‘Knock my ass!’
Looking at the shape they were in, they wouldn’t have heard whatever I did.
“My love, don’t lose to the hero.”
Madam Elf Queen kissed Demon King Pedonar on his cheek, as if praying for his fortune, and then took her leave, swaying her hips in a bewitching manner as she went. It seemed like the relationship between the two had become stronger than in the 2nd Playthrough(22 days back). Was it that the principle and harmony of Yin and Yang transcended even ideology?
It was only after the Elf Queen left that we could proceed to the meeting between top dogs.
“Sir Demon King, let’s get it over with quickly.”
“What? Wait! O Hero! Why are you in such hurry? It is the final battle between the Demon King and Hero. Do you not intend on giving even a self-introduction in this historical moment?”
Demon King Pedonar, who had been preparing a showy performance by exploding his SSS-rank Dark Energy everywhere, asked this question in bewilderment.
The reason why the proud Demon King was buying for time using an unsatisfactory reason like self-introducing was simple—the Demon King’s penalty. He needed time to adjust to the sudden drop in his Level.
I turned the cogs in my head. Self-introducing was a waste of time. This was my 3rd meeting with Demon King Pedonar, and didn’t have anything like a name to give to the king who would soon be dead. I did, however, have the intention to make use of this situation; I guided the conversation in a direction the Demon King who required time couldn’t refuse.
“Spill what you know about Ullullu.”
He was Pedonar, one who was called the first demon. There was no way he wouldn’t know about that distinctive giant whose head looked like that of a catfish. The Demon King would gain time, while I would obtain information. It wasn’t a bad trade.
“Ullullu, you say… an interesting question you ask. Then my answer is decided then. Hm-hm. Listen well.”
There was an explosion of the energy of darkness..
“O Hero! You have done well coming this far! I am the very pinnacle of all evil, the one who shall dye this world in darkness, Pedonar! Try using that worthless power of love and friendship to defeat me! Then you will be able to draw near the door of truth!”
The trade was off. However, since the Demon King had bought quite some time by giving a long self-introduction with some pauses in between, it shouldn’t be a complete failure.
I nodded in agreement.
“I agree that love and friendship are worthless.”
“Are you really the hero?”
And a hero on his 3rd Playthrough at that!
Demon King Pedonar didn’t lie, because it was definitely true that I would draw near the truth by defeating him. Who would expect a report card to be waiting at the end?
I summoned forth Holy Sword 2.
“A cursed Holy Sword…!” Demon King Pedonar shouted loudly upon sighting Holy Sword 2.
It was an extremely interesting reaction—even the saintess who was closest to the hero had denied the existence of a second Holy Sword, yet the Demon King seemed as if he had known.
“Looks like you know of this Holy Sword?”
Pedonar would become more used to his fallen Level as time was dragged out, but I prioritized gathering information.
The Demon King replied in a serious tone, “… I should have realized it when rain fell against nature back then. So you used that small power to slay Ullullu and approach the secret… This generation’s hero really is absurd.”
After speaking up to that point, the Demon King drew the Demon Sword by his waist, a different reaction from the 2nd Playthrough when he was utterly careless. He appeared wary of Holy Sword 2.
“Sir Demon King. How about explaining before you croak?”
“O Hero. You shall come to know naturally if you defeat me.”
“I didn’t, though.”
Even after cracking his skull, after cutting off his head, I didn’t find out.
“Are you a fool? Or hard of hearing? I said that you will know the secret if you defeat me. It’s only natural to not know yet. I would appreciate it if you didn’t show off your ignorance.”
With the negotiations broken down, Hero A and the Demon King proceeded to clash.
The curtains fell on the stand off which could have ended up in the destruction of this barbaric world 0 times.
It was over the moment Holy Sword 2 and the Demon Sword collided.
The Demon Sword was cut through, along with the Demon King’s robust waist.
“H-how can this be…?”
His torso cleanly separated from his lower body, Demon King Pedonar muttered to himself in disbelief.
I shrugged my shoulders in a natural manner.
“I’m a bit strong.”
Holy Sword 2’s amplification effect had good synergy with me. When the hero and Demon King’s Levels became the same, the one with superior Skills and greater experience would hold the advantage. The Demon King held the upper hand in terms of overall Skill ranks as always; however, the tables were turned with the addition of Holy Sword 2.
The Demon King pried open his lips with difficulty to speak.
“Don’t die in the middle and just sum up the main point.”
I refused to hear awkward foreshadowing or bait.
“Show that cursed Holy Sword to Oblivion Dragon King, who disappeared all of a sudden 500 years ago. This is as far as I can tel—kegh?!”
I didn’t want to listen to some trivial last words.
Demon King Pedonar’s life came to an end. I lightly ignored the look of indignant resentment that remained in his still wide-open eyes.
Dark Energy seeped out from the Demon King’s corpse, and was absorbed by me like EXP.
“You can inherit Dark Energy by killing a powerful demon, but…”
It was a kind of a curse, a power that gradually drove an individual to madness. I didn’t remember clearly if I had gained this power in the 1st Playthrough as well, as at the time, I had no other mind than to quickly return to my home planet.
