MTY: Chapter 107

Although I spent most of the day thinking on the matter I couldn’t quite come up with a strategy.

I might be just a tad traumatized from the Orc incident, but I don’t really know how to deal with larger opponents. When he was moving around outside the arena he didn’t really seem hindered by his large size at all, so I can’t hope for an advantage in skill any more than I normally would. With the sheer mass behind his hits, however, there might be a real issue if I get hit.

I eventually give up and go to sleep.

“Maaaanoo, waake up~” I hear as I snap awake in my usual fashion

Along with the whining, I’m greeted with a feeling of pressure on my chest. I open my eye to see Mana eagerly waiting for me to wake up.

“Yay! Mano, come play with mana!” She cheers as she notices me stirring below her and gets down from her position on top of me

Hmm, I haven’t really had the chance to play with Mana since we entered town. Even though the princess has been looking after her, maybe it’s just a tad cold never to do so myself. I seem to be pretty stuck in terms of thinking of a strategy anyways so it might serve as a nice change of pace.

“Sure, what do you want to do?” I say as I get up

“Really?! Yay! Let’s go see the music!” She cheers as she practically jumps about the room

“The music?” I let out in surprise

————————————————————–

 

After basically being dragged by Mana’s monstrous strength through town I finally stand before a building smaller than a typical house.

“This is where the princess takes you to listen to music?” I ask dubiously as I stare at the small building

I expected some kind of theater or auditorium, but what kind of places has the princess been taking Mana?

“C’moooon they are about to start!” Mana whines as she begins to tug again on my arm

I suppose even if it’s some kind of shady place there is little to worry about. Mana seems to be able to handle herself anyways. Maybe I should be more worried for the princess.

As we go through the door to the small building all that I can see is a staircase that descends into unbreaking darkness, but before my caution could stop us again Mana pulls hard on my arm and drags me down the staircase in the almost full sprint she is descending. It takes everything I have not to fall as she pulls me along.

Due to the darkness of the staircase, and the speed we were moving, when the darkness finally breaks it happens too suddenly and I’m left blinded for a moment.

“…Woah….” I let out as the image of my surrounding comes into focus

A damp brick tunnel extends forward lit primarily by torches. Despite that, I can only describe the atmosphere as cheerful and excited as I see the crowds of people lined up around small stages listening to preformers play. The juxtaposition of the atmosphere isn’t the only thing that takes me aback, however.

“Is that… jazz?” I ask as I listen to one of the closest bands play almost familiar instruments

“Jazz?” Mana responds in confusion with a tilt of the head

Perhaps it’s just similar, but several of the bands seem to be playing a type of music quite similar to swing surprisingly. I had expected to see a few bards and singers at best when Mana said she wanted to go listen to music, so to suddenly hear jazz has all but stunned me.

As we begin to walk through the odd tunnel I look on in wonder at all of the fantastical and strange instruments. Some look quite similar to ones I’m familiar with, such as a saxophone, but others are difficult even to describe. What’s more, I hardly understand how a few of the stranger ones work.

One, in particular, catches my interest. It looks incredibly simple and yet the music coming out of it has such an incredible range of sound.  To describe it, it is simply a crescent stick with a gem attached to one end, with a string strung between the gem and the other end. The man playing it is dragging a bow similar to that of a violin across the string, and somehow with every motion, the sound seems to change to fit the tune at hand.

Before I can unravel the mystery of the instrument, however, Mana has begun dragging me away yet again. Eventually, the tunnel opens up into an incredibly large auditorium, with a stage centered towards the opposite end, with an array of brightly collards gems lighting it.

The stands that surrounds the stage are packed with people that bustle about as they wait for the band already preparing on stage to begin.

♪♪♪~

With the first stir of sound, the entire room goes deathly silent. Even the hallway to our back has gone quiet in hopes of hearing the music.

One of the members on the stage sound their instrument sharply. The sound is projected through the room as if over some kind of speaker, but I see no microphones. When listening carefully however I can even hear the footsteps of the people on stage. Perhaps the stage itself is amplifying the sound.  The band does not immediately start playing however, it seems to have just been a sign that they are about to start. The room is silent, all except a subtle thumping sound.

When I investigate the source of said thumping my eyes are drawn downward to see Mana sprinting at full speed towards the stage.

“Wait! What are you doing!” I whisper frantically at her as I try to chase her down

Worried about interrupting the show that everybody is so anxiously awaiting I run as quickly and as quietly as I can manage, but Mana is just that much faster. She arrives at the stage before I even have a chance to catch her and starts waving at the band, her hand only just clearing the height of the stage.

“Hmm? Hey, everybody! The singing girl is back!” A voice resounds throughout the room as one of them runs to the edge of the stage and lifts Mana onto the stage

Unexpectedly a large portion of the crowd begins to clap and cheer. Utterly confused I simply look on and watch. Mana positions herself in the center of the stage facing the crowd.

