The Name of the Villainess
──The girl was known as a villainess.
The houses burn. The city is on fire. The great manors are ablaze.
The streets of what was once known as a cultural capital are choked with thick black smoke. Great works of music, opera and literature. It was here that they were dreamed up.
And now it all lies in ruins.
I advanced through the crumbling architecture of that city.
With the ridiculously oversized cannon in my right hand – a 120mm tank gun, I blew the buildings in front of me to smithereens as I pressed on. I’ll reduce anything that stands in my way to rubble with the tank gun as I moved towards the palace without saying a word.
Soldiers who barely managed to survive my barrage tried to counterattack with crossbows, but I traced the flight of the bolts through the air and avoided them with superhuman agility.
──Class 3 Combat Adaptation Measures are a big success. Both my physical ability and reflexes are greatly enhanced. It’s as if the arrows are paused in mid-air. I have no trouble avoiding them, and I have equally little trouble returning the favour.
Thus, I gave the soldiers a gift of shell fire. Yes, you’re welcome!
“Well then, Blau, Gelb, Rot. Where are the remnants located?”
As I asked them, I saw an image of those three – The three fairies who were my followers dressed in fluttering cute dresses appeared in my field of view.
The image flows through my optic nerves and is displayed in my vision like a window. As they do, I also see the same sights that those three do.
“There are soldiers stationed in front of the palace, master.”
“There are no enemies in the rear.”
Really, those fairies are so good at scouting places out whilst staying undetected, they’re the perfect replacement for a reconnaissance drone. Although sometimes they’re a little reluctant to do the work, so long as you promise them a reward of candy you can get them on board.
As I stepped over the bodies of dead and mortally wounded soldiers who were unable to resist me, I destroyed the abandoned carriages and barricades that stood between me and the palace, my mood so jubilant that I almost want to break into song.
Guards indeed stood in front of the palace. They were soldiers who had been called out as a last resort, battle-hardened veterans. I recognized those blue and white uniforms.
“Ha ha… You must be joking. I thought it was merely another battlefield myth. Now you’re telling me it really exists?”
One of the old guys in the Imperial Guard grimaced with a dry laugh.
“Red Devil. The Dragon Slaying Witch. The Punisher of Plussen. Why has such a monster come here? Isn’t it just weird? Just… just attacking the Imperial Palace on her own and engulfing it in a sea of fire… It’s just… Why are you doing this…?”
That old geezer looked at me with a face as if to say he truly didn’t understand at all.
“You can only blame your own narrow thinking. I accomplished all this with just a little magic. Although I may have had some talent, the only reason I am leagues ahead of you now is because I kept pushing the boundaries, without ever letting my ingenuity go. Do you need more explanation than that?”
Asking the Imperial Guardsmen that, I smiled.
“We can’t win…”
The guards pointed their crossbows towards me, their hands shaking in fear.
“Then let me ask you this, Red Devil! Aren’t you merely a child? Killing countless people without a care in the world… Even women and children… These soldiers just want to return home to their families, how can you be so calm through all this!?”
The old man’s words were boring.
“It’s fine. There are certain synapses in the brain that cause one to be averse to murder. It’s these synapses that force this so-called ‘conscience’, the single biggest obstacle to killing. But, what if I could force them to stop working?”
Well, it’s actually something I’m pretty proud of.
“Such a thing, that’s impossible! You messed with your brain using magic? To disable your own conscience!?”
“That’s exactly right. I don’t feel pangs of conscience, mercy nor pity. I am merely a machine that mows down her enemies. If the opponent is an enemy soldier, I can pull the trigger without moral qualms. I don’t feel any compassion for the collateral damage either.”
I had finally achieved it. The human brain perfectly suited to combat.
“You’re a monster. A murderous psychopath with no conscience. Even soldiers hesitate to kill their enemies.”
“Then that soldier is flawed, old man. Soldiers don’t need a conscience. A soldier who advances at the sound of a whistle or a drum, and doesn’t stop fighting until their opponent is annihilated, that’s a true soldier. Isn’t that right?”
It seems like the old man sees war in some kind of romantic way. That kind of hobby doesn’t suit me. I’m the type that demands thorough efficiency. The gestures and formality of the battlefields of old disgusts me. It’s deplorable that there are professional soldiers who would hesitate to kill a foe.
“Do you have no sense of patriotism?”
“Hmm. Nope. I’m only interested in annihilating the enemy. Of course, I’d be happy if the people of the country were pleased with my efforts.”
Patriotism, huh? I wonder if a country that would exile an entire Duke’s household simply because I bullied the heroine a little should be prattling about patriotism.
“Now, it’s time for the story to end. I’m about to be very busy turning this lovely and luxurious palace back into a vacant lot. Chatting is fun and all, but I can’t let it interfere with a job.”
I told them this casually, then pointed the barrel of the tank gun toward the Imperial Guards.
HE rounds. Perfect for an opening salvo.
“You demon! You will not escape hell for this!”
“Demon… What exactly do you think demons and humans even are? You know, I had a perfectly good name given to me by my parents.”
The guardsman screamed incoherently as I fired.
The HE round hit its mark and the barricade erupted in an explosion, blowing the nearby guardsmen away. The old man that had been talking to me was thrown in the air as well, joining the rest of the mangled corpses that littered the city.
An automatic revolving loading device discharged and loaded the next shell automatically, and the gun roared as I fired at the guards who had managed to survive the first shot.
“Blau. Number of hostiles remaining?”
“There aren’t any, master.”
As I held the red hot barrel of the gun to the sky, the fairy went on.
“But, is this fine, master? To go this far…”
“It’s necessary, Brau. The enemy is underestimating us. I have to give them a taste of what fear really is. I would also like to acquire data on real warfare.”
Well, the real reason is the data, after all. Tee hee ♪
I turned the muzzle of the tank gun towards the palace.
“Ah. I forgot to mention it. My name is Astrid-Sophie von Oldenburg. A peerless magical innovator, and a human ammunition dump. I also happen to be a Villainess. Nice to meet you, everyone. And, farewell.”
I introduced myself, then with a splendid laugh, I began to reduce that fine palace to rubble.
I truly believe that blasting that place into woodchips was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Witnessing the final moments of something truly beautiful really is the best. I deeply enjoyed myself as I set about the destruction. Opportunities like that don’t roll around every day, after all.
Now, why don’t we step back a little bit and trace just how exactly we ended up here?
At that time I, Astrid-Sophie von Oldenburg, was only four years old.
Sophie-Astrid von Oldenburg… Despite having such a stupidly long name, I had a definite charm point in my fiery red hair. I loved to show my hair off to everyone who would look, and let it grow all the way down to my waist.
One day, when I heard that my cousin Iris had come to play I ran down the stairs in a hurry and when I tripped and faceplanted onto the ground from the fifth step, I remembered everything.
…My memories from a previous life!
No, I don’t need to be taken to the funny house, now please quietly listen to my story.
In my previous life, I was a college freshman. I was studying in the liberal arts faculty.
I was a military nut of a girl, enjoying a fun and happy if a little geeky life. I could tell you all the details of my favourite naval ships, MBTs and fighter jets… Wait, let’s not derail the story that quickly.
I had managed to get into my school of choice and was living the dream. I spent my entire freshman year single and engrossed in my hobbies, but before I knew it I was suddenly in the body of a four year old girl. I didn’t know what was going on. Really, what the hell?
But, one thing I did understand clearly was that my name was Astrid-Sophie von Oldenburg. That name matched perfectly with the title of an otome game I was half-forced into playing by a friend of mine, ‘Wish Upon a Shooting Star’.
It didn’t take me long before I recalled the rest.
The name of this country is the Prussian Empire. It is ruled by His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Wilhelm III. The name of the school that I will eventually enrol in is called Saint Satanachia Magical Academy. And, the name of the Crown Prince is Frederick.
It was the setting of the game ‘Wish Upon a Shooting Star’.
After borrowing it, I finished every route in the game, so I understood it all.
First of all, I am not the protagonist.
I am a garden variety villainess, whose role is to abuse my position to harass the heroine.
And, after the heroine and her chosen capture target eventually reach their happy ending, inevitably I shall be the catalyst for the downfall of my house and be exiled.
If I were an ordinary person, my life would be checkmated! But of course, that’s not the case. My motto has always been to live my own way.
If my memory is right, I should have magical power to rival the heroine. Yes, magic exists in this world. And people who can control that magic live a charmed life. It’s a so-called sword and magic world.
And if that’s how it’s gonna be…
I shall train and refine my magical powers to overthrow that destined bad end!
My knowledge of my previous life will be invaluable.
I was a military girl, after all. I had some knowledge of the mechanisms of firing armour piercing shells from tank guns, about the aeronautical engineering behind fighter jets and even about laser-guided missiles.
From what I can tell, weapons or magic good enough to imitate them hasn’t been developed in this world yet. Well, obviously, because it’s a sword and magic world.
That’s how it’s gonna be.
I’ll train up my magical talent as quickly as possible, and with the magic of this backward world… I will develop modern weapon technology, and crush the bad end that’s waiting for me!
Yep! This is the best plan ever!
“Everyone who agrees, please raise their hand.”
In the Astrid brain boardroom, the motion is passed unanimously.
Thus, the purpose of my life was decided at age four.
First, don’t neglect my training in order to let my magical talent bloom.
Second, successfully fuse the magic of this world and my knowledge of modern weaponry.
Third, avoid the bad end as much as possible.
And last, acquire as much money as I can just in case I can’t avoid my house being crushed.
So long as I stick to this, no matter what happens, I’ll be okay!
On the day when I first thought that, I fell into a deep fever and was bedridden for a full week. It seems like my little brain couldn’t take the sudden influx of memories, as my parents panicked and called for a healer.
However, when I woke up, my determination was as fresh as ever!
I will never face that bad end! If it tries to ambush me, I’ll blast it away with overwhelming firepower! I’m different to that pitiful Astrid from the story!
No, I can’t sleep anymore, Gadermann! From today onwards I have to intensely study magic!
Eh? I can study magic when I attend school?
By that point, it would be far too late, father!