“Of course, I promise I’ll defeat him and be back right away, and then I’ll read you another good-night story! How about the adventure of the little frog?” I said and she enthusiastically responded “Yeah of course, it’s a promise!”
I went out of the little princess’s room and heard someone calling for me while closing the door.
“Brother! Whew, I finally found you after running through half the castle! Did you read her another story?”
I smiled and answered “The turtle and the bunny, it truly fits to her special ability”.
“Haha, you never read me one, so how am I supposed to know? Either way, good luck tomorrow and don’t get careless only because you can kill dragons in a single hit. And don’t space out too much, or you’ll bump against a wall.”
Indeed, in the past days, as the day of battle drew closer, I more and more lost focus and currently feel so much anxiety I would rather work as a slave for the rest of my life than go on my final quest tomorrow. Why do I keep having such a bad feeling? I mean, we have already proven that I’m the strongest on this planet by far, even the demon king can’t compare to more than a fourth of my strength. Then why am I still feeling such fear? I already overcame the hurdle of killing monsters, demons and even people. Rather I did not just overcome the hurdle, but already killed thousands.
But running won’t work, I made a promise when I first came to this world and my honor as a man doesn’t allow me to cower down now.
“Haha, no worries, I already promised the little princess to read her another story as soon as I am back, just focus on protecting her little secret ability while I’m busy!”
As a man I’m naturally trying hard to sound fine.
He laughed back “Count on me, Blacky!”
Even though he called me Blacky, I’m normally referred as “Hero”. Blacky sounds weird since I have a white skin, but it becomes reasonable once considering this world’s absence of people with black hair or black eyes, or in the worst case both – like me.
To be precise, everything happening since my graduation into university, is copied from the biggest prejudices of Isekai literature. As an otaku who worked his ass off to get accepted into the famous university of animation, I was pretty mad about getting summoned to another world just when I proudly went home with the certificate in my hands.
“Oh, good work, head of the royal magicians, you really were able to summon one!”
What? Where am I, are they talking about me?
“Hehe, you praise me too much, your majesty, as long as you pay me, there won’t be any problems!”
His behavior seemed to have upset one of the guards, who stepped forward and proclaimed
“Are you out of your mind, that’s not how you talk in front of the emperor!”
I was still confused, but I can still remember clearly how suddenly a shadow emerged and stabbed the guard with a single and fast hit to death. At first I thought it was some kind of assassin sent in order to kill the emperor, but suddenly the emperor began to laugh and asked the mage to forgive the guard for his rudeness.
How can forgiveness look like this? What the heck are those people gonna do to me?
As my thoughts were running wild I choked multiple times with fear brimming all over my face.
“Oh, you woke up? That’s great, do you know why you are here?” He asked me.
“N-No, I-I’m sorry, please forgive me your majesty!” I stumbled back.
Surprisingly his face is suddenly being embraced with a warm and cheerful laugh
“Hoho, you don’t need to be so formal, you’re our Hero after all”
I wasn’t able to respond, since my fear ate my voice.
“Seems like you can even get sick from traveling to another world, that’s interesting!”
Are you making fun of me, or don’t you get what you did right now?
“Anyways, everything you need to know is that you are now a hero who is to help us with defeating the source of all evil, the Demon Lord. And since you don’t look very strong, we will train you the next few years and strike as soon as you have been completely polished. So, will you help us overcome this threat to humanity?”
Partly because of the immeasurable fear, partly because of the pressure, and partly because of that beautiful cat-girl behind him, I quickly answered
“Y-Yes, of course!”
“Papa, do you think he will die a few days later like the others?”
“Psst my cute angel, don’t say misleading things you got from books!”
“B-But last week…” the girl tried to justify herself. But then she got interrupted by an assistant who took her out of the room.
This room looked like the interior of an underground castle of some evil lord.
Scattered magic circles and items filled every direction of this pitch black hall that seemed to end into nothingness. Only one heavy iron-door represented the odds of escaping this terrifying place.
