16-43. The Four Heroes (1)
※This is not from Satou's perspective. Third person point of view.
"Oh my? I thought it was unusual for Sera to ask me a favor, so it was your doing?"
At the room in the royal castle's villa given to Saga Empire's imperial princess Maryest, as her friend, the [Skyshredding Witch] Ringrande greeted the guests.
"My apologies if it looks like I'm sneaking on you."
"Satou-san, there is no need to apologize. I have no doubt that Ane-sama had noticed it the moment I asked to meet her."
Beside the apologizing [Demon Lord Slayer] Earl Satou Pendragon, [Oracle Miko] of Tenion Temple and also the little sister of Ringrande spoke out in irritation.
Sera's complex towards her older sister is as strong as always.
"And so Satou, since you want to meet Mary, that means you've made up your mind to marry me and Mary?"
Before Satou could finish, Sera strongly denied her elder sister's joke.
Ringrande doesn't look offended at all by her little sister's attitudes, or rather she looks so unfeelingly unperturbed. That is in order to irritate Sera.
In truth, Ringrande's inner thought was filled with, "Jealous Sera is soo cute."
"So, Earl Pendragon, did you need me for something?"
Maryest who was watching the sisterly fight with a tired look asked Satou to move the conversation forward.
"I'd like to inquire you about the heroes who were summoned here after Hayato-sama went home."
"Is that so important that you, who should have been out at the western part of the continent, came back here to ask me about it?"
Princess Maryest asked back as if she was probing Satou's true intention.
"Yes, I ran into Hero Seigi-dono in one of the countries I visited and heard about the other heroes from him, thus I couldn't help but wanting to inquire Maryest-sama about them."
"Did you not ask Seigi-dono?"
"Of course I did, but his information was a bit too subjective..."
"Well, I guess it would. What about his attendants?"
"It appears that they were cautions against me."
Satou scratches his head bashfully.
When he makes these gestures, he looks his age unlike his usual adult atmosphere, so Princess Maryest thought.
"I have my duty as a princess of Saga Empire. Are you aware of that?"
"Yes of course, I am. I wouldn't ask things like their Unique Skills or such. I merely wanted to hear what Maryest-sama thinks about their personality each and your impression on them."
Princess Maryest contemplates for a bit after hearing Satou's reply.
"Very well. It's a request by someone who might become my future husband after all. If you are fine with only info that won't put Saga Empire in disadvantages, I don't mind telling you."
"Thank you very much, Maryest-sama."
Princess Maryest offers Satou a seat.
While leaving the two sisters who are still quarrelling standing.
"What would you like to know?"
"Then let's start from your impression about the heroes."
"That's quite a vague question. Well, all right."
Maryest crosses her nicely shaped legs.
Unfortunately, there is no one in this room who could admire the beauty of her ankle.
"My impressions on the four heroes is that their immatureness really shows due to their young age, but generally they are『Existences that love justice』."
Her remark is seemingly unexpected to Satou as he stares at Princess Maryest's eyes as if probing her.
Sera who was quarrelling with her elder sister was seemingly alarmed by that as she left her sister and sat down next to Satou.
She's getting unusually close to him, but Satou himself doesn't seem to notice that.
"You don't believe it?"
"No, the hero whom I met, Seigi, was a boy that exactly fits Maryest-sama's description."
Princess Maryest burst into laughter at Satou's serious response.
She probably found it funny that he said that like an adult would even though the two of them are only around two years apart.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to mock Sir Pendragon."
Princess Maryest quickly apologized at Sera who was growing angry.
"Did you know that there were four heroes who were summoned this time?"
"Yes, apparently it was a group summoning or something along that line."
Satou affirmed Princess Maryest's question.
"So you knew. Group summoning is quite an extraordinary phenomenon, but there were records about it in the past. In most cases, there's only one hero while the other people are merely innocent bystanders, but the summoning this time was unusual in that all four were heroes."
"There was one who didn't act like a hero at all though."
"Rin, the person in question is yet an adult. Even that Hayato was a little kid with flippant attitudes when he was first summoned."
Princess Maryest should have been as young as Hero Hayato was when he was summoned, but Satou didn't point that out and quietly listened to her reminiscence.
Before long, she was done with it and went back to the topic.
"I'm sorry, I made you listen to all these irrelevant stories--"
"No, it was quite an interesting topic."
Satou replied the apologizing Princess Maryest without looking like he was offended at all.
"The first one, Hero Meiko. You have met her before yourself haven't you? As you might know, she's a problem child. Her combat aptitude is very high despite growing up in a peaceful country. Her initial level was high too. I can assert that she was stronger than Hayato was when they were first summoned."
Satou carefully listens to Princess Maryest.
Let's turn back the time a bit--when the Gods' Divine Punishment had just started.
"--I can't believe the 『Northern End Magic Beast』 sealed by the hero hundreds years ago has been revived!"
"Quit yappin' and prepare for defense! Fortress-Eating Elephant is gonna cross that mountain soon!"
"So even the Mountain Wall of the First Emperor that could prevent Great Monstrous Fish (Tovekezeera)'s invasion is meaningless against the Fortress-Eating Elephant..."
