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Chapter 17 – A Piece of Paradise
For some reason, I succeeded in getting them to accept me willy-nilly. I was accepted with a suspension of judgment for the time being and drove the microbus towards the canyon.
It was about a mile and a half to the canyon entrance. If I wanted to go to the top of the canyon, it would be several kilometers. I didn’t want to walk that far, and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to drive ourselves, so I asked the beastman warriors to ride with us.
At first, they were wary and scared, but after Myrril explained that it was like a carriage only without horses (as if they understood), they seemed to understand why and suddenly became quiet.
“So, what are you talking about when you say I owe you?”
In the front row seat next to the driver’s seat, there was Myrril. Although she is still pouting, it looks like she is trying to hide the fact that her mouth looks like it wants to smile broadly.
Umu, I don’t know what’s in a woman’s heart.
“Oh, I’m sorry, it was just a random thought; I didn’t think anything of it.”
“Don’t be so angry. At that time, I thought I had no choice but to do that in order not to be separated from Myrril. I didn’t care what it took as long as I could be with you.”
“…I see. That’s good. I thought you were talking about the “gun” that you gave me.”
Is that so? Well, whatever. She seemed to be in a better mood all of a sudden.
“Of course you’re going to get the “balls”, aren’t you?”
“Oh, yes. Wait here. I’ll negotiate with him when we get to the hideout.”
“Negotiate? Isn’t that supposed to be magic?”
“It may be magic to get it out, but I have to buy it. That guy is quite a tricky merchant.”
“I thought it was some kind of extreme magic, but it’s a lot more mysterious than that…”
Yes. I think so too.
After about a kilometer, the car was brought to a halt. As the beastman gets off and calls out, elves with longbows come out from behind the sparse bushes. They were well camouflaged, with branches and grasses stuck into their grass-colored overcoats that looked like mesh hoods, so it was probably hard to tell them apart even if they were right in front of us when they were motionless.
There was some introduction and discussion about Myrril and me, and after a bit of this and that, the frustrated Myrril was about to leave the microbus, and we were grudgingly accepted.
I wonder if we’ll have to do the same thing at their headquarters.
The elves didn’t seem to be interested in anything new, and when we got on the microbus, they didn’t even look around, just sat on the seats with a sullen look on their faces. They are all incredibly beautiful, both men and women, but I think it would be a shame if they looked like that.
Once we entered the canyon, we drove almost 200 meters on a narrow road about 10 meters wide. The road was half-buried by a huge fallen rock, at least five meters in diameter.
“They won’t attack us from above, will they?”
“Don’t worry, we’ve already told them we’re on it.”
I don’t know when I made that communication, but after hearing the tiger girl’s words, I decided to concentrate on driving. The car was just barely wide enough to pass through a few times, and I felt uneasy as the body of the car rattled and creaked on the rough road, but as we passed through the ravine, I saw a cliff with a drop-off on the left and a gentle slope on the right that led up the ravine in a large arc back to the south. The slope was not too steep, and the road was wide and flat, so it was not impossible to drive there.
After a few minutes of driving, we reached a plateau with a great view.
The sun was about to rise, and in the twilight, the ruins of a city surrounded by crumbling walls appeared before us.
“Welcome to Casemaian. This is the subhuman paradise. …is what’s left of that dream.”
Chapter 18 – The Trembling Hero
――There’s no going back, and there is no stopping the war.
“Hail to the hero!”
“Glory to the Kingdom!”
As I stood on the terrace of the castle alongside the king and queen, looking down at the countless excited and enthusiastic soldiers of the kingdom army, I tried my best to push down the fear that was rising in me.
They’re calling it “subjugation” of the fortress where the subhuman rebels are hiding, but as far as I can tell, this is war. The number of people, the equipment, and the goals. It started with a harassing siege and burning and ended with a one-sided slaughter. A statement of intent that those who turn against the humans will not be tolerated. Thoroughly crush them, and remove their will to rebel.
The person standing at the forefront of this will surely be me. The subhuman… beastman, elf, dwarf, bird-man, or half-fishman is said to be a pest that disturbs the order and peace of human society. The reason why the nobles of the kingdom use subhumans as slaves is to educate them about the difference between the positions of humans and subhumans, and it is their duty as nobles to stand above others and maintain and manage society.
Do they think I’m stupid enough to take such nonsense seriously? This is bullshit.
My bad feeling has been lingering.
The third prince, who went on a reconnaissance mission to the rebel hideout about a day’s ride north from the kingdom, has lost contact, and no one has returned, including the cavalrymen and mages who accompanied him.
The scouts from the national army who went to check on them have not returned either.
To be honest, it wasn’t a feeling anymore. I’m certain of what has happened, and I’m anticipating what will happen.
I’ve heard the guards I’ve been training with talking about the mysterious massacre in the royal capital. They were whispering to each other at a distance so that I, a hero, couldn’t hear them, but I, with my abnormally enhanced physical abilities, could hear them all.
