Parthenos was once the name of the tribe which served the goddess . They were agents of the goddess in the world below and worked in the shadow to maintain the balance of the world . Perhaps, she was proud of the role that had persisted since the birth of the human species . They were different from other inferior beings . They were seen and acknowledged by the goddess . As divine servants, they dedicated love and loyalty to the goddess .
They found the clergy, which devoted only faith without knowing what the goddess was, to be ridiculous . This fact enhanced their sense of superiority . They knew the secrets of the world .
They knew the true purpose of the goddess . They knew the true meaning behind the love for humanity .
Magical beasts and demons, as well as humans and animals, were all in accordance with the goddess’ will . These were all merely pieces moving on the board . They alone stood outside of the board . They were the original humans—Aeneas .
That was also the name of their great ancestor . As the son of the goddess, he was said to be created by Alovenus as the first human . His direct descendants were the agents of the goddess . They were the only ones among humans who knew the true purpose of the goddess and were obliged to support it .
Parthenos did not doubt it . Indeed, she was proud of it from the depths of her heart . She had unshakable love and faith in the goddess .
…Unshakable . So she believed .
Her encounter with the Black-Winged Overlord started with her intrusion . It was considered to be an impregnable location . Neither the demons nor the tyrants of the past could enter the Sanctuary of the Goddess . She was accompanied by Megrez, Alioth, Merak, and Dubhe—who would eventually become four of the Seven Heroes—and entered the unfamiliar territory of the sanctuary .
Even the strongest gatekeeper, the Scales of the Goddess, was conversely defeated and the Selection Scales was taken . The elite troops of the goddess advanced to repel the intruders but were instead defeated . Finally, Parthenos, the current head of the Aeneas family, was forced to confront the intruders .
“Leave, intruders . This is the goddess’ sanctuary . It is not a place for inferior beings . ”
“Well, well . Unfortunately, we are inferior beings, so we cannot understand the words of noble beings . ”
The ominous black wings fluttered as the overlord of the mortal world chuckled . Her mouth twisted slightly as if craving for battle . Her eyes were sharp like a blade and her golden hair with tints of vermillion near her neck was like a blazing flame .
A flügel’s wings should naturally be white, but they darkened when tainted by mana . If they became jet black, it would already be considered a magical beast . She was not a flügel, but a magical beast in the shape of a humanoid…or perhaps a new species, the eighth humanoid race . It was like how humans evolved into elves, beastkins, and hobbits in the past . She had mutated into a creature different from flügels .
“Even more so, if they are the ones who force despair and suffering on the people . Noblesse oblige, the obligations that accompany nobility . That is my creed . …If my beloved people were forced into despair, the goddess must know of it . Then I will drag her off with my hand until I hold the seat of the goddess . ”
This woman was dangerous . Parthenos understood the danger with a glance . The entire world was at the will of the goddess, moving according to her scenario . The demons reduced the number of humanoids and when they died, they became mana to empower the humanoids .
This seesaw game was the providence of the world . It did not depart from the scenario of the goddess and the Demon King . No, in the first place, it was impossible to have anything beyond the will of the goddess and the Demon King, but…
But Ruphas Mafahl was different . The goddess did not expect the mutation of the flügels . Gaining unrivaled power, unifying the world, and driving the demons to the brink of extinction was completely outside the scenario .
“Fool . Be ashamed of the thoughts in your heart . ”
“Ha . I have been shamed a long time ago . You are late by two hundred seventy years, girl . ”
Parthenos raised her staff, while Ruphas rested her favorite whip-sword on her shoulder . In response, tens or even hundreds of elite troops of the goddess surrounded Ruphas . These were the chosen warriors of the goddess, averaging over Level 600 . Of course, they could resist her Coercion . The stronger ones even reached Level 1000 like Ruphas .
Even if Ruphas was strong for a Level 1000 character, she would merely be prey caught in a net when she was besieged like this . But she chuckled fearlessly and the crimson glow of her eyes shone even brighter .
“—Ridiculous! You think you can stop me with this? If you really want to stop me, at least bring out an ouroboros!”
One hour later, the difference between the winner and the loser was clear . The elite troops, which guarded the seat of the goddess, had collapsed in disarray . Parthenos herself was also down, leaving only the black-winged fallen angel standing in the middle . Her dress was free from any speck of dirt . Her face and skin were as beautiful as before the fighting began .
Different…This one was different . This could not be explained as Level 1000 . No matter how she consumed magical beasts and raised her abilities, it should not result in such a monster . In fact, the people she brought along as well as her tamed magical beasts were not much of a threat .
“Oh, you are…”
“This is nothing to be surprised about . Since I decided to challenge the goddess, it would be a joke if I am not capable of doing this much . ”
The intruder stood before Parthenos and declared as a matter of fact . Parthenos could no longer stand up on her own, while Ruphas was completely unhurt . There was no way to turn the situation around, so she waited for the final blow to put an end to things .
“Well, do it . My life is dedicated to the goddess…Even now, I’m not afraid of death . This soul will not lose its ego after dying and will continue to be the goddess’ follower . Even if you kill me here, it is meaningless . ”
“Oh . A life dedicated to the goddess?”
As if it was something funny, Ruphas smiled deeply and grabbed Parthenos by her neck, lifting her up to her eye level .
“In that case, would it not be fun to take away the life you dedicated?”
“It’s easy to kill you . But before that, I’ll give you a choice . …You are too ignorant here . ”
Ruphas said and carried Parthenos off like luggage . She approached her friends, the heroes-to-be, who were searching nearby .
“We are going back, nose pasta . The objective has been accomplished . ”
“I told you to stop calling me that!?”
“Going back…We are not going to meet the goddess?”
