Higeki no hīrō

Silence. Crushing silence. Even when I open my eyes there is nothing to see, and although I listen with everything I have there is nothing to hear… So this is what it’s like being dead… I always thought I would live a lot longer. I was only in my second year of high-school… I didn’t even get a girlfriend yet! I worked so hard, and tried to be a good person my whole life, and now what? I ended up in limbo or something!

Are you ready?” A voice so loud that it feels like it’s going to crush me suddenly ask out of nowhere

“Aren’t I dead? Why can I still hear a voice?” I ask aloud as I look around for the source

You are dead. As to why you can hear me, it’s because I’ve chosen you.” The voice resounds and echos around me

“Chosen? For what?” I ask giving up on finding an origin

You are going to slay an evil beast for me. One with incredible powers. My followers in another world have asked for a hero, and you will answer that prayer.” The voice explains 

“What? I’m going to be summoned to another world?! That’s so cool! Do I get special powers or something?!” I ask excitedly

So this is my reward for living a good life? No, it had to be for something bigger! I died sticking up for some girl that was being harassed by some hoodlums… One of them stabbed me when I tried to yell for help. Did I end up saving the girl at the cost of my own life?… I’m pretty cool aren’t I?

I will grant you one wish for your new life. This will be my only blessing so choose wisely.” The voice answers bringing me back into the moment

Just one? Should I ask from some amazing attack? Or maybe some amazing magic? I suppose since it’s just one wish it’s like choosing a class isn’t it?

“If it’s just one wish, then I suppose it would have to be a physical boost wouldn’t it? I don’t like pain, so make me strong enough to withstand strong attacks.” I say as my hand hovers over where I was stabbed

I can’t feel anything in this space… but I can still remember then pain. It doesn’t feel like it’s gone anywhere.

Very well. My blessing will grow over time, nurture it well. I suppose it’s time you finally answered my question. Are you ready?” The voice says in a way that shakes me to the core

This feeling coursing through me, is it excitement? Or maybe it’s fear?

I take several deep breaths, despite the lack of any air, and calm myself before answering.

“I am!”

I could swear somewhere in the darkness I could see a smirk begin to form before it all began to wash away. The unending black void suddenly became a myriad of colors. My eyes take a moment to focus, but as soon as I see the flickering lights of flames I realize where I am.

“Hero! The great god has answered our prayer!” A regal sounding voice yells out before I can focus on my surroundings

My eyes begin to hurt, and I have to close them for a moment to let them rest. When I open them again I can see everything. I am currently kneeled down on a strange symbols etched into the ground. The candles and charms around me tip me off that this was the ceremony used to summon me. A man in fancy robes and a golden crown stands before me with arms outstretched with a joyous look on his face.

That man was the king. He told me the story of the great demon that rose up in the west. The once peaceful forest that covered over half the continent had burned as several wars took place between the humans and the evils that spawned from him. The humans were unable to save any of the great expanse of beauty that once covered the land, and now struggle just to keep the demons minions at bay. Defeat is inevitable unless something is done.

“Go! Defeat the king of evil! We will reward you when you return!” The king said proudly as I set off on my journey

I struggled at first. The monsters that littered my path were right out of a fantasy novel. Goblins, Orcs, and even Slimes attacked me by the dozens. I was forced to use hit and run tactics as I only had the power to take down one or two by myself.

I was sure I would meet my premature end yet again when I found myself surrounded on all sides by all manner of monsters. My sturdy body had managed to get me pretty far by itself, but against this many there was no way I would survive. Angry at the injustice I continued to fight, and to my credit I took down more than I had ever managed before, but alas it was too little. When I took a hard strike to the back of my head from one of the Orcs clubs I fell to the ground. As my consciousness faded I felt the sense of pain begin to numb. This was how I met my first companion in the other world.

Aina the mage. She was one of the kingdoms best, if not slightly bullheaded. Magic required a calm and meticulous mind, and yet she burned like a fire. Among mages of similar caliber she was shunned and hated, if not for her talent for her temper. The stiff minded people that made up the various colleges and guilds that practiced magic had no place for her, and like that she was alone. One thing could never be denied however, she had the capability of 10 mages on her worst day.

More monsters than I had the luxury to count burst into flames as various spells discharged around me. In a moment the skirmish had turned into a war-zone with explosions and sounds of electricity all about. Those that weren’t obliterated ran for their lives.

It was over in a flash… or at least that’s how she tells it. I’m not so dumb as to not notice the cuts and bruises she had on her when I woke up. It looks like it was a hard fought battle, and my appreciation for her saving me that day only ever grew.

We became fast friends as we squabbled and laughed in every town we visited on our way to the border of the humans territory. The monsters that made it this far were considered weak, not ever worthy of dispatching the soldiers on the border to eliminate. Various guilds saw to them instead, hiring various adventurers and travelers to  fight the weaker monsters that made it past the raging battle at the border. We decided to join on such guild.

There we met our second companion. Tuy the archer. The guild was small. Only about 20 people ever joined, and even then only about 5 of them regularly came in for subjugation request. One of those members of Tuy, a small blond haired boy. Tuy always went out on request alone, and was known for coming back badly injured. He was always timid and refused any attempt we made to aid him.

