We went around sweeping up EXP. While following the likely path to Ullullu’s destination, we were passing through every and all hunting grounds nearby. Although it would have been best to fly over in one breath, like the time we visited the village where Master Mollang resided in, but there was no choice but to search every nook and cranny as I didn’t know the exact location.
“Sir Hero~. Is this fine?”
Standing up like a self-righting doll, Lanuvel expressed her discontent with pursed lips.
“Us going over of our own accord and carrying out a one-sided slaughter. The heroes of old only taught a lesson to monsters and villains who did wrong.”
“That’s why the world is in this state.”
“The heroes of old were hypocrites. They waited until they got a request for help after people died or got injured before saving them. You can tell just looking at Sieg.”
Upon being called, those heroes would go truly anywhere, and help out for free.
If you only considered this point, it was really unstinting free service, but from a rational perspective, you could tell it meant they would never take the initiative unless somebody called. Be it a case of murder or plunder, they would only solve the issue after the harm was done, not even thinking to prevent it in advance. But it did seem good for building up reputation.
“Lanuvel, your opinion also has a point to it.”
“Right. How many top-level monsters have we killed already, and yet the people don’t notice at all.”
We suffered through it all and didn’t receive any sort of reward. In contrast to the fame of Sieg’s party, which had been inching up in the past two months, we had massacred threats thousands of times greater than what they had faced and yet were still walking in place. Was it a lack of know-how? This needed some improvement.
“Eh… your words feel right, and also seem wrong…”
Lanuvel tilted her head acting cute. I was about to point that out to her, but came to a pause.
“Stop. 4 trolls in the front.”
Trolls. On Earth, they were monsters that appeared in myths of North Europe and legends of Scandinavia and Scotland. They were differently depicted in each story, but the trolls of Fantasia were 3-meter tall hideous Elves who were called ‘vicious fiends’. Their distinctive features were their hooked noses, sharp ears and their long, thick arms.
The scariness of trolls didn’t lie in their external looks, however—it was their fantastical ability to survive, not dying until losing their heart even if their head were cut off. Their regenerative abilities were also extremely superior, so even severed body parts would recover in no time. And more than anything, they were vicious.
Also known as, child swapping. Trolls openly targeted human infants and children below the age of 5. They would even quietly sneak into villages and cities like thieves… and eat them. The reason behind this was that they grew another heart and became stronger each time they ate a child.
I had slain every troll I encountered to date, but I gained second thoughts after seeing Sieg’s party’s dirty and despicable method of building up reputation. Those trolls hadn’t yet done anything. Perhaps I should deal with them after they committed some deed?
The troll’s unique skill ‘Heart’ was F-rank. This meant it only had one heart, thus highly likely to be a troll that had only recently been born in nature. The Status of the other 3 trolls were similar.
Ah! We were noticed.
Upon discovering us, they furtively ran away. They would have doggedly attacked us had we been moderately strong, but they couldn’t even manage the very thought when the disparity in strength was this clear. It was the might of my Level 751.
“Sir Hero~! The trolls are running away!” Lanuvel babbled, anxiously stamping her feet.
“Just ignore them this time. There’s no proof that they attacked humans, right? Let’s try imitating Sieg’s non-violence.”
I decided to observe the trolls. Letting those ripe EXP just go? While this didn’t suit my nature, for now I became set on holding back for the sake of graduating.
At that moment…
Saintess A called me to a stop. During the past half month, I had treated her like air as I had no need for healing or resurrection. Saintess A had also ignored me in turn and only looked after Aqua. What could be the sudden change of heart, though?
“I have come to know sickeningly well the truth that you are strong since the Ullullu incident at the Lake of Sad Songs, yet why are you fixated on the weak and absent-minded Sir Sieg?”
Saintess A spoke harsh words in a place where the person in subject wasn’t present. Perhaps Sieg would have hung himself to death if he heard her evaluation.
