I had been regulating my Level ever since I came to know of the Demon King’s penalty. I had certainty that if I raised my Level adequately high to around about Level 500, I would be matchless in these fantasy continents.
But that had been a huge miscalculation.
A hidden boss monster that came close to being as strong as the Five Disasters had existed. As it had entered its twilight years like Oblivion Dragon King Noebius, it would die if not found quickly, and this was why I wasn’t able to come across the cat giant in the 1st Playthrough.
I was done in good. In particular, the curse it cast as it died was huge.
‘You should have woken me up if you knew, Miss Trainee Teacher.’
… Or so she said. Seeing as how my carelessness had brought about this outcome, I couldn’t say anything myself.
But even I wasn’t able to predict things this far. Would it have been even possible to imagine something like this? First it was travelling back to the past by the tyranny of a transcendental being, and now time was fast forwarded to the future. And it wasn’t just one or two days, but a whole 6 years! In terms of Earth time, that was almost 7 months flown by. I had lost that much time to live as a cultured citizen and to be a good son to my parents.
What an incomparable tragedy it was. Summing up the things I had heard at the time of the Hero Festival, it seemed that the other students defeated the Demon King and graduated after an average of 4 years.
But as for me?
I would end up on my 18th year if I kept hanging around like this. I looked like the time I spent in this fantasy world was going to be far longer than the time I spent on Earth growing up after being born.
The mere thought of it was horrifying.
“Just call me Hero. What’s with the prince nonsense all of a sudden?”
The Ice Princess replied calmly in response to my rebuke.
“That… Don’t be surprised when you hear this.”
“Please do try and surprise me.”
It had felt like I had merely closed my eyes for a moment before opening them again, yet I was told that 6 years had passed—I didn’t think there could be anything more surprising than this.
“The lands below the mountain are currently in an uproar from war. Due to the kingdoms that put forward powerful golems starting wars all at once, the entirety of Fantasia’s continents are in a state of devastation.”
“… The entirety?”
“Yes. They are all in the midst of waging war, apart from the southern continent which is farthest from the northern continent, which was the starting point of everything. Ah! But the northern continent is still on the quieter side. The nearby countries are all lying low due to Lord Sage and Lady Goddess winning victory after victory, you see.”
… Things had deviated greatly from the history I knew.
“And who’s this Goddess?”
“She’s Lord Sage’s exclusive golem. She’s the size of human unlike other golems, but her combat ability goes beyond imagination. From what I hear, she’s apparently an Ego-Golem with the soul of an ancient Hero.”
It was a scenario I had seen coming to a certain extent, going by my 1st Playthrough experience, so I wasn’t surprised—I merely felt my head virtually steaming.
I proceeded to take a look at the Ice Princess’ Status.
Her Skills were too awe-inspiring to simply say that she hadn’t been playing around for the past 6 years. Wasn’t her rate of growth too fast even though she wasn’t a Hero?
Noticing my gaze, the Ice Princess shyly made to speak.
“A part of that white cat’s power was transferred to me.”
It had become hard to call her the Ice Princess any longer; her race had changed and her Job had become Snow Queen as well. Even her Level was absurdly high for human standards. Since it was relatively low in comparison to her Skill ranks, however, she would be able to easily achieve Level 999 if she put in a bit of effort to go hunting around Snowy Mountain M.
And my situation wasn’t much different from hers either.
Although there had been no change to my race and Job, Chill(SS) had been added to my Skills. Aside from this, various other Skills had appeared or improved as well. But I wasn’t delighted in the least, as a whole 6 years had passed, after all. My Status would have become even more magnificent had I spent that time well. The loss I’d suffered time-wise wasn’t just a little.
In any case…
“Let’s go down the mountain first. Follow me.”
If I felt the ‘test paper’ looked horrible, then I just had to go take down Demon King Pedonar right away. Going over to the middle continent would be work in of itself, but it would be better than holding on to a ruined test paper. And as I thought of the situation in this manner, my heart grew easy. Peacefu—
“Then let’s ride this over, Prince.”
“Are you looking for another beating? How am I supposed to know what ‘this’ is?”
“I, I’m sorry. Ahem-hem. Then I’ll introduce it! My exclusive golem, Glassiora! The master of ice commands you! Awaken! Glassiora!”
A giant that had been buried beneath the snow stood up, and I couldn’t help but express admiration at that impactful performance.
