War is established when the opposing sides are of similar military force. When one side is overwhelmingly stronger, it wouldn’t be called a war—it would be called a slaughtering.
“Is he a demon?!”
The frail waists of the Elves, who were advancing towards the Dumpling Kingdom, were sliced apart like sheaves of straw in great masses… each fallen to a single sword strike. Eyes following the horizon could see the blood of thousands of Elves, whose torsos were separated from their lower bodies, spray out and kiss the cold earth.
Exterminating the violent Elves who threatened humanity! This was the best stage to raise my reputation. In addition…
“Holy Sword 2 is certainly different to Holy Sword 1.”
It was also a chance to test my new partner’s performance.
Holy Sword 1 had possessed an ultimate move, an offensive technique which grew in power the more companions there were nearby. By using that move, you could put up a good fight against even a powerful foe whom you would never be able to best normally by the ‘power of friendship’. It also had various other functions aside from that ultimate move; auto-defense, auto-attack, auto-vigil, auto-storage… it was the last boss of everything automatic in fantasy!
In contrast, the Holy Sword 2 I obtained was simple. The heart-shaped hilt of the sword would shine and enhance the hero’s Skills. It didn’t raise the rank of Skills, but improved some of their effects. Taking Massacre(SS) for example…
The area of damage which had been the size of a baseball field changed to the size of a skiing ground. I swung Holy Sword 2 three times and the Elf army was wiped out—what followed was a one-sided pursuit. As the Elves had all died in one blow, I couldn’t tell the degree of Massacre’s area damage amplification; however, it was certain to have easily went over the original 5%. No, it had to be even than that, since the effect of the other Skills were also enhanced. The synergy of the Skills multiplied several times over.
‘Partner, you’re quite to my liking, you know?’
“H-how could such a thing…”
I saw the violently trembling figure of the Elf King, surrounded by his aides. He seemed more furious at having suffered defeat by the hands of some human, rather than the vain deaths of his kin who had participated in the fight. The Elf King channeled that emotion and began to summon forth Elementals. Tens of them, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands…
This time it would be hard to kill him with the slip of a hand, but there wasn’t particularly a need to worry.
Because the enemy of an enemy is a friend.
“Kagh?! Nasus…! What are you doing…!”
“I am ending the war, Father.”
Prince Nasus stabbed the back of the Elf King using Elemental Sword Endymion. It was a clean blow which penetrated through the king’s spine all the way to his heart. Even the Elf King wouldn’t be able to survive this.
Thus the Elf King passed away in vain even in the 3rd Playthrough, following his death in the 2nd Playthrough. With that I could kiss goodbye to an SS-grade in achievement, but I had already accomplished enough. Victory in a war among races counted as an achievement, no?
Sylvia and Sieg’s screams rang out in succession. Was it just my imagination that the distance and atmosphere between the two were strangely like that of a couple?
“Elfheim will surrender.”
Nasus so declared after having killed the Elf King and usurped the right to the throne.
“Brother Nasus! How could you do that to Father…!”
“Sylvia, my incompetent little sister. Take a look at the surrounding. Countless of our kin have died because of a foolish king. As the legitimate heir to the crown, I will not tolerate any further sacrifice.”
“You have no right to become the Elf King!”
This tear-jerking dramatic exchange of back and forths continued for about 10 minutes. Despite Boyfriend Sieg stepping up to support Princess Sylvia, who was pushed back in terms of eloquence, this matter wasn’t a problem that could be solved with two idiots joining hands. In the end, victory was to be determined through barbaric strength!
However, the two sides didn’t even meet the requirements to establish a proper showdown, as Nasus was a mini-boss whom I acknowledged.
While he wasn’t a match for my present self, this prince possessed experiences in life that couldn’t be measured with Level and Skill alone. He was a true fighter who was on a different league from the Elf King, who wouldn’t lift a finger and instead entrust battles to Elementals. To show what the little sister who was challenging him was like…
While her Level was higher than it was the last time in the 2nd Playthrough, her Skill ranks had greatly fallen overall, which spoke volumes of the hardships she experienced. From my perspective, Sylvia looked like someone who wished to suicide.
And in reality as well, the fight between brother and sister ended in a dull manner; Nasus used Endymion to cut down the Elemental summoned by Sylvia and in the ensuing opening, drove forward to land an unrelenting punch in his little sister’s abdomen. It was a smooth series of movements performed within a single breath of time.
