Uneasiness stirred in me, and I thought I had to get out of the room quickly.
The hero was stronger than I had expected. Even if the summoning happened too soon, I thought he wouldn’t have had the time to train.
The moment the hero became suspicious of Azel’s lack of pursuit was about the same time I stepped out to get away from him.
“Don’t go, Shal! Stay where I can see you!”
“Huh? Shal…? What?! There’s a human in here…?!”
I was just diagonally behind the hero when Azel’s voice startled me, and I stopped moving. My stealth was unraveled due to the disruption in my mind.
Then, the hero realized that the words Azel had yelled out were not aimed at him but at the one behind him and turned his gaze around.
Our eyes fell upon each other.
What should I do? He might get infuriated, seeing that there was an unfamiliar outsider who was hiding.
He seemed like he was about to shout and ask who I was, so I braced myself.
But the words that came out of him were unexpected.
“A human with bluish-black hair… Shal… You’re the fake hero!”
“F… Fake… hero…?”
His voice, which was filled with hatred and anger, made everyone stop moving then and there.
He glared at me and called me as such.
I stared at the hero with confused eyes, unable to grasp the meaning of what he said. Azel was about to take a step forward and run to me, but his feet stopped as well.
What did he mean by fake?
If you asked me if I were a fake or not, I certainly wouldn’t know. After all, the only hero I had ever seen was myself.
But ever since I arrived in this world, I had been called a hero and had done my job as one.
I was a hero, so they utilized me to protect humans. I was a hero, so I followed the king’s orders.
I was a hero, which was why Azel found me. Even if I were a fake.
And yet, this hero—he called me a fake.
“Because of you, I’ve spent the last eight years as an adventurer who hunts monsters in a strange world where I don’t even know why I was summoned. The hero who was supposed to be summoned during the ceremony is me! Back in the present day, it just so happened that… I was about to board a train, and you were about to get off. Our coordinates coincided, and we were both summoned together!
The hero took advantage of the fact that Azel had stopped moving despite being in the middle of a battle, went on and on about the truth that I was a fake and blamed me.
It was all just an accident.
It was he who was needed, and I was just that ordinary, confused civilian who happened to be thrown here.
Thanks to me being mixed up in this mess, this hero was the only one left behind without being given a reason. He was the victim.
That’s why I was the fake.
“Because of you, outsider, I was repelled by magic and fell in a village far from the royal capital, left on the verge of death! Goddamn it, you make me want to puke…!”
But even his shouts of anger didn’t make sense to me right now.
Because, if I didn’t have that, then how… how did I…
How did I end up here?
“Wait, hold on… I-I just happened to be in the same place as you at that moment, so the correctness of the summoning had been messed up…? But… But the status analysis of the temple shows that I’m a person from another world…”
“Hah. You don’t really know when to give up. I’m astonished. You probably don’t know this, even after fooling around as a hero and being fawned over, but a hero can always check his status by himself.”
The hero sarcastically ridiculed me, who was about to collapse with my face white as a sheet. Then, he muttered, “Status.”
I heard an electronic sound and saw words written on something like a screen floating on top of his hand: ‘Kagari Yuuo (Luo). Occupation: Hero. Skills: Proper Swordsmanship, Flame Magic, Hand-to-Hand Combat, Physical Resistance, Magical Resistance’
“My occupation ain’t just ‘a person from another world.’ I’m a hero, so it’s just natural that my occupation is ‘Hero.’”
The hand that had been miserably clinging to the slightest hope was mercilessly shoved away.
“Did you enjoy being worshipped as an impersonator for eight years? Tell me. Did your world become radiant when you were rumored to be the next king? You must’ve had such a good time, while I desperately trained in a small village and made my way from a penniless scum of uncertain identity to an adventurer! I even thought that if there was someone in a similar situation as me, he’d probably be having a hard time…”
“H-How… Where did you get that…?”
“Huh? I didn’t know I had the ability to see my own status until two months ago. I saw it at the castle temple. And it was only after I was summoned by the king that I learned the truth about why I’m here.”
When I heard such a detailed reason, I finally understood. When he found out the truth, he must have hated me.
There was no need to continue the rest of the story.
I couldn’t speak, and my vision dimmed.
In just a short time, the existence that I had been striving for in this world lost its support, and everything went crumbling down.
Even the debris seemed to be getting completely pulverized.
If there was a God… he probably hates me and wants me to disappear.
Maybe the world itself was telling me to break my heart, to crush it, to turn it into sand.
That was how much my mind was losing its shape, unable to hold itself in.