Makai Senki Disgaea: Returned
3: A Sisterly Quarrel
"Ozonne! You're here, aren't you!?"
Having been caught up in talking to Laharl about the Netherworld, the afternoon had passed before Ozonne realized it. She was just about to rise to her feet, thinking it was about time to eat something, when a voice called from outside.
She grimaced at the voice she hadn't heard in so long, and went outside the ruined building.
With a cold smile, Ozonne planted her hands on her hips. "I was wondering who it was, and it's my Love Freak older sister.1"
"What do you mean, 'Love Freak'?"
"Laharl said it. That he couldn't get away from the Love Freak."
Flonne couldn't find her words, and Ozonne continued to bombard her.
"He said it was so hard to breathe in your house, he couldn't stay there. Laharl was exhausted."
"Don't refer to Laharl-san so familiarly!"
"He doesn't belong to you, does he, Sister? I can decide myself how to address him."
"However you want to address him, Laharl-san is the King of the Netherworld, isn't he!? You've lost your manners!"
"This is Celestia." Ozonne stuck her tongue out as if to say that fact was irrelevant.
"A-anyway! Return home!!"
"Why, well, because Mom is worried about you, too."
"Huh, really? Even though in the few hundred years since I left home, she didn't once come looking for me."
"That's surely because she had faith in you."
"Even though, when you became a fallen angel and fell to the Netherworld, she seemed plenty worried."
"T-that's—" Flonne stammered.
Seeing that, Ozonne sneered and continued, "That's what? 'Because they love me more,' or maybe 'Because I'm prettier' or 'Because I'm a better person.' Well, which is it?"
"It isn't anything like that!"
"Oh, I see. Even if you're thinking it, you can't say it, you mean? Sister, you're so well-mannered."
"Ozonne, if you say any more than that, I'll get angry." Flonne's white skin was growing increasingly red.
"Oh, scary." Ozonne covered her face jokingly, and then she continued in her provocative tone. "What'll you do if you get mad? Sister, can you get mad?"
Flonne clenched her fist and raised her voice. "I- I get mad!"
Flonne, who seemed ready to punch her sister at any moment, and Ozonne, who stood with her arms folded and her face calm.
The tension rose between the two.
That was when Laharl poked his head out from within the ruins. "What's going on, Ozonne?"
Flonne was looking at Laharl with a face that said she had found him up to some mischief. "Now, we're going back."
"Going back, to where?"
"My house." Flonne held out her hand to beckon him.
But, Laharl only groaned, and made no move to leave his spot.
"What is it?"
"I'm not going there."
"You can ask me why, but......"
Laharl seemed to be having trouble saying it, and beside him, Ozonne lent a hand.
"Laharl is saying he doesn't want to. You wouldn't force him, would you, Sister?"
"However I think about it, you're the one who's saying rude things to the Overlord."
While the dumbstruck Flonne stood quivering, Ozonne took Laharl by the hand and thrust her chin towards the house.
"Go ahead and let her be. Go inside. I'll make you something."
"Is that okay?"
"It's fine, leaving her like that."
Smiling, Ozonne turned her back to enter the ruined house. Flonne's strong voice flew at her from behind.
"What?" said Ozonne. She, too, answered challengingly.
"Flonne, won't you give it up? This isn't like you." Laharl addressed Flonne intending to soothe her, but doubtless he hadn't thought it would bring the brunt of her attention on him. When Flonne's gaze fell sharply on him, he inadvertently averted his eyes.
"What is this? Even you're taking Ozonne's side, Laharl-san?"
"I wouldn't really call it taking her side—"
"If you're not with her or against her, then please shut up!"
"Uh......" Under that sharp gaze, Laharl shut his mouth. "Wait a second," he muttered. "I'm the King of the Netherworld. Why do I have to shut up?" But in spite of that, he said nothing in reply, and couldn't even look at Flonne.
"That's pretty pathetic."
At hearing that sighing voice, Laharl turned around in surprise.
Chin in hand, Etna was sitting atop a ruined pillar.
"E-Etna!? How long have you been there?"
"Since Flonne-chan and Ozonne-chan started arguing."
"That's the whole time, isn't it?"
"Yep." She bared her fangs in a grin. "It's pretty interesting. I wonder how it'll turn out?"
"Don't act like you're not involved!"
"But, I'm not involved," Etna answered in amusement, laughing through her nose.
"Kgh...... You're my underling, at least worry about your boss."