One day the guild leader came to us with a worried expression and explained that Tuy had left on a very dangerous request. A Red Ogre had been seen outside of town and the request called for more members than was at the guilds disposal to take it down. Tuy begged people to go with him for the first time, wanting to save the town. When people told him he was crazy to think that so few people could take it down he stormed away with the request in hand.

We rushed to get there in time, but before we arrived the Ogre and Tuy had already met. Tuy moved so fast that he seemed to disappear repeatedly as he stabbed the Ogre over and over again in desperation. The Orge laughed as it tried to swat the fly buzzing around him. Tuy speed was incredible, but he couldn’t do enough damage to make it matter. We took advantage of Tuy distraction to engage the Ogre as well.

We must have fought for hours. The more damage we did the more the Ogre sought to ignore Tuy, but the stubborn kid refused to be ignored. Whenever he was given the opportunity he would stab at the Ogres weak points. The Ogre absorbed everything we threw at him for so long that we thought he would never fall. When he finally did all three of us were exhausted.

After that Tuy opened up to us. He was trepidation about leaving the town he loved so much, but we finally convinced him to join us after a time.  He speed, stealth, and prowess with a bow turned into one of our greatest assets as we gained the upper-hand in any fight we could prepare for.

It was just the three of us for a long time after that. We took down stronger and stronger monsters, and word of our abilities began to spread throughout the land. The guild we had joined became one of the most prominent in the nation. It was a few years before we decided we were finally ready to push back the monster on the front line.

It was a constant war-zone from dusk till dawn there. Magic barriers, ancient artifacts, powerful fighters and soldiers from across the globe.  The humans put everything they had on the front line to try and keep what remained safe. Perhaps it was the fame getting to us, but we decided that we were more than all of that. We blasted onto the front line and tried to push the monsters back. The plan was to move the barrier forward by nearly a mile. If it was successful we would do it again and again until we took back the entire forest. Things did not go as planned.

We were overwhelmed. The monsters here were smarter, faster, and stronger than any that had made it through the barrier. Instead of pushing the monsters back, it seemed as if they simply retreated. We let it go to our heads instead of thinking and pushed forward. Before we knew it the monsters had led us into a trap. We tried to escape when we realized what had happened, but we took some serious damage.

One monster aimed to kill Aina that had lagged behind in our escape. I used my own body to defend her. Even with my body that had grown ever more sturdy over the years the cut was deep. It was obvious I was going to die. Thankfully mine was the worse injury, but neither Aina or Tuy came out unscathed by a long shot.

Although badly wounded themselves they dragged me to the fortress used by the elite soldiers of the border and begged them to save me. Clergy magic wasn’t common by any stretch of the imagination, but there were a few among the elite.

The soldiers looked at me and wore grim expressions as they explained that it would be a waste. Clergy magic was weak and wouldn’t be able to close a wound as large as mine. To try would take more mana than any of their soldiers could spare. They sounded remorseful, but I understood. For a cleric mana is like medicine. When so many come to you for aid you can’t use up everything you have trying to save one incompetent fool that got himself hurt.

Even though I told them to stop Tuy and Aina continued to fight for a way to save me. They argued with the soldiers with tears in their eyes. When I began to feel cold I tried to call them over, but my voice wouldn’t come out. After fighting for years and making such great friends I no longer had many regrets in life, but I felt remorseful that I wouldn’t get to see them again. I couldn’t help but let my tears begin to fall as I watched them fight for me.

“Geez, a hero really shouldn’t cry you know?” I hear through the commotion in a beautiful voice

Although the I lacked the strength to lift my head, I could feel someone pull it back as a glass bottle was pressed against my lips. As the gelatinous liquid slid down my throat the cold numb feeling began to fade. The pain in my chest began to burn as if molten metal had been pored into it, but after several moments both the pain and the burning stopped.

The voice belong to Mault the only daughter of the king. The liquid she had me drink was an ancient potion capable of healing even vital wounds. A one of a kind item unfortunately. She also healed Tuy and Aina using basic healing magic.

The soldiers acted confused and bewildered as to why the princess herself had made an appearance, but they were silenced as she explained that she was here in secret. The princess has always had a talent for healing magic, but her father had forbid her from ever going to the front line. For many years she was content to listen to him, but word of our travels inspired her to run away and fight for the humans safety.

When she asked to join our party we all hesitated. Healers were a rare commodity and we would likely never find another, but something like this could turn us into criminals if the king ever found out. The princess promised to always were as disguise as she had done up to this point, and although wary we decided to let her join us.

With a healer in tow we decided to travel the humans realm once again is search of items and ancient magics to aid us in our fight against the monsters. We spent another 3 years training harder than we had ever done before as we searched for any edge we could get.

I even learned some magic to help me out in a bind from Aina. Learning magic without having any talent in manipulating mana is incredibly difficult. Aina would drill her lessons into me every night. She always seemed to have so much fun when talking about magic. Perhaps part of the reason we never stopped was that it kept our spirits high to practice together.

Eventually we decided that it was time to make another attempt at overcoming the front line. We had become the strongest humans alive. We would often talk strategy over the years, fearing a repeat of our previous failure. Eventually we settled on a new approach. Instead of facing the hordes of monsters head on we would go straight for the source. Nobody had ever actually seen the Evil king before, but we were willing to bet it all on one final battle.

