Part 77: Madam Beatrice II
Video: Beatrice VS Beatrice
Just by glaring at each other, they purged all spirits from that space.
"So come, Beatrice. Surrendering my name to you is the only regret I have in life. I will now correct that error by my own hands!"
"*cackle*cackle*cackle*... Tsk, tsk, tsk. You've got it wrong, Teacheer. My only error... was becoming your disciple in the hopes of gaining such a puny level of power, get iiiiiiiit?"
"What are you calling magic? What are you calling the Endless Witch? All you've got is a power that can be gained just by noticing, right? And you act as though that's so great and impressive. Your turn's long over, Teacheeeeeeeeeeeeer!!"
BGM: Fake Red Shoes
"...You poor thing. It seems my disciple is causing you trouble. I apologize."
"Wh-Who the heck are you...? Why did old Kumasawa turn into an attractive lady like this?! I mean, seriously, who are you?! I don't get it! What kind of special effects are these?! My head feels like it's gonna explode!!"
"I am the witch teacher of that child. My old name was Beatrice. When that child succeeded me, I gave up that name, so I have no name of my own."
"Like you've already said, your disciple's been a real pain to me! Please, take responsibility and do something! No, wait!!"
"I don't believe in stuff like this!! As if witches and magic could exist!! I won't accept this messed-up battle! Dammit, what should I believe?!!"
"...*cackle*cackle* I'd expect nothing less from you, Teacher. It seems this is so trivial to you, you don't even feel like opening your eyes...! But I doubt you'll be able to win unless you're prepared to wreck this whole island, seeeeeeee? Come, arise, Shoulder War Towers!!"
And on either side of her shoulders, two massive War Towers sprouted and stabbed into the heavens. They stretched up to 100 merute tall, and each had over 360 ports. They were War Towers of the gods' army corps, which had prevented even groups of ancient heroes from invading their sacred grounds. As Beatrice elegantly floated in the gap between the massive two-headed towers, she looked down on her teacher, sneering with a sense of absolute superiority. With the two massive towers lined up behind her shoulders, the witch looked very small, like a butterfly dancing between huge trees.
Over 720 ports opened on the towers, and godly soldiers readied their multi-shot ballistas.
"Is that the end of your turn?"
"Heh, famous last words!! Blast awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!"
The boorish sound as the bowstrings were played was probably even deeper than that of a reaper swinging its sickle.
"Come, arise, Fallen Tower. Split the single language and let that sin be known."
That massive falling tower and its rubble... sucked in the thousands of ballista shots, so that not one of them approached the body of the witch who had summoned it. That's right, no group of people, no matter how large, could approach the mysteries of heaven. That was the reality of the fallen tower.
"As I'd expect from you, Teacher! If you do something, you always do it big!! Khehhhuhuhuhuhyahyahya!!"
"My turn isn't over. Come, arise, Sons of Ivaldi. Bestow upon me a worthy spear."
...It was too large even for a giant's hand. That divinely beautiful Spear of the Gods was so massive, it gave the illusion that the fallen tower had turned into a spear of the same size. It was a spear of certain victory that none could escape.
"Looks like your twin towers won't help you now. How foolish, to block off your means of escape on both sides. You can't defend against even a single spear!"
When she snapped her fingers in command, the massive tower-sized spear shot at Beatrice like a lightning bolt.
It aimed right for the middle of the center of the Golden Witch's heart with extreme precision, as she danced in the gap between the towers like a butterfly, slicing straight through the air like a flash of lightning.
"Hah!! So, you use Gungnir at a moment like this!! You really are incredible, Teacheeeeeer!!"
"Burst, useless towers! Arise, Giant Soldier Battle Line. Fully block that divine spear with your shields and chests!!"
The Shoulder War Towers exploded in gold. They became several billion gold butterflies. Those butterflies took the shape of seven massive armored soldiers. Each stretched a full 50 merute into the sky, and they lined up in front of Beatrice, protecting their master and holding massive shields that towered like windmills.