"I don't want to worry about you, Prince. No matter how many lives I had, it wouldn't be enough. It just doesn't pay."
"You've worried about me that much?"
Hearing that, Etna clapped her hands together and began to cackle. "As if. After all, you've lived up until now."
Laharl glowered at her. "You, are you playing with me?"
"You finally figured that out?" Etna laughed as she replied, and Laharl heaved a sigh as if to say 'enough already' and waved a hand.
"More importantly, look," Etna said, "it's pretty bad."
Etna was pointing to Flonne and Ozonne who glared at each other, standing stiff as statues.
"It seems like the girls are fighting each other over you, what do you think, Prince?" Etna teased Laharl.
"It doesn't seem that way to me at all."
"If this isn't fighting over a guy, then I wonder what is?"
The two girls in the confrontation glared at each other still without moving.
"Do they seriously mean to fight?" Laharl asked. "Those two, they're more or less angels."
"Even angels at least have arguments between sisters." Etna shrugged her shoulders, and then the two moved.
They took their weapons from the palms of their hands, and they chanted spells at the same time.
The chanted spells struck precisely in the middle of the two, and they dispelled each other. The shock of their erasure spread through the area.
One moment later the blast struck Laharl, and whipped back his hair.
Having perhaps anticipated that their techniques would misfire, the two each leveled their staffs and switched to close combat.
With a solid clang, the two staffs struck against each other. As they were staffs with magical power, they gave off an incredible power just from clashing. That one strike sent a shockwave headed for Laharl and Etna.
"F-flonne's scaring me......"
"Well, that's the nature of women," Etna said smoothly, and taking the shockwave as if it were a pleasant, gentle breeze, Etna even began humming in amusement.
They struck twice, three times, and once the two separated they put some distance between them.
"I won't show mercy, Ozonne."
"I won't care if you cry."
They levelled their staffs.
"Here I come!" Flonne said.
"Prepare yourself!" said Ozonne.
The two began chanting spells and prepared to attack.
"Prince, aren't you going to stop them?"
"Even if I said I would..." Laharl didn't seem up to it.
Etna leapt down from the pillar and landed behind Laharl.
"You're a man, aren't you? Don't grumble, here!" She shoved him hard from behind.
Having lost his balance, Laharl tumbled out right into the space between the two. Tottering, he came to a stop.
That was when the two unleashed their spells.
"Ah!" Etna instinctively suppressed her words.
"Eh?" Flonne's eyes went wide.
"Wah!" Ozonne's eyes went wide.
As if they had arranged it, Giga Fire came flying from either side.
Laharl took both attacks head-on, and, caught in the explosion, went flying straight up. He came falling enveloped in flames and trailing smoke, and he bounced twice, three times, and lay on the ground.
The two stopped what they were doing at the same time and swooped down to Laharl's side.
Pitch black, Laharl rolled around until after a while the fire was reduced to cinders, and hearing the two's footfalls, he sat up. First he turned his face towards the ruined building and pointed his finger.
"Are you trying to kill me!?" he demanded, glaring at Etna.
"Oh, no. It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing."
"I'll be damned if I get killed by a spur-of-the-moment impulse!" He raised his voice at Etna who was smiling and sticking out her tongue, and next he roared at the two leaning over him worriedly. "And you two!"
Flonne and Ozonne hung their heads.
"If you're going to quarrel as sisters, then do it more moderately!"
The two nodded meekly.
"Well, which will you take, Your Majesty?"
The moment Etna interjected, Flonne and Ozonne froze again.
Laharl glared at Etna again as if to tell her not to say anything unnecessary. But, the two in question started glaring at each other over his head.
Laharl was at his wit's end.
Just then, the sound of a great explosion rumbled from the direction of the town.
The explosion had occurred in the shopping district.
At first there was a small explosion in a back street, and a single house went flying.
After that, as if it had been a signal, explosions went off one after another in a chain.
The explosions spread in concentric circles, and the white-walled buildings that made up most of the town collapsed one after another together with a great noise. Black smoke coiled around the rolling white dust, and it turned grey as it stretched up into the sky.
In a few minutes, the explosions which had started in the downtown had spread to the districts with private homes, and nearly all of them were devastated.
At once the Celestial Host and prinny squads reported for duty, and once they grasped the extent of the damage, they went to help the injured.
The Celestial Host from up above, and the prinny squad trotted in carrying supplies.
"Even though we're soldiers, ne."
"Honestly, ne. For us to go helping people, ne."
