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Chapter 14: Evil God or Goddess

Sevens 337: Evil God or Goddess

At the giant Agrissa, Novem stabbed in her heirloom staff.

Naked, she undid her trademark side-ponytail, letting her long hair sway in the wind. Her light-brown hair looked as if it was sparkling. Her violet eyes also looked as if they were letting off a glow, but that one probably wasn't a trick of the light.

Her arms blown away, Agrissa was failing to regenerate. Her mouth was sealed, and she was unable to say anything.

She could only squirm, so... Novem looked down on her in annoyance. She twisted her staff.

"Silence. We're talking about important things here."

Agrissa's body twitched. A silver metal spread from the tip of the staff, destroying her body from the inside.

As she slowly fell, Agrissa couldn't move either. Novem stroked her hair to tuck it behind her ear, turning back to me.

"... Evil gods and goddesses, they were all originally the same. Of course, now this thing right here is a sham."

As she wrote off Agrissa as a sham, Novem was smiling.

I got my breathing in order, lowering Porter to match her descent as I asked her. I had to ask.

"Novem... what do you mean I'll be completed by defeating you?"

Novem laughed. She looked over at me.

"As I thought, you're more suited to be like that. I liked your post-Growth as well, but your original state is full of good parts too."

"Answer me!"

Novem looked down a bit, instantly raising her face. She made a serious expression.

"That is the will of Novem. All Novem ever desired was strong humans. And Lyle-sama, you are an existence worthy of the role. Now that I've confirmed that... my, and my clan's role is over."

Novem's will surely meant the will of the evil god. And her clan was the Forxuz House.

"So you're arbitrarily dragging your house down with you?"

"Of course not. I'm sure the ones apart from me will find their own ways to live from here on. But with my own death in mind, I want to complete you. By discarding your fixation on me, and cutting me off... show me the strength to fulfill your objectives even if you must discard what's close to you."

I couldn't understand what Novem was saying. No, I could comprehend the contents.

She wanted me to kill her. And by doing that, she said I would grow stronger...

Was that really the case?

Aria carried by the Valkyries shouted at Novem.

"Do you enjoy carving wounds into Lyle's heart like that!? You'd better give it a rest! Always, always... making a face as if you understood it all, it's because you never said anything that everyone hated you!"

Novem looked at Aria. But her expression was different from when she looked at me. As if she was completely indifferent.

"Does being hated by you humans afford me any demerit? To me, what's important is Lyle-sama, and you humans are existences to birth Lyle-sama's children. It was quite a trial to find you, but I'm sure a replacement could be found from here on."

Aria was lost for words. It wasn't a line I could imagine coming from the Novem who'd accompanied us to now. I mean, Aria was one who'd been with us the longest. I'd seen her getting along with Novem time and again. Yet to her, Novem spoke disinterestedly.

I turned to Novem.

"Is that really how you were thinking of them!? Hey, Novem!"

"If you put together my statements, it shouldn't be strange for me to think like that."

She directed a smile at me.

Eva to Novem.

"Why... I mean, you were so kind!"

"Because doing so had merit to me. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be kind. All my kindness is for Lyle-sama. Don't misunderstand."

Clara wrenched open the door on Porter's chest and stuck out her head. The strong wind put her hair in a disarray.

"Novem-san, what you're trying to do is mistaken! You want Lyle-san to shoulder such a burden!? When you thought of Lyle-san so..."

Novem touched a hand to her chest.

"If it's Lyle-sama, he will be able to overcome my death. My worry is unnecessary."

On the contrary, I wanted to ask why she was evaluating me like that... I don't think I'm that amazing myself. If I was mentally stronger, I think I could've gone about this much more skillfully.

Monica carrying me spotted the ground below, and slowed the speed of our descent.

"I hate you after all."

Novem looked at Monica.

"And I hate you too. You're a machine to bring depravity to humanity. But you're also a tool necessary for Lyle-sama who's to be an emperor. So I placed you by his side."

