Afterstory 3 – Ruphaskart
Raw link: http://ncode.syosetu.com/n2211cx/196/ (2017/08/12)
Translator: twomorefreethoughts / TpstT (2020/12/10)
Editor 1: Hand of Vecna (2020/12/14)
Editor 2: Keii (2020/12/16)
Translation link: https://twomorefreethoughts.wordpress.com/awlba-c194/
Notice 1: Apologies for the delay, we’ve been busy lately and will be even busier over the next few weeks, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to follow through with 1 after-story every Sunday. The remaining 5 after-stories will come out whenever they’re ready.
This is the result of me wanting to write a story about how the Thirteen Stars would act in a game of Ma__o Kart.
Let’s pour in a Kakyoin-tier amount of “soul” into this race!
Please enjoy volume 2 and 3 of the manga as well.
(Author note end)
Near the Mafahl Tower.
On that day, for some reason, there was a well-maintained… yet, at the same time, meaninglessly and overly swirly road prepared.
If one were to describe it using the “other world’s” terms, then they might say that the road was very similar to a racing circuit. As a matter of fact, there were even thirteen race car-like golems standing by near what could be thought of as a starting line.
There was even an audience stand set in place. Although there was not much of an audience there, it was still undoubtedly a racing track.
Needless to say, the one who had created all of this was Ruphas.
They were products manufactured as a result of Ruphas utilising her avatar’s knowledge with the intention of replacing the pseudo-dragon vehicles on the Moon as a new means of transportation and becoming goods which could be exported to Midgard.
In other words, they were the next-generation golems which would succeed Suzuki and Tanaka. For the all-important mobility of the golems, Megrez brand mana engine was utilised. Additionally, as opposed to before, Ruphas had made these while reading and following specialised books on how to make cars. Therefore, these golems were not like Suzuki and Tanaka, which only imitated the outer appearance of cars. In fact, these were manufactured to be quite similar to real cars that one might see on Earth.
Furthermore, Suzuki and Tanaka’s auto-pilot features had been completely removed from these newly-made golems. They were designed so that passengers would have to control the vehicles themselves.
At the end of all of this, the thirteen vehicles lined up at the starting line were the result of Ruphas placing them there with the intention of test running the cars in a light race.
If everything went well, she figured that she might even be able to turn it into a source of entertainment or recreational activity.
The members of the Imperial Thirteen Heavenly Stars were already on board those cars, waiting for the starting signal.
While that was the case, as it was not practical for two individuals to be racing in one car, for the seats of the Twins and Serpent Bearer, Pollux and Dina respectively decided to sit out and observe the race from the audience stand.
Similarly, as Aquarius could not board the car while in her water pitcher, it was decided that Ganymedes would drive on her behalf.
“So, should we start now?”
Ruphas gave a signal.
When she did, the panels set above the starting line lit up.
The panels were being used to count down to the start of the race. A few people’s cars started revving their engines as they saw it light up.
It was a precursor to a starting dash.
As soon as the countdown finished, all thirteen vehicles simultaneously blasted forward.
The specifications of the cars were all the same. Their maximum speed was 1200km/h.
The amount of time required to reach that highest possible speed was five seconds on full throttle.
One might say that it was a very violent and murderous car, as any ordinary person who tried to drive this machine and attempted to reach the maximum speed as quickly as possible would end up dying. However, for the Thirteen Stars, this kind of speed was still far too slow.
Needless to say, when the time came to sell the actual product on Midgard, its specifications would be reduced to less than half of what it was right now, but since it was currently being test run, Ruphas did not mind the finer details.
“Tsk! Even if I end up getting first with this thing that’s slower than myself, I can’t even brag about it… but I also don’t feel like losing!”
The vehicle that took the lead first was a car coated in red paint.
The one driving that car was Leon. Because even his humanoid form was large and bulky, he seemed to be quite cramped inside the vehicle.
After succeeding with the starting dash, he charged straight to the front of the pack while disregarding the damage that would be done to his car when body slamming other cars in the race.
But from right behind him, a green car daringly spun around and bumped Leon’s car away.
On top of that, it seemed that the driver of the green car had even calculated what the car behind them would do, as they got in front of them and utilised the momentum from the resulting collision to accelerate itself into the first place.
“Hey, you. You’re in the way, Libra!”