“Oh, Dubhe . That’s no longer necessary . If there is information, this one has it . ”
The armored swordsman Alioth, the heavily armored dwarf Mizar, and the white bear beastkin Dubhe stomped behind Ruphas . At a closer look, Dubhe was dragging the unconscious Megrez along . Even they did not reach this place unharmed . He was probably taken out by the gatekeeper’s Brachium skill .
“Wait, please wait! Where are you taking me?”
“As I said, you are too ignorant . Firstly, I will show you the current world . ”
Then Parthenos left the sanctuary for the first time and saw the world below . There were trials of the goddess, but the world below should still be enveloped in divine love . She then realized it was a mistake after seeing the world with her own eyes .
The demons attacked the humanoids . Children lamented the loss of their parents, while mothers mourned the loss of their children . There was no paradise here, only despair and fear .
What was once an absolute faith in the goddess was now beginning to crack .
I…was a bit confused .
The girl before me should be Parthenos, according to her own words and Virgo’s reaction . Her clothes and hair color were the same as in the game . Aries and the others did not object in any way . The problem was with what she said .
Keeping Vanaheimr as I ordered back then…What did that mean? I thought the seal of Vanaheimr was her own decision . She should be like Aries and Aigokeros, who went on a rampage out of loyalty . But from her words, it seemed that I (Ruphas) instructed this .
But for what? What was the purpose?
Why did I want to keep the town with all its hateful memories as it was?
“Yes . ”
“First of all, I apologize for having kept you waiting . I’m sorry . It must have been difficult . ”
“I’m unworthy of your words . ”
Firstly, I should acknowledge her effort . This should ease the way into the main topic .
“So…Can you tell me about it now? What you know of the goddess’ scenario . ”
“Of course, Ruphas-sama . But before that…To what extent have you lost your memories?”
I was inadvertently surprised by the words coming out of Parthenos’ mouth . No, it wasn’t just me . Aries and Aigokeros also had shocked expressions on their faces . It wasn’t because they found out that I was not Ruphas…probably . But it was because I lost my memories . That confused me .
“So you know about that . ”
“Of course . During your resurrection, some memories would be lost due to the goddess’ subtle manipulation . It was you yourself who said so . ”
To my question, Parthenos gave an unexpected reply . Did Ruphas predict that she would lose her memories? If so, was the current situation according to her plans?
Dina had a concerned look that was rarely seen . A line of sweat dripped down her face . She knew about my inner self, but seemed to be uncertain about Ruphas’ actions from two hundred years ago .
“Eh? Oh, then…Ruphas-sama, you have lost your memories!?”
“So it was really like that . ”
In contrast to the shocked Aries and Aigokeros, Libra was calm . Everyone looked to Libra, waiting for her to continue .
“Ruphas-sama often behaves as if she does not remember her past . Moreover, she did not respond immediately to Parthenos’ appearance . After coming to this town, she seemed to be regaining her memories instead of feeling nostalgic about the past . Therefore, I presumed that she is missing memories just like me . ”
Oh? This defective golem was really sharp today . Was this really Libra? Anyway, I could only confess about the loss of memories at this point .
“Well, I suppose there’s no need to hide it any further . Parthenos, why did I order you to seal this town two hundred years ago?”
“It would be faster to just see for yourself than for me to explain . Perhaps shock would cause the memories to resurface . ”
Faster to just see for myself? Was it something that could be understood by just seeing it? Moreover, according to what she said, it seemed to be a considerably shocking thing .
Parthenos stood (or rather floated) before us and went forward . We promptly followed behind her . Leaving my parent’s house (storehouse), we went through the streets that became even more of a ruins because of Aries and the others . Eventually, we arrived at the exit of the town . Parthenos stopped and turned towards us .
“Next, Ruphas-sama should continue alone . The others wait here…and do not rampage anymore . Otherwise, it might ‘awaken’ . ”
Everyone nodded at Parthenos’ incomprehensible warning . I didn’t quite understand the part about “awaken”, but I felt the same about rampaging . Leaving Dina and the others behind, Parthenos gently rose into the sky . A moment later, I too soared into the sky .
Apparently, the destination was the summit . For us who could fly, an altitude of 3807 meters was not a significant distance . No, even if it was equivalent to walking four kilometers, it would be a considerable distance . However, our speeds were too fast .
Parthenos and I arrived at the summit in merely tens of seconds and landed in an appropriate location . The summit of Vanaheimr had a huge hole like the caldera of a volcano . It was as if something had penetrated the mountain right in the center . But there was no magma . It was just an open hole .
“Here is the answer . Please take a look . ”
“What? Something is jammed inside, but…”
My words stopped as I peeked . I was speechless . No…This was amazing . It might have been better if it was just full of magma . The shock came from seeing something even bigger than Aries for the first time in this world . No, there was no comparison .
“…It’s huge . ”
Something that looked like a living creature was there . No, could it really be a living creature? If this was true, it would be too ridiculous . This was a fantasy, so I understood that common sense would not apply to this world . Or at least, I thought I understood . Still, I did not expect such absurd creatures to actually exist .
It was the head of a reptilian creature . Its eyes were closed . Its nostrils inflated occasionally in tune with its breathing, sending gusts of warm wind to the top . The head alone probably exceeded the size of Aries in his gigantic form . Was the body folded to be able to fit into the mountain, or perhaps it was digging all the way into the ground… . ?
Its full length was tens…no, hundreds, even thousands of kilometers . Or perhaps beyond estimation . In any case, if something like this became active, Vanaheimr would be utterly destroyed . No, in the worst case scenario, perhaps even the entire world…
“One of the elite forces of the goddess, an arbitrator of the world . One of the five ouroboroses, the one who controls the light—Heavenly Ouroboros . ”
I shuddered as Parthenos told me its name .