|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3677 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1955 words|
There are multiple countries on this continent.1 I live in the country of Bordaule, a large country in the center of the continent. We are a step ahead of the surrounding countries as far as economic and military strength are concerned.
The religious country of Lumielle2 is to the west, where they revere the god of justice Lumiere, to its north is Leble, an empire that has started increasing its military power, alarming the neighboring countries.
Moving clockwise on the map from there, the next country straight north from Bordaule is Zelvis, a country with the rare political system of a republic inhabited mostly by elves.
To the northeast is Holnet Kingdom, which mostly produces agricultural products. Barius is to the east, a country that thrives on the seaside. Down southeast is Versis, a country mostly covered in wetlands and inhabited by reptids.3 In the south is Zefar with its deserts and rocky mountains. And lastly, the kingdom of Strom is to the southwest, a country seemingly lacking any feature worth mentioning.
That covers all the countries of the continent, but even with all their territories combined, there is still around half of the continent that is not occupied by any country. That is because the western half of the continent is said to be lands haunted by demons and dangerous for humans to move in. The Haunted Lands…a place inhabited by a powerful and belligerent race known as demons, and overrun by monsters.
I talk like I have seen it myself, and that is because I actually sneaked deep inside the Haunted Lands before I retired, to slay their king, the Demon King. The reaches of the Haunted Lands have expanded a considerable amount since then, apparently because the demons took over the empty lands left after the war.
On a certain day, the king of Bordaule relayed some really important information to those other countries. A report suggesting the Demon King was being resurrected. Though there was no solid proof of it, the possibility was there. Either way, the idea behind it was that it was best if we prepared together beforehand, instead of being attacked out of the blue, but the report ended up causing more chaos than expected.
Lumielle rejected the idea from the very start, saying they could not trust anything that was not revealed through a divine oracle, Leble said there was no Demon King whatsoever, and reproached Bordaule for trying to use such a pretext to invade other countries, Zelvis stated their republic had the necessary means to protect themselves, Barius said thanks for the advice but did nothing more, while Versis and Zefar did not even give a reply.
Only Holnet and Strom decided to join Bordaule preparing for a possible attack. Those two countries did not have a strong presence, so there was a possibility they were just trying to gain some strength through Bardoule.
Even though the rest of the countries had refused to work together, they had actually made some sort of preparations themselves, though they came up with roundabout reasons for it, like they were just polishing their armies, or giving adventurers the treatment they deserved. Though I am sure that I am not the only one who thinks it would have been much more efficient to just cooperate with each other.
Either way, after the warning Bordaule’s king sent to the other countries, the whole continent became busier. There was no end to the people who defied the dangers of the Haunted Lands and forced their way in to try gaining any information, and people who wanted to make a name for themselves by defeating the resurrected Demon King also popped up one after another, even though it was still uncertain whether he was real at all.
But there was even bigger trouble brewing. In times like these, a large number of charlatans claiming to be a ‘Hero’ would usually appear in order to snatch up money and goods from people who believed them and wanted to support them.
Back when I had defeated the Demon King, I normally did not name myself a hero. There had already been a lot of imposters like that, but almost all of them did not have the strength to even enter the Haunted Lands, and those who still charged in without knowing their own limits, all became fodder for the monsters.
There was a high chance the same would happen this time again, but it was the authorities’ duty to deal with that.
The first occurrence like that happened a week ago. The three of us were happily having lunch in our new home, talking about things that happened during the day, when Karin spoke about a weird rumor she heard.
“Apparently there are heroes in town! I heard they have some really splendid equipment and look to be really strong!”
“I might have seen them. There’s two of them, right?”
It seemed Ciel had even seen them already. I was unsure how to react, I did not feel like revealing who I used to be after all this time, and if there really was someone strong enough to deal with the Demon King, then I figured it was best if I just supported them instead. Completely oblivious to the fact that they were eating at the same table as a hero, the two girls continued talking about heroes.
“I heard they came here to restore their energy before they enter into the Haunted Lands!”
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“They must be really strong if they call themselves heroes. At the very least they should be able to defeat the Demon King, right? I wonder who’s stronger, them or Lapis.”
“Ah, now I’m curious too! Lapis, you’re free tomorrow, aren’t you? Let’s go find out more together!”