“In that case, lets get started!” The same member says as he gives a sharp nod to the rest of the band which begins playing a soft, beautiful piece

“The sorrow of the world is gone when darkness falls below~” Mana begins to sing

Just as before the meaning overlays the sound somewhat. It’s as if the song and the meaning are separate in my head, but I can’t help but process them at the same time.

“I love the world and all it’s ways, with all that I have~
I love the sun, the food, the songs, the air~” Mana’s voice is angelic as it fills the auditorium

The tranquil beauty is astonishing. I try to focus on just the song, but the meaning of the words seep into my head despite my struggle.

“Before it was hollow, and filled with quiet despair~
Food without taste, and breathing without air~”

I look for the nearest seat I can find and watch on as I lose myself in the music.

“Loneliness was painful, and so too was its wake~
The feeling of forgetting, as your regret begins to fade~
Where do you place the blame, of times constant flow~
Should you feel contempt as you begin to grow?~

The sullen song makes me begin to wonder about Mana’s past. What was it like living in that dungeon? How did she come to live there in the first place?

“But, life is music full of sound, and tasty food all day~
It’s laughing with your friends as you all play~
Growing might have been scary, but it is for the best~
Growing lets you see the world in shades far from gray~
Growing lets you laugh and sing your old worries away~”

As the music grows lighter and more jovial Mana begins to dance. Even the members of the band playing the music are looking on in amazement as Mana sings with a look of joy plastered on her face.

“To live and love is our greatest gift~
and we give it with such joy~
No matter how you live or grow~
There is no better toy~
So live, and eat, and play and sing~
There is truly no greater thing~”

The music draws to a close and the room fills with silence again, until a torrent of deafening uproarious applause erupts around me. Mana scans the crowd eventually locking eyes with me a few rows from the stage. She looks at me expectantly gauging my response. I begin clapping as well to show her how much I enjoyed the show.

Along with the band, she sang another 3 songs before the performance was over. When the crowd began to disperse Mana jumped from the stage and ran up to give me a hug.

“Well?! Did you like Mana’s singing?!” She asks excitedly as she stares up at me

“I loved it, I never knew you were such an amazing singer!” I say with genuine surprise

I would be upset that she was acting so conspicuously, but how could anybody be upset aftering seeing her enjoy herself so much?

“Are you her sister? Mana talks about you all the time.” The band member from before asks as he approaches

Did Mana introduce me as her sister? I suppose I think of her as a little sister as well, so that’s pretty appropriate.

Although I’m not sure if this world has the concept of a celebrity considering how casually they are walking past him, I give a short bow before I speak.

“Does she sing here often?” I ask still trying to grasp the situation at hand

“She comes by occasionally, but always by surprise. I was beginning to wonder whether she was coming today or not, and almost started without her.” He says with a guilty look

“That’s cause Mano’s a sleepy head!” Mana pouts as her face grows red

“Hahaha! No need to feel embarrassed, we are used to your sporadic appearance. Don’t you usually come with the princess though?” He asks as he ruffles her hair

“I wanted Mano to come! Mano thinks Mana is amazing!” She cheers with a blush on her face

“If I may ask, who wrote that first song?” I ask

I presumed earlier that Mana wrote the song about her past, but maybe the two are unrelated. The other songs seemed to be about all manner of random things after all.

“Well, we had written the instrumentals years ago together as a band, but Mana is entirely responsible for the vocals of all the songs. Thing is, even when we play the same song what she sings is always different. She seems to have some kind of genius-like talent to improvise lyrics.” He says with a proud look as he continues to pat Mana’s head

…Seriously? She came up with all of that one the spot?

Mana smiles at me, proud of her achievement.

My friends are monsters in all kinds of respects, aren’t they?

 

 

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MTY: Chapter 106

Although I told them to try to cut back on leveling, they still insisted on gathering a few more large monster corpses before leaving. It seems Kera has been using their training efforts to restock her stand in the market. I consent to a few more, with the condition that she give me a cut.

After they promise me that they will stop after gathering what they need, I decide to part ways with them. I have only a short time before my fight with the giant and I would like to be prepared for it. I was told to think up a strategy, but what exactly should I do?

I ponder strategies as I walk through the town.

“Heeeeey! Mano-san! Over here!” The princess calls out from not too far off

When I look up I see the princess waving at me with the Yuusha and one other surprising guest. Standing with them is the small girl that was getting threatened by thugs the other day.

“Princess, Perfect timing! I was hoping you could help me with something.” I say trying to look friendly

For some reason, It’s hard not to scowl with the Yuusha so close by.

“Hm? You need my help?” The princess ask in response cocking her head to the side

“I was wondering if you had any strategies for fighting against that Kolossaal? Without magic, I don’t know how to take down someone that size.” I explain

“Ah… well… good luck?” She responds with a troubled expression

You’re fighting against a Kolossaal in the first round? You must have some horrible luck.” The young girl comments from behind the Yuusha

She flinches as I look in her direction. I promise the scowl isn’t pointed at you.

