|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Hands of Vecna||English Source: Hands of Vecna|
|Editor(s): TpstT, Keii|
After gaining complete independence from the Goddess, Libra hesitantly turned towards Ruphas. Ruphas merely patted her on the shoulder.
“You finally came back.”
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This would do for now. After all, they were still in the midst of a battle. Even Midgard itself would perish soon. Casual conversation could wait until everything was over. Therefore, for now, they should just fight.
Libra probably caught on to her intentions as she looked up into the sky and shot down Black Astraea, which was made by the Goddess. Then, she called for Astraea and docked it to her back.
“Libra, I’m no longer your master. Therefore, this is a request that I’m asking you to consider out of your own volition. Assist Aries and the others. They look like they’re having a hard time.”
“I don’t need a request. Just say the word and give me an order. My master is you, Ruphas-sama.”
“Is that so? …Then, this is my order. Tyrannical Twelve Heavenly Stars, Libra of the Scales. Defeat my enemies!”
“Yes, my master!”
Upon hearing the order, Libra flew into the sky. Ruphas no longer had command over Libra. The authority to command was in the hands of the Goddess. But that was irrelevant now. The tool had chosen its user, just as a user could choose which tool to use. Her master was Ruphas. There could be nobody else. This was decided by Libra herself.
She was certain that she was broken. She realized that this was a failure typical of a defective product. But for some reason, her thoughts were clearer than ever. It was a strange, light feeling. In human terms, this was like finding one’s way again after being lost. Since this was the first time Libra was experiencing it, she couldn’t find the words to describe her condition.
“Libra, take them along!”
Ruphas raised her voice and three golems flew over from Blutgang, which was still fighting the Fire Ouroboros. They were Tanaka, Suzuki, and the Gatekeeper. The three units transformed in mid-air, separating their parts and recombining them to change form. When they came below Libra, they were already in a form that was difficult to describe.
If one were to describe its overall shape, it was like a platform with two plates—yes, resembling a pair of scales. The two plates were turned to face the back, becoming vernier thrusters. Two cannon barrels were protruding in front.
Blue and white jewels were embedded into the left and right sides of both barrels. But they were not glowing at the moment, as if they were silently waiting. It was hard to say that the design was refined…Because it prioritized functionality, it had a rather clumsy shape. Simply put, it was an ammunition dump in the shape of a pair of scales.
It charged towards Libra’s back and docked there. The two cannons had openings for the arms, and Libra placed her arms inside without hesitation and connected to them. Combination…Would it even be correct to call it that? The size difference was so great that it appeared as if Libra was being embedded between the cannons instead of actually combining with the unit. It was a shape that was completely lacking in elegance, as if Libra was carrying a huge ammunition dump on her back.
Scorpius took one look at it and muttered, “Wow, so uncool…” Its appearance was truly not praiseworthy. However, Ruphas nodded in satisfaction for some reason.
“Whatever…Let’s go, Libra!”
Scorpius jumped onto the fully armed Libra as the latter flew by using her vernier thrusters. Her current speed was unlike anything that Libra had ever reached. Accelerating at an insane speed, Libra flew into outer space in an instant.
『You keep getting in my way…』
In space, the Earth Ouroboros was about to unleash its breath upon Taurus. However, Libra saw it and deployed all of her weapons, simultaneously firing the cannons. Many flashes and guided missiles exploded on the flank of the Earth Ouroboros, while Scorpius jumped off and recovered Taurus. She then extended her weapon at the ground near Aries and used it to return to the ground by retracting it.
Meanwhile, Libra flew around the Earth Ouroboros at high speed, using explosives to distract it.
The Earth Ouroboros breathed out, trying to shoot her down. However, Libra evaded the destructive light which could move only in a straight line. She went around the ouroboros to close the distance and aimed her cannons at its nose.
And she fired.
The Earth Ouroboros’ face fell under heavy fire, completely blocking its vision. Furthermore, the Left Scale was activated. When she swung her left arm, the left cannon which was connected to her arm moved as well, and a huge blade of light emerged from the muzzle. This was already more than twice the attack power of the normal Libra, but it wasn’t over yet. The blue jewels on the left side of the ammunition dump started to glow.
『Weapon support, activate. Zubeneschamali, output five hundred percent.』
The Gatekeeper’s voice echoed, and the blade of light from the left barrel enlarged considerably. If Libra wanted to do so right now, she could probably cut the Moon in two. Libra swung the disproportionally large blade down, slicing through many rocks that were floating in space and explosively striking the Earth Ouroboros’ face.
Violet lightning flashed everywhere. The ouroboros’ scales were scorched, leaving behind a scar that was not shallow.
Then, Libra stuck out her right arm, and the barrel that was connected to her arm extended accordingly. Light gathered at the muzzle, while the red jewels on the right side of the ammunition dump started to glow.
『Weapon support, activate. Zubenelgenubi, output five hundred percent.』
A buzzing sound was heard as the energy charge marker on the left barrel filled up in an instant. It wasn’t only using Libra’s energy for the attack. Even the mana that composed the universe was being collected, allowing the attack to exceed its normal limit.
