My achievement work progressed smoothly. As I found it bothersome to go around killing demons one by one, I dispersed deadly venom over the entire territory of the Demon King which was located southernmost in the middle continent. Although there would be some loss of EXP, my Level had come too far for small increments to count anymore. Rivers, lakes, the sky and so on quickly became contaminated.
All the living creatures in the region collapsed feebly.
While it was far lacking compared to Oblivion Dragon King Noebius’ dragonbreath, my antibodies had created a new poison in the manner of fighting fire with fire. Its strong point was that it was colorless and odorless. It was a poison made for the timid Hero who wants to kill some bastard no matter what, but hesitates because of reputation and potential controversy. It was extremely effective against demons too.
‘Ah! Professor Morals. It’s only natural to not know. It’s so perfect that there’s nothing to point out, right?’
For the officer-level demons who endured the deadly poison, I carried out the service of going to them myself. There were no obstructions because I had personally studied their hideouts, weaknesses, characteristics, the method to defeat them and so on in the 1st Playthrough. Now, all that awaited me was the battle against Demon King Pedonar.
I felt new sentiments, the reason being that, in the 1st Playthrough, I had marched towards the Demon King’s stronghold in an inefficient way while humoring my bothersome companions. They had held parties every other day, for some reason, when all they did was lynch the Demon King… But there was no need to do so in this 2nd Playthrough.
The demons of the middle continent who were helplessly done in by the poison I had dispersed received a blow that drove them close to extinction. It would be difficult for them to make a comeback in the future, let alone invade humanity. This result was a stark contrast to the deeds of past heroes who had at most organized troops to barely defeat the Demon King alone. I was guaranteed to get an S-grade for achievement and reputation.
‘Professor Morals! That’s the main point, though?!’
‘Yes! She wasn’t to my liking!’
At present, I was strong to the point of not needing to be careful around others. If I had truly favored the princess, I would have already pushed her down to call dibs. Why the hell else would I have given her away? I simply didn’t think much of her.
Even those countryside gals in Korea were less boorish than that exalted princess. Still, she had a nice body so one night might have been alright? But the bunch called princesses were quite strict regarding purity and chastity. One wrong move and you could be caught by the nose. That would be troublesome.
‘Not at all.’
‘Yes yes. Thank you. So how many points did I get?’
‘Thank you for your hard work too, Professor Morals!’
I looked back on the things that happened in this 2nd Playthrough. Combat ability, achievement, reputation, character. Although there were several dangerous situations that occurred outside my expectations and plans, because I had prudently handled those cases with swift improvisation, I was confident that I lacked not a single thing in those four grading categories.
“Yes, Sir Hero.”
Lanuvel, who was in charge of spreading the news of my deeds far and wide, replied in a nervous tone. Perhaps she had grown on me, but I decided to give her some words of blessing at least since the end was near.
“You worked hard during this time too.”
“You’re a weird chick who blindly flirts with the Hero, but thanks to that I wasn’t bored throughout the journey. Meet a bachelor of a rich household who can cope with your spending and give birth to a child that doesn’t look like you, and live happily.”
“It feels like I’m being insulted in a roundabout way?!” protested Lanuvel.
This girl was noisy even when given some good words.
“You’re imagining it. I’m going alone from here on. I won’t let you off if you end up dead by needlessly peeping in to cheer me on and leave a scar on my record.”
‘I’m going to strip you bare and hang you on the wall as decoration if that happens.’
“Aww… Take care, Sir Hero.”
I slowly walked through the empty corridor. In the 1st Playthrough, the Demon King’s castle was full of the flesh and bone of humans and demons, but the current atmosphere was calm—the castle’s residents had all evacuated. Each and every one of the demons had run away to avoid the poison I dispersed throughout the territory. Only the Demon King was stubbornly defending his throne. It was a truly favorable situation.
