According to Classmate A, Earth had undergone a tremendous upheaval as of late, caused by the large-scale raid of the ridiculously powerful combat androids called Valkyries lead by aliens.
It was from that point on that the role of the Heroes rose to prominence. Although Africa and Australia, who were utterly without any preparation, easily fell at the start, the rest of the continents succeeded in fending off the aliens by the power of love and friendship. They were apparently in the midst of dealing with the Valkyrie remnants…
“… I see.”
Perhaps the power of love and friendship, which the teaching staff so emphasized, was far stronger than I had expected? Or was that group of aliens a separate organization from the “First Hero”? Whatever the case, I lacked too much information at present.
I didn’t need to bother putting in effort to grow close with Classmate A, as the fellow rattled on of his own accord as we flew together on Baekgu’s back. Was this the so-called competitive spirit? I couldn’t see the end of Classmate A’s bragging along with giving other bits of information.
However, I listened to it all while adequately throwing in words of encouragement because he gave more information regarding Earth than I had thought I would get. Of course, it wasn’t like this from the start; half of Classmate A’s idle talk had been about his girlfriend, but ever since glimpsing the priestess and becoming humble, he completely avoided any topic related to women. Thanks to that, his talk was automatically filtered to output useful information.
“To describe how I beat the two Valkyries abandoned at my apartment…”
Classmate A’s combat prowess counted among the upper-middle rank on Earth. But as this was what he claimed himself, when slightly taking out his self-love and exaggeration, I guessed him to be around the middle rank.
I confirmed his Status for the second time.
While he wouldn’t end up getting his hide tanned whichever village or city inhabited by Fantasia’s barbarians he went to, it was fact that he was weak to the point of needing to stake his life in an encounter with even the most common middle-class demon. It was hard to say that his Status was good. Honestly put, he was lesser than even my useless former companions.
He shouldn’t be unaware of this fact, as he was an experienced individual with 3 years’ adventuring under his belt, yet nevertheless Classmate A was full of confidence. To explain the reason for that simply…
‘If you will, Miss Trainee Teacher!’
‘Oh! Miss Trainee Teacher’s doing work!’
At present, my Status as visible to others was odd and this was precisely the reason why Classmate A could hold out his chest before me in his own way despite his lacking Level. My displayed Skill set was truly all over the place—it was hard to expect any synergy or the like from it.
The reason for this was that only the Skills and number of Levels I had raised in this Playthrough was shown, but this was only considering when Black-Box wasn’t activated. As for the truth?
Even though Black-Box was activated, the number of Skills I had, formerly as numerous as the stars in the Milky Way, had become greatly reduced due to having done away with them all in order to limit breakthrough Dark Energy to Z-rank. Still, I had left all the important Skills, and as I had achieved Z-rank in Dark Energy, I didn’t feel much regret. Although there was still the Skill that had no relevance to the others, that was a trivial matter.
Classmate A and I rode Baekgu and returned to Snowy Mountain M again. I did think it a waste of time to come meet someone that didn’t exist, but I didn’t show it on the outside as Classmate A was beside me.
“Relax your expression, Kang Han Soo.”
“What about it?”
My expression was serene as ever.
“When I look at your face right now, I feel like even the Demon King almost seems like a good character in comparison.”
“Look into a mirror before you… Gasp! Why’s the mountaintop like that?!”
Classmate A was astonished upon seeing the fortress where the Ice Princess lived in and I could understand how he felt a little. After all, the entire place had been laid waste to during the battle between me and the cat giant, who had been hiding in the vicinity. Even the previously M-shaped peak of the mountain had been flattened. As for the fortress… it was a pile of stones buried in snow.
For starters, we landed atop the the fortress ruins. Feeling a prick at my conscience, I pretended to give a suggestion to Classmate A while surreptitiously changing the topic.
“How about searching for the Sage’s Staff first?”
As according to Classmate A’s method, that stick was effective on the Ice Princess and so I thought: how about starting from procuring the Sage’s Staff?