At one of the fortress protecting the city at Saga Empire's northern outskirts, a young officer was yelled at for his grumbling.
The defiant young officer's line of sight was fixed at the towering mountain range to the north.
"Your excellency General, Great Monstrous Fish (Tovekezeera) from the northern sea won't invade through the barrier the Fortress-Eating Elephant broke through, will they?"
"No need to fret, was it Third Princess Porikest? That person has gone on her way to restore the barrier, leading a magic division. Nothing to worry about if we leave it to the Witch of Ice, said to rival the attendant of previous Hero, Princess Maryest."
The general heartily nods while stroking his white beard.
Before long, a ripple of light that looks like an aurora appears above the mountain range and settles down.
"Here it is..."
"It appears that her royal highness succeeded in restoring the barrier."
"Yea, it'd be real helpful if she killed the beast while she was at it tho'..."
"There's a legend saying that Fortress-Eating Elephant is protected by a sturdy rock body and powerful magic walls. Not even her royal highness could hope to defeat such a thing by herself."
The General gazes at a black haired girl standing upright on top of a rampant tower.
"Unless they're a hero, huh?"
The staff officers nodded at the general while looking worried at their trust in the being called hero and the young girl Meiko.
While no one denied his words, the Fortress-Eating Elephant showed up from beyond the mountain, broke through the defense line of Saga Empire and approached the north city.
"--That's the Fortress-Eating Elephant huh."
The Fortress-Eating Elephant boasting rocks as its outer skin is advancing on while easily mowing down nine-meter class golems left and right.
Its outer skin is clad in glittering blue light, not unlike hero's armor.
"It's entering the firing range soon. The magicians and large magic artillery should fire their volley."
Advanced level fire and wind magic shot by royal court magicians dispatched from the Imperial Capital, and the large magic artillery cannons got dispersed once they got past the Fortress-Eating Elephant's magic walls.
The general had no way of knowing that the adamantite crystals on the Fortress-Eating Elephant's skin dispersed the already reduced power of the magic from its magic walls.
The seemingly unstoppable Fortress-Eating Elephant's advance came to a halt.
"It's the hero! Hero Meiko-sama is fightin'!"
Neither strikes from the elephant's trunk nor its blizzard breath could manage to graze Hero Meiko.
It's the power of her Unique Skill, [Unrivaled Agility (Never Get Hit)].
And by another power given by the God Parion, [Strongest Katana (Nothing cannot be cut)], she cut one of the Fortress-Eating Elephant's legs, however, the damage seemed to have been reduced due to the difference in sizes.
"W-what the hell is that?"
Hero Meiko took some distance away and began to shine blue.
And then the blue light is focused into her sword.
The scene observed by the general and the others is that of a huge blue sword slashing at the Fortress-Eating Elephant, dealing massive damage.
Hero Meiko didn't manage to cut it in two, but she continued to slash at it without stopping, and eventually defeated the Fortress-Eating Elephant.
"So this is the powers of heroes..."
"Previous hero Hayato-sama was quite powerful himself, but I do not think Hero Meiko-dono is in any way inferior. Saga Empire will stay peaceful so long as we have Heroes-sama bestowed by God Parion on our side."
The general's words were mixed among the cheers for hero.
As he watched Hero Meiko who fainted from overusing her powers getting nursed by her attendants.
Looks like she pushed herself too much.
This was right before she was given oracle that led her to the Weasel Empire.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"The part where she doesn't know her own limit is troubling, but I think Hero Meiko's powers are a cut above the rest."
"Unlike Hayato, she's the type that rushes through enemy one after another without stopping, perhaps the fact that there is no attendants that could keep up with her on the battlefield is the drawbacks here."
To compensate for such drawbacks, Lady Ringrande was temporarily enlisted in her campaign to the Weasel Empire.
"Rusus and Fifi would be perfect, but those two went and left Saga Empire before they could meet Hero Meiko."
Hero Hayato's attendants who left Saga Empire, Rusus and Fifi, are apparently going around the stormy countries on the western part of the continent.
"Would that sums it up for Hero Meiko?"
"Right. If you'd please tell me about Hero Seigi."
Princess Maryest sips the cup to quench her thirst.
"Hero Seigi isn't really suited for battle. If I had to say, I suppose he's a type that can only show his true worth by getting paired with Hero Meiko or Hero Yuuki, perhaps?"
It was about the time when Satou and the girls visited Sania Kingdom for the trial--
"Found it! There's a nest to the south-southwest. A huge group of underground monsters, numbering in four digits at least."
"That's a lot.... It's close by Sania Kingdom too, it's likely a nest of Sand Scorpions."
The civil official attendant made a guess from Hero Seigi's report while looking at the map.
His enemy search capability is as amazing as always, so the official thought.
Even a combination of high level wind and earth magicians can't detect this far.
"South-southwest, you mean around that sandstorm over there?"
"Sandstorm? I don't see any tho'?"
"Jema has a good sight after all. You should be able to see it too with Distant View."
The civil official attendant tells the bridge about the course through the speaking tube, to check Hero Seigi's investigation with their own eyes.
