The demons’ chain of command was extremely simple and clear: the one with greater Dark Energy was the superior, no questions asked. My Dark Energy was currently SS-rank and thus, excluding Demon King Pedonar who confined himself to his throne, the only ones who could compete were Archduke A and Prince 1; however, these two would show no activity for the next 5 years at the least, so I was essentially the second in command.
At present, the people of this fantasy world believed it was a time of peace without war, but it had long been since countless demons had set down their roots deeply across the 5 continents. There was only one reason they had been laying quiet until now—the guardian of humanity. They engaged in secret maneuvers only because they feared this existence. In other words, they could move in the shadows however much they pleased.
“They say Sir Hero Hanssoo is amazing!”
“What did that person do?”
“They say he’s amazing despite not knowing why!”
“I-I see! Amazing!”
… In this way the public sentiment across the continents was wholly changed. If decoys and wandering bards diligently instigated the public in this world where communication and exchange of information wasn’t easy, then lies would turn to truths. My reputation infinitely soared upwards! Furthermore…
“The flood from back then was apparently caused by Sieg.”
“Not Hanssoo? Tell me in detail.”
“I don’t know the specifics either. They say that’s how it is.”
Keeping your competitor in check was a given.
“I hear Hero Sieg fools around with women all day long!”
“I saw it too, how he was flirting with them on the streets.”
“In contrast, Sir Hero Hanssoo is dignified!”
“That’s right. He even mercilessly kicks the butt of a beauty!”
Sieg was branded as a prodigal casanova, whereas I was advertised as a hero of steel who was never shaken by women. While I felt slightly sorry towards Sieg who had yet to graduate from cherry boy status, the world of competition was cruel by nature. I wouldn’t show mercy!
“Sir Hero, you look like you having the time of your life, even letting me cross arms with you like this~𝅘𝅥𝅮”
Aqua rubbed her sensual body against me wearing a broad smile.
“My mood’s good, oh yes.”
My journey had gained momentum since the cold war of intelligence began. My luck was very good, what with one thing and another—I hadn’t at all chanced upon voices calling for rescue originating from some merchant caravan or carriage. They were all just imaginations.
Hero A and muppets continued to advance straight. One day passed, ten days, half a month, a month… We idly walked in the direction that Ullullu had blindly tried to go in. We didn’t see anything like people being chased by monsters, and then at last we arrived at our destination.
“Hah! To think it was inside the ocean.”
It was natural that I didn’t even know of its existence in the 1st Playthrough. A hero was no fish, and the Demon King was no fish either, which was why in my 10 years during the 1st Playthrough, the number of times I entered the ocean was so few as to be counted on a hand. While I had often gotten on boats in order to cross over to another continent, I had only boarded a ghost ship and adventured to an underwater temple and seafloor cavern once respectively.
There was one legend regarding this ocean, a story only the local fishermen knew of.
“Sir Hero, do you think a peerless beauty really lives at the bottom of this ocean?”
Lanuvel was half in doubt, tilting her head to the side.
Being in an ill-temper, Saintess A put in her say, “It must be a groundless rumor, Archaeologist Lanuvel. A beautiful woman guarding the Holy Sword of legend? There is only one Holy Sword in the world. It is slumbering in the grave of the previous generation’s hero in the northern continent.”
The conversation had by the two summarized the legend. Apparently, the second Holy Sword lay before us.
“Even if we want to confirm the truth, the problem is how we’ll find it in this boundless ocean…”
“Sir Hero, should I dive in and check~?” Aqua said while undressing. This darned idiotic fish-tart had simply needed a justified excuse to take off her stifling leather outfit. A fish that had met water she was, literally.
“You’re a freshwater mermaid. Do you want to become salted mermaid chow? Ah! I am curious as to how that’ll taste, though.”
“It’ll be fine if it’s just for a while~”
It was right at that moment.
I faintly heard Ullullu’s cries mixed in the sound of the ocean waves. That Chaos Titan had turned into EXP and become eternally part of me, so those cries couldn’t have been made by Ullullu himself. Someone within that ocean seemed to have sensed Ullullu’s power. Perhaps that was why they were calling out so sorrowfully.
“Hmm… What to do about this…?”
It wasn’t like I could answer back, saying that catfish had already entered my belly. But while I was pondering upon this issue, a crimson light suddenly flashed from within the ocean. It was as if telling me “here I am”.