The goddesses starting at Nihil and ending at Novem. It seemed as if Novem didn't have the sense of values of a human.

Carrying on memory, and carrying on power, like that, she had looked over us for so many years. Perhaps it would be stranger if she didn't go mad.

But even so...

"I don't want that. I can't kill you!"

There, Novem made a troubled face. As she touched her staff to Agrissa's body that lay limp on the ground, the silver blades that stuck out shredded the body to pieces. Agrissa faded away.

As Novem landed on the ground, a red light manifested to cloak her body. Almost like a dress... like armor... coated in such a thing, Novem changed her staff to its scythe form and looked at me.

She reached her left hand to her side.

"There's no helping it. For you are kind. But that kindness... might prove fatal."

Where she directed her left hand with a smile, space split and burst. From there, Shannon's form was reflected.

"Shannon!"

"Eh!?"

I could hear Shannon's voice as she noticed the rift in space. And Novem gave a grin.

"Speaking to the Walt House's precepts, Shannon's base state is disqualified. If I were to kill anyone, she would have to be the first... Lyle-sama, if you don't kill me, the girls will die."

From her left hand, a light of magic gathered, forming a high-density mass. That one was bad. I could tell just from looking. It was worse than Agrissa's.

"S-stop..."

"See, it's because you hesitated that someone had to die."

She shot the magic into the rift of space. That high purity, high-density orb of Mana fired off, the special rift disappeared.

I hurriedly tried to use a Skill, but Novem held up her staff.

"The ability I stole from Septem really is a useful one. But it seems Agrissa was unable to pull it off. Good grief, she really was a useless incompetent."

From the large scythe of a staff, I felt a powerful interference.

"My Skills are..."

... I couldn't use them. As I imagined the worst possible scenario, I heard a voice. Milleia's voice.

[... And what do you think you're doing to my cute Shannon?]

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... The ones on the shoulder of the giant beastly warrior golem were Mieand and Shannon. As well as Milleia.

As Agrissa fell near the palace, seeing her disappear, there were cries of joy being raised below.

On top of that, the form of the golem trampling skeletal soldiers and mowing them down gave their allies some courage. Miranda put out strings from both hands to manipulate the golem.

"There are too many of them. And even when Agrissa disappeared, these guys don't go away?"

Shannon held up her right fist.

"Go! Onwards, my steed!"!

The golem that continued plowing down everything in its path had put her in a good mood. Milleia looked upon the scene, as she shot down the skeletons attempting to climb up the golem's legs.

"You can't let your guard down. Our foe doesn't feel any pain, after all. These dead men who know no fear, they really are troublesome."

She produced guns from her sleeves one after the next as she fired through the enemies. There, she suddenly heard Lyle's voice from the sky.

"Shannon!"

"Eh!?"

As Shannon raised her face, she found a hole where space had been ripped away. On the other side of the hole, Novem was wearing a dress as she fired off magic. What's more, it was directed at Shannon.

Miranda instantly set the entire golem on a path to evade, but the fired magic gave chase.

The magic that came flying straight at Shannon...

Milleia kicked it away. As she kicked it down in her dress, she landed right back on the beastly warrior.

The magic that fell on the ground exploded, blowing away hordes of skeletal soldiers. And it even formed quite a crater.

"... And what do you think you're doing to my cute Shannon? Novem-chan, you've gone a bit past the realm of mischief there."

From te rift in space, she could see Novem's laughing face. She was laughing as she looked at Milleia. As the space gradually closed away, Novem looked at her.

"Oh my, it seems I've failed. But if you're there, then there's no helping it. I'll aim for someone else. And by doing so, Lyle-sama will open his ey-"

Space closing up before she could finish, Shannon and Miranda were left dumbfounded.

"Why was Novem..."

"Hey, what's going on? Connection's been useless for a while now... there's nois in the line."

When they should have been connected, there was static mixed in, and they couldn't make contact. Milleia looked at the sky, gripping her guns as she shot through the climbing skeletons below her.