Eyes rolling backwards, Sylvia collapsed like a marionette that had its strings cut. Looking down at her, Nasus said, “I shan’t kill you, Sylvia, since I will have you go to the human kingdom to serve as the pledge of truce and alliance between our nations.”
Sieg attempted to save his girlfriend who was beaten in the blink of an eye; he let out a powerful cry as he charged forward. He was Suicide Candidate No.2…
… or so I had thought, but Sieg’s Condition was strange somehow.
Far away from me, a golden bastard sword was summoned forth into the hand of Sieg, who couldn’t have possibly traveled to and back from the northern continent. The sword was an antique work of art giving off a fantasy feel, which made for a contrast to my boorish heart-shaped Holy Sword 2. I called it…
“Why is Holy Sword 1 in Sieg’s hands…?”
… Holy Sword 1.
I wasn’t seeing wrong. There was no way I couldn’t know, as I had used it for several years in the 1st Playthrough. The real deal had appeared, and its performance also lived up to its name.
Clang, clang, clang, clang, clang…!
The mini-boss and Level 131 hero went head-to-head in a showdown on equal footing. Level, Skill, proficiency, experience, condition… the top-level swordsman who was superior in all aspects compared to the snot-nosed hero couldn’t fight well at all. Strictly arguing, Nasus was in the midst of fighting against Holy Sword 1’s automatic function—Sieg was no more than a scabbard being led about by Holy Sword 1.
“Sir Hero! Come on!”
“You have to win! Sir Hero!”
“I believe in Sir Sieg!”
“Sieg… you’ve got to win for sure…”
The archer, thief and priest belonging to Sieg’s harem cheered him on, and at the end even Sylvia, who had just regained consciousness, prayed for his victory in all earnesty. Friendship and love began to overflow.
The golden brilliance surrounding Holy Sword 1 suddenly intensified—its ultimate move was about to be unleashed.
Nasus was astonished. The hero’s Holy Sword 1 didn’t lose momentum even after breaking the blade of Endymion, one of the three hidden treasures of the Elf kingdom, and finally that golden brilliance managed to slash down Nasus’ chest. As somebody said, it was a ridiculous outcome.
Mini-Boss Nasus fell to his knees before Hero Sieg’s sword, before a mere Level 131 greenhorn. This was Holy Sword 1’s power. So far things had played out as I had predicted, but…
“Kang Han Soo! Even if we may be from the same home town, I can’t forgive you! To think that you slaughtered the Elves who love peace and nature! I will defeat you here!”
Sieg gesticulated at me as he spouted bullshit.
A dry laughter burst out of me.
“Is that what Alex, who died a dog’s death in your place, told you to do? To stand on the side of Elves, and attack humans and the kingdom.”
“Alex will also understand.”
“… That so?”
I unsummoned Holy Sword 2, and then leaped forwards.
The likes of Level 131 Hero Sieg, who was full of empty courage and falsehood, wasn’t capable of reacting to my movement, but Holy Sword 1’s auto-defense function ignored such limitations.
Holy Sword 1 moved Sieg’s arms of its own accord and blocked my incoming fist. It was infinitely laughable in my eyes.
“As I predicted, is it.”
Holy Sword 1’s movements were no different than how it was in the 1st Playthrough; swift, powerful and fluid. It was at the level of a genius swordsman who possessed an SS-rank Swordsmanship Skill. Automatic was just automatic in the end, however.
Holy Sword 1 moved itself towards Sieg’s right shoulder to block my fist. It was a marvelous move that took in consideration defense and even counter.
Knowing that technique well, I didn’t carry through my punch to the end but intentionally came to a sudden pause in the middle—this was my aim from the start—and then launched a kick.
Holy Sword 1 took actions to block my leg this time, and I once again stopped my attack in the middle.
In short, I continued to make a repeated show of attacking, but I carried out my movements in a furious flurry. The clownish sight of Sieg, who continued to be led about by Holy Sword 1’s gradually accelerating automatic battle, was better off not being seen. Was his plan to try and get his opponent to make a mistake out of laughter?
An interesting thing would happen if this entire process was repeated for several rounds.
Sieg cried out in a satisfying manner—I had pretended not to strike before carrying through with my punch, landing a blow on his head.
Holy Sword 1’s auto-defense hadn’t functioned properly; the automatic defense system had gone into disorder, tripped up by the very simple psychological warfare. I had realized this characteristic in the 1st Playthrough.
“Sieg. It’s comfortable since the weapon fights for you, right?”