Certainly, Saintess A’s suspicion was proper. The absolute majority of this world’s natives, who didn’t know of the ‘teaching staff’ and ‘graduation system’, could only feel that way. Taking down the Demon King wasn’t the end of the story.
I also wanted to argue.
“Then I’ll ask in return. What is Sieg’s strong point from what you saw?”
“… What is it?”
“Don’t pester me! I’m in the middle of thinking!”
Saintess A scolded me in a rare tone mixed with irritation. It seemed I had asked too difficult a question.
“Sir Sieg’s strong point. It’s hope.”
Saintess A knew of a hero’s perk—EXP 500%—but she didn’t know that the penalty suffered by the Demon King was tremendous. Like the Saintess A of the 1st Playthrough, she only knew that ‘the Demon King is vulnerable against the Hero’. Therefore, the hero was hope to defeating the Demon King. It was the answer I expected so far.
“… Mm? None?”
“Yes, none. A hero is a hero. If looking at him without the job of hero, Sir Sieg would merely be a 17-year-old male who hankers after women. But he is special because he is a hero…”
Upon hearing Saintess A’s explanation, I felt even more suspicious regarding the teaching staff’s objective. I also thought Sieg was ordinary, despite his somewhat unique hobbies.
“… is what I always thought until now. But when I keep looking at you, I earnestly feel that even if a chosen hero’s character and common sense is lacking, they have to be a normal person.”
“Kegh! What about me?”
“Normal people don’t kill mermaids…”
We chased after the 4 trolls while sharing this murmured conversation. And then an opportunity came.
“Trolls are attacking!”
“Holy! There are even 4 of them!”
The trolls attacked a noble’s carriage which was passing through a mountain path. The escorting knights and soldiers were maintaining an iron-tight defense, but the trolls believed in their regenerative abilities and proceeded to charge, each one of them with the same objective.
“They’re targeting the carriage!”
“Defend it! No matter the means!”
“Stop them with shiel—kargh?!”
The trolls took on the blades of the humans surrounding the carriage with their bare bodies as they pressed forward. Although they took significant damage, one of the trolls finally made it to the carriage.
The door of the carriage made from sturdy wood was ripped off by the troll’s huge hand. The trolls’ goal wasn’t to massacre the humans.
A female’s scream rang out from inside the carriage. Held in the embrace of the noblewoman who wore a pure green dress was a small life.
“N-no! Eat me instead…!”
The objective of the troll which broke the carriage wasn’t the woman. It didn’t even pretend to listen to the pleading of the woman trying to sacrifice herself.
The aim of the troll?
The newborn baby being held by the woman. This was the reason trolls were reputed as vicious.
‘Mhm, that’s far enough.’
I lightly struck the troll’s back with a knife-hand.
The battle ended with that alone. Troll heart or not, the troll whose body was struck flat died instantly. The rest of the 3 trolls hanging about over there were dealt with by Aqua and Lanuvel. The matter came to an end with Saintess A healing the injured. It was a clean battle.
“Thank you for saving us. Thank you, truly!”
The noblewoman repeatedly expressed her gratitude while holding the child in her arms. I exhibited the etiquette I had polished over 10 years.
“It’s a relief that you’re fine. I am a hero, and those over there are muppets.”
“Ah! So you were an esteemed hero. Uh…”
“I am very sorry.”
“While I wish to accompany to you to your destination, it’s not that I feel it a waaaste of time, but I have a matter of utmost urgency. But do not be too disappointed! My subordinates will safely protect everyone to your journey’s end.”
Sieg’s free service was much too inefficient. I intended on using every means at disposal.
Not long had passed before the loud sounds of marching could be here, followed by the arrival of my reinforcements—the Dark Knight Order. I had used them to fill the empty space left by the palace knight order, while deploying the leftover forces to subjugate and convert the demon worshipers in the surrounding nations. They were quite the useful muppets.
“Gasp! Those are Fel-Humans…!”
“Why are those servants of demons…”
The knights and soldiers guarding the carriage were shocked. It must have been due to the sight of the protrusions on the heads of the light-armored Dark Knight Order. It was as they assumed.