Even in Celestia, prinnies complained. While exchanging words in a slightly more refined manner of speech, several hundred prinnies entered the downtown, which had been transformed into ruins.
"Wow, this is awful, ne."
"Really seeing it, it's an atrocity, ne."
Their round eyes opened even wider.
Close to 80% of the buildings had turned into mountains of rubble, and smoke rose from all over.
"Anyway, let's look for survivors, ne."
Following the direction of the Celestial Host up above, they began to search through the rubble. They removed the stones with shovels and pickaxes, and helped the civilian angels buried beneath out. Because they could indicate their presence with light, finding the survivors was easy, but getting them out was difficult.
Ten minutes after the search had begun...
Thirty or more survivors had been discovered. That there were few dead was because many had flown up to escape the explosions as they occurred.
This prinny squad, too, had already rescued three people.
Then, from the rubble close by, they could hear sounds.
"Is someone there, ne?"
When they called out, the sound of something moving answered them again. But, no light shone. Probably it was a fellow prinny, they thought.
"We're helping you now."
Under the command of the lead prinny, the rubble was carried away.
At last, two small figures were pulled out from within the rubble. The prinnies exchanged looks. They looked the same.
"Huh? Who are you guys?" asked the Celestian prinnies.
"Oh no, dood!"
"Let's run, dood!"
As if they had been struck, the two prinnies turned themselves around and dashed off.
"That prinny just now, didn't he have something written on his forehead, ne?"
"It looked like a 4, ne."
"That's right, ne. A strange prinny, ne."
"Ah, maybe it's that, you know. Maybe he came from the Netherworld, ne."
"That's the topic lately, ne."
"So the Netherworld prinnies have numbers written on them, ne."
"The single digits must be important, ne."
"But, I wonder why they ran, ne."
"Who knows, ne?"
After they had discussed it at leisure, the prinny squad returned to their rescue efforts. There were still many civilian angels to save.
"This is another excellent style of destruction."
After they had heard the sound of explosions, Laharl and the others had immediately flown in the direction of the noise. Laharl spoke up in admiration when he saw the disastrous scene spreading below them.
The admiring Etna nodded in agreement. "It's artistic, isn't it?"
"It's got the touch of an abstract artist like Dehho,2" Laharl added.
"Laharl-san, Dehho is an impressionist," Flonne corrected, looking surprised.
Laharl made a deliberately loud throat-clearing sound. "It's not a big difference."
"It's a huge difference! Well, not that I thought the Prince had eyes to look at art, though," Etna said, and Ozonne looked at her and Flonne with cold eyes.
"There's no problem in not knowing things like that."
"Yeah, that's right," Laharl agreed, puffing out his chest.
Etna let an ostentatious sigh. "For the Overlord, it's better to know, isn't it? From now on there's going to be more traffic with Celestia and the Human World, so you'll have to know the Netherworld well enough that it won't be embarrassing."
"That's right," said Flonne. "It's just as Etna-san says."
"It's like you to only be concerned with appearances, Sister."
"What do you mean?" Her voice hard, Flonne glared at Ozonne.
"Don't argue here!" Laharl pointed at the town and demanded of Flonne and Ozonne, "If you two are angels, then aren't you going to help the injured?"
"Huh? What's with you, saying something so nice?" Etna asked.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm going to have Lamington in my debt."
"Ah, so I see."
"If you understand, then get going already!"
Flonne and Ozonne met each other's gaze for an instant, but Ozonne immediately turned away with a hmph and flew down.
Seeing that, Laharl gave a long sigh of relief as though he'd been released from something.
"I guess I'll go, too," he said.
As though he had chosen that timing, a voice called out from behind.
When Laharl turned around, there was the figure of the Seraph with his four wings spread.
"Lamington-sama?" Flonne spoke up as though she had not expected this. It was unusual for the Seraph to appear in public.
"What is it, Lamington? You don't want to be in my debt?"
Lamington answered Laharl's question with another question. "What is the meaning of this, Laharl-san?"
"You're asking me, even though this has nothing to do with me?"
"Is that so? From the testimony of the townspeople, several prinnies were witnessed placing the explosives."
"There are prinnies in Celestia, too."
"Yes. However, there are no prinnies with numbers on their foreheads."
As he had written the numbers himself, there was no way Laharl could deny this.
"Well? I do not want to think that you were the one who ordered it either."
"I don't do things without a plan!" Laharl answered, thumping his chest.