Entrusting the work to others while taking victory and fame for yourself. Holy Sword 1 was so very attractive, but its flaw would be exposed in no time in just a few sparring sessions, and it wasn’t effective against truly powerful foes. Of course, there was a way to overcome this.
“You must win-!”
“Sieg! Come on!”
Love and friendship gathered around Sieg, and Holy Sword 1 once again began to shine brilliantly. Holy Sword 1 made Sieg, who had been knocked unconscious by a single blow of my fist, stand up like a self-righting doll and readied its ultimate move. It didn’t care for something like the scabbard’s(hero’s) will.
The women cheering Sieg on from the side were surely under the mistaken impression that Sieg had risen up again by his tenacity, and wouldn’t doubt his imminent victory either. The power of love and friendship… I knew of its might better than they did. However…
Sieg wasn’t the only one with a Holy Sword. While it was a question as to how Sieg had managed to obtain Holy Sword 1, which was slumbering in the northern continent, I wasn’t much different in that regard and so decided to just look past it.
The second Holy Sword… even the very existence of Holy Sword 2 wasn’t known to the world. Its design was also extremely boorish like some outdated item. It was, however, powerful.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!
Blood sprayed from the necks of the archer, thief, priest and the shaman, the women who had been cheering on Sieg, as their heads fell to the ground.
Slump, slump, slump, slump.
Their bodies which had lost their heads collapsed to ground a beat late, like puppets with their strings cut. There was no way I would let a hostile audience live, no? It shouldn’t have been painful.
“S-Sylvia…!” Sieg cried in the midst of readying his ultimate move.
With a sudden flash, Holy Sword 1 released a light even more brilliant than before—the entire fury of the hero who lost love and friendship was fueling it.
“Come at me, Sieg.”
“Kang Han Soo…!”
Hero B’s ultimate blow came descending down on my head, a pure-white radiance falling vertically like an iron hammer of a god.
Holy Sword 2 had no ultimate move like that; however, I laughed.
“I wonder if this’ll also count as an achievement?”
I neither dodged nor blocked Holy Sword 1, taking it on with my bare body. Tolerance(SS), Endurance(SS), Destruction(SS), Fortitude(S), Stamina(S), Immortal(S), Recovery(S), Perseverance(S), Vitality(S), Tenacity(S), Resistance(S), Regeneration(S), Immunity(S), Iron Wall(S), Indestructible Body(S)… my damage reduction-type Skills took effect all together. Their effects were even further amplified thanks to Holy Sword 2.
A 35mm scratch was made on my forehead in a straight line. New skin formed within 0.7 seconds and healed over the scratch.
“N-no way…!” Sieg yelled as if rejecting reality.
Holy Sword 1’s ultimate move, which by all rights should have been a critical blow even if the damage was mitigated through all kinds of defensive Skills, was reduced to the level of a scratch. The difference in Level and Skill between Hero A and Hero B also had a part in it. With this it became clear.
Holy Sword 1: For beginners
Holy Sword 2: For professionals
There wasn’t even a need to compare whether which partner was more helpful.
I swung down Holy Sword 2.
Sieg’s right arm, which had been holding Holy Sword 1, fell down from the shoulder. My heart was inclined towards cutting his head off; however, no matter how much of a fallen hero Sieg was, killing him would mean that my character and reputation grades wouldn’t be safe, and thus I restrained the urge. It seemed that this 3rd Playthrough was frequently testing my patience.
I scanned my surroundings; the land was lined up with the corpses of the violent Elves.
“Alright. This is the right time.”
People across the five continents of Fantasia were busy praising me; however, they weren’t able to give a clear answer to the question of “what’s amazing about him?”. But no longer would that stand true.
1) Punished the Elf Kingdom who turned against humans!
2) Subdued the fallen hero, Sieg!
3) Achieved a perfect truce without suffering any casualties!
I had made a clear achievement, and the demon worshipers would diligently publicize it. Going at this rate, I might even get an SSS-grade in reputation. I judged that this was the very optimal timing to defeat Demon King Pedonar.
A thousand emotions filled my heart.
“Sieg. Thanks a lot, really.”
“Kang Han Soo! You’re a demon…!”
“Not as much as you are.”
I had learnt the essence of despicably building a reputation from Sieg. I experienced growth while suffering a humiliating hardship.
Now, the time had come.
“It’s a good weather to slay the Demon King.”
I no longer needed those bothersome muppets—I rushed full-speed to the castle of the Demon King, massacring demons along the way, where my ticket to Earth awaited me.
‘I’ll be intruding to my heart’s content!’
“Ahem! O Hero! Do you not know how to knock…!”