Chapter 37: What is a Hero?
I want to be a hero in the future.
Every man has at least once read a heroic story when he was a child and wished he could be like the heroes in the story.
For example, the adventures of the first hero who saved the world with the first saint, Maiha, from the demon king who ruled over monsters several hundred years ago.
The legend of the Earth One Empire, where a man who could neither use skills nor magic slayed more than 10,000 monsters with only his swordsmanship in an age when there were more monsters than now, and was feared by both humans and monsters alike.
Biography of “Aira the Sword Saint”
A pirate who continued to seek romance as he sailed around the world in his ship with his friends.
He is a sea champion who built an era on the sea.
Diary of “Pirate Drake”
The first single dragon slayer in history to take on and successfully defeat a dragon monster alone in order to strike an enemy of his comrades.
Memoirs of “S-class adventurer Brizel”
A hero who single-handedly brought down a country and protected the Great Sage of the Holy Land from all malicious intentions.
This is a record of the exploits of the “Space Hero” who is rumored to be the strongest on the continent because of his strength.
I read the tales of heroes every day, and every time I read them, my heart would skip a beat and I would yearn for these heroes.
I was convinced that if I worked hard, I too could become like them in the future.
But one day, I realized that I had no talent, that I was on the wrong side, and that I could never be a hero.
The Bowser family has been affiliated with the Ark family, a noble family that is said to be the most villainous in the country of Rainana, and in other words, I am one of the villains.
As a villain, I cannot be a hero.
I told myself over and over again that there was nothing special about me in terms of magic or skills.
I put a lid on my feelings, saying that I had never been able to do it from the beginning.
The Ark family has been working for the country for generations, taking out organizations and individuals who pose a threat to the country, as well as dark organizations from other countries.
They bear all the darkness in order to maintain the health of the Rainana nation.
The Bowser family is a noble family created to assist the Ark family.
Their role is to dispose of the bodies of those killed by the Ark family, destroy evidence, set up barriers to exterminate people at the scene of the crime, and deal with any omissions.
Mist, who was only 10 years old at the time, was assigned to accompany Absolute, the next head of the Ark family, on his shadow national defense mission.
The still inexperienced Mist was entrusted with the task of disposing of the bodies.
It was the first time he came in contact with death.
Mist couldn’t move because his body trembled when he saw the corpse of an evil person who had just died.
It wasn’t that he was afraid of the corpse, but that he was afraid of his own death, which he associated with the corpse of an evil person.
It was as if he was seeing his own future as one of the evil ones, and he couldn’t move his legs.
(I have to handle it quickly… but my body doesn’t move as fast as I want it to…)
Mist remained frozen, unable to move his body.
It was Absolute who saw him and moved.
Absolute buried the corpse that Mist was supposed to dispose of in the darkness himself.
Mist stared at Absolute without understanding why.
Absolute turned his back to Mist and said.
“I should be the one to do it since it was I who killed him.
So from now on, I will mourn the body.
You will have to take care of other tasks.”
Gradually awakening from his confusion, Mist understood that Absolute was concerned about him.
But I can’t let you do the Bowser’s work…”
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
I took advantage of your goodwill and tried to make my guilt a little lighter.
I killed him, but you being here makes you just as guilty….
It’s funny that I’m the one killing them… Seeing you today, I’m convinced that, after all, these people should be mourned by me, the one who killed them.
So don’t worry about it.”
Looking into Absolute’s determined and sorrowful eyes, Mist was unable to say anything.
(I don’t get it…why do you feel guilty for the bad guys you kill and the Bowsers who deal with disposing them? We are talking with an evil man who avenged his country and a mere low-ranking nobleman.
Why should someone of a higher rank like Absolute-sama be bothered by them?)
After that, Mist accompanied him on many missions.
Absolute carried out his duties as usual, and Mist gradually became accustomed to and tolerant of human death.
However, since Absolute began to dispose of the bodies himself, he had a little more leeway in his duties.
Instead, he spends more time with Absolute.
Mist has seen Absolute kill people so many times that he has a thought in his mind.
Why does Absolute look so grim despite his power?
I asked him about his feelings when we were alone.
Absolute pretended to think a little and began to talk.
“Killing people for the sake of the country is probably right in the country of Rainana.
However, I believe that those who kill for any justifiable reason are evil.
Even if I did it because my father told me to as the next heir to the Ark family.
Life is a heavy thing…that’s what I believe.
No, these are not the words of a man who has taken thousands of lives so far, forget it, it’s just nonsense.”
(Absolute-sama’s values are somehow distorted.
