Part 89: Battle to the Death in the Hall II
Video: Sloth and Envy
BGM: Worldend Dominator
"It's useless to try and resist or escape. You don't need to think about anything."
"Just close your eyes. I'll gently end it all for you."
"To think you're still relaxed enough to speak with such insolence at a time like this...!"
"Beatrice-sama, thank you for this excellent prey! Die!!!"
Rudolf shot first. But even before that bullet could hit her, Belphegor had already moved behind Rudolf's back. She then raised a purple curve springing out from her arm...
The barrel remained pointing behind his back...from the same motion with which he had reloaded the sawed-off gun one-handedly. It was pointing right at Belphegor's chest...
*click*, *cha-clunk*...! It was the sound of the ejected empty cartridge finally hitting the wall after the reload. In other words, it meant that the next shot was already fully loaded. Without turning around, his gun pointing right at Belphegor's chest, Rudolf grinned.
"...Not bad... ...For a middle-aged man...!!"
"Don't look down on the generation that loves old Westerns, okay? You brats don't know anything about the refinement of a lever-action."
Just like Rudolf, Kyrie was also confronting a demon stake in the first floor corridor.
"Don't worry. This kind of thing is my husband's specialty. I'm sure he'll come for me on a white horse soon. Because he's never failed to come and save me when I'm in trouble. Not even when Asumu-san was around. Heheh."
"Heheheheheheheh! What a happy couple. I'm jealous. I am Leviathan of Envy...! Envy itself is my power. My anger, my lifeblood!"
"I agree. Envy is the source of a woman's power. And if that is power, I won't lose to a girl like you."
"Hahhahahahahahahahaha! Imagine saying that to the one who governs envy! You actually think I'd let you two be reunited...?!! Ahhahahahaha, I'll give you a tragic farewell!!"
The arm Leviathan swung was trailed by a purple curve. It was a magic blade that cut with the power of malice.
Even though the magic blade should have cut through the metal like butter, the 'gun', with its extremely high magic resistance power, was able to block the blade as easily as if it were a rolled up newspaper. Rapidly, two times, three times. It blocked all of them. And, without missing the opening created when that purple curve took a swing upward, Kyrie kicked Leviathan in the stomach with her heel.
Leviathan was knocked away like a lightly dancing feather. Before the demon stake's feet touched ground again... Kyrie was already pointing her gun directly at Leviathan in midair. From that position, the two women who had called envy a form of power met each other's gaze.
Rudolf tumbled down the staircase. He'd been gradually cornered by Belphegor... and had been pushed back into the main hall they'd started from.
"...The Predecessor-sama's furniture is pretty good. They aren't very flashy though!"
"Beatrice-sama...! It isn't over yet, and it's dangerous to show yourself...!"
"...Don't tell me you're... Eva?"
"You don't have to tell me. You're gonna say you're the Golden Witch, Beatrice, right?"
"Ehheheheheh, ahhahahahaha! How did you know?"
"...Since the time Rosa was killed, I had a vague idea... Rosa, forgive me. Forgive me for sending the sister you hated down to the hell you're in...!!"
"Beatrice-sama, look out!!!"
She dashed, disappeared, and headed for Rudolf's back... She dodged that shot and again headed for Rudolf's back... And vanished over and over, instantly moving into Rudolf's blind spots. It was almost like she was a fairy. As she blinked in and out of vision, Belphegor incessantly drove towards Rudolf.
"Maybe this is kinda fun. Rudolf, let me sit back and watch to see how long your brave efforts last you. *cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*!"
At that time, there was a dull tearing sound, along with Rudolf's cry of anguish. Rudolf's reaction to the dance of the purple curve that pressed upon him had finally been too slow, and he'd let it lightly cut his flank. That single wound slowed him down just once. That led to a new wound, which slowed his actions again. Belphegor's dance began to swallow Rudolf whole...
Watching Rudolf's body gradually get carved up, his former sister let out a shrill laugh.
"...I really am a moron. Among the Seven Sisters, I was always the slowest to grow. I was always slow, always weak, always stupid."
"...That inferiority complex became envy, and when I convert that into power, I gain a strength greater than that of any of the sisters."
"It's important for young girls to have a moderate inferiority complex. It teaches women about cosmetics and hard work."
"I don't like having to use the limits of my power against mere Humans... but I can turn my envy of your ability to trust completely in your husband into power. I don't like it. Why are you so relaxed when you're fighting for your life?"
"...*giggle* I wonder?"
"...I get it. You're fully convinced that your husband will come to your rescue and save you."
"...Isn't it incredible, that trust of yours? It's enough to make me jealous."
The sisters are always looking down on each other, trying to thoroughly lambast each other when things already look bad...!