“Haha! Even I wouldn’t want to go up against someone like that without any weapons or skills! Better luck next time!” The Yuusha blurts out in laughter

I feel my scowl deepen as my irritation grows, but I know that he has a point. As far as possible first opponents go I probably got the worst. In a fight without tricks, he is clearly superior. I don’t even know if I can damage him with my bare fist.

“Hm? So the Yuusha would give up so easily?” I taunt in an attempt to mellow my irritation

“Wha?! Of course not! If it were me I would totally win!” He retaliates in a childish tone

“Oh? How’s that? Can your punches move mountains?” I continue to taunt

Maybe if I can get him riled up enough I can get an insight into his battle strategies. It might be helpful in the future to make sure I don’t get outwitted.

“No, but if I winged it I’m sure it would turn out okay.” He explains leisurely

…Or not.

Is this guy really my arch nemesis?  Somehow I keep feeling a sense of shame that I’m so worried about him. Did the humans pull a dud this time around? No, I can’t afford to think like that. Even if he seems like a complete idiot I must remain vigilant. After all, he might be some kind of idiot savant.

 

“Oh! I almost forgot! Let me introduce the newest member of our party! This is Lul our mage!” The princess says after a few moment of silence pass between us

So she joined their party? Is this one of those “Thank you for saving me, let me repay you by becoming your companion!” type events? Well, he didn’t really do anything anyways.

“Are you sure about letting her join as your mage? Wasn’t the entire reason she was in that mess before because she failed to get into the magic academy?” I comment as I get a better look at the young girl

She has short red hair and a very passive demeanor. Honestly, the entire scene just looks like they kidnapped a child. Is it just me, or is she glaring at me? Oh, she is turning red.

 

“I’M NOT A GIRL!” She yells out angrily with her both her fist clenched

… What?

“PWAHAHAHA! Don’t worry, I guessed wrong too! He’s got such a pretty face!” The Yuusha doubles over in laughter

“Y-You guys are so rude! I, of course, knew he was a boy” The Princess says with a guilty look as she avoids eye contact

I suppose I can sleep a bit more soundly knowing that the princess isn’t a very good liar.

“Tetra-Ka-Fier Endless Burn!” The young girl yells as she throws her clenched fist towards the sky

I’m immediately thrown into a panic as I recognize why.

Above her is a mass of fire, quickly growing as it swirls into itself furiously. Before long it is easily the size of a small building.

I jump into a fighting stance as my brain races to try and think of a solution. Even with my fire resistance, I doubt I will come away from that in one piece.

Thunk

And yet, with the sound of a small thud, it begins to dissipate.

When I look down to see why I see the child unconscious and being held up by the Yuusha.

“Sorry about that, he’s really sensitive when it comes to his appearance.” The Yuusha apologizes as he adjust for a better grip to carry the young boy

“How did someone who could do that fail to get in the academy?!” I let out in surprise

Don’t tell me that the mages of this world are of such a high level that that is considered insufficient!

“Apparently he only knows very high tier spells. The exam is to cast a simple fireball spell. When they asked him to do so he destroyed the practice building he was assigned to, and they automatically failed him.” The princess explains with a relieved look on her face

“…Is he an idiot?” I let out stunned by her answer

Again the princess averts her eyes.

I’m not the only one who has it rough I guess.

 

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MTY: Chapter 105

I shuffle the imps off into a nearby alleyway, making sure to put some distance in earshot between us and any possible wandering eyes and ears.

“Is Maou… angry?”

“Did we do something wrong?”

Mak and Kay ask with sad and guilty expressions. After that puff of smoke, they reverted to their previous forms, leaving me looking at two familiar faces that seem to be on the verge of tears.

“Of course not. Just… what happened? Why did you look so different?” I ask as I try to take a deep breath and think

“We got… bigger?”

“Big and strong!” They answer

Well, that tells me nothing. Did they rank up or not? If so why do they look like they always have?

I decide to check their status in my party menu.

Name: Mak
Species: Lesser Demon
Level: 1
Att: 312
Def: 280
Int: 100
Wis: 88
Spd: 320
Dex: 350
Skills:
Blink
Fireball
Transform
Fighting instinct
Name: Kay
Species: Lesser Demon
Level: 1
Att: 312
Def: 280
Int: 100
Wis: 88
Spd: 320
Dex: 350
Skills:
Blink
Fireball
Transform
Fighting instinct

I still can never help but wonder why these two are always so identical to one another. Leaving that aside though, it does seem like they ranked up. So I guess that puff of smoke and them going back to their old appearances was due to this “Transform” skill.

“I think I understand what is going on now. I’m sure Kera will be happy to fill in the gaps.” I say as I close down my menu and motion for the imps to follow me

“Wow! Maou so smart!”

“Maou is awesome!”

Mak and Kay let out in amazement as they begin to follow

As we walk, I can’t help but wonder about their new species. Instead of becoming “Imps” like Bik, they became “Lesser Demons”. Bik grew to look more human, while they grew to look more monstrous. Does one’s personality influence what they become when the rank up? If so that may pose problems in the future.