The bigger the expectation, the greater the disappointment—I felt like an idiot for momentarily holding expectation at the sight of the golem’s huge size. It was a simple issue when you thought about what busybodies would gift a golem to the Ice Princess, who had confined herself to the mountain until she became an auntie. The Sage, and the muppet. It could only be these two.
“Isn’t it wonderful? As an expression of gratitude for having his fatal illness, which no one knew about, cured thanks to you, Lord Sage specially made it for me.”
“Why express gratitude to you, Princess?
“Wh-who knows. Hoho!”
“It’s strange no matter how I look at it… Well, anyhow.”
The Ice Princess’ exclusive golem, Golem G, was a far cry from the image of the super robot I’d dreamed about. From the perspective of an Earthling, it resembled that of a slightly chubby Venus de Milo; it was a stretch to look for toughness and impact in this. Besides that, its body was naked without a single piece of armor. While it might be unnecessary as its skin was made of sturdy metal itself, appearances were important. If not for the spear held in Golem G’s right hand, I wouldn’t have thought that it meant for battle at all.
“Quickly get on, Prince.”
I followed the Ice Princess and climbed atop the golem’s left palm.
“Let’s go! Glassiora!”
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
Golem G lightly stepped across the snow, unbecomingly of its size and weight, as it ran down Snowy Mountain M.
“Ow Ow uuu?!”
Splat! Crunch! Crack!
The golem trampled over and past the monsters we encountered on the way as if ignoring them. The monsters inhabiting Snowy Mountain M were infamous for their viciousness and high Levels, but they were no different from wild rabbits before the automaton.
This was a new generation golem. Its combat ability had already far surpassed the existing norm in this fantasy world—anything below Level 200 was now nothing but small fry. Although, this had to be why even the paradigm of war changed.
We had descended about halfway down the mountain like this when the Ice Princess, who had surreptitiously hugged onto my arm, whispered a warning.
“We have to be careful from here on. My golem is made for mountainous regions with a high power output, which is why it was able to climb to the peak this mountain, but it’s difficult for ordinary golems to do the same. That’s why my enemies lie in hiding in this lower area until I come down. While a null detection magic formation is installed… Hey, Prince? Are you listening?”
I felt as if nothing mattered. I had no interest in the likes of a fantasy world without super robots.
But it was at that time that…
Pwoof! Pwoof! Pwoof!
A mound covered in snow collapsed to reveal three golems that jumped out.
I could tell at a single glance just by their color that they were the popular golems sold by the Dark Commerce; however, they appeared quite different from how I remembered them—where had the muscular frame gone to? And I couldn’t see that left-handed drill, the mere sound of which had made my heart race, either. Although it wasn’t as bad as Golem G, the appearances of these golems were unsatisfying as well.
“They’re hostile nation golems!”
The Ice Princess began to quickly explain things, about their capability being that, their name being this, their weaknesses being so and so… however, none of it entered my ears. I could see nothing but the feeble-looking bodies of the crimson golems.
“Dark Commerce, even you lot…”
What was the cause that had lead to this travesty of a future? But as I carefully thought over it, I soon came to a realization.
It was me!
I was the main culprit!
I had shown the first page of Golem D’s blueprint to that chief engineer, and that Dwarf must have been unnecessarily influenced at that time. Although these crimson golems possessed slightly superior capabilities compared to the ones I knew of in the 1st Playthrough, our side was far more overwhelming than that.
The three crimson golems were helplessly destroyed by the sweeping spear strike of the Ice Princess’ white golem.
The three Magicians who had been hiding nearby and controlling the crimson golems were also dealt with, and then the Ice Princess proceeded to calmly speak.
“I’ll continue onwards, Prince. The enemy will gather in even greater numbers than just now, since they must have already been informed of your awakening. They will come at us madly to stop you from reaching the Sage’s Tower however they can. Though if you hadn’t pressed me, Prince, I would have requested reinforcements from the Sage’s Tower…”
“What is up with you calling me prince over and over since a while ago?”
I had already finished making a decision in my heart. The 6th Playthrough was completely ruined along with my falling into hibernation—it would be more beneficial for my mental health to move on to the 7th Playthrough.
The Ice Princess began to reply to my question.
“At present, the crimson golems of the Dark Commernce are conquering the continents of Fantasia. As they had been monopolizing the main materials for golems since long ago, there was no way to oppose them after they tilted the scales of war in their favor.”