With Tuys help we managed to go unseen for most of our journey. Those that we did come across we would swiftly take out. If we were too make too much of a commotion deep into enemy territory it would be the end. Our only hope was stealth. It was a lot easier than any of us expected as well. After a point the monsters stopped being cautious at all.

It was a surreal sight. The monsters would simply march forward, only ever stopping to rest. They never seemed to eat, and short of seeing one of us they never acted independently. I guess we all just assumed that the monsters were fighting to survive just like we were to a point. Instead they seem to survive purely for the sake of killing us.

It took weeks to reach where the monsters came from. We knew for sure when we had found the source. A cave with deep red smoke poring out from it. We scoped it out for a few days to gather any additional information. In the end the only thing we learned was that monsters would come out roughly every hour or so in large herds.

We waited for the last monster of one grouping to disappear before rushing into the cave. We knew that if we ran into the next group that we wouldn’t survive so we ran through the cave at full speed looking for the origin of the smoke. What we finally came across sent a chill down our spines. A skeleton with a long ornate rob and and crown covered in gems sat limp on a throne of mangled corpses.

“So you arrived at last.” A voice echoed through the halls of the cave

The skeleton remained unmoved however.

“Imperfect. Even you, the one from another world. Imperfect. Are the gods not even capable of perfection? Why? Are they too proud of their mistakes? The humans? This world? Before creation must come destruction. I will destroy this world starting with the gods greatest mistakes, the humans. Then I will create the perfection even the gods could not achieve! You are my last test! The assassin of the gods! Face me hero!” The voice said with an air of madness

With every word we grew more dizzy and nauseated. After the voice finished with it’s speech the cave began to rattle. As the world shook around us we almost failed to see the skeleton rise from it’s throne. We were alerted by the sudden light that began to emit from his hand as he began to float in the air.

“Die hero!” the voice screamed as the light formed a spell and shot towards us

It only managed to graze my arm, but even still it managed to do incredible damage to my now nearly indestructible body. We all instantly knew how powerful the foe we faced was because of this.

Desperately we fought. It felt like time stretched on forever. Knowing that at any moment our already impossible struggle would be made even more so by a group of monsters made us even more desperate for the end. The skeletons body showed no signs of damage no matter how much we hit him with. No matter what hit him he would just regenerate after mere moments.

“Has it been an hour?”

“How do we win?”

“Is this the end?”

All of us asked ourselves these questions as if to make sense of the unfair challenge we faced. Perhaps our desperation, fear, or the strange dizziness that filled the air drove us slightly mad. The reason we were here faded away and it all just blurred into a desperate struggle to survive.

Perhaps this madness was what prompted Mault to use one of her most powerful healing spells on the skeleton. When we saw the gentle light from her spell encompass the fiend our hearts all dropped to our stomachs. We knew that the fight had ended, and that we had lost. Any damage that the skeleton had actually taken was surely gone now. Or so we thought.

“KRYAAAAAA!!!” The skeleton screamed out in pain

Life flooded back into us as we realized our mistake. The creature could only be harmed through healing! We reformed our ranks to protect Mault and rushed in again to attack the monster.

Realizing himself that he was no longer invulnerable he drew back and answered one of the most important questions we had been asking. Where were the monsters? To cover his retreat he summoned three of the highest class monsters we had ever faced, Mithril golems.

The tide of battle shifted as the golems became the main threat. The skeleton drew back as if to recover from the damage, or perhaps due to the mana draw that the monster must have had on him.

Regardless we knew this was our chance, and we weren’t going to let it slip by. I jumped to the front line and drew the attention of the golems. Using one of the ancient artifacts I had gathered in my journey, a amulet with a fierce azure gem in the center, to draw their attention. They battered me with a barrage of powerful attacked. If I let my guard down and failed to block even a single one I was sure to die. As soon as their attention shifted to me however my companions knew exactly what to do. With a buff from Aina, and Tuy pulling her along Mault got behind the golems to face the now weak skeleton.

“No! I refuse to die! Especially at the hands of you filthy humans! Bring the hero to kill me!” The skeleton ranted in it’s madness as it put up its fleshless hand in a fruitless attempt to defend himself

Mault didn’t hesitate for even a moment. She poured every ounce of magical power she had into one final spell and sent it flying at the foul and mad king of evil.

“KRYAAAAAAaaa…” His screams faded to silence as he turned to dust

As if part of the mad king themselves, the golems followed by crumbling into chunks of mithril.

As silence filled the room and the smoke faded tears began to well in our eyes.

“”””WE DID IT!!!”””” We all screamed out in joy before collapsing in exhaustion

 

Our return to the human realm was met with celebration. The death of the king of evil was met with the demise of every monster that had been fighting the humans. With his evil power no longer fueling them it was as if they starved on magical power. For the first time in a near century the fighting had ended. In days it took to travels back through the desolate but peaceful forest the humans had started a massive feast.

When we arrived there was hardly a sober person to greet us, and before too long we were dragged into the party as well. On the first night back Aina confessed her feelings for me. I felt the same way and… well we will leave out that part of the story.