The light was enough to burn one’s retinas…An ordinary person would have been inevitably blinded. An overwhelming torrent of destruction, comparable to the breath of an ouroboros, was fired from the barrel.
At the same time, the vernier thrusters were fully activated to prevent Libra from being blown away by the recoil, allowing her to remain in her position. Smoke started to emit from the overheated barrel in an instant as it began to cool down. However, Libra couldn’t bask in the afterglow of the attack, as she rapidly descended.
The flash of light forced the ouroboros back down to Midgard. It erupted into flames as it re-entered the atmosphere. Libra passed next to it as she descended with her own aura of flame. She moved right next to Aries.
…should have already betrayed us.
Aries was surprised by the sudden intrusion of Libra, who should have been on the Goddess’ side from the beginning. Meanwhile, Aquarius muttered with suspicion. However, Libra merely closed her eyes and spoke with her normal voice.
“…I have no excuses. If you can’t believe in me anymore, just shoot me down from behind. That’s all I can say for now.”
Libra didn’t think that she wouldn’t be attacked. If Leon was here, he would have surely said, “Then die!” and attacked. If that were to happen, Libra would not even try to evade the attack. She wouldn’t ask for them to believe in her. It was only natural for them to distrust her.
But even though she was acting like this, Aries happily said to her.
“…I’m back, but I don’t really have the right to say that right now. When this battle is over, and if everyone is able to forgive me, I’ll formally say it again.”
After saying that, Libra charged at the Earth Ouroboros. At that moment, Aries and the others certainly saw it. There was a smile on Libra’s face.
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“Eh? Did she just…smile? Am I seeing things, or did that golem really smile?”
“No, Aquarius. I saw it too.”
They had known each other for more than two hundred years, but nobody had ever seen Libra smile. It was only natural. Since she had no emotion, she would also have no facial expressions. Therefore, she had never smiled, raged, nor lamented.
Although they were both considered objects, this was the difference between Aquarius and Libra. Aquarius had emotions from the start, and could express them through her physical manifestation. However, Libra never had any emotions. They could only remember her standing expressionless behind Ruphas. For the other members of the Twelve Stars, it was an unbelievably major event for her to smile even slightly.
“She really has changed. In the end, she still returned to where she belonged…That’s why I really can’t stand her.”
Scorpius sarcastically made a cynical remark, but there were traces of a happy smile. Then, she jumped off Aries and was enveloped by light as she transformed into her true form as a giant scorpion monster.
“Well then, let’s go! Let’s smash those oversized freaks and return to Ruphas-sama!”
Scorpius shouted and exhaled a poisonous breath at the Earth Ouroboros.
Naturally, there was no effect. The Earth Ouroboros’ superior immunity instantly neutralized and destroyed all toxins. But Scorpius wasn’t the Queen of Poison for nothing. If all existing poisons would not work, then she could just make a new kind of poison on the spot. She could mix the toxins in her body to create a poison that would work on an ouroboros.
The newly created poison penetrated even the powerful resistance of an ouroboros, but the effect lasted only for a moment. It didn’t even last for one second, but a second was more than enough for a battle of this level.
After being affected by Scorpius’ poison, the Earth Ouroboros was blinded and lost sight of everything before it. Naturally, its eyes would regenerate soon, but that moment of recovery was an opportunity in itself.
Guns emerged everywhere from the ammunition dump on Libra’s back, and they all flew out at the same time. Essentially, they were guns with only muzzles. No consideration had been made for where the users would hold them. There were neither grips nor triggers.
All of them were automotive gun-shaped golems. They were remotely controlled by Libra, who served as the brain. An inevitable attack was made from all directions in three hundred sixty degrees, while the guns themselves moved to evade the ouroboros’ counterattacks.
These automotive weapons were the ultimate products of alchemy. But how would they even fit into a fantasy setting?
“Let’s go! Absolute Zero!”
“Get blown away!”
Aquarius, Aries, and Leon simultaneously made their attacks, causing explosions on the Earth Ouroboros. Its scales were blown off as the Earth Ouroboros screamed in humiliation and agony.
『You—! Be crushed, puny ones!』
The Earth Ouroboros attempted to emit gravitational waves in all directions with itself at the center…but nothing happened. Arcane magic that depended on mana could no longer be used. As long as Aigokeros remained in his colossal form, the ability would be sealed away.
The Earth Ouroboros would naturally have understood that, but it seemed to have been pushed too far. As a result, it had forgotten about it, and its face revealed obvious restlessness.
『Then, how about this!?』
It switched to counter-attacking with gravitational missiles generated by the gravity of its own body instead of mana. However, attacks that were launched out of desperation would not be able to hit Aries and the others. Everyone quickly evaded them. Aries, Leon, Scorpius, and Libra took the opening and attacked simultaneously.
Although the ouroboros’ repulsive defense was still somewhat functional, it had been penetrated by overwhelming damage.
This is bad…Gravitational missiles are useless since I can’t hit them. As for melee combat…I’d have to deactivate the repulsive defense to attack…That’s out of question. I—I can only get up top!
