‘How uptight. Do you think you can understand the hearts of students like that?’
‘Oh! A trainee teacher with flexibility I see. I’m sure you’ll become a wonderful teacher someday.’
“Uh, Sir Hero…?”
I returned to reality as I felt goosebumps pop up upon hearing the whispering voice of the wannabe cute Lanuvel.
Sieg, whose face had become a bloody mess, was in the middle of receiving treatment. The palace knights were watching me with slightly tense expressions. Lanuvel was armed with feigned cuteness. And then there was the 4th Playthrough!
Combat ability, reputation, achievement. My grades in these three subjects were definitely excellent. While I felt slightly discontent regarding my reputation being A-grade, it was still a far cry from being a failing grade. The problem was character—it had fallen even more than it had been in the 2nd Playthrough, and I received an FF-grade. The unreasonable tyranny of the grader was extreme.
“If you’re gonna be like that then I’ve got some of my own thoughts too…”
“About what?” Lanuvel interjected, tilting her head.
Instead of scolding her, “Don’t act cute!” I gave a brilliant smile as I said, “Lanuvel. Quickly guide me to where His Majesty is, will you.”
Sieg had done just this to favorable reception, and I even added a smile as service.
“Excuse me, Sir Hero? You’re not trying to kill His Majesty, right…?”
“Why would I?”
What benefit would come out of killing the Dumpling King? Even in the 3rd Playthrough I had turned him into a puppet, but didn’t kill him.
“It, it’s nothing!”
We directly headed for the king’s audience chamber. Sieg, whose jaw was done in hard, wasn’t able to move even at the end of receiving treatment, which was why I ended up meeting the Dumpling King alone.
The conversation proceeded very much smoothly. With this, it was our 4th time meeting. I was perfectly aware of the Dumpling King’s preferences and personality. Of course, I also knew about the queen, who was sitting obediently next to the king, from head to toe down to the last detail.
“O Hero. Please save this kingdom!”
I promised free service without any sort of conditions attached. Taking a leaf out of the book of ungrateful hero Sieg, who had stood on the side of Elves and attacked the kingdom rather than help it, I said, “Leave every problem to me!”
The Dumpling King, who didn’t know that my words were lies, seemed extremely delighted, and the nobles appeared satisfied as well. Thanks to that, the meeting came to end under a harmonious atmosphere. Now…
“Lanuvel, get-… see you tomorrow.”
“But Sir Hero, we’ve only just met, haven’t me? I’ll tell you about Fantasia’s continents in detail!”
“Tell me tomorrow.”
I had 11 years of experience in Fantasia now. Secrets of the world, hidden relics, uncomfortable truths, hideouts of guardians, various secret organizations, ancient mazes, mysteries of the world, Oblivion Dragon King’s lair, the future weather and wars to come, dark secrets, the situation of various nations, password of the Dark Commerce… I was confident I knew far better than Lanuvel.
“Aww… Ah! Are you feeling a bit hungry right now? I know a really delicious place to eat at! This is a secret, but the skill of the cook over there is better than the palace chef’s.”
And the food at place Lanuvel was going to recommend tasted absolutely nasty; the meals were sweet, salty and sour. The flavors were matched to her preference for stimulation.
Lanuvel didn’t scram off easily.
“Hey! Lanuvel. Listen well while I’m asking you with a smile. We are going to meet tomorrow now. Got that right? Tomorrow I’m saying, tomorrow. I’m not going to do anything with you today.”
“Aww… Then I’ll see you tomorrow!”
I was able to get her off my back with difficult persuading. Maybe that nuisance was the main cause of screwing up my character grades?
“Endure it for now, endure.”
After I was led to the bedroom I was allocated by palace knights, I was finally able to have some alone time. Now it was time to carry out an interim evaluation.
‘Miss Trainee Teacher, you were watching everything right? What do you think?’
Unlike Professor Morals, who had the tendency of vanishing like the wind with the excuse of being busy, this trainee teacher said she had plenty of time as she was entrusted with exclusive charge of me. It couldn’t be… that she would watch over me at night too, right? That’d be a bit too troubling!
“Well, I guess there’ll be no problem since I’ll graduate this time?”
In this 4th Playthrough as well, the exciting orientation day with Alex was decided to be five days later. Of course, I had no mind to wait until then.
I activated Black-Box.
A Status which was even more jammed than it was in the 3rd Playthrough unfolded before me. The thing that needed be highlighted here was the Condition—Holy Sword.
“Well, I’ll be! Partner! I am overjoyed to meet you again!”