In a few days the king had heard of our battle in detail and arranged a ceremony to reward us. Perhaps that was just an excuse to have another banquet though. We were all recognized as heros of the kingdom that day. Mault revealed to her father that she had run away and joined our party, and the king shed tears of joy over pride of his daughter.

I remembered that I now had the opportunity to return home… but I didn’t really want to anymore. My life here had been so grand that my previous one could never compete.

I was still an ignorant child at that point.

After the initial joy of victory faded from peoples hearts the story of “The Great Lich” began to circulate. The magician that went to far in his research, and nearly caused the end of the world… and the brave princess that defeated him.

Unease began to spread as the people that were already somewhat weary had an entirely new reason to fear the mages. Before long people had placed the blame of the events that transpired squarely on the mages. The more powerful the mage the more hatred the accrued.

Aina turned into a symbol for mages everywhere. The most powerful mage in history, arguably even more powerful than the Lich had been in life. With spells and items lost to history. The fear of something like this happening again triggered a war against the mages… that was sparked by Aina’s death.

An assassin came in the middle of the night a stuck a dagger through her heart.  Even though we shared a bed I never even heard her final breath. My heart grew cold after her death. The fantastical world that I had seen before turned grey without her.

I was angry. Why did she have to die? Because she could be dangerous? Then what of the person that stabbed her in the heart without so much as a fight? I decided to join the war effort. Not all humans opposed the mages, and those that didn’t fought for peace.

Peace never really came though. The war was short but brutal. Terrorist attacks on guilds and colleges turned towns into battlefields. The side that opposed mages was never so organized to have anybody admit defeat, but one day the fighting just stopped. The war accomplished nothing. People still hated the mages, they just never acted on that hatred. Word began to spread that I would cut down anybody that opposed the mages. People began to speak of me like I was a monster, or some dog at the thrones disposal.

I hated it. The fighting, the people, the whispering. I isolated myself. In all of the fighting I never saw Tuy or Mault once. Maybe I didn’t want them to see me anymore. Maybe I believed I really was a monster. That might have been why I decided to live in the desolate forest. After isolating myself for nearly a year a familiar face showed up before me.

Tuy had tracked me down. He said that Mault had been looking for me, and that he had been worried about me. He told me that Mault had been preparing to send me home, and that the materials were gathered if I ever wanted to return.

My thought of home had been swirling in my head for a while. A world without magic, a world where I wasn’t feared. Even if I couldn’t just pick up my life from where I was before, just the idea of living in peaceful japan again was nice.

I decided to go. There wasn’t anything left for me in this world, and the world no longer had a need for me. I arrived at the castle with Tuy several days later. He escorted me directly to the magical symbol I was summoned to this world with. There I met Mault again.

Mault wore a sad look on her face alongside her father as she watched me arrive. The decision was never harder than being in a room with everybody I cared about, and at the same time never easier. Seeing everybody together without Aina… it made it even clearer that she was never coming back.

When the ceremony began I was told to close my eyes. Several of the court mages began to chant around me, using a spell I hadn’t heard before. My body began to feel light, as if it would fly away at any moment… and then pain.

My eyes flew open as I felt a terrible pain in my chest. I looked down to see a knife stabbed into my heart, with a hand still holding it there. My head spun as it tried to understand what was going on. I looked up to see who the hand belong to and my blood ran cold when I did.

“Tuy… why?” I eked out through the blood

“You are too dangerous for this world. Even before the mages you are the greatest threat that the humans stand to face.” Mault explains with a look of superiority

“…Tuy?” I let out again trying to find solace in my friend even after he betrayed me

“Did you even know about my village? What happened to it? After we left… monsters destroyed it. It was your fault! You made me leave!” He began to yell through tears

He said a lot more, but I never heard any of it. My life faded right then and there. The silence of the black void was familiar to me, crushing. This time however it was filled with the sound of my sobbing. I screamed with sadness and hatred to the void for who knows how long. Eventually my eyes grey dry and my voice grew weak. The futility of my cries wore on me. Nobody would hear them, and I didn’t want anybody to. When I had given up and the silence returned is when I heard a voice.

Are you ready?

Advertisements
Posted in Higeki no hīrō | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Maou the Yuusha hiatus

For a while Maou the Yuusha is going to have a small break. Don’t worry too much, the series certainly isn’t dead, I’ve just hit a bit of a rut where writing for it is difficult. In the first place I had always intended to have other series run alongside Maou the Yuusha, and to pepper in the occasional one-shot for the sake of practice. However with work and other responsibilities taking up most of my time I never had the opportunity to. that’s why for the period that Maou the Yuusha is on break i’m going to be doing just that.

I have a short series called “Higeki no hīrō” that is going to have it’s first chapter released later today that I plan to be running for a while. This story is going to be much shorter, but will have a much more encapsulated story with longer chapters. Hopefully you will all enjoy it as much as I have.

I will also be throwing out the occasional pilot chapter or one-shot for your enjoyment, of which I have a few planned. Not every one will be gold for sure, but I would love your feedback on all of them so I can get an idea of what it is that those of you that already read my stuff enjoy.

Maou the Yuusha will continue as soon as my motivation for writing it returns, but in the mean time I will make sure that at least every Wednesday there is a release of something whether that is a chapter of “Higeki no hīrō” or on of the more one-off works I have planned.