A human tainted by Dark Energy—a Fel-Human. They were the upgraded version of Porter from the 2nd Playthrough. There were 10 men in the Dark Knight Order 1st Platoon I had called this time. Their individual combat abilities were already at the level of easily dicing apart low-class demons. If they combined their strength, they could even eliminate a middle-class demon. A hundred trolls could come charging at them to no avail. Truthfully, it was an excessive force to use for the likes of escorting a carriage.
“Please give the command, great hero.”
But I took a service mind-set. It would be troubling to hear people saying later on, “The way Sir Hero wrapped up the matter was unsatisfactory,” after doing my best to save them. Nothing was more irritating than being served insult even after giving help, which was why I decided to do it with certainty.
“Escort these people to their destination.”
“I heed your command.”
I gave a gentle smile at the noblewoman, who was completely nervous. This was something I had confidence in.
“You may rest at ease until your journey’s end.”
“Y-you needn’t help us! O great hero!”
This was why nobles were tiring to face. They would always play hard to get once to exhibit that dissatisfying manner of theirs, being troublesome.
“Madam, don’t refuse.”
“Heek?! Yes! I’m sorry! I’ll accept the escort with delight!”
“Don’t be afraid. The trolls have all died.”
I had thought the woman had quite the willpower when she was protecting the babe in front of the hideous troll, but I must have seen wrong.
Having finished tending to the wounded and making repairs, the carriage soon set off. 10 Dark Knights escorted the carriage as if surrounding it, just like wolves herding young lambs.
“I never knew Sir Hero even commands the obedience of Fel-Humans. It’s not like there’s no similar precedent at all, but…” Saintess A left her words hanging with a troubled expression.
I ignored and stole a glance up at the sky. The sun was about to set.
“While it’s certain that Sieg’s despicable method of only helping those in crisis has effect, it takes too much time. We would have been delayed even more if we did the escorting instead of leaving it to the muppets.”
That would have made it difficult.
We were currently travelling in the direction where Ullullu had charged towards. While I still didn’t know the final destination of that catfish, wouldn’t some hidden ruins or labyrinth or something come out if we kept advancing? No place came to mind according to my 1st Playthrough knowledge, and Archaeologist Lanuvel seemed not to know either.
‘I have to hurry this up.’
A hunch was telling me that I had to reach that place before Professor Morals caught on. However, I would end up noticed if I openly headed over like this. It was necessary to keep showing that I was putting in effort to graduate, and this was the actual purpose behind the journey this time. Otherwise…
… would I be so mad as to keep raising this fish-tart? The recovery of her Level was completed ages ago, covering interest to boot.
But I laughed out loud.
“Yes, Aqua. For starters, get those shameless mits of yours off my clothes will you. Before I cut them off.”
I decided to make a small upgrade to Sieg’s method. It was inconvenient to wait for somebody to fall in danger, so it was time to create a crisis.
I took in a deep breath, and powerfully spat it out.
I mimicked the roar of my dear companion, Oblivion Dragon King Noebius. If I were merely making noise, then it would have just smeared disgrace on the Five Disasters’ name.
Chaos(SS)! Destruction(SS)! Oblivion(SS)!
I roared my heart out, and then there was a response.
All the monsters living in this whole area began to flee. Consumed by primal fear, they blindly ran to distance themselves from the source of the roar.
Thump, thump, thump-
The earth, trampled by the monsters, rumbled unceasingly. The trees of the forest toppled down one after another like dominoes.
“Euh… Uh, Sir Hero. What did you do~?”
The three women who had taken my booming roar from right beside me were swooning. Lanuvel, who had recovered her senses the quickest among them, questioned me. It was a very good question.
I flashed a grin and replied using technical terms, “I sneezed a little strongly because of my reputation allergic nasal inflammation.”
“It’s fine if you don’t know.”
‘Now then, let’s go off to save some cities fallen in a pinch!’