“… Really. If I’m being called, then go I must. The rest of you are to wait at the fishing village which told us of the legend. I’ll kill you if you follow.”
The Holy Sword said to be guarded by a peerless beauty… Shall I have a taste then?
My Skills were only comprised of what I had obtained in the 2nd Playthrough. As there had been no need to go inside a lake, let alone an ocean, I wasn’t able to learn swimming type auxiliary Skills. That didn’t matter, however.
“Breathing underwater is simple.”
All you had to do was make a respiratory organ similar to the gills of fishes. While I wanted to be reborn as a perfect lifeform without need for breathing like Master Mollang, I still needed more research and materials. Nevertheless, breathing underwater was still a simple feat. I took reference of mermaid princess Aqua’s lungs.
Afterwards, I slowly swum downwards, towards where the crimson light had flashed. However, like how suspicious or hidden secret location always had obstacles, this area didn’t allow easy entry for uninvited outsiders either. An obstructor? A watchman, perhaps it should be called.
A boss monster that was on another league starting from its race appeared. Aqua was called a mermaid princess, but it wasn’t as if she possessed some special power. She was only a princess as far as mermaid society was concerned. This boss over here, however, was genuine royalty from birth.
“Hero of the present world, I ask you to leave.”
The ocean water vibrated as a beautiful wave of sound rang in the drums of my ears. The other party was a sea mermaid who, from the tip of her hair to the end of her tail, strongly gave off the air of a noble princess. The elegant curves of her body dazzled my eyes. How tasty she looked indeed. However…
“What’ll you do if I say I’ll pass?”
I gave a wicked laugh along with this question. If Sieg had encountered this mermaid, he would have lost a hundred times out of a hundred fights, but to me she was merely a laughable fish for the taking.
The mermaid smiled sweetly as she answered, “That wish is unfortunately impossible to fulfill, because you won’t remember a thing. The hero who wakes up on the oceanside will once again set off on a beautiful adventure. Lalala~♬”
I heard singing, a voice sweet like a lullaby.
“Expensive fishy, what was it about my memory again?”
“Lala~ ♬ La—kyagh?!”
I kicked at the water and sprung forwards, grabbed the mermaid by the hair and, holding it in place, rammed my knee into her pretty face.
I had intended on overpowering her in one blow, but failed due to the mermaid’s Guardian Job and SS-rank Protect Skill. The damage reduction was at an outrageous level. That being the case…
Wham! Wham! Wham!
All I had to do was keep ramming my knee until she fainted.
The mermaid’s flailing arms and tail went limp. Her face, which had become bloodied as her previously even front teeth and high nose were all broken, was truly to my liking. What was that about my memory? An arrogant fish-head deserved punishment.
“Seeing how she said something about my memory though, it seems I did find my way correctly.”
Couldn’t I have discovered a place like this even during the 1st Playthrough? Seeing as I had traveled about everywhere across the continents for 10 whole years. What if it was merely that I didn’t remember? The 3rd Playthrough me was different, however.
The mermaid’s singing was easily blocked by the F-rank effect of Black-Box.
“Does the second Holy Sword really exist…?”
I didn’t kill the mermaid right away but instead dragged her along. Troublesome though it was, some parts of secret locations were well hidden so to make entry difficult for those aside from its guardian. Or it might not be.
The coral reefs which had been blocking the way forward like the iron bars of a prison opened up a path.
Bingo! It seemed they really reacted to the guardian.
The place which Ullullu had so anxiously tried to reach revealed itself.
“Pretty fishy, thanks for guiding me.”
As expression of my gratitude, I cleanly broke the mermaid’s neck. After making certain the guardian had died by the obtained EXP, I leisurely looked at my surroundings.
This place was the humble abode of a mermaid. Lined up within the house were furniture and household items made of shells, corals and the like which could be found in the ocean, and the occasional items which were procured from above the surface. I paid attention to the items which had come from land.
“They’re really old.”
These items were antiques which may as well originate from ancient ruins. It was surprising that the guardian used these things instead of throwing them away; it was evidence that the mermaid didn’t go to trade on land, instead only silently protecting this place. Didn’t she find it suffocating to see and maintain the same scenery and lifestyle? What was she protecting to go so far?
I went further inside the house.