Suddenly, Etna raised her voice as though she had just remembered something. "But, because the prinnies are wearing the conscience circuits, they shouldn't be able to do anything on their own without your orders, right, Prince?"
"I-idiot! What are you saying!?"
"Is that the case?" Lamington asked in confirmation.
"I-it is......" Laharl answered, chewing on his lip.
"Which means...?" Lamington demanded coolly.
"I- I didn't do it!" In spite of himself Laharl backed away in the air, shaking his head.
"Please don't say things like a criminal who's been cornered," Etna said, her brow furrowing. "It makes you look pathetic."
"You're the one who provided the testimony to corner me!" Laharl thrust a finger at Etna.
"It's all right. It isn't as though Lamington-sama is saying this seriously," Flonne said to reassure him, but Lamington's expression did not change.
"No, I am serious."
"There is no one in this Celestia who would think of destroying this beautiful town. There is only one who is capable of thinking of it."
"Be reasonable, you should remember that you've doubted one of your own followers before," Laharl said. "You can't have forgotten about Volcano."
"I told you, it's Vulcanus," Etna interjected.
"Even Vulcanus did not have any thoughts of harming Celestia." Lamington narrowed his eyes slightly and regarded Laharl. "Well, how is it?"
"Wait! I'll look into it so you just wait!!"
As though overwhelmed by that glint in his eyes, Laharl turned around and flew down to the town which had become ruins.
"Now that I think about it, why do I have to look into this......?"
Laharl's scarf fluttered as he flew, and from behind him came Etna's jeering voice.
"What did you say?"
"It's a major loss, too bad for you."
"Damn it......" Biting his lip, Laharl landed atop the rubble. "Anyway, it'll be fine once I prove that this has nothing to do with me. I'll search out the real perpetrator. Prepare yourself."
Even though there might have been victims buried beneath him, he walked rapidly without reservation.
"But, I wonder if the perpetrator would be in this place." Etna, too, mercilessly tread on the rubble as she walked, and surveyed the surroundings through the dusty atmosphere.
"The criminal returns to the scene of the crime. It's an inviolable rule!"
"He's acting on only a cursory knowledge of the subject again, this kid," Etna muttered.
"Did you say something?"
"Nope." Etna played dumb, and just then she heard a voice.
"Ah, if it isn't Etna-san, dood."
Several prinnies came running closer.
"And His Majesty is here, too, dood."
The bustling prinnies who gathered were six altogether.
"You lot, where have you been at a time like this!?" Laharl demanded.
"We were doing just as you ordered, dood!" The prinnies clapped their chests, practically asking to be praised.
"That, dood." As one, the prinnies pointed to the mountain of rubble.
"What did you say...?" Laharl's temple twitched.
"We were told to destroy the town, so just as you said, we really destroyed it, dood." Prinny Number 7 puffed out his chest triumphantly.
"Wait a second. Who gave you those orders?"
"Your Majesty, dood."
"I never said anything like that."
"Eh? We heard it, dood."
"Umm, Number 9, dood."
"What did you say!? You believed orders on hearsay?"
"But, we have to obey Your Majesty's orders, so we can't tell lies either, dood."
"That's right, dood. There's no way he could tell a lie about Your Majesty, so we believed it, dood."
Because of the conscience circuits, it meant that they could not do anything without Laharl's permission.
"Oi, Number 9, get out here!"
Laharl raised his voice, but the prinnies only compared the numbers on each other's foreheads. Certainly among the six prinnies here, there was no prinny with the number 9 written on it.
"You lot, don't you know where he is?"
"We don't know, dood," the six prinnies said together.
"Where did he go!?"
Then, having been silent up until then, Etna reluctantly began to speak. "Prince, probably, well, maybe—"
"Since there's basically nothing left in the records about the prinnies' past lives, I can't be sure, but..."
"But what? What are you trying to say?" Laharl asked in annoyance.
"That, that was Kira."
"What did you say!?"
Kira— He was Laharl's cousin, who from birth had possessed his twin sister Shas as a ghost. Previously, he had tried to kill Laharl and failed. He had been exorcised thanks to Flonne and been reborn as a prinny.
"There was a prinny I had my eye on since he was a newcomer, but anyhow there's no real individual difference between them, and eventually I just lost track of him." Etna laughed.
"Just lost track— There's nothing 'just' about it!" Laharl shouted at her. "You lot, get going and look for Number 9!"
The prinnies were about to run off at his orders, but Laharl called out to stop them and made one more demand.
"The rest, Numbers 1 and 3, where are they?"