The corridor was like a highway that was as clear as my heart—no one stood in my way. A huge sacrifice was made to break through this barrier in the 1st Playthrough. The heroes who had gathered from all over Fantasia’s continents, leaving behind their families, had burned themselves out for the Hero’s last battle. I had felt a prick to my conscience every time one of them fell.
‘My weakness is what caused that to happen.’
I did have an excuse for it, albeit poor. Those so-called companions of mine in the 1st Playthrough had constantly interfered in my growth, and caused trouble day in and day out. But oh how they loved to play despite all that… If I hadn’t had my time unnecessarily taken away back then, I would have grown strong far more quickly—just like now.
I had shouldered everything by myself. I didn’t ask for the life and sacrifice of complete strangers. There were no widows, no unfilial sons and daughters, nor orphans this time.
“… It’s perfect.”
My performance was more excellent in all aspects compared to how I did in the 1st Playthrough. While I did feel that my combat ability was lacking greatly, it wasn’t to the extent that I couldn’t defeat the Demon King.
Reputation, achievement, character. There was nothing that was of concern. The natives of this fantasy world were busy praising me even at this moment. It was thanks to Lanuvel, whom I had appointed as my promotional ambassador, diligently delivering news of my feats.
The examination was finished. There was no reason that I wouldn’t be able to graduate.
“Now… well then.”
Before me were large doors which had the same design as they did in the 1st Playthrough. Beyond these doors, Demon King Pedonar was waiting for me, the Hero.
I grew excited in my heart once again. I had shortened 10 years journeying and made it here again. I had also played to the tune of that suspicious bunch called teaching staff for the sake of returning to Earth. I was confident that I had truly done my best.
At this moment, I gave a hard kick at the sole obstacle standing in my way.
“Ahem! Don’t you know to even knock? A hero without etiquette, I see.”
My biggest sponsor, Demon King Pedonar , was composed even though his subordinates were wiped out. No, it was beyond composure; he was even enjoying himself leisurely. An event which I hadn’t witnessed in the 1st Playthrough was currently in full swing.
“D-, don’t stare so hard…” a naked Elf implored me in a tiny voice.
… Perhaps Elf males are ridiculously incompetent? The females of this race were either making hot love with a member of another race or caught by them, sometimes both, on every other occasion.
I looked at the Status of the Elf before me and became convinced of it.
Her Job was Queen. She was without a doubt the Elf King’s wife who was kidnapped by demons; however, I couldn’t find a trace of her being restrained or beaten on her body. Her posture of hugging the Demon King’s neck with both arms was also far from being forced. There was no signs of brainwashing or drugs in her Status either. It was a very ordinary relationship.
Princess Sylvia had said to me “My mother was cruelly murdered by the demons!” in the 1st Playthrough, but it seemed that that was a speculation on her part.
The truth was truly cruel indeed.
After tidying his disheveled clothes, the Demon King attempted to turn around the atmosphere as he coughed dryly in an exaggerated manner.
“Well, I understand your feelings, Sir Demon King.”
I smirked as I responded to his cough in a way only gentlemen could understand. It must be dreary waiting for the Hero to come while sitting all day long on the throne. It was natural for even the Demon King to have one or two hobbies. Hobbies deserved to be respected.
“Oh hero of legend. Humanly speaking, aren’t you too fast?”
Demon King Pedonar, who had quietly sent out the Elf queen with a face full of regret, blamed me with an amazed tone.
What was wrong with being fast? I couldn’t tell the Demon King’s real intention.
“I’m human to begin with, though?”
I had merely acted as a human would have done. There is a unique culture in Korea of Earth; inquiring the wellbeing of someone’s parents when they are being frustrating. This punk, that punk… (TN: Specifically, it’s called 패드립(roman: paedrip) and literally means immoral(or family) joke. It’s a crude way of insulting another by including their family members in a nasty joke. It’s generally frowned upon.)
You had to move speedily if you wanted to be a dutiful son or daughter. Doing this much was a given since I had even gone back in time.