Not anymore, however. Having become able to not forget Skills through Black-Box, I brought the SS-rank Skill Dark Energy, which was obtained upon defeating the Demon King in the 2nd Playthrough, over to the 3rd Playthrough. Then this time as well…
Dark Energy, which had been SS-rank all this while, was promoted to SSS-rank. The total amount of Dark Energy I possessed had become similar to what Pedonar had.
“Really! I think people would believe me if I claimed to be the Demon King now?”
The rest of my abilities had changed beautifully as well. While I had a lower Level than what I had in the 1st Playthrough, I had become far stronger. I had two SSS-rank Skills which even the first Demon King had only one of. When taking into account Holy Sword 2’s amplification effect as well, then measuring my combat ability would become meaningless. And that was why my stomach burned even more.
“It’s a bit of a pity about Holy Sword 2.”
To think I’d have to return it after not having used it for much.
I unsummoned Holy Sword 2 which was stuck in the Demon King’s heart. What was the point of yearning for what couldn’t be reached?
Now, I waited calmly for the result of the adventure.
‘Nope. Not in the least. I’m tired in mind and body because of a certain despicable competitor and doing volunteer work.’
These same lines touched my heart today especially—the 3rd Playthrough had truly been rough. Many times I had almost fallen to despair because of Sieg, that maestro of hypocrisy and propaganda, but it was with the encouragement of the demon worshipers that I could muster strength.
While there was no love or friendship, it was at least certain that we had experienced growth together. Thanks to the demon worshipers earnestly raising up my reputation, I was able to take down the Demon King with a light heart. I truly felt grateful towards them.
I looked back on the 3rd Playthrough. This time I had really prepared thoroughly. Although I was slightly anxious regarding my achievement grade, what with Prince Nasus having taken the initiative to off the Elf King, I was confident that my reputation and character was perfect. Combat ability didn’t even need be mentioned. This time I was certain of a triple SSS-grade!
I also didn’t know why it turned out like this.
‘Wait! Sieg is the one who started that mirage business, though? I only followed what he did.’
Ignoring my reasonable protest, light began to envelop my body.
“Hey! You bastards! Don’t give me that shit! What standard are you judging my character on?! What about the character of you lot, kidnapping somebody who was living just fine on Ear…!”
“Welcome Sir Hero!”
The voice of Lanuvel who was acting cute rattled my ear drums. I had put in so much effort to fix that pretense of hers, yet it was reset again. A horrifying evidence that the 4th Playthrough had begun.
“Have you come to your senses?”
I was about to go nuts.
I was really about to go nuts.
In my 3rd Playthrough, I had achieved top-level scores in all of my subjects, excluding that unreasonable and bias verdict on my character subject. It was a passing score when based on the average, wasn’t it? This time’s re-test didn’t make any sense. I was going to go insane.
“Is, is that so. Hero-nim, please come to your senses soon! You’re very confused at being summoned abruptly without even a warning, aren’t you? This is Fantasia. A different dimension from the world where Hero-nim was born and raised in. It must be unreasonable to hope for you to immediately understand. I’ll start explaining things one by one from now.”
I turned a deaf ear to Lanuvel’s explanation, which I was on the verge of learning by heart word for word, as I took a look around the magic circle I was standing on.
Lanuvel, Sieg, and the palace knights. It was the completely same start as in the 3rd Playthrough. Nevertheless, I carried out a test for starters.
“Sieg, do you remember me?”
It seemed that this guy, whom Professor Morals had praised so very highly as a model student, had also failed to graduate and regressed. The dazed-faced Sieg found me, and then shouted with glaring eyes, “Gasp! Kang Han Soo! You, this punk! Am I bloody glad to see you! How dare you do that to my Sylvi—gueh?!”
I punched the lower jaw of Sieg who came fearlessly at me, giving vent to my emotions. I felt my stress ease a little.
I examined the Status of Sieg who had collapsed, frothing at the mouth.
I had thought the vile teaching staff was only discriminating me, but Sieg’s Status had completely reset after regressing. It seemed only his memories from the previous Playthrough remained. As for me on the other hand?
Everything was the same as Sieg’s except for one thing: Black-Box. It had remained as it was, promoted up to E-rank in the 3rd Playthrough. I had worried whether it would be caught out by some vicious means like that of a antivirus program, but apparently my fears had been ungrounded. My Status was modest as the Skill had yet to be activated.
Lanuvel and the palace knights were astonished. They seemed surprised that the heroes punched at each other out of nowhere.
What was with this guy? The way he spoke was entirely different from Professor Morals. Was Professor Morals really replaced?
Hooh… a fresh teacher had come.
‘Are you a man? Or a woman? Tell me that to start with.’
‘This teacher’s a black man. His legs must be covered in hair like pine caterpillars.’
‘Uhuhuhu… Come on in, Miss Trainee Teacher. Ah! Have you married by chance?
‘Miss Trainee Teacher, don’t be too pessimistic. How about we… become secret friends?’