The Hero of Anartia
“You started this!”
Saying so, Andrew dashed towards me with immense speed while swinging the greatsword at me. I quickly held Ilianne and dodged to the side, then looked for a safe area to leave her there.
Quickly preparing my stance once again, I fired an arrow at Andrew.
“That thing’s really fast, but it can’t kill me.”
Smiling triumphantly at my black arrow, Andrew was about to deflect it once again when its projectile path suddenly curved to the right, drawing a perfect arc mid-air before completely headed towards a different direction.
A scream rang out from the direction of the throne. It came from one of the traitors who stood right next to a middle-aged man, and of course that middle-aged man has just been shot by me. I feinted an attack towards Andrew, but killed their Chief Commander instead.
“YOU BASTARD! KILL HIM!”
The King of Rivell Kingdom got so pissed his face became all red; he yelled an order at Andrew while poiting his finger at me.
“Now I can’t go easy on you any——”
When Andrew turned towards me with some lame I’m-just-doing-my-job lines like in those action movies, I’ve already fired off a couple more arrows. This time, all the aristocrats who betrayed Anartia collapsed to the ground, blood spurting out from a hole through their heads.
Seeing that, his face warped a bit and he fell silent. Just a second later, he came charging at me full-power.
“Such an amateur.”
I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. He fell straight into my bait.
At first, I aimed an arrow at him as he ran towards me, but then I abruptly pointed it to the ground and let go of the string. A black arrow flew and stabbed into the floor near his feet, and of course, it exploded.
Andrew was launched into the air because of the explosion. I quickly fired another arrow at him while he was still mid-air. However, I hesitated to just out right murder my classmate, so I made the arrow exploded near him, instead of blowing him up from the inside.
It was weird. We weren’t friends in class or anything, I just knew I had a classmate like that so it shouldn’t have been a problem just to see him as a stranger. But even so, I had a really weird feeling of not wanting to instantly murder him like all those Rivell soldiers. The main reason I could think of, or maybe an excuse, was the fact that all this world travelling businesss was still hazy and dreamy to me while Andrew was someone I knew in class, a more real existence. Well, at least I convinced myself with that.
Andrew flew in the air again because of that explosion, then he fell to the ground near the Rivell King, unconscious. That old man was the last person from Rivell left inside the throne room.
Ilianne ran up to Anartia King and Queen, as I walked towards them and removed all the shackles on them. While I was at it, I also freed the aristocrats.
“Ilianne, so you’re safe.”
“Yes, father . . . Uu . . .”
While Ilianne broke into tears in her father’s arms like a little child, I walked up to him and casually asked.
“So, mister King of Anartia. Do you want him dead?”
I pointed at Rivell King, who became speechless upon seeing his hero defeated by me easily. Even his trusted Chief Commander of the Rivell Army and spies all died without being able to put up any kind of resistance at all.
“. . . haa.”
Anartia King looked at him, let out a sigh, and turned towards me, he continued.
“I’ll take care of him myself. On a different note, we humbly thank your assistance, appropriate compensation can be discussed after we’ve stabilized our country, would that be alright with you?”
“Hm? What compensation? I already received my payment for helping you, though.”
“Did you? What was the payment, then?”
Ilianne answered Anartia King’s question by showing him the symbol of a black rose on her chest. Seeing that, everyone in the room was shocked speechless. The first one to recover was the King; the old man was probably an experienced warrior in his prime, his mentality was really firm.
“Haa . . .”
Another big sigh from the King. This second sigh, though, made him look like he grew ten years older in one moment.
“This is my karma, none of my daughters get to have a proper marriage with the one they truly love . . .”
He said so while looking at Ilianne, stroking her silky chestnut-colored hair. Honestly, I had parental problems in the past, so it sort of pained me a bit seeing him like that.
“Can you revoke the vow?”
“I said, if you know how to revoke that thing on your chest, tell me and I’ll do it.”
Both the King and Ilianne spaced out while staring at me. What the hell, guys!? I’m trying to be considerate here! I may have sounded like a hypocrite, but at least I knew I wasn’t heartless!
“I can’t do anything about the first princess, since it’s something that cannot be returned to its original state. Uhh, but since I haven’t touched Ilianne, isn’t it fine to just give her back?”
“P-Please wait! Am I not good enough?”
“That’s not what I meant at all. Didn’t your pops want you to——”
“I-I’m okay!! Umm . . .”
I was perplexed. I couldn’t understand what was going on in her mind at all, but when I thought about it, it made sense since she was only a young maiden in her teens. I heard girls that age are really complicated in some ways. I wouldn’t know though, to be completely honest.
“Fuhaha . . .”
Suddenly, a feminine giggle snapped all of us out of that strange atmosphere. It was the Queen laughing while petting Ilianne, her daughter.
“I think she’ll be perfectly alright, unless you don’t like having Ilianne?”
“No, that is not true. I believe any man my age would surrender to her, but . . .”
“Then there should be no problem, right? Besides, do you know your position at the moment?”
“My position . . . ?”
Well, I knew I was a wandering mercenary the moment I took up Ilianne’s offer, but I had no idea if it was going to change after this incident. I’ve never been that great with politics and all that stuff.
“You’re basically the Hero of this country.”