Once in the past, when the massive shields these giants held had been readied by the whole regiment, they had protected King Whilhelm's castle not only from arrows, but from the wind and the rain, for when they had faced upwards and held their shields to the heavens, not a single raindrop had gotten through.
"Foolish. The shame of a witch who has forgotten to respect things sacred. Did you think mere giants could defend against a Spear of the Gods?!"
"...Indeed. No matter how much human metal you are armed with, you cannot block a Spear of the Gods. A wonderful Epaulette Mate by Madam."
"No way! Beatrice-sama?!!"
"Of course I haven't forgotten, Teacher! Come arise, disciples of Hephaestus. Bestow upon me a worthy shield!!"
A golden whirlwind arose at the feet of the Giant Soldiers. It was a cloud of countless butterflies. They attached themselves to the massive shields like gold leaf, sparkling like they were a gold mirror.
It was the absolute defensive wall given to a goddess by the chief of the gods. The Aegis Shield.
When the holy spear, which left a dignified tail behind it like a comet, crashed into the mountain range of that gold shield, there was a terrible thunderous roar. It was the creaking of the pillars that held up the heavens. The Divine Spear spun around and around... and was sent flying in the direction of the setting sun.
"Impossible... She defended against the Divine Spear...!!"
"No, that is not correct. The divine spear avoided her. It is the law of the gods that an absolute spear and an absolute shield must never fight one another. Although, in the end, it means the same thing as defending against it."
"...Your skills have improved from engaging in these fights so often."
"Or rather, it seems you're still as bad as ever at this kind of game, Teacher. It's my turn to strike back. I shall follow the code and counter a spear with a spear."
The Giant Soldier Battle Line, which had fully blocked the Divine Spear, released its holy gold shields. The shields fell to the earth, making the ground shake. When they did, another gold whirlwind arose, and the seven gold shields changed their form into seven massive spears of lightning lying on the ground. At once, each of the giants lifted one of their legs high... and firmly stomped on the tips of the handles.
As the earth shook with a thunderous sound, the seven lightning spears spun beautifully and flew up above the Giant Soldiers' heads. They scattered into a golden splash and began to fall before the giants. Each of the giants squared off, and with the force of their whole body, they kicked and smashed them. The broken pieces numbered exactly 30, and became lightning spears of exactly the same size as the originals... Which made 210 for the 7 giants. And all of those burst at once, with each splitting into 30 thorns, for a total of 6,300.
They became a barrage of thunderclouds drawing a beautiful geometric pattern, and then each changed into three bolts of lightning, so that 18,900 thunderbolts shot at the Predecessor Beatrice.
"It's oveeeeer, Beatrice-samaaa!!"
"I would expect nothing less... from Madam."
Beatrice knew immediately that she had been fooled. At that time, from the direction that the sun had supposedly set, she felt the impossible rays of sunlight. A brilliant ray of light shone on her profile. It was the figure of her teacher, holding aloft the Spear of the Gods that had supposedly been repelled a short while ago. She bore a sparkle like the sun on her back and made it shine on the incarnation of darkness.
...As Beatrice watched, she was trapped like a mouse in a cage, cornered in a dead end formed by the Giant Soldier Battle Line. By now, the Predecessor Beatrice had seized a position directly alongside that Line.
"...Have I... exposed my flaaaaank...?!"
Her bold expression hadn't faltered even once, but now it twisted for the first time. And faster than Beatrice could click her tongue, the Predecessor Beatrice released the holy spear. As it leapt through the air, it changed its form once more.
By now it was no longer a spear, but the whirlwind of a massive hammer that raised a sound like a windstorm as it flew through the air. It was the legendary hammer that had shaken even the King of the Frost Giants. So, the Giant Soldiers couldn't escape from that fear. So, regardless of how strongly their master ordered them, they couldn't get in the path of that hammer.
"Back Rank Mate! Rest in peace."