“I appreciate you pushing me forward, Scorpius.”
The green car – Libra’s car managed to obstruct both Leon’s and Scorpius’s vehicles at the same time and was now driving at the foremost of the group.
As a golem, Libra never made a mistake while manoeuvring her car.
It was very obvious to any onlookers that she would maintain first place and come first in the race as long as someone else did not do something to her.
“Oh… is the winner already decided?”
“She’s calculating and turning every corner with the best possible timing and speed. Not to mention she’s perfectly blocking the people behind her. Though, we already knew Libra was going to end up coming in first.”
Dina and Ruphas were casually analysing the situation, unsurprised.
Libra coming in first place was just as expected.
In terms of precision, there was no one who was superior to her as a golem.
However, a voice aside the two of them cut in from the side.
“You don’t have to worry about that. I won’t let things be one-sided. I’ve properly set up some item panels on the road!”
“Wha… when did you do such an unnecessary thing…?”
The one who set up an unnecessary mechanic was, as usual, the good-for-nothing goddess who never did anything except unnecessary things, Alovenus.
What do you even mean by “item panels”, it’s not like this is Ma__o Kart…
Thinking that, Dina turned to look at Ruphas, but she was betrayed by her reaction.
“I see, that’s interesting. Good job.”
Aah! She’s also a lost cause. Thinking about it, she might also be in the same category as Alovenus-sama.
Even while Dina held her head with her hands, the race continued on.
In second place was Sagittarius’s car, which, for some strange reason, suddenly shot out a blue shell. In the face of such an unexpected circumstance, Libra’s car was unable to react to the situation and spun out of control.
“Hahaha! I’m going to take this opportunity to overtake you! Sorry!”
Seeing what was happening, Karkinos, who was in third place, attempted to take the lead by forcibly body-slamming the other vehicles.
Unfortunately, Libra’s car was still spinning around at the front of the group.
As a consequence, Karkinos idiotically got caught up with her, and they started spinning together.
In fact, even Sagittarius was caught up in it, and the three of them spun around merrily like best friends.
“Oh! My god!”
“What did you even come to do!?”
“The only thing I can say is that this was a miscalculation.”
It would most likely be some time before the three of them could recover and set themselves back up.
During this time, they were overtaken one after another. Ultimately, the one who took the lead was Pisces. Aigokeros had also managed to drive up right next to him.
“The time has come! Now is the time I shall shine! If I don’t start standing out anytime soon, I might even start getting called ‘the Real Background Character’!”
“Oi, the Real Background Character, what happened to ruling the seas?”
“I’ve ditched them behind! And don’t call me the Real Background Character!”
Pisces fervently screamed those lines. He had wanted to have a role so much that he had abandoned ruling the seas so he could participate in this race. Even though he was the king of the seas, seeing his current appearance, Aigokeros could not help but be exasperated.
Dina had a complicated expression as she listened to him scream out loud from the audience stand.
“How keen. Anyways, as his predecessor, you should give him some advice, former Background Character.”
“I was only being a background character because it was my role!! I wasn’t actually a real background character!”
In response to Ruphas’s teasing words, Dina’s cheeks puffed up as she replied with a sulky look.
At this point, the time when she had been labelled as a background character was nothing but a nostalgic part of the past.
Furthermore, she had indeed only been a background character because her role required her to be one and not because she wished to do so, thus it was dissimilar in circumstance to Pisces.
Pisces, who so earnestly wanted to stand out yet did not have any presence whatsoever, was the one who was most worthy to be called the real background character.
Keep working at it Eros, I’m sure there’ll be another opportunity for you to get some action in the future. Although… the main storyline has already finished, but whatever.
“Well, if we’re talking about how little of a role we had to play, we’re pretty much also in the same boat.”
“I guess so. I don’t really mind it though.”
Parthenos and Aquarius, who were also in the audience seats, spoke as if they were not bothered by it.
Parthenos had already passed on the baton to her successor. Furthermore, because she was already dead, there was no reason for her to worry about having roles to play.
Aquarius, on the other hand, was someone who did not want to stand out from the very beginning, thus she did not mind it in the slightest.
But Pisces was different. He had always been waiting for a time when he could shine.