"They went to another place, dood."
All the prinnies racked their brains.
"Ah, I remember, dood." Number 6 clapped his hands, and on the instant sounded the boom of an explosion. "The Seraph's house, dood."
Laharl looked in the direction of the explosion, and his forehead spasmed.
However he looked at it, smoke was rising above the hill where Lamington's house was.
"This is terrible."
Laharl spoke up in admiration, having arrived at Lamington's house, which he had visited just the day before.
The magnificent white-walled building had been so completely destroyed as to be artistic. The private room into which Lamington had invited Laharl was buried under rubble, leaving no trace of it, and the documents which had piled up were scattered everywhere.
On witnessing the terrible spectacle not of the building but of the surrounding flower beds, Flonne raised a cry.
"Ahh! How awful!! Lamington-sama's flower garden!"
"Those flowers are everywhere, aren't they?" Etna said lightly. "Bring some from over there and plant them, and that'll be the end of it."
"Flowers embrace the feelings of the person who raised3 them. It isn't that simple a matter," Flonne chided Etna, knelt down, and tenderly touched the broken stems of the yuie flowers.
"But, can prinnies use magic this powerful?" Laharl asked.
"It isn't magic, Laharl-san." It was Flonne who spoke, her voice full of certainty.
"What do you mean, Flonne?"
She stood up and walked closer to the building, and nodded as though what she saw confirmed it.
"I believe it was a bomb."
"A bomb, you say?"
"Yes. The smell is different. The missiles fired by giant robots and the weapons used by sentai heroes have it, too."
"Not the otaku stuff again." Etna shrugged her shoulders teasingly.
"I am not an otaku! It's love directed towards things!!"
"And putting that simply, it means otaku."
Just as Flonne was about to make a retort, they heard voices and footfalls from the opposite side of the hill.
"And Your Majesty!"
Two prinnies came running. On their foreheads were the numbers 1 and 3.
"So they really were here......"
Laharl slapped a hand to his forehead at the prinnies running and triumphantly holding both hands aloft, and he couldn't be any more exasperated.
"We did i—"
Laharl made a fist and thrust his right arm out. A force the shape of his fist went flying towards the prinnies and mowed them down.
"A strike." Etna clapped her hands.
Sometime without Laharl noticing, Lamington had come to stand behind him. Surprised, Laharl whirled around.
"I believe it is in my nature to be gentle and never to lose my presence of mind."
"T-that's probably true." Laharl gulped down saliva.
"However, I am not confident that I can remain calm having lost even my own house."
"M-make an effort for me," Laharl said humbly,4 attempting to pacify him.
From Lamington's expressionless face, he could not determine the level of his displeasure. He seemed to have concluded that it was wise to avoid provoking him as much as possible.
"I'm going to question the culprits now." Laharl turned back to the eight prinnies. "Oi, you lot!"
"What is it, Your Majesty?"
"Where is Number 9?"
The eight prinnies looked at each other's foreheads and then tilted their heads.
"How did you destroy everything?"
"With these, dood."
From the air before his eyes, Prinny Number 5 pulled out a mass of about the same size as his own body. They may have been the lowest ranking demons, but they could use this level of magic. The thing was unornamented, and shone a dull silver.
"What is that, that huge box?"
"Uwah, that's amazing." Flonne spoke up in a hushed voice, sounding impressed as she peered at the thing that had been placed at Laharl's feet. Etna made a similar comment.
"Huh, if I sent these things it might be easier and more effective than magic. Maybe I'll forget stabbing him in the back and use these next time."
"Did you say something?"
"Nope, not really."
Laharl shot Etna's oblivious face a glare, then returned to his interrogation of the prinnies.
"Well, where did you obtain these?"
"Number 9 gave them to us, dood."
All of them nodded.
"He was loaded up with a lot of them, dood."
"If we had that many, we'd be able to conquer Celestia, dood," the prinnies said excitedly without any sign of timidity.
Laharl made a sour face, turned a timid glance on Lamington, and immediately turned away.
During the interrogation, Flonne had knelt down and carefully inspected the bomb, but suddenly she furrowed her brows.
"Laharl-san, this is strange."
"What is it?"
"I haven't seen this even in the human world."
"What does that mean?"
"There's no sign of welding. It looks like a technique surpassing that of humans."
"What did you say?"
"Now that you mention it, dood......" Prinny Number 4 murmured as though he had suddenly remembered. "I saw Number 9 together with a weird, short thing with long arms, dood."