“Oh Hero. It has only been a month since you were summoned, if I remember.”
“22 days to be exact.”
“Oh Hero! The heroes of past times harbored dreams and hopes with the companions they shared bitter and sweet times with, and stood before me at the end of their adventure. They had shone with brilliance! But not only do you not have companions, you are trying to challenge me without even the Holy Sword. Why is that?”
“What an idiotic question.”
The Demon King should already know the answer.
“Because I think I can best you even without companions or the Holy Sword, yeah?”
It was truly magnificent… when ignoring that retarded Job, that is. He was capable of chewing up all the continents of Fantasia by himself, yet that Job was the only thing holding him back.
He would receive a Level penalty when fighting against a hero. The reduction of Level meant a drop in the effect of all his Skills. No matter how high ranked your Skills, the overall efficiency would fall with a low Level.
That was the reason why the Hero was the hope of humanity. It wasn’t possible to defeat Demon King Pedonar with standard tactics. How would you possibly defeat a monster armed with the highest Level in this fantasy world, SSS-rank Evil Miasma and other SS-rank Skills?
There were many strong individuals in Fantasia’s continents if you searched hard. Like how the terrible Five Disasters existed, there were also numerous powerful guardians who protected humanity. These guardians never meddled in worldly affairs, saving their strength while keeping an eye on nothing else but the activities of Demon King Pedonar like stalkers. They were stronger than I was in my prime—but they weren’t capable of winning against the ‘First Demon’.
“Haha! Oh Hero, you are truly arrogant!”
Laughing wryly and standing up from his throne, Demon King Pedonar taunted me with a beckoning finger.
Was it because I, the Hero, didn’t have the Holy Sword? The Demon King didn’t draw the Demon Sword hanging by his waist but instead left it as an ornament. It was plain to see he was looking down on me.
“Then, I won’t stand on ceremony.”
I drew Elemental Sword Endymion.
A horrifying wail echoed from the sword’s blade as it vibrated. Contained inside it were numerous Heart Elementals that were corrupted by the resentment of those countless demons I slaughtered until now. I had a hard time taming them as they were severely defiant.
“Oh Hero, what is the name of that Demon Sword? It is my first time witnessing such vigorous energy.”
“It’s Elemental Sword Endymion.”
Demon King Pedonar was shocked speechless. Now that was a rewarding sight to see!
“My cute partner. You’re ready, right?”
‘Let’s show that arrogant and presumptuous Demon King our fantastic combination!’
Demon King Pedonar, whose Level had dropped sharply, wasn’t my match. I won as easily as twisting the wrist of a young child. Not metaphorically, but literally.
The Demon King cried out for the last time and toppled down—he was beheaded after just three exchanges of blows since the fight began.
A final showdown that was almost too disappointing. The Demon King had panicked, unable to get used to his drastically reduced Level, and fell without even having the chance to even adjust. This… was outside my expectations.
“Haha! So that’s how it was! I see it now. The Demon King’s penalty! It drops his Level to match the Hero!”
I could tell after having fought him twice.
If the Hero was Level 1, then the Demon King would also be Level 1.
If the Hero was Level 30, the Demon King would also be Level 30.
If the Hero was Level 5000, the Demon King would also be Level 5000.
What a spectacular Job penalty it was.
This was the reason. Why the Demon King had helped me grow stronger against his will—possessing numerous Skills of high rank, the Demon King would hold a greater advantage in proportion to how high the Hero’s Level became, while the opposite would put him at a huge disadvantage.
“Peh! I suffered like a dog for nothing. What a trashy adventure, really…”
‘Yes! It was an extremely rewarding adventure! I’ll continue working hard even after returning to Earth!’
It was the same speech given in the 1st Playthrough. Although I wanted to point out that the speaker was too insincere, I silently waited for the result as that might end up losing me marks.
This was the moment of truth.
“Come on, pleeease…!”