There stood a single castle. However, only monsters crowded its halls, and the esteemed lord of the castle was nowhere to be found. Moreover, the throne that rested in the heart of the fortress remained forever vacant, as if patiently awaiting its master’s return.
Beside the castle, an enormous sheep laid in silent enshrinement. His name was Aries. Having once served under the black-winged overlord, the “Ram” was a former pillar of the Twelve Heavenly Stars.
—this sheep dreamed of the nostalgic past.
Aries was once a weakling that lived to be hunted. He was a pitiful creature born into a upbringing of misfortune. That was the kind of existence he relived.
They were mythical creatures said to appear only once every five hundred years. A single strand of its wool surpasses the price of gold, easily making it a creature worth entire nations.
Moreover, cotton spun from its hairs is the ultimate material for clothing. While offering protection that outclasses armor, it’s lighter than the finest of silks. What’s more, the cloth serves as an incredible catalyst for magic.
Thus, it’s said that capturing even one of these creatures would ensure a normal family seven generations of unimaginable wealth. The rainbow sheep is the very definition of a living treasure.
That said, he was nothing more than a monster with rainbow wool. —No, he was not even a monster, but a walking treasure—a prey laying in wait for its eventual demise. Neither did he have the means to protect himself, nor could he outrun others. Instead, he had a uselessly brilliant coat that drew all kinds of unwanted attention. People, demons, and other monsters—anything living was just another natural enemy. This was Aries’ pathetic life as prey.
Intentional or not, there is no crueler feat that Alovenas could achieve. This creature had no purpose in life other than hiding, running, and eventually losing its life to its predators.
Every day was another desperate battle for his life. Every breath could be his last. And as he drowned in his fear of death, he continued to cry his heart out.
That’s why, that encounter was nothing short of a miracle.
Hair dyed the beautiful scarlet of a blazing fire, eyes that shone crimson like the setting sun, and jet black wings forsaken by god. Aries could remember it like it was yesterday. After all, for Aries, it was in this moment that his life truly began.
“Oh? A rainbow sheep? Fancy meeting one here. Today must be my lucky day.”
It was a time when his revered master was still young and inexperienced. Even so, she was a shadow of the great ruler that would eventually awaken. Aries, who was so accustomed to running from others, happened upon her.
—I’m going be killed.
At a single glance, Aries was engulfed with overwhelming fear. There wasn’t a single chance of survival. Despite being a fraction of her true potential, a calamity was a calamity.
“Oh? Aren’t you afraid? Neither do you fight, nor do you run… do you have a death wish?”
As Ruphas approached the unresisting sheep, Aries drowned in self-loathing. Why was he so weak? Why was he so pathetic? Why was it that his life would only amount to becoming the prey of the strong? Even then, all he could do was stand frozen in fear, waiting for his untimely death. It was so pathetic…
“…so you cry.”
Now, Aries noticed the warm tears streaming down his face. So he cried. He cried hot tears of misery and self-loathing, and he yelled at the injustices of the world.
However, instead of pouncing on her prey, the young girl asked the cowering weakling a question.
“What do you gain from those tears? Gratification? The satisfaction of self-pity and regret? Ridiculous! If you can shriek in such misery, then lob one last pebble! Shout one last insult! Fuel your hate until your very last moments! If they rob you of your happiness, you rob them right back! At the very least, that is how I’ve lived my life. And I plan to live up to my reputation.”
How arrogant, Aries thought. That was something only the strong would think to say. It was because she had never tasted defeat. What would she know about the grievances of the weak?
“So what will you do? Will you die in vain? And abandon any hope of survival you have left? Because if those are your thoughts, then I have no problem with butchering a creature with a smaller ego than a struggling animal in a slaughterhouse.”
Aries grit his teeth. This wasn’t how he was supposed to die. Aries didn’t want to die, ridiculed by the haughty girl before him. His entire existence screamed as death closed in on him.
That’s right, he didn’t want to die. This wasn’t the way he wanted to die! For the first time in his life, Aries harbored the will to live.
And he attacked. He bared his teeth and latched onto the arm of his predator. Now, Aries was sure he would lose his life. She’d take his life in a fit of rage and cast his soul into the darkest depths of hell.
The next course events… proved those thoughts wrong. Ruphas didn’t budge an inch. Instead, she murmured in a strangely comforting voice—
“…That’s right. That’s the way it should be. Looks like you can do it if you try.”
Aries’ jaw came loose. The girl was already—or rather, she had never been hostile to begin with. In his panic, Aries had caught himself in a spur of irrational fear. And realizing this, he released her arm.
“That’s right, rainbow sheep. If you are to live, then live every breath to its fullest. Whether you flee or fight, give your all in every step you take and in every punch you throw. All so that you can be more than just the prey of the strong.”