When I looked through the archive of things I could create, I didn’t see anything about ranking up. What happens if something I created takes an unexpected trait when it ranks up? What if I made something with a hazardous trait like poison? Would it rank up into something that started or spread plagues? With these kinds of dangers present, I’m glad I didn’t keep making monsters like Gero suggested. I could have accidentally started some serious disasters.

“Hey hey! I have good idea!”

Mak says suddenly breaking me out of my daze, but when I turn to look at him he is lunging at my face.

“WHA!” Is all I get out before he is latched onto my head and the world begins to churn

I feel nauseated and fall to the ground, which is significantly more grassy than I recall.

“Princess?” I hear from a short ways in front of me in Kera’s voice

As I peel my surprise imp mask off my head spins one more time as I’m greeted by the sight of a forest rather than the city.  Standing in front of me are Kera, Kiel, and Bik who are all standing in front of a rather large scaled beast.

Fwip!

“No fair! I wanted to move Maou!” Kay pouts as he appears out of thin air

“Before you say anything ju-” Kiel starts but I throw up my hand to stop him

“Just give me a sec, sensory overload.” I say as I close my eyes for a second and let the world stop spinning

sigh “That’s a bit better.” I say as my nausea fades

I motion for Mak to come closer with my hand, and he obediently comes forward.

FWAK!

“Do NOT do that again.” I say as I get back on my feet

I give Kay a glare to make sure he knows to do the same, and his look of swift fear lets me believe he understands. Mak hobbles over to Kays side holding his head.

“Now onto the next issue, why is there a giant lizard creature dead behind you?” I ask as I turn back to the principle offenders

“We… Killed it?” Kiel answers nervously

“Why?” I respond without anger in my voice

“Money?” Kera answers quickly

THWAK!

“Why?” I repeat in the same tone

“WHY ONLY ME?!” Kera yells out as she rolls on the floor nursing her new bump

“Nuh uh! Me too!” Mak pouts

Don’t be proud that I hit you.

I focus my attention back onto Kiel and wait for his answer.

He has been keeping something secret for a while now, and I think it’s about time I was let in on it. Seems like just about everybody else was.

“Um… I was…or rather we were training.” He finally answers after things grow silent

sigh “So that’s what it was. No wonder the Imps ranked up.” I say as I look at the giant lizard

Back in the goblin village, I saw them fighting a boar half this things size and struggle, but this thing looks like it went down without so much as a fight. They must have been getting real strong behind my back.

“I didn’t know that would happen! Kera told me it wouldn’t!” Kiel defends himself, mercilessly throwing Kera under the bus

“Of course I did! That should be common sense! Those two were nearly half the maturity of Bik! Even with your usual nonsense, it should have taken them at least a few years to rank up!” Kera lets out in frustration

If what she is saying is right, then I’m going to have to accept ranking up quickly as a fact of life. Others might not be so lucky as to have the transformation skill though… what should I do?

“So… you’re not angry?” Kiel ask breaking focus

“Hm? Why would I be? I never said that you guys couldn’t train.” I answer trying to understand the question

Maybe I hit Kera too much, I seem to be getting the reputation of someone who explodes about everything. Honestly, it’s kind of cathartic at this point, but maybe she could do without the extra brain damage.

“Well… we did it behind your back, and the Imps even ranked up! Isn’t that going to make things more difficult?” Kiel ask, searching my face for signs of disapproval

“You were trying to get stronger. That’s all there was to it. Right now is rather peaceful, but things are going to start getting hectic before long. I was so focused on my own training, that I forgot about making sure the rest of you were prepared for that danger as well. It seems Mak and Kay can do something about their appearance for now so we won’t worry about it, but it might be best for you guys to stop hunting until we can come up with a solution for Bik.” I explain as I start to ponder solutions again

Aside from Kiri who isn’t around often enough to worry about, we need something that can work for Bik and Kurobe. After the tournament ended I was considering going back into the dungeon to prepare to explore the previous Maou’s castle. If we don’t have a solution then it might be a bit risky to go.

“Since everybody has ranked up once already, should we be safe for a while? I imagine ranking up a second time should take longer than the first right?” I ask Kera

sigh “Yup, though it hardly ever happens cause of how long it takes. Even monsters with long lives that are passed down in a family or clan hardly ever live long enough to see a second rank. I would like to tell you that it was impossible for short-lived creatures like the ones you have, but you seem to love breaking common sense.” Kera explains with an odd expression

If that’s the case then I’m going to be drawing countless eyes if anybody ranks up again. Maybe there is a spell that can change one’s appearance like the skill the imps have… If so I would like to have it myself. The stuff Kera smeared on my horns helps people not see them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They get caught on things constantly cause I keep forgetting they are there, and I have to check every morning to make sure they haven’t grown anymore.

“Maybe if I…” I mumble to myself

“Um… Mano?”

