The Graduate’s Room was a fourth dimension. Despite the room definitely being inside a cave, a blue sky was visible above, while green grass and blooming flowers could be seen everywhere on the earth. Beyond yonder in the direction where the female priest was walking towards, I could see a beautiful garden which had a fountain and a small stream flowing by. And in the heart of that garden was a grand-looking temple.
It was a scene I somehow found familiar, and that was because the architectural style of this temple was the same as the underground prison I saw in the graduate festival, where the K father and daughter were imprisoned. Rather than this building being a palace, however, I felt that it was more a temple. The reason behind this was the gigantic statue that was erected by the garden’s entrance.
“The Hero of Origin…”
The legendary Hero who was said to have become a god after defeating Demon King Pedonar. He was a man, and his name was ‘Senior 1’. Portraits of him could be found all over the world. Artists studied those portraits and drew them again for the next generations, and then the next. That was how much Senior 1 was lauded as a great figure in Fantasia’s continents.
The female priest nodded and affirmed my thoughts.
“Indeed. The temple before us was built very long ago with the purpose of honoring that person’s achievements. As you can see, however, it was isolated from the world and hidden away. I will be explaining the reason behind that from now on, so please follow me.”
We passed through under the crotch of Senior 1’s gigantic statue and went straight across the garden. Perhaps a gardener maintained the place 24 hours a day, as all the vegetation were perfectly arranged. There wasn’t a single weed that had sprouted, nor a single branch out of place. Because of this, however, the garden seemed dreary instead. I felt as if I were looking at a chilly desert in the middle of a night.
“You live alone?”
“Yes I do. I have been constantly waiting for the sake of correctly guiding the later generations of Heroes.”
“Really, you sure do live in a tiresome way.”
I examined the Status of the noble-minded female priest.
Like the prince from a while ago, this woman was also marked as an ‘old human’. Her Job was nothing much to speak of, but I couldn’t prevent a wry laugh upon seeing her Skill—Z-rank Blessing. Apparently, the so-called transcendental domain was a common thing.
“This place may be stifling, but I do my job because I want to. With great power follows responsibility, after all. May you, the next generation Hero who has stepped into the transcendental domain, not go astray like the Hero of Origin and use your power the right way.”
The nuance of her words was off…?
“We are almost there, Sir Hero.”
The inside of the temple was desolate, having nothing but space to offer. Although the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling exhibited fantastic artistry, there were no other works of art that could receive the light it shined. It seemed as though there used to be plenty of things occupying this vacant space, but were all robbed to leave the temple like an empty storage.
We didn’t go far until we arrived at the deepest part of the temple. There was a statue of Senior 1 here as well.
Held in the golden statue’s hand was a pale-green sword that seemed as if it was coated in molten emerald. My instinct as a Hero told me that it was a Holy Sword, but its outward appearance and color was a design that might suit the Elf King more.
The female priest replied with a nod.
“It is the sword which accompanied the Hero of Origin his whole life. There was no concept of a Holy Sword at the time, so it was called the strongest magic sword. For long I have guarded this sword as his wife.”
“So you’re a widow.”
“I didn’t mean for you to interpret my words that way…”
The female priest’s daintily clenched fists shook hard.
I proceeded to speak after letting out a laugh.
“Is there nothing apart from the Holy Sword?”
I already had Holy Sword 2. Although I couldn’t summon it in this place, that didn’t mean my partner was gone for good. The number of Holy Swords a Hero could possess was only one; there was no reason to be greedy for more.
“I will speak a little of the past. The Hero of Origin, who slew the Demon of Origin, ended up going out of control when not even 500 years had passed since his feat. After forcing a one-sided understanding on his wives who had supported him for long years, he rushed out into the world. Yes, that’s right—he began to have extramarital affairs!”
Ah, here we go again. The truth that lay behind a ridiculously childish world. There were plenty of similar cases back at my home planet, Earth. To give a famous example out of them…
The Trojan War.