Aries finally came to his senses. Although she was strong, she suffered all the same. The flugels valued the white sheen of their wings above all else. Such pitch black feathers would never go unnoticed. Rather, she would be shunned for her impurity. Surely, she had experienced incredible discrimination.
However, neither did she feel ashamed, nor did she drown in self-pity. Instead, she struggled, she strived, and above all, she arrived where she was now. The bold smile of this powerful being was enough proof of that.
Ah, if only I could be like her, Aries thought. A fresh stream of tears rolled down his wet cheeks as he yelled his wishes at the heavens. And a fallen flugel answered his prayers.
“Then join me. My power alone will not be enough to crush the cruelties of this world. Become strong, and together, we will bring the world under our own jurisdiction.”
—Become strong, Aries. Together with me.
Thus, Aries clutched tightly to her outstretched hands. Such was the first encounter between the black-winged overlord and the first of the Twelve Heavenly Stars. It was also a precious memory that failed to fade with time.
He could not forget—He refused to forget the fleeting moments he spent with his precious lord and savior.
While flipping through a book, I tried to wrap my head around Aries’ decision to invade the Suvell. For one thing, Aries was a rainbow sheep, a rather timid and harmless species. What could drive him to take such drastic measures time and time again?
Actually, the reason is obvious enough. I… Ruphas was defeated by heroes of mankind. But the real question is whether he was always aggressive enough to seek revenge.
In the game, familiars never left their tamer’s side, to say nothing of having real-life conversations. That’s why I can only imagine Aries’ personality. The best I can do is use the game as a reference. In that case, just what kind of character was he? I’m supposed to be his master, yet I don’t know a single thing about him.
I wonder when it was that I first met Aries. I’m sure it was before Ruphas hit the level cap and after I had taken up the tamer class. This was right around when I was worrying about what to make my first familiar.
There’s a larger variety of uses for a familiar than an alchemist’s golem. Unlike golems, familiars can level up and consume status-enhancing items. Moreover, familiars can be both healed and revived. And although they do have level caps, the right monsters can even be of use at end game. At the time, I thought a dragon, being both powerful and flashy, would be ideal.
However, fate brought me a feeble sheep, the exact opposite of what I was looking for. What’s more, it was a unique monster that developers probably just designed for kicks. Not a single sighting had been reported since the update, so rumor had it that it was just a joke in poor taste.
Upon meeting this creature, I attempted to tame it. God knows why the sheep refused to run, and when it finally attacked, my health barely dipped. Even so, it was my first familiar and I grew attached to it.
So I began dumping status enhancements into my newfound familiar. In exchange, I would shear the rainbow wool from Aries‘ back. This fetched a hefty price on the marketplace, with which I could purchase more status enhancement items.
With this constant income, I fed Aries one skill after another, and his weak self disappeared without a trace. Even after hitting the level cap, Aries continued to save my ass time and again. That said, the calamity class monsters I later tamed overpowered Aries even without enhancements, which would leave me slightly discouraged.
Now that I think of it, I’ve known Aries longer than anyone else in the game. This was before I even met my guild members, and far before we established a nation. I wonder… just what did Aries experience for the past 200 years? Was it fury? Or perhaps, was it grief? Either way, his emotions were enough to drive him to seek revenge. Although I do appreciate the feelings, it’s all the more reason to stop him.
Even then, I can’t help but wonder who would emerge victorious. In terms of pure strength, Megrez has an edge, but I’m sure Aries wouldn’t go down without a fight. Seeing that mankind is on the verge of extinction, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aries was plotting something. Fortunately, I’m here to intervene.
“…that sobbing sheep.”
My lips formed words on their own. Sobbing sheep? I remember nothing of the sort. The words that rolled off my tongue felt so natural, yet I couldn’t recall a single thing.
…no, that’s wrong. I know. I remember. The body I reside in still recalls the frail sheep that wished to be strong. Although I did not remember, what still remained of Ruphas continued to cling to this memory.
There’s no longer a reason to waver. Ruphas’ and my intentions line up perfectly. I will kick Aries back into submission and offer him the same hand I had before.
Don’t worry, I would never forget you. Even if I lost my memory or my life, you are the one I would never forget. That’s why… I beg you to stop crying, Aries.
Translator’s Note: When Ruphas comes to realize that her memories are returning, Ruphas’ and our protagonist’s voices start to overlap. They start saying the same thing in different ways, showing that both personalities coincide. The reason why I’ve emitted this is because it would be impossible (or at least really difficult) to mirror this feeling in English. For example, the sentences (which I’ve emitted from the translation) “俺と共に来いと。余と共に来いと。” (meaning. “Come with me”) are two phrases that say the exact same thing. However, the way they refer to themselves (俺 and 余) allow us to differentiate between them. (俺- ore is more modern, while 余 sounds ancient).