"...So when I see you with a single ally who's completely trustworthy, I feel the strongest envy... Aaah, that confident expression of utter belief in your husband...! I can feel it giving me power...!! I might even exceed it. The speed of sound!!!"
Leviathan turned herself into a stake, and the speed of her flight as she attacked was proportional to the strength of her envy.
The demon stake exposed her true form, leaping about at a terrible speed. The noise from her bouncing off the walls sounded like a machine gun. By now, Kyrie probably couldn't tell if it was a single stake or a swarm of beetles flying and bouncing around. Leviathan was over 100% certain of her victory, believing in it from the bottom of her heart...!
Then, Kyrie spoke with an unbelievably calm voice.
"...I don't blame Rudolf-san. That woman used her body as a weapon to seduce him, and then acted even more repulsively, cornering Rudolf-san and forcing him to get engaged to her."
"Then, Asumu-san gave birth to Battler-kun... But I had a miscarriage. I think about it, sometimes. What if Asumu-san had had the miscarriage... and I had been the one to give birth? Would Rudolf-san have broken off his engagement and married me? But I couldn't give birth to my child. So until Asumu-san died, and until I got pregnant with Ange, I cursed Asumu-san and was jealous."
Then, I want him to marry me. In my envy, I kept cursing like that, over and over, until Asumu-san finally died. I was certain. I was certain that I'd used the power of magic to curse and kill Asumu-san. But that didn't quell the flames of my envy.
Don't tell anyone, okay? Every time I look at Battler-kun, I remember that woman. Every single time I look at him, I think that if only my child had been born, he would be the same age. I'm still jealous of her, tormented by her. Even now, and from now on. Into the future, for all eternity.
If Leviathan had the power of 24 hours x 7 days, or 168 hours of speed... Then the power that Kyrie had piled up... was 24 hours in 1 day, 365 days in 1 year, and 18 whole years... Even without counting leap years, that was 157680 hours. Compared to Leviathan's power and speed, it was more than 938 times greater.
So then, so then, 1225/938 is... a speed of... 1.30 km/h. This is almost the same speed as a baby crawling on the floor. Which means, which means, which means...!
In the time it took the demon stake to move at a pace so slow that you could count all the bits of dust floating through the air, Kyrie looked at it with pity. She pitied the slowness at which it came towards her. Then, she lazily raised the barrel of her gun. Almost as though she was trying to swallow the demon stake up with the gun barrel.
"You're completely lacking in both romance and envy."
"...Nng, damn it..."
"I'm surprised you managed to endure this long after being carved up."
"...That's enough. From now on, you don't need to think about anything. I'll steal away your life painlessly...!"
"Wait, there's a favor I wanna ask. At the very end, I wanna do one of those..."
"...What do you mean, one of those?"
"You know, that thing you see in all the Westerns. We start with our backs together, walk three steps, and then *bang*."
Rudolf moved his wound-covered body and turned his back to her. Belphegor responded and turned her back to his. Belphegor had an honest nature that was uncommon in a witch's furniture.
"Let me warn you. Even if you press the barrel of your gun between my eyebrows, I can move instantaneously, even faster than you could pull the trigger and have the bullet reach my skull."
"...Yeah, I can feel that already. You're faster than a bullet."
"...Well, you're an honest and principled person. And a good woman. You might just steal my heart away."
"Let's begin. Three steps will do fine, yes? First, one step."
"...Three steps. Is that okay?"
Rudolf turned around and fired a bullet. However, Belphegor could easily see through the speed and trajectory of a bullet like that. It should have been no problem at all to dodge it.
But a spray of fresh blood flew about. Belphegor had set up an adequate magical defensive barrier. But before an incarnation of anti-magic power such as that bullet, it was completely meaningless.
The bullet had hit Belphegor right in the chest. The pain from the lead caused her to grimace, as did the pain from the denial of magic...
"...Forgive me. I'm a coward of a man."
"Wh-What a killjoy. To think that furniture of a witch could be defeated by a Human...!"
"Know your shame. Worthless, pathetic...! Why don't you just stay sprawled there and die forever?!"
"...Quit it, Aneki. She could've dodged it. But she didn't."
"Don't hate me for it. I planned to resign if you noticed it while you were taking those three steps."
"...You added those three steps... out of consideration... for me, didn't you...?"
"...I didn't even try to think about it. I... was... lazy..."
"...You were a good woman. Go to heaven before me and get yourself all made up. I'll definitely come and chat you up."
As Belphegor slowly fell over, she lost even the power that kept her in human form, and she grew small, like gold dust, melting into thin air...
At that point, Kyrie dashed in. It seemed that she had somehow defeated her pursuer by her own hands. As she pointed the barrel of her gun straight at the witch, she ran up to the wound-covered Rudolf.
"...Are you okay? Were you chatting someone up just now?"
"Yep, a good woman. No match for you, of course."