“And do you promise, do you swear to not let us down and follow under my rule even after defeating the demon king?” he asked me with a fierce gaze.
The freedom of choice most definitely was not given, but I decided to risk my life with a standard sentence which usually doesn’t have any consequences in mangas
“Under one condition”
His eyes widened
“Oh? So be it, tell me your wish!”
“Forbid slavery!” I said with all my might “Then I’ll promise your majesty to follow under your rule and successfully slay the demon lord!”
His gaze turned ice-cold again. After some time fiercely looking into my eyes, he responded
“Ok then, so be it! Your training will start tomorrow after you have slept away the fatigue from cross-world travel.”
Finally the twilight of the battle of battles closes in.
“Is everyone ready for the cleansing of evil?” the first princess of the empire shouts.
I’m shivering. This vile temper.
It makes my heart forget its rythm.
This is my wife.
At least as soon as the battle is over.
It will be hard. But we will prevail.
I’m currently standing in front of millions of soldiers together with my party; called the fierce embers. We called it like that because I just love fire and explosions and therefore all of us are wearing red clothes.
Such a massive crowd cheering on this question shakes even the ground. It is all so imposing that the anxiety I built up over the past days slowly begins leaking out.
“Oh! What do we have here! Come on folks, let’s greet our hero and wish him good luck!”
A soldier emerges from the ground after the speak is done.
“Thank you very much, but rest assured, I’ll swiftly do my job today! …Uhm, do I know you?”
I respond quickly.
The soldiers begins to laugh and one of them tells me “Haha, It’s to be expected, since you can’t possibly remember everyone you save. Thanks to your intervention of the dragon’s attack on a caravan which we guarded at that time, we all got out alive with no major injuries!”
“Yeah, you’re our biggest benefactor!”
“We owe you our lives!”
“If you lead us, nothing can stop us!” the soldiers yell.
I thank them for their kindness and go back to my party.
“Yo, you`re quite lucky to have gotten the hero role! Don’t mess up, or I’ll snatch away your bride!”
the scout of our party comes, probably trying to motivate me.
Although he’s not a hero, he’s from another world as well. It seems like my summoning created disturbances in space, sending some more people here.
Everyday he described everything he saw as detailed as somehow possible and ended up getting the infamous “Appraisal”-Skill; therefore he poses as our scout.
I met him around 5 years ago in an adventurer guild where we took on a quest together. While we were searching the forest for the monster that has recently attacked some of the nearby villages, his appraisal ability contributed a lot and eventually we found a track of blood hidden between the leaves on the ground. After some time we found and quickly defeated it, and decided to set up a camp for some rest.
I took this opportunity to start a conversation with him, since I was curious about his skill.
“Oh, why would a hero speak to a nobody like me?” he enquires.
Normal people are really polite and subservient towards me, but not him.
“Haha, you behave like you’re not from this world! How about you teach me a bit about your skill, it seems to be quite useful.” I explain, but he just starts to smile and absentmindedly answers
“I can tell you how to obtain it, but I doubt you would even consider trying. You know – even though this is probably just a game – in order to get it, you need to explain everything you can see in highest possible detail every day for many years – only to get it. I don’t even want to evaluate the time needed to max it out.”
“Hmm, what a pity – wait, what did you mean by game?”
I begin to realize that it would be even more weird if I were the only one from another world.
“You probably already realized, but you’re not the only one who has been transported from earth. I already met some other people that shared the same fate. After some investigations, I found out that, at the time you were summoned, there were irregularities in space causing other people to get involved as well.”
I finally understood. This world is not fake. It is way too detailed.
The only problem here is: He still insists this is all just a game.
For him, the battle today is merely the final boss fight, which will log us out once it is over.
However, he will never get my beautiful future wife.
