OmaeGotoki: Volume 3 016 - Crawling Malice
Up on the surface, Eterna and Gadio continue their fight to protect the living. Gadio crushes the dead with brute force as Eterna and Ink use Fenrir, a giant wolf Eterna made out of ice, to carry the living out of the town and to safety.
The dead continue their relentless assault. It was impossible to tell them apart from the living at first, but their eyes have now turned to spirals and trails of blood run down their faces like tears.
Just as Gadio raises his sword to split the dead in front of him in half --- they all suddenly freeze.
“They all stopped…?”
Eterna seems just as confused as Gadio. Ink, however, clings onto Eterna from where she sits behind her.
“A really, really big thing is coming up from underground!”
As she says it, the tremors grow to the point where Eterna can feel them as well.
Then --- the impossibly large ‘something’ explodes out of the roof of the church.
A massive tower of corpses pierces the heavens. As they all stare up at it in shock, the dead all over town start to assimilate themselves into it. The tower continues to grow as more and more bodies join it until finally it casts a deep shadow on the entire town through the faint moonlight.
“Is that thing using the Central Core? That woman at the top is---”
As Gadio looks up at the tower, Nekt teleports in beside him. She’d left Milkit in a safe place on the town’s outskirts.
Satils herself has joined the mass, her lower half sprouting out of the Central Core itself.
She’s abandoned her humanity, utterly and completely.
“Satils? Why would that she-devil…? No, I suppose explanations can wait. Will you fight with us, Nekt?”
“The only reason I’m here is to crush Necromancy, after all… and to be honest, if I just left Flum-oneesan trapped in that thing I know I’d regret it.”
“Flum’s inside that!?”
Ink lets out a little cry as she and Eterna draw closer on the back of their Fenrir.
“Your hearing’s stupidly good as always, Ink.”
“We’ll have to get her out before killing it.”
“Yeah, but… Even I get the feeling that thing’s really bad news. Look, it’s attacking already.”
Having absorbed all the dead in Sheol, it starts falling towards them as if to crush them. It’s over fifty meters tall --- just its raw weight would be lethal.
They scatter in all different directions to avoid it.
DOOOOMM --- the massive pillar of corpses smashes into the ground, obliterating houses, carving away the earth, and sending a massive cloud of dust and debris into the air. Then, countless human limbs sprout out of the mass’ ‘torso’ and it starts crawling forwards.
“First it was a tower, now it’s a millipede!?”
“It’s heading for the evacuees.”
“We’re stopping it here! Hooooooooooohh!!”
Gadio stands right in its path, stopping it with his body.
“You think far too highly of yourself, Gadio Ruskett!!”
Satils’ invisible ‘power’ collides with Gadio’s blade, hitting with all the force of a meteor. He had intended to stay put there no matter what, but that one attack is enough to send him sliding backwards, carving tracks in the ground with his heels.
“Ngh…! You’re still self-aware with a body like that!?”
“I’m not like the others --- not my Core, I myself am! I am one of the true Chosen, blessed with power and wealth by the gods themselves!”
No matter how idiotic it might be, however, she has enough strength to surpass Gadio with ease.
I’m still not strong enough? I’ll just have to become even stronger, then --- strong enough to have my revenge on Chimaera with my own two hands. I’ve already lost all I have to lose!
The resolve he’d gained from Tia in exchange for paying that terrible price seems to raise his limits higher than ever before, but he still can’t quite match Satils.
“Aqua Golem and Ice Golem. Go.”
Eterna creates two massive constructs of water and ice, and the giants grab onto the fleshy mass in an effort to stop it. As it slows, Nekt follows up with an attack of her own.
“How d’you like this? Connection!”
She ‘connects’ an abandoned house above Satils' head, letting it come crashing down on her.
“Nothing you little insects can do could possibly harm me!”
A sea of fleshy tentacle sprouts out of the tower’s massive ‘back’. Latching onto Nekt’s house and combining to lengthen and strengthen their grip, they swing it like a ball-and-chain to mow down Eterna’s golems.