"Its entire body was silver, dood."
"I saw the face, dood. Its eyes were huge, dood."
The evidence leapt up one thing after the next.
"Small, long-armed, and silver-colored, with big eyes?"
"Don't tell me, there were humans standing on either side holding its hands and swinging them,5" Laharl said with a distasteful expression.
"I know! It's an alien, isn't it!!" Flonne clapped her hands together, beaming.
"You, you're leaning in that direction, too?"
"Flonne-chan, you're becoming more and more the otaku~"
Laharl and Etna sent cool stares at Flonne.
"T-that isn't it!"
"Then, how is it?" Etna asked.
With Flonne mumbling, Etna followed up with another attack. "Love towards things— Aliens don't qualify, do they," she teased.
"It- it's love towards space! It's space love!!"
"You're getting more and more suspicious, you know." Etna shrugged her shoulders hopelessly. "By the way, where's your sister?"
"I don't know anything about the likes of Ozonne."
"She's your sister, isn't she? What happened to that love you're always talking about?"
"Laharl-san told her to go provide aid, so maybe she's still there and not coming back."
"Well, she's an angel, so she's going to help," Etna said, and in the sky they could see a white figure. "Look, we brought her up and here she is."
Her white wings spread, she descended from the sky directly towards them.
"Ozonne, what is it?" Flonne called out to her, but she only approached swiftly without giving any response.
Seeing the sword she held in her hands, Flonne and Etna finally reacted.
With the sword levelled, Ozonne thrust forward in a straight line.
All at once, everyone in range flew out of the way.
Immediately afterwards, Ozonne crashed into where they had been a moment ago. Dust flew up with a great noise.
The prinnies were knocked over like bowling pins.
In the place Ozonne had assaulted, a crater had formed just as if a meteorite had fallen.
From its center, Ozonne swayed into sight. As though she had been hit by the shock herself, her footsteps were strangely awkward. Even so, she levelled the sword and came walking straight on.
"Stop it! Surely this isn't the time for that!!"
Without even responding to Flonne's cry, she shortened the distance. There was no expression on her face.
"Something's off," Laharl said.
"I get the feeling I've seen this somewhere before," Etna said.
While Etna searched her memories, Ozonne seized one of the bombs the prinnies had left behind in both hands and raised it over her head.
Without paying any heed to Laharl's cry, Ozonne hurled the bomb. What was more, she threw it at Laharl.
Laharl tried to escape it, but unluckily his foot slipped and he pitched forward. There the bomb fell.
The bomb detonated with a boom. In the blink of an eye, there was another crater.
"Prince, have you passed away~?" Etna called into the densely rising dust.
"Like I'd die!" With a cough, Laharl crawled out from the edge of the crater.
"So you survived, huh," Etna murmured, sounding disappointed.
"Don't kill me off!" Laharl yelled at Etna, and then he shifted the brunt to the approaching Ozonne. "You, what are you trying to do!?"
But, still giving absolutely no response, Ozonne held her sword aloft.
"She isn't listening, is she," Etna said.
"Grrr, I'm not taking this calmly! That was an attempted assassination of the Overlord!!"
At once Laharl leapt back and avoided the attack.
"That's too bad, that it was an attempt."
"You'd be all right with that!?"
"Eh? Whoever does you in, it's fine with me. As long as I can gracefully take over the throne, there's no problem."
"Weren't you going to steal the throne with your own power?"
"I've never said that. It's just that there wasn't anyone besides me thinking the same thing," Etna answered nonchalantly.
Even while they spoke, Ozonne had been closing the distance between her and Laharl.
"I guess there's nothing for it."
Just as Laharl was about to pull out his sword—
"Ah—!" Etna cried out suddenly.
"There's an antenna sticking up!"
Etna was pointing to Ozonne's head. A slender rod extended from it, and whenever she moved it swayed from side to side. It was obviously suspicious.
"I remember seeing this somewhere before," Laharl said, but as he spoke he had his hands full avoiding Ozonne's slashes, and didn't have time to pursue the memory.
"Flonne-chan, the antenna!" Etna shouted instead.
Ozonne wasn't watching her surroundings, and Flonne approached Ozonne from behind. She drew her staff and held it aloft.
"You won't ignore me and go after Laharl-san!"
With a yell, Flonne swung her white staff levelly, aiming for Ozonne's head.
The moment the antenna broke with a snap, Ozonne stopped moving like a doll whose strings had been cut. Like that, she gave in to the momentum of her sword's swing, turned halfway around, and collapsed face-up.
