“Oh Hero, I have a job for you. Take down the people on this list. Burn it as soon as you learn of the contents.”
“Your highness, aren’t these… names of the nobles of this castle…? I can’t do this to your own people, it’s an assassination… !”
“Watch your mouth. They are a bunch of unfaithful people who worship the first prince and plan to usurp the throne. They must’ve been possessed by demons. Take them down immediately. You haven’t forgotten your indebtedness, have you? You should know that it’s this kingdom that has been giving everything to a novice who’s still not strong enough to take on the demon lord as a hero.”
Back then, the king was someone I was terrified of.
In the midst of the battle with no escape, wielding my sword and shedding blood, memories of the past that I had buried flashed before my eyes.
Memories from several years ago.
It was around the time when I was just summoned as a hero. I first got to see something called ‘status’ in the castle temple.
It showed the person’s profession and aptitude. The attributes didn’t show any numbers. Just who, what, and what they could do. That was all.
When they examined me with a special device, we were able to find out that I had the talent for swordsmanship, magic circles and covert operations.
It happened one day, when I was made a hero in a world I didn’t know existed. I felt trapped, with no idea what was going on and no one to talk to.
I was surrounded by the kingdom’s most prominent figures. My abilities were shown to be quite mediocre, as opposed to them.
There was nothing special about my abilities as a hero.
—I thought I was going to be thrown away.
I was alone and trapped. The voices surrounding me that scorned and ridiculed my insubstantial existence that didn’t even have any characteristics of a hero, made me falter.
My fingertips trembled with uneasiness rising from my feet, wondering if I wasn’t needed by anyone in this world.
No, please. I may be a failure, but I’ll do my best… I’m going to work very, very hard… I’ll make sure I’ll be of help, so… Please don’t abandon me.
Those were my thoughts at that time. That was how much the loneliness of being in an unfamiliar world was gnawing away at my heart, and I felt like I was going to disappear, just looking for someone to be there for me.
The reason why they summoned me was because they needed me. But if they would change their mind later on because they didn’t find me useful, then I was sure that I would fall apart, without anyone to lean on.
The king very much grimaced at such a disappointing, rubbish hero.
However, the king smiled some time later as if he were benevolent, just like when I had met him for the first time during the summoning ceremony.
“I have a job for you, Hero.”
The days since then had been spent training and studying.
I didn’t have any trouble with the language since it was being translated directly into things from my original world, but I had a hard time learning about them since I couldn’t write them.
Once I was done studying the letters, I learned about the world, the kingdom and the demons.
I didn’t know if those were the truth or not. I just took in whatever I was taught as they were in order to fit in.
I was also trained to fight with a sword I wasn’t accustomed to.
The use of magic was very convenient. Even if I collapsed, vomited blood or was about to die, I would be healed completely at once and I would wield my sword again.
A hero in that kingdom was just a tool to be used until it wears out.
I trained in magic until I had exhausted my energy and collapsed while vomiting.
I burnt countless formulas of heavy and complex magic circles into my brain to the point where I felt like my head was going to burst.
I didn’t have any talents or special abilities, so I just strived hard, day after day.
I worked hard. Desperately, I worked hard in order to have a place where I could belong.
In order to attract the hearts of the people to the monarchy, I was given an imperial decree and defeated a ferocious demon that everyone avoided.
I was even placed on the front lines in wars against other kingdoms. As I went crazy in killing humans and defeating the rival nations, our kingdom’s territory expanded.
The masses welcomed me with cheers when I brought back the fruits of the battle as a hero who protected the kingdom.
But when I returned to the castle, I was just left alone in a cold tower.
It was a tower with a barrier that sealed everything but living magic. Meals were placed at the door twice a day. The guards were always watching me. They considered heroes as summoned beasts rather than humans, so they were just raising me like an animal.
It was just like a jail for prisoners of war in the country I knew. It was ironic. The one in there was me.
The only people I had contact with were those in the castle. It was to keep me from getting along with others and think of running away. So that I wouldn’t go out and gain information, and to not let me live on my own in this kingdom.
I ran errands on my own. To take down the king’s enemies.
I had to endure everything all alone, again and again, even if I got sick or injured, or even if I got in a difficult situation where I was almost killed.
My body didn’t deteriorate since I was a human from another world. That was one thing I found convenient in this life, even if I didn’t know if I had that perk because I was supposed to fight.
I did my best. I really did.
I persevered through the hardship and looked straight ahead. In order to be useful and not to be left behind, I gave them a reason to keep me there.
I just… wanted to break away from everything.
I didn’t have the intention of dying, but I came to the demon realm thinking that it would be fine even if I died in there.
When I was given an order to do such an impossible task alone, I already realized that this world didn’t need me anymore.
I was summoned because they needed me, then was just thrown out because they didn’t find me necessary.
I did everything I could to get someone to stay with me, but I was just used and consumed conveniently.
In the end, I had no one by my side. I came to fight alone.
To fight him, who was said to be vicious, cruel and a unanimous enemy of the world.
To fight the lonely man who was feared, despised, and viciously targeted by all human beings, longing for his death.
To fight the demon lord I never knew, who trembled with fear, thinking that the frail human who came to kill him would be afraid of him, and cried purely, telling me not to hate him.
“…J-Just stay close to me!”
Ah—I want to see you right now.
My life flashed before my eyes due to exhaustion and pain to the point of death.
The world I had buried finally dispersed from my mind, and I deliberately bit my tongue just enough not to cut it off.
The pain snapped my head back into reality, and I somehow managed to avoid the strong arm that was trying to attack me sideways.
I could see the chief’s face hung up with anger as he recovered from the pain in his arm.
Yes, that’s right. This is how I lived my life.
The only reason why I can live through to feel happiness heedlessly and to fall in love right now, is all because of him.
—I have to return.
I reprimanded my pale body that was trembling from the strain.
Then, the locked door of the exit that I had been aiming for suddenly made a tremendous noise and blew off the wall.