"... Both of you, we're heading for Centralle. It looks like that child is in need of some harsh discipline. Well, I'm sure it will be difficult for me alone, but... we've got the whole family."

Shannon trembled with a pale expression as she looked at Milleia's angry face...

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... The First Generation Head had seen Novem attack Shannon as well.

The First and Second were unable to hide their surprise as they looked upon the scene. But the ones to blast them away were their wives. The First's wife hit him on the head.

"Don't just stand there surprised, do something about that kid!"

"N-no, I mean! Novem-chan's a daughter of the Forxuz House! Descendent of the old man. And she's a gallant girl who sold off her dowry!"

In place of the First's incoherent ramblings, the Second offered them an explanation.

"Please wait. She's a good girl. A really good girl. But right now, I'm sure there are just some extraneous circumstances."

The Second's wife tilted her head.

"And because of whatever circumstances, you'll overlook a murder attempt? Honestly, I couldn't care less about whatever circumstance that girl has. From our point of view, we can't accept if Lyle's killed, or his wives die. Just why do you think we've been trying so hard to begin with?"

The First was surrounded by his own soldiers. The surroundings were awaiting his verdict. But they did have an agreement on one thing.

"... That girl's definitely a Walt House bride, isn't she."

"I know, right?"

"I'm getting the same feeling from when the boss married in."

As they ran their mouths, the First's wife gave a stern glare at the soldiers.

"Who are you comparing to that crazy wench!? Look me in the eyes and say it!"

Everyone took a step back, raising an, 'Eek!' The first quietly muttered, 'that's exactly what they're talking about,' to himself.

But the Second turned to the two.

"A-anyways! We recognize that girl!"

There, arriving on the spot, the Fifth and Sixth approached the First and the others.

"So we're first to arrive. And Novem's gone on a rampage. Well, I knew it would come to this."

"Exactly. She always had those suspicious parts to her."

The First looked at the two of them, pointing his giant sword.

"What's with you lot!? You've got some complaints with Novem-chan!?"

The Fifth put his galient blade against his shoulder.

"I'm on team Aria."

There, the First and Second looked surprised.

"Eh? Really? Why's that?"

"What exactly happened while we were away?"

The Sixth looked at Novem and Lyle.

"But I'm pushing for Miranda and Shannon."

There, with an invisible sword in hand, and the Bahnseim royal line apprehended behind him, the Third met up with them. He looked at Lyle in a care-free manner as he laughed.

"So the final one to stand before Lyle is Novem-chan, eh? Well I saw it coming. Ah, but the way, I'm supporting Clara-chan. Rather, why isn't Max here yet?"

Everyone's eyes gathered on the Third as he looked around restlessly. While the First had much he wanted to ask, he put that aside.

"Do I have your attention!? Anyways, Novem-chan is important! There's no way things'll end well if they play out like this! We have to do something to stop them!"

As he said that for all to hear, the Third made a blatantly reluctant expression.

"And wait, isn't this a problem between them? I think it'll just be dubious if we lend a hand. Right, let's just leave this to Lyle, and..."

"Sleigh!"

As Dewey called out, the Third released his invisible sword from his hand. As its tip pierced into the ground, the Third looked in that direction.

"Bro...ther...?"

Even if he knew he'd be there, to the Third, his brother was a special existence to him. He couldn't keep up his usual aloof air.

"Let's help them. This is definitely a mistake. I know I'm young, and there are a lot of things I don't know... but still, this looks like a mistake. I can't do anything, but... I know I can't do anything, but if it's Sleigh, can't you help them out?"

On his older brother Dewey's words, the Third averted his eyes. His debt aht the past he didn't want to remember materialized in his brother's very existence.

The Fifth looked over at Lyle and Novem.

"I do think there's something off with barging into the romantic affairs of others. If Lyle can't resolve it, there's no meaning in us bringing about a temporary resolution. I think this one's Lyle's problem."

Dewey looked down. There, a grudge-filled voice called out from behind him. It was the Sixth's wife.

"So that's how father-in-law pretended not to see our strife... you've hurt me."

"Eek!"

The Sixth took a few steps back. While she was a beautiful woman, the atmosphere around her was truly dark. And it looked as if she was shouldering a strange aura.

The Fifth made a cramped face.

"And I'm telling you if the individuals don't resolve it themselves..."

This time, the Fifth's wife and mistresses showed themselves.

"No, you're misunderstanding something, dear. That's not a lover's quarrel over there."

"Eh?"

"... Accursed mother-in-law. Is it not because you permitted mistresses that Lyle turned out so indiscriminate? How truly irritating."

The Fifth's wife's sharp glare pierced into the Sixth's. As all eyes gathered on the Sixth, the Sixth silently averted his eyes.

The First's wife spoke up.

"If it's not a lover's tiff, then what is it?"

The Fifth's wife corrected her posture. And putting a hand to her chest, she said it clearly.

"They're already family, are they not!? They've kissed and fought alongside one another as a couple! While they've yet to layer bodies, it's clear they already have a relationship exceeding lovers! This is a problem of the whole house! So we shall intervene."

The Fifth frantically cut in to interrupt.

"Yeah, could you stand down a while longer? Your interventions are no laughing matter! Why don't we just trust in Lyle a bit more!"

Isolated from the rowdy surroundings, Lyle had begun to move...

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"It's getting noisy around. But even so... Sevens, was it? That's a good Skill. A Skill to call back the House Heads of times past, and the people who lived alongside them. I'm surprised you've become able to use the Jewel to such a level, Lyle-sama."

To this point, Novem had always affirmed me. And that Novem was now telling me to kill her. Otherwise she's kill the others.

When she aimed for Shannon I panicked, but it's a saving grace that Milleia-san was alongside her.

... Wait, was that really the case?

"Novem, why did you..."

"Yeah, could you stand down a while longer? Your interventions are no laughing matter! Why don't we just trust in Lyle a bit more!"

I heard the Fifth cry out. The outfield had been growing louder for a while now, and I couldn't maintain my sense of tension.

As I looked at Novem, perhaps she thought the same as she put a hand to her chin and nodded.

"Everyone, I'm sure the undead made by Agrissa were insufficient to keep you company. Naturally. You're a clan I recognized after all."

In delight, Novem stabbed her staff into the ground. From there, a magic circle formed, and a dragon manifested.

With its golden scales, a giant dragon whose splendid red horns seemed to pierce into the sky had manifested behind her.

Novem touched the dragon's skin, closing her eyes.

"Those are people worthy to take you on. So keep them company. I care not if you kill them. In the end... they're only memories."

On those words, I stepped in. I cut at her with my Katana. Yet there, it turned out that even with the sword I held in both hands, her one-handed staff overpowered me.

"So you've finally grown serious, Lyle-sama. But that's not nearly enough. Right! Whether this child... this [Legend Dragon] burns everything down first, or you kill me first, let's make it a contest. For this child is strong."

Hearing Legend Dragon, I sought confirmation with Clara. The noise was terrible, but she was near enough that conversation was possible.

"I don't know it. Such a dragon... I've never even heard of it before."

Clara replied instantly. Novem smiled and nodded as if it were only natural.

"It's a boss of a floor humanity has never once managed to reach in their brief existence. A guardian, floor boss, call it what you will. Beyond the hundredth floor of the Labyrinth... it's one of the strongest monsters guarding the innermost chamber. Well, there are other troublesome monsters as well."

As the golden dragon turned to the heavens and let out a roar, that was enough to blow us back. Novem stroked its face, the Legend Dragon spread its large wings and took to the sky.

As she smiled, Novem took her scythe in both hands.

"Now come, Lyle-sama. No... my beloved child. Show your mother your strength."

I gripped my Katana and gritted my teeth.

"My mother's name is Claire Walt! You're no mother of mine!"

Novem spoke.

"No, you're wrong... for to me, all of humanity is akin to my children."