“Give it up Kiel, she’s in her own little world now.”

 sigh “I’m not even entirely sure why I was worried anymore.”

I hear some chatter behind me, but I choose to ignore it. I’ve got more important things to work out.

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Character stats

Trying to write this chapter has proven a pain because the first thing I need Mano to do is look at the stats on the Imps and I don’t remember any of their skills/stats. After spending about 2 hours looking through chapters to try and find it I decided that I am going to try and keep up a page with the last updated versions of characters stats and skills.

If any of you have a good enough memory or enough time on their hands to help me track down the current stats for all of the characters so I can get the list started the chapter will come out a LOT quicker.

Writing is going more fluidly than I expected it to though, so wait or not and I still think a good chapter is to come.

 

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I’m kind of back

Warning: Not so lighthearted explanation for my absence for those that want it. If you just want to know when more stories are coming skip to the end.

 



Let me start by apologizing for my long absence. I don’t really like to put this out there very much, but I suffer from some really major anxiety issues as well as occasional bouts of depression. Originally I started writing on here as a means of helping that, but after a while, it started to contribute to it. Around the time where I started writing Higeki no Hiro my personal life got really hectic in the “I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to keep a roof over my head” kind of way. I decided to take a long break, but in my anxiety, I couldn’t find a way of explaining that without panicking would always end up bailing. I like to think that I make people’s day a little brighter with my content, and I don’t really like the idea of bumming people out with my problems when they mostly came here for the stories, but I needed a break. That being said, I’m still far from in a good position fiscally, but I’m quite a bit more refreshed mentally and would like to start writing and putting stuff up here occasionally again.



With all that out of the way here’s the important bit. It has been quite some time since the last chapter of either Higeki no Hiro or Maou the Yuusha. It’s hard to get back into the flow of the stories, even if I can remember where I was heading with them, so continuations of them would be rather clunky and off for a while if I continued them.

My question is: Would you guys rather I put out some slightly lower quality chapters of my current series while I got back into the swing of them or a new series altogether that I could keep the flow going right from the start?

Either way, chapters are going to be coming in a fair deal slower than they were before. I deeply regretted the weekly deadline I set for myself, and I don’t want to fall into the same constant rush to finish as before as I felt like it made the overall chapters a bit worse in the end.

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Update

Since I finally got internet back I thought I would give  quick update. Some recent events have piled on in my normal life that has made finding time to write significantly harder, so i’m pretty behind on the third chapter of “Higeki no Hiro” but I do still plan on finishing the series. Unfortunately at this time I can’t really put a time on when the chapter will be coming out, but hopefully this will all blow over soon so I can go back to a normal schedule.

I’ve decided that once I finish Higeki no Hiro, which i’m hoping won’t take too many more chapters, I will go back to writing Maou the Yuusha. Thank you to anybody that has stuck around though all this chaos, hopefully I can get things together enough to get the next chapter out before the end of the week.

 

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Higeki no hīrō: 2

Are you ready?” The voice asked again when I didn’t answer

“Leave me alone.” I replied

Very well.” it returned

Just as I asked the voice remains silent. Being stubborn I do the same for what feels like hours before finally speaking up.

“Why must I do it again? Just let me pass on.” I eventually barked out with a bitter and angry tone

Elaborate. What do you mean by ‘pass on’?” It askeded with slight interest in it’s voice

“Die, pass on, go to the afterlife!” I yelled out in anger feeling mocked by his words

There is no such thing. This is as close as you will ever find to an afterlife.” It answered

“Then let me disappear! Why must I stay here to anguish in my memories?!” I yelled out as tears begin to stream again

I still require you. If you wish to leave then I will send you to fulfill another task.” It answered

“I won’t! There is nothing special about me, find somebody else!” I snaped in anger

I will wait until you are ready.” the voice answered before growing silent yet again

Again I wait. Wait for my anger to fade, wait for the situation to seem any more reasonable than it is. It never does. In the silence there is no distraction to fight off my memories. They fuel my hatred.

“Hey.” I let out in a dry and bitter tone

Are you ready?” It asked in response

“No. Were you watching?” I asked coldly disregarding him

The entire time.” It answered

I swear I hear a slight chuckle in his voice, and my anger swells again. I choke it back and continue.

“Why did they do it? Why did they kill me?” I asked hoping for an answer that would soothe me

Because they feared you. Just as the small one feared your partner.” He answered

In that one statement my world grew red. It finally dawned on me. Tuy killed Aina! They were part of the mage opposition!

“RYHAAAAA!” I screamed out in anger to the void

“WHY NOT JUST SEND ME BACK?! I WAS READY TO LEAVE!” I scream out

There never was a way back. They lied to you so you would do as they asked.” The voice coldly responded

“KRYHAAAA!!” I screamed out again

My memories grow blurry after that. My blind rage continued for some time. In the void I require no sleep so my concept of time is warped, but I can only imagine it must have been days before I calmed down enough to think again.

