Translator: Hand of Vecna ✎ Editor: Two More Free Thoughts
Libra flew in the sky, watching over the entire white town. She was one thousand five hundred meters above the town. Even the flügels could not reach this altitude. As such, she was in a position that would never be discovered first. Even at this distance, Libra could clearly count the number of hairs on every flügel in the white streets.
Libra recognized the white-winged flügels as her virtual enemies. They were proud of their white wings and would excommunicate her master for her taboo black wings. In other words, they were her master’s enemies, and her master’s enemies were her enemies.
Libra had taken no action so far because Ruphas did not give her an order to attack. However, if they showed even a bit of hostility, she was ready to target the entire town with Brachium. There would be no forgiveness and no mercy.
Her top criterion was whether something would benefit Ruphas or not. If it was something beneficial, she would provide protection and assistance. If it was something harmful, she would kill even a newborn infant. The only exception was her creator Mizar, but he was not around anymore.
“Breathing, actions, gazes, speech…Currently, the number of flügels who discovered master’s identity has been judged as zero. No unnatural aspects found…Attack, unnecessary. Continuing observation…Maintaining standby…”
With an icy, emotionless, mask-like face, the automatic doll continued observation from the sky. In case of emergency, the physical data, facial features, and habits of everyone were saved in her memory.
Then, she observed Dina, her comrade who also came to the white town. She was pacing back and forth at the clock tower in the center of the town, seemingly waiting for someone. Her memory data regarding Dina had been lost, so the details were unclear. However, she seemed competent at gathering information and was familiar with various places. Perhaps, she was acquainted with someone in this town.
Through her observation of the entire town, Libra’s sensors detected a suspicious character. He was a handsome man with green hair and sunglasses. Since he had no wings, most people would assume he was a human visitor. But Libra would not make such mistakes. A single glance penetrated his human-like disguise with mechanical efficiency.
“…Confirmed irregularities in skin color peculiar to mimicry. Confirmed teeth from the raising of the upper lip. Confirmed vertical pupils peculiar to demons via the gap of the sunglasses. The probability of a demon in disguise, ninety-eight percent. Completed enemy recognition…Speculating. Judging from his walking angle, his line of sight, and the pathway, the probability of reaching the clock tower, eighty-seven percent. Determined Dina-sama is in danger of contact. —Elimination conditions met.”
Libra’s lifeless eyes shone ominously as her skirt billowed in the sky. Two machine guns appeared mysteriously from somewhere and were equipped by Libra without hesitation. Guns were weapons for the gunner class, an advanced class of archer. Two hundred years ago, this weapon was exceedingly common, but currently, it was considered an expensive item.
With a relentless steep dive that ended with a shockwave and an explosive noise, Libra landed before the suspicious man. The descent of the metallic humanoid crumbled the ground and threw up debris. Libra walked out of the dust cloud, obstructing the man thought to be a demon.
“Why…is there a golem in this town?”
“Warning to the demon ahead. If you come closer, I will eliminate you by force. In that event, please understand beforehand that your life will not be guaranteed. You are strongly urged to retreat.”
Raising her alertness so she can attack anytime, Libra issued her final warning while remaining vigilant. Meanwhile, Libra’s eyes collected the opponent’s data in order to measure his strength. Search Eye, one of Libra’s skill, had the same effect as Ruphas’ Observing Eye. This skill revealed that the opponent was Level 320 and had HP 25,000. Unless she was reckless, Libra would lose to him. Still, by today’s standards, his level was extremely high.
“What is this about being a demon? As you can see, I’m just a simple traveler who stopped by here for sightseeing.”
“Eyes behind the sunglasses, slightly raised upper lip, irregularities in skeletal structure, differences in flesh quality…These posit that you are a demon using mimicry.”
“…I see. My disguise has been seen through. Well, that makes it easier.”