"I knew it was strange that she denied love. It was because of this artless antenna, wasn't it?"
"I don't think that's it," Etna said.
"Up until a little while ago, she didn't have that antenna," Laharl said.
The two of them shook their heads.
Flonne picked up the antenna and made a troubled face.
"Well?" Etna asked.
Flonne hummed and after she had carefully looked it over, she said one thing: "This is a terrible design."
"That's not the question!"
"Ah, but, I remember seeing this somewhere before." Flonne tilted her head.
And, just then—
"That's too bad, dood. So she failed...... dood."
Together with that regretful voice, a small shadow appeared from the other side of the crater.
"Ah, it's Number 9, dood!"
All together, the prinnies pointed.
"Don't call me by number, dood!" Prinny Number 9 shouted, flapping both arms.
At the appearance of the true perpetrator, Laharl glared with a face of displeasure. "You trying to show off?"
"Hmph, in this form I can't really show off...... dood."
"Nope, the way you're talking isn't that flashy either."
The prinny planted a hand on his waist and thrust his other arm at Laharl. "Both of those things are your fault for making me become a prinny...... dood!"
Finding his appearance so funny she couldn't stand it, Etna burst out laughing.
"Laugh while you can, dood." Number 9—Kira glared at Etna challengingly.
"If you apologize, I'll let you off with only an additional 1000 years of unpaid manual labor. There's no way that you, a prinny, could rival me, the Overlord. I'm showing you compassion; you should be grateful," Laharl declared pridefully and incredibly condescendingly, and he walked closer to Kira.
But, Kira stood his ground and glared up at Laharl.
"You shouldn't take me lightly, dood."
"You intend to put up a futile resistance again?"
Smiling scornfully, Laharl began chanting a spell.
Faster than Laharl could finish his spell, Kira lifted one hand and raised his voice. "Come, dood, Vijan!"
A tremor boomed through the ground, and Laharl's body shook.
Laharl cut his spell short and looked around him. A fissure ran at his feet.
From that fissure something came flying out with an incredible speed. Just in time, Laharl spread his scarf and flew up, and the thing brushed his toes as it flew past.
"What is that?"
It was flying about freely, giving off a silver light. It wasn't much different in size from a prinny.
Two metallic masses alighted in front of Kira.
They had cylindrical silver bodies and two cylindrical legs, and arms like tentacles. Fundamentally they were both the same. The difference was in their heights and breadths. One was slightly taller than a prinny, but the other was not even half that. In the opposite way, one was slimmer and the other broader. Their volume may have been about the same.
"Ah, those are the short things we saw, dood!"
All together the prinnies pointed fingers saying 'me, too, me, too.'
"You must be surprised, dood! These are mechanical life-forms, the Vijan, dood!"
At Kira's cry, Flonne's shoulders slumped, crestfallen.
"Ehh, so they weren't aliens......"
"You really did have weird expectations, didn't you, Flonne-chan," Etna jabbed, laughing at the earnestly disappointed Flonne.
"Before it was Shas, and now these? Hell, can't you do anything without relying on someone else?" Laharl turned deploring and cold eyes on Kira.
"You can say what you like, dood. Go, Vijan!"
At Kira's order, the two silver-colored masses immediately flew up without a sound.
"Magic?" Etna murmured, and Flonne shook her head.
"But, I don't sense any magical power."
"Whether it's magic or not, if the results are the same, it's no big deal," Laharl said, following the two bodies circling the sky with his eyes. "Here they come!"
The instant he shouted, the two bodies drew silver trails and came at Laharl from different directions.
"As if I'd take an attack like that!"
Laharl prepared a counterattack.
"My magical power might be weaker, but I can still do this much, dood!" As he shouted, Kira pulled a bomb out of the air in front of his eyes. He held it aloft in both hands, and threw it at Laharl.
Chanting his spell, Laharl caught the bomb perfectly in his arms.
In a panic he tried to fling it away, but there wasn't enough time. A great explosion erupted, and expanding a barrier on the spur of the moment, he somehow escaped the danger.
"Just how many of those do you have!?" Laharl shouted, wreathed in smoke.
"I still have quite a lot, dood." So saying, Kira pulled out bombs steadily one after another and threw them like arrows.
Laharl was thrown this way and thrown that way by the blasts, and as he was tossed about he yelled to Etna, "You lot, aren't you going to help!?"