“Why should I do as you ask?” I asked with a weak voice

After screaming for so long my voice should be rasped, my lips should be dry, but they weren’t. Nothing ever changes here.

You have no choice. Until you are ready, I shall wait.” The voice answered

I was held hostage. That was the deal. I did as he asked or I stayed. My anger had begun to shift to the strange voice. As if to spite him I grew silent again. Every time I did it only ever seemed to hurt me though. The voice never spoke out alone, it never grew impatient, but I was forced to face my demons in the silence.

The silence grew painful on my ears. The only thing that broke it was when I or the voice talked… but my demons only grew stronger with each conversation. It felt like madness was setting in from all sides. My past, my present, and my future all seemed like a different kind of hell.

“Fine. I’ll go!” I finally shouted out in anger and inpatients.

State your wish for your new life then.” The voice said without even a tint of satisfaction in it’s voice

It’s lack of interest in breaking me sparked a new anger that I stomached for the time.

“I get another? That’s rather generous.” I mocked

The voice never answered my sarcasm. It simply left me in silence to pick my wish.

“Fine. I wish for the power to complete my task alone. I have no desire to make any more friends on my journey.” I answered with fire in my tone

Very well, your wish is granted. Use your new powers well as you slay the lord of the demons. Are you ready?” It asked

The question no longer shakes me. Not in the way it did before at least. Now it fuels the fire that seems to burn in my gut. The one that makes me hate my answer.

“Yes.” I said with regret as the world flushed from around me again

“G-Great hero! We have succeeded at last! Please save us!” A meek man in a fancy robe greeted me

My surroundings were similar, yet clearly different. The room was clearly some kind of church, and the symbol beneath me seemed to resemble magic circles from fairy tales in my world. Neither resembled anything from the world I was first summoned to. I was in a new world yet again.

“If you will come this way our great leader will gree-” The small man began excitedly before I picked him up by his collar

“Do you have a way to send me back?” I asked angrily as I stared the small man in the eyes

I dared him to lie to me.

“I-I don’t know! There are many more familiar with summoning magic than I am! Please don’t hurt me!” He spouted in fear squirming around in my hand

“Bring them to me.” I said as I threw the man to the ground and sat on something resembling a stool

“Y-Yes! At once!” The man spouted off as he scurried away

I learned quickly to despise the rat as I waited for far too long. The others in the room waited awkwardly unsure of whether I wanted them to stay or leave for a while, but after some time they all managed to slip away. I didn’t care. I grew irritated as I saw the sky begin to change color from the setting sun. My sense of time was distorted because of my period in the void, but I knew that I had been kept waiting for far too long.

The sky had grown dark before someone finally returned to the room, but it was not a summoner.

“Arrogant hero! You would be lucky if I didn’t sentence you to death for your disobedience.”

The man that entered saying such an annoying statement was none other than the king. He was a small man, not only in character, but in stature. I’m sure his skin wasn’t red, but nearly every time I met him his face was always crimson. Perhaps that was my own fault.

He didn’t enter alone however. Along with him were five warriors of obvious caliber. Each staring at me with the same look of contempt as the king.

“Do you have the means to send me home?” I asked without answering his anger

His pride meant nothing to me. I wanted to return. Not to my own world, my desire for that had long since passed. No, I wanted to return to the world that I rid of the Lich. I wanted Tuy and Mault to tell me why they betrayed me themselves.

“Know your place! What grounds do you have to make request of a king?!” He angrily yelled as he marched towards me

In an instant I closed the distance between us and placed my sword against his neck. Surprised by my speed the warriors all stumbled to raise their swords on me. I wasn’t afraid. In the time I spent waiting I managed to confirm something. My body and equipment were the same as when I died. Without some kind of trap there is no way a normal weapon could do any real damage to me.

“I will ask only one more time before I cut you down and ask someone else. Can. You. Send. Me. Home?” I asked with my anger and irritation beginning to resurface

Surely I had killed humans before, especially against the mages opposition, but I had never grown used to it. At that moment I surprised even myself. The man before me was not human to me. Nobody there was.

“Hmph! If you had only listened to our proposal you would have known that we can you fool! All we ask is that you rid us of the demon lord!” The king yells in my face

With a bit of spit landing in my eye my anger was fit to burst.

“No! You will send me back now!” I yelled

“and why would we do that?!” He screamed back with an ever reddening face

I was done.

“RAAAAAAAAH! Kill him! Kill him now!” The king screamed as I let the sword sink into the fatty flesh around his neck

The next battle happened in a flash. I threw the king away to give myself some space to take down the five that had started charging me despite my hostage. Perhaps as an instinct from my previous life I used the flat end of my blade as I quickly dispatched them.

I have no idea how these five stack up against the warriors of this world, but compared to even a simple soldier of the front line they were untrained fools with shiny gear.

It was only moments after the king himself landed on the ground that the five fools he brought with him followed suit.