They said, “A corpse with a small hole. It resembled an arrow wound, but the hole was so severe it looked like it had been chewed through. It was the same as what I had seen, which was probably a bullet wound. Twelve in the royal castle, one in the noble quarter of the royal capital, and then.
One dwarf disappeared around the time of the massacre.
She was a young genius engineer who designed and manufactured a mechanical bow that was tens of times more powerful than the existing longbows and was named the “Holy King’s Bow” or something like that.
The timing was just too perfect.
It was almost the same time that the man disappeared, leaving behind a large number of dead bodies.
“How could it be unrelated?”
The king, queen, and princess all decided to cover up the situation.
There was also the fact that a useless person was mixed in with the heroes’ summoning, that the court’s chief mage and five of the most elite members of the royal guard were killed, and that the crown and tiara, the kingdom’s treasures, were stolen.
My advice was ignored. I asked for vigilance against the man but was only met with a laugh.
“How could I possibly be afraid with an invincible hero summoned by the most powerful country in the world at my side?”
I’m not kidding. Although I was given an unfamiliar sword and strange powers, I had not yet fully grasped the identity and limitations of my new self. More importantly, that man is a mass of uncertainty.
That man. A slender, shabby, middle-aged man who is at least a head taller than me. A creepy old man wearing a flimsy, crumpled, cheap, shiny suit with a perpetual faint smile on his face.
His eyes are still burned into my mind, and I can’t get rid of them. The strange calmness, almost resignation, and the cold gaze that seemed to despise everything in the world.
His body and tone of voice showed impatience, anger, and fear, but his eyes were the only thing that kept me awake.
I’m used to seeing the eyes of someone who has lost their temper.
In martial arts, some people simulate madness. Most of them are small fry. Adrenaline is fast-acting, but it doesn’t last. All you have to do is keep your distance with a jab or a front kick and play with the footwork, and they will quickly run out of stamina. After that, it’s easy to cook them.
The problem is the guy with the set eyes. It doesn’t matter how big or small the body is. If you have the same skill and experience, the heavier weight class is naturally more troublesome, but strangely enough ― or maybe it’s just a matter of necessity to make up for weaknesses ― the lesser the size, the more outstanding the skill and insight. In other words, there are some little guys who are extremely strong, though they are rare.
At the time, I was confused. But I wasn’t going to let my guard down.
I was foolish enough to think that I could just punch him and be done with it. I couldn’t finish him off, and he escaped, struck back, and almost killed me. If it hadn’t been for the magic barrier that the mage quickly put up, I might have actually been killed.
In fact, the mage who protected me died. The five knights in my immediate guard were also killed in a flash. That man had no hesitation in firing the bullet.
“Now, hero-dono, this way!”
The king calls out to me with a big smile on his face. I was used as a decoration, a palanquin, for carrying out the subjugation campaign with great fanfare.
The wild cheers became a mass of sound pressure and rushed to me.
“Our victory is now assured!”
It’s ridiculous, I think to myself. I was called a hero, but I’m actually a coward. Tomonori, who was called the sage, is an idiot who can’t even do arithmetic. Miyuki, who is revered as a saint, is a bitch who opens her legs to anyone. Well, I guess she is a saint in a way.
In order to return to our original world, we have to obey the king’s orders. The people in the castle, from the king on top to the paper soldiers on the bottom, are shitty people who change their attitude depending on whether they’re nobles or commoners, but who else can we rely on?
Miyuki is being fawned over as the princess of the knights, and she’s so excited. I guess that’s true. They are all handsome, noblemen; all have money and good family background.
Tomonori and I were accompanied by several maidservants or underlings wherever we went. They wore black maid’s uniforms or something like that, but to be honest, it didn’t excite me too much because, in the real world, they are naturally plain and practical work clothes.
Although we did it, they didn’t make any sound and didn’t respond much. They seemed to be secretly looking for me the whole time we were having sex, which was very depressing. I mean, first of all, it was creepy.
I immediately understood the role of those women. They were there to watch, guard, and act as a safety valve in case of an emergency.
The king and the kingdom will put us on the front lines, at the very tip of the whole army, to clear the path.
They say that with the strongest armor and protective gear, a magic barrier, and the skills of a hero, a group of subhumans is nothing more than a wooden figurine that you can slay, but I don’t think it will end that easily.
I guess one of the women’s roles is to kill me if we lose and end up running away or rebelling. If the need arose, they would sacrifice their own lives.
Behind the soldiers who were looking at us, a Holy King’s Bow” was being carried on a cart. I heard that it was a mechanical bow, like a giant bowgun, and that it had enough destructive power to break through the castle walls. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I’m not interested. In fact, if you were to attack the subhuman rebels, there probably wouldn’t be any castle gates to smash through.
I’m sure it’s just a decoration, just like me, just to make a splash.
Nonsense. I don’t care what the kingdom wants or what the king thinks. I’m going to do whatever I have to do. Do what I need to do. Yes, I’m going to…
――Kill that man.