"No~, those bombs are scary." Etna put both hands together and shook her head in refusal.
"Don't act like that, it doesn't suit you!"
Just after his shout, a thick silver light landed a direct hit to Laharl's jaw. The short, fat Vijan had rammed him.
Having taken an uppercut in mid-air, Laharl spun once and struck the ground.
"Honestly, even though he usually just shows off by himself," Etna muttered as she began chanting magic to back him up.
The long, slender Vijan came flying at her from behind.
At Flonne's cry she jumped out of the way and avoided the body blow by a hair's breadth.
"These guys, they don't have any bloodlust, so you can't sense them coming."
As she rolled, Etna watched the Vijan fly away. Immediately afterwards she let loose flames, but it didn't appear that she did much damage.
"I guess there's nothing but to hit them directly."
From an alternate space she opened in the palm of her hand, Etna took out the spear Gungnir. She swung it once, producing a shockwave, and first it knocked over the interfering Kira.
"Lie down there for a bit. I'll look after you later."
As she checked the Vijan's advance with magic, she spread her wings and flew up, and Gungnir flashed at the approaching Vijan.
A solid clash sounded, and Gungnir was repelled.
"Hey, what is this!? It's ridiculously hard." As if her fingers had gone numb, Etna shook her hand and grimaced.
"Etna-san, let's go at the same time!" Flonne raised her voice and chanted a spell.
"Got it!" At the same time, Etna, too, chanted a spell, and levelled Gungnir.
The two spells of completely opposite natures enveloped the Vijan at the same time, and set off a great explosion.
"Did we do it?" Etna said.
Instinctively, the two leaned forward in anticipation. But, from out of the smoke came flying a silver-colored mass at great speed.
Etna reflexively twisted her body.
The Vijan which graced past her with a ferocious speed was undamaged.
Meanwhile, Laharl was also having trouble.
He had tried both Fire and Ice, but he couldn't tell whether it was working or not.
"In that case, it's Mega Star!"
Laharl's arm glowed with a blue light, and a pale flash flew towards the Vijan.
The moment it hit, the fat Vijan's movements stopped as though it had frozen.
"All right! Etna, Mega Star works!"
"Roger, Prince!" Etna answered to Laharl's shout.
She took aim for the Vijan flying around near her. "Take this!" Etna swiftly invoked a Mega Star spell, and held Gungnir aloft.
"This is it!" Etna said.
"This is it!" Laharl said.
At the same time, Etna and Laharl struck down the two Vijan with Gungnir and the Overlord's sword.
At roughly the same time, the two Vijan stopped moving completely, and fell to the ground. Precisely like toys which had run out of batteries.
"What a pain." Laharl clapped the palms of his hands together.
"But, they didn't launch an attack." Flonne looked disappointed.
"So it wasn't an attack when I took a headbutt to the jaw?"
"It's not that, I mean laser guns or missiles. They didn't combine or transform either. Even though they look like robots. It's strange."
"You're thinking like an otaku again. These things didn't have those kinds of abilities. That's all," Laharl asserted, and he walked towards Kira.
"Now, this is as far as you go." Laharl thrust the Overlord's sword at Kira. "This time, you want to be erased so completely that you can't even reincarnate?"
Without replying, Kira glared at Laharl.
"If that's your intention, then it's inevitable."
Laharl brandished his sword and aimed it for the body containing Kira's soul.
Just then, a deep sound burst up from out of nowhere and resonated in his body.
Thinking that maybe something else was coming out from beneath his feet, Laharl looked down. Flonne, too, looked about anxiously, but Etna looked somehow excited. The prinnies could no longer stand and fell to the ground, and their round bodies just rolled about.
Watching them, Kira suddenly began to laugh.
"It's the end for you all now, dood. And for this Celestia, too...... dood."
"What did you do, Kira!?" Laharl raised his voice sharply.
Just then, the sky suddenly darkened, and their surroundings began to be enveloped in a dim light.
Next Time's Preview
- ^ Ozonne mockingly refers to Flonne as onee-sama here.
- ^ デッホ This seems to be the name of a Netherworld artist, and possibly a spoof on Van Gogh, whose name is written ファン・ゴッホ Fan Gohho in Japanese.
- ^ Flonne is using a verb typically used to talk about raising children, rather than growing plants.
- ^ Laharl doesn't speak any more politely than usual here, but he does use the verb kureru, which makes it sound more like he's asking a favor instead of demanding it.
- ^ I guess he's thinking of E.T.