“You can regret not being able to save your wife as I rip you apart!”
There’s no way that Satils should know about what happened between Tia and Gadio just a short while ago. Whether or not she intends it, however, being connected to the Central Core gives her full access to everything that the Necromancy Cores have experienced.
The house comes crashing down on Gadio’s head, but he’s too occupied with stopping Satils’ advance to do anything. If he avoids it, she’ll no doubt speed up and slaughter the evacuees behind him.
He has no choice but to take the attack head-on. Several dozen tonnes come crashing down onto his head.
“Don’t think… this is enough to kill me…!!”
He emerges from the attack, barely even flinching. He didn’t use any special technique to avoid the worst of it, nor is he even wearing his armour for that matter. All he did was strengthen his body through prana and withstand the blow head-on.
In other words, he survived it through sheer force of will.
“Fu… fufufu! I’m going to enjoy breaking you! How about this, then!?”
Satils suddenly stops her advance, reaching out to Gadio with countless tentacles.
“Wow, Ojisan’s pretty good. I can’t have him just showing me up like this, though! Hey, Eterna-obasan!”
“I’ll kill you later.”
“That’s quite a temper, but that’s not important. Can you make me a big chunk of water or ice or something?”
“Cocky little brat… Fine. Ice Meteorite.”
Eterna’s irritated, but mid-combat isn’t the time to be arguing. Grudgingly accepting Nekt’s request, she creates a sphere of ice a few dozen meters across and floats it in the air far above them.
“Ink. Tell me I did a good job.”
“There, there… I’m really proud of you, Eterna!”
After watching Ink pat Eterna on the head for a moment, Nekt activates her power.
What she uses isn’t her ability to teleport things but her ability to bring two things together. The massive block of ice starts flying down at Satils at an insane speed, and the intense shockwave created by its impact is enough to blow the average person clean off their feet. Satils does block it, the ice chunk landing a clean, solid hit.
“Fufufu! Were you just trying to hurt me, perhaps?”
She emerges completely unscathed.
“That’s not fair.”
“Even if she’s got that huge Core on her side, this is just…!”
Unless Nekt is mistaken, Satils isn’t using anything more than the formless raw energy given off by the Central Core itself. Putting multiple cores in a single body would only generate interference, making all of them uncontrollable. It might be possible to gain immense power that way, but the user’s body would literally rip itself apart.
Even with the Central Core’s aid, two Cores should be the maximum. Since Satils herself has a Necromancy Core keeping herself alive, her limit should be just that and the Central Core, and there’s no way that she could generate such raw defense like that.
“Ghugh… This power is…!”
Gadio hacks at the tentacles coming at him, but he can’t even scratch them, and on top of that they each possess an unnatural amount of power despite the fact that they aren’t moving very quickly.
Seeing that, Nekt finally realizes what Satils is doing.
“I get it now… All those corpses aren’t really assimilated into one. It’s not one body with hundreds of cores --- it’s hundreds of bodies linked and controlled by the Central Core!”
Eterna fires a spray of ice bullets to support Gadio as she asks.
“It’s still just a horde --- but with Satils as a hive mind.”
“So they could split up and move on their own?”
Just as they fear, the mass of corpses splits about halfway down, shredding itself into two bodies. The now-independent flesh chunk grows masses of human parts, its surfaces seeming to billow with flailing limbs as it heads straight for the evacuees.
“She’s probably got all that strength and power because every individual corpse is calling up its Core’s full power independently. If it can split, though, then we don’t even have an advantage in numbers anymore. Maybe it’d be smarter to just back out here…”
“That’s not an option.”
“Yeah, I knew you’d say that.”
Nekt ‘connects’ herself in front of the sub-body.
“It’d suck if you used my attack against us again, so let’s try something different this time!”