A certain goddess who failed to receive an invitation to a wedding gave away a problematic golden apple, and three other goddesses quarreled among themselves in order to obtain it, until finally the prince of Troy who stepped forward as the mediator gave the cause of the issue, the apple, to the goddess of love and beauty. The world was about give and take! The goddess of love and beauty, who obtained the golden apple, wrapped up and gifted the most beautiful woman in the world the prince of Troy.
The Greek king, who had his wife abruptly stolen from him, set off on a military expedition towards the kingdom of Troy together with his brother. A great many heroes and youths died in the war that followed, and the Troy army who had become drunk on their victory would end up suffering defeat due to taking in a giant wooden horse that was abandoned before their castle gates.
Conclusion: the mischief of a woman who didn’t get to receive a wedding invitation had escalated things to war.
“The truth is but worthless after all…”
I had already lost interest. I wanted nothing but to collect the reward for clearing this Cave of Training and quickly leave.
“Sir Hero, this isn’t a problem to be made light of.”
The female priest thus complained to me, venting the fury towards her husband that had piled up all this time. It was almost amazing how she had held it in until now. She went on to rattle off a veritable torrent of words about her insignificant family affairs.
“I have no interest in the matters of another’s family.”
My patience was about to reach its end.
“Ahem. I’m sorry. I became slightly upset.”
The perceptive female priest got a start and immediately apologized.
“If you get it then quickly get to the main subject, and only the main subject.”
“Yes. The Hero of Origin who ran amok while ignoring the love and friendship of his companions, who had shared both sweet and bitter times with him, received punishment—defeated by the united efforts of his companions, the Hero fled to the other side of the world. He has still not died, which is why the title of widow isn’t right for me. Do you understand?”
I really could not give a damn.
“The reason why I am telling you, the next generation Hero, of my sorrowful past affairs is simple. Please bear my story in mind, so as to not go astray as the Hero of Origin did. Even if you defeat Demon King Pedonar, I hope that you will not become intoxicated on power and remain a righteous Hero. Please.”
I was a very clean man when it came to the matter of women; I wouldn’t make the same mistake as Senior 1 had.
“There are a total of three kinds of trials that remain before you.”
The female priest thus said while holding out three fingers.
“Out with it, then.”
“To battle that statue which resembles the Hero of Origin and win. To receive the Holy Sword’s acknowledgement after winning. And finally, to absorb and make yours his power which the statue contains.”
I slightly nodded in response to show my understanding. The female priest had spoken of three trials, but they all seemed easy apart from the first trial of defeating the statue; they were like a reward that came with a package. The question here was: how strong was that statue?
“I’ve finished preparing, so hurry up and start.”
I thus said after lightly warming up.
She proceeded to reply.
“It will automatically begin when you approach the statue.”
“Don’t worry even if you are slightly pushed to defend, as I was also a companion of the Hero at one time. I will lend my aid, even if only to prove to you, the next generation Hero, how important the power of love and friendship is.”
“Do as you like.”
Since I couldn’t tell the combat prowess of the statue, I had no intention of dissuading the Blessing(Z) female priest who offered to help for free. But of course, I was going to immediately punish her with a herniated waist disc if she proved to be nothing but a hindrance instead of being help like my 1st Playthrough companions.
I slowly drew near the statue.
Sensing a thief aiming for the Holy Sword, the statue began to tremble, and its golden eyelids abruptly snapped open, the obsidian gems embedded in its eye sockets emitting a sharp gleam. I could easily tell that those gems were the cores of a golem.
Even its Status began to be visible to me.
I couldn’t help but be slightly surprised upon seeing the statue’s Skills. I hadn’t seen wrong because of dirt getting in my eye.
◼◼(C). It was a C-rank Black-Box. The golden golem which supposedly contained Senior 1’s power also possessed Black-Box like I did, and its rank was even higher than mine. What did that mean?
Unfortunately, I had no time to ponder; the golem had leaped towards me at a speed that belied its heavy golden body. Its first move was a stab, a whirlwind of chaotic power coiled around the Holy Sword’s pale-green blade. It seemed like it would ground me like a blender upon making the slightest contact.
“This is nuts!”