Without waiting for his words to finish, Libra sensed a slight movement in the man’s muscles. Next, she sensed his feet straining and his knees bending. Concluding that this was preparation to kick off the ground and lunge, Libra immediately raised her alertness and switched to combat mode.
Immediately after, the ground erupted and the man’s fist was blocked by her arm. The fist was imbued with a force beyond humans, but the blocking arm had a hardness which was beyond humans as well. A metallic sound rang out and the man’s fingers broke.
“Confirmed hostile behavior. Switching to attack mode.”
She swung her arm to push him away and adjusted her line of sight to a point slightly further away. Then, both of Libra’s eyes shot lasers that pierced the ground.
That man…was not there!
He moved around to Libra’s blindspot with agile footwork and made a sneak attack from behind. However, what counted as a blind spot for humans did not exist for Libra. Libra bent her arm in an angle impossible for humans and defended against his fist. She turned her head one hundred eighty degrees and fired lasers at the man again.
As the man quickly dodged her attack, Libra pursued further. She reverted her arm and head to their original positions, reversed the direction of her body holding the machine guns, and go on full automatic fire without hesitation!
One thousand rounds per minute. It was a ridiculous rate of fire, which was beaten only by using two guns for a total of two thousand rounds per minute. Naturally, her guns were not equipped with silencers, so thundering sounds echoed through the streets, disrupting the peace of the town in broad daylight.
The man desperately dodged the bullets, kicked off the wall of a building and jumped. But he would be unable to dodge in mid-air, so Libra aimed at him again. She immediately equipped the next armament to shoot down the defenseless man.
“Skill selection. Unlock limiter on right arm. Zubenelgenubi (The Right Scale), release!”
Simultaneously as she declared, her right arm was literally released. The fingers, palm, and forearm were reassembled, making hard, metallic sounds. In just one second, her arm transformed into a one-meter long cannon.
In that moment, the window panes of the houses around Libra shattered. What shot forth was a torrent of light. The white flare surged forward through the sky, accompanied by purple lightning. The man in mid-air clenched his teeth.
Just as the man was about to be hit, a sudden gale blew him sideways, avoiding Libra’s blast. That was not all. He turned direction in mid-air as if he was riding on the winds, launching an attack at Libra. Libra shot her machine gun to intercept him, but all her bullets moved past the man.
Libra used her machine gun to block his repeated knife-hand strikes, but her gun barrel became notched and then broke in two. This was no ordinary knife-hand strike. That man had an invisible blade, which broke the machine gun. In that instant, Libra understood that it was caused by wind and concluded that the man could control the wind to cut metal.
“You can manipulate the wind freely…I see. Isn’t this Wood attribute?”
“To think you could see through it. That is praiseworthy. I wield the power of nature—Wood, one of the seven attributes. The one among the Seven Luminaries who can freely control Wood, Jupiter is my name. Give me your name, doll. You should not be a normal person.”
Without being asked, the man declared his name and revealed his true form. His human-like skin turned into an ominous blue. With his sunglasses removed, his green eyes had vertical slits.
Although there was no obligation to declare one’s name after the other party did so, this concerned the dignity of a female follower. Since the other party introduced himself, she should return the gesture. This was her preference as a maid and the honor of being Ruphas’ follower. Therefore, Libra reverted her arm back to its normal form and carefully lifted the edge of her skirt.
“Greetings, Jupiter-sama. I am one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, Libra of the Scales. And so, it’s nice to have met you.”
“Oh. The Scales that was said to have the greatest firepower among the Twelve Heavenly Stars. I heard you were destroyed in the royal tomb, but it seems to be just a rumor.”
Jupiter laughed in amusement and readied his knife-hands. It looked like ordinary knife-hands, but they should be enhanced with invisible wind blades.
Wood attribute—literally controlled wood, along with wind which counted as part of nature.
In terms of attribute compatibility, Wood would overcome Earth and would be overcame by Metal.