Pisces demonstrated amazing skill at handling his car, creating some distance between himself and Aigokeros. Furthermore, he passed over a speed boost panel which was set up on the ground for some reason, and momentarily accelerated to 2000km/h.
Would he be heads above the rest and run solo this time…?
While some might have had such a thought, Pisces somehow collided with a car that was driving towards his direction.
– That car was driving in the opposite direction!
It was a blue car – Castor’s car – that collided with Pisces’s car.
As if he had finally recalled at this point of the story that his character was set to be terrible at figuring out directions, Castor had been driving his car in the opposite direction ever since the race had started. In this way, he had ultimately ended up colliding with Pisces.
Pollux unconsciously drooped down upon seeing his pathetic state.
“… Older brother…”
The two cars burst into flames, and Pisces and Castor were both thrown out from the cars as if they were best friends and were forced to retire.
As if aiming for this mishap, the one who took the lead at this point was Aries’s rainbow-coloured car.
Neck-to-neck with him was Aigokeros’s purple car, creating a dead-heat situation.
With this, the first lap of the race was completed. There were two laps left until the end.
The two cars overtook a black car which had yet to start driving as they passed the starting line, continuing their neck-and-neck race.
“… Eh? Isn’t that Orm’s car? Why has he been waiting at the start this whole time?”
Pollux spoke exasperatedly, but there was no way she could have predicted the actual reason.
After all, how could she have predicted that Orm, even in his position as the Demon King, could not even figure out how to drive a car and was endlessly pressing his foot down on the brake pedal?
“Hmm… I’m pushing down this thing called an accelerator the way they explained it to me, but this thing isn’t moving at all… are they sure it’s not just a faulty product?”
Notice it, Orm! That’s the brake, not the accelerator.
Leaving the overly dense Orm behind, Aries and Aigokeros continued their fierce battle, even passing by Virgo, who was so slow that she got lapped by them.
Then they both stepped on the item panel.
Aigokeros’s car slowed down ever so slightly and allowed Aries to take the lead before firing a missile from behind.
But Aries accelerated as if he was trying to shake it off. The item that Aigokeros had obtained was a missile that could be used to destroy another contestant’s car, while Aries had obtained a mushroom that was used to boost one’s speed.
As for why a mushroom would boost one’s speed, I don’t know either. It’s just that kind of a thing, you know? Here we go!
Aries shook the missile off with his overwhelming speed and then turned the corner.
The missile was unable to catch up in time and was destroyed upon colliding with the corner post.
With this, the distance between first and second place was clear to see. Unexpectedly, Aries was driving solo at the very front.
“What do you know? Perhaps we’ll get to see an upset?”
“Aries is in the lead, eh? He’s unexpectedly pretty good.”
I’ll take first just like this. – With that in mind, Aries turned the corner.
Unfortunately, there was a trap right there.
Beyond the corner, for some reason, there was a car which was parked sideways, as if it was blocking the road.
No, that was wrong. Looking closer, it was trying to drive.
However, the handling of the car was so poor that it kept slamming into the walls.
“That’s Taurus, huh…”
“He’s been slamming left and right into the walls since quite a while ago…”
It was not as if Taurus was not taking things seriously, nor was he attempting to interfere with Aries.
He just simply sucked at driving to this extent.
As expected of a man who specialised solely in attack power. It seemed that corners were not his strong suit.
“Hey, Taurus, get out of the way! I can’t pass!”
Aries complained, but if Taurus had been able to do something about it, he would have done it already.
But Taurus’s car, as before, continued to slam into the walls: front, back, left, right and centre.
The ones who reached the location at this point were Aigokeros and Scorpius.
“You’re in the way! Get out already!”
“If you’re going to get in my way, then the only option I have left is to remove you!”
Scorpius and Aigokeros both fired missiles simultaneously, causing even Aries’s car, which was right next to Taurus’s car, to be caught up in the resulting explosion.
Aries’s car started spinning because of the impact, whereas Taurus’s car refreshingly burst into pieces.
Taurus, who was thrown out of the car, was blasted right out of the racetrack, landing back down on the ground with his legs crossed.
Even though the car itself had exploded into pieces, the individual himself had taken zero damage. It was exactly because the Imperial Thirteen Heavenly Stars had such extraordinary battle prowess that they were able to do such crazy things.
With this, the second lap of the race had concluded. They were now on the final lap.