I hope that you will all continue reading during this hiatus, and I promise that Maou the Yuusha will continue before too long.

Posted in Author's comments | Tagged | 9 Comments

Chapter 104: An Irritated Maou

I arrived early the next morning to continue whatever horrific training Shishou had planned, but when I showed up he simply shooed me away.

“Your training is on hold until the second round. You still have a lot to learn, but against this opponent, you need to be rested more than anything. Eat, sleep, and think of a strategy for the next few days.” Was what he said to me before waving me away

I don’t know for sure that I’m ready, but the idea of getting a few days off sounds too good to pass up. I’m not going to make the mistake I made earlier either, this time I’m gathering everybody up and we are going to go somewhere familiar to relax. If the Yuusha or any other bothersome characters show up I’m going to sacrifice one of my party and escape.

“Hey, my schedule suddenly cleared up and I’m wanting to gather everybody. Can you get in touch with the rest for me?” I say over the com-stone to Kera

“Wha?! Everybody… I, uh, don’t know where they are! I mean, why don’t we just hang out alone!” Kera responds excitedly

“Maybe some other time. I’ve not seen the imps or Kiel in a while so I would rather we all got together. I’ll go ahead and summon the imps, they should know where Kiel is.”

“No! That would be bad!” She quickly yells in a panic

“What? Why?” I ask confused at her urgency

“The imps are… shedding! Yes, shedding! If you summon them now it coul-”

“Is that Maou!”

“I want to talk to Maou”

“Let me first!”

She is interrupted by two whimsical voices in the background that grow a little closer with every word.

“Oh, is that the imps? Good. Ask them where Kiel is.” I respond recognizing the voices

“That?! No, um, that’s someone else!” Kera blurts in a similar panic

“Kera… they just called me ‘Maou’. If it’s not them then we have even bigger issues than whatever it is your hiding from me. Spit it out.” I say with mild anger as I realize what is going on

Is this another one of her pranks? Or maybe she screwed up badly and she doesn’t want me to know. Either way, i’m going to be the one dealing with it aren’t I?

“Well, you see, the thing is, it is them, but it’s not them.” She begins to prattle

“Enough. Summon” I say growing impatient

“Maou!”

“We big!”

“Stronger too!”

Before I can even react Mak and Kay come flying at me and tackle me to the ground. Are they heavier?

“Wha?!” I let out as I recover from being knocked down and look at them

The two of them have grown larger, not unlike Bik. Something about them is significantly different though they are no more human looking than before. The horns on their heads have grown slightly longer and small wings have sprouted from their back. Their thighs and forearms have grown bulkier, leaving the rest looking rather scrawny.

“You ranked up?! How? We haven’t been fighting any monsters since the eclipse!” I yell out in surprise and I pick myself off the ground

“Oh…”

“That secret!”

“Can’t tell!”

They say looking confused and concerned between themselves.

“Kera! What’s going on?!” I ask angrily over the stone

“…Click”

“Don’t hang up on me!” I yell in anger nearly shattering the stone against the ground

“Maou…”

“Is Maou not happy?”

“We got stronger though…”

“Real strong!”

They continue with a look of worry, this time looking at me. They look like they are on the verge of tears.

“No! I mean yes? I’m happy! It’s just… it’s going to be harder with you two like that.” I explain as I try to calm them down

Is it already too late to worry about drawing attention? In a few days, half the kingdom will be watching me fight. Maybe at this point, I may need to accept that I just stand out too much to do anything about it.

Poof!

“I turn back! Maou like me small!”

“Me too!”

While my head is still spinning they suddenly turn into puffs of smoke. To my surprise, when the smoke clears they are no longer larger. They have reverted to their previous form. I don’t remember that being possible. Did they not rank up? Is this something different?

“Is Maou happy?”

“Ya ya! Is this better!”

They ask me repeatedly as they stare up at me with continued worry.

“What going on over there?”

“Did that one just call her ‘Maou’?”

A few of the people passing by have started to stop and stare as the two make a loud spectacle.

“I’ve told you before it’s ‘Mano’! You need to work on that!” I scold them somewhat loudly so the eavesdroppers can hear

I’m going to have to sort this out later. For now, I need to get them some place where we can speak privately.

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chapter delay

Unfortunately the holidays have kept me especially busy this year, and I’ve made very little progress on the next chapter because of it. I have decided to push this weeks chapter to next week to make sure that it doesn’t end up rushed.

Posted in Author's comments | Tagged | 3 Comments

Chapter 103: A Maou Flies

“There you have it folks! I’m sure you are all already thinking about all the exciting battles that could happen with this line up, but i’m afraid you will have to wait! It’s only a few days away, but even that seems far too long! While your tension rises the fighters will be preparing for the upcoming excitement! I’ll see you all three days from now when we will hold the first round fights!” The excited announcer explains as those in the stadium seats begin to shuffle out of the arena

“Wasn’t all that eventful was it?” The man that helped me comments

“Not really.” I respond

The arena is intimidatingly large, and my first round opponent was a surprise, but the ceremony itself was rather dull. I suppose that’s why they have so few people attending.