With all of its offensive options blocked, the Earth Ouroboros made its final gambit. It left Midgard again and increased the distance between them. Once again, it was forming a black hole. This time, it would swallow and destroy everything.
But the situation was different now. It had forgotten that Libra had joined the fight.
Libra flew in pursuit of the Earth Ouroboros and passed in front of it as the ouroboros was about to bite its own tail. The ouroboros was a moment too late as its tail was severed, drifting off into space. It was struck at the moment when it deactivated its repulsive defense in order to bite its own tail.
In the first place, why had it gone to the edge of the solar system, far away from Midgard, to activate the skill previously? Wasn’t it to prevent the activation from being interrupted? Yet it had forgotten about it and tried to activate the skill near Midgard. That was why it was struck and ended up in such a humiliating situation.
An ouroboros was a perfect creature and an invincible existence. It had never experienced a hard battle. That fact became a vulnerability because it wasn’t used to adversity. The situation might have been different if it were the Heavenly Ouroboros, which thrived in the face of adversity, but the Earth Ouroboros wasn’t like that.
The ouroboros screamed without knowing if it was from anger or fear. It opened its huge mouth and approached Libra, who fearlessly charged into the mouth. She went inside the ouroboros and sent out all the automotive guns from her ammunition dump.
In Libra’s vision, lock-on markers focused on every organ within the body of the Earth Ouroboros. The words “Multi Lock-On” were displayed.
“All weapons released! Multi Lock-On!”
There were disadvantages for being too big. Because the ouroboros was so large, it made the terrible mistake of swallowing the world’s most dangerous weapon. With Libra at the core, destructive lights, guided missiles, bombs, railguns, magic cannons, and magic missiles were all unleashed inside its body, crushing its organs and bones.
As an analogy, this was like a war within one’s body. Libra rushed from the throat to the tail, ceaselessly firing ammunition everywhere in order to destroy the Earth Ouroboros from within. No matter how impossibly resilient an ouroboros might be, its interior wasn’t as resilient as its exterior.
This was basically torture. It was as if the ouroboros was in hell. The foreign matter that had entered from its throat had burnt its esophagus, destroyed its stomach, and repeatedly vandalized its intestines.
“Fire! Fire! —Fire!”
Libra went from the throat to the tail, destroying its body in the process. Then, she flew out—not. Instead, she did a reverse run. She flew past the places where she had been previously, further destroying them as she advanced. There was only one goal here. The Earth Ouroboros probably understood it too. It cried out in a scream.
Libra’s destination was the brain. She returned to the throat while burning the Earth Ouroboros at a speed that exceeded its regeneration. Then, she changed course and penetrated the throat.
Using her blade of light, Libra made an incision in order to reach the skull. The skull protected the brain, which was the most important organ of an ouroboros, so it was extraordinarily resilient. It was even more resilient than the scales. Its defensive numerical value exceeded fifty thousand, so it wasn’t a defense that could be broken through normally.
But that was irrelevant to her skill. Its maximum damage was fixed. The targets were all her enemies. Libra had already locked on to all parts of the body, including the brain.
“Switching to final attack mode! Limiter, release!”
『Limiter release, acknowledged!』
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The jewels embedded into both sides of the Scales began to glow at the same time. Libra’s entire body became white hot. This would be the one attack from the Scales.
Libra did not know any of this, but in the myths of Earth, there had been a golden age when the gods watched over and protected the people. But the Goddess of the Scales, Astraea, eventually gave up on the people and brought an end to the time when the gods lived among people. The tilted Scales never returned to balance. The Scales separated the gods and the people, but the era of the gods manipulating people would end today.
This would be the one attack that would determine fate itself—
『Output, one thousand percent!』
“Skill selection…Brachium Overflow!”
A torrent of destruction swirled within the head of the Earth Ouroboros. Basically, this was the same as a regular Brachium, except that the output was different. The damage value exceeded its normal limit, dealing an explosive 999,999 damage without allowing for evasion or defense.
Its brain cells were stirred, crushed, and mashed. The ouroboros couldn’t even scream. Its eyes turned white, and foam dripped from the edge of its mouth. Then, Libra flew out of the mouth of the Earth Ouroboros, which had completely stopped moving.
She soared higher and higher. Then, she descended rapidly. With the force of that acceleration, she swung her huge blade of light down, decapitating the Earth Ouroboros.
In the end, full of bitterness and humiliation, the Earth Ouroboros let out a moan that wasn’t even a proper word and became particles of light. It then exploded, scattering the particles.
It was a fantastic sight to see the scattered light that briefly illuminated the darkness of space, but Libra didn’t feel any emotion at all. This was the end of an ouroboros, an agent of the Goddess. After watching this, Libra muttered softly.
“Mission, complete…I’m going back.”
She wasn’t returning to the Goddess. She was returning to her companions according to her own will.
Having deviated from her master’s will, she was a defective product of the Goddess. She returned to the place of her companions who still greeted her with a “Welcome back” despite her being such a defective product.
Image from Light Novel Volume 8.