“Give up. Even if I die, she will still not even look at you. And it’s not just luck, if you would just change your personality, they would fall for you as well.” I point out
“Besides, you know that I will come out alive either way and marry her. ”
“Haha, we’ll see about that!” he grins with a nasty smile.
“…What do you -”
Suddenly a loud voice drowns my question.
“READY? THEN LET’S GO!” my future wife declares the beginning of the final battle.
It is already the third day since the battle started. It tends to differ greatly from what I had expected. Winning against a strong enemy doesn’t even make me proud anymore.
It’s not just a battle I have to do to fulfill some promise I once made. Not anymore.
Nearly all of my party members are already dead.
It is a struggle to just survive.
“Heal me! Yes, I can still go on, I’m so close to defeating him; I definitely must save this planet from evil!” I scream out “Damn! Didn’t I say you should heal me, what are you d- no no nooo!”
There’s no mercy under a deep red sky. Only despair.
On this bloody night which is filled with despair, revenge and blood-lust, I turn around towards my future wife.
Its is the first time I don’t feel joy when looking at her. Her body has been skewed by many arrows and a big sword pierced her stomach, pinning her to the ground.
For the first time as the hero I begin to feel despair; in midst millions of dead bodies covering the ground, devaluing the dignity of a human to inconvenient foothold.
I don’t want to accept it. I want to go back in time and save her. But I can’t.
I finally fathom what being weak feels like.
Even so, I don’t thirst for revenge. I don’t blame anyone, but myself.
After fighting against thousands of enemies that were scared to the toe and screamed things like
“Don’t worry my child, I’ll be back before you even know I was away, and then we won’t ever have to fear the humans going on a killing spree again.”
“You despicable murderers, we will defeat you and present our kids a peaceful world without you evil creatures!”
I finally understand.
I’m not a hero helping the endangered human race to survive against evil, but rather a ruthless creature who is helping a vicious race, adorned with tempting ideologies, to satiate their hunger for blood.
“You can’t die no matter what, please god. Nooo!” I run towards my love with a trembling voice.
The paladin of my party calls out for me
“Are you STUPID? If you now stop because of her, millions of sacrifices will be in vain! How do you want to explain it to our brother if we lose? You promised him and the princess that you will kill the demon lord no matter what, so what are you doing? … Hurry up and kill him! I’m not gon-”
I watch as an arrowhead slices through his throat, disrupting his speech.
This time I can’t endure my emotions anymore. I let them all out and run towards the already half dead demon lord. Our eyes meet.
“… How dare you, DIEEEE!!!!!!” I roar out desperately and jump at the demon lord one last time with all my strength left.
He doesn’t even try to defend. Not because he is nice. Because he can’t.
He was the first to loose his loved ones. However, no matter how desperate or furious he was, he kept loosing to the humans. This battle was destined to be his end. The moments his eyes closed, he felt relieved from a heavy burden.
The Hero suddenly begins laughing
“Ha – ha – Hahahhaahahah, I killed him! … Deserves you right you stupid piece o-”
Once again someone was interrupted in his speech. However this time, the victim was me.
I gradually lose control over my body. A few seconds later, my head hits the ground.
…What? Did I faint? No that’s weird; if you faint you can’t think anymore…
No way. Don’t tell me I died…
I slowly open my eyes one last time with all my might to see who killed me.
That guy’s pointing his weapon at me and he’s laughing, he must be it. But who is it, a demon general? No we already killed them all… or a human that hated me? I mean there where a lot that despised me for prohibiting slaves. …No that’s not it, it’s smaller and has a green skin. …he’s walking towards me.
…No! Are you serious god? You are kidding me, right? Nooo, this is not possible, even the ultimate boss fell against me, how could I get killed by that thing? Wait – its talking?
“Hello there pitiful HERO, thank you for kindly offering me your head! Even the mighty me doesn’t understand why, but my ability tells me that we will meet again.
Well then. See you, brother in arms!”
How? How can this thing speak human language? How could this thing kill me?
Next Chapter: Chapter 0.3: Deathbed