“The fun starts three days from now. You better prepare yourself.” He warns

“Any advice?” I ask

“Well, you don’t get the advantage of knowing who you are going to fight ahead of time very often, so why don’t you use the opportunity to think up a strategy? Learn if there is a weakness to exploit.” He answers with a joyful expression

“Learn my opponent… I think i’ll take your suggestion, thanks. Bye.” I say as I turn and begin to walk toward the giant

“Wh- Wait, what? What are you doing?” He ask caught off guard by my sudden exit

“I was hoping to get a chance to talk to him anyways, maybe I’ll get some useful info as well.” I say without stopping as I continue on

“Heh…. your an odd one aren’t you?” I hear him say almost to himself behind me

I ignore him and continue. I refuse to acknowledge a comment about me being odd, no matter how true, while i’m surrounded by monsters, clowns, and a giant . I feel like if I do I will lose one of those last shreds of sanity and dignity I’ve managed to hold onto.

As I continue to walk I eventually reach the wall of the arena. At the top of the wall behind a short railing of stone is where the seating begins, and at the top of that seating the confused looking giant is still standing there squinting at the tournament line-up. I’m sure there must be some way to circumvent this wall and make it up to the stairs, but I have neither the time or the patients to find it.

I might be able to jump up high enough to grab onto the top if I really put my all into it.

“Hup!” I let out as I leap with all my might upward

A chill runs down my spine in surprise as the ground grows distant from me in an instant. Not only did I manage to completely overshoot the wall, but I continue to fly upward still for several rows of seats.

Pap!

“…Haaaaaa~ Let’s never do that again.” I let out to myself as I land and attempt to regain my composure

I must have jumped at least two stories high. Apparently I don’t like heights. At all.

I look back to make sure I didn’t just make a spectacle of myself, and I am relieved to see that most people have already left or were facing away as they exited the arena. Only the man that helped me remained, and he continues to stare at me with a look of humor and surprise.

…Well, I have a feeling that he already signed me off as a weirdo anyways. I’m going to just let that one go.

I calmly walk up the stairs leading to the top row of seats somehow still unnoticed by the giant.

Is he really that engrossed in the bracket? What in the world could be so interesting that it has grasped his attention for this long.

“Hey.” I call out as I reach the top waving my hand to try and get his attention

He doesn’t respond. Still he seems to have not noticed me. I walk directly in front of his face, nearly standing in the way of the board to better grasp his attention.

“Helloooo~ You in there?” I ask waving a bit more when he still doesn’t react

“…Huh? Oh! Are you talking to me?!” He ask in inordinate surprise when he finally notices

“Yes, sorry, was I not speaking loud enough?” I ask apologetically

He ears are a great deal larger, but maybe they aren’t fine-tuned for smaller noises. I might have to speak up to talk to him.

“No no no no no! It wasn’t your fault at all! I’m sorry! It’s just… nobody ever talks to me.” He explains waving his hands around desperately to prove he is being genuine

I can’t help but feel uneasy when he does though. The sound of his hands waving around is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The wind moans as his massive mitts tear through it like it’s nothing. The breeze that hits my face does so with enough force to make me fear for the safety archways of the arena that his hands are only nearly missing.

 

“A-anyways! Um… why are you talking to me?” He ask as he leans back in

“I’m your first round opponent apparently. My name is Mano. It felt kind of weird to fight somebody without getting to know them at all.” I explain nonchalantly

To be more honest I had been waiting for the opportunity to speak to a demi-human since I learned this was a fantasy world. I haven’t seen or heard of any though so I was beginning to lose hope that they existed. Perhaps they are such a normal part of life for people that they simply don’t come up very often?

“You are?! I mean, my name is Riese! Wait! That means you can read the bracket right?!” He ask as he struggles to figure out what to say first

…Crap. I walked right into that one.

“To be honest I can’t really read this countries language just yet. It’s a bit embarrassing so keep it to yourself though.” I explain with a blush

I can’t be expected to learn an entire language in the course of a few weeks can I?! Why can’t this language interpretation skill just work with written language?!

“Oh… That stinks. My vision is kind of bad, so I can’t read the letters from this far away. They only keep the big bracket up for the ceremony though, so this is my only chance to see who i’m fighting.” He explains as he rest his head on the pillars

currrrrrr

There is a faint sound of the pillars creaking as the stone struggles to support the Goliath.

“A bunch of people showed up to record the line-up, can’t you just ask them?” I ask

“The paper that they write on is too tiny for me to read, and everybody is too scared of me to tell me what it says.” He explains with an uncomfortable look

Didn’t they say they would accommodate him earlier? Shouldn’t they have at least made sure he could see from where they put him before starting? He didn’t even get a number either, so they must have preassigned one to him. Why did they even make him come if he can’t actually participate in the ceremony?

“In that case i’ll help you out. I have a friend that can read, i’ll just get them to come tell you what it says.” I say trying to cheer him up

It feels a tad weird for me to be helping him with this though. The only way this information will be relevant is if I lose to him, which I have no plans to do.

“Really?! That’s great!” He says raising his head and bouncing between feet in joy

POM POM POW POM

“Yes! It is! Please stop that!” I yell out as I struggle to cope with the shaking ground beneath me

Due to the violent vibrations I fall off of the bench I was sitting on, and clutch onto it tightly to prevent myself from moving too much. My grip tightens even more when I realize the shear drop past the archway.