Holy Sword 2 had come along into the 4th Playthrough. The F-rank effect of Black-Box, ‘Will not forget.’ didn’t seem to be related to this no matter I how thought about it, so it could only be the E-rank effect: ‘Cannot be destroyed.’
This was literally a revolution, the reason being…
The moment I summoned forth Holy Sword 2 and lightly held it in my right hand, the effects of my Skills underwent an exponential leap. A synergistic addition to an already existing synergistic set of combinations gave rise to something even greater. I felt as if I had suddenly become Level 500.
It looked like Miss Trainee Teacher didn’t know about it at all. Since the possibility of that preacher, Professor Morals, concealing the truth was low, it was certain that the teaching staff thought the issue of Holy Sword 2 would be solved by itself when I regressed; however, Holy Sword 2 wasn’t destroyed. It had wholly become my power.
‘Miss Trainee Teacher, won’t you be secret friends with me? Genuine friends who even share one another’s deep secrets.’
‘Tell me whenever if you change your mind. (Grin).’
Had the responses I showed in the audience chamber been to the other side’s liking, perhaps? I was introduced to the best room I ever saw throughout all the Playthroughs. The bed wide enough to frolick with two maids throughout the night, the thick soundproofed walls meant for the privacy of nobles, and the aphrodisiac and liquor boldly placed atop a table were very much to my satisfaction. And the most important thing…
“Sir Hero, give me any order you’d like fulfilled. Any.”
… a woman to soothe the loneliness of a moonlit night. A maid of rare beauty even within the palace spoke to me with a hot gaze that scanned me up and down, a green light signal which a man couldn’t possibly be ignorant of.
“Mhm. Get out.”
But not today.
“I’ll ring the bell if I have a need for you, so leave. And don’t let anybody inside my room. Ever.”
“I, I understand, Sir Hero.”
The maid left the room, politely closing the door behind her.
Now, no one would interfere with me. While there was a window that let in plenty of sunshine, there was no building or structure nearby which was tall enough to peek into this room on the palace’s 4th storey. It was quiet space just right for some contemplation.
I was in a strange mood.
“It’s really been a while since I’ve had this sort of calm.”
It was extremely rare for me to remain still by myself.
Games, karaoke, Internet, movies, entertainments, shopping… as someone who remembered the stimulating life on modern Earth, Fantasia’s continents was a still and boring world… though that didn’t mean it was a leisurely place.
In the 1st Playthrough, I had no time to rest as I was busy cleaning up after the incidents caused by my companions running wild as they pleased. And when there was the occasional breather to take? I would repeat training over and over, raising my combat ability. Even when my companions held a victory party, I overworked my body and mind with the determination to escape this barbaric world. Everything… was for the sake of returning to Earth. And it was the same even now.
‘Miss Trainee Teacher, a very good question!’
I had no time to organize myself due to being busy with volunteer work throughout the entire 3rd Playthrough. While it was correct that Skill ranks rose with repeated practice, there were also Skills which required a mental growth such as Faith or Elementalism.
I laid vertically on the bed.
I summoned the amplifier, Holy Sword 2 as well. Doping up was basic in order to save time and progress smoothly.
I began to gather the scattered pieces of my soul.
Mental Capacity(A)→Mental Capacity(S)
I concentrated until the day grew dark and achieved a slight growth. Even this was a heavy task which was unthinkable to do if not for a hero’s EXP 500% perk. That’s how difficult and uncertain a training method this was.
There was nothing largely notable regarding the development of Berserk. While its SS-rank effect was a bit outrageous… since I wouldn’t ever be falling into a berserk state, as someone who always maintained a rational judgement, its existence didn’t have much of a purpose. In short, Berserk was a Skill that was like chicken ribs.
Ah! Mental Capacity was slightly good though. Only, it wasn’t a Skill that made you clever. A fool was a fool, a genius was a genius. When the Skill Mental Capacity became developed, your speed of thought would increase. For instance, if you took around 10 seconds to solve a math equation normally, that time would be cut down to 8 seconds with the Skill. But an equation you were too stupid to solve from the start would still be answered wrongly even if you solved it quicker, no?
That was about it for Mental Capacity, but it was nevertheless definitely good to raise its rank. And finally…
I had no idea when this Skill had risen to C-rank. I felt as if I had picked up something which had coincidentally dropped from the sky. It was a necessary Skill for grave robbers and gamblers. It was said that to raise Fortune to A-rank the standard way, you had to either lose yourself in gambling long enough to bankrupt a country, or save your own skin from the jaws of peril about a hundred times. That was why it wasn’t easy to raise its rank by human effort.
