|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Hands of Vecna||English Source: Hands of Vecna|
|Editor(s): TpstT, Keii|
『Hmm. It looks like this is it.』
In the midst of battle, the Wood Ouroboros muttered as if he had given up. He hadn’t actually lost. Although he was at a disadvantage, it wasn’t impossible for him to reverse the situation. However, he looked up at the sky as if he knew that the end had arrived.
He could see the enormous amount of mana, which had once composed the vanquished Heavenly Ouroboros and the Earth Ouroboros, moving towards somewhere. The nearly dead body of the Fire Ouroboros had already started dispersing into particles of light, so it would only be a matter of time for him.
『The curtains…The curtains have closed on this story.』
The time to close the curtains had arrived. Finally, the moment had come for the catastrophe of the story before the end of the world. The plot had become such a mess by this point that it was now completely out of sync with the script. The story couldn’t be established anymore.
The only thing possible at this point was for the Goddess to tear up the script and throw it away. The Wood Ouroboros regretted the short time he was able to spend with his children, but he decided to perform one final task before disappearing. He glanced at Pollux and Castor. Then, he released a faint glow from his eyes that enveloped their bodies.
“Po—Power…Power is overflowing.”
Pollux’s SP became infinite once more, and her status also improved. Furthermore, there was something new in her list of skills…She had gained the skills of the ouroboros, the arbitrator of the world. At the same time, the Wood Ouroboros started fading into particles of light.
“Wh—What did you do!?”
『I have transferred as much of the power and authority of an ouroboros as possible to the both of you. I’ve also broken the connection between us. Now, the two of you are no longer my avatars…Even if I disappear, you won’t die as well.』
The Wood Ouroboros raised the edge of his mouth into a grin. Seeing that, Pollux was convinced that things were as she expected.
From the beginning, this ouroboros alone had been somewhat strange…He never had any intention of killing Pollux and the others. What he had been doing was merely frolicking. He was just playing around with his children.
If he had been serious, the Argo would have already sunk, since he had many chances to do so. From his point of view, the rebellion of Pollux and the others was like children swinging tree branches while pretending to be swordsmen. He had looked at them with a warm smile. There was no way he harboured any murderous intent.
“Stop messing around! We’re your enemies, right!? So why…!”
『I’m really happy about it. Despite being my avatars, both of you have opinions which are different from mine. You have also chosen a different path…This really makes me happy.』
The Wood Ouroboros had been watching Pollux’s growth since the moment of her birth. Even while sleeping lightly, he could feel her anguish. Now, she was standing before him as an enemy. She had chosen her own future by her own will. As a parent, he couldn’t help but be happy about it.
『The story of the Goddess is over. From here onwards, it will be your own story…I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything as your parent. Live well, both of you.』
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“This isn’t a joke! What are you talking about at this point in time!? If you tell me something like that… I…I still haven’t…called you…”
—I still haven’t called you “father”.
Did her words reach him…or not?
The Wood Ouroboros became particles of light and vanished from the world, right before the eyes of the dumbfounded Pollux and the others.
In the end, it left with the words…“Delightful, delightful.”
Pollux watched and then fell to her knees.
“…What is this? Isn’t this too selfish? Why didn’t you just say so from the beginning? Why are you talking like a good guy right at the very end? How am I supposed to feel now…?”
“He probably didn’t want to weaken our resolve. Somehow, I can understand the Wood Ouroboros’…our father’s thoughts.”
“Males are such selfish creatures, aren’t they?”
Castor placed his hand on his sister’s head and patted her gently.
This was the end of the ouroboroses.
The last remaining one, the Fire Ouroboros, shouted in anguish as it transformed into light.
『No—! I don’t want to disappear!』
But Benetnash ended its life with a stab.
The end of Midgard was here. The ouroboroses were gone. The story had also ended. Therefore, only the fight that wasn’t part of the story remained. The final judgment was entrusted to the Goddess and the Black-Winged Overlord.
Castor gently comforted his crying sister as he quietly looked in the direction where his master would be.
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Such annoying behaviors were a problem in many MMO games. Essentially, a third party would suddenly appear and kill enemies that had already been weakened, stealing the experience points, items, or gold. It was generally considered bad manners to do so. Polite people wouldn’t do this.