I’m certain he’s been killing people since he was younger than he is now, but how can he still feel the value of life so purely….
Even I, who have little experience in missions, can only think of the life of an evil person as that of an animal.
Yes, Absolute-sama is too kind.)
“I honestly don’t understand how you feel, Absolute-sama.
I feel that being in this country is not so good.
In the future, when you become the head of the Ark family, will you take the nobles under your jurisdiction and start your own business?”
Of course, it was meant as a light joke.
If he did such a thing, not only the country of Rainana but also neighboring countries would not remain silent.
“If everything is settled, that’s not a bad idea…”
“Eh? No, I’m joking…”
Absolute is not one to joke around.
Mist felt a cold sweat running down his back.
“If you go independent, you won’t have to dispose of the bodies either.”
Maybe it was just a joke.
But I was very happy to hear that for my own sake.
“I’ll consider it positively, but this is a secret between us, okay?”
Mist was happy because he felt as if their friendship had deepened with the sharing of a secret.
After that, the two continued to talk, with Mist complaining that he wanted to be a hero when he was a child and Absolute complaining that there were only old people in the Ark Territory.
The two usually have a hierarchical relationship, but the way they talked to each other was certainly that of friends.
Mist snapped out of his nostalgic memories and back to reality.
“I don’t know if this is the time to remind myself of this, but I think this means I’m in trouble.”
He succeeded in Maria and the rest escape from the hordes of monsters by becoming a bait himself… but Mist was now dying.
He used his skill “Fog” to make the entire area white as if a cloud was hanging over the mountain only in the area where the he was, blocking the vision of the monsters and gradually reducing their numbers, intending to endure until Absolute arrives.
Of course, Mist himself was unaffected by his skill and kept his vision clear.
If it was hundred against one, there was no way to win.
But if it were hundreds of one-on-one, I still wouldn’t know.
It seemed a reckless strategy, like following a thin thread, but it had worked in the beginning.
However, after killing a few dozen of them, the monsters started chasing and attacking him in the thick fog as if they knew where he was.
Chased and cornered by hundreds of monsters, Mist was now surrounded on all sides and in a tight spot.
He wasn’t afraid to die…but he had one regret.
Mist’s hand holding the knife is tightening.
In this situation, there are only two options: kill himself or fight and be eaten.
Mist’s answer is obvious.
If it was Absolute, he won’t run away.
Absolute would have continued to fight until he was the last man left, even if he was alone.
If it were Absolute! if it were Absolute!
Repeatedly inspiring his heart to give up and break, Mist got up and jumped at the monsters.
He swung his knife at the monster while raising his voice to get into the spirit.
The knife pierced the monster’s vital spot, but before the monster could fall, the surrounding monsters continued to attack with their claws.
Mist’s face is distorted as he is sliced open by the claws, causing pain all over his body.
The knife is repeatedly pulled out and stabbed again, and each time Mist’s body is wounded.
Too much blood has flowed, and he feels as if his head is shaking.
His body smells of death, which he often smells during his missions.
Finally, he loses his strength and collapses on the spot.
(Ah, this is dangerous.)
His vision gradually darkened and his consciousness began to fade.
The last thing he saw wasn’t a monster, but a woman-like being of unbelievably beautiful appearance, standing there as if protecting him.
“Good job Mist, I’ll take care of the rest.”
Mist thought he heard the voice he wanted to hear, but then his consciousness was cut off.
“Are you awake?”
Mist woke up and was now on Absolute’s back.
Mist understood the situation and was relieved that he had been saved.
“It is too late for you to finally wake up.
It’s a little irreverent of you.”
“I’m not sure that’s something to say to someone who was fighting to the death just a few minutes ago.
Well, it’s just like you, Absolute-sama, and I’m used to being somewhat relieved.”
Mist tried to get off Absolute’s back but was stopped by Absolute.
He decided to take advantage of Absolute’s words and ask him to carry him for a while.
“I’m so grateful for your help.
I made it just in time.”
It must have been less than 15 minutes since Absolute left.
He didn’t know how he had managed to get to Mist.
“It’s thanks to your skill “fog”.
That was noticeable from the outside, even if you didn’t like it.
I saw it, knew it was an emergency, and was able to rush in.
So I’m sorry you just woke up, but tell me your story, what happened?”
Mist told Absolute what happened after he left.
The barriers were broken and the high specie monsters attacked.
He told him how Lady Cruel had fainted and couldn’t call for help, and how he and Princess Leone had fought a higher specie type of ogre and were saved by Maria.