Classmate A, who had been looking about the collapsed fortress ruins, replied while shaking his forefinger from side to side.
“Tsk-tsk, you don’t know what you’re talking about. The effect drops if you hand over the staff right away. First, I’ll plant the seeds of hope by explaining there’s a way to control her power from going out of control. By doing that, she’ll become impatient like a child pestering for a toy.”
Such a brilliant taming method…?
While Classmate A was most definitely a lame Hero, as befitting a graduate, there was a bit to be learned from him.
“Seems like you’ve grasped it, too. That’s right. So, we have to start by finding the Ice Princess for now. I don’t know the cause, though—why did this place change like this? It wasn’t like this at all before my regression… is it a butterfly effect? Hansoo, is there anything that occurs to you?”
I saw nothing.
I discovered a person that was hiding in the Ice Princess’ exclusive toilet. Although I couldn’t properly see their face, as the person hid the moment our eyes met, that charming voice I heard through the snowstorm was familiar.
The damage occurred from the battle at the fortress hadn’t extended to the toilet, the toilet full of the princess’ you-know-what, thanks to it being far off in a covert location.
“Where are you going so suddenly, Hansoo?”
“I found something.”
Dodging Classmate A’s question, I headed for the toilet. It was between the gap of a split boulder, so narrow as to be difficult to enter unless you were a child or a woman with a good figure. Of course, having too good of a figure would result in being stuck. Like the Demon King’s daughter, Ssosia? The Ice Princess wasn’t as good as that.
“Hey. Come out right now from the toilet, unless you want to be munched to bits by a dragon.”
I took my time examining the woman who groaned her way out from between the boulder’s gap. Although she looked completely like a beggar, it wasn’t so bad to the extent of being unrecognizable due to her being too good-looking by nature. That white hair and sky-blue eyes of hers… she was the missing Ice Princess.
I took the first move before she acted like she knew me.
“Pleased to meet you. I’m Hero A, and this here’s Hero B. You’re that famous Ice Princess, aren’t you? If you’re going bare your nails like an aggressive white cat, you’d better be resolved to have them all pulled off.”
The ranks of my Skill rose following my accurate judgement. That much was fine, but how was it that I gained proficiency in something I didn’t even do and obtained new Skills as well? Though of course, it wasn’t like I was unhappy with that.
“Kang Han Soo! What did you find… Isn’t that the Ice Princess?!”
Having come over a beat late, Classmate A grew wide-eyed, while the Ice Princess elegantly lifted the ends of her utterly ripped skirt with both hands and gave a polite greeting.
“A pleasure to meet you, Heroes. I have shown you an unseemly sight, as I have recently come under attack by an unidentified foe, but as you might have guessed, I am indeed the woman called the Ice Princess.”
I had almost let slip my hand holding the scimitar, but right before that happened, the grip of my hand grew firm again, its mood become good at the Ice Princess’ wise response.
“An attack by an unidentified foe… do you have any guesses regarding this?”
Classmate A so asked while feigning worry for the Ice Princess.
“None at all.”
The brainwashed princess gave a denial, shaking her head from side to side.
“Is that so. In any case, don’t worry any more, Princess. I know the way to control your power from going out of control. Please endure here until I obtain the means. I’ll be right back! Please believe in this Hero!”
“Do, do you speak truly?”
While there was the unforeseen event of the Ice Princess’ home being destroyed, it seemed that the strategy of Classmate A, who pushed onwards straightforwardly without being shaken, managed to have effect.
Baekgu also leaped near us, flapping his wings.
Upon sighting the silly white dragon, the Ice Princess hugged herself and began to tremble. Apparently, even if brainwashed, the fear engraved in her heart by the dragon’s maw couldn’t be easily shaken off. Seeing her like this, I took long strides towards the Ice Princess’ side. But at that moment…
“Hey! Kang Han Soo! Be careful! No matter how high our Levels, the Ice Princess’ chill is on a different dimension! You’ll be frozen solid if you don’t have chill resistance in your Skill… Huh?”