She clenches her fist, and a moment later the trees surrounding Sheol uproot themselves and whip towards it. Despite the trees falling like rain all around the sub-body and slowing it down, however, it doesn’t stop its advance.
Eterna rides up on her Fenrir a moment later, extending her hand towards them.
A massive jet of water shoots out of her hand with intense force, not to cease unless Eterna runs out of mana or until she decides to stop.
Even fighting against the current, however, the sub-body continues its advance.
“I’m not done yet… I still have plenty of ammo!”
“I have more mana left!”
The storm of tree-spears and blast of water increase in intensity in response to their owners’ wills.
“Just stop already...!”
“I suppose I can oblige, since you’ve asked me so nicely.”
Satils mutters to herself as she continues to lash at Gadio.
The sub-body suddenly stops, and just as Nekt and Eterna start to relax --- it explodes into chunks of flesh.
“No, Eterna, I can still hear a buncha ‘voices’!”
“It split again!”
“It doesn’t need to be that big to kill a bunch of helpless weaklings, now, does it? You seem to be quite skilled at dealing with groups like that, Gadio, so I’ll have you stay here and dance for me!”
The storm of tentacles keeps Gadio occupied enough that he can’t possibly counterattack, let alone move. The scattered horde of sub-bodies sprout masses of heads and lets out inhuman howls, and like a mass of lunatics, like hunting dogs, like bloated spiders, like deformed caterpillars, they all start swarming after the evacuees in their own hideously lopsided ways.
“We have to stop them.”
“There’s a lot of them, but they should be a lot squishier now! Think of it as our chance to thin them out!”
Eterna causes a rain of ice to fall on them, freezing their various appendages to the ground as she mows them with a follow-up spray of icy bullets.
Nekt connects the dead to each other awkwardly to stop them in their tracks, fuses anything that happens to be nearby to them, sends them soaring into the sky, slowing down the horde with all manner of chaotic attacks.
There are simply too many of them, however; all they can do is keep them from advancing.
“Here’s a little surprise from me!”
Just then, Satils reaches out with a massive tentacle to grab the remains of a house and throw it at where the evacuees have gathered. Gadio, Eterna, Nekt --- all of them have their hands full to the point that they can’t intercept her attack.
As the surviving townsfolk huddle together, their deaths heading right for them---
“Werner, I shall leave that side to you!”
“Yep, got it!”
Two Lieutenant Generals step forwards to meet Satils’ attack.
Werner coats his silver-clawed gauntlets in Air magic, causing them to vibrate at an incredible frequency. Just touching those blades would be enough to reduce bricks to dust.
“Bite them into oblivion, Amphisbaena!”
Otilier uses her Genocide Arts to create a pair of giant snakes out of blood. They bite into the rubble, soaking and weakening it with blood before crushing it in their jaws.
“You may leave the safety of these people in our hands! We shall see them out of town and to a secure location!”
They would love to stay and fight, but Otilier, Werner, and even the soldiers that show up after them are severely beaten up, as though they’d been fighting something other than the dead up until just recently.
“The Military? Great timing!”
“Ha, all you’ve done is given me a few more pests to exterminate!”
“I won’t let you do that, Satils! Titan Blade!!”
Gadio grows his sword to massive proportions with the nearby rubble while Satils is distracted and smashes her in the face with it. It doesn’t seem to harm her, but she refocuses on him nonetheless.
“Your persistence is really starting to get on my nerves --- It’s time for you to go see your wife in hell already!!”
When she loses her temper, she stops thinking straight. Gadio’s attacks may be nothing more than annoying, but it’s because of that she can’t focus on anything else. The mass of sub-bodies returns to the main body, responding to her emotions.
“Nekt. Take Ink to Otilier and the other evacuees.”
“Why do I have to save her!? Hahh… fine, I’ll do it.”
“Don’t thank me, you deadweight. Connection.”
Without Ink to worry about, Eterna charges at Satils head-on.
Nekt takes Ink to Otilier, who is shocked to see one of the Spiral Children suddenly appear, but without wasting any time explaining she ‘connects’ again to where she left Milkit.