"You're amazing, Seigi. To think you found a nest of monsters hidden underground from this distance."
"Chellis, looks like Moryu has something to say."
Rabbitkin attendant, Jema, said so to the civil official attendant, Chellis.
Attendant Moryu who's wearing the royal court magician robe drops her hood even lower as she looks at the civil official attendant while behaving like a suspicious individual.
"What's the matter, Moryu?"
"Err, umm, i-it's nothing big, umm--"
"I don't mind even if it's nothing. Even if it's about how you think the desert sand has different color, or how the cloud looks like the bread we had this afternoon."
Even though she's hard to handle, civil official attendant fully trusts attendant Moryu's magical knowledge.
"T-the barrier, i-is, opened. O-other parts are tattered too, but there's one with a neatly made hole over there."
Attendant Moryu sorted out her report in her head while stammering as she gave it.
"Perhaps, someone has broken in? According to the legend, there should be a powerful monster sealed inside since the age of myth, the 『Land King』... Seigi, do you remember the presence of the Fortress-Eating Elephant that Hero Meiko killed before?"
"Yeah, I do, and?"
"Try looking for something stronger than that."
"Nothing like that y'know?"
She requests the hero Seigi who instantly talked back to, "give it another try" with a scary smile on her face.
"I-I got it--"
Blue light circulates on Hero Seigi's body.
"Hmm, there's really nothing--ah, wait. Something's there. It's like super hot spicy curry inside a retort pouch. I don't really get it, but it's probs super dangerous."
"I wonder if it's the sealed 『Land King』?"
"Chellis, report from the bridge, they saw a Sania Kingdom's sand ship behind a rock."
After thinking a bit, the civil official attendant came to a conclusion that it was probably a regular check by Sania Kingdom's personnels.
"We should not needlessly involve ourselves in Sania Kingdom's matter. Let's just report what Seigi found to Sania Kingdom."
"Eeh, we're not gonna kill it? I can beat it with the 『Sword of Condemnation (Justice Wins)』 I got from Parion, I tell you. Let's farm some exp, c'mon."
Ever since he defeated a mid-class demon in a single blow, Hero Seigi has developed a tendency to overestimate his Unique Skill.
"That might be a good idea if there is only one enemy and without Sania Kingdom's people around, but the location is not ideal."
And even before that, the civil official attendant figured that hero Seigi alone probably couldn't win against a legendary class monster from the age of myth.
"Lots of Sand Scorpions have positioned themselves around it too."
"Yes, Hero Meiko and Hero Yuuki should be able to handle them, but it's impossible for Seigi."
"You saying I'm weaker than those two?"
Hero Seigi pouted to hear the attendants' talk.
"You've got it mistaken. It's a matter of compatibility."
The civil official made a follow up.
"I'm sure that Seigi can beat a powerful enemy easier than Hero Yuuki would if it's alone. However, there is too many of them in this case."
The civil official attendant was correct not to mention Hero Meiko here.
"Let us ask Hero Yuuki to deal with the Land King and also the monster clean-up while he's at it."
The civil official attendant doesn't think that Hero Yuuki could defeat the legendary class monster though he should be able to handle the small fry.
Hero Yuuki would probably fail, and then the four heroes would be forced to combine their powers.
By the civil official attendant's calculations, Seigi who's not good at fighting should start groping for a way to profit from something without doing much.
"Boo, it's always about Yuuki."
"Seigi, your powers aren't for defeating small fry. Yours is for the sake of exterminating demon lords."
She tightly hugs the complaining hero Seigi to make him waver.
As a youth in puberty with no experience about women, he absolutely has no way to resist the softness.
"Well, the guy can't read the mood and all, but he was the most helpful hero during the Divine Punishment uproar."
Thanks to him, they didn't have to dispatch scouts too far in dangerous missions, and since they could pin down the exact force needed to stop a stampede, they were able to efficiently deploy neither too many nor too few troops.
"Yuuki is also unusual for a hero, though not as much as Seigi."
"Yes, he's a magician type hero."
When Lady Ringrande and Princess Maryest were about to talk about the third hero, maids bringing in trays that let out sweet scent came into the room.
"They're presents from Sir Pendragon."
The maids set up tea and sweets on the table after Princess Maryest's personal maid said so.
"It's sweets especially made by Satou and all. Let's talk about heroes after having a taste."
"My? Didn't onee-sama like liquor more than sweets?"
Sera made a sarcastic remark at the humming Lady Ringrande.
"Sweets that Satou brought aren't like those all-about-sweet confectionery, I love it you know?"
Lady Ringrande teased her little sister by putting a meaningful intonation on the 'love' part.
"With all these sweets, it would feel too dull to only talk about the immature heroes. We have this occasion after all, would you be willing to tell us the story about Sera-dono's and Sir Pendragon's beginning of love?"
Seeking for more sweet stories, princess Maryest who had stuffed her mouth with a spoonful of cake brought up the subject about Sera and Satou.
Behind his calm face supported by Poker Face skill, Satou is gearing up his gray brain cells to get him out of this predicament.
However, the excited eyes of three people informed him that there was no escaping this.
※ Next update is planned for 4/22