“Hero, you say . . .”
The King cut in with his own explanation.
“You saved this country from the verge of——”
“You stop right there, old timer!”
I pulled the string on my Dragonbow and fired an arrow at the Rivell King’s right leg as he was sneakily trying to run away.
He fell to the ground screaming as the black arrow disappeared.
Ignoring him, Anartia King resumed his words.
“As I was saying, you saved this country from the verge of having its name erased from history. Honestly, you’re qualified to just take the throne from me, but I don’t think you’re that kind of person, correct?”
“That’s true. I want nothing to do with all the political business, I’m a mercenary and that’s about it.”
“Right, that makes you something called a true Hero, not those pseudo-heroes summoned from other dimensions other countries usually do to deal with demons. It’s true that those guys are also the hero of the people, but they didn’t come and help, they were called up and given that role.”
This guy actually makes sense; the scales have definitely fallen from my eyes.
“Wait, I only came and help because Ilianne made an agreement with me. So I’m sorry I disappointed you, but I’m no different than those other guys.”
“Is that so? Haha . . .”
The Queen asked me so with an amused expression on her smiling face. I didn’t really get what she was trying to imply. I received my payment, which was Ilianne herself, beforehand then came and did my part of the agreement. How the hell does that even make me a good person? There’s no way, right? That’s why I didn’t want to gain any false title like Hero or something like that.
“In any case, we still need to thank you properly. If you don’t like the idea, just think of it as us trying to reserve faces for the royal family, for our own good.”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far but . . . I have no objection. Then what about Ilianne?”
“She’ll be fine, she’ll be fine~”
The Queen said so while smiling and petting her daughter again. It might’ve been just my imagination, but somehow it looked like Ilianne’s face was red to the ears. I wouldn’t know though, since she was facing her mother with her back turned towards me; I could only see a bit of her face from where I was standing.
And it thus way, the incident of Anartia Kingdom being invaded by the army of their neighboring kingdom Rivell came to an end.
* * *
Or so I thought, but uhh——.
“This is so awkward . . .”
“Um, but, I think you look great.”
Staring at myself in the full-length mirror, my lips warped into a stupid laugh because of how, well, stupid I looked. I was kind of happy when Ilianne complimented me sincerely, but there was no way I could wear this ridiculous outfit out to public.
Inside the mirror, there was the reflection of an Asian guy with black hair and black eyes, average height a somewhat well-built figure due to excessive physical training.
Yup, everything was normal up until there. That guy in the mirror was actually wearing some sort of Duke-style clothing which made him look all stiff and formal; the clothes were pretty damn uncomfortable to wear, too.
“. . . well, I don’t think it’ll work out.”
“You want to wear ordinary clothing, after all?”
Her expression a little bit disappointed, Ilianne looked at me with upturned eyes.
“. . . yeah, I’m sorry but I just can’t deal with this kind of outfit.”
She seemed to like seeing me all dressed up really much so I considered making her happy, but I really couldn’t get used to that suit; it was too much for me. I could only apologetically scratch my head while answering her.
“Ah no, you don’t have to apologize or anything!”
“Do I look that bad without the fancy clothes?”
“No way! It’s not like that. It’s just, umm, it’s just that I wanted you to be dressed with the best clothing during the ceremony. I-I wanted the people to admire you . . .”
It has been 3 days since the invasion of Rivell, and at the moment, I was being prepared to appear before public eyes by Ilianne but not a servant because she became mine. According to her, I have the responsibility to take good care of my Master, was the reason so I couldn’t just turn it down. Men are pretty weak at heart sometimes, aren’t they?
I dropped a hand on her head and gently stroked her smooth hair.
“Ah . . .”
She looked embarrassed being petted by a man she just recently knew of, but no resistance was shown. I took that as an OK signal and continued to pet her.
“Hmm . . .”
“Is something on your mind?”
“Yeah, you could say so.”
“I-If it’s something I can help with . . .”
“Well, I’m just wondering what does Ilianne think of me.”
Ilianne blankly stared at me for a bit, averted her eyes, and finally lowered her gaze to the floor with her cheeks slightly red. It was supposed to be a very slight blush, but since her skin was so smooth and white that they were a bit redder than they should’ve been.
“You don’t have to answer, though?”
I unintentionally stopped my hand from petting her.
“Ah, no, it’s not that I can’t . . . it’s just a bit embarrassing . . .”
“That’s why you don’t have to answer.”
I may appear to public eyes as the hero of Anartia or something like that, but that didn’t matter, like at all, since it was all but a farcade being put up for the sake of this Kingdom’s morale. I wasn’t anywhere near to be able to be called a real hero.
However, that couldn’t possibly be applied to Ilianne. I really liked her, well, not necessarily romantically, but I did care about her view of me. I didn’t exactly want to be feared by her because of how I mass murdered people. It would be terribly terrible if she thought of me that way.
“I-It’s okay. I want to tell you, too.”
“. . .”
I subconsciously gulped down my saliva and looked at Ilianne in the eyes.
“I think, umm, I think you looked really, reeeeally cool when you used your bow!”
Part of me died of bliss hearing that. I really want God to tell me how did he create such a lovely being. The way she got nervous and rushed through her words clumsily . . . ahh I need a glass of water to calm down.