *******’s fault, no one can reach the treasure at the end of that labyrinth.
– Apparently, another group of adventurers just got beaten back out. Such a resentful beast, that cow ******* is.
– Why is it even still alive, I wonder? I mean, it should just die.
– Why won’t that cow die faster?
He was feared. He was hated.
No one needed him. Everyone hoped that he would disappear.
Asterius was all alone. No one was beside him, and no one wanted to understand him.
Whether they were a magical beast, a humanoid or even his parents. Everyone was his enemy.
He wondered if, one day, he would be killed by someone while still being hated by the world.
He had pondered such thoughts and accepted them.
Which was why, when an adventurer who could kill him appeared in front of him, he even felt relief to some extent.
A fierce battle took place. And he lost.
To Asterius, who had accepted his impending death, the adventurer – a young black-winged girl – said thus.
“You, why don’t you come with me?”
It was the first time someone extended their hand to him. It was also the first time he experienced someone who was not afraid of him.
But above all else, he had never thought that there would be a day when someone would need him.
Later, he learnt that she was also someone who had received no love from her father.
Both of them had not been blessed with good fathers. They related to one another on a strange level.
Perhaps she simply was not able to leave someone who was in the same circumstances as herself all alone.
Perhaps she only acted that way because she projected herself onto him.
Either way, to feel wanted and needed by someone made him genuinely happy.
So Asterius thought about it.
My life is something which has been thrown away even by my own parents. Ruphas, you are the only one who gives my life meaning. You are the only one who needs me.
That’s why… my life is yours.
If I hadn’t met you, my life would have ended in that labyrinth either way… Instead, I’m able to fight in this great battlefield, which will determine the fate of the world, for the sake of my friends. So I have no regrets.
I’ll open the path ahead. So I’ll leave the rest to you.
My friend… I believe in your victory.
With those as his last thoughts– Asterius lost consciousness