A curse escaped my lips despite myself. The things I had gone through up till now had still been within acceptable limits, but that was thanks to the dolls of the training rooms being Level 1 like I was. The one before me, however, was Level 100—the efficiency of its Skills were dramatically improved, to an extent that a Level 1 like me couldn’t compare. Since even the rank of its Skill had entered the transcendental domain, I didn’t have a single advantage to show for. Rather, I was at a disadvantage.
“I will help you, Sir Hero!”
No, I wasn’t completely outmatched.
The female priest held out both her palms towards me from afar as if to aid me.
A pure-white light that shot out from her hands suffused into me.
Was it because I had received a blessing from a high-rank female priest? My Job had changed, and an unbelievable phenomenon followed.
Laughter rose from my chest despite myself.
My body had become filled with blessing, and it wasn’t only because of the female priest blessing me from the safe rear.
A new Skill had been added.
Something unbelievable had occurred—I had gained another transcendental domain Skill with no other reason than getting a Job, and it was an auxiliary type full of very substantial effects at that.
I immediately cast Blessing on myself.
The female priest had cast the Skill twice on me, and myself twice as well. The effects of Blessing overlapped four times thanks to the Skill’s Z-rank effect, and the result was truly surprising.
As I let out a sound that hovered between a laughter and battle cry, I bare-handedly caught the golem’s pale-green Holy Sword. The whirlwind of chaotic force buffeted my right arm as if to shred it to pieces, but failed to harm my skin that was armored in Divinity and Blessing. A deep sense of puzzlement took hold in the golem’s obsidian eyes.
I took advantage of that moment to ram my knee upwards and crush the golem’s groin. While there was no thingy down there, it was enough to shake the golem’s center of gravity.
It was safe to say that what followed was one-sided; after wresting the Holy Sword from the hand of the golem, which was struggling however it could to win against me, I severed its neck in one strike.
Afterwards, I stabbed the golem’s obsidian eyes which were its cores.
The golem’s body, which had been continuously trying to run wild despite its head flying off, froze, and the inertia of its previous movements caused it to roll across the ground in an unsightly manner. With that, the battle had come to an end.
“This one’s got quite the feel to it.”
But my partner would remain Holy Sword 2 even from now on. This pale-green Holy Sword was too light and thin like those delicate Elves, so it didn’t feel satisfying to swing it. And it didn’t seem like it was equipped with some special feature eithe-… Huh?
The Holy Sword didn’t fall away from my hand, as if stuck on with adhesive, and as if that wasn’t enough, a green energy passed through the sword into my body as if to occupy it. Just what sort of feature was this?
As if to solve my question, the female priest interrupted my thoughts.
“Congratulations, Sir Hero! I see you’ve received the Holy Sword’s acknowledgement? That is the original form of the current existing Holy Sword. It will enter your mind and help you in the battles to come. That’s how it should be.”
A black energy began to flow out from the remains of the obsidian gems formerly embedded in the destroyed golem’s eye sockets as well. This, too, suffused itself into my body.
“… So this means it was a trap from the start?”
The female priest replied to my question with a gentle smile.
“A trap, you say? Far from it. Congratulations, Sir Hero! The forbidden power that was stolen from the Hero of Origin has become yours. Although the price will be that all your memories will vanish and you will be controlled by the Holy Sword, don’t be too worried. You will continue to play the role of a brilliant Hero. You will cherish only me, and forever as a beloved companio-…”
The female priest began to whisper words of love out of the blues, stroking at my chest. I, too, turned up my lips into a bright smile and returned the favor.
“Thanks for congratulating me. I’ll use the power well.”
I was so thankful that I twisted her neck for her. But no matter how many times somebody was killed in this Cave of Training, they couldn’t die, which was why I decided to test the new rank effect of Black-Box I had gained this time on her.
And I gave her a deep kiss, a farewell gift to the female priest who confessed her love for me.
The pale-green energy of the Holy Sword, which had nowhere to go due to the powerful mental barrier formed by Black-Box, rode my tongue and passed into the female priest’s throat.
What would this lead to? (Grin).