On the other hand, Libra’s attribute was Metal, which excelled in reinforcing physical substance. Her body, weapons, and equipment could all be enhanced to become metal-like in order to crush her enemies. This attribute was somewhat similar to alchemy. In fact, it was most compatible with alchemists. In terms of attribute compatibility, Metal would overcome Wood and would be overcame by Fire.
In other words, whether in terms of level or compatibility, Libra had the advantage. Analyzing this battle with few disadvantages, Libra calculated her chance of victory as ninety-nine percent and above. But she must not be reckless or merciful. Libra kept her machine guns and extended her left arm.
“Skill selection. Unlock limiter on the left arm. Zubeneschamali (The Left Scale), release!”
As if it was a declaration, her left arm transformed. Her left hand disappeared into her arm as if it was sucked in, replaced by the bluish-white glow of a light blade. If the Right Scale was the main gun for range combat, the Left Scale would be the main weapon for melee combat. With this, the protection of the wind made no difference. She could just slash it all away.
The emotionless doll declared. The vernier thrusters on her back blasted off and she flew towards her enemy.
Normally, this was a park bustling with parents and children. But now, there were only two people present. The two comrades faced each other within this mysterious barrier that compelled others to avoid this place. Serving the same master and being part of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, they were the powerhouses in this world.
One of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, Aries of the Ram.
And also one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, Aigokeros of the Goat.
The atmosphere did not feel like a meeting between the members of the Twelve Heavenly Stars and long-lost friends. Neither side was currently making an attack, but both sides were ready to do so if the other party made a suspicious move. They were resolved to unleash killing blows without hesitation, even against their former comrades.
“Aigokeros…why are you here?”
“You know very well why I’m here. I wanted only the lives of the Seven Heroes. You should already know this.”
Aigokeros answered Aries in a deep, murky voice. It was a creepy, reverberating voice as if many people were speaking at the same time. His mouth, which should have been used to speak, did not move at all. Instead, the sound penetrated directly into the ears, causing discomfort even to close associates. People with average mental fortitude would be disturbed just by talking to him. His voice always caused physiological discomfort like a nail scratching a piece of glass. His presence, his confrontation, and his words were enough to drive the other party insane.
He was the highest among the numerous demonic beings. Was the nauseating aura of the lord demon still active? Aries narrowed his eyes.
“For that reason, you are willing to submit to the demons?”
“Naturally. I make use of them, while they make use of my power. We have the same objective in the current situation.”
Aries noticed something dangerous in his expression as he replied. He did not intend to talk about defeating the Seven Heroes. It was a shared perspective among the Twelve Heavenly Stars to see them as hated enemies and desire their deaths. But that did not mean they should join forces with the demons.
Aries had a cooperative relationship with the demon Mars, but he did not technically become one of them. They merely had a common interest. He definitely did not become part of the demonic army.
“Aries. I will ask you again. Come with me and help me send the Seven Heroes to my homeland, hell.”
“…Sorry, but I refuse. I would rather die than to become join the demons. My one and only master is Ruphas-sama.”
“It’s the same for me. I won’t swear heartfelt allegiance to them. Just think of it as using them.”
“Even so, I refuse. Even if it’s pretending, I won’t lower my head to the demons.”
Aigokeros and Aries confronted each other in this hair-trigger atmosphere. Aigokeros considered using brute force to make Aries join him. However, he was one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars too, so it wouldn’t be easy to win. When he considered the pros and cons, there seemed to be more demerits. Therefore, the current stalemate persisted. Despite the situation being on a hair-trigger, strangely nothing would have happened.
At this moment, Aries cast a stone in the still waters.
“Especially now that our true master has returned, I cannot do such an unsightly thing.”
“…! Then, the one who defeated Mars…!”
“Yes, it was Ruphas-sama. She did not die.”
His master was still alive. Hearing this news, Aigokeros was shaken. Then, Aries sent an invitation.