Classmate A once again wore a dumbfounded look in the midst of warning me.
“It feels cold.”
I gave my short impression while caressing the Ice Princess with my left hand that wasn’t holding the scimitar, from her cheek to chin and finally, her neck. Being a hot water bottle might be impossible, but perhaps she could be an ice pack substitute instead? Of course, I had intended on snapping her neck immediately if she rudely unleashed her chill, but she didn’t go wild.
Losing control was an instinct.
Fear was also an instinct!
Both were instincts, but her fear prevented her from going out of control and stabilized the Ice Princess by force. In the first place, seeing as I had hunted the cat giant who had been making her go wild, it wasn’t difficult to judge who was on top. The Ice Princess obediently accepted my touch.
“Tha-, tha-, that…!”
Classmate A stammed while gesticulating from behind.
“Looks like her power’s come under control due to my persuasion. I don’t think we’ll really need the Sage’s Staff?”
“Yes way. Look. Isn’t she well-behaved?”
I proceeded to rub at the Ice Princess like she were a genie lamp, but she remained still and didn’t go out of control. Although I did hear a bit of a lewd, high-pitched noise come from her as she twisted her legs, that was a trivial matter that could be overlooked as flirting.
Classmate A was absentminded as he continued to repeat the same words over, and in the end he even said this.
“Kang Han Soo! Remove that hand! She’s mine!”
Summoning forth Holy Sword 3, Classmate A pointed at the Ice Princess as he revealed his intense desire to possess. Seeing the fellow act as such, I gave a chuckle as I corrected him.
“Calm down. She’s nobody’s belonging. Where’s the sense in arguing the ownership of a woman you’ve just met? Don’t be like a fantasy barbarian.”
“Just met? Don’t make me laugh!”
Having lost his head, Classmate A began to yap away. The Ice Princess’ habits, erogenous zones, preferences, secrets… Out of Classmate A’s mouth was exposed a series of embarrassing private details and secrets of a woman that couldn’t be known unless you were in an intimate relationship with her.
“H-how do you…?!”
As he continued to ramble on, the Ice Princess’ complexion, which was already white to begin, turned even whiter.
Huffing with rage, Classmate A gave a declaration in reply.
“‘Cause you’re my woman!”
And his entire body was frozen solid.
Her primal fear surpassed her acquired instinct to lose control, but it was a sense of humiliation which surpassed that very fear that drove the Ice Princess to act.
“Ah… I ended up freezing the…”
“It’s fine, nothing to be concerned over. He was asking for it.”
This was what regression was. Not only your abilities, but all your human relationships would be reset. Whether Classmate A and the Ice Princess were friends or were married in the 1st Playthrough, they were nothing but strangers after having regressed. You needed to know when to draw the line.
When you act thoughtlessly like that with no regard for the feelings of a very sensitive woman, you would have no right to complain even if you suffered harshly. Women were extremely delicate creatures, after all. It was necessary to approach them with care, like when sitting on a slime-type toilet.
‘What about me, Miss Trainee Teacher?’
I cleanly gave up on Classmate A, who was eliminated in an absurd fashion. While I could easily resurrect him by summoning Saintess H, it was obvious he would go bonkers again the moment he woke. It was better to outright leave him be.
“Don’t mind Hero B, Princess.”
“Um, Sir Hero? If I could go down to the village to get some proper clothes… or at least be given some time to wash up…”
The Ice Princess so asked me.
“When did I say I was going to take you along?”
“Are you without feet, without eyes? Find the village yourself. Buy your clothes with your own earnings, too.”
“T-that can’t be…”
Our relationship came to an end here. If it wasn’t to humor Classmate A, we wouldn’t have even met again like this.
“Baekgu, let’s go!”
I rode on Baekgu and immediately proceeded towards the Demon King’s castle.
The moment of graduation wasn’t far off now.