Milkit is right where she left her, knees hugged to her chest as she hides in a building’s shadows at the edge of town.
“Those Military guys showed up. It’s a lot safer with them than it is out here all alone.”
“Does it look like you’ll be able to save Master?”
“I wish I could say yes, but… It’ll be rough.”
Nekt gets the feeling the fight’s been going pretty well so far, but they have yet to deal any damage to her.
“Satils’ using all those Cores to create some sort of invisible energy field that we can’t break. It’s not just hard, it’s impenetrable. Flum-oneesan’s probably the only one who could stand a chance…”
“I’m afraid not even Master was able to inflict so much as a scratch.”
“Really…? Well, any chance is better than none, I guess…”
“Um… Could you please take me to Master? I want to help however I can.”
“Hah? You’re kidding, right?”
From Nekt’s perspective, that suggestion is madness itself.
“Flum-oneesan’s not just trapped inside that thing physically. I’d be surprised if she can even remember who she is, that deep in the sea of Origin’s consciousness.”
She herself has to fight against Papa’s will every second. Even if Origin’s been ignoring her lately, it’s not going to stand by and watch as she opposes it directly. She’s only succeeding because she’s had to deal with Origin’s will since she was little.
“She won’t come back even if I call for her?”
“C‘mon, no way it’s gonna pan out that nicely. You don’t even know where in that thing she is!”
“I do! I’ve been watching you all fight and I know I saw Master’s arm sticking out of it!”
“Wait, you were able to tell all that through this chaos? From her arm alone!?”
“If you take me there, Nekt-san, I’ll at least be able to hold her hand. Maybe even my voice will be able to reach her!”
“Even if you’re right… You’re good as dead if you go out there. You know that, right?”
Nekt fully intends to intimidate her into giving up on her idiotic idea, but Milkit doesn’t even hesitate.
“Living in an empty world without Master is far more terrifying than death itself!”
She’s ready and willing to throw her own life away for Flum’s sake. Hearing that, Nekt lets out a long sigh.
“You’re not gonna give up no matter what I say, are you? Fine, I’ll take you there.”
These guys are such a bad influence on me, seriously, Nekt bitterly laughs to herself.
Her mind sinks ever deeper into the sea.
Whooo am I? she asks, and countless voices answer.
[I AM YOU] [YOU ARE ME] [ME MYSELF AND I MAKE YOU] [No more, please] [I’M NOBODY] [I NEED TO BE WE] [CONNECTING IS EVERYTHING] [Let me out] [I only wanted a life with her] [Help me] [AAHH♡]
Losing herself within countless voices, Flum’s grip on who she is and where she belongs grows ever weaker. It feels so easy, so relaxing, but the longer she stays the deeper she’ll sink.
At the very bottom of the ocean lie a number of bodies --- no, ‘husks’. If the water is Origin’s consciousness, then those must be the resentful dead. Maybe a number of the living who were enveloped are mixed in there, too.
They speak to nobody but themselves, raging into that empty world all their sorrows and grudges, their anger and their curses.
[All I wanted was to live with my wife, how did this happen] [All I wanted was to see her again] [I didn’t want to die, didn’t they just grant me that wish] [Give it back, give us back our happiness]
They had taken from them what so many take for granted, trusting Necromancy would put things back to normal. They knew nothing of the Origin Cores. They’re the true victims. Noone could blame them.
As if drawn in by their anger, she continues to sink. Sinking. Ever deeper.
Eventually, she finds herself on the ocean floor with the husks.
Not knowing who or where she is, she basks listlessly in the warmth of the sea.
Her vision starts to blur --- but through that blur she can make out a weak-looking man in a white labcoat lying in front of her, a man who looks oddly familiar.
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- ‘Obasan’ literally means ‘aunt’, but can be used to refer to any (typically middle-aged) woman. Basically, Nekt’s calling Eterna old.