It was currently pitch dark and late at night.
Everyone else had drifted off to dreamland while I was meditating on the bed. In truth, my goal hadn’t been the development of my Skills. I had merely spent what would have been tedious waiting hours in a useful way.
Miss Trainee Teacher, who had been quietly watching me since I began meditating, tentatively asked me a question.
‘It should be fine to tell her this. My 4th Playthrough goal is already decided.’
“To do nothing.”
My character in the 3rd Playthrough got an FF-grade. The lowest grade that wasn’t possible by common sense. It was certain that the unfair and irrational grader was picking at all kinds of faults to drop my character grades, and thus I made a plan.
I opened the window of my bedroom and looked about outside. Although I could see two palace knights patrolling the outer edges of the palace’s beautiful garden, the nights in this fantasy world were extremely dark as mass production of ‘magic lanterns’, which were similar to modern fluorescent lights, was difficult. The cities and even the palace was no exception.
Perhaps they were taking me lightly because I was a Level 1 Hero who was just summoned. I uttered a dry laugh, then lightly jumped down out of the window.
‘No. It’s a bit different from an outing. I intend to go to the Demon King’s castle like this and not return, you see. (Grin).’
I lightly landed on the ground from the 4-storey high window. Holy Sword 1, which sparkled with a golden light, might have been noticed, but the modest crimson-colored design of Holy Sword 2 didn’t stand out particularly. It was very much good enough to use for assassinations too.
Like this, I got out of the palace and the capital, and ran across a grassland.
“Hmph! My character is the problem, you say?”
I had thought this system of education one where even if you had 0 points in one subject, but 100 points in three subjects, you would be able to graduate with an average of 75 points. But in the world? All the subjects were being taken into account separately. In exchange, however, it seemed that the hurdle wasn’t that high to get the lowest grade.
That being the case, the method I would take was already decided. They wouldn’t be able to use anything against me if I didn’t do anything! So as to give no potential ammo to the grader, I didn’t even kill wild monsters and evaded them. Not running into people was a given. But then I couldn’t help becoming bored.
‘Ah! Miss Trainee Teacher. Are you good at singing?’
Miss Trainee Teacher had been keeping up an iron-tight guard ever since having her personal information squeezed out of her once; however, since only a mere day had passed now, I saw no need to rush.
Not even half a day had passed when I passed the kingdom’s borders and barged into the Demon King’s territory.
“Mm? I feel like something passed by.”
“You must have seen wrong. It’s just in your head.”
I also entirely ignored the lower-class demons who were wandering about the wilderness; after all, when it came to a biased grader, they might shriek about having killed innocent demons and cut down on my character grade. That was an out, for the same reason as the Oblivion Dragon King and Holy Sword 2 being bait waiting to be taken. I intended on outright not giving any pretext to grab at.
Fwip, fwip, fwip.
The traps, mazes and the like set up in various places across Demon King Pedonar’s territory were no obstacles at all to me. It was my 3rd time passing through just this path alone. I was now at the point of being able to go through with my eyes closed.
It took one day to go from the Dumpling Kingdom to the Demon King’s castle. I was slowed down quite a bit trying to get by unnoticed in my Level 1 state. Right about now, the people over at the palace were likely making a racket trying to find me, who had gone missing. The ‘Demon King’s room’, which I snuck into, was also quite the noisy scene.
“I, I shouldn’t do this…”
“I have a husband and children…”
“I said don’t.”
Sitting on top of the solid thigh of the Demon King, who was seated in his large throne, Madam Elf queen said in a voice full of anguish, “But I’m a captive so it should be fine.”
“What sort of logic is that?!”
The Demon King’s face was full of fatigue from dealing with her. The queen’s dress was fallen beneath the throne, and its owner said in an importuning tone, “Lord Demon King, hurry… before my body cools.”
“I was all wrong! I tried kidnapping you because that Elf King fellow kept on bragging about his wife so much. I’ll graciously send you to your home, so go quickly.”
“It’s too late.”
“It’s not. We only held hands.”
“No. Having come to know of that ‘thing’ of yours, I’ve become a captive not only in body, but in heart as well. So quickly…”
Anger burned inside me as I continued to listen.
‘If you’re gonna do it, get on with it already!’
I was too frustrated to wait any longer.
“H-Hero?! How is the hero who was summoned yesterday here…!”
“By my own feet of course!”