“Now, it’s my turn to ask you. Cut your ties with the demons and return with me to Ruphas-sama’s side. It’s time to reassemble the Twelve Heavenly Stars.”
“…I cannot do it now.”
“Reunion with the master…that would be nice. But if we do not defeat our hated enemies, the past would just repeat itself. I will present myself to our master after sending the hateful heroes to hell.”
Aigokeros did not accept Aries’ invitation. No, he could not accept it now. The hateful heroes were not dead yet. The fools who hindered his master’s supremacy had not been killed yet. If he turned back now, the past failure would happen again. He could return to his master’s side only after crushing all the hateful enemies!
“My clouded heart is clear now! Look carefully, Aries. I will take Merak’s head and let this country sink into a chaotic hell. Hell, death, and the grief of those fools will be a tribute to our master! I will destroy the demons from within and offer them as a sacrifice to our master!”
If Ruphas heard this, she would have stopped him and said, “Stop it, you fool.”
However, after hearing that his master was well, Aigokeros did not overlook it in the heat of the moment. No, perhaps he did not overlook it, but he believed killing the heroes was for the good of his master. Therefore, he could not stop, he must not stop. Following the bloody thought process unique to demonic beings, he believed that annihilating all the enemies was the best contribution he could make to his master.
“Farewell, Aries. Watch with our master from that special seat as I paint this country with madness, blood, and death.”
After speaking his mind, Aigokeros faded away. Aries had no intention of stopping him. Killing the Seven Heroes was the common wish for the Twelve Heavenly Stars. Aries had no reason to stop him. After watching Aigokeros vanished, Aries thought about whether he should tell his master about this.
“Ruphas-sama did not like excessive slaughter and attack on civilians…If I tell her about this, she would surely stop it…but those people in the white town of this country persecuted Ruphas-sama…”
Aries pondered. In any case, he should observe the people in the white town for now. Then, he would decide depending on their personalities and way of thinking.
If they were different from the past, if they were no longer so fixated on wing color, if their unsightly discrimination was diminished, he would tell his master about this. Then, his master, who disliked peaceful civilians dying for no reason, would surely stop Aigokeros.
But if they would still attempt to eliminate his master, at that time…
※ Author’s Notes: The Left and Right ScalesThe Right Scale, Zubenelgenubi
Libra’s main range weapon. She transforms her right arm into a railgun to fire a long-range attack. Probably not an actual railgun, but something more in line with fantasy. If it hits Level 300 Jupiter, it would be instant death, or if he’s lucky, he would be dying.
Q. Jupiter-san is doing his best, right?
A. Jupiter-san has a lot of avoidance skills. When he first saw it, he was like “Eh? She’s weak, but what is with that attack?” Still, he survived because he is Jupiter. The other Seven Luminaries would have died.
The Left Scale, Zubeneschamali
Libra’s main melee weapon. Actually, she used it in the fight against Ruphas. Her left arm transforms into a sword of light to attack the enemy. Its appearance is like a lightsaber (ライ○セーバー). Because it has no physical substance, it does not become blunt and can cut steel like butter. If it hits Level 300 Jupiter, the latter would be split into two.
※ Foot NotesZubenelgenubi (ズベン・エ儿・ゲヌビ), also called Alpha Librae, is the second brightest star in the constellation of Libra.
Attribute Compatibility (属性相性) is about the relationship of the Five Elements (五行) in terms of creatively or destructively interacting with each other. For example, Wood overcomes Earth and Metal overcomes Wood. Wood generates Fire and Water generates Wood.
Zubeneschamali (ズベン・エス・カマリ), also called Beta Librae, is the brightest star in the constellation of Libra.
Railgun (レールガン) is a device that uses electromagnetic force to launch high-velocity projectiles, by means of a sliding armature that is accelerated along a pair of conductive rails. A railgun projectile can reach several times the speed of sound (343 meters per second or 1,235 km/h).
A WILD LAST BOSS APPEARED!