I wanted to avoid getting roped into a mess after what they just said, but the next day they still dragged me out all the way to the city. We were in our casual outfits, so there was probably almost no one who could tell we were adventurers.
“Are all the people here trying to see the heroes?”
“Probably. It almost looks like they’re waiting for a parade to start or something.”
The front of the inn where the heroes were staying was crowded with people, so much that it was impossible to see much at all. They blocked at least half of the street, so the shopkeepers of the stores around looked bothered. The inn was one of the higher class inns of the city, with a front entrance guarded by two strong gatekeepers, so the crowd did not go as far as invading the inn, but it was still hard for people to leave or enter the inn because of the crowd.
“Look at me~!”
From time to time, a person with a hero-esque appearance showed himself on the window of the top floor of the three-story building and waved at the crowd. Every time that happened, shrill cries, mainly from girls, erupted from the crowd. It was so loud my ears were about to start hurting.
I had to strongly resist my urges to ask them just what it was about them that got them so excited. From the glimpses I caught of the heroes, they looked like the materialization of the populace’s idea of a hero. Blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin and an intelligent figure. Their well-proportioned faces seemingly made to gain overwhelming support from women, they looked like princes taken out from a fairy tale. It almost made me think they would be better suited to be actors than heroes.
“It’s kinda incredible…they’re so popular already…”
“From the looks of it, it’ll be impossible to actually meet them. I would’ve liked to find out if they knew of some powerful magic though.”
“Well, let’s go back home then. Getting something tasty to eat will be many times better than just looking at a window here.”
“…That’s true, let’s go back.”
“What a pity. It’s really hard to come across a chance to meet someone famous.”
Shortly after I suggested that, the two of them seemed to reluctantly agree with me. But when I thought I could finally relax and leave that place, another wave of cheering exploded around us. I figured the heroes had shown themselves on the window again or something, so I ignored it and prepared to leave, but then someone tapped on my shoulder. When I turned around, I saw a muscular soldier standing there smiling. From what I had seen, he was one of the followers of the heroes or something like that. But I had no idea what he wanted with me.
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“Hey there, the hero asked me to invite you to have tea with him in his room. Your friends there can come too, what do you say?”
They were trying to pick up girls out of all things! Had he seen me during the brief moments when he passed along the window? His eyesight must be really sharp. I felt even less willing to trust them now, my impression of them had plummeted to its lowest.
“I’m sorry, I had some plans so-”
“Lapis! They’re inviting us themselves so we can’t let this opportunity go! Let’s quickly go with him!”
I had no interest in those heroes so I wanted to decline the invitation, but the two girls interrupted me. They were really stubborn in times like these, by the time I tried to uselessly resist, they had already taken hold of my hands from both sides and dragged me to the front door. The crowd had not failed in taking notice of the hero’s attendant bringing us with him, so I felt their cold stares digging into my back as we were guided inside the inn. Behind me, I heard the merciless jeers coming from them.
“Ehh! Why would you take a shorty like her!”
“You just tricked the hero with your deceiving gaze, didn’t you? You gross girl!”
“Try to learn your own place!”
They said a lot of things, but that ended too when the doors closed.
“Gross…she said I’m gross…”
“Are you okay? You look a bit worn…”
Ciel looked worried at me, since I normally never looked down like now. I smiled tiredly as I looked at her and waved it off saying I was okay.
“…I’m okay. I’m just a bit surprised they would protest so much.”
The truth was that being called gross hurt me to my core, but that was something I could not admit.
The soldier that had behaved so well-mannered until then seemed to throw away his gentleman mask as soon as the doors were closed, and acted more arrogantly as he pointed with his chin to where we should go. It was not just me who looked bothered by that change, Karin and Ciel frowned a bit dubiously.
“…What should we do?”
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“…Mm… Well, we made it this far, so we should check what this is all about at least.”
“That’s true, let’s not be too short-tempered. Maybe he’s just a bit too proud.”
- TL Note: I abhor this author’s naming sense, or lack thereof. Literally all the names except one are bike names
ボルドール = cb400 Bol d’or
レブル = Rebel250
ゼルビス = Xelvis
ホーネット = cb600f Hornet
バリオス = Kawasaki Balius,
ベルシス = Kawasaki Versys
ゼファー = Kawasaki Zephyr
ストローム = V Strom
- TL Note: リュミエール for the country, リュミエル for the god…..
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