It was definitely the sound I heard from the ocean. Slowly drawing near the sound, I discovered something in the shape of a person covered in seaweeds, corals and the like. It didn’t require effort to see what it was.
It was a mermaid of a peculiar race. Her aquamarine eyes, tranquil like a deep ocean, gave off an intellectual feeling, and her wave-like curvy hair of matching color was full of vitality. From her slender neck to her small shoulders, swelling breasts, slim waist and fascinating curves of her pelvis, she was in no way lacking to be called a work of art, but it was extremely regrettable that she had a tail in place of two legs. I didn’t often say words like these but…
“I want to dunk and keep her in formalin.”
I was also curious as to how she’d taste.
In any case…
One sword was accompanying the mermaid. The point of the sword was stuck in the tail. It seemed like the mermaid had done so herself, and she was in the pose of hugging the childishly heart(♡)-shaped hilt of the sword dearly close with both arms, as if it was her heart. I could tell from the moment I saw it.
“Another Holy Sword… the legend was true, huh…?”
It wasn’t the Holy Sword that was a golden bastard sword which I knew well. It was a crimson broadsword. Was it because of its deep red color that ran from its broad blade to its hilt? It gave off an ominous feeling closer to that of a demonic sword rather than a holy sword.
“The color’s just my style!”
I had adequately learnt the way to use a Holy Sword in the 1st Playthrough. I didn’t waste time admiring it. The guardian of this place was dead; there was no rule saying that someone who had noticed this unusual event wouldn’t appear to interfere. For example, Professor Morals?
The timing of his appearance was beautiful, but I was faster—my right hand had already been grasping the handle of the crimson Holy Sword. A hero and Holy Sword were a pair by nature. There was even no need to tame it like I had to for Elemental Sword Endymion.
Immediately after I felt as if something had penetrated into my soul, the Holy Sword which had been stuck in the mermaid’s tail vanished like it had been a mirage.
The Holy Sword hadn’t ceased to exist. It was in a sheathed state. The hero acted as the Holy Sword’s sheath.
‘Holy Sword’ was added to my Condition. A perfect anti-theft service!
I could summon the Holy Sword whenever if I focused my mind. It was nice because it was heavier than the original Holy Sword. I was already looking forward to how it fared in battle.
‘Professor Morals, don’t worry. I took down the Demon King just fine even without the Holy Sword.’
‘It was in self-defense, though? I almost had my memory wiped.’
‘Robbing and looting are the virtues of a hero. Even that dimwit Sieg ransacked a ruins that was off-limits.’
Professor Morals disappeared along with those words. If he became replaced, would another teacher come? If so, then it would be nice if the newcomer was a sensible fellow who didn’t preach.
This murmuring sound once again came from between the ripe lips of the mermaid who had the Holy Sword stolen by me. Perhaps she was friends with Ullullu? I wanted to believe that they weren’t lovers.
The tempting body of the beautiful mermaid turned into bubbles and melted away into the ocean water. Maybe I should have had a taste of her before drawing the Holy Sword? A slight regret remained inside me. In any case…
“This Holy Sword is defective…?”
Even though the way it fit my hand was first-rate. While I felt sorry for Elemental Sword Endymion, love and friendship would always come and go.
Holy Sword 2. I felt like we’d become one good team. My hunches had never failed me before.
Hero A obtained Holy Sword 2 and returned onto land. He immediately reunited with the muppets in the nearby fishing village. Perhaps something had happened, however, as there was a commotion going on in the village.
“Sir Hero! Sir Hero! It’s terrible! The Elf King, enraged upon seeing his daughter who was violated by humans, made a declaration of war!”
“They say Sieg is also with the Elves.”
Lanuvel and Saintess A babbled on with fretful faces. It seemed that Sieg had rescued Sylvia who had been sold to some perverted noble. But so what? They were kicking a fuss over something that really wasn’t much.
“Pipe down will you, before I cut you with my hot Holy Sword.”
Was this the so-called butterfly effect? I had left Sylvia to be sold to a perverted noble and within several months things had escalated to a war among races. Part of the responsibility lay with me as well, and so…
“Just trust in the hero, yours truly! I’ve got an excellent way to stop the war among races!”
Even palms needed to clap together to make a sound. If they didn’t meet, then there’d be no war either.
It was time to reap an SS-grade in achievement.