“IEEEeee! Don’t kill me! I’ll give you whatever you want!” He pleaded as his face quickly switched to a shade of blue

“Just send me back.” I said as I place the sword against the kings neck again

“Kuh! We… Can’t…” He let out with a look of shame a defeat

“It was a lie?” I asked in the same emotionless tone

“..Yes.” The king eked out as he braced himself for the attack he was sure would follow

sigh

I sheathed my blade and began to walk towards the door. I had no reason to take his life if they didn’t even have a way to send me back. In the first place watching a defenseless man grovel and throw away his pride for the sake of his life quelled my immediate anger. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but my instincts told me to leave.

“W-wait! You can still go home!” The king yelled out with desperation as I approached the door

I stopped, but didn’t turn to look at him. I was tired of his lies. This pause was his last moment to speak.

“The king of the demons should have the spell you seek. Demons are known for making pacts with otherworldly through summons. Surely they must have a way to return home!” He was wise enough to take it

The speed and sureness in his words made a small part of me believe he was telling the truth, but perhaps I had begun to loose hope that I could return. After he finished talking I continued to leave.

“You will need the holy sword! My daugh-” He continued to yell as I left

What was it that gave me this sense of melancholy? How familiar the scene was to my previous life? The fact that I had given in to the voices demands? That I had thrown away my pride as a hero to serve myself? The question haunted me for a great deal of time.

Perhaps due to my lack of direction I began my journey to the demons territory. The towns I passed through were helpful in that regard. Many were quick to tell of the legends regarding the demons, and where they were rumored to preside. What I found rather quickly was that nobody truly knew the location of the demon lord. Many doubted he even existed.

With the lack of evidence surrounding him I might have even questioned his existence myself if not for the voice. I didn’t trust the voice. I knew nothing of his motivations, nothing about why he would even tell me what he did, or if he had ever lied to me. Even still, he gave me a mission. Whatever motivation he had to send me to this world, I can at least meet it along the path to the demon lord. That was what I believed.

I expected to have a bounty on my head after I tossed around the king, but to my surprise word of a hero being summoned never even made it as far as the town I was summoned in. Perhaps the king kept it a secret intentionally to save face, but regardless of the reason I found it convenient. Without the duty of a hero barring down on me I was free to live this life as I wanted. Not as the voice wanted, and most certainly not as the king wanted. I traveled to find the demon lord for my own purposes.

I continued to gather information diligently as I traveled. I talked with merchants, inn keepers, and bards just as I had done in my previous life, but I never learned anybodies name. Likewise I threw away my own name. Names are for those who have a need to remember each other; friends, acquaintances, lovers. I didn’t need those. I didn’t want those. I talked with people for information, nothing more.

This journey was so different from those I had before. For as long as I could remember Aina and Tuy were at my side;  laughing, arguing, and fighting side by side. Even when it was hard, it was always so much fun. Things always looked so vibrant and colorful. I would marvel at the sounds of nature. I don’t see the colors anymore though. I don’t hear the birds or the wind. I see the road, and I continue to follow it.

I met little resistance on my path. Monsters and demons became more common as I drew closer to my goal, but they were a meager distraction. Perhaps the inhabitants of this world are weaker? This world seemed… peaceful. The demons ravaged the land, but by no means as savagely as the Lich did. There was never any tension.

I knew I was drawing close when the miasma began to fill the air around me. A poisonous stench with a purple hue. When it first set in I would find various corpses scattered around. Monsters, animals, humans, even some demons dotted the land as if stricken by an epidemic. This miasma was powerful. Enough so for even me to be worried.

“Purify!”

This was the first time I found use for the gift the voice had given me for this world. It gave me the aptitude to fulfill any role by myself. In my previous life I had very little aptitude with magic, but with this ability I gained the aptitude to cast any spell that my mana could handle. I also gained skill with a bow and various other weapons that I had troubles with in my previous life, but I continued to use a sword out of habit. Using this ability meant that I didn’t have to rely on a healer or a priest to make my way through the purple haze that grew ever thicker.

I won’t say it wasn’t lonely, but I preferred it this way. Nobody to betray me… nobody for me to hurt.

I struggled with my sense of direction in the thick miasma. It was hard to see more than a couple feet in front of myself, and I had been walking for so long that I had lost track of the way I first started walking. I knew however, that so long as the mist grew thicker, that I drew closer.

The miasma was so thick that I no longer knew whether it was day or night. The miasma was the perfect defense in this way. No direction, no sense of time, and an always hostile environment. With the castle lost so deeply in the mist it was impossible for most to reach. Even if you managed to somehow survive the poisonous air, you also had to have the mental fortitude to walk through an endless void with no sense of when you would reach your goal. Maybe I really was the most suited candidate for it in that respect.

After walking for what I could only imagine was a few days I eventually began to notice a light, similar to a flickering flame, shining through the thick poisonous air. It became a lighthouse for me. I feared that it was a trap, but even I was growing fatigued in the miasma. Perhaps the excitement or danger of a trap would be good for me. I couldn’t get the idea of a moth flying towards a flame out of my head.