“Sorry! Sorry! I’m such a klutz!” He apologizes as he waves his hand around in panic

“You might want to work on that.” I say as I get back on my feet

“Tell me about it.” He says with a defeated look

 

 

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Chapter 102: A Maou’s Opponent

We are led through a dark hall for several minutes in a line. Despite an obvious tension nobody says a word. The awkward silence is filled with the sounds of footsteps and the small flickering of the torches lining the walls. Even Tea has grown silent as he seems to have finally regained his senses and succumbed to the same feeling of tension in the air, looking around nervously.

“We are going to line up in a single row once we get out there, your friend should stand behind you since he’s not fighting.” The man from before whispers to me

Me and Tea nod at his statement. Several moments later we begin approaching a light at the end of the hall, before emerging to an open arena. The floor of the arena surprises me when I see it. Although the area as a whole is shaped as a large circle, the footing is not consistent across the entire floor. The middle is barren and flat with what seems to be dirt, or perhaps packed sand, across it. There are also two grass patches either side however, with small hills of dirt beneath them.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. I wonder if it serves any purpose, or if it’s just to keep the fighting area from looking overly bland.

“Welcome, lucky ladies and gentlemen! Today we have gathered our selected fighters together so they may put there luck to the test! That’s right, today is the day each fighter learns what insurmountable mountain they must overcome to become the new champion!” A loud voice suddenly blurts out startling me in my quiet observation

Upon hearing him my eyes are drawn upward towards the stand where, although scattered and sparse, there are people sitting and watching us. Even though I say that, there still seem to be a couple hundred people or so. Even still it the seating feels so incredibly empty, I wonder just how many this arena can fit?

“The fighters this time around are fierce! Among them are legends, heroes, monsters in the most literal sense! No matter who your fighter of choice is, i’m sure they are going to have a rough time!” The voice continues

It’s a loud, echoey, and slightly distorted voice. The voice sounds like it belongs to a man, and at that an incredibly high energy one. The kind of voice you would imagine hosting a game show, or perhaps being on the radio. Infectiously energetic.

As some of the fighters begin to stop and stand in formation we try our best to follow suit. Embarrassed by my own clumsiness as I attempt to fall into line with those either side of me, I begin to look around to assure myself that i’m not alone. Although it backfires rather heavily. Although there are a few people with obvious inexperience, most hold themselves with the poise and demeanor that shows how heavily rehearsed their actions are. I blush as I look out into the small crowd of people watching me stand out in my inexperience.

There is something that I can’t help but wonder. Why isn’t the Yuusha in this crowd? Isn’t he participating?

“It pains me to say it, but seeing as many of our talented contestants have busy schedules we are going to have to skip the festivities and get straight down to business!” The voice yells out in excitement

Fwooom

On queue a large cloth is released and let to unfurl in front of us revealing a bracket tailored into it. At the bottom are a series of odd symbols, ones that don’t seem to match the general style of the words I’ve seen thus far. No curves, just angles,  and bland in appearance with only a few variations among them.

“Fighters! Step forward and draw your number!” The voice excitedly announces

Number? Are those symbols numbers then? I suppose that would make sense actually. One symbol is as simple as a single horizontal line, where as some are complex groupings. I suppose the complex ones must be larger numbers, where the horizontal one is probably “1”. It’s odd though, 1 is the only number not on the same level with the rest on the bracket. It doesn’t connect with the brackets until the 3rd round for some reason. Does that mean 1 is a seeded fighter? In that case is it already decided who number 1 is going to be?

“Psst! It’s your turn!” The gentlemen that helped me earlier whispers to me

I realize that I had zoned out looking at the bracket when he does, and blush as I rush up to the box people have been drawing a number from.

I stare at my number for a moment. I… have no clue which one this is supposed to be. I suppose I just have to look for it up on the bracket.

“Please show me the number to confirm your place.” The attendant holding the box instructs

Convinced that I have memorized the symbol temporarily at least I do as he instructs.

“Very good. Feel free to keep your number. Please return to the line.” He instructs in a professional and unattached manner

I return to the line as instructed, and the person after me walks up in turn. The rest of the ceremony was rather bland, as it was mostly spent with people walking up and picking a number. I spent the entire time trying to memorize and decipher the numbers on the bracket. If for no other reason out of boredom.

“Aaaaaand the numbers are selected! We will now replace the numbers with the names of their respective fighters!” The excited voice yells out again after a long silence

Snap!

He snaps his fingers over whatever he is using to project his voice, and on his queue the angles and lines begin to warp of the hanging fabric to form letters far more familiar looking. Considering I don’t see any Japanese up there, I suppose they must have all the names written in the same language.

“Hey, do you have any idea who the guy i’m fighting is?” I lean in and ask the man who is quickly becoming my new friend

“Ya, I recognize his name. It’s that fellow up there.” He says pointing above and behind me

When I turn to see what he is pointing at I nearly have a heart attack, as the face of a very large bearded man is squeezed into the archway trying desperately to see the bracket. After the initial shock however I have trouble deciding whether it looks cute or sad. He even has his hands grabbing the arches either side of his face to try and get a bit further in.