But this was what I was doing right now. The huge amount of experience points (mana) that was going to Sei had its direction changed forcefully. Since the original recipient, the young man Sei, had rejected it, the mana of the ouroboroses had no owner. By using Aigokeros’ skill, I drew the experience points towards me instead.
“Ah, wah…Level 4300…4600…4800…5000…and still rising.…Aren’t you inflating yourself too much!?”
As agents of the Goddess, the ouroboroses yielded experience points of a magnitude that was completely different from the magical beasts. Furthermore, there were four of them…The Wood Ouroboros was strangely low in mana, but it still raised my level.
No, wait. There was nothing from the Fire Ouroboros, so there were only three of them…Well, whatever. My level was currently 5100. It had risen sharply and was still rising.
So what would you do now, Goddess? Dina wouldn’t be able to defeat me anymore. You should have more or less understood by now. I couldn’t be stopped unless you do it yourself.
As my final act, I activated X-Gate on the entire world. This world was almost finished. When it was finished, nothing would be left. Therefore, before that could happen, all living things must be temporarily evacuated to the other universe. Nobody would want to remain here at the moment anyway.
As expected, the transfer was successful. Except for a few individuals, everyone had been evacuated. The remaining people seemed to be Benetnash, Orm, all of the Twelve Stars, and Terra.
Benet and Orm jumped into the sky and came next to me. The Twelve Stars arrived after that to confront the Goddess. For some reason, Benetnash was at Level 2700.
So it was you. You hogged the experience points of the Fire Ouroboros for yourself.
It was as expected. She also had the right to challenge the Goddess.
Orm was at Level 1500. It seemed that he had also exceeded his limits.
“Apparently, I’m not the only one, Alovenus.”
“Hmm…To think that you people could ignore the limit that I set so easily…”
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I brought my hand to my chest and touched the Key to the Heavens. It was about time for this to be used.
I’m going to use it, Dina. The last move that you had prepared.
This move would be a check.
“…Fine, whatever. I get it, I get it already, okay.”
As if she had given up, the Goddess (Dina) muttered and sighed. Then, she raised her head and looked at us with a bored expression. She had lost all of her pieces, since we had crushed all of them. Therefore, it was time for the end. She had no choice but to go beyond the game board. The land was completely crushed, and Midgard finally came to an end.
Our mother planet vanished, but we continued to face the Goddess without trembling in the midst of the explosion. Sagittarius raised a shield to contain a pocket of air, thereby preventing anyone from suffocating.
“This universe is a failure. Honestly, it’s a shame to throw everything away after it has been nurtured up to this point. I guess I’ll take another several hundred million years to build another world.”
The Goddess (Dina) no longer had a smile on her face. She simply looked tired as if nothing really mattered anymore. The curtains had been lowered. The stage had disappeared.
She probably had never considered what would happen after this. It was only natural. She didn’t think we could withstand the collapse of the universe. We shouldn’t be able to do so.
“—End of the World (Big Crunch1).”
The Goddess (Dina) murmured and the universe began to contract. All the stars flew towards us…No, they were being dragged along as the universe became smaller.
But I was unmoved. Neither Benet nor Orm made a slight movement. I didn’t say anything to either of them, but they had probably guessed that I had something up my sleeve. In that case, I would meet their expectations.
“By the way, I want to return this to you. Yeah, it’s fine. I don’t need it anymore. Please go ahead. Share your fate with this world.”
In the end, the Goddess simply threw her away. Dina collapsed as if her strings were cut. I quickly caught her and protected her with divine magic. Even if it was Dina, it would be a problem to leave her unconscious in space.
As the universe continued to contract, I gently tapped Dina on the cheek after she had finally returned to us.
“…Hmm? Ah, Ruphas-sama…”
“Time to wake up. Don’t oversleep.”
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“This is…Oh, I see. You did it.”
Dina sleepily looked around her in order to gauge the current situation. Yes, everything was moving according to the plan so far. From here on, it would be a realm that only Benet, Orm, and I could enter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a place where people without the right to challenge the Goddess could enter.
I took out the Key to the Heavens and activated the setting that had been configured in advance. And so, ownership of the universe was transferred to me. Yes, since this was an abandoned universe, I could use the key to take ownership of it. Naturally, the end of the universe could not be stopped.
“Uh, Ruphas-sama! I’m calm, but what should we do!? Som—Something overwhelming is about to happen!”
“Calm down, Aries. The universe will simply disappear.”