The race had taken approximately a little over a minute at this point, but this final lap would be the decider.
Yet, even at this point, Orm had yet to start moving from the starting line. He was clearly a lost cause.
“The distance between us and third place is quite big… looks like it’s going to be between this mistress and you.”
“Interesting. I’ll blow you away.”
Scorpius and Aigokeros stared down at each other right as they tried to make the race just between themselves.
But there, Libra, who had fallen behind quite a bit during the first lap, closed in on them.
“Libra!? How come you were able to catch up to us!?”
“I decided to keep picking up nothing but speed boost mushrooms.”
“Huh!? Isn’t that thing supposed to have been random!?”
“It’s called random number manipulation.”
“That doesn’t even make any sense!”
It seemed that the competition for the top spot would be between Aigokeros, Libra and Scorpius.
Now that they had already finished two and a half laps, overturning the result was no longer possible.
In other words, the first place winner would be the individual who won the battle amongst these three.
While they were lined up neck-to-neck, Scorpius pondered a little.
It’s vexing to admit it, but it’s going to be impossible to legitimately win against Libra in this race… But she’s the one person I can’t lose to in front of Ruphas-sama. Or more like, even if Ruphas-sama is not looking, I can’t afford to lose to her… So the only option is…
Aigokeros, who was on the other side of Libra, also pondered a little.
This stalemate is probably going to collapse soon… Libra’s definitely going to take the lead. Before that happens, I have to crush her…
While being sandwiched by the two of them, Libra carefully deliberated.
The atmosphere changed… they’re going to do something.
The moment they turned the corner and entered the final long stretch, Aigokeros and Scorpius simultaneously closed the distance on Libra’s vehicle, as if to tightly sandwich her.
It seemed that they had both judged Libra to be a threat and opted to collaborate and crush her first.
But as if she had predicted what would happen, Libra decreased her speed and fell back a little, making Scorpius and Aigokeros crash into one another.
Not only that, when the two of them slowed down due to the collision, she passed by them from the side.
“Oh. No. You. Didn’t! I’m not going to be picky with my methods anymore!”
Scorpius’s temper quickly flared up as she shattered the car’s floor with a stomp.
She then used her own feet and closed the distance between them with a speed completely incomparable to before.
While the whole scene looked quite surreal, as it looked as if the car had suddenly grown legs, the speed was unquestionable.
At the end of it all, it was much faster for her to run with her own feet as opposed to riding on a car.
“Scorpius, isn’t that cheating!? Aaah, whatever, it can’t be helped!”
In response to Scorpius’s actions, Aigokeros also reverted back into his goat form, picked up the car and started flying.
“Your actions are also within my predictions.”
Once she verified what the two of them were doing, Libra also jumped out of the car, picked it up and started running.
Oi, you guys, you’re supposed to race while driving a car.
As if prompted by their actions, the other members of the Thirteen Stars and Ganymedes also stuck their feet out from underneath their cars, or alternatively, picked them up and started running.
The only ones who were still properly riding on their cars were Orm, who had yet to take off from the starting line, and Virgo, who was driving leisurely.
Aries had cracked the glass at the back of his car and was blasting flames out of it to accelerate himself. Karkinos’s car, which was unluckily hit by those flames, exploded.
By the time one noticed it, everyone except for Orm and Virgo had started running towards the goal using their abilities.
Orm was the only one who was still reading the instruction manual while sitting in his car.
The Thirteen Stars charged past the goal like an avalanche, finally ending the race.
The distance between themselves up until the middle of the race had no relevance. Once they started running on their own, they could all cover that distance in an instant.
As such, in order to ascertain who passed the goal first, an individual needed to have quite an amazing sense of kinetic vision.
Fortunately, Ruphas’s kinetic vision was more than sufficient to make that determination.
And the judgement that she made was…
“So, all of you are disqualified for cheating.”
– Subsequently, it became a one-on-one race between Virgo, who continued to drive slowly, and Orm, who just simply did not move. After 30 minutes, Virgo was declared the winner.
Virgo: “Sei-kun was saying that you have to drive a car with safety first in mind.”
Q: By the way, why didn’t Ruphas participate?
A: If she participated, some of the Thirteen Stars would have restrained themselves and wouldn’t have raced properly.
(Author note end)