My worries were in vain however as the air suddenly cleared around me, revealing a castle that seemed to melt away at the edges. It was an amazing sight, but even this hardly shook my stoned heart. I continued on, determined in my goal.

The castle itself was abundant with high ranking demons, many of which attacked at once. At times the battles seemed close, and I worried I might fail, but somehow I would always pull through. Perhaps I was something of a battle maniac, because the thought of fighting the demon lord began to make my heart race.

Make no mistake, I didn’t come here to fight. I tried explaining my situation to nearly every new group of demons that I came across in the castle, but after failing to convince the first several groups of demons that attacked me I lost the opportunity.

“A sly tongued human is invading the castle! He uses mind magic! Attack him, and cover your ears!” began to circulate among those that alerted their friends of my arrival

Listen, i’m going to defend myself. I’m not attacking just because I repelled those that attacked me.

I began to resolve myself that fighting the demon lord was inevitable. I began to feel a heavy painful feeling in my heart at the thought of giving that voice what he wanted yet again.

The castle wasn’t incredibly large in comparison to the vast expanse I crossed to get here, so my arrival at the throne room felt far too quick. Was I disappointed? It felt inappropriate to be, but I definitely let out a disgruntled sigh.

On the throne sat a man nearly twice my height, with deep purple skin and long sharp ears. Two horns protruded from his head, each curving backwards with twist and turns. He wore dark robes of red and black. His overall appearance somewhat reminded me of a vampire. I’ll admit I tried to check for fangs when he spoke.

“So you have arrived unsung hero! To take down my four diva’s so easily… you are truly to be feared! Well then, shall we get to it then? Fight m-”

“No.”

“…Pardon?”

As he began his monolouge I swiftly stopped him. If I was going to leave peacefully then this was my last chance.

“I don’t intend on fighting you, I just have a question I need you to answer.” I explained plainly

“…he.. Hehehe… Mwahahahahhaha! You came this far, all to ask me a simple question?! Perhaps your are not some unknown hero, but a far greater evil than even myself! Very well then, out of respect for your efforts I will answer your question before I kill you.” He exploded with laughter at my statement

“Why was I sent to kill you?” I asked

“You jest surely? Because I have sent countless demons to kill the humans? Is that not why someone sent you?” He responded with confused amusement

“I wasn’t sent by humans. I was summoned to this world by some being with the express purpose of killing you. Why?” I ask as my anger began to boil

Somehow I had become so focused on getting here, that I forgot how ridiculous my story must sound to others. How was I supposed to get the information I needed like this?

“Do you speak in metaphors, or are you simply mad? Regardless, I do not know the answer to your riddle.” He said as the look of respect he previously had faded from his eyes

He might have really thought me mad in that moment.

“Let’s try another then… Why are you attacking the humans?” I asked

The common link between the two worlds was that I was summoned to defeat something attacking the humans. Perhaps the voice like humans enough to send them aid? Are his actions virtuous then? Does he play the role of hero by sending me in against my will?

“Because they have driven us to extinction. Hundreds of years ago humans and demons shared this land, just as countless other races did. The elves, the dwarves, the forgotten, as well as countless others. The humans think they are the superior race, and thus they spent centuries wiping out anything that wasn’t pure-blood human… A demons power comes from it’s resentment towards others. A power I can feel burn brightly in you. Pushed as far as we were, our resentment began to boil, and eventually we gained the upper hand. We are still too few however, and we have little room to expand with so many humans across the land. Humans are a plague that has wiped out most of the world! We will eradicate them so we don’t meet the same fate!” The demon lord explained with explosive anger

True to his word, as he grew angrier his appearance grew more menacing.

Listening to his words confused me again as to the voices purpose. If his story was true, then the voice didn’t act out of some sense of justice, but out of preference of the humans. One final thing bothered me however. I didn’t seem necessary. The humans weren’t at their full potential, I saw that plainly in my travels. If the demons ever attacked in earnest again the humans, then the humans would simply rise to the challenge. The demons would have eventually been eradicated whether I was here or not, so why send me?

As my questions grew, so did my anger. It seemed like my answers were not here after all.

“One last question. Do you know of a method to send me home to my previous world?” I ask trying to steady my anger

“Why would I know such a thing? It is the humans that developed summoning magics, surely if such a magic existed the humans would have it.” He scoffs

I expected to get angry when I learned I was lied to, but I suppose I never put much hope in the red faced kings words. With a sigh I turned to leave. There was no reason for me to be here any longer.

A shooting pain came from my side in the next moment. The demon lord had sent a sword slashing into me. It was rather deep, and it hurt badly.

“I hope you enjoy your answers. You are surprisingly sturdy.” The demon scoffs as he pull the sword from me and waits for me to die

Death came quickly this time, and I was happy for it.

Are you ready?

Though any feeling of contentment were replaced with anger as those familiar words greeted me back to the void.

 

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