After that, a horde of monsters appeared and he had to stay back to allow Maria and the others escape.
“I see… your barrier was broken, and Lady Cruel’s case… I understand the situation, although there are some puzzling points.”
“May I ask you something, Absolute-sama?”
“What is it?”
“The higher specie monster broke through the barrier and attacked us suddenly, and just when we thought we had defeated it, a horde of monster arrived.
Do you know anything about this?”
“I’m not accusing you of anything.
Absolute doesn’t speak.
Mist continues, his voice trembling.
“But I feel bad that you didn’t rely on me at a time like this.
We’ve been working together for a long time on our missions, haven’t we? Aren’t we friends…why…?”
Mist trusted Absolute, but Absolute didn’t trust Mist, and he couldn’t stop crying.
Absolute opened his mouth and began to speak.
“I’m sorry…I won’t ask you to forgive me.
But this was necessary.”
“I can’t tell you the source of my information, but this is something the church has been planning for some time.
Perhaps there were collaborators at the academy, perhaps even within our own family.”
“I knew that the Church was against the Ark family because of the hero, but I didn’t think you were wary of any of their collaborators who might be among us.”
“If there had been collaborators and they had known that I had discovered the plan and changed it, the damage would have been much worse by now.
Therefore, I wanted to minimize the number of people who knew the information.”
In the original story, some of those under the Ark family sold information about the Ark family and its factions to Michael and the hero.
The fact that it was still in his heart and he could trust his friends, but he couldn’t trust them.
“What about Maria, she didn’t know either?”
“She’s a surprisingly a bad liar.”
Absolute muttered in a whisper as if to organize his thoughts.
“I had Maria hold the transition-inhibiting magical tool to seal the transition within the barrier, but I didn’t think they’d break through the Bowser family’s barriers and rush in.
The barriers shouldn’t be broken by anything more than a higher specie of ogre, but what’s going on?”
Mist was surprised to find that the problem seemed to have deeper roots than he had expected.
It is true that you can’t confide in someone when you don’t know who is on your side.
He decided to accept it for the time being.
“But, are you sure? I don’t mean to ask, but are you sure you want to talk to me about it?”
If Mist was a collaborator, there was a possibility that he would reveal the existence of the source of information he had obtained from somewhere.
The next time he might not be able to use his sources.
Absolute snickered and replied
You? A collaborator of the enemy? I don’t think so.”
“From your side, you’re a flake with a frivolous attitude.”
“That’s a terrible thing to say.”
“But you sacrificed yourself to protect your friends.
I don’t doubt that you risked your own life to protect your friends against the hordes of monsters.”
“Here we are.”
Mist got off Absolute’s back and looked around.
They had arrived at the headquarters.
The B class Chris and the others, Oriana, who had evacuated earlier, and Princess Leone, who had received medical treatment, were all at the headquarters.
Princess Leone rushed to Mist’s side when she saw him.
“Bowser-san, are you hurt?”
Princess Leone touched Mist’s body to check for injuries.
I was saved by Absolute-sama.
I’m glad to see that you’re okay too.
After confirming Mist’s injuries, Princess Leone put her arms around Mist’s body and hugged Mist tightly.
“Princess Leone? I’m sorry, this is not a good idea, everyone is looking at you.”
The soft touch peculiar to women enveloped his body, and Mist’s heart rate quickened.
Mist, unable to touch the princess’s body, holds up his hands.
“I’m so sorry… to think that you died protecting me… oh thank goodness, I’m so glad you’re still alive! I’m sorry I left you…”
Princess Leone begins to cry, and the strength of her arm around Mist’s body grows stronger.
Mist, not knowing what to do, calls out to Absolute with his eyes for help.
“Put your left hand around Princess Leone’s waist and stroke her head with your right hand to calm her down.
That should help.”
Impatient, Mist followed the advice, and Mist calmed Princess Leone.
“Princess Leone, I am glad you are safe.
But this is not good…”
“Mist, you are a hero who risked his life to save the princess… you are entitled to her embrace.
Absolute turned to Mist.
(Hero…? Oh, because I saved the princess…)
I dreamt of being a hero when I was a child.
A hero who remained alone to protect the princess from the monster horde and returned alive.
It was only for a time, and only those who were around at the time knew about it, but I can say that it certainly came true.
“Thank you, Bowser-san! I’m so glad you’re safe.”
Princess Leone looks up at Mist’s face as she hugs him and says thank you.
Her smile was beautiful, with a slight tinge of red.
Mist felt as if he had been handsomely rewarded with just that smile.
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