Before the whirlwind of that massive chunk of metal, Beatrice was nothing more than a mere speck. The instant the whirlwind started to suck Beatrice in, she appeared to change into a massive War Tower.
The Iron Hammer smashed the War Tower, scattering tremendous amounts of rubble, but it did not reach she who had escaped behind it. Furthermore, when the smoke started to settle, the War Tower had sucked in the massive Iron Hammer without crumbling, and blocked the way. Even the giant-smashing Iron Hammer couldn't break through the final tower protecting the witch. However, this War Tower was actually the witch's last trump card. It was a War Tower for dodging that could only save her from danger once. But this tower was impregnable. No weapon could break through it.
At that time, the moon disappeared. As Beatrice hid in the shadows of the Giant Soldier Battle Line and the War Tower, she looked up at the sky.
When she did, inside the moon was the figure of a massive horse ridden by the god of war and death. The Predecessor Beatrice rode the horse with him. His cloak had blocked the moon and swallowed it in an eerie shadow. And the Spear of the Gods was in his hand once more...
"*cackle* You got meee..."
"Smothered Mate. It was fun, Beatrice!"
BGM: Black Lilliana
The Giant Soldier Battle Line and the War Tower split up into countless gold butterflies, wrapping the area in a gold-colored storm. Then came the sound of thunder. And the sound of the falling rain and wind. If you looked around, the rose garden was empty.
...The butler and the rest were watching the two witches confronting each other. But Beatrice alone had changed. She had been pierced straight through by the spear, from the base of her neck and her right shoulder to her left buttocks, unable to even reach the ground with her feet, horribly exposed like a pitiful pinned butterfly, tormented by the wind and rain...
"...As expected... a truly fearsome person."
"That settles it, Beatrice."
Beatrice wore a bitter smile of false courage, but a strand of blood dangled from her mouth, making her look even more pitiful.
"The title and power of the Endless Witch. You will return them to me now, along with the name Beatrice. You are too immature to call yourself an Endless Witch."
"...Stop... Forgive me, Teacher... I was just fooling around, okay...?"
"I will take my name back from you. I shall return you to your original form. Perhaps you should relinquish this power which is beyond you... and live a life suitable for yourself. Come, try to remember. What form did you have?"
The Predecessor Beatrice began to recite the words of power. When she did, small gold butterflies gathered near the skewered Beatrice... and began to swarm about her. Like butterflies sucking the nectar out of flowers... They began to suck the magical power out of Beatrice.
And it seemed to cause her intense pain. A cry of anguish issued from Beatrice's mouth. She no longer had any power to resist it...
"Come, try closing your eyes. Try to remember. What form did you have? Come, Beatrice. Repeat it with me. Let us sing a song together. Then it will be over soon. Let us end your pain as fast as possible."
"...Kuhihihi, ha, haha... You're right... How long has it been... since I've sung with you, Teacher...?"
"Come, together now. Come, try to remember. What form did you have?"
"...Come, try to remember. What form did you have...?"
When the two of them began to recite the same song, more and more gold butterflies danced around, swarming around Beatrice...
"...It will be all right, Milady. You will lose your place as my disciple, but that will not change the fact that you are the lady I serve. After that, I shall read a book for you again. I shall bake you apple pies once more. Just like it was long ago... Come, try to remember."
When the Predecessor Beatrice looked behind her, there was an eerie hedgehog curled up there. No. It was... herself.
There was another Predecessor Beatrice, whose whole body had been packed with ballista shots, lying there like a pincushion doll...
"...Come, try to remember. What form did you have? Or maybe that's not right."
"...Come, try to remember. How were you killed? Kuhihihii, kuhyahhyahhyahhaaaaaaahh!!"
The Predecessor Beatrice was stunned. Her form gradually began to fade away...
"This is... When... did you...?"
"...It was bad manners of me to say check this late. I simply must apologize. *cackle*cackle*cackle*!"
The hidden towers lurking on either side had bathed her in a windstorm of ballista shots from 720 ports on both sides, pinning and killing her. However, Beatrice hadn't wanted it to be resolved like that. She had wanted to let her teacher take her next move... and had continued acting as though the game was still on. She had immediately revived her with the Endless Power... and had made her continue the game as though nothing had happened...
Then, the Predecessor slowly remembered that she had already been killed... and began to vanish completely.
When she did, the spear that had pierced Beatrice also vanished. Beatrice finally landed on the ground. There wasn't even a trace of a scar.
"See? I did everything you told me to, right...? Didn't you tell me to always put my toys back in their boxes when I'm done playing with them? *cackle*cackle* Hahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!"
"...Was it... an easy victory?"
"You fool, it was a tough one!! If I hadn't tricked her with the four towers, I would've been the one dead! As I'd expect from Teacher... But now I can stand proud."
"...Now, I have completely surpassed Teacher. Ronove, clean up Teacher's remains a bit. I haven't lost my respect for her that much."
"Certainly. Tonight's first twilight became a little too riotous. A little cleanup will be necessary. I shall see to it immediately. Goats, it is time to clean up."
One by one, they wordlessly stood at attention in a line behind Ronove's back.
"This time, what shall be done about the six corpses? Another closed room pattern?"
"...I'm in no mood to think now. I will leave it to you, Ronove. An extraordinary closed room to torment Battler, if you would."
"Certainly. Then it shall be extraordinary."
"...Damn iiiiiiiiit... After being shown that screwed up magical storm, what can I deny?!"
"Forget just witches existing! After being shown that tremendous, flashy fantasy, what can I deny now?!! I don't get it anymore! It was like that last time too, but how can I deny these awesome, wonderful magical battles?!"
"Iiisn't that riiight?! After watching this, you can't talk your way out of it, riiiiiiiight??? Okay, Battler, let me hear some ridiculous reasoning, khehhihhyahhyahhya! Ihhiehhiehhyaaahhh!!"
"Milady, your laugh is becoming undignified."
"Oh, my apologies. But that isn't my fault. After all, if Battler tightly closes his eyes, grinds his teeth, and shows me that ever so bitter expression, it just automatically slips out of my mouth, you seeee... Kuhhihihhyahhyahaah!!"
"So, Battler-sama, why don't you return to the table without losing heart? Milady is expecting your counterattack, you see...?"
"Quit messing with me!! How the hell can I make a counterargument?!"
"In the first place, everything was already screwed up when that tower sprouted up out of the earth!! Should I say that, under the ground in Rokkenjima, there's a secret laboratory for building super-alloy combining robots or something, and that pushing a button can make these strange towers sprout up?! Right, and then those huge giants must be the robots, or maybe an evil secret association's mecha-monsters?!"
"I don't get it!! Don't talk to meeeeeeeeeee, gwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!"
"If you want, I'll crush the moon and make comets fall like rain! I can even bury the whole island in those bouncy-chested babes you like so much, seeeeeeeeee?? Hihhihhihhihhi!!"
"Come on, come on, look, look, look, my turn's over, seeeeeeeeee?! Show me your response, launch your counterattack!! You can't, can yoooooouuu? Accept that there's a quadrillion things you can't do!! You're useless against this, riiiiiiiiiight? You actually like this kind of fantasy, don't yooooouuu??"
"I get it, that's been going around on the streets lately, hasn't it?! In manga and light novels, in anime and movies! Some teenage brats get a whole bunch of strange special abilities, and they blow up all sorts of stuff with the fate of the world on the line!"
"You love that too, don't you?! I know, don't hide it, you love it, right, hi-hyahhyahhyah!! Hasn't the thing you love just been displayed before your very eyes?"
"Why do you believe it in manga and anime, but you won't believe in meeeeeeeeee??"
"Believe, believe, believe it! You can't argue back, not after you've been shown something like this, riiiiiiiiiiiiight?"
"Look, look, look, answer, you don't need to think, you can just obediently say 'I'm sorry, Beatrice-sama'!"