KRTCHsshhh

“Ah! Not again!”

Though I suppose he might have been trying a tad too hard, cause he ended up crushing on of them in his hand.

Sigh

Of course it would be him. I have the devils luck after all.

“Out of curiosity who is that in the number 1 position?” I ask trying to pretend I didn’t see anything

“Didn’t you know? Hark is the name of the Yuusha that was summoned a few weeks back.” He explains with a confused look

sigh

Why didn’t I see that coming? He was the kings candidate wasn’t he? Leave it to the combo of a Yuusha and a king to cheat in something like this.

Posted in Author's comments | 5 Comments

Chapter 101: A Bored Maou

…I’m bored. Showing up early was definitely a bad idea. Nearly everybody here has separated off into their own corners to quietly wait. The most interesting thing that happens is when someone new walks through the door and everybody silently measures them with their gaze. Everybody looked so odd that I didn’t even notice everybody turn their attention towards me earlier. Since then however I’ve been silently sitting against a wall waiting for the ceremony to start.

At first I thought that bringing Tea along would at least mean that I could talk while I waited…

“…Oh! The end is serrated… Is that decorative or does it serve a purpose? The handle seems to be made to apply pressure to that point, so if it was for decoration that would be an issue… but the rest of it is so well made it wouldn’t even matter! What I would give to talk to the blacksmith that made that! If his purpose was to…” He murmurs under his breath

He’s been going on like that since we walked in. He’s not even responding when I call out to him. He’s completely in his own little world.

“Hey! You there!” Some obnoxious voice yells breaking the crushing silence of the room

Startled, I look around for the source, as does everybody else in the room. Though I didn’t see who yelled out, eyes begin to focus on one particular individual… one that I wished not to get involved with. He is a large muscular man without a shirt on, with a large tuft of exposed chest hair. He has a “manly” kind of vibe to him in a way that screams that he is going to be a pain to deal with.

“Miss prissy over there!” He yells out again while staring in my direction

…Please, no.

“Stop looking so damn bored! Everybody in hear is scared out of their pants at the idea of having to fight me, and yet you look like your about to fall asleep! Show some respect!” He yells in an even more obnoxious voice

What is he even talking about? Doesn’t he have eyes? Over half the people in here are looking at him like he is either crazy or stupid. Some look ready to murder him on the spot. He should really learn to keep his mouth shut.

“Whats that look supposed to mean! Guess you don’t fear death, HUH?! I’ve fought in this tournament for decades, and not a single person I’ve ever won against has ever lived!” He boast in a threatening manner

As he does he is walking towards me. I guess we are doing this. Is Tea going to step in?

“It seems like it would, but isn’t there room for improvement there? Perhaps it was done with balance in mind… though with the right materials it wouldn’t be hard to compensate…” he continues

Nope, he still hasn’t even noticed. Guess i’m on my own.

“You have the nerve to look away?!” The gorilla ask as he gets close

As I look back he is lunging at me, reaching out to grab me.

“I don’t think that would be a very could idea Joak. You know as well as I do that fighting outside of the arena will get you disqualified.”

As if he had been there all along, a young man in his mid 20’s wearing formal clothing appears next to the hairy buffoon and grabs his hand before it can reach me.

Though the moron trying to pick a fight over nothing doesn’t interest me very much, the man that stopped him does. Right up until the point he spoke I never noticed him. I don’t even remember seeing him in the room earlier. Did he just arrive, or has he been here all along? He seemed to stop the bumbling oaf rather easily as well, so it’s safe to assume that he isn’t just smoke and mirrors.

“Hmph! I know that! I was just trying to put some fire under the girl! I can’t be the only one annoyed by all these fools that think they are so strong they don’t even have to pay us mind!… and stop appearing out of thin air! It creeps me out!” The loud imbecile shouts out as he jerks his hand away from the man and walks away

“I suppose I should thank you. You saved me some trouble.” I say as I brush myself off and stand to meet the strange gentlemen still standing there staring at the oaf with a disapproving look

“Don’t think anything of it really. Joak does this nearly every time. He thinks it will scare some people off. Spoiler, it never does.” The man says in a snide joking manner

“As big as he is, he doesn’t really give off the feeling of being that strong. Perhaps he feels scaring people off is the only chance he has.” I joke in return

“Well, every strategy is valid I suppose. The tournament is all about using whatever talents you have to win.” He replies with a somewhat distant look in his eyes

Dispite the fact that he gives off a somewhat charismatic feel, he’s kinda creepy.

“Don’t let his appearance fool you though. He’s powerful in his own right. I certainly wouldn’t want to end up matched against him.” He continues

I don’t trust him. I can’t shake the feeling that he is someone I don’t want to underestimate. This tournament is made up of the surrounding kingdoms greatest fighters, if he’s here then he’s a potential threat.

Would the fighters please assemble on the stage? Repeat, would ALL fighters please assemble on the ceremony stage?

An announcement echos through the room, distorted and filled with static as if through an old intercom.

“What? Already? They told me someone would be along to explain what to do though…” I say aloud in confusion over the announcement

“Hmm… Well, just follow me. I’ve done this before. it’s not really difficult. Just do what I do.” He says confidently as he walks towards a door to the left

Off to a great start.

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments