My fame spread throughout the entirety of Fantasia. Although there was the side issue of the Dumpling King going into seclusion out of deep grief regarding the recent incident, the majority of the kingdom’s people were busy praising the righteous Sir Hero, and the neighboring countries were no exception either.
“We pray for Sir Hero to be forever victorious! This is a trifling gift our empire has prepared! Please accept it!”
“Is it comfortable to wear? It is a piece of armor manufactured with our kingdom’s heart and soul. I hope that it will be of help when it is time for Sir Hero to slay the Demon King.”
“How do you do, Sir Hero. Our princess stubbornly insisted on coming to see you. Ah! By no means will you be a live-in son-in-law! Absolutely not!”
The various countries had respectively sent batches of precious gifts and pretty young ladies, their representatives enthusiastically explaining just how good their homeland is to their citizens.
“The Holy Empire is peaceful even after the recent passing of the previous emperor. There is no need for Sir Hero to take the trouble to visit.”
“The Demon King has resurrected, has he not? It would be shameful for humanity to hold back Sir Hero. Our kingdom has extremely low crime rates.”
“The Ocean Kingdom is extremely safe! The nobles subjugate pirates every day. We do not have even the slightest intention to show Sir Hero to our filthy waters.”
I replied with a smile.
“The women aside, I’ll gratefully accept your gifts.”
Regarding women, there were plenty of them in the capital of this kingdom too. The place was bursting with lovely ladies who had flocked over from all over the kingdom, dreaming a life of Cinderella.
There was no need to be fixated on princesses, noble misses and maidens. It didn’t matter whether it be a prostitute or widow, so long as they responded with a smiling face without anything complicated when I extended a hand in weariness.
The important thing was ‘healing of the heart’.
I didn’t think like this from the start either. In the grueling days of the 1st Playthrough, there was a time when I was completely drunk at Tony’s pub, seriously considering suicide. At that time, it was no beautiful princess or Elf who earnestly consoled and dissuaded me from the thought—it was one of those young ladies who could be seen anywhere along the streets.
Salvation isn’t something so far away. You merely turn a blind eye to it yourself.
“The heroes of old were all modest, though…”
“Pitiful creatures they were.”
Brushing aside Lanuvel’s discontent, I scanned through the gifts. Although it seemed obvious they were showing sincerity, there were no elixirs or equipment that would be of practical help to my current self, though I might have used these things if I was around Level 300.
“Yes, Sir Hero.”
“You deal with all these gifts.”
“Don’t make me say it twice. Equipments and drugs aside, don’t sell the elixirs that raise EXP but eat them all. You’re dead if I catch you selling them. Deader than dead.”
“I’ll take it to heart!”
His valiant reply was to my liking.
If Porter ate those elixirs and armed himself with high-class equipment, he should be well capable of filling in the vacancy left by Alex.
There was now nothing more for me to do in the kingdom.
“Yes! You don’t need to give me anything, though!”
“Of course I won’t. Are you nuts?”
“Come on. I’ll show you what a real Hero is. All you need to do is relay what you see and feel to the people.”
“What are you going to do?” asked Lanuvel with a tilted head.
A very good question. It would have been even better if she hadn’t put up that cute front.
I replied while preparing Endymion.
While it wouldn’t be a bad idea to fully enjoy a laid-back country life until my ultimate sponsor, Demon King Pedonar, started looking after me, but the first demon appearance would happen a year later from now.
It was too slow, humanly speaking, so I decided to step up myself.
“You’ll find out if you come along.”
Now, it was time to really prepare to graduate.
I really did all kinds of things in the 1st Playthrough, such as finding a pet cat lost in a forest by a village girl, procuring a herb for an elderly man that lived alone, delivering a timid wuss’ love letter to his unrequited love… It didn’t pay and no one recognised me for it!
It was all about self-satisfaction. And even in this regard, only my companions had been happy about it while I only accumulated stress from having wasted precious time and faculty of mind.
It was different this time round in the 2nd Playthrough, however; I intended on choosing to do things that were certain achievements.
I had already succeeded halfway in this. Was it perhaps after I had cleansed the kingdom?
The natives of this fantasy world had begun to believe in the rumours regarding the Oblivion Dragon King subjugation, that the Hero who had been summoned for no more than half a month had hunted down one of the Five Disasters all by himself. I just needed to succeed in another fairly big event from now on.
“Sir Hero. Why did we come here?” Lanuvel, who had tagged along, asked randomly.
‘Isn’t the reason obvious no matter where a Hero goes?’
“To solve a problem.”
“Solve the Elf country? Are you going to conquer it or something?”
We were in a Magus Tower built in the heart of Elfheim. With Prince Nasus’ full cooperation, we were able to come to the Elf kingdom’s capital in an instant by using a spatial transfer magic circle.
The cities and villages inhabited by Elves were the very embodiment of fantasy, because whether it be their buildings, benches, pavements, furnitures, ornaments, castle walls… all of these were works of art. Water and Earth Elementals shaped clay into the desired forms, while Fire Elementals fired them like pottery. And this wasn’t all.
The majority of Elven houses had a huge windwheel attached to them—they were none other than windmills.
The feeble-bodied Elves were weak in physical labor without gender distinction, and that was why they mainly used their windmills to draw water or mill grain. It was in this area that the Wind Elementals came into play.
“How rare of you, Lanuvel. Correct.”
“Gasp?! You’re really going to take over?! By yourself?!”
“Ssh! Lower your voice, you ninny.”
“…” Lanuvel covered her mouth with both hands as she nodded.
How had I kept this kind of airhead around me for so long in the 1st Playthrough? I truly even felt respect for the me then.
At that moment, Elves in fancy attire approached us. There was a familiar face among them as well.
“Welcome! Sir Hero, it is good that you have come to Elfheim!”
Prince Nasus welcomed us with a bright smile.
I returned the favor with a smiling face as well.
“Thank you for permitting us entry, Nasus.”
I would have been very much upset if he hadn’t.
“Not at all. Now! Let us go forth. I have prepared a welcome banquet for Sir Hero. I shall escort you myself.”
“You don’t need to go so far…”
“You don’t have to refuse. It is my great honor to receive a distinguished guest.”
Hm. A prince I just couldn’t dislike!
Some would say that bribery and flattery is bad, but material sincerity is the best method of expression.
A formless heart can’t be believed in. Trust is born from material exchange. Crops don’t grow with love alone, no? Good fertilizer, insecticide, greenhouse and so on are needed.
On that note:
“I look forward to the banquet.”
Prince Nasus had shown adequate sincerity. He was a hundred times better than Princess Sylvia who had, despite me killing this kind of brother and setting her on the throne in the 1st Playthrough, given me nothing but lip-service for my efforts.
We made our way to where the banquet was being held.
The main diet of Elves were grain and fruits. This wasn’t because Elves were noble or pacifists—when animals were killed or the leaves of plants were torn, the Heart Elementals would be enraged by their ‘pain’ and ‘fear’. As a result, the Elves’ food culture and habits became concentrated in one area.
“Sylvia liked to cook and eat the fish she personally caught, and that’s why she often angered the Elementals. I worried about who would take that troublemaker’s hand in marriage. Though, now I can no longer even worry for her…”
“Ahh, I see.”
I casually went along with Nasus’ words.
The future Elf Queen Sylvia. I had spent a whole 9 years traveling together with her in the past. I had long known that woman to an avid lover of meat, unlike an Elf. Perhaps that was why she was violent?
The dishes in the banquet were mainly comprised of a combination of bread and fruits. The taste was mostly excellent. It was clear to see that as much as they gave up on fresh-tasting materials like meat and fish, they had experimented on bringing out flavor in other areas. Vegetables such as tomatoes, chilli and paprika were used here and there too. So these greens were acceptable?
“Sir Hero. You seem to have become strong,” said Nasus with a meaningful smile. He was a sharp one as ever.
“Haha! I can only marvel at Sir Hero’s capacity, being able to take down Oblivion Dragon King Noebius with with just ‘a bit’! Now! Please accept a glass. It is a drink made from a fruit that ripens once every century.”
The banquet continued in this manner.
However, my eyes were always chasing the Status of the Elves nearby. Among them, my attention was fixed on the movements of a certain female knight.
She was the aide of mid-boss Nasus, the 3rd strongest individual in all of Elheim. She had played a crucial part in the success of in Prince Nasus’ rebellion. While the strongest in the kingdom was by far the Elf King, he would be helpless if the 2nd and 3rd strongest were to attack at the same time.
The female knight looked to be in her early twenties, but she was a respected instructor and knight who was the oldest among her race excluding the eternally living royalty, a hybrid who was capable in all aspects. She was extremely proficient in using the right skill for the right situation, and the synergy of her Knight Job and Fortitude(S) was truly nightmarish. She had overwhelmed the entire Hero party by herself at one time—though in the end, she did succumb before the cowardly power of friendship!
Her name was Elf A as I recalled it.
“Eiris. She is my most trusted aide. Being inflexible is her shortcoming, but she knows better than anybody else about the strength of humans.”
Eiris. I felt like she did have a name like that. Prince Nasus, who had an extraordinarily quick perception, immediately called over Eiris and introduced her to me.
She had transcended the lifespan of an Elf despite not being royalty. It was the power of the training she underwent, and her high Level and Skills. Even with their anti-aging, Elves would look like they were in their middle thirties when they neared the end of their years, yet she was maintaining the sweet appearance of someone in their twenties. And in particular…
“Sir Hero. Does my chest bother you?”
“Mm… a bit?”
It was too large, even for an Elf.
In the 1st Playthrough, I had wondered about this even while I was teetering on the edge of life facing her. The Elf was unlike an Elf.
Eiris responded as if it was nothing much, “My grandmother was a human. She saved my grandfather who was dying from the curse of a demon, and the two fell in love. Grandfather awfully doted on me until he passed away, said I resembled my grandmother very much. My chest in particular.”
“I see he was a gentleman.”
I even felt slight respect at that forwardness unlike an Elf.
“I think it a unique preference, though…”
The female knight gave a wry smile.
With this, however, one of the things I’d been wondering about was solved—the reason why the most respected knight of the Elf kingdom had betrayed her king and sided with the prince to help him rebel.
It was because Prince Nasus hoped for Elves and humans to unite. From Eiris’ standpoint, she had had no other choice.
We enjoyed the banquet for a long time, eating and drinking, and in this manner the banquet was nearing full swing, when…
The doors to the banquet hall opened violently, and a string of people entered. The youth at their lead shouted with a twisted look on his face, “Nasus! What is this about!”
There was no Elf that would casually call the first prince by his name—except for one person.
“We were in the middle of holding a welcoming banquet for Sir Hero, Father.”
The prince’s father. That is to say, the current Elf King.
I had no opportunity to meet him in the 1st Playthrough, since he had already died during the rebellion, and that was why I couldn’t see for myself how great a king he was, but…
‘Now, shall I have me a look at his Status?’
I was flabbergasted. If only looking at the pitiful Skills and their ranks while ignoring his race and Job, I would have thought him an Elf who had barely crossed over Level 999.
Still, he was the Elf King. He was someone whose Level alone at least was fantastically high.
‘Goodness! Who’d have known there was a mound of EXP even easier to take than a dragon whelp!’
The world was wide indeed. I was right to have chosen the Elf kingdom.
“Hero? He is a human, is he not!”
The atmosphere in the banquet hall went cold at the one line spoken by the Elf King.
This place was crowded with the confidants of Prince Nasus. They couldn’t help but react sensitively to the Elf King’s dismissive attitude towards humans. What’s more, the human in question was me—the great Hero who would save the world.
“Father. You are standing before Sir Hero.”
“Hmph! You think I would pay attention to the likes of a filthy human? Nasus. You should be the one snapping out of it. The humans are vermin that murdered your younger sister. Did you not also feel the fear and humiliation carved in that child’s remains through the Heart Elementals? Do you intend on taking the humans’ side despite this?!”
The Elf King jabbed his fingers in my direction, trembling.
‘Can I cut him down right now, I wonder?’
“My king. Sylvia’s death is not the fault of humans. It was merely the natural end of an antagonistic Elf who did not know that greatness is comparative. The fear and humiliation that child felt… it seems she woke up to reality before her death. As a brother, I am simply glad at the growth of my younger sibling.”
“You little! Nasus-!”
Losing his head, the Elf King began to summon Elementals.
And then his summoning was cancelled.
The guardian knights and attendants who had accompanied the king let out ear-piercing screams.
As for the Elf King, he looked down before saying, “What, what kind of nonsense is…”
The Elf King, his chest pierced through by Elemental Sword Endymion, heaved a mouthful of blood as he weakly collapsed.
Level was by no means omnipotent. Not only that, it was more closer to a supplement which augmented Skills, and that was why it was useless no matter how high your Level was if your Skills were poor. Furthermore, your defense would become vulnerable if your Skills were focused on offense. The Level 800 or so Elf archer and tamer I previously killed were good examples.
Me, on the other hand?
My high rank skills were greatly faithful to the fundamentals. I wouldn’t even break a sweat killing an Elf who was as good as a corpse without Elementals.
Everyone was staring at me.
Their eyes were sparkling as if hoping for the great Hero, yours truly, to say something, and so I decided to take out my ultimate killing technique from the 1st Playthrough. I had used it often as it had an extremely high success rate. The expression and tone was crucial.
“Dearie me! My hand slipped. Sorry!”
I had golden hands that could even take down companions with two slip ups.
My skills were an accident too.