Apparently, the Dark Commerce had sold their golems at an affordable price at first; however, this changed after all the small golem making companies and factories shut down, and the true worth of golems was proved on the battlefields. The Dark Commerce raised the price of their golems, and outright cut off golem supply to countries that opposed them. When this happened, the country denied of golems would be miserably trampled over by the golems of some other country and end up in ruins.
This was the kind of vicious cycle that kept repeating.
The countries that began to struggle from debt, one after another, started conceding many things to the Dark Commerce: mines, lands, authority, ports, travel routes, commercial rights… They began to sell their citizens like slaves, while the king of a certain country had actually sent his beautiful daughter to be married off to the officer of the Dark Commerce. But these countries couldn’t stop what they were doing, because they would perish if they did.
“The former leading power of the northern continent, the Magic Kingdom, is already as good as ruined. This is none other than the country that sold its beautiful princess to the Dark Commerce, after all. That was the day the Sage’s Tower declared independence and began to strike back.”
The blue golems produced at the Sage’s Tower were powerful; however, power alone wasn’t enough.
A pivotal figure was necessary.
“But why a prince?”
“That’s the only way to appear impressive, don’t you think? The son of a certain noble bloodline, as well as a chosen Hero. The story goes that the king is missing, so you’re essentially the king himself, Prince. An exclusive golem for you has been prepared for your arrival at the Sage’s Tower as well. According to Lord Sage, it’s capable of even destroying the world.”
“Oh I’ll bet.”
Laughter escaped my lips despite myself.
I had been used for politics in the 6 years I was asleep, while my father who was living just fine on Earth was treated as gone missing without explanation… It was all so outrageous that I couldn’t even muster irritation.
The world had certainly become one big mess. The topography of the lands had greatly changed from what I remembered, while the area formerly occupied by Village Q had turned into ruins. This was how the war of golems was like. Because each and every one of them were large and powerful, regardless of who won or who lost, the nearby terrain would be utterly devastated.
‘Right you are, Miss Trainee Teacher. Though the problem is that the grass in this case is all the human settlements of the continents.’
We moved towards the Sage’s Tower while being obstructed by the Dark Commerce’s crimson golems all the way. I saw nothing but miserable sights wherever I turned my head to, and yet this northern continent was supposed to be the most peaceful region?
“This Playthrough is all gone wrong…”
Truthfully, this wasn’t my fault. It was a situation brought about because of a wicked cat that ate my pet caused me to sleep for a whole 6 years. Aggrieving though it was, I intended on quickly moving on to the 7th Playthrough.
‘Don’t misunderstand, Miss Trainee Teacher. I’m only going to take a look at that exclusive golem they’ve apparently prepared for me before setting off.’
Far off in the distance, I saw the Sage and the muppet dressed up in splendid clothes. At their sides were my shabby sister who hadn’t aged a single bit despite the passage of 6 years, Baekgu(dead)’s wife, and Golem D.
The Sage represented the group in greeting me gladly.
“Haha! Sir Hero! It’s relief that you’re saf—Kegh-kegh?!”
I, too, greeted the Sage gladly as I shook him by the throat.
“You, punk ass. I told you to stop the Dark Commerce, but what did you do during this time?”
“Kegh-kegh! I was late in doing so as I was making the golem you ordered, Sir Hero. There were so many things that you ordered that nothing was easy, from procuring the materials to the manufacturing process, but I finally completed it together with that fellow. Now! Have a look!”
Clack! Clack! Clack! Clack! Clack!
Five golems dashed out from within the Sage’s Tower. Following the design I had ordered, their arms were equipped with a drill and a cannon, while their feet were geared with wheels like roller blades.
But that was all.
“Sage, did you neglect the continent till it ended up a wasteland just to make this? You’ve got a death wish, don’t you? That’s how it is, right?”
“Kegh-kegh! Sir Hero! That’s still not everything! Take another look!”
The five golems flew up into the sky, propelled by the boosters on their backs spitting flames, then began to transform and combine. Torso, left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg—they respectively transformed into five different parts and came together.
Clank, clank, clank-
Five golems as one!
Its weight alone was five times more than the regular golem, and there was something to the imposing figure it struck that overwhelmed my heart.
“A super robot…”
This was my exclusive golem.
“Is it to your liking, Sir Hero?”
“… My clever friend! Leave the rest to this Hero here, yours truly!”
‘I’ll protect the peace of the 6th Playthrough!’
‘Tell it to wait in transit.’