I laughed and activated my skill. This skill belonged to Aigokeros. The entire universe was an arcane magic of the Goddess. Now that she had abandoned it, it had become my possession. In that case, even if I took in everything, nobody could say anything about it.
“—Gather to me, power of darkness (power of the Goddess)!”
This universe was an arcane magic. Arcane magic itself was mana. And mana was a fragment of the Goddess’ power and experience points. Then, it should be possible for me to assimilate the entire universe and reach the divine realm.
Yes, this was my final move. I would seize the universe that she had abandoned so that I could reach the same realm as her and send her flying with a punch. Furthermore, I wasn’t the only one who was taking in the universe. Due to the effect of Sagittarius’ skill (Ascella), the experience points were being distributed to Benet and Orm as well.
Exactly, this privilege was the right to challenge her. Those who were blocked by the limit could not advance beyond Level 1000, no matter how much experience points they gained. Therefore, it was necessary to exceed the limit.
“Twelve Stars, you have worked hard until now. From here on, we will be the ones going forward. Believe in our victory and wait for our return.”
I used X-Gate and created an escape route for them. On the other side of the gate was the Ark. Only the three of us—Benet, Orm, and I—could advance further. However, both Aigokeros and Pisces argued back aggressively.
“No, my master! I wish to serve you in the final battle! Please use me!”
“Me too! If it goes on like this, I’ll just end up as that Eros guy who has no presence!”
“…You guys are really zealous.”
Aigokeros and Pisces were the rare exceptions among the Twelve Stars. They had not exceeded their limits, but they had the ability to advance to the final battle with me. Aigokeros transformed himself into mana, which was then assimilated by me. Meanwhile, Pisces activated his skill and possessed me.
Perhaps because of Aigokeros’ influence, I sprouted wings like those of Aigokeros on my back. I became strangely ominous.
“No, don’t come.”
Aries wanted to come along, but I rejected him. Unfortunately, it was impossible for him. At Level 1000, he wouldn’t be able to face the Goddess, who could destroy an entire universe. He would be annihilated in an instant.
Unfortunately, from here on, the world would be limited only to those who had the right to challenge her. However, I wondered if my rejection was a bit too harsh. I patted Aries’ head and laughed reassuringly.
“It’ll be fine. This time, I’ll be back. I won’t leave you behind anymore.”
“It’s a promise then!? Please be sure to come back!”
Scorpius quickly seized on my words, but Libra grabbed her neck and dragged her towards the gate.
“Wait! What are you doing, Libra!?”
“It’s best for us to leave quickly since we are in the way. Master, godspeed.”
Libra and Scorpius disappeared through the gate first, followed by the Argo, Pollux, and the others. Terra exchanged words with Orm before flying through the gate. Then, the other Twelve Stars evacuated one after another. The last person to remain was Dina.
“Ruphas-sama…I believe in you. I believe that you’ll definitely come back!”
“Of course, I’ll be back very soon. Wait for me.”
I made a promise to Dina, then she too left the universe. Only Benet, Orm, and I were left behind. The universe had shrunk to its very limits since most of it had already been assimilated into us.
My level…No, the number no longer mattered anymore. At this point, level couldn’t serve as a guideline at all.
“Let’s go. Let’s start with a greeting! A loud, flashy strike!”
“Fine. I’ll match yours, Mafahl.”
First, I activated arcane magic in order to make a declaration of war. The Prophet With The Golden Bow was the greatest support arcane magic of the Sun attribute. In her attempt to match it, Benetnash activated the Maiden Who Fires The Silver Arrow. But there wasn’t just one arrow, since Orm was also using the same arcane magic.
Now then, Goddess. Have you made your resolve? You can no longer be a player who simply moves pieces from a safe position. From here on, it will be a brawl in the backstage.
Two silver arrows flew at my command, literally penetrating the universe. The wall between dimensions was destroyed, opening up a hole in space. We flew after the arrows and the three of us left the universe through the hole.
—And in a pure white world that extended on forever.
We finally met the stunned Goddess, who seemed like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
Image from Light Novel Volume 8.
- The Big Crunch is a hypothetical scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the expansion of the universe eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, an event potentially followed by a reformation of the universe starting with another Big Bang. The vast majority of evidence indicates that this theory is not correct. Instead, astronomical observations show that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than being slowed by